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 wikispace 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.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Paul R.'s story

"Paul R" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 13, 2013:
I only recently discovered this blog [Fellowship of Friends Discussion]. I was a student in 1978 to 1979. I joined the Atlanta center after finding a bookmark in “Search of the Miraculous” [P.D. Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous]. I then moved to California to be closer to the teaching. But I left the school because I could not keep up with the monthly dues ($200 a month) and they wiped out my savings. I really did not want to leave the school, there was a sense of awe about the place, and I liked the illusion of being one of the chosen few. However, over time, I accepted that I was snookered by a con man and forgot about them. And of course that was verified when California didn’t crash into the ocean and there was no nuclear war. I became interested in them again when a friend told me about an Eckhart Tolle event she attended in San Francisco. Only it wasn’t about Eckhart Tolle, it was about the Fellowship of Friends. They had given her a tour of Renaissance (including an airplane tour) and were intensely pressuring her to join. The guy trying to recruit her said he could see an inner truth in her. They wanted her and her husband to attend one of those dinners. I told her they were a cult and the teacher was a con man. She didn’t go because of the way they misrepresented themselves on being an Eckhart Tolle group. But that story piqued my curiousity [sic] about them. I was surprised they were doing so well after the false predictions made by Robert. I read all the fascinating stories on this blog and websites. I consider myself fortunate compared to other former members of this cult. I only lost two years and my bank account, which was pretty meager. I had no clue about Robert’s sexual predations and his male harems. I can’t believe that I forked over money for his opulence and then his legal settlements.

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