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, March 20, 2007

"Across the River's" Story

"Across the River's" wrote the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
It’s good to be connected here to the voices of open-hearted and uncynical souls, something most former and current FOF members still have in common. I’m a former FOF member and have been touched by many of the posts. This is my first post.

I joined the Fellowship in 1986 and left almost exactly one year ago. I don’t believe the process of unfolding a clear understanding could have occurred at a faster pace for me. My experience inside the Fellowship world was a complex mix of:

__Profound and heavenly states of being attained with the help of Robert’s influence, one way or the other,

__Judgment about the lack of compassion displayed by Robert and many students when real suffering ravaged fellow ‘friends’,

__The heady delights of intellectual exercises taught and practiced daily,

__Continuing questions about the lavish form of Robert’s school demonstrating that he may well be a mad, esthete gay man with abundant charm,

__Love and deep gratitude for old and newly found friends and their fidelity toward our common goal of presence,

__Great affection for Robert as he tirelessly expressed his own being.

For me, one of the biggest hooks was the caution that ‘keeping the school’ was our biggest challenge. I did not want to be a tragic figure lacking the being to know the gods were at work with me, that my being resonated to attract them. The states I experienced with Robert and the glorious good fortune of living in this community verified this. Wasn’t Robert and the work of this school under different laws? If this is a conscious school, doesn’t the end justify the means? Robert’s nature is as it is, and so on.

I have left because my doubts about Robert’s empire continued to stir in me and I no longer wanted to forget myself in order to quiet them. My heart wasn’t free.

I believe I observed enchantment entwined in Robert’s environment. The real purpose of Robert’s endless flow of activities became questionable. I began to understand how many students had abandoned the basic principle of good householder to follow Robert’s direction and now faced the collateral damage of financial distress or ruin, neglected and abandoned children, parents that had died without reconciliation, and alienation of other personal ‘life’ relationships by the arbitrary psychological separation required to keep themselves connected to ‘the work’. Where does one go from there?

For some struggling with doubts about the Fellowship, the worse thing is a sense of shame and regret for what has been invested, but please don’t go down that road! If you forgot yourself but know it now, then use that as a compass as you continue becoming. Take it very personally to use as grist for your mill and waste nothing. I still don’t know how to classify the experiences I had in the Fellowship, but my being knows that I gained much that is essential to my life there. The departure can be complicated but one should know when to go.

I’ll be watching for you.

Across the River

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