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.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Paul's Story

Paul's wrote the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
I just arrived at this discussion yesterday, twenty-four years after leaving the FOF, and what struck me was how nothing has changed. In my time, I lived for a while at the Blake cottage, traveled with Robert, was propositioned by him (I said no thanks), physically stopped his attempts to use me for his pleasure anyway (it wasn’t that difficult — he’s not all that strong), and learned that virtually every young (and even not so young) man I knew in the FOF had had a similar experience (except for the saying no part). I found that my previously charming and ego-inflating relationship with Robert had evaporated overnight, and continued for a time as a student in various centers away from what was then Renaissance. I left along with many others after Sam Sanders blew the lid off Robert’s shenanigans, which had been until then known only to maybe two or three hundred people, although I didn’t leave because of Robert. I left because I’d learned what the FOF had to teach me, which was a very great deal.

The justifications offered by members for Robert’s serial sexual abuse haven’t changed a lick in over thirty years. Nor have their pathetic questions about the need to do anything about the fact that they continue to support it with their money. Let’s not mince words–Robert is a sociopath who has harmed hundreds of people for no reason whatsoever other than that he enjoys sex, and continues to do so. I haven’t the slightest objection to homosexuality, or to creative sexual activity of any sort between consenting adults, but for pity’s sake, let’s not go any further in even floating the possibility that what Robert has been doing for decades, since the very beginning of the FOF, is anything other than sexually abusing those who trust him more than they trust anyone else. He’s a very sick puppy. “Conscious being”? Oh, please. If I came up to you and said “I know this guy who for thirty-five years has spent virtually all of his time seeking to fulfill every single one of his sensual desires in the most bloated sort of way, the epitome of sensual greed, and has succeeded only because he has duped well-meaning but confused people into supposing he’s godlike, and I’d like to you meet him and give him lots of your money,” what would you say? Jee-sus! I mean, when is enough enough!?

The FOF was an utterly magical experience for me. The teachings (at least in those days) were extremely powerful, and I’ve continued to use them ever since, and expect I always will. Many, many members were among the most dedicated, intelligent, diligent folks I’ve ever met. Some of the “older students” (which at that time meant six or eight years) were quite impressive; I always learned something from being around Miles. Girard was always a second-stringer, even after being anointed; he’s where he is because everyone who had the right stuff had the sense and integrity to leave. Robert always had a good act–he didn’t get where he is through blind luck. But he was never truly impressive if one was willing to look beyond the hype. It’s a simple fact that everything in the teaching that was worth much came from someone other than Robert, and that the few items he tossed in — like predicting the future — have been proven absurd. He had run out of anything to say, or even a powerful new way to say something that needed repeating, even before I left, and filled his little journal with one-liners that were really rather elementary. Does self-remembering work? Damn straight it works, and so does zazen, vipassana, and dzogchen, if you can forget for a moment “getting” something out of them. Does imagining you are a part of an elite, based on the pronouncements of a man who was exposed as a fraud many years ago, who couldn’t prophecy his way out of a paper bag, aping the behavior of others you wrongly imagine are superior to you, denigrating everyone who isn’t a member, being obsessed with your “evolution,” and burying your conscience until you couldn’t care less what happens to anyone else in the world, whether it’s someone living on two cents a day in Burma or some poor guy with a visa problem holding Robert’s balls in his mouth, work? Well, does it?

No comments:

Post a Comment