Presented in reverse chronology, this history stretches from the present back to the Fellowship's 1970 founding, and beyond.
(See "Blog Archive" in the sidebar below.) It draws from many sources, including The Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the former Fellowship of Friends wiki project, cult education and awareness sites, news archives, and from the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

The portrait that emerges stands in stark contrast to sanitized versions presented on the Fellowship's array of
alluring websites, and on derivative sites created by Burton's now-estranged
disciple, Asaf Braverman.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A loss in the "life family"

[ed. - Robert Burton instructed followers to sever unnecessary ties with "life people," including family who were not Fellowship members. He often cited his own "work" in this area by recounting his hospital visit with his critically ill mother. On that occasion, despite the obvious suffering it imposed upon her, he refused to break his self-imposed task of silence.]

"Tim Campion" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 2, 2012:
Apparently, Robert Burton’s sister Betty passed away November 21st:
Betty Joyce Burton
Born in Arkansas on Jul.7, 1930
Departed on Nov. 21, 2012 and resided in Redwood City, CA.
Visitation: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012  8:30 am
Mass & Christian Burial: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 11:00 am, Holy Cross Cemetery
Betty J. Burton
1930 – 2012
Our loving sister Betty passed on the morning of November 21st following a battle with pneumonia. She was predeceased by her domestic partner of 50 years, Lawrence (Larry) Geraldi (2007).
Due to wartime shortage of workers, Betty began her lifetime restaurant career at age 14. She attended Berkeley High School then settled in San Francisco where she worked with Larry in his restaurants, most notably the Domino Club and later, at Salutos in Burlingame.
Betty is survived by her sister, Frances Carter, brothers, Robert and William (Clara), nine nephews and their extended families and Cora Cruz, her dear friend, affairs and care manager.
Arrangements are done by Duggan’s Serra Mortuary, 500 Westlake Ave., Daly City where viewing will be held on Wednesday, Nov.28th at 8:30 am and the Mass of Christian Burial at Holy Angels Church at 11am followed by Committal at Holy Cross Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the American Red Cross.
Robert mentioned Betty during a meeting September 21, 2011.

"Tim Campion" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 2, 2012:

WhaleRider [blogger],

What struck me in Betty’s obituary was to see Robert referred to merely as a family member, not a god, not a “conscious being,” and to see actual names of family members he devalued as “life people.” It just seemed so ordinary. Another peek at the wizard behind the curtain.

For someone considered by his followers the most important being on the planet, except for the few anecdotes he has volunteered about his encounters with “C Influence,” precious little is known of Burton’s pre-Fellowship personal history. Yet, as someone mentioned (not you Someone, but maybe you WhaleRider), these early years likely had a profound influence upon the future cult leader.

When he mentioned Betty last year, it was the first time I heard of him referring to a sibling by name, actually acknowledging their existence.

Many of us followed his example, and early exercise, breaking off contact with our “life families.” (At the same time, while Robert clearly distanced himself from his family, Fellowship students were called upon to provide his mother various services – housekeeping, gardening, delivery, etc. – when she resided in Sacramento.)

So now we have Thelma [sic - Velma E.?] Shock, Betty, Frances, William. As far as I know, for us, his father’s identity remains a mystery.

"jomopinata" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 7, 2012:
According to the 1940 census record of Mineral Township, Pulaski County, Arkansas, Bobbie Burton’s parents were Velma E. Burton (32) and Edgar Burton (34). The children listed in the 1940 census are Bettie (10), Billie (8), Fannie B (5) and Bobbie (1/2). The record list Edgar’s occupation as stock dealer, and indicate that the the family owns a farm.

In subsequent posts, "jomopinata" added:
According to the 1940 census record of Cook County, Illinois, Alexander Horn (10) is listed as an inmate of the Marks Nathan Jewish Orphan Home, South Albany Avenue, Chicago.

I take Edgar’s occupation of “stock dealer” to refer to livestock, which lines up neatly with the “butcher” information that was published somewhere.

By the time Horn was 10, he had lived at the orphanage for five years, according to the census record.

An article about Alexander Francis Horn, then five years old, appeared in the Chicago Tribune on February 9, 1935. The child Horn was alleged to have spread the alarm for a fire that broke out in his home.

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