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.

Saturday, November 26, 1988

Fellowship winemaster Karl Werner dies at home in Oregon House

[ed. - The Renaissance Vineyard and Winery website states,
"His name was Dr. Karl Werner, and his family boasted 17 generations of winemakers."
Despite such a proud and prominent lineage, most Fellowship members were likely unaware of Karl's children and grandchildren mentioned in the obituary below. Robert Burton demanded that followers dissociate from "life family" and dedicate themselves instead to their "Fellowship family." It appears donations in Karl's memory flowed into Fellowship of Friends coffers.]
Karl A.F. Werner

San Francisco Chronicle
30 Nov 1988
Page B6

A funeral service for Karl A.F. Werner, a winemaster, will be held Saturday in the Yuba County community of Oregon House. Mr. Werner died last Saturday in his home at Renaissance Vineyard and Winery.

Mr. Werner was born in Rheingau, Germany, and came to California in 1972.

In 1976, Mr. Werner became overseer for planting vineyards and constructing the Renaissance winery, owned by the Community of the Fellowship of Friends, a nondenominational church near Oregon House.

Mr. Werner is survived by his wife, Diana, of Renaissance, and children and grandchildren in Germany.

The funeral service will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at Renaissance. Contributions are preferred to the Karl Werner Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 102, Renaissance, Calif. 95962.

[ed. - Fellowship sculptor Colin Lambert was commissioned to create a monument to Werner. See also "Dr. Karl Werner".]