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.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Linbu Society

[ed. - Bonita Hightower (Guido) and Robert Burton met at a party before New Years Day 1970, and thus began The Fellowship of Friends. See: "Early History of The Fellowship of Friends, as told by Student #1."

While directing the Hawaii center, Bonita asked for, and received, permission from Robert Burton to take a two-year leave of absence from the Fellowship. It is reported that she left Hawaii on December 26, 1973, accompanied by her spouse Hallstein Farestveit, who had also briefly been a member of the Fellowship. They flew to Oslo, Norway.

According to a source, Donald MacDonald was there to take over the Hawaii center and, while they were still in the air, he received word from Robert Burton that Bonita was no longer in the Fellowship. Robert said she was a "bad seed."

Bonita and Hallstein founded what would become The Linbu Society.]


"Martin from Berlin" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion, April 22, 2007:
Many years ago I came across a 'Fourth Way’ group mainly situated in Sweden. It turned out it was started by an ex-student of the FOF, who had left in the seventies. It was a copy of the FOF. I think it was called Linbu. And here comes the interesting part. It worked for many years — at least as a “conscious school” for the members. They used the same ideas as the FOF, body types, deck of cards, C-influence and the teacher gave himself a number. Their shops, dealing with semi-precious stones were called Arcena (the Arena of C-Influence). Apparently the members had no idea about the origin of the ideas and the form of the school (Correct me if I am wrong). I am sure they verified C-Influence within there frame of thought and believed they are part of a conscious school. Maybe somebody knows, what happened to them.

[ed. - The following reflection on The Linbu Society is reprinted from the Greater Fellowship website, with the permission of its author. He states that since writing the article, his assessment of Linbu has grown more critical.]

"Bjorn from Norway" wrote on the Greater Fellowship, June 30, 2011:
Hi everybody

Maybe you have no idea what "the Linbu Society" is, but you'll learn that pretty soon. And there will surely be some topics to discuss related to what I write here, even if you don't know this particular school/group.

The Linbu Society, or its precursor JOULA, was started by Mr. Hallstein Farestveit (HF) and Ms. Bonita Hightower (BH) some time around 1975 in Sweden. BH had been the first student in Robert Burton's FOF in California, and had later formed, or became leader of, a FOF center in Hawaii. It is unclear to me exactly for how long HF was a student in the FOF, but I know he resided in La Habra, California, in 1971 and 1972. And then some time around ... 1973 .... he also went to Hawaii, and was there working/studying together with BH. As far as I know - they were lovers.

Then, around 1975 they started a new Gurdjieff/Ouspensky center in Sweden. Or a few of them. And they were no longer students in FOF or connected with FOF in any way. As far as I know. At that time BH and HF were both teachers there in Sweden. Equals, so to speak. But later BH left and HF became (only) teacher. Around 1977, if I remember correctly, the Linbu Society - a foundation/charity - was founded. And this was so to speak the official name for what students called the Linbu School.

H. Linbu was the pseudonym taken by HF prior to writing his only book (so far): "The Theory of Conscious Light." Published in 1977 and very hard to get. A German edition was published in 2000.

I was a student in this school for about 8 years. 1989-1996. I "belonged" to the Småland center in the south of Sweden. It should be said that there were such centers in several countries: Norway, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Poland, in addition to Sweden. At the time there were two major centers in Sweden: the one I belonged to, and another just north of Gothenburg.

In regard to my 8-year experience I shall not go in to all the little details - just focus on what I feel are the most important points. Here they are:

1. It was an incredibly rich time. I mean - rich in experiences and rich in learning.

2. I am certain I did learn a lot - and that the Fourth Way is not just something in somebody's imagination. These things we learn about in the Fourth Way teaching are quite real. I mean, the teaching as it was presented in "In Search of the Miraculous." Not Burton eating muesli (with sprinkled gold dust on top) together with the 43 other enlightened ones. Always provided, of course, that we are able to understand these things at all. That's not to be taken for granted. Or maybe rather: that we are willing to make the efforts in order to verify what's in this teaching personally.

3. I have heard/read all the stories about Burton. But when it comes to Mr. HF, the teacher in the Linbu Society, I don't think I can paint the same picture. Never did I see him mistreat anybody or behave in ways I would call immoral. Sure, he could scream and yell and "make a big circus", but he was never aggressive. And I never heard any story about him taking sexual advantage of the female students, and so on and so on. (HF isn't homosexual. Unlike Burton.) In fact, I still see him as a "role model" in many ways, when I recall the way he used to behave in various situations. That said, I think I still should mention that HF drank quite a lot of alcohol. I never saw him not in control of himself - but intoxicated? Yes.

But at the same time: I don't know how it was in the beginning, but when I arrived in Sweden in 1989 the teacher (HF) had started the policy, so to speak, of only working with the "center directors" i.e. leaders of the groups of students. He often mingled with the rest of us too, but more often than not he just worked with the group leaders. Or was by himself - or with whoever was his girlfriend/partner at the time.

A very usual, and arguably very sensible, way of doing things. You work in the hierarchy - and delegate tasks to those below you - who in turn delegate the work further to those below them. And so on. I don't really have a problem with that. But ... and there's a but: even if the teacher might be man no. 7.5 (with flashing lights and a platinum diploma), the group leaders, who may be frustrated women with emotional instabilities, these group leaders (regardless of gender, really. We males can be wacky too) might cause all kinds of hell. Maybe just on a whim. Or the guys/girls just below these group leaders in the chain-of-command. And/or there's all kinds of idiotic and violent misunderstandings and conflicts that just manifest out of the void and cause all kinds of hubub.

This was why I left that school, really. My "center director", a middle-aged woman with an unusual potential for cruelty and intrigue of 1001 kinds, was simply "hacking me to death." In such a group environment there's also the sad tendency that the less powerful ones automatically begin to imitate/take the side of the more powerful one, and so help this one with any hacking-to-death that needs to be done. So ... on a day-to-day basis I met all this resistance. No matter how small and petty a matter was - the others, as a rule females (for some definite reason females were given more power than males in this school. Excepting the teacher, that is.), would begin "the hacking." And it never ended. In the end I just saw it as a matter of survival and decided to get the hell away from there. Before I either hurt myself, or hurt somebody else.

Anyway ... and it's a strange thing....: I felt, and I still feel, that it was exactly the right time for me to leave. Regardless of "all the circus/madness." As there was so much waiting for me "outside." I became a student when I was only 18, and so I had very little life experience. Back in "life" and "doomed forever" (a bit of humor there) at 25 I did definitely begin my "catching up" with so many things I still hadn't learned in my life.

At the same time ... another unusual thing: I was one of the very few, I reckon, who left this school/group without giving the school/leaders/teacher/teaching any negativity. I sent no angry letters and made no accusations about "causing trauma", "exploiting innocent young people" or anything like that. And, unlike a great many others who were students in this school, I did not steal any money or property as I left. You see - many students did this. As they left. But I could never have done such a thing. In my mind such a thing is very wrong.

I did however write some letters. To the teacher. Not many - all in all maybe 5 or 6 over the years. Sometimes I enclosed some small gift. My letters were only positive and I presented no criticism. But then - just the other day I receive a big envelope, posted by this "evil center director", whether by the teacher's order or not, containing 3 of my letters, one of them unopened + one beautiful rolled-up Chinese picture I had sent the teacher 5 or 6 years ago. No comments inside. No letter.

And I thought this was very harsh. Isn't even an "hello" in order? Or: if one does not like someone's letters - why not just throw them away/burn them? Why this need to return the letters? It's very extreme. But yeah - I get the message: "please be so kind and f**k off!" I just can't see what the big problem is. What's the point of having some school that hardly anybody has ever heard of due to this school keeping such an extremely low profile? What's the matter if someone sends a friendly letter, a greeting? Why divide everybody into students (= have a shred of hope) / ex-students (= dead forever and contagious)?

I don't really get it. Back in the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's and 1950's it was OK for people to talk together. To visit each other, write letters, and so on. I'm talking about "Fourth Way people." Collin and Nicoll were friends - not enemies. There was some circulation of students between the teachers/groups at the time, and a high degree of openness about what was going on, what was being studied and done and so on.

But now ... everything's terribly fragmented. FOF, who are led by a super-faggy money-crazed megalomaniac psychopath, declare everybody else "dead." And they're seemingly not very interested in the Fourth Way, anyway. Making money and keeping up appearances seems to be all. Or almost all.

The Linbu Society has ... 60(?) ... active members? Or maybe it's 30? And you can't find them. Unless you really, really know where to look and are 100% committed to following the order, as is said.

The Gurdjieff Foundation seems an old fossil. A kind of museum.

William Patterson has some thing going on, but I'm not really sure what it is. Doesn't really look like the Fourth Way. I think he means well, however. I don't think he's a bad person.

And then there are some "enneagram groups" who study God-knows-what, but it doesn't have anything to do with the Fourth Way. I know, I've looked in those books and seen some ...scary... videoclips.

So ... what's to become of the Fourth Way?

I'm really not sure. But personally I do have an ambition: I would like to start a group myself. In not too long time. And I want to produce a book dealing with the body types and the enneagram - as I feel I have something to contribute in that area/those areas. Wait and see. I'll start doing something soon.

Anyway - it's a discussion and it'd be good to discuss these things a bit. This little piece is just to "get started."

:)

Bjørn (aka "Bob Belsen")

Hallstein Faresveit
Additional material on The Linbu Society
http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=190308


Articles in Swedish:

http://www.skanskan.se/article/20140619/OSBY/140619423/-/kan-vara-en-av-sveriges-farligaste [ed. - Dead link]

https://www.flashback.org/t1041354

http://www.sjoberg.us/linbu.html


Articles in French:

Linbu is dangerous (!) (9 pages)

https://web.archive.org/web/20170923232231/http://prevensectes.com/linbu7.htm

[ed. - Also see the Norwegian Wikipedia page for Linbu.]


"Amanda Raphaelson" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 28, 2014:
Hi All,

I received information from Thomas Hightower [ed. - Thomas Váczy Hightower], Friday, that my mother, Bonita Hightower (Guido) had passed away on Thursday, July 24th of natural causes. She had been ill for many years. A small memorial service will be held in Denmark on Wed. afternoon, local time, and her ashes will be spread at sea. The In Memorandum section on the Greater Fellowship site will have more information soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bonita Hightower, Robert Burton's first student, passes away

Bonita Hightower (Guido), Robert Burton's first student, at Makaha, February 1973.
Photo by Drew Kampion.

[ed. - Bonita Hightower (Guido) and Robert Burton met at a party before New Years Day 1970, and thus began The Fellowship of Friends. See: "Early History of The Fellowship of Friends, as told by Student #1".]

"Amanda Raphaelson" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 28, 2014:

Hi All,

I received information from Thomas Hightower, Friday, that my mother, Bonita Hightower (Guido) had passed away on Thursday, July 24th of natural causes. She had been ill for many years. A small memorial service will be held in Denmark on Wed. afternoon, local time, and her ashes will be spread at sea. The In Memorandum section on the Greater Fellowship site will have more information soon.

"Tempus Fugit" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 2, 2014:
Bonita G. – A Brief Remembrance

I noticed there has not been much comment on the death of Bonita G., perhaps because most of you never knew her. When I joined the FOF in the early 1970’s there were something over 100 and something less than 150 members, so I got to know a fair number of them personally, including Bonita and her husband David.

Obviously she later remarried, but I know nothing of that. In fact, much is lost to time. I don’t recall how long I knew her or where our paths parted. I think she left a long time before I did. She was identified as the “first student” but details of her meeting with Burton were not public conversation, and I knew only she met him at a party.

My direct memories of Bonita are few but I can see her clearly as I write this post.

I remember Bonita as someone very special and very intense. She was a large woman. Her facial features were broad and she had long black hair. The most striking aspect of her appearance were her eyes, dark and deep. (Others who knew her better may correct me, but this is how she looks in my mind.)

I don’t recall conversations with Bonita so much as encounters! Her presence was powerful and serious. There was an air of mystery about her, and possession of secret knowledge. I liked her but she was also intimidating. Partly that was her status in the group, but it was also the feeling that when I spoke to her she was actually seeing me, actually there with me.

Thus when I was near her she pushed me to be in the present with her and be present to myself. And wasn’t that our goal?

"Tempus Fugit" added:
Well, well. I just re-discovered about this Fellowship of Friends wiki page where Bonita posted her own story in 1997.

Here’s the link. [ed. - Link no longer active.]

[ed. - While directing the Hawaii center, Bonita asked for, and received, permission from Robert Burton to take a two-year leave of absence from the Fellowship.

It is reported that she left Hawaii on December 26, 1973, accompanied by her spouse Hallstein Farestveit, who had also briefly been a member of the Fellowship. They flew to Oslo, Norway.

According to a source, Donald MacDonald was there to take over the Hawaii center and, while they were still in the air, he received word from Robert Burton that Bonita was no longer in the Fellowship. Robert said she was a "bad seed."


Bonita and Hallstein would eventually found The Linbu Society. The following reflection on The Linbu Society is reprinted from the Greater Fellowship website, with the permission of its author "Bjorn from Norway." He states that since writing the article, his assessment of Linbu has grown more critical.]


"Bjorn from Norway" wrote on the Greater Fellowship, June 30, 2011:
Hi everybody

Maybe you have no idea what "the Linbu Society" is, but you'll learn that pretty soon. And there will surely be some topics to discuss related to what I write here, even if you don't know this particular school/group.

The Linbu Society, or its precursor JOULA, was started by Mr. Hallstein Farestveit (HF) and Ms. Bonita Hightower (BH) some time around 1975 in Sweden. BH had been the first student in Robert Burton's FOF in California, and had later formed, or became leader of, a FOF center in Hawaii. It is unclear to me exactly for how long HF was a student in the FOF, but I know he resided in La Habra, California, in 1971 and 1972. And then some time around ... 1973 .... he also went to Hawaii, and was there working/studying together with BH. As far as I know - they were lovers.

Then, around 1975 they started a new Gurdjieff/Ouspensky center in Sweden. Or a few of them. And they were no longer students in FOF or connected with FOF in any way. As far as I know. At that time BH and HF were both teachers there in Sweden. Equals, so to speak. But later BH left and HF became (only) teacher. Around 1977, if I remember correctly, the Linbu Society - a foundation/charity - was founded. And this was so to speak the official name for what students called the Linbu School.

H. Linbu was the pseudonym taken by HF prior to writing his only book (so far): "The Theory of Conscious Light." Published in 1977 and very hard to get. A German edition was published in 2000.

I was a student in this school for about 8 years. 1989-1996. I "belonged" to the Småland center in the south of Sweden. It should be said that there were such centers in several countries: Norway, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Poland, in addition to Sweden. At the time there were two major centers in Sweden: the one I belonged to, and another just north of Gothenburg.

In regard to my 8-year experience I shall not go in to all the little details - just focus on what I feel are the most important points. Here they are:

1. It was an incredibly rich time. I mean - rich in experiences and rich in learning.

2. I am certain I did learn a lot - and that the Fourth Way is not just something in somebody's imagination. These things we learn about in the Fourth Way teaching are quite real. I mean, the teaching as it was presented in "In Search of the Miraculous." Not Burton eating muesli (with sprinkled gold dust on top) together with the 43 other enlightened ones. Always provided, of course, that we are able to understand these things at all. That's not to be taken for granted. Or maybe rather: that we are willing to make the efforts in order to verify what's in this teaching personally.

3. I have heard/read all the stories about Burton. But when it comes to Mr. HF, the teacher in the Linbu Society, I don't think I can paint the same picture. Never did I see him mistreat anybody or behave in ways I would call immoral. Sure, he could scream and yell and "make a big circus", but he was never aggressive. And I never heard any story about him taking sexual advantage of the female students, and so on and so on. (HF isn't homosexual. Unlike Burton.) In fact, I still see him as a "role model" in many ways, when I recall the way he used to behave in various situations. That said, I think I still should mention that HF drank quite a lot of alcohol. I never saw him not in control of himself - but intoxicated? Yes.

But at the same time: I don't know how it was in the beginning, but when I arrived in Sweden in 1989 the teacher (HF) had started the policy, so to speak, of only working with the "center directors" i.e. leaders of the groups of students. He often mingled with the rest of us too, but more often than not he just worked with the group leaders. Or was by himself - or with whoever was his girlfriend/partner at the time.

A very usual, and arguably very sensible, way of doing things. You work in the hierarchy - and delegate tasks to those below you - who in turn delegate the work further to those below them. And so on. I don't really have a problem with that. But ... and there's a but: even if the teacher might be man no. 7.5 (with flashing lights and a platinum diploma), the group leaders, who may be frustrated women with emotional instabilities, these group leaders (regardless of gender, really. We males can be wacky too) might cause all kinds of hell. Maybe just on a whim. Or the guys/girls just below these group leaders in the chain-of-command. And/or there's all kinds of idiotic and violent misunderstandings and conflicts that just manifest out of the void and cause all kinds of hubub.

This was why I left that school, really. My "center director", a middle-aged woman with an unusual potential for cruelty and intrigue of 1001 kinds, was simply "hacking me to death." In such a group environment there's also the sad tendency that the less powerful ones automatically begin to imitate/take the side of the more powerful one, and so help this one with any hacking-to-death that needs to be done. So ... on a day-to-day basis I met all this resistance. No matter how small and petty a matter was - the others, as a rule females (for some definite reason females were given more power than males in this school. Excepting the teacher, that is.), would begin "the hacking." And it never ended. In the end I just saw it as a matter of survival and decided to get the hell away from there. Before I either hurt myself, or hurt somebody else.

Anyway ... and it's a strange thing....: I felt, and I still feel, that it was exactly the right time for me to leave. Regardless of "all the circus/madness." As there was so much waiting for me "outside." I became a student when I was only 18, and so I had very little life experience. Back in "life" and "doomed forever" (a bit of humor there) at 25 I did definitely begin my "catching up" with so many things I still hadn't learned in my life.

At the same time ... another unusual thing: I was one of the very few, I reckon, who left this school/group without giving the school/leaders/teacher/teaching any negativity. I sent no angry letters and made no accusations about "causing trauma", "exploiting innocent young people" or anything like that. And, unlike a great many others who were students in this school, I did not steal any money or property as I left. You see - many students did this. As they left. But I could never have done such a thing. In my mind such a thing is very wrong.

I did however write some letters. To the teacher. Not many - all in all maybe 5 or 6 over the years. Sometimes I enclosed some small gift. My letters were only positive and I presented no criticism. But then - just the other day I receive a big envelope, posted by this "evil center director", whether by the teacher's order or not, containing 3 of my letters, one of them unopened + one beautiful rolled-up Chinese picture I had sent the teacher 5 or 6 years ago. No comments inside. No letter.

And I thought this was very harsh. Isn't even an "hello" in order? Or: if one does not like someone's letters - why not just throw them away/burn them? Why this need to return the letters? It's very extreme. But yeah - I get the message: "please be so kind and f**k off!" I just can't see what the big problem is. What's the point of having some school that hardly anybody has ever heard of due to this school keeping such an extremely low profile? What's the matter if someone sends a friendly letter, a greeting? Why divide everybody into students (= have a shred of hope) / ex-students (= dead forever and contagious)?

I don't really get it. Back in the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's and 1950's it was OK for people to talk together. To visit each other, write letters, and so on. I'm talking about "Fourth Way people." Collin and Nicoll were friends - not enemies. There was some circulation of students between the teachers/groups at the time, and a high degree of openness about what was going on, what was being studied and done and so on.

But now ... everything's terribly fragmented. FOF, who are led by a super-faggy money-crazed megalomaniac psychopath, declare everybody else "dead." And they're seemingly not very interested in the Fourth Way, anyway. Making money and keeping up appearances seems to be all. Or almost all.

The Linbu Society has ... 60(?) ... active members? Or maybe it's 30? And you can't find them. Unless you really, really know where to look and are 100% committed to following the order, as is said.

The Gurdjieff Foundation seems an old fossil. A kind of museum.

William Patterson has some thing going on, but I'm not really sure what it is. Doesn't really look like the Fourth Way. I think he means well, however. I don't think he's a bad person.

And then there are some "enneagram groups" who study God-knows-what, but it doesn't have anything to do with the Fourth Way. I know, I've looked in those books and seen some ...scary... videoclips.

So ... what's to become of the Fourth Way?

I'm really not sure. But personally I do have an ambition: I would like to start a group myself. In not too long time. And I want to produce a book dealing with the body types and the enneagram - as I feel I have something to contribute in that area/those areas. Wait and see. I'll start doing something soon.

Anyway - it's a discussion and it'd be good to discuss these things a bit. This little piece is just to "get started."

:)

Bjørn (aka "Bob Belsen")

Hallstein Faresveit
Additional material on The Linbu Society
http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=190308


Articles in Swedish:

http://www.skanskan.se/article/20140619/OSBY/140619423/-/kan-vara-en-av-sveriges-farligaste [ed. - Dead link]

https://www.flashback.org/t1041354

http://www.sjoberg.us/linbu.html


Articles in French:

Linbu is dangerous (!) (9 pages)

http://prevensectes.com/linbu7.htm

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

“I resent what you said about my church”

"Ms. Lew Neal" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 15, 2014:
Something very interesting just floated over the tele this afternoon. A local church group is “praying” for the FOF to be gone. My response was to make the destination kind – otherwise, the prayers may boomerang.

Caroline Myss said, “One good prayer is worth forty years of pushing hard rock.”

A couple years ago, Tom Richards (local rich boy) and Peter Moro (phonetic) [Peter Morrow], a rich FOF member, teamed up in what I called the Magnificent Nine, and proffered a community proposal to the Board of Supervisors that was clearly connected to the FOF property enhancement and a take over of policing, fire department, etc.for our village. Like they would control the town.

Richards presented to the BOS a hundred signed petitions saying we agreed with this proposal. BOS sent them back for a town hall meeting.

Well, I went through all the petitions and saw 95 were FOF members with foreign names. Since no one mentioned the petitions at our meeting of 90 town folks (which is a lot by our standards), I stood up toward the end of the meeting and mentioned that small fact, with the addendum of , “Why didn’t they ask any of us to sign their petition?”

Greg [Greg Holman] approached me at the close of the meeting, stood too close for instinctive comfort, and said through his teeth, “I resent what you said about my church”. I was caught off guard and felt threatened by his behavior and ugly look.

The good news is, he took his best shot. The next move he makes toward me will not be pleasant for him. He knows I fear him not one twit, although his sidekick Dambeck [Steven Dambeck] has told two people that he, Dambeck, would kill someone if Robert asked him to – the second person he said that to was just about a month ago. Not a comforting feeling for a little lady as myself. We have many socio/psychopaths within our midst. Please keep that in mind should anything happen to me. I’m not afraid – and I’m not stupid – and I’m not about to let them run away with this community, as humble as it may be.

Just received a tele call saying a board member of our community centre reportedly talked to the head of the FOF at a recent community center meeting. I believe that would be Asaf [Asaf Braverman]. They’re trying a full frontal attack. I’ll keep you posted when I verify who is alleging to be the head of the FOF. Also will make an appointment with Eric Vodden [ed. - Marysville-Yuba City Appeal-Democrat reporter] tomorrow. We’ll see who’s who in this game of banditos!

"Martin" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 15, 2014:
#172 Ms. Lew Neal [above]

“Church.” I find it really loathsome the way the FOF is wrapping itself in that word. At one of these public meetings, you might ask them how they see themselves as a “church.” They want all the respectability associated with that word, while behaving without the moral precepts and humility usually promulgated by a “church.” The word has Christian origins, yet they have repudiated Christianity as “feminine dominance.” Except, of course, in their reinterpretation of its “esoteric” origins, which they define for themselves, and define in such a way that it doesn’t prohibit the most exploitative practices among themselves. So how do they see “feminine dominance” in the churches of their surrounding community, to whom they are now reaching out? What is their real attitude toward, say, the practicing members of the local Congregational Church? Are they under “feminine dominance”? Do they experience contempt for them, a sense of superiority? Do they see them as dupes?

At the get-together you propose in your open letter for reconciliation, you might ask them about their “beliefs,” since the Fourth Way specifically says you must “believe” nothing. Do they use that word only so that they can pass themselves off as a “church”? What other words do they contort so they will appear to be a church for legal purposes? How about “tithe”? In most “churches” that is an ideal, not a requirement. Only in cults is it mandatory, under pain of expulsion. How do they see this?

What is their attitude towards suicide?

Members carry on like they’re in a brothel – and that’s an open secret, beginning with their leader. How do they reconcile behaving like rabbits on meth with mutual respect and fidelity towards each other? Ask them if Robert fornicates with married men. How do their wives feel about that? How does Asaf’s wife feel about that? How do they reconcile that with their “beliefs”? You might ask how they reconcile the search for “truth” with their behavior in the past and present, and with the requirements of “intentional insincerity.” For example, lying about the building of the Theatron without a permit. How do they view Gurdjieff’s ideas about “fleecing the sheep”? Is their reconciliation with the community an attempt to “fleece the sheep”? How do they distinguish their wish to reach out to the community from financial self-interest, given their income is likely dwindling?

How do they see private inurement issues in their “church”? Their leader “owns nothing” – yet lives like he owns a great deal. Is this a shell game so they can be a “church”?

They say they follow the great teachings of the ages, but this could be easily revealed to be balderdash by anyone with commonsense. Most teachings talk about renouncing greed, venality, concupiscence, self-interest. How do they reconcile this with their behavior? If they would murder for Robert … how do they reconcile that with “thou shalt not kill,” which is a pretty universal teaching in all religion?

If Greg is spitting the word “church” through his teeth … what does it mean to him? How does he reconcile his expression of resentment with his membership in a “church”? Is “I resent what you said about my church” the expression of a “negative emotion,” in his lingo? Is it a patient expression of humility and a remorseful recognition of past arrogance, pride, and selfish behavior towards one’s neighbors?

Is this all just a show towards self-interested ends, as it has been in the past?

Sorry about the local coup d’etat, Ms. Lew Neal. Good luck with all that. I suspect Eric Vodden has a journalism degree from a local community college and is being paid ten bucks an hour. He wants to be one of the cool kids, and feels very sophisticated associating with FOFers and putting one over on the rubes. He doesn’t know yet they view him as a rube. The joke’s on him.

Adios, friends. This is all bringing back bad memories. Acid reflux of the mind.

"Martin" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 15, 2014:
Parting shot for Ms. Lew: You might want to ask them how they feel about bigamy, as a “church,” since it’s rumored one of their prominent members [Asaf Braverman]was unable to return to the country for some time while the feds sorted out his multiple marriages. Another case of “intentional insincerity,” I guess. The hypocrisy and cynicism staggers the mind.

"Associated Press" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 15, 2014:
Following on to Martin, Ms. Lew Neal [above], you can ask about:

– How for years/decades donations were required that were designated for specific ‘church’ purposes but were then used for other purposes that were not ‘religious’ in nature – like buying baubles for Robert Burton or Robert Burton’s harem. How many years were ‘Winery Donations’ collected twice yearly that did not go entirely toward building and completing a winery according to the advertised construction plan? Fraud!

– How for some time, even if you paid donations, you could not attend ‘religious’ services because none existed (in Oregon House) – additional payments were required to attend the only venue with Robert Burton?

– How ‘church’ property was given a way to favorite persons like: Steven D. [Steven Dambeck] and others, who did (or did not, as the case may be) kiss the right anatomy? Private inurement.

– How slave labor was/is imported from all over the world to do the ‘church’s’ (Read: Robert Burton’s) bidding? Oh! compared to where they came from, they would love their new occupations and compensation. Immigration and labor violations.

– How multiple shell corporations exist to hide assets and cash flow? Conspiracy to defraud.

– How Fellowship of Friends attorneys, who were ‘church’ members, pointed out some of these ‘illegalities’ and were dismissed from service to the Board of Directors for doing so? Breach of fiduciary duty and conspiracy to breach fiduciary duty.

– How numerous Fellowship of Friends members were/are ‘excommunicated’ (shunned) for frivolous reasons (without appeal process or concern for personal consequences to the persons), frequently at the whim of Robert Burton and the team of flying monkeys? Silencing dissent.

– How numerous Fellowship of Friends/Robert Burton collections (Ming Chinese furniture, etc., worth millions of dollars) are amassed while the collective dining facility is condemned by the county and member laborers starve.

Funny how many of these have been alleged in lawsuits that were settled out-of-court. Alleged, because the cases were sealed to protect the guilty. One such case was settled for a supposed $5,000,000 – possibly paid, not from Fellowship of Friends assets, but, by an insurance company. Later, insurance would become very expensive, or, could not be had at any price.

Here is a list from one of the suits:

1. Fraud
2. Intentional infliction of emotional distress
3. Negligent infliction of emotional distress
4. Breach of fiduciary duty
5. Negligent supervision
6. Sexual misconduct with a min
7. Sexual harassment
8. Wrongful discharge
9. Negligence
10. Failure to pay minimum wage
11. Battery

Read this Los Angeles Times article:

Trouble Taints a Cerebral Sanctuary

This is good citizenship and good neighbor behavior? These are entrenched actions that have gone on for 44 years and likely to continue.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Day Barque Volume 2, Number 1

[ed. - As previously mentioned, in offering these Fellowship of Friends publications for sale, no mention is made of the organization they promote and support. The Fellowship calls The Day Barque, "a more artistic expression of our School." The following comes from Amazon.com.]

The Day Barque is a review of poetry, prose and works of art exploring the age-old quest for the divinity within. It focuses on the moment-to-moment struggle to connect with that which is timeless and eternal while being bound by time in an earthly body.

The Day Barque is published bi-annually by the Apollo Poetry Society in the foothills of Northern California. The Day Barque contains poems, stories, paintings, drawings, and other works of art from contributors worldwide, all of whom are actively involved in the effort of being present, also known as self-remembering, mindfulness, self-inquiry, prayer of the heart, and know thyself, among many other names.

Our central theme—the journey of the seeker to awaken from sleep—is that at the heart of all the world's great traditions, including Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Sufi, Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Stoic, Platonic, Non-Dualist, the Fourth Way, as well as the principal subject of the world’s epics, myths and fairy tales. In this second issue (Volume 2 - Number 1), we feature contributions from poets, writers, and artists [all current or now-former Fellowship of Friends members] from Rome, Athens, Moscow, Istanbul, London, Prague, Ahmedabad, Cairo, and Apollo, California.