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

Citizenship and Immigration Services issues report of April 13 visit

"jomopinata" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 28, 2012:
For those interested, “Report of April 13, 2007 Site Visit to Fellowship of Friends Compound by Citizenship and Immigration Services Fraud Officers, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Department of Homeland Security” is now online:
Text of Report:


CASE NUMBER :                      














"On January 3, 2005, the ASAIC, Sacramento received a lead from the ICE Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) tip-line relating to a group called the Fellowship of Friends (FOF) in Oregon House, CA. It was alleged that the FOFwas bringing aliens to the United States on religious (R-1) visas for sexual
exploitation. Investigation to date has revealed that the aliens who have been petitioned for by the FOF to enter the U.S. on R-l visas have been employed by the FOF in menial non-religious jobs for extremely low wages.

"On April 13, 2007,                                                 accompanied Citizenship and Immigration Services fraud officers on a site visit and compliance review of the FOF compound in Oregon House, CA. This report details the results of the site visit.


"On April 13, 2007,                                                 accompanied Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) officers                                               on a site visit and compliance review of the Fellowship of Friends (FOF), a religious organization in Oregon House, CA, that has petitioned for several religious workers under the "R-1" visa category.

"At approximately 10:30 a.m. on April 13, 2007, officers contacted the guard at the gate of the FOF property, located at 12585 Rice's Crossing Road, Oregon House, CA. Officers identified themselves and stated that they were present to conduct a compliance review regarding the validity of religious worker visas filed by the FOF.

"The guard instructed the officers to wait and made a telephone call. Approximately 5 minutes later, two men arrived in a white van, with California (personalized) license plates                  . The men identified themselves as Abraham Goldman                                   , attorneys representing the FOF. CIS officers advised Goldman                                     that they were there in order to conduct a site inspection and compliance review regarding a pending extension filed by the FOF on behalf of a religious worker,                            . CIS officers explained that after the site visit they would write a report with the results of the inspection and the report would be used to adjudicate current and future R-1 religious worker visas. Goldman                                stated they were happy to show officers the property, answer any questions.

"A few minutes later, a woman identifying herself as                              arrived.                     introduced herself as the person at the FOF who is in charge of all the R-1 visa applications and immigration issues.                         name has also been listed as the preparer for several R-1 visa applications filed by the FOF.                              stated she was happy to see the immigration officials and hoped that the site visit would clear up any questions and assist in moving forward the pending applications that the FOF has filed.

"Goldman told                       to call various places inside the FOF compound and "clear them out" for the tour that he was going to be giving the immigration officers.                       made some calls on her cell phone and drove into the FOF compound in her car. GOLDMAN                               instructed officers to follow their vehicle into the compound for a tour of the property. While officers drove through the property compound, several workers were observed busily working around the property in landscaping, construction and maintenance.
Several forklifts and small pickup trucks were seen being driven around the property to complete the work. The property was very large and had several elaborate gardens, trees and areas that would require heavy maintenance.

The first area that GOLDMAN                                           showed officers was a large outdoor flagstone amphitheatre. GOLDMAN stated that the amphitheatre held about 300 people, and was a location on the FOF property where religious services were conducted. The amphitheatre was also used for plays and presentations. GOLDMAN stated that the FOF members built the amphitheatre themselves, even though they did not have experience in building such structures.

GOLDMAN                                       then drove to a second area with officers following. The second area was a house-like structure that had a sign with the words "Tasting Room" in front of it. GOLDMAN
                              stated that religious services are also held inside this building. The house had been divided into two large separate areas. One area had been converted into a small indoor theatre, with a stage, curtains, stage-lights and chairs for the audience. It appeared the room would hold approximately 50 to 70 persons. On the stage two women, dressed in native garb from India were dancing a choreographed dance routine. It appeared they were practicing for a performance. The room had the smell of burning incense. At the door to the theater, a poster was posted advertising an upcoming Indian dance show and the admission price was $50 or $35 depending on the seating location. The second area of the structure appeared to be a wine tasting room. The tasting room was closed off from the theatre and appeared not to be open. Behind the house, GOLDMAN and                                       accompanied officers to a patio area, which had several patio tables and chairs next to a lake.

                                        then drove with agents following to an elaborate garden. Everyone parked their cars and GOLDMAN                                       accompanied agents through several ornamental gardens, decorated with several bronze and gold statues, vine covered trellises, colorful flowerbeds covered with a wide variety of blooming spring bulbs, ornamental trees and shrubs, and ornate fountains with statues. Part of the garden was made up of only of roses with several varieties. The gardens had landscapers working there tending to various parts of the extensive garden.

then lead officers into a building, which they referred to as the "galleria", and the third place of worship on the FOF compound. The outside of the building had the appearance of a mansion, with ornate pillars, molding, window frames and large curved balconies. At the Galleria, officers were joined again by                  . The galleria was full of what appeared to be rare and expensive artwork. There were approximately 30 marble statues, several very large original European oil paintings that appeared to be from the Renaissance period. Approximately four Egyptian paintings that depicted gold plated pharaohs and were approximately 12 feet long were also on display. All the rooms were paneled in high quality wood and the furniture was very ornate. Several Persian rugs were on the flooring throughout the Galleria.                     Goldman showed officers the first floor of the Galleria, which included a foyer with several statues and paintings, a main living room area with a grand piano and sitting room antique furniture, a library that contained a collection of rare books, a bathroom, a large industrial sized kitchen and a nook. The building appeared to have a basement and a second floor.

GOLDMAN stated that the Galleria was previously used as an art museum and displayed a collection of rare Chinese furniture. However, the Galleria is no longer used as a museum.

                                          lead officers through the Galleria on a tour. In the kitchen area                       introduced officers to two men, one named                    who was identified as the manager of the Galleria.                       appeared to be a U.S. citizen.                     introduced the other man,                   and stated that                     was from Chile and had been awaiting news on the extension of his R-1 visa for several months.                       stated that                       worked in the Galleria as a cleaner and also assisted with serving food.                       indicated that if officers could interview                    and clear up any problems that might be causing delay in his application, it would be helpful. The FDNS officers replied that                      had been identified as the individual who needed to be interviewed as part of the compliance review that they were conducting.                      stated that                     also worked in the Galleria as a cook, but                     worked the evening shift and                    was not sure if she would be able to contact                     right away.

                                         then lead officers through another garden on the other side of the Galleria. This garden was also lavish and contained a wide variety of ornate plants, flowers and trees. There were several landscapers working in the garden. A few people were strolling around and GOLDMAN stated that they were members of the church.                    stated again that she wasn't sure if she would be able to contact                       and offered officers to interview                      instead. The officers agreed to interview                   and GOLDMAN, X                                          lead officers back into the Galleria sitting room and                    summoned                               to come in for the interview. 

                                        asked                     several questions that were part of the compliance review. Of note was that                       stated several times that his full time job was cleaning the rooms, furniture and artwork in the Galleria. He also stated that he attends religious meetings about twice a week for approximately one hour each session.                     did not claim to be involved in religious work, which is a requirement to qualify for an R-l visa. Also                    stated that he worked 40+ hours per week and his monthly salary was $405.00 per month .                     did not live in the FOF compound and rented a room to qualify for an R-1 visa.                     stated that his monthly salary for working full time was $405.00 per month and his rent was $275 per month.                      stated that he purchased food at the FOF, using vouchers, which he obtained by translating some of the FOF religious material into Russian.                    explained that the FOF had a voucher system in which members could get vouchers for doing different tiers of work outside their main job at the FOF. The vouchers could be exchanged for the cost of attending religious functions. FOF members were required to pay in order to attend religious functions.                   stated that she also received vouchers for doing extra work.                         also stated that he took vows to become a religious brother approximately one month before applying for his R-1 visa.

"After the interview with                       was completed, officers thanked GOLDMAN,                                             and at approximately 1:30 p.m. left                        apartment and the site visit was concluded.

Investigation continues.

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