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.

Saturday, September 30, 1995

Fellowship of Friends tax delinquency cited as largest in Yuba-Sutter counties

[ed. - Owing to millions of dollars paid in settlement of the Troy Buzbee lawsuit, the Fellowship was unable to pay Yuba County property taxes. (According to a statement jointly attributed to former Fellowship President Kristina Nielsen and former Renaissance Vineyard and Winery President James Tyndale-Biscoe, the Fellowship was not only unable, but was unwilling to pay the taxes, anticipating a reprieve in the form of Burton's long-predicted April 1998 Fall of California.

In typical Fellowship fashion, spokesperson Cynthia Hill is "intentionally insincere" (lies) and tells the reporter the crisis is due to winery "cash-flow difficulties."]

Excerpted from Marysville Yuba City Appeal-Democrat - September 30, 1995:

Jim Stevens, Sutter County's treasurer-tax collector, said the delinquency notices sent out by his office directly to taxpayers are more effective than spending a couple thousand dollars on newspaper ads.
"The only real purpose is it makes the public aware of properties that are in default," . Stevens said. "By chance, if the taxpayer looks at it, it notifies him as well."
Stevens said some taxpayers are worried about appearing on the list. "We have a few people that call in to try and find out what's owed to get it paid before it's published," he said. "It's a small percentage. It's a limited number of taxpayers who call in to avoid the publication."
Taxpayers have five years to make good on their delinquent accounts. They may take an additional four years if they agree during the initial five-year period to make payments as part of an installment plan.

The payments also must include accrued interest.

Statewide, 4.1 percent of secured property taxes - $930 million - was delinquent as of June 30, 1994, according to the state Controller's Office.

Yuba County had the fourth highest delinquency rate in the state at 7.3 percent, which amounted to about $1.6 million.

Sutter County matched the state average at 4.1 percent, or $1.5 million.

Sutter County's total secured property tax charge was $37.3 million, compared to Yuba County's $22 million.

Kennedy said Yuba County's delinquency rate has increased from 5.2 percent in 1991-92.

Most of the delinquent taxpayers owe just a few hundred dollars. Others owe sizable chunks.

The Fellowship of Friends in Oregon House had the highest tax delinquency in either county, owing about $166,000 as of June 30,1994.

Cynthia Hill, a Fellowship spokeswoman, said "cash-flow difficulties" at the Renaissance Vineyard & Winery caused the tax problems.

"The formula is simple: the more our winery earns, the more money goes to the state and county," she said. "We are working hard in both areas."

She said the fellowship paid about $2.8 million in property taxes on time between 1971 and 1993.

Although some taxpayers owe thousands of dollars and there were plenty of names listed -about 350 in Yuba County and 150 in Sutter County — it's rare when the counties don't collect the taxes eventually.

"In my 16-plus years, there's been three or four cases when we haven't gotten all our taxes," Kennedy said. "The amount is less than a thousand dollars total." In Sutter County since 1984, Stevens said, he's only had to sell two properties to recoup back taxes.