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, November 15, 1997

The Buckley e-mail

From a webcache of Stella Wirk's old Geocities website:
Un-retouched nor edited, except to add paragraph separations for
easier reading, copy of email msg received to the list maintained for
former members of the Fellowship of Friends.

Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 17:44:13
From: r_ch_rd bu_kley
Subject: Greetings!!
Greetings All!!

Was pointed towards this list via Stella after reading the 10/12/97 S.F. Chronicle article and making a contact with her. I've been sitting back for a few days, going though most of the posts, trying to get a feel for what's going on here. Quite a lively list!! I quickly had to set up it's own folder just to keep my inbox down to a comprehensible size! Despite the commotion going down with the 'hot topic o' the day', I pick up an overall feeling of general cyber-commeraderie and kindness---things most woefully lacking from many, if not most, electronic gatherings of people I run across on daNet.

I'm getting a hoot out of seeing names and reading posts from people--of which some have very clear faces--others are a little foggy--but most I have no clue as to who they be!! Old dusty memories and a big mixed bag of feelings have gotten rattled around inside here. Amazing!! Really!!

Anyhoo, my FOF story, in a microscopic nutshell, be as follows:

1) Joined in Portland 4/74...

2) Moved to the Bay Area in 1976---To the Kensington House---does anyone remember that nutty place??-- where I shared a little bedroom with four other men--sleeping on the floor-- I think 17-18 people lived in this house at a time!! I worked as a grunt for Anthony 'Somebody's' 'Fourth Way Lawn and Garden Service'. I remember customers would ask me what the other three ways of gardening were!!!. I can't remember exactly how I responded but can imagine what a fairly new "good" student back then might say. Had to be 'intentionally insincere' with those life people ya know. What I wouldn't give to roll that old film a little more clearly today!!

3) Late '76 'til sometime in '78 was sent out to Cincinnati where, after meetings, we'd go to discos instead of coffee shops. Lotsa of sex and partying coupled (pun most intended) with lotsa crazy stupid guilt. Meanwhile, while I'm trying to reconcile my raging hormonal youthful lust for life with FOF ideas and 'suggestions' re: sex and relationships, the person that I had transferred my deepest trust on to is raping young men back in Calif.. Huh?????!!!!

4) Moved back to Renaissance in '78--or was it called Renaissance yet??-- worked at the lodge as 'assistant maitre'd' for a little while. More memories bubbling up to the surface---- I remember the FOF had bought out a Selix store's surplus of used tuxedoes--which seems like it was the general working uniform of the day back then--and all these men crowded into the 'barn' getting fitted into these penguin suits (I remember fighting with Bruce L___ over a pair of pants. We were the same pip-squeak size and there was little for us to choose from) which we had to buy for the amazingly low, low price of {{{{$44.00}}} which was not so amazingly low- as I remember- I think I was getting around $75./month on salary!!! Eventually ended up working in the vineyard driving tractors. One day, while I playing tractor jockey and mowing terraces, the mower hit a rock and started a fire that burned down more than 10 acres!! Now there's a gem I haven't thought about in a decade or so! Interesting process, typing out this stuff.

5) Some time in '79 , as I was courting H_len Dr_ke (who, BTW, is alive & well; remarried and living in Sonoma Co.) Robert asked me to move into the Blake cottage. Well, this was like hitting the big time for me.

I felt as though I must be doing something right to be singled out for this honor. Little did I know. I was absolutely and completely clueless. I remember a day or so before I moved in D_n Bia_i said to me "living in the Blake cottage is very different than what you might think"---And I just let that one sail way over my head. Little did I realize--Don Knew!! Anyway, two days after I moved in RB made his move on me. **Recalling this particular episode in my life has the flavor of a weird distorted acid-trip**

I remember that even when he told me to take off all my clothes no alarm-bells went off. But when he touched me-- every thing went off like a nuclear explosion. Every alarm, every siren, every cautionary sentinel of my being was set off shrieking and screaming. "Warning, Will Robinson. Danger! Danger!!" I remember--now for the first time since then---that I felt like I was going to pass out. Like I was getting swallowed up by something way too monstrously big for me to handle. All the trust and love that I had transferred onto this guy--the person that was--to me, at the time---my ultimate caretaker, the caretaker of my very soul---was blown completely and utterly away in the fraction of the few moments it took me to comprehend what was coming down.

Incredibly, somehow, I was able to say to him that I did not feel comfortable with what he was doing. And just as incredibly, he did not push the issue with me. He did not use his "C-influence wishes this" bullshit line on me---but let me go back to my room to be alone with my horror.

Two days later he called me into his room saying--and I will never forget exactly what and how he said this--"Goodness, I think it would be a good idea if you moved out of the Blake cottage".

I had no great compulsion to argue the request---I ran!!!! The entire length of my residency there = 5 days.

I remember a few days after I moved out a couple of high profile 'good' squeaky clean students said things to me inferring that I did not have the *Being* it takes to be around the Teacher on such an intimate basis, as though it was some character flaw of mine that got me thrown out!! In some ways they were very correct. I kept my mouth shut. And if I continue to hold onto any regrets, its that I didn't say anything about my experience until several years later.

6) Come 1980 Helen and I married and I continued to work in the vineyard but my whole inner landscape was changing rapidly. No big surprise there, duh!

The outward form of the School began to have less and less meaning for me and I began to seek out and really cherish other students who--for lack of a better description--were out on the fringes of acceptable FOF high society and tinged with not a small degree of cynicalness. It was great!

I remember frequent bouts of heavy drinking get-togethers with other vineyard 'badboys' where we'd sit around swearing and just generally dissing the stinkiness of the hypocrisy so adhered to in the FOF culture. "Fuck this" and "Fuck that" "What a big asshole so&so is" and on and on.... Its exactly what I needed at the time and I'm literally LOL as this stuff comes up on my screen.

I think, now, that this was the embryonic beginning of my recovery and eventual healing!!! But, before any real tangible healing was to occur, there were still some chasms in my being that I had to plummet.

I mentioned "heavy drinking" a few lines above. Well, for me it got heavier and heavier. All the accumulated pain and loneliness of my entire life seemed much nearer the surface after my 'RB experience' and I did not have the resources to handle them in awareness. Instead, I drank.

I pretty much drank like a fish right up until 1987 when the drinking began to cease to work as an effective buffer against my pain and I began to have this vague unsettling inkling that if I truly wanted to reconnect with Life I had to start living it from the inside out instead of taking it from the outside in. It was not a sudden revelation or abrupt giving up of anything but much more a process of which I still feel very much in the middle of today------And it is all right!!!

7) Seems like I skipped a few years there maybe. Oh well. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, ;-) I continued to work in the vineyard and invisibly come apart at my soul-seams. Its interesting sometimes to play with what kept me from up and bolting from the FOF in 1980. Different factors I think.

1: It was it was my life!! I had real friends!! I was married for cyin' out loud!!

2: I still clung to the line, in one form or another, that RB once gave to another student (who did bolt soon after hearing it) " It would be better one were not born than leave the School" Scary stuff!!!---but for different reasons today.

In 1984,when Sammy Saunder's Revelations reached the general FOF public, I began to prepare for my final departure.

I took some general science courses at Yuba College and then early in '85 moved back to the Bay Area and got a degree in Nursing finally severing from the FOF sometime early in '86.

8) I'm really getting tired of typing! Suffice it to say that the last 11 years of my life---post-FOF---have been uneventfully very eventful. The process we're all on does not cease. No matter how much I wish it would. No matter how much I whine & bitch about it-------- it goes on.

So, sometimes I find I can take a breath in and out and say "Perfectimoso!!!!!!!!!"

Thanks All for letting me catharse. I feel sooooooooooo much better!!!! ;-) ...

Wishing All Well-------------------------R

Oh yeah---a quote I wanted to throw in from Ram Dass that says a lot to me re: RB ...

When asked what he thought about Hitler, he replied using the concept of Duality. And, in part, said....

"In the world of Two we try to stop Hitler. In the world of One we
realize we are Hitler." seeya-----------r

Monday, November 10, 1997

Harmonious Developments, a new Fourth Way school

Harmonious Developments is a Fourth Way School and blog apparently created by ex-Fellowship of Friends member Jon Poznanter. It was first incorporated as Maximum Achievement Center November 10, 1997. On May 31, 2003, the name was officially changed to Harmonious Developments.

They registered the domain, previously used by another Fourth Way school, on December 28, 1999.

The Harmonious Developments blog began October 2, 2011, but has since become inactive.

From the blog's homepage:
The primary purpose of is to disseminate knowledge designed to further the conscious evolution of man, woman, mankind.

See also: Conscious Evolution Institute