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 on 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 wiki 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, June 17, 2013

"North Yuba Grown" serves to promote Fellowship of Friends cult

[ed. - North Yuba Grown was ostensibly created "to Promote and Support Local Agriculture," but some members and supporters may be unaware that the non-profit organization also serves to advance the interests of an Oregon House-based cult called The Fellowship of Friends, directly benefiting its leader Robert Earl Burton, who is regarded a psychopath by many former members. A significant contingent of North Yuba Grown's founders and members pay tax-deductible earnings-based tithes directly to the Fellowship of Friends, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

While pursuing the commendable goal of strengthening and promoting local ranches and farms, North Yuba Grown, wittingly or unwittingly provides a marketing service to the Fellowship of Friends. The positive, wholesome image masks a concerted and desperate underlying campaign to replenish the Fellowship's depleted coffers. When many of its members must turn to social welfare for essential services, the Fellowship of Friends continues to nourish the legendary greed and ambition of cult founder and self-appointed monarch Robert Burton.

It is noteworthy that The Fellowship and Burton are absent from North Yuba Grown's promotions. They remain the unacknowledged "elephant in the room." While presumed to be independent of The Fellowship, Apollo Olive Oil, Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, Sierra d'Oro, and Grant-Eddie are operated by Fellowship members and each helps sustain Burton's kingdom.

I would suggest North Yuba Grown members be queried about their affiliation with the Fellowship of Friends. Though the Fellowship has contributed to the community in many ways, it has a long and sordid history of both documented and alleged criminal activity including sexual abuse of a minor, rape, narcotics violations, money-laundering, fraud, tax avoidance and evasion, legal intimidation, intentional disregard for government ordinances, private inurement from church assets, misrepresentation, and many other charges. A well-executed public relations campaign cannot expunge the record.]

North Yuba Grown

North Yuba Grown on Facebook
Steven Dambeck, ex-Fellowship of Friends minister, co-founder of Apollo Olive Oil, speaks on behalf of North Yuba Grown at the Yuba County "Perspectives 2013" business luncheon, April 26, 2013:
Part 1:

Part 2:
[ed. - July 2017 note: The YouTube videos are no longer available, though a few of Dambeck's comments are cited on the Appeal-Democrat website. As of this date, the Fellowship of Friends lawsuit against Yuba County in which it claims it is owed a refund of $600,000 in overpaid property taxes for a property that has historically been used for both exempt and non-exempt purposes remains in closed-door settlement negotiations. The "worship center" at the center of this suit has for decades been the alleged site of criminal activities for which the Fellowship and its leader Robert Burton have been sued.]

Getting Political

According to an article in the Appeal-Democrat, North Yuba Grown member Randy Fletcher "has announced he will seek election next year to the Yuba County Board of Supervisors seat held by longtime board member Hal Stocker." Stocker currently represents the Fellowship's district.

Fellowship member Steven Dambeck is promoting events at Fletcher's Chestnut Grove in Brownsville. (That's Steven's phone number on the site.) Dambeck's new consulting business, North Fork Yuba River, shares the same Marysville address as Fletcher & Associates Insurance. It would appear from this cozy relationship that
the Fellowship of Friends "church" is maneuvering to increase its influence upon local politics.

For a list of North Yuba Grown events at the Chestnut Grove, see the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce calendar.


  1. You guys are fucked. You are shitting on the town I grew up in, ruining admirable small-farm businesses. I'm not even in the FOF, but what you are doing here is pissing on a whole region of sustainable agriculture and businesses. Those of us that never had a choice of where we grew up like to GIVE BACK to the community rather than suck the life out of it. You are the crack dealers in my burrough, the gun slingers in my barrio. I work hard to try to put this place on the map for good food and quality values and you are taking out your own twisted escapist journey on the normal people trying to convert a meth-addicted county into something special. Go and fuck yourself.

    1. If you believe the claims of Fellowship of Friends members, this and similar blogs have little or no impact whatsoever.

      Even so, if you choose to partner with Robert Burton's Fellowship of Friends, as members of North Yuba Grown have elected to do, as a business person you should know with whom you are associating. This blog sketches out the Fellowship's forty-three-year history in Oregon House. I encourage you to do some homework.

      Consider the experiences of those with first-hand knowledge of the cult, and who, collectively, have witnessed and reported decades of abuses and crimes committed by Robert Burton, and by others on behalf of Burton.

      The "crack dealer" in your community resides in a luxurious chateau where he carries on as royalty. He adorns himself with precious jewels and the finest clothes. His every need is attended to by an entourage of personal assistants. He is chauffeured in luxury cars, relaxes at exclusive resorts around the globe, dines at restaurants you and I would not be welcome in, and preys upon the handsomest young heterosexual males that his ministers can procure.

      Tell me how this benefits you and others in the foothill community? How is this addressing the meth problem in Yuba County?

      As suggested in the title of this blog, you would be unlikely to hear most of these stories from current members. And the reclusive Burton barely acknowledges the community that has gradually learned to live with the cult. But he will never feel accountable to his neighbors. To Burton, if you are not a member of his "church," you literally do not even exist.

      But I am obviously biased. Growing up in Oregon House, perhaps you'd like to share some anecdotes about your personal encounters with your neighbor Robert Burton, and how he has personally enriched your community.

      - ed.