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 an ominous, yet unspecified new threat late in 2018.) While non-believers shall perish, Burton and his followers, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including Burton's divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) will be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

Many regard Robert Earl Burton a narcissist and sociopath, surrounded by a largely greed- and power-driven inner circle. The following pages offer abundant evidence supporting that conclusion.

This archive draws
on official Fellowship publications and websites,
news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the (former) Fellowship Wikipedia page, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wiki project, and the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

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

Thursday, May 1, 1980

May 1980 Notes

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
Wine tanks are being constructed at the Renaissance metal shop, Shop 2

90 acres of grapevines were planted this past winter

Land clearing underway for Shop 3 (automotive shop)

No smoking allowed at Renaissance

Those who wear glasses should change to contact lenses (for a more beautiful appearance)

Ladies are not to wear pants

May 10 and 11: Madame Butterfly
May 24 through 26: American String Quartet
Photos: two views of the Poseidon statue with red tulips
1,382 members

Other Notes

May 21:
Robert Burton returns from Europe
May 29:
News received of Fellowship member Raymond Kennedy’s drowning . He was reportedly body surfing at the time. As a result, Robert Burton imposed upon members a new “task”: avoid swimming.
[ed. - My recollection is that this occurred in Tahiti. Others claim Bali. Violation of a "task" involves more severe consequences than a violation of an "exercise."]
May 31:
Shop 3 [automotive and antique restoration] dedicated. “Pantheon Industries” inaugurated, with Kenneth Wygal managing operations at Renaissance.

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