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.")

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. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog humor

"J.D." posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 26, 2016:
Fellowship of Friends founder Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton) models "Self Rembering" vest
"John Harmer" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 28, 2016:
[Robert Burton] Marketing the SR ™ range of casual wear. Once you don this stylish vest,
you will find yourself SelfRemembering with no effort at all. 🙂

"Ill Never Tell" posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 28, 2016:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Fellow Ship Of Friends Cult

[ed. - This "Prezi" slide presentation by "Natalie Kaye & Odelia Forman" appears to perhaps be a school project.]

Transcript of Fellow Ship Of Friends Cult
The Fellowship Of Friends
Natalie Kaye & Odelia Forman

When & Where?

What are they notorious for?

The Roles of the Members

Where does the cohesiveness of the group come from?

- Main Commander/Teacher: Robert E.Burton called all the rules of the cult, everything surrounded him.

- He would make predictions like: "the world will be partially destroyed by hydrogen warfare on November 11, 2006"

- Everyone believed him because he was "a goddess in a man's body", and the "brightest light in 2000 years."

*these predictions were told to him by the "44 angels" which include Walt Whitman, Buddha, and Abraham Lincoln to name a few.

- Founded on January 1, 1970 in San Francisco Bay Area

- On July 4, 1971, the fellowship bought property in the Sierra foothills that they named "Apollo."

- Their main center was called the "Oregon house" in Apollo, California.

- This was where the leader ( Robert E. Burton) and the mass amount of followers stayed.

- Separating families : they believed that family is only biological and that they hold no meaning.

- Inappropriate sexual affairs : Robert E. Burton made it almost necessary for all men & young men to perform sexual favors for him and be seduced by him.

- Brutal work conditions/hours: people were given tasks like working in the guard house or working on the winery for 18 hour shifts on average but it could be up to 5 days of work with no sleep.

- If one was to question the morality of the cult, they would be thrown out.

- Instead of having each other refer to themselves as I, they would refer to themselves as it

- Robert E.Burton with one of his "favorites" Sasha, a Russian Ballet dancer


- The FOF board/Council/the "inner circle" of the members: assigned jobs, organized remodeling of buildings, control members of the FOF in nearby centers.

- Young men : their role was to be seduced by the leader and complete sexual favors for him

- Everyone else's role was to work for the leader, the winery, and their center, whether it was making food, cleaning the buildings, guarding the community, or building the community.

- The cohesiveness of the group came from fear. Most participants in the cult joined as young adults, being attracted by this new powerful, God-like leader. Once they began living there, they were molded & brain-washed by Robert E. Burton, and once they realized it was too late. They had lived in that reality & environment for too long that they were fearful of what could happen if they left and went back to humanity and regular society.

- A little over 40 years ago Robert Earl Burton founded the FOF as a school for awakening.

-By mid-1970s the Fellowship had spread, having centers all along the western seaboards, from Seattle to San Diego and even Hawaii.

- In 1976 the Fellowship decided to open centers throughout the United States, Canada, and Western Europe.

- Eventually centers were also placed in Asia, Australia, Central &South America, and Eastern Europe.

The Fellowship of friends is still alive today without about 2,000 members spread between 60 centers in 40 countries worldwide.



The mission of the group, most simply, is to share with others the lifetime pursuit of being present. This is believed to help make one immortal by awakening them spiritually. One can be awakened spiritually by preserving the highest forms of culture, knowledge, and beauty, which the group accomplishes by maintaining their own ballet and theater troupes, among other artistic endeavors.

How Does This Cult Exist as an Example of Group Think?

Members of FOF would go around asking people (especially young men) if they wanted to go to California and join a group which they made out to sound amazing. People were drawn in because of all the energy around the group and how special the teacher was supposed to be. In reality the “special teacher” actually just wanted young men to come to give him sexual favors because he was hiding the fact that he was homosexual.

What Factors Promote Group Think?

Isolation of the group

-The group is located on 1,200 acres in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California.
High group cohesiveness

-They are all taught the same practices, and fear what will happen if they go back into regular society because they have been living in an alternate place for so long.

Directive leadership

-Robert E. Burton meets with members directly to share his beliefs and teachings, and uses young men to satisfy his own sexual pleasures.

Norms of The Cult

Members forced to give the teacher sexual favors.

Overworked-People would spend 18 hours working a day and sometimes during 5 day operations would get no sleep at all.

Everyone was strung out on coffee.

Not allowed to ask lots of questions.

You were expected to refer to yourself as “it.”

Members were asked to give up their children.

What is the Role of Obedience to authority? Why do people in the Cult Obey?

Members stay in the cult because of obedience to authority. In this case, the person of authority is the teacher, Robert E. Burton. People obey him because of the general respect everyone else around them is giving him. Also, if member starts asking too many questions, they get thrown out.

The Bystander Problem

Works Cited

In this situation, the bystander problem was an issue because rarely did people in the FOF speak up and call attention to the corruption of the cult. Additionally, family members of people in the cult did not question the FOF, or what was happening to their loved ones.

"Critics Call the Fellowship of Friends a Cult; Members Say It's a School of Spiritual Development." Critics Call the Fellowship of Friends a Cult; Members Say It's a School of Spiritual Development. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

"Cult Education Forum :: "Cults," Sects, and "New Religious Movements"" Cult Education Forum :: "Cults," Sects, and "New Religious Movements" N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

"Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion." Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

"Fellowship Work on Presence - Being Present- The Fellowship of Friends." Fellowship Work on Presence - Being Present- The Fellowship of Friends. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

FormerFOFer. ""Don't Ask Don't Tell"-Part 1." YouTube. YouTube, 16 Apr. 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

FormerFOFer. ""Don't Ask Don't Tell"-Part 2." YouTube. YouTube, 16 Apr. 2009. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

"Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends." Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

"Yuba-Sutter." Fellowship of Friends - Yuba-Sutter - LocalWiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Alex Horn emerges from the shadows

Alex Horn, abusive cult leader, Robert Earl Burton's teacher, Fellowship of Friends lineage
Alex Horn, Robert Earl Burton's mentor

[ed. - On the Greater Fellowship site, Jim E. points out the new Fourth Way School - Northern California Facebook page. Jim notes that Alex Horn has emerged from the shadows to take his place in the masthead alongside George Gurdjieff, Peter Ouspensky, and Rodney Collin, an apparent promotion for Mr. Horn.

Within this blog are many discussions of Alex Horn, the controversial "45th of 44" angels guiding The Fellowship of Friends. Below, "Linda Jo" offers one insider's look at Horn's "school." See Linda Jo's "A Cult Survivors Handbook".

The first Facebook post on December 1st states, "An esoteric school is an ark in time." This might be a subtle attempt to reclaim the Ark in Time title from Asaf Braverman's collection of websites. Then again, it may be an endorsement of Asaf's new "school"!]

"Linda Jo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 17, 2019:
Re: Burton’s “teacher”

Among other things, Alexander Francis Horn was a low-life scumbag and greed-ridden, vanity-stricken hypocrite, cocky, coarse and crude, lewd and lascivious, promiscuous and an incestuous tramp and lunatic – demonic male and rogue messiah, petty thief and grand larcenist, actor and manipulator, con man and bullshitter – bombastic and duplicitous, ruthless and unscrupulous, heartless and soulless criminal and sexual psychopath, pervert and predator, stalker and serial rapist, bully and bulldozer, hell-raiser and trouble-maker, scapegoater and gaslighter, cult leader and dictator, slave holder and slave driver, micro-manager and control freak.

On one occasion, Horn punished and fined a newly-wedded couple in his S.F. Everyman Theatre cult: “Since you invited that bitch (so-and-so) to your wedding, that’ll cost you $400.” (Horn’s “fines” had to be paid in cash, of course.)

Since Alex and Sharon were both pretending and purporting to be “teachers of ‘the Work’ and Way of Love,” etc., they were special guests and V.I.P.s at the wedding. The bride’s best friend (“that bitch”) was the Maid of Honor, whom Horn hated with a passion – for his own depraved “reasons”.

On another occasion, Horn punished and fined me $3,000. Why?
  1. for questioning, criticizing and rejecting him
  2. for failing to honor and obey him, without question, worship him like a god and treat him like a king
  3. for failing to “appreciate” his deadly sins and vices, obscenities and depravities, physical, verbal and sexual assaults, cock and bull stories, incest, rape and revenge fantasies, “Real Sex and Real Love with a REAL Man!”
  4. for refusing to get a divorce and
  5. refusing to “participate” in his “sexual experimentations on single females”
  6. for refusing to remain one of his serial rape victims/beck and call girls – so-called “cheap cunts” and “harem girls,” “tramps,” “bitches” and “whores” – “who (allegedly) needed to get fucked by a Real Man and conscious lover” whenever he called . . . and whenever he felt like punishing, assaulting, and murdering some “self-willed, fuckin’ bitch” and “evil witch” who “reminded” him of his “hateful ex-wife” and “vicious, murderous mother.”
Most of Horn’s victims were between the age of 18 and 35 . . . until he got too old and senile to “get it up” and “give you a proper fuck.”

The “great actor” founded and directed “4th way” cults and fascist regimes, high-demand groups, theaters and “schools” – played roles and games, made “rules” and assigned “tasks,” charged “tuition,” “fees” and “fines” – to satisfy his depraved Commanding Self and its fallacious, self-centered, self-serving aims and objectives, whims, demands and desires – e.g., carnal desires and desire for revenge, status, attention, approval and applause, power and control, authority and money, free labor, easy prey and victims, marks, targets and scapegoats, captives, prisoners and slaves, lackeys, patsys, puppets and pawns, recruiters and lieutenants, sidekicks and sycophants, cash cows and care takers.

If ya’ll have any questions about Horn’s dirty cults and horrendous crimes against humanity, I’ll do my best to respond in a timely fashion.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A 21st century facelift for the tired old Fourth Way

Former Robert Burton disciple, now Fourth Way cult leader Asaf Braverman be period sales pitch
Above, detail from Asaf Braverman's former Gurdjieff - Becoming Conscious Facebook page, showing Braverman on the threshold!

[ed. - As of November 2016, Robert Burton has personally excommunicated Asaf Braverman from The Fellowship of Friends. While he boldly adopts the mantle of Fourth Way teacher, Braverman's autobiography acknowledges the important role of his predecessors, Alexander Francis Horn and (Braverman's own spiritual guide) Robert Earl Burton, both arguably sociopaths. Having joined the Fellowship at a young age, and followed Burton for twenty years, Braverman is clearly incapable of recognizing the taint of this corrupt lineage, and the unscrupulous and oppressive indoctrination system that has governed his life. Borrowing Burton's well-worn metaphor, Braverman is launching his own "ark."  Below are several websites that are serving to draw unsuspecting "marks" to this new Fourth Way School.]
Ark in Time Network (

Ark in Time (Twitter)

Asaf Braverman (Flickr) (Deactivated)

Asaf Braverman (YouTube)

Be. 4th Way Tweets (Twitter) (Deactivated)

Be Period Italia (Google +) (Deactivated)

Fourth Way School/Be Community (

Gurdjieff (

Gurdjieff - Becoming Conscious (Facebook) (Deactivated)

Quarta Via Oggi (Inactive)

Thirty Work I's (Flickr) (Deactivated)

Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton), Asaf Braverman's teacher
Portrait of Robert Earl Burton from Braverman's Be.

Archived copies of some of Braverman's now-defunct "Pillar" websites:


Know Thyself




"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 17, 2016:
Herewith a bit of free advertising for Asaf Braverman’s online Workshop on November 19th. The blurb states:
“Schools of the fourth way work on two scales: on the scale of an individual, they teach the development of consciousness; on the scale of a community, they teach harnessing that consciousness to a greater undertaking. In this workshop, we will take a forward glance at how Beperiod may grow as an online community and discuss its greater aims as a fourth way school”.
Great! Sign up, pay your $50 per month, and learn from the master. To be fair, the $50 includes (3), count them, three workshops and ‘access to the archives’.

Below the come–on, George Gurdjieff himself, or at least his spokesman, has signed in to give us a flavor of what is to come
“November 15, 2016 at 8:46 am

The fourth way is never without some work of a definite significance, is never without some undertaking around which and in connection with which it can alone exist… Schools of the fourth way exist for the needs of the work which is being carried out in connection with the proposed undertaking. They never exist by themselves as schools for the purpose of education and instruction.”
Asaf Braverman is a very certain fellow, isn’t he? One of the hallmarks of his website, through and through. This flavor of absolute certainty works very well for Burton, why change?


it looks like we can expect some guidance about the Grand Purpose™ of this 21st Century Online School™. Robert Earl Burton told us that the Grand Purpose™ of the Fellowship of Friends was to be the Seed of a New Civilization™, following the extermination of all humans on earth—except for those followers current with their ‘teaching payments’—by mighty angels that can modify the laws of physics and geology.

I don’t suppose that Asaf Braverman can beat that for sheer hubris, but, judging by his own words, he will come up with something grandiose that somehow connects the Schools of the Cave Dwellers™ of 150 centuries ago in a direct line with his own efforts (via his own teacher of 20 years, Robert Earl Burton).

If any readers learn more, do share!

"WhaleRider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 15, 2016:
I think what is at stake here in this particular thread on Asaf’s departure and online endeavor is the fourth way metaphor of the “ladder of evolution”: in order to move up the “ladder”, one must recruit others below one in the cult and push those above. (I am using “quotes” since my understanding of these terms has radically changed since I left.)

The metaphor works great in a cult; it establishes a permanent hierarchy in which the cult leader always remains on top, despite the reality that in life, a successful teacher is one who facilitates and empowers his or her students to surpass their teacher.

Even after death the cult leader remains at the top of the hierarchy, given how we revered the 44 dead guys in the FOF.

The “ladder” metaphor doesn’t seem to embrace the idea of a fourth way “teacher” stepping aside to let others advance, although that may have been exactly what Ouspensky attempted when he instructed his followers to ‘abandon the system’.

Experience tells us that having a cult following feeds the cult leader’s megalomania and grandiosity, which is evident in how burton vehemently reacts when his high profile followers leave. It is threatening to him for he treats his cash cows as his possessions. They can be stolen, and he cannot survive without them.

For me, it was the fact that burton had a following that made him appear “conscious”, more than his actions or his head twitch. I tacitly thought that if enough of his followers believed he was “conscious” then it must be so.

In retrospect, all he really seem to have was power over others; power that his followers abdicated to him through his role of gatekeeper, master exploiter and predator.

The longer I stayed in, the more I found myself becoming increasingly dependent upon his attention and approval, even through the sexual exploitation made me feel like shit about myself. I might have felt more status in the FOF being close to him, but it came at the expense of my dignity and integrity.

On the one hand we were told how lucky and special we were to find the cult, and on the other hand, the controlling Burton treated me like his sexual plaything, one of many. If anything, I felt Burton was pushing me down the “ladder” not elevating me.

So in order to reclaim my selfhood, it was absolutely necessary to leave the cult and flee from evil, as Asaf and THOUSANDS of other followers have already done, thank goodness.

Having spent the last year and a half living at the academy and traveling with burton, I believed that in order to sustain my “evolution” I had to duplicate what burton had done, which is to have a job or a role that necessitated “higher consciousness”, or at least more self-awareness…but not at the expense of others…we know that the vast majority of those followers who attempted to start their own cult often ended in dismal failure.

We also can understand that burton was able to duplicate [Alex] horn’s relative success primarily due to the social upheavals of the 1970’s and lack of information about cults in America.

So the question remains: is it necessary to help others up the ladder of “evolution” in order for one to “evolve”?

Or is it sufficient to just live life as a “conscious householder”, work hard, pay the bills, and be a good husband, son or daughter, and/or parent?

I think the crux of the issue is how one defines evolution.

Speaking for myself, my conscience informs me that my personal growth depends first and foremost upon viewing and treating others as my equal, even those with whom I disagree.

The model in which I structure my livelihood now depends upon empowering others by helping them make positive changes in their lives. Personal satisfaction is way more important to me than making money or retaining a following, and at the end of the day, I feel a whole lot better about myself now than I ever did in the cult.

IMHO, there is not much room for personal growth in a cult such as the FOF and having to recruit vulnerable and confused people to function as narcissistic objects to be exploited and abused constitutes as a spiritual crime. That is the opposite of the Golden Rule, IMHO.

Now maybe “teaching” online will temporarily shield Asaf’s followers from him personally exploiting and abusing them…we’ll see how long that lasts and how far the apple falls from the tree.

Good luck with that, Asaf. 20 years in a cult is a long time.

"jomopinata" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 16, 2016:
I don’t know Asaf, but I think that people who leave to teach are acting in accordance with the ideology they acquired, as “true believers” in the ideology who will tell you that Ouspensky left Gurdjieff, etc., etc. It is an intermediate step in their odyssey which I cannot condemn, because it is just the operation of the same cult ideology they will eventually need to unlearn if they want to open themselves to constructive change. They spent years “trying to acquire something for themselves” and now they get to test whether they actually achieved their goal.

Do not underestimate the power of sincere mistake as a force for reorganizing how one understands the world and how one decides to live in it. Hope exists for these would-be teachers, in my opinion, when they face up to the reality that they have not achieved what the system says they can achieve, that they are are bullshitting others and themselves, and feel shame in doing so. The fact that Burton is organized around shame avoidance doesn’t mean that everyone is. Sometimes one has to persist in folly to become wise.

"ton2u" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 16, 2016:
[Quoting "jomopinata" above] “…spent years ‘trying to acquire something for themselves’ and now they get to test whether they actually achieved their goal.”
This brings to mind a term I think coined by Trungpa – “spiritual materialism.” This notion of “acquiring” and acquisition is part of our cultural conditioning… to the point of being almost an unconscious or unquestioned part of the fabric of our being and society in general. Acquisition and materialism go hand in glove, seemingly “naturally” and “unconsciously” – an osmotic transfer of this indoctrinated cultural “value” of acquisition to “spiritual matters” is not at all a stretch… in a certain sense and given the cultural context, it’s only “natural.” Being raised in a culture which values acquisition, (IMO) means that we all carry an attitude of acquisitiveness to our search for meaning and purpose in life. Furthermore, IMO acquisitiveness and narcissism are closely related, emphasizing I, ME and MINE… and despite adopting a holier-than-thou attitude / facade, the bottom line is – “what’s in it for me.”

The current case in question here seems to go a step further to include a confluence of “things $piritual” with prophet motive$… i.e. a confusion of dollars and sense (or a lack thereof)… caveat emptor; use your sense and beware false prophets.

“Conventionally, it is used to describe capitalist and spiritual narcissism, commercial efforts such as “new age” bookstores and wealthy lecturers on spirituality; it might also mean the attempt to build up a list of credentials or accumulate teachings in order to present oneself as a more realized or holy person.[2] Author Jorge Ferrer equates the terms “Spiritual materialism” and “Spiritual Narcissism”,[1] though others draw a distinction, that spiritual narcissism is believing that one deserves love and respect[3] or is better than another[4] because one has accumulated spiritual training instead of the belief that accumulating training will bring an end to suffering.”

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 19, 2016:
Many are familiar with Lord Acton’s words, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Ann Herbert updated those words a while ago to say,
Power attracts the corruptible, and absolute power attracts the absolutely corruptible.
…which are much closer to the reality, IMO. The only constraint against this happening seems to be in the brief moments of history when the Rule of Law operated. When it no longer does so, we get Maximum Leader Barack Obama, among many other prerogatives he has seized, deciding that he will be judge, jury and executioner and can kill anyone, anywhere, at anytime he chooses—or Maximum Leader Burton bypassing all constraints and deciding that his followers will get abortions, get married, dress a certain way, or provide sperm or dollars—according to his whim at any given moment.

So, here we have Asaf Braverman, on a quest to attract followers. It seems he has a strong need one way or another, and certainly he is making quite an effort to satisfy that need.

I think it is safe to say that Asaf would attract little attention if he had done this without his Fellowship of Friends background and history. It is within the FoF context that he was anointed as a Future Conscious Being™; both he and his fellow followers were appraised of his super–special qualities, hitherto invisible to all but Burton and assorted angels. And when he decided, back in 2012, to start his stable of websites and his online ‘school’, he did so with the moral authority bestowed on him by Burton, supported by his high status and important roles in the FoF. From a practical POV, he attracted lots of help from other followers, and was able to create a nice website with lots of Flash™ and a distinct brand. I’ve already pontificated about what a rotten “foundation built upon the sand” enterprise this is, so enough of that.

But now I’m pointing out that, however benign his intentions, however much of a ‘good guy’ or ‘decent fellow’ he may be in essence, nothing in his history, let alone training under Burton, has prepared him to deal with the consequences of having power over others. Rather, the opposite—Burton the Hasnamuss is an object lesson in absolute corruption and exploitation, a lesson Asaf was for practical purposes blind to for most of 20 years! And if Asaf doesn’t understand, even theoretically, that accepting spiritual power over others—the role he is assuming when he goes out and recruits followers—puts him in danger of corruption, then obviously he cannot take precautions to protect himself or his ‘students’ and so is doubly unfit to teach anyone.

All IMHO, of course!

"J.D." wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 12, 2017:
It is official. Be. is presented as fourth way school, and Asaf Braverman is the teacher.

"Golden Veil" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 12, 2017:
Regarding this opening question and answer introduction on the Home page:
“What is the aim of this community?

To gather fourth way practitioners from around the world under the canopy of a practical teaching that will instruct and inspire them by revisiting ancient schools from a fourth way perspective.”
It appears that Asaf Braverman will continue to read everything from Goethe, the poetry of William Shakespeare, to ancient Egypt and Sumeria ~ as interpreted by Robert Burton’s slant of “The Fourth Way.” Asaf Braverman will be guiding seekers down the same make believe rabbit hole, won’t he?

Charlatanism is the new order ~ or maybe not, depending on your opinion of the writings of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and Maurice Nicoll – and hey, what happened to Rodney Collin? No portrait medallion.
“Do I have to pay?

We aim to be inclusive and minimize barriers to participation and membership. Accordingly, almost everything here is free — this school is supported by voluntary contributions. That said, some of the more intensive activities, like online workshops and private tutoring, require payment.”
Well, of course you have to pay! I see 20 workshops that are a run down of what is taught in the Fellowship of Friends. Evidently the Fellowship of Friends teaching is not copyrighted. Still, there may be legal challenge by the Fellowship of Friends.

It is clear that the school will not include acquiring the taste for fine dining, clothing, travel, and hearing those fateful words, “The Gods want you to do this for Me.”

The “new” school includes instruction in slowing down; remember that? At times, it could be quite a strange world in the Fellowship of Friends.
“We are driven to eat quickly, move quickly, interact quickly and think quickly. In most of these instances, haste is unwarranted. It is therefore a habit that must be understood and curbed.”
There’s something about the word “curbed.” I suppose it’ll be a bit more difficult to create an atmosphere of repression ~ online.

"jomopinata" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 13, 2017:
I think people sometimes leave and think they’re supposed to “teach the Fourth Way.” This activity can aim at reducing dissonance by validating the work, so called, that they see themselves as having been engaged in. Everyone wants to believe that “they have acquired something for themselves,” because that’s what they think they’ve been doing and that’s what the books, and the social surround, lead them to believe. And people sometimes cling to certain beliefs for reasons that have nothing to do with whether they’re true.

Ten or fifteen years ago encountered online a person I had known slightly back in FOF days who was later involved in another 4w organization. In our virtual interaction, which I initiated in the spirit of “hi, I remember you!” he greeted me “cordially” and communicated words to the effect that he would be glad to be my point of contact for The Work.

It is hard to express the effect his response had on me. I suppose it was comparable to extending your hand to another for a handshake, only to discover that the other’s hand was made of wood. It was like everything human was absent from his response, and what was extended was stiff and without nerves.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Actually, Let’s Not Be Present

WTF??? Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends be present living presence cult

[ed. - Below, WhaleRider quotes and comments upon Ruth Whippman's New York Times article "Actually, Let's Not Be Present."  Whippman writes,
Americans now spend an estimated $4 billion each year on “mindfulness products.” “Living in the Moment” has monetized its folksy charm into a multibillion-dollar spiritual industrial complex."

"WhaleRider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 29, 2016:
Actually, Let’s Not Be Present [excerpts]
“What differentiates humans from animals is exactly this ability to step mentally outside of whatever is happening to us right now, and to assign it context and significance.
(For if one does not in such a cult as the FOF, the cult leader assigns context, significance and most importantly, meaning to events for the follower.)
"Our happiness does not come so much from our experiences themselves, but from the stories we tell ourselves that make them matter.
"But still, the advice to be more mindful often contains a hefty scoop of moralizing smugness, a kind of “moment-shaming” for the distractible, like a stern teacher scolding us for failing to concentrate in class.
(“Moment-shaming”, AKA photographing.)
"The implication is that by neglecting to live in the moment we are ungrateful and unspontaneous, we are wasting our lives, and therefore if we are unhappy, we really have only ourselves to blame.”
(The tendency of children to unconsciously blame themselves rather than confront abusive caregivers upon whom they are dependent is inherant in the father/children framework often used to describe the dependent guru/follower relationship, thus enabling the exploitive and sadistic guru to abuse his followers without scrutiny.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Due diligence before making a leap of faith

Beware of false prophets...
[ed. - Ames poses questions that likely many of us wished we had asked prior to joining The Fellowship of Friends. "The Fellowship of Friends 'come-on' " to which Ames refers is appended at the end of his post.]

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 15, 2016:
I posted this list of questions in 2007. In view of Asaf’s continuing efforts to establish himself as a teacher, not to mention the dozens of new Esoteric Startups™ that spring up every year, I think that such questions are still relevant!


Dear all,

The Fellowship of Friends “come–on” (#23-144, or thereabouts) stimulates me to offer a list of questions that a prospective student should ask, in one form or another, before joining. I started this list because a friend who has been through the Fellowship experience joined another 4th Way group (started by an ex–FoF student!) and had some second thoughts, and asked for input.

I’d say that any prospective student owes it to his or her self to not only get answers (and write them down, in detail, for future reference), but to have someone less partial go over the answers with them. Ideally, some one who joined would also have a “buddy” to check in with after agreed periods of time to see if pre–stated aims and directions were being adhered to, and in general provide a ‘reality check’ and grounding. Ideally!

This list can surely be improved, so I put it out there as a group project…

Some questions to ask before making a commitment to a ‘spiritual teacher’ or ‘teaching’—


Mechanics and set–up of group/school:

  • When and what was your last paying job?
  • Do you rely completely or partially on the contributions of your students to pay your personal expenses?
  • How are payments structured?
  • Is the group organized legally as a non–profit or church for IRS purposes?
  • How transparent is the accounting?
  • What power does any board hold?
  • Do you serve at the pleasure of the board?
  • Exactly what degree of independence does the board have?
  • Please give examples of when the board effectively countered your decisions?
  • Are board meetings open to students, or do students have access to minutes of board meetings?
  • If there is no board, what steps have you taken so students can hold you accountable for your actions, including financial decisions?

Relationship with teacher:
  • How do you measure students’ abilities beforehand to undertake difficult work?
  • What methods, in detail, do you use to prevent students entering a dependent role?
  • How do you prevent infatuation?
  • How do you deal with fear?
  • How do you prevent ‘spiritual materialism’ developing in ‘your’ students?
  • Do you feel invested in the success or failure of your students?
  • What do you do with failures?
  • What value do you place on the idea and practice of personal verification?
  • Are your students required to give up their will to you, as their teacher? If so, is this permanent or for a set or limited period of time?

Sex energy:
  • Are you married?
  • Do you claim celibacy?
  • Do you undertake to never have sexual relations with your students?
  • Please give examples of tasks concerning sex energy.
  • Describe how you presently channel/use sex energy, and will you describe your history in that regard?

  • Do you give out generalized/group exercises?
  • Are any exercises individualized?
  • What are the criteria for making such exercise ‘individual’?
  • Do you fully explain the purpose of the exercises beforehand?
  • Do you have helpers, and if so, what are their qualifications, and are they permitted to set exercises themselves?
  • Are there rules or codes of behavior that must be followed by school members? If so, what are they and how are ‘infractions’ handled?
  • Is there any appeal from your decisions, and if so, how is this handled?
  • Do you and your students work with the Fourth Way idea of Good Householder, and if so, what forms does this work take?

Dynamics of student body/school/group:
  • Is there a limit to the number of students you are willing to work with?
  • Is there a hierarchy?
  • If so, what is its basis?
  • What steps do you take or intend to take to prevent the needs of the organization overtaking the needs of the students with time?
  • Are you prepared to dissolve the organization if this happen?

Measurement of progress:
  • How do you test for the necessary ‘normalcy’ required of prospective 4th Way students?
  • What do you do if mental illness manifests nevertheless?
  • How do you describe the nature of the risks necessary to face before graduation?
  • What criteria do you and the student use to measure progress?
  • How do you empower students or teach them to take back/discover their own power?
  • How do you define conscience?
  • What is the use of conscience?
  • What are your teachings regarding conscience?
  • How do you separate conscience from subjective morality?
  • At what point is there graduation?
  • What happens to graduates?

On asking questions:
  • Will there ever be any questions on any subject that are unsafe, unpalatable, or otherwise objectionable if asked in good faith?
  • Will you take personal questions, that is, questions about your path, your conduct, your history?
  • Do you make contracts with your students, specifying goals, payments, efforts, limits, and results, concerning the temporary giving up of will to the teacher apparently requested of 4th Way students, and what steps are taken to ensure that this is indeed temporary and results/goal driven?
  • Do you in any way put pressure on students to limit their contacts with non-students, family?
  • What are your policies regarding talking about the work, exercises, meetings, experiences with the teacher, with non-students?
  • With ex–students?

Group work:
  • Do you organize group projects?
  • Do you join in them yourself?
  • Do you join students in experiments whose outcome you do not know (take risks)?
  • What is the primary objective/aim of your school?
  • What are secondary objectives/aims of your school?

Your work:
  • Do you believe the ends justifies the means? Regarding awakening?
  • Do you have a sense of humor?
  • Do you encourage a sense of humor in your students?
  • Do you regard yourself as still being on a journey yourself, or do you regard yourself as in any way ‘completed’?
  • Do you believe that you can learn from students or situations as they present themselves?
  • Do you claim to be conscious or enlightened and, if so, do you classify yourself (per the Fourth Way tradition) as a man #4, 5, 6, 7 or 8?
  • Do you think the idea of lineage and direct transmission of knowledge important?
  • Who are/were your teachers and what is their lineage in relation to the Fourth Way or other schools of awakening?
  • Why did you decide to become a spiritual teacher?
  • What are your personal goals/aims as a spiritual teacher?

Other sources, inspirations, teachings:
  • Apart from your own publications, do you use or recommend other 4th Way books?
  • Those by Gurdjieff? Ouspensky? Bennett? Orage? Nicol? Others?
  • How do you feel about other teachers, other teachings, other traditions?
  • Do you ‘mix and match’, and if so, what are your criteria?
  • Do you require exclusivity? That is, can I also study/meet with other teachers/traditions while studying with you?
  • Do you make specific claims about your ‘level of being’?
  • Do you claim powers?
  • What levels of obedience do you require (tasks, suggestions, orders, etc.)?
  • Does your school have a ‘task’ or aim beyond teaching paths to increased consciousness of students?
  • Do you consider your school to be a ‘Fourth Way’ school?

Access to students or graduates:
  • Are there students available who I can talk to, over a period of time, so I can judge their degree of dependence or infatuation or fear myself?
  • Who can (voluntarily, of course) speak something of results gained, states attained, exercises and tasks they have undertaken, and results gained—or are they asked to withhold this kind of information? I’d also be looking for differences between ‘resident’ and ‘non-resident’ students, including, if possible, results.
  • Do you have any objections to me asking the questions below of current students?
  • What do you think of these questions?
  • If you were asking questions of a teacher or students, what would they be?

Relationship to students who have left:
  • Do you maintain meaningful contact with any ‘graduates’ of your school?
  • What is your policy regarding the relationship between current and former students?
  • If there are restrictions, what is your policy if those rules are broken?

  • What methods, in detail, do you use to prevent becoming dependent on the teacher?
  • How do you recognize and prevent infatuation?
  • How do you recognize and deal with fear in the student–teacher relationship?
  • What limits, if any, do you place on what the teacher asks you to do in order to awaken?
  • Do you think that you have an operating conscience?
  • Do you think that conscience can be developed?
  • Do you believe the ends justifies the means? Regarding awakening?
  • Are you willing to act on your conscience if it tells you that the teacher is wrong, or is setting you wrong tasks?
  • Are you willing to leave the school if your conscience says you should or must?
  • Do you think you will be in this school for the rest of your life?
  • If not, how long is the most you will stay?
  • How do you think you will recognize that you are ready to graduate?
  • If you believe that you are ready to graduate, will you act on that, or wait for the recognition or permission of the teacher?
  • What methods do you use to prevent becoming dependent on the group?
  • Would you take a paid position with the group?
  • If so, what precautions do you or would you put in place to prevent you becoming dependent on this position a) psychologically, and b) materially?
  • Do you have a position of authority within the group? If so, please describe your role and its importance within the organization.
  • If not, would you take a position of power/responsibility with the group?
  • If so, what precautions do you or would you take to avoid becoming corrupted by the power?
  • How long would you hold such a position?
  • On what basis would you or do you hold or transmit authority within the group?
  • Please describe the chain of authority between the teacher and you.
  • How do you view the legitimacy of each person in authority of those ‘below’ the teacher and ‘above’ you?
  • What do you think of these questions I’m asking right now?
  • If you were asking questions of your teacher or students, what would they be?

…a lot of questions to be sure, but you are putting your time, money, effort, body and even your life on the line, so why not try to make the right decision? You cannot have too much information in these circumstances.

From someone who’s Been There and Done That,


"Bares Reposting" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 26, 2007:
[From] Robert Earl Burton

Robert Earl Burton is a spiritual teacher and founder of the Fellowship of Friends. As a young man, Robert studied intensively the teachings of the Fourth Way, as presented to the West by George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky. He focused on the practical side of this teaching, and quickly grasped that self-remembering was the basis of the system. His book Self-Remembering, published in 1991, provides a collection of personal insights into the practical nature of this spiritual work and its application in daily life.

The course of Robert Burton’s life as a spiritual teacher is indistinguishable from the growth and development of the Fellowship of Friends. Robert has worked single-mindedly to create an environment of inspiration at Isis that is conducive to awakening, and at the same time he has labored to extend his spiritual teachings to interested people around the world. Through the efforts of Robert and his followers, the Fellowship has opened and continues to maintain centers in dozens of cities on every continent. The Fellowship became, and remains to this day, international.

Throughout the years, Robert’s spiritual teaching has never strayed from focusing on the practical moment-by-moment efforts necessary to awaken from sleep. He has taught the same message at all Fellowship gatherings, and has striven to be personally accessible to each member of the Fellowship. He has tirelessly sought new inspiration, introducing fresher approaches to each member’s internal efforts, and always providing loving guidance and support.

Robert has come to understand the esoteric nature of all spiritual teachings throughout recorded time. He has concluded that all religious traditions are the same and that the basis of all great spiritual work is the same–to escape from imagination and the lower self and to awaken and recognize one’s Higher Self. Today the Fellowship focuses on these basic spiritual ideas common to all esoteric traditions.

The Work of Our Spiritual Teacher

The principal work of our spiritual teacher is to initiate and prolong Divine Presence in the lives of Fellowship members. He does this in many ways: by conveying special knowledge; by offering exercises, personal tasks, and opportunities to work; and by simply being and allowing us to be. All such efforts spring from his own Divine Presence, and his desire to convey this reality to us.

How does he work in the moment? At one level, he may use an inspired reference to something close at hand as a way of bringing a person out of an inattentive state and more deeply into the present. At another level, he may use all methods and instructions as a way to sustain presence once it has been achieved.

After a period of sincere effort, a member comes to understand that awakening is neither the practice of one exercise nor the overcoming of one obstacle alone. It is a way of life. Awakening has become the way of life of our Teacher, and he invites us to join him in this life.

Our Teacher provides direct instruction. Direct instruction means both using words and communicating without words. It would seem that the use of words is more direct, less subtle and easier to follow. Yet all forms of instruction and learning require effort, and each person must learn to learn. Learning to learn means recognizing and acting upon the obvious, as well as acknowledging subtle, wordless indications that lead to presence. Each person must value his or her time with the Teacher, be it several days or only a few minutes, to garner what he or she can and make further use of it. In addition, a person must recognize opportunities for effort without expecting the Teacher to request them.

Awakening is a personal experience, and our Teacher can provide each member with lessons that are subtle and direct, and unrecognized by others. A simple indication or request, if followed, can open the door to new worlds and possibilities. The Teacher is motivated to work with and for his students because, though he is more advanced, he understands that a sincere person trying to awaken possesses the same potential that he does and will at some time attain what he has attained.

Members have the opportunity to verify that the Teacher is more knowledgeable and experienced in awakening than they are, and that he is even more interested in their spiritual growth than they are. It is on this basis alone–on the verification that one does not know as much as one’s spiritual teacher with regard to awakening–that a right relationship can develop.

Great sincerity is required to accept that although we originally formulated the aim to awaken, our own desire is insufficient. And yet we are never closer to the truth than when we remember this.

Developing a personal relationship to the Teacher does not depend upon proximity to him. His influence permeates through all aspects and dimensions of the organization he created, and the moment a person connects to this organization through any channel, he or she will experience the Teacher’s loving influence directly.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fellowship congregation prohibited from following President Trump

Donald Trump will defile your higher centers.

[ed. - The following, just one of countless examples of Robert Burton's authoritarian rule, appears a clear violation of basic freedoms guaranteed Americans. Perhaps, in Trump, Burton sees a very uncomfortable mirror. While the Trump movement is not a cult, The Fellowship of Friends most certainly is. See: The Trump Cult?]

Robert Burton ("The Teacher") sent the following message to all Fellowship of Friends members, November 14, 2016 at 6:45 PM:
The Teacher asks students NOT to read, watch or listen to any news or broadcasts regarding Donald Trump. 

He is an abrasive, agitating influence that we want to avoid, so as not to defile our higher centers.

Thank you, Love Robert
Hindu Texts, Avadhut Gita: Take the Truth and ignore the rest.

Fellowship of Friends membership sees decline

[ed. - According to numbers provided by the ever-resourceful "Ollie," The Fellowship of Friends has 1,554 members worldwide. (Below, "Ollie" breaks it down by center.) This represents a slight decline from the last census I saw, which counted 1,597 members in November 2014.

The membership numbers do not tell the whole story, of course. Over the years, Burton and his officers have reduced membership fees for many, while making participation (in meetings and other events) more costly. This suggests the importance of maintaining the appearance of strong membership numbers, even if (as anecdotes suggest) member participation is suffering.]

"Ollie" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 7, 2016:
I haven’t posted here in years, so apologies if this is a bit out of context. I was a fof member for quite a long time but left, happily, some 10 years ago. Hearing about Asaf B’s recent exit and reading a few stories about what’s happening in the old cult now, I thought, oh dear, how many people are actually still willing to be part of this? Not that the fof has substantially changed over the years, but still, people must somehow have a sense, deep down in their hearts, that they are members of a painfully unhealthy and moronic organisation. Well, at some point I certainly did! Anyhow, I wondered about membership numbers: How many people are still in there, and where in the world do they live? I am in infrequent contact with someone who is still a fof member (he has his reasons…) and he was willing to share a collection of data from the fof database. So here is a whole bunch of numbers, sorry if it’s a bit much but they give at least some idea of what’s happened over the last 10 years. It’s surprising to me that, after a large drop between 2005 and 2007, the numbers have remained pretty steady at around 1,500 worldwide. And the fofers still seem to be able to recruit a few new followers here and there. Looks like they’re doing pretty well in Russia, Mexico and India. So the sequence still sells! Amazing… Don’t spiritually inclined people google around these days? It’s not exactly difficult to find out what the fof is really all about, behind the pretty suits and ties.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dec 2005: 2,173
Nov 2007: 1,848
Dec 2010: 1,519
Dec 2013: 1,592
Nov 2016: 1,554

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Oregon House (Apollo)
Nov 2007: 680
Dec 2010: 565
Dec 2013: 561
Nov 2016: 530

Nov 2007: 5
Dec 2010: 3
Dec 2013: 3
Nov 2016: 4

Los Angeles
Nov 2007: 6
Dec 2010: 7
Dec 2013: 5
Nov 2016: 5

Nov 2007: 0
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 10

New York
Nov 2007: 17
Dec 2010: 18
Dec 2013: 28
Nov 2016: 19

Palo Alto
Nov 2007: 12
Dec 2010: 9
Dec 2013: 3
Nov 2016: 10

Nov 2007: 12
Dec 2010: 10
Dec 2013: 8
Nov 2016: 19

San Francisco
Nov 2007: 13
Dec 2010: 7
Dec 2013: 5
Nov 2016: 11

Washington, DC
Nov 2007: 10
Dec 2010: 10
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 7
Dec 2010: 6
Dec 2013: 5
Nov 2016: 9

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Mexico City
Nov 2007: 53
Dec 2010: 57
Dec 2013: 47
Nov 2016: 55

Nov 2007: 7
Dec 2010: 10
Dec 2013: 3
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 35
Dec 2010: 19
Dec 2013: 26
Nov 2016: 30

Nov 2007: 7
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Nov 2007: 9
Dec 2010: 7
Dec 2013: 17
Nov 2016: 5

Buenos Aires
Nov 2007: 33
Dec 2010: 21
Dec 2013: 25
Nov 2016: 27

Nov 2007: 12
Dec 2010: 13
Dec 2013: 15
Nov 2016: 10

Porto Alegre
Nov 2007: 5
Dec 2010: 3
Dec 2013: 3
Nov 2016: 3

San Salvador
Nov 2007: 16
Dec 2010: 9
Dec 2013: 8
Nov 2016: 4

Nov 2007: 13
Dec 2010: 9
Dec 2013: 13
Nov 2016: 11

Sao Paulo
Nov 2007: 28
Dec 2010: 20
Dec 2013: 15
Nov 2016: 15

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Nov 2007: 30
Dec 2010: 27
Dec 2013: 25
Nov 2016: 26

Nov 2007: 27
Dec 2010: 23
Dec 2013: 18
Nov 2016: 17

Nov 2007: 4
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 0
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 5
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 10
Dec 2010: 9
Dec 2013: 5
Nov 2016: 5

Nov 2007: 15
Dec 2010: 14
Dec 2013: 10
Nov 2016: 13

Nov 2007: 6
Dec 2010: 5
Dec 2013: 4
Nov 2016: 4

Nov 2007: 5
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 6
Dec 2010: 4
Dec 2013: 3
Nov 2016: 3

Nov 2007: 17
Dec 2010: 13
Dec 2013: 11
Nov 2016: 8

Nov 2007: 16
Dec 2010: 21
Dec 2013: 18
Nov 2016: 9

Nov 2007: 41
Dec 2010: 38
Dec 2013: 43
Nov 2016: 44

Nov 2007: 12
Dec 2010: 7
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 44
Dec 2010: 33
Dec 2013: 31
Nov 2016: 31

Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 5

Nov 2007: 7
Dec 2010: 3
Dec 2013: 2
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 12
Dec 2010: 14
Dec 2013: 16
Nov 2016: 20

Nov 2007: 4
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

North Germany
Nov 2007: 12
Dec 2010: 7
Dec 2013: 5
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 1
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 23
Dec 2010: 21
Dec 2013: 27
Nov 2016: 23

Nov 2007: 9
Dec 2010: 8
Dec 2013: 9
Nov 2016: 11

Nov 2007: 19
Dec 2010: 12
Dec 2013: 17
Nov 2016: 13

Nov 2007: 0
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 18
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 14
Dec 2010: 5
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 14

Nov 2007: 8
Dec 2010: 8
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 8
Dec 2010: 2
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 7
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 6
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 5
Dec 2010: 7
Dec 2013: 7
Nov 2016: 7

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Nov 2007: 0
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 16

Nov 2007: 19
Dec 2010: 23
Dec 2013: 11
Nov 2016: 17

Nov 2007: 7
Dec 2010: 7
Dec 2013: 42
Nov 2016: 22

Nov 2007: 0
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 10

Tel Aviv
Nov 2007: 48
Dec 2010: 31
Dec 2013: 40
Nov 2016: 32

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Nov 2007: 10
Dec 2010: 6
Dec 2013: 7
Nov 2016: 5

Nov 2007: 10
Dec 2010: 6
Dec 2013: 2
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 32
Dec 2010: 38
Dec 2013: 49
Nov 2016: 42

Nov 2007: 13
Dec 2010: 16
Dec 2013: 15
Nov 2016: 11

Nov 2007: 84
Dec 2010: 79
Dec 2013: 116
Nov 2016: 118

Nizhny Novgorod
Nov 2007: 16
Dec 2010: 13
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 14
Dec 2010: 9
Dec 2013: 8
Nov 2016: 5

Nov 2007: 7
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 10
Dec 2010: 13
Dec 2013: 15
Nov 2016: 13

St. Petersburg
Nov 2007: 71
Dec 2010: 48
Dec 2013: 50
Nov 2016: 63

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Nov 2007: 49
Dec 2010: 57
Dec 2013: 65
Nov 2016: 57

Nov 2007: 5
Dec 2010: 4
Dec 2013: 4
Nov 2016: 6

Nov 2007: 13
Dec 2010: 12
Dec 2013: 17
Nov 2016: 15

Nov 2007: 20
Dec 2010: 17
Dec 2013: 21
Nov 2016: 20

Nov 2007: 27
Dec 2010: 19
Dec 2013: 20
Nov 2016: 14

Nov 2007: 3
Dec 2010: 2
Dec 2013: 1
Nov 2016: 0

Nov 2007: 3
Dec 2010: 0
Dec 2013: 0
Nov 2016: 0

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Nov 2007: 38
Dec 2010: 35
Dec 2013: 45
Nov 2016: 52

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Girard Haven reaffirms his fealty to Robert Burton

[ed. - (Date approximate) Following Asaf Braverman's surprising departure from the Fellowship of Friends, Girard Haven, the only current Fellowship of Friends member (other than Robert Burton) to have achieved the level of "Man Number 5," sent the following message to Burton, declaring his loyalty. Haven reportedly read the letter aloud at a Fellowship meeting. In the early 1970s, Burton had also anointed Miles Barth a Man Number 5, however that honor was abruptly annulled once Miles renounced Burton and left the Fellowship. Haven refers to "ladder," an idea Burton described as a "teacher's tool." In theory, Fellowship members ascend to higher consciousness, following in the path of "older" students Burton has identified as being on the same ladder. It was an early concept, that Burton eventually found to be of little value. (Image courtesy of an anonymous insider.)]

Girard Haven letter to Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton regarding Asaf Braverman and Miles Barth

Monday, November 7, 2016

Awakening by Robert Earl Burton is published

Fellowship of Friends Fourth Way School cult leader Robert Earl Burton
Photo from Awakening, by Ann Douglass

About the Author

Robert Earl Burton is a spiritual master who has taught thousands of people since he founded the Fellowship of Friends in 1970. He initially relied on the esoteric system of awakening transmitted by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. As Mr. Burton’s personal work and ideas developed, however, he began to uncover the great truths and spiritual practices common to every system of awakening, from the prehistoric to the modern, from ancient Greek philosophy to world religions, and from obscure traditions as well. Over time he incorporated these ancient truths, images, and practices into his teaching, forging them into a practical school in which students learn to live the ideas, rather than merely know them intellectually.

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Fellowship of Friends; 1 edition (November 7, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0692752919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0692752913

Friday, November 4, 2016

Asaf Braverman departs and Robert Burton reveals his petty dictator persona

Dorian Matei explains how Asaf Braverman's departure benefits the remaining chosen ones. Dorian is surprisingly
effusive in praising the contributions of past members, something Robert Burton has been loathe to acknowledge.

[ed. - Robert Burton's reaction to Asaf Braverman's departure has been swift and vindictive. See also, Robert Burton attacks Asaf Braverman for being unfaithful. The following is "Cult Survivor's" original posting of the video from which the above clip is taken. Eventually, "Cult Survivor" removed the full video from YouTube and, in November 2021, it was reported that "Cult Survivor" has rejoined the Fellowship. Perhaps they'll be posting under a new moniker, "Cult Advisor."]

"Cult Survivor" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 13, 2018:
Here is a video of a meeting led by Dorian (most likely the future leader of the FoF after Robert “ends his task” or becomes too senile to function) on 10/26/16, 5 days after Asaf’s expulsion from the FoF. Dorian, Asaf’s “friend” and “brother”, judges him, condemns him and executes him in his own pontificating and convoluted way — 37 minutes of pure nonsense.

"Cult Survivor" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, March 29, 2019:
Don’t forget that Dorian Matei will be the leader of the FOF when Burton abdicates or passes away (if Asaf Braverman is not called back from exile by Dorian’s opposition, namely Greg Holman). Dorian is currently married to one of the women that had a threesome with him and Mihai back in the day, so she would be the first lady.

If Dorian becomes the leader of the cult I pity the people that will have to attend events with him and swallow the bullshit. Actually no. We get what we deserve.

E-mail submitted by an ex-member living in Oregon House, November 4, 2016:
Details are sketchy, but a picture is emerging that Robert is quite upset with Asaf’s taking leave of Robert and the Fellowship, and is doing all he can to vilify, even destroy, Asaf.

First, and immediately upon Asaf leaving, a message went out for members no longer to visit Asaf’s website. Looking at the site just now, Asaf’s 3 top supporters and commentators [and Fellowship members] (John Walz, Thomas Neuschatz, Charles Rodkoff) are missing from the list of members of Asaf’s community/school. Only Mario Fantoni (the IT person) remains.

Normally on Wednesdays, someone gives a presentation on some subject or person or where they have travelled. But the past 2 Wednesdays, Robert wanted there to be a “real” meeting to talk about Asaf. The first was led by Dorian [Matei, above]; the second (2 days ago), by Girard [Haven, below]. (Note: Girard himself has until now been banned from leading meetings for the past few years, likely because he refused to accept the “sequence” until, literally, forced to do so. He even tried to stop going to meetings back around 2006 to 2008 or so. Then Robert made him an offer he could not refuse, and he began coming again.)

Dorian apparently referred directly to Asaf, but I don’t have more details at this time. The subject of Girard’s meeting was, predictably, the process of crime.

At Robert’s meeting this past Sunday, he showed an image from some cemetery of a cracked headstone with the name of Pierce. It was one of those all-too-convenient “shocks” (more likely, drummed up by one of Robert’s “researchers”) to support the idea that Asaf and the Pierces are broken and finished. Of course, Ansley [Braverman's] maiden name is Pierce, and both Ansley and [her mother] have formally left the Fellowship. [Ansley's father] is still a member for now [but has since left].

Asaf is being compared with Miles in that both were criminal in their actions towards Robert and the Fellowship. [ed. - see "Damage control following Miles' departure"] Of course, this is the ultimate act of vilification. Becoming “criminal” is as low as a person can sink, and anyone who associates with such a person is equally criminal.

One member suggested it a month or two ago, and now it is perhaps happening, that it would be best for the Fellowship to have a “witch-hunt” and expel all the non-believers. She is correct: There is absolutely no space for anyone who questions or doubts.

To be clear, I am not interested in what Asaf is trying to create with his online “community,” and I don’t think it will survive for long without the monetary and personnel support he was getting from Fellowship. I also reject the “lineage” myth that Asaf perpetuates (or at least did until now), as he tries to legitimize his role as a teacher.

Girard Haven explains how Asaf Braverman has committed a "crime."
"Your eyes deceive you. The emperor is NOT naked." [ed. - Video quality is poor.]

[ed. - The following is "Cult Survivor's" original posting of the video from which the above clip is taken. "Cult Survivor" removed the full video from YouTube.]

"Cult Survivor" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 13, 2018:
On this 18-minute video, Girard explains at a meeting he was asked to lead on 11/02/16 why the situation with Asaf is a “play of crime”. For those of you that knew Girard, it could be a strong impression to see what he has been reduced to.

"J. D." wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 20, 2016:
Here is another example of how petty, ignorant, arrogant and disgusting Robert Burton is.

As you all know Asaf started “Be.” with the blessings of Mr. Burton as to lure people in the FoF from the back-door (no pun intended!) using the 4th way: an already obsolete and discarded method for the ever-so-elusive awakening.

Asaf went on his path and gathered a bunch of collaborators and translators along the way. Among others a couple in one of the foreign centers.

They started to have meetings and seminars in the teaching house, sharing the holy space side by side with with the more formal and effective “teaching” of the lullaby: the sequence.

After a while students started to grow more and more annoyed because, as the story goes and correct me if I’m wrong, they started to get charged for such insightful and yet antagonistic practices… As if they have never paid for meetings or events before!

News travel fast in the FoF as well as hypocritical complains… I’m sorry, “photographs”, and crime was the label attached to this one, yes… Crime!
As a result the guy got booted and his wife decided to follow him, leaving the FoF zoo.

Few days later she discovered the she had extensive metastatic cancer. Their lives have been torn apart, considering also that their family already have been battling over a very serious disease for years. (Our love, emotional support and respect of privacy goes to them.)

Believe it or not that sorry-excuse-for-a-human-being, Robert Earl Burton, had the nerve to call her… Yes, he called her to tell her that she got sick because “C influence abandoned her” and that was a “punishment from the gods.”

(Fun fact: cancer in the FoF is a gift and an opportunity; cancer outside the FoF is a punishment!)

Who, in their right mind, with an ounce of compassion, with a pinch of understanding, or simply with a trace of a heart would make a call like that?

Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton), founder of Fellowship of Friends cult, with Asaf Braverman
Asaf Braverman and Robert Burton in happier times

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Robert Burton attacks Asaf Braverman for being unfaithful

A glimpse of Robert Burton's vengeful effort to limit damage from Asaf Braverman's departure.

[ed. - This post appears twice in the timeline: November 12, 2018, when "Cult Survivor" posted their comment on the Fellowship Discussion, and October 30, 2016, when the meeting took place. In his monologue, Burton compares Asaf to Miles Barth, another budding "conscious being" who chose to leave him. See also: Asaf Braverman departs and Robert Burton reveals his petty dictator persona. "Cult Survivor" removed the original video from his YouTube page. In November, 2021, it was reported that Cult Survivor rejoined the Fellowship. Perhaps he'll now adopt the moniker "Cult Advisor."]

"Cult Survivor" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 12, 2018:

Here are the first 4 minutes of a meeting led by Robert on October 30th, 2016, 9 days after the expulsion of Asaf from the Fellowship of Friends. Robert mentions that Asaf is “going from bad to worse”, that “he is controlled by the lower self” and that “he is going to the end of the Ray of Creation”. Robert also comments on a picture he received of a tombstone with the name “Pierce”, which is the last name of Asaf’s wife indicating that it is a “sign from C Influence”, implying that her departure from the FoF with Asaf is a sinister fact (he also stated a few months later that the death from cancer of Denise, the wife of a person in Italy named Fabrizio that left the FoF to join “Asaf’s school”, occurred because “she was involved in a nasty play” and sent her a personal message inviting her to rejoin the FoF “in order to be saved”). At the end of the video Robert notes the coincidence that the angel that was supposed to wake Asaf up was Abraham Lincoln, the same “secret messenger” that was supposed to wake Miles up, and ends saying that “when you talk about as many things as I do you don’t even have thoughts about getting them all right”.

NOTE: Asaf was very close to Robert during the 18 years he was in the Fellowship of Friends — he was part of the “triumvirate” with Dorian and Alexandr (Sasha) and was the dean of the Fellowship of Friends until June 2016, 4 months before his expulsion.
[ed. - While an ex-member of the Fellowship, Cult Survivor made the above video public via his DropBox and YouTube accounts. (The video and links appeared on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion.) Apparently, while preparing to rejoin the Fellowship, Cult Survivor had a change of heart and withdrew the video from public view.]

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Did Asaf Braverman's "Online School" threaten Robert Burton's and The Fellowship of Friends Board of Directors' spiritual authority?

[ed. - There are rumors this weekend that Asaf Braverman, once considered Robert Burton's heir apparent, has been ordered to take a leave of absence from The Fellowship of Friends, and to dismantle his "Ark in Time" and "Be" websites. This apparently comes directly from the top, Robert Burton himself. The image above is from Asaf's Webinar page.]

Asaf Braverman wrote on his Facebook page, October 23, 2016:

20 years in the Fellowship of Friends.
You all know I did my best to make it better.
Former Fellowship of Friends cult leader Asaf Braverman departs

Sunday, October 2, 2016

John Harmer posts "exit interview" with Robert Earl Burton

Exit interview between a member of a cult, and its charismatic leader from John Harmer.

[ed. - John Harmer's introduction to the above video:]
The organisation I joined was called the Fellowship of Friends, and followed the mystical teachings of the fourth way teachers Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. It has had about a thousand members during most of its existence (It still exists). I joined the fellowship in 1978, and stayed for 11 years until 1989. I had recently been told about the fact that the teacher, who we were required not to gossip about on pain of expulsion from the school as they called it, had had a questionable liaison with a younger and vulnerable member of the school, would told me how he felt totally trapped in the situation he found himself in. Burton's idea of fun is to force otherwise basically heterosexual young men to perform sexual acts for his gratification. He wasn't so keen on students who happened by chance to be homosexual themselves. This news that the teacher had "used" someone else so shamelessly for his own gratification, led me to question my continued membership of the organisation then called The Fellowship. I had two questions I wished to put to Robert Burton before I left. I knew full well he would never accept another call, since he would have seen my call as expressing negativity towards himself and his precious C-influence, and not wasted his precious time. The first question I asked him (which is not on the tape, as just at the moment he answered I reached out and accidentally dropped the walkman recorder I was using hooked to mics on the phone casing, was "how many different students have you had sex with?" the tape comes back online as he explains he is very happy with his sex life and hoped everyone else had the same pleasure he had. He had said in that mealy mouthed way "I wouldn't mind telling you but..blah blah", so I picked up on his circumlocution and held him to his word, the answer to my question "How many?" At the time I expected an answer of 5 or so, as he seeemed to have long standing favourites at court. Little did I know that he had by that time had SO many he probably genuinely could not remember how many different students he had "known" biblically. I prefer in any case my second question, which arose out of my studies at the open university showing the limits of our scientific knowledge, let alone this distortion of the original gurdjieffian meaning of C influence, which was direct contact with a living conscious school, and Burton's paranoid take on it, that it was a force composed of 44 angels who communicated with Burton by Idea of reference classic interpretation of every random event as being a cosmic clue as to his real mission The founder of a new era of mankind. He aims high does Robert Earl Burton. So my second question kept pressing for the most generous interpretation of his motivation, which is that he genuinely believes he is in contact with higher forces, and they communicate with him via car number plates etc. I try a few times to let the insight flow into him, that he has no way of knowing. The image is taken from the FoF Blog.

[ed. - Below is the text of the YouTube version of this 1989 interview, with some minor edits.] 
[John Harmer's introduction] This a tape recording of an "exit interview" between a disgruntled student of The Fellowship of Friends and the leader of that cult, a man named Robert Burton.(rb)
What follows is the second part of that recording. In the first part he was asked how many of his students he had had sex with - he declined to give a figure.
One of his main claims was/is to be in direct communications with 44 disembodied spirits of significant cultural figures from the past.
The student (jh) noticed that he appeared to be suffering from "ideas of reference" and doubted this as a procedure to authenticate the claimed origin of these spooky advisors.
Burton (rb) called his imaginary friends Influence C.
jh wanted to probe Burton as to what method, if any, he used to convince himself that the messages are not the products of his own mind.
This the very coinage of your brain:
This bodiless creation ecstasy
 Is very cunning in.  
Hamlet act 3 scene IV (Oh, yes. Shakespeare was one of Burton's cosmic buddies.)
The recording (which dates from 1989) is poor, an old Walkman with a sucker microphone stuck to the phone. Text is provided to assist the listener to catch all the words of wisdom.
jh: The uh, other thing I'd like to know is what method you use to convince yourself that the messages that you think you're getting from C influence are from the source that you say they are rather than perhaps for example your own mind?
rb: Well...well the Gods reveal themselves to me. I...uh...I do not uh...It's not my station....uh I have to say they reveal themselves (by faith?)....They are forming an ark using me...and uh...they—they use a variety of—a variety of means to communicate they—they have somewhat of a physical-metaphysical presence that they use to communicate. This is a relationship of a man number seven to higher school.
jh: Yes. And did you ever wonder if they might be just something in your own mind?
rb: No of course not. Like my mother's name was Shock. My—my mother's maiden name was Velma Shock.
jh: Yes.
rb: So it's a—it's a very kind of brutal experience verifying influence C (because) they have a heavy hand—it's so long as though [or, "I said long ago"] they carry a wand in one hand and a club in the other, you are touched by both.
jh: Yes. I mean if you know how easy it is for people to um become convinced of—of mistaken ideas?
rb: No—no I'm quite aware of it John. In search of the miraculous and I have found the miraculous. Something-something we are given...not—not a right apparently you've forgotten but I—I'm not in imagination at all about influence C. It's very—it's a real carry them, but it's a dear burden and one I would never drop.
jh: I mean you're aware that many people think they are getting messages from strange places.
rb: Oh, I—I know that. Influence C pressures people into reality. You know they...they take people beyond allurement and's no uh easy thing to bear them. Well dear I guess that' time for now. I mean give my love to Barbara and my love to you.
jh: OK. thank you for answering the questions.
rb (or jh): Bye, bye.