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 an ominous, yet unspecified new threat late in 2018.) While non-believers shall perish, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers will 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
on official Fellowship publications and websites,
news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the (former) Fellowship Wikipedia page, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wiki project, 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.

Wednesday, January 1, 1997

"Walter Tanner" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 8, 2008:
I remember when a few kindly mentors met me for breakfast before I was to go “travelling” with REB for the first time. Both straight-talking New York mercuries, they wanted to make sure I knew REB was, in their immortal words, a “bone smoker.”

I said: “Gay? I figured, Judith told me about the dogs.”

We then disputated on free will and the ability for the machine to say “no.” It was a weird conversation for me at the time, I had assumed anyone making the commitment to work on themselves must have the self-possession–or at least basic caution–to not get abused. Sly man and the devil, etc. I “travelled” with the Man on at least three or four occasions and slept soundly in my hotel room, door locked and bolted. When I lived at Apollo I was Robert’s “friend,” that is someone who goes to lunch and dinner when the Man’s in town.

The time eventually came, however, to remain behind at the end of a New Year’s dinner (1997 I think) and enter the bedchamber. There, standing above Robert Burton looking at his thinning grey hair and pathetic eyes, I surpassed my teacher. He was embarrassed, I tried to console him, but there could be none of that (he went from “I’m a submissive woman inside” to uber-guru instantly). I stopped paying teaching payments and never got called on it, even after (or because?) REB “promoted” me to East Coast Regional Coordinator. I took the gig for the perks (anyone remember the NY teaching house from those times?) and was able to front for a few months before the Center Director, a large man largely unable to form any of his own thoughts, decided I was a threat to all things Fellowshipy and armed with an edict from REB threw me out of the teaching house.

I still have an open invitation to re-join, though.

walter.tanner on gmail!

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