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.

Wednesday, December 31, 1980

December 1980 Notes

Milton Pond construction site viewed from vineyard slopes, September 1980 (Photo: T. Campion)

 "Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
The “Milton Pond” [where barn once stood] has six swans
No gum chewing
Live Christmas trees are acceptable
Members should pay debts by December 1, 1983 [in anticipation of predicted Depression]
Concerts:
December 6 and 7: American String Quartet
December 19: Beverly Coyne sings Jenny Lind songs
December 22 and 23: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
December 25: Souvenirs of Florence
December 31: The Messiah by Handel
January 2: Hans Weisshaar [violin restorer, died 1991]
January 3 and 4: Zara Nelsova, cello [died 2002]
January 10 and 12: Eudice Shapiro and Brooks Smith [Smith retired in 1988, died in 2000.]
Photo: “Dawn of Renaissance” [actually a sunset]

1,361 members: 805 men (59%), 556 women (41%), “and 44 angels”, average age: 32 [not including the 44 angels!]

Other Notes
 According to Harold Wirk, growth rate of the Fellowship slowed 90% in1980, making it the slowest growth year of the decade.

Tuesday, December 30, 1980

Fellowship of Friends 1980 recruitment analysis

[ed. - This report was prepared by Harold Wirk in 1980. According to Harold, the Fellowship's growth rate in 1980 declined by 90%, making it the lowest growth year of the decade. Only the opening remarks and recommendations are shown below. View the entire report on the Internet Archive.]

CURRENT TRENDS

There is a discernible pattern(or cycle) of growth within the Teaching. With the study of octaves we learned that SHOCKS can keep an octave going  in a desired direction. If we know the pattern of a cycle we can use shocks to either reinforce a positive direction - or reverse a trend that is undesirable. "The cyclic FORCE may be inevitable, but the cyclic RESULT in many instances is subject to our will - IF WE KNOW IN ADVANCE ABOUT THE FORCE." (from "Cycles")

The Teaching is NOW in need of a POSITIVE SHOCK!

Recommendations

"NOW is the time for the Fellowship to RESTRICT SPENDING at ALL levels ("from the top on down") as many students are reaching their financial limits - and depending upon rising membership to increase revenue seems unlikely.

"The Fellowship NEEDS a positive change of direction - or shock - to reverse the current trends. At the least, more effort should be made to eliminate NEGATIVE SHOCKS (such as increased "donations," fines, misuse of power, etc.) A downward trend can quickly gather momentum - and the result could be even worse than predicted." - H. Wirk 12/80

Read more at the Internet Archive.