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.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

"Guru/disciple relationship dynamics and attachment traumas"

[ed. - Ale Gicqueau (aka Vaillant) was a Fellowship of Friends member from 1993 to 1996, and a self-described member of Robert Burton's inner circle. As in the case of many past Fellowship spin-offs, Vaillant now appears determined to take on the role of guru. He joins his wife, internet sensation, Teal Swan in leading lost souls on the path to (their version of) enlightenment. Though Gicqueau clearly recognizes, and is critical of, cult power dynamics, he and Teal have not avoided them in their new "teaching." It is noteworthy that many, like Gicqueau, apply their experience as professional recruiters, or headhunters, to gathering followers. Such recruiters have long filled the ranks of the Fellowship of Friends leadership. February 3, 2019 update: from the biographical sketch in this article, it appears Gicqueau and Swan have split. See: Coach Vaillant's Blog.]

Excerpt from "Vaillant (Ale) Gicqueau's blog - Because sharing is the stuff that life is made of…", July 28, 2018:
I had read lots of books from Osho Rajneesh (see documentary Wild Wild Country on Netflix) and I enjoyed very much his provocative insights, vast knowledge and wisdom. One day, when I felt particularly miserable and was looking for an answer, I drew a card from his tarot deck. It was the Master card, the 79th card in Osho’s tarot deck. I interpreted the meaning of this card that I had to find a master because I felt so stuck. Awakening felt like the answer to my suffering. An occult group in Paris was leaving bookmarks in Osho Rajneesh books. It was called The Fellowship of Friends that proclaimed to be a fourth way school following the teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, two famous Russian mystics. Osho spoke frequently of Gurdjieff in his books. I contacted them and after three prospective meetings, I was determined to join to put an end to my misery and isolation.

Goethe-Room-Dinner

At first, my experience in the cult was exhilarating. I felt an intense sense of belonging, I was given a new meaning for my life, I was surrounded with many smart, mature and wise people, my mind was stimulated by new and fascinating esoteric knowledge, my ego was gratified by feeling among the chosen ones and having a direct connection to God (called Influence C in that group), I was developing deeper connections with people and my life became full of new exciting experiences and adventures. Being in a cult at that time was actually an improvement to my state compared to the powerlessness, isolation, addiction and depression that I had been struggling with. Actually, a lot of people go from substance or sexual addiction to becoming fundamentalist newborn Christians, this is actually an improvement too. There is a reason why the 12-step program is so religious.

Robert Earl Burton, Self-Proclaimed Avatar of the Age

If you want to better understand the type of cult I joined, you may be interested to watch the documentary Holy Hell on Netflix. Both my cult leader Robert Earl Burton and Michel Rostand in Holy Hell are megalomaniac and homosexual predators. They believe they are fully awakened. They are highly manipulative and believe that it is an honor to be used by them. They are very authoritative and exercise full control over the life of their members. Robert’s group the fellowship of friends was a bit larger than Michel’s as it reached over 3,000 members at its prime time. Robert demanded 10% of every member income, sex from any male member he found attractive (most of them being heterosexual and having no interest to have sex with a man) and compliance to his instructions as he saw himself more evolved than Christ himself.

HOLY HELL (2016)

In most cases unfortunately, a guru/disciple relationship is nothing else than a narcissist/co-dependent relationship. It is a dysfunctional relationship where needs are met in ways that are destructive, manipulative and covert. What is the dynamic of this dysfunctional relationship? Because of their attachment traumas, the co-dependents have developed core shame and believe they are bad and as a result, there are unable to see their own light. They have disown their light and their guru has disowned his shadow. The relationship that they are developing with a narcissistic guru will then reflect their unworthiness and they are therefore a perfect match to their cult leader because of their core belief of being bad. The codependents are attracted to the charm, boldness, confidence and domineering personality of the narcissist. The codependents reflexively give up their power; since the narcissist thrives on control and power, there is an intense attraction between them. The narcissist guru find recruits who lack self-worth, confidence and who have low self-esteem — codependents. Through smart manipulation the narcissist leader is able to conceal his lower motives and maintain an unsullied reputation—at least in the beginning. They are often highly intelligent, possess esoteric information that is very attractive to their followers, and are well aware of mind control techniques. Most use the technique of undermining the follower’s sense of self by subtle criticism or exposing personally embarrassing situations to trigger their core shame—all this in the name assisting the person to transcend ego. They establish their superiority over their followers by claiming super powers that cannot be verified. For example, Robert would claim “I have fully developed higher centers”, “I live in a pure state of presence & being”, “I am omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent”. Anyone questioning the claims of the guru is shamed for lacking faith, devotion or is seen as disruptive for the group cohesion. Because co-dependents have such fear of abandonment, they typically err on the safe side by unconditionally siding with the guru’s views with the rest of the followers. Over time, even as the disciples become aware of the guru abuse, they look the other way, as they understand that the cult leader owns the relationships in the group and any opposition would mean ex-communication, which is perceived as the worst possible punishment for people with abandonment traumas. Once we have accepted the cult as our family, we are stuck. There is another important reason why it is so difficult to leave these dangerous cults. We have disowned our relationship to our Creator, God or Source and believed we are dependent on the group and the cult leader to access it. Leaving the group is then associated with cutting our connection to the divine, which is a deeply entrenched fear in humans. We have been controlled for millenniums by the fear of rotting in hell for eternity. When I announced my departure of the cult to Robert in 1996, he warned me that I would lose my connection to “Influence C” (i.e. God). At the end, I only lost my connection to a demon

I had made the Fellowship of Friends my family, I was part of the cult inner circle, I had adopted the cult beliefs and language, I had very little connection with my blood family. So how was I able to leave it when I was only 23 confronting the cult leader Robert Earl Burton on my last day while so many other more mature, smarter and experienced members stayed stuck there for so many years?
  • First, I stayed in contact with a French healer Jacques who I intuitively felt had many more spiritual abilities than my guru who claimed to be God on earth. He helped my deprogramming in smart and subtle ways.
  • I was not completely dependent on the group as I just started a programmer job in Silicon Valley.
  • I rented a room in a house with an individual that had his own teacher Elias De Mohan, a remarkably psychic man that was not cultish. This again challenged Robert’s claim that he was the most conscious being on earth.
  • After attending so many Robert’s events, he looked like a parrot repeating the same thing over and over again so I did not feel I was learning anything new anymore.
  • The cult organization destroyed my relationship with a woman I was deeply in love with and built resentment toward the cult as a result.
  • I understood how wasteful Robert was with money and I did not want him to do this with 10% of my income now that I had a good job.
  • However, I think the biggest factor came from my own attachment trauma. I had lost my family already when I was a kid and knew I could survive it. Or maybe subconsciously, I wanted to re-experience the pain of losing my family again for healing purpose. In any case, my own trauma benefited me in this situation.
Most of my friends in the cult ended up only leaving the cult 13 years later after all the abuse was made public through this public blog.
ale gicqueaux blog
Ale Gicqueau blog screen print

Thursday, July 19, 2018

"Why do people join cults?" by Janja Lalich



Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups - Revised 

ICSA Today, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2015, 10.

By Michael D. Langone 

PDF Source

Cult Characteristics of Cultic Groups checklist by Lalich and Langone - page 1

Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups checklist - Page 2 - Lalich and Langone

Note: This checklist has gone through many revisions since the author first presented it in the 1990s. Many people have contributed suggestions and feedback to the various revisions, in particular Carol Giambalvo, Janja Lalich, Herb Rosedale, and Patrick Ryan. The current, slightly modified version of this checklist was published in ICSA Today, 6(3), 2015.


Michael D. Langone, PhD, a counseling psychologist, received a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1979. Since 1981 he has been Executive Director of International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). He has written and spoken widely on cult-related topics and is Editor-in-Chief of ICSA Today.

About Janja Lalich, PhD

[ed. - Additional recommended reading: The Guru Papers. And if you're really determined to join a cult, find help here: Which Cult Should I Join?: A Choose-Your-Own Guidebook for the Spiritually Bereft.]

Monday, July 16, 2018

He Preyed on Men Who Wanted to Be Priests. Then He Became a Cardinal.

[ed. - The stories are similar. Numerous lawsuits, including at least one alleging Robert Burton sexually abused a minor, nearly brought financial ruin to the Fellowship. To save the Fellowship, Burton's inner circle increased its vigilance in assuring only young men of "legal age" would enter the harem, while Burton continued to abuse his role as teacher and pastor.]

“My observations were that people were disgusted by it,” said Mr. Ciolek. “There were some who gloried in the attention it brought on them, even if it was screwed-up attention. But I don’t remember anyone welcoming it and hoping they would be touched.”

He Preyed on Men Who Wanted to Be Priests. Then He Became a Cardinal.


Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington in 2005. For decades, church officials ignored warnings that the cardinal was sexually abusing seminarians. Credit Nicholas Kamm/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images>

The New York Times
July 16, 2018
By Laurie Goodstein and Sharon Otterman

As a young man studying to be a priest in the 1980s, Robert Ciolek was flattered when his brilliant, charismatic bishop in Metuchen, N.J., Theodore E. McCarrick, told him he was a shining star, cut out to study in Rome and rise high in the church.

Bishop McCarrick began inviting him on overnight trips, sometimes alone and sometimes with other young men training to be priests. There, the bishop would often assign Mr. Ciolek to share his room, which had only one bed. The two men would sometimes say night prayers together, before Bishop McCarrick would make a request — “come over here and rub my shoulders a little”— that extended into unwanted touching in bed.

Mr. Ciolek, who was in his early 20s at the time, said he felt unable to say no, in part because he had been sexually abused by a teacher in his Catholic high school, a trauma he had shared with the bishop.

“I trusted him, I confided in him, I admired him,” Mr. Ciolek said in an interview this month, the first time he has spoken publicly about the abuse, which lasted for several years while Mr. Ciolek was a seminarian and later a priest. “I couldn’t imagine that he would have anything other than my best interests in mind.”

Bishop McCarrick went on to climb the ranks of the Roman Catholic hierarchy — from head of the small Diocese of Metuchen to archbishop of Newark and then archbishop of Washington, where he was made a cardinal. He remained into his 80s one of the most recognized American cardinals on the global stage, a Washington power broker who participated in funeral masses for political luminaries like Edward M. Kennedy, the longtime Massachusetts senator, and Beau Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Suddenly, last month, Cardinal McCarrick was removed from ministry, after the Archdiocese of New York deemed credible an accusation that he had molested a 16-year-old altar boy nearly 50 years ago.

Cardinal McCarrick, now 88, who declined to comment for this article, said in a statement last month that he had no recollection of the abuse. He is the highest-ranking Catholic official in the United States to be removed for sexual abuse of a minor.

But while the church responded quickly to the allegation that Cardinal McCarrick had abused a child, some church officials knew for decades that the cardinal had been accused of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching adults, according to interviews and documents obtained by The New York Times.

Between 1994 and 2008, multiple reports about the cardinal’s transgressions with adult seminary students were made to American bishops, the pope’s representative in Washington and, finally, Pope Benedict XVI. Two New Jersey dioceses secretly paid settlements, in 2005 and 2007, to two men, one of whom was Mr. Ciolek, for allegations against the archbishop. All the while, Cardinal McCarrick played a prominent role publicizing the church’s new zero-tolerance policy against abusing children.

The scandal of child sexual abuse by clergy has gripped the Catholic Church for nearly two decades, resulting in billions spent by the church on lawsuits, settlements and prevention programs. But while the church has made strides in dealing with sexual abuse of children, it has largely avoided a reckoning over sexual harassment and abuse suffered by adult seminarians and young priests at the hands of their superiors, including bishops.

Because bishops have control over priests’ assignments and complete loyalty is expected by the church’s clerical culture, seminarians and priests can be especially vulnerable to sexual harassment by their superiors.

“In the corporate world, there are ways to report misconduct,” Mr. Ciolek, 57, said at his home in New Jersey. “You have an H.R. contact, you have a legal department, or you have anonymous reporting, you have systems. Does the Catholic Church have that? How is a priest supposed to report abuse or wrong activity by his bishop? What is their stated vehicle for anyone to do that? I don’t think it exists.”

Now, after the fall of Cardinal McCarrick, some Catholics are saying that the church is on the verge of confronting its own #MeToo moment, akin to the wave of painful truth-telling that has swept through other workplaces, schools and Hollywood.

The Rev. Hans Zollner, a member of the Vatican’s commission for advising the pope on protecting minors, said that he has seen more victims come forward in recent months with accounts of sexual abuse in the church that they experienced as adults.

“The #MeToo movement has created a momentum,” he said. “It has brought another level of attention to this kind of hidden abuse.”

‘Uncle Ted’

With his warm, gregarious presence, Cardinal McCarrick rose quickly through the ranks of the church after being ordained a priest in 1958. As a bishop, he took pride in his success at recruiting young men to the priesthood — including one he met in an airport, according to his colleagues.

In 1981, the New York-born clergyman was made the bishop of the newly created diocese of Metuchen in central New Jersey. The young men he recruited would attend seminary at Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland, before being ordained as priests for the diocese.

Those who interacted with him back then said he was friendly with all the seminarians, but would invite a few he especially favored to overnight stays at a beach house in Sea Girt, N.J. It was a small, simple house, some six blocks from the ocean — a retreat that the diocese had purchased at Bishop McCarrick’s request in 1984.

Robert  Ciolek said he was abused over several years while he was a seminarian  and later a priest. “I couldn’t imagine that he would have anything  other than my best interests in mind,” Mr. Ciolek said of Cardinal  McCarrick. Credit Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

About four or five seminarians and young priests would go to the house at a time, usually on a Friday, where they would sometimes cook dinner or order pizza and socialize over beers, Mr. Ciolek recalled. Before lights out, Mr. Ciolek said, Bishop McCarrick would assign sleeping arrangements, directing one seminarian to share his room, which had one large bed.

Sometimes, Bishop McCarrick would start to rub a young man’s back as the rest of the group was filtering toward the bedrooms. Other times, it would happen once the young man who had been selected to room with the bishop was alone with him.

“My observations were that people were disgusted by it,” said Mr. Ciolek. “There were some who gloried in the attention it brought on them, even if it was screwed-up attention. But I don’t remember anyone welcoming it and hoping they would be touched.”

For Mr. Ciolek, there were about a dozen trips out of town with Bishop McCarrick, including to a fishing camp in Eldred, N.Y., with other seminarians, and once to Puerto Rico, where he waited in a hotel lobby while his host spoke with the local bishop. Bishop McCarrick also took him to Yankees games. At one game, Mr. Ciolek said he was seated in George Steinbrenner’s box between the team owner and Henry Kissinger, in what he described as one of the highlights of his young life. But after the games ended, Bishop McCarrick sometimes took him to a small apartment on an upper floor of a hospital that he used for overnight stays in the city, and directed Mr. Ciolek to share his bed.

Mr. Ciolek said that even though he just wanted to be a parish priest, Bishop McCarrick would frequently bring up how he ought to go to Rome and climb the church hierarchy.

With the harassment, Mr. Ciolek said, Bishop McCarrick seemed to have a line he would not cross with him. The touching would stay above the waist, avoiding the genitals, he said. There was no kissing, no holding hands.

But a second former priest, who received a settlement from the New Jersey dioceses for abuse by McCarrick, did not describe such a limit to the physical contact. This priest, who declined to be interviewed and whose file was provided on condition that his name not be used, was also a member of Bishop McCarrick’s select circle of seminarians.

By 1986, Bishop McCarrick had been promoted by Pope John Paul II to a much bigger job: Archbishop of Newark, one of the country’s largest dioceses with more than one million Catholics. In the summer of 1987, this former priest alleged, Archbishop McCarrick took him to an Italian restaurant in New York City, and then to the small apartment above the hospital. (Mr. Ciolek described the room in similar terms.)

There, Archbishop McCarrick asked the seminarian to change into a striped sailor shirt and a pair of shorts he had on hand, and joined him in the bed, according to the seminarian’s written account. “He put his arms around me and wrapped his legs between mine,” the account states.

He also wrote that he once saw Archbishop McCarrick having sex with a young priest in a cabin at the Eldred fishing camp, and that the archbishop invited him to be “next.”

In this former priest’s file were handwritten letters that the archbishop wrote to him when he was still a student, some signed “Uncle Ted,” and “Uncle T.” They sometimes addressed him as “nephew,” a term Mr. Ciolek said was used by the archbishop to refer to the young men he took on overnight trips.

One letter was written in 1987 while Archbishop McCarrick was aboard a plane in Poland on mission for the Vatican. “I just wanted to tell you how glad I am that we had the chance to get together this summer,” the archbishop wrote to the 26-year-old student. “It wasn’t as often as I would have liked but I know how ‘social’ my nephew is!”

Unstoppable Rise

Archbishop McCarrick’s trip to Poland was a sign of his growing prominence. His brother bishops in the United States elected him chairman of their committees on migration, international policy and aid for the church in Central and Eastern Europe. He met with Fidel Castro in 1988.

The first documented complaint about Cardinal McCarrick came at the latest by 1994, when the second priest wrote a letter to the new Bishop of Metuchen, Edward T. Hughes, saying that Archbishop McCarrick had inappropriately touched him and other seminarians in the 1980s, according to the documents.

The priest had a disturbing confession, the documents show. He told Bishop Hughes that he was coming forward because he believed the sexual and emotional abuse he endured from Archbishop McCarrick, as well as several other priests, had left him so traumatized that it triggered him to touch two 15-year-old boys inappropriately. The Metuchen diocese sent the priest to therapy, and then transferred him to another diocese. But Archbishop McCarrick’s stature remained intact; he was even given the honor of hosting John Paul II on a visit to Newark in 1995 and leading a large public Mass there for the pope.

Around 1999, Mr. Ciolek was called in by Archbishop McCarrick’s former secretary in Metuchen, Msgr. Michael J. Alliegro, who knew about the trips with seminarians, including the bed-sharing. He asked Mr. Ciolek, who had left the priesthood in 1988 to marry a woman, if he planned to sue the diocese, and then mentioned Archbishop McCarrick’s name. “And I literally laughed, and I said, no,” Mr. Ciolek said, adding that the monsignor responded with a sigh of relief.

In 2000, Pope John Paul II promoted Archbishop McCarrick to lead the Archdiocese of Washington D.C., one of the most prestigious posts in the Catholic Church in America. He was elevated to cardinal three months later.

At least one priest warned the Vatican against the appointment. The Rev. Boniface Ramsey said that when he was on the faculty at the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in New Jersey from 1986 to 1996, he was told by seminarians about Archbishop McCarrick’s sexual abuse at the beach house. When Archbishop McCarrick was appointed to Washington, Father Ramsey spoke by phone with the pope’s representative in the nation’s capital, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the papal nuncio, and at his encouragement sent a letter to the Vatican about Archbishop McCarrick’s history.

Father Ramsey, now a priest in New York City, said he never got a response.

Cardinal McCarrick’s ascent by that point seemed unstoppable, given his importance to the church. He was a prolific fund-raiser; as a founding member and president of the Papal Foundation, he rounded up deep-pocketed donors to pledge $1 million to the pope’s pet causes.

When Pope John Paul II made him Washington archbishop and a cardinal, the pope was in decline from Parkinson’s disease.

Cardinal  McCarrick in 1995, when he was Archbishop of Newark. He rose steadily  in the Catholic heirarchy despite allegations that he had abused  seminarians and young priests. Credit William Sauro/The New York Times

“He was not tracking these things closely because of his health, and his aides were not inclined to bring particular cases to his attention,” said John Thavis, a longtime Vatican correspondent and the author of “Vatican Diaries.”

Mr. Thavis pointed out that John Paul II also disregarded multiple warnings about a different, more notorious sexual predator, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ and another renowned church fund-raiser.

In 2002, when the turmoil in the church over the child sex abuse scandal was at a peak, Cardinal McCarrick was among the cardinals summoned by the pope to help manage the crisis.

Cardinal McCarrick voted in the papal conclave in 2005 that elected Pope Benedict XVI, and participated in the cardinals’ meetings in 2013 that led to the election of Pope Francis. He retired as leader of the Washington archdiocese in 2006 at 75, the standard retirement age for bishops.

A Reckoning

For many years, Mr. Ciolek, who became a lawyer after leaving the priesthood, told no one about his experiences. Then in 2004, after he began receiving counseling, he filed for a settlement from the church and received $80,000 from the Dioceses of Trenton, Metuchen and Newark.

Two years later, the church paid a settlement of $100,000 to the other priest alleging abuse. That priest had been forced to resign in 2004 under the church’s new zero-tolerance protocols against child abuse, based on his confession about touching two boys a decade earlier.

Father Ramsey said he continued to warn church leaders about Cardinal McCarrick. In 2008, he said, he raised the issue with Cardinal Edward Egan, the New York archbishop, but Cardinal Egan cut him off quickly. Father Ramsey said he was disturbed in 2015 to see Cardinal McCarrick serving at the funeral Mass for Cardinal Egan, so he wrote to Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, who had been appointed by Pope Francis to lead a commission on sexual abuse of children.

“I have blown the whistle for 30 years without getting anywhere,” Father Ramsey said recently.

Cardinal O’Malley, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

Richard Sipe, a former priest who is an authority on clergy sex abuse, said that seminarians began to confide in him about the beach house sleepovers while he was a professor at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in the 1980s. He said he wrote a letter to Pope Benedict in 2008, telling him the illicit trips to the shore home “had been widely known for several decades.”

One possible reason the allegations did not impede Cardinal McCarrick’s ascent is that unwanted touching of an adult by a bishop or superior is not explicitly stated as a crime under the church’s canon law, Catholic legal scholars said. There is a relevant canon (a legal provision), which says that anyone who abuses their “ecclesiastical power” and “harms somebody” is to be “punished with a just penalty.” But it was never applied to Cardinal McCarrick.

“He could have been removed from office — he certainly should not have been advanced,” said Msgr. Kenneth Lasch, a canon lawyer and retired priest in New Jersey who serves as a victims’ advocate.

The Vatican has removed bishops from their posts for having affairs with women and men; Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the church in Scotland, stepped down under Vatican pressure in 2013 after revelations of his sexual misconduct with seminarians and priests. But such punishments are rare, and are decided on a case-by-case basis by the Vatican.

In a statement to The New York Times, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark said that he was “greatly disturbed by reports” that Cardinal McCarrick, his predecessor in Newark from 1986 to 2000, had “harassed seminarians and young clergy.”

“I recognize without any ambiguity that all people have a right to live, work and study in safe environments,” he wrote. “I intend to discuss this tragedy with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in order to articulate standards that will assure high standards of respect by bishops, priests and deacons for all adults.”

Many dioceses in the United States have their own policies on workplace sexual harassment. But there is no global policy in the Catholic Church on sexual harassment of adults, and no standard procedure for reporting sexual wrongdoing by one’s bishop locally, experts say.

The “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” adopted by the American bishops at the height of the child sexual abuse scandal in 2002, does not cover victims older than 18. The bishops’ charter also contained no procedures for holding bishops accountable other than “fraternal correction” by fellow bishops. Cardinal McCarrick helped to draft the charter.

The Catholic Whistleblowers, a network of priests and nuns, recently sent a letter urging the American bishops to expand the category of victims to include adults, in particular those who are vulnerable to clergy sexual abuse because of overpowering intimidation by the abuser or because the victims are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It also urges them to apply its zero-tolerance policy to bishops, said Father Lasch, a Whistleblowers member.

When Mr. Ciolek received his abuse settlement in 2005, it came with no formal admission of fault, and it barred him from ever speaking to the media about the abuse.

But since Cardinal McCarrick’s suspension, Cardinal Tobin, of Newark, and the bishop of Metuchen, James F. Checchio, have both apologized to Mr. Ciolek personally on behalf of the church. “I am sorry beyond words, and embarrassed beyond belief, at this atrocious conduct,” Bishop Checchio wrote to him. Mr. Ciolek has been released from his confidentiality agreements to permit him to speak publicly.

“If the church is genuine about cleaning up the rest of the mess, it ought to do something,” he said. “And that’s when I will judge the sincerity of the expressions of sorrow that I’m now receiving.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

John North's escape

[ed. - John North's story below is reprinted with the author's permission. I've placed this in two locations on the timeline: July 10, 2018, when "Golden Veil" first shared and commented on John's story, and March 15, 1979, when John escaped from the Fellowship.]

"Golden Veil" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 10, 2018:
Can a man be a member of the #MeToo movement?

You betcha!

Below, a personal history from Fellowship of Friends former student John [ed. - John North], who posted about his experience being placed in the Blake Cottage and serving as Robert Burton’s “attaché” on the Miles Barth In Memoriam page, Greater Fellowship, on July 6, 2017. [ed. - Greater Fellowship requires membership to access site.]
Reflecting on my time in the Fellowship still provides an opportunity for work.

It is not my wish to speak ill of the dead – only to relay my memories as best I can. Who knows the truth?

My first visit to Renaissance was in the summer of ’78. Even back then, it was like walking into Rivendell (Lord of the Rings) or Hogwarts -for you younger escapees…

I was quite literally spell bound by the elegance of the Meissen Room, the beauty and scope of the vineyard, the excellence of the antique octave, the concerts, the intellectual and emotional depth of the students, their sophistication, refinement, their level of commitment, and the efforts they made …

And many if not most of them were spell bound like me. Naïve, innocent, dreaming – imagining a perfect world created and directed by a deity.

I should have “smelled the coffee burning”.

If I remember right, I was helping Brian Sisler paint Dorothy Beaulieu’s cottage on my weekend visits to Renaissance. I did not know Brian well but came to understand that he was being sent away for “spreading rumors” about RB and that I would be taking his place at the Blake Cottage. Dorothy turned to me and said something to the effect of  “…such a sweet young man – how could he say such terrible things about Robert?” This I remember very clearly.

Of course discussing rumors about the teacher was strictly verboten – so I did not ask. I wish I had.

If Dorothy – who was not even on the fringes of the inner circle – suspected something was (as the saying goes) “rotten in Denmark”, does anyone think the older students were unaware? Again I emphasize – I was not the first “9 month wonder”. My suspicion is that most of them (if not all) at first refused to believe (like me), then justified the behavior (like me), and then went into denial – a luxury I could not afford.

I cannot imagine many experiences that would equal or surpass visiting this magical place for months – hearing the words “crown prince”, “conscious role”, “Lord North”, and then… the first night in the Blake Cottage… having the curtain pulled back and the dark side exposed.

At first, I tried to rationalize RB’s behavior as a test but that didn’t last long. I found myself looking up references to double/incorrect crystallization, hasnamuss, and so on… I still don’t know what went wrong.

In any case – the “wine, dine & travel” octave had begun… “The Magic Flute” in L.A., Baryshnikov in San Francisco, Tavern on the Green in New York, two trips to Europe – Amsterdam (to bid on a roll top desk), London, Munich, Paris… (I don’t remember the exact order). I was Robert’s “attaché” on the first trip and the “motor” for Kevin Kelly’s wheelchair on the second. (Sadly, Kevin became ill in Paris and we spent most of the trip there).

I found the opportunity to observe myself was profound. I did my best to recall Gurdjieff’s advice – “The worse the conditions of life, the more productive the work, always provided you remember the work.”

I cannot express how productive those difficult days were. I had a very new and different perspective on “The Teacher” and the ideas. Imagination, identification, considering, expressing negative emotions, lying…

It was confusing and enlightening at the same time. I verified the usefulness and validity of The Work in ways that would have taken years by any other route. In a way I suppose I should be thankful. Many have labored and suffered for decades under his spell. My eyes were opened and I began to look for an exit.

It was not easy. No money. No car. In addition, Louis told me that I was considered a “flight risk” and would be watched quite carefully.

Late at night on the Ides of March in 1979, I gathered what was left of my worldly possessions into a back pack and tip-toed out of the Blake Cottage and on to the road. Fortunately, a newer student was driving the first car that came along. I told him Robert had granted me a three day vacation. He had no idea I was running. I was so thankful. Who knows what might have happened if I had been caught trying to escape. Probably transferred to the London Center for reprogramming. Ha!

Unfortunately, I did not escape undamaged. I have not and do not think I will ever fully trust another teacher, school or human being. That’s had an impact on every relationship I’ve had since leaving the Fellowship.

And as many here probably know – working alone is only so productive.
~ ~ ~

If there is someone out there that was or is a former or current “boy” of Robert Burton, there are agencies for help – and reporting.

“You are not alone.
It was not your fault.
It is possible to heal.
It is not too late.”

From: https://www.malesurvivor.org/index.php

See also:

https://1in6.org/

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Oktoberfest at Apollo

Apollo Renaissance Self-Remembering Robert_Earl_Burton Fellowship_of_Friends cult Armageddon doomsday
Renaissance Winery, designed as both winery and bomb shelter. Original photo "Apollo Winter" by Jonathan Beth

“Next month, on October 4th, there will 444 days to the Mayan prediction of the end the cycle on December 21, 2012. The messages I am receiving indicate that they will not enact the Last Judgment in 2012, but more likely in 2018. It is based upon several signals they have given. In fact, as I was speaking about this with Dorian today an email arrived and my iPad chimed just as I said '2018.'”
- Robert Earl Burton, September 14, 2011

[ed. - Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends may be gearing up for the biggest bash ever. Reports are that "The Teacher" is summoning all the sheep home for a grand celebration October 21st. This event may even mark the annihilation of the sleeping masses of "life people" and ascension of Burton and his followers to Heaven. The level of paranoia being expressed by Burton may indeed warrant the scrutiny of governmental agencies and the media.]

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 17, 2018:
Various people within the FF report that there are 2 main dynamics going on with Robert these days: (1) He is going all out like never before with the coming “October prediction”; and (2) he is actively cleansing the FF of non-believers and non-supporters.

For this October’s unspecified world-wide disaster, he will be closing all centers for the month, asking everyone (some 1000 souls out there) to be in Apollo/Oregon House. All residents are to prepare for 2 weeks without electricity, and otherwise being off the grid and isolated from the outside world. It’s fascinating to observe the oft-skeptical old-timers, having been through a dozen of Robert’s failed “predictions,” falling for it once again (a la Charlie Brown), and excitedly making their preparations.

On the “cleansing” front, various people have been assigned to note those who do not regularly attend meetings and other so-called “teaching events” with Robert. These “sinners” are then spoken to, threatened, and/or given “leaves of absence.” Absolute loyalty to, and trust in, Robert is being demanded like never before. He wants only closely orbiting satellites now, no doubters or more independent types. Oh, and if 3 meetings per week has not been enough of a test of a follower’s loyalty, he now want to move toward having a meeting every day. This should expose the unfaithful in no time!

Some people wonder if Robert is planning the big “conscious being” announcement and “hand off” to Dorian in October when over 1000 followers are expected to be around. At the very least, he will undoubtedly bring in TONS of $$ from the overseas flock.

In any case, with both of these dynamics, it looks like Robert is putting all eggs in one basket, all or nothing, for one final role of the dice.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 1, 2018:
News from the Farm:

In a communiqué to Robert Burton’s followers, June 27 has been declared an official Fellowship of Friends holiday: the anniversary of “The Absolute’s” first visit (in 2014) to Burton and Apollo.

Burton is obsessed with his own prediction for Oct 21 of this year, spending entire meetings on how to get prepared. Subjects include food storage, extra eyeglasses, and weapons. At a recent meeting he talked so much about to need for followers to arm themselves, that cooler heads in the FF leadership had to make the decision to remove the recorded broadcast from the followers-only website, the thinking being that if followers can view the meeting, so can government officials who might be monitoring FF developments.

Followers, in larger numbers, are beginning to question why Burton wants hundreds of other followers to congregate in Oregon House during October, if the risk of a major disaster is so high. Although Burton refuses to be specific, he believes the possibilities include fire, earthquake, volcano, civil unrest, and no electricity for 2 weeks. Indeed, wouldn’t the followers living in Europe, Russia, India, etc. be safer staying at home?

Many followers are beginning to notice/question Burton’s “mental state;” repeating himself; forgetting names and events; almost babbling, it seems to some. One follower noted that his two ever-present handlers at all of his events, Dorian and Sasha, have the responsibility to keep the followers from noticing Burton’s “insanity.”

Although his followers are busy preparing for the October disaster by buying food, stocking up on toilet tissue, starting gardens, and of course thinking about getting firearms, Burton himself is preparing by continuing a multi-year buying spree of fireplaces, statues and chandeliers. No one seems to have any idea why Burton is doing this.

Plans are being made for maximum security at Apollo between now and October, and probably extending beyond October. Burton is talking about multiple trailers at all the possible entrances, with fully armed guards of course. Within Apollo, the same level of protection is being proposed for the winery, Apollo D’Oro, and the Galleria (which is already being guarded 24/7).

Followers are being asked to have a couple weeks (at least) food storage, and to store it at the winery, where individual lockers will be provided.

Prospective followers are still being enticed by “4th Way” knowledge at their “open” and/or “prospective” meetings. Apparently the hook still works, at least until they attend or watch their first Burton meeting, and have to listen to him for an hour, non-stop, talking about disaster predictions, visits from the Absolute, and promises of Paradise if they remain Burton’s follower.

That’s all for now. Wishing everyone a happy Independence Day, as it is now every day.

"brucelevy" concluded on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, July 1, 2018:
These people are literally fucking insane.

[ed. - See also:]
Our ark will be composed of ten thousand people in the year 2006, and then the doors will close.

Robert Burton humiliated by Higher Forces' failure to trigger World War III

Another prophecy fails