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.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lost and Found in Camelot

"lostandfound" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 13, 2008:
I am writing to inform those who contribute to the blog, as well as those who simply read the blog without contributing any postings, that should you wish to rejoin the Fellowship, you will be warmly received as if you never have left. (Ala our dear friend, Loretta.)

The being and essence of the School is at an all-time high, and the Teaching has never been clearer.

To those who contribute to the blog and who have no thoughts at all of rejoining, please be aware that when your postings are steeped in judgment or condemnation of one another, you are doing a great disservice to your Higher Selves, to the person you are attacking and to the standards of the blog itself.

If you wish to talk about rejoining or simply wish to vent in a more personal and intimate setting, please feel free to write me directly at:

"lostandfound" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 1, 2008:
Greetings. The past two weeks have been filled with visitors and events.

The visitors brought and received very fine energy. It appears that this ‘bubble’ that members readily and contentedly live in is not going to burst in the foreseeable future.

I wish to thank those who wrote me in the past two weeks, and to publicly apologize for not responding to you individually until today.

However, there were numerous daily activities such as dinners with old friends, meetings with Robert, receptions, presentations on art and other Traditions, which left me with little time to respond.

Permit me to take a moment at this point in time an offer an abundance of congratulations and gratitude to everyone reading this blog who made Journey Forth and the Ballet so successful.

Lastly, while I do understand the need for the slings and arrows that you are throwing at REB [Robert Earl Burton], is it not a mystery that those who are able to accept REB as he is and for what he has given his students are still making a lovely profit?

It is fine to say that the members of the FOF are the ones who are blind. But to be blind and yet to still flourish and be nurtured as we are, makes it questionable as to who really is blind. (ala Serah’s brother.)
Keep those cards and letters coming, and I will do the same.

"lostandfound" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 1, 2008:
Dear Traveler [blogger]
Re # 146 [post number]
This was a very well written and heartfelt posting. I thank you for the effort.
Please know that were I not receiving truth or reality I would have departed long ago.
And this is the enigma: How is it that there are approximately 1700 members currently experiencing higher states,and receiving very fine and unique knowledge. While at the same time, there were approximately 15,000 who have entered and left with a deep sense of fraudulence and regret?
This is a great Mystery.
For myself, the verifications continue that this is a real School of awakening. And this is why the School will continue: not because of one man, but because most members continue to receive spiritual nourishment and verifying their own growth in being and understanding.
Again, I thank you for the posting. It was thoughtful and void of cynicism and obscenities.

"Just Another Voice Out Here" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 1, 2008:
151 lostandfound [above]

“And this is the enigma: How is it that there are approximately 1700 members currently experiencing higher states,and receiving very fine and unique knowledge. While at the same time, there were approximately 15,000 who have entered and left with a deep sense of fraudulence and regret?”

This is not an “enigma.” It’s “formatory thinking” and it’s “lying.” No one can know how many other people are experiencing anything–only the person herself. That applies to the people who left, too. Based on their comments, there are plenty of former members who didn’t leave with a “deep sense of fraudulence and regret.” I didn’t leave with such a sense.

I left with a sense that RB was a person of very modest learning, with nothing to offer intellectually beyond quoting Ouspensky and the authors of the Harvard Classics, nothing to offer emotionally beyond a false modesty overlaying a very obvious and unapologetic lack of genuine affection for anyone who didn’t contribute to satisfying his various appetites.

I left with a sense that he had serious sexual hangups, and, much worse, had no interest at all in outgrowing them, or even in acknowledging that they were weaknesses rather than strengths, and a sense that such a person was of limited value to me.

I left with a sense that the members who were joining increasingly were naive people with a limited command of the English language. Make of that what you will.

I left with a sense that what may first have reflected my sincere interest in awakening was becoming little more than a crutch that allowed me to maintain a sense of being special, along with other ego-boosting illusions, while also allowing me to believe I was doing everything I could to awaken. But I knew better.

I left with a sense that the financial cost of participation was exorbitant and out of all proportion to benefits offered, in a common-sense way, and it would only become more so.

I left with a disinclination to be a part of any group that prided itself on looking down on five billion people as worthless shit.

I left with a sense that the vanity of the group had crystalized, and that this vanity was contagious.

I left with a sense that I was bored with the routine of gatherings, arranging “biscuits” on pretty platters, bored with hearing the same recycled “angles,” bored with the strain of pretending that any of the activities were actually enjoyable.

I left with the sense that there was much more to maturity in any sense of the word than dressing up in grandpa’s clothes, overindulging in alcohol, and acting “intentional.”

I had no regrets, and as for fraudulent, well, if you believe RB sincerely believes that he is the highest being since Jesus, that the Fellowship is not only a “conscious school” but the only such thing on earth, that allowing him to suck your penis is the best possible choice you can make in your life, that God speaks directly to Robert Earl Burton and only to him, making him infallible, that artists throughout history and prehistory have transmitted their knowledge of the Sequence and the Four Wordless Breaths in their works, etc., then no, I would not call it fraudulent. Just delusional and pretty silly.

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