Introduction


Presented in reverse chronology, this history stretches from the present back to the Fellowship's 1970 founding, and beyond.
(See "Blog Archive" in the sidebar below.) It draws from many sources, including The Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the former Fellowship of Friends wiki project, cult education and awareness sites, news archives, and from the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

The portrait that emerges stands in stark contrast to sanitized versions presented on the Fellowship's array of
alluring websites, and on derivative sites created by Burton's now-estranged
disciple, Asaf Braverman.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Automobile accident in Egypt claims two Fellowship members

Fellowship of Friends members Kiran Schmidt, Daniela Voss, and Cassandra Schmidt
"...photograph taken at the Galleria of Daniela, Kiran and Cassandra."

[ed. - The following series of e-mails was sent on behalf of Robert Burton to the Fellowship of Friends membership.]
From: On Behalf Of Linda Tulisso
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 10:19 AM
To: students@beingpresent.org
Subject: [Students] Tasks Complete

Dear Fellow Students,

The Fellowship received a powerful shock today. There was an automobile accident in Cairo today, November 8. Cassandra Schmidt and Daniela Voss both completed their tasks [Fellowship euphemism for death]. Kiran Schmidt was hospitalized and at present has a 50% chance of survival. Nora Gutierrez was also in the car. She sustained injuries but survived.

In speaking with Robert, he sends all students his love. He said that this is the payment for receiving Influence C. Cassandra and Daniela were very prepared; Influence C just called them. He also said we are not going through what other schools did not go through before us. On the eve of the Re-Turn to Egypt, Robert mentioned that this shock turns a seemingly joyful event into quite a sober one. It makes us more serious about what we are receiving from Influence C.

Cassandra Schmidt had just celebrated her 18th anniversary in the School. She was 52 years old. Daniela Voss was an active member for 22 months. She was 34 years old.

On behalf of all those who knew you, loved you, and valued your efforts, we thank thee.

In presence,

Linda Tulisso, Isis

From the Koran: Do you think you shall enter Paradise without such trials as came to those who passed before you?



From: On Behalf Of Linda Tulisso
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 1:29 PM
To: students@beingpresent.org
Subject: [Students] Message from the Teacher: Regarding today's shock


Dear friends,

Robert sends this message to us all regarding today's shock of the deaths of Cassandra and Daniela.

Cassandra and Daniela were well prepared and called upon by Influence C to complete their tasks. We have no choice but to transform this shock; presence and transformation of suffering are our only options--and we are lucky to have any options at all. 'Kneel' is obviously the work 'I' for this situation. The king of hearts will tend to collapse, but one must not give way; if one does, one collapses onto the queens. It is timed so as to gather the school in Cairo and make everyone more serious. As I have said several times before, this is evolution as we experience it. This is our payment; we are not being asked a price other schools did not already pay. This is the price of receiving this gift, this system, divine presence and eternal life. Nothing wrong has occurred; it is the case of a school that is being persecuted by higher school. We should all keep our heads up, and be present.

In presence,

Linda Tulisso, Isis

From The Teaching of a Man for his Son: The anxious man finds peace at his pyramid.



From: On Behalf Of Linda Tulisso
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2005 10:13 AM
To: students@beingpresent.org
Subject: [Students] Message from the Teacher: On Yesterday's Shock


Dear Friends,

Robert is now in Cairo in preparation for the first event of the Re-Turn to Egypt Journey. He sends us these thoughts, with his love, regarding yesterday's shock from C Influence. At the bottom [ed. - posted above] of the message is also a photograph taken at the Galleria of Daniela, Kiran and Cassandra.

A student dying of cancer once told me on her deathbed that she was in a great deal of pain. I replied that I was sorry for the pain; it is the nature of evolution. The whole school is feeling this right now. However, the real pain lies in not accepting this shock. We must be willing to transform this shock; we have every reason to resent it except one--that there is no reality in resenting it. The states can only be real when the payment is real.

We have to pay individually and collectively. Schools are always persecuted for receiving this gift. This is the answer to why we have been given this shock, and we are not looking for any other answer.

This shock shows that any moment is as good as any other, because it reveals self-remembering is all we have. After Journey Forth By Day ended, I said, 'The main thing is to get to the present as often as one can, and stay there for as long as one can.' Now I add, 'while one can--while one has the time.'

This shock shows that we cannot be kind enough to one another; it makes us want to externally consider each other as much as we can.

I have no doubt about Cassandra and Daniela's long-term good fortune. They certainly did the right thing with their lives. Death is so utterly final that it is difficult to accept emotionally, but with time one learns to accept it. We will all get to Paradise, but on Influence C's terms, as all who went before us did. We would never put the necessary pressure on ourselves. When we are reunited one by one in Paradise we will verify that the reward considerably outweighs the payment.

In presence,

Linda Tulisso, Isis

From the Upanishads: In truth who knows God becomes God.



From: On Behalf Of Linda Tulisso
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2005 8:45 AM
To: students@beingpresent.org
Subject: [Students] Message from the Teacher: Further thoughts ontransformation


Dear friends,

Robert sends the following thoughts from Cairo to help each of us continue our efforts to transform the recent shocks from Influence C.

Mark the Ascetic said, 'Unexpected affliction is called a test.' This shock comes unexpectedly, and is one of the greatest trials in the history of the school. Hans Christian Andersen said, 'One can bear an awful lot when one knows the intentions are good', and it is the intention of Influence C to eventually make us immortal through such shocks. Cassandra and Daniela used their lives to form a magnetic center, go in search of the truth and find it, which is very rare. Death is so final. I find I have to continuously keep reminding myself they are no longer here.

The Monk Callistus said, 'Do not seek to find the causes of trials, only pray to suffer them with gratitude.' This is certainly a right attitude; even with this shock it has to be that way.

The difficulty is that there are several things to resent about this shock, but the foundation of transforming suffering is not resenting it. Resentment is the last deceit the lower self will try to throw at us.

In presence,

Linda Tulisso, Isis

From Symeon the New Theologian: Once I realized that these things occur in order to test us, I endured them gratefully.



From: On Behalf Of Linda Tulisso
Sent: Saturday, November 12, 2005 3:39 PM
To: students@beingpresent.org
Subject: [Students] Message from the Teacher: Heroes


Dear Friends,

Robert sends the following message to us all, with his love:

Everyone is getting more in spite of and because of the shock; it makes us all more serious about being present to what is before us. I saw a sign with large letters spelling 'Heroes' and realized that you are all heroes for having worked with this shock successfully.

In presence,

Linda Tulisso, Isis

From Al-Ghazzali: Unless a man maintains the strictest watch, he is certain to be fascinated and entangled by the world.



From: On Behalf Of Linda Tulisso
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2005 3:11 PM
To: students@beingpresent.org
Subject: [Students] Message from the Teacher: Thank you


Dear Friends,

Robert wishes to thank all of us for the understanding we brought to transforming the deaths of Cassandra and Daniela. He encourages us to reaccept what we have already accepted, as resentment tends to linger. We must experience grief in moderation.

He commented that the one positive thing about this shock is that the school did not resent it at any point. Milton said, "I argue not against heaven's hand."

In presence,

Linda Tulisso, Isis

From the Koran: Verily, remembrance of Allah is most important.

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