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.

Thursday, October 31, 1991

"Trick or treat. My mother's dead. Her name is Shock."

Guinevere Ruth Mueller (right), among Burton's first followers, joins him in a meeting at the Festival Hall, March 19, 2019.

[ed. - On page 47 of Fifty Years with Angels, Robert Burton is compelled to share an example of how he overcame "feminine dominance." Receiving news of his mother's (Velma E. Burton's) death, and after failing to attend her funeral, he recounts making a "difficult decision" to go to the ocean with his companion rather than to his mother's grave. Claiming the act was a demonstration of "will," some would call it a pathetic excuse or, in Fellowship terms, a "buffer."]
On Halloween, in 1991, I answered the phone and said "trick or treat" to my life brother, He said, "Our mother died today." I told him, "I have to handle this in my own way. I am not going to the service, but I will visit her gravesite afterwards. "We must always take Influence C on their own conscious terms. I did not attend my mother's funeral in San Francisco. Even so, I was going to visit her grave after the ceremony, but, when I reached Vacaville, Influence C put a license plate in front of me saying CASTR8 (castrate). So I did not go to her grave, but instead went with Michael Goodwin to the Pacific Ocean to watch the sun set.

I experienced a mystical moment because I had done something difficult that Influence C had asked. At a certain point, Michael asked, "Were you having a mystical moment?" I said, "Yes." I shuddered, because I knew that I had been obedient. It was not easy but I just did what Influence C had asked. Without that difficult decision I made, Michael could not have survived his own death. I had no thought of opposing Influence C and no concern that people might not understand me, because I was obeying a higher power. I was quite accepting of it all.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 7, 2019:
37. WhaleRider
38. Nancy Gilbert

It’s almost the wrong question to ask what prompted this or any other obscure comment from Burton. Regarding his mother’s maiden name, Burton has repeated this a thousand times, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration.

And there are hundreds more: as a boy, Burton’s wealthy friend with his own “car” on the family’s private road (early jealousy); “meeting Influence C” on Ashby Avenue (forgot what “ash” means to him); his millionaire sister dying and not leaving anything to Burton (BIG account); Samuel Prov… having a surgery, missing playing his regular numbers in the CA lottery, and those numbers coming as the winner (and Burton missing out on his cut); landing at the SF airport at the moment of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989; his car accident where he got a hundred stitches in the pattern of a “peace” symbol; and a couple hundred more.

Burton endlessly cycles through these “shocks from Influence C,” as constant proof that a massive “conscious play” was written for Burton and the Fellowship of Friends by a very ancient angel (as if such an entity still lives in a timeline), every minor detail carefully planned and executed.

I have no doubt any more that Burton completely believes in this nonsense. After all, wherever “Influence C” tell him to go, to drive, to turn, another “shock” is waiting to be noticed. A license plate with a “44” (angels), or a “39” (Burton’s year of birth), or a “64”/”46″ (the “sequence”); a car similar to one he once owned; a siren (warning of the next catastrophe); someone wearing a T-shirt with a really good “message” on it.

Of course, at the ensuing “teaching” event when these “shocks of the week” are shown to the flock, not a word is said of the hundreds of license plates, hotel room numbers, and restaurant receipts that were rejected because they lacked the “right” numbers, or possibly had a “message” at odds with Burton’s imaginary world or latest prediction.

Now, Burton is “working on” the next major prediction, tentatively set for this year or next, a really big one, so big that last year’s Oct 21 “fall of Calif” was postponed to make way for this one. He has begun “collecting shocks” that, when strung together with carefully selected quotes and images, will make it crystal-clear that “Influence C” is not joking around this time, trying to humiliate him, like they were the previous 10-20 times.

It’s also looking more likely that Burton learned this “art” of “verifying Influence C” by highly selective observation, aka seeing whatever you want to see, from Alex Horn. We know that Horn introduced to Burton the idea of “angels who were once humans” that still carried their once-earthly names like Shakespeare, Bach, Lincoln, etc. Burton’s contribution to the development of this idea was to fix the number at 44 of these being who were directly “assisting the Fellowship,” plus an additional 37 (and counting) who are floating around somewhere, but having other celestial work to do not involving the Fellowship.

Although I have not seen a direct account of Alex’s teaching in this regard, it would seem unlikely that he would introduce the idea without relating it to himself and his (Alex’s) mission. Who knows whether Alex got the idea from someone else, or just made it up. And who knows whether Burton fell for it immediately, or had to “work with it” for a few years before getting the hang of living his life, making every decision, and running a doomsday cult, based on a belief that “the play is written” and “every word I utter comes from them.”

"Regarding his mother’s maiden name, Burton has repeated this a thousand times." Another example, March 13, 2019.

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