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, March 1, 2009

Ananda Awareness Network action against swami

"Craig Dockter" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 1, 2009:
Burton can and must be exposed. A small group of us exposed Donald Walters (kriyananda) of Ananda in Nevada City [California]. Of course we had the very best lawyers: Michael Flynn & Ford Greene.

Check it out:


From the Ananda Awareness Network:

The lawsuit filed against the Ananda church of Self-Realization, known as Ananda, and Swami Kriyananda, includes charges of fraud and deceit, alleging that Swami Kriyananda, aka J. Donald Walters, misrepresented himself to the public as a celibate Hindu priest, known as a swami, while in actuality he was engaging in sexual activity with young women under his spiritual care. Expert witnesses at the trial described the type of sexual activity as "clergy sexual abuse". An abuse of power perpetrated by Swami Kriyananda. While Swami Kriyananda admitted under oath to sexual activity with some followers, he denied it was "abuse". Swami Kriyananda said the young nuns "thrust themselves upon him" and took advantage of "his weakness". Ananda rallied to Swami Kriyananda's defense. Many of their leaders admitted in court that they hadn't even read the women's declarations before they were condemning them to their community as "lies" and "distortions". Ananda has no sexual harassment policy, as many other modern churches do. Ananda does not believe this is necessary, even after 7 women testified about sexual abuse at the hands of Swami Kriyananda. The Ananda Awareness Network's goal is to make alternative information about Ananda Church of Self-Realization, and Swami Kriyananda, aka J. Donald Walters, available to the public, so a fully informed choice about involvement with Ananda can be made.

Expert testimony of Pamela Cooper-White in Ananda Case.

Janja Lalich testimony

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