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.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Change of plans?

"xxx" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 28, 2007 at 8:49 p.m.:
guys do you know why the JFBD ["Journey Forth By Day" - large gathering with the "Teacher"] in Italy has been cancelled?

It is a great news and I would like to know the reason!

"A Tiger" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 30, 2007 at 6:05 a.m.:
647 XXX [blog post number and blogger]
The ‘inside’ story concerning the JFBD Italy I heard is that it was cancelled because ‘His Nibs’ and crew can’t get Visas to travel to Italy. Seems that the Italian Government is a little concerned about a few illegal passports purchased for ‘the boys’ by the fof administration. Supposedly the passports were purchased from the Mafia, who then turned Government informers to avoid prosecution on other charges.
Sounds like an episode of the ‘Sopranos’. Ultimately responsible, of course, is RB and his insatiable desire for new sex partners.
All in the guise of ‘evolution’ - keep posting Friends, 'the truth shall set you free!!!’.
"Gabriella F." wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 30 , 2007 at 12:32 p.m.:
Dear Friends,
Someone asked few posts ago, if anybody has news on why the JFBD in Italy was canceled.
In our Italian blog, someone – apparently a current member – posted a message saying that the JFBD was canceled for two main reasons:
1. Participants were not enough (so, it was not worthy, I suppose…)
2. Visa’s problems for some Robert’s boys
Apparently, there are people who bought airplane tickets to travel all around Italy for the events; these tickets are now useless, so they throw out their money …. No chance was offered for them to recover some money, at least part of it … (for example by detracting from the teaching payment).
Nobody told anything to the students, no excuse was offered, no explication, even if the events were canceled with a very short notice.
Personally, what makes me happy is the reason number 1: NOT ENOUGH PARTICPANTS!!!!! Thanks!
Everything looks very cynical: as our blogger said, NO PROFIT=NO EVENTS
Love,
Gabriella

Alexander Francis Horn dies

Alexander Francis Horn - Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton's teacher Fourth Way
Alexander Francis Horn
Image used by Fellowship of Friends.

[ed. - According to Robert Burton, Alexander Francis Horn was Burton's "conscious" teacher, and the essential "living link" required of "esoteric schools," in this case a link to the schools of Peter Ouspensky and George Gurdjieff. But we know that link was in fact tenuous, if not completely non-existent, as Horn never studied with a Fourth Way teacher. In 1978, Burton prophesied that Horn would die before the 1998 Fall of California. At the time, he also claimed that Horn stated Burton had surpassed him.]

"Spoonful"  wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 7, 2008:
IN MEMORIAM
ALEXANDER FRANCIS HORN

August 14, 1929 – September 30, 2007

Part of an obituary – including a reference to the “Renaissance guy.”

“Alex was very talented, energetic, and had the psychological condition where HE COULD NOT BE AFRAID OF ANYTHING. I am not bragging. Almost everything Alex learned about the real Gurdjieff Work I told him at his request. But please try to understand that almost everything Alex and Ann and Sharon and the Renaissance guy [Robert Burton] taught was nothing like what was taught by Gurdjieff or Mme de Salzman. I don’t want to hurt your feelings any more than you have been hurt. You people were truly led down a sad path and I hope you recover. What happened to Alex in the 60’s was what happens to many poor orphans: He discovered he loved money.”

Read the rest at: http://www.thealexhornpages.blogspot.com/

[ed. - Here is the full obituary comment mentioned above:]
I knew Alex Horn in College at the U of Chicago from 1949 when I was 16 to 1952 and then until 1969. I was never in a group of Alex and/or Ann's. I was in a group at the Gurdjieff foundation in NYC from 1956 until 1963. I could say many things about the absurd cruelty of some of the teachers there. Lord Pentland only knew Gurdjieff for one week. Jeanne de Salzman answered questions of mine at meetings and she was VERY kind and helpful to me. She was the real thing. Alex was almost always friendly to me. In the 50's we would go to ball games at the polo grounds. We once saw Stan Musial hit a 505 foot line drive to center field. We would have long discussions about Alex's favorite books, Paidea: Ideals of Greek Culture, and Stanislavsky and Tolstoy's What do men live for. He would ask me to attend his play rehearsals and comment. Alex was put in an orphanage in Chicago when his father died when Alex was 11. He loved his father very much. I believe much of his human kindness to me was an attempt to treat me like his father had treated him. Alex was very talented, energetic, and had the psychological condition where HE COULD NOT BE AFRAID OF ANYTHING. I am not bragging. Almost everything Alex learned about the real Gurdjieff Work I told him at his request. But please try to understand that almost everything Alex and Ann and Sharon and the Renaissance guy taught was nothing like what was taught by Gurdjieff or Mme de Salzman. I don't want to hurt your feelings any more than you have been hurt. You people were truly led down a sad path and I hope you recover. What happened to Alex in the 60's was what happens to many poor orphans: He discovered he loved money. We argued sometimes about this. Me - Money is nothing. Alex - Money is everything. I have not seen Alex since 1969-70. As we were jolly friends in our younger days I hope he is OK.

"veronicapoe" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 8, 2008:
From a Social Security Death Index search:
Name: ALEXANDER HORN
Birth: 14 Aug 1929
Death: 30 Sep 2007
Last Residence: 10011 (New York, New York, NY)
SSN: 565-36-0399
Birthplace: California

Official Fellowship of Friends biography of Alexander Francis Horn:
Alexander Francis Horn, 1929 – 2007, was a theater director, actor, and playwright, and teacher of the Fourth Way system of awakening in the 1960s and 1970s. Raised in Chicago, he attended the University of Chicago, and began working with theater groups there. During this time he took a group on a visit to Rodney Collin, who had moved to Mexico following the death in 1947 of P.D. Ouspensky, Gurdjieff’s pupil. In the 1960s, Alex was affiliated with the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York. In 1960 he went to England and visited the Coombe Springs group led by J.G. Bennett, one of Gurdjieff’s early pupils. By 1965, he had established his first theater, The Everyman Theater, in San Francisco.

Alex Horn created a series of plays centering around the esoteric interpretation of current events, including the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. His plays point to inner meanings of outer events, even on a cosmic scale. As he wrote in his preface to his plays:
In The Idea of the Theatre, Francis Ferguson states that there have been three great theatres in the Western tradition:  the Greek, Aeschylus and Sophocles; the Elizabethan, Shakespeare; and the medieval, Dante (taken as theatre).  All three were cosmic theatres. All theatres since Shakespeare have been partial perspectives. 

The mirror has cracked, that great mirror of Man which in Hamlet is held up to the world to reveal all the multiple facets on various levels of Man, the micro-cosmos that reflects his entire society and the great world, the macro-cosmos. This mirror of man is now in fragments, in as many fragments as there are different varieties of theatre. Therefore, for the restoration of cosmic theatre there must be a restoration of man. Man, fallen into multiplicity, must be restored to his original unity. The great work of the cosmic theatres of the past–the Orestaia, the Oedipus trilogy of Sophocles, Hamlet, King Lear, The Tempest, the Divine Comedy–contain the psychology of man’s development, from multiplicity to unity, and are in fact the restoration of the divinity of man. This is his evolution.
One student recalled of him:
His understanding of the gods was immediate and personal, as we see in  his plays. His dramatic language was influenced by the King James Bible, the poetry of Rilke, T.S. Eliot, Yeats, and Shakespeare. He saw the possibilities of man’s possible evolution, but also of the terrible destruction of man’s spirit in the modern age.

The dichotomy of the two sides of man, angelic and demonic, and the split in man’s field of endeavor as he rises to take full responsibility for his planetary existence—having to chose between the roles of priest and king–are key to the dramatic struggle in his works.
In the 1970s, Alex moved his theater to downtown San Francisco, renaming it The Theater of All Possibilities.

At Alex Horn’s funeral eulogy, these lines of his were read:
The Promethean spirit of man, through countless ages, has labored to break the fatal embrace of Earth which has kept us chained to the wheel of life, prisoners of a gravitation that denies us the grace of Heaven. But we are children of the starry world, and not even our mother, Earth, shall keep us from our birthright.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 18, 2019:
47. Artemis44

Thanks for sharing the Fellowship of Friends new website. On a sub-page called “Robert Earl Burton,” is written the following:

* * * * * * * * * *

Robert Burton, born in 1939, founded the Fellowship of Friends on New Year’s Day, 1970, after a period of study with the Fourth Way teacher and theater director, Alex Horn, who was affiliated with the Gurdjieff Foundation in the 1960s. Alex Horn also studied with English writer and playwright Rodney Collin, Peter Ouspensky’s pupil, late in Collin’s life, in Mexico.

* * * * * * * * * *

Burton managed to found and operate the Fellowship for over 35 years without ever being sure about his own “lineage” connecting back to Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. The missing link was always Alex Horn, and where and with whom Horn studied. (And what in the world does it mean that Horn was “affiliated” with the Gurdjieff Foundation? Is that supposed to validate Burton’s claim of an unbroken lineage?)

Note that Horn apparently never mentioned meeting or studying with Rodney Collin. If he had, Burton would certainly have heard about it during his time with Horn. Why would Horn withhold this information, unless it never happened?

When Horn died in 2007, a Fellowship member took it upon himself, or was asked, to look for and to come up with this missing link. The member was Hugh J@mes, a Ph.D. in philosophy, a prolific writer, and (we now know) a very “imaginative” researcher. Here is the “report” that Hugh presented to Burton in 2009:

* * * * * * * * * *

Shortly after Alex Horn’s death a man who had known him at the University of Chicago in the early ‘fifties published a short obituary on the internet. It included some fond memories of their university years, but no information about Alex as a teacher or conscious being.

More recently another man, who had been at the University of Chicago at the same time, posted an anonymous response. This man had only a very external idea of the work, and no idea of the level Alex reached later in his life. He claimed to have been a close friend of David Daniels, who had been one of Alex’s closest associates at university. During the early ‘fifties both Alex and David became involved with the ‘Compass Players’, which was a theater group loosely affiliated with the university. The third man would often go to watch their rehearsals and performances.

He wrote that, at a certain point, a number of the Compass Players … “took an ‘esoteric’ trip to Mexico, on account of Horn’s interest in Ouspensky biographer Rodney Collin, who had settled there.”

Clearly the writer had only the vaguest idea of who Rodney Collin was, or what the group might have been doing on their visit, and this very fact gives the ring of truth to what he wrote. I deduced the date of the Compass Player’s trip to have been 1953 – three years before Rodney Collin’s death. Alex would have been 24 and Rodney 44 at that time. Additionally, Alex almost surely knew Rodney Collin before having invited his friends on the trip.

There was nothing else of interest in the posting and no further mention of Rodney Collin. But what once appeared to be a strong possibility now seems to be a fact. So, from this point of view, Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Collin, and Horn each had one fully conscious student, and the ‘Fourth Way’ lineage to ourselves is direct.

* * * * * * * * * *

It is obvious to me that Hugh’s weakness as a researcher consists in the fact that he begins with assuming various conclusions, each the product of relentless repetition (brainwashing) courtesy of Robert Burton, then finding “facts” to support them. E.g., (1) Alex being a “teacher” and a “conscious being;” (2) the high “level Alex reached later in his life;” (3) the high level of Rodney Collin, the “writer” having “only the vaguest idea” of this; (4) Alex having surely known Rodney Collin before going to Mexico; and, very conveniently, (5) Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Collin and Horn each having had “one fully conscious student.”

Yes, Alex Horn did go to Mexico sometime between 1953 and 1955. And, before this trip, he might have mentioned that he would like, someday, to meet Rodney Collin. But Horn’s trip to Mexico had nothing to do with trying to meet Rodney Collin, or even going to Mexico City. The trip to Mexico with a number of fellow actors from Chicago was not “esoteric,” but rather related to the study of new acting techniques.

We know this from a chapter in a book, “Birimisa: Portraits, Plays, Perversions: The Work of George Birimisa.” The chapter in question was written by one of the Chicago acting students, Caty Cook Powell, which she titled, “Memories that Bless and Burn.” Here is what she recalled about Horn’s “esoteric trip to Mexico” (my comments in parentheses):

* * * * * * * * * *

In 1954 or ’55…George (Birimisa) entered…into my life. I was then a neophyte actor living on the South Side of Chicago and helping to start Compass Players, the first glimmer of an improvisational movement that led later to SNL (Saturday Night Live) and Second City. A young and impoverished Elaine May was our teacher…Elaine knew charismatic and controversial director Alex Horn from earlier days, so throughout the summer she told us about the doings of some “real” New York actors who had gone to Mexico with Alex planning to work for a year on their craft with no interruption and then create the greatest theatre ever seen…However the artists only lasted in Mexico for a few months due to fights or backers backing out, though they reportedly did do some wonderful work. Toward the end of summer one day into our workshop like a tornado blew George with Jerry Cunliffe, both bronzed from the tropical sun, wearing Mexican worker pants and sandals…Elaine turned the class over to them and they put us through a series of newly developed acting exercises. I was smitten. Turned out that George and Jerry were the vanguard of the Mexico group, now down to a handful but still coming on like an army of conquering heroes. Alex, Anne Raim and Charles Bennett soon arrived and set up a collective, living together, pooling their money for the eventual theatre…

* * * * * * * * * *

It’s been thoroughly documented elsewhere that Horn did not “study” with John Bennett or with anyone else previously connected to Gurdjieff or Ouspensky. And it now seems beyond any doubt that Horn never met or studied with Rodney Collin, although he may well have known about Collin. Horn was an actor who primarily acted the part of a “conscious being,” whatever that might be. And Burton has been doing the same for nearly 50 years now.

[ed. - See also, Robert Burton stretches to draw the "conscious link" in the Fellowship's lineage. An account of his death, copy of his memorial program, and photos of Horn's gravesite, are posted on the now-private blog, The Life and Death of Alexander Francis Horn blog, here and here.]

Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Jeopardizing Tax-Exempt Status"

Posted by "Associated Press" on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
[ed. - Bolds added by poster]

All IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, must abide by certain rules:

■ their net earnings may not inure to any private shareholder or individual,

■ they must not provide a substantial benefit to private interests,

■ they must not devote a substantial part of their activities to attempting to influence legislation,

■ they must not participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office, and

■ the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.

Inurement and Private Benefit

Inurement to Insiders

Churches and religious organizations, like all exempt organizations under IRC section 501(c)(3), are prohibited from engaging in activities that result in inurement of the church’s or organization’s income or assets to insiders (i.e., persons having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization). Insiders could include the minister, church board members, officers, and in certain circumstances, employees. Examples of prohibited inurement include the payment of dividends, the payment of unreasonable compensation to insiders, and transferring property to insiders for less than fair market value. The prohibition against inurement to insiders is absolute; therefore, any amount of inurement is, potentially, grounds for loss of tax-exempt status. In addition, the insider involved may be subject to excise tax. See the following section on Excess benefit transactions. Note that prohibited inurement does not include reasonable payments for services rendered, payments that further tax-exempt purposes, or payments made for the fair market value of real or personal property.

Excess benefit transactions. In cases where an IRC section 501(c)(3) organization provides an excess economic benefit to an insider, both the organization and the insider have engaged in an excess benefit transaction. The IRS may impose an excise tax on any insider who improperly benefits from an excess benefit transaction, as well as on organization managers who participate in such a transaction knowing that it is improper. An insider who benefits from an excess benefit transaction is also required to return the excess benefits to the organization.

Detailed rules on excess benefit transactions are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 26,
sections 53.4958-0 through 53.4958-8.

Private Benefit

An IRC section 501(c)(3) organization’s activities must be directed exclusively toward charitable, educational, religious, or other exempt purposes. Such an organization’s activities may not serve the private interests of any individual or organization. Rather, beneficiaries of an organization’s activities must be recognized objects of charity (such as the poor or the distressed) or the community at large (for example, through the conduct of religious services or the promotion of religion). Private benefit is different from inurement to insiders. Private benefit may occur even if the persons benefited are not insiders. Also, private benefit must be substantial in order to jeopardize tax-exempt status.

Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT)

Net Income Subject to the UBIT

Churches and religious organizations, like other tax exempt organizations, may engage in income-producing activities unrelated to their tax-exempt purposes, as long as the unrelated activities are not a substantial part of the organization’s activities. However, the net income from such activities will be subject to the UBIT if the following three conditions are met:

■ the activity constitutes a trade or business,

■ the trade or business is regularly carried on, and

■ the trade or business is not substantially related to the organization’s exempt purpose. (The fact that the organization uses the income to further its charitable or religious purposes does not make the activity substantially related to its exempt purposes.)

Exceptions to UBIT

Even if an activity meets the above three criteria, the income may not be subject to tax if it meets one of the
following exceptions: (a) substantially all of the work in operating the trade or business is performed by volunteers;

(b) the activity is conducted by the organization primarily for the convenience of its members; or (c) the trade or business involves the selling of merchandise substantially all of which was donated.

In general, rents from real property, royalties, capital gains, and interest and dividends are not subject to the unrelated business income tax unless financed with borrowed money.

Examples of Unrelated Trade or Business Activities

Unrelated trade or business activities vary depending on types of activities, as shown below.

Advertising

Many tax-exempt organizations sell advertising in their publications or other forms of public communication.
Generally, income from the sale of advertising is unrelated trade or business income. This may include the sale of advertising space in weekly bulletins, magazines or journals, or on church or religious organization Web sites.

Gaming

Most forms of gaming, if regularly carried on, may be considered the conduct of an unrelated trade or business. This can include the sale of pull-tabs and raffles. Income derived from bingo games may be eligible for a special tax exception (in addition to the exception regarding uncompensated volunteer labor covered above), if the following conditions are met: (a) the bingo game is the traditional type of bingo (as opposed to instant bingo, a variation of pull-tabs); (b) the conduct of the bingo game is not an activity carried out by for-profit organizations in the local area; and (c) the operation of the bingo game does not violate any state or local law.

Sale of merchandise and publications

The sale of merchandise and publications (including the actual publication of materials) can be considered the conduct of an unrelated trade or business if the items involved do not have a substantial relationship to the exempt purposes of the organization.

Rental income

Generally, income derived from the rental of real property and incidental personal property is excluded from unrelated business income. However, there are certain situations in which rental income may be unrelated business taxable income:

■ if a church rents out property on which there is debt outstanding (for example, a mortgage note), the rental income may constitute unrelated debt-financed income subject to UBIT. (However, if a church or convention or association of churches acquires debt-financed land for use in its exempt purposes within 15 years of the time of acquisition, then income from the rental of the land may not constitute unrelated business income.),

■ if personal services are rendered in connection with the rental, then the income may be unrelated business taxable income, or

■ if a church charges for the use of the parking lot, the income may be unrelated business taxable income.

Parking lots

If a church owns a parking lot that is used by church members and visitors while attending church services, any parking fee paid to the church would not be subject to UBIT. However, if a church operates a parking lot that is used by members of the general public, parking fees would be taxable, as this activity would not be substantially related to the church’s exempt purpose, and parking fees are not treated as rent from real property. If the church enters into a lease with a third party who operates the church’s parking lot and pays rent to the church, such payments would not be subject to tax, as they would constitute rent from real property.

Whether an income-producing activity is an unrelated trade or business activity depends on all the facts and circumstances. For more information, see IRS Publication 598, Tax on Unrelated Business Income of Exempt Organizations.

Special Rules for Compensation of Ministers

Withholding Income Tax for Ministers

Unlike other exempt organizations or businesses, a church is not required to withhold income tax from the compensation that it pays to its duly ordained, commissioned, or licensed ministers for performing services in the exercise of their ministry. An employee minister may, however, enter into a voluntary withholding agreement with the church by completing IRS Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. A church should report compensation paid to a minister on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, if the minister is an employee, or on IRS Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, if the minister is an independent contractor.

Parsonage or Housing Allowances

Generally, a minister’s gross income does not include the fair rental value of a home (parsonage) provided, or a housing allowance paid, as part of the minister’s compensation for services performed that are ordinarily the duties of a minister.

A minister who is furnished a parsonage may exclude from income the fair rental value of the parsonage, including utilities. However, the amount excluded cannot be more than the reasonable pay for the minister’s services.

A minister who receives a housing allowance may exclude the allowance from gross income to the extent it is used to pay expenses in providing a home. Generally, those expenses include rent, mortgage payments, utilities, repairs, and other expenses directly relating to providing a home. If a minister owns a home, the amount excluded from the minister’s gross income as a housing allowance is limited to the least of the following: (a) the amount actually used to provide a home; (b) the amount officially designated as a housing allowance; or (c) the fair rental value of the home. The minister’s church or other qualified organization must designate the housing allowance pursuant to official action taken in advance of the payment. If a minister is employed and paid by a local congregation, a designation by a national church agency will not be effective. The local congregation must make the designation. A national church agency may make an effective designation for ministers it directly employs. If none of the minister’s salary has been officially designated as a housing allowance, the full salary must be included in gross income.

The fair rental value of a parsonage or housing allowance is excludable from income only for income tax purposes. These amounts are not excluded in determining the minister’s net earnings from self-employment for Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA) tax purposes.

Retired ministers who receive either a parsonage or housing allowance are not required to include such amounts for SECA tax purposes.

As mentioned above, a minister who receives a parsonage or rental allowance excludes that amount from his income. The portion of expenses allocable to the excludable amount is not deductible. This limitation, however, does not apply to interest on a home mortgage or real estate taxes, nor to the calculation of net earnings from self-employment for SECA tax purposes.

IRS Publication 517, Social Security and Other Information for Members of the Clergy and Religious Workers, has a detailed example of the tax treatment for a housing allowance and the related limitations on deductions. IRS Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, has information on particular types
of income for ministers.

Special Rules Limiting IRS Authority to Audit a Church

Tax Inquiries and Examinations of Churches

Congress has imposed special limitations, found in IRC section 7611, on how and when the IRS may conduct civil tax inquiries and examinations of churches. The IRS may only initiate a church tax inquiry if the Director, Exempt Organizations, Examinations reasonably believes, based on a written statement of the facts and circumstances, that the organization: (a) may not qualify for the exemption; or (b) may not be paying tax on an unrelated business or other taxable activity.

Restrictions on Church Inquiries and Examinations

Restrictions on church inquiries and examinations apply only to churches (including organizations claiming to be churches if such status has not been recognized by IRS) and conventions or associations of churches. They do not apply to related persons or organizations. Thus, for example, the rules do not apply to schools that, although operated by a church, are organized as separate legal entities. Similarly, the rules do not apply to integrated auxiliaries of a church.

Restrictions on church inquiries and examinations do not apply to all church inquiries by the IRS. The most common exception relates to routine requests for information. For example, IRS requests for information from churches about filing of returns, compliance with income or Social Security and Medicare tax withholding requirements, supplemental information needed to process returns or applications, and other similar inquiries are not covered by the special church audit rules.

Restrictions on church inquiries and examinations do not apply to criminal investigations or to investigations of the tax liability of any person connected with the church, e.g., a contributor or minister.

The procedures of IRC section 7611 will be used in initiating and conducting any inquiry or examination into whether an excess benefit transaction (as that term is used in IRC section 4958) has occurred between a church and an insider.

Audit Process

The following is the sequence of the audit process.

1. If the reasonable belief requirement is met, the IRS must begin an inquiry by providing a church with written notice containing an explanation of its concerns.

2. The church is allowed a reasonable period in which to respond by furnishing a written explanation to alleviate IRS concerns.

3. If the church fails to respond within the required time, or if its response is not sufficient to alleviate IRS concerns, the IRS may, generally within 90 days, issue a second notice, informing the church of the need to examine its books and records.

4. After issuance of a second notice, but before commencement of an examination of its books and records, the church may request a conference with an IRS official to discuss IRS concerns. The second notice will contain a copy of all documents collected or prepared by the IRS for use in the examination and subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, as supplemented by IRC section 6103 relating to disclosure and confidentiality of tax return information.

5. Generally, examination of a church’s books and records must be completed within two years from the date of the second notice from the IRS.

If at any time during the inquiry process the church supplies information sufficient to alleviate the concerns of the IRS, the matter will be closed without examination of the church’s books and records. There are additional safeguards for the protection of churches under IRC section 7611. For example, the IRS cannot begin a subsequent examination of a church for a five-year period unless the previous examination resulted in a revocation, notice of deficiency of assessment, or a request for a significant change in church operations, including a significant change in accounting practices.

Download IRS publications and forms at:

http://www.irs.gov/
or order free through the IRS at:
(800) 829-3676.


"Wouldn't you like to know" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 24, 2007:
MORE

Image link [no longer valid] is to image: Fellowship of Friends Donation Slip 2006

What responsibilities accompany 501(c)(3) status?

While conferring benefits on 501(c)(3) organizations, federal tax law also imposes responsibilities on organizations receiving that status.

Recordkeeping

Section 501(c)(3) organizations are required to keep books and records detailing all activities, both financial and nonfinancial. Financial information, particularly information on its sources of support (contributions, grants, sponsorships, and other sources of revenue) is crucial to determining an organization’s private foundation status. See Publication 4221, Compliance Guide for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Organizations, Publication 557, and the instructions to Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-PF for more information.

Filing Requirements

Annual Information Returns – Organizations recognized as tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRC may be required to file an annual information return: Form 990, Form 990-EZ, or Form 990-PF along with Schedules A and B. Certain categories of organizations are excepted from filing Form 990 or Form 990-EZ including churches and very small organizations. See the instructions with each of these forms for more information.

Unrelated Business Income Tax – In addition to filing Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF, an exempt organization must file Form 990-T if it has $1,000 or more of gross receipts from an unrelated trade or business during the year. The organization must make quarterly payments of estimated tax on unrelated business income if it expects its tax for the year to be $500 or more. The organization may use Form 990-W to help calculate the amount of estimated payments required. In general, the tax is imposed on income from a regularly carried-on trade or business that does not further the organization’s exempt purposes (other than by providing funds). See Publication 598, Tax on Unrelated Business Income of Exempt Organizations, and the Form 990-T instructions for more information.

Disclosure Requirements

Public Inspection of Exemption Applications and Annual Information Returns – Section 501(c)(3) organizations must make their application (Form 1023) and the three most recent annual returns (Form 990 or Form 990-EZ) available to the public, upon request and without charge (except for a reasonable charge for copying). The IRS also makes these documents available for public inspection and copying. Private foundation returns (Form 990- PF) filed on or after March 13, 2000, are subject to the same disclosure rules. These documents must be made available at the organization’s principal office during regular business hours. Upon request, an organization must furnish copies of the application and the three most recent annual returns. The requests may be made in person or in writing. See Publication 557 for more information.

Charitable Contributions— Substantiation and Disclosure

Organizations that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRC must meet certain requirements for documenting charitable contributions. The federal tax law imposes two general disclosure rules: 1) a donor must obtain a written acknowledgment from a charity for any single contribution of $250 or more before the donor can claim a charitable contribution on his/her federal income tax return; 2) a charitable organization must provide a written disclosure to a donor who makes a payment in excess of $75 partly as a contribution and partly for goods and services provided by the organization. See Publication 1771, Charitable Contributions – Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements, for more information.

Exemption Requirements

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual.

The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and the preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.

To be organized exclusively for a charitable purpose, the organization must be a corporation, community chest, fund, or foundation. A charitable trust is a fund or foundation and will qualify. However, an individual will not qualify. The organizing documents must limit the organization’s purposes to exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) and must not expressly empower it to engage, other than as an insubstantial part of its activities, in activities that are not in furtherance of one or more of those purposes. This requirement may be met if the purposes stated in the organizing documents are limited in some way by reference to section 501(c)(3). In addition, an organization’s assets must be permanently dedicated to an exempt purpose. This means that if an organization dissolves, its assets must be distributed for an exempt purpose, to the federal government, or to a state or local government for a public purpose. To establish that an organization’s assets will be permanently dedicated to an exempt purpose, its organizing documents should contain a provision insuring their distribution for an exempt purpose in the event of dissolution. Although reliance may be placed upon state law to establish permanent dedication of assets for exempt purposes, an organization’s application can be processed by the IRS more rapidly if its organizing documents include a provision insuring permanent dedication of assets for exempt purposes. For examples of provisions that meet these requirements, see Publication 557, Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization.

An organization will be regarded as operated exclusively for one or more exempt purposes only if it engages primarily in activities that accomplish exempt purposes specified in section 501(c)(3). An organization will not be so regarded if more than an insubstantial part of its activities does not further an exempt purpose. For more information concerning types of charitable organizations and their activities, see Publication 557.

The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator’s family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests. No part of a section 501(c)(3) organization’s net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization. If the organization engages in an excess benefit transaction with a person having substantial influence over the organization, an excise tax may be imposed on the person and any organization managers agreeing to the transaction.

Wouldn’t you like to know?

Old Fellowship wrote in the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
Re: financial impropriety

I’m not even sure if it is literally legal in California to REQUIRE church members to meet certain “donation” minimums. It may even go against 501-c-3 Federal regulations? And, of course, we all know that if those minimums are not met the members are ejected from the church – and shunned. This alone may be a big point – and may go to the heart of the Fellowship of Friends non-profit status.

As to private inurement (and fraud) – on information and belief – there may have been and seems likely that there were a number of strange real estate transactions beginning perhaps in the late 80s / early 90s – possibly reversed recently – whereby members (some or all who could not afford this) “bought” houses in their own names essentially for Robert Burton’s private use. In at least one case, a student on salary was offered to have his salary raised to pay for the cost of the monthly mortgage. The down payments were to come from somewhere else – but I believe from the Fellowship somehow.

In other words, non-profit non-taxed donation revenues being diverted in a hidden manner for the private use by Robert Burton – as he would take his boys to these spots for “relaxation and recreation.”

By the way, this model (in the abstract) is ONE of the main kinds of ways that Robert Burton oversaw and directed the fraudulent schemes that literally permeate the financial landscape of the Fellowship of Friends. I’m wondering if RICO statutes apply given the systemic nature of the various frauds including likely immigration violations, sham marriages, financial frauds – all operating across national boundaries – and with likely money stashes outside of the U.S.

In any case, back to the real estate, the two geographical areas where this may have occurred (that I heard about) in California were Graeagle (Plumas County – county seat Quincy) and Palm Springs area (Riverside County – county seat Riverside). And there may have been others, including outside of California – I would think Europe (but have no knowledge, perhaps others do).

It might be a little difficult to verify – as one would have to know the names of students and do the sleuthing, but these transactions and possible reversals would be a matter of public record. There may collective memory – meaning some of the students here may know more about this and might shed more light on the blog or to the Reporter ? It would also be interesting and characteristic that if the transactions related to these houses essentially purchased with non-profit monies were later reversed (or sold) for profit with the proceeds including profit finding their way quietly back to Robert Burton. The fraud squared.

At one point, a church member made a big score on a drug deal ($1M?) and was hiding from other drug dealers who apparently wanted to kill him. He hid on one of the properties near the Fellowship Property. To my memory, Robert allowed this – but asked for a donation based on the a percentage of the score.

Also, at one point – again on information and belief – Abraham Goldman – the person who became and may still be the main Fellowship of Friend’s lawyer (and who at one point for a time lost his ability to practice in California due to ethical infractions I believe) – administered a secret off-the-books fund from solicited student donations – whose primary role was to buy Robert Burton gifts or otherwise go to Robert Burton-directed projects. This was a long way back – does it still exist?

Posted by "Traveler" on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:

K_r_n J_hnst_n

To: students@apollo.org
Date: 8.12.2004 19:45
Subject: [Students] A Dedicated Amount?

Dear Friends,

This email is to all of us, but in this case, let us separate ourselves in terms of the amount of income the Gods currently allow us to earn or that we are simply given each month to put to use at this time in our lives. For this division amoung the groups of us, there is no “life” connotation of what this means; only that for now, the Gods arranged our plays such that we have this current income.

Let us also surmise that Robert wishes us gradually to take over the building of our city (although he would continue to direct it), so that he would not have to have fund-raising events in order to “pay” for the building of Apollo, but he would be able to use the funds that he raises exactly as he wished because we had taken over the responsibility of paying for the building of our city ourselves.

For this to happen and slowly, slowly, through the auctions, it is already in the process of happening, we would need some of those with the higher levels of income at this time, to commit to themselves to spend a certain greater amount on each auction in order for us to make our goals. For example, if our total auction goal for this holiday is $188,000, how much would I as an individual need to commit? How much could I personally pay of that total amount?

If, going down in income, we each commit to that amount, even those on salary (a prize drawing ticket and one “give a gift, buy a gift”, for example), we could perhaps take over this responsibility from Robert. I am certain that we can do it if we realize we are helping him meet his task to build our city. It is even becoming very enjoyable as the beauty begins to surround us.

Can more of us come to the auctions with this in mind? I say, more of us, because many of you are already doing this.

Thank you for reading this and for thinking on what more personally each can contribute if we set our minds to it?

See you this Sunday, December 12th after the meeting for our Holiday Auction. We invite you all to come, even if you have failed to bid a hundred times. Come again, come!

Best in presence,
K_r_n J_hnst_n for the auction team

“May the glory of the two worlds stay with you”
- Rumi

[ed. - The following is a response to Sacramento Bee reporter Todd Milbourn's request for information about financial improprieties in the Fellowship of Friends.]

"Abigail" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 3, 2007:
Hooray! I can post again. In the excluded interim I sent this to Todd Milbourn, the reporter at the Sacramento Bee, in hopes that it might help in his research. Of course any documenting is extremely problematic. I hope many others are posting directly to Milbourn’s e-mail:

Money in the Fellowship

• Teaching payments: 10% of gross salary, or minimum amount, which depends on the country and situation. In the U.S. about $125.

• Monthly donations according to situation, i.e. reductions for unemployed, students, mothers at home with children, etc. The standard donation would be about $250 in the U.S.

• Seasonal donations, spring, fall, and Christmas. Spring and fall donations are $750 each in the U.S., less in depressed economies.

The above payments are obligatory; any member not able to make these three payments will be removed from membership. In addition to the required payments there are constant pressures to participate in the following money-making activities and events:

• Auctions are held several times a year at holidays when the maximum number of students are visiting the property in Oregon House (currently named Isis). Before each auction, members are pressured to donate items of value such as jewelry, art objects, silver and porcelain, etc. to be auctioned. In addition various services, such as lectures on subjects of general interest, home and garden care, musical performances, etc. are donated. The large-ticket items are events in which the Teacher, Burton, comes to individual homes for teaching events such as lunches, dinners, teas. These are sold for thousands of dollars, as much as eight to ten thousand for large events. Auctions usually bring in $100,000 or more.

• Meetings with the teacher, and sometimes with his designated “inner circle” members, cost varying amounts. Seats for Sunday morning meetings are priced according to the rows they are in, front row about $200, second row $125, others $75. Prices for standing are $50 each. If a designated subordinate leads the meeting, prices are lower.

• Teaching events with the teacher (or, again, a designated subordinate) go on non-stop, sometimes two or three each day, more on weekends when there are visitors. Considerable invention and creativity goes into these events, which are held on mountain tops, in various gardens (of which there are many on the property), or on islands in the lakes—with guests ferried to the tables in boats. Prices for these dining events vary according to many factors such as the number of participants (as many as 70 at table for large seatings), the nature of the occasion (New Year’s Eve dinner is $1,000 per plate) and so forth. The least expensive dining event would be a weekday breakfast for about $125.

• Frequent solicitations are made for special gifts for the teacher. Sometimes the money (suggested amounts) is simply to be placed in a “lovely card” and sent to him as a gift for birthdays or holidays. Other times an expensive item, for example of jewelry or art objects, will have been selected and the members asked to pay for it. Also the purpose of the money to be sent may be for various building projects (most of these are never in fact completed).

• Performances of ballet and classical music are presented frequently. The ticket prices are comparable to professional performances in major cultural centers of the world. The quality of the performances is not.

• Very elaborate and expensive events are arranged about three times a year, with lavish preparations. In the spring and fall of recent years these have included trips to various locations in Europe and Middle East and include Nile Cruises, 5 star hotels, luxurious restaurants, and so forth. The package prices of these tours are in considerable excess of what an individual independent traveler would pay. In the summers the big blow out has been held at Isis where students have been asked to donate space to visitors arriving from other countries or elsewhere in the U.S. The visitors are then charged for their accommodations.

• In all of the above instances, probably the greatest dollar value donation is in the form of labor. For each breakfast, lunch, tea, reception, or dinner, a small army of workers volunteers to cook, wash dishes, scrub pots, set up and serve and then clear tables. In recent years it has been necessary to “pay” these volunteers with vouchers that can then be used to attend specially designated events. In addition, the landscaping and building projects, the basic food services and maintenance work are done by workers earning about $400 per month for working very long hours each week.

This is, I am sure, only a partial list. The methods of extracting money from the membership of the Fellowship are truly a marvel of inventiveness and variety. Some other parts of this mosaic are being volunteered currently on the WordPress blog. Where does the money go? What accounting of it is made? I suspect there is little available in the way of anything that could be obtained without a court order, and I also suspect that not much would show up even with one. The money simply goes to Burton and he spends it. He is a compulsive shopper with appallingly bad but very expensive tastes.

I don’t know how these things could be “documented” other than with the testimony of present and former members, all of whom are, or have been for many years, participants in the process—and many of whom would be willing, indeed eager, to be quoted.

I would only add that the financial abuses, quite astonishing as they are, are the least of the abuses.

"Joseph G" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 3, 2007:
Across The River #499 [blogger and  post number - regarding the Investigation Petition]

Nice work. I made a few tweaks on paragraphs #2 and 3 to improve accuracy:

There are about 15,000 former members worldwide, and current membership is estimated at 1600. The influence of this church is documented to have had damaging results on the lives of many members, leaving them in a state of poor physical or mental health, financial ruin and moral confusion.

Over the last 37 years, the property belonging to the Fellowship of Friends, including the vineyard and commercial winery producing Renaissance wines, has in part been developed and maintained by the labor of members who are in this country with religious visas. This fact has been intentionally hidden from authorities. Workers are required to donate back to the church the largest portion of their salary, leaving an average monthly living wage of about $460.00.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"More history needed?" Another story of seduction.

"More history needed?" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 27, 2007:
My sexual experiences with Robert Burton started after one of the dinners at the Academy. I was 19 years old at that time and I had been at Renaissance for about a month. I had been to a dinner before but this time things went different then what I expected. After the dinner Robert asked me to stay a minute. When everybody had left he invited me into his “office”. He seated himself on the couch and invited me to come sit next to him. After a little bit of small talk he suddenly unzipped my pants and started to give me a blowjob. I was stunned, paralyzed and perplexed of what was happening. I had not even the slightest clue this was going to happen, and there was no time to say no.

When I came to my senses I said that I had to go to the bathroom (which was true). In the bathroom next to his office I was alone for a moment and this gave me a little time to recover from the shock and think things over. I really did not know what to think of it. This wasn’t something that I would have pursued on my own. But I felt that I couldn’t possibly reject the person that was my teacher, and the fact that Robert said that it was for my own good added even more weight to this. After a few minutes I went back, feeling ashamed that I was having sex with a man.

After I returned he took me to his bedroom where he continued to give me a blowjob. Physically it was somewhat stimulating but emotionally it was repulsing. Robert had noticed this because I had trouble keeping an erection. He said that I could “come between his legs if I wanted to” but that idea sounded totally disgusting to me and I didn’t respond to that.

I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible but I still felt I could not say no to Robert. In the end I managed to climax by fantasizing about having sex with women instead. Afterwards we were lying on his bed when the lights went on and off erratically. Robert said that C-Influence did that, and that C-Influence wanted us to be intimate.

Robert led me out of the front door. I was so happy that I did not have to pass through the kitchen, and that I saw no other people. Ashamed I disappeared in the night. Strange as it may sound, all of this hadn’t undermined my trust in Robert. I just didn’t know how to handle the situation and my own feelings.

About a week later we were working in the vineyard when Robert’s metallic 4wheel drive drove up to our spot and stopped. We were in the harvesting time and we were just having a break from the hard work and hot weather. Rosemary Rexford came walking up to me joking “Somebody must like you very much because you’re going out swimming”. We went swimming in a river not far from Renaissance. There were about 10 young men my age and a few older men that usually accompanied Robert wherever he went (like his secretary and the 2 men living at the Academy). Everybody was swimming naked, what somehow felt strange considering the strict swimsuit dress code in the Fellowship of friends. It was only much later that I understood that Robert took his Harem out for a swim.

A few days later I was at the lodge. It was quite late and most people had gone home. I was called to the phone because Robert wanted to speak with me. Robert asked me to come to him. I said that I’d like to be around him, but that I did not want to have sex with him again. Apparently that was the deal and I told him I was not coming.

Shortly after I was invited for a dinner. It happened to be a small dinner in Robert’s wine cellar at the Academy. There where 2 small tables. I sat with Robert on the one table. Robert’s secretary sat with another man on the other table. I could not see them because I was sitting with my back to them. Robert was Clearly “not amused” about our phone conversation. Seeing him trying to hide his irritation I asked him “Is that a ‘conscious’ negative emotion?” He said “Yes …”. In all my naivety I believed him. After dinner I thanked Robert for the nice dinner. I persisted that I did not want to have sex with him and I went home.

From that moment on a lot of things changed for me. When it became clear to Robert that I wasn’t going to have sex with him again, a lot of doors slammed shut. No more attention or kind words from Robert. No more dinners. No more presents. No more teaching. No more unconditional love. Even when I stopped his car he totally ignored me. (as a side note: his male companions in the car gave me their feminine-dominance-raised-eybrows-look that made my confusion even bigger). I felt very alone during that time and didn’t (dare to) speak with anybody about it. He did call me once a few weeks later if I would reconsider having sex with him but I had already made up my mind that I would not do anything like that ever again.

I went on to stay at Renaissance for the remainder of my 1 year visa. After I returned to my home country I remained in the Fellowship of friends for another 3 years. At the end of my membership I stayed in the Fellowship of Friends because of all the sincere people at the Centre, who have been really helpful to me in many ways. However there came a point that I saw that students were becoming more and more identified with the form, and I could no longer bear the feeling that I was still supporting Robert by staying there. At one point I tried to talk to our Centre Director about my experiences with Robert. She replied: “Sometimes one has to transform the teacher’s weaknesses”.

It took me a long time to sort this thing out by myself. This hadn’t been a relationship of equals. Instead Robert abused his authority and my naivety to force me into having sex with him. If he had asked me first, telling me that it was for his own personal pleasure and that there was no obligation to have sex with him, then I would certainly have said no. Instead he jumped on me when I had all my personality defenses down. He used my naivety by telling me that having sex with him was for my own good and that it was with the consent of C Influence. He used everything he could find to get me into his bed: dinners, gifts, attention. And when that did not work he took all that away and used that to force me into having sex with him again. And most of all, he made me do something I felt disgusted about.

I am very sure Robert has no conscience, and therefore cannot be conscious either. I made the mistake in believing that “the lower cannot see the higher”. But in reality it is more like “The lower cannot see anything – not above and not below”. I do believe he is another kind of very special person. Ouspensky writes about this kind: “A hasnamuss is someone who is a tramp and a lunatic at the same time. [...] he never hesitates to sacrifice people or to create an enormous amount of suffering, just for his own personal ambitions”.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 27, 2007:

Dear ‘More History Needed?’,

Thank you very much for telling your story so clearly and simply. If anyone reads this and is not moved by the predicament of a young man suddenly thrust into an untenable situation, they have not even the glimmerings of conscience.

This is exactly how Burton operates, and has always operated, from the beginning. The internal culture of the Fellowship of Friends supports Burton completely and unconditionally; there is no help for the young men at all. In these situations, it is a case of “every man’s hand turned against one”, where there is not only no aid from the supposed “friends” around one, but actually the opposite, an active energy to get the unfortunate victim to submit and join the gang of delinquents. Sheila G. knew she was setting up victims with her ‘little breakfasts’ all those years ago. The center directors (with a few exceptions) know exactly what they are doing when they set up meetings between likely ‘prospects’ and Burton, or send photographs to Isis. The young men already in his entourage know exactly what they are doing when they wine and dine and prepare candidates (‘fresh meat’) for seduction. The kitchen staff in the Academy know what they are supporting, the sommeliers and servers likewise. The doctors who prescribe the drugs for ‘erectile dysfunction’, ‘pain’, ‘depression’, and so on, know exactly how these drugs are misused.

This has nothing to do with consciousness, except accidentally—anyone caught in a horror or trauma remembers the situation quite clearly. This has everything to do with Burton’s complete lack of pity, conscience, or consciousness. It has everything to do with Burton’s unbridled self–indulgence, hubris, and extravagance. His world is set up for one purpose, to do his every bidding and consummate his every desire, every hour of every day.

And this is what the “Vinnie the Fishes” [Fellowship of Friends shills] support. If some of their ‘friends’ must visit hell, they can just pass by on the other side; it is none of their business, they imagine they are getting what they came for, and as long as they ‘have their states’ and are not directly affected, why should they be bothered?

Whalerider [blogger], you have given enough, and maybe too much. Leave the blog aside, make friends with your wife again; give her your energy, attention and love.

I send both of you my best wishes, affection and love. May healing energy closely attend you and all others who have suffered or are suffering today.

Ames

Sunday, September 16, 2007

"Conscious" crimes and abuse

"Vena" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 16, 2007:
Three Stories That Should Be Told

Here are three more instances of abuse by the Fellowship that should be told because they are further examples of how the Fellowship mistreats people and acts as though they are above the law.

1. Many people know of this event but for those who don’t I will outline it again here. There was an afternoon tea with Robert held at the home of a member. One of the people attending was an older man with a degenerative eye disease. He had been a very loyal and supportive member of the Fellowship for thirty years. He has the habit of frequently closing his eyes for short periods due to the discomfort he experiences with his eye condition. He has been doing this for years.

He was seated out of view of Robert but was listening to his commentaries that were, as always, prompted by Asaf who could see the student in question. After the meeting Asaf went to Robert and said that XX was closing his eyes during the event and that this indicated that he was not showing respect for Robert or his teaching. Linda Tulisso was called and instructed to tell the student that he was being given a two month leave of absence and that he must be out of Oregon House in 48 hours. The student explained why he had been closing his eyes and reminded Linda that he did not have a car, did not drive and had no where to go on such short notice. Her callous remark was, “You’ll figure something out.”

This incident was the “last straw” for several people I know. This kind of cruelty and insensitivity is almost beyond comprehension. But as we all know, members of the Fellowship and especially the officers, directors and other enablers close to Robert have no problem justifying inhuman behavior and, tragically, they are even unable to see how inhuman it is.

I suppose the Fellowship has the right to suspend the membership of anyone they chose and refuse them entry to the Fellowship property but to claim the right to force someone from their home and out of the community at large is a gross violation of civil rights. And there were other violations of this person’s civil rights as conditions to restore membership.

2. This story concerns another very loyal member of more than thirty years membership. The person lives in Oregon House near other members of the Fellowship. They live in a small trailer which does not have room for all of their belongings. Many of these things were consequently stored outside. The neighbors complained to the Fellowship and the student was given a deadline by the Fellowship officials to move her belongings. She was unable to meet the deadline. The Fellowship arrived with a dump truck, picked up her belongings and threw them away. How can something like this be legal?

3. There was a history of the Fellowship intercepting mail as a means of damage control in the past and apparently it is still occurring. Just lately a letter to a recently departed member was opened and read by K.J. who then sent it over to Abraham Goldman’s office. This person received a call from Abe’s office saying that they had a letter intended for her that had been opened by mistake. They made an exaggerated effort at claiming that it was a mistake and then issued an official letter of explanation in an attempt to cover up this violation of personal property.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

First Encounters of the INS kind

[ed. - It appears the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has finally taken seriously the widespread fraud and abuse practiced by The Fellowship of Friends under the government's R-1 Visa program.]

"R.I.L. Lollipop Company" ["unoanimo"] wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 11, 2007:

Lollipop Update
_________________

59+ Fellowship of Friends religious visa holders are now on their way back to momma and daddy, i.e., their respectfully surprised original homelands, compliments of the INS and ours truly (you know who)…

Bon Voyage!

"More history needed?" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 12, 2007:

I heard:

70 people who have a religious visa have to go back to their country of origine.
The Russian boys will keep a salary and Robert will be visiting them in Europe?
Anna Mar– F is asked to leave the country?

What is the responsibility of the board/ council members. Will they be interviewed and what will be the consequences?

Will A.G [Abraham Goldman, attorney] and E.B [Elizabeth Blake] be interviewed too as they have been dealing with religious visa’s in the past?

Robert is traveling next week to Europe for 5 weeks???

Will there be more investigations?

Keep paying your donations so Robert Burton can keep traveling?

Time will give us many answers…patience.

Enjoy September.

"In Pieces" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 12, 2007:

# 512 More History Needed [reply to above]

MORE INFO COMING OUT

70 religious worker visas deemed fraudulent by the INS.

The top immigration lawyer that AG [Abraham Goldman] saw in LA advised that all R-1 (religious workers!! on the R-1/R-2 visas) should be returned back to their country of origin- before INS issues subpeonas [sic] and has them officially deported. Word has it that the immigration lawyer in LA also refused to take on the Fellowship of Friends case, as he did not think they had a leg to stand on.

Robert Burton is continuing all the salaries of his private harem while they are in Russia (compliments of the hard working students who stay in the Fellowship of Friends).

Most likely he will be spending more time in Russia and Europe since his harem will be significantly depleted at Isis.

The ‘inner circle’ executive powers in the Fellowship of Friends will be paying for transportation and providing extra funds for those R-1 visa holders that are deemed ‘risky’ (meaning, those who are currently more vocal or disgruntled), to get them out of the country first and quickly, so the INS does not have a chance to interview them.

Looks like M_h_i [Mihai Algiu, aka Algiu Mihai] will be returning to Romania. Geee- he didn’t get his green card in time! D_r__n [Dorian Matei] will be staying – after all his Green card is in the works as a result of his ‘official’ marriage to Ed_t [Edith Minne].

Question? Hey how come the little guy always gets the shaft, and the main player (Robert Burton) goes off to Europe for 5 weeks to enjoy his boys there and the life style to which he has become accustomed.

But, oh what luck! That means more events in Europe with Robert Burton and Asaf. After all the Euro is trading at $1.38 against the dollar. Bigger bang for the buck. For every $ 100 euro event, Robert gets to take home $138 US.

Enjoy making your $775 September donation plus your teaching payment . At least you know someone is enjoying your hard earned money!

Oh, and for those who are concerned whether the ‘teacher’ will return to the USA soon or not, don’t worry Robert Burton will be back in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas to pick up more cash. Save up folks, Thanksgiving and Christmas is just around the corner, bring your check books or credit cards, for more event filled days.

Enjoy September!

"Vena" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 12, 2007:

Apparently Robert Burton is planning on leaving for Italy in a few days. Many people have predicted that he would flee if things got too hot, leaving others to clean up the mess and pay the fines, serve the time, etc.

"R.I.L. Lollipop Company" ["unoanimo"] wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 13, 2007:

Lollipop Update #3

530 [blog post]

Asaf [Asaf Braverman] was the ‘do’ [event that started it] of all the cracker crumbs in the bed sheets, naturally, nothing preemptive about that; thank Israel too.

"Laura" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 13, 2007:

Vena 526 [blogger and post]

Italy, hmmm… if someone gives us his whereabouts there are a few people here waiting for the Beloved Teacher with hands full of fresh red tomatoes and rotten eggs…

I know RB loves this country, but I don’t think it would be very smart of him to try to set up shop or retire here. The Italian police and Ministry of the Interior have files on the FoF which has been classified as a cult. There is also a funny story here that fellowship dentists hypnotize people by inserting slow-release narcotics in their fillings. It’s pretty amazing and I have no idea how the rumor started but every Italian site on cults repeats this info. So, instead of focusing on real abuse Italian intelligence is worrying about FoF dentists. Go figure. But we can always give them an update…

"Wouldn't you like to know" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 24, 2007:

For those who may be concerned about the innocent religious visa holders that are returning to country of origin:

Yes, it is rather disruptive of their lives. Colateral [sic] damage, alas. They are not necessarily being sent home as a preemptive move by The Fellowship of Friends and Abraham Goldman and Associates (the FoF lawyers).

Although that would be a valid strategy in an effort to minimize the damages and cut the losses. Consider that Homeland Security has been privately individually interviewing visa holders, that FoF was instrumental in the process of getting the visas for, for 6 or more months now. And is probably revisiting all visa activity historically FoF related. Like MySpace, which law enforcement has found to be an excellent source of research material for criminal activity/evidence, so are the The Fellowship of Friends Discussion pages. The authorities likely have the goods they need (read: evidence and/or depositions) and an alternative scenario might be: get the innocents out of the way before the big guns are brought in. – You know, the scene where the women, children, old and the lame have a chance to get out of harms way before the worst of the combat comes into play. Wouldn’t want any of them to get hurt unnecessarily and certainly wouldn’t want any of them taken prisoner/hostage. The foreigners will be safe at home country where Homeland Security knows how to find them when court appearance may become necessary and the U.S. of A. will not have to host them further or they could disappear into the witness protection program under the guise of having gone home. U.S. of A has learned much since Waco/Branch Davidian, Ruby Ridge and Jonestown. So, the FoF scenario will likely not be so extreme; which otherwise would reflect badly on the government(s) and/or elicit sympathy from the general populace for the persecuted.
Besides the immigration business, there are other agencies looking closely at FoF. Just follow the money; use forensic accountancy. Private inurement is rampant.

What’s that mean you say?:

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Private Inurement

Private inurement occurs when someone with a controlling interest in a non-profit corporation uses their position to influence the application of the organizations resources for their own or another’s personal gain.

An example would be if leader X of Y, a nonprofit group, was able to influence Y’s board of directors to, say, award a construction contract to a company owned by X or Z. As a result of the arrangement, X or Z will enrich (inure) through the application of Y’s resources to a project that was profitable to X’s or Z’s company.
Let’s say for example, an individual or contractor that attended a church performed work on the Pastor’s personal residence, or other property. In exchange for the work, the church provided free bible college tuition or school tuition. This arrangement, if it exists, is problematic for two reasons. 1) The Pastor has enriched (inured) himself by bartering the resources of the church (bible college classes and school) in exchange for work on his personal residence. The person performing the work has reportable income equal to the fair market value of the tuition received.
Private inurement violations, have caused some organizations (religious included) to loose their tax exempt status with the IRS.

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In 37 years there is surely evidence of regular and repeated acts of inurement; better check those Swiss bank accounts.

Wouldn’t you like to know?

"In Pieces" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 19, 2007:

A Few More Lies and Some Truth

Lie: Students are being told that everything on the Blog is a lie- don’t read it because none of it is true (just negativity)

Lie: Students are being told that Asaf [Asaf Braverman] is in Milan to help the Europeans understand the sequence and to create a "European Go Forth by Day”. Oh, and he is also working on some minor inconvenience to resolve his not being able to get back into the USA.

Truth: The R-1 visa holders are being told to return to their country of origin before the INS issues subpoenas and has them deported (after end of September).
Truth: Some students are being given air fare to get them out of the country quickly (those who know too much or could create problems if interviewed by the INS).

Truth: Br__n Car_ll_n is [Brian Carolan] being paid a salary by the FOF to be the ‘official’ bouncer at meetings, dinners, breakfasts etc. His job is to escort anyone out, who ask uncomfortable or challenging questions during meeting, dinners , breakfasts etc.. So if you are seeing Br__n around more often – its not because he can’t get enough of the events – its his job to make sure everyone is kept in line. How’s that for paranoid?

Lie: With the departure of approximately 70 R-1 visas, word is that some octaves on the property are being slightly inconvenienced. But it’s business as usual. Stay tuned to the next events coming up. Interesting, isn’t it? That 70 peoples lives are being significantly disrupted, but hey- that’s how influence “C” works isn’t it? Really nothing to do with the fraudulent basis that the ‘slave’ labor has been brought into this country.

Truth: Abe G [Abraham Goldman] and David L [David Lubbers/David Springfield] are making good money advising those leaving what their options are. I guess they have to make a living, don’t they.

That’s it for now. Any more lies/truths out there?

"Anonymous" commented on the Robert Earl Burton blog, November 9, 2015:
After the Citizenship and Immigration Services visited the FOF which resulted in a halt to the religious visa program, Girard [Haven](the head of the "Fellowship Order" - as it's legally a church) made a single exception to that and brought his new (at the time, future) wife over on a religious visa in 2008. She (Annamaria Szvoboda) re-posted some of his thoughts on Asaf's Gurdjieff website. [Annamaria does translations for the Fellowship.]