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, May 23, 2007

Radames Pera

Radames Pera by Carol Chambers. Photo source.

[ed. - A celebrity of sorts, Eugene R. Pera, The Father of Spin Art, joined the Fellowship of Friends in Hawaii in 1973. He was known to fellow members as Ram Pera (and later, Robert Claremont and Radames Pera.) In 1986, Robert Burton "gave RP the boot," but granted Radames permission to return in the early 2000s. Background notes on one of his portraits state his wife was

actress Lisa Pera, (who was in some 60's movies like "Do Not Disturb" with Doris Day and "A Dream of Kings" with Anthony Quinn).

This painting belonged to Hollywood actress Lisa Pera, mother of actor Radames Pera [of Kung Fu fame]. The painter, Eugene Pera invented "Spin Art" that created paintings to look like Jackson Pollack art. Eugene Pera was part of the Paris modern art movement in the late 50's and early [60s?], and was referred to as "The South American".
As Ram told the editor, he also worked for the "adult pornographic magazine" Oui. Radames Pera died on July 25, 2016. His memorial page may be viewed on the Fellowship's Elysian Society site.]

"Joe Average" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 23, 2007:
Re: Cimarron 9/356 and Be Hold Everything 9/439

Yes, the Fellowship of Friends has attracted and proved fertile ground, either for training or as an easily reaped harvest, for many budding psychopaths #5. If you study the lives of the more flamboyant and famous psychopaths, you will usually find something like a mentor who showed by example how best to ruthlessly take advantage of the naive. Robert Burton had his own twisted family (yes BB 10/1, RB has stated this more than once), but more to the point, he had Alex Horn as a brilliant teacher. Robert attended Horn’s 18 month seminar, “How to get people to believe anything you say and do anything for you” and was, seemingly, the star pupil. The Fellowship of Friends in turn, nurtured James Vincent Randazzo and his “Spiral of Friends”, whose escapades with his “students” and sexual abuse of teen boys, international flight and eventual imprisonment are easily researched. His group in turn gave birth to the “New American Wing” cult, very similar to the Fellowship of Friends in its first 10 years etc.

But apart from these more dramatic examples, the Fellowship has always been a fertile ground of trusting souls. It is inevitable that those with opportunistic moral flexibility would be attracted to it. One such was RP [Radames "Ram" Pera]. I met him in the mid 80’s, when he was going by the name of Robert. He was an interesting person, somewhat charismatic. I found it inordinately swell that his son [Radames Pera] played the little boy I had so identified with in my own childhood – the 12 year old “Grasshopper” of the Kung-Fu TV series. Yes, I am easily impressed. Yet, though I could never state exactly why, he made my skin crawl. Something was definitely off with him, insincere, calculating. Years later, it finally surfaced that he had a talent for spotting women with affection/self-confidence deficits and money surpluses and wooed them (in whatever manner necessary) to get them to “invest” in some vaguely defined wondrous new invention he was developing. He had essentially lived this way, leeching from vulnerable women for many years in the school before one of them finally confided in a friend, who in turn brought it to Robert’s attention, who gave RP the boot when the extent and duration of the fleecing came to light. Whether Burton did this out of concern for his students or to get rid of a competitor in the fleecing game is anyone’s guess. By some strange twist of fate, RP returned to the school a few years ago, and I had the (mis)fortune to spend time with him on a few occasions. 20 years later, he still made my skin crawl.

Some question why so few of the young men Robert Burton drew into his intimate web openly complained of it. Here, the fleeced were women and the fleecer no “conscious being”, no god, just another student, yet it took years before the story came out. Judging by what I gleaned from the woman who told me about this – one of his victims – the same mechanics, in many respects, operated – fear, shame, regret, self-blaming etc. This is not an isolated example. I am not inviting a new list of “meetings with remarkably twisted men”, just responding to Cimarron’s question.

This also addresses a concern of another poster who, looking at how much the Fellowship of Friends accomplished with a psycho at the helm, wondered how much could have been accomplished with someone less radically damaged leading it. I suspect the answer, in terms of some of the more external achievements, is: less.

What is charisma? What gives such people such a power to move others? Often, it is the kind of clarity and unwavering purpose that is only possible once one is relieved of this nagging “conscience” thingy. People who doubt themselves, sincerely assert themselves to be no more that those around them, may inspire love and admiration, but never blind, obsessive obedience. As Traveler 9/444 expressed it “why do you think people are so insecure all the time? Because deep down they know they are faking it!”

Wasn’t it much of the thrill people experienced in the presence of Pol Pots, Stalins, Hitlers, Jim Joneses, Adi Das and Burtons the sheer wonder at people who seemed to have no doubts at all of their role and their superiority? No-one could equate the suffering orchestrated by those first three with that orchestrated by the last two, yet it may be more a question of luck/fate/timing than culpability and potential for destruction that separates them. One of the buffers I used for years in order to live with “my teacher’s” more obvious weaknesses was to reflect that he had the right mechanics to achieve something on the scale of the Fellowship. Neither Miles, nor Girard could have played that role. I suspect Miles is grateful for that and hope that Girard can come to it also in a way that is liberating rather than humiliating.

"Shelley M." wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 22, 2007:
To: Elena #421

...A month or so after I joined an older older student named Ram came to visit his son and ex wife in LA. We met at a meeting and he immediately latched onto me filling my ears with basic body type information and RB style spinning of esoteric knowledge as if he owned it to make himself seem interesting and powerful to my spiritual seeker side. I immediately got knocked up (this was before AIDS) and told Girard [Haven] about the encounter and that I needed some help keeping Ram out of my life and resolving the problem of the pregnancy. Of course Girard’s answer to my dilemma was going to Mt. Carmel and meeting the teacher! ( I think I was Girard’s first crisis as center director. )

I rode up in the back of Blair’s truck. During my first half hour at Mt. Carmel while walking on a dusty road towards the Lodge I met Linda Kaplan/ Rockwood and we introduced ourselves to each other. She asked me what I did in ‘life’. I told her I was an actress and she said that I would probably have to quit if I was going to be a student in the fof because, as she put it, “real artists don’t stay in the School”. I was devastated and continued walking along the dusty road by myself towards the Lodge. A few minutes later I ran into Ram. He asked me why I was crying. I told him what Linda had just said to me. He immediately turned me around and walked me to the Blake cottage where RB was getting a coke or something out of a fridge in the garage. Ram told me to walk up and introduce myself and tell him what Linda had just said. I did. RB gave me a big hug and told me that I could do both, i.e. be a student and an actress. This became my mantra anytime anyone repeated Linda’s edict to me. Since that time, thanks to Ram, I always walked straight up to RB and said what I had to say.

(A few months later Linda went on to try to get me involved in a multi level marketing scheme hoping I would get on her down line and sell Royal Jelly to all my actress friends. I was horrified at her proposal because she had invited me to her caravan for tea out of the blue and I was very emotional about connecting with her as a person. Being hit on as a potential client broke my heart as much as anything that else that transpired after that. She also foamed at the mouth asking me about movie stars I’d worked with.)

Anyway, I returned to LA in Blair’s truck and thanks to the bumpy ride up and down, had a miscarriage the day after I returned. (I think Ram got a slap on the wrist for knocking up a new student.)

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