Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

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

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

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.


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