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, June 6, 2007

Ames Gilbert on Robert Burton's Prophecies

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 6, 2007 at 2:53 p.m.:
To GOlb (#11-34)[blogger, blog page and blog post number]

Most of your post is sheer imagination of the wrong kind, and a great demonstration of sleep while talking about being awake, or trying to give the impression thereof. Every affirmation you make for Burton is a lie, pure and simple. You have no idea why he made the predictions. All you can say, truthfully, is that he made them. You yourself may have used them (as I understand you to say—your meaning is rather unclear), that is, to provide personal friction, a sense of urgency. It is possible that Burton may have even meant this for the students generally. But, you cannot know, so you are lying. It sounds to me like you are repeating some meme that has sprung up among the faithful to justify Burton’s failures, because sentences like “It is the largest scale that demonstrates the value of things and the largest scale can be seen only from the present moment” are meaningless even after allowing for your poor language skills. The semantic content adds up to zero. You are also lying when you make another affirmation for Burton, “He didn’t care about the high possibility of the (repeated) failure.” First of all, there was no mention of the “high possibility” of failure when he made his predictions. You have added that yourself, based on your excellent hindsight. Secondly, you lie when you claim he didn’t care. You cannot know.
Moving on. You didn’t answer the question, “What has ‘HE’ gained from repeated failing predictions in the long run?” The answer is, on the surface, “nothing”. That is the one you are fishing for. But I think there is a more subtle answer. Burton used the prediction to reinforce his image as a higher being/god, because prophecy (windows into the future) is one of the attributes or powers he thinks a higher being should have. Then he invited his followers to enter that fantasy with him. This was a step–by–step process, incremental. The objective was to gain power over his followers, because if they suspend their own judgment and ability to discriminate in favor of his version of reality, they become more dependent on him. A personal example: in 1993, Burton came up to me, pointed at his forehead and said, “Dear, do you see an eye here, looking out at you?”. I replied, “Do you mean literally, a third physical eye where your pineal gland is?”. He said, “Yes, I am looking out at you through a third eye, the eye of an angel. Do you see it?”. I asked again, “Do you mean literally a third eye, physically the same as your other eyes?”. He said, “Yes”. I replied, “No, Robert, I don’t see a literal third eye, all I can see is your forehead.” He said, “Well, I am an angel, there is a third eye looking out at you. Are you sure you can’t see it?”. I said, “I’m sorry, Robert, I don’t see it”. Then he turned away.
I saw this as a clear invitation to enter his fantasy. It’s only a guess, but I’d say that many students would have gone with him into his fantasy, and said that they did see a literal third eye. I say this, because I watched others do exactly that on many occasions, either by actively accepting his invitation, or by silently acquiescing or not protesting; this happened very often at dinners, as he described his fantasies out loud in his monologues. Depending on the subject, the fantasy evoked either fear or infatuation, (either will send followers to sleep, but both are inimical to awakening and individuation).
When the predictions fail, a student has at least two types of choices. They can follow Burton deeper into the fantasy (C-Influence has used this to humiliate me), make affirmations for him, like Golb and others in this blog, which just deepen the hypnosis, or buffer it completely, maybe with self-calming phrases like, “I’ll just record this as a theory”. Another set of choices might include re-evaluating the whole sorry mess, recognizing the weaknesses that led one to accept the fantasy, and backing out.
So, to answer your final question, Golb, “Who has gained anything from them?”, I answer, “Robert Burton”. He has you fast, you think you are more real because you have adopted his fantasies, you are a good little follower who is blessed, you have a great collection of affirmations you trot out to help keep your fellows asleep on his behalf, and sayings for every occasion. He has your money and your adoration. He may even have the use of your body, for all I know. Multiply by 1900 or so. Sweet deal. For once, you’re certainly right, Burton is not a ‘stupid’—on that level.
With love to you, and everyone ‘on the blog’,

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