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, September 29, 2009

Former Fellowship of Friends member takes his own life

[ed. - The passing of Thomas Braxton Michael was reported on The Greater Fellowship site and in the West Seattle Herald. Michael was a Fellowship member from May 1976 until April 1982. According to a close friend and former Fellowship member, "Tom was a great friend but one who suffered after his fellowship years (mid/late-1970s into the early '80s). Sadly, he took his own life last month."]
Thomas Braxton Michael, 61

Tom passed away at home in West Seattle Sunday, September 29, 2009 at the age of 61. He was born in Atlanta. GA on January 16, 1948 to Frank and Francis Michael and had one brother, David. They all have now passed on and are survived by cousins in California, South Carolina, and Illinois. First Cousin Pat Davis and her daughter Julie traveled to Seattle already to have a personal time to reflect on this loss of a beloved soul.

Tom will be missed in all of his quirky, delightful, and eccentric charms. He came to Seattle 30 years ago from Georgia and found a place and home to nurture his personality. He was a natural cook and woodworker with a dedication to quality that touched everything he did. His personal bible was the Joy of Cooking and his joy of people extended to a dear sensitivity to helping others, especially underdogs who truly benefited from Tom’s heart felt listening and care. If you ever had the pleasure of tasting any of his BBQ, baked goods, smoked meats, sauces, or roasted vegetables you know you were well fed.

One of the aspects of Tom’s nature was to be a life long learner. He had college degrees in philosophy as well as engineering and later broadened that to include technical drafting. Reading was his personal sanctuary. He worked at many jobs including Boeing, Seabird Electronics, International Submarine Technologies, and KCDA. His real work though was with wood and food, people and animals. Tom was a kind man and he always cared about quality in whatever he pursued. Once he and some friends took apart and rebuilt a mid sized wooden sailboat that actually launched and floated. In 1991 Tom married Camille Crea and together they took on remodeling an old West Seattle home built in 1928 that was the right fit for their hearts.

Tom is missed by his friends for his loving Southern charm, and especially by his ex-wife and best friend, Camille Michael. Their story is remarkable in its honest commitment to support, honor, and cherish the other. There was no one like Tom who could be an uncle to neighborhood animals and dear friend to Whisper, the family cat. His mind was rich and gifted with imagination, love, and respect.

A memorial will be held at Seaview Methodist Church in West Seattle on Saturday, October 24. Service starts at 1:00 pm in the reception area.

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