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, July 29, 2015

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

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