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.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

"The lost civilization of California wine"

[ed. - Two articles by Esther Mobley for The Chronicle. Click here to view The Chronicle's introduction to this story.]


The lost civilization of California wine

A California cult unwittingly created one of the country’s great wineries — and then lost it. The haunting story of a vineyard’s rise, collapse and refusal to die.

By Esther Mobley

The San Francisco Chronicle Aug. 23, 2018


[ed. - Caption and link for the Renaissance Winery photo in The Chronicle introduction:]
Renaissance Winery in Yuba County was founded by the Fellowship of Friends, which many consider a cult. Against all odds, it produced some of California’s greatest wines. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

The original ‘cult’ wine: How I discovered California’s strangest vineyard

Renaissance, a winery deep in the Sierra foothills, has remarkable wines — and a history almost too outlandish to believe.

By Esther Mobley

The San Francisco Chronicle Aug. 23, 2018


[ed. - Caption and link for the photo of Robert Earl Burton accompanying this article:]
Robert Earl Burton founded the Fellowship of Friends in 1970. The former East Bay schoolteacher eventually recruited 2,500 members into his organization. | Gary Fong / The Chronicle 1981

San Francisco Chronicle Fellowship of Friends cult Robert Earl Burton Renaissance Vineyard and Winery
 The Renaissance vineyard was still under development in February 1981. | Courtesy Of Fellowship Of Friends
[ed. - View toward High Sierra from top of vineyard, January 24, 1981 (Photo: T. Campion)]

[ed. - See also End time wines, WineBerzerkers "Northern California Wine Tour, Part 2",  thejournal.ie's The original cult wine, and Swafford on Wine: Wines that could make you more self-aware?]

Renaissance Vineyard Slope 19, May 2018 (Photo: Ken Zinns)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

“Will Fellowship of Friends (FoF) members organize and support Randy Fletcher in their vote this November?”


Fellowship of Friends President Greg Holman, Fellowship member and Frenchtown Inn proprietor
Charles Sharp, and 5th District Supervisor Randy Fletcher at the recent ribbon cutting
for Frenchtown Inn's new tasting room. (Photo: Territorial Dispatch)

[ed. - Alton Wright is a candidate for Yuba County 5th District Supervisor this November. The 5th District includes Oregon House and Dobbins. Wright is opposing incumbent Randy Fletcher, whom The Fellowship of Friends strongly favored over then-incumbent Hal Stocker in the 2014 contest.]

"Alton Wright" wrote on his Facebook page, August 22, 2018:
FOR THE PEOPLE, ALL THE PEOPLE

This question recently appeared on a FB page, “Will Fellowship of Friends (FoF) members organize and support Randy Fletcher in their vote this November?”

This subject has already affected me in a very serious, yet constructive manner -

Early in the campaign I was offered to meet with FoF members, as well as tour their property. I really didn’t know much about the FoF except for what I had read and, of course, the rumors. I had personal hesitations about their practices, but I also knew about positive endeavors they brought to the Dobbins/OH community. I also knew of their past, collective support of Supervisor Fletcher. I also knew about the FoF tax battles and settlements with Yuba County.

From the onset, I didn’t see the FoF as an adversary or supporter, but I knew they were real people that shared many of the same community issues and ideas that many of the rest of us share. I knew that it was just as important for me to connect with them as anyone else.

However, I had supporters, several ex-FoF members, who chastised me and warned me that if I did anything with the FoF, that they would pull their support from me. They went as far to say, “don’t drink their wine if you visit.” They threatened to engage retaliatory activities against my campaign if I made any contact with the FoF. I felt hate and anger from those who I thought were open-minded. It was pretty eye-opening.

It was this reaction by a handful of so-called supporters that helped me truly understand the most basic principle of being a county supervisor - A supervisor must listen to everyone and represent everyone fairly. While I may not agree with the practices of an organization, I will respect their rights (as long as they are not acting in a criminal manner or not taking advantage of elected officials for financial gains or protections) and I must “be there” for them as much as I will “be there” for an organization that I may align with. It’s called fairness. I cannot pick and choose who I will represent.
In the end, I lost a few supporters (and friends) and saw their threats made real. Why? Because I decided to be fair, transparent and open. Essentially, because I did the right thing. Yes, I met with several FoF members and toured their property. I listened to their concerns and ideas, and I shared mine.

Was I indoctrinated or was a spell cast over me? No! Is there any favoritism in play. No! If anything, I became a better candidate and a better person, knowing in my heart that I am for the people, all people.

#wrightforthepeople

Fellowship of Friends President Greg Holman, Fellowship investor Charles Sharp with 5th District Candidate Randy Fletcher
During the 2014 elections, this photo of then candidate Randy Fletcher, Fellowship President Greg Holman,
and Fellowship  investor (and Fletcher's business partner) Charles Sharp stirred some controversy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Submit to Robert Burton, or leave the Fellowship

[ed. - Fearing repercussions following the expulsion of two men who refused to "service" Robert Burton, it is reported that the Fellowship of Friends Board of Directors is exploring legal defenses and suppressing "gossip" related to the incidents.]

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 7, 2018: 
The cult of the Fellowship of Friends, led by Robert Earl Burton, has entered a particularly sick phase, as if anything could be worse than what has been described on this forum, and numerous others, during the past 10-15 years.

Two older heterosexual men, one married, have been released from the group (excommunicated) for refusing to have sex with Burton. ALL men, single or married, younger or older, regardless of sexual preference, are on notice that they might be next. Burton will not tolerate ANY man saying “NO” to his desires.

How long can the current members keep “buffering” by mouthing the ancient party line that this is what “the gods” wish Burton to be doing?

As if there was any doubt, the notion of the Fellowship being any sort of a 4th way school, or engaged in any sort of “spiritual work,” has been shattered once and for all.

Hypnotized puppets following and supporting a sick, self-centered psychopath.

R.I.P.

"Golden Veil" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 9, 2018:
Insider – August 7, 2018 [above]

“Two older heterosexual men, one married, have been released from the group (excommunicated) for refusing to have sex with Burton. ALL men, single or married, younger or older, regardless of sexual preference, are on notice that they might be next. Burton will not tolerate ANY man saying “NO” to his desires"?

Crikey, I don’t believe this. These two members must have questioned the old geezer’s metaphysical influence C interpretation of animal poop or a car license plate, or something. Isn’t REB an elderly manwith a heart condition?!

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 9, 2018:
Golden Veil [above]

You’re probably right. Since Dorian’s meeting a couple years ago when he predicted/announced that the intellect would no longer be needed in the “new phase” of the FF, which was to begin soon, Burton has been on somewhat of a rampage getting rid of people he deems to be unfaithful. People who don’t go to enough meetings. People who don’t believe Burton is the highest being on the planet, now and over the past 2000 years. People who find it less than credible that the universe himself (Mr. Absolute) likes to visit Burton at Apollo, especially when Burton’s dogs are pooping in the garden.

And now for the latest that’s going around (watch out all you doubting followers!): that The Absolute and Burton “crystallized” together, which sort of makes them like twin Absolutes, or parallel universes. (Seriously; no way to make this stuff up.)

No questioning. No pondering. No comparing. No seeing contradictions. No doubting. No thinking.

Just keep repeating: Blind belief is intelligence. Forced sex is love. Sleep is awakening.