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 most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

According to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish while, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci), Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new and more perfect civilization. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Miles Barth's Letter (extracts)

Miles Barth in the 1980s. Source.
[ed. - The following was written in 1989, four years after Miles (whom Robert Burton had declared a "Man Number 5") left Burton and started his own short-lived "transitional" group. Also see Damage control following Miles' departure and Miles Barth, once declared a "Man Number 5," dies.]

From the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, here and here:
March 15, 2007 at 2:12 am

Though I view RB now as a truly evil person, and his group as a pathetic caricature of a “school”, my real interest has focused on the characteristics in both my personality and in human nature in general that were responsible for my remaining in FOF as long as I did.

Though I learned much while in FOF, and much more by leaving it, it has been very hard to acknowledge that I was a fool to remain with it for as long as I did, and that I had to remain because I was a fool. RB did not fool me; he fooled himself, and I fooled myself. He exploited our weaknesses because we were there with them, and he could not do otherwise because of his own twisted belief system.

I do not judge him now for being homosexual, since I believe that we do not have conscious choice as to our sexual orientation; I judge him evil for the callous abuse of his power over people and his distortion of the 4th Way to serve his selfish purposes. I see my responsibility now as being to understand why I was so susceptible to accepting his distortions, even with reservations. This aspect of the journey has been much more shocking and disconcerting than anything I learned while a member. Anyway, the point of the paragraph, and really of this letter as a whole, is that for me the acknowledgment of my own foolishness was the necessary first step in growing beyond it.

I admire your effort to communicate some of your personal truth about RB to members of FOF. I have occasionally contemplated doing something similar, but for various reasons have not. Don’t be surprised if none of them reply; it is still not a wasted effort, because it may help to plant the seeds of doubt in whatever remaining critical faculty a few of them might have. But we can only hear what we are strong enough to bear responsibility for; the rest may as well be in Sanskrit.

I left FOF (March 1985) because I no longer believed that RB was a “conscious being”, or any such thing in a positive sense, and because I had come to view FOF as being an insuperable obstacle to the very process it was purportedly to promote. Furthermore, I felt that my membership in FOF gave support to RB, enabling him to continue his game of illusions and seduction. Though there are a few aspects of the lifestyle that I miss (such as the concerts), and a few people whose association I would have preferred to maintain, I have not regretted the decision, ever.

You undoubtedly heard that I conducted groups for a period of time after my departure, and you may have also heard that I discontinued doing so over two years ago. Part of the bargain I made with myself at the beginning was that I would not conduct groups past the point where I felt that I had nothing more to impart, which was what happened. After my experience in FOF, I knew that I could not just repeat the same old jive until my teeth fell out.

Further reflections on Miles

"WhaleRider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 14, 2007 at 5:42 a.m.:
Was KathleenW #90 [blogger and post number]

Thank you for your post. You sparked a post-FOF memory that I’d like to share.

When Miles left the FOF he attempted to start his own group. I remember that when he gave his first open meeting in the bay area, hoards of people from Renaissance drove to it, including yours truely.
Amazingly, many of us drove in Renaissance vehicles using FOF gas to get there and back! Nobody tried to stop us from going or made a list of who went. I seriously doubt this would occur in today’s FOF, but I could be wrong.
During the emotionally charged meeting he spoke of leaving the FOF because of his conscience. He thought that too many people were being permitted to join the school whom he felt did not have enough being to seriously under take the work. He felt these people were only being allowed to join to fill the FOF coffers with cash. He was going to be more selective in who joins his group. He charged five bucks a head for the meeting that night. I remember our group drove all the way back in silence without discussing a word of what he had said.
Anyway, after I left the FOF later that year, I contacted Miles to inquire about his group. I learned that he was experimenting with the Michael channeling stuff. I was quite surprised that Miles had broadened his views of the fourth way in this direction. Anyway, for what it’s worth, I was left with the impression that Miles had diminished himself by relying on a ‘spiritual medium’ to do the ‘channeling’ of higher knowledge (or whatever) instead of coming from his own being. So I didn’t join his group and went another direction. Miles’ group later dwindled. So he eventually closed it down and went to college to study counseling.
BTW, this is the story I was told on how ‘c-influence’ indicated to Robert that Miles was going to become a man number five. When Robert first saw him, Miles was wearing a V-neck sweater, with the V in gold trim, signifying the number 5 as the Roman numeral V. Later the prediction was correlated I believe in Shakespeare’s sonnet #44 with the line … “miles when thou are gone”. This is a another good example of Robert’s ‘ideas of reference’, like ‘Union 76′. Also the high tech spy plane ‘SR-71′ which flew from an airforce base near Renaissance was ‘self-remembering 1971′ or when self-remembering came to the area in 1971.

"roommate" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 14, 2007 at 6:32 a.m.:
Whalerider, thanks for your story, you sparked a memory here, too…

I was working at the Autoshop on the day Miles left, I was alone when Miles came in, we greeted each other, and talked for a few moments. I tried very hard to remember myself and I can still to this day see in my mind’s eye all the wrenches I used to work on a Mercedes I was dismantling…

The impression made on me that day by Miles in the Autoshop has remained in my memory forever. At one of the meetings Miles lead, he suggested to pick a day in the following week where one would do everything to live it as if never before–to be only and fully focused on self remembering. These suggestions, and the sincerity which he gave them with were so strong, for me, that it much helped my work–then seeing Miles was a reminder to make these efforts…
Anyway, Miles proceeded to check and fill up his Mercedes with gas and oil, and then there was an article from the Sacramento Bee on Abraham Lincoln on the bulletin board, on the wall….it related the story of how a young girl in the South personally saw Abraham Lincoln a few days after the war (Civil War) ended and how he (A. Lincoln) stood in front of her window walking down the streets of Richmond (enemy territory a few days ago–but unafraid), paused and looked at her…the sorrow of this man was the memory that created the most special moment of her life, for her on the same level as meeting her husband and having children. (I still have this article and can post it if anyone wishes to read it).

Anyway, Miles read it the entire article slowly, standing motionless for a very long time, intentionally, and then stood in front of me, paused, and we said good bye, very intentionally–I realized something very significant was occurring to him, that he could not talk to me about. And that was it.

Later coming home to the Academy I learned he had left and had said goodbye to Robert. A strange quiet sadness filled Renaissance for some time, as I experienced it.

I did not go to the Bay Area meeting. As much as I valued Miles, I felt my place was here. After his meeting, where many students went, you returned home, and life moved on.

"Dingos Ate My Baby" posted on alt.consciousness.4th-way, January 8, 1998:
Dingos Ate My Baby

>Subject: Work
>From: Secret Squirrel
>Date: 1998/01/07
>Message-ID: <1f94ba135187cf7d8da15cd9bea3cd0a data-blogger-escaped-anonymous.poster="">
>Newsgroups: alt.consciousness.4th-way

>In regard to the Gurdjieff-Ouspensky
>methods of training, there used to be
>a fellow named Miles Barth, who was
>second in command of a Gurdjieff work
>group. He left that to start his own
>group. Does anyone out there know what
>became of him and his group?? Perhaps
>someone who reads DejaNews knows.

According to Robert (blowjob bob) Burton, Miles Barth was a "World Six
impression." Burton told Barth one day that he (Barth) was "a man number
five." Barth's monthly salary sky rocketed, his wife's too. As a man number
five Barth's function in the Fellowship of Friends was to travel the world
leading meetings and in general presenting himself as a perfect Fellowship
specimen. This production lasted about ten years I guess, Barth was almost as
revered in the Fellowship as Burton is among the rank and file. Barth was/is
not a bad fellow, in fact he seemed to me a very intelligent and decent man.
No surprize that one day he disclamed his association with Burton, announced
to a gathered group of Fellowship defectors that he was never "conscious,"
and disappeared into, I assume, private life.

It was reported that Barth suggested that the whole Fellowship setup was a
fraud designed by Burton to procure money, young men and control over witless

Miles Barth had the courage, the conscience and the integrity to turn his
back on power, money and vanity because he saw that the Fellowship of Friends
had become a criminal institution serving to feed the insanity of a
psychopath. Barth had the courage, Girard Haven as yet has not found his
conscience--Girard have you sent your boys over to do "guard duty" yet?

If your teacher is a angel in a man's body, why not send your own kids over
to be "taught?"


  1. Thanks for these posts. I've always wondered what happened with Miles Barth. He was da man in LA, where I joined in 1974 (thereabouts).

    Anybody know what Miles is up to these days?

  2. I wa in the FOF, as was my wife. I was invited to dinner by Bridget, our Director of the Chicago Certre. As I sat at the table and dinner was being served, ROBERT looked st me and began to speak to everyone. At that moment I knew he was a hogmosexusl. I thought of my friend Thomas, who was also a homosexual but painfully celebrate. I being the victim of childhood sexual abuse, I knew what that look towards me meant. At that moment I decided in my heart that I was out of there! It took several months to extricate myself from the group. We move to tUnion City in a small apartment with our 1 year old child. We were sitting and smoking pot, which was forbidden and one could be expelled from the FOF for it! We were relived and thankful for the experience and the friendships that we had forged but even more thankful that our journey together as a family had just begun. I learned a lot and every penny we spent was worth the education. Dinner with Robert and the decision to leave was the sweetest desert I had ever eaten! I don't regret one moment. The lives that he ruined was tragic, but I felt as I do today that the angels and the 44 Conscioes Being still surrond me! I took them with me. That are with me to this day!

  3. sorry about miles passing, I was in the fof for about 4 years,\
    in th e 70,s glad I got out when I did ,
    I had no money ,so I could not remain in the
    school..Robert kicked me out! thank you david

    1. That's exactly the same thing that happened to me. I was there from 1976 to 1981. I had given them all my money and one day found myself with no money, no place to live on a street in San Francisco. That day was the beggining of a new life for me. ----- Bruce Arvon.