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.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Fellowship of Friends is behind the Yuba Environmental Science Charter Academy (YESCA)

[ed. - The Yuba Environmental Science Charter Academy (YESCA) is yet another 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with strong links to the Fellowship of Friends and benefiting that "church." Fellowship member Bruce Helft is the organizer. This school is successor to the Fellowship's now-defunct (as of 6/30/11) Lewis Carroll private pre-K through 7th grade school and YESCA rents its building from the Fellowship's Lewis Carroll School Association. This provides not only a benefit to Fellowship children, but feeds directly into Fellowship coffers. It also offers an opportunity for Fellowship suppliers and services to benefit through public funding of school programs.  Naturally, North Yuba Grown is one organization eager to do business with the school.]

April 2014 image from the California Secretary of State website:


See IRS Form 990 Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax

By Ryan McCarthy, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.
Aug. 2–One of the school colors will be green, a frog or a hummingbird is expected to be the school mascot and more than 100 students will attend classes Aug. 18 when the new Yuba Environmental Science Charter Academy opens in Dobbins.
“This is the next generation that’s going to look after the planet,” Paul McGovern, chief financial officer for the charter school in the Sierra foothills, said of the students.
Five teachers were selected from 65 applicants, said Bruce Helft, executive director of the school whose proposed motto is “Respect and care for others, ourselves and the planet.”
Prospective teachers applied from all over California as well as Alaska and New York, Helft said.
While the job listing was on a Web site, the school asked teaching applicants to mail materials.
“People had to write a cover letter,” he said. “It’s easy to just click buttons.”
The charter academy is ready with textbooks that have cost nearly $50,000.
The site of the new school on Texas Hill Road may be fitting for the educational effort focusing on the environment.
“They call this the hidden Sierra,” Helft said. “There’s no direct route.”
While remote, the school will be wired into the world.
A new T1 computer line has been installed at the school that will provide faster Internet access than DSL, Helft said.
The executive director of the new school said he’s very impressed with the Marysville Joint Unified School District staff.
“They really want us to succeed,” Helft said.
Charter schools are public and supported by taxes. California law provides for charters, an educational reform intended to allow school choices for parent and students.
Contact Appeal reporter Ryan McCarthy at 749-4707 or rmccarthy@appeal-democrat.com

Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news/education/1506885/foothill_school_to_be_green/#OPV783ACY8AXSqpB.99 [ed. - Link defunct]

From redorbit.com [link now defunct]:

Foothill School to Be Green

By Ryan McCarthy, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

August 2, 2008

One of the school colors will be green, a frog or a hummingbird is expected to be the school mascot and more than 100 students will attend classes Aug. 18 when the new Yuba Environmental Science Charter Academy opens in Dobbins.
“This is the next generation that’s going to look after the planet,” Paul McGovern, chief financial officer for the charter school in the Sierra foothills, said of the students.

Five teachers were selected from 65 applicants, said Bruce Helft, executive director of the school whose proposed motto is “Respect and care for others, ourselves and the planet.”

Prospective teachers applied from all over California as well as Alaska and New York, Helft said.

While the job listing was on a Web site, the school asked teaching applicants to mail materials.

“People had to write a cover letter,” he said. “It’s easy to just click buttons.”

The charter academy is ready with textbooks that have cost nearly $50,000.

The site of the new school on Texas Hill Road may be fitting for the educational effort focusing on the environment.
“They call this the hidden Sierra,” Helft said. “There’s no direct route.”

While remote, the school will be wired into the world.

A new T1 computer line has been installed at the school that will provide faster Internet access than DSL, Helft said.

The executive director of the new school said he’s very impressed with the Marysville Joint Unified School District staff.

“They really want us to succeed,” Helft said.

Charter schools are public and supported by taxes. California law provides for charters, an educational reform intended to allow school choices for parent and students.

Contact Appeal reporter Ryan McCarthy at 749-4707 or rmccarthy@appeal-democrat.com

—–

To see more of the Appeal-Democrat, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.appeal-democrat.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

Hearing on charter school Tuesday
Monday, January 7, 2008 12:00 am
Updated: 9:44 pm, Fri Nov 1, 2013

By Ryan McCarthy/Appeal-Democrat

A public hearing on plans for a charter school in Oregon House will be held Tuesday by Marysville Joint Unified School District trustees.

“We’ve been gathering all kinds of support,” said Bruce Helft, who is organizing the Yuba Environmental Science Charter Academy.

The school, proposed for a 10-acre site along Texas Hill Road about 25 miles northeast of Marysville, would serve students from kindergarten through eighth grade and focus on subjects including environmental science and agriculture.

A total of 125 students are projected to enroll the first year, Helft said. If more seek to attend the charter school, a public lottery would be held as called for in the state education code, he said.

Tax-supported charter schools, intended as a reform measure to provide more choice in public education, have a 15-year history in California. About 700 such schools operate in the state.

For more on this story, read Tuesday's Appeal-Democrat or check back online.

No legal help for new charter school

Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2009
Updated: Fri Nov 1, 2013

By Ryan McCarthy/Appeal-Democrat

A new foothills charter school is on its own legally — and may have to provide a defense for the Marysville Joint Unified School District — in a case involving a worker who says he's due $7,302 for projects at the charter school.
That's the message to the Yuba Environmental Science Charter Academy from the Folsom-based law firm that represents the Marysville school district.

Attorney Paul Thompson, in a letter this week to environmental academy principal Bruce Helft, said the school district has no obligation to defend the charter academy in the small claims suit filed by Mike Binachini over fence, gate and playground work he undertook at the Dobbins school site.

The contract the charter academy awarded Binachini is invalid because the fence-builder lacks a contractor's license, the attorney said — and so the school district doesn't have to defend the new academy in the legal matter.

Moreover, if the small claims court decides the school district is properly named in the case, the charter academy must provide a defense for the district, Thompson said.

Helft said Friday of the case scheduled for a Feb. 2 hearing in Yuba County Superior Court that, "we'll see where it goes."

He'll await the legal word on whether the school district is part of the case — and said he'll turn to the school community if the charter academy has to represent MJUSD.

"We have a parent who's a lawyer," the school principal said. "I'll ask him if comes to that."

He has said the Marysville school district has told the charter academy no funds will be released to pay for fencing and other work.

The academy is the first independent charter in the school district, Helft noted.

"We have this kind of relationship in the district that is being tested out," Helft said of the academy and school district understanding their respective roles. "We do a lot of things on our own."

The Marysville school district receives nearly $100,000 from the charter academy to provide services such as legal representation, Helft said.

"I'm very impressed with how efficient that district is," the charter school principal said.

Thompson and Gay Todd, superintendent of the Marysville district, could not be reached for comment about the case.

Contact Appeal-Democrat reporter Ryan McCarthy at 749-4707 or rmccarthy@appealdemocrat.com.

From Plumas Lake Life [ed. - Link no longer active], November 19, 2011:
Over in Yuba County Superior Court, [Fellowship of Friends member] Bruce Helft has a bone to pick with the Yuba Environmental Science Charter Academy.

Helft helped found the charter academy back in 2008 and was its first executive director.

He continued as the executive director until March 2010, when the academy's directors voted not to continue his employment beyond June 2010.

Last month, Helft sued the academy, based in Dobbins/Oregon House, filing a writ and asking a judge to nullify his "termination."

He asserted that the academy's governing board violated the state's opening meeting law (the Brown Act) by holding serial meetings (one director contacting another and so on and so on) to discuss his fate and job performance before deciding in closed session to dismiss him.

The suit says the academy, as stated in its charter, agrees to abide by the Brown Act, just like trustees of the Marysville Joint Unified School District, who have extended the school's charter.

Helft is awaiting a hearing in the case. He's apparently taking this seriously. His lawyers are from Los Angeles.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Requiem for a follower

[ed. - This mysterious post was left on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion's "About" page. It's subject, someone who apparently turned their back on family to follow Robert Burton, remains unidentified.]

"Barbara Haider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion, December 16, 2007:
Intelligent yet irrelevant. Thought dueling to avoid decisions made alone, unscripted unbounded by group directive. If only I had walked into your lavish social setting and found IT. It’s only life you escape while pretending consciousness. Surrounded, protected, inner circle of knowing the cues, the winks the nods, of being part of IT. I’m alone in the morgue with my brother, food for the moon. You didn’t listen to me cry. The romance of jade mines and jaunts, to higher sexual forces that were ground out in hot, gritty bus seats. A superior man will not be recognized in his own country. Your vanity expanded so huge that no former informer would be left to comment on YOU. The superior man who turned his back on me, on his friends, on his family because the Fellowship of Friends awaited. The intelligent yet irrelevant rant on this website doesn’t ever discuss the agony the Fellowship of Friends imposes on the dead.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Abundance Fountain Gift Request

Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton gift donations

"Purchasing awakening" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 1, 2007:
Todd [reporter for the Sacramento Bee] asks how did Burton enriched himself?

One way is – through his expensive “gifts” to himself which we all had to pay for. There were many, many of such forced gifts. He simply treats himself to whatever he wants and forces everyone to pay for it. Here’s the document.

Another way to enrich himself – to issue a fake high salaries to the devoted “inner circle” members and then have him cash those checks and use the cash for personal purposes. This has been done for many years. We know the names of people who received such fake salaries.

Another way – to have an auction or a fundraiser for some fake purpose, let’s say Bistro rebuilding, then collect thousands of dollars from members and spend it. Bistro was never rebuilt.

There are many more ways. One is to use illegal cheap labor for land improvement and construction. Think of those students on tourist visas, that are slaving on the property for 2 something dollars per hour, (much less than legal minimum wage for CA) building structures and maintaining the gardens. Proof? They all receive monthly paychecks from FOF deposited to the Bank of America in Marysville/Yuba city. This payment is made for illegal labor.

Oh, there are so many ways… The thing is – the sole purpose of FOF is personal enrichment of Burton.