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.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Conscious Teacher's Credentials

Fellowship of Friends cult leader and dandy, Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton)
Fellowship of Friends dandy
Robert Earl Burton
From the Living Presence website:
Robert [Burton] lives at Apollo [in Oregon House, CA], together with about six hundred members of the Fellowship, and teaches at many events each week. He also travels regularly, encouraging students to join him as he follows traces left by schools around the world.

How to describe a conscious teacher? His only true credentials are his own presence and his effect upon his students. He does what no one else will do or can do—teaching the most unpopular of all truths: that our illusory sense of “I” must die before presence can be born. He is the living reminder that it is possible to awaken, and that presence means humility, acceptance, and conscious love.

[ed. - By his own definition, no follower of Burton can verify that he is "conscious" (whatever that may be.) He has proclaimed himself the only "conscious being" and instructs that "the lower cannot see the higher," thus his acolytes must take this "credential" on faith. As for judging by the "effect upon his students," an estimated 15,000 have fled his teaching, many in penury resulting from the financial sacrifice demanded of this "teacher". According to the latest count we have, current membership numbers roughly 1,500 worldwide. Burton has warned his followers that it would be better they were not born than face the fate that awaits any who leave his "school".]

"Panorea" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 1, 2011:

Thank you qwertyuiop [blogger],

A week ago I watched parts of dvds with Robert Burton with my counselor. Almost three years out of the cult and I felt ready to face the deceiver… with the help of a professional. The hour I have with the counselor was extended to 2,5 as it became clear we needed to watch the tricks of the magician. My reaction was smoother that I had expected. The “impressions”, the music ok. Burton talks gibberish. He moves his hands and counts and interrupts and there is method in his madness. If you have not studied the fourth way and Robert’s codes nothing makes sense. The people around him appear fascinated and unhappy. His looks unstable and possessed. I could see part of all this when I was in the cult but I was blaming myself, my self will and my “instinctive centre” for the perceptions. My counselor called the other day to say that he was quite affected by the experience. He has worked and still works with people who had been in a cult but the Fellowship seems to be quite refined in its methods of deceit. Robert is a charismatic charlatan and there are many people who cannot protect their boundaries and are after an authority to tell them what to do. There are people who are hurt, who are after power over others so they can feel real; spiritual seekers who are after salvation and a remedy against death, and some others who have forgotten about the whole spiritual thing but have invested both in material as well as in social life within the doors of the Fellowship castle.

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