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, April 29, 2008

Apollo's fading glory

"CVB" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 16, 2008 at 4:18 p.m.:
More salary lay-offs. Nick S. [Nick Spaulding] and Benjamin Y. {Benjamin Yudin] to name two. It is said to be about 60 this time. More long time supporters leaving. Fellowship is unable to pay the insurance on at least some of it’s vehicles. They can no longer be driven off the property.

"CVB" wrote on the Fellowship fo Friends Discussion blog, March 17, 2008 at 3:13 p.m.:
Fellowship assets are now being sold off. The 100+K Mercedes is going. The tragic thing is that Robert Burton and his few remaining staunch supporters will consider that he is a persecuted martyr. His delusions of grandeur will remain unshaken and he will never realize that his own behavior precipitated the fall of the Fellowship. Talk about profound sleep.

"Associated Press" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 18, 2008 at 5:25 p.m.:
CVB said at 30/485 [above], on March 16, 2008 at 4:18 pm:
‘More salary lay-offs. Nick S. and Benjamin Y. to name two. It is said to be about 60 this time. More long time supporters leaving. Fellowship is unable to pay the insurance on at least some of it’s vehicles. They can no longer be driven off the property.’
Yes, salary headcount reductions are inevitable. The Fellowship of Friends does that in a concerted fashion at least twice a year; usually spring and fall are the major episodes. Sometimes it can be rather draconian as to severity.

[see: ]

Link is to specific place for definition but whole page is worth reading.

According to what Robert Burton had said in the past, there would not be more than 10% of the membership on salary as an ongoing target. So, as the membership numbers decline, it is necessary to reduce the number of salaried positions. If there are/were roughly 180 people on salary, then this is a 33% reduction. Based on this system, if there are 10 followers of Robert Burton, there will be one person on salary, and that would be, you guessed it, Robert Burton.

Certainly, many will return to salary when it is determined that what they were doing was essential. Others will return to salary because their individual circumstances will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Still others will go begging and/or exercise how ‘well connected’ they are to the powers-that-be. By the time the next salary headcount reduction is needed, the numbers will have climbed back to near the former numbers. This is a lesson in how to keep the ‘lower self’ in its place.

Now, I do not want to sound callous in these descriptions. These are just the facts. It is unfortunate that the most unfortunate are often the ones that will be subject to this process. It is also a time where almost everyone will have to justify their existence to those who have the authority to grant them their value. It actually is a very A Influence sort of arrangement. Some job security for those who have devoted a lifetime at a labor of love. Service the head honcho and your life could be different.

During these liquidity crunches, you can be sure that the Academy/Galleria (or whatever it may be called now), the building where Robert Burton has his residence, will still remain lavishly furnished. There will be plenty of cut flower large arrangements and plenty of flowering plants to decorate the interior. The gardens will keep burgeoning forth. The grounds and the multi-thousands of dollars palm trees and the grounds will be kept. The bonsai collection likely will not be sacrificed. Sumptuous meals will continue to be served, often with much of the food discarded. The regular dinners with ‘the boys’ will not come to an end (no pun intended). Travel to local and worldwide locations for Robert and the entourage will be adequately funded. Robert and the entourage will remain luxuriously clothed. Robert’s carpool will be maintained and insured. Mercedes may get sold, if it is not already a rental. Accommodations will be supplied. Medical insurance will likely be maintained for the select few; all others will have to plead poverty to the Yuba County welfare services for public assistance. Many parties on the dole because of their favor with Robert Burton will continue. Everyone will have to suffer to some degree, though. Even Robert will find some demonstrative way to show he will suffer, too. He might give up desserts. As long as semen flows, penis grows and ‘guess who’ blows; it will be business as usual.

"Rear View Mirror" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 27, 2008 at 3:47 p.m.:
More history needed? wrote:
Two more “students” leaving Apollo?
I wonder how many are still in and paying…..!
Anybody who can share some numbers, please?

Based on reports that I’ve heard, most people are no longer paying the usual $750 to $1,000 per month (which is an average when you include the spring and fall “donations”). If someone is having trouble making payments, all they need to do is ask for a break, and they can lower the payments indefinitely to about $100-$150 per month, and skip the spring and fall.

It’s become very lax in this regard. The intentions are obvious: Keep the membership numbers up so that it doesn’t become too obvious that public opinion is being swayed against Burton. How many people have worked out such a deal, I don’t know, but it’s an obvious effort on the part of “management” to weather the storm of negative opinion, and to keep the facade that nothing has changed, and that everything is fine.

But things have changed. And everything is not fine.

My guess is that the FOF 1) has some money set aside for such times, and 2) some of the more wealthy sycophants are helping to keep things afloat right now.

I’ve also heard that certain “assets” are currently being sold to help out.

By the way, something that I don’t believe has been mentioned on the blog yet… Robert Burton frequently would make statements such as [paraphrasing]: Make your teaching payments first, and Influence C will take care of the rest.

In other words: Sure, you may be a month behind on your rent, and a few weeks from being evicted from your apartment, but write that check for $1,545 (or thereabouts) for that Spring donation and April “teaching payment,” and everything will be fine.

Everything won’t be fine. This is one of the most underreported aspects of this cult — People do leave because of the heavy financial burden (in addition to everything else). However, people rarely will admit this because of the stigma attached to it. Rarely do we want to admit that we’re not independently wealthy and capable of buying whatever the hell we want, including a measly donation of approximately $1,500 to the Fellowship of Friends.

You hear about the people who visit Las Vegas and win $1,000 over the weekend. They share their story with everyone on Monday morning. We hear how they had a great time, and how Las Vegas is GREAT!

What you don’t hear on Monday morning is the story from that OTHER guy who LOST $1,000. The Fellowship of Friends is much like a casino. They know how to take your money. If you keep playing at the casino, eventually they will take back everything you won — if you ever did win something.

"somebody" wrote on the Fellowship fo Friends Discussion blog, April 29, 2008 at 6:26 p.m.:
263 Rear View Mirror, 268 Vena

After saying and reading everything about FOF I must admit I still have doubts sometimes.

Therefore this blog is very helpful for me. I need to be reminded about Robert’s twisted nature not to fall into imagination again that he is a Conscious Teacher and teaches us how to be present. I believe there are many – both in and out – who are in a similar situation.

I also talk to the current members and their opinions still confuse me. “Things look bad from the point of view of the blog, but – it is a very subjective, judgmental point of view”, “don’t believe the I’s”, “Robert never did anything wrong to me personally” “Robert is a great lover” “Robert loves you consciously” “Robert’s energy is very unique” “don’t be formatory about the form of the school” etc.

Apollo is not the Apollo it once was. A lot of people are laid off salary, religious visa’s folks are back to their countries, Apollo d’Oro is open for dinner only one or two times a week. But the events at the Galleria go on as if nothing have changed – Sunday meetings, pottage lunches, receptions, margarita dinners, rose gardens.

One might feel that one is frozen in the “event horizon” (the point of no return where escape from the black hole is impossible due to the immense gravity)

"Associated Press" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 28, 2008 at 3:51 a.m.:
Concerning: "More history needed?" and the numbers in the Fellowship of Friends.

Several pages back, there were posted graphic images of the statistics for the FoF covering several decades. One of the things it showed was that for more than a decade now the numbers leaving FoF averaged over 30 per month, consistently. This trend depended, to some degree, on the other statistics of there being an average of 30 or more joining per month; that lasted roughly from 1992 to 2002. Thus the number in FoF over that period was roughly flat. Since 2002, however, the numbers joining have dropped off rather radically with a trend toward less than 20 joining per month in 2005. This curve was moving toward zero rapidly. This means that the numbers in FoF is declining in an accelerating fashion, as a function of the flat to increasing departures and the declining joiners. The departures of 30 per month, if it continues at that pace, means a loss of 300+ per year. It will take about six years, then, until there is only Robert Burton left. Practically speaking, that will not likely happen because at a certain point there will only be the hardcore members who will not leave under any circumstance(s) and the 30 departures per month will level off somewhere above zero or at zero. This inner circle will sustain the illusion that everything is just fine. So, before there is a total collapse to a super nova or black hole, there will be a stage at which a dwarf star* state exists – notwithstanding that there would be a black hole type energy condition at the very center of it sucking in any matter that comes anywhere near to it. Beware the event horizon and don’t get sucked in your self.

No comments:

Post a Comment