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.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Fellowship's very own David

"More history needed?" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 16, 2008:
Did any body hear of Robert’s new purchase of a statue /replica of David from Michelangelo? $ 75,000? When announced the students in the meeting room dropped their jaws?

"lauralupa" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 19, 2008:
Also, could someone please dismiss or confirm the David replica rumor? I might be projecting here, but it seems to me an ominous sign that the “Leader” is at work upping the antes, seeking to reestablish his sense of control over the dwindling flock by imposing ever more increasingly bizarre and costly caprices upon them.

It would be very auspicable if someone with a little weight in the organization had enough sense and courage to point out to him the inevitably disastrous results of following such a course of action and steer him away from it, unfortunately I have reason to doubt that such a person exists. What do you think?

"Opus111" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 19, 2008:
Laura #216 [responding to above]:
I have not heard any confirmation of the David replica rumor. It would not surprise me, if true. There is a homoerotic quality to the piece and spending 75k of his followers would complete the self-gratifying endeavor. Early on, RB had “artistic” advisors (S. Wa…ce for decoration and M. for visual arts, to mention 2). Now, RB makes pretty much all the calls, and in so doing often reveals the gaudiness, if not utter vulgarity of his taste, again at the expense of the faithful. [ed. - Opus111 refers to well-known art dealer Marco Grassi.]

One thing seems obvious. RB has not changed his behavior and does not seem intent to do so. In some strange way, his steadfastness alone may have contributed to keeping a large portion of the flock faithful, plus the usual supernatural reinforcements to ongoing membership. The membership has dwindled, in sheer numbers probably more than ever in its history, but enough remains to pay for the travels, show and other frivolities (including replicas like this alleged one), while the necessities are sacrificed (fewer salary positions for the necessary property maintenance for example).

"Andrea" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 21, 2008:
To Lauralupa [responding to above],

Yes there is a giant David replica in bronze, I think is in the piazza, I haven’t seen it, but is there! You have to realize that was such a great deal! Only $80.000!!!

$10000 cash and the rest in pieces of art…… [suggesting a trade?]

I don’t see how is possible to resist such a good deal. Plus, I cannot think of a better piece to complement the theater [Theatron] and the winery!

"lauralupa" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 22, 2008:
Hi y’all

Andrea 246 [responding to above]

so it’s no a joke…

this news is interesting for so many reasons, some of which I hope to further explore with you kind people. I am responding somewhat personally to this, since David is both an icon of Florence, where I live, and of the Renaissance, where I used to live.

You may already know that this awesome statue was conceived as “a symbol of the proud independence of the Florentine republic”, whose virtues he was designed to embody.

“Strength and Wrath were the two most important virtues, characteristic of the ancient patron of the city Hercules.”
Strange symbol for the land of the la-la-la and no-negativity-allowed.

Another interesting detail:

“Michelangelo breaks away from the traditional way of representing David. He does not present us with the winner, the giant’s head at his feet and the powerful sword in his hand, but portrays the youth in the phase immediately preceding the battle: perhaps he has caught him just in the moment when he has heard that his people are hesitating, and he sees Goliath jeering and mocking them.”

Goodness Robert, watch out for stones!

C influence is dishing out strange ominous messages these days.

Could this signal the start of the Revenge of the Living and Dead Artists’ Society?

"brucelevy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 22, 2008:
Let no one be misled. Back in the 70’s and 80’s RB used to refer to the David in comparison to his “boy’s” bodies. This is just another expensive source of titillation to keep the boys hard. And all you “members”… you paid for it. Maybe he’ll have one of the Fellowship sculptors add a hard dick.

"brucelevy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 22, 2008:
$80,000.00 viagra for the old queen.

"You-me-us-they" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 22, 2008:
On the David,

One element which will be easy to reconcile is the tension right/left, lower higher:

Following platonistic ideas (à la mode at that time) we have intentional monstruous right hand (leading towards earthy matters? Lower self?)

while the left hand poses above the shoulder (higher self?) where the head also turns, opposing any possible peace!

Yes… Vigilence… An enemy must be there!…

You may, though, enjoy the rest of the nude!

"elena" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 22, 2008:

[Quoting] Little Suzy 269: “You have to realize that was such a great deal! Only $80.000!!!

$10000 cash and the rest in pieces of art……

I don’t see how is possible to resist such a good deal. Plus, I cannot think of a better piece to complement the theater and the winery!
Joke or not this says plenty. Sad but true the purchasing and viewing of art takes precedence over abusive actions towards others.”

Am I understanding you correctly? Do you really think that the David is bought by Robert because it is Art? I wish I could see it that way. From another perspective it is a shrine to Robert’s practices on young men. A shrine to his rapes. Wasn’t Michealangelo also gay? His selection of Art is an aspect of the indoctrination in form that he has mastered. By imposing these “shrines,” he is subtly having the followers accept the condition of rapist and finance it. The line between homosexuality and a serial rapist of the young men who join the Fellowship cult is very difficult to define when the men are raped with their apparent consent but in having these kind of works, and these one in particular of a young beautiful male body representing one of the greatest moments in Western art is conveying his victory over the massive run of students from the Cult. It is meant to reassure himself as much as others that nothing has seriously changed and that nothing has happened and that he has enough support to pay for such extravanganzas even if a hundred more students have to be taken off salary. Of course, it is not students who matter but money and shrines that will make the short-sighted followers justify their presence in such a cult with the thought that they are supporting Art, the understanding and love of Culture! Cheap ignorants! Brainwashed and sick and when you look closely you verify the degree to which this has become true.

This is not Art. It is the Art of twisting people’s lives around to make them submissive enough to rape and be raped by a sociopath. It is called organized crime and the silk costumes don’t make it any prettier.

"Another Name" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 27, 2008:
Dear all,

I am confused: The fellowship states the David was 80.000 dollars. 10.000 cash and the rest of the amount bartered.
Others say it is 350.000-375.000 dollars?

Anybody more details…for my information and clarification needs.

Where was it bought, in Italy or in USA?

How was it transported?

Which company ?

"Ill Never Tell" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 28, 2008:

36/141 paulshabram – May 28, 2008 said:
‘REB has presented himself as a King of Hearts, but his behavior has been King of Clubs all along, Nigel seems to have seen this. RB’s chief feature he claims (now) is Greed, but it has always been Power. So when Robert talks about the King of Clubs working against you, he is really talking about himself.’
Yes, Nigel, and others, have been spot on from time to time at distinguishing the truth about others and themselves and acknowledging it by repeated verification. So, I in part agree with what you say, Paul, but not on the chief feature subject. Consider this:
“33/357 on April 30, 2008 at 9:13 pm Bares Reposting:
‘In RB’s case, he even said, many, many years ago, that his chief feature was greed, but people choose to see his greed as something other than greed.’
Chief feature not greed. Just said was so to justify the behaviours and make it look like knowledge of himself. True chief feature is fear. The greed, dominance, power, vanity, lunatic, etc., effused by that machine is the smoke screen hiding the fear chief feature. Poor Booby is scared sh!tless and must continuously cram an endless fountain of immortal drink into this bottomless pit without ever having possibility of satisfaction.”

For instance, who on Earth needs a full sized replica of the MicheloAngelo David statue? Some see exquisite beauty in that sculpture, but others see near grotesque caricaturization. Some just want to see disproportionate body parts and/or to relish in the super big penis. (As if certain persons have not looked at enough penises for one life time.) This acquisition contributes further to the gaudy appearance of the Fellowship of Friends property becoming more like Las Vegas every day. Anybody up for building a pyramid?

Care to see the statue? You can see it on the Greater Fellowship site under ‘FOF.History.Project’s Page.’ You can find an image named ‘NoMoreKneelingMay08.jpg.’ [shown below]

You can also try this link if you are already logged on to the GF site:

"somebody" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 21, 2008:
Apollo, October 15, 2008

THE CALL OF THE LOON [Presumably, Robert Burton's words follow]

Good evening, dears. I guess you all know that the stock market is crashing internationally. We are definitely closer to something than we were at last Friday’s meeting. We will see how far Influence C take it, but it has enormous possible complications. The school is making preparations. I guess that we have been preparing for this event for forty years. When our statue of David arrived, our two century plants (cacti) flowered, something which occurs once every thirty-five years. The Mexicans say, “They shoot their heart out to God.” The two emphatic shafts are like short Be and long BE [a reference to The Sequence]. When we installed the statue of David, I wondered if we were about to face a Goliath. What is occurring now [2008-2009 financial crisis] may be the beginning of that.

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