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) Fellowship 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.

Wednesday, December 1, 1999

Bread Upon the Water

[ed. - Guinevere Ruth-Mueller, formerly Helga Barth, has been a follower of Robert Earl Burton since January, 1971.]
(Cover with a bust of Robert Burton)

Bread Upon the Water is published.

G & G Publishers, 1999

ISBN 0967863708, 9780967863702

180 pages

"Josiane " wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 31, 2011:
26. Golden Veil and others.

In her book, Bread upon Water, G…v…re M…ller, a long-time and current FoF member tells of a conversation she had with Burton when she asked him why it was okay now for couples to have children (it must have been some time in the 80s) and his reply was: “Earlier we were building a School, now we are building a civilization.” She found that to be very profound. It’s important to note that G.M. had been one the women asked to give up her children in the early years of the school, which she did!!!

"Joe Average" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog,

In Guinevere’s book, “Bread Upon the Water” she recounts how, in the early days when Robert held open court with his students, each devotee wishing Robert’s darshan would be vetted first to see what their concern was. Robert would shunt all the students with “easy questions” about relationships to Guinevere and would take the “hard questions” about body type etc. himself. I can see that looking at someone’s shoe and saying “You have big feet. Work with Saturn. Next!” is lot more challenging and manly than dealing with some weepy female who is upset about being asked to get an abortion because Robert does not want any babies on the ark yet.

"Panorea" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 23, 2010:
Quoting from “Bread Upon the Water”, Guinevere Ruth-Mueller ISBN:0-9678637-0-8
When I joined the School, students were required to attend two meetings a week, and two additional meetings were optional. My home was an hour and a half from the meeting place, and I had two small children, 3 and 7 years of age, to consider. People did not yet know what to do with children, because it had not been an issue up till now. At first I was asked not to bring the children into the house, so I put them in the back seat of my VW bug, which made into a bed, and drove around the block until they fell asleep. I parked the car in the garage or in the driveway, and during the meeting I periodically went out to check on them. After the meeting, I would drive home and put them to bed. This became a routine that I repeated four times a week
The book is full of anecdotes like this. The writer ( a current member, a lovely lady, who has been though a lot) has documented the madness many of us went through in the Fellowship of Friends and how we managed to turn it into something “useful” for our “souls.” It is sad to go through some of the stories (the only book I have kept from my FOF period…). How many of us have felt not enough the way we were and needed to be told, to be mended…

And children… a waste product in the beginning of the FOF, a “third line octave” later and definitely a good way to keep the wives of Robert’s boys busy and exhausted….

"veramente" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 23, 2010:
Book title by Guinevere R. M. “Bread upon the water”

"An expression from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament: “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.”
This saying calls on people to believe that their good deeds will ultimately benefit them.

It is amazing that this mother of two children is naively recording what would be considered child neglect. But for Robert Burton “The Teacher” you do what you must do and gladly for your evolution.

It does not matter if he tramples on your humanity, that was just a price tag, giving up on the children eventually.

I sometimes feel pity for these people like Guinevere who became an instrument perpetuating Burton’s philosophy.

Bread upon water… in another place? another life?

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