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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fletcher Gets Board Consensus

[ed. - Fellowship of Friends political operative Nick Spaulding has for years been working on behalf of Fellowship landowners (and, some say, for Oregon House rancher Tom Richards) to loosen development restrictions in Oregon House. Now, with 5th District Supervisor Randy Fletcher's sympathetic ear, prospects for the Fellowship's development plans appear brighter.]

"Nick Spaulding wrote in a letter to eTerritorial Dispatch, July 29, 2015:
Fletcher Gets Board Consensus

Background

After the 1996 General Plan’s adoption, policy 16LUP became Yuba Ordinance 12:80:060 et al, and balanced rural property rights against Calif. Dept. of Fish & Game deer herd restrictions. Without 16LUP, the density for residences outside rural community boundaries was 1 single-family home per 20 or 40 acre parcel. With 16LUP, the density could be 1 residence per 5 acres IF half of the total parcel acreage was dedicated to open space. So, if you had 40 acres, with 16LUP you could create 8 residential lots, IF the home sites were “clustered” together and thereby leaving the rest to open space use.

The consensus of agricultural professionals then, was that 16LUP clustered housing is superior to checker boarding the foothills with big 20 and 40 acre parcels with a single house in the middle.

Rural property rights policy “16LUP” is soon to receive a public hearing promised over 4 years ago.

Just as this political football was about to be kicked down the road for another few years, Yuba County’s 5th District Supervisor, Randy Fletcher differed with Planning Director, Wendy Hartman’s version of recent events. Hartman’s staff Report stated that the Board and Planning Commission’s decision on handling 16LUP was that it would mean an Amendment to the General Plan, and it was too late to review it now, but could do so in the next General Plan Update,” still years away.

Fletcher stated at the July 21st Board meeting that the Board’s June 4th decision was actually to handle the 16LUP issue separately, so as not to slow down approval of the rest of the Draft Development Code’s provisions. The official audio recordings from Board and Planning Commission meetings appear to support Fletcher’s recollection. Both Planning Commission Chair Alyssa Lindman and Warner Phillips noted Hartman’s Staff report version of events differed from theirs.

Consensus was reached when Fletcher proposed a comprehensive review and hearing on 16LUP be scheduled before the Planning Commission in the coming months. The Commission would report back to the Board. If the Commission finds some version of 16LUP to be consistent with the 2030 General Plan, it could be presented to the Board for inclusion into the new Development Code and Ordinances. After the 1996 General Plan’s adoption, policy 16LUP became Yuba Ordinance 12:80:060 et al, and balanced rural property rights against Calif. Dept. of Fish & Game deer herd restrictions.

Without 16LUP, the density for residences outside rural community boundaries was 1 single-family home per 20 or 40 acre parcel. With 16LUP, the density could be 1 residence per 5 acres IF half of the total parcel acreage was dedicated to open space. So, if you had 40 acres, with 16LUP you could create 8 residential lots, IF the home sites were “clustered” together and thereby leaving the rest to open space use.

The consensus of agricultural professionals then, was that 16LUP clustered housing is superior to checker boarding the foothills with big 20 and 40 acre parcels with a single house in the middle.

The current controversy began when, in 2011, Planner Hartman told the Board, and the public, that 16 LUP would not be discussed during the General Plan update process, but rather later, in the structuring of the new Draft Development Code. Then there would be public input, along with Board and Commission input and review.

Now, 4 years later, the Development Code is being crafted Community Development Director Kevin Mallen stated that 16LUP is a General Plan issue, not a Development Code issue. So, the chance to get it recognized in this round of General Plan and Development Code had passed.

[ed. - Further background on the story:]


"Nick Spaulding wrote in a letter to eTerritorial Dispatch, February 9, 2015:
Deceptive Development Code from Yuba County Staff?

Deceptive politicians can be (and have been) voted out of office. But what about un-elected county staff, when they create politically motivated, utopian ordinances like those in the 500-page Draft Yuba County Development Code?

Staff’s words are deceptive when saying new policies reflect “best practices.” Best practices really means practices that the urban-slanted American Planning Association and their consultant members have decided are “best” for the rest of us, regardless of any true economic impacts on local farmers, industries, businesses, families, property owners and taxpayers.

After three years, Staff and their consultants finally presented the draft of ordinances to Supervisors. Staff’s “best practices” promoted concepts like “Number of Livestock Per Animal Unit (AU),” where Staff attempted to regulate the numbers and types of animals allowed per acre of rural property, regardless of the of property’s topography or grazing capacity. Their chart showed a formula where 20 chickens are equal to 4 goats, or 2 pigs, or 1 cow, etc., when thinking of how many AU’s would be allowed on your acreage.

Deceptive, because this level of political engineering was never mentioned in any of staff’s “public input” sessions, but when finally brought to light just two weeks ago, Supervisors acknowledged extremely negative public feedback and directed staff to eliminate the concept. Finally, real, practical public input was being considered by staff.

Oddly, back in August, 2010, Planning Dir. Wendy Hartman stated “Currently, the County does not have sufficient funding to prepare these two essential implementation measures of our 2030 General Plan.” Hartman wrote those words on the County’s application to Sacramento for the $378,000 Sustainable Communities Grant in order to pay for this Development Code and a yet-to-come Climate Action Plan.

How is it possible that Yuba County did not have sufficient funding for this “once every 25 years” update for these most basic land use authority documents? And, over the previous 25 years, was there no budget set-asides for any funding for the General Plans update that is required by law? So, our $1.25 Million General Plan was primarily paid for with liberal policy grant money, and now our new Development Code and Climate Action Plan are also being paid for with mostly grant money?

Question: When conservative Yuba County goes to liberal Sacramento and begs for a liberal “Sustainable Communities Planning Grant” what will Sacramento be expecting for their money? Answer: Something
very green?

Seems that’s how Yuba got a grant when 164 other applicants didn’t. Yuba did give Sacramento something very green. Yuba’s new General Plan recently won a green award from the Sacramento Area Assoc. of Environmental Professionals. But, Yuba County historically votes 60% conservative, while the State of California goes opposite with 60% liberal. It’s a rural versus urban situation. Supervisors had directed Staff to create a minimally green plan that would follow, but not go beyond state law. That’s not what Staff has delivered.

So, Yuba County’s Billion Dollar rural, agricultural and related industrial economy is in danger of being controlled by staff level urban designers more suited to Marin or San Francisco area counties. Deception comes in handy when trying to get a conservative county to swallow a big, liberal land use development code.

Planning and development directors are un-elected employees, and they are making north of $130,000 a year. Also, grant money not only paid for consultants, it also covered much of staff’s time to work on the code. Would less grant money have also meant less staff paid hours, and less green in the code?

Nick Spaulding
Oregon House, Ca.

Letter to eTerritorial Dispatch, March 23, 2015:
Spaulding Is On Your Side

I and many other residents of Yuba County have been interacting with Nick Spaulding, for several years now regarding the 2030 General Plan and its implementation now, through the new proposed code ordinances that are being challenged by many residents. Nick is a tireless advocate for personal liberties and property rights. We appreciate that he researches proposed local land use issues and updates concerned citizens of the codes ramifications to their property rights. Nick looks through a prism that sets aside all the nice sounding, honey- coated words, like “sustainable growth” and “environmentally friendly”. Nick will tell you what they really mean to the eroding of your property rights and freedom to use your own property. If you want an advocate, call Nick Spaulding.

Frank & Marcia Cecil
Browns Valley, Ca.

[ed. - A surprising rift between Fellowship members Steven Dambeck and Nick Spaulding?]

"Steven Dambeck" wrote in a letter to eTerritorial Dispatch, on March 9, 2015:
Doesn't Agree with Spaulding letter

To address the recent reckless and inappropriate attacks leveled by Nick Spaulding against the Yuba County Planning Director, Wendy Hartman, both in these pages and at County meetings: Mr. Spaulding paints Ms. Hartman as a woman with vast powers and evil intentions. In fact, her role is primarily that of information facilitator and problem solver; a role she plays with great professionalism. He should know that land use policy comes not from staff, but from the community's elected leadership.

Zoning ordinances are currently being revised. This is tricky business. It involves implementing local, state and federal policy, while balancing the directives of County leadership and the diverse needs of County residents. Ms. Hartman has guided this process well, actively soliciting involvement from stakeholders throughout the County, and effectively incorporating their feedback. Those of us who are actively involved in the process see that our land use needs will be more effectively met under the revised codes than they are being currently. And we see a County staff that is committed -- as never before -- to helping build a vibrant and prosperous community.

If instead of slinging mud from the sidelines, Mr. Spaulding would take the trouble to attend these events in a constructive way and to help find viable solutions to some of the thorny issues that confront us, he would find Ms. Hartman to be, as the rest of us do, a positive and collaborative partner in the process; one who is attentive and responsive to our needs, and focused on helping us find the best solutions possible.

Steven Dambeck
Oregon House, Ca.

Former Yuba County 5th District Supervisor Hal Stocker's letter published in the Appeal-Democrat, October 20, 2015:
A while back, Tom Richards complained in the local papers about rough treatment he got from Yuba County in terms of refusal to re-zone 5,000 acres in south Oregon House into smaller acres...so he could put in a big subdivision...and cash in big.

Now we have Nick Spaulding, on much the same kick, going along with Richards (as usual), with letters in the papers.

The lands they want to develop are outside the community boundary and therefore restricted to larger parcels (such as 20, or 40, or 60 aces, whereas smaller 5-acre parcels are allowed only within the community boundary).

The policy here, which has always been popular with the locals, is to build most of the new houses within the established communities, on smaller parcels (5 acres), while maintaining the rest of the area as "open space"...of larger parcels.

Through the years, a few locals have been preoccupied with development of the Dobbins-Oregon House area, such as condominiums east of Collins Lake and, later, a community water-sewer system along Rices Crossing Road. Fortunately, the community organized — with a vengeance — and shot down both items.

With our horrendous drought, it would foolhardy to consider new subdivisions in Dobbins-Oregon House, when there is not enough water to go around. And some rainy years would not solve the problem. We need to plan for, and mitigate, future water shortages.

And we must not forget the extreme danger of fires in Dobbins-Oregon House, demonstrated by catastrophic fires in 1997 and 1999 (Williams and Pendola).

And as patiently explained to me a few times by long-term fire tower manager and guru, Greg Crompton, housing projects on one-way-out roads, such as Rices Crossing Road and Dixon Hill Road, are a particularly bad idea, since residents are likely to get trapped, with no ready way out, by a north wind-driven fire. Talk about more catastrophes.

Hopefully, Spaulding's subdivision schemes fail with the county, with our new foothill supervisor leading the way. If not, it may be up to the community to put things right (such as with DOACT, in the past) and make sure Mr. Spaulding and the Fellowship are responsible community members...with all of us having a chance to enjoy, and even luxuriate in, our natural, hard-to-beat foothill country.

Hal Stocker
Challenge

Before you board the Fellowship of Friends Ark, a warning

Fellowship of Friends cult Ark in Time logo by Asaf Braverman
"Ark in Time" logo
"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 28, 2015:
If anyone who has had no connection to the FoF, but is interested in that organization reads this, I’m writing just for you. And of course, the following is just my opinion.

If you want to join a group of people who mostly (but not all) started off as sincere, nice, well–meaning folks, but whose entire ‘spiritual’ center of gravity is based on faith, know that in advance—and accept the consequences. Look through earlier pages of this blog for posts by folks like ‘Daily Cardiac’, or in later pages by ‘I in the sky’ for excellent representations of the typical follower’s point of view. Know that many of us (I dare say, probably most) who have ‘been through the mill’ have concluded that the leader, Robert Burton, is a sexual predator, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and that having sex with large numbers of the heterosexual young men who depend on him for spiritual guidance is his chief occupation—and has been for more than forty years. Know that if you are a young, even moderately good-looking young heterosexual male who enters his orbit, you will most probably end up having sex with him. Know that your fellow followers will approve of this, encourage this, and the less than good-looking ones will envy you (though these are few, Burton’s tastes are very catholic). In other words, in their world–view, this is completely normal and expected. Know that he has no control in this matter, and has never demonstrated will or restraint; he is a complete slave to his lust. Know that his followers excuse and even justify this ‘supersex’ (as he terms it) because he is a ‘conscious being’.

Know also that Burton is a life–long misogynist. He has no use for women, unless they have money or influence. Moreover, he states that they cannot ‘awaken’ as women in this lifetime. This means that if you are a woman, you will (according to Burton) definitely have to wait for a ‘role in a future lifetime as a man’ (with the sole exception of Elizabeth I, Queen of England, for some reason) to be able to ‘awaken’, whatever that is.

If you happen to be here because you are interested in the Fourth Way, know that, apart from words freely borrowed from books about the Fourth Way, this cult has no connection with the Fourth Way whatsoever.

The Fourth Way terms are bait, pure and simple. There has been no transmission of knowledge or energy from Alex Horn to Robert Burton. Nor was there a transmission from J.G. Bennett to Horn (whose entire experience of the Fourth Way in the direct line was as a three–week drop–in at the end of one of J.G. Bennett’s courses in England). Horn had no contact with Rodney Collin, whatever Burton claims or insinuates. The rest came from books or odd meetings with others interested in the Fourth Way. Whatever the level of Horn, Burton failed miserably to fulfill the task given to him, to cease his sexual pursuit of male fellow ‘students’. And, Burton himself is openly proud of the fact that he has never read any work of Gurdjieff. His quotes of Gurdjieff’s words come from his brief encounters with Ouspensky’s books and what he has picked up from his more organized or intellectual followers. He has yet to explain the vast gap between his being a self-proclaimed Man number 7.9, or whatever, and the next and only ‘conscious product’ of his organization, the infamous Girard Haven, official hagiographer, Man number 5 point something. Remember the Fourth Way idea that one has to help put someone in one’s place before one can ‘move on’?

As a particular example, the meaning of the word ‘verification’ has been turned on its head. As you inevitably reorient yourself to the Fellowship groupthink (your new friends are so nice, so helpful, so knowledgeable, and you are so eager to learn, to please, to fit in…), you will be persuaded that ‘testing’ hypotheses according to reason and the scientific method is faulty thinking, emanating from your ‘lower self’, the Devil. Instead the major part of your ‘work’ is to first accept given/revealed articles of faith as true and then strive to find evidence for them. Failing that, you are to ‘observe and record’ and put any doubting thoughts ‘on the back burner’, or, as you become more advanced, dispense with them altogether because they are generated by your ‘lower self’. When the back burner is full, you will be kept so busy you won’t notice the older thoughts ‘to be worked with later’ permanently falling into oblivion. Know that the many general ‘exercises’ given out by Burton are a miraculous one–size fits all. Any individual attention that each follower may need is farmed out to one or other of the 45 angels, the discorporate remains of (mostly) white, male Europeans who have left a historical record. More than strange, huh? Almost all the personal exercises given by Dear Teacher are of the “C-Influence wishes you to externally consider me, give up your body for my pleasure” type. Though, for variety, there are the never–ending requests for more money, gifts, favors of all kinds, or “Marry this person or that”.

Know that Burton is probably the most superstitious person you will ever hear of or meet. This ‘conscious being’, having lost his own internal way, relies on external signs of every type, from chance license plate numbers to a grotesque numerology and symbology, whose significance is supported and ‘researched’ by the members themselves, and as stated above, always seeking ‘proof’ to support the pre–conceptions. One example among literally thousands: Burton interprets the number of rhino poops in prehistoric cave drawings as messages the artists intentionally left for him across hundreds of centuries! Based on this rare sensitivity, Burton continually makes prophecies, whose record of complete failure (including highlights such as the drowning of California in 1998, nuclear Armageddon in 2006, the end of history in 2012, the production of seven ‘conscious beings’, and so on) he petulantly explains in terms such as, “C–Influence has humiliated me”. At the same time, mirabile dictu, Burton claims that every jot and title of existence is preordained, a ‘play written by the angels’. In his universe, he supplies the ‘crazy’ while his followers infer the ‘wisdom’, so all in the narcissistic dance are happy.

Oh, and you’ll be glad he has made improvements to the Fourth Way apart from inventing 45 angels whose sole welfare is those who write checks to Burton, and who will organize and attend the complete destruction of the rest of humanity. For example, unlike Gurdjieff, Ouspensky or Bennett in whose teachings conscience is as important as, and inseparable from, consciousness, Burton has little use for the former. In fact he claims:
“Conscience is just a collection of I’s. Anyone accumulating too much should leave the school”.
One less thing to worry about, huh? And as strong an indicator as any that he doesn’t have conscience—and hence, consciousness—himself. You will also be interested to know that he and his followers discarded the Fourth Way for a few years, until declining membership made it necessary to bring out that particular bait again.

If you indeed value the Fourth Way, then before you consider joining the Fellowship of Friends, you owe it to yourself to find out everything you can about them. There is much more in these pages and elsewhere. I know, it is quite an effort to go through them. But the time you invest doing this is miniscule compared to the time you will waste and the harm that may befall you if you join the cult. I’m not claiming you will learn nothing if you join, just that you can achieve better results in far less time elsewhere, without paying the ludicrous price the greedy and literally insatiable Burton demands.

So much for the Fourth Way. How about if you are interested in the Second Way? 

If you take a masochistic satisfaction in being told what to do in all areas of your life, have blind trust in authoritarian structures, have faith in revealed truths, and desperately need to cultivate obedience, you’ll certainly be interested in some form of the Second Way. But why not just join the Carthusians or some other group with a good record? For a start, they are much quicker and more efficient. You have the possibility of reaching salvation during or at the end of this lifetime. Not so in Burton’s religion. He claims you will need many lifetimes of unremitting toil and devotion to counter your built–in weaknesses and achieve ‘immortality’. Meanwhile, Mr. “Do as I say, not as I do” trusts NOT to the future, but lives the life of a spoiled potentate right now. He will use your money to live luxuriously. If you are a young male, he will likely use your body for his sexual pleasure. He will travel widely at your expense. He will dress in the finest and most expensive clothing, silken underwear, drink wine worth hundreds of dollars at every meal, drive the best cars, travel first class everywhere, and give rich gifts to his lovers—while he favors them—all from your earnings. His followers exist to hang on every word, gratify every whim, and worship him as, in his own words, “the brightest light in 2,000 years”, the self–claimed equivalent and successor to Christ. Not so incidentally, he is ‘beyond Judeo–Christian morality’ (though he has yet to formulate a successor, though we do know there will be no minimum age of consent).

Why would you want to dive into the fantasy world of this twisted, lying madman, who seems to exist solely for the titillation of the nerve endings in his penis and anus—and for shopping? Rather, go join an order of nuns or monks. If you are interested in experiencing the state popularly known as consciousness, study Zen or become a Buddhist.

Otherwise, please stick around back here with the rest of us and try to do the best you can for yourself and your fellow humans with love and integrity, living and enjoying life in all its juicy mess, ups and downs, accepting the need for risks, facing the unknown and unknowable with all the courage you can muster.

Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton), sexual predator in shepherd's clothing
Robert Earl Burton has lured countless young men for his own sexual gratification

Friday, July 24, 2015

It’s a labor of love on ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ at Arts Summer Festival in Oregon House

Appeal-Democrat

Friday, July 24, 2015 10:03 pm

By Leticia Gutierrez lgutierrez@appealdemocrat.com

William Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost," with a cast of people with international backgrounds, arrives this week in a location that may not be well-known to many.

The Arts Summer Festival, presented by Apollo Arts regularly for about the past 20 years, is at the Renaissance Vineyard and Winery in Oregon House.

"We're trying to have it more open to the public," said Greg Holman, president of the Fellowship of Friends, owner of the location.

Previous productions were more for a limited community and sold out quickly.

Holman added the summer festival was also open to the general public last year.

"We like people to visit and feel welcome to attend (the plays)."

"Love's Labor's Lost" will be performed at the outdoor theater at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at 12587 Rice's Crossing Road. Tickets are $12-$35. Seating is limited.

"It's a musical and a wonderful story with very unique characters," said director Ansley Braverman. "The level of production will be quite a surprise for our area."

The cast includes actors of various ages and acting experience, she said. "It's a nice blend of experience and generations."

Though the play, very popular when written in the 16th century, has lost favor over the years, "we've tried to use (Shakespeare's) attitude and make it accessible to a modern audience," Braverman said.

"I think anyone can follow the story and be delighted."

During the intermission, French-style appetizers and wines selected to complement the play based in 18th century France will be available for purchase.

"You're not just attending a Shakespeare play, you're having a whole experience," Braverman said. "We have an incredible set. Your eyes will be pleased; your taste buds will be tickled ... the music you will hear."

All on a stage at a lake with a background of a vineyard and a setting sun.

"We try to make it a fun, light evening that anyone can enjoy."

For reservations, email jean@apolloarts.org or call 692-2437.

Know & Go

• What: William Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost."

• When: 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

• Where: Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, 12587 Rice's Crossing Road, Oregon House.

• Tickets: $12-$35.

• Call: 692-2437.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Lost Treasures in the Sierra Foothills: The Wines of Renaissance Vineyards"

[ed. - From vinography.com. A companion piece, "America's Most Peculiar Appellation," was published on jancisrobinson.com. (See below)]
The Fellowship of Friends' Renaissance Vineyard - Oregon House, CA

By Alder Yarrow

Soon after gold was discovered in California in 1848, and word spread east, more than 80,000 prospectors descended upon the foothills of the Sierra's in search of their fortunes. Most only found hardship and broken dreams. Almost as soon as the Gold Rush began, stories began to circulate about "lost mines," rich troves of gold that were never to be found again when their discoverers met with misfortune. Even today an occasional prospector still goes in search of these forgotten treasures.

What would you think if I told you that the legends of a massive treasure buried in the foothills were true? But instead of far up a hidden valley, this treasure lies stacked in the dusty dark corners of a building that was itself something of a failed dream. Instead of gold, this treasure takes the form of thousands of bottles of some of the most terroir-driven wine that has ever been produced in the history of California winemaking.

The story of how these amazing bottles came to be gathering dust instead of adorning the wine lists of America's finest restaurants is as strange as it is remarkable.
[ed. - Above, the interior of Renaissance Winery, which was also designed to withstand the nuclear holocaust Robert Burton predicted would take place in 2006. Fellowship members would shelter in the building, then emerge following the holocaust and found a new civilization.]
It begins with a man named Robert Earl Burton, a charismatic spiritual teacher who founded an organization known as the Fellowship of Friends. This group is registered as a non-profit religious organization in the State of California, but anyone who is no longer a member will likely describe it as a cult. Members are expected to tithe 10% of their income to the organization; like many such organizations it has found itself accused of everything from tax evasion to the sexual misconduct of its leader (those charges were settled out of court); and Burton has supposedly issued several near-Doomsday prophesies over the years as well as purportedly arranging marriages for his followers.

In 1971, Burton purchased 1300 acres of land in the heart of Yuba County just outside of a tiny town called Oregon House that once served as a rest stop for weary Gold Rush travelers after they crossed the nearby Yuba River. On this massive, undeveloped piece of land, which he christened Apollo, Burton set out to make an oasis, a sanctuary, and in the words of his followers, "a new civilization." With the help (both financial and physical) of his nearly 2000 followers, Burton constructed his vision of a Mediterranean paradise of old, with many buildings, gardens, a roman amphitheater, and even a private zoo (the property is still home to 24 camels). If you've ever been to Hearst Castle or seen Citizen Kane, just imagine something slightly less grand, and you'll get the picture.


Read more at vinography.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Asaf Braverman introduces the Fellowship of Friends "Online School"

[ed. - Welcome to The Fellowship of Friends' latest makeover. "Be.: Weekly Video Tutorials on the Be. Pyramid" is a recruiting tool targeting the naive and gullible. Be.Ware. 

Asaf Braverman (who here assumes the role of teacher and role model) has for twenty years been Robert Burton's devoted companion and assistant. On the subject of ancient spiritual traditions, Braverman speaks with an air of authority, while remaining oblivious to the nature of the mind-control cult that lured him to its ranks.

Complying with Burton's wishes, he is reported to have entered a "marriage of convenience" to gain American citizenship. When he later married a young Fellowship bride, chosen for him by Burton, he was apparently still legally married to his "green card spouse." It seems Braverman, officially a bigamist, then ran afoul of both American and Israeli immigration authorities and was waylaid in Italy for a couple years while his case was resolved. He was eventually permitted re-entry into the U.S. His is but one example among many in which the Fellowship of Friends "church" willfully and blatantly violates the law in order to fulfill Burton's personal wishes and desires.]
(Click on Asaf to begin your journey...)


"The Be. Pyramid instructs those seeking to develop higher consciousness by revisiting ancient teachings from a Fourth Way perspective." (beperiod.com)
[ed. - For more on the narcissism that characterizes both Burton and Braverman, see The Classic Narcissist. Below, "ton2u" posts the 1999 video "Mind Control Made Easy". Though the production might appear far-fetched, the Fellowship of Friends has exhibited most characteristics described in the video, even a prominent "church leader" who is reported to have said he would kill if Robert Burton asked him to do so.]

"ton2u" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 2, 2015:
re: braverman’s “polished schtick” – I listened to / looked at the video link – the bullshit gauge was pegging out, dissecting particular contradictions was impossible… (thanks whalerider).
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”
A more general concern is that he’s attempting to spread this disease… it starts in the video as a kind of verbal shell game which – I know from “personal first hand experience” – is intended to turn into a long con. From Wikipedia:
In Confessions of a Confidence Man, Edward H. Smith lists the “six definite steps or stages of growth in every finely balanced and well-conceived confidence game."
"One follows the other with absolute precision. In some games one or more of these acts, to use a theatrical comparison, may be dropped out, but where that happens the game is not a model one. The reference to the stage is apt, for the fine con game has its introduction, development, climax, dénouement and close, just like any good play. And this is not the only analogy to the drama, for the scenes are often as carefully set; the background is always a vital factor. In the colorful and mirthful language of the bunko man, all these parts of the game have their special names. I give them with their definitions:
Foundation Work
The preparations, which are made before the scheme is put in motion, including the elaboration of the plan, the employment of assistants, and so forth.
Approach
The manner of getting in touch with the victim—often most elaborately and carefully prepared. (in my time it was a bookmarker in a book – the online “school” is a new and potentially more ‘effective’ vector).
Build-up
Rousing and sustaining the interest of the victim, introducing the scheme to him, rousing his greed, showing him the chance of profit, and filling him with so much anticipation and cupidity that his judgment is warped and his caution thrown away.”
etc...
(“Greed” and “profit” in the case of the FOF might have to do with dangling a ‘promise’ of more ‘consciousness’ and the imagined benefits thereof – or it might have to do with seeing and desiring a piece of the ‘opulent’ lifestyle and ‘material amenities’ associated with a “conscious being,” the ring leader, who’s just another petty, malignant narcissist)."
"ton2u" added:
136 re: “just another… malignant narcissist” and “a kind of verbal shell game” – “Beneath all this he is shallow, ignorant, improvising, and fearful of being exposed as deceitful. The narcissist is a conjurer of verbosity, using sleight of mouth rather than sleight of hand.” http://samvak.tripod.com/thebook.html
"ton2u" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 2, 2015:
[ed. - Fellowship of Friends member John Walz attempts to lure and possibly recruit  unsuspecting participants of the ostensibly non-Fellowship-affiliated Facebook Public Group, The 4th Way - Gurdjieff - Ouspensky.] John Walz wrote on Facebook, May 21, 2015:
Hello Friends, below is a link to website that contains an introductory video for a new online Fourth Way community called Beperiod.com . It is an experiment in taking an online discussion forum about the Fourth Way to a new level. We have a one year curriculum worked out. Each class is 10-15 minute video on a Fourth Way topic. Each topic will have a specific exercise. This will be followed by a week of online discussion followed by a planned and moderated group chat session of one hour. There is also planned a once per month Skype or video chat session. We are interested in getting feedback from people with experience in the Fourth Way to evaluate the video. We do plan to charge a minimal fee for the online "school", so if this message is considered "advertising" I certainly will understand and please take it down. As I said, I welcome your observations [ed. - ...and donations]. http://ggurdjieff.com/
[ed. -  Among Robert Burton's sycophants, Girard Haven preceded Asaf Braverman, and built a model for the younger disciples to follow. See also this discussion on Cassiopaea Forum.]