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.

Monday, March 5, 2007

The "Robert's Boy" Trap

Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton and his boys

"Anonymous" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
Several people posting have questioned the veracity of  [Page 1, Post 294], posted by “Inner Circle Facts,” detailing the sexual activities that are rampant in the Galleria. I have heard similar things from a number of sources I would consider reliable.

A number of people have asked, “Why don’t they don’t just say no?” “Why don’t they just leave?” From what I understand, the answer seems to be twisted up with a lot of strands involving the upbringing and programming in the poorer nations of the world. Some of this is involved with the economics of international prostitution, as described in [Page 1, Post 238] by Rabbi Burns.

Unless you have spent some time in Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia, you may not understand the post-Soviet fear of authority. You don’t go to the police unless you want your problems to escalate exponentially. You don’t go to the government agency unless you want more trouble – a lot more trouble. English-speakers may also not know the barriers that exist for those who don’t speak English – after all, everywhere we go we can find someone who speaks English. It’s not the same if you speak Russian, or Ukrainian, or Romanian.

I recently spoke with a young foreign woman who described how the young men from Eastern Europe, and now around Robert, often don’t have fathers, or had abusive or alcoholic fathers. Sex, authority, and dad gets mixed up into one package in the Fellowship.

She later wrote me: “I actually know personally the poor Russian kid who performed the ‘fisting.’ He was used because of his miniature fists, poor thing. He left the school.”

She wrote: “These guys ARE looking for an escape, they just don’t know how, and there are too many inner contradictions and entanglements. The fact is, these guys are asking other friends whether they could provide them shelter or help them to find work if they dare to run away. People who are voluntarily engaging in sex will not be so messed up, confused and looking for an escape.”

She was afraid to post online. I am posting for her. Her letter:

“There is something I wanted to say, certain facts that may be we should not buffer. First of all, any one’s behavior, sexual or whatever, is just their behavior, and not to be judged. As some one said here, no one is a saint, we all are quirky in some ways or another.

There is a line however, when others get emotionally and physically hurt or even damaged by one’s destructive behavior. Again, we all get offended and hurt here and there by someone’s cruel words or actions. But sometimes there is long-term harm, corruption and infliction of large amounts of pain deliberately and repeatedly done to innocent others out of selfish sexual desires, and that’s where the line for me is drawn. That’s when buffering stops. I will not look at another “sheep” being killed and tell comfortable stories to myself why it is not my business. These are my friends, I care.

Some of them I love dearly. We came to this school with a desire to awaken and not to be controlled and told whom to date, and not to turn into indifferent zombies who simply don’t care when our friends are hurt or abused.

I used to date a young man who was a “R’s boy” at that time. He told me in all-too-graphic details how he was seduced, and how he didn’t want it but succumbed under heavy pressure. He wasn’t gay and it was incredibly uncomfortable for him to be handled by an older gay man. He told me how he was covering his face and closing his eyes and the only thought flashing in his mind was, “He is sucking me! He is sucking me!” I was very, very shocked at that time. That doesn’t seem to me like an act of love and compassion. There is just something very wrong with the picture. Later this young man developed a buffer why he allowed such abuse, he even came up with an explanation that it was an “exchange of a sacred sexual energy” and that he was getting it from R. and then transferring it to me. I too soon learned to buffer things, and every time another piece of disturbing news would come, I simply say: “It’s not my business. I came here to work on myself.”

Another young man, a friend of mine, another “R-boy”, confessed that he hates doing this, and he hates going “on duty.” It is like a bitter punishment. He said that the nights he is “off” he feels so happy and relieved. I asked, “Is it like this for most of you?” And his reply was that mostly they all hate it, but the pressure to do it is so high that they comply.

It is difficult and uncomfortable, against his nature, and he has to buffer it every time he has to go “on duty.” I asked, “Why do you go then, why not say ‘No’?” He said he feels totally obligated, because the visa was made for him by FOF, the tickets were bought for him, everything he eats is paid for, everything he wears is paid for, he is given jewelry and expensive gifts and he even doesn’t have to work at all… He owes everything to R. at this point. His whole life is paid for by him. I said: “Run then, escape!” He replied that he will not be able to run far since he has a religious visa and no legal means to support himself. He is completely, totally screwed, poor soul. This was a confused, scared, very unhappy nervous young man to whom I felt so much pity and compassion. Some desperate guys did run away in the past, as I’ve heard, and later most of them had to return. Basically, to me it looks like this young man was “bought” to perform sexual things he hates and that are unnatural for him… He tried to start a relationship with a lady which was brutally terminated by R., leaving both him and the lady heartbroken. He is made dependent legally and financially, so he cannot flee or object in any way. Does this seem right to you? Does this seem OK with you? Do you feel anything towards this guy or guys like him? Oh yes, by the way, he developed buffers, too. He thinks he is being “helped” or “saved”. He thinks he would never had made it in life, anyway. In fact, he says he is almost happy! Well, his body’s nervous movements and his eyes scream opposite. He can’t hide what he really feels… Poor, poor man.

And ladies, how many of you were told to terminate your love relationship, because the object of your love (even if the feeling was totally mutual) was R.’s boy? Wasn’t it an area of long pain and tears for so many of us? How can anyone decide for someone whom to love, whom to be with, why do we think it’s OK to let anyone no matter how conscious to ruin our relationship? When I was in a relationship with a “boy”, he told me how he was asked many times by R. not to trade a love of a conscious teacher to a dirty meaningless sex with an asleep woman, a machine, his girlfriend. Women are nothing but competitors and trouble. So my boy would stay with the conscious, telling the asleep one that she’ll be home alone this night. That was not good news to hear. How many relationships were destroyed by this? Does this seem right, does this seem compassionate and externally considerate, is this OK with you too? This is an intrusion on your lives, this destructive cruel acts are based on selfish interests only. This person teaches us compassion and external consideration, he speaks of presence and love. Where is it in his
own actions?

Please don’t buffer what I’m saying with “this is all negativity”. These are just plain facts, nothing negative in it. They are uncomfortable, true. But not negative. Please bear it.

I guess one may say it doesn’t matter. After all, what does it have to do with “My Work”?

Yes, very good question to ask oneself indeed.”

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