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.

Thursday, December 31, 1981

Collecting paintings by old masters

"Horse Stable" by Gerard ter Borch in Robert Burton's Fellowship of Friends cult collection
"Horse Stable" by Gerard ter Borch in Fellowship of Friends Collection

The painting "Horse Stable" by Gerard ter Borch was purchased in London. It was placed on display at Robert Burton's residence, the Goethe Academy.

The painting remained in the Fellowship collection until 1986, when it was sold through Marco Grassi (New York, New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986.

(Exact date in 1981 unknown)

December 1981 Notes

Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends cult Lincoln Lodge and Renaissance Vineyards
The Lincoln Lodge nestled in vineyard slopes at sunset, circa 1982 (Photo: T. Campion)

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
Auditions are underway for "As You Like It"

Other Notes

December 14:
Beaux Arts Trio concert at the Town Hall. Program: Haydn opus 33, Brahms opus 101, Smetana, Mozart, Schumann and Mendelssohn.
December 19 and 20:
Mao to Mozart shown at Town Hall
December 31:
Guitarist Pepe Romero performs
At Renaissance there's a celebration of the Fellowship's twelfth anniversary