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 an ominous, yet unspecified new threat late in 2018.) While non-believers shall perish, through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (including his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers will be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

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

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

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

Thursday, May 17, 2007

School culture

"The Quiet One" posted the following on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:
[ed. - Thanks the various blog posters] First, thank you most of all to the Sheik & Knight for making this venue possible. Thank you all for your posts: Rabbi Burns, Yesri Babba, Unoanimo, Sandra C., Joseph G., Bruce, Skeptical Optimist, Cathie, Whale Rider, and all of you unnamed others. You have been helping me to heal. And to Howard Carter, Siddiq & others who remind me how my heart and mind were molded, beginning in those most impressionable years of early adulthood.
Some people grow up fast, having a hard life, and leave their family at perhaps fifteen or seventeen. This is not my case. I grew up a devout Catholic and spirituality was central to my life. I was not thrust into the world but allowed to grow at my own pace which I must say was slow. I arrived in the FOF at 25, but was still young and tender in my psychology. So I can see what Joseph G. is speaking about when he speaks about age not being a factor when being seduced, especially by a “conscious being”.
When I met Robert B. it was at a Christmas Party in 1973. I was introduced – he looked at me briefly and bowed his head & body three times with his eyes to the floor and backed away from me. I thought, “This is the teacher?”
It is interesting that he was already developing the holy humble act – “the man who is different from all others.” You might ask yourself where he got these acts because he certainly didn’t develop them when he was teaching 4th grade.
I did not get a feeling of love from R.B., but I did get it from the students who were very huggy and warm. Who does not need love? The warmth of the students and the three prospective student meetings had me off and running for the next 20 years of my life.
I threw myself into making myself over. I was going to awaken and nothing was going to hold me back. We were given various word “exercises” to disrupt our normal way of speaking. One of the words we couldn’t say was the word “I”, so we began calling ourselves “it” instead.
Although the word exercises were introduced to disrupt mechanicality (that word is not in the Microsoft Word dictionary, by the way) I now know that this is a classic indoctrination technique. It begins to separate and create a new reality for you from the world at large. You, as a group, become dependant [sic] on one another, and when R.B. tells you to leave your “life family” behind, it seems a natural step.
That you are only false personality when you come into a “school” is another idea that makes you throw away all your values. You must create “true personality”. While it is true that there is a continuum from shallow to deep, a true student will attempt to become a clean slate to be filled in by whatever the teacher and directors deem appropriate.
You are told how to talk, how to dress – you pick up how to act. Notice how no one cavorts around R.B.? Not appropriate! Must look intentional! It is a wonder that anyone can untangle themselves from the Fellowship. You have to determine what is true – the real truths that led you in will still be true when you leave. Figure out what you have swallowed as truth and what you have come to believe through the closed society of the FOF. And for God’s sake, please really listen to R.B. and what he is saying. Try to separate yourself from the idea that he is conscious. This is all programming. He is pulling divinations out of the air with no foundation other than your belief in what he says is true.
And dear Siddiq, I know where you are coming from in #8/421 [blog page and post number]. You are a seemingly sincere person. Don’t you know how much R.B. leans on the Sufi wisdom and poetry and the countless other quotes he uses to get inside your mind and heart? He is nothing without these crutches. He uses C-Influence, 44 conscious beings, almost all are world famous men known for great works and words of wisdom which he has co-opted for his own. He is a charismatic personality with reflected glory from all these great men. Just think how he has ornamented himself by making you think that they are all working for him, in his school.
Love and gratitude to you all.
The Quiet One …speaks.

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