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.

Thursday, October 5, 1989

Burton's understanding of "influence C" is questioned

[ed. - The video was also posted to Vimeo, with a slightly different introduction.]

"Shard of Oblivion" posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 20, 2012:
I found this interesting recording, purporting to be a student questioning Burton in a phone conversation in 1989, about how Burton can be sure that Influence C isn’t just the product of his fevered imagination.

[ed. - I have transcribed the text of the video below, making some minor edits.] 
[Author's Introduction] This a tape recording of an "exit interview" between a disgruntled student of The Fellowship of Friends and the leader of that cult, a man named Robert Burton.(rb)
What follows is the second part of that recording. In the first part he was asked how many of his students he had had sex with - he declined to give a figure.
One of his main claims was/is to be in direct communications with 44 disembodied spirits of significant cultural figures from the past.
The student (jh) noticed that he appeared to be suffering from "ideas of reference" and doubted this as a procedure to authenticate the claimed origin of these spooky advisors.
Burton (rb) called his imaginary friends Influence C.
jh wanted to probe Burton as to what method, if any, he used to convince himself that the messages are not the products of his own mind.
This the very coinage of your brain:
This bodiless creation ecstasy
 Is very cunning in.  
Hamlet act 3 scene IV (Oh, yes. Shakespeare was one of Burton's cosmic buddies.)
The recording (which dates from 1989) is poor, an old Walkman with a sucker microphone stuck to the phone. Text is provided to assist the listener to catch all the words of wisdom.
jh: The uh, other thing I'd like to know is what method you use to convince yourself that the messages that you think you're getting from C influence are from the source that you say they are rather than perhaps for example your own mind?
rb: Well...well the Gods reveal themselves to me. I...uh...I do not uh...It's not my station....uh I have to say they reveal themselves (by faith?)....They are forming an ark using me...and uh...they—they use a variety of—a variety of means to communicate they—they have somewhat of a physical-metaphysical presence that they use to communicate. This is a relationship of a man number seven to higher school.
jh: Yes. And did you ever wonder if they might be just something in your own mind?
rb: No of course not. Like my mother's name was Shock. My—my mother's maiden name was Thelma [or Velma?] Shock.
jh: Yes.
rb: So it's a—it's a very kind of brutal experience verifying influence C (because) they have a heavy hand—it's so long as though they carry a wand in one hand and a club in the other, you are touched by both.
jh: Yes. I mean if you know how easy it is for people to um become convinced of—of mistaken ideas?
rb: No—no I'm quite aware of it John. In search of the miraculous and I have found the miraculous. Something-something we are given...not—not a right apparently you've forgotten but I—I'm not in imagination at all about influence C. It's very—it's a real carry them, but it's a dear burden and one I would never drop.
jh: I mean you're aware that many people think they are getting messages from strange places.
rb: Oh, I—I know that. Influence C pressures people into reality. You know they...they take people beyond allurement and's no uh easy thing to bear them. Well dear I guess that' time for now. I mean give my love to Barbara and my love to you.
jh: OK. thank you for answering the questions.
rb (or jh): Bye, bye.

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