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) Fellowship 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, September 29, 2018

Up close with "the brightest light in 2,000 years"


Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton Apollo Renaissance Vineyard and Winery The brightest light in 2,000 years!
Robert Earl Burton 2016 (from Awakening)
"Arthur Brooks" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 17, 2017:
Is the brightest light in 2000 years still alive?

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 24, 2017:
1. Arthur Brooks [above].

Yes, “The brightest light in 2000 years,” “The avatar of this age,” the only “conscious being” on planet Earth, is still alive and keeping the dream going for some 1500 followers, nearly all of whom choose to remain in a hypnotic sleep, because it really is quite a pleasant dream, despite the glaring contradictions between what Robert Burton says about himself, and his actions and behavior. The dream of being chosen, out of 7 billion people, to find a “conscious school;” the dream of 44+ angels guiding one’s “evolution;” the dream of going to “paradise” at the conclusion of one’s “ninth life.”

"knoti" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 29, 2018: 
Down Time with Robert

Travel with Robert was purely a moving instinctive experience. We would often be in a rush but spent many an hour resting in various Starbucks. We would eat in sports bars and Denny’s. Very often there was a TV blaring at dinner. There was never any elevated or emotional discussion. Robert would often ask Sasha about how much we owed each student and how little we could get away with paying them back. “Try to pay them back with an art object.” How much could we borrow? Robert would talk about his health problems but not allow me to comment on them. For example he had severe shoulder pain and he would move his arm from the elbow to try to alleviate the pain. I tried to explain that he must raise his elbow to use his shoulder muscles but he could not understand even this and he shut me down.

He often spoke about changing the meeting time at the last minute in the most off hand and cavalier way as if he enjoyed the fact that he was so important and powerful that compared to his whims the inconvenience to 150 people meant nothing.

There was no teaching but he did speak of the lower self when he wanted to control someone. He demanded that we massage his shoulder for so long and so hard that it was quite unpleasant. Still it did seem like an honor to be with him in this special way. He gave us cookies and frozen yogurt and showed tremendous valuation for these things. Once I felt quite humiliated when he fed me a spoonful of yogurt like a baby in a coffee shop.

Conversation was often about where to find the best weather or the cost of various hotels along the way. Nobody could ever introduce a topic that was not a direct repetition of something Robert had previously talked about. We often stopped at a store where Robert could spend hours shopping for a $200 shirt or tennis shoes. There were also many long hours spent shopping for “art” and antiques. His home is filled with art objects to the point that there is not room for another object. He is clearly hording art as opposed to appreciating art. I find that he has no taste in art. These objects are merely symbols of his assumed elevated status.

We spent long hours in coffee shops and made short visits to museums. There was often a visit to one good hotel but we would often arrive late and leave early. In a rush. To his credit he spends a lot of time at a truly nice garden coffee shop in Palm Springs, but it might be about rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous.

Robert spends much of his free time watching Americas Funniest Videos, which is primarily about people getting hurt or looking foolish, or watching football. There is never any kind of elevated or emotion talk. Intimate contact with Robert does not include the right to speak without being spoken to. More than once I was put in my place with a reference to the lower self when I tried to address Robert. Once I tried to address him and he told me that he was too excited by the dinner he had just come from to be able to listen to me. Eventually it appeared to me that he was not able to understand even simple concepts and he did not want to seem out of control or stupid even among his servants.

I remember well the shock I experienced at different moments of disillusionment. The first time was when someone told me that Robert eats breakfast at Denny’s. At the time I thought that the he must be doing it to deliver some message. Another disillusionment that I remember was Robert choosing an extremely noisy sports bar for a dinner before a ballet. I was sure that it was not his nature that made him choose it but something else. Eventually after many very consistent repetitions of this experience I came to see that this was his nature and preference. There is a King of Hearts playing card in the top drawer of his bathroom dresser. I saw it once and he quickly hid it from my view. It seemed that it was there to remind him of how he is supposed act.

In my opinion Robert is instinctively centered and not Gold alchemy.

As requested one account of being with Robert when his guard is down.

[ed. - "I am the brightest light in 2,000 years" was a statement Burton often used to keep followers in their proper place. James Battaglia recorded one such instance. See also, Vignettes of a "Conscious Being".]

Monday, September 10, 2018

Today's "Fourth Way" teaching according to Robert Burton

Robert Earl Burton Fellowship of Friends Fourth Way cult leader Apollo
Robert Earl Burton leads Fellowship of Friends meeting at Apollo pavillion

[ed. - A person within the Fellowship community provided this description of the current Fellowship meetings at Apollo. The meetings take place three times a week, with Robert Burton leading them. As described below, the format is far different than the early days, when members freely asked questions of Robert Burton and in response received "angles of thought" from Burton and fellow students. An abrupt turning point occurred after members at a meeting in Saint Petersburg challenged the increasingly faith-based, religious nature of Burton's teaching, embarrassing "The Teacher" with uncomfortable questions. As with an earlier insurrection, the Saint Petersburg meeting resulted in expulsions from the Fellowship.]
...around 20 quotes have been pre-selected, printed on cards, and entered into the meeting computer to be shown on the (really) big monitor.

Then 20 people are selected to read these quotes, when that quote is displayed, but to make no further comments.

[Robert Burton] then makes predictable comments triggered by the quote and the accompanying picture. His comments are generally in one of two categories: omens pointing to the next disaster, or indicating the circles (6s) and squares (4s) in the image. This is the “teaching” these days.

But, mainly, no one asks questions, gives “angles,” or speaks in any way whatsoever, except for those who get to read a quote.