Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970.

Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and an ominous, yet unspecified new threat late in 2018.) While non-believers shall perish, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers will be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

Many regard Robert Earl Burton a narcissist and sociopath, surrounded by a largely greed- and power-driven inner circle. The following pages offer abundant evidence supporting that conclusion.

This archive draws on official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the (former) Fellowship Wikipedia page, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wiki project, and the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

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

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.

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