Introduction


Presented in reverse chronology, this history stretches from the present back to the Fellowship's 1970 founding, and beyond.
(See "Blog Archive" in the sidebar below.) It draws from many sources, including The Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the former Fellowship of Friends wiki project, cult education and awareness sites, news archives, and from the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

The portrait that emerges stands in stark contrast to sanitized versions presented on the Fellowship's array of
alluring websites, and on derivative sites created by Burton's now-estranged
disciple, Asaf Braverman.

Friday, July 29, 1988

Suit against Yuba sect leader settled

The Sacramento Bee
Published on July 29, 1988, Page B3

A lawsuit that charged the leader of a Yuba County sect with seducing young men into a life of "degenerative sexual involvement'' has been settled out of court, parties on both sides said Thursday.

Samuel L. Sanders said an agreement was filed early this week that ended his four-year suit against the Fellowship of Friends, located in Oregon House, a town about 20 miles northeast of Marysville.

Sanders' $2.5 million lawsuit charged in 1984 that the fellowship was run for Robert Burton, its spiritual leader, as a "cult-like organization to psychologically hypnotize" young men to "satisfy his voracious appetite for sexual perversion."

Sanders, a former member of the fellowship's board of directors, said he could not comment on a dollar amount, if any, of the settlement because both parties agreed not to disclose terms. "Let me just say I was very happy with the settlement, and there were certain objectives that I accomplished," said Sanders in a phone interview from Los Angeles.

Fellowship president Girard Haven said that by having "agreed to them (settlement terms), you can assume we are satisfied by them."

The fellowship, founded in 1971 [sic], is located in the foothills of Yuba County on 1,300 acres of land. Haven said there are 1,500 members worldwide, with about 300 at Oregon House at any one time. The group's members follow the teachings of turn-of-the-century Russian philosophers George I. Gurdjieff and Peter D. Ouspensky.

Burton has predicted Armageddon. His followers view their retreat as an "ark" of culture with 44 gods who will protect them in a nuclear holocaust, ex-members have said in previous interviews.

Burton has called himself a "god" and an "angel," according to the lawsuit and former members. He feels members are a chosen race superior to ordinary people.

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