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.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Fellowship of Friends compared to fundamentalist religion

Fellowship of Friends members gather to worship their deity, Influence C, also known as C Influence, Higher Forces, The Gods.

"Traveler" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 18, 2007 at 8:28 p.m.:
Some people have complained that the Fellowship has become a cult over the years. I deeply disagree. If the account from the first student Bonita Guido is true, and I have no particular reason to think that she is making it up, then the Fellowship was deeply flawed and misguided from Day 1 when Robert asked her how much money she would be willing to pay him “to have her soul saved”. I maintain that Robert is essentially evangelical fundamentalist Christian in his beliefs (not surprisingly, coming from Arkansas), and this is only thinly masked by Fourth-Way terminology.
Robert Burton Says: We will all become immortal in the celestial city of Paradise. Paradise has 30.000 inhabitants [information he obtained from a nearby town also called Paradise with 30.000 inhabitants; I have heard that some Christian denominations believe there will be 40.000 people in Paradise, please confirm]. Jesus Christ was the highest conscious man who ever walked the Earth (and possibly the only one more conscious than RB). Influence C ushers us to Heaven’s Gate. Jesus Christ & 43 others are Influence C. RB is the one who is our direct living link to Influence C, he is THE conscious teacher on Earth right now. [Compare JC: “I am the way the truth and the life; NO MAN cometh unto the Father BUT BY ME.”] Enormous suffering must be transformed and endured in order to become conscious, it is a heroic endeavor, we each must be crucified in our own way. We have Influence C and the help of the Gods, while life rejects it and pursues Inluence A. The students in the FoF are the only people who wish to awaken. The rest of humanity will have a sad fate. If you leave the school, you are throwing away the greatest gift on Earth. God is on our side. Our school is the pinnacle of humanity. We do everything to make ourselves available to life, but if they don’t want us, it’s their loss. We are the special chosen ones. When asked in a rare interview for Sacramento Bee years ago whether he was a reincarnation of Christ, Robert Burton humbly replied: Thou sayest it. We have to get as much consciousness for ourselves as we can before we pass into oblivion. And, breaking news, latest daily card: the ultimate task is to make the machine conscious and immortal.
I’m not saying that students in the FoF actually believe all this, but isn’t it telling that the leader of the organization, everyone’s Teacher for Christ’s sake, believes it?
Here’s what I think: The pace of the school is accelerating. What has always been there is becoming more obvious. There is more urgency felt now to remember yourself and create a soul that will not fall prey to time, than ever before. All is swept aside, except trying to be present without words and eliminating all thoughts, because it is believed that each such effort will add to the infant soul and bring you closer to immortality. Robert Burton is getting old. He is going to die and there is nothing he can do about it. He is VERY AFRAID.

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