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, May 12, 2007

Susan K.'s story

"SusanK" wrote on the blog Fellowship of Friends Discussionblog, May 12, 2007: 
WhaleRider, I am deeply regretful for the abuse you have suffered. I commend the strength and conviction it took to endure that situation. YET, you harnessed and used that same courage, strength, and conviction to get yourself the hell out of there! To those still sitting on that fence, be inspired.

I was in the FoF 1974-1990 and had NO idea that these crimes were occurring. I used to wonder though. Although my path seldom crossed with RB’s “boys”, and I don’t recall really knowing any of those who lived with him, occasionally I’d ask an “older student” if they knew whether Robert was still celibate. Of course, the inevitable assurances were that he was. From time to time I would wonder to myself and question the strange energy that circulated around the entire Academy scene, yet I continued to embrace the commonly held paradigm/reality … overlooking my own knowing! My own intuition! My own common sense!

I believed Robert when he said he was celibate AND conscious. And what an incredibly successful deceit!!! It has been amazingly maintained over the years – just phenomenal! To have ever “believed” any of it seems spectacularly naive. Even now, the lie continues! It continues, as crimes of such nature do, held up and supported by any combination of desperation, fear, ignorance, denial, and complicity.

Irony: When I first joined the FoF one of the important features we were taught about was a feature called “no shame”. That concept disappeared pretty fast. To me, now, Robert and those who support him have no shame.

I look at my son, who is 23, and cannot imagine something like this happening to him. We think we are so wise, so knowing at that age. Instead we are very impressionable, still becoming aware of the dynamics of the world around us, still learning how to protect and take care of ourselves. Better thank that king of clubs too, we need it! How many would have kept out of harm’s way if they had just listened to their king of clubs?

In the years since leaving, I periodically need to digest different experiences I had in the FoF, both small and large scale. Mostly, it just seemed like a strange womb I had birthed out of … some past lifetime that I would never go back to. Then, after first reading this blog in March, it came as a completely unexpected surprise to be struck with an exploding awareness of the deep connections I have not only with past friends, but even with those who joined after my departure.

It is partly through these silent, invisible connections that the light of truth can illuminate the path for those who follow.

And yes, “the attitude is gratitude."

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