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, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers 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.

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.]


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!


"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.

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