Introduction


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.")

But 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.

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 from official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the Internet Archive, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wikispace project, the (ill-fated 2007) Fellowship of Friends Wikipedia page, 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.

Tuesday, September 30, 1980

September 1980 Notes

Fellowship of Friends cult Oregon House shop complex, August 1980
Fellowship shop complex: metal (left), wood (center), vehicle (right), August 1980 (Photo: T. Campion)

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
1,378 members

Photos: inside shops, overview of shop complex (metal, wood, and automotive)

Other Notes

September 8:
Thomas and Ines K. depart the Fellowship. Rumor has it that before departing, Thomas was able to recover $50,000 he had loaned Robert Burton, which angered Burton to no end - at least that's the rumor. (In Burton's mind, it seemed "loan" was just another word for "donation.")
September 11:
After a week of dismantling the ancient structure, the D-8 cleared away the old barn foundation.
September 26:
Tractors are now constructing a dam where the barn once stood, working only at night, since they're needed on the vineyard slopes during the day.
Master book binder Max Adjarian is leaving the Fellowship of Friends. His binding equipment was removed from the Town Hall and Bindery today. Many members are leaving. Robert Burton referred to the present as a "weeding out" time.
September 27:
Harvest begins at Renaissance on the Cabernet Sauvignon slope
September 28:
Harvest of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel grapes
September 29:
Robert Burton leaves for European travels


[ed. - During this time, most "good" students followed Burton's demand that they minimize contact with their “life families.” At the same time, while Burton clearly distanced himself from his family, Fellowship students were called upon to provide his mother various services (housekeeping, gardening, delivery, etc.) while she resided in Sacramento. The following refers to a rather humorous event that took place in the course of providing such services.]

"brucelevy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 2, 2008:
215. elena

Re: RB’s mom

RB is such a pussy that he used to send students down to his mom’s to mow the lawn (until someone mowed naked) and clean around the house, and then he waits for her to die to both make a statement to his entourage and punish her. Sort of like a fucking 6 year old.

"Just Another Voice Out Here" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 2, 2008: 
221 brucelevy [responding to above]

I’d love to know what happened to my buddy T—-r B—y, who was tossed out for mowing Mommy’s lawn naked. [ed. - Taylor B. was "released" by the Fellowship 9/19/80.]

"lostandfound" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 2, 2008:
Update:

By coincidence, someone recently mentioned that the birthday suit landscaper, T.B., was doing very well financially.

Permit one funny story:

Recently, a visitor from a foreign country was driving to Apollo, as she was going to an event.
She saw someone on the road near the gatehouse dressed in a tuxedo. She was just about to pull her car over thinking that there was valet parking for the event.

It turned out that someone was picketing in a tux!