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.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Yorgo Savides "returns to Spirit"

[ed. - In December 1972, Yorgo Savides (George Ellis Savides) led the Fellowship's "first play of crime," which resulted in many members leaving Robert Burton's group.]

Published in the Ukiah Daily Journal, June 6, 2004:

Yorgo Wolfe Savides

Obituary | Condolences

Yorgo Wolfe Savides, born on Dec. 18, 1943, returned to Spirit on May 20, 2004, leaving behind a whole community locally and in Ashland to mourn the loss of his loving, wonderful being; as well as his wife, Janet Wolfe Savides and the 4 sons they raised together: Eli Savides, Adam, Brandon, and Jedi Wolfe-Hunnicutt; his grandchildren Matthew and Victoria Savides and Calum Wolfe Pulida. Yorgo was born into a 100% Greek family with brother Stefan and sister Marina in Los Angeles who also are in mourning for the first-born of his generation.

Yorgo has been active in the men's movement and in Fall of 2003, during a retreat with his men's group, each man wrote an eulogy. Yorgo, (Greek for George) eloquently wrote:
WORKER OF THE EARTH

Yes...his name was divided into two parts: Geo..the earth...erg zia...Greek for energy/work. And it is true.
Throughout his life, he kept coming back to the earth as a place of entering/balance and renewal. And what I mean by earth is just not solely the stuff we walk on and everything grows on. Though not a farmer in the strict sense of the world, Yorgo paid attention to what every farmer must...sunrise/sunset...cycles of the moon...the slow progression of the seasons...watching things grow and a profound appreciation for the gifts of the sense. He found his aliveness in earth in these elemental touchstones. Yorgo was a husband. he cared for wife, family, friends, community and "all my relations." "Mitakuye Oyasin." He knew everything is connected and that to touch one piece with loving healing energy would ultimately touch all.

Yorgo was blessed and he was cursed. He was blessed with generosity in all things (material or otherwise). He was a powerful and compassionate leader and teacher and visionary. And he was blessed with the ability to love unconditionally (well, most of the time!)...and it must also be said that he was a wordsmith with poetry and spontaneous speech...and with a well-developed sense of humor.

There are other blessings I am sure but its time to talk about the curses that plagued Yorgo. He was an alcoholic and addict who suffered for 30 years before he realized what was attacking him and took appropriate action. More than achieving sobriety (in 1990), (which is no simple task in itself) he did the strong work of recovery which lead him to the second realization of the curse when he was diagnosed in 2000 with Bipolar Disease. Now the voices that he had only faintly heard while being a practicing alcoholic had grown strong with deadly power...Cursed and Blessed, Yorgo prevailed and lived out the rest of his life in the shadows of these two deadly curses.

Yes, Yorgo is a survivor even in death. He is a man who succeeded in life (having been voted most likely to succeed in his high school graduation class!) And his great success was that he found true happiness, the kind that allowed him to die successfully also."
As well as creating beautiful gardens during his many years as a landscaper, Yorgo dedicated his life to helping others. He worked with Men's alternatives to Violence and worked as a counselor with at-risk youth. If you would like to help continue the good work Yorgo was doing in our community, donations can be made in his name to the Community Foundation of Mendocino County at 135 West Gobbi, Ukiah.

There will be a memorial service at The Center of Positive Living, 741 South Oak St, Ukiah, at 1:30 pm on Sunday, June 20 and within the year, a bench will honor Yorgo and Janet on the Mendocino Headlands. See you there!

See more at: Legacy.com

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Official Fellowship of Friends Discussion Group terminated

[ed. - As The Trouble in St. Petersburg post suggests, the official Fellowship of Friends Discussion Group appears to have been available to members at least since 2001. If the internet is so unreal, it would seem that talking on the telephone should be outlawed as well.]
-----Original Message-----

From: On Behalf Of Linda Tulisso [Linda Kaplan]

Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2004 12:01 PM

To: students@xxxxxx.org

Subject: [Students] Message from the Teacher: Discussion Group Discontinued

The Teacher wishes to discontinue the Fellowship Discussion Group that has been available to students on the Internet for exchanging work ideas.

Robert comments: "Mr. Ouspensky said, 'We do not have enough real experiences.'

Discussions that often lead to unnecessary talk and sitting in front of the computer in one's free time is certainly not a real experience."

Meeting a friend in the work, having a walk in a garden with presence in silence for a few minutes, going to a museum or a classical concert -- focusing on the arts with presence, or watching a teaching video with Robert are activities that feed our essence and our soul; in the end, the gathering with divided attention of these real experiences is what remains of us.

Thank you.

Linda Tulisso

[ed. - This censorship and attempt to stifle dissension compelled members to seek another outlet, which they soon found in "the Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion's" blog. And the following are some of the comments that led to the formation of another discussion forum, the Greater Fellowship:]

"Possible Solution" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 25, 2007:
Perhaps those who are really keen to get back in touch might consider creating an ex-FOF directory on a separate Web space i.e. a neutral zone where just a name and e-mail address appear (possibly a photo or two for the really daring – one during, the other post FOF, just in case you’ve become unrecognisable!)

You can’t get roasted in hell for doing that can you?

"Rita Penfold" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 27, 2007:
It’s great to discover you all, my friends on this site. For me it’s hugely beneficial to reflect on my time in the school and after.

I wonder if we could create something similar to the late FOF discussion list, I think the email format would be easier to use. Especially with the quantity of messages written every day.

Does anybody know how to create such a thing?

"The Master of Bullshit" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 28, 2007:
To #245 [above].

The [official] FOF ‘discusssion forum’ was disbanded because its low and pathetic level was not worthy of the Fellowship. Let the dead bury their dead.
[ed. - Robert Burton was fond of quoting Jesus, "Let the dead bury the dead." Burton was referring to "sleeping life people," that is, everyone not a Fellowship member.]

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

"When I'm 64"

[ed. - The following account of Robert Burton's "stimulating" 64th birthday celebration shall have to remain classified as rumor.]

"Bares Reposting" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 26 2008:
72. Vinnie the Fish (quoting)
‘Hello Anna, what was that about 60 men for Robert’s birthday?
Curious.’
Reportedly, fellatio was performed, by the illustrious leader, on 64 different participants on the 64th birthday celebration. Someone, please, say it is not true.

"lauralupa" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 27, 2008:
a couple of things: I have heard about the 64 blowjobs too, from someone who was in the Fellowship at the time. Speaking of madness, isn’t this some of the craziest shit you have ever heard? I think it could be submitted to the Guinness World Records. Maybe Robert was inspired by that porn star who had sex with I forget how many guys in one day. Or was it just divine inspiration? Anyway, if any of the blessed 64 would be willing to come out in the open and tell us his side of the story that would be a lovely thought, would it not?

"Draco" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 27, 2008:

I heard the story about the 64 blowjobs from several sources. The exact number was uncertain, but it was in that region. Of course, most of them didn’t know that they were part of this huge celebration. I knew one student who had been out of favor sexually for a while (and had done his best to refuse Robert’s more extreme sexual demands) but was invited to see Robert on R’s birthday, where he was given a little bit of attention, a quick blowjob and then ushered out. He was very upset to discover later on that he had been part of this fellatio extravaganza. He also started realizing how guilty he had been feeling for refusing Robert anal sex. Robert kept telling him that he was being a denying force for C Influence. He’s still in though. Girard gave him a sustained intellectual battering (without ever addressing any of the abuse issues that the student brought up) and persuaded him to stay.

"Vinnie the Fish" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 27, 2008:

Elena is right, there’s only so many minutes in a day. Robert could make a living as an oral teacher if he’s that proficient.. Assuming he was at it for 8 hours solid, that’s 8 per hour, under 8 minutes per blow. Pretty fast considering physical beauty is obviously not a factor! I have girlfriends who could learn a lot from him. Anna will know the full story, where is she! Did he swallow? That would be about about a kilo wouldn’t it? That must sit well in the stomach…..

"Draco" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussionblog, May 27, 2008:

Unfortunately, Robert doesn’t hold the world record. That goes to Summer Nyte who managed 249 in the space of 14 hours. http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/oral-history/Content?oid=1192795