Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970.

Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and an ominous, yet unspecified new threat late in 2018.) While non-believers shall perish, Burton and his followers, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including Burton's divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) will be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

Many regard Robert Earl Burton a narcissist and sociopath, surrounded by a largely greed- and power-driven inner circle. The following pages offer abundant evidence supporting that conclusion.

This archive draws
on official Fellowship publications and websites,
news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the (former) Fellowship Wikipedia page, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wiki project, and the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Monday, October 31, 1994

Charles Randall resigns from Board of Directors, calls on Burton to dismantle school

[ed. - I am inserting the following post into the blog at October 1994 as a milestone in the Fellowship history. Charles was an officer in the corporation.]

"Charles R." posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 19, 2007 at 5:35 p.m.:
Thank you for your support, all who have said such kind things about me. I really appreciate you and especially the value you bring to this wonderful blog which is so healing and helpful.
I looked in the old files and found a letter I sent to all the Board members of the Fellowship in October 1994 which I thought I’d share for what it’s worth. I left the mailmerge fields in.   
October 1994

Dear «FirstName»,

I am resigning my membership in the Fellowship. Attached is a copy of a letter I sent to Robert. In it I explain my thoughts to him and my recommendations to him.

I would like to share a couple of things with you, too.

Naturally, I recommend to you that you disassociate yourself from the Fellowship. However, I recognize that doing so is a process that takes time, sometimes a long time. For me, I would say it took me twelve years or more to finally take the step. I hope you hear what I am doing and saying with an open mind; that is, I hope you entertain the idea that I may be right. I am just like you. I wanted everything to be true.

As a member of the board of directors for almost 15 years, I know what goes on there. If you intend to continue in your capacity as director, I adjure you to rise up and take responsibility for what is happening in the Fellowship. I think you know Richard Buzbee’s letter is not an aberration; it appears to be the rule. None of the men in Robert’s harem really wants to be there, to my knowledge. And new recruits are added in an elaborate and subtle conspiracy in which they have almost no chance to say no. If you don’t know how it works, check it out. Ask Richard Buzbee. Stop being afraid.

In my current frame of mind I would not have agreed to many of the financial and operational decisions we all “rubber-stamped” in our monthly director’s meetings. The purchases of “art”, the budget for Robert’s endless vacation, the salary for Robert, including his gigantic year-end bonuses, the bogus arrangements for Robert to purchase luxury golf condominiums in Palm Springs and Gray Eagle [sic - Graeagle], just to mention a few, are repellent to me now. I suggest to you that you a.) reacquaint yourself with your conscience and b.) vote your conscience from now on. I don’t mean to sound glib; I say this to encourage you to do what you vaguely feel to be right, but which contradicts the dogma you’ve learned to live with.

Please stand up and take charge — of yourself, of your life, and of the Fellowship if you plan to stay in it. I know you. You are one of of the most decent, intelligent, and well-meaning people I have ever met. You are unfortunately living in a fantasy as far as Robert and the Fellowship are concerned. I lived the same fantasy.

It is possible to escape the fantasy. You only have to want to.

Your friend,

Charles Randall

[ed. - The following Letter to Robert was posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog on April 14, 2007.]
Hello, All,

I join everyone in thanking you Shiek [sic] — Thank you! This blog is a very good thing and I think it will be a big help to decent (those with ears and eyes) people both in and out of the FOF.

In the spirit of those who have shown their real and imagined letters to Robert, I thought I’d share a real one from 1994. I heard through reliable sources that Robert actually read it, and commented to someone near him that “Charles doesn’t believe in Influence C any more.” That apparently was all he said about it.

So, if you are wondering if Robert ever was confronted directly on his s**t, he was. The results speak for themselves.

I’m very happily living my life in the glorious world with excellent friends and family. I would never want to be in the clutches of the FOF ever again
October 1994

Robert Burton
Oregon House, California

Dear Robert,

Many of my friends are leaving the Fellowship right now, and many blame you for deceiving them. I tend to think that you may be equally deceived. I think that you, as a result of your experience with Alex Horn, may be subject to a personality formed in you that has dominated your psychology ever since.

For the last six months I have been seriously studying the current literature on cults and cult related psychology. The conclusion I have reached is that the Fellowship is, in fact, a cult — just like so many other cults. You are cast in the role of “cult leader,” and your behavior parallels other cult leaders to a surprising degree.

I think the so-called “verifications of C-Influence” are not verifications at all.

The “shocks” that we all see are real and have been known to people since the earliest times; Carl Jung called them “synchronicity” or the meaningful coincidence of two or more events. However, your interpretations of them (validating your claims) , the assumption that only Fellowship people receive them (the “chosen people”), attributing the cause to 44 former humans seen only by you — these things I contend are not real, but rather are fantasies. Fantasies generally satisfy an underlying psychological need and that, I think, is the case for all of us who have been involved with the Fellowship, including you, and maybe particularly you.

The fantasy related to your predictions has the potential to be really pernicious.

Robert, the world-wide economic collapse you predicted never happened! Please don’t believe it did, and please don’t change your story to say that you predicted a stock market crash — you predicted a crippling global depression. As for the fall of California … well, it’s absurd. Give it up. The moving of your most psychologically dependent followers to Oregon House, the closing in and isolation it will lead to, the already present armed guards — I think these things are a sign of paranoia.

I am abandoning the fantasy, and I recommend that you do, too. I recommend that you turn your considerable intelligence to studying this cult psychology phenomenon. If you are honest with yourself I think you will find that the shoe fits.

For your sake, and for the sake of those following you, please give up your messianic role, disband the Fellowship, send away your followers, and become an ordinary human again. It’s not too late. Please do it.


Charles R.

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