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, February 27, 2007

"Kid Shellen" tells just a bit of his story...

"Kid Shellen" [aka "Kid Shelleen"] wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 27, 2007:
In 1999, after 15 years of working on myself, I left the FoF. I wasn’t negative at or about Robert; at that time I didn’t know a quarter of what I know now. I actually thought he might be what he professed to be, but that didn’t make any difference to me anymore. Something had been gnawing at my insides for several years and finally that fall, it erupted into my life in many ways. Leaving the fellowship was just the first of many, very “un-me” things I’d do.

What launched me out was my realization that I had become a Fundamentalist in my thinking. I went to meeting after meeting hoping to hear something that was not the same old regurgitated dogma. No luck. I couldn’t speak the truth, nor could my friends. I’d hear myself spouting angles, all the time thinking, “I don’t really know that for certain.” I thought Ouspensky said that the Fourth way was dogma-free. No luck there, either.

At the same time, unprocessed parts of my past started to haunt me. I was just to leap over them and be in the present, right? This became harder and harder to do. I had heard many times, from many students that the school was not psychotherapy. “If you have issues, take them to a therapist, do not bring them to meetings.” If you can’t share the truth of your life with your friends, who can you share it with?

So I decided it was time for something new. I knew I needed to work through a lot of my past and I knew the FoF was not going to be any help. I also knew that I needed a new way of thinking and being.

After leaving, a lot of extraordinary things happened, and I realize now what I Don’t Know. All that is a tale for another post. Glad to hear your stories; and as Bob [Dylan] said: “Don’t follow leaders/Watch your parking meters.”

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