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) Fellowship 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, October 31, 2011

Why did you leave The Fellowship of Friends?

[ed. - Originally written in January of 2008, "Traveler's" words below were published on the Wordpress blog "Lea in space or some or no place..." (now defunct) and also on the Greater Fellowship website.]

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 19, 2009:
Some of you probably remember Traveler’s many wise words here on previous pages of the blog. I’ve been given permission to pass on some recent writings, which I think are some of the most useful yet.
____________________________________________________________________
["Traveler" wrote:]
Why did you leave the School?

What do you say when someone you knew inside the organization, and not even too well, calls you one day from another continent and asks you to please explain why did you decide to leave the School? A brave step actually, because such direct questions are not normally voiced by current members.
It’s not an easy answer, mostly because the question is phrased in a way I would not phrase it now. When you’re inside, you hear claims that people leave because they become “negative” about the money or sex or some other external issue, and because of such a trifle, they fail to look beyond to a “higher aim” that the organization is ostensibly serving.
Not to diminish the sexual manipulations and misuse of funds: they are no trifles. But they have been rationalized before and can always be rationalized again, in the name of the cause. That is what keeps people in: as long as they believe in the essential goodness of the cause of an “esoteric school”, any irregularities can be explained away and swept under the carpet, a carpet that I think would be several inches off the floor by now, after 37 years of the FoF.
But current members say external issues are never the real reason: it’s that people “lose the work”. Well, what can I say – they are right. If by “work” they mean perpetual self-monitoring for manifestations of thoughts and actions not in line with RB’s wishes; repetition of a magical formula that is to assist me in reaching the ever elusive Divine Presence, with a view to create an astral identity that will survive physical death – then yes, I have thoroughly lost any interest in the “work”. Whether you view that as a tragic failure or not depends on which side of the fence you are looking from.
I say I never decided to leave because leaving eventually happened just as naturally as opening my eyes after waking up in the morning.
It’s not “I left when I saw that RB [Robert Burton] was wrong,” or “I left when I saw that GH [Girard Heven] was wrong.” Not even “I left when I saw that PDO [Peter Demianovich Ouspensky] and GIG [George Ivanovich Gurdjieff] were wrong.”
That all pales in light of the realization that I personally had been spectacularly, mind-bogglingly, fabulously WRONG.
I was wrong to take on faith so many statements of belief just because they sounded good and I wanted them to be true.

I was wrong to feel special.

I was wrong to believe in a hierarchy of more and less enlightened individuals.

I was wrong to assume that others can accurately tell me what I am thinking, feeling or what state I am in.

I was wrong to think that just because some aspects of the teaching make sense, all of it should make sense, even if I don’t yet understand it.

I was wrong to grasp at the slightest bit of teaching that seemed reasonable while dismissing massive evidence to the contrary.

I was wrong to want to be told what to do.
I was wrong to suppress my own dissenting questions because of peer pressure.
I was wrong to want to get others to express support for our beliefs.

I was wrong to make myself feel guilty for being non-compliant.

I was wrong to want to make others feel guilty for being non-compliant.

I was wrong to continue supporting what I no longer believed in.
I was wrong to value security and familiarity over my conscience.
I was wrong to feel that all this was normal.

I was wrong to feel that I had no choice.

I was wrong to think that I would assure any real friendships just by belonging to an organization together.

And above all, I was wrong to not trust myself and my own better judgment.
I left because that period of my life was irrevocably over.
But the really interesting question for me right now is not “Why did you leave?”
Much more fascinating and perplexing is “Why did I stay so long?"

"Don Juan" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 21, 2007:
After finding this discussion recently and reading so many incisive, candid and heart-felt posts, I was inspired to write a few words myself.
I wonder what it is that compels someone finally to leave the Fellowship of Friends after being a member for ten, twenty, thirty years. I’m particularly curious what it takes for someone who doesn’t buy the party line, who long ago stopped believing that the FOF was the “only way” and other such patent nonsense, but who nevertheless has found reasons to stay for all these years. There is much that is beautiful and much that is odious in the FOF, and I suppose one somehow manages to embrace the former and overlook the latter. (I know there must be many in this position, having been such a one myself.) Why one stays is one question, but for me the more interesting question is what propels someone to finally cut the cord and leave.
For a cult, you have to admit that the FOF is relatively benign and non-intrusive. At least in my day, as long as you paid your money, you could pretty much lead your own life, even living at Renaissance (I suppose that dates me!): there was nothing that was compulsory, you could study what and how you wished, you could think for yourself, you could even study with other teachers (so long as you didn’t spread it around!). If you had a group of like-minded friends around you, and didn’t mind keeping your true feelings to yourself, you could find reasons to stay, even if the school’s actual teachings were no longer serving you (if they ever really did, but that’s another story). Of course, sheer inertia and fear of an unknown world out there played their part in keeping you where you were.
(As I write this, I’m suddenly reminded of the story of Mullah Nasruddin, who, having lost his keys in the bushes, looks for them under the lamppost down the street simply because the light is better there.)
So what is it that pushes someone over the edge after putting up with so much for so long? Robert’s sex addiction? No news there (although the gymnastics described by inner circle facts, part 1 [post] no. 294 are quite impressive). New whacko teachings from Big Bob (“the rhinoceros excreting the sequence”)? Nothing new there either! The incessant monetary demands? Unlikely that money would be enough on its own, for if you could swing the finances for this long, you probably could continue to do so if something else didn’t light a fire under you.
I left the FOF some twelve years ago after nearly twenty years of membership. I was actually quite enjoying myself there (painful contradictions notwithstanding), and it took having the truth rubbed in my face again and again to ignite my conscience and give me no choice but to depart.
First and foremost, I had the opportunity to see Robert up close when his comfort, his lifestyle, and his obsessive control over his empire were being threatened by an earlier round of students asking too many questions and seeking a more open dialog about how the Fellowship functions. It became all too clear to me that, whatever may have been the case in the past, Robert had little or no genuine interest in the spiritual development of his students. His priority first and foremost was the maintenance and feeding of his lifestyle, and he would do almost anything to protect it. This should have come as no surprise to me, having known him for some time, but it took seeing up close his cold, paranoiac and entirely self-serving reaction to pressure – pressure from well-meaning students – to awaken me from my dream of life in the Fellowship. It became no longer possible to pretend that he was any kind of teacher for me.
Robert has a most convincing act when he is on stage, and he is on stage almost all the time. If you want to see what he really is, don’t look to touching little set-pieces such as that of the arrest in the airport [post](no. 272), where he’s performing for a little audience (who publish every word for all to admire, photos and all), and indeed he has no choice anyway but to sit and wait (and pontificate). Look instead to how he acts when he believes he should be in control, and in particular to how he handles even the most gentle challenge to his authority. Part of that is seeing what kind of actions he instigates or at least tolerates on behalf of the minions who do his bidding.
Second, and perhaps more important, was that I could no longer justify my association with a teaching that had become apparent to me was so severely lacking once I had experienced the depth of other spiritual traditions and indeed the depth of an open heart. Much of what went on at the FOF was fear-based, notwithstanding the false patina of emotion that coated it. Divided attention, self-remembering and all of the subsidiary exercises used in the FOF are great tools, but frankly these would be considered preliminary exercises in attention in a complete system such as that presented in Tibetan Buddhism, as one example. Moreover, tools of attention when used in the absence of any real compassion and any understanding of the empty nature of existence seem to solidify the ego, rather than lead to liberation. Others have written here on what is missing in the Fourth Way or the FOF teachings at length and far more eloquently than can I.
Looking back, it’s difficult to understand how I can still feel gratitude for all that I learned and all of the beautiful times that I shared through this strange vehicle that Robert Burton created (or more accurately, that Robert Burton and his students created), and yet I do feel gratitude. I suppose it’s one of the painful contradictions that so many of us, in or out, feel. I wish everyone well, in or out, here or there. And if you’re still in and thinking about packing your bags, a few words from the old geezer poet, for old time’s sake:
AFOOT and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune—I myself am good fortune;
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Strong and content, I travel the open road.

"Charles T" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 17, 2007:
WHY I DON”T FEEL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FOF

I was a member for 27 years. I joined in London, quickly moved into the teaching house, did everything I could to enable myself to move to the U.S. Married an FoF student. Moved to Apollo/Isis after a few years. Built a large house there, designed by a FoF architect. At different times I was a center director, council member, traveling teacher, led prospective student meetings at which people joined the FoF. In other words, the whole disaster including the postage.
I was never involved in Burton’s inner circle and had only a sketchy knowledge of what went on there. I read Troy Busbee’s letter and heard some strange rumours, but I was reassured by people I respected that it was all OK, the rumours were exaggerated, everything was consensual, there was a lot of love involved, and I believed what I was told, and in turn reassured others.

I was very committed to awakening. I sincerely believed that Burton was a conscious being. I did pretty much everything that was suggested (couldn’t give up rock music though!). I tried very hard to remember myself year after year. When I was leading meetings I tried to be honest and only describe what I’d actually experienced, or make it clear if I was speaking theoretically.

I admired the FoF leaders very much: Peter B, Girard, Collin, they all seemed wonderful, spiritually advanced people. In fact pretty much everyone I met was sincere, thoughtful, kind, admirable.

After Peter’s death and Girard’s stroke a new set of leaders took over, much more harsh and intolerant, people for whom I had little respect. I began to withdraw. Around the same time Alison became influential and the emphasis on collecting money, money, ever more money became overwhelming. Burton’s teaching became more and more bizarre. The Fourth Way was abandoned. Nothing of any substance took its place.

Eventually I left, principally because it became clear to me that Burton is not a conscious being, in fact he’s no different from you or me, and his teaching is a sham. I didn’t leave because of his private life, though the stories became increasingly disturbing and believable.

So am I a bad person because I supported the FoF for so long? Personally I don’t think so. I did the best I could. I was mistaken about Burton but it was a genuine mistake. I learned a lot in the FoF and I’ve moved on. It’s happening to hundreds of us now. Personally I don’t think we have any reason to look back and wring our hands.

"Just Another Voice Out Here" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 1, 2008:
151 lostandfound

“And this is the enigma: How is it that there are approximately 1700 members currently experiencing higher states, and receiving very fine and unique knowledge. While at the same time, there were approximately 15,000 who have entered and left with a deep sense of fraudulence and regret?”

This is not an “enigma.” It’s “formatory thinking” and it’s “lying.” No one can know how many other people are experiencing anything–only the person herself. That applies to the people who left, too. Based on their comments, there are plenty of former members who didn’t leave with a “deep sense of fraudulence and regret.” I didn’t leave with such a sense.

I left with a sense that RB was a person of very modest learning, with nothing to offer intellectually beyond quoting Ouspensky and the authors of the Harvard Classics, nothing to offer emotionally beyond a false modesty overlaying a very obvious and unapologetic lack of genuine affection for anyone who didn’t contribute to satisfying his various appetites.

I left with a sense that he had serious sexual hangups, and, much worse, had no interest at all in outgrowing them, or even in acknowledging that they were weaknesses rather than strengths, and a sense that such a person was of limited value to me.

I left with a sense that the members who were joining increasingly were naive people with a limited command of the English language. Make of that what you will.

I left with a sense that what may first have reflected my sincere interest in awakening was becoming little more than a crutch that allowed me to maintain a sense of being special, along with other ego-boosting illusions, while also allowing me to believe I was doing everything I could to awaken. But I knew better.

I left with a sense that the financial cost of participation was exhorbitant [sic] and out of all proportion to benefits offered, in a common-sense way, and it would only become more so.

I left with a disinclination to be a part of any group that prided itself on looking down on five billion people as worthless shit.

I left with a sense that the vanity of the group had crystalized [sic], and that this vanity was contagious.

I left with a sense that I was bored with the routine of gatherings, arranging “biscuits” on pretty platters, bored with hearing the same recycled “angles,” bored with the strain of pretending that any of the activities were actually enjoyable.

I left with the sense that there was much more to maturity in any sense of the word than dressing up in grandpa’s clothes, overindulging in alcohol, and acting “intentional.”

I had no regrets, and as for fraudulent, well, if you believe RB sincerely believes that he is the highest being since Jesus, that the Fellowship is not only a “conscious school” but the only such thing on earth, that allowing him to suck your penis is the best possible choice you can make in your life, that God speaks directly to Robert Earl Burton and only to him, making him infallible, that artists throughout history and prehistory have transmitted their knowledge of the Sequence and the Four Wordless Breaths in their works, etc., then no, I would not call it fraudulent. Just delusional and pretty silly.

"Just Another Voice Out Here" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 8, 2008:
More from John Knapp relevant to grieving the loss of a cult
FAQ ABOUT RECOVERING FROM CULTS

Why do people leave? How do people leave?

Members typically:

walkaway (“walkaways”),
are thrown out (“castaways”),
lose their leader to death or their group to dissolution,
or are counseled out —

in roughly that numerical order.

Walkaways may leave gradually because of love for family or friends or what is called “cognitive dissonance” — a growing realization that the ideals of the group are at odds with their actions. They may float into new groups or eventually return to their original group. Frequently they do not face the damage that they have endured, and they experience reduced functionality for many, many years.

Castaways are tossed out by their leaders or groups for real or imagined offenses — or to keep other members in line. This group may experience the most traumatic reentrance into mainstream society. They usually have not rejected the beliefs or leader of their group and have the added guilt and shame of having been rejected.

Someone involved in the disbandment of their group may experience an ego-strengthening sense of power and control. If the group disbanded against their wishes or their leader died, they may experience a depth of despair similar to a castaway.

Those who are counseled out, through therapy, exit counseling, in-residence programs, or the like, usually experience the smoothest and quickest recovery.

What should a recovering cult member expect?

I’m not usually like this. I pride myself on being organized, and punctual, getting done what I say I will get done. Before “therapy” I set up a business of my own…. After the “therapy” I was just barely able to stay out of bed more then three days a week. That has gotten better and I rarely stay in bed and may nap once in a great while, as I am extremely tired all the time. I wonder if that is ever going to go away.

Don’t make any commitments for awhile. Take it easy. Think of yourself as recovering from a heart attack or a stroke. Set some time aside in your mind for recovery — at least a few months.

Many people experience “triggering.” You may find that anything associated with your group or any of its practices will cause sudden, unexpected discomfort — even panic. Honor it! It’s like the Vietnam vet being triggered by backfiring cars or other load noises. It’s a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s real. Others have gone through it. And recovered.

Sometimes you may be triggered for no discernible reason whatsoever. After time educating yourself about your group, you may find those triggers and how these suggestions work to keep you from thinking and growing emotionally.

The trick is to keep in mind that you can and will recover. Don’t allow yourself to identify with being a victim or abused. You have survived some of the worst life will ever dish out to you. Like a hero returning from a concentration camp during war, you are one tough SOB.

Another analogy: Some people after a heart attack go back to work too soon. They never really recover. Some people slide into depression or don’t work toward recovery. They never really recover. Some people acknowledge that they’ve taken a serious blow and work toward recovery — setting aside a reasonable amount of time to recover their faculties. These people do more than survive — they can be stronger after the heart attack than before.

I believe that recovery from high-control groups and trance abuse are very similar.

As hard as it may be for you to trust a therapist or doctor, it would be very wise to work with a “dispensing psychiatrist” and therapist familiar with cult survivors, battered spouses, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Tobias and Lalich’s Take Back Your Life has a thorough list of questions you should ask your potential therapist before deciding to work with him or her.

The pain of recovery comes and goes. It gets better over time. You must have heard about Kubler-Ross’s steps of grief recovery? Shock, denial, bargaining, anger, acceptance?

As a cult veteran, you are in a grief process for the time, money, love, and life that was stolen from you. You can’t skip any of the tasks of the grieving process. If a parent or loved one died, you’d give yourself a year to recover wouldn’t you?

Part of you has died. Give yourself the same respect you would if you had lost your most intimate loved one.

Some therapists insist that you can have a full recovery from cult trauma. But I suspect this isn’t exactly true.

Cult veterans have had an enormous life-changing experience. One that is shared by relatively few people in the world. Many of us feel that we have been changed forever by time in the cults.

Like all things in life, there is good and bad about this. Our lives may never be the same, nor even similar to what we once envisioned, but we can experience joy, fulfilling work, and deep, satisfying relationships again. We can have great lives.

We are stronger emotionally for what happened. Only a strong person survives a cult. We’ve been to Hell and back. We lived and our lives are fuller and richer for it. We may still have much healing to do. But we’re on our way up and getting on with our lives.

I have a lot of problems sleeping.

Yes, it gets better. It may last a few months.

Many cult veterans continue to tire easily — some for a few years — sometimes because of dissociation, sometimes depression. But we’ve found many ways to deal with it.
 
At the first sign of trouble focusing, try taking a short nap or walk. Aversion therapy, snapping a rubber band on your wrist when you notice you’re fading, works for some people.

Sleeping too much may induce, prolong, or intensify depression. Some psychiatric research indicates that people prone to depression should sleep no more than 7 hours a day. The trick is to relearn allowing your mind/body to tell you when it is really tired without sliding into depression. Try setting your alarm for 20 or 30 minutes and taking a nap every time you start fogging over.

Some people find some medications or a sleep clinic are helpful, too, under a doctor’s direction.
Many of us who went through high-control situations react with extreme aversion against order, scheduling, working, and so forth. It’s quite natural. You’ve been “brainwashed.” Allow yourself to be pissed off! And know that you may not feel like dancing to anyone else’s tune for awhile.

But if at all possible, try to maintain regular sleep times: when you go to bed, when you get up, and a set number of hours a day. Cult veterans appear to be at great risk for depression and other mood disturbances.

If you have trouble getting to bed at a fixed time, try setting an alarm clock to wake you at the same time every morning. You’ll naturally tend to get drowsy at the same time every night.

Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer suspects that many, many former cult members suffer from sleep disturbances and sleep deprivation. One common-sense way to test for these conditions is to take an over-the-counter sleep aid, such as Sominex or Excedrin PM. If after 3 days you have begun to wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, in all likelihood you do not have a serious sleep disturbance and can cease taking the sleep aid. If, however, you notice a surprising new depth to the quality of your sleep, continue needing naps during the day, and begin to have trouble falling asleep without sleeping aids, you may be well advised to explore this situation with your doctor.

Is every cult member severely damaged for life?

Definitely, not.

Many things can affect the aftereffects you experience: your physical and psychological constitution before entering, the severity of your group’s practices, and most importantly the length of time you were involved.

Conway and Siegelman’s research indicates that the number of months meditating, for instance, correspond directly to the number and severity of the side effects cult veterans experience.

"Just Another Voice Out Here" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 8, 2008:
And one last offering from Knapp:
FAIRY-TALE THINKING THAT HARMS FORMER CULT MEMBERS

I have found many former cult members continue to be influenced by beliefs and mores of their group — even years after they have left. This is certainly true for me, even though I underwent exit counseling in 1995. Whether it’s fear of nonmeditators’ “impurity,” fear that I will age more quickly if I don’t meditate, or the belief that enlightenment brings human perfection, I have stumbled on dozens of concepts and behaviors strewn throughout my consciousness like “alien artifacts” from my decades in the Eastern Meditation Group I belonged to.

Today, as a psychotherapist, I have found cognitive therapy useful to help my clients discover and rid themselves of unwanted, unproductive beliefs. The theory behind CT is simple: How we think about ourselves, our world, and our future affects our feelings and actions. The method consists of noticing uncomfortable feelings, examining the thoughts we had just before the onset of the feelings, and consciously undertaking “cognitive restructuring” — replacing the dysfunctional belief or thought with a balanced, rational understanding. People are taught a formal process of journaling, known as “thought records,” that makes cognitive restructuring a habit fairly quickly — usually in 12 to 20 sessions.

In the 1960s Aaron T. Beck developed cognitive therapy — one of the most thoroughly researched forms of psychotherapy to date. Cognitive therapy has been found to be effective for many problems including depression, anxiety, panic, substance abuse, and personality disorders. Researchers today are studying its value for treating schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, inpatient depression, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and relationship problems, among others. I am extending its use to the aftereffects of cult-induced trauma.

A key concept of CT is “cognitive distortion.” These are “fairy tale” ways of thinking that contain some logic, but they are not rational ways of looking at the world. They distort our understanding of the world — and cause us pain.
Below are ten common distortions, explained in Beck’s words, with examples I’ve added, paraphrased from former members that I have counseled. (These examples are based on Eastern Meditation Group members. You can read examples more useful for the general population here.) You can rate yourself by giving yourself a point for each distortion that you use, with one being low and ten being high. Then you might ask yourself if you can stop using the distortions and think in a different way.

ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING: You see things in black-and-white categories. If your, or someone else’s, performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself or others as total failures. Examples: I worked with one group member who saw any concept different than the his leader’s “perfect teaching” as wrong, or at least less than perfect. He explained he left the religion he was brought up in because “they believe life is suffering.” Another example: Many former members go through a period after they leave the group where they now believe everything the leader teaches is “bad,” where once they believed everything was “good.”

OVERGENERALIZATION: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. Phrases like “You always…” or “You never…” exemplify overgeneralization. Example: One former member told me that nothing had gone right for her since she ceased meditating. “I just know that all my bad karma is coming home to roost.”

MENTAL FILTER: You pick out a single negative detail and obsess on it so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors an entire glass of water. Example: A former meditation teacher, who had left the group 6 years previously, told me, “I just can’t get used to working with nonmeditators. They’re just not refined. I mean some of them smoke! How can you work with people so stressed out?”

DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences. Often this manifests as making excuses or minimizing when somebody pays you a compliment. Example: A very successful businessman once told me that he couldn’t take pleasure in his accomplishments. “I feel like my success is due to my time in my group. I can’t shake the feeling that if I hadn’t put worked full-time for the group [earning "good karma"], I just wouldn’t be successful today.”

JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion — often a “wait and see” attitude is called for in these situations. Example: A elementary school teacher, who had belonged to a meditation group, explained to me, “I’m very intuitive. Maybe it was the advanced meditation or something. I can ‘read’ people. I know what they are thinking before they say it.”

MIND READING: You arbitrarily conclude (usually by personalizing their behavior) that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. She went on to tell me that she “knew” many people in her school were “against” her — although she could provide no proof that this was the case.

THE FORTUNETELLER ERROR: You often anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact. A former advanced meditator explained, “I can tell when it’s going to be a tough day at work. There’s just something in the air that I can detect when I walk through the door. Maybe my leader wasn’t so wrong when he talked about stress in the atmosphere.”

MAGNIFICATION (CATASTROPHIZING) OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your achievements or someone else’s goof up), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own character defects or other people’s acceptable behavior). This is also called the “binocular trick.” Example: I corresponded with a meditation teacher who left the group and married a nonmeditator. “Sometimes I feel like the only reason my wife is doing so well with her business is because we’re together. I mean all those months of long meditations, I figure she’s getting the benefit because she’s near me all the time.”

EMOTIONAL REASONING: You allow your negative emotions to color how you see the world with an “I feel it, therefore it must be true.” Example: A long-term meditator who had left the TM Org some 3 years earlier confided in me, “I still feel like I can tell when I’m “purifying.” When I feel rocky, the people around me are so negative!”

SHOULD STATEMENTS: You try to motivate yourself or others with “should” and “shouldn’t,” as if needing to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequences are guilt. When you direct “should” statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment — as do they! Example: “I still follow the old ayurvedic diet [Indian alternative medical diet],” one woman told me. “I feel it’s something I should do for myself. Who can trust doctors? There all tied into the drug companies. They’re just in it for the money. When I slip up and eat junk food, I feel terrible, I mean more than usual. I think ayurveda made my physiology more refined. I really feel I must keep to the diet or I pay for it.”

LABELING AND MISLABELING: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser.” When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him: “He’s a dumb jerk!” Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded — and generally not factually descriptive. Example: Talking about nonmeditators, one former meditation teacher told me, “They’re all so gross! They’re so negative! Everyone is so stressed out.”

PERSONALIZATION: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event, which in fact you were not primarily responsible for. Example: A friend from my meditation teacher training course told me, “I just know that the trouble in the Middle East right now is because I haven’t been regular in my meditation program lately.”

Monday, October 17, 2011

Former Fellowship of Friends member reported missing

[ed. - Oregon House resident and former Fellowship of Friends member, Richard John Malten has been reported missing in the Eastern Sierra. There is a brief discussion of Malten on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog. Though it is merely speculation at this point, I include this article in the blog as the recognized financial and psychological impacts of cult membership may have been a contributing factor in Malten's disappearance.]

California man missing in Buttermilks?

October 17, 2011

The Inyo Register
By Mike Gervais/Register Staff
mgervais@inyoregister.com

Inyo County law enforcement is conducting a search of the Buttermilk area for a man last seen in July.

The man, 64-year-old Richard John Malten of Oregon House, Calif., was reported missing earlier this week, according to Inyo Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Carma Roper, leading investigators to his abandoned vehicle along McGee Creek west of Bishop.

That vehicle, so far, is the only lead investigators have on Malten’s whereabouts.

According to U.S. Forest Service Public Information Officer Nancy Upham, Forest Service personnel first took note of Malten’s Jeep in July, but at that time he was apparently camping near McGee Creek.

Upham said that it is unclear when Malten stopped using his vehicle, but Forest Service personnel did recently notice that the Jeep was abandoned – in the same spot Malten was thought to be camping near McGee Creek.

Shortly after that observation, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department received a missing persons report for Malten filed by his ex-wife, Roper said.

Malten is described as five foot, eight inches tall, 144 pounds with curly brown hair and brown eyes.

Investigators are asking anyone who has seen or heard from Malten over the past four months to notify the Sheriff’s Department at (760) 878-0383.

[ed. - The following legal notice appeared in the Appeal-Democrat January 30, 2013:]
A-4349232 01/16/2013, 01/23/2013, 01/30/2013

NOTICE OF PETITION TO ADMINISTER ESTATE OF RICHARD J. MALTEN, RICHARD JOHN MALTEN CASE NUMBER YCSCCVPB 13-0000005

To all heirs, beneficiaries, creditors, contingent creditors, and persons who may otherwise be interested in the will or estate, or both, of; RICHARD J. MALTEN, RICHARD JOHN MALTEN.

A PETITION FOR PROBATE has been filed by HEIKE SELL in the Superior Court of California, County of Yuba. THE PETITION FOR PROBATE requests that HEIKE SELL be appointed as personal representative to administer the estate of the decedent. THE PETITION requests the decedent's will and codicils, if any, be admitted to probate. The will and any codicils are available for examination in the file kept by the court.

THE PETITION requests authority to administer the estate under the Independent Administration of Estates Act. (This authority will allow the personal representative to take many actions without obtaining court approval. Before taking certain very important actions, however, the personal representative will be required to give notice to interested persons unless they have waived notice or consented to the proposed action.) The independent administration authority will be granted unless an interested person files an objection to the petition and shows good cau.se why the court should not grant the authority. A HEARING on the petition will be held on February 19, 2013 at 9:00 am. in Dept. 2 located at: Superior Court of California, County of Yuba 215 5th Street Marysville, CA 95901

IF YOU OBJECT to the granting of the petition, you should appear at the hearing and state your objections or file written objections with the court before the hearing. Your appearance may be in person or by your attorney. IF YOU ARE A CREDITOR or a contingent creditor of the decedent, you must file your claim with the court and mail a copy to the personal representative appointed by the court within four months from the date of first issuance of letters as provided in Probate Code section 9100. The time for filing claims will not expire before four months from the hearing date noticed above.

YOU MAY EXAMINE the file kept by the court. If you are a person interested in the estate, you may file with the court a Request for Special Notice (form DE-154) of the filing of an inventory and appraisal of estate assets or of any petition or account as provided in Probate Code section 1250. A Request for Special Notice form is available from the court clerk.

ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER; BRENDA C. SMITH 1445 Butte House Rd., Suite K Yuba City, CA 95993 (530) 674-7405 Jan. 25, 30, Feb. 5, 2013

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yuba County supervisors reject Fellowship of Friends’ request for $572,338 tax refund

"Ames Gilbert" posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
In other news, those nasty ‘life’ people deny Burton two weeks worth of pocket money:
Yuba County supervisors reject Fellowship of Friends’ request for $572,338 tax refund
October 11, 2011 10:40:34 PM
By Ben van der Meer/Appeal-Democrat
Religious group Fellowship of Friends received a less-than-friendly response Tuesday from the Yuba County Board of Supervisors, which rejected a $572,338 property tax refund.
The board voted 4-1 to dismiss the foothills group’s request for refunds on taxes paid from 2006-09.
County Counsel Angil Morris-Jones said the group took too long to give the board legal justification.
Fellowship of Friends first made the request more than a year ago to amend its tax returns for the four-year period to reflect its status as a tax-exempt religious group.
Kathi Lutton, an attorney working with the Fellowship, told county supervisors the group based near Oregon House/Dobbins had been working with the county Assessor’s Office for the last year to gain an exemption for future property tax bills. The full amount from previous bills has been paid.
But Morris-Jones said the exemption issue was separate from the refund issue, and the Fellowship hadn’t done enough on the latter to justify the refund.
“There are seven possible exemptions, and none of those has been cited,” Morris-Jones said of the refund issue. “It’s been continued for a year. My concern is the ramifications to the county if action isn’t taken.”
Lutton requested the board delay consideration for another two weeks so the Fellowship could correct the situation.
“They thought because they were working with the assessor, they thought they were advancing the ball,” she said.
She added the group also needed more time to review a rejection letter the county sent earlier this week for the Fellowship’s amended claim, filed earlier this week.
Communication issues might have also been a problem, Lutton said, because the Fellowship hasn’t had a regular attorney for some time.
Supervisor Andy Vasquez made a motion in support of the two-week stay, saying he also thought the group shouldn’t be penalized when it was actively working with the assessor.
“It’s a substantive amount of money, and it’s only fair as a matter of justice,” he said.
But the measure died without a second. Supervisor John Nicoletti then made a motion to deny the refund claim.
Vasquez was the lone dissenter.
CONTACT reporter Ben van der Meer at 749-4786.
_______________________________________
Advisory to Board of Supervisors: Watch out, you’re messing with 44 angels who are planning to destroy every person on earth except for followers of Robert Earl Burton (the members of Fellowship of Friends / Pathway to Presence / Living Presence / Being Present.org / Church of Robert Earl Burton organization). You’re doomed anyway, but those 44 angels can make the rest of your lives (due to end Dec 21, 2012) darn miserable!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Children's stories

Robert Earl Burton, Fellowship of Friends cult leader, with Dorian Matei in Oregon House, CA
Robert Earl Burton and Dorian Matei. Image source.

[ed. - Like his mentor Alex Horn, Robert Burton (often through intermediaries) controlled most family planning decisions. From a distance, it appears part of a strategy to utterly disempower his followers. See also: "ton's" Story and Kids Say the Darnedest Things.]

From Stella Wirk's website:
In the first year or so the group gained a reputation for wrecking marriages. Of the first batch of couples who joined 37 of them split up within a few months!

Rules about children caused a lot of emotional trouble. Burton's suggestion was to wait 5 years after marriage to have children, and sometimes that's a nice idea that doesn't work. Burton told the hierarchy of the group to tell these people to have abortions if the "timing" was wrong! They did, and women had abortions!

Linda [Linda Tulisso/Kaplan] who worked closely with the teacher told us in Amsterdam in 1980 that she was "only following orders" when she told women members to have abortions! (She was a member since the early 1970s, and still is as far as we know.) Burton wanted children to be a certain age at Armageddon, for which he claimed, "I will bridge the gap for humanity at Armageddon." Ack! People were believing this! If one *believes* this, one MUST obey. Fear of "higher forces" was instilled in members, and most easily introduced into people who did not actualize the Work ideas within themselves by personal observation so they could see what was going on and avoid the pitfalls.

Children were frequently spoken of as being a considerable waste of "higher energies," and some women were convinced to give their children away!

"No Kid" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 8, 2007 at 4:08 a.m.:
In post 8/38, Lady B writes:
At Isis [Apollo, Renaissance, etc.], children are the last concern. In fact, a friend who doesn’t have children told me, "I think that Isis needs an orphanage." I was shocked and offended. (snip) Someone said — I wish I could remember who — that you can see the level of civilization in a country by looking at the way they treat children and old people. Elena, you’re right: I don’t recognize the same Ark that I boarded 20 years old.
Response:

There was no golden age before the fall, but there was once an orphanage of sorts…It was called the kid’s house. It was a double wide pre-fab installed at the base of the long drive near the entrance the farm, Via del Sol. Kids who hadn’t been given away lived there. The big house was about a mile up the road and the barn, which later became the auto shop, was at about the half-way point. The kids were allowed as far as the barn to work milking the cows and such, but were forbidden to go further. We did of course, steering clear of the adults, roaming the woods, having fun and being kids. Food was scarce. People were supposed to come take care of us, bring food and such and sometimes did, but often did not. Twelve kids lived there. Another dozen came on weekends. sometimes bringing snacks, and a lively pomegranate-centered economy developed. Sometimes we’d pool money, walk to Oregon House store and buy loaves of bread to divide. A certain male student used to come around a lot. The older kids were suspicious of him and poked fun behind his back, but the youngest ones, who felt their parent’s absence more acutely, seemed to take comfort in his attention. Cold water showers in winter: “Arctic Regions!” was a running joke. You’d shout it out when showering and everybody would laugh.

My association with the FoF continued until 1980, most of that time as a student. I was a free worker then on salary. and know hard work, long hours and little sleep. My education was spotty, but I have since corrected that. Incongruous gaps remain. My upbringing was remarkable: both bizarre and traumatic, but also instructional, and for me, foundational. In fellowship language: the FoF was my influence B. I now take the Buddha’s advise and follow my own path. The fellowship broke me…repeatedly over many years but I survived and eventually grew strong. Life is good.

Peace to Every One and best as All Ways.

I bear no one ill will.

And I am not naive.

I am

No Kid

"For my friend" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 11, 2007 at 4:08 a.m.:

Here is a true story from my dear friend whom I know for many years. When this happened just few years ago I was very shocked and almost couldn’t believe it. And then the story became even more strange and shocking… But see for yourself.
Here’s how she got married… She dated a young man who happened to be RB’s boy. A month after she started dating him Ana Fantoni approached her and asked her to “serve the school” by marrying this guy because his visa expired and he would have to leave the country, so if she marry him – he would receive a green card through her and everyone including the Teacher will benefit from it.
My friend wasn’t planning to marry this guy, but being a Good Student and passive type, and honestly willing to “serve the Teacher and the school” she went as far as marrying a guy she met just a month ago!
A few months later after a Margarita Dinner with the Teacher he goes to her 9 years old daughter’s bedroom at night and molests her. When little girl screams for help and tells to her mom what happened, my friend reacts as any normal mother would and immediately calls the police. Police arrived, her husband is arrested and now facing 8 years in prison! My friend is in complete shock, feeling as a victim herself, a mother of a victim and a wife of a victim – all at once.
Now is the most screwed up part: RB’s comment on this was that she made a tremendous mistake to call the police. Different students would talk to her everywhere expressing their mostly judgmental opinions. Among many there were: “he is an angel, he was with Robert” “he is in essence” “it was a Play written by the Gods, “you should never have called the police”, “It’s school’s business, we should keep it inside”, “you were under feminine dominance”, “he is not guilty” “he might be killed in prison because of your foolish selfish behavior”! Basically, pretty much everyone – including the Teacher – judged her and blamed her, and in the same time condoned and justified an outrageous crime – child molestation! How screwed up is that! What’s wrong with you people?
My poor friend was torned between the feelings of guilt and rejection from fellow students and natural desire to defend her daughter.
She finally leaves the country under pressure and the case is dropped for the benefit of all.
But the story did not finish here. A few months later her hubby who was free by then needed to go to an interview for the green card. He begs her to return – he needs her for the interview. She moves back from another country where she had began a nice life and a career – to help him again – my dear, kind-hearted friend!
But the “family” could not function anymore – 3 could not co-exist in the same house. Besides a few months after her sacrificial return he started an affair with another woman… My friend being rather frustrated after getting such a reward for all her heroic selfless efforts – finally has enough of it all and wants to file for divorce.
But being an RB’s boy he complains to daddy -RB – about it. What happens next? You guessed right! A phone call from Linda T. – “The will of your Teacher is to not divorce him. Work with your queen of hearts. Are you going to disobey the will of your teacher?”
How could she? “The will of the Teacher!” That’s serious heavy duty stuff! It’s really scary to disobey the “will of theTeacher”… So she swallowed her pride and did not divorce this jerk.
She came out of all this with a deep trauma and a confusion about what right action of defense is. Now even if the murderer will get in her house she probably won’t call the police, especially if he is an RB boy…
Now talking about safety of the children in the FOF, talking about crimes, talking about f…ed up judgment!
Did her Teacher cared for her at all in this horrible play? Or all he cared was his prostitute who got in trouble and needed cover up for his crime and a green card so he can stay around? She was used like some kind of disposable tool in the most cold and unloving way – by a “conscious being” who preaches love and external consideration to all of you, blind! Open your eyes already, will you?
And shame on all of you people who were so brainwashed, scared and screwed up to blame my friend when she called police! Would you cover up a rapist of your own children too? Would you call police if your innocent daughter was molested or raped? Or you’d rather protect a criminal, buffer and lie, so “your Beloved Teacher” – who is just as criminal – can keep his dear whore for his perversive disgusting pleasures?
Shame on you people, you owe my friend a big, big apology. I feel sorry for you for your complete loss of common sense!
I am not saying names here but it is a totally true story, and many of you already heard it, probably with lots of distortions. I heard it first hand from my dear friend whom I love and trust. I wish her healing, and may be exposing this on this blog somehow will help it! We need to know stories like this, be aware of what’s going on, of what we support. And the ongoing crime should be exposed and stopped, and healing should begin.
Make your own conclusions. Don’t buffer, please.

[ed. - The following is a response to the previous post on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, and to the bloggers who commented on that post.]

"Half Life" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 12, 2007 at 9:29 a.m.:
Re; RitaP #2, RabbiBurns #10, YesriBaba #12, #14, DonJuan #22, Skeptical #19, -responses to #439′s charges
It’s disappointing & distressing to see how quickly you rush to judgement in the court of the Blog without questioning or waiting to hear more about the incident & asking for ‘other opinions’. And, somehow, some of you immediately sieze this opportunity to attack your favourite target – Robert Burton.
I’m the last person on earth to stand by his excessess, his depraved behaviour, his exploitation & by the delusional parts of his teachings- past & present; but this quick use of this incident to bedevil him without looking into the facts based only on one post is to me very disturbing. I’m reminded of lynching sentiments.
I am also unhappy to spend time on this, but I feel compelled to do so. Do not let gross distortions & gut reactions discredit & cheapen this otherwise useful, healthy blog.
(And particularly distasteful is DonJuan’s rush to judgement words in #22 "cover up the rape of a nine year old girl”).
Here is another unbiased point of view & facts:
I knew about this incident then from those involved and asked for more information now.
#439 wrote:  "he was an RB boy".
-no he was not. He was on a religious visa at the time.
#439: “she was not planning to marry this guy”.
- she wasn’t that sure but she had been married before, a few steady boyfriends before and after. When she returned from the ‘other country’ she returned happily to the same person.
#439: “being a good student and a passive type”.
-she was a ‘good student’ in the past (less so now), but she is not passive nor docile: she is active, mercurial, self centered, self serving, manipulative, verbose, even overbearing at times.
#439: “after a Margarita dinner with the teacher he goes to her 9 years old daughter’s bedroom”.
-they both returned equally very drunk that night, he apparently entered the child’s bedroom & maybe touched her. The girl started shouting. He claimed she misunderstood and the lady immediately called the police. They used to argue much, qaurrel a lot & scream. Maybe the girl was stressed as a result of the tension in the house and she reacted to something somewhat hysterically.
After the incident the lady said to her closest friends that she actually doesn’t know what happened.
In an incident involving her former husband (a very sweet person who would not hurt a fly) after a loud argument she called the police claiming physical abuse though he didn’t touch her; he was taken away & the fellowship had to pay the bail for him. The charges were dropped because the complaint was baseless.
She left the country because she wanted to leave & she returned because she wanted to return.
#439: “she came out of this with a big trauma”.
- If you only knew her…not even close. She was the same old flirtious, attractive, manipulative, partying, teasing, self centered old self.
#439:”the family could not function anymore”.
- the family situation was dysfunctional to bagin with, before & after, with former husband & boyfriends, frequent change of countries & residences.
And while she was married & living with boyfriends she continued to flirt, behave in a suggestive manner. In parties after a few drinks she could french kiss serially a few men including yours truely. In another party in which I was present her flirting almost brought two of her fans/suitors to blows.
She is not a person to easily succumb to pressure and do something that goes against her interests.
All the above said is not intended to condemn her, but to remind you that there may be another side to the story.

[ed. - Now it's "For my friend's turn...]

"For my friend" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 12, 2007 at 5:31 p.m.:
#32, Half Life – you must be writing about a different person. She is my friend and I know her for years! She is not mercurial. you must be describing some one else… She is not flirtatious! And never been like this to my knowledge – she is not that kind of girl… You are definitely talking about someone else. And if you’re talking about my friend – you are a liar and are trying to deliberately mix her with dirt.
I heard the story first hand, right after it happened, and again later, and this is all true. Obviously, you present here some of your assumptions, which are not correct. (May be the jerk-molester is your friend?)
You are doing exactly what all of you people without conscience did and keep doing – defend a molester and blame the mother. “He was innocent! And she sucks!”
Do you need more details??? Of what exactly happened? May be let’s get the girl to tell what happened?
Your points are weak. Besides – what about RB’s loving comment, what about Linda’s call about “the will of the teacher” not to divorce the jerk for his green card? What about it? No comment from you.
All you did in your posting is tried to cover my friend with dirt. “Another side of the story”. Nice going. It realy makes sense now.
(Besides, the guy was an RB boy… Just not a permanent academy-based one. He was more like a whore-on-call type).

"Lady B" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 12, 2007 at 7:35 pm.:
This post is directed at current Fellowship students who write in this blog – I mean those who jump all over anyone who has a story to tell.
You might believe that you’ve getting in the last word, but the last word is still a long way coming. The history of the FOF is going to be written by the children of the students, particularly those who grew up in Oregon House.
Something is happening in the world right now, and it’s not limited to the Fellowship.
Just as in the Catholic Church, where parents sent their children in good faith, only to have them abused by priests, the suffering has finally emerged after so many years. The efforts of the hierarchy to cover up what happened in the end, just weren’t sufficient. The ironically named Cardinal Law, who spent 30-plus years hiding the facts now is hiding himself in Vatican City.
What finally shook this ancient institution was the power of the children’s voices.
The Hare Krishnas were also sued by their followers’ children.
Now the Protestant churches are facing the same sort of revelations.
It’s something they have in common with the FOF.
In post number 32, there was mention of someone who was “sweet and would not hurt a fly.” Well. When that person got out of jail, Robert brought him to his side to make it clear that all was forgiven.
Many of us were horrified, though we didn’t do or say anything about it. That person has a history of being an abuser, and he casually ruined another man’s reputation — ironically,
by accusing this other man of sexual abuse — just because it got him something he wanted.
None of this mattered because he was one of Robert’s wonder boys.
If a man sleeps with Robert, he can get away with anything. It doesn’t matter how badly he behaves, how many orgies he attends, how many girlfriends he has. He sleeps with Robert, so that makes him an angel.
My message to current Fellowship students is this: People have stories to tell. You would be better off just letting the stories come out. I never wanted to write in this blog at all. What provoked me to do so was the assaults of FOF students. So much for not expressing negative emotions, by the way!
Just keep in mind that your negativity helps those who might otherwise be silent to finally tell their stories.
A belated reply to Siddiq’s [blogger] post to me: I should have said “mothers and mothers-in-law” urged men to become Robert’s lovers. Also, you say that children aren’t in any danger. Can you explain why, during the years I lived in Oregon House with my children, that no one felt the need to tell me or anyone else I knew that there was a registered sex offender among the students I knew?
To Whale Rider [blogger]: Thank you for your posts, especially your first one. What you described was so shocking and foreign to me, that I could never have imagined Robert behaved that way. I admire your courage, and believe you’ve given a voice to all those who’ve been hurt by Robert in this way. I wish that the admiration and compassion I feel could somehow help you to heal. I’m so sorry, and I love you.

"Monitoring Crime" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 13, 2007 at 2:19 a.m.:
To my friend 8/439 [blogger, blog page, blog post number, quoted above]

100% True story. The raper name is Maurizio. The student from Italy. At that time he was working in landscaping.He never smiled, never spoke and always looked upon the ground. People tried to avoid frictions with him because messing with him was messing with Burton.
For years Maurizio was daily beating up Gabriella, his previous wife before his new fraudulent marriage with T. (Gabriella is a very nice and always friendly Italian lady who now married to Japanese student )
And in the school where negative emotion were strictly forbidden people were ignoring that horrible behavior and never spoke about or even mentioned that. Many were aware of his permanent violence but all of them have feared Burton’s anger. Maurizio was a Burton’s lover.He never had his permanent “serving days” and usually was randomly called.
This story is one of the best revelation of Burton’s criminal essence.
Many people were praying to see this bustard staid in jail. Where most likely he would harshly and justly die from the same reason he got in there.
After 6 month of imprisonment in Yuba City jail Maurizio was returned to his landscaping octave like nothing happened.
But fate of the depressed abandoned mother and her traumatic daughter remained uncertain to this day.
Message to his former wife T.
Dear T. we all supporting you! Your action was absolutely right.You have acted like a real mother and normal human being.We also know that you were under heavy pressure from the FOF to leave the country before the judgement day.
You will see,the Justice will arrive and every one will get what had deserved.
With much support,
your friends

"Parent" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 7, 2007 at 1:39 a.m.:
Asaf Braverman, Robert Burton's disciple
Saw Asaf [Asaf Braverman] in YC [Yuba City]… Got me thinking…

What does that nice, talented & sincere young man tell his mother and father about his life? What a quantity of deception must be necessary. Asaf is not much older than my own son. What a terrible grief I would feel if Asaf’s play were his, and I lost my son to Robert, in the way that Asaf’s family must have lost him. What indescribably rage I would feel towards Robert, if my son were used as Asaf is used by Robert. Involvement with Robert necessarily separates parents and child: the need for lies and disconnection is absolute. Robert deliberately usurps the parental role, explicitly denigrates familial relations, engages his “boys” in a corrupting lifestyle that burdens them with the need for secrecy and falseness, effectively separating them from all, excepting those in the same predicament. What a f**king sad mad pathetic tragedy is going on here, embodied for me in the sight of that nice young man, Asaf.
I feel outraged now for all the parents that are “bereaved” of their sons…every boy that Robert consumes is somebody’s dear son — subject to debasement, emasculation, degradation, and other subtler psychic damage.
Those young men believe they do not need help – reminiscent of the syndrome in which victims eventually willingly collude with and protect their abusers – but their resistance only increases the pathos.
I wish I had known more, earlier. Would have left much earlier had the “school” maintained the proper transparency. Perhaps – like so many – I am guilty of intentional ignorance.

"Joseph G" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 25, 2007:
#93 my2bits [post number and blogger]

You are correct, both about J & J’s family tree and about my memory these days. Sorry to anyone whom my mistake may have offended. I was simply trying to help Laura contact B, who certainly treated these two boys like her own sons.

I have a few children’s stories…but they’re not of the bedtime variety. It’s too late now, and these stories deserve time and respect in the telling.

We hear about many kinds of victims of the FOF here on the Blog, but children are not frequently mentioned. IMO child abuse in the FOF has always been encouraged to the point of being institutionalized. This may be because children in the FOF are more often abused through passivity and neglect, whereas most of the adult victims we talk about were hurt by some form of active force (e.g. deception, coercion, violence, rape). Children are always the truest victims because they are the most vulnerable and defenseless. They have no options and no power over what happens in their own lives. The prevalent neglect of FOF children over many years appears to produce many negative side effects: from low self esteem to chronic depression to suicidal acts…and even possibly to bullyism for all we know. The potager and the agora are weak charades of FOF family values today, where the second class status of children is communicated in countless subtle and not so subtle ways. There are some fine parents in the FOF, but they are the exceptions that prove the rule. And even if their hearts are in the right place, way too much income is diverted away from taking care of family in the form of teaching payments, cultural events, or simply accepting a low-paying salaried position that places one’s family below the poverty level. The result is often squalid living conditions for the kids that parents learn to buffer and justify over time.

Linda T once told me that family and children are A Influence, an attitude I’m quite certain is shared by Robert Burton. How can you get any lower on the scale of priorities than that?

I made many mistakes in the name of the FOF’s “higher right” raising my own two oldest sons, and in refusing to repeat these mistakes with my younger children I’m sure I also presented denying force to RB and his perverse child-neglecting gods, a decision I have never regretted.

Joseph G

"Another Name" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 6, 2009:
When B. Y. [Benjamin Yudin] was Principal of the LCS [Lewis Carrol School, the Fellowship's private school] I questioned him about how he interacted with women in the fellowship. He said I want to have as much sex with as many women I can. After that I got so worried about him being with the teenagers…. Not long after he gave up his principle ship. I could not understand why Robert gave him his studies task for bible and Kabala. I could not trust the man anymore. This was one of the first time I questioned Robert decision making as a distant student. And there is much more.

"Anonymous" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 3, 2007:
I don’t even know how to begin this. I lived in the Fellowship from age five or six to thirteen. The sweetest and most wonderful childhood memories are there, running around in the woods or going to the ballets or the operas. Culturally, it was amazing. I had the finest of educations and am well-versed in the classical arts.
Emotionally, I’m still devastated. To find out that the home of your childhood, the one place that set a standard for your environment is simply a facade for greed, power, and money is not easy thing to cope with. Having grown up there and spent almost all that time with the children, my main concern is the children.
These children, including myself, are never going to be fully adjusted to the real world. The ones that I know who left are all self-destructive and are trying to find some way of ever relating to the world again.
I’m not sure what my point is, but I thought I might as well comment. The Fellowship has granted me so much, but there’s no way they could ever make up for the emotional manipulation that the children and young adults end up having to put up with.

"No Kid" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 31, 2007 at 8:53 p.m.:
Interesting that the subject of kids is up again. Probably not for long. It seems that usually when it is brought up it dies pretty fast…

#359 Associated Press [blog post number and blogger] wrote:
“If there is abuse of the under aged or the young in the Fellowship of Friends community, it is likely indirect and mostly due to neglect. Remember, a person must be 18, or older, to be a member of the Fellowship of Friends.”
Please don’t underestimate the effect of neglect. Also, it was not always the case that a member had to be 18. At first, it was 16. Then there was a single exception, an 11 year old. Other young adolescents followed, and eventually there were about a dozen minor members. This was only a phase. But at this time, at the property, 14-18 hour work days substituted for education for the very few kids who lived there. This is not great for rapidly growing bodies, and in the case that I can speak to, permanent, lifelong physical damage was one result.
Also, it is not neccesary for a minor to be a member to be abused. A very long time ago, in the first couple of years, children on the property lived separately from the adults and adult members would come around occassionally with food. Not daily. Parents came sometimes, but the most frequent visitor was a man who just liked children a lot. The older kids (8-14) suspected what he was about and mostly shunned him. The little ones (3-6) missed their parents much harder and would crawl all over this friendly man who brought food, and would scream if the older ones tried to separate them. That is ancient history, but I don’t see why non-member status would protect today’s kids any more than it protected the kids in the 1970′s.
I have only posted here once before, (8/328) to test the water, and getting no interest, I went back to listening. I only check in once in a while to see if the conversation has taken any new path. Sometimes there has been some change, but it is remarkable how much of the same comes back. I suppose that is what this blog group most needs to process. Your issues tend to be quite different from mine and I tend to find I have more in common with others who were raised in different cults than I have with adults who joined on their own volition.
Here, there is of course lots of interest in young men’s sexual experiences, and not much about the experiences of former or current kids. One thing that always surprises me and that comes up over and over again is the idea that adults in their 20s are actually “children.”
#527 Rain wrote:
“Some have made a distinction between men and children. But remember, these men are in a state of childhood…”
Pleeease…that is just mind-boggling in its silliness. There is no equivalence between an 6 year old child and a 26 year old man, unless that man is profoundly brain-damaged or severely retarded. But I suppose that denial does motivate. I am not trying to belittle the terrible trauma of getting unwanted head, but from my POV, and compared to some of what I and some of the *actual* children grew up with, poolside fellatio while lounging in Armani would have been really really great.
Perhaps many who post here had children of their own and don’t want to think about what they may have exposed them to. It is certainly a lot easier to think and talk about the ways in which others mistreat us than the ways in which we mistreat others…the grand nobility of victimhood. To those few of you who have actually accepted some degree of culpability, thank you. I do not think that the FoF is one evil man plus thousands of innocent lambs. The abuse is well-distributed and I suspect that almost everyone involved is culpable in one way or another…and I include myself in that. We let the kid-lover play with the toddlers so that they would be quiet and he would leave us alone. I am not innocent, and I very much doubt that most of you are either.
BTW: I am not trying to bash anyone with information that he or she does not want or to hear, or force you to accept some degree of responsibility for your lives and your interactions with others. However, I found that, for myself, I started to heal from the substantial damage inflicted by this fellowship of “friends” when I *stopped* thinking of myself as a victim and began to take back my own agency. That included acknowledging my own part. Just an idea. Use it or not.
I am not naive to the wrongdoing of others…
…and I am not innocent of it myself.
And I am also – No Kid.

"lauralupa" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion  blog, January 6, 2008 at 10:45 p.m.:
544 No kid  [preceding post]
Yes No kid, please write down your stories, I think it would be very good to learn more about the point of view of the children. I myself have mothered three girls during my eight years living at Renaissance. But it was the late 80s-early 90s, and in that period things were easier, if not easy, for parents and their children.
Not much was ever said to me, either in public or in my circle of friends, about the families situation early years. I just learned quite a few things from your post. We were in fact in the dark about a lot of things that had happened before (or that were happening at the time, for that matter). I knew that some (at the time, it seemed to me that there were only a handful) of the students had abandoned their offspring, but no details were offered (remember? we were not supposed to talk about our measly personal matters). I mostly had heard of such stories from students who had subsequently retrieved their children. Maybe the others were too ashamed to talk about it, I don’t know. It all sounded so impersonal, it’s weird to think about it right now. It was all for the good of the school! And no one ever told me anything about the abortions and hysterectomies, or most of the various horrors slowly coming to light through the blog…
The pain was definitely deeply buried behind self control, self denial and self satisfied smiles…


"Associated Press" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, January 7, 2008 at 5:50 a.m.:
on December 31, 2007 at 8:53 pm
27/544 No Kid wrote:
Interesting that the subject of kids is up again. Probably not for long. It seems that usually when it is brought up it dies pretty fast…
#359 Associated Press wrote:
“If there is abuse of the under aged or the young in the Fellowship of Friends community, it is likely indirect and mostly due to neglect. Remember, a person must be 18, or older, to be a member of the Fellowship of Friends.”
Please don’t underestimate the effect of neglect. Also, it was not always the case that a member had to be 18. At first, it was 16. Then there was a single exception, an 11 year old. Other young adolescents followed, and eventually there were about a dozen minor members. This was only a phase. But at this time, at the property, 14-18 hour work days substituted for education for the very few kids who lived there. This is not great for rapidly growing bodies, and in the case that I can speak to, permanent, lifelong physical damage was one result.
Also, it is not neccesary for a minor to be a member to be abused. A very long time ago, in the first couple of years, children on the property lived separately from the adults and adult members would come around occassionally with food. Not daily. Parents came sometimes, but the most frequent visitor was a man who just liked children a lot. The older kids (8-14) suspected what he was about and mostly shunned him. The little ones (3-6) missed their parents much harder and would crawl all over this friendly man who brought food, and would scream if the older ones tried to separate them. That is ancient history, but I don’t see why non-member status would protect today’s kids any more than it protected the kids in the 1970’s.
I have only posted here once before, (8/328) to test the water, and getting no interest, I went back to listening. I only check in once in a while to see if the conversation has taken any new path. Sometimes there has been some change, but it is remarkable how much of the same comes back. I suppose that is what this blog group most needs to process. Your issues tend to be quite different from mine and I tend to find I have more in common with others who were raised in different cults than I have with adults who joined on their own volition.
Here, there is of course lots of interest in young men’s sexual experiences, and not much about the experiences of former or current kids. One thing that always surprises me and that comes up over and over again is the idea that adults in their 20s are actually “children.”
- – - – - – – - – -
Thank you for your appearance here and your posting. You do elicit thought and emotion as well as presence.
When I wrote:
“If there is abuse of the under aged or the young in the Fellowship of Friends community, it is likely indirect and mostly due to neglect. Remember, a person must be 18, or older, to be a member of the Fellowship of Friends.”
I was speaking in generalities and of more recent history of the Fellowship of Friends. I was also speaking in the context at the times on the blog, which was about legalities, if memory serves me correctly. So, thank you for the greater detail. Here is some more detail:
There certainly were both upsides and downsides to circumstances for children of Fellowship members. Some might say that there was a lot of adverse conditions for raising children – some worthy even of intervention by child protective services (which, BTW, could even be worse for the children). One could start with the fact that student number 2 (Robert being student number 1, although he probably long ago stopped thinking of himself as a student, maybe not). That was the woman that Robert purportedly had sex with in order to establish a certain ‘bond’ which could go beyond the normal teacher/student relationship bond. That woman was married at the time and had children. This ‘conscious teacher’ action may have led to the marriage having difficulties, to say the least. Family life for those children in that family was not necessarily ideal prior to said marriage but it was family life of some kind once there was a marriage. Then the disruption from FoF took place and at least one of the children, still under age, became perhaps the first FoF ‘orphan.’ The only family that child had left was the Fellowship of Friends, by proxy. Do you see any scruples (scruples: an uneasy feeling arising from conscience or principle that tends to hinder action) at work around here? Or, do you see screw pulls?
[The next generation that the above child produced reflected the valuation for family life that they did not have. The only real way that seemed possible for them to have stability of family life was to isolate themselves from the undesired 'influences' of you-know-who and eventually leave the Fellowship.]
Children, generally speaking, were marginalised and shunned from the beginning of the school (and likely from the beginning of their lives). They were too much trouble, too uncontrollable, and a distraction from the aim of creating a new civilisation and building an ark – as we were told by the Teacher. So, if you did not have any, then do not have any. And, if you did have any, they should be out-of-sight and out-of-mind. Also, as mentioned elsewhere on this blog, there were other solutions to the child problem. But, eventually, there was a place for the children and a creation of The Lewis Carroll School. Also, worthy of mention, is the family that Robert dotes upon and is the godfather to at least one of the children – which means an uneasy life of employment and housing for life supplied under Robert’s direction. (I would not wish that on my worst enemy. But, there it is.) It certainly makes it look like Robert is pro-family in that sense, doesn’t it? In that community, nothing miraculous seems to happen unless Robert wills it to happen.
One problem, that I was aware of, was one of children growing up in an overly speciallised environment. In particular, there was more development of essence and not so much development of personality. This could present a problem when the children had to go and live in the general scope of life on the planet. They would not be prepared. Ouch!
Another problem was the overly licentious life style that existed from the leader which spread to other Fellowship members. They thought/felt, if Robert can do whatever he wanted, well so can I. There were acts of sexual abuse of children that repeatedly would appear on the rumor mill – the ‘alternate grapevine,’ if you will. You just cannot stop the hidden communication channels. Were they more than happened in the general scope of life? I do not know. But some children were very screwed up, not only because they may have been abused this way directly, but also because they knew what was going on in the white mansion on the hill.
Add to these the problem created by the ‘no contact with former members exercise.’ Think about the disruption that would create for familial relations if one or the other in a marriage chose to leave the Fellowship when children are involved; estrangement likely, as a minimum.
But eventually there was the Buzbee incident in the 1990′s. This has been mentioned before on the blog, so, I will be brief with it. A child of a Fellowship member, while under age, was persuaded to having sex with Robert Burton, allegedly. I say allegedly, because the legal action that developed was settled out-of-court. Since that time, a strict adherence to the age requirement was implemented so as to filter and prevent such an ‘accident’ from happening. At least it looks good on paper. What actually may have happened, and what is still happening, could be any body’s guess.
Still Fellowship members are offering up, or being asked to offer up, their offspring, underage or not, to the designed purposes of the so called ‘conscious being’ who knows better what is good for all.
So, in short, as I said in 27/359:
‘There is more likely abuse of the elderly, the weak, the vulnerable, the ill and the infirm, as they can be members, and be deprived of their human rights and dignity. This seems to happen habitually in the power structure of the Fellowship of Friends, right from the man at the top (read: Robert Burton) and as a trickle down from the top type behaviour imitated by others. Just read the postings of Elena for example. It is not always the case, though.’
According to this post:
on January 5, 2008 at 11:21 pm
27/604 rich wrote:
Re: 601 Nuthead
So glad you left this cult. For whatever reason. This particular cult leader, in my opinion, in the main, shortens a persons life span. Now whatever teaching you might find in the future check the following before anything else. How are the elderly treated? Are there any children, if so ,are they happy? Best yardstick you could ever use. In my opinion, for whatever reason, your action was correct.
I agree and I recommend that you evaluate the society you live in on the basis of how it manages affairs of the elderly, the weak, the vulnerable, the ill and the infirm. Are they all respected? Are their human rights and dignity preserved? In what manner? Especially in the contemplation of: There, but for the grace of God, go I. Or, in another sense: That IS me and the only separation from me, that might exist, is in my mind.

"No Kid" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, January 7, 2008 at 11:11 p.m.:
Hello, Bloggers.

waskathleenw wrote:
“No Kid…I wish you would post more often and provide more details if you feel comfortable doing so…Current students, prospective students, newspaper reporters and who knows who else are reading this blog. It’s important for the stories to be shared…”
zoecan1 wrote:
“No Kid- Please stay and share. You are so very important too. I have only been here a few weeks and feel comfortable. Soon you will be too.”
No Kid responds:

Thank you, Kathleen, Zoe. I will probably pop around from time to time. Who knows, I could become a “regular.” Stranger things have *certainly* happened! I do in fact have a great deal of ambivalence about posting here. And I have no interest *whatsoever* with talking to the press at this time. My reluctance actually has little to do with my personal comfort, but thank you for considering it. One thing about being raised in the fellowship is that I have a very high tolerance for discomfort. Scar tissue is a lot tougher than pristine baby skin! My reluctance has more to do with potential repercussions against elderly relatives. I will not repay their neglect of my best interests with the same. I am better than that. If their well-being is ever threatened, *that* is when I will consider activating my considerable political and press connections. Failing that, I will allow entropy to do what it does best – with no help from me. Everything decays eventually.

Lauralupa wrote:
“Yes No kid, please write down your stories, I think it would be very good to learn more about the point of view of the children.”
No Kid responds:

I won’t be posting the best of stories (the worst of stories) here. They are my ace up the sleeve in case I ever need to use them strategically.

Lauralupa wrote further:
“I knew that some (at the time, it seemed to me that there were only a handful) of the students had abandoned their offspring…”
No Kid responds:

Well… “abandoned” can cover a wide range of actions. As far as I know, kids were not just dropped off on the side of road with a blanky and a P&J sandwich. Students *were* encouraged to get rid of the kids, though. Generally this meant they were sent to live with friends or relatives. In retrospect, given a choice, I would rather have been sent away. There was a nice family who probably would have taken me. But…ancient history.

Mishaba7 wrote:
(about students who cut themselves off from their families of origin) “Have you apologized to your mother lately?”
No Kid responds:

Good question. Obviously I would add: “Have you apologized to your children lately?”

veronicapoe wrote:
“I for one am very interested in your experiences. If you are interested in writing to me privately to tell me about them I am interested in listening.”
No Kid responds:

Thank you, Veronica. I will consider it.

Associated Press wrote:
“Thank you for your appearance here and your posting. You do elicit thought and emotion as well as presence.”
No Kid responds:

Thank you, AP.

Associated Press further wrote:
“…That woman was married at the time and had children…and at least one of the children, still under age, became perhaps the first FoF ‘orphan.’”
No Kid responds:

Yes. I knew that woman, knew her husband, knew the child. I won’t say anything further out of respect for the privacy of others.

Associated Press further wrote:
Do you see any scruples (scruples: an uneasy feeling arising from conscience or principle that tends to hinder action) at work around here? Or, do you see screw pulls?
No Kid responds:

Nice pun, AP. I don’t quite understand the question, though. Do you mean scruples “here” on this blog or “here” in that history?

Associated Press further wrote:
“Children, generally speaking, were marginalised and shunned from the beginning of the school (and likely from the beginning of their lives). They were too much trouble, too uncontrollable…”
No Kid responds:

Uncontrollable and trouble…I certainly was! It eventually resulted in my being put out on the street in the middle of the night in the rain with only the clothing I was wearing. That was lots of fun. It was a good thing that I had been mixing with outsiders. That bit of disobedience kept the rain off my head on subsequent evenings. And, of course, when one is a relatively attractive and personable teenager, there are always older men who are happy to provide the basics of life in exchange for the luxuries of young flesh. I am not complaining about that, BTW. My sugar-Daddies probably saved my life and I am grateful to them for that.

Associated Press further wrote:
“…the children had to go and live in the general scope of life on the planet. They would not be prepared. Ouch!”
No Kid responds:

Not prepared…well THAT is an understatement!

Associated Press further wrote:
“…There were acts of sexual abuse of children that repeatedly would appear on the rumor mill – the ‘alternate grapevine,’ if you will. You just cannot stop the hidden communication channels…”
No Kid responds:

I have enormous respect for hidden communication channels. I think that one of the reasons that gossip is so disparaged (not only in the fellowship, but in most other structured social groupings) is that it is generally the channel through which those without direct access to power and to conventional channels of communication are able to share information about what kinds of people are to be found in that structure. That is obviously very threatening to those who in pursuit of personal and political power would control all communications. One of the first things any tyrant does is seize control of communications. Grab their presses and their minds will follow…

Best to All.

I am, No Kid.

"Pamela Lichtenwalner" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, January 9, 2008 at 5:54 a.m.:
39 No kid

I have been reading the postings and I am fairly speechless. I see love and pain and growth and anger and fun and humor and, for most of you, deep compassion and friendship with one another. And, as a group, you are quite the wordsmiths ….. the books, plays, music and poems that will come from some of you ………
Now, back to a topic that I have brought up before and I am responding somewhat to No Kid.

I am wondering how any of you that left in adolescence, without your parents’ or your families’ support, survived? (Yes, there is a sociologist [and others] who is wondering what the counties could do to assist kids leaving such groups but first the professionals need to know just what the needs are.) What about the younger kids? Did they, while in the group, have adults who looked after them, have a child-centered schedule of good meals, school, play-time, medical care, being able to play sports with kids not involved with “FofF” and just plain kid fun? Do the high-school-aged kids get an education to prepare them for college or university or further trade/arts education? What is a day in the life of a kid like?
Someone once said, “The measure of a society is how the members care for the most vulnerable.” In a previous post here, someone alluded to a similar thought. So, I am just asking. If anyone wants to contact me to contact them privately, that is fine. I am neither a journalist nor a writer nor an attorney. Just a teacher.

"Mishaba7" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, January 11, 2008 at 6:35 a.m.:
Dear No Kid,

I’m glad you found a way to save yourself and are now saving the savable, one kid at a time. Building a life where you are now well-respected, well-connected, and most of all well-loved, is a huge accomplishment for anyone, but you had to transcend so much hell to get there. I have deep respect for your success.
After my horrific clash with the fof, I went to teach in the ghetto. I, too, find meaning in saving one kid at a time. I found that the ghetto is not just full of ugliness, one can find beauty and music, dance and art, and kindness and love there. Oh, yes, and also depraved predatory sex, vanity, posturing, drugs and aggression, a gang pecking order, and a social viciousness. But, in reading the blog and in having contact with an fof teaching house, those things were evident there also. Angels and demons can be found anywhere and the way they are dressed, the words that are used, the music that is listened to don’t determine what they are, their treatment of others does.
Sincerely.

"No Kid" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 25, 2009:
Hello. This is mainly to Andrew [blogger]. Others take what you will. I follow this blog from time to time. I was involved in the Fellowship as a child, for ten years, between 1970-1980, and was put out on the street as a teen for not flying quite right. I am referencing post #61, which the moderator kindly re-posted: Andrew: Has anyone who has a mind that they can still use, tell me what happened to your kids while you were in this cult? Wildz [blogger]:
Yes, Andrew, I can. I joined the Fellowship in 1978 before I had children. I married in 1979; I had my first child in 1982. (snip) also was witness to the neglect of children by their parents in Oregon House.
No Kid responds: I do not intend to provoke anyone. I do not post here much. I notice that when, very once in a while, there are posts here from people who were actually *children* when we were involved (through our parents, such as they were) that these posts are most often ignored. I wonder why. Anyway, because of that, we tend not to post. I suspect that these kinds of posts make people uncomfortable because if they are parents, or if they had ANY interaction with any children while they were involved, that it points a finger back at them. I think that it is a lot easier to to concerned about the effects that non-consensual sex acts might have on adults (young, non-citizens…I do get the power dynamic) over whom one has no authority than over what the effects of unknown acts involving one’s OWN children might be. It is easier to live with those answers, because someone ELSE is to blame. Andrew, in post # 103, you wrote:
“So I need all of your help my ex is planning on going to apollo with my 12 year old daughter. I am afraid how do I stop them.”
Andrew, you are a grown man. She is a twelve-year old child. If you do not protect your child now, you will have to live with that. Do not think for a minute that she is safe because she is a girl, or “just a baby” or anything. There is a lot of talk on here about RB’s abuses. I am not minimizing that. But anyone who thinks that is the ONLY abuse that goes on in th FoF is way beyond naive. I am not. I would never have survived if I had been. I was only a part of this organization during its “glorious” golden day – before it “got bad” according to many on this list. Nonsense. It was rotten at its root. There were no glory days. In 1971, children went hungry. People who “liked children” were a lot more likely to bring food. Got it? The little ones went for the food and the bigger ones went without. I have no idea what is going on there now, but if you allow someone to take your daughter, that is on YOU. Not the group. Not Robert. Be a man. Protect your child. Please. I am… No Kid

"JustDiscussing" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 5, 2009:
I agree that it’s dangerous to throw around serious accusations, but AL was imprisoned for at least 2 years for a sexual offence with a minor. I was told that it was his stepdaughter and that his wife had reported him, though she remained loyal to him later. When he moved to Oregon House around the 1998 prediction time he neglected to register a change of address with the authorities, presumably believing that California would fall and everyone would forget about it. Eventually he was found out and had to spend a few days in the cells. He was a salesman for RVW at the time and they had to publicly suspend him, though he just carried on working at home. When this happened a second time he fled the country via Mexico and moved back to England. I’ve heard him say without embarassment that as he gets older he is attracted to younger and younger women, and this after everyone knew about his imprisonment. I also heard of a previous incident, but only second hand so I won’t risk describing a garbled version here. He also told me that he used to be a drug dealer in England, particularly selling speed. I’ve also heard him refer to his long-term imprisonment and his few days held by Marysville/Yuba police as a kind of heroic suffering. “I didn’t realise she was underage”. If this refers to his stepdaughter then it’s obviously false. If it refers to anyone else, then it’s obviously his own responsibility to find out the age of the girl. It’s the response of every man who has seduced an underage girl and been caught. “I didn’t realise she was underage.”

"Dr. Pangloss" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 6, 2009:
153 Another Name [blog post number and blogger] "When B. Y. [Benjamin Yudin] was Principal of the LCS [Lewis Carrol School] I questioned him about how he interacted with women in the fellowship. He said I want to have as much sex with as many women I can.” This guy used to come over to the house I shared with students at Oregon House on a weekly basis to have a session with one of my house mates. I used to wonder how any woman could have sex with that. Oh well. Of course this was during the no sex unless married exercise. Later this fat schlub was my center director and called me to tell me I needed to stop living with the student I had a committed relationship with unless we got married by order of the teacher. Hypocrites rise to the top of the cesspool within FOF.

"X-ray" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 7, 2009:
157. Dr. Pangloss – September 6, 2009
‘This guy used to come over to the house I shared with students at Oregon House on a weekly basis to have a session with one of my house mates. I used to wonder how any woman could have sex with that. Oh well. Of course this was during the no sex unless married exercise. Later this fat schlub was my center director and called me to tell me I needed to stop living with the student I had a committed relationship with unless we got married by order of the teacher. Hypocrites rise to the top of the cesspool within FOF.’
I’ve heard that the Bible keyer is an orgy lover.

"wildz" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 6, 2010:
There has been much in the news about school children and bullying lately. One high profile case where the young teen girl committed suicide. Just wanted to share an experience I had with my son attending the Lewis Carroll School. He was in the third grade and was being bullied by an older boy. This boy was the son of one of Robert’s favorites at the time. My son came home saying he wanted to kill himself because of the abuse (some of it physical). I addressed the issue with his teacher J_n_t. Nothing was done. I took him out of Lewis Carroll and enrolled him in public school. Not long after I was called with a message from Robert, “You are traitor to c influence.”

"Mariposa" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 7, 2010:
On the Children’s house: There was a man who came to “babysit us” at the “Children’s House”. soon after it was placed in site. Now ,I think the site is ‘ Lake Nancy’. A “brother” ? of one of the first wave of students when the farm was purchased. He was called “the Tongue” by us kids , because when he gave us the required “kiss” on each side of the cheek , he stuck his tongue in our mouths and we had to just divert his attention and wiggle out to escape his embrace…. We ended up crawling under the “Children’s House”, and braving the rattlesnakes to avoid him when someone gave a ‘heads-up’ with his arrival on the wooded path to our “house.”We actually kept a watchman for spotting him coming in the distance , among us, me , the oldest, at 14 yrs. This man was asked to leave the farm some time later in the summer / fall of 1972. I don’t know why…except he couldn’t pay the $35.00 each month to remain a student. Memory, 1972. AR

"Just the Facts Ma'am" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 8, 2010:
273. Mariposa (AR) 274. Mariposa Re: Lake Nancy Lake Nancy used to be a lake that was half way to the FoF back gate – rather remote and, yes, over towards Dobbins. (There is a Lake Francis in Dobbins but not on FoF property.) Later, the same name was applied to a lake that is below the winery and the ‘Old’ Lake Nancy got a name after a figure in ancient China, I believe it was, but people still called it ‘Old’ Lake Nancy. Did you read this: ‘On the Children’s house’ ?: ’90/273. Wouldnt You Like To Know – March 28, 2010 Re: Lower House By about 1977, or so, it was called the Franklin Complex. It housed, as No Kid said, ‘store/salon/studio:’ M.M.’s gift shop, hair and nail salon (beauty shop), architect office, bathroom, possibly more. It was a rudimentary mobile home situation that, within about a decade, was removed entirely to make way for the terraced hills of the vineyard and a series of ponds, known as, in descending elevation order from the Lodge: Milton Pond, Christ Waters, and Lake Nancy (may have different names now). The old (antique restoration/wood shop) barn was also razed about the same era – parking lot is near that spot lately. That was a good location for the ‘lower house’ (appropriate FoF euphemism). Children would have been out-of-sight and out-of-mind there. Now, ‘Lower Self’ has become the name applied to the place in a person where the desire to procreate comes from. It would also be the ‘Lower Self’ that is interested in reading this blog – as FoF would see it. Of course, the ‘Satyriasis Cult’ behaviour, practiced by the Teacher, does not come from the ‘Lower Self,’ but from divine inspiration!’ [It is possible that what 278. Opus 111 said, re: pond names, was/is/are the names. Names have been regularly changed to protect the guilty - as one would say in FoF speak.] 275. Mariposa: ‘Didn’t we always think RB’s Chief Feature was Greed /Vanity and Dominence? Has anything changed in the last 40 yrs.?’ Yes, all of those features are certainly possibilities (they are obvious), however, I would suggest that they are masking features that are deployed to hide the true Chief Feature: Fear. I say that from up-close and personal experience of the person for years. Additionally, that is the ascribed Chief Feature of the type: Saturn-Mars, significantly Martial. One main fear is the fear of returning to being just Arkansas Bob – which is what he has been all along, hiding behind a façade. There is also the fear of being exposed for the fraud that he is. There is also the fear of being alone and having to address conscience, if that is possible any longer. There is the fear of knowing the nothingness at the center of being. ‘Fear’ explains why those other features are so grotesquely played out and are difficult to limit. Oh, there is also one of the major lessons that Influence C has chosen to try to teach RB: how to overcome fear of failure. That is why so many of the so-called predictions and ventures have been failures – in that way, failures become successes, when looked at from the Work point of view – fear of failure gets conquered. In any case, it is said by some, that ‘Fear’ is, supposedly, everyone’s last feature to be conquered because it is the last feature standing immediately prior to one becoming featureless. Then, the Emperor, themselves, realizes that they are naked and there really wasn’t any new clothes after all.

"No Kid" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 9, 2010:

#73 etc. Mariposa: Wow. Soap root, yes. We boiled it into shampoo. I remember that. Remember the laughing man? And calling BM “the tongue!” I had forgotten that nickname. He was a creepy character. Fit right in. I guess the more absentee of the parents were glad to have such a nice man volunteer to keep an eye on us. I had been well-enough taken care of before the FoF that I had a pretty clear idea that he was one of the kinds of adults I was supposed to shun, and I pretty much did. It seemed that most of the bigger kids avoided him but that the little ones liked his attention. You were the oldest at 14 and I was the youngest of the big kids at 10. There was a gap in 8/9 year olds and then a slew of little ones. Then centers started. I saw you a year later. You had gotten married in the mean time, which was pretty shocking to me since I was 11 and considered you a peer. By that time my objections to being handled by strangers had resulted in an “exercise” for me to allow it. To overcome willfulness, you see. I guess it did not take. I am still willful when the situation calls for it, but then again Now I am…
No Kid

"Mariposa" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 27, 2010:
No Kid, part 92, #13 Memories: Yes, I remember the Laughing Man! The idea that we could be in “silence” for 3 days, and not eat for 24 hrs. to begin the “exercise” was too difficult for me at 14 yrs. I went to a tent with Stella’s daughter around 10pm the first night, ate grapes, cheese, and whatever we could steal from the “cold room” at the Lodge. The Laughing Man was, if memory recalls, discovered that evening , due to the “laughing ” heard on the farm trails that night by a “man”, and for several nights after. Turned out to be a local unhappy about the FOF closing the road across the farm…Also, we were “run down” those first few months in 1972 on the “cross” road by a pick up truck and some were really in danger. We survived several dangers that 1st year on the farm, Via Del Sol… Remember the “search for the Laughing Man” evening? David G. stayed in the Children’s House to keep the children safe…It was rather exciting, with folks finding rifles, hammers, axes, and one machete to track the man down…didn’t find him that night…but a horrible terror/excitement, and a cold feeling that evening, maybe even more than the cold showers! the event terrorized me for a while… I think it was a kid group idea, or maybe mine, or yours, to have all of the kids huddle together in the one man shower to try to stay warm during our washing in those first months of the C. House. We were just thrilled to have running water, even though there was no hot.! We were a safe group together. I used to cook potatoes on the pot belly wood stove for breakfast..the house was sooo cold, as there was no heat for the house, and the stove needed to be filled with wood. The little kids stayed in bed and we older ones got the stove going..I was happy not to have an adult there..( they always seemed to sleep through the morning chores in that little room off the kitchen) we managed better with ourselves…. I did go into a stable relationship at the age of 16 in Hawaii with a fellow student, a quite older man. The age of “consent” in Hawaii was 14 yrs. of age at the time, and I was considered by the locals as being an adult. My spouse lived in the Islands, and I, as an American Indian, also simply followed my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother in marriage regarding the age issue. So, this was a normal for me. My marriage was the best thing to happen to me. I had an education, a sense of self and personal value. I also learned values for life. I love that person for saving me from a fate worse than growing up in the FOF alone. Also, though, I’m not surprised at your perceptions and feelings that I was married so young. I was, but wouldn’t wish to change my life regarding this. Please join the GF site and we can talk more. Find some happiness to remember the better spots in the terrible situation we were in as children. We become the people we ARE, and find the positive days that abound around us. And may we all.

[ed. - The following two stories (on abandonment of children) are from the Greater Fellowship Forum:]
I was given a “leave of absence” in 1994 because I was planning to host a party the following weekend that included friends that had been tossed or given a leave of absence the weekend before (at “that meeting”). We had been planning this event for several weeks, and I told the caller when she called that I would not cancel the event. She called me the next day at my place of employment (the office of Abraham Goldman and Associates) with the news of my three months “leave of absence”.

During that time my 12 year old son was in the Renaissance Children’s Choir. They were to give a performance at the Town Hall around Christmas time. He was very upset that I was not allowed to attend...it made no sense to him. I encouraged him to participate as a member of the choir. He was one of the few altos. I was allowed to drop him off for the performance and pick him up after the performance, but not attend.

Near the end of my three months “leave of absence” I was let go by Abe.

- Name withheld

I am so sorry that happened to you....my husband, [name withheld] was asked to give his son up for adoption in 1979....it was very painful...I had just married him and could not imagine how he was able to do what he did...but he did it because you did what Robert requested...for years we never saw his son...about four years ago we again tried looking for him and found him in Rhode Island just one state away...we've developed a wonder relationship and talked alot about what happened and why....FOF people in power just think of themselves.....I hope you son is well

- Name withheld

"Ms Reality Check" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 25, 2007:
A word to those who have children being raised in the FoF: (Yes, I know some join. They are naïve, as one would expect a young person to be).

For those children who will not join, what will be the legacy you pass on to them? They will have to explain to their friends and colleagues, or more likely, they will need to hide the embarrassing fact of their parents supporting the activities of a very strange person indeed, in a very strange social environment which caters directly or indirectly to his every whim.

Do you understand how carrying shame relates to self-esteem? Do you understand basic Human Psychology 101, which recognises how important it is that if at all possible, a child should be able to look up to his or her parents? Or do you want to load your ‘karma’ onto them as the gift of a loving parent? My own son is not about to volunteer any information to his new friends of his own parents’ involvement. There is nothing to be proud of her[e].

I don’t want to drag the names of people into this conversation without their permission. I want to say that if by chance, L. R. & R. R are reading this blog, I have never forgotten your exquisitely beautiful, innocent children, especially the little princess whom LR affectionately referred to as T—ny. When I think that this little girl and her brother will have to hide all the goings-on in the FoF from their friends or acquaintances (since the cat is indeed well and truly out of the bag and it’s loud caterwauling will not stop), it makes me shudder. Because if they find a way to rationalise it—or far worse–to justify it positively—it will be the worse for them and I would hate to see them morph into the persons that they would need to become in order finally to achieve this point of view. Not to mention that you discharge your burdens onto them, as RB has discharged onto his students, the difference being, that our children didn’t ask for it.

"heather" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 25, 2007 at 10:12 a.m.:
As the daughter of a long time student of the FOF and child of a former student, the FOF “has always been at war with” my conscience (not to be confused with consciousness). recently I have come to see a once student friend of mine be asked to leave the FOF for posting under her true name on this blog. it has completely isolated her from her once peers in ground zero which is remote to begin with (wonders if this is divisive) and caused a marital separation that would be unheard of continuing with such a traitor, between a man of such high merit according to the big B. I am appalled at the complete estrangement process she has had to suffer for her brutal honesty, as “big brother” can not allow such “thought crimes” to continue amongst his ranks. I have always gravitated towards the ideas of the fourth way but have always felt a pit in my stomach which I have called the institution surrounding these noble ideas most consistently “cultivated” among the FOF. imagine that point in life in which we all discover that wolf in sheep’s clothing. I have talked openly and honestly with those “students” who will break out of the formality and stop talking to me as if I were an idiot and rather instead as a young woman who has grown up in this “system” all her life. im not daft and I can talk the talk with the best of them. I listen too and what I’ve been hearing and witnessing of late is only jading my life’s position on the FOF even more. what I have heard and verified by the stories repetitions among different conversations with different people makes my conscience sick. I believe that the FOF has/is willing to overlook conscience for the so called crusade for consciousness when I feel there cannot be this separation. in my very bones and nature it makes me sick the corruption I see and hear of. and it really hits home when it affects someone so close to me that I will not isolate, but will learn the omissions that surround the falling outs with this good person. I see I have been lied to in a sense by those who are falling away from this person in that they will give me a reasonable sorry as to why they must leave this person and yet I know these are lies because the truth is too awful, too informal, and thus is my intelligence betrayed along with my friend(s). 1984 anyone?

a person on her path,

heather

"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!

"tatyana" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 24, 2009:
I would like to post a letter from my friend in relation to dangers in Fellowship of friends and sex abuse.

“One of my best friends in London was the Centre Director. He was sweet, an old pal of Burton’s. He had many characteristics that could prove useful in the work – loyalty, consistency etc.. – but I later learned that he had been thrown out of the U.S for being a registered child sex offender, and failing to admit that when he moved to a new township… It became obvious that little had changed in London, and that he had no way of ‘negotiating’ with the problem or addressing it, although he had numerous clever lies about it. Just like RB. Burton actually told him that a time was coming when his desires would be legalised.

I feel he is a good ‘test-case’ for the fellowship, in the sense that he’s example of how a lot can seem very right, while something crucial and half-buried is very wrong. This isn’t morality, it’s just what screams at you as a human being…

It took me a while to see just how single-minded he was. He pursued a Ukrainian lady in London, about half his age, with a daughter of about 10 or 11 years old. At one point he revealed to me that he was pursuing the mother in order to get closer to the daughter. I wrote it off as a joke at the time, but I don’t think it was. I recall rooming with him on one trip to Egypt, and I showed him a picture of my daughter. He made some crude sexual reference and there was a weird atmosphere after he said it. I understood that he didn’t know how to stop himself, or even if it was desirable to do so. After all, if you have a supposedly higher man telling you that one day your desires will be legal, and indulging in much the same kind of strangeness himself, you’ll stick with him, right?

I am certain you are correct to say that they simply don’t understand that they are doing any wrong. Whatever ‘work’ it is they’re doing, it is the sort that doesn’t see these uses of sex energy as aberrant. There is definitely something missing. This is where having children actually helps. In my experience, once you’ve had a child and brought him/her up over a period of time, it puts relationships, and particularly sex, into a very different context.

But ‘men’ (or rather mutations) like … and Burton will go on repeating the same old tired routines until the end of their lives. I guess you could say that their ‘lower selves’ are in full control. Very dangerous, and I wouldn’t have anything to do with anyone touched by the same spirit, because I know it would encourage the same in me….”