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.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

At war with the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog

[ed. - As interest in the Fellowship of Friends Discussion grows, it is necessary for the Fellowship leadership to respond. The following message is sent to all members.]

From the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
Wed, Mar 14, 2007 09:57 PM

Dear Friends,

We are aware that material is currently being circulated that presents a negative
view of Robert and the Fellowship.

We realize that receiving – and reading – such material can be troubling and confusing. So we would like to encourage any student who feels the need for conversation to contact us. We will do our best to listen with open hearts and minds.

With love,

C. L. (692-xxxx), H. F. (692-xxxx), M. G.(692-xxxx), E. B. (692-xxxx) and G. H. (692-xxxx)

[ed. - And purely by coincidence, earlier in the day a new poster, "Howard Carter," appears on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion Blog. This is a persona readers will come to recognize, even under the pseudonyms "Daily Cardiac" and "I in the sky." It is reported they are Fellowship of Friends President Linda Kaplan.]

"Howard Carter" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 14, 2007:

I remember Rita well. She first appeared at Isis in 95 or 96. There was a genuine sweetness about her.
It seems her experiences since that time have soured her considerably.

To paraphase Gurdjieff, if the universe were a large city the earth would be in a very bad neighborhood of that city. If you live there any length of time you are bound to get roughed up, even mugged a few times.
Sometimes the police (RB) will even mug you just to motivate you to depart (do not identify) and find a better habitat. That works for some, but for others it just drives them into their rooms. They are temporarily safer there, but what they don’t understand is that their rooms are still in a house in the same bad neighborhood, on the wrong side of the tracks.

Eventually they will have to come out and find themselves at the same point on the spiritual path.
Rita and others, you cannot progress, with or without FOF until you transform your suffering which has produced all this loathing of Robert as a by-product. Not only loathing, but hubris, in being so sure you are right about all this. How can you, me or anyone else have the whole unadulterated truth? As Christ asked Pilate, “What is truth”?

My understanding is that Robert is only doing his job, and doing it well. Its a dangerous occupation to judge a man who has escaped. He is so far on the other shore his actions are incomprehensible to us. Some of us can only verify for ourselves that his methods work and then try to hold on when things get messy.

"Mole" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 11, 2007 at 12:40 am:
For those not much in touch with how the blog is affecting the FOF
‘The blog is the worst thing that ever happened to the Fellowship’ - Linda T. [Linda Kaplan] May 2007.
I personally know of at least a dozen people who began by denouncing the blog when it first started to gather steam but now are planning to leave FOF in the near future…..

[ed. - Here's Ms. Kaplan as "Daily Cardiac", the battle still raging over twenty months later:]

"Daily Cardiac" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 12, 2008:
Bruce Levy [blogger]:
It’s interesting, and predictable, that you countered my claims of ad hominem with the straw man argument. This is also a common evasive tactic of the blog’s.
You could have started off by refuting the ad hominem claim by showing how I was off base with it. But instead you chose to shift the attention away from ad hominem by saying –
"Fellow ex members, you don’t have to consider anything he said because he is also under his own fallacy, which is the straw man fallacy.”
“This cancels out his whole posting.”
But this approach is also a fallacy. Even if I am under the straw man fallacy that alone does nothing to diminish any truth I put forward about ad hominem.
Regarding the Oregon House grocery incident; I usually qualify my beliefs. I did say I cannot prove whether it happened or not. My position is that saying something on the blog has nothing to do with proof as anyone can say anything (most statements appear under the cloak of anonyminity, making fabrication all the more appealing.)
Here are the reasons for my doubting the grocery incident ever happened:
I circulate fairly well within the school and I have not had a conversation about the blog with another member for 18 months. There was an initial wave of curiosity about the blog when students first heard about it, but it is a non issue with anyone who has verified Robert’s consciousness or the FoF’s status as a conscious school.
I understand it’s a difficult concept for many ex members to comprehend, but if someone has verified the larger truths the school offers the issues the blog deals with, namely Robert’s private lifestyle, claims of abuse of power, are wholly irrelevant. If a person has not verified Robert’s consciousness everything said on the blog has added relevance.
There is also a taboo of sorts about reading the blog due to some of the comments made by Girard stating he thought the blog was not a good use of students time.
I’m sure students read it, some more than others, some not at all. But it’s not a topic students would be chatting about casually, or seriously, while waiting in a public queue. I write on the blog not to convince you or any ex member to change your attitude about it, but to offer a current member’s viewpoint to anyone reading who may not have any preconceived attitudes about the FoF. They certainly get enough of the critics side.
I’m here knowing there is a significant down side to it. (exactly what Girard talks about. When I feel I have said all I can say I will disappear.)
Imagine how awkward talking about the blog would be in a public queue?
You said they were lamenting the “terrible things” being said on the blog. Student – “Did you read of the fisting incident between Robert and that young Russian student in the Galleria, what do you make of it?” It defies all logic of human nature (especially for people who work on alchemy) to talk about such things in public.
If they came to the store together they would in all likelihood have had this conversation in the car on the way there or leaving. If they met in the store they would have more than likely had it in a back isle. If they met in line it would have been hard to cut to the chase and get right to the point of discussing details of the “terrible things”‘ of the blog in a few moments of waiting in line, and in earshot of strangers.
This is all evidence of a dubiousness to the story. That said I’ll be the first to admit it is not impossible that it happened; just extremely unlikely.
If C D really told you the story and you did not make it up, I would suggest you think harder about the plausibility of it. He may have been telling you what he thought you wanted to hear.
Regarding the name calling you engage in; there is a cause behind that also. Most people, when they are not satisfied with the taste of their food will add a little relish, or hot sauce to it.
You are not satisfied with the implied meaning behind the words I contribute.
On the other hand you know deep down I have the same right to say what I feel as you do to say what you feel. Finally you know you cannot disprove anything I say, or even successfully squash it through a superior logic. So your only recourse is to call names. It’s just what children do. It comes naturally to the lower self, even in its essence.
In sports, the greatest athletes always want to meet other greats on the field of play. They “relish” the competition. They know that only by besting the best will they be considered the best. But I am a nuisance, a pest to you and others, only because you have no answer.

"Butterfly" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 1, 2007:
Dear all, but especially people working in the Collins office,

One piece of information that came to light recently was that cameras have been secretly hidden into what looks like smoke detectors in the Collins office. This happened a couple of months back and were installed by P. L-c-s shortly before he left.

This was under the instructions of L. T-l-i-o [Linda Kaplan] who is concerned that someone may be appropriating information for the blog etc. The fellowship of not very trusting friends.

Good to be aware of.

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