Introduction


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 2007) Fellowship of Friends 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.

Saturday, December 29, 2001

Stella Wirk dies

[ed. - Former long-time Fellowship member and leader, Stella Wirk died on December 29, 2001. The following image and remembrance of Stella is from the Fourth Way Gurdjieff Ouspensky School website. See also Stella's "Eliminate Cult Abuse" page, still available on the Internet Archive.]

Former Fellowship of Friends leader Stella Wirk

Stella Wirk was a student of the Work. Her virtual presence on the internet served a twofold purpose. She helped many victims of Fourth Way cults toward recovery. At the same time, her dedication to the application of the principles of the Work to her own life was a true "Light on the Way" for many people.

She was always there with advice, guidance, or just an understanding ear for those troubled by their experiences with the Fourth Way cults so prevalent today.

She was also a wealth of practical information and experience for those actively practicing the Work.

Stella's presence was compelling and her practicality unquestionable. She was always Stella - always the same. One could depend on that.

Most people will remember Stella by her warm heart and most generous nature. She gave her time to anyone who asked - at any time and anywhere either 'virtually' via the internet and email or even better in person (especially if an all-night coffee shop was close by).

Stella was involved in the Work for over 30 years. She was a well-respected figure on usenet. She conducted lively "Stella's Coffee Shops" and "Wirkshops" all over the world for years. She educated people about the dangers involved in degenerate cults, 'wolves in sheep's clothing', masquerading as representatives of the Work. She passed away in 2001. This archive contains her website as designed and written by her. All those who knew her miss her greatly, and will never forget her.

Tuesday, December 4, 2001

"Immortality through Self-Remembering"

[ed - The homepage of a former Fellowship of Friends website, the domain established December 4, 2001. The meta description: "A conscious Gurdjieff-Ouspensky teacher of the Fourth Way illustrates how to use self-remembering to achieve immortality. The Forth (sic) Way was introduced to the West by Gurdjieff."]

Robert Earl Burton, Fellowship of Friends cult leader, Immortality Through Self Remembering website

[ed. - From the Introduction:]
“Almost no one realizes the enormity of what can be gained or lost during his lifetime. One gains immortality or suffers oblivion, or worse. Every second you remember yourself you pierce eternity.”

"I do not imagine that there has ever been a way or path to the truth that was not strange, because one is taking a mechanical man at a physical level and transforming him into an astral body. I would not teach or use my energy unless I felt that immortality was probable and that death was an illusion for those who enter the way."

"Immortality is within our reach. Books educate us, but only self-remembering makes us immortal."

"Each person who enters the way will become immortal—that is why the way exists. The life of each person who enters the way is an epic, yet how many lives we live in this one lifetime! Sometimes one remembers with relief that higher forces are monitoring the school. We have the great privilege of understanding that higher forces do exist, and that life after death is a reality. Where does the way lead to? Immortality."

"Rainer Maria Rilke said, “All angels bring terror”—terrible shocks to awaken one. To create an astral body they use unsavory methods. Influence C frequently plays the role of villain in our lives. With them, one just absorbs continually; it is the highest path. One tries to endure without self-pity. It is curious, but Influence C crushes us into immortality."

"Human nature generally does not see the obvious, which is why esoteric truths have frequently been presented in the form of fairy tales. Fairy tales often begin with the statement, “Once upon a time,” indicating that the stories are unfolding in time, and end with a prince and a princess (World 6 and World 12) living “happily ever after,” that is, in eternity—immortality."

"Awakening is an emotional process and friction must be emotional. The suffering we experience must be real because the states we create are real. It isn’t pleasant to verify this, and yet it is a blessing. Friction can seem like a curse until we begin to realize the great idea behind it. What is that great idea? Immortality. Can anything compare with that?"

"Remember that you seek immortality, and one can hardly pay enough."

"My dear friends. You are in a critical situation. We live in a brutal universe where souls are endlessly driven from vessel to vessel. The gods have entered your life to enable you to escape this vicious cycle. Immortality is within your grasp. Firmly grip your aim to awaken and do not be distracted by anything. You are not alone; remember I love you, now and forever."

Robert Earl Burton