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.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Statement from Former Member of Fellowship of Friends

From the Freedom of Mind Center:
Beginning in 1974, I spent 8 years as a member of “Fellowship of Friends” cult in California. Supposedly, we were studying “4th way” ideas, but the “teacher” had his own agenda. Like myself, many members were sincere in seeking a ”higher state of being” or what others might call “enlightenment”.

We, of course, were encouraged to shun and have no further contact with former members. However, one day a chance encounter with a “former student” led to the revelation that the “teacher”, Robert Burton, was a homosexual–and quite active at that. At first this information was difficult to believe, since there was a rule against homosexual behavior within the “school” and, further, Burton had indicated that he was celibate! My acquaintance suggested contacting another ex-member who had been in a relationship with the “teacher”, from whom I learned many sordid details regarding Robert Earl Burton.

Robert’s modus operandi was to select the young men who appealed and quickly move them to the “inner circle”; these young men(many were under the age of legal consent) were invited to travel with Robert(in grand style) and to live with him at his private residence as a virtual harem. My acquaintance had been married when he entered FOF, however a la King David, Robert quickly dispatched the inconvenient wife to a distant “teaching center” so as to indulge his lust. He informed me that Robert’s appetite for young men was voracious.

My disenchantment was replete when Robert didn’t deny this information. Also others in high positions tried (weakly) to justify his behavior, saying “it was food for his higher centers!!!!!”. Now the young men who disappeared in the night to never be heard from again, the odd sleeping arrangements, the endless change of residents at his house, the arranged marriages for former paramours all made sense.

I believe that Robert Burton has harmed and damaged many sincere young men. Those around him who know of this and protect him share in his guilt. He has used his position of power and trust to satisfy his lusts, without regard for the consequences to others. He has invoked higher powers to overcome the objections of unwilling partners, telling them that “higher forces” were thus pleased.

Finally, Robert Burton relished destroying anyone who had the temerity to leave FOF. He had his assistant call me after I had left to inform me that, in his words “I had died”.

“BY THEIR FRUITS YOU SHALL KNOW THEM”. Amen.
See more at Steven Hassan's "Fellowship of Friends" page. Steven is a former "Moonie."

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