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.

Friday, January 31, 1986

January 1986 Notes

January 1:
At the winery, the first wall is being erected around dome. "The 1985 Fume is showing great promise - delicious. The 1985 Cabernet shows very Bordeaux-like qualities, young and hard, but with underlying elegance."

New tennis courts are now in use (in the Whitman Glen.)

Renaissance Vineyard and Winery labels are now in the design stage.

A prospect list of "connoisseurs" is being developed for future wine marketing efforts.
[ed. - Inspired to submit label ideas, I suggested the following (no doubt influenced by Callaway's early label designs.) The submissions were politely rejected.]
 

Wednesday, January 1, 1986

The Canons of the Fellowship of Friends

[ed. - This 52-page document is prefaced by statements of principles from the Fourth Way and from the Gospels. The role of the "Founding Minister" is described in part: "The Fellowship recognizes both the spiritual primacy of the teacher and his mediatorship by virtue of which Higher Forces reveal their will regarding the Fellowship principally through him." In posting this document on the Internet Archive, the contributor wrote:]
"The Canons of the Fellowship of Friends, January 1, 1986. This document was attached to documents filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Yuba and was obtained from a search of the public record. It is in the public domain."
[ed. - See also the December 12, 2009 version of The Canons.]

Excerpts from the Canons:

From Chapter 1, Canon 1.1:
The Fellowship of Friends teaches that the universe comprises a hierarchy of worlds governed by orders of laws, that Higher Forces created the world and humanity and in various times and places select certain men to evolve both by grace and their own efforts to the level of immortal beings, and that Higher Forces establish schools on earth whereby selected men may evolve and humanity may be civilized. The Fellowship further teaches that Higher Forces have founded the Fellowship, that Conscious Beings guide and sustain this Church and its members, and intend it to serve as an ark to survive the collapse of civilization at the end of this age.

From Chapter 1, Canon 1.5:
In the Fellowship, the use of the arts is an exercise in the development of emotional sensitivity and directed attention, by which the student approaches Beauty, which along with Goodness and Truth forms the trinity of divine ideals as taught by Plato. In the words of the Teacher, "Beauty creates its likeness in those who pursue it."

[ed. - It appears Robert Burton has passionately pursued beauty (in all its physical forms), while giving less attention to the Goodness and Truth ideals of Plato's trinity.]