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 most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

According to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish while, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci), Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new and more perfect civilization. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Dominic Mitchell's letter to Robert Burton

[ed. - Reprinted with the author's permission. Text of PDF follows.]

Dominic Mitchell's "Leaving letter to Robert 2007" page 1

Departure letter from Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends cult
Dominic Mitchell's "Leaving letter to Robert 2007" page 2

4 July 2007

Dear Robert,

What a thing it is to have so many devoted, loving students, beautiful Isis and an esoteric school - an astonishing occurrence. Given the character of the 1970's in California, the substantiality of the 4th way teachings, the form you adopted, your qualities, the generosity and willingness of your students and the likelihood of something like this coming to pass in the ebb and flow of life on this varied world, it is maybe not so very astonishing after all.

I sincerely feel for you; a man who in getting what he strived for has paid a price that he never meant to pay and almost certainly is not consciously aware of. There is no one to tell you and you are not naturally drawn to understanding yourself. You have allowed a corrupt institution to grow around you that supports your weaknesses and you do not listen to anybody who does not tell you what you want to hear. I think that deep down it is hard for you to bear what has become of your life. The playground of your strengths and vices has become a golden prison for you. The
power that used to enchant you is dull habit. Your teaching becomes more extreme as does your sex life, balancing and canceling each other out. Where is Robert Burton's observer in the middle of all this? Can the observer endure such a close view of a man who has become a liability to his higher self and to the many students who are devoted to him? Are your constant activities the way you buffer this predicament? Could you take a week off alone without an adoring audience to give you an identity and come out of it with the same convictions?

I cannot believe in you any more. It is too improbable that you are genuine. There was a time where being part of your school was purpose enough, but now I am absorbing my time in your school back into my life. You are still in a highly unusual situation and there is still much chance of advantage to your students from your teaching them by adherence to something higher than your many 'I's paraded around as the will of the gods. You had so much going for you, so many parts of the puzzle, but you manufactured the missing ones and perpetrated a series of frauds that have held you to ransom ever since.

Expedient actions that lack integrity are surely not the basis for psychological 'work' and your relentless focus on hypnotic self remembering is no substitute for self remembering in an atmosphere of open truth.

I truly feel for you, because you are as much a product of the expectations of you(r) students as of your own tendencies. No wonder you need to do dirty deeds behind closed doors to cleanse yourself of their sheepish adoration. You never escaped the shadow of the circumstances of your childhood and you still have something to prove, even now as an old man. The allurement of the trip you were on seduced you and each different phase of identification was facilitated by your inner circle of the time. It is not so hard to see how this can happen; it has happened before and will happen again, all that is needed are the right circumstances. Surely this explanation is more probable than that you are a goddess trapped in a man's body, are second only to Christ and do what you do to serve the conscious aspect of the ray of creation. Because you got away with fraud and half-baked ideas you just kept going. The fact that you were able to keep going even when you got found out gave you reckless confidence which in turn allowed you to get away with even more nonsense.

I have felt love for you and bear you no enmity. It is a privilege to have been a fly on an unusual wall and I have learnt from the experience, however, it is time for me to move on. I wrote this letter to you because I do not think you have anyone around you who can tell you these things and they are a valid description in their own way. At best they may make another hairline crack in your façade that can help you should you ever want to escape from Robert Burton. I wish you well and hope you manage to loosen the hold your rampant appetites have on you.

If you are ever in LA and want an out of patterns experience you have a standing invitation to dinner.

Good luck!

(s) Dominic Mitchell

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