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 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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2002

Petrarch Press founded

[ed. - In the late 70s, the Fellowship of Friends undertook a new project to produce its own in-house publications, most notably regular journals and newsletters. For this project, antique letter presses were purchased and restored. Initially, the project was housed in what was called The Blake Cottage, or parsonage. The garage was converted to a press room, while the remainder of the house was reserved for Robert Burton's living quarters, which he shared with his current male companions.

The Petrarch Press was founded in 1985 by Peter Bishop, Burton's one-time personal secretary and Fellowship center director. It is not clear if his presses are the same presses originally used by the Fellowship. Peter operated Petrarch Press until 1996, when he retired. It is also not clear whether the founders of the new Petrarch Press purchased their four presses and other printing equipment from the Fellowship. It is also not clear if the Petrarch Press and the Golden Pyramid Press referenced below are one and the same.]

From 2004 Form 990 Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax:
"The Petrarch Press was founded in 2002 with the purpose of keeping alive the tradition of handpress printing. In 2003 The Petrarch Press purchased and restored four nineteenth century Albion hand presses. During 2004 The Petrarch Press produced its first fine book on these hand presses, 'Thoughts from the Letters of Petrarch'. This book was produced using typeset, carefully designed ornaments and illustrations, handmade papers and cloth bindings. The book's title is also in keeping with its exempt purpose to publish fine literary works of a spiritual and philosophical nature, which are then sold to the public at large. The listed expenses are expenses that are incidental to the production of the "Thoughts from the Letters of Petrarch'.
"The Petrarch Press leases its building from Edith Minne who is a significant contributor to the organization. [Fellowship of Friends member] Edith Minne extended $5,000 as a short term loan to The Petrarch Press to help with the cash flow needed to publish its first book. The loan is expected to be back back in 2005. Peter Cohen, who is a director of The Petrarch Press also extended $5,000 as a short term loan to help with the cash flow needed to publish the first book. His loan is also expected to be paid back in 2005."
 See Petrarch Press' 2009 Federal form 990EZ filing.

 From the Petrarch Press website:
The Petrarch Press  9690 Stackhouse Lane  Oregon House, California  95962  U.S.A.

Donating to the Petrarch Press  THE PETRARCH PRESS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization so your donation is tax deductible. We are dedicated to promoting the tradition of fine press printing. If you share our passion and would like to help us by sending a donation we will be very happy (or more honestly, shocked and overjoyed) to receive it.  Your donations will go towards purchasing and restoring fine press equipment...

"Purchasing awakening" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 29, 2007:
More stuff from 2005 marketing campaign:
The Golden Pyramid Press is grateful for the opportunity to publish for the Fellowship ‘The Thirty Traditional Stars’ – a publication of the Thirty Precious Work ‘I’s which lead us to the Divine Present.
The prices are:
$50 – regular copy
$100 – copy signed by Robert
$150 – copy dedicated by Robert
"Email" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
From: Linda T [Linda Kaplan/Linda Tulisso]
To: students@beingpresent.org
Sent: Monday, March 6, 2006

Subject: [Students] Message from the Teacher: Thirty Imperishable Stars

Dear Friends,

Robert is asking students to keep making efforts to support the fine press publications of the “Thirty Imperishable Stars”. These publications will continue to come out quarterly, and are the best nourishment we can partake of in literature. They are publications that have a lasting value.

They are more significant than we realize. It is difficult for us to value what is happening in our times, and it will be easier for posterity to recognize their true value, in that they serve as milestones in our teaching. We will always be known for this: combining school knowledge with images from all the traditions that preceded us. Thus, these publications are a reflection of what we do.

Robert feels these publications are the true beginning of the School, and considers them far superior to his book “Self-Remembering”. Once these are printed and are sold out, they will not be reprinted. Volume I has been sold out. There are 100 copies of Volume II still available. Volume III is being printed these days by the Golden Pyramid Press for Robert’s Crystallization Celebration. Copies can be purchased through the Auction link on Propylaia [Fellowship member portal].

In presence,

Linda T, Isis

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