Introduction


Robert Earl Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970. Burton modeled his own group after that of Alex Horn, loosely borrowing from the Fourth Way teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. In recent years, the Fellowship has cast its net more broadly, embracing any spiritual tradition that includes (or can be interpreted to include) the notion of "presence."

The Fellowship of Friends exhibits the hallmarks of a "doomsday religious cult," wherein Burton exercises absolute authority, and demands loyalty and obedience. He warns that his is the only path to consciousness and eternal life. Invoking his gift of prophecy, he has over the years prepared his flock for great calamities (e.g. a depression in 1984, the fall of California in 1998, nuclear holocaust in 2006, and most recently the October 2018 "Fall of California Redux.")

But according to Burton, Armageddon still looms in our future and when it finally arrives, non-believers shall perish, while through the direct intervention and guidance from 44 angels (recently expanded to 81 angels, including himself and his divine father, Leonardo da Vinci) Burton and his followers shall be spared, founding a new, and more perfect civilization.

Many regard Robert Earl Burton a narcissist and sociopath, surrounded by a largely greed- and power-driven inner circle. The following pages offer abundant evidence supporting that conclusion.

This archive draws from official Fellowship publications and websites, news archives, court documents, cult education and awareness forums, the Internet Archive, the long-running Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the (former) Fellowship of Friends wikispace project, the (ill-fated 2007) Fellowship of Friends Wikipedia page, and the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship. Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Robert Earl Burton - Thoughts from a Fourth Way Teacher

[ed. - As the inevitable passing of the torch approaches, The Fellowship of Friends has introduced new Robert Earl Burton hagiographies.

The domains "robertearlburton.net" and "robertearlburton.com" both direct to the "Nature of Presence" WordPress blog (below). The blog is the latest in the endless shuffling of Robert Burton aphorisms paired with "meaningful" images. New look, "same old jive" (as Miles Barth once called it.) Curiously, Burton and the Fellowship have had an on-again, off-again relationship with The Fourth Way.]

Apollo/Oregon House Fellowship of Friends website Robert Earl Burton - Thoughts from a Fourth Way Teacher
Screenshot of Fellowship of Friends blog Robert Earl Burton - Thoughts from a Fourth Way Teacher

"Golden Veil" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 3, 2018:
102. trenchant – April 2, 2018

The link you put shows only an image and I can’t tell what it is about. Re-post?

The folksy commentary by Jodi and Jess gets heatedly critical near its end. I don’t know who they interviewed, but notwithstanding their “scientific” mindsets, it’s a pity they didn’t see evidence of the sex abuse lawsuit that was settled out of court by at least one underage male member. I had never heard of REB’s own, rather unimpressive website until listening to the podcast.

http://www.robertearlburton.net/

"Associated Press" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 3, 2018:
Re: robertearlburton.net

More FoF drivel.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 3, 2018:
103, 104. [Above] This site was not designed to say anything useful, truthful or profound, which is why it does not. The plan, hatched a couple of years ago, was to flood the internet with pro-FoF sites, so that someone searching for the FoF or for Burton would have a decreased chance of finding this discussion forum fofdiscussion.wordpress.com or the “REB blog” robertearlburton.blogspot.com.

As we all know by now, once a fish is reeled in and given their introductory meetings, nothing further is said about Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, or “the 4th Way.” There is not a trace of the G-O system or teaching coming from Burton, Matei, Haven, or anyone else. Instead the gullible fish is taught the real secret of eternal life: orbit Robert Burton forever; mindlessly repeat Burton’s ridiculous “Sequence;” pay, pay, and pay some more; then follow Burton to Paradise.

Friday, August 4, 2017

"The Fellowship of Friends: A Cult of Gentlemen"

[ed. - "The Critical Unbeliever's" take on the Fellowship of Friends. Apparently drawing entirely on internet sources, including this blog, the video's creator appears to have no first-hand knowledge of Burton and the Fellowship. His narrative is reasonably coherent and generally on the mark, though a number of factual errors (and some very bizarre graphics) detract a bit from the overall impact.]




[ed. - Some comments the video has drawn on YouTube:]
"Fellowship of Friends.. with benefits."

"Herpes benefits."

"Great, that's all we need, another cult ravaging our country, literally it would seem."

"I left that cult in April 1981 but it was before I learned of any of this when I came in contact with other students who had left, did some research and learned the truth around 1998. Thanks, excellent work. I'm 78, and was beginning to wonder what stage his health was in. Many of his photos reveal dark eyes and more."

"Amazing video, absolutely astounding."

"My gosh that's horrible. Good video though"

"Awesome video! that must have taken a lot of research, and time to put together. thank you"

"Amazing video! Dang.."

"Very well done videos. Keep it up!"

"Very interesting"

"I was a member of this group in the mid-70's." [ed. - a "higher force"!]

"Wow, I am very interested in speaking with you in the future. Got an email?"

"Yeah. What interests you about them? Curious. Happy to chat with you."

"I suppose the easy question is, did anything in my video strike you as inaccurate?"

"Youtube is an awkward place for these conversations but here is my email, please contact me when convenient. Criticaldisbelief@gmail.com"

"Okay, I know I should really watch the whole video before making a random, pointless comment... But that's what the edit button is for, and...'Fired for hugging the children too much.' Is that all? Just hugs? Are they SURE they didn't notice something weird about his... clothing? Whilst hugging the children? Specifically the clothing that isn't his shirt, shoes, jacket, or socks. Yeah. You know what I mean. That leaves one option left."

"what is REB hiding under his purple trilby!!!!!????"

"I actually couldn't care less about people who join cults."

"What is this proof of a cult?! I was interested in learning of a cult near my home town but this shit is so laughable. Please post legitimate information, legitimate proof, some actual info on this cult. I truly want to learn about this but this is all nonsense"

"So, would you say running a work camp for people that believe he speaks to 44 angels and can predict the future is something a cult wouldn't do?"

"I would say Hitler would kick a kitten but that doesn't make every person who kicks a kitten Hitler now does it."

"That doesnt make any sense. I think you should review the definition of the word cult. Maybe you expect black cowls or something? I assure you, the majority of cults are high control groups without any scary imagery. I imagine thats what you're looking for, pretty unrealistic."

"haha not at all. This is merely a delusional sexual deviant who at best ran a co-opt and still definitely not a cult"

Tuesday, August 1, 2017