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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Allan's Story

"Allan S." wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 3, 2007:
I have been following the posts on this blog for the last week or so after accidentally coming across it through Wiki. Since leaving the FOF, sometime in 1999 I have always tried to keep an eye on the goings on within the FOF. I was somewhat surprised, although perhaps I shouldn’t have been, in yet another name change and more surprisingly in a move away from its original 4th way “nature”. I’m not too clear in exactly what way it has changed and would be grateful if someone can point me to either a previous post or source that summarises, simply curious…

Whilst pondering whether or not to post myself I couldn’t workout what I could contribute or even how, as I really haven’t used this format before (except for one post 495 which seemed to take days in moderation).

So, here goes with a start…

I joined the FOF in 1989 in London. Four years or so after joining I moved to Renaissance, staying with Charles T at first and working in the Winery Office. Six months after arriving, like many others, my marriage deteriorated further and I was soon part of the RB travelling show. I was part of this for around 2 years and could relate stories of sexual impropriety et al, but you have read most of it already and other than how I personally related to it, the stories seem pretty much the same.

After leaving Apollo and eventually returning home, I directed a centre in Scotland for about a year. Moving away, whilst still meeting up with RB in various cities including London, Paris and my favourite city of all Rome, I had space to think from a better part of myself. At that time it became very clear to me that RB and his (very partial) system were not the real deal.

I feel there were many examples of actions taken by RB that clearly exposed this, although at the time any oddity was easily quashed and supported by appropriate associative thoughts. I mean surely lack of sexual control, apparent inability to function and manifest independent of at least some external stimuli, was justifiable…for God sake he’s conscious…isn’t he, surely this doesn’t apply to him, surely 2000 intelligent people cannot be wrong, surely there are reasons I just cannot understand for his actions? We are told that conscience is buried and I feel the actions of RB confirms that his is truly buried…actions speak louder and all that.

I left as quietly as I had arrived. This was my journey and past experience had shown me that any amount of rejection of his way, on my part, would be met with a sympathetic acknowledgement that I had simply lost my way…at least that’s how I have justified not expressing my doubt.

WhaleRider, I feel for you.

"Allan S." wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 16, 2007:
Picture this…

Bobbie [Robert Earl Burton] has a number of students clearing some land for some new decking at a newly purchased lodge not far from Reno. Physical labouring is not really my thing, would much rather be reading a book or working in the office at the winery. But hey, the teachers invited me there and it changes my relationship to this rather tedious task.

I’m aware that someone has their attention on me, I look round and its Bobbie. He smiles and moves his attention towards some students involved in the bigger decking plan. The thought arises that getting such attention from my teacher must mean something, right? After all I had just started travelling with him.

A few hours later Bobbie announces that he is going to head back to Renaissance and that I should drive him in the Lexus. I think to myself, who me? This really must mean something, mustn’t it?

We start driving the winding roads along some of the most beautiful countryside in the area listening to Dvorjack [sic]. We talk about various things; including 1998 when unbeknown to me Bobbie is about to give me the gift of consciousness, a genuine gift that only a teacher could impart to his cherished students, quite selfless really. He places his hands on my crotch and starts massaging. He continues this for what seemed to me to be quite a prolonged period of time. Silence…he removes his hand and continues talking, as if nothing happened. I guess I just wasn’t up to the task!

Where was he, this conscious man? Indeed where had he been up until this moment?

"Allan S." wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 22, 2007:
Another story, although compared to some of the stories I have heard here, this particular one is quite tame…

I was travelling down LA way and sharing a car with C and M. We had travelled a bit through the desert and finally stopped off at this restaurant for what was essentially a piss break. C and M started to talk to me about Robert and his like for sleeping with people who travelled with him. In my naiveté, I thought nothing of the remarks or indeed why they were telling me about it. This was my first “travelling” trip and I was trying hard to overcome a recent split with my wife. We arrived at a hotel just outside Palm Springs (if I remember rightly) and basically relaxed at the hotel while Robert went shopping with some others. If memory serves me rightly he was shopping for stuff for the small condo in La Chintta.

Anyway to cut a long story short, after dinner that evening Robert deliberated over who was going to be the lucky boy to share his bedroom. Well chucks, that first night was to be my lucky night. I remember going to retrieve my luggage from the room I was sharing with M, feeling quite nervous. What on earth was I going to talk about?

I remember going into the room and Robert saying, “You can ask me anything you want dear”. After a moment or two I asked him why he had asked me to stay in his room. Something along the lines of “I was so aware of how much you were in essence at dinner dear”. What a bedside manner, I mean…

Next thing I knew it was bedtime. I get changed and into bed, fully expecting my teacher to go into the other bed. Of course not, he slides in beside me with TV remote in hand, puts his free arm round me and starts flicking through the channels. I’m now starting to feel very uncomfortable trying to concentrate on the channels passing me bye. Next thing I know is his face is in mine trying to stick his tongue down my throat! I freeze in absolute shock.

He stops realising, presumably from experience, that this is going to go nowhere. He gets out of my bed and into his own and then says, in a somewhat disappointed tone “I hope you don’t snore, if you do you’ll have to change with someone else later”…quite a “normal” reaction don’t you think?

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