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.")

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. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"the dirty Cult" blog post

[ed. - This post comes from the Fellowship of Friends Cult by "Abraham Franklin." That blog consists of this solitary post. All links may not be active.]

the dirty Cult

The ‘Fellowship of Friends’ is a cult run to serve the concepts perpetuated by its teacher, Robert Burton, posited in the guise of ‘The Fourth Way’, the occult mystical system expounded by George Gurdjieff, Peter Ouspensky and Rodney Collin, amongst others. It has long since failed to offer the possibilities for which many gave years of service to: the idea of becoming a deeper, more sensitive, more alive human being, awakening in the fullness of self-evident truth, through conscience, consciousness and efforts to be present with consideration to others. However, since its earliest days, the overriding concept is that ‘reality’ dictated by the ‘Beloved Teacher’ (Burton), of whom no question may be asked but carefully screened ones. Amongst the ranks of students, his behavior must be regarded as exempt from criticism; as to criticize is to succumb to ‘ones lower self’. The Fellowship of Friends has warped around the ego of its ‘teacher’ and his chief interpreter/apologist, Girard Haven – a man of similarly, sadly warped discipleship.

A malignancy runs deep through the ‘Fellowship of Friends’ towards everything that is not regarded as belonging to the aims of ‘the Fellowship of Friends’ and ‘awakening in the Fellowship of Friends’, including an individuals psychology, mannerisms, ways of dress, preferred music and other tastes, and in short, anything that may constitute in its group-think that which belongs to the rapidly enlarging sense of a ‘lower self’, defined by the Teacher Robert Burton and his legion of willing assistants. Students are instead encouraged to read ‘school books’ – the books of Girard Haven and Robert Burton’s book ‘Self-Remembering’, and to pursue an interest in largely pre-19th Century culture, those ascribed by Robert Earl Burton. Why?

Because history is interpretive and the conditions and individuals that created it no longer exist or have a voice. Because this teacher ‘prophesied’ throughout the 70’s until the early years of the current decade that there would be a nuclear holocaust, occurring in September, 2006, following, in 1984, a terrible depression similar in scale to that of the Great Depression of the 1930’s or worse. This would be followed by an earthquake along the San Andreas fault-line that would decimate tens of millions in Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs and place the headquarters of ‘The Fellowship’ close to a new sea coastline, scheduled for 1998. None of these prophecies materialized, and in 1998, when asked why the predicted earthquake had not happened, the ‘Beloved Teacher’ was heard to mutter, ‘the Gods humiliated me’. (Robert Burton is second only to Jesus Christ.)

This heavenly humiliation, however, failed to stop more troubling aspects of this ‘teachers’ behavior. He is known to be a homosexual rapist with a predilection for heterosexual males, students of his who have been groomed for years to regard him as a ‘the voice of the God’s’. Three lawsuits have been brought against him so far, each ending with out-of-court settlements often after intimidation and threats to the plaintiffs, or ‘earnest and sincere’ apologies and promises of ‘trying much harder to be good’. When these plaintive tunes are played out to those who once, not long before, worshipped that man as the highest living being on earth, alongside more threatening intimidation, they have been successful, if the initial monetary sum proffered was not. However, there are several very healthy signs that this inequity of power will no longer be allowed to continue, in the face of enormous evidence and renewed fellowship.

Robert Burton has also advised his students that if their conscience troubles them or speaks too loudly within them, then they should leave his ‘school’. To leave his school, according to his vast output of recorded quotations, is to lose all possibilities of growth and meaning: “When a student leaves, all the light that was available to them disappears down a black hole and is forever lost.” Staying in the organization, on the other hand, guarantees nothing, except that one continues to be allowed to gamble at the high stakes poker game of Robert, Beloved teacher, cock-mouthed rapist, grasping ‘aesthete’ and failed prophet.

Surely, if to lose the fellowship is to lost all possibilities of ‘noble awakening’ then to be born into the Fellowship of Friends must be the ‘highest gift on earth?’

No. Robert Burton has counseled his female students, particular those with high incomes or impressive status amongst his following, to have abortions, as the child would not aid their ‘evolution’ (spiritual development). Within this school, even caring for the elderly and years committed student is regarded as an oddity, as evinced by the story of W, a student, or disciple of Roberts, left unwashed and unattended in all but the most cursory way by his faithful, at the very centre of its school – whilst the follower who eventually took to her care was stigmatized and treated as an outcast. Much of this behavior reflects the concept of Robert Burton’s that the maternal influence morphs in society into a burden that prevents the possibility of ‘awakening’, a sketchily defined concept that can only be understood and defined and personally approved – even as it escapes definition, by the old rapist/extortionist himself. (Another failed prophecy – that by the year of Armageddon, 2006, seven others would have ‘awakened’ has singularly failed to bear fruit). Awakening means being designated as having awoken by Robert Burton. The Fellowship of Friends, which two years ago should of peaked at its prophesized membership at 10,000, remains an authenticated ‘Westworld’ or ‘Stepford’ of clones of the teacher and Girard Haven, as they have proven the concepts within the concepts they have chosen.

For the privilege of being a student, one is required to contribute between 20%-40% of ones income, necessitating a fixation on wage getting and earning, and therefore creating a kind of hive mentality purely by itself. However, this mentality persists even without financial stress, as students are taught that those who do not share their beliefs are basically mechanical to the point of being expendable and unworthy of respect or dignity. Applicable to the belief that these worthless ones would perish in a nuclear holocaust, as ordained by ‘the Gods’, for being unworthy of continued existence… and the horrific and blasphemous conceit that students are ‘the chosen people’, designated by ‘gods’ like Walt Whitman and William Blake in another corrupt misappropriation and misdirection, to survive a forthcoming global holocaust, designed by them (the ‘gods’) to redirect the few survivors to recognize just how right Robert Burton was… about everything… all along.

Future humanity, it has been imagined, will emerge to an era when the terrible mistakes of civilization, meaning pretty much everything that has happened over the past 200 years, are erased or purged, and ‘life people’ (those who do not perceive the Fellowship of Friends as the only way to eternity) assume their natural status: that of serving a ruling elite of waltzing art-archivists and ersatz schools of old fashioned artists and craftspeople working for a wealthy and cultured elite. Consequently, the future will look like women’s emancipation never happened, like science never happened, like evolutionary theory never happened, like modern democracy and the social State never happened; like the far reaching social and technical innovations of Western Civilization never happened, or was, at best, a mistake.

"In 1971, Teacher and a student were riding in a relatively new Dodge Dart along Highway 1 near Carmel. Teacher was 32 years old at the time. They were listening to a baseball game on the car radio. As the odometer of the car hit the mileage number “1954″, they passed a mailbox which had the name Thompson on it. Teacher indicated that this was a shock, as in 1954, Bobby Thompson of the New York Giants had hit a famous home run in a playoff game (which Teacher had apparently heard on the radio). 44 miles later as the odometer hit 1998, the mailbox on the side of the road showed the number 41211. Teacher indicated that THIS was also a shock which meant that California was going to fall into the Pacific Ocean in 1998 on April 12th at 11 am. Burton believed that the oil company that used the advertising logo “UNION ‘76″ was a sign from C Influence that he, Burton, would “crystallize into a man number six” in 1976.”

Much of the continuity of the Fellowship of Friends rests on the shoulders of Girard Haven, who is able to field the Teachers curveballs into manageable bite-sized intellectual and emotional sacrifices for Robert Burton’s students to follow. His intellectualism enables a state of infinite relativity to occupy the place of what should be embarrassed conscience and outrage. This gives the whole debate about what is right and wrong, acceptable and not outside the Fellowship of Friends (debate within is regarded as belonging to a misapprehension generated by the ‘instinctive centre’ or the ‘queen of hearts’ or the ‘formatary apparatus’) a richness of philosophical posturing and defensiveness, creating a kind of grey mist in which ‘the Schools’ defenders can easily hide behind.

What is also fascinating about the Fellowship of Friends is the way in which it attempts to paint Western Civilization as a picture of occult or philosophical mystical endeavor, one that has been overlooked by the masses and academic historical study. This is unlike most other cults, in that it is able to use figures such as Plato, Goethe, Blake, Jesus, Buddha, (one of the rare Easterners on the list), Lewis Carroll, Hans Christian Anderson, Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Dante, and so on – the list originally went to 44 ‘conscious beings’ or angels, and now extends further. The borrowed authority imparted by these noteworthy figures makes the more ludicrous claims of its teacher seem somehow allowable.

Accordingly, the cult borrows the impeccable reputation of most of these artists and philosophers for its own use, whilst the teaching of Burton maintains that he is the direct connect to these ‘Gods’, who have as their main remit, to cause ‘friction’, or suffering for his dear students – members of the Fellowship of Friends. These angels were also to be in charge of implementing the nuclear holocaust of billions following massive and unprecedented ecological and financial suffering.

This apprehension occurred to Mr Burton whilst being driven with some other students to a function in the early 1970’s, where he passed some signs by the roadside. He found the numbers on them significant. Now students since then have been obsessed by the number 44, reading the numerals on number plates as reminders from these ‘angels’ or ‘gods’ to be present.

From one perspective, this odd situation is the end of the line for a certain imperialistic idea of the West. It is founded upon the spiritually fuelled ideas of a post-nuclear child, grown into a psychically altered spiritual seeker lost on the path. Robert Burton’s teacher, Alex Horn, is said to have rejected him for his inability to desist from propositioning other male students to sex with him. All this occurred in the very early days of gay sexual liberation – the mid to late sixties; and continued throughout the height of cold-war paranoia. Robert would have been drilled as a child to duck under desks at the air-raid warning, expecting imminent mushroom clouds. His father was a butcher. He would of seen the grossness of physicality through the lens of hung and quartered meat for sale. He has said that his mother and sister abused him.

Robert homosexuality might be one reason why the state of California has desisted from any action against him, as the category of male rape is still a relatively new one and California is noted for its tolerance of different lifestyles. Or it may be that The Fellowship of Friends, and it headquarters, Apollo, where Robert Burton resides most of the time, is one of the biggest tax contributors to the area around it, Yuba County, which is fairly poor for the state as a whole, and thus the county and State turns a blind eye to this criminality.

During a period of over two decades of abuse, there is no knowing how many young men he has raped and discarded as of no further use to him. His abuse is often undertaken with a kind of mechanical sterility as though he were conducting an operation. He has arranged marriages for these men in order to legitimize his continued abuse of them, and they have in turn acted callously, sometimes violently towards their arranged partners. To them Robert is providing them with an opportunity to ‘work with feminine dominance’. He has said to victims that he is ‘a goddess in a male body’ in order to further confound his victims, who at any rate regard him as the living exemplar of the truth they have already, by then, paid dearly for. His favorite activity is that of ‘milking’, which he believes yields him a ‘divine food’ that he can transform into higher consciousness, the better to lead his flock. Or else, he is just a confused pervert with narcissistic-personality disorder, possibly brought about by the alleged abuses of his childhood.

Owing to the idea of ‘feminine dominance’ taught within the ‘school’, the students have adopted a peculiar callousness towards those who struggle with difficulties, many of which are of course created by the severe regime imposed upon them. Students and ex-students are unsure about where their responsibilities lie, and take much blame for the dysfunction of their teacher and teaching upon themselves.

Meanwhile the teacher continues to live a life of unadorned luxury and privilege, paying exorbitant amount for ridiculously tasteless suits of velvet and silk socks and shirts for his entourage of groupies/victims whilst they travel with him. He can never be questioned from within as those whom he regards as posing difficulties are asked to leave, and leaving is regarded as the worst kind of spiritual death. Those who stay regard their status as being ‘luckier’ and more ‘blessed’ than the rest of humanity, because they are flattered that they are. They maintain a focus on a series of meditational practices that, within the confines of the cult, have them running round after their own tales in search of some mysterious ‘MaGuffin’ of spiritual fulfillment, that cannot be had within a state of compliance to the most sinister and pervasive corruption, within conceited complience, that maintains the form of the Fellowship of Friends.

Students within the ‘school’ perpetuate their condition through relying on previous ‘verifications’ and current ones. Many students believe they have personally verified ‘C’ influence (Robert Burton’s 44 guiding angels, those ‘conscious beings’, consisting mostly of historical European cultural figures) he believes are speaking to him through signs, and to other students in a similar way. Because they have found the number 44 recurring in their lives, and take this as a sign that the ‘gods’ are working with them. ‘What would happen if I left the school? Would I get to see so many 44’s on number plates receipts and dollar bills?’ Students have ‘verified’ other quite revelatory facts, such as, ‘meditational techniques promote changes of consciousness’, and ‘communities of meditators promote changes of consciousness and perspective,’ and ‘paying for things causes me to value them’ and so on. Within the idea of ‘a conscious school of angels’, a continuing theme of the Fellowship of Friends, was the idea that such notables as William Blake and Hans Christian Anderson were swapping notes on the best means to bring about the annihilation of billions of human beings, in-between making current students uncomfortable in order to increase their desire for the present moment, withdrawing ex-students evolutionary spiritual possibilities for lifetimes to come, and performing other helpful tasks that demonstrate that Plato and Marcus Aurelius, Shakespeare, Moses, Montaigne and Jesus Christ amongst the stella number, are really just tools in the hand of a tasteless, West-Coast based peter-puffer, (cock-sucker), playing the role of spiritual guru whilst spending his substantial income on $500.00 underwear and outerwear for his naïve victims, many of whom are trapped by their fragile, East-European migrant status.

‘The best lack all conviction, whilst the worst are full of passionate intensity’.
WB Yeats

Amongst the student populace there is another contingent who claim to have no allegiance to Robert Burton as a teacher, but to the idea of the Fellowship, and to the energy generated in its meetings and other events. They pay exorbitant amounts for this privilege, maintaining a gross hypocrisy, not unlike their teacher. Pursuing ‘energetic refreshment’ and highly pretentious lifestyle, at the cost of others suffering, and in ignorance of their own, and the slavery attached to it: a kind of affected, conceited country-club lifestyle along meditational lines, which, like all such aspirational game-playing, reveals, at closer examination, a society of calloused hearts and sterile affectations within self-enclosed mass-hypnotism. The Fellowship of Friends is a peculiar blend of elitist posing, naïve hero worship, lost seekers trying to find themselves in falsehoods, decadence and hypocrisy in the guise of ‘spirituality’ and ‘personal growth’. Whilst large sums of money circulate around the Fellowship, in reality it is a spiritually bankrupt and arid regime of selfishness and immorality, a desert in which those lost within imagine a vineyard, distaining the water of truth for promises of revelation in times to come that never do and never can. It’s a mass of subjective and exploitative lies, and what makes all of this so funny, and so tragic, is that it’s participants regard themselves as partaking of an ‘objective’ truth on a path of emancipation from delusion.

The ‘fellowship’ people experience within the cult is probably the one substantial thing that holds it together, as it is with so many cults. Deep friendships are forged within the organization that is a deviation from what they sought in the first place, but can no longer return to, for fear of doing wrong. For instance, recently Robert Burton has taken to interpreting ancient and classical art as signifying the meditational technique invented by him 8 years ago, ‘the sequence’. He has interpreted a Neolithic rock painting of a bison and its shit as exemplifying this original technique to establish and maintain divine presence, the feet of putti, and so on, counting elements of great art in order to arrive at numbers significant to him and his teaching. The end of what may of once seemed like a great project has ended in a peculiar counting of elements found in great art, within a regime of poisonous mental fascism utilizing the wisdom and art of the west, in the guise of a spiritual journey towards the sublime, that ultimately leads only to spiritual slavery to a pervert – or exit from the lunatic asylum.

Don't ask, don't tell

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