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.

Saturday, January 31, 1981

January 1981 Notes

Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton's 1981 Mercedes-Benz 380SEL luxury car
The Fellowship purchased a 1981 Mercedes-Benz 380SEL for Robert Earl Burton's travels.

On the advice that it might not be wise for a "pastor" to flaunt his wealth in a chauffeured Rolls Royce, a more modest vehicle was suggested. The Mercedes-Benz 380 SEL sold for only $44,298 at the time.

[ed. - In Oregon at this time, Baghwan Shree Rashneesh's fleet of Rolls Royces was attracting widespread attention and casting cults in an unflattering materialistic light!] 

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
After three-and-a-half years of weekly publication, Renaissance Journal will move to twice-monthly publication.
New task: avoid gossip
The coming depression will last about 1,000 days [Robert's prophecy]
January 17 and 18: La Traviata
January 24 and 25: Pepe and Celin Romero (Spanish guitar)
January 30 and 31: LaSalle Quartet
February 7 and 8: Sydney Harth, violin (died February 11, 2011)
February 13 and 14: Nicanor Zabaleta (harp)(died 1993)
1,370 members
Photo: Swans on Milton Pond

Other Notes

January 5:
Robert departs Renaissance
January 7:
"The Goethe Academy" [later, "The Galleria"] opens for tours
January 22:
 1981 Mercedes-Benz 380 SEL is purchased for Robert. The Rolls Royce was sold/traded.

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