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) Fellowship 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.

Tuesday, July 31, 1984

July 1984 Notes

"Renaissance Vine" newsletter [summarized]
June 16, 1984 celebration for the completion of the bottle-storage (first) level of the winery.

Under the dome, erected in July 1978, concrete pads have been poured for the stainless steel fermentation tanks. To date, 64,500 gallons of wine holding capacity has been installed, that is, 40 per cent of the total planned. About 75 per cent of the mechanical equipment for the winery has already been purchased and installed and is now operating...Facilities are nearly ready to bottle the vintages of recent years.

[Discussion of concrete batching, pouring, construction]
At the present rate of construction, the barrel-storage (second) level walls, already begun, and ceiling should be completed by September, 1985. With the finishing of the barrel-storage level, work can proceed then on the completion of the upper (third level) of Renaissance Winery.

[Discussion of grape growing season]

Meeting and Performance Schedule
August 3: Renaissance Meeting
August 18: California Meeting
August 25: Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid, by the Troupe de Amis


"Bares Reposting" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 19, 2012:
97. Fee fi fo fum

‘Can you say more about Bengt’s possible suicide? I knew he had died, but not the circumstances.’
From the Greater Fellowship site, In Memoriam:
Bengt Lungren
Died: Summer of 1984.
Cause of death: Gunshot, suicide.
Posted by J. M. G., September 2, 2009:
‘Bengt was a wonderful friend in the brief time I knew him. We met at Renaissance and hit it off immediately in conversation. Later we both had left the Fellowship and he and his wife had moved to SF and joined the G. Foundation, working with Jacob Needleman as group leader at the old meeting place, St Elmo. I moved to SF to join the Foundation and just before I left Seattle (Summer of 1984) I got a call that Bengt had shot himself with a revolver in his home. This death still shocks me because he had so much I wanted to know more about. Bengt, thank you for your kindness to me and the encouragement to my soul. I hope you have peace.

Sunday, July 1, 1984

Guidelines for Prospective Student Meetings

First Meeting
Avoid discussion of the Ray of Creation.
Payments are mentioned but not discussed at length.
It is fine to mention Renaissance and Robert Burton.
Second Meeting
Mention the "centre of gravity" for Mr. Gurdjieff, Mr. Ouspensky, Mr. Collin and Mr. Burton.
Third Meeting
Mention the days of the week in French.
Avoid angles on the "type" of a country, and the Martial-Mercurial natural repulsion.
Seven minutes discussion on each type is the maximum suggested time.
Discuss privately after the meeting the topic of joining with those prospective students that ask.
A $100.00 or ten percent (10%) of gross monthly income is to be brought to the first meeting, in money order or certified check.