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.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Robert Burton confirms the end is nigh, just not quite as nigh...

Robert Earl Burton, Fellowship of Friends cult leader Oregon House, CA
Robert Earl Burton, Egyptian Days fundraising advertisement. Source: FOF History Project.

[ed. - Prediction of the world's end is confirmed by a chiming Apple iPad. The "priceless" wisdom of Robert Earl Burton. Bolds are mine]

"Ollie" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
WhaleRider wrote, “My guess is that the cult is currently preoccupied with the next doomsday prediction in 2012.” Indeed, Robert Burton is, when there is some spare time and he is not detecting “the message” in yet another circle or square, a number six or four. I came across some recent material:
Robert Burton on 06/22/2011:
“We received wonderful information on our visit to Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth, and had four very nice dinners with two students in Dallas, GC and CE. As we were leaving, I mentioned to them that I felt the end was quite near for humanity. Just then there was a flash of lighting in the sky, and that night a tornado appeared in the region. I have been in many earthquakes with Influence C, but this was my first tornado! Related to the ‘circling centuries’ [this refers to a few lines by Virgil: 'Now the last age by Cumae's Sibyl sung/Has come and gone, and the majestic roll/Of circling centuries begins anew'], a group in Oakland predicted that the earth would come to an end on May 21st – the day we were leaving Texas. As soon as we drove away and waved goodbye to the two students, within thirty meters we saw this license plate in front of us saying ‘ALL DUN.’ [ed. - This is at least the third incidence of the "ALL DUN" license plate showing up at convenient moments in Fellowship lore.] Unbeknownst to us, when we left G and C, it was six o’clock at Apollo – the time at which the prophecy claimed that the world would end. There is a video we made of L pushing a globe. We call it ‘turning the world.’ After the globe began turning, he stopped it, and it weighed five thousand pounds! Then he started turning it again, pushing it four times. What this means is that Leonardo will see us though the Last Judgment. I believe that the Last Judgment will be the work of the angel Paul. Then Leonardo will begin a new civilization here at Apollo, with the new seed people from around the world. Only when we walked away did S realize that it was six o’clock Apollo time.”
Robert Burton on 09/14/2011:
“We have been working with Influence C for forty-four years, and are still waiting for them to realize their plans. But we are much closer – everything is in place now for the Last Judgment. It is becoming much more probable.”
Robert Burton on 09/14/2011:
“Next month, on October 4th, there will 444 days to the Mayan prediction of the end the cycle [euphemism for end of civilization] on December 21, 2012. The messages I am receiving indicate that they will not enact the Last Judgment in 2012, but more likely in 2018. It is based upon several signals they have given. In fact, as I was speaking about this with Dorian today an email arrived and my iPad chimed just as I said ’2018.’”

"Ollie" also posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:

[ed. - Except where otherwise indicated, all notes and comments below are in Ollie's post.]
Just got some more recent material. Apologies, it’s very long, but I thought it might be worthwhile…

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“On September 5, 1967, I met Alex Horn. This date marks the moment when angels from Paradise descended upon us, and our quest for divine presence began. We could say that on this day: ‘It has begun.’ Here [referring to a photo] we see a photograph of Alex Horn, showing four fingers on each hand. This [referring to a photo] is the Claremont Hotel and the Berkeley Tennis Club, where I played tennis. I met Influence C hitchhiking because it was just fashionable in the sixties; one would hitchhike from Berkeley to Carmel, and such things. I met Influence C in Berkeley on the crossing of Ashby and Domingo Avenues, like Placido Domingo, the singer. He was born in Spain and raised in Mexico, so it is an omen of my bringing the sequence – the Song of Solomon – to our school. Incidentally, the sequence is a ‘Song of the Self.’ It is four words. This is where our journey began. A doctor picked me up and gave me a ride. He would later turn out to be payment for Dr. Ethan Ha_s. So we did very well! The doctor was on his way to a prospective student meeting on Page Street (like William Page) in San Francisco. This [referring to a photo] is the house at 350 Page Street where I had my prospective student meeting. It is eight – three plus five. This [referring to a photo] is the interior. The owner was quite gracious about inviting us in. Here [referring to a photo] I am before the gated entrance. … I am looking up in gratitude to Influence C. I was just like you, one of many, one of seven billion [ed.- There were about 3.5 billion at the time, so today's prospective students are twice as lucky!]. There was no particular reason on the surface they would give any of us this gift, but we are exactly the ones they wanted. And now we are all present and we can see why they wanted us.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“Soon after I met Influence C on September 5th, forty-four years ago, one of my first observations was that life after death was not a theory. In a sense, this was our school’s first verification. Because before meeting Influence C we had all read literature about life after death, but our faith is a result of our verifications. We have the privilege of verifying that life after death does exist. … This [referring to a photo] is a road sign for Modesto, where I had a car accident. About three months after I met Influence C I had approximately a hundred stitches in my head. It is curious that a small group of students gave me a Miata as a gift last night. This is exactly the same as the car that I crashed in – a tan Volkswagen bug. I made a left-hand turn. The driver behind me stopped, but the driver behind him decided to pass, and I was hit broadside and shoved under a parked truck. I heard a horn (like Alex Horn), and an ‘I’ said, ‘Well, it’s not for me.’ That is the most wrong about anything I have ever been in my life! I woke up and the nurse was saying, ‘Doctor, you did a beautiful job with those stitches.’ [ed. - I think that's what they all say, once the patient is awake.] They rolled me out of the operating room and I just stood up and walked out. I took a taxi and then a Greyhound bus to my little one-room apartment. It was then that I realized how serious Influence C are about helping us. Of course, we have students who have experienced much worse than that. The Miata is a nice little gift, coming almost forty-four years after the Volkswagen. I also soon realized that I was under the guidance of Leonardo. Very early on I wondered who was helping me and they started signaling Leonardo. Leonardo and I are very different, but also very similar from the point of view of presence. Later I will say a few things about why we are so different. If we survive the Last Judgment then many things will become self-evident.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
(A quote by Dave Archer – once a member of Alex Horn’s group – is read: “Alex used to say we were not in the ‘work,’ meaning the Gurdjieff Work. Repeatedly he described our endeavor as a small ‘preparatory school’ at best, saying that if we worked exceedingly hard on ‘growing being,’ one of us MIGHT join the ‘Real Work’ . . . someday.”)[ed. - It is surprising to see Robert quote Dave Archer here. Dave has some rather unflattering things to say about Robert. See this post.]
“Patricia Ch_r, who read the angle, studied with Alex Horn for a little while. I studied with him briefly also, for eighteen months. Then he closed the group, leaving ten of us there, and Influence C removed me – they would not give me employment. Finally, I found employment cleaning a woman’s house – and she died unexpectedly. At that point they briefly made me a homeless person. Alex once came up to me with a tiny little Christmas bell about two centimeters tall. His little higher emotional center was working and he rang the bell in front of my third eye, meaning that we have a little school here – he and I. Of course, we have four large bells from a French foundry above Apollo d’Oro now. Inscribed on one of them are the words: ‘And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ We put it there without knowing what we know now. Anyway, even today we are a school in our infancy. During my time with Alex he openly spoke about my role and his role as being conscious roles. Also Influence C did not reveal themselves to anyone else in his group, but in our school everyone verifies Influence C to enter the Way. The inner meaning of ‘entering the way’ is reaching long BE and completing the sequence – entering the way to presence. … This [referring to a photo] is a view of the ranch that Alex owned for a few years. Patricia, would you like to speak about this?”
(Patricia Ch_r: “Yes, it is a functioning vineyard now. Sharon and Alex owned the property and they brought students up there on the weekends to work. You went, did you not?”)
“Yes, I did. I was in charge of the refuse. I remember that Alex once drove by in a red Jaguar that he enjoyed, which had a big dent in the hood. He was watching me in a very sweet way as I worked with the refuse. It was a touching moment in our play.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“In 1967, someone saw something no one else did, a celestial influence coming to make men immortal. Once again, in 1971, the same miracle occurred and the school (Apollo) was started by the grace of Influence C.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“Here is a photo of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Rodney Collin, and Alex Horn. Of all of them, we learned the most from Ouspensky. Before the sequence Ouspensky was the most quoted figure by far, but now we rarely mention his name. Why? At the end of his life he said, ‘If man was made to remember himself there must be some simple method. I’ve been looking all of my life but it was never given to me’ – by Influence C.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“As a young person I did not have a desire to teach, but I did it because Influence C asked it of me. Others had a strong desire to become teachers, and that was their downfall.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“From the beginning, I knew I was following the directive of angels. … This [referring to a photo] is a Meissen urn decorated with ascending cherubim. It is now in Anthony and Patricia Ch_r’s collection. We used this image on our bookmark. Did any of you meet the school through this bookmark? (Many students raise their hands.) Very nice! Maybe we should bring it back.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
(A quote, supposedly by Alex Horn, is read: “If ever a conscious being is produced from one of my students, then my role as a teacher is complete.”)
“We are expecting to see several conscious beings produced here in our lifetime. This [referring to a photo] is my crystallization celebration at the Lincoln Lodge in 1976; it was quite sweet. … Influence C gave me the date of March 15, 1976 for my crystallization. I went to Phoenix and stayed at the Arizona Biltmore in the desert waiting for it to happen. The astral body was breathing, but the crystallization did not occur. So I returned to Apollo a few days later and my last thought before I went to sleep was ‘Well, it’s not going to happen tonight.’ That was about at 11 pm; then I woke up at 4 am and it was upon me. It was March 19th and world six immediately rose to handle it. I was facing Mount Apollo at the time with my back turned to California.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“I came from so far back to go so far forward. Robert Ma_c used to work with my life sister, Betty Burton, at a restaurant called Saluto in San Francisco. Robert was a waiter and he was carrying a dessert called The Great American Disaster. He and my sister encountered each other in a swinging door and he spilled the dessert all over her. Subsequently, her lover, who owned the restaurant, died, leaving her fifteen million dollars. Curtis said that the Ming screen we once owned was recently sold at auction for a record high and was the only piece of Chinese furniture to ever sell for more than a million dollars. He said that it is now worth fifteen million dollars, so we have fifteen and fifteen – incomparable wealth: presence. My sister is leaving her inheritance to the ASPCA – the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Ouspensky said something like, ‘Cats eat rats and rats eat cats.’”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“We are destined for immortality – eternal life – and this is what makes Paradise so sweet: it is a deathless place. Also, everyone is conscious and immortal there. Here everyone is mortal and unconscious, except for us.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“Our press is the temple of literature for Apollo and civilization. Our presses do not require electricity. We know how to make paper and vellum as well. … Here [referring to a photo] we are planning the new press building… this temple of literature. Here [referring to a photo] is our Petrarch Press [ed. - aka Golden Pyramid Press] this year.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“Apollo’s cemetery could be called ‘conscious passage. We can also call it a ‘paymentorium’ – a place of payment.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“Apollo is Mecca for ascending souls in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It is here that Influence C will take their stand against the Last Judgment. This is the only safe haven.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“For forty years our school kept going forward, until we finally arrived at the greatest ally of presence – the sequence. Never could I detect the nature of the lower self until the sequence came – I could only speak about it philosophically. But now with the sequence we know exactly what we are facing and precisely where this intestinal figure is located.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
(A quote by a Fellowship member is read: “Our school is truly a golden chain of love that began when Robert was most graciously accepted into the ranks of the angels.”)
“Who wrote this, dear? (Thomas F_n.) It is very sweet. This [referring to a photo] is Asaf giving the toast at the Crystallization celebration in 2010. Here [referring to a photo] are the four of us at the Getty Villa in the order of appearance: myself, Asaf, Dorian, and then Sasha. It is quite a beautiful sight.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“It is possible that the survival of humanity may depend upon Apollo. This is what having Influence C in one’s life may mean. This [referring to a photo] is our Bactrian camel Rembrandt and his mother… This [referring to a photo] was our animal parade during Journey Forth… A few ibexes will be arriving at Apollo later this month… It was a major step when Influence C began bringing the animals.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“We have a beautiful conscious society at Apollo and our inner circle around the globe. The centers are points of light in humanity. … Here [referring to a photo] I am teaching in [our] Grand Pavilion with a statue of Shiva behind me. We are truly becoming immortal here.”

Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:
“The [live] broadcasts of the meetings are one the most important events in our school’s history. Influence C accelerated everyone’s evolution.”

"Charles T" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 15, 2007:
[post] 568: “How can one live with building an ark for humanity and at the same time kill six billion of them and all those who leave the small confines of the Fellowship?”

I had lunch last November at ApolloD [ed. - Apollo d'Oro, Fellowship restaurant] at one of those randomly assembled tables where I didn’t know the other diners very well. Someone said “Wasn’t the world meant to end yesterday?”. Someone replied “Yes, but I heard that Robert has said that it might in fact occur next Wednesday.” The conversation continued along these lines, in similar tones to those used by people discussing a weather report and whether it might rain tomorrow. I had an overwhelming feeling I was sitting with a group of insane people.

"Tim Campion" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 13, 2007:

Robert Burton, quoted June 11, 1979:
“I was only three days off in the prediction of my crystallization, which over a period of ten years is quite good, and I consider that prediction accurate. If a depression occurs in 1984, if California falls in 1998, if Armageddon occurs in 2006, then I was correct. All of which means, I am correct regarding the other information I have been speaking about.”

“Actually, most of what I speak about is facts.”
By the same logic, if those predictions don’t come to pass?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blue Logic: Fellowship of Friends bookseller

[ed. - Blue Logic is an outlet for Fellowship of Friends publications and Fellowship-recommended texts. The BL website features works by Fellowship of Friends members Rolando Altimirano, John Craig, Girard Haven, Gilbert Moore and John Stubbs, who are responsible for most of the "New Titles" listed below. A curious omission from the list is Robert Earl Burton's Self Remembering.]

"Wondering Who's Watching" wrote the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 25, 2011:
What’s new in wonderful world of FoF:
http://www.bluelogic.us/
New Titles:
E. Kehl & N. Walker, Where the Two Worlds Touch
G. Haven, Art of Presence
G. Moore, Gods Play Chess, Don’t They
G. Moore, Mysterious Origins of Chess
G. Moore, Out of Africa
G. Moore, Through the Eye of A Needle
J. Craig, Philadelphia
J. Stubbs, Inner Connections
L. Carter Holman, Evolution of A Self-Taught Painter
R. Altamirano, In Touch With the Miraculous
Love Sonnets and Songs by Anonymous Egyptian Scribes
R. Altamirano, Meetings with Remarkable Friends
W. Smith, Pinocchio Nerino
Ancient Teachings:
Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa
Mahabharata
4th Way:
A. R. Orage, On Love and Psychological Exercises
George Gurdjieff, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson
P.D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous
R. Collin, Theory of Conscious Harmony
R. Collin, Theory of Celestial Influence
More things in heaven & earth…:
CS Lewis, The Great Divorce
CS Lewis, Four Loves
JL Borges, Labyrinths
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Lewis Carroll, Sylvie & Bruno
Lewis Carroll, Sylvie & Bruno Concluded
Umberto Eco, Kant and the Platypus
Wm. Blake, Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Wm. Blake, Song of Experience
eBooks:
Diary Notes from Hell:
Who Am I?
Power of Now, Then What?
More Diary Notes from Hell:
High Velocity
Quantum Communication
Site contains books, biographies, blogging, etc

"Constant Reader" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 25, 2011:
108. Wondering Who’s Watching

To the FOF members responsible for Blue Logic:

As a former member of the FOF, I am startled by your inclusion of Borges on your reading list. The man was a genius. I know, I know, you appropriated Leonardo, Lincoln, and a hundred others – why balk at this? Perhaps it’s because I was castigated for reading him while I was in the FOF; he was, after all, one of the “dead ones.”

I am even more appalled by your inclusion of C.S. Lewis, a convinced and committed Christian, on your list. You describe “The Great Divorce,” on your website as being “extraordinary tale of our obsessive identification with excess baggage – and the consequences.”

I know C.S. Lewis would be horrified at the group he is being used to promote on this website. I know, because I have read him, and not just in the heavily edited FOF “Cliff Notes” version.

This is a man who was a guardian for a string of teenagers and supported a raft of other dependents, including an alcoholic brother, the irascible mother of a dead friend, and a dying wife. This is a man who never shirked a single responsibility in his life, and gave away a good portion of his income to take care of the needy. This is a man who answered every one of the thousands of letters he received, even from the children and the mentally unstable fans. This is a man who taught Oxford students tirelessly, day after day, and wedged in his own writing in his “free” time.

You, of course, will think he wrote a few great books despite these “feminine dominance” weaknesses. No, that’s where you have it wrong. He wrote them because of his caritas, because of his humanity and discipline and will. You won’t understand until you try it.

About one thing C.S. Lewis is unquestionably especially right: the attempt to marry heaven and hell is doomed, based on the mistaken belief “that reality never presents us with an absolutely unavoidable ‘either-or.’ … This belief I take to be a disastrous error.”

The FOF represents precisely this kind of marriage – the belief that we do not make choices when we dump our children, parents, friends, debts or whatever to pursue “higher impressions” and self-indulgent moments. The idea that we can remake God in our own image, according to our own vices. The idea that we can cut our own deal. That something is only evil if we think of it so.

Please don’t die like Abraham, abandoned by those who saw him as “excess baggage” in his old age. Despite the flowery PR eulogies, he had been dumped by Robert and dumped by FOF insiders, after taking care of every piece of dirty laundry the FOF had ever soiled. The devil makes a bad master.

It’s time to get out of the pool folks. As someone wise said, “Beyond good and evil, there is only evil.” Either-or. Which will it be?

FOF moderator: Could you maybe add http://www.bluelogic.us/ to the list of fraudulent FOF pseudonymous organizations?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fellowship of Friends petitions for tax refund

Tim Campion posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
September 27, 2011 Yuba County Board of Supervisors meeting agenda item:
“Fellowship of Friends Claim For Refund of Property Taxes”
The Fellowship is seeking a tax refund of $572,338 for the years 2006 through 2009.

The fraudulent church seeks to pay less so others may pay more. The board will apparently reject the claim, but maybe Nicholas or Greg will be there to “reason” with them. We can only hope that some day those in Fellowship leadership roles will realize they are merely “tools” – not of C Influence, but of a psychopath.

[ed. - the petition was submitted in August or September 2010, but the Oregon House cult asked that it be removed from the BOS agenda at that time so they could modify the petition.]

"Associated Press" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 7, 2014:
[ed. - Link to document.]

TO: Yuba County Board of Supervisors

FROM: Angil P. Morris-Jones, County Counsel

DATE: September 27, 2011

Matter Continued from Board Meeting of September 14, 2010

SUBJECT: Fellowship of Friends Claim For Refund Of Property Taxes

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Deny all eight Claims for Refund of Property Taxes as the claimant fails to state any legal reason for granting the claims for refund as required by the California Revenue and Taxation Code.

DISCUSSION:

This matter came before you at your September 14, 2010 Board of Supervisors’ Meeting. The matter before you consists of eight separate petitions filed by the Fellowship of Friends as Claims for Refund of Property Taxes for 2006-2009 (Secured and Unsecured).

On September 14, 2010, a representative of the claimant appeared at your meeting and requested that all eight Claims for Refund of Property Taxes were pulled in order for the Fellowship of the Friends to amend them.

It has been over a year since the claims were pulled off your Agenda for action. To this date the claims have not been amended nor have they been withdrawn. As it has been over a year without any contact as it relates to amending their claims, the Board is advised to take action on the claims as filed.

The California Revenue and Taxation Code provides that a taxpayer may petition the Board of Supervisors for a refund of property taxes that have been paid. However, the Board of Supervisors is only empowered to grant such taxpayer’s claim for refund of property taxes when the claimant has stated one of the statutory reasons for granting the claimed refund.

The reason stated by the Fellowship of Friends in paragraph 7 of each of their written petitions is:
“To keep statute of limitation open for any future refunds that may arise from property tax Exemption.”
The reason cited hereinabove by the Fellowship of Friends is not one of the legal reasons provided by statute in the California Revenue and Taxation Code. Therefore, pursuant to the statute, in this circumstance no order for a refund can be granted by the Board of Supervisors.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

On the care of Robert Burton's flock

Asaf Braverman and Dorian Matei, Fellowship of Friends cult leaders
Asaf Braverman and Dorian Matei on right. Interlude before a humble meal.

[ed. - In stark contrast to the luxury portrayed above, which is enjoyed by some Fellowship members (most notably Robert's "inner circle"), many Fellowship members, while donating large portions of their income to the cult, have long relied upon taxpayer-subsidized welfare and other services to meet basic nutritional, health and medical needs. The following are stories about the care (of lack thereof) for the elderly, disabled and the general working population at the Fellowship's Oregon House headquarters.]

JG's story. "Bares Reposting" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 8, 2011
 111/184. S____y – September 7, 2011

‘. . .We didn’t have much compassion in the FF. Kindness, yes, but I don’t think there was true compassion.’
Here is limited example of the kindness and compassion of the Fellowship of Friends (FoF), Pathway to Presence, Living Presence, BeingPresent.org, Church of Robert Earl Burton (REB):

‘For more than 10 years I worked hard, earned good money ‘in life,’ and supported FoF with my $$$’s donations and knew little of the behind the scenes activities, so to speak, but heard a little. Then my life changed and the next more than 10 years were spent living up close and personal (in other words: intimately), with how FoF operates behind the scenes. I witnessed the unbelievable. But, as long as I was not directly being abused, it was someone else’s play. Here is an example:
My friend, call them JG, was a near and dear friend. You might say I knew them intimately, without being in a sexual relationship; it was an emotional and spiritual relationship. JG had history of substance abuse, in particular, alcohol – not life threatening. In the early days of FoF, they were a pioneer and supporter of what was happening with FoF in Oregon House. They were also independent and had friends and family not in FoF. In short, they were somewhat of a rogue element. Their partner died at an early age. After that, there were times when they would, as the saying would go, get into the harem of REB by having interests in one of his young men. This represented competition. Often alcohol was of significance in these ‘dalliances.’ So, alcohol abuse became the target, since it would be difficult to make it about something else, i.e.: raiding the harem, and bring unwanted attention to this secret society that REB maintained.
Flash forward by about 30 years. JG is on a permanent task of no alcohol under any circumstances – not even to be seen with a glass, with or without alcohol in it – maybe empty would be OK, but no guarantee – might give the appearance that the glass was emptied by drinking the contents. If it appeared that it could be alcohol, someone would be reporting it. It did not require a condition of compromised behaviour due to alcohol; nor dalliance with the harem, nor DUI. Really hard to comply with this when so much of the FoF culture involved wine and toasting glasses, etc. Gradually, over the years, more and more justified, and mostly unjustified, constraints of the task were applied to my friend that eventually lead to a leave-of-absence (LOA) that I personally witnessed.
There was a time, more than once, that serious alcohol abuse developed in the FoF/O.H. community. This was a recurrent problem. There was around 1998, or so, a serious effort to address this – especially with a prediction looming – fall of California. One BE, a council member, was assigned, or adopted, the effort to convene a group that would try to ‘work’ on this problem with people. My friend decided to go since they had so much experience in this area that they thought they could help. Besides being an elder in the community, they also had some professional standing. They did not go because they needed help, nor were they under the influence, nor did they drink or appear to drink, at these meetings. Nevertheless, it was reported to REB that they were there. Boom, task violated; leave-of-absence (LOA) imposed. Over the years, ever more stringent punishment was applied to these leaves-of-absence and ever lengthening leaves-of-absence imposed and difficulty of task required. I was confided in these activities.
On this particular offense, it was 6 months LOA, as I remember it, in 1998. (The next time would be a promised permanent outing.) The requirement was, that if they were on LOA, then they could have no contact with any FoF members and that meant that any members living on their property had to move out – even though they lived in a private separate quarters by themselves and could have someone else carry on any contact with the tenants.
Several of the tenants were elderly and disabled: one was an FoF elder who was crippled and with heart condition. Another was in their 80′s or possibly 90′s and somewhat infirm. There were others of various health and wellness conditions. They all had to find new homes. This was likely the beginning of the end for one of them – they would die shortly after this episode. But, first, my friend tried to compromise or negotiate. They proposed to leave their own home and save these other people from having to leave. Some trusted person would be left in charge of the property. This was accepted. They tried to do that. They went off somewhere (and, that is another whole story), but suffice it to say, they could not manage it and came back in a couple of weeks. It was rapidly reported to the minions of flying monkeys. If they did not leave, it was curtains for all. Everyone moved out in 48 hours, as required.
That was one of the more egregious examples of things I witnessed.’
It is possible that there are other sides to this story, as there almost always are other sides.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog - September 8, 2011
Jomo, (#112-12 or thereabouts),[blogger, blog page and post number]
I think, based on what later happened with the Los Angeles Times case, and the general impression I got from talking to her, that Stella was simply frightened. At the time of the LAT case, she and Harold were so poor that they had to ask their friends for help just to pay for the advice of lawyers. Remember that the LAT did not include her under their defense umbrella in court, thought they used her words in their story. Abraham Goldman already had an established reputation as a ruthless “attack is the best defense” lawyer, and Stella probably envisaged their meager savings going to lawyers in the flash of an eye.
Stella was postmistress at the Carmel post office when she joined the Fellowship of Friends in June 1970, and had a secure career. Burton later persuaded her to resign so she could be on salary full–time; she was a much more talented teacher of the Fourth Way than he was, and for those who took the Fourth Way seriously, she was a major attraction. When she noted that she would be giving up her career and pension rights, Burton promised that the Fellowship of Friends would take care of all that. After she was given the boot, she fell back on other skills, but these jobs were not paid well, nor did they last. When she retired due to bad health, Harold was able to pull them through with his (mostly seasonal) artwork, but they had no large nest egg, and certainly nothing to withstand lawsuits.
Burton boasted to me in 1981 that the Fellowship would have a complete retirement scheme for all those who worked on salary, paid for by the enormous sums we would earn as a premier winery. I guess he thought I needed to hear that. He’s still batting zero in the prediction business. . .

"Mole" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 20, 2007 at 9:47 p.m.:
No health insurance. Even workmans compensation was axed about two years ago.Everyone on ‘salary’ was asked to sign a disclaimer stating that their wages were actually ‘compensation’ for voluntary services so as not to be covered by insurance laws…..


"Opus 111" wrote on the Fellowship of  Friends Discussion blog, June 20, 2007 at 10:26 p.m.:
#593 Kathleen, #603 Mole [Blog post numbers and bloggers]
Although there is no health insurance plan that is sponsored by FOF, there are still a number of students on salary covered by CA workman’s compensation plan (for work-related illnesses/accidents), and the fellowship is paying for that coverage. There are a number of students who are not, and it is unclear (to me) what criteria are in place to determine who is and who is not covered. There was also, at one time, an agreement between the local clinic (run by a FOF doc) and FOF to provide first visit for general screening and treatment of uncomplicated ailments. I do not know whether that agreement still exists. For most care that include specialized opinion or treatment/X-Ray or lab work, salaried students need to go to nearby towns. Most of them, given their low income, will qualify for the state-sponsored insurance coverage “Medical”.

"Bruce" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 20, 2007 at 11:32 p.m.:
[responding to post] 613
On the subject of health care, here’s a quaint story from olden days.
We were in the crunch to finish the Town Hall. Robert had given one of his unrealistic opening dates and booked the music. There were several crews working around the clock trying to meet the deadline. We were all working outrageous shifts. Robert would occasionally show up to help with angles like “Goodness, lets tear that wall down and move it over two inches or so”. Or that kind of bullshit.
I had been working for weeks. We were basically not allowed to leave the property if we were on salary. I noticed some pain in a tooth and asked RB to go to the local dentist who was treating most of the salaried workers because he took MediCal and he knew the system enough that he would be able to treat an emergency without having to go to Marysville and screw with the red tape.
Robert said no, I couldn’t leave. So I continued to work. Over the next few days my face started to swell on one side, and was constantly hot. RB said I could go when the Town Hall was finished. Long story short, I couldn’t eat due to the pain. The swelling continued. The day of the opening RB said I could go. I went. The dentist, who knew the whole story, said “What the hell’s wrong with that guy”? He told me a story that a student had been sent to have a little chip in front veneered so it would look nice, and he could travel occasionally with RB. As a gift for working hard RB told the student he would pay for it. So he went and the dentist said the kids whole mouth was a mess and he’d be losing teeth. He said putting a veneer on that tooth, in light of what he saw, was like gluing a diamond on top of skin cancer so it would look nice. He was pretty red in the face by then.
So he gave me some antibiotics and told me the choices were to have it pulled or have a three tooth bridge. I told him I would have to ask RB.
RB said have it pulled, that’s what he’d pay for. I was in pain and in no position to argue.
Here’s the clincher. RB then had the balls to come up to me and say “Goodness, I want you to know that I paid for the dentist out of my coffer, my personal coffer”. I’ll never forget that moment.
Here’s to the second coming of Christ’s conscience, consciousness, will, compassion of all the rest of his horse shit.
And yes, I should have had my f*****g head examined while I was at it.

"veramente" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, June 21, 2007 at 5:40 a.m.:
I forgot who asked about health insurance in the fof. 

In my times, early 90′s, there was no coverage for anyone on salary, we could not afford to pay for a premium, are we kidding?
When serious illness striked and got the first 500 dollars bill from the ER we soon realized we needed to do some hefty paper work and apply for the county medical services.
MediCal came later, a much more comprehensive coverage throughout the state of California, but in order to obtain that one has to prove a disability, more paper work, more monthly reports of income.
The fof did put a tremendous strain on the county because the pay roll were at a even lower level of what is considered poverty.
Occasionally RB would help in some situations, I forgot which student he helped when the guy hurt himself during a game, in my case he even offered to cover a very expensive procedure in the event it was needed. (100-150 thousands dollars)
In this instance I felt he was speaking from his heart and he was caring.
But I just cannot believe the general level of TRAMP, excuse me for the work language! the level of tramp in the fof towards his workers!
Talk about living and working at a considerable risk for your own future. When you are young and reasonably energetic and healthy, you do not think of disaster awaiting for you especially on the health front.
If you get sick the county will take care of you, not the fellowship of friends.

"William" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 8, 2010:
296. William [post number and blogger]
291. 2010
"Most of the current members know they are part of a hoax. They just don’t fucking care.”
Well of course, they can’t AFFORD to care! They have no retirement plan, no jobs to speak of, they dress like they’ve emerged from some 1980s or 1990s time capsules in ill-fitting hand-me-down Lauren and Armani. For lack of any reasonable health insurance, they’ve let the teeth rot out of their heads and walk around like gimpy, thanks to the injuries that never healed properly. They can’t afford medication to treat physical and psychological disorders — let alone operations for heart ailments, or MRIs to scan for cancer. For the most part, they have no real friends on the outside; they alienated their families years ago with weird behavior and neglect. Their job skills are way behind the curve — they’ve neglected that, too. Tech writing jobs were outsourced a decade ago, and those “professionals” are working for less and less pay against younger and younger competition.
They never retooled for the technology age — I remember when Shippers started filming videos of Il Duce’s meetings, and talked about how they were bringing cutting-edge technology to an esoteric teaching. C’mon guys … video? That’s been around since when? 1960s?
They are, in many cases, no longer employable. The worst cases no longer know how to behave normally around people, how to be “invisible” in life.
If they CARED they would have to get off their fannies and make the real effort of their lives. Cynicism is easier. And they’ll never look or feel like backwoods crackers if they hang out with their own kind in the compound. They can feel swish going to receptions where the wimmen wear outdated sequined dresses and the guys wear poorly tailored tuxedoes that no longer accommodate their midlife girth. Not to mention luring their own kids into the fraudulent organization, a pathetic means to validate their misspent lives (it’s no coincidence that the kids joining tended to be pliant daughters, the “good girls”).
Here’s the news, if any of you Shippers are out there reading this: IT DOESN’T GET EASIER. Look at the elderly among you. No, no — not the showcase elderly who get daily phone calls from R.B. and pharonic funerals when they die — the average ones that die impoverished, receiving substandard care or shuffled off to their alienated families. That’s your future, folks! There’s too many of you getting old for each of you to get star treatment. The numbers are against it. Besides, R.B. is preoccupied.
The demographic bulge is moving towards the young, attractive people who want green cards and know little about “The System” that the FOF formally abandoned years ago. They don’t admire you for your 30 years of “valuation.” They need you to underwrite their dreams for the future – and that’s about it. You’re too old to have sex with — but they are willing to flatter and marry sagging post-menopausal women (and men with prostate problems) for a couple years if that buys them a ticket to stay. What do you get out of it? Hey, it’ll give you a state, a fix! It’ll make you forget, for a little while…
There’s an alternative. Cut your losses. Thirty misspent years isn’t as bad as thirty-two.
Leave now! Hard as it is, you’ll find help, and you’ll pull something of a life back together. In any case, you’ll have faced the truth, and acted on it. Many over the centuries have given up their lives for truth — are you unwilling to face the comparatively mild embarrassment of having been wrong?
Not only does it not become easier: A lie never becomes the truth. Waiting won’t make it better. Do you really want the karmic burden of dedicating your lives to falsehoods? I don’t care how comfortable and settled you are at the compound. You came, many of you, for the pearl of great price. Are you really willing to settle for a plastic bead and knowing, cynical jokes that show you are complicit with your own bamboozlement (not to mention complicit with sexual slavery, exploitative labor, and spiritual fraud practiced on your “friends”)?
You’re right, #288 [post number]. Publicity does not serve this organization. Hence it’s under-the-radar recruitment practices. Facebook also exposes them to the world of former Shippers who are happy in their new lives, and found a spiritual rewards unknown to people who buffer the damage around them, and damage they have caused, with “the long Be”. Wikipedia is problematic — all those ex’s want their experiences included, too. Same with amazon reviews (have some of the ex-Shipper authors of the FOF books posted disclaimers? Hard to invalidate and erase the comments of the authors). It’s significant that the Facebook page is so closed to input. It only serves as a lure, and not a terrifically successful one — after all, only 2 people joined in the U.S. so far this year. Maybe the Greater Fellowship also needs a Facebook page.
Josianne [blogger], my comment remains: had your husband known what he knows now about the FOF — about the abusive sex, about money scams, about the personal erosion in his life — had he been able to read the newspaper articles or the internet stuff in the 1970s, he would not have joined. On some level, he knows that.
I’ll go back to my cave now.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Excerpt from Strange Truth: A Horror Story

[ed. - As revealed earlier in the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, the work cited below is listed in the Library of Congress: Strange Truth: A Horror Story (1983), by Marlane Dasmann, Library of Congress Registration No. TXu-149-031 (88-page account of author’s ten years in Fellowship and what she observed while acting as the founder’s housemaid)]

"Ames Gilbert" posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
I’ll Never Tell,
you say, “But the real thing worth dwelling on is not this issue of what was the Blake Cottage, but, rather, the circumstances surrounding the activities supposedly secretly going on there that the housekeepers, and others, were aware of.” I agree, that is what is important.
I quoted from “Strange Truth”, an unpublished manuscript by someone who was a housekeeper at the ‘Blake Cottage’, when writing about the unfortunate history of Brian Sisler (#16-438).
Here is another excerpt which encapsulates what went on so often, and still goes on to this day in the Fellowship of Friends: the triangle between Burton, one of Burton’s ‘boys’ and the wife or girlfriend of the ‘boy’. All names were changed in the original manuscript to protect them against retribution or other harm. And I have removed the author’s name below to protect her.
Justin and Daisy, a newly wed couple, had recently moved to the Farm. Daisy was only twenty, a beautiful sweet young woman. She told me she only joined the School to be with Justin. They had been together since childhood and knew no other loves. Daisy graduated from high school, but she was almost totally lacking in education, knowing little except that she loved Justin.
When the Teacher began to court him, Justin started ignoring Daisy. He moved into the Lodge and refused to speak to her, not even letting her stand near him. Daisy went wild with grief, but managed to maintain a certain cool exterior at social gatherings. Many people thought she did not care, the fools.
Daisy was put on salary, and began to help me at the Teacher’s house. Helena now worked at the School’s office, and Daisy replaced her. Frequently, during my four years as his maid, the women asked to help me were the wives of his boyfriends. I assumed the Teacher thought this was some sort of compensation for them, a way of paying them back for having taken their men away. It was considered a great honor to even get invited to the house for a brief visit.
***
“Dearest (name withheld), I have noticed that sawdust gathers on the floor in front of the baseboard behind your desk. Perhaps there are woodworms in the baseboard? Perhaps they will consume your desk next?”
I was writing the Teacher a little note, carefully considering each word. Looking up, I saw Daisy, flushed and shaking, skitter down the hall towards me, socks sliding on the highly polished wooden floor. Nearly barreling into me, she clutched at my arm and began bouncing in place.
“Xxxx, Justin’s clothes are in the closet, the boy’s room closet!” Her hands flew up to cover her pretty little mouth. Her eyes were round with shock. Would she start crying, I wondered. She had already cried so much. But no, she just continued to bounce in place, not knowing whether to be happy or sad.
And me? I was sad. But I couldn’t say so, and I couldn’t tell her why. She probably wouldn’t have believed me anyway. It was so hard to face the reality of the situation.
And when, day after day, we encountered Justin lying in a speechless heap on the boy’s room floor, Daisy still did not understand, and I still protected the Teacher.
My commentary. The author was being magnanimous, IMHO, about Burton’s motives. Putting the wives on salary or giving them a (usually menial) role was not “compensation”, it was calculated cruelty, one aspect of his revenge on womankind. My observations were that this cruelty was specific in the case of the wives, a flaunting of his power over them, and often was both public and as drawn out as long as possible over time. Think of it, what an absolute power trip! He subdues heterosexual males, has them act against their inclinations, reaches into their sex centers and stirs with malicious and random glee, and revenges himself on both them and their wives for having had the effrontery to have shared love and sex with each other before he appeared on the scene, and for having diverted attention and sperm from his insatiable maw.
Rinse and repeat hundreds of times.
Truly, “You shall have no other gods before me”.
BTW, the link to the Brian Sisler post mentioned above is:
http://fellowshipoffriends.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/the-fellowship-of-friends-discussion-part-16/#comment-4213

"More history needed" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 27, 2007 at 6:17 p.m.:
Does anybody know if we can copy Marlane Dasmann manuscript?
Just finished her manuscript written between 1973 and 1983…so touching, nothing new. Tristan is Brian S, Maxwel is Peter B, Maud is Bonita, Rocky is Linda.
She writes very neutral and clear. Loyal and loving to Robert but her observations were not a beautiful story with palms and tulips and her conscience did not seem to be able to stay in the fof.
Her observations are so clear and her period of silence is well described clear and plain.
Beautiful story with the fact that what has been repeated in 1984, 1995 and now in 2007, is basically all the same. Really C and G and P and W and all of us, it might be a little worse now but I can not see it.
I am happy that it is a beautiful story for some people. For Marlane it was an incredible amount of suffering, hard work, sickness, poor, being raped and trying to transform….
Love, healing and joy to all of you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Robert Burton on the art of interpreting license plates



[ed. - In this video, Robert Earl Burton interprets the message sent by the gods via a common license plate. (Any state will do.) But it should be noted that, contrary to Burton's assertion, it was the California DMV, not "Influence C", that denied them "complete Men Number 7" status, as the license plate had already reached the maximum character limit.

Describing it as "a perfect summary", Ames Gilbert re-posted the following powerful essay on the most recent page of the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog. The juxtaposition of video and essay, should give the reader just a taste of Robert Burton's dysfunctional world. And, finally, an ex-member has a bit of fun at Robert Burton's expense: R3 ANGL7/Toaster mashup.]

"Life Person's" Study of the Man posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:

After months of periodically reading and contributing to the blog, what most amazes me is the enormity of the disconnect between what is observed and what some people choose to believe.

Once the emotional charge created by the resurgence of memories that had drifted around for decades dissipated somewhat, and I had for some weeks left off reading the blog, which seemed to perpetuate that charge, and then came back to it, I find myself stunned and incredulous.

Taking away those things that he has said about himself, and those things that others have said about him, and looking only at the evidence before us, we see a man who, before he announced himself as a Teacher, was most easily described as a loser. Fired from his modest teaching position, kicked out of his brief stint in an abusive cult for the most pedestrian reason–being unable to keep his hands off the other guys–living with his mommy or in his van long past the age when we’d expect a man to have a halfway decent job. A man with modest formal education from a white trash background, with the middle name of Earl. Had never accomplished anything of note. Cannot write, paint, dance, or sing. Oh yes–he could play tennis, at the level of the average high school varsity player.

A man who has since lived an entirely parasitic existence, having declined to lift a finger on his own behalf since he was thirty, beyond walking, sitting, lifting fork and glass, talking, and having sex; a man whose muscles have atrophied from disuse. A man who cannot be bothered to pay his own bills, or drive his own car, or fix his own faucet. Can you imagine your father, or your neighbor, let alone Socrates, telling people to do manual labor, including labor that benefits only himself, year after year, decade after decade, while he simply shuffles around in thousand-dollar slacks and five hundred-dollar shoes, without ever contributing anything? Jesus was a carpenter. Dante wrote fantastic works of literature. Leonardo painted masterpieces. Others make shoes, grow food. Here’s a man who jots down notes and sayings at the level of a precocious junior high schooler, and gives others instructions in between efforts to satisfy his physical urges. We find the model for this in, say, Henry VIII, or more accurately, a pinheaded, inbred pharaoh.

Here is a man who has not, in at least 37 years, and most likely in his entire life, had an intimate emotional relationship with another man, woman, cat or turtle that would be recognized by anyone as normal, let alone mature.
Whose “teachings” are almost entirely unoriginal, having been cobbled together, first from the works of Gurdjieff and his disciples, a little later from quotes copied like a lazy freshman from the Harvard Classics, and now from a hodgepodge of sources that does not rise to the level of solid “B Influence”–stuff that, thirty years ago, you wouldn’t have picked out of the trash, like Chariots of the Gods and Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs. He even tried his hand at National Enquirer-style prophecy, and was so spectacularly unsuccessful that he now claims he never meant any of it.

A man who fancies himself an aesthete, of impeccable taste, yet whose taste is classic nouveau riche, reflecting once again the lack of any originality, let alone artistic flair. Everything is copied, taken from others, like the pile of statues in the basement of Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu. Who considers a Greek temple plopped down in the Sierra foothills very classy, and cannot see that it is pathetic kitsch, like Las Vegas casinos featuring recreations of pyramids and Venice.

In any other circumstance, this man would be considered ridiculous. A buffoon. Laughed at.

And this, of course, does not address a level of greed and financial manipulation that would seem eye-rollingly incredible in a made-for-TV-movie about a New Age Guru. Who would believe a character who did all the running after cufflinks, the wine-guzzling, the pouring of rich food down his gullet, the endless supply of suits, shirts, shoes, Rolls Royces and Mercedes, watches, paintings, furniture, and on and on and on, while continually demanding more money from his followers, some of whom make extraordinary sacrifices, destroy themselves financially, to keep the man in silk, cashmere, and the umpteenth performance of Giselle. We’d turn it off in disgust, exclaiming that the movie showed an obvious intent to slander all nontraditional religious organizations and make their adherents seem imbecilic.

And then there’s the fellow’s peculiar sexual habits, which also are no laughing matter. His need to have his various orifices continually filled, not by people with whom he shares a deep emotional bond, but by desperate or naive people he has cajoled with pathetic fairy tales, who hide their faces in shame as he grunts and pants before showing them the door and calling in the next one. People who carry the diseases he has passed on to them, and perhaps their partners, for the rest of their lives, along with the burning resentment and humiliation of having allowed themselves to be so callously and pitifully used by someone they trusted. This sort of behavior is generally accepted everywhere as demonstrating a profound emotional disturbance.

And none of this even touches on the man’s treatment of others when they’re not coming in his mouth, his disregard of what would be considered decent, principled behavior in any culture, under any ethical or religious creed. His complete lack of genuine interest in the well-being of anyone who does not give him, or procure for him, money or sex, his willingness to act, without regret, as though a person he has known for twenty years or more, a person who has given him everything they have, has never existed the moment the individual stops giving him money or sex.

But, I suppose, none of this precludes his being the Light of the World, the Greatest Being Since Christ, and worthy of the highest lifelong devotion. And why? Because he says he is “conscious.” So that’s what being “conscious” means, does it? How could I have missed it. But some say they have “verified” that he is “conscious.” Oh, that changes everything.

For quite a while everyone on earth was convinced the world was flat.

“But he teaches people to be present.” Indeed. Being present to eating too much, drinking too much, having sex with people who don’t want to have sex with you. Present to enjoying the fruits of others’ labors. Present to the sycophantic bowing and scraping of people without any self-respect or discernment. He teaches, by example, how to be present to treating others like shit.

How to account for his success? If a person without any useful abilities of his own sat down and decided to develop a way to allow himself to have all the money, sex, food, travel, power, fancy clothes, adulation, and sheer self-indulgent luxury an adolescent could possibly imagine–if a man embarrassed by his own sexuality and humble social status wanted to be treated like a god–what might he come up with?

And why is it that so many people whose wisdom is so much more easily observed, who are truly kind and compassionate, who genuinely value others simply for their inherent humanity, who find delight in simple pleasures and do not need to be continually praised, obeyed, fucked, fed, entertained, clothed, and carted about, who enjoy being useful, who serve others instead of claiming to serve disembodied spirits while leaving a trail of pain in their wake–why is it that such people do not have as many people trying to learn from them?

Might it be that some people actually want what they see this man has, rather than true wisdom, true compassion?

Might it be that some people cannot bear the thought that what is so obvious might actually be the simple truth, which would make them gullible fools?

[ed. - And for more "yucks", as Ames might say...]

"Ames Gilbert wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 15, 2011:
I have in my hands a collection of dozens of thoughts from Burton that specifically focus on license plates, sent in by alert readers. All of these are apparently fairly recent, and I thought I’d share a few choice ones. As you can see, he has still not given up on California falling into the sea, and is very big on the Mayan 2012 thing. The present form of meetings/indoctrination/group meme reinforcement seems to be this: an image from the collection assembled by researchers is projected, and a quote, most often by Burton, but sometimes from some other notable in history, is produced (read aloud?). Then Burton adds his insights, interpretations and wisdom while the audience laps it all up. I’m sure more recent escapees can correct me if I’m wrong.
____
“Life’s situation is getting tighter. It does not matter what man is planning – what matters is what Influence C are planning.” - Robert Burton

Robert’s comment: It is interesting to observe how the oil situation is beginning to cause havoc. Oil is blood for the modern age. I was at the airport in Houston yesterday on my way to San Francisco and they interrupted a television program to announce that oil had gone over $110 a barrel. Today it closed almost three dollars higher. The high oil prices will affect everything. A license plate says “911-MGR” – 9/11 Major. In fact, 9/11 was a true shock that was heard around the world. This is a map indicating recent earthquake activity. It is quite interesting. In the upper left is Japan, where the earthquake and tsunami occurred in March. Beneath it is New Zealand, where the Christchurch earthquake struck a few months ago. In the lower right-hand corner is Chile, which suffered an earthquake in 2010. If you go straight up you reach San Francisco and the west coast of California. It makes a square. California is the likeliest place of all for a cataclysmic disaster.
____
“The only real freedom is freedom from imagination.” - Robert Burton

Robert’s comment: Of course, there cannot be freedom without presence, can there? This is a license plate we saw in Mexico City saying “777WNH.” It is three ‘sevens.’ “WNH” is the way you would say “winner” in New York. We saw this man at the Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City with a tee-shirt saying “Xscape.” He was walking around us, meaning that we are escaping. This was my room at the Hilton Hotel. It is interesting, because when Leonid checked in they gave us a complimentary upgrade to a suite, which was room 2121. It means card twenty-one for all of us, compliments of Influence C. Influence C do quite a lot with license plates around the world. It is always a lifesaver when a message from Influence C passes by as you are driving.
____
“The Last Judgment is nothing to wish for, but something to watch for.” - Robert Burton

Robert’s comment: Shakespeare said, “Some must watch, while some must sleep” – life. We are the people who are watching. We saw this interesting license plate saying “239 WWT.” I was born in 1939. It may mean that I will go to 39 – 2039, or that I came to the earth in ’39. We will have to wait to understand it. However, “WWT” refers to World War Three. When we entered the restaurant, we decided to have the attendants clean our car. We saw this license plate when we returned, meaning that it is a clean omen, without imagination.
____
“The sequence channels suffering into presence.” - a student

Robert’s comment: It is quite profound. We do not suppress suffering – we transform it. Incredibly, a photograph shows a plume of smoke over Apollo during the fire that occurred one week ago. This is a wonderful image of the fire behind the god Mercury. It looks like Influence C leading us through the Last Judgment. During the fire, I found a coin on the top of Mount Apollo. It was minted in 1965, making it forty-four years old. Late last year as I was entering San Diego, a license plate in front of us said “US SAFE” – meaning perhaps that we will be safe from hydrogen warfare. Yesterday I put a new license plate on my van saying “12 DEC 21,” referring to December 21, 2012, the date given on the Mayan calendar as the end of the fifth cycle. In all the Mayan world only one object gives this date.
____
“The noble pledge to produce presence is the highest resolve man can aspire to.” - Robert Burton

Roberts comment: Shakespeare called this the “noble pledge” to produce conscious nobility. The royal couple will be married in England next week, but it is all outward show. There is no nobility without presence, only an imitation of nobility. I am not judging, merely observing. Geraldine Reid found this license plate in Grass Valley saying “2BFLYN.” It is a Mercedes with the three-Be logo. This is the Rucellai Madonna by Duccio di Buoninsegna in the Uffizi, Florence (ca. 1285). Here we see six angels, three on either side. Around the edge of the frame are thirty medallions of the saints – the thirty great work ‘I’s. The Christ child is making the noble pledge with his hand. He has red hair for combustion. Mary has four fingers over her stomach, controlling the lower self.

"Opus 111" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 4, 2008:
Ames #369 [blogger and post number]

I do not recall specific examples of license plates, but I am sure someone will.

What I found interesting was that, at the beginning, actual photographs someone had taken of a license plate (often one of the boys, they travel all the times) were shown and even passed along the rows of the audience. Later, this morphed into “license plates” shown on a big poster held up by another boy at the meetings and waved right, then left and center, then again right, left, center. The interesting thing was that it was no longer an actual photograph being reproduced and enlarged, but rather a photoshop template with the “new message”. Whether these “new messages” had ever been seen, let alone photographed, is anyone’s guess. I never bothered to verify on the DMV website that the plate indeed existed. The routine rapidly got old and stale, and replaced by art pictures meant to support the concepts of keys and sequence. Here it is for you, RB’s way, circa 2003.

"Rear View Mirror" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 7, 2008:
Breaking news:

I saw a license plate today with the word “angel” on it. I’m not kidding. And yes, I know — that’s not supposed to happen to those of us who have lost the way. Supposedly we “former members” who “lose the school” also “lose the gods,” and I presume that would mean they would stop giving us such wonderful shocks to help us to remember ourselves. Because what’s the point in giving us shocks since we have stopped having sex with Robert, have left the FOF, and have therefore lost all possibilities by denying the will of the gods (which apparently is to obey Robert Burtons and give him pleasure).

Of course, the explanation would be that it was just a coincidence that I happened to see a license plate with the word “angel” on it. And that the word “angel” was simply on the license plate because the driver was a beautiful woman (that’s actually true), and that it was bound to happen at some point or another, or that I saw it only because I would say something about it here, and cause a shock for some student who happens to tune into the blog. But when that very student sees the same license plate, it is not “just a coincidence” but it is a message from The Angels, and if RB sees it, an image is presented at a meeting, and Robert makes some sort of comment about it to show how the gods are working with him closely (as described in the posts above).

It takes a lot of work to think in circles like that. But you current member who does happen to tune into the blog to read this… What an odd twist to this little play of ours if the gods (assuming they are not a part of our imagination) are actually with each of us out here, helping us, caring for us, and assisting us just the same.
And maybe all along, just helping us… to leave.
Fellowship of Friends leader Robert Earl Burton divines message from the gods in a license plate
Robert Earl Burton divines the esoteric message in a license plate

"My4bits" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 4, 2008:
Ames Gilbert, 369. [Above]

I haven’t been able to recall any of the specific vanity plates or interpretations, Ames. Hopefully, other bloggers will be able to provide some good examples.

To get the general idea, the plate “C HEART U” would mean “Influence C loves you.”

Occasionally, an actual photo of a car vanity plate was shown, but more often, the plate’s “message” would be Photoshop’d onto a blank California license plate, and then printed for display at a meeting.

RB and his boys would keep an eye out for these “messages from the gods” whenever they were traveling. Sometimes, students would offer up their own finds for interpretation.

The point was to identify an alphanumeric “shock” — which Influence C caused to be stamped onto vanity plates, and then miraculously to be injected into our play (e.g., while driving to Las Vegas…) — and which addressed in some way the teaching, school direction, or prophesies.

I always cringed during these vanity plate demonstrations, feeling rather embarrassed for RB, and of course, blatantly manipulated.

Another attempted suicide?

"Opus 111" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 6, 2011:
Rumor has it that there may be another member who recently attempted to end his life… It would be someone long-employed in house keeping at the Galleria. If he is whom I think, he is a rather meek individual who largely keeps to himself, never displayed in REB entourage.

House keeping at the galleria! The amount of emotional garbage alone would be enough to drive anybody insane.

The rumor goes on to say that the individual in question took an overdose of medications but was unsuccessful at ending his days. Result: he is somewhere under wraps, in a chemical strait jacket. Nobody ever said REB was not good at putting people to sleep.

"Opus111" added:
It is supposed to be D.v.d W..d [a member for over 30 years].

"Palmyra" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 7, 2011:
178 Opus 111 [above]

Do you know how is he? I know that D v W d worked for the Goldman’s for many years, so maybe the shock of Abraham’s suicide was very disheartening for him. I also know that he was a true believer and thought that Robert and the fellowship were authentic at least during my time there. I always liked him, though I thought he was very naive or was in complete denial – having worked in the Galleria for many years, he must have known what was going on, though he had the belief, I think, that the lower cannot understand the higher – like many of us who were brainwashed into believing that.

"My2Bits" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 7, 2011:

My heartfelt best wishes go out to D.W., if indeed he is in the difficult situation that some describe here. He was a good friend of mine for many years.

I remember when he was invited to Renaissance/Apollo/Isis from Germany to be a tour guide at the then Goethe Academy. He is a Goethe expert. It was to be his mission to help educate students in the finer points of European culture through describing the works of art displayed there. Housekeeper was to be his part-time job.

But the cultural emphasis shifted over the years to the Asian (Ming) phase, to the Egyptian phase, and so on, making his original mission more or less ‘history’.

After year upon year of tending to menial housekeeping duties at the cloistered Galleria, working for peanuts and depending on part-time, off-campus jobs to get by, seeing his youth and idealism as well as his ability to re-enter society slip away, perhaps it just became too much. I wish him, as ever, a clear way forward.