Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

According to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish while, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci), Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new and more perfect civilization. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Thursday, February 28, 1980

February 1980 Notes

Fellowship of Friends Renaissance Winery at Apollo, Oregon House, CA, Fall of California view
With The Fall of California in 1998, Robert Burton said the ocean would rise to the level of this fog. (Photo: T. Campion)

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
No smoking in Teaching Houses
No firearms
No speaking about spouses
February 2: Miha Pogacnik, Norma Brown
February 9 and 10: Tales of Hoffman [Diane Gilfether and Maureen Forrester?]
February 17: Gerhard Puchelt
1,344 members
Photo: Fog in the valley (California, after the fall!)

Thursday, February 7, 1980

The Orchestra Octave

[ed. - The following letter was posted on the Internet Archive. This was the early days of what would eventually become the Apollo Symphony Orchestra, under Michael Goodwin's direction. Linda's use of "octave" may be loosely interpreted as "project." Note the use of "within." At the time, as a "word exercise," members were to avoid using the word "in."

In addition to those who actually had musical experience, Robert Burton assigned individuals with absolutely no experience to take up instruments. The letter is heavily steeped in what was known in the Fellowship as "feminine dominance," a clearly implied pressure to conform to the request. For the "octave's" launch, see: April 1979 Notes.]

Fellowship of Friends
February 7, 1980

Dear Friends,

The Fellowship's Orchestra Octave is proceeding well. Several members from each centre are now studying a musical instrument. Because it is difficult to get a 'feel' of the scope of the octave, I have decided to send out a list of those persons currently involved with the octave.

As you may immediately notice, this octave is large. Some persons who have had several years experience with an instrument and have yet to commit themselves to the octave have been listed anyway. If these people truly are unable to resume lessons and practice, will they please write me a personal letter? Our school is successful precisely because it is ours. We must use every resource available to us if we are to fulfill the grand aims that the Gods have established for us.

Also included within this letter is a copy of a section from a private letter sent to me by Michael Goodwin, the Fellowship's professional conductor currently residing within Germany. I feel it will serve as a source of inspiration for our budding musicians.

We must realize that a time will come when we will no longer have musical cassettes and stereos to play, how shall we be nourished if not by our own efforts? A musical instrument is both a private and a public experience, bringing joy to those that play as well as those that listen. The necessity of practising every day is so similar to the efforts we must make to self-remember that the two endeavours can spur each other on.

If I have overlooked anyone,please write to let me know.

'Little strokes fell great oaks.' • Benjamin Franklin

Thank you again for your participation.

(s) Linda Rockwood [a.k.a. Linda Kaplan, Linda Tulisso]

Fellowship of Friends Inc., Main Office, Post Office Box 575, Oregon House, California 95962