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 most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

But 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.

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 from official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the Internet Archive, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wikispace project, the (ill-fated 2007) Fellowship of Friends Wikipedia page, 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, August 31, 2011

On surviving in Oregon House, the "Heart of the Fellowship of Friends"

Asaf Braverman and Robert Earl Burton Fellowship of Friends cult leaders in Egypt
Asaf Braverman with Robert Burton in Egypt. Source: FOF History Project


"Joseph G" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 3, 2007:
There are about 15,000 former members worldwide, and current membership is estimated at 1600. The influence of this church is documented to have had damaging results on the lives of many members, leaving them in a state of poor physical or mental health, financial ruin and moral confusion.

Over the last 37 years, the property belonging to the Fellowship of Friends, including the vineyard and commercial winery producing Renaissance wines, has in part been developed and maintained by the labor of members who are in this country with religious visas. This fact has been intentionally hidden from authorities. Workers are required to donate back to the church the largest portion of their salary, leaving an average monthly living wage of about $460.00.

"Traveler" responded on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 3, 2007:
As far as I know, as of 2007 the grunts are paid exactly $405 per month* . When you start work for the FoF you are paid legal minimum wage for CA but you also have to sign a statement authorizing the FoF to automatically take your “charitable contributions” out of your wages, leaving you with the above meager salary. People working in offices or at the LC school [Lewis Carroll School] are paid around $1000 per month, and “higher-ups” are given “real salaries” – no guesses as to how much that might be. I have heard that maintaining the workforce costs the Fellowship $120,000 per month.

[*ed. - That's about $2.34/hour, assuming a 40-hour work-week, 52 weeks a year. But, historically, members employed at the Oregon House headquarters worked considerably more than 40 hours per week, sometimes 6 and 7 days per week, with additional hours expected to be "volunteered" in service to the community. In the early years, meals (and sometimes, accommodations) were included in the arrangement. Contrast this with Burton's nominal $250,000 annual salary, with virtually all expenses paid.]

"Truth Be Told" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
'The claim on the previous page that FOF workers were allowed to go hungry is among the more serious charges against the Fellowship of Friends/Living Presence/Power of Now/Pathway to Presence/Whatever, based in Mount Carmel/Via del Sol/Renaissance/Apollo/Isis/Apollo.
Some background: Until the late 1990s, everyone was fed at a common trough. Free food was one of the benefits of being “on salary.”
Management decided, during a round of budget cuts, that this was encouraging “tramp.” People should take responsibility for themselves.
A fancy restaurant, Apollo d’Oro, was created, and members were expected to pay for their meals.
Someone told me, about 2003 or 2005 I think, that some students were actually going hungry in the wake of this plan.
I took the matter to El1zabeth Blak3, a psychologist who was then a member of the “Fellowship Council.” As I recall, I suggested the extra food at the Galleria could be distributed, or at least something to do with the food being wasted.
She asked me to name names. Of course I didn’t have any. This had been described to me as a general reality, not the complaint of an isolated person or two. It seemed believable enough.
She floored me when said anyone who was hungry should come forward. In other words, the beggars would have to identify themselves to get help.
“Please, sir, may I have some more?”
I guess the Council was the “spiritual wing” of the FOF. They didn’t do compassion.
They were too busy tracking down Adyashanti followers and discussing the candidates for center directors. (Pardon the snark.)
“For I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink … Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not unto me.” Matt. 25: 42, 45.


"Wondering Who’s Watching" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
4. Truth Be Told [Blog post number and blogger] – August 31, 2011:
‘Some background: Until the late 1990s, everyone was fed at a common trough. Free food was one of the benefits of being “on salary.”’
Not quite the truth as I saw it. Until the mid 1990′s, the main dining facility for the Fellowship of Friends (FoF), beingpresent.org, Living Presence, Power of Now, Pathway to Presence, Church of Robert Earl Burton (REB), based in Oregon House, California and also called: The Farm, Via del Sol, Mount Carmel, Renaissance (Renaissance Vineyard and Winery), Apollo, Isis, then Apollo again, and possibly other names, was the Lincoln Lodge. Yes, the people who were ‘on salary’ dined collectively at this place – others paid. But ‘common trough’ for all would be pushing it. REB and his chosen were always treated in a special manner. Segregated dining room, Meissen Room or Mozart Deck for a time, for example, was where REB and mostly the ‘high rollers’ (people of significant importance and, especially, money) would be served significantly different food and treated in a different manner. Other significant players in the FoF hierarchy were also given special treatment. The common folk did dine in-common and uncommonly well as ‘intentional dining’ was an FoF ‘exercise’ and a hallmark of its civilized feeding. But, this came to a sudden screeching halt when Yuba County declared the Lincoln Lodge facility to be in violation of several building and/or health codes. It appeared that REB squandered much of FoF capital on the acquisition of Classical Chinese Furniture and pretty much ignored infrastructure and longterm maintenance – mostly interested in putting on a good show. Then there was the $5 million out-of-court settlement of the TB underage sex lawsuit REB incurred. By then, REB dined at his residence, at the restaurant on FoF property that was open to the public, or at the FoF member owned restaurant in the neighborhood, when he was in Oregon House. The employed people that were dependent on the Lincoln Lodge had no place to eat. This was prelude to the 1998 prediction of California falling into the Pacific Ocean disaster. After a considerable period of time, a food distribution method was developed where the raw ingredients were supplied to people to prepare meals at their homes and organize common dinners there. Much of this was accomplished by trading Renaissance Vineyard and Winery wine to the suppliers. A lot of the food was really great but consistency and balanced diet was a bit difficult to achieve by this method. Meanwhile, REB was living off the FoF property in the ‘Ming Museum’ while his residence on the FoF property was trying to get special county tax treatment as being ‘officially’ a museum. Special dining happened at the Ming, too. Also, some fairly wild parties. REB was not ‘actively’ or ‘formally’ teaching during this period. (He returned to teaching again mostly due to GH having a stroke.) Eventully, REB started having Friday night receptions, that typically fed 300 people buffet style, as the designated fundraiser for the tens of thousands of dollars that were needed to return the Lincoln Lodge back to operation via renovation. It then became Apollo d’Oro where mostly everyone had to pay for their meals. (REB, and company, did not have to pay.) The last thing I knew was, if you wanted to survive ‘on salary,’ you had to have one, or more, side jobs that became as important, if not more important, than your main job. Or, you became adept at wheeling and dealing in vouchers on the grey market. Or, other creative financing – like creating your own winery. Other possibilities were to have your significant other be employed with a job in the real world. Then, there was the issue of providing yourself with adaquate health services – MediCal (impoverished persons public health benefit) was the main strategy. Oregon House Clinic came into existence to cover basic needs, somehow. All of this fueled very interesting money management matters – not all of which were legitimate.

‘Fellowship Council,’ as is the board of directors, are mere tools and puppets to accomplish what REB wants.
Galleria uneaten food was typically thrown out, composted (if possible), or salvaged by the workers behind the scenes, so that they could take it home as a side benefit of their ‘third line of work.’ Most was not suitable to take home, though – do you want to eat someone else’s partly eaten food?. Living off the crumbs from REB’s table was tricky business.
The inability of persons to survive was a sure means to cycle these indentured servants back to their countries of origin by the time their visas ran out. Those that were well-to-do or got by, by hook or by crook, lived to go on at the ‘heart of the school.’ Pimping for REB, for example, was a way to make yourself useful. Kissing ass, and other parts of anatomy, works, too. Clearing the endlessly overgrown landscape for private parties would be another. (Do not confuse that with ‘bush whacking.’) How about a buttons or ribbons business? Petrarch (Pyramid) Press anyone? How about growing, nurturing, harvesting and selling crops from the FoF property for personal profit? Clandestine Jubaea chilensis (Chilean Wine Palm) sales could be lucrative. Want some palm jelly?

Wondering Who’s Watching

"silentpurr" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 11, 2009:
While living at Renaissance years ago, at the lower house, before the air stream era, RB asked me to take my small daughter to Marysville/Yuba City and apply for foodstamps and benefits. A humiliating experience. He said that it would be good for my ‘vanity’ feature………I think that others were asked to do the same.
When other students began joining with children, we founded the ‘children’s house’. Parents kept their Fellowship work schedules while taking turns minding the children. I was never paid a penny for my work for RB, But was expected to use the gov. money and food stamps to maintain my daughter’s needs.

"I know" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 11, 2009:
282. silentpurr [blogger above]
I once had a similar experience with food-stamps only for real. I left because I exhausted all my financial resources to the last dime while being in the FOF. No one has ever asked me for money because I never had any and during 85% of the time I have been on salary. During these years I fell into the trap of NOT ‘going back to life’. I thought it would be the worst choice I could make. Only the worst choice of course was staying in OH and becoming extremely poor. I still have this anger inside because I allowed myself to arrive to such poverty. Part of it is definitely due the atmosphere in OH, but there were others who took care of themselves very well. So it’s the FOF, but also my belief that I could live there simple life with no money. I know I am not a typical participant of this blog. I do not hate the FOF or RB. I do think that there is a great deal of naivety amongst many students, especially those who are completely broke. I still have good friends there, with whom I keep contacts.

"vera.mente" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 10, 2007:
113 Arthur

Dear Arthur,

Yes it would be wonderful to be repaid back from the time and efforts lost to RB.
But I doubt there is a way to make this possible.

Indsight is always 20/20, if I could change something of the past I would have put a big stink about moving to Renaissance because my spouse was needed.

I would have said NO!instead I obeyed and got sick for a change.

Then when I got sick I had no medical insurance and a minimum wage of maybe 700 dollars a month for a family of 3.

Poverty settled in even deeper: visits to the Health and Welfare Department, in Yuba City or Marysville (I forgot)…

I had a brief vacation from making teaching payments, later the “sweet” F…ces Th…son harrassing me and with cultish stupidity I made a few payments with credit cards, in the meantime there was no money to pay the rent. This is what happens to the people who were sucked in on salary without previous assets.

Bad choices, you pay for almost a lifetime.

Yes, I want RB to go, his students to go and get a piece of property on slope 19, 5 or more acres for all the physical and moral damages sustained. What do you think?

(I know these words will create an fof stink!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"One does not take another teacher's students..."

[ed. - Robert Burton directed the above rebuke at Miles Barth upon Miles' departure from the Fellowship. While perhaps not taking another teacher's students, Burton's Fellowship of Friends is not above diverting seekers with a little misleading advertising. 

A series of Living Presence/Fellowship of Friends YouTube videos includes this one, titled "Study Eckhart Tolle Power of Now." Former Fellowship members have termed this a "bait-and-switch." To help draw unsuspecting souls, The Fellowship also routinely uses "Eckhart Tolle" and "Power of Now" in website keywords and meta tags.]



[ed. - May 1, 2014 update: It now appears that Fellowship members who created a number of Eckhart Tolle Power of Now Meetups have largely abandoned the effort, probably because it was not a forum they could easily dominate and control, thus not productive for recruiting purposes. Consequently, most of the links in the posts below no longer direct us to the Fellowship's original Meetups. A couple sites still in existence are Alex Ayuli's ("Al Martini") Power of Now Meetup in Las Vegas, and William Scholte's Toronto Friends of Presence Meetup. (January 1, 2015 update: The Meetup Groups mentioned are no longer active.)]


"J. D." wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 31, 2011:
A friend of mine sent me these links a while ago. The Fellowship of Friends and its henchmen are using ‘meetup’ groups (see links below) as a launchpad, they are using the “power of now” and its popularity to lure and recruit for the FoF. Check out a ‘meetup’ group near you. http://www.meetup.com/The-Power-of-Now-San-Jose/ (defunct) http://www.meetup.com/The-Power-of-Now/ (defunct)
[ed. - This San Francisco group was operated by the same organizers. As of 2016, the Fellowship appears no longer involved:]
http://www.meetup.com/powerofnowsf/

[ed. - Former Fellowship member Ames Gilbert takes on the Power of Now "impostors":]

"Ames Gilbert" Posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 30, 2011:
Tim, Both Abdullah Samaha and Peter Morrow are members of the Fellowship of Friends / Pathway to Presence / Living Presence / Being Present.org / Church of Robert Earl Burton organization. Thanks for pointing out a new recruitment tool.
The ‘hook’ for the San Jose group: Practical discussions, tools and tips for accessing the Power of Now and living in Presence. Based on the teaching of Eckhart Tolle, the Fourth Way / Gurdjieff and other mystical tradition (sic). http://www.meetup.com/The-Power-of-Now-San-Jose/ [ed. - defunct] The ‘hook’ for the Sacramento group: The spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle provides a modern exposition of the ancient 4th Way system taught by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. This group seeks to go beyond Eckhart’s book into the actual day to day practice of being Present. Using the knowledge, methods and practical tools provide by the 4th Way. A good place to start is with the book called The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution . . . etc, etc. http://www.meetup.com/The-Power-of-Now/ [ed. - defunct] I joined both groups just now, and posted this message:
This group is founded on a lie of omission. Abdullah Samaha and Peter Morrow will not tell you that they are members of the “Fellowship of Friends” cult, and have formed this group to recruit new members. Other names of this group are/have been: Fellowship of Friends / Pathway to Presence / Living Presence / Being Present.org / Church of Robert Earl Burton. For your own sakes, google these names and find out for yourselves. The ‘hook’ is Eckhart Tolle; the claim that he is linked in any way to the Fourth Way is a lie. In actual fact, the FoF ‘teaching’ is that ET is ‘B-Influence’, and that ‘C-Influence’ works exclusively with Burton and the Fellowship of Friends; typical cult claims. Burton claims to be a ‘man number 8′ and equal to Christ, and that mankind will be expunged while his followers are left to form a new civilization centered on the property known as Apollo (Oregon House, CA 95962). And, if you are a good-looking male, Burton is likely to ask you for sex. So, beware!

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 31, 2011:
Well, Abdallah Samaha removed me from the San Jose group, including my review of the group. So we now know he is a coward as well as a liar. The automated Meetup e-mail included a contact address, so I sent him the following message:
Hello Abdallah, It appears you have removed me from your list. That is an abuse of your power, and a blow against the truth. Be assured I will continue to try to tell that truth to all potential members of the Fellowship of Friends, and inform folks that you, Peter Morrow, Alex Ayuli, and any other followers of Burton that you are not what you seem. You know perfectly well that Burton considers any other teachings as B-Influence, and that he has thrown out followers who have shown any abiding interest in other spiritual paths. So for you to use the bait of Eckhart Tolle to lure people to your cult is disingenuous as well as hypocritical, an outrage in spiritual terms. Burton, and by extension you and your fellows, may preach and act as if the ends justifies the means, that your ‘intentional insincerity’ in these matters is a valid way of trapping the unwary, but I assure you it is not. You and your fellows have never seriously studied the Fourth Way, and have little idea of the application of the Law of Three and the Law of Seven, but even a brief initial study will show you that deception at the start of an octave corrupts the entire octave. Common sense, really, but corruption is at the heart of the Fellowship, and you are yourself corrupted as a result, so you are normalized to corruption. I hope one day you come to your senses, but this will probably not be soon if this is how you act in the world now. Ames Gilbert, former member.

The following was posted on The Power of Now San Jose Meet-Up site August 31, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.:
There was an attempt from an individual to join our group with the intention to bring his/her personal negative agenda to disturb what we are set to do. Simply being in the moment. That individual was removed form our meetup. This message is being communicated: There's been a recent discussion on the board about whether this meetup group is affiliated with or a recruiting platform for the Fellowship of Friends - a 4th way organization. It is not. This is a personal endeavor by Peter, Alex and myself to bring our understanding of Being Present to people who are interested. In the year we've been facilitating this meetup, no one has ever been approached about becoming a member of any group. This meetup is solely about being Present inspired by the writings of Eckhart Tolle and augmented by the depth and detailed knowledge of the 4th Way; an ancient system that predates Tolle, FOF and most other spiritual teachings. For this reason we'd like to keep this board solely for discussions and questions about being Present. Thanks, Peter and Abdallah
[ed. - Curiously, Peter is not even listed as a member or organizer of the group. Peter Morrow has been an active spokesperson for the Fellowship of Friends. Subsequent Meet-Ups focused on Center of Gravity, The Enneagram and Body Types, all subjects taught in the Fellowship of Friends, not in the Power of Now.]


"2011" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 31, 2011:
Just to offer a little history; sometime around 2005 (as I recall) Robert started talking about the Power Of Now and that he considered it to be something akin to what the Fellowship was aspiring to. My recollection was that he did not ban the book or forbid it but rather we were encouraged to bookmark this particular book. Remember, Burton always said; “why change a winning hand?” and since bookmarks had worked so well in the past, it wasn’t the bookmarks that weren’t working- it was the books! He realized that this book could serve as a new vehicle in which to recruit new members.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 31, 2011:
And now I’ve been removed from the Sacramento group, but not before two people took me up on the offer to find out more. I replied to “all”, e.g., the whole group and told them something about Burton and the Fellowship of Friends (and aliases). So at least that is out there, and they have my e-mail if they want to ask more questions. I notice that there is another Power of Now group in San Francisco (http://www.meetup.com/powerofnowsf/). Same photo of Eckhart Tolle in the header. Until last night, it was run by Gregory Dixon [current Fellowship member], but has now changed to Peter Morrow [current Fellowship member] and someone called Alex (Ayuli?). Although it was announced last year, and about 57 people expressed interest, there have been no meetups as yet. I’m sure I’m preemptively banned there as well, so someone else will have to keep an eye on that situation, as well as any others around the country. Incidentally, there are meetup groups for “The Academy of European Arts and Culture”, a spinoff of the FoF started by Melvin Brady (deceased), a former member of the Fellowship. He has a “In Memoriam”page on GF. More at: http://www.academyofeuropeanarts.com/

"Tim Campion" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 31, 2011:
From the Sacramento Penetrating the Power of Now meet-up site:
“Hello everyone, my name is Peter Morrow…I have been practicing the power of now for over 35 years – well before Eckhart’s wonderful book was even a gleam in his eye. I hope to meet you all soon to share practical knowledge about living in the Now.”

[ed. - There is plenty of further discussion on this topic at the Fellowship of Friends blog. I'll terminate this post with these comments from Ames and Former American Student.]

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 1, 2011:
To my great surprise, I received a reply to my letter to Abdullah Samaha (#111-6 or thereabouts). According to him, he and Peter Morrow, Mario Fantoni, Gregory Dixon and Alex Ayuli, are organizing these Meetup groups for completely altruistic reasons. So, it is in the realms of possibility that I’ve completely misjudged them and the Fellowship of Friends. Here is the e-mail without further commentary from me:
Hello Ames, I do not know about your experience with the FOF and how you ended up with so much hate for this organization, and I do not which to enter in any discussion with you about it; therefore to protect my group from exposure to the negativity in your message, I removed you from our meetup.
The truth is that since the conception of the meetup idea, it was always being presented as an opportunity bringing forth our understanding of being present and combine them with other people experiences, in an open discussion.
Fourth Way material as well as Eckhart, and other sources are discussed and used to enhance and support our endeavor to be in the moment.
Fact; no one has been approached about becoming a member of any group including the FOF. And no one to best of my knowledge, became a member of the FOF from the meetup groups.
It has been a collective effort, between Peter, Alex and myself to bring our understanding of the 4th Way, Sufism, FOF and other spiritual teaching to people who share the same goal, and have fun while doing it.
Intentionally the FOF has not been mentioned in our discussion, for the reason of keeping the meetup group open to other spiritual teaching.
Ames, I hope I managed to have presented few facts about what these meetup are all about, and at this point, I will attempt to clasify your e-mail as spam, I do not wish to receive any further replies from you; pardon my rudeness but it is necessary.
Abdallah

"Former American Student" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 4, 2007:
Re post 105 R [Robert Burton] expressively forbid students from reading Tolle and emails were sent to the students from the [Fellowship of Friends] council. The logic was that by reading it you would lose the work.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Paying for presence

Robert Earl Burton Fellowship of Friends cult Goethe Room dinner, Apollo, Oregon House, CA
Goethe Room Dinner. Source: Living Presence

"My2Bits" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 28, 2011:
Re: Post #139

I went to several of these Galleria ‘teaching dinners’ where, when RB [Robert Burton] was attending, it was not acceptable to eat (i.e. to take a bite or chew one’s food) when someone was talking. If you violated this rule, you ran the risk of being ‘blacklisted’ from future dinners.

Usually, the dinner was an almost continuous dialogue between RB and AB [Asaf Braverman], who would stand in the room with notes in hand. RB would make a comment, AB would comment on his comment, AB would provide a lead-in to RB’s next point on the script, and so on and on. Occasionally, there was a supportive guest comment, but seldom a question.

Many would sit anxiously, course after course, for RB to stop talking and take a bite of his dinner — for that was their signal to quickly chow down a bite of their own before RB and AB resumed their dialogue. The nicely prepared food could hardly be enjoyed, of course, and most of it was taken away in the end, to the benefit of no one.

Eventually, students were coached to dine before these dinners so they wouldn’t be hungry and could be completely attentive. Several “inner circle” members who attended regularly didn’t even try to eat. This bizarre and frustrating experience usually cost $100 to $150.

[ed. - Here is pricing for some 2006 Goethe Room events, provided by "Purchasing Awakening":]
Dining with Robert – Here is Robert’s schedule:
Monday 22:  Goethe Room - Breakfast   8:30 a.m.   $150
Tuesday 23:  Goethe Room - Dinner  7:00 p.m.   $200
Thursday 25:  Thanksgiving Breakfast   8:30 a.m.   $200
Thursday 25:  Thanksgiving Dinner  3:30 p.m.  $350
Friday 26:  Goethe Room - Breakfast   8:30 a.m.   $150
Saturday 27:  Goethe Room - Breakfast   8:30 a.m.   $150
Saturday 27:  Goethe Room-Dinner   7:00 p.m.  $200
Sunday 28:  Goethe Room  12:00 p.m.   $250 at table ($200 with partner, $100 standing)
Monday 29:  Goethe Room - Bon Voyage Breakfast   6:30 a.m.   $150

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Another church bake sale?

[ed. - As has been suggested previously, the Fellowship's insurance company's refusal to insure the "church" as long as Robert Burton had access to the "till", led to a resurgence of fee-based teaching and special events (above and beyond all required membership "donations"), the funds from which were allegedly used to augment the pastor's meager $250k salary.]

 "NG" posted on the Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion blog:
August 24th, 2011

From the FoF media channel :

September 1st to September 5th Mini Journey Forth
Celebrating our Teacher’s 44th Anniversary of Meeting Influence C
Dear Friends,
After a beautiful Ballet Festival, Robert would like to announce the revival of the Theatron. The building permit has just been renewed, and a French 18th century carved limestone wall is being reassembled as a new charming entry to the Theatron. It will be dedicated at the opening of the upcoming Mini Journey Forth.
The Teacher suggested the name of this venue be the “Da Vinci Theatron”.
In order to make this extraordinary project come into being, the Teacher is encouraging students to support it. Our donations to the forty-fourth anniversary gift of Meeting Influence C will be directed towards the Theatron revival, as will the proceeds from the upcoming Mini Journey Forth. Please follow the donation instructions bellow.
As this project develops, we will keep you constantly updated.
“As we enter the fifth decade of working with Influence C in our school, the age of miracles is upon us.” - Robert E. Burton
In presence,
Friends from Journey Forth

[ed. - For more on The Theatron, see: Build it, (and the inspectors will come.)]

Monday, August 15, 2011

The "Voucher System" and Robert Burton's underground economy

Robert Earl Burton, Fellowship of Friends cult leader, with his Russian members at the Theatron in Oregon House, CA
Robert Earl Burton with Russian members of the Fellowship of Friends at the first "Journey Forth by Day"
celebration, 2005." Image from the Fellowship of Friends WikiSpace.

"Armando" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 13, 2011:
People on the blog frequently say the FOF was twisted and damaged, even from the beginning. For those close to RB [Robert Burton] the insanity goes way back, for sure. Hence, the accounts of Thomas E., Whale Rider, and others. The rest of us wonder why we didn’t know the gory details back then.

For many, however, participation in the FOF took place in outlying centers. Exposure to Robert was likely to have been limited to a dinner once or maybe twice a year – even less for those abroad. At Isis/Apollo, you would see him wandering around the garden or the Town Hall, opining with his intimates, but for the average student there was little personal contact. The hideous lavender jacket, etc., were outré, and the angles off-the-wall, but hey! That’s what it takes to “awaken,” right? You could keep the craziness at bay, back then.

That changed abruptly in 2000. Some say it was the sudden loss of his then-righthand man. GH’s [ed. - Girard Haven, Robert's assumed successor] stroke suddenly eliminated the backup plan and the champion most able to weave some sort of coherence out of RB’s tangled and ad hoc ideas. (He never fully recovered, and remains disabled.) Others note more darkly that insurance companies finally put the kibosh on RB’s hand in the till, demanding in return for coverage that he not have any avenues to the cash box.

I suspect it was the confluence of both events at the same time.

In any case, Burton suddenly needed to do his own self-promotion for pin-money. That’s when the bizarreness truly began for everyone. That’s when RB became unavoidable and in-your-face. That’s when the pressure to attend dinners became relentless.

That’s when FOF members began selling tickets so that you could stand and watch other people eat. Or rather, that’s the time when nobody ate, since Burton became fidgety about the dining habits of others. People might, for example, be chewing while he was emitting a pearl of wisdom. Plates of food were served and whisked away, untouched. You were advised to eat before attending.

After an unpleasant session abroad where a Russian woman asked him why he was siphoning off all the young men (another “play of crime,” I suppose), he instituted a policy of no questions at dinner. No conversation. No chewing. This is the era that launched the conversational ball game between RB and Asaf [Asaf Braverman](who for all the life of him presented like a polished television emcee, standing to the side of the table with a fancy clipboard), with the unintended punchline from Robert: “As I was saying yesterday … what was I saying yesterday, Asaf?”

That’s when RB began “teaching” again. More sales, crowded rooms full of supernumeraries, a “voucher” system for those who could only pay with manual labor on their “days off.” No questions there, either. Heavily pruned “angles” from famous men were read by privileged students, selected by RB’s intimates. (It helped if you were sleeping with one of the men, ladies.)

Then the trips to Egypt where you could hear yet more angles of thought, if you hadn’t had your fill.

While you were quietly dining at the Apollo d’Oro/Lodge with friends, you might be approached three times by a different smiling woman, urging you to buy a ticket to a reception, a lunch, a dinner, a snack. When you got home, you might have a voicemail or two for another sales person, offering you the “opportunity” for refereed time with Robert.

Eventually, cameramen were needed for this show. Videos could be sold for more revenue. Somewhere in my basement, I still have a few of these novelties. The big noise was that the FOF was finally going high-tech – but of course, there is nothing particularly high-tech about home movies. That had been going on for decades. But how would they know out there in the boonies?

Oh, and if you had to work a second job on weekends to make up for your salaried position, for a small fee ($5) you could watch one of these videos on weekday lunches, sitting upstairs at the Lodge/Apollo d’Oro. Silently sitting at a table with your friends, munching your quiche, you could watch closeups of RB babbling on a huge – and I mean huge – screen.

At least you were allowed to chew. That alone made it a bargain.

"X-ray" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 14, 2011:
79 Armando [above]

Yes, every word in his post is true. I was there at that time. I wonder if we were chewing together at the same table observing zombies going upstairs.

But let me add one more thing which some of you may not know.
Have you ever heard how ´´robert [sic] is unidentified with his instinctive center which shows in his full, almost untouched plates of food at his dinner?

Well, let me tell you a little dirty secret.

Before those dinners or sometimes after, he and his cocks are eating like a PIGS in TV room, smashing full plates of food with their hands. When you see that once, after seeing bob at his dinners where he all ´´intentional´´ you know, all illusions of the conscious bob are melts away leaving you with painful truth.

"Opus111" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 15, 2011:
Vouchers were instituted as a parallel currency, meant to muster more energy towards the needs of the leader. Once Burton shifted the core activity of the entire Fellowship towards organizing “events”, he needed and endless supply of participants as well as ancillary labor.

Such events comprised meetings, dining events (breakfast, lunch or dinners), teas and receptions. In some years, the total number of such events could exceed 400. They were usually hosted at the “Galleria” and would include anywhere from 15-20 (teas) to 25 -30 (lunches-dinners) to 60-70 (“special dinners) to >100 (meetings) participants. When hosted in private homes (obviously a special honor, a “blessing” of a kind), the premium price would go up (4 to 8k for the whole event, cash up front, up to you to find participants). The large majority was held in Oregon House, drawing on the local members and those in neighboring centers, both for participation and labor. Virtually all of them had standing participants, giving the added impression of the sold-out, standing-room only, not-to-be-missed event.

Vouchers allowed the leader to use penniless people for labor. Vouchers could then be used to attend an event (one to stand on one leg, two on two legs, 3 or 4 to sit, something like that), or traded on the black market for cash at a discount. Vouchers were earned by laboring a full day in various activities (landscaping, preparation/serving/cleaning up the mess of events, etc…). Corollary to this invention was the power endowed to those who had the privilege of signing/distributing the vouchers: a precious few indeed, Mihai [Mihai Algiu, aka Algiu Mihai] and Dorian [Dorian Matei] amongst them. What followed was the easy trade of sexcapades, when the cat was away, in his master bedroom no less, for a few vouchers and chosen sitting at events, when the fat cat would be back. A few amongst the wide-eyed and penniless damsels, went for the offer.

"Just the Facts Ma'am" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
At one time (and, I do not know how it is now), for a few years, if you lived in Oregon House, there was no opportunities for a ‘teaching’ in return for your regular required teaching payment ‘donations.’ In order to make the ‘teaching’ only available from the events with REB (so that you had to pay, again, in some way to attend those), all other regular ‘teaching’ type meetings were stopped. Basically, it became a church without any circumstances to worship – in the classical or ordinary sense of a religious practice. This was REB’s strategy to transfer the cash flow engine to himself, solely, by providing the captive audience only one source of the ‘precious wisdom.’ This was the ultimate application of: ‘do not cast your pearls before swine’ maneuvers. (You could, however, earn access to the REB events by your labor in the way of voucher(s). Where vouchers represented the Fellowship of Friends alternative monetary system with REB being the sole redeemer for the vouchers. However, this ‘alternative monetary system’ lead to a significant grey market in which vouchers were used for many unauthorized purposes of commerce; like, as posted on this blog earlier, vouchers being used to pay for sex and other ‘favours.’ (When REB found sympathy and allegiance from the Romanian sociopathic inner circle, he put them to good use with some unpredictable results.)

"Magoo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 17, 2011:
Vouchers not only became an exchange but also a commodity. They were exchanged not only for sex but also for $$ in the local black market. First they were traded for $150, then for $100 and then for $75.

One could earn half a voucher for 4 hours of work in landscaping, or in galleria dinner preparation, washing dishes, cooking etc. A full voucher for prep, serving and cleaning package. People from all classes found ways to acquire vouchers with different services depends (sic) how close you were to RB.

With vouchers you can get access to dinners, meetings and events with RB. Cash was always preferred so when you had a table half full you will fill it with voucher holders, at meetings they [those with vouchers] will be standing rather then sitting.

"Artemis44" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 15, 2018:
I’m reposting 129 — I think this information is relevant if somebody is considering joining the Fellowship of Friends.

Introduction:

Robert Burton – Founder of the Fellowship of Friends and the leader of the organization for 47 years, self-proclaimed “conscious” and “a man number 7”

Girard Haven – The highest member of the organization at the moment, self-proclaimed “conscious” and “a man number 5”

Dorian Matei – Robert Burton’s right hand and his appointed successor

Mihai Algiu – A high rank ex-member of the organization, used to be very close to Robert Burton

Post 129:

Here are some bits of information about the Fellowship of Friends that I happen to know as a recent former-member that may be useful for somebody considering joining then organization:

• The real reason Robert Burton can’t travel to Europe is that there is an arrest warrant in the European Community for him, not that the long plane flight can be detrimental to his health, as current members are told.

• A close friend of mine that fixed Girard Haven’s laptop computer found in the browser’s history that he had visited several porn sites depicting girls that looked underage – this was also reported here on this blog several years ago by Clara Haven, his wife at the time, when she mentioned that Girard “was addicted to child pornography”. I saw the links to the sites on Girard’s computer myself, so this is not a rumor or a conjecture.

• There was a situation involving Dorian Matei and Mihai Algiu several years ago: While Robert was away in one of his travels, Dorian and Mihai invited several women to the Galleria (Robert Burton’s home) for a “higher state”, which turned out to be an euphemism for “threesome”. Three women went to the Galleria and experienced the “higher state”, including Carmina Nica, Dorian’s current wife and the mother of his two children. When one woman that refused to participate in the ménage à trois told her husband, he called Robert and when he was back from his trip he kept Dorian and Mihai in seclusion for 10 days but eventually let them out when the dust had settled. Dorian was rehabilitated and regained his position as the “éminence grise” of the FoF; Mihai was expelled several months later when he started a “meditation group” (another “play of crime”) and today is a marriage and family therapist in Grass Valley.

Paraphrasing Shakespeare, to say that “something is rotten in the Fellowship of Friends” would be a gross understatement.

A Page From Robert Burton's Creative Fundraising Manual

Ames Gilbert wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion, blog, August 14, 2011:
This reminds me of one of the many methods Burton takes to keep the followers who don’t live in Oregon House closely bound in his fantasy, that of sending “Guest Travelling Teachers” from headquarters to update the doctrines and reinforce the memes and refresh the themes. And apparently nowadays that includes fundraising.
From the Guide to Travelling Teachers (I’d guess this was about 2006):

Part 7: Center Packages and Isis Auctions

History

What some of the newer directors may not know is that the origin of the Center Packages is related to the Auctions at Isis. The Teacher instituted the auctions four times a year as means to beautify Isis. In exchange for emotional events with students, artwork, books, teaching materials and many other items, students could provide funds for the Teacher’s projects. Some projects include the Theatron, the Emerald Oasis, Abundance Garden, the beautiful roads, and many other smaller projects. The Teacher sets the target at each Auction to be $150,000. He asked that the students at Isis carry the burden of 93% and the centers around the world to carry 7%, or $10,000. It is the responsibility of the Teacher to set goals that seem too far to reach, if he is to help the school change its level of being.

In return, the centers would receive Teaching materials specifically selected with the aim of being current and relevant for the students around the world. The task was to spread the price of the center package around the world in a fair way. Based on many factors, including economic conditions, numbers of students and willingness to pay, the prices were established. As of May 1, 2006, new pricing for the Center Packages has been developed.

As GTT, you may help the center and the directors take advantage of the Center Packages by promoting the materials during your visit, and perhaps creating events around the materials for the centers.

“Drop by Drop fills the Ocean”

This thought from Buddha opens the way for the centers to use the Center Packages. Weekly events with the students in the center, where an additional $1 is collected and put aside, will easily provide the means for the centers to pay for the Center Packages. More importantly, it will provide time for students to be together and promote more presence. These events ideally will be showings of the materials from the center packages, other DVD’s from the Teacher, dinning (sic) events, and so on. The possibilities are endless and they increase when we are together. The Center Package are wonderful materials to be viewed more than once and together. The “Traveling with Robert” videos provide insight into the daily moments of a conscious being.

(Note the misspelling of ‘dining’ above; as spelt, one meaning is, “to instill into a person by constant repetition” . . . )
________________

In my day, a typical scam went as follows. The centers were requested to scour antique shops looking for Meissen china. Usually these were found as individual pieces, and would be bought by the center with funds raised from followers in that center. From time to time, a collection of pieces would be shipped to Renaissance, as it was called then. There, complete sets would be assembled, and these sets would be shipped back to the various centers, who would be required to pay for them all over again at an inflated price. This method was also used with cameos when they were the fashion; cameos would be bought and sent to Renaissance, and then Burton would give them out to lucky ladies, who were expected to pay several times what they originally cost back to Burton. But that was just a preliminary warm–up to the scope and volume of present fundraising.
_________________

Whatever the method of creative fundraising, I would bet that an equally creative method of bookkeeping is involved. Probably many transfers of funds come under the heading of ‘gifts’ of one kind or another to avoid the scrutiny of the IRS. And I’d guess that most of the funds raised that Armando mentions probably go directly to Burton’s pocket to cover his enormous expenses and feed his gargantuan appetites. Clothing, feeding and shipping the cluster of individual sperm banks around the globe must be incredibly expensive.
(Also see "Nick Bishop's" comment on Egypt and Turkey travels, and Robert Burton's visits to European centres.)


"Money Talks" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion, blog, March 24, 2007:
Dear Friends

Here is this week’s schedule for Robert’s Dining Events.
To reserve your place you may call the Dining Events telephone number: xxx-8234.
All reservations will be confirmed.

Thank you,

Dining with Robert


Friday, March 23, 8:30 am Voucher Breakfast in the Galleria Salon


Seating: One full-day Voucher + $10.00 or Regular – $100 Special & Senior – $75
Standing: One half-day Voucher + $10.00 or Regular – $75 Special & Senior – $50

Note: Standing places are available. You may request to be placed on the Waiting List
for a seat for this and upcoming Voucher Breakfasts. Students will be contacted as spaces
become available.

Topic: The Steward: Intoning the Sequence in Imagination and Intoning the Sequence with Presence

In sleep:

Sumerian Texts, Debate between Bird and Fish: Your speech contains grave errors; you have not given it due consideration.

With Presence:

Hermes Trismegistus: Grasp the meaning of my words; for if you grasp it, that which seems to be hidden will be revealed to you.


Friday, March 23, 3:00 pm Auction Cherry Blossom Tea at the Orchard
For information and to make your reservation, please call xxx-8216

Topic: The Flower


Saturday, March 24, 8:30 am Auction Breakfast at a Student’s Home

Topic: Short Be and Long BE


Saturday, March 24, 7:00 pm Dinner in the Galleria Salon

Seating: Regular – $150 Special & Senior – $100
Standing: Regular – $100 Special & Senior – $50

Topic: Sacrifice

Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Utterance 664: Offer a sacrifice with thy hand


- For Breakfasts: Please sign up by 6:00 pm the day prior to the breakfast

- For dinners: Please sign up by 4:00 pm the day of the dinner

- A 20% discount may be used within one month of a Birthday or School anniversary.

- Couples may also use each others Birthday and School Anniversary discount.

This is for seats only.

- Special Price: students on payroll. Senior Price: students 65 years and older.

- Standing: If reserving standing, please let us know if you will need a stool.

"Susan Zannos" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, January 26, 2007:
I was living in Cairo during several of the trips that students took with Robert and thus involved in sundry preparations. I am as sure as I am of anything, (although could not of course provide any proof since such arrangements in other countries are impossible to document) that Robert receives enormous kickbacks from his travel agent, the hotels booked for students, the cruise ships on the Nile, the tour buses, etc. Because I lived there I know what things cost for residents, what they cost for ordinary tourists, and what the cost was for Fellowship students. The difference was almost unbelievable.

"Just the Facts Ma'am" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 23, 2008:
176. Vena – July 23, 2008

Joe Average:

Oh, by the way, you left out the sex for vouchers scheme that was dreamed up and operated in the Galleria by Mihai and Dorian when Robert was away.

177. Vena – July 23, 2008

p.s.
When Asaf found out that his girlfriend was participating in the sex for vouchers orgies he blew the whistle on all of them.

- – - – - -

Vena:

You left out the part about how the male perpetrators (power mongers) of this Galleria Orgies Octave were velvet glove treated as reprimand while the female victims were given leaves-of-absence from the church and made to flee their residences in Oregon House.

Just so people know what this was about: The male sex partners to the leader of the Fellowship of Friends (FoF) began to use some of the same tactics they learned from the leader’s behavior to enlist female sex partners to have orgies in the leader’s bedroom at the Galleria, home to the leader and central religious practice property in FoF, while the leader was traveling. This is how: FoF developed a means of exchange to induce volunteers to perform all manner of activities necessary to the leader’s desires. This was a voucher system which was the equivalent of a private currency system. So, volunteers were not really volunteers, they were paid with vouchers. (They were supposed to be religious workers.) These vouchers were redeemable only by using them to pay for access to the religious practices of the organization that were conducted and directed by the leader. The vouchers could be offered for anything from having sex with the leader to working as a gardener to serving at fine dining experiences, etc. Needless to say, there was a whole gray and black market for these vouchers that could not be prevented. The very people who had control over the system used the system to persuade their women targets to participate in the sex orgies in return for the vouchers that could be used to attend the religious practice of the organization. Other people had to pay hard earned dollars to attend. (A much better way to get sex than some of the ways that, say, the fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (fLDS) use: violence and subjugation – just violence and subjugation on a whole different level – covert and subtle.)

These very perpetrators were pronounced by the leader to be the successors to the FoF legacy some time in the future, if not immediately. They lived very privileged lives in the FoF community. Some came from Romania where they grew up, no doubt, under communist dictatorship (read: sociopathic society); likely a life of adversity. They were coddled by the leader and polished and refined to make silk purses out of sows’ ears – just like the leader himself. Unusual arrangements were made for some of them to get religious visas or green (greed) cards or fake marriages. Housing, transportation, clothing, etc, was arranged for them. Assets of the organization were put at their disposal. No one had access to the leader for communications except through these people. Communications became one-way dictatorship where what the leader wanted was conveyed to these intermediaries and thence to the individual members, or the whole body of FoF, as the intermediaries saw fit, or not. The leader then became untouchable – so much like a mafia organization or criminal enterprise. The official governing bodies of the organization, the hired (highered) privileged staff and the board (bored) of directors (for appearances purposes) were straw dogs at best and were powerless to do anything about the velvet revolution. All were subjugated.

So, the sin was not in the emulation of the clever methods of the leader or the actions themselves. (The leader likely was pleased as kool-aid to see how well they learned and adapted.) The sin was that they got caught and exposed which made for poor appearances of things. Take my word for it, the above is not the only examples of the type of corruption that goes on in and around this organization known as the Fellowship of Friends in Oregon House, California, and at many other places in the world that it has centers, conducts business, or the leader travels to.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

An heir is born?

[ed. - This is part of just another story of Robert Burton directly orchestrating relationships, marriages, and the lives of his followers, in this case his longtime secretary and partner Carlos Caruncho, Eliza Tudor and their son Milo Tudor, who at one point was reportedly designated "heir to Burton's throne."]

"Bares Reposting" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 13, 2011:
Look, my friends, here is the scenario:
REB [Robert Earl Burton] lives under his own different laws. There is no male child that REB lays eyes on that does not fall under his spell to groom and have sex with as soon as they are capable of ejaculating into REB’s mouth. Does it happen at a very early age? That is anybody’s guess. (Someone care to fess up here?) But this I can tell you: There are many parents that have precautionarily kept their male children at a distance, and out of sight of, REB.
Do you remember that the Lewis Carroll Elementary School used to be on the property of the Fellowship of Friends (Pathway to Presence – Living Presence – Church of Robert Earl Burton) directly across Hans Christian Andersen Way from the residence of REB? Hans Christian Andersen Way was the name of the main entry road to the FoF property at the time, where the residence of REB was #44 – O! so make believe a fairy tale. From REB’s location, with or without binoculars, the children could be watched.
In the early 1990’s, around when AG [Fellowship attorney, Abraham Goldman] first arrived to live longterm in Oregon House and to become the Fellowship of Friends main lawyer, there was the T.B. [Troy Buzbee] underaged sex abuse lawsuit brought by Ford Greene. AG was to defend REB against this case, in a ‘no holds barred’ (no maneuvers prohibited) sort of fashion.
At about the same time, there was a lawsuit that AG was working, where some Fellowship members were denied access to the property where they lived by the Olivehurst Gospel Assembly (OGA), whose property the access road passed first. The direct quote from REB on how to treat this case was: ‘Go for the jugular,’ as in jugular vein, that is, go for the kill. The case was won but not without significant strife for the Fellowship of Friends and REB. OGA became a thorn in the side of FoF for awhile. But that is a side story.
T.B. did not attend that elementary school, that I am aware of; he was too old. But several departments (octaves) of the Fellowship of Friends were the grounds to employ all sorts of ‘darlings’ of REB’s so that the young men were indentured servants (slaves) and were nearby for quick access for sex. T.B. was one of those.
The message from AG to REB after the TB case was: I cannot defend you against this sort of thing. (The case was settled out of court for a reported $5 million.) So, stop doing that – make sure the sex is with adaquate [sic] aged persons and consentual [sic]. Would this stop REB? Hell no! He must have his cake and eat it, too.
The way to prevent backlashes from sex partners is to compromise their ability to attack in the TB fashion. So, grooming male children of fellowship members from the time of birth, is a way to grow your own. Example: E.T. {Eliza Tudor] and C.C. [Carlos Coruncho] (an REB personal secretary) had 3 children. They were considered the ‘Royal Family’ as REB doted upon them big time. Their first born male child had REB as godfather. Ownership had been established – except for the tattoo of ‘this property belongs to REB’ on the child’s buttocks. C.C. probably, eventually woke up to where this was leading. E.T. and C.C. split from Oregon House and went to live in Europe. They gave up a new home (which was across Rice’s Crossing Road from REB’s residence) that was virtually given to them along with a life where their needs were ever met by REB. E.T., likely, still is wide-eyed and naive about this from what I know – she still loves REB like a father, god, and teacher – still in a fairyland.
So, is it plausible that AG’s son could come under such perdition? What irony would that be? Defend REB under these circumstances and then have your own flesh and blood exposed? REB can plan and conive [sic] and wait patiently for years to get what he wants. The longer he waits, the more tantalizing the prey becomes. Meanwhile, what AG wanted for his child, did that matter? REB has the magic wand in one hand and a club in the other – just like REB describes of Influence C.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kimo's Story


[ed. - The photo above comes from the Find a Grave site. Kimo was born William Keyes "Kimo" Beech, and joined the Fellowship's Hawaii center around 1973. His parents were famous. His mother, Linda Corley Mangelsdorf Beech, was fluent in Japanese and was the star of a popular late-50s sitcom in Japan. His father, William Keyes, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent with the Marines at Iwo Jima, and later covered the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Kimo spent his childhood in Japan. Additional remembrances of Kimo can be found on the Greater Fellowship site (membership required.)]


"silentpurr" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 12, 2011:
Back in the 1970′s a very sweet young man joined the Hawaii center. Kimo Beech and his loyal dog Loka. I remember him as a sane, intelligent and serious student. In 1974, he was asked to move to “Renaissance” as we all were, but he stayed there to work rather than being sent out to “open centers” like many of us were at that time.

Once, when visiting Renaissance I learned that Kimo had died by suicide or in some strange way. No details of his death were given. Kimo, the person I knew had displayed no mental or emotional disturbances. What happened?

"Guy Grand" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 12, 2011:
23.Silentpurr [responding to above]

In 1976 I was at the Long Island teaching house when Burton and entourage were in town. Kimo was one of the travelers and one night he locked himself in a bathroom, ignored everyone’s pleas to come out (made at Burton’s order), and spent the night on the bathroom floor. Years later I understood what he was hiding from. I think Kimo, like Brian S. [Brian Sisler] was probably repeatedly molested by Burton, and couldn’t mentally handle the pain. He was probably bi-polar as well.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 12, 2011:
Silentpurr (#108-23 or thereabouts)[responding to above],

Kimo (given name, William) married Cynthia (now also deceased), but was not able to live with the situation, and left her, the property, and the FoF in 1980. I heard he became mentally unstable, ended up as a ‘street person’ in the Bay Area, and eventually died homeless and alone.

I was told he was born and raised in Japan, and spoke fluent Japanese. I also remember him as a sweet, decent person, a hard worker in the vineyard, and a sincere student in the true sense of the words.

He was not the only one pressured to be with Burton; Bruce has told of how other followers pressured him to be at Burton’s service, as “an act of external consideration for the Teacher”. There is every reason to assume the same was true for Kimo. What a disgusting misuse of the Fourth Way principle of ‘external consideration’!

At that time, and for a considerable time thereafter, the fact that Burton preyed on his male heterosexual followers was known only to his victims and a few enablers, so he and Bruce and so many others like them had no one to turn to for support. This secrecy served Burton well until about 1983. But, as it turns out, Burton’s predatory behavior rather easily became normalized, so in hindsight he needn’t have worried so much about resistance from the sheep. I myself believed he was celibate until it was announced [in 1994] that he was not, and I think almost everyone else not involved chose to believe the same. From that announcement (which was coupled with the propaganda that the sex was between consenting adults) the narrative progressed bit by bit over the years to where it is now assumed by the laity that Burton has every right to take what he wants, in the quantities he wants, and when he wants, and that having sex with him is even an enviable privilege, communion with an angel and ever so helpful for one’s ‘evolution’. Any thought or word of disagreement is explained as the ‘lower self’ trying to undermine spiritual progress.

"Carl" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 12, 2011:
23 [responding to "silentpurr" above]

I worked alongside Kimo in the vineyard in the late ’70′s. I’m not sure when he left but it was sometime prior to my own leaving in 1983. Y’all know already, disowning and disavowing friends and family was, and I assume still is, part of the ‘program’ in the FOF and any ‘good student’ does his / her best to comply with the FOF requests, tasks, programming and generalized peer pressures (consciously or otherwise). Cutting off of any outside support system is another means of controlling the flock, another invisible fence to keep members from straying. (By-the-way “mr Burp” [blogger] — based on your comments from a previous page, I would respectully suggest that you need to check yourself, your thinking and your flippant remarks regarding what constitutes “force” and the role that various forms of coercion can play in the subtler games of ‘mind control’ — “force” doesn’t require anything like a gun being held to the head — I won’t go into it here again, but from my personal experience I can say that there were abortions performed at the behest of “the teacher” — I’m sure his motives were various, controling reproductive rights, creating and maintaining an ‘underclass’ in the hierarchy, retribution for unrequited sexual advances toward the male partner of the couple, and etc… but I digress…).

I left the FOF with nowhere else to go so I survived for a time living on the mean streets of San Francisco where one morning I happened to run into Kimo Beech. It was a real skid-row scene, we were passing a bottle of booze around a circle with a few other homeless unfortunates. The Kimo I knew from the vineyard was so bright, articulate, charismatic even… but that Kimo was already gone — I shared the bottle that morning with a shadow of the Kimo I’d known a few years earlier. I can remember attempts to engage him based on our past shared experiences in the FOF, ‘fell on deaf ears,’ he wanted only to forget and escape…. he passed the bottle ’round to change the subject, saying: “have another drink…” It was a brief encounter, lasted only long enough to drain the bottle and then I watched as he walked away… I didn’t see him again and didn’t expect to… like I said he was already gone, far away and unreachable.

Talk of (known) suicide(s) here begs the question about all those unknown hundreds (thousands?) over the years, who left the FOF, were not able to adjust to ‘life’ and met an untimely or otherwise unfortunate end after having their soul sucked dry through entanglements with burton and ‘the school.’ There are those who, after a number of years in the FOF, are not able to so easily readjust to ‘life’ and I would guess that some may go on to live in quiet desperation, on the margins and fringes of society — as one ex ‘student’ put it many years after leaving: “I don’t know if I’ll ever live it down.” Of course there can be life beyond the fellowship but after that humiliating kick in the crotch, getting back up and learning to ride again can be daunting — the years that are taken from a life, the friendships and family bonds the are shattered in the process, this can not be replaced nor can psychological and emotional damage be easily and quickly repaired… those who came to the FOF with so much hope, promise and potential for living life to the fullest can end up slipping through the cracks and living as ‘survivors’ of a type of ‘spiritual rape’ and the psycho/emotional abuse that goes with it.

"moot" wrote on the Find A Grave site, July 21, 2015:
I knew Kimo in 1973 in Hawaii. We were members of a cult the fellowship of friends. I left in 1974 never saw him again. He was a kind and gentle soul. He had a dog, drove a Land Cruiser. Just learned of his death. He had become a homeless street person. Another victum [sic] of cult leader Robert Earl Burton.

[ed. - Kimo appears in a photo of Burton on the Fellowship's Fifth Anniversary.]

"Life at Apollo is one of great pressure and of equally great joy"

Fellowship of Friends cult headquarters Apollo, Oregon House, CA

[ed. - The quotation above came from the Fellowship For Intentional Community website. The following description was furnished by The Fellowship of Friends. As of October 2012, the Fellowship of Friends listing has been removed from the FIC site. This action appears to have resulted from ex-members alerting the FIC to the Fellowship's controversial history.]
The Fellowship of Friends was founded in 1970 as an esoteric school dedicated to the practice of living in the present. Our single-minded focus is on creating a connection with the Higher Self, known by many other names, such as the third eye, the witness, and the soul. Our practice to achieve this aim is in the form of active meditation, or inner yoga, used in every moment of our life.

Initially based on the Fourth Way tradition, we now incorporate the great teachings of Buddhism, Sufism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, as well as the Egyptian and Mesoamerican traditions.

The spiritual center of the Fellowship, Apollo, is located on 1200 acres in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California. For forty years members have worked the land, slowly transforming it into a place of orchards and vineyards, fountains and gardens. It is an international community of more than six hundred members and includes a restaurant, an outdoor theater, a fine press, a concert hall, an award-winning winery, and an art gallery.

All members of the Fellowship are invited to live at Apollo, or to visit as often as possible, and join in the daily activities. We share in the work of landscaping, cooking, office work, construction, flower-arranging, and seemingly unending dish-washing. We have an orchestra, choir, and theater group, and gather daily for meetings, study groups, dinners, concerts, and readings.

Yet, inspiring as they are, these outward forms are not our true aim or achievement. At Apollo the visible exists primarily for the invisible—everything has been created to support the inner discipline of being present. This is the reason for all our buildings and events and interactions, and life at Apollo is one of great pressure and of equally great joy.

Living at Apollo is a personal and ever-changing experience. It can be a place of intense effort and inner work, and an opportunity to share that work with others. The company of our friends, the lovingly tended environment, and the example of the teacher are constant reminders of our aim to escape imagination and enter the living present—the only place where human beings can truly be together.

[ed. - Another perspective on life within the Oregon House cult, comes not from the Marketing Department, but from Elena Haven, former wife of Fellowship leader Girard Haven:]

"Fellowship of Friends" [self-identified as Elena Haven] wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 23, 2007:
Dear Friend suffering sucotash,

Thank you for the compliments. They do feel better than the insults.

Your question is pretty straight forward. You agree with this paragraph:
“After all the blog is a kind of mass media and the described things are not that obvious in the school itself. Be sure many students pay more attention to what is going on, but to base a departure on mostly anonymous articles would be a mistake.”
“Things are not that obvious in the school itself”
That is one of the issues that needs to be looked at deeply. Why is there no transparency in a conscious school. Why is it made to look so pretty on the surface and it is so corrupt beneath?

How could it not look good when what students are allowed to do is repeat beautiful angles from great teachers, dress well making them have a good feeling about themselves and make tremendous efforts to support it? What needs to be understood is whether people are making efforts to develop or shun their spirituality. To support Robert Burton’s life-style or to support their own development within a conscious community.

If you listen to Howard Carter:
““Life”, to me meaning the main stream of humanity, the majority of which have no interest in spiritual matters. Even those who profess to be religious only put on the cloak of religion for a few hours a week, if that much, and the rest of the time are oblivious to the needs of the spirit.”
One would have to ask him what he finds spiritual about the life at Isis. Do students really think they are developing their spirituality by going to a job, making money and in their free time go to concerts, ballets and meetings? By judging the people in life they work with as dead, or sleep and not caring for the students in the Fellowship who leave or are thrown out without their even noticing? Isis is an ongoing show. Life people who go to church for an hour a week and work, rest and go to the park with their family then drink themselves out in a bar, are much more honest and have a great deal more integrity than students at Isis. Integrity in the sense that they have not had to separate themselves in different personalities to live their life. One of the problems at Isis is that people actually have to leave half of their life outside to be able to go inside and play the programmed behavior. It is not far from the truth to say that at the gate, each student puts on the student mask, drives in, collects a few things from the car and leaves, tucked beneath the sit of the car, his/her suffering, difficulties, contradictions, so that the good student act can be done with some credibility.

How can Isis not work when it is there that each student makes his/her greatest effort to bring the best part of him/herself to the rest? Do we not buy the best clothes when we are going to visit? Or if we live at Isis, is that not one of the most consistent aspects of our efforts? Does every one who work at Isis not try to do it with the best of his ability, with his utmost presence to get the job done well? But no matter how much we all try, only a few get the opportunity to actualize their need to give and participate and of those few, many, too many, get discarded after they’re talents have been used.

A human being needs to give as much as s/he needs to receive but in the Fellowship of Friends, a good part of the indoctrination tends to install the programming that we are to give, make huge effort and expect not to receive anything back. They dress this aspect of the way of the monk into our lives so that they can get away with not having to give anything in return, it is a one way street with a dead end. The first part is what works and what makes us believe that the school is working because we make the effort, it is the second part that does not work and in the long run, becomes harmful because it slowly installs in the individual the feeling that no matter how much effort s/he makes, it is not good enough. Self deprecation and depression follow and in some cases people are sound enough to leave, others, having no where to go, (because if having invested everything they had to invest, wasn’t good enough), commit suicide or go to the looney bin, and still many others, stay in the Fellowship filled with buffers and anti depressants. I was probably one of the most antisocial students in the Fellowship and hardly knew anybody. I did not know of many stories but it is clear to me that there is a whole subculture of antidepressants and alcoholism. When we got together with Girard he was taking antidepressants every day. The theory was that it was a physical thing. That after the stroke he needed them because his body was demanding them. Having been there I knew that that was a buffer and one of my conditions for continuing the relationship was: no antidepressants and no viagra. We did increasingly well without them.

One of the most striking things about students like Girard and others who I spoke with, who are in the inner circle and believe in Robert Burton’s consciousness, is something I only realized in the last few days before leaving, and it is that they sincerely believe that they are not good enough because they did not become conscious. That they deserve to be discarded, replaced, because they didn’t “make it.” They “disappointed” the teacher. They are frustrated with themselves like so many other students at Isis.

Indoctrinations such as the idea that one is not in one’s ninth lifetime does a great job in “keeping” people who then settle for being a third class citizen because they are in their “seventh” lifetime. Is this not madness? Brainwashing and absolutely sick? There are a hundred indoctrinations like this one that develop attitudes within students that make them self deprecate themselves enough to think it is legitimate of the Fellowship of Friends to treat them like third class citizens. I’ve seen more people lower themselves before Girard than I can bear. In a meeting at Sea Ranch I started crying after hearing one such angle and saying that we did not have to lower ourselves all the time saying that we were not good enough because we couldn’t hold presence consistently. Sea Ranch and symposiums with Girard were closed after that. (Any connection?) It is blatant self deprecation what is consistently going on at Isis and it works very efficiently for those who want to hear nothing from the people that are suffering, except the sound of their pay check falling in their pockets, directly or indirectly.

It is this consistent self deprecation that I find seriously damaging in the Fellowship of Friends. If I simply look at those who have given their lives to developing Isis, it is scary. Some are minding their own little business, others are minding other people’s business and still others are minding their own business and working the best they can. Between the three of them they juggle the rest of the student’s lives, indoctrinating them, making the school look legitimate or not caring at all for them. The sad thing is that those who are working most sincerely don’t realize that in the end it is they who are helping the very corrupt to abuse the rest, convinced by their own vanity that they are the chosen ones and too bad for the poor devils that didn’t get to be chosen by the establishment to participate. One of the difficulties is that as long as we are unable to look at the community or the whole of the phenomenon and limit ourselves to individuals, then it is easy to justify that this or that individual wasn’t strong enough, good enough, too ambitious, too much pretense, too many expectations, too lunar, too martial, too solar…… On and on, we can find a thousand excuses for individual failures. Then we don’t have to look at the fact that it is not the individuals who failed, they gave everything they had, each one of them, it is Robert and his personal and assisting entourages that used them and discarded them so that they themselves could keep the grip on the miserable bit of power that Robert allows them to have against other students.

Some students, those who made a living outside of the Fellowship and are willing to send in a pay cheque without looking at what is done with it, who don’t care about what else goes on as long as they themselves can hold the imaginary picture that they are developing their own very personal spirituality at no matter whose cost, what is the difference between those and the life person that goes to church once a week when s/he closes his/her eyes to the living tragedy of the students who committed more deeply or the abuse of those who didn’t have time to commit to a spirituality before they got bogged down into a role of prostitutes?
Many students think that the Fellowship of Friends has helped them a great deal because they became good householders and were able to make a decent living for themselves, their family and the Fellowship. For many it meant moving from a hippie life-style with a great deal of tramp to a hard working executive with some appreciation for art. Do these students think it is not spiritual tramp to allow for young men to be used by Robert? And are they really willing to burn their hand to vow that this “modelling act” that we call the Fellowship of Friends, in which we are expected to listen to Robert , Girard and Asaf for the rest of our lives, THE REST OF OUR LIVES, allowing them to make all the decisions in our community, is a conscious school? Or is this just the acceptance of a middle class mentality that conformed itself with a middle class spirituality?

You say:
But you have to back off on carrying out the Saint Elena Rescuer of Students stuff – this country has a first amendment, and I personally think that’s a really good thing. It means that a student can stay in the Fellowship of Friends for as long as it lasts without interference from Righteous Persons.
The Fellowship of Friends and all its leaders have interfered with my life and had me working for them for seventeen years. They have lied and kept things hidden from me that if I had known I would have left or never joined. They have used my good will to support horrible things and I have seen the extreme to which Robert and my husband Girard are damaged, physically, emotionally and mentally damaged people who divided into two personalities: A conscious role and a sick man behind the role. Don’t ask me to not turn the light on the darkness of these happenings. If you don’t find it tragic enough you’re as sick as they are. What amendment is going to heal my husband and the rest of this sick people? Keep looking at the show and paying for it if you wish, but know it is my husband’s spiritual life that is at stake and your own.

Abraham Goldman, Fellowship of Friends attorney, commits suicide

Fellowship of Friends cult attorney Abraham Nathan Goldman
Abraham Goldman, Fellowship of Friends attorney
[ed. - On the night of July 31, 2011, while many Fellowship of Friends members were gathered at Apollo's Theatron for a ballet performance, Abraham Goldman, long-time Fellowship attorney, committed suicide by hanging himself outside his home at Apollo, Oregon House, CA. In a hand-written note left behind (cited in the Yuba County Sheriff's investigation,) Abraham explained "that he could not afford to pay for his medical treatment and would have no money left." He was scheduled to have surgery the next day. The report adds that his wife "did not believe that they were having any financial issues." 

For more on this topic, see posts labeled "suicide".]

"Ollie" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 8, 2011:
This is an excerpt of the email that went out to all Fellowship members:
“Abraham Goldman, a beloved member of the Fellowship of Friends, completed his task by his own hand, shortly before midnight on Sunday, July 31, 2011. Abraham was sixty-one years old.

"...Abraham was consistently a strong supporter of the Fellowship, a loyal friend, and loving husband and father. As an attorney, he provided important legal advice not only to the Fellowship, but to many students as well. Experiencing severe hearing loss, Abraham was a master at silently containing his instinctive suffering as he played out his role. On behalf of all who knew you, we thank thee.”

"NG" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 12, 2011: here and here:
Business as usual. Part 1. [ed. - Italicized words is this section are the poster's comments, bracketed comments are mine.]
The following is a transcript from the meeting held after Abraham Goldman’s death. The source of this material wishes to maintain his/her anonymity. Please note that dates and numbers might be imprecise due to the highly complicated algorithms used to exponentially multiply justifications.
Robert Burton: Abraham Goldman voluntarily ended his life by his own hand. His birthday is December 21st (supposedly the date for the next end of the world prediction in 2012).
[S. G.] called 911 and the Galleria for help. [C.] went over immediately, his birthday is October 4th (allegedly the whereabouts of the anniversary of RB’s meeting C Influence, this year it will be 44 years and from that date it will be 444 days to the 21st of December, 2012).
It is a shock from Rembrandt.
Did he take sleeping pills? Usually one takes pills before. [Burton as authority on suicide?]
He ‘kneeled’ and leaned into the noose facing east.
This shock reminds us of [C. and D.] (who died in a car accident in Egypt). I mentioned that during Journey Forth By Day, C Influence issues a shock, and they scripted it in a high moment (the ballet gala).
We stay centered and not being under the law of accident.
Somehow Abe will be taken by C Influence.
He was under a lot of pressure; it was too much for him: financial pressure, migraines and he was facing yet another operation to restore a chip in his head. He left a note speaking about that. [ed. - It should be noted that the Fellowship places most members, save Burton and a select few enablers and "Robert's boys,"  under great financial pressure.]

Dorian: Three weeks ago we saw the sign:”Friend’s death”.

Robert Burton: Yes, [B.] said it was a very frightening omen.

(Unidentified speaker): When we were coming back from lake Tahoe with his son we saw on the back of a truck: “It is written!”

Robert Burton: Yes! It is written. This is payment for what might occur to life, it is payment for acquiring privileged information from C Influence.
Suicide is extremely rare in the long history of the school.
Of all the students in the school, only Kevin out of so many people in so many years. [ed. - Burton ignores those who left, or were ejected, and committed suicide, and those who were "collateral damage." See below.]
[D.W.] went into Marysville the day after and saw the license plate: ”ALLDONE”*.
This is evolution as we experience it; schools pretty much all even out for payment.
Now we will all have “I’s” so just ‘Drop’ and be present.
Note from the thirty imperishable stars:
“Kneel”: Do not resent friction.
“Drop”: Do not judge or keep accounts.

[* ed. - Curiously, the "ALLDONE" license plate has appeared several times in Fellowship lore. Once, over thirty-five years ago, in the early 70s, after one of Burton's first students named Alden left the teaching. "No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar." - Abraham Lincoln]


"NG" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 12, 2011:
Business as usual. Part 2. 

For all the speculative thinkers: AG’s son was away camping when it happened. Someone went to Tahoe to drive him back home to his family.

Also, the note ‘appended’ [in the above post] was my personal introduction, like the following: Be prepared for this subtle in-your-face propaganda, certainly not suitable for the faint of heart.
Robert Burton: A little more on Abe. I’m wearing the cuff-links that once belonged to him this evening.
I had a beautiful dream about him: he was in the old Blake Cottage, I rushed into the bathroom and he was sitting on a ledge.
He was a sweet child and he was screaming: “I don’t want to die!”
So I took him in my arms and he kind of collapsed into my arms; then I put him on the bed on which I crystallized and became immortal on.
I started to give him a foot massage…taking care of his soul.

I received a letter from [S.] explaining a few things: his great love for Influence C and myself…
The pain had become too much for him to work with, he just reached his end with the ability to withstand anymore.

Armando's personal reflection on Abraham's death:
(When was A.G. fired by the Board of Directors? Was there any particular reason? Didn’t R.B. move to protect him from this time? R.B. always protected him in the past. I can think of a good many reasons why he might have been sacked – but those reasons were extant in the 1980s. Why now?)

A pivotal figure in the FOF suddenly sidelined, facing financial difficulties, disabled and in pain, and who knows what else going on, taking his own life.

His “role,” his lovely house in the very shadow of R.B.’s [Robert Burton's] Galleria, the concerts in his home, the angles at meetings – all a facade.

He was completely isolated, completely alone – as someone put it recently: More than 400 Facebook friends, and no one he could turn to. So he hanged himself on a Sunday night, a thousand light years from light and love.

This desperate death is being retooled to look like a heroic martyrdom. Glorifying this suicide keeps people from seeing their own participation in the demise of this desperately sad, disappointed and broken man, using him to rally once again and suppressing a shared sense of guilt. In fact, I suspect it’s the shared guilt and complicity that keeps the FOF together.

Is it really that different from Kevin K. [Kevin Kelly], who following his daffy Teachers’ teaching about a catastrophic earthquake, in a benighted act of faith and trust, gave up the very lifelines he needed to exist as a quadriplegic? He, too, plotted his own death, planning it for a time he was unattended, driving his wheelchair in a pond where there would be no hope of timely rescue – indeed, where he could not even rescue himself in a last-minute bid for life.

Please take note current FOF leaders: You too can be sidelined and discarded at any moment. You too can be “churned.”

For the rest of the FOF members, please reread S____y #154: “For example, the FF party line about AG’s death: If you issue a bland untruth, then pretty soon, you lose the impetus to probe and question freely.”
Please get out. Get out now.

Abraham Nathan Goldman obituary in the Appeal-Democrat.


The following was posted by "NG" on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
Abraham Goldman Funeral Service
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Minister J. B.’s Introduction
We are here to celebrate the life of our beloved friend, Abraham Goldman, and to express our gratitude for the privilege of having shared our lives with him.
The meaning of a student’s life is not to be found in its large events, in its apparent successes or failures. The moment C Influence first touches one, the true significance of one’s life is revealed: the transformation of a play, lovingly designed and guided by the Gods for a divine purpose.
At the death of a friend, we can see their play as a whole. We can see it as we cannot yet fully see our own: as a miraculous destiny, fully guided by a higher hand, perfect. Abraham’s play has come to fruition, so that he might now truly say, “Father, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do”.
Let us stand and honor Abraham with our silent presence.
(Silence)
Eulogy: G. R.
Abraham Goldman, 1949-2011
When one of our fellow students completes his role, it is always a shock. In the case of our beloved friend Abraham Goldman, that shock cuts particularly deep. Because Abraham was so masterful at concealing his suffering — because he always greeted us with one of his sweet smiles or a warm hug —his death took us by surprise.
Higher Forces though are also masterful in revealing a profound design in his passing. So here we are today to express our love for Abraham, to honour the love and devotion he felt for his Teacher, for his family, and for his friends, and to bid him safe passage as he continues his journey beyond this life.
Abraham was a servant. Our Teacher called him “The Shield of Apollo.” He was a member of the Fellowship for over 32 years—more than half his life—and for much of that time he served as the Fellowship’s legal counsel, navigating our ship through difficult waters, never abandoning his responsibilities, never swerving in his support of our Teacher and Higher Forces. Abraham was completely devoted to Robert. And through his unwavering devotion to the School, he gave something of himself to each one of us. He gave more to the School, in fact, than most of us will ever know. But he never called attention to himself. One friend said that “service was his signature”. As a true servant, he was content in the simple well-being of those he served.
Those of us who were close to Abraham will remember him for his kindness, his generosity, his valuation, his love. For the “nobility of his heart.” For his ability to “be the words.” Abraham’s mother had been the personal secretary of their Rabbi and as a child Abraham had often helped out at the synagogue. He had even considered becoming a Rabbi himself. But then he discovered his love of the law. The law enabled him to express his desire to help people in need.
The oppressed. The maligned. The injured. The forgotten. He repeatedly took on cases no one else would take. He was deeply involved in civil rights litigation in Chicago, where he was born, and when faced with a challenge, a difficult case that he believed in, he would not give up, even if it took years for a decision to be reached. He became known as a “peacemaker,” someone who built bridges between opposing groups. The law was where Abraham’s inspiration flowed, where he could bring his patience, his compassion, his keen intelligence. As a lawyer living at Apollo he represented many of us over the years in our legal battles. As the Fellowship lawyer he successfully represented the School for an untold number of occasions.
Abraham was a devoted husband to Susan for 27 years, and a loving father to Rosie and Elan. One could feel the warmth and affection that passed between them. It was palpable. Abraham and Susan’s marriage was deeply founded in the Work. They worked together building centers in Rome and Chicago, and they worked together building Apollo; together they created a beautiful home, inviting students into an elegant environment of concerts and dinners and workshops, a loving chalice for the School. Abraham’s law office at Apollo also provided work for many students. When you visited his office, though, you didn’t see framed certificates or diplomas. You saw photos of the family, the children’s handmade cards for Father’s Day and their birthday greetings in colourful crayon. The legal world can be a treacherous landscape, a minefield, a desert. Susan, Rosie, and Elan were Abraham’s oasis.
Few of us could understand the suffering that Abraham went through with his hearing disability. He experienced terrible headaches, and he often coexisted with what he used to describe as ‘an air raid siren and a fog horn’ continually blasting in his ear. But as terrible as the physical pain was, the disorientation and isolation of being thrust into a world of silence was worse.
Our Work, however, teaches us that suffering is a fixative, a bracing gift from the Gods that, when silently transformed, makes presence permanent in us. So while Abraham worked silently and invisibly to meet his suffering, a part of him was created that could transcend suffering, and survive the shock of his death.
And in that shock we again see Abraham’s role as a servant. For his death, and the many signs that have accompanied it, produced World Six in us. It’s difficult to accept that the manner of Abraham’s death was an inevitable part of his play. But here at Apollo and in centers around the world, Higher Forces have communicated that what has happened, was written. That his soul is safe. One cannot fathom the ways of the Gods. But as one of our friends observed, Abraham never argued against heaven’s hand. So we too, in bidding farewell to him, we also accept heaven’s hand.
Minister’s Conclusion:
May Abraham’s capacity to serve inspire us to fulfill our own allotted tasks with greater resolve and courage.
May the intensity of his suffering deepen our understanding of how firmly the Gods may, in their wisdom, choose to press upon us; and our understanding of why.
It remains only to bid the hero farewell. The Teacher’s farewell to Abraham was inspired by a eulogy written by Walt Whitman’s for a fallen soldier:
Hard has been thy part,
To conscious life has it been enacted!
Abraham: father, husband, servant, warrior, friend, we thank thee.
At the Cemetery: Minister’s Introduction
Here on this beautiful day, we release Abraham to his home, and return his ashes to the earth.
Minister’s Conclusion
The earth returns to the earth and a divine spark returns to its divine source. “Love comes from eternity, and returns into eternity”. The circle of life is complete.

"Someone" posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 19, 2011: 
I talked to a friend of mine (a member) about Abraham Goldman’s death. Abraham was a good friend of mine.
There is a great deal of evil and viciousness in the hearts of those who connected Abraham Goldman’s death with being in the FOF and spread the lies about alleged attempts in the FOF to hide the circumstances of his death.
The day after Abraham Goldman died Robert said publicly and openly during a large event that Abraham commuted [sic] suicide.
Hundreds of people heard that on-site and on video.
No one was hiding anything!!!
Abraham has suffered tremendously form [sic] serious medical issues accompanied with unbearable pain that could not be sufficiently controlled even by powerful narcotic drugs.
His prospect of recovery was very slim and he was not able to bare [sic] anymore pain.
This blog has turned into a snake pit.

Afterword


"NG" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 11, 2011:
Latest news: It seems that Elan Goldman (who allegedly made a brief appearance on this blog on September 9, 2011) has joined the FoF. He is only about 16, but apparently Robert Burton and his inner-brown-circle made an exception; after all, he is the son of Abraham. This week-end there will be a special dinner at the Galleria: we don’t know who the host will be, but the guests will be teenagers (14-16 years old), sons and daughters of students and former students (that’s the creepy part). The host will be chosen to be young and approachable, as the guests and prospective prospects chosen are forever younger and suggestible. They will be served dinner and they will be given the opportunity to ask any questions they will like: bon appetit!

Other suspected suicides in the Fellowship


"Suicide is nature's way of eliminating weak seed." - Robert Burton.

"coot" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 16, 2007 at 6:20 p.m.:
coot notes subjective and partial of this stories. If others have better understandings (as could be wrong), so fill in blanks please add. But from perspective:

Brian [Brian Sisler] seem “RB boy” who later have serious psychological breakdown maybe like schizphrenia [sic]. (guess maybe have late 20s years of age and very sweet solar type) Walk up and down Rice Crossing Road day and night, can’t stop. Finally taken to Marysville by FOF and just dropped off. Lived in tent by river. Homeless. Later live on street in Sacramento city and stabbed in stomack [sic] (chest?) by the other homeless?, loose much blood, university hospital, almost die. Older students help get Brian back to “life” family. Later to all shock RB let Brian back in school. (maybe top rung of ladder of bad decision – non responsible action). Saw on wikipedia until remove Brian Sisler found dead in Marysville hotel, believe thought suicide.

Kevin was brave quadriplegic went to Berkeley university on own, eventually live in Roseville? work for HP? Uneasy balance in hard life like many of us will never know but basic stable. When California to fall in ocean – RB put out word that all must come to high ground. Kevin came to high ground, lost stability. Fell out of wheelchair and drownd [sic] in small amount of water – felt to be suicide by many. Later, heard RB put out another of his famous ugly epigram on Kevin – not sure but something like play of crime. Ugly words for brave man. No humility from second after Jesus [Reference to Burton's claim that he is the "Second Coming of Christ."] Sad joke.

Let them who have ears to hear and eyes to see.

And for noble Kevin: trouble not the epigram of small man, dear friend, they are as payment for God’s delivery of Israel, “Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs”

To both – in peace

"rock that boat" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 9, 2011:
I just recalled a very painful event that happened about 4 years ago in Oregon House. An American student came back with a Russian wife. Soon they had 2 children. The mother of the wife left Russia and moved in with the couple to help with the kids etc.
Some Russian Robert Boys started visiting her and confessed what was going on. That they were sex slaves on salary, and if they did not serve RB they would be send [sic] back on the first plane home.
This mother, with a daughter and son in law in that ‘school’ could not digest it and hang [sic] her self in her little room.

"Honest Abe" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 19, 2007:
ABRAHAM N. GOLDMAN, Oregon House, Calif.: Goldman was licensed in Illinois in 1977 and in California in 1983. He failed to competently represent several clients, did not keep clients reasonably informed about developments in their cases, misrepresented the status of matters to clients, improperly agreed to an aggregate settlement of the claims of multiple clients without their informed written consent, failed to render appropriate accountings of settlements to clients, and misappropriated and commingled client funds. As a result, he was suspended in California for one year, with the suspension stayed for all but the first six months, followed by a two-year probation subject to certain conditions. Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him one year, with the suspension stayed for all but the first six months to be followed by a two-year period of probation subject to the conditions imposed by the State of California.

Found here:

Illinois State Bar Association website: ISBA Bar News, December 15, 2000

Of course, Abe has mended his ways, he is more honest now (than Abe Lincoln); witness Kiran’s [blogger] freely given testimony. Almost all record of prior legal malpractice has been expunged except the above. Reposting here may prevent disappearing forever.

What you cannot find could speak volumes. Tip of iceberg? Titanic can tell. How do you bring a legal action against a lawyer?

That is certainly a question full of contradictions. Try it Kiran and get contradictions to your heart’s content.
DLE could result.

Honest Abe

"Man Without a Name" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 12, 2011:
The meeting described by NG (#1) above leaves me speechless. Well, almost speechless. Not quite.
Let me use the adrenal fluid currently circulating in me to tackle the [David] Springfield letter which Ames describes in #176, 107.

In my memory of the inner workings of Apollo/Isis/whatever, Abe never lost a fight. Robert always backed him up against all comers. So suddenly there’s a coup d’etat on the FOF Board, and A.G. & D.S. are ousted?

It must have been with R.B.’s support. The Board, especially given the rabbits on it, would not have gone against Robert. So it looks like Robert abandoned his champion in the end, the meeting in #1 above notwithstanding.

Or else Robert is so gaga that he’s simply not interested in these byzantine workings anymore, and the monkeys are running amok.

In the letter, D.S. warns that the FOF is going to look like “a criminal organization that is functioning as the later [sic] ego of Robert Burton, involved in a conspiracy to engage in financial, tax and immigration fraud, and perhaps other illegal activities and/or tortuous conduct.” Nah. Whoda thunk it?

A.G. always managed to put a legal fig leaf on the shadier goings-on of the FOF. The (so far) legally impregnable fortress of the FOF was A.G.’s creation. Then, in 2007, he was apparently given a pink slip with a good deal of bullying, according to the letter. Must have been an awful blow. Whatever happened later to compensate, if anything, it must have been devastating to suddenly be on the receiving end of a heave-ho.

Someone – R.B., probably – must have figured that it would be more advantageous to walk the tightrope without a safety net. There must have been something he wanted pretty badly, and couldn’t get with the observance of legal niceties. Perhaps Abe & co. were warning the FOF about some illegal activity that Robert wished to continue, and Robert’s greed overcame his caution. So Robert asked the board to hold illegal meetings, etc., to fetch whatever gimme he wanted. In my observation, Robert could only have wanted two things: money (or objects that money can buy) or a river of young men.

I also note the timing: 2007 was the aftermath of a membership exodus. Funding must have been down and it was probably getting harder to accommodate R.B.’s greed. So maybe shortcuts were invented.

Anyone in the FOF who was party to the 2007 goings-on is welcome to come on this forum and correct me if I am wrong. Much of this is inevitably speculative, and some of it secondhand – but in an organization that thrives on secrecy, rumor and reasonable guesses are the only way we can figure out what the FOF/Pathway to Presence did.

Here’s more: I heard that Karen B. was dismissed from whatever poobah role (CFO?) she had when she had the temerity to tell R.B. there was no money to give him. The piggybank was empty. Apparently, it wasn’t an answer he liked. You were supposed to find some. Story may be apocryphal, but there are others.
I know that Peter B., president of the FOF, vigorously opposed the L.A. Times lawsuit – even as Robert was telling FOFers that the FOF was going to make a killing by suing the newspaper. The rest is history. But I’m told that R. was so irritated with the P.B.’s loyal opposition that, in the end, he wouldn’t even take phone calls from him. (Yes, dear FOF students who may be reading this, R.B. can be wrathful and vengeful. Plenty of other examples – f’rinstance, I know several women who have been in sexual triangles with him. Nasty stories.)

Peter B. was cast into utter darkness. Until, that is, P.B. was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I always wondered if the stress contributed to his unexpected physical deterioration. With the diagnosis, of course, it was all kisses and hugs again. Each utterance of the dying is treated like Holy Writ in the FOF. P.B. got all the overblown, awestruck, deferential, monarchial rituals that surround death in the FOF. A stadium funeral, even.

Abe is going through that process posthumously.

These are the stories FOF members won’t hear as a backdrop for a suicide. “Financial problems” and “instinctive friction” have been cited – but who will discuss Abe’s treatment at the hands of the organization he fought to protect?

This is a lawyer who had jettisoned his professional credibility to be the front man for a cult (he was even suspended once – a very big deal for an attorney). He, who had bullied others, was finally bullied himself, and shuttled to the sidelines. He watched his god dismantle the legally untouchable fortress that was his carefully erected creation, the work of decades. I bet whatever Robert wanted in 2007 is already gone. But then, so is Abe.

Yes, Armando (#165), “a desperately sad, disappointed and broken man.” Will there be others?

(Finally, Moderator, may I thank you for protecting our very necessary anonymity?)

"Ill Never Tell" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 12, 2011:
4. Man Without a Name – August 12, 2011 [above]:
‘I heard that Karen B. was dismissed from whatever poobah role (CFO?) she had when she had. . .’
That’s Karen J., not Karen B. (she was a Karen B. at one time), and the role was vice-president of FoF, at the time described, if I am not mistaken. Otherwise the paragraph is somewhat accurate. Karen J. did manage the ‘shadow’ or ‘grey market’ financial system (read: REB’s personal local bank accounts), while another managed the facade financial system of FoF (GioB was CFO). The books were/are cooked and someone must manage each side. Yes, the well went dry and heads will roll. The queen has spoken! Don’t believe that K(9) of Hearts bull for one minute, because behind the scenes one sees the real face of REB. It ain’t pretty.

"sockpuppet" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 12, 2011:
16
Go back and read my post on the previous page, 175.

One of the ways the FOF works is that no one has the whole picture.

Karen J. doesn’t see herself as evil because she’s moving money around for Robert. It’s just money, “A Influence,” and a lot of financiers do things a lot worse. Many people in the FOF think that Robert is just gay, and that’s just fine. A.M.F. doesn’t think she’s evil because she’s helping people get people R.B. picks into the country by hook or by crook. She’s just “helping Robert” (if she’s still doing that).

The whole thing is partitioned and departmentalized so few people get anything close to the whole picture – and if you try, you’re “gossiping.”

One of the people who was closest to having the whole picture was Abe. And he killed himself.