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.

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


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.]

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