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.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Love lost

[ed. - Discussion of the "sex exercise", that is, Robert Burton's demand that sexual relations take place only within the bonds of marriage. Of course, this restriction did not apply to Burton who, though he maintained before his followers that he was celibate, had countless heterosexual male "lovers".

Burton assigned different levels of severity to his demands. Violation of a "task" from the teacher resulted in serious consequences, possibly including fines or even excommunication. Violation of an "exercise" usually drew a much less serious punishment, often only a mild public or private rebuke.]

"my4bits" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 23, 2007:
Re: Post 17, Pensate un Attimo

Dear Pensate,

Yes, a very good suggestion for a blog discussion. The “sex exercise.”

I’ve been thinking about my experiences with this exercise, as I sit here, alone, on Thanksgiving Day. My memories of this almost 20-year period are poignant, painful, and confusing. It is part of the ‘raw underbelly’ of my Fellowship experience, as I am sure it is for many others.

Anything I can say about my feelings and experiences are admittedly those of a one-time “true believer” and cult member. Not as a believer in Robert Burton per se, but as a believer in “the Ark” and what I then considered to be the historical mission of the Fellowship as an esoteric school tasked with “bridging an interval in the cycle of civilizations.”

What were we not willing to sacrifice for this supposedly noble cause?

I recall some sort of angle from RB that went like this: It is better to marry than to ‘burn with desire.’ Aaarrgh! Yes, we were given the choice: to marry or to burn. It was up to the individual to decide which was the preferable form of hell. Some students were better suited for one form, others for the other. 
I tried both, and both were, predictably, hell, in the context of the Fellowship. In another world, things would — or might — have been quite different. Years 30 through 50 were spent nobly resisting or suppressing sexual attraction, both inside and outside of marriage.

I bought in to the line that the exercise would have the positive result of revitalizing the “institution of marriage” that had lost its value in this “age of tramp.”

I can attempt to justify the good reasons why I submitted to the exercise — sublimation of sex energy to channel instead to Higher Centers, developing the King of Hearts, working on tramp and against the drain of infra-sex. But, in retrospect, it makes me very sad and resentful. Yes, angry. VERY ANGRY!

Honestly, I was not capable of sublimating sex energy for some higher purpose. I was too naive. Instead, I only managed to re-direct the energy into wrong work of one kind or another.

I can’t even begin to evaluate the suffering my “work” in this area caused others, but I know it to be considerable. For this extreme vanity, I am so sorry.

And now as I begin, with the help of others, to see and understand the “big picture” of these years — the flaming hypocrisy of which I only saw glimmers — I can only wonder what I may have lost during those years.

Honestly, I cannot say that I gained anything spiritual from those decades of faux-sacrifice. Instead, I lost countless opportunities for intimacy, comfort and emotional warmth, intense communication and sharing, the deeper experiences of lasting marriage, and true evolution fueled by the higher hydrogens of sex.

Having perhaps missed important ‘windows of opportunity’ in life to learn certain valuable lessons about relationship, I am trying to learn them now, after these milestones have come and gone, and when my level of sex energy is beginning to flag.

Lost life. Lost opportunity. Lost love. True, but there is always the seed of new love! And I feel exceedingly grateful that there is, even now, the possibility of redemption and renewal!

I refuse to become a bitter ‘hack’ that regrets having lost “the best years of his/her life!” pursuing noble dreams promulgated by a psychopathic narcissist and sexual predator. I made my choices. Period.

“The moving pen writes, and having writ, not a tear can wipe out a word of it.” (paraphrased from some author). [from Omar Khayyam]

"Traveler" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 6, 2008:
Re: Love. I’m reminded we were told a few years ago that we should not use the word “love”, as a man number four cannot know the true meaning of the word. [This directive was from Burton.]

This kind of labeling thwarts all clues into the nature of love that one might directly perceive, because you tell yourself that whatever you are experiencing is something unreal, something to be rejected and ashamed of, because it is only the inferior insight of a “man number four”. Only once you magically reach the exalted title of “man number seven”, somehow, somewhere, maybe in another lifetime, you can know anything about love. Until then, shut up.

As far as I’m concerned, even love with identification is a pointer to a deeper reality.

No comments:

Post a Comment