Introduction


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.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Parallels with the People's Temple?

Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton), Fellowship of Friends Living Presence cult leader and dandy, Apollo, Oregon House, CA
"Tempus Fugit" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 20, 2013:
All statements in this post are my own opinions only.

This post is a refinement of one I made not too long ago. I repeat it as a warning to active members of the FOF who may be reading this blog. How many of you do and how often is unknown, but certainly some do and this warning, in various forms and from various writers, needs to be posted frequently. So please read on, this message may save your life.

A bit dramatic, you say? Maybe, but the stakes are high.

Perhaps you feel strong in your commitment to Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends. Perhaps you also feel safe; after all, your life is in the hands of a conscious being led by angels – what could be safer than that? Doesn’t Burton devote his time and energy to your evolution and spiritual welfare, isn’t that what he has told you, isn’t that what older students and those all around you believe?

I once believed all those things until the truth opened my eyes.

Consider this post from shardofoblivion on page 135:
74. shardofoblivion – January 25, 2013

A metaphysical Ark? I can just imagine his [Shard is referring to Asaf Braverman] inner glow because he is privy to the secret knowledge that in actual fact “C influence” have invited him aboard their very physical Ark, currently moored miles from the sea at Oregon House, in order that he should survive armageddon. O lucky him.
A metaphysical Ark?

Exactly. This is the dangerous vision members of the FOF should hope Robert Burton never has.

I have no contact with active FOF members so anything I surmise about the current status of the group is mainly gleaned from this blog and other internet resources...

Apparently Burton is continuing to promote his long term “vision” that the FOF is meant to serve as a literal, physical Ark to preserve the best of human culture for the survivors of a post apocalyptic world.

But what if real world failure and the stresses of illness and aging prompt a different conclusion?

Previously I noted the horrible possibility that Burton could decide to destroy himself and take others with him (Tempus Fugit – June 22, 2012, page 121, post 96).

Does this still sound far fetched? I again recall Jim Jones and the People’s Temple cult. For a full version (although only one) of the People’s Temple story, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonestown

In the middle 1960′s the People’s temple was based in Indiana, but Jones got the idea that the group needed to move to Northern California to find a safe place to survive an imminent nuclear holocaust (FOF oldtimers will note a familiar refrain).


The People’s Temple settled in San Francisco, where Jones established himself as a forward looking social activist lauded by mainstream leaders such as Mayor George Moscone and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. Over time, however, his association with political radicals and mistreatment of his own followers attracted unfavorable attention.

Among other things Jones was sexually active with both male and female members of the group, and used such activity to increase his control over his followers. (is there an echo on this blog?)

On the eve of the publication of a major expose in New West Magazine Jones fled to Guyana, where the group had established a colony named after Jones.

According to Wikipedia it was in Jonestown that “Jones began his belief called Translation where he and his followers would all die together and move to another planet and live blissfully.”

Here, in my opinion, are parallels to statements made by Robert Burton that are absolutely creepy.

“Ollie” (page 113 of this blog, post 135, September 26, 2011), reported words allegedly spoken by Robert Burton on September 21, 2011:
We are destined for immortality – eternal life – and this is what makes Paradise so sweet: it is a deathless place. Also, everyone is conscious and immortal there. Here everyone is mortal and unconscious, except for us. 
(When I was an FOF member Burton said only he was “conscious,” and a lucky few might join him after a lifetime of hard work – looks like nowadays all of you have made it – congratulations! – maybe.)
In Jonestown Jim Jones became increasingly strange and autocratic. Relatives back in the America began to escalate complaints to the U.S. government of mistreatment of their family members by Jones and his lieutenants.

A delegation led by U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan came to Guyana to investigate. While Ryan was there, a number of individuals and families approached him and asked for help to leave Jonestown. Jones reacted to the defections by concluding his utopian dream had failed and the full weight of the US government would soon fall on Jonestown and destroy the People’s Temple.

After some of his followers shot and killed Congressman Ryan, and killed and wounded others in Ryan’s party, Jones orchestrated the infamous mass murder for which he will always be known.

As I’ve written before, upon hearing news of the killings many of us in the FOF at the time were naturally concerned. Burton was asked if this could happen to the FOF, and I personally heard him deny it on the patio of the Lincoln Lodge right after the Jonestown news reached America.

After all, Burton said, the FOF is a real school while the People’s Temple was just another “B influence” group. Since “C influence” was guiding the FOF they would protect the group from such harm.

Well, personally I think Burton’s fantasies about “C influence” protection are just that, fantasies. What happened to the People’s Temple could certainly happen to the FOF. Perhaps unlikely, but certainly possible.

My best guess now is that Burton will die quietly. He is evidently getting everything he wants, and, according to recent posts on this blog, is setting up his followers to expect his spiritual guidance after his death.

But what if, like Jim Jones, Burton’s world falls apart. Perhaps declining membership leads to critical money problems. Perhaps government investigations attract the unwanted attention of powerful people or lawsuits bring public denunciation and disgrace. Perhaps Burton’s health fails with some painful, lingering disease. Perhaps impotence puts an end to his allegedly promiscuous lifestyle.

So Burton – sick, weak, and in pain, desperate to create an ending worthy of his supreme narcissism – suddenly re-imagines the ARK. A message, perhaps similar to the one below, is broadcast to members around the world:

“Dear friends, C-influence has humbled me and shown me my error. The ARK we have built is real, but not of this gross, material world. It is a Metaphysical Ark, standing pristine and incorruptible, waiting for us – just a short step away.

Tonight I will take that step, will you join me?”

In Jonestown people killed each other and even their own children at their leader’s command.

I wonder how many Fellowship students would take their own lives to follow Burton to the grave?

And the children?

"Anna Tudor" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 21, 2013:
To me Burton’s promiscuity is not “alleged”; my ‘husband was one of his consorts and he told me that on Burton’s 60th birthday Burton received a ‘treat’ of 60 boys. You can imagine that this was more than just a logistic nightmare…

[ed. - To see some of the curiosities brought to rural Oregon House, CA as part of "Robert's Ark", see this video of The Fellowship of Friends "Camelot" and the website Apollo Camelot.]

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