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.

Sunday, January 31, 1982

January 1982 Notes

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
Sports are now acceptable
Meissen Room is now the Magic Flute Room [Meissen is sent to the San Francisco Center]
“Other Room Upstairs” [no name?]
“Mother” and “father” rescinded. [Children may call parents by less formal names.]
January 23 and 24: Oscar and Eric Shumsky
January 30 and 31: Istvan Nadas and Philadelphia String Quartet

Other Notes

Jan 1:
New word exercise: avoid the use of "interesting"

"Paul Gregory" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, January 5, 2013:

[ed. - Quotes from "The Teacher," Robert Burton from this time period, with apparent index numbers shown:]

Students must learn the school is their school. It is their duty to protect humanity and to build a school and an ark. Someday no one will leave Renaissance as there will be no place to go. (010182.39)

We are the phoenix rising from the ashes of humanity. (010182.71)

Our school is the fulfillment of the scriptures and is designed to survive Armageddon. (010182.73)

It appears as if the essence of the school will be philosophy, that is, literature. Mr. Nicoll said that new scriptures were being written. It will be not be as important as our role of preserving culture. It is probably more profitable to pursue something that affects the essence of the ark. Possibly we would add books to the Old and New Testaments. (010182.47)

One of the reasons influence C form arks is that they do no wish to lose time by having to create certain things over again. The earth is a stage for the Gods; its face, the mask of tragedy. (010182.411)

We are located near the town of Rough and Ready. It will be rough, and we will be ready. It shows how incredibly practical influence C is. (010182.58)

The Fellowship has a tremendous rendezvous with fate; we are on a collision course. (010182.74)

We are preparing for a non-electrical age. We could perpetuate electricity, but it is not the wish of higher forces to retain that advancement. (010182.76)

A nuclear holocaust will be coming, and a difficult trial we be asked of all of us, yet it is a trial that we will submit to with understanding. In the Bible, Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son and then higher forces spared him, we will be asked to release our life families, for they will not be spared. The main reason is that they are not prepared people, and this would defeat the purpose of the ark. (010182.78)

Our ark will be composed of ten thousand people in the year 2006, and then the doors will close. (010182.79)

One needs to remember that we are the ones who have been fated to enter the way, to become immortal, and that self-remembering is not the station of life; that the ark is designed to ennoble humanity but also to return it gently to sleep. We are hardly supposed to know what we know. A way owe can pass on self-remembering to humanity is to speak of being present to each day of one’s life and not mention self-remembering. (011582.910)

From the Fellowship of Friends Wiki Page:

[ed. - Thoughts from "The Teacher," Robert Burton, with apparent index number shown.]
The school is larger than the Teacher. What a huge task we have – to think that Armageddon is going to occur. So many wonderful men and women have laboured for humanity. (010182.68)

One tries to anticipate influence C’s wishes. In a centre a co-director may try to provide in advance what may be needed for a meeting. So it is within our school: one tries to anticipate the needs of the school. Rodney Collin said that higher forces will stage a demonstration of their power. That is our school, which will survive Armageddon. We are not the first ark formed to protect humanity. But we are the first that had a Beethoven, a Bach, a Michelangelo and a Leonardo to protect. Noah’s ark was more for biological survival. (010182.38)

Our school is what it is and it is designed by influence C to form an ark and protect religion and the arts. (010182.46)

We are forming an ark and will rescue art, but before that occurs, we have to develop a citizenry that appreciates art. (010182.410)

The Fellowship is going to surpass all of our expectations. It is interesting that we will keep building even after my task is complete. There will be a long series of conscious beings that follow me: Miles, Girard, and four not yet here. Late within my life I will work with students of twenty who will live to celebrate the one-hundredth and perhaps the one-hundred-tenth anniversary of Renaissance. The United States only recently was two hundred years old, so it is no small achievement that a student of mine will have seen me and the one-hundredth anniversary of Renaissance. (010182.51)

Non-violence is a characteristic we are trying to breed into our new people. (010182.34)

As Armageddon occurs, events will gradually reveal the scale of our task and my station. The first participants of Christ’s school were given to lions. Our school is the only school to appear on that ladder. One can see the parallel of suffering between our school and Christ’s. Everything will be understood eventually, and not on faith but through verification. When Mr. Ouspensky first met Mr Gurdjieff, he said he wanted some facts, and Mr Gurdjieff said, ‘There will be facts.’ (010182.73)

It is wonderful that we are professional with self-remembering. It is our ‘field’. (011582.65)

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