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.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

"Howard Carter" defends the Teacher's behavior

"Howard Carter" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 2, 2007 at 11:28 p.m.:
To Opus 111 – 13, #438 [blogger, blog page and blog post number]

“I can accept as a theory that my body is a gift from higher forces to my soul, so as it can do what it needs to awaken, but where does it say our body is to be sacrificed to our teacher to satisfy his needs, let alone advance our evolution?”
Well, it doesn’t have to remain a theory (that our bodies/lives are a gift from Influence C) and to some it isn’t only a theory. And if it is a real teacher we are discussing your above statement and question does not represent two separate realities, but are one and the same thing – Influence C working in harmony with their appointed agent.
A real teacher would not ask anything of a student that is detrimental to the student’s evolution. If this happens it simply means it was not a real teacher doing the asking.
A real teacher can and will ask of their students things the student does not wish to do. How can it be otherwise? If it could be otherwise, the students would be the teacher and the teacher the student.
There’s been a lot posted about “abuse of authority”.
It is a fact that teachers have the ultimate authority over students, more than earthly authority, as the needs of the spirit supersede those of the body. It is also a fact that the body’s “needs” (in most cases “wants”), are often sacrificed for the spirit (including essence needs and wants, which are still part of the lower self).
People by the millions are prepared make the ultimate earthly sacrifice, to give their lives for their nations (and many actually do). Seekers of truth are asked to give up their identifications with the body. This is elemental.
Because real teachers know the situation and dilemmas they often place their students in regarding the ultimate authority they wield, they are very careful not to demand anything that would be against the student’s will.
This is a firm law. They only ask, suggest, explain why something is required, etc., but do not force or coerce. This is the real bottom line that many FoF critics do not like to hear. It squarely places the responsibility in any “teacher request” on the student; as it must.
Again, it bears repeating: a real teacher’s responsibility is to know precisely what it takes to further a particular aspirant’s journey. He/she cannot err in this regard, at least not to any significant degree. Influence C would not allow it.
It is up to the student to know if the teacher is real or not. If the student cannot know for sure that presents many problems. But at any rate, if they (the student) cannot know for sure they then run the risk of giving up their will to a fraud. The other possibility is much more dire; that of not giving up one’s will to a real teacher.
It’s my understanding that people are deluding themselves to believe that a real teacher would not ask of students the things it has been suggested RB has asked for. There is no esoteric basis whatsoever for this conclusion.
It’s mistaking earthly morality for celestial morality, a very shortsighted approach. 
To Cyclops – 13 # 571 [blogger, blog page and post number]
“About surrendering my will to Reb [Robert Burton], I tried it and from trying it for a long time finally came to the conclusion that it was a mistake.
He is not C influence, he is just someone so abnormal that he has you in awe for now.
His misuse of the trust of those young men who put themselves in his trust is an abomination and most definitely the process of crime.”
“Also you have not answered the question if you have personally experienced his FIRST force or if it is only vicarious.”
Your explanation is not the reality I am living.
I’ve personally experienced REB as a first force, at least I think I know what you are asking.
From the time I verified the school was real and Influence C was indeed working with it, I told myself I would try to carry out any request REB would make of me.
Once he asked me to withdraw my energy from something that made me emotional and place it in another area I did not care about. I found myself answering him that I did not think it was possible for me to follow his request, my reason being I did not think I could harness my emotions enough to do it.
He just smiled and never brought it up again. Later on he even acted as a third force to help me keep my energy flowing in the area I was emotional about.
This was the only time I ever “went against” a personal suggestion of his. If this same thing happened today I would probably have enough will to “try on” what he suggested.
I realize that this post just scratches the surface, as people’s motivations for doing what they do or thinking what they think are hidden deeply, mostly from themselves. But people cannot act without some justifiable “cause”. The causes exist within a multi-dimensional reality. [ed. - my emphasis]
Personally, I see the vast majority of posts lamenting the sex and money and abuse of power as a smoke screen, a pretext, whose real cause is more “forward” along the time line of events that lead to someone’s grand disconnection from REB/FoF. And those causes, in many cases, are wholly independent from the purported issues.

"Mole" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 3, 2007 at 1:39 a.m.:
The person behind Howard Carter is obviously someone who is able to wiseacre and blab on and on and on oblivious of the effect what he is saying has on anybody. In thinking about this trait I realised that this person would manifest the same characteristic in there day to day encounters and I started thinking who in the FOF does this..just talking and talking,his voice always heard droning on at dinners,at meetings ( when it was still possible to speak) or wherever and whenever he can capture some unfortunate persons attention and is suddenly came upon me in a flash. Howard Carter is NICHOLAS S…He could not be anyone else ! [ed. - I think Mole may be partly correct. Nicholas may have been one of the characters contributing to the "Howard Carter" composite personality. But Linda T.'s personality is evident as well.]

"Ray Vaughn" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 3, 2007 at 1:51 a.m.:
To Howard Carter – Post 758
In your post you wrote:
“It’s my understanding that people are deluding themselves to believe that a real teacher would not ask of students the things it has been suggested RB has asked for… It’s mistaking earthly morality for celestial morality.”
Are you aware of the allegations against RB? I’m not sure what you mean by celestial morality and I’m not sure you do either. Is it supposed to be the way beings in heaven treat each other or something? I mean, I have a pretty open mind but I never thought of heaven as a place where the angels and gods and whoever would be giving each other blow jobs, golden showers, fisting, and smearing shit on each other, etc.
And do you really think those boys are really all that “willing”. Have you read the statements made by those who experienced Robert’s so-called ‘teaching’ first-hand in his bedroom? Almost all of those young men were frightened, shocked, and disgusted. But they trusted him, probably because he made some outrageous claim such as his being a ‘goddess in a man’s body’ and they were too stunned to resist. After all, to resist your teacher (who presumably is acting in accordance with the will of C influence) would be wrong, of course! You wouldn’t have time in that moment to make all the necessary calculations (is he a real, conscious teacher?, what will he do if I push him away?, etc. )
And now most of those who ‘experienced RB’s teaching’ revile him for what he did to them. So, did those acts help their evolution, as you seem to imply? Or was Robert merely abusing their trust to gratify himself sexually? Come on, Howard, please!!! You’re brainwashed, dude! Try to see it. We’ve all been there – making excuses for Robert, trying to convince ourselves and so forth.
You should at least have the courage to confront Robert and the authorities at Isis about these allegations and see what the response is. I would think that would be enlightening. Good luck.

"WhaleRider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 3, 2007 at 4:54 a.m.:
Thanks for sharing that letter in #770, Joel. How ironic and deeply saddening that an organization called the Fellowship of Friends actually teaches its members to betray their friends…
Howard #758 Keep swinging! That fence is getting wobbly!
“celestial morality”
Howard, you are the master of spin! Where did you dream that one up? I want you on my PR team, how much are they paying you? I’ll double it. You have a future, lad.
“But at any rate, if they (the student) cannot know for sure they then run the risk of giving up their will to a fraud. The other possibility is much more dire: that of not giving up one’s will to a real teacher.”
Again you employ the double bind, which reveals your hidden agenda, which is to neutralize critical thinking in your membership to reinforce the status quo. There is no real choice in this argument…dammed if you do, damned if you don’t, so you might as well stay. I am starting to feel Robert lurking in the shadows…
“Your explanation is not the reality I am living.”
Your reality is that you are living in state of dependency and your reasoning is skewed by the dependence on the inflated importance RB bestows upon you. Step away from that fa├žade and you truly face the abyss of your empty self. That is where the path to your real enlightenment will start: confronting that fear. I have been there. Here’s some insight that may help you one day, people do more damage to themselves and others by avoiding their true feelings, than by simply having them and moving on.
The other reality we are living is that we understand that Robert needs fanatically devoted people like you to keep the show going. Ultimately that is all that will be left of the FOF, the calcified skeletal remains. Know yourself, Howard, you are the smoke screen of which you speak. He is using your critical mind to cover his ass, so to speak.
“…a real teacher’s responsibility is to know precisely what it takes to further a particular aspirant’s journey. He/she cannot err in this regard, at least not to any significant degree. Influence C would not allow it.”
Wow, you and the ardent followers and kool-aid dispensers of Jim Jones. Does the FOF still provide the free glass of wine at lunch? Are any comets due by in the immediate future? Your fanatical devotion spins all RB’s failed prophecy non-events into a rationalization that he can do no wrong. Only God is perfect in her imperfections, and RB is your God, Howard. Now that’s abnormal. And I am in awe.

"Howard Carter" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 3, 2007 at 6:13 a.m.:
To Cyclops: # 760 [blogger and post number]
“Have you ever had him SUDDENLY grab your zip and frantically try to get your penis out in such a manner that the only way to stop him would be to actually hit him?”
No. And on this anonymous board it cannot be proven that you have had this experience either. I’m sure you understand, being an intelligent individual, that this is not the forum to prove this even happened much less what it would mean in the spirit world.
What we do know, as your words have told us, is that you have a very big account with REB and when someone has a big account with another person they tend not to speak well of them; maybe even resort to slanting the story to make themselves look more pure than they could take credit for. We are human after all and from the second state one actually cannot stop oneself from doing this because one doesn’t even know one does it.
“Can you try to explain what beneficial effect on a students evolution this might be expected to have?”
This, if it did happen, could have been the price of going further with your evolution.
“Where do you get your ideas on Celestial Morality from?”
From observing how Influence C governs and operates. It stands to reason one cannot identify with what one observes or else one will surely color it in a subjective way. But it’s all right out there to observe if one is inclined to see.
“Do you find rape to be acceptable? Do you believe that in higher realms this would be the norm? ”
I haven’t yet found a bad way to acquire a soul, and Influence C hasn’t yet created a bad way. At least not that I can tell.
“We are both looking at things from particular standpoints, are you able really to at least try on mine?”
Former students usually look at current supporters as laggards, but it is possible to see both sides and pick my side.
“ultimately the real test of all of this will come when we die.”
No truer words have been spoken on this board.
I would add, if not at death surely immediately there after.
“Oh yes and Howard what kind of a metaphysical force do you think the directed anger and resentment of a thousand people can have? so I guess that's nine questions. Cy.”
That depends, I don’t really think anger and resentment carry much of a metaphysical force; they don’t reach that high.
I think Blake also said – “Some are born to sweet delight, some are born to endless night”.
There is no justice on this level.

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