Introduction


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.")

But 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.

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 from official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the Internet Archive, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wikispace project, the (ill-fated 2007) Fellowship of Friends Wikipedia page, 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.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"ton's" Story

Image from Dead Can Dance
"Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book"

"ton" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 23, 2007:
Being new to this, I hope it’s not coming too much from ‘left field’ and as for protocol I’m not sure why this is mostly anonymous/pseudonymous but I’ll follow those examples for now. I’ve looked at some of the postings here and have to wonder about the aim of this…everyone is unique, different. But we share experience. I’ve spent some time looking at the faces and names in the members section and many of you I remember but there are more that I don’t know. I have some time before returning to work, it’s an unusual day for August in Phila(delphia), overcast, cool, raining, a good day for nostalgia and memories.

It seems that Robert Burton to some degree still has an affect/effect on those who write here and this is partly a way of processing.

The word ‘processing’ implies progression or at least some movement…where does ‘the work’ (in this case the conversation) get stuck and how to MOVE ON positively is a question. (On the other hand, there are those who claim to live on hate alone).

I moved to Renaissance [ed. - Mt. Carmel, Isis, Apollo] with ‘M’ my high school sweetheart in 1977. We ate, showered and slept at the Lincoln Lodge, then lived for a while in a tent in the woods next to a stream. I was asked to move to the Blake Cottage [ed. - Robert Burton's residence] and followed the course laid out in many of the previous posts, I won’t go into the sordid details. (the ‘Academy’ was under construction at the time although I might still be considered a “cadamite” – or catamite – is the beneficiary/victim of an older, powerful, homosexual predator-pederast who is constantly recruiting a succession of adolescents, and showering affection, preferences, professional opportunities and material goods in return for sexual favors. my question is whether conscious bob was aware of the rich pun involved in naming his house the ‘academy’ and the definition of a ‘cadamite’ ? Probably not.)

After I woke up to what was going on, M and I got back together, we were married at Renaissance, she became pregnant, RB [Robert Burton] asked that the fetus be aborted, his rationale was that the child would not be born onto ‘the ark.’ My gut feeling was that this was revenge for moving out of the Blake Cottage. I asked Miles Barth for counsel, in so-many-words he said ‘teacher knows best.’ M had to be persuaded by the heavyweights surrounding RB at the time, despite her tears and protests she had the abortion. I still feel guilt and complicity over this, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it.
I left the FOF [Fellowship of Friends] in ’83, a year before one of the predicted cataclysms. M stayed, remarried and I think still remains. (Does anyone know?) I lived in SF [San Francisco] after leaving, it was difficult, I lived for a time on the street, I bumped into and shared a bottle with Kimo Beech [ed. - another Fellowship outcast] who had apparently suffered similar circumstances, he’d been ‘down-and-out’ for some time. I slept and ate in church shelters, and later managed to rent an apartment in The Tenderloin, right next door to the Glide Memorial on Ellis Street. There is much I am leaving out here.
A minion for Samuel Sanders, his name was Robert I believe, a Venusian from Vancouver(?) he said he had worked with counseling prisoners after certain experiences…whatever, he wanted to get me involved in the lawsuit – I declined, never did hear about the outcome. Where to go from here in my story? To ‘move on’ was the idea then, that’s why I didn’t want to get involved in the lawsuit, I was trying to put the past behind. But one doesn’t forget the past…what to do with these memories? Share them? Where do they go? If there is a moral here, I guess it’s about moving on, recognizing the importance of memory, reflection, individuation and community.

"ton" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 4, 2007:
bruce 119 [blogger and post number]

when m & i lived at kevin kelly’s house we were your “next-door” neighbors. i know that m developed a friendship with you and your wife during that phase but didn’t know that she had confided in you about the terror of her situation… it makes sense that she would turn to you and “your m” with the problem she faced.
“my m” fought valiantly against the power that was forcing her to act against her will. she fought it the only way she could, mostly with tears and verbal protestations. but there was little sympathy for her plight since it was the will of “the teacher” that she abort the pregnancy. Sharon s, linda, and other rb puppets were brought in to arrange the operation in L.A. and to try to convince m that the abortion was the right thing to do…

the explanation from the horse’s ass had something to do with the timing of the pregnancy, that the child would not be born on “the ark.” what outrageous bullshit!!! “the teacher” rationalized the whole thing based on the dire “prophecies” which at the time i believed… now i see that the predictions were nothing more than fear-mongering and another means of mind-control.

i’m not a “right-to-lifer” by any means, i believe it’s a woman’s right to choose what to do in the case of pregnancy. but given the situation and circumstances, m had no choice! she was coerced from the beginning, and i blame myself for this…. we should have just fled the scene then and there, but i was deeply brain-washed.

I’ve written previously that my “suspicion” at the time concerning the motivation behind the whole thing was jealous revenge… i left the academy and married m (you took the pictures of our wedding there at renaissance). i mentioned in a previous post that i went to miles with my concerns and suspicions — the next “conscious being” and already almost man # 5… what absolute rubbish!! i found no support from him, he backed “the teacher.” as a “task” from the teacher, i thought it was essential to convince m that it was the right thing to do…. i was just another “little eichman.”

this is stuff that’s been buried for a long time and it’s heart-rending to re-live… it makes me feel physically ill.
I was there at the hospital holding her hand after the abortion, trying to console her… (what a colossal fool i am), she could not be consoled, any words i might have uttered went unheard. the intent of the abortion worked as planned — by siding with “the teacher” i destroyed my wife’s trust in me and too, the marriage. I’ve written before, that my complicity in this criminal act is personally THE most damning event of my fof experience. it’s a sin i’ve lived with for many years and i’ll go to my grave with it… there’s hell to pay. i loathe myself for my part in it and i have to wonder how a human being responsible for this situation many times over can possibly live with “itself” ?!? it’s completely monstrous!

in other posts, i’ve briefly sketched my difficulties when i left the fof… i lived a dissolute and self-destructive life, i slept on the pavement at night and aimlessly wandered the streets by day, like “wind along the waste.” later i realized that this was the manifestation of a strong death-wish, the humiliation of that kick-in-the balls courtesy of “the teacher” completely destroyed my will to live and i can say now, “but for the grace of god” and the loving support of a few earth-angels, i should be already, a long time in the grave.
thank you for listening to my story.

"ton2u" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 30, 2015:
[Quoting] 36 Nigel

“I do not know why it has to be for some… as others have ‘a cruise’ through life.”

After sleeping in homeless shelters in SF and working odd jobs for a while, I managed to scrape together enough money to rent a room in a fleabag hotel in the skid-row neighborhood called ‘The Tenderloin.’ The room I rented was on Ellis Street, the place was right next to Glide Memorial Church, a homeless shelter and a place I used to go to occasionally for a warm meal. The Tenderloin was / is a notoriously seedy / dangerous neighborhood – not a place to be walking around after dark which I found out the hard way. I was mugged one night while walking back to my room from the bus stop after work. It was 1983, I’d recently left the school… and this was getting back on my feet ?!

It was around that time I was surprised one afternoon by a couple of ex-students who showed up at my door, they had somehow managed to track me down, I have no idea how, but they were in league with Sam Sanders, and in the process of rounding up and recruiting participating witnesses for the lawsuit Cathie L mentioned @ 51. These ex-students were ‘dressed to the 9’s’ like real upper-crusters, all suits & ties, cuff-links, gucci shoes and smelling of givenchy…. (tricks they’d no doubt learned from burton). Anyway, these two were indeed an anomalous sight in that skid-row neighborhood.

They bought me lunch in a nice restaurant uptown in order to talk ‘business’ – their motive was to persuade me to take part in the Sam Sanders lawsuit. But I refused, I was trying very hard to forget and move on with my life in the only way I knew how… trying to put a horrible episode behind me, and I thought, now to try to seek some type of retribution and revenge on burton was not the way for me to get over it.

With hindsight, now I think that taking part in the lawsuit would have been a good way to process what had just happened in the FOF and it might have brought a sense of resolution and closure to the episode. I think now that reluctance to participate in the suit was a type of denial on my part, I wanted to go on with life as if the FOF hadn’t entered into it…. but it had.

I wish that I could have ‘cruised’ through the FOF undamaged, unscathed, like Cathie L, Bob S and many others… and I know there are those who even feel they benefitted from their time in the FOF. I wish I could have managed to avoid the consequences some of the less fortunate were forced to endure…. and I know there are those who fared worse, much worse than I… life’s funny that way… and not funny as in ‘ha, ha.’ The choices that are made have a lot to do with it… and it seems sometimes ‘choices’ are made for us… some call it ‘fate’ or ‘fortune’ – in any case there are the unforeseen consequences that enter in. Life’s indeed a mystery.

[From Dead Can Dance's "Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book":]


Fortune Presents Gifts Not According To The Book
Fortune presents gifts not according to the book
Fortune presents gifts not according to the book
When you expect whistles it’s flutes
When you expect flutes it’s whistles
What various paths are followed in distributing honours and possessions
She gives awards to some and penitent’s cloaks to others
When you expect whistles it’s flutes
When you expect flutes it’s whistles
Sometimes she robs the chief goatherd of his cottage and goat pen
And to whomever she fancies the lamest goat has born two kids
When you expect whistles it’s flutes
When you expect flutes it’s whistles
Because in a village a poor lad has stolen one egg
He swings in the sun and another gets away with a thousand crimes
When you expect whistles it’s flutes
When you expect flutes it’s whistles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenderloin,_San_Francisco

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Journey Forth in Milan and at Isis 2007

[ed. - Once again, the Fellowship hosts its convention of the faithful and grand fundraising effort at Isis (aka Apollo.) Beneath the photos, "unoanimo" offers a sampling of the many ways one may donate to the non-profit's coffers.]

Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Burton in Egypt

Fellowship of Friends cult leaders Robert Burton, Asaf Braverman, and Dorian Matei in Milan

Fellowship of Friends cult leaders Robert Burton, Asaf Braverman, Dorian Matei in Milan

"unoanimo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 26, 2007:
Following the ballet performance on Wednesday August 22, Robert will be hosting a reception in the Rose Garden by Poseidon’s fountain.

The reception will be held immediately following the ballet, and the dancers will be attending. If you wish a memorable late night gala experience, please come and join Robert and friends.

Prices are: $30 regular or $20 special and include a buffet dinner catered by the Galleria staff.

– We hope you enjoy it with many moments of Presence –

"unoanimo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 26, 2007:
Dear Fellow Students,

During Journey Forth to Isis, the council is sponsoring the following series of discussions to support and deepen our understandings of our inner work. Councilors will be available at the council table at Apollo D’Oro to answer any questions.

“Making the Teaching Practical” with Mihai Algiu

Friday, August 24, 2-3:30 PM at the Prytaneion

From Mihai: During this friendly gathering, using the format of discussion and questions and answers, we are going to attempt to find immediate practical application of Robert’s current teaching so as to further our moment to moment quest for awakening. All questions are welcome.

“Presenting the School to Life”

Monday, August 27, 2-3:30 PM at the Grand Bazaar – small group discussions

Developing an understanding of our inner work in such a way that we can formulate it for prospective students that come to us from a variety of experiences with various traditions, teachings and practices.

“New Forms of Second and Third Line Work”

Wednesday, August 29, 2-3:30 PM at the Grand Bazaar- small group discussions

With the Work I SERVE, second line work now is more about helping our fellow students to be in the moment in a gentle, loving way. It also includes working together to increase our understanding of the keys; sharing what we have learned and being open to hearing what others have learned. Third line work in a center now has a new focus on collecting images and keys from all esoteric traditions.

“Creating a Spiritual Environment”

Thursday, August 30, 2-3:30 PM at the Prytaneion – small group discussions

Using images and the new teaching to inspire and breathe life into the way we use the various old and new forms of the School both in the centers and at Isis

"unoanimo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 26, 2007:
Dear Friends,

To open our Journey Forth to Isis, Robert has requested that we have a Special Welcome Reception on Thursday, August 23, in the Abundance Garden at 5:00 pm. Please join us for this lovely event as we gather around the fountain for a toast with our Beloved Teacher and the beautiful sight of the release of thirty doves.

After this opening, we will enjoy tables of six with our friends around the garden.

This reception will replace the Breakfast Reception that was planned for Monday, August 27, at 8:30am at the Nile Garden Terrace, which has been cancelled.

If you have purchased a package, you may choose between this Special Welcome Reception and the one planned for Wednesday August 29 at Old Lake Nancy.

"unoanimo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 26, 2007:
Dear Friends,

Robert has asked Asaf to host a ‘Journey Forth to Europe’ gathering on the weekend of August 31st until September 2nd in Milan. He intends this weekend to coincide with the closing weekend of Journey Forth to Isis, so that our friends at Isis and Europe will be gathering at the same times. Asaf will host a reception on Friday the 31st, followed by a breakfast and dinner on September 1st, and a meeting and tea on September 2nd. More information will follow later this week.

Love,

Kevin B.

Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter.

Rumi

"unoanimo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 26, 2007:
Dear friends,

As some of you already know, Asaf is spending some time in Europe, traveling through the centres, together with Ansley. He will be based in the Milan teaching house, where we are organising some events: you are all warmly invited to participate. Some will be formal meetings, others will be less formal and we hope especially the latter will allow us to meet Asaf in an environment of simplicity and friendship.

Some of us were with Asaf on his arrival at Istanbul and then in Greece. Together with him and the Athens students we visited archaeological sites, museums, orthodox monasteries, searching for connections with the Schools and with the keys that we already know. My personal perception is that it was above all a journey inside ourselves, where knowledge and theories would become inspiration to the magic of the Present.

One of the aims that Asaf has shared with us for this trip in Europe, is that of helping us, thanks to his close working connection with Robert, to use the teaching in a more personal and creative way.

Asaf invites us all to those events and wants to underline that cost should not be a denying force, therefore please do not hesitate to contact the Milan or your centre directors to ask for a reduction.

The main events will take place in the weekend from August 31 and September 2 in Milan and they are named ‘Journey Forth to Europe’. As requested from Robert, they will take place at the same time as the final events of ‘Journey Forth to Isis’. Since there will be many octaves, any help you could give us will be very appreciated. Please refer to Francesco M. if you are interested. In particular, those who might have financial difficulties for the events, are welcome to actively take part in the octaves.

Please, find here our contacts:

for subscriptions, Gabriella U.

for accommodations, Ilaria B.

With Love, Francesco

Milan Center


EVENTS

FRIDAY, August 31st Reception h. 19,00 – EUR 15,00


SATURDAY, September 1st Breakfast h. 09,00 – EUR 50,00 seated, 25,00 standing

“THE NAME OF GOD: SHORT BE”


SATURDAY, September 1st Dinner h. 19,30 – EUR 75,00 seated, 35,00 standing

“THE NAME OF GOD: LONG BE”


SUNDAY, September 2nd Meeting h. 11,00 – EUR 50,00 seated, 30,00 standing

“THE NAMES OF GODS: THE THIRTY WORK I’S”


SUNDAY, September 2nd Tea h. 16,00 – EUR 30,00 seated, 15,00 standing
“LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF THE KEYS”


All the events will take place at the Teaching House, via Zanella

We have a beautiful inner circle, and no shortage of serious students.

Love, Robert

"unoanimo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 26, 2007:
Renaissance Winery invites you to Renaissance Winery’s 30th Harvest

August - October 2007

Harvest time has come!

We welcome any friends willing to join us at 6.30 am at the Prytaneion parking lot. You will be instrumental in bringing the legendary 2007 vintage onto the market.

All you need to bring is a hat and yourself in the present.

Journey Forth by Day – Renaissance Open House

Friday, August 24th, 3.00 pm, Renaissance Winery

Prepare your senses for a remarkable treat. Enjoy a privileged experience of our mountain terroir wines. You will have the opportunity to taste our latest releases. In addition, our winemaking team Gideon, Shawn and Carlos – will offer you a barrel tasting of our 2006 Syrah, Cabernet and Rhone blends.

For your information

If you are interested to participate in any outdoor or indoor activity at Renaissance, we would be happy to have your help for whatever period of time you are available.

Please contact us at ….

Our wines are available at special prices for Fellowship members. For more information, please email carmina@

We look forward to seeing you!

With love,

Renaissance Winery Team

Gideon, Tessa, Shawn, Carlos, Yasuko, Hugh, Massimo, Carmina, John, Patrick, Manuel, Norbert, Ronald

What makes Renaissance wine distinctive?

Our unique terroir leaves its unmistakable signature in each of our wines. Regardless of the variety, all tend to be concentrated, intensely flavored, with pure fruit aromas, a marked spicy/minerally side, and a powerful structure. Consequently, Renaissance wines have outstanding aging potential, and increase in complexity and harmony over the course of many years in the bottle. Even our white wines age exceedingly well, developing rich honeyed, nutty flavors with extended cellaring.

"unoanimo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 26, 2007:
“Let your limbs make the necessary movements, while your heart stays with the Master.”
Al-Jilani

Dear Friends,

We’d like to invite you to a Special Ballet Fundraising Event with Robert
at the Galleria Gardens this Sunday, August19.

May we celebrate the height of summer with a delightful Middle Eastern dance
performance in the Grand Pavilion, followed by a sit down dinner under the stars
in the Park of Abundance!

Performance begins at 5:30pm. Please arrive at 5:00pm for check-in and
a Margarita Reception. The dress code is casual elegant.

Menu for the Evening

Hors D’oeuvres: Bourikas

1st course: Lemon Chicken Tajine with Couscous

Moroccan style vegetables

Cinnamon perfumed onion pure with deep fried Almonds

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse Au Bergamot
You may reserve your seat by calling ….. or by responding to this e-mail.
Prices:
Reception and performance – regular $15/ special $10

Seat at the tables of six – regular $35/ special $25

Seats at Robert’s table – regular $100/ special $75

"unoanimo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 26, 2007:
Robert ~ ‘Dear, it looks like you’re putting on weight, maybe you should loose a few pounds; I’ll have Dorian suggest a scale for you.’

Student ~ ‘Robert, I’m pregnant.’

Robert ~ ‘Well, you know, as I said.’

"unoanimo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 28, 2007:
‘Robert’s Practical Insights’ with Mihai

GRAND PAVILION – MONDAY AUGUST 27th at 6PM

“The aim of this informal gathering is to reveal the pronounced practical element of Robert’ teaching and his way of working with students. The event will be comprised of a collection of some of Robert’s most practical advice and teaching anecdotes that do not usually appear in the teaching events.”

Mihai

Everybody is welcome and there is no charge. See you there!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Life Person's" story

"Life Person" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 21, 2007:
In my experience, there is very little of Burton to “access.” From what I read on this blog, things have gotten far more extreme and bureaucratic and conveyor-belt-like in recent decades, but I doubt Burton’s become a lot more intelligent and articulate.

I lived for a while at the Blake cottage ["parsonage," Burton's residence]. When Burton was interested in me, he was pretty attentive, and we drove around in the back seat of his Rolls. If I wanted to see him, there were no major barriers; we lived in the same little house, and I could just walk up to him and ask him a question. He would usually try to respond. I wasn’t under the illusion that I saw all sides of his personality, but I did get the impression that I saw what there was to see of his teaching style. He was definitely observant. But there wasn’t much substance. Believe me, I wanted to find profundity, but it was very difficult. He offered canned angles [thoughts, perspectives] to one and all, over and over again. His seduction routine, which Uno [blogger "unoanimo"] described so well, sounds essentially the same as decades ago. It’s all tapes, and his “teaching” was similar. He would sit at the dinner table and say something like “The universe is unimaginably enormous” (he had a certain phrasing for it, which he would repeat every so often, that I can’t remember exactly–I’m sure someone out there will remember it, since he said it every couple of weeks, for the benefit of those who weren’t aware that the universe is really big). Much of what he said was unverifiable, along the lines of “We are embarking upon blah, blah, blah,” or “The gods have asked that we blah, blah, blah.”

He once told me how long I would live. That was pretty cool. I felt special! A month or two later he gave me a different number. When I pointed that out to him, he seemed surprised and amused, as if to say “Well, what did you expect?”

He told me whose ladder I was on. I later realized that the ladder concept meant that if he thought you physically resembled a person who joined before you, you might be on that person’s ladder, but you weren’t supposed to believe it, because it was a “teacher’s tool,” which I gather meant it was a head trip designed to establish that he knew something you couldn’t possibly know.

He told me which lifetime I was in, and since it wasn’t ninth, I was in stunned and mopey silence for days–after all, it was the first time it had occurred to me that, as far as this lifetime was concerned, there was absolutely nothing I could do to “become conscious.” It took me a while to get rid of that bit of meaningless propaganda.

When I got into a relationship with a woman, he took me off salary, but I would stay at the Blake cottage on weekends when I visited. It was only after months of this that I was summoned into his bedroom. Although I had been living in a harem with several other young men, no one talked about it (at least to me), except in the most vague, inscrutable, smirking way, to suggest that they knew something but weren’t going to say exactly what it was. Why would I suppose my teacher was a sexual predator unless I had seen it with my own eyes, or at least heard it described plainly by someone I trusted? Without that, things that in hindsight seem obvious clues could be explained away. One young man I knew had been asked to move into the Blake cottage before me and within a day or two left Renaissance, freaked out. I later understood what had happened, but at the time, even he couldn’t bring himself to say straightforwardly what the problem was, I believe because he was frightened of revealing Burton’s secret. Strange as it may seem to some, I really didn’t know what Burton was up to until I was standing there, being asked if he could “receive me,” along with the routine about being a goddess, Walt Whitman being gay, etc. When I said no, he began masturbating me, uninvited. I pulled away. No, he didn’t wrestle me to the floor. He just gave me the silent treatment for the remainder of my time in the Fellowship. From which I learned at least as much as from all of the things he told me.

Monday, August 20, 2007

unoanimo's story

"unoanimo" posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
A boy (young man) gets a call from Dorian; Dorian says “Robert would like to get to know you better. Would you like to meet with the Teacher tomorrow after the meeting?”

The boy says ~ “Sure, thank you for the invitation.”

(Thinking that “get to know you better” somehow refers to knowledge and the partaking thereof, maybe some hug, hug, coffee table talk, casual stuff, you know… nothing graphic, nothing nude.)

So, Sunday meeting is over, boy is shown to the study where he is seated by Dorian, (similar to how a detective on duty might seat a man wondering where his kidnapped wife was to be found); the boy is wondering a little, ‘being present’…
Robert Burton walks through the library/study, passes the boy, saying nothing as he makes fleeting eye contact with him as he’s walking and darts (Bee line) straight into his bedroom and disappears from sight, so far as the library couch-view from the left is concerned.

The boy sits, stays right where he was seated by Dorian, waits for the “Get to know you better” to start…

Maybe some shared reading, a little walk in the garden, perhaps a good (one) glass of wine together discussing this or that casual student-teacher thingy, whatever that is or is to be…

Robert Burton appears in the bedroom doorway and says ~ “Dear… (blah, blah, something about a recollection he had of the boy, yet, the boy, has not a chance to say anything to this, when, right after the blah, blah, ‘The TEACHER’ says to the boy ~

“Come in here dear”.

So the boy shyly walks into the bedroom and the TEACHER immediately closes the door, locks the door with a key, puts the key in his left pocket and (as cold and routine as a pair of surgical “scrotum scissors’) says to the shy, a bit confused boy ~

“Dear, take off all your clothes and hang them there on the back of the door, on those hangers.”

The boy is dumbfounded, so quick, so little words, yet plenty of presence, right? (No, not right, though presence, yes.)

Robert Burton quickly proceeds to his bathroom and begins to wash his hands.
The boy is standing stunned, cold, nervous, mind is racing about 117 mph, heart somewhere near the tonsils he never had taken out as a child, then something snaps, all the being of a fairy tale demi-god raises up inside him and he looks at THE TEACHER, looks with a sort of knowing clarity that precludes the marriage of the Sperm and Egg… sees where the winterly clamminess atmosphere is getting its fuel…

He goes to the teacher, takes him by the hand and looks him straight into the eyes and says ~

“I cannot do this Robert; I do not want to hurt your feeling, but, I did not know it would be THIS, like this, involving getting naked with you, etc., etc.”

Robert starts to say things like ~

“You don’t have to do me.”

“You don’t have to do anything for me.”

“I just want to lay with you.”

The boy says to Robert ~ “Robert, this is much more than just getting to know me…”
The boy is interrupted, Robert says “You know my lifestyle, etc, etc”.

The boy begins to walk to the locked door, Robert moves in front of the door and says ~

“What is it?”

The boy says ~ “Robert, But I am in a relationship…”

He gets interrupted again, Robert says ~ “What? Is it a woman? (with a very negative, spiteful stress on the word ‘woman’)

The boy admits (and is made to feel like it’s a religious confession in a Catholic confession box)
“Yes, it is a woman.”

Robert swirls his eyes and starts pontificating and saying such things like ~
“There’s six billion sleeping heterosexuals on the planet, these are mechanical relationships, they are not conscious, not conscious love, these are asleep, I am a conscious being, I am your teacher.”

The boy is still with his state of being so sure of the connection between consciousness and conscience he senses that he is truly slicing time with a butter knife, so easy, so smooth, as Robert Burton’s impression simply begins to peel off, like a billboard sign during an oncoming hurricane…

The boy says ~ “Robert, I am not going to play the justification game with you, but what about my feelings, the feeling of ‘her’?”

He is interrupted again (the door is still locked and THE TEACHER is less than thirteen inches away the whole time) ~

Robert Burton says ~ “You said ‘But’, (But) is inner considering… Feelings? Hafiz said ‘Get out of the way Hafiz, you’re standing in my way’.”

This the boy takes as meaning that ‘feelings’ are mechanical, worthless, an obstacle to awakening; yet, everything is crystal clear that Robert is speaking to himself, a reflection in the mirror, not the one, the boy now standing behind the reflection; the boy starts to feel a bit odd, in that he’s being seen as a mirror, a thing, and not his standing behind the mirror-ness. After all, this guy is supposed to be an angel in a man’s body and he can’t see another swan (?)

The boy repeats, “Robert, I cannot do this…”

He is interrupted again, yet this time THE TEACHER is a bit more desperate, irritable, slightly panicky in his tone of voice, Robert Burton says ~
“You do not know what you are saying, you are missing an opportunity to have a relationship with a conscious being, this may be your one and only chance to have this opportunity.”

The boy feels for a duration of time in the moment, smallness, threat, a sort of ‘your going to be out if you don’t’ implication, a sort of ‘I don’t want Dorian to see my failure in this, I don’t want to fail at having had you’ sort of moody static in his tone of voice, his body language, etc.

The boy says ~ “Robert, would things be different if we get together?” (The boy says this because he’s wondering what all this is really about, where’s it leading, if his answer will reflect some consequence in his saying ‘No’?)

Robert says ~ “More meetings, going places with me, more times like this, etc., etc.”

The boy replies, “Robert, No, I cannot.”

Robert gives the ‘pretty pissed off behind the scenes’ look and says ~

“That's alright dear, I’ll transform it… maybe we’ll get together in some more spontaneous way later. Don’t worry, I’ll transform it. You may go now.”
Robert unlocks the door and says ~ “Alright dear, you can go.”

The boy walks through the library and goes to sit down in the Galleria main room. The door to the library is closed, 1 minute passes and the door to the library opens, it’s Robert, he asks the boy to go downstairs and get Dorian (the responsible party?)

So the boy does ‘fetch Dorian’…

As the downstairs bedroom door opens Dorian looks a bit stunned to see the boy he had not so long ago lead into the library (back before the usual time?)

Dorian does not follow the boy upstairs right away, but closes the door and begins talking to Mehia (spelling?) the boy goes back upstairs and sits back where he was prior to the ‘go fetch order'.
Dorian appears, then disappears into the library alongside/with the TEACHER and the door closes… end of story (in more ways than one).

The ‘role’ the boy had for nearly two years abruptly ended in a very ‘subtle’ way; certain people simply stopped calling him for ‘regular third line duty’ and he was ostracized, not exiled by just the TEACHER, ostracized with the fullest meaning and depth of the word from the Fellowship of Friends, nothing would ever be the same, for on this day BELIEF was annihilated by love and LOVE replaced ‘mind-games’.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Presence requires endless fundraising

"Lust for Life" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 18, 2007:
Hello again from Lust for Life,

I could hardly believe this but if you are in the FOF, you can have the privilige of having Robert Burton in your house for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it will only cost you $4,400…that is over £2,000! How mad is that?!?!?!

From the fof [Fellowship of Friends] website (if you do not read all of it make sure you get the first line of the last paragraph…it cracks me up!):

“Hosting Events with Robert

Are you interested in helping Robert raise $4,400 for the building projects and creating a wonderfully memorable occasion in your home?

If you have been thinking about purchasing an event with Robert in your home, but were wondering what this would involve, let us explain.

You can choose to host a breakfast, tea or reception in your home and once you sign up, you will have the full support of Isis specialist octave teams to help design and run the event. Your role will be to recruit your friends to attend the event and help you cover your commitment for the cost.

Our aim is to allow you to enjoy the wonderful states created by hosting Robert in your home, without the burden of worrying about the details of the event. We will provide flowers, food prepared by Galleria chefs, servers, tableware, a photographer and cameraman. The event planning team will meet with you and plan the event in detail, covering:

• Placement of furniture
• Suggestions of which of your own vases or sculptures can be used and where
• Designating a parking area
• Deciding where guests will enter from
• Deciding where Robert will sit
• Deciding how servers will enter and whether kitchen screening is required
• Deciding the location of the camera
• Deciding the location for photographs with Robert
• Recommending extra lighting if necessary

The event planning team makes every effort to realize your wishes, whilst also considering Robert. They work very hard to make the event run smoothly so that you can relax and reap many glorious moments of presence from your special event.

As a beautiful reminder of the occasion, you will receive a photo album of pictures from the event and other offerings that recognize you for your generous support.
If you would like to sign up to host an event at your home with Robert, please call the Auction Team at xxxx or e-mail us at xxxx for enquiries.

Payment Details:

Here are some considerations when choosing which type of event you would like to host:

• Breakfast ($4,400) – usually scheduled for Thursday morning ->

Robert is quite open to accommodate your needs in terms of the number of guests to share the costs. You can divide the total amount according to the number of seated guests (from 14 total to 28 total) and the standing guests (around 15). It depends more on the size of your dining room. It is also not impossible to turn the living room into the dining area. Many people respond well with smaller events as it has become quite rare in the Galleria.

Breakfast at x’s

• Tea ($4,400) – usually scheduled for Friday afternoon ->

the number of seated guests is often around 20 or 22 including Robert and Asaf. The standing guests vary according to the size of your living room.

Tea at Pyramid Press

• Reception ($4,400) – usually scheduled for Sunday early evening ->
the number of guests is often between 44 and 50.

(no Dinner Events available at the present moment)

In order not to put our teacher under financial pressure, we encourage you to gather your friends’ support prior to your commitment at the Auction. The Auction Team is here to help you with this pre-purchasing planning. In terms of the actual money collection from your friends, if you provide the guest list with the price to be charged, the Auction office can help you collect the money at the entrance of the event. In any case, the payment is considered due at the Auction or the event.
In a general sense, to commit for an event means that the hosts are willing to cover eventual monetary differences or advance payments for guests that may need time payments. It is mostly quite manageable with a little planning and help from a few close friends. You can also organize as many raffles as needed.”

I earn about £2,000 a month, and people are paying him that to have a meal in their house?! MADNESS!

Love from Lust. x

"Email" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
From: Linda T [Linda Kaplan]

To: students@beingpresent.org

Sent: Monday, March 6, 2006

Subject: [Students] Message from the Teacher: Thirty Imperishable Stars

Dear Friends,

Robert is asking students to keep making efforts to support the fine press publications of the “Thirty Imperishable Stars”. These publications will continue to come out quarterly, and are the best nourishment we can partake of in literature. They are publications that have a lasting value.

They are more significant than we realize. It is difficult for us to value what is happening in our times, and it will be easier for posterity to recognize their true value, in that they serve as milestones in our teaching. We will always be known for this: combining school knowledge with images from all the traditions that preceded us. Thus, these publications are a reflection of what we do.

Robert feels these publications are the true beginning of the School, and considers them far superior to his book “Self-Remembering”. Once these are printed and are sold out, they will not be reprinted. Volume I has been sold out. There are 100 copies of Volume II still available. Volume III is being printed these days by the Golden Pyramid Press for Robert’s Crystallization Celebration. Copies can be purchased through the Auction link on Propylaia.

In presence,

Linda T, Isis

"Email" wrote on the Fellowhsip of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
From: L.M.

To: All Fellowship Students

Sent: Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Subject: [Students] Robert’s Crystallisation Anniversary

Dear Friends,

Robert will be hosting two dinners to celebrate the anniversary of his Crystallisation. The first one is on Saturday, March 18th, and reservations can be made through _______. Seats at the Saturday dinner are $350. for one person, $300. each for two people, and $250. each for four people.

Robert is also hosting an Auction dinner on Sunday, March 19th, and reservations for this dinner can be made through _________. Seats at the Sunday dinner are $500. for seats in the Goethe Room with Robert, and $600. for a table of six people in the Salon.

Thank you,

L

"Email" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 11, 2007:

From March 14th, 2006
“Galleria Crystallisation Anniversary Dinner 7:00 p.m-$350./$300./$250.”

“Students may use time payments, raffles (on voucher events), cash, and credit cards to pay for events. We accept VISA, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.”

High incidence of HIV in Oregon House?

[ed. - Kiran Schmidt, a Fellowship member (or former member) from Germany, claims to have been informed of a concentration of HIV cases in Oregon House. The original post was apparently removed from "the Sheik's blog," but retained on "Unoanimo's" Res Ipsa Loquitor blog.]

"unoanimo" wrote on Res Ipsa Loquitor, August 18, 2007:
note ~ HIV
___________________________________________

Malicious Intent, Collusion, Connivance, Deliberate Indifference, Reckless Endangerment, Crime against Humanity, False Pretenses, Negligence, Negligent Misrepresentation, Willful Misconduct, Official Misconduct, Malconduct in Office, Fraudulent and Material Misrepresentation, Discrimination, Violation of Fiduciary Duty, Child Endangerment, Moral Turpitude, Fraud in the Inducement, Conspiracy to Defraud. *ii6
____________________________________________
[Extract from Kiran's post:]

Maybe two years ago I went with Cassandra to the local health service for a HIV test and by coincidence it turned out that the person who was doing this test was Pilar E. and then, despite having been a member of the Fellowship of Friends for almost 20 years, came for me my first insight into the relationship of the FOF to Sex.

While we were there, Pilar [ed. - HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator, Yuba County Health Department in 2003] told us that Oregon House is a red spot on the public health map because of the over proportion of HIV infected people there, which are of course students. I was shocked about this revelation and asked “Why this was not made known in the fellowship, that students can be more careful?” She told us that she had suggested this to Linda T. [Linda Tulisso/Kaplan], but that she had refused to do that.

On the other hand however she told us that Rowena T. [Rowena Taylor, Renée Taylor] had contacted her to give her [obtain] the names of the HIV infected students [so] that Robert Burton can be protected and not have sex with the wrong people. Pilar had refused this because of the confidentiality she had to keep.

The last one who died in the fellowship of AIDS was Renato and hopefully his former wife Tina B. did a HIV test since then.

However now I am get details from every side, how he had sex with half of the male fellowship population, how Mihail [ed. - Mihai Algiu, aka Algiu Mihai], makes a schedule with half hour slots for everyone, how they have to view porno movies and masturbate before to get ready, how the whole orgy is accompanied with harp music and and and.
122/10/Kiran [Referring to the original, post #122 on Page 10 of Sheik's blog]
______________________________________________

*ii6 ~ Kiran’s claims have often been refuted, though through the straw of knit-pickyness (IMO)… After allot of careful study of all of Kiran’s claims, knowing all those parties involved, I have this to suggest readers… Read the rest of Kiran’s posting (122/10) and ask around, sense and get a gut feeling for all this.

For me, I have yet to find any ‘right reason’ for Kiran to have simply picked names out of the thin blue sky and place them besides such precise ‘heresay'; yes, certain people got mixed up in the stew, yet, the outline of his story still sticks and those that did get mis-named posted here in the blog and Kiran replied accordingly;

those who did not refute his stories of them ‘personally, not through bloggers personal pictures of the characters’ are (IMO) to be considered still ‘in the picture’ Kiran has presented here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A personal farewell

[ed. - With the author's permission, the following is reprinted from the Greater Fellowship website.]
Occasionally, people have asked for "my story." I prefer posting my farewell letter of a year ago rather than, as the Hungarian saying goes, "chewing my cabbage twice":
Girard Haven, Fellowship of Friends cult leader, Oregon House, CA

Girard Haven, "Conscious Being"

August 14/15, 2007

Dear Friend,

For nearly eight years, I was the wife of a "conscious being." I witnessed the man I loved in grave psycho-spiritual decline. What happened to him is a tragedy. But what followed taught me a great deal about the organization of which I had been a member for 28 years.

My requests for help met buck-passing, denial, and rebuff; I was effectively silenced. The organization continued to enable and market this deeply troubled man for its own fundraising purposes. It is apparent that a few decision-makers know the truth, but the top priority is that the show must go on. Clearly, after this experience, it was time to go back to the drawing board, and reexamine everything I knew and had believed.
When confronted with a lie of this magnitude, and the way it was managed by the organization, it's a reasonable assumption that you haven't stumbled across the only deception, or the biggest one. It would be facile to say I "uncovered" pandemic abuse, cowardice, dishonesty, and corruption – but perhaps they had always been in front of my face. Perhaps I merely stopped buffering them as side-issues. Certainly some situations have worsened over the years. In any case, I saw that vices and fraud are sanctioned at the top, imitated by others, and now inextricably entwined in the organizational DNA.
It's one thing to tolerate these abuses for free. It's another to finance them. Our checkbooks give assent and approval, as well as enabling their perpetuation.

Should I describe them in more detail, you would dismiss them as exaggerations. You would euphemize and excuse these facts as peripheral to a Grand Central Truth, as I once did. "Being present" is used as a drug to buffer accountability, which necessarily occurs over time.

Hence, I don't know what to say anymore that might reach you. If I mention what I learned from my personal experiences, you will dismiss me as unable to transform." If I am emotional at all, you will accuse me of being "in the queens." If I am not emotional, I will be in my king of clubs, or my "lower self," or whatever the current jargon is. If I refer to any standard of decent human behavior that has held through all centuries in all societies, you will dismiss it reductively as "feminine dominance" or "morality I's." I hunt for words so that I won't, as I am leaving, trigger associations that you will characterize as "the same old thing" – knowing you will refuse to consider that "the same old thing" might simply be the stubborn truth, and that's why it persistently resurfaces. And if all else fails, the "worse for me if I am right." Clearly, I won't be heard. However, that does not absolve me of the obligation to speak. It does not exonerate my obligation to apologize.

I ask your forgiveness for my complicity, even as a spokeswoman for this organization. I ask your pardon for my own culpability in the spiritual destruction of so many others. My life has miraculously recovered, emotionally and spiritually, beyond anything I have merited – I earnestly wish the same remarkable regeneration for each of you.

What Gurdjieff calls "objective remorse" is not painless – but I promise that once you swallow the bitter pill, clarity follows. Have courage, and you will attract the help you need. On the other side of the anguish, grief, and fear, you will find gratitude, too – gratitude that you faced the truth even if it's five minutes before your death, rather than five seconds after. I intend to spend my remaining time on this earth pursuing more diligently than ever the aims that brought me here.

I cannot say farewell, because my door remains open to you. I accept that yours may not be. Others have been patient with me; I will be patient with you. Above all, I am not trying to sell you anything.

Keep your eyes open. Don't take any wooden nickels. Tell the truth. Listen to your conscience. Vaya con Dios(n., sing.)

Yours,

Cynthia

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

[ed. - Girard Haven appears as "Humpty Dumpty" in the Apollo Performing Arts presentation of "Alice in Wonderland".]


[ed. - The following is a different take on complicity.]

"Charles T" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 17, 2007:
WHY I DON”T FEEL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FOF

I was a member for 27 years. I joined in London, quickly moved into the teaching house, did everything I could to enable myself to move to the U.S. Married an FoF student. Moved to Apollo/Isis after a few years. Built a large house there, designed by a FoF architect. At different times I was a center director, council member, traveling teacher, led prospective student meetings at which people joined the FoF. In other words, the whole disaster including the postage.

I was never involved in Burton’s inner circle and had only a sketchy knowledge of what went on there. I read Troy Buzbee’s letter and heard some strange rumours, but I was reassured by people I respected that it was all OK, the rumours were exaggerated, everything was consensual, there was a lot of love involved, and I believed what I was told, and in turn reassured others.

I was very committed to awakening. I sincerely believed that Burton was a conscious being. I did pretty much everything that was suggested (couldn’t give up rock music though!). I tried very hard to remember myself year after year. When I was leading meetings I tried to be honest and only describe what I’d actually experienced, or make it clear if I was speaking theoretically.

I admired the FoF leaders very much: Peter B, Girard, Collin, they all seemed wonderful, spiritually advanced people. In fact pretty much everyone I met was sincere, thoughtful, kind, admirable.

After Peter’s death and Girard’s stroke a new set of leaders took over, much more harsh and intolerant, people for whom I had little respect. I began to withdraw. Around the same time Alison became influential and the emphasis on collecting money, money, ever more money became overwhelming. Burton’s teaching became more and more bizarre. The Fourth Way was abandoned. Nothing of any substance took its place.

Eventually I left, principally because it became clear to me that Burton is not a conscious being, in fact he’s no different from you or me, and his teaching is a sham. I didn’t leave because of his private life, though the stories became increasingly disturbing and believable.

So am I a bad person because I supported the FoF for so long? Personally I don’t think so. I did the best I could. I was mistaken about Burton but it was a genuine mistake. I learned a lot in the FoF and I’ve moved on. It’s happening to hundreds of us now. Personally I don’t think we have any reason to look back and wring our hands.

[ed. - And a different perspective on complicity...]

"Old Fish In The Sea" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 16, 2007:
I’m not religious but …

If I have one prayer tonight, it is that I will learn to see what is wrong in my life, and have the courage to stand up against it, or at least remove myself from its influence.

Samual S., Miles, Joel, Dale and Pamela O., Dennis and Elena L., Marty A., Stephen W., Patrick and Susan T., Charles R., James T., James B., Sandra C. and so many others – so many of the most sincere, talented and intelligent people left and I was hardly curious.

From some I received letters. I read them, they penetrated, even hurt, some even made me wonder, even physically shake, but soon I buffered the message and returned to my comfort, returned to supporting the FOF and Robert. Incredible! It is hard to fathom that my buffers were so impenetrable.

Then there was the Buzbee letter. 1984, 1998 even 2006. My own experiences of betrayal. So many chances to leave.

Shocking and sad that I did not have the confidence or strength to give my perceptions the space they needed but instead shoved them aside, holding strong to my shaky FOF worldview. Shocking and sad that I watched Robert and his entourage day after day, knowing what that implied, with no real effort to help clean it up or even to quit supporting it.

Sad that I buffered so deeply the many cult behaviours and the poor judgement from the teacher. Even sadder that the buffering was sometimes called transformation.
And if anyone spoke about it, I nervously looked down or tried to help them buffer like me. I did not want to speak about it for long.

What good is our intelligence if we can’t use it to make things better?

What if we could have cleaned up the FOF and put it back in householder – brought balance, honesty, frugality, decency, fairness, love, and simplicity? I know many tried. I don’t think it was possible. I sincerely believe the dream was too strong and too prevalent and we were mostly afraid of Robert, afraid of being asked to leave the FOF, humiliated and expelled.

I have paid dearly for my inability to leave the FOF. Robert’s karma somehow extends to all of us that supported it and who were known to be associated with it, and it continues to affect some of my business relations. I saw this clearly today. We truly are judged, to some degree, by the company we keep.

If I have one prayer tonight, it is that I will learn to see what is wrong in my life and have the courage to stand up against it or at least remove myself from its influence.

Best wishes to all,

Old Fish

Monday, August 13, 2007

Steve Anderson's story: The Second Coming myth is born

"Steve Anderson" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 13, 2007:
Signs of the Second Coming

I moved to the property, then called Mt. Carmel Monastery, in late fall 1975. My primary reason for moving there was to determine, if I could, the validity of the school and the teacher of the school. Admittedly, I was as about as dumb and naïve as the rest of the membership but I had high hopes of finding truth. If I were to immerse myself in the 3 lines of work, as my center directors said I must, then maybe my questions and doubts would be answered.

November nights in the foothills of the Sierras are cold. Living in my VW van in the parking lot presented a myriad of challenges, not the least of which was staying warm through the night. There was always the option of staying in the Lincoln Lodge on the floor, which had its own peculiar downside, especially on weekends when hordes of the faithful would arrive for the curious forms of self-flagellation that we all went through. I think we called it voluntary suffering. I could probably think of other names for it now.

Living like this for 6 weeks was tolerable and at least I had a safe refuge for independent quiet time that many others did not have. And I could always get in my humble mobile home and drive off the property any time the wish should arise.

Since I was not on salary I was able to be a little bit of a free floater and eventually landed the chore of being the kitchen shopper. This made sense since I had the van and knew food having worked in the restaurant industry for 6 or 8 years.

Then seemingly out of nowhere I was invited to share a house with Virginia Jenkins, Linda K (now T) and Mark F who would come to be the closest essence friend of my adult life. And of course little 4 year old Eli who would become the poster child for why children were not allowed on the property. (Most mornings Eli would ride his big wheel down our hallway, crash into the wall, all the while screaming “it’s wake up time, it’s wake up time”) Mark was from the Hawaii center and was part of the James Trattner entourage of Beelzebubian named “I am not identified with my name” scruffians that arrived en masse about the same time that I did. If anyone knows the whereabouts of my friend Mark, please let me know.

Anyway, I willingly and naively accepted the invitation to move into the house with the above mentioned people. I had known Linda from her time as tri-director of the Seattle center as some of us regularly traveled from Portland to Seattle and she came occasionally to Portland. As I had a car and was an unemployed semi free floater and Linda did not have a car and was on salary of some sort and also seemed to have loads of free time, I became for a while her designated driver of sorts. Virginia was also in the “driving Linda about here and there” business as well.

At this time, Linda was the editor of the Mt. Carmel Journal which was the weekly journal for the bay area meeting and spent much of her time rewriting said journal with the clear intention of making the thing more coherent and intelligible than the actual meetings were. A daunting but manageable task given the frequent inane and often absurd “angles” that the ever not so intellectually bright teacher spewed forth. I would, as many others would as well, often read those journals and wonder if Linda had even been at the same meetings as the rest of us, although I knew she was because I occasionally drove her to them.

These journals were then sent to the various centers to the anxiously awaiting flocks of grateful students. They were not expensive, $10 an issue I think, and even though the material between the covers was, well, almost useless drivel, they at least had pretty artwork on the cover and lovely quotes or poetry on the back.
So spending a fair amount of time hauling Linda around, she came to openly speak to me about her latest theories about Robert. She told me on one occasion that she had told Robert that he was the second coming of Christ. She had all of the appropriate biblical quotes to support her theory and had manufactured what was to her a plausible comparison between Christ and Robert. Oh puleeeze Linda give me a break. To his credit Robert, at that time, rebuffed her claims as nonsense. This of course did not deter Linda from pursuing this line of study. If nothing else, Linda was persistent. In due time the biblical quotes started to become more frequent at meetings and Robert seemed to take to the idea.

Sometime much later, after I had left the fof, there was an article in the Los Angeles Times around the Troy [Buzbee] incident where Robert was queried as to whether he was the second coming and he replied, “Thou sayest”. The transition was complete. I wonder if he would have come to this on his own without the research and prodding of Linda.

On a related note, following the death of Meher Baba, Robert said that the torch of consciousness was being passed to him. I never have figured out how that one worked.

Best to You All


"Ames Gilbert" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 11, 2007 at 8:31 p.m.:
To Correction (#11-490)[blogger, blog page and post number]

I believe your statement is too extreme. I wasn’t there for the Via Del Sol or Mount Carmel journals. But I was there for every issue of the Renaissance Journal. I moved to Renaissance in 1978. I went to all the meetings after the third or fourth issue. After about six issues, becoming suspicious, I started to make and compare notes about what was said and what was printed. I’d say that Linda certainly edited most of the angles (at least I saw her often reading proofs and correcting them in the press room. She did sometimes make some important changes, but generally stuck to the intent of the angle. But, as time went on, extra angles invented by her and Burton were inserted; some of them were clear plagiarisms. I guess unattributed ‘angles’ by classical writers added an air of nobility. Since many were from the 44, I suppose they gave their permission to their representative on earth?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

An FBI inquiry?

FBI investigates Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends cult
"Vide" posted the following on Res Ipsa Loquitur:
Dear ……,
Re: abuse
I worked with the FBI for 6 months following my departure from the FoF regarding these and other issues. If you have information regarding sexual abuse I can put you in touch with agents who would probably be interested to investigate.
Eventually they wanted me to return to the FoF and wear a wire; however, I did not feel right about going that far.
One positive change I had hoped would happen was the financial abuse that students on stipend had to endure. The FoF was lying to the government about the wages they were paying them. I was told that after the investigation those people who were here on stipend would begin receiving minimum wage and workmen’s compensation (in the case of being injured).
Please omit my name from any posting but you can share my story if you like. Below you will find the name of one of the special agents that I was working with. Interestingly I had a very nice discussion with the agents at a library here in Chico about consciousness.
They know a great deal about the Fellowship and whether or not she is still working on the case no doubt would direct you to the correct agent.
I hope this will be useful information and that if there is someone who needs help, they will benefit.
I will not return to that land until the evil king has been thrown down and his minions scattered. My own play there involved some deep connections to the inner circle and I saw all that I needed to see to understand that. That is why I refused to become one of RB’s boys, because I could see the corruption there and RB could see in me that I would never accept it….
***
If you would like the contact information for the agent please contact me on:
videsuprainfra@gmail.com

"brucelevy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 6, 2011:
The FBI Is Investigating Scientology for Human Trafficking

http://gawker.com/5753356/the-fbi-is-investigating-scientology-for-human-trafficking
“Lawrence writes:

The laws regarding trafficking were built largely around forced prostitution, but they also pertain to slave labor. Under federal law, slavery is defined, in part, by the use of coercion, torture, starvation, imprisonment, threats, and psychological abuse. The California penal code lists several indicators that someone may be a victim of human trafficking: signs of trauma or fatigue; being afraid or unable to talk, because of censorship by others or security measures that prevent communication with others; working in one place without the freedom to move about; owing a debt to one’s employer; and not having control over identification documents. Those conditions echo the testimony of many former Sea Org members…”

Friday, August 10, 2007

What happened to the "La Cucina" bistro?

[ed. - Regarded as some of Robert Burton's chief enablers, Patricia and Anthony Chancellor, Asaf Braverman, and Wayne Mott pitch in to raise funds, ostensibly to restore the fire-damaged La Cucina Bistro.]

"Critical Mass" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 1, 2007:
Yes, the bistro (La Cucina) burnt down, no subterfuge there, it was probably caused by a cappuccino machine. The FOF received the insurance money, which just got swallowed up. Then 2006 saw the bistro fundraising. I can’t remember how much money was raised, but it was substantial, and a student was on salary specifically for the fundraising, and now she is fundraising for Robert’s personal funds. But then the FOF failed to meet the milestones dictated by the county, so the county started playing hardball and the FOF had to pay a $35000 fine. So the bistro project was abandoned.

I remember Robert announcing that Asaf [Asaf Braverman] was going to stay at Isis to teach and host events when Robert went to Egypt in Fall 2006. Asaf was beaming proudly. Then Robert announced that the reason Asaf was staying on at Isis was because the FOF needed to raise the extra funds for the county fine, and of course the events bring in money. You should have seen Asaf’s face.

So the theatron wasn’t usable. Now there are further fundraisers for a replacement stage for the theatron, one that will meet county standards. The proposed ballet is going to be held at the tennis courts next to the burnt out bistro instead. The FOF will surely cut corners with the legal requirements, so the county may as well have someone on hand for the first night of the tennis court ballet—there could be good money in it for the county. There was a recent email from Wayne Mott, an attempt at glasnost, that selectively detailed the history of the theatron project, reproduced below:-
(c) Wayne Mott 2007

After many years of work by a dedicated team of experts and non-experts alike, the Theatron has re-entered the construction phase that will bring it to its completion. The following is a short story of that process.

Back in January of 2005 we received a Conditional Use Permit from Yuba County for our Theatron. Since then we have been going through a process, stated simply, of creating a set of plans, having them approved and inspecting/testing the existing structure. The completion of this process would then allow us to continue with construction and finish what we had started in 2001.

In April of 2005 we submitted our first and admittedly not very complete set of plans. We followed that with a more complete set, Revision 1, by the end of May that same year. This was really the beginning of a learning process that kept us scrambling for the next couple of years. With the help of building code analysts we learned about how to deal with the many elements that would help us finish the project.

By February 2006 we were ready with Revision 2 of the plans, more or less. We were sure that there would be a lot more work to do but we began to hire the necessary help. We hired an engineer to design the waste system for the bathrooms. We then hired the same lighting engineer that did the design for the Sleep Train Amphitheater in Marysville with all its emergency lighting and backup systems, and also a fire system engineer for the hydrants and under stage sprinkler system. All of this was done to prepare Revision 3 which we submitted on June 30th 2006.

Our code analysts came and went as well as the staff at the Yuba County Community Development Department. As most of the staff that we had worked with moved on to neighboring counties we hired the person that we had worked with at the building department as our last code analyst. He knew the project well and was a great help in finishing off the last details.

After a few of weeks of review and minor corrections we finally received our approved set of plans, 50 pages of architectural, engineering, electrical, fire, handicapped access, site plans, indexes, etc… And in another week we had our building permit.

This allowed us to move to the next phase in the process. We had to verify that what was built was the same as what was indicated on the approved set of plans. After having our engineers submit an inspection proposal to the county, we began a program of testing. The independent testing company examined a random sampling of exposed footings and soil conditions. They also used a radar scanning technique and core drilling of the walls and footings to verify the reinforcing steel. After this was done a report from the independent testing company and our engineers was sent to and approved by the Yuba County Building Department. That brings us to where we are now.

The first part of the new construction will be to rebuild the stage in a waterproofed concrete which will then have a wooden surface constructed on top. The stage was the only major part of what we had constructed which was open to question. The weathering was already beginning to show on the existing wood structure. It was designed before the project took on the dimension that it has today. We had the possibility of re-building parts of the stage that needed replacing with a different kind of wood but decided unanimously that a concrete structure was more in keeping with the rest of the Theatron and would better serve future generations.

"Purchasing awakening" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:

Question: WHERE IS THE BISTRO MONEY?

“the Teacher will use these funds to rebuild the Bistro” – OK, did he? Or could he lie to us again?

“All your generous birthday gifts will be going to the Bistro rebuilding project.”
So… where is it? The plan was to re-open the Bistro by July 4th, 2006.
WHAT HAPPENED?

Were you informed how your money was used?
************************

March 15, 2006

Dear Friends:

On Sunday, March 19th, Robert will celebrate his 30th Crystallization anniversary….
…We can express our gratitude to Robert by giving donations through the Fellowship of Friends to honor his 30th Crystallization anniversary.

In turn, the Teacher will use these funds to rebuild the Bistro, which was destroyed by fire in June 2004. The Bistro project is our new focus for 2006.
You may send your donations with a beautiful card directly to Robert at the Galleria [Robert's residence] or log onto Propylaia [membership website] and follow the links to contribute on line. All donations are appreciated and tax deductible. Our goal is to raise $200,000.00 for the rebuilding of the Bistro.

Love,

Patricia Ch.
Isis

************************

March 17,2006

Dear Friends:

For those of you who have already contributed to our fund for re-building the Bistro, a sincere thank-you…

Your donations are helping us reach our goal of raising $205,000.00 in efforts to reopen the Bistro on July 4th, which is the 35th anniversary of Isis.

In a recent daily card Robert said,

“We have many events in order to strengthen one another, so that we become too strong for the lower self.”

And now he is aiming for us collectively to re-establish the Bistro, which shall provide another enchanting venue for being present and strengthening ourselves with our 30 Work I’s.

The projected monthly financial requirements for construction at this time are:

March $40,000.00
April $35,000.00
May $55,000.00
June & July $75,000.00

Suggested contributions are: $5000, $2500, $1000, $750, $500, $250, $100, $75, $50, $25

Your gifts to Robert for his 30th Crystallization Anniversary Sunday, March 19th and his birthday May 12th can be given as donations to the Fellowship of Friends as a way of supporting the Bistro project. When paying by check please make payable to:

Fellowship of Friends
Post Office Box 100
Oregon House, CA 95962

If you prefer to pay by credit card, log onto: http://www.propylaia.org/ and click to go to ‘Donate to Bistro Project’

Your donations are truly appreciated.

With love & gratitude, Patricia Ch., Isis

Buddha: Right efforts stand for control of passions.
**************************************

Dear Friends,

On May 12th we shall celebrate our Teacher’s birthday.

Robert has asked that all birthday gifts to him be made in the form of cash donations to the FOF Projects Fund, with the aim to rebuild the Bistro.

This year’s gifts are particularly special as they will help realize the aim to rebuild the Bistro ~

Once again we are going to witness a miraculous new development at Isis.

All your generous birthday gifts will be going to the Bistro rebuilding project.

To give Robert a birthday gift, you may send a check made out to:

Fellowship of Friends
Post Office Box 609
Oregon House, CA 95962

************************************

May 2006

My dear friends,

Tomorrow, May 12th is Robert’s birthday. Robert is asking that your gifts for his birthday be donations to the Fellowship of Friends as a way of supporting the Bistro project.

A gift to the Teacher is as much for oneself as for him.

Robert enjoys the beautiful cards and notes sent to him at the Galleria. So you may wish to send him your card with a contribution. Note on check ‘Bistro’ and make it out to FOF.

Other options are to mail a check (made to FOF) and mail to:

Fellowship of Friends
P.O. Box 609
Oregon House, CA 95962

Also, you may prefer to use your credit card on-line by logging onto Propylaia.org and following the links “Donate to Bistro Project.”

************************************

June 6, 2006

Dear Friends,

On the evening of Thursday, June 15th, you are invited to dine with Robert and friends at a lovely fund raiser that will help us rebuild the Bistro.

This event will be held at the home of A & P Ch., who shall be providing fine wines to complement the artfully prepared dinner by Ilya.

Time 6:30 PM

Dinner is for 20 with 8 standing room places available.

Cost of the dinner is $350 per person. (Three time payments are available)

Standing room can be reserved for $75 per person

To reserve please telephone P. at 692—-XXXX

************************************
That was it. No more talking about the Bistro or the funds raised.

"2b" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
Purchasing Awakening (128): Someone should frame this post, and others.

“Suggested contributions are: $5000, $2500, $1000, $750, $500, $250, $100, $75, $50, $25… Once again we are going to witness a miraculous new development at Isis.”
“That was it. No more talking about the Bistro or the funds raised.”

I’m sure there’s a logical explanation. Maybe the “Bistro Project” was a code name for a top-secret initiative — and it may have something to do with expensive travel plans.

One of the most effective examples of mind-control in the fof, which to this day still impresses me, is the discouragement of any questions or discussion related to money — where it’s coming from, what it’s being used for, why so much of it is needed, and so on. We were very effectively held in check by the notion that it just wasn’t our business where the money was going — where our money was going — and that any questions in this regard indicated weakness and “sleep.”

Ironic, because our inability to ask these questions was a very obvious example of our sleep.

By the way, take a look at those figures… $5,000, $2,500, etc… Amazing that the government is picking up the tab for about one-third of that based on the FoF’s status as a “religious organization.” Good to know that U.S tax dollars are going to a good cause — the “Bistro Project.”

"Purchasing awakening" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
Where is OUR BISTRO? What happened to the funds we donated?
Dear Friends,

Our Teacher has launched a new beginning for the Bistro; it is being rebuilt in the same location at Isis. Work has already begun.

Several special celebrations are coming also: Valentine’s Day, Robert’s 30th Crystallization anniversary on March 19th, as well as his birthday on May 12th.
Robert has requested that gifts for him be given as donations to the Fellowship of Friends, which will be used for the rebuilding of the Bistro. Further information will be forthcoming.

Your continued and reliable valuation is much appreciated.

Love,

Patricia Ch

Isis

*************************

Robert has returned to Isis and we continue making Isis more beautiful and useful.

In this spirit, Robert is asking that your gifts to him for Valentine’s Day, his 30th Crystallization anniversary March 19th and his birthday May 12th be given as donations to the Fellowship of Friends, in order to continue construction of the Bistro, which was destroyed by fire eighteen months ago. The Bistro project is our new focus for this year.

You may send your donations with a beautiful card directly to Robert at the Galleria or go to Propylaia and follow the links to contribute online. All donations are appreciated.

Love,

Patricia Ch
Isis

*****************************

March 2006

Dear Friends:

Many thanks to all of you who have already contributed to our fund for re-building the Bistro.

Your donations have brought in about 10% of the $200,000.00 needed at this time to reopen the Bistro on July 4th, which is the 35th anniversary of Isis.

In Wednesday’s daily card Robert wrote,

“We have many events in order to strengthen one another, so that we become too strong for the lower self.”

And now he is aiming for us collectively to re-establish the Bistro, which shall provide another enchanting venue for being present and strengthening ourselves with our 30 Work I’s.

*****************************

Dear Friends,

So many of you are responding positively to the Bistro Fund emails and wish to contribute. Here are more details on sending gifts:

When paying by checks please make payable to:

Fellowship of Friends
Post Office Box 100
Oregon House, CA 95962

*****************************

OK, I get it. He asked for the gift money to go through FOF as tax-free donations (and not his personal taxable income). This is smart and also makes him look good.
And then… it looks like he simply spent it on god knows what.

I haven’t heard anything about the Bistro project for over a year. Does anyone know the details? What’s up?

Members of the ‘church’ have a right to know how their donations are spent.

[ed. - And in the end, it looks like there may have been a much less sensational outcome...]

"Alider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 6, 2012:
In response to 175. Golden Veil – The remains of La Cucina have been transformed into the new FOF office – so to speak it is the FOF administrative headquarter.

Disillusionment

"Another Name" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
I am so tired, so tired of all the efforts I made so many years.

The skirts I bought and wore because Robert saw a woman in the Rose garden and thought it was a boy. Within days the skirt exercise was installed. I am so tired of all the paid events I went to after Ka- ren John—–n [Karen Johnston]told Robert that he could not have any money after a new loan and dear Robert decided to start teaching events to increase his funds.

I am so tired of the contradiction of people who can hardly afford to pay their medical bills and Robert spends easy 20.000 dollars a day on shopping [for] expensive presents and clothes for god may know who. (Not for ladies BTW)

I am so tired of the people who are depressed in the fellowship, the people who asked Robert for help and for addiction on many levels (alcohol, power, sex) and Robert gives them pills or for the gravely sick he tells them this is how they will create a permanent tendency to awaken. The Viagra distributions. The amount of sex he needs a day...breath smelling like sperm...

Dear Just me [blog poster]. I do not know what to say...there is so much evidence...we sacrificed so much, so many years. Some of us a lot more then others...the pain is sometimes unbearable...

Especially now I do not see Robert so much and when I see him, no smile, no eye contact. He ignores me...the Love I thought he had for years is so conditional…

Read Anna’s letter, aaah I have to give up. This breaks my heart and leads to nowhere. I can and do not want to convince you...wisdom can not be given through simple words…if you do not get it now...you have to go through the motions... yourself, Question yourself...let go of world 12 states search the 6 and 3 and the non states.

My best advise for you is to sit still, listen to you heart at least 15 minutes a day and listen to your conscience. Just be still and breath...the answers will come.

And when you are seeing things in a different light, there will be help and friends who went through the same.

It is all a matter of time...


"Red Rain" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 16, 2007:
Folks

About 250 people left between December and now. (This number may be off by 10% in either direction). Of particular note is that an ever-greater percentage of the leavers are over 10 years as members, many over 20. The month of May saw a large spike in the normal monthly average of leavers.
You’d be surprised at the impact of seeing the disappearance of hundred famliar, respected names. As one long-term member ruefully stated to a ex-member ‘my school is leaving the school’. No wonder fomenting talk about ‘who’ and ‘how many’ is considered an undesirable ‘deviation’ of student’s energy.

[ed. - Fellowship apologist "Daily Cardiac" endeavors to explain the current exodus.]

"Daily Cardiac"wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2008:
To Ames, RVW, Paul, Richard:

To clarify things a little you are correct; Robert has taken all the predictions very seriously. That does not mean he knows the outcome or claimed to. I’m surprised no one among you has not thought this out with more reason. No man can foretell the future.There has never been such a person walking the earth.

Some men have been given accurate information about future events; some through their consciousness, others in other ways; dream states, trances, etc. Some through plain common sense.

But all men are at the mercy of Higher Forces with regard to the accuracy of their predictions. All Robert ever claimed to my knowledge is that he was passing on the information they gave him accurately. It’s obvious that he believed these events could happen as they were indicated to him. On the other hand I’m sure he was aware of the possibility they may not happen.

None of us know the plans of Higher Forces, nor the reasons they do things the way they do them.

Getting back to the point that no one can know the future, just think about it. If there was such a person inhabiting the earth, many would be aware of it. If he or she was good they would have eliminated much of the suffering in the world. If they were evil they would own the world. What would you have done or would be doing now if you knew the future?

Robert has always qualified the predictions by specifically saying he was giving us information that Influence C wanted us to work with. He played the part of a reporter more than a prophet.

But “failed” predictions are another wonderful tool to justify one’s leaving, if one is going in that direction. And in that case I can see how they served a purpose in the school.

"wakeuplittlesuzywakeup" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2008:
[Quoting above] Daily Cardiac:
‘But “failed” predictions are another wonderful tool to justify one’s leaving, if one is going in that direction. And in that case I can see how they served a purpose in the school.’
I wonder if you really know how arrogant you sound. Most people leave the FOF after many years of struggling with their choice to leave. A decision not made lightly and certainly for most not made over a few failed predictions. ‘A wonderful tool to justfiy ones leaving’. MEOW how cold that sounds. Where did your heart go cardiac?

"Daily Cardiac" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 11, 2008:
[Quoting above] WULSWU:

“I wonder if you really know how arrogant you sound. Most people leave the FOF after many years of struggling with their choice to leave. A decision not made lightly and certainly for most not made over a few failed predictions.”

I can see how this statement seems cold and arrogant and I will try harder not to sound that way; it’s not part of my aim for being here.

On the other hand if cold and arrogant remarks bother you you’ve missed a lot of opportunties to inform any number of bloggers.

Do you think there is a double standard going on?

Regarding “a few failed predictions” not factoring into people leaving; I beg to differ. There’s been a spike in leaving after all the major predictions – 1984, 1998/99. In 2007/2008 there was a big spike coincidentally after the biggest prediction of all failed to happen in 2006.

"Opus 111" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 11, 2008:
#36 Daily Cardiac [above]
“Regarding “a few failed predictions” not factoring into people leaving; I beg to differ. There’s been a spike in leaving after all the major predictions – 1984, 1998/99. In 2007/2008 there was a big spike coincidentally after the biggest prediction of all failed to happen in 2006.”
I think you failed to account for a few confounders in your conclusions. 1984 was also the year of the Saunders trial and Miles leaving, two events which, in my humble opinion, had much more of an impact on people decision to leave than did that little “failed prediction”.

You did not mention 1994 (Troy trial). I do not know the stats but I would venture to say that as many people (and more old timers) left in 1994-95 that did in 98-99. Again no mention of that little spike. Yes the failed prediction of 98 had a big impact on people’s psychology, revealing that REB had no clue when it came to predictions, despite his repeated and failed attempts at reloading on the California fall prophecy (3-4 at least in the ensuing 5 years). 2006 was a non-event as far as I am concerned. No preparation whatsoever. No big emphasis on it from our shaken, “C-influence-humiliated” prophet.

The exodus of 2007-2008 has little, if anything to do with that latest of notable failed predictions. You know what it has to do with: light, more light, much light shined on REB, his abhorrent practices, his total lack of a conscience, non-existent love for his students and compassion for his fellow humans. Scales are slowly falling off eyes of members and 1 by 1, they leave and learn to breathe anew.