Introduction


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.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bruce Arvon's story

The following is excerpted from Bruce Arvon's website, 4th Way Path:
Early in my search I joined a group called the Fellowship of Friends in northern California. The leader of this group is a very charismatic man, Robert Burton, who is the most wonderful pied piper. At that time he told us he was a man number 6 , a conscious man! I was really impressed that he was so high and knew so much more than I did and could lead me to a higher plain.

I believed everything he said, he was (according to him) talking directly with the angels! Wow! I was sure lucky to be in his group. He told us that the Fellowship was an arc [sic] that was going to carry civilization through the coming Armageddon! There were 44 angels working directly with the school and he even knew their names and who they were. Past great men of history, such as Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Marcus Aurelius and 41 others who had completed their tasks on the earth and, I guess, became conscious and risen to angel status.

Robert also claimed to be a profit [sic] and made predictions about things that would happen in the future, such as California falling into the sea in 1996 [ed. - actually, 1998], and a great depression worse than the 1930s happening in 1984 and the atomic war, Armageddon in 2006. None of these events took place and I can not tell you how he coped with the misinformation the angels gave him. The Fellowship is still around and prosperous all these years later and so is the pied piper Mr. Burton. Still sending innocent, soul searching people down a path in the opposite direction of where they hope to go!

Don't believe!

The important thing is that I believed him. I believed without doubts everything he said. I believed I was one of the special, chosen ones that was on the way to consciousness. I was one of those destined to survive and help bring civilisation through Armageddon. I believed that I was superior to the rest of humanity which was asleep and not interested in awakening! I was a player who had a part in a great play being orchestrated by higher influences.  
It was many years after I left the Fellowship that I began to know that I had been duped and unfortunately I had a psychology that was easily dupable. I of course only saw myself as strong and not easily swayed by others. 
Rather than being unique and better than others, always thinking I knew the truth and they were mislead and gullible I painfully discovered that I was exactly the same as all those whom I judged.
[ed. - Also published on the blog, The Fourth Way Path.]

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