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.")

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. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Wednesday, June 7, 1995

"Classical Chinese Tradition Exhibit Shows Furniture Arrangements at Home"

by Julie Look
Get a feeling for traditional Chinese households at "Masterpieces from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture," a nine-month exhibit opening today at the Pacific Heritage Museum in San Francisco.

About 90 pieces of hardwood furniture from the late Ming and early Qing dynasties (circa 1550- 1735 A.D.), and 70 pieces of tomb pottery furniture from the early- to mid-Ming period are on display. (Pictured is an incense stand with "dragonfly" legs.)

Until recently, the collection was housed by the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture in Oregon House, in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Members of San Francisco's Chinese community worked with the museum to help give the collection a wider audience, says curator Curtis Evarts.

At the Pacific Heritage Museum, the furniture is grouped to indicate its use in typical rooms: For example, one grouping shows a Chinese scholar's bedroom, with a daybed, small cabinet, clothes rack and washbasin.
"We designed the room after a late Ming scholar's dissertation on how the room should be appointed," says Evarts. The scholar wrote that the room's pieces should be plain and simple, not ornate as they would be in a lady's bedroom.
Visitors can also enjoy free wine-tasting next door offered by Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, operated by the Fellowship of Friends, which owns the furniture collection.

The classical Chinese furniture exhibit is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, through March 1996, at the Pacific Heritage Museum, 608 Commercial Street (at Montgomery Street). Admission is free. Information, (415) 399-1124.