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.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fellowship member John Esam dies

[ed. - On  the Fellowship's Elysian Society site, there is a page dedicated to John. As the official interment ceremony script tells us, John had found a trusting home with the Fellowship. Others apparently felt differently about John's care in the Fellowship, and two signed The Fellowship Investigation Petition. (Note: as of September 30, 2014, Petition Online's site will be shut down. The link takes one to a copy.) See also The Guardian's John Esam obituary.]

"John Esam" [presumably, a pseudonym] wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Investigation Petition (signature #205):
Missing US$40,000 possibly more out of John’s estate. He died ill and destitute on 24th June 2011. The Fellowship took control of his savings and his pension money and gifted it back to themselves. Theft/fraud/deceit/coercion/duress etc. When will law authorities enforce criminal charges against this cult? How many more people must be robbed and coerced by this cult? Also they write fraudulent Wills and Power of Attorney documents. The Fellowship attorney – David Springfield is definitely dodgy.

The next signature is that of Larissa Esam, who commented:
I and my extended family had lost my father, John, to this cult for over 16 years. He was sick and financially destitute when he died. The Fellowship possibly still have some of his possessions and its possible they took his money from him as well for over 16 years. They are evil, corrupt and ruthless. People's lives are being controlled and wasted as we sit here and read these signatures. Please sign if your loved ones have been caught up in this - the more signatures put on here then the louder our voices become to the world media who need to be able to verify through the suffering of ex members and their families the sorts of abuses which have gone on for years and years.

[ed. - A "Lara Esam" is mentioned in The Guardian obituary linked above. Below, "Lust for Life" offers a similar-sounding account.]

"Lust for Life" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 17, 2007:
Kiran, your story about the FOF wanting you to sign your business over to them while you were at death’s door reminds me of a student in London called Roger. [ed. - See Roger Greene's story.] He was an older gentleman, who was dying and signed a lot of money over to the FOF on his passing for the purpose of building a hostel for students who were unable to afford a visit to Renaissance (as it was then). Plans were drawn up and he was convinced that it would be built but it never was and who knows what happened to the money? That left a very nasty taste in my mouth, he was such a generous man, and this betrayal was one of the factors that helped me to see that RB [Robert Burton] has no conscience.

[ed. - See also: "Full text of Fellowship of Friends Investigation Petition."]