Introduction


Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

But according to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish, while through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

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

This archive draws from official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the Internet Archive, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wikispace project, the (ill-fated 2007) Fellowship of Friends Wikipedia page, and the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship. Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ames Gilbert summarizes his purpose

Superstitious Fellowship of Friends cult leader and dandy Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton)
The superstitious Robert Burton
"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 25, 2012: 
IMHO ["in my humble opinion"], the posts by ‘I in the sky’, ‘Prospective Student’ and ‘Joseph Nachumovitch’ stand out for their intellectual poverty, emptiness and general lack of meaning. Here are individuals who come to a blog called, “The Fellowship of Friend Discussion” and have yet to directly address any topic about the Fellowship of Friends; at the same time they expect engagement on their terms.

Truly pathetic.

Back to my purpose for being here on the blog . . .

Anyone landing on these pages should note that this blog provides a link to the actual FoF website at the top of every page, so that seekers can compare the respective claims for themselves, whereas the reverse is not the case.

To those doing due diligence, I reiterate:

Hundreds of members of the Fellowship of Friends are thankful that they are followers of Burton. They feel lucky—and special. And so they should. They believe they have been chosen by angels from nearly 7 billion doomed humans now alive to become ‘immortal’ (whatever that means), while the rest will be destroyed shortly (currently December 2012, following failed prophecies, outlined below) in some cataclysm. Now, that’s special!

From these pages, I’ve selected Daily Cardiac as an excellent, hard-working representative of the Fellowship worldview, someone who actually took the time and trouble to answer some points raised here (while studiously avoiding others) by those who ask questions while still members, and of course those that have left. Other reasonably articulate defenders to look out for are those from ‘Fat Boy’, ‘Siddiq’ and ‘Vinnie the Fish’, among others. Thank you again, all of you, for laying out your belief system so directly. Anyone interested in or considering joining the Fellowship who does due diligence will appreciate your efforts, and hopefully see them as they are. Daily Cardiac’s posts, for example [blog page and post number:] #86–73 http://tinyurl.com/9x4k55u could hardly be clearer; they are a catalog of his articles of faith. Readers can follow DC’s many other justifications in the blog pages before and after that example, and decide for themselves.

If anyone who has had no connection to the FoF, but is interested in that organization reads this, I’m writing this for you. And of course, this is just my opinion.

If you want to join a group of people like DC, mostly sincere, nice, well–meaning folks, but whose entire ‘spiritual’ center of gravity is based on faith in the bona fides of their leader, know that in advance—and accept the consequences. Know that many of us (I dare say, probably most) who have ‘been through the mill’ have concluded that the leader, Robert Earl Burton, is a sexual predator, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and that having sex with large numbers of the heterosexual young men who depend on him for spiritual guidance is his chief occupation, and has been for forty years. Know that if you are a young, even moderately good-looking young heterosexual male, you will most probably end up having sex with him.

Know that your fellow followers will approve of this, encourage this, and the less than good-looking ones will envy you (though these are few, Burton’s tastes are very catholic). In other words, in their world–view, this is completely normal and expected. Know that he has no control in this matter, and has never demonstrated will or restraint; far from it, he is enslaved by his desires. Know that his followers excuse and even justify this unprotected ‘supersex’ (as Burton terms it) because he is a ‘conscious being’, and that he cannot possibly contract or pass on sexual diseases because ‘he is an angel in a man’s body’.

Know also that Burton is a life–long misogynist. He has no use for women as women, unless they have money or influence or can provide access to young men. Moreover, he claims that they cannot ‘awaken’ as women in this lifetime. This means that if you are a woman, you will (according to Burton) definitely have to wait for a ‘role in a future lifetime as a man’ (with the sole exception of Elizabeth I, Queen of England, for some reason) to be able to ‘awaken’, whatever that is.

If you happen to be here because you are interested in the Fourth Way, know that, apart from words freely borrowed from the Fourth Way, this cult has no connection with the Fourth Way whatsoever. The Fourth Way terms are bait, pure and simple. There has been no transmission of knowledge or energy from Alex Horn to Robert Burton. Nor was there a transmission from J.G. Bennett to Horn (whose entire experience of the Fourth Way in the direct line was as a three–week drop–in at the end of one of Bennett’s courses in England). Horn had no contact with Rodney Collin, whatever Burton claims or insinuates. The rest came from books or odd meetings with others interested in the Fourth Way. Whatever the level of Horn, Burton failed miserably to fulfill the task given to him, to cease his sexual pursuit of male fellow ‘students’. And, Burton himself is openly proud of the fact that he has never read any work of Gurdjieff. His quotes of Gurdjieff’s words come from his brief encounters with Ouspensky’s books and what he has picked up from his more organized or intellectual followers. He has yet to explain the vast gap between his claim of being a Man number 7.9, or whatever, and the next and only ‘conscious product’ of his organization, the infamous Girard Haven, official hagiographer, Man number 5 point something. Remember the Fourth Way idea that one has to help put someone in one’s place before one can ‘move on’?

As a particular example, the meaning of the word ‘verification’ has been turned on its head. As you inevitably reorient yourself to the Fellowship groupthink (your new friends are so nice, so helpful, so knowledgeable, and you are so eager to learn, to please, to fit in…), you will be persuaded that ‘testing’ hypotheses according to reason and the scientific method is faulty thinking, emanating from your ‘lower self’. Instead the major part of your ‘work’ is to first accept given/revealed articles of faith as true and then strive to find evidence for them (for more, see http://tinyurl.com/bv2prbu). Failing that, you are to ‘observe and record’ and put any doubting thoughts ‘on the back burner’, or, as you become more ‘advanced’, dispense with them altogether because they are generated by your ‘lower self’. When the back burner is full, you will be kept so busy you won’t notice the older thoughts ‘to be worked with later’ permanently falling into oblivion. Know that the many general ‘exercises’ given out by Burton are a miraculous one–size fits all. Any individual attention that each follower may need is farmed out to one or other of the 44 angels, the discorporate remains of (mostly) white, male Europeans who have left a historical record. More than strange, huh? Almost all the personal spiritual exercises given by Dear Teacher are of the “C-Influence wishes you to internally consider me, give up your body for my pleasure’ type. Though, for variety, there are the never–ending requests for more money, gifts, favors of all kinds, or ‘You should marry this person or that’, or ‘Have an abortion’, or ‘Give up your children’.

Know that Burton is probably the most superstitious person you will ever hear of or meet. This ‘conscious being’, having lost his own internal way, relies on external signs of every type, from chance license plate numbers (example at: http://tinyurl.com/cco5372, bottom of page) to a grotesque numerology and symbology, whose significance is supported and ‘researched’ by the members themselves, and as stated above, always seeking ‘proof’ to support the pre–conceptions. One example among literally thousands: Burton interprets the number of rhino poops in prehistoric cave drawings as messages the artists intentionally left for him across hundreds of centuries! Based on this rare sensitivity, Burton continually makes prophecies, whose record of complete failure (including highlights such as the drowning of California in 1998, nuclear Armageddon in 2006, the production of seven ‘conscious beings’, and so on) he petulantly explains in terms such as, “C–Influence has humiliated me”. At the same time, mirabile dictu, Burton claims that every jot and tittle of existence is preordained, a ‘play written by the angels’. In his universe, he supplies the ‘crazy’ while his followers infer the ‘wisdom’, so all in the narcissistic dance are happy. Oh, and you’ll be glad he has made improvements to the Fourth Way apart from inventing angels whose sole welfare is those who write checks to Burton, and who, according to his claim, are planning the complete destruction of the rest of humanity, while saving members of the Fellowship of Friends “to start a new civilization”. For example, unlike Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Colin, Nicol, or Bennett in whose teachings conscience is as important as, and inseparable from, consciousness, Burton has little use for the former. In fact he claims:
“Conscience is just a collection of I’s. Anyone accumulating too much should leave the school”.
One less thing to worry about, huh? And as strong an indicator as any that he doesn’t have conscience—and hence, consciousness—himself. 

If you indeed value the Fourth Way, then before you consider joining the Fellowship of Friends, you owe it to yourself to find out everything you can about them. There is much more in these pages and elsewhere. I know, it is quite an effort to go through them. But the time you invest doing this is miniscule compared to the time you will waste and the harm that may befall you if you join the cult. I’m not claiming you will learn nothing if you join, just that you can achieve better results in far less time elsewhere, without paying the ludicrous price the greedy and literally insatiable Burton demands.

So much for the Fourth Way. How about the Second Way?

If you take a masochistic satisfaction in being told what to do in all areas of your life, have blind trust in authoritarian structures, have faith in revealed truths, and desperately need to cultivate obedience, you’ll certainly be interested in some form of the Second Way. But why join the Fellowship of Friends? Why not just join the Carthusians or some other group with a good record? For a start, they are much quicker and more efficient. You have the possibility of reaching salvation during or at the end of this lifetime. The leaders are subject to some system of accountability for their actions. Not so Burton’s religion. He claims you will need many lifetimes of unremitting toil and devotion to counter your built–in weaknesses and achieve immortality.

Meanwhile, Mr. “Do as I say, not as I do” trusts not to the future, but lives the life of a spoiled potentate right now. He will use your money to live luxuriously. He may use your body for his sexual pleasure. He will travel widely at your expense. He will dress in the finest and most expensive clothing, silken underwear, drink wine worth hundreds of dollars at every meal, be driven in the best cars, travel first class everywhere, and give rich gifts to his lovers—while he favors them—all from your earnings.

And he is completely unaccountable, the few protests are treated as crimes. His followers exist to hang on every word, gratify every whim, and worship him as he claims to be “the brightest light in 2,000 years”. Not so incidentally, he claims he is conveniently ‘beyond Judeo–Christian morality’ (though he has yet to formulate a successor). So, you are to abandon ethics and morality without having a replacement to guide you, other than his whim of the moment.

And if you leave, you are supposedly doomed to something worse than hell, and you will be shunned by all your former friends. Typical childish cult behavior, but none the less powerful blackmail and devastatingly hurtful emotionally (one list of cult characteristics is at: http://tinyurl.com/622x9g)

Why would you want to dive into the fantasy world of this twisted, lying madman, who seems to exist solely for the titillation of the nerve endings in his penis and anus—and for shopping (see post #4, above, or: http://tinyurl.com/8q5gay7)? Rather, go join an order of nuns or monks. If you are interested in experiencing the state popularly known as consciousness, study Zen or become a Buddhist.

Otherwise, stick around back here with the rest of us and try to do the best you can for yourself and your fellow humans with love and integrity, living and enjoying life in all its juicy mess, ups and downs, accepting the need for risks, facing the unknown and unknowable with all the courage you can muster.

P.S.

If you happen to be here because you are interested in the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, know that, apart from words freely borrowed from his books, this cult has no connection with Eckhart Tolle whatsoever. The terms borrowed by the Fellowship of Friends are bait, pure and simple.

Search keywords I have found that the Fellowship of Friends uses as bait in their advertising are:
Self Remembering · Fourth Way · Eckhart Tolle · Spirituality · Meditation · Consciousness · Gurdjieff · Ouspensky · Nisargadatta Maharaj · Presence · Self Realization and Service to Humanity · Self Realization · Byron Katie · Adya · ET · Gangaji · Ruiz . There are probably many others.

Beware!

[ed. - The following is the complete post from "Daily Cardiac", which Ames cites above:]

"Daily Cardiac" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 26, 2009: 
Golden Veil – 59 [blogger and post number]:
It must be real ignorance rather than an inconsiderate nature that leads you to continually assert to the readers here that the FACT that Robert Burton has sexually abused and misused his followers, the ’students’, time and time again, is only “opinion”.
It is neither ignorance nor lack of consideration. As I see it it is genuinely opinion. Here is why. You don’t know the motivations of RB for being intimate with any of the ones he is intimate with. You can’t say for sure if it is an aid or hindrance to the individual’s spiritual growth.

On hearing about someone’s personal account or a second hand version of an encounter you will have an opinion about it, as it is natural for men to have opinions about everything.

And you also didn’t know the motivations of any of his partners at the time of the encounter, nor were you behind closed doors to witness anything. Until you know all that; the motivations especially, which you are unlikely to ever know, it will remain an uncertainty to you, even though you may call it a certainty.

Definition of Opinion – “a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.” All civilized countries, with regard to crimes or legalities, have rejected the notion that actions can be judged or evaluated solely on the basis of appearance.

The same goes for testimony alone, because people are rarely truthful when they have a vested interest in an outcome. There is a reason for customs like taking an oath in court, not that it prevents lying, but the implication of a preponderance to lie in that setting are there.

It takes more than accounts to determine truth.

There is an interesting paradox afoot on the blog. Ex members continually critique RB/ FoF outside of a spiritual context on the basis of man’s laws or common morality yet they actually ignore the definition of those same laws instituted by men and contrive their own rendition of what constitutes sexual abuse or abuse of power (actually there is no measurable determining factor for what determines abuse of power in most private groups, family circles, especially in a spiritual teacher /aspirant relationship.

The definition by law of sexual abuse is precise. Abuse and persuasion are not the same. It is not against any law to propose that someone have sex with you (unless that someone is a minor). It is not against any law, man made or otherwise, to persuade someone to have sex (unless that someone is a minor) It is not against any law to convince someone to have sex with you.

At the same time people have different moral codes and to some consensual sex between a spiritual teacher and student is considered wrong under any circumstances.That would represent an opinion, not a truth.

If the kind of abuses documented on the blog (especially the frequency often cited) had actually occurred there would have been charges or convictions long before 40 years had transpired.There are laws of probability being ignored here which seriously tax the faculties of reason for any open minded individual.

Here is the difficult part – It’s one thing to judge an ordinary man by appearance, there are pitfalls to that also but it’s nearly impossible to judge an enlightened being by appearance because they are under less mechanical laws than others. They do not act according to some personal code of conduct but follow a universal spiritual code – that’s one of the conditions that determines whether they are enlightened or not. They have real choices whereas others react in predictable ways.

And it hasn’t been determined what RB is, charlatan or enlightened being. A minuscule percent of the whole of ex members, who also happen to visit this blog, say that he is a charlatan. Most of those still in the FoF would more than likely say enlightened being. It has not been determined which one he is, regardless of how fervently anyone proclaims otherwise. It simply has not been determined in any real sense.

There undoubtedly are those who know Robert Burton, know him for what he is, but it has not been established whether that is more likely to be you or I.
[Golden Veil:] Lately I am finding that the terms “spiritual” and “spirituality” have less significance to me. They seem to affect me emotionally in a way similar to the words “religious” and “religion”.
What term would you use to describe “of the spirit?” What would you call an entity composed of matter too rarefied to distinguish through our senses, but one that can nevertheless be experienced or known?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Damage Control, Part Deux

Fellowship of Friends cult leader Linda Kaplan caricature
Linda Kaplan, by Harold Wirk
[ed. - Former Fellowship of Friends President Linda Kaplan, formerly Linda Tulisso, has allegedly made another foray into the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog to face the forces of darkness. The disguise this time: "I in the sky".

In 2009, "rock that boat" claimed Kaplan was posting on the Fellowship Discussion blog as "Daily Cardiac". "Daily Cardiac" and "I in the sky" are assigned the same avatar, meaning they use the same e-mail account. When conversations involving these posters are compared, similarities in psychology, language usage, mannerisms, strategy, frames of reference and education are apparent. From the very earliest days, Fellowship members appear to have taken an active interest in controlling the message.

"I in the sky's" first post on July 20th, curiously coincided with the breaking news of the Thomas Neuschatz scandal. The post below offers an official message, likely written by Fellowship attorney Abraham Goldman, part of damage control efforts by Fellowship leaders, including Linda. Interestingly, paranoia appears to be one of "I in the sky's" favorite topics.]



"Traveler" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 7, 2007:
Who’s afraid of the big bad blog [quoting an official message from Fellowship leaders:]
Dear Friends:

Thank you for the many supportive responses to our recent message about invasion of our rights of privacy.
At this time, when the most powerful teachings from Influence C are being revealed and shared, there are a number of anonymous people who use the Internet to harass the Teacher, the School and its members.

The people involved in these activities use false names, stolen identities, copyright violations, defamation, and tactics of negativity. Among other instances, Asaf’s name has been misappropriated and used for false e-mails containing vulgar profanities. Yesterday Linda Tulisso’s [Linda Kaplan] name and picture were falsely used to cast her and Fellowship Management in a negative, false light and to provide a link for unauthorized access to copyrighted materials on Propylaia. It is currently known that this has now gone beyond students with visible roles, such as Asaf and Linda. It now includes stealing names of other students for use in false cyber communications because of their national origin so as to falsely deceive friends in other countries into thinking that one of their fellow student countrymen, be it from Japan, Russia, etc., is actually sponsoring negative attacks against the Teacher and the School.

As with other recent privacy rights violations, the Fellowship takes these matters seriously and reports all such matters to governmental agencies at State and Federal levels as well as in other countries and the European Community for investigation and prosecution. In recent years, the U.S. government, every State, and country have passed strong criminal laws against cyber tactics of identity theft, false representation, and anonymous annoyances and harassment of private individuals and organizations. Law enforcement agencies can trace anonymous or false messages to its source.

If you wish to help, you may forward to the Fellowship’s office any such e-mails, web pages, blogs, CDs or MP3 files you have received, either directly or indirectly, electronically, or by regular mail. Please include a brief factual description including your name, address where it was received, the date of receipt of the communication, and the source, if known. If you have received communications via mail, we would appreciate your including the envelope and/or packaging when you forward this to the Fellowship’s office.
These laws exist to protect all people in all countries. The people involved in the current harassment have openly stated their intent to violate these laws to destroy the School, to injure students and the Teacher. These invasive tactics are not innocent nor can they remain hidden.

The School and our Teacher and friends have been attacked before but we have become stronger and deeper through the transformation of this friction. It is therefore before us to address these matters with presence and with vigilance.

All students should feel free to discuss any of these matters or concerns with their center directors, regional coordinators, the Council, Fellowship Ministers, and Fellowship management.

Thank you for your help, diligence, and presence.

Kevin Brown
Council Dean

Linda Tulisso [Linda Kaplan]
Fellowship President

"I in the sky" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 16, 2012:
14 – Tim Campion
Like the “Howard Carter” and “Daily Cardiac” characters before them, “I in the sky” is just the latest disguise for the officially-designated Fellowship of Friends spokesperson. 
I’m curious to know why you think I’m here on official business for the FOF? What kind of business would that be? What would they accomplish by sending someone that couldn’t be accomplished by someone representing themselves? What would the FoF gain by me debating WhaleRider on the nature of dreams, or you about your fake Rolex analogy? Will those or future points made by me effectively diminish the 123 pages of critical testimony? If you think so you pay me the highest compliment.

Comments you express in #14 remind me of Ames’ recent and insightful post regarding the dangers of the blog becoming institutionalized. In this case, institutionalized in paranoia.

I’m here as I presume others are; as an individual expressing my own views. I think some here have a tendency to overestimate the blog’s scope and / or effectiveness if they believe the FoF would feel the need to send an agent to infiltrate these pages.

If the FoF is what it claims to be it need not fear a blog of public opinion. And if it’s not what it claims to be it should fear a lot more than this blog.

If you read my posts I don’t mention the FoF (except here to reference your comments.) Nothing I’ve said strictly pertains to the FoF, but are fitting responses to the remarks of others. In my earlier comments to you I was speaking of laws in general. The same as in the answer to Man Number Zero. No one who answers my comments is taken “off point” if that’s what they surmise is my mission because my points can be as broad as anyone can entertain or if others want to make it about the FoF they can do that also. But that’s for them to direct. I’m content to speak in generalities.

[ed. - After 40 days on the blog, "I in the sky's" mission becomes transparent:]

"I in the sky" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 3, 2012:
134 – Shard_of_Oblivion [post number and blogger]

“The place where I am most surprised by your reply is where you dismiss science as a possible way to determine if the phase of the moon has an effect on human behaviour. Surely this, of all the FoF dogmas, is an ideal candidate where a carefully conducted statistical survey will reveal the truth of the matter.”

Science usually steers clear of Religion / Spirituality. Science is interested in the world of matter, not the world of spirit. It likes to identify and classify into neat groups of yes or no. Spirituality is founded on faith. Science has no use for faith, even if it’s faith based on verification. Faith of any kind means nothing to science. Science would be at a loss to know how to begin to sort and classify facts and information to determine the effects of the moon on human psychology..

How would they begin to chart data? Would they send a survey to a test group and ask questions like – Were you more negative during the last moon phase? Did you gamble or drink more? If so, how much more? Less than 15% – more than 30 %? If you were in a good mood did you laugh more than normal, louder than normal?

I’ve noticed patterns in myself where I like to reminisce during moon phases. So, I’ll catch myself thinking about an old girlfriend, or find myself humming old rock and roll songs. How do you quantify that? Do I also do that at times when it’s not the moon? Yes. Do I do that on each moon? No. But there are clear patterns regarding those tendencies. Am I less patient around moons? Yes. Am I more impulsive? Yes? How much so? Enough to notice.

The closest I could offer to a scientific approach of the moon’s effect on people’s behavior would be this argument: We all know of the moon’s gravitational pull on the earth, by the ebb and flow of the tides. The human body is composed of 60% water. So if the moon can cause the movement of oceans why could it not have an effect on the water in the human body? We know our mental state can change drastically simply because we are too hot, too cold or too tired. It’s not a stretch for me to see that the subtle pull of body water would produce subtle or not so subtle effects in our thinking or perception and thereby cause us to react differently to others or to circumstances.

SoO: It seems you are rock solid in your “verification” of C influence. I know it is something personal, but would you be willing to disclose what it was that allowed you to verify “C influence”? I would understand if you declined, as the posters on the blog would likely look to find ways to dismiss it, but if you were to share in that way, I would be very interested.

It’s not a question of declining, but one of trying to describe a process that clearly falls outside the boundaries of language. And I’m not concerned about the blog dismissing anything I say. When people comment dismissively they are actually recruiting for the FoF. If anyone comes to these pages checking out the FoF because they are attracted to the ideas on their website, in all likelihood they are looking for how to connect with what we call C influence, or higher consciousness. So when people looking for that read the sarcastic and dismissive posts they are more likely to disbelieve most of what is claimed here since the posters do not even believe in or promote core spiritual ideas or values.

I don’t know what I could say to someone about verifying Influence C, as it is the most personal verification of all. I can say what it is not though. It is not even remotely like depictions in the bible where God appears to someone in vivid form. Those depictions are not meant to be taken literally. Writers from the past and most recently Hollywood do take the bible stories literally so they, in their depictions of verifying Influence C (God or angels), will also suggest it to be a real, sensual, vision, or a clear verbal message, but it is neither. They do not have voices, or forms, or they choose not to inhabit one, so they have to communicate with man by different means; by speaking through other people or through circumstances or signs (even License plates.)

The responsibility of the seeker is to have a clean, open, state, poised to receive any shocks if they come. From a higher state, even a slightly higher one than normal, individuals who are looking for this kind of contact can receive it. For others it suffices to just look around at the world and everything in it and deduce that this creation was no accident and could not happen without the participation of a higher mind.
I would also suggest reading or re-reading your countryman Rodney Collin’s book – The theory of Celestial Influence, which might shed some light on the effect that bodies like the moon can have on the human level.

"Tim Campion" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 21, 2012:
To the current Fellowship of Friends functionary “I in the sky”:

Whoever you are, posting from behind this pseudonym, I am addressing much of this post to your role, and not to you, personally.

As you know, since early 2007 (despite repeated statements to the contrary,) The Fellowship of Friends has periodically assigned a representative (derogatorily called a “shill”) to this blog. Some of us will recognize your voice in Howard Carter, Daily Cardiac, and presently “I in the sky.” The ploy is fairly transparent. (Really, how many here quote Shakespeare and O.J. Simpson in the same post?)

Like that of your predecessors, your task is clear: defend, distract, obfuscate and even recruit. “Any reasonable person” will recognize your arguments (e.g. post 106 above) as tortured straw men. Facts should never stand in the way of a good argument.

Appearances can be deceiving. Conveniently overlooking the actual premise that launched this blog, you express shock at the overwhelming percentage of posts critical of The Fellowship and of Robert Burton. You have portrayed that pro- and anti-Fellowship posters are equally free to participate, but that Fellowship defenders have been brutally silenced by negative outbursts from ex-members. You will not acknowledge that Fellowship members have been instructed not to participate. The early days of the blog (see Part 1), before The Fellowship Council got involved, featured a much more lively debate.

As the official Fellowship of Friends voice, you hardly represent the Fellowship membership and the wide spectrum of attitudes and opinions to be found there, just as I do not represent 15,000 former members.
You misrepresent all former members as holding similar attitudes about the Fellowship of Friends and Robert Burton, a straw man that is patently false. “Someone” and “Joseph Nachumovitch” are but two former members who clearly demonstrate this.

It also serves your “performance” that the reader believe you are only speaking on behalf of yourself (an oft-repeated claim among Fellowship shills, by the way.) You are one of the few reasonable voices amidst the howling wolves. You seek sympathy by personalizing this solitary, yet noble against-all-odds effort. How can ex-members so viciously attack you?

But I see no “real person” on the page. In six years, what have I learned about the individual(s) behind this role? Virtually nothing. (Though Daily Cardiac did admit having difficulty achieving an erection under certain circumstances!)

What readers witness here is the impersonal, insentient, unresponsive Fellowship of Friends mouthpiece. And considering who, or rather what many non-members are confronting, it is little surprise that responses elicited are overwhelmingly critical and often tinged with exasperation.

Unlike The Fellowship of Friends, “we” (whoever we are) don’t have a coordinated campaign, with a designated spokesperson. Non-members come and go for reasons only they know. Can you claim the same? Non-members can (and do) simply walk away from the forum. Do you have that option?
As others have suggested, the bias inherent in your role is powerful. Your position is official defender of The Fellowship of Friends and Robert Burton. No one else has such a stake in the game. Probably no one else here appreciates how truly dire The Fellowship’s situation is, and the fear that drives this singular effort.
Like all good shills, part of your role is to trivialize the opposition. A frequent bit of hyperbole (“intentional insincerity” to you) is to misrepresent the number of blog participants, “20″ being the latest estimate. It’s another straw man. (You might claim that I am doing the same, but I can easily prove the number is far higher than 20, while you would have difficulty pointing to another Fellowship member posting.) More importantly, is the quality of truth dictated by number of participants? If that were the case, your argument would be even more precarious.

Since we both assume casual readers will only visit the current page, I see your intention as occupying a certain amount of real estate on each page, with the stated objective of introducing “balance.” You will offer an “angle of thought” on any subject, presenting the cult’s unique spin. After all, it’s just more real estate, more air play in your political campaign.

As spokesperson you will summarily dismiss any allegations of crimes and abuse directed at Robert Burton and other Fellowship officials. The common refrain is that Robert Burton has never been and will likely never be tried in a court of law because there is no proof to support the allegations. You will assert that victims’ testimonies on the blog and elsewhere cannot be proven, and you dismiss grievances as little more than hearsay. (And you will never acknowledge legal cases that were settled out of court, at great cost to Fellowship members.)

At the same time, you will point out that the conduct of Robert Burton and The Fellowship of Friends can only be evaluated in a spiritual context, as they are above man-made laws.

So, from your perspective, perpetrator and victim must be judged according to different standards and criteria, and we must leave the matter of Robert Burton’s guilt or innocence to a “higher court,” inaccessible to mere mortals. (And apparently, the crimes and abuses we rail about on the blog aren’t even recognized in this higher realm!) It sounds like an air-tight defense. The victims, of course, have no remedy. (Well, they have a blog at least.)

In any case, the reader will judge. And that is absolutely fine with me.

Finally, to the actual person writing under the pseudonym “I in the sky”: Robert Burton obviously feels no obligation to defend himself. What compels you to defend a Teacher and a School that are by definition beyond reproach? (Do you unconsciously question that assumption?)

Yours appears a lonely duty, willingly embraced for years now. I must admit, your tenacity is remarkable. My wish is that you recognize you are playing a part, and this is not who you are. You are not the subject of criticism here – it is your role that draws the fire. I do believe you have a choice in the matter, and can exercise that choice each day.

When you write that you have personally verified the existence of C Influence, that The Fellowship of Friends is a real school, that Robert Burton is a conscious being subject to higher laws, who is speaking? If it’s the voice of the corporate shill, then we can easily understand. This is what’s necessary to promote the product, recruit naive seekers and replenish the Fellowship’s depleted coffers. All the nonsense about verifications is simply artifice to support the official narrative.

If, however, it’s a moment of candor expressing your personal views, so be it. Then your position, to the extent you acknowledge the limits of this understanding, is really unassailable.

Only you can know which voice is speaking.

"Robert is just a big fag"

"blog boy" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 24, 2012:

I was a member of the FOF [Fellowship of Friends] for 13 years and left the “organization” about 5 years ago after discovering this blog. I was on the fence for about 3 months prior to leaving because I tried to justify all the contradictions by telling myself that even Schools had crimes – a common conception amongst many members I knew and credited to the logic of Rodney Collin.

I think everyone who has posted here that was a member for more than a year or two had moments while in the FOF that made them feel/think that they were enjoying and profiting from their experiences. I know I did. That’s what kept me on the fence. I felt I had to weigh the entire experience and see if leaving was the right choice.

The problem with staying in the FOF is there is no way to be an active member without actively or tacitly supporting the system of questionable behavior that occurs on a daily basis.

That Burton has had sex with hundreds of his followers is my business. I know what it’s like to have sex with partners that need to be convinced to partake and I know that it’s not an honest relationship. People’s sexual habits and desires are rarely spoken about in general ….much too taboo, but this aspect of a person cannot be dismissed. It’s a big part of who they are and what motivates them.

Burton being the head of the FOF is in a huge position of power and to have sex with your followers who are heterosexual and are only “consenting” because the “teacher” can be trusted is quite dishonest.

I remember having lunch with Renato C. a couple of years before he died and I was saying something to the effect of what an amazing school Robert had put together and Renato looked at me and said; “Robert is just a big fag”. It was quite startling and I didn’t know what to say and Renato just repeated his statement; Robert is just a big fag.

It seems that Burton was “lucky” towards the beginning of the FOF and attracted some interesting and qualified people to help him build up and shape the organization. Left to his own designs I have a feeling the FOF would have been over long ago.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The true Fellowship of Friends legacy: a litany of pain and suffering

[ed. - Where appropriate, I have added links to related stories on the blog.]

"Bares Reposting" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 19, 2012:
[Quoting] 124/80. Tempus Fugit:
I admire him [Meher Baba] for what he did with his life in the outer world, how he treated other people, especially those who were sick, poor, and mentally ill. In my opinion, you can tell a lot about a person and a society by how they treat the helpless and the weak.

In fact, it’s very hard if not impossible to know for certain what’s in another person’s mind or heart, but their behavior is visible.
And so how do we evaluate Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends? What does their behavior tell us about who they are?’

Yes, witness the way FoF/REB treated those types of people:

Loosely alphabetically:

endless number of children put up for adoption or fostered.

endless number of children aborted.

endless number of rape victims.

endless number of women, spouses, shunned.

abraham g., fof lawyer, profoundly deaf, suicide.

anna t., spousal abuse.

barbara b. l., in her own words:
‘Students were not free to seek help from mental [health] professionals; many were becoming alcoholics, and we were, generally, living in a state of fear. I was told that these problems were my imagination and the fear was only in me. I snapped! I left the group – after 12 years. I felt helpless. I had no friends and was deeply in debt. I couldn’t explain the lost years. To the outside world a cult experience itself indicates a flawed mentality.’
bengt l., apparent suicide.

brian s., suicide.

dorothy b., alzheimer’s, elder abuse.

doris e., cripple, heart disease, elder abuse.

dorota s., just plain abuse.

elena h., blind, shunned.

eric e., suicide.

eric n., shunned.

gerda a., blind, shunned.

gloria c., elder abuse, shunned.

harold w., shunned.

james b., shunned.

john w., unexplained death in foreign land.

john e., parkinson’s, estate in question.

joseph m., alcohol abuse.

kevin k., quadriplegic, suicide. forced to give up job and home for 1998 fall of California prediction.

kimo b., possible suicide?

kiran s., severe car accident in foreign land but survived. had near death demand by fof lawyer to sign over estate.

cassandra s., severe car accident in foreign land but died.

daniella v., severe car accident in foreign land but died.

kristina n., shunned.

lori f-s., possible suicide?

nigel p., attempted suicide.

nette o., tortured by reb’s tastes.

raymond k., psychiatrist, death by drowning, suspicious circumstances.

renato c., suspicious death, possibly aids.

rourke m., alcohol abuse.

richard f., AIDS, died.

richard m., deaf, missing, presumed dead, suspicious circumstances.

sharole m. (a.k.a. sheila c.), during ill from injury, demand for teaching payments (donations); ‘hell letter.’ died 2 years later from cancer.

shelley m., spousal abuse.

stella w., shunned.

steven m., blind, shunned.

thomas n., shunned.

troy b., under age sex w/reb, rape, shunned.

see story below.

These are just examples one person knows about.

“Bares Reposting" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 8, 2011:

[Quoting] 111/184. Shirley

‘. . .We didn’t have much compassion in the FF. Kindness, yes, but I don’t think there was true compassion.’

Here is limited example of the kindness and compassion of the Fellowship of Friends (FoF), Pathway to Presence, Living Presence, BeingPresent.org, Church of Robert Earl Burton (REB):

For more than 10 years I worked hard, earned good money ‘in life,’ and supported FoF with my $$$’s donations and knew little of the behind the scenes activities, so to speak, but heard a little. Then my life changed and the next more than 10 years were spent living up close and personal (in other words: intimately), with how FoF operates behind the scenes. I witnessed the unbelievable. But, as long as I was not directly being abused, it was someone else’s play. Here is an example:

My friend, call them JG, was a near and dear friend. You might say I knew them intimately, without being in a sexual relationship; it was an emotional and spiritual relationship. JG had history of substance abuse, in particular, alcohol – not life threatening. In the early days of FoF, they were a pioneer and supporter of what was happening with FoF in Oregon House. They were also independent and had friends and family not in FoF. In short, they were somewhat of a rogue element. Their partner died at an early age. After that, there were times when they would, as the saying would go, get into the harem of REB by having interests in one of his young men. This represented competition. Often alcohol was of significance in these ‘dalliances.’ So, alcohol abuse became the target, since it would be difficult to make it about something else, i.e.: raiding the harem, and bring unwanted attention to this secret society that REB maintained.

Flash forward by about 30 years. JG is on a permanent task of no alcohol under any circumstances – not even to be seen with a glass, with or without alcohol in it – maybe empty would be OK, but no guarantee – might give the appearance that the glass was emptied by drinking the contents. If it appeared that it could be alcohol, someone would be reporting it. It did not require a condition of compromised behaviour due to alcohol; nor dalliance with the harem, nor DUI. Really hard to comply with this when so much of the FoF culture involved wine and toasting glasses, etc. Gradually, over the years, more and more justified, and mostly unjustified, constraints of the task were applied to my friend that eventually lead to a leave-of-absence (LOA) that I personally witnessed.

There was a time, more than once, that serious alcohol abuse developed in the FoF/O.H. community. This was a recurrent problem. There was around 1998, or so, a serious effort to address this – especially with a prediction looming – fall of California. One BE, a council member, was assigned, or adopted, the effort to convene a group that would try to ‘work’ on this problem with people. My friend decided to go since they had so much experience in this area that they thought they could help. Besides being an elder in the community, they also had some professional standing. They did not go because they needed help, nor were they under the influence, nor did they drink or appear to drink, at these meetings. Nevertheless, it was reported to REB that they were there. Boom, task violated; leave-of-absence (LOA) imposed. Over the years, ever more stringent punishment was applied to these leaves-of-absence and ever lengthening leaves-of-absence imposed and difficulty of task required. I was confided in these activities.

On this particular offense, it was 6 months LOA, as I remember it, in 1998. (The next time would be a promised permanent outing.) The requirement was, that if they were on LOA, then they could have no contact with any FoF members and that meant that any members living on their property had to move out – even though they lived in a private separate quarters by themselves and could have someone else carry on any contact with the tenants.

Several of the tenants were elderly and disabled: one was an FoF elder who was crippled and with heart condition. Another was in their 80′s or possibly 90′s and somewhat infirm. There were others of various health and wellness conditions. They all had to find new homes. This was likely the beginning of the end for one of them – they would die shortly after this episode. But, first, my friend tried to compromise or negotiate. They proposed to leave their own home and save these other people from having to leave. Some trusted person would be left in charge of the property. This was accepted. They tried to do that. They went off somewhere (and, that is another whole story), but suffice it to say, they could not manage it and came back in a couple of weeks. It was rapidly reported to the minions of flying monkeys. If they did not leave, it was curtains for all. Everyone moved out in 48 hours, as required.

That was one of the more egregious examples of things I witnessed.

It is possible that there are other sides to this story, as there almost always are other sides.