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.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Aftermath and The Final 1500

"With the [Fall of California] prediction behind us, the energies that were focused on preparation are now flowing into new channels. A bounty of visitors arrived to share the October experience [Fall of California?], bringing a remarkable atmosphere of love, valuation, and service. Apollo d’Oro was crackling with energy, the Galleria hummed with non-stop events, and octaves all around Apollo benefitted from an abundance of volunteers." - News from Apollo, November 2018

Robert Earl Burton wizard and Fellowship of Friends cult leader fourth way
The fantasy now is ending. It's time to return to Kansas (or Arkansas), Toto.

[ed. - "Insider" provides a Non-Fall of California update from inside the Fellowship of Friends Apollo compound.]

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 25, 2018:
Thoughts from the meeting on Sunday, Oct 21:

There was a new seating configuration on stage. Normally there are 7 seats, with Burton in the center and 3 followers on each side (plus Sasha and Dorian sitting behind Burton). For this meeting, there was a extra row of 6-7 seats behind Burton/Sasha/Dorian which were occupied by Burton’s harem.

Of course, the “fall of California,” predicted for 4:30 AM earlier that morning, did not happen. It was at least 30 minutes into the meeting before Burton actually mentioned a “failed prediction,” and he actually did so 2-3 times. But he framed it in terms of “Destiny,” which was the subject of the meeting. Once again, rather than admitting to being a failed and fraudulent prophet, he was the victim of “Destiny,” as in “My prediction was correct, just that the gods did not allow it to happen.”

Ever the optimist, especially when it concerns the possible death of millions of people, Burton handed out 2 more predictions for later that day: The “fall” would happen at 1:00 PM (best possibility) or at 5:00 PM. The reason there was a good chance of it happening at 1:00 PM was because the Los Angeles Rams and the SF 49ers had a football match with each other at that time, and Burton figured it would be poetic of the gods to destroy those 2 cites, and everything in between, at that time.

Burton made sure that everyone in the room knew where the exits were located, in case the “fall” happened during the meeting.

Overall (and I admit I may be reading too much into this) Burton seemed pretty low on energy, even confused. There were a number of long silent pauses where he did not know what to say next, until prompted by Dorian. He needed extra assistance from Sasha to stand up and walk out when the meeting was over.

"ton2u" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 26, 2018:
insider [above]

I feel a twinge of pity after reading your post… not for the end of a doddering, muttering old fool who has occupied center stage for these many years on the Follow Ship of Fools – the pity I feel is for those who have wasted their time and their lives believing in this charlatan.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 26, 2018:
66. ton2u [above]

The Fellowship has been reduced to people who are satisfied with Burton’s religion, and with serving and adoring Burton. They are people who want to be flattered, and are willing to pay for it, with far more then just money.

How simple has Burton’s religion become? There is Paradise, and there is Apollo. In the entire universe, consciousness exists only in these 2 locations. Members of the Fellowship of Friends will be going to Paradise some day, and only FF members, but only if they don’t upset Burton.

How not to upset Burton? Primarily by giving him, or at least pretending to give him, the one thing he needs the most, but continues to look for in all the wrong places: Love and Respect.

(Those who upset Burton, who are no longer able or willing to reflect back to him what he so desperately needs, will be tossed out, and will lose their ticket to Paradise. Burton will see to that.)

Robert Burton is, in fact, a very unhappy person. He smiles only when he is on stage and the camera is running. A few years ago, he wanted a picture taken, and then shared with everyone, of him drying his breakfast dishes. I can’t describe how miserable he looked, how deeply in self-pity. The message accompanying the picture was this: “Because of the lack of people willing to work at the Galleria, Robert himself has to wash his own dishes. Shame on all of you.” Maybe it’s just me, but if Burton can’t find joy in the simple task of washing some dishes, maybe, just possibly, he is not what everyone imagines him to be.

Lacking a mature and healthy Self that would normally be completely satisfied with the Love that it, itself, is, Burton has no choice but to seek love and acceptance externally. And his “students,” having lost, if they ever had it, any possibility of personal responsibility, self knowledge, and objective reason, eagerly give Burton what he wants, in exchange for their regular “fix” of flattery (“Everyone here is a conscious being.”) and self-calming (“I will meet you when you enter Paradise.”) that Burton continues to dish out.

And in the end, everyone is happy, or so they imagine.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 27, 2018:
Again, Insider, thanks for the update [above].

Seekers trying to evaluate whether the Fellowship of Friends group is right for them should pay close attention.

Imagine the scene. Burton once again center stage, surrounded with gaudy trinkets, gold or marble statuettes, chandeliers, LED light strings. Dressed in one or another of his dozens of loud, loud, loud $10,000 suits and $200 silk underwear. Those around him wearing the same lavender, purple and cream outfits, often his hand–me–downs. Shoes to match.

And it’s all about him again, whether ‘humiliated by C–Influence’ once more, or supposedly ‘meeting with the Absolute’, whatever, he is always the central star of his little bubble, even when playing the victim. Spouting twaddle like, “My prediction was correct, just that the gods did not allow it to happen.”

Now with Viagra–hardened acolytes at his back, ready to do battle with any doubters.

I find it hard to summon up any pity for the individuals, if you can call them that, embroiled in this mess. Everyone there chose to give up all independence of thought and action to him, not understanding at first that this would become permanent. And now they are no longer interested or care. I feel pity for the situation, it is such a tragic waste of energy, resources and lives. Every one, those on stage, members of the harem, and every member of the audience had sufficient warning before it was too late. Maybe not before being ensnared, but certainly after they joined. Everyone is complicit, and responsible for their own plight and those affected by their complicity.

Most importantly, everyone is far more asleep in every aspect than when they signed up, despite all the parroted claims to have an exclusive lock on ‘presence’. Looking at the photographs and videos posted here and at the REB blog, does not the lack of animation stand out? This is an exhibition of the hive mind at work. The audience is completely passive, absorbing received knowledge, no questioning allowed, a one–way flow of energy from the superior to the inferior. Ordered to keep a self–hypnotizing, unblinking gaze on the source of, well, everything.

Even the blob having to be openly prodded by minders does not break the trance, as he mutters the same memes over and over, constantly affirming the groupthink.

With the resistance to change institutionalized, death came unnoticed. Now we can see rigor mortis setting in, leading to the inevitable and final process of fossilization.

"ton2u" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 28, 2018:
Ames, reflecting for a moment upon the reason I expressed a degree of pity for those who continue to sleepwalk through life being hypnotized by a blathering Blobert and further self-hypnotized by group-think inside the hive-mind cocoon, somehow finding comfort in continued complicity in the charade…. I suppose maybe a better word than ‘pity’ might be sympathy or empathy… since I was once in the situation myself, I in some sense under – stand it and therefore can empathize with those who are still in thrall and feel sympathy for those who feel trapped and unable to escape… I realize how difficult escaping the cult can be. But you make a good point regarding complicity of those who stay even though they must see the horror-of-the-situation – the damage done, the wasted human potential. Some are simply not able to stand on their own as sovereign individuals and that seems to me a condition to be pitied – especially in cases where the person lacks the insight or intelligence to realize they unwittingly contribute to creating their own trap.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 18, 2018:
Yes, Ton, I may have come over as being judgmental, that was not intended, I was actually trying to describe the situation as dispassionately as possible. The leader has always been a dead man walking, and of course his disciples are following in his footsteps, their ambition and his wish perfectly matching. But it’s a death march. So much for the dynamics of the group as a whole.

Nevertheless, each human being within the group always had and still has a choice—to individuate or not. As the Fellowship of Friends’ own spokespersons, and apologists on this blog correctly claim, anyone can leave at any time. But as we know, it’s not so simple. The psychological bonds are incredibly powerful. And the strongest fetters are the more effective because the wearers think they have escaped, that they are free, and the very opposite of captives or slaves.

It’s a battle of belief systems. There are those who believe that Burton has the answers, generally and in the particular. And there are those who have experienced the cult and have broken away, who know both sides, who know the damage caused to themselves and others, and have taken responsibility for their lives, disappointments and joys and all. Any of the latter are going to have empathy and sympathy for the plight of a captive.

From what I can observe, there are many sub–categories in the group. There are those who have abdicated all responsibility for themselves, content and glad to leave their fate in the hands of Burton and his demons. There are those who are happy to have a position of authority, spiritual or temporal, within the organization, and this is their main satisfaction. There are those who knowingly prostituted themselves, accepted the bargain, getting a Green Card and some luxury in exchange for labor and sexual favors. There are those who had not been able to make their way previously and stumbled upon the organization and found respite and a home. There are those who were wounded, or needed a father figure. There are those who sought answers to the Big Questions, and are in the process of discovering that they are being fed pablum. There are those who are just plain tired, or are afraid of losing their circle of friends, or who are financially dependent on the organization. I can and do pity any one of these for the position they find themselves in. Yet no–one can take on the responsibility which is theirs and theirs alone.

If there is anyone from within the organization that is reading this, think about pride. Here in the western culture, pride is regarded as a sin—case closed. But I invite you to think of that aspect connected to self–respect and even self–love, the part of the psyche that takes care of the welfare of the Self. If you can observe and connect to that, then you can break the fetters and escape. You can hope—and act on that hope. It is a question of your survival, and it doesn’t matter if you are nineteen or ninety. You may be used to putting your faith in Burton and his claims, how about putting faith in yourself and taking the plunge into the unknown?

You are guaranteed interesting times, you will become alive in a totally different way, and every day will bring fresh adventures and surprises. Your days will no longer be scripted, and although you will probably miss some of those artificially induced highlights like concerts and ballets, your experiences will be genuine and yours alone to savor and learn from.

So, I encourage you to start respecting yourself and your potential and capacity for independence, and make the decision to break free.

[ed. - a short note on the arc of The Fellowship of Friends:]

The Final 1500
On January 1, 1970 Robert Earl Burton recruited Bonita, his first student.
By January 1, 1980, as the Fellowship entered its eleventh year, Burton had drawn an impressive 1,346 followers.
With Armageddon approaching, Burton predicted, "Our ark will be composed of 10,000 people in the year 2006, and then the doors will close," Yet, in 2005, membership peaked at around 2,200.
Since that time, despite establishing Fellowship "teaching houses" in 60 cities around the globe and its elaborate array of recruiting websites, the group's ranks have dramatically ebbed.

Today, the membership stands at roughly 1,500 (many of whom were in that 1980 census.) All signs (and omens) suggest we are watching an institution (a "church"?) in decay, its leader the foremost indicator.

As "Insider" writes above, of the nearly 8 billion souls on the planet (including 15,000 who at one time passed through the Fellowship) only Burton and his 1,500 current followers now carry the flame of consciousness, and shall therefore claim their rightful place in Paradise.
The obvious conclusion is that the Universe exists solely for the benefit of Robert Earl Burton and his Faithful 1500.
As remaining members await Burton's next fever dream, it is time to truly ask yourselves, "Shall I still sleep or, finally awaken?"

"Veronicapoe" posted this excerpt from the Mount Carmel Journal, July 11, 1977 on the Internet Archive:
Teacher [Robert Burton]: "We are the only people who have a right to teach the system at this time of the Twentieth Century. A true magnetic center must find the Fellowship; and there are true magnetic centers abounding in this world. It matters little how many groups exist on the earth that bear the name Gurdjieff or Ouspensky, as these groups remain Influence B. A properly developed magnetic center will not accept these organizations because it requires the nourishment of Influence C. We are a young teaching and we have been afforded the great luxury of occupying the position of Higher School on earth. The Fellowship of Friends is the greatest mystery of the Twentieth Century, and a series of shocks is necessary in order for this statement to be verified. We carry the sacred light of consciousness, as an esoteric school is the oldest civilized heritage on the earth. Our School is a distinct descendant of the most eminent teachings in both recorded and unrecorded history."

This is the end of humanity's 800,000-year run.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Pathologies on display

Robert Earl Burton Fellowship of Friends Fourth Way cult leader Apollo
At a Fellowship of Friends meeting, Robert Burton mocks a follower's inability to control their "lower self."

Donald Trump and Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton pathologies
At a political rally, Donald Trump mocks a New York Times reporter with a disability.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

"Uh...Robert?"

evidence that Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton's Fall of California prophecy failed (again)
San Francisco and Alcatraz view, from wideasleep1's (no joke!) webcam in Tiburon, California, 10/21/18 4:10:00 PM (PST)

[ed. - San Francisco still stands at "T plus 12 hours"! Is it my imagination, or are certain buildings in that skyline sending a message to Robert Burton? Alcatraz no longer serves as a prison, however San Quentin is quite close by.]

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Rambling Man

"Cult leader Marshall Applewhite gives final message in 1997" (Source: DailyMail.com)

[ed. - Oops. Wrong cult leader!]

In this video, Robert Earl Burton addresses followers six weeks before The Fall of California, 2018

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 20, 2018:
It’s now 9:30am PDT. Less than 19 hours to go.

Some 700 Burton followers are now in Oregon House waiting for the big event. Or the big non-event.

Tomorrow’s meeting promises to be the largest since the early “Journey Forth” gatherings when meetings would be held at the Theatron. But which version is being planned? Post-apocalyptic, or coping with cognitive dissonance following another failed prophesy?

Even the most skeptical and cynical are no longer making Burton jokes or expressing anything “negative.” They have suddenly begun attending events again. Somehow, meetings are not all that bad, even if Burton continues to ramble mindlessly from one associative topic to another.

Every member is a believer, a supporter, and a defender of Burton. Only the degree changes from one person to another.

Now is not the time to express any doubts. You’re with us, or you’re against us. People have really tightened the ranks.

Well, off to the mountain top with my 30-day supply of cannabis and Oreo Cookies to enjoy the show.

Insider's "T minus 12 hours" update:
Oct 20, exactly 4:00 pm in Calif. Twelve hours to go to nothing. People have been having a great time. Seriously. In fact, if Burton keeps throwing bashes like this, followers will happily believe anything he says, do whatever he asks, and immediately forgive him for missing yet another prediction.

What almost no one in the Fellowship understands (or they would likely no longer be members) is that the prediction itself is irrelevant, and also whether it comes to pass or not.

The important point is that Burton’s grip on what the followers believe is tighter than ever. Having gotten rid of hundreds of members since 2006, many of whom still had a seed of objective reason, no one remaining has any inclination to challenge or question Burton, even to themselves. They are, in actual fact, under Burton’s spell (and now, more than ever), all the while thinking they are wide awake and in control of their beliefs.

Assuming the obvious, that zero will happen at 4:00 am tomorrow morning, the last bit of suspense is whether Dorian will be sainted at the meeting tomorrow, i.e. declared a “crystallized conscious being,” as Burton as been predicting for most of this year.

But whether this Dorian fraud happens tomorrow, later in the year, or in a future year, the masses will instantly accept it as true without pondering it even for a moment. And after that, they will readily begin “working” with Burton’s next set of doomsday predictions, possibly for 2020.

(Now, 4:30 pm. The minutes and hours are flying by. Is Burton beginning to sweat yet?)

Cult leader similarities Marshall Applewhite-Robert Earl Burton Fellowship of Friends Fourth Way
Marshall Applewhite (the other cult leader.)

Bye bye baby

"shardofoblivion" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 20, 2018:
As California slouches toward its private apocalypse, it is instructive to examine in detail the depth and profundity of Burton’s illumination of the mysteries hidden within such everyday objects as car number plates. His higher being can detect linkages ranging from incorrectly remembered commentaries on baseball games, sport fan songs and the global collapses of bee colonies, to his personal gift to humanity, the sequence. You’ve gotta laugh eh?

Robert Earl Burton stars in shardofoblivion's "Bye bye baby" music video on YouTube!

New York Giant Bobby Thomson's "Shot heard 'round the world," October 3, 1951
[ed. - The misremembering of the historic event has even figured into Burton's prophecies!]

Friday, October 19, 2018

FINAL WARNINGS: The projected map of California after October 21, 2018

[ed. - As an act of conscious concern for not only current Fellowship of Friends members, but indeed all who may be threatened by Sunday's Fall of California, Ames Gilbert (former member #1190) has studied the scientific data available, guidance from the 45 angels, and Robert Burton's own words, creating the important graphic and detailed analysis below.]

Map of California after the October 21, 2018 Fall of California predicted by Robert Earl Burton, Fellowship of Friends cult leader
Map of California after October 21, 2018. Courtesy of Ames Gilbert.

Analysis by Ames Gilbert
The darker green contour next to the sea may be partially inundated when the sea level stabilizes (that contour covers 600-1200 feet elevation). But if the Fall is due to a sudden vertical slip, then all the green areas next to the blue will be swamped with a tidal wave/tsunami. If the edge of California slips and also tilts suddenly, then the light brown contour next to those green contours will be smashed by a tidal wave. If Leonardo’s calculations are wrong, then the tidal wave will reach much higher, even unto Oregon House.

If California falls slowly, say over a period of days, then Life People will have enough warning to head to high ground, including Oregon House, and there will be no large tsunami.

If California falls suddenly, there will be about 11 million bodies eventually washing up on the shores of the inland sea that was formerly the Central Valley.

Let’s be generous, say a million struggle ashore, so down to 10 million. Assuming bodies spread equally around, about 450,000 on the beaches of Yuba County. All guesstimates, ask Leonardo [da Vinci, Burton's personal guide], he would have accurate figures. But it doesn’t matter, any survivors will be annihilated anyway in ‘hydrogen warfare’, so the new civilization can begin with the lucky 1500 (less the disobedient ones who didn’t make sufficient efforts to attend the festivities at Apollo on the 21st)

Major cities inundated by the Central Sea would include: Redding, Chico, Oroville, Red Bluff, Willows, Colusa, Marysville, Yuba City, Williams, Woodland, Sacramento, Jackson, Napa, Fairfield, Martinez, Stockton, Merced, Modesto, Madera, Fresno, Hanford, Visalia, and Bakersfield. Plus scores of smaller agricultural towns.

Major cities inundated along the coast or nearby would include: San Francisco, Oakland, Redwood City, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Salinas, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Santa Anna, San Diego, San Rafael, Eureka, and Crescent City, plus of course the countless smaller settlements along the coast.

If there is a tsunami, it would first be channeled and concentrated through the bay Delta before starting to spread out, which means there would be a much more forceful jet with a huge eastwards momentum initially that would hit the area between Sacramento and Stockton. This would not only scour out the entire Delta and the river channels, but if were a larger kind of tsunami, the maximum wave height between those two cities would be much greater than the average and travel much further into the foothills.

If Leonardo has miscalculated and a larger–than–expected tidal wave hits Oregon House, then the lower lying conduit along the top of Riverside County would channel millions of gigatons of water inland to flood the Imperial Valley.

If the entire continental shelf that the west part of California rests on were to instantaneously drop into the ocean 800 feet (remember, the ’45 angels’ apparently, according to Burton, are able to do physical and geophysically impossible things), then the resulting tsunami might be 7–15,000 feet high, equivalent to a large asteroid dropping into the mid–Pacific, or a major slip of material sliding off the big mountain in Hawaii.

So let's hope that Burton and the 45 figments of his psychotic imagination are wrong!

[ed. - Robert Burton has given followers decades to prepare for this Sunday's disaster. In the 1970s, he liked to point to the hilltops of Loma Rica, due west of Apollo and several hundred feet lower in elevation. "The ocean will reach the top of that hill. Oregon House will be beachfront property," he asserted. It's noteworthy that the Fellowship's own preparations for this catastrophe have been negligently insubstantial.

Below, on the left, is one such hill he pointed to as the high-water mark following The Fall of California.]

Marysville Road in Loma Rica, California. The top of the hill to the left indicates the high-water mark after The Fall.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Robert Burton warns followers: California is about to fall

Flanked by his whisperers, Sasha Shalapanov (left) and Dorian Matei (right), Robert Burton teaches his spellbound flock.

[ed. - The 1,500 members of The Fellowship of Friends have placed their faith and trust in 79-year-old Robert Earl Burton. Many have followed Burton since they were young adults, over 40 years ago. According to Burton, this coming Sunday, October 21st, the gods have indicated to him that California will fall into the Pacific Ocean. The above video is provided as a public service to warn the community that this "teacher" continues a game of deception that he began in 1970. The game has consequences for all who participate.]

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 13, 2018:
Golden Veil

Burton is more insistent than ever these days, at nearly every meeting, dinner, etc.: The only 2 places in the entire universe where consciousness is to be found is in “Paradise” and at Apollo.

This from a shell of a human being who forgets thoughts in mid-sentence, reminisces endlessly, and needs constant prompting from Dorian just to make it through the event. In fact, Dorian is clearly leading all meetings now (4 per week and increasing) from his position right behind Burton’s left ear. Burton’s role, as always, is merely to flatter his followers and heap scorn on “life people.”

I guess a new way to verify that one is a Conscious Being is by one’s condescending attitude and behavior toward lowly, unconscious life. And Burton has been piling it on really thick these days.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 8, 2019:
71. Golden Veil

Interesting point: “There, the incestuous sexual habits of the inner circle may be contagious and have spread to the general social environment, lowering social boundaries.”

Burton has a very nasty habit of demeaning people (i.e. his beloved students) publicly by bringing up personal matters in front of a large audience, on camera, etc. It might be an illness, or a cancer, he just learned about. Or an inheritance. Or the death of a parent. Or a trip someone is about to take. Or that he put someone on a “leave of absence” for being a bad student.

At a large meeting just before last year’s Oct 21 “fall of California,” he publicly asked Dorian if he owned any gold. Looking most uncomfortable with the sudden spotlight, Dorian mumbled the answer Burton wanted to hear (“yes”), but seemed to be lying, or at least did not want anyone else to know.

In all these instances, Burton uses the “tool of public disclosure” to belittle his students, in order to gain more power and control over them. Nice guy.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 14, 2018:
So here we are, headed towards the date of another prediction of catastrophe by the God–Emperor of Oregon House™.

I’ve been re–reading Leon Festinger’s book, “When Prophecy Fails”, co–written with Riecken and Schachte, and sub–titled, “A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World”.

In 1954, the author and his students studied a UFO cult, starting a few months before the prediction of their version of ‘end times’ was due to occur, during those times, and then afterwards. This included actually joining the cult to make first–hand observations. These studies led to the publication of papers and eventually this book, and popularized the idea of ‘cognitive dissonance’, the ability to hold two or more contradictory thoughts in one’s mind without them clashing or causing discomfort. The group’s leader claimed she had been given special knowledge that the world would end in a great flood before dawn on December 21, 1954. True believers, however, would be rescued beforehand and taken up by a flying saucer…

From Wikipedia:
“In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a belief of a person clashes with new evidence perceived by that person. When confronted with facts that contradict personal beliefs, ideals, and values, people will find a way to resolve the contradiction in order to reduce their discomfort.

In A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957), Leon Festinger proposed that human beings strive for internal psychological consistency in order to mentally function in the real world. A person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and so is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance, by making changes to justify the stressful behavior, either by adding new parts to the cognition causing the psychological dissonance, or by actively avoiding social situations and contradictory information likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance.”
Sounds familiar? We all do it to some degree, but some group leaders and their followers do it wholesale.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 14, 2018:
My guess is that right now, for the nth time, followers are dusting out their well–worn lists of “buffers”, a.k.a. mental barriers necessary keep separate what is observed and their received knowledge and belief systems, and thus reduce the cognitive dissonance. Chief amongst these are:
“It’s only a metaphor, don’t take it literally”

“It’s just a test of our faith”

“The 45 angels move in mysterious ways, it up to us to help them and not hinder them or Robert by having doubts”

“It’s Robert’s unique way of teaching”

“What does it matter, it leads to being more present either way”
…and many, many others. 
Maybe there have been meetings led by luminaries such as Linda Tulisso/Kaplan/whatever©, or Kevin Brown©, or Nick Spaulding© to teach other “Neighborhood Group Leaders”™ what to say to followers who lack their profound experience with justifications and explanations for Burton’s failed prophecies. This would be especially needed in the case of foreign followers from distant Centers who are new to the game, and might not have been already fully trained to ‘disbelieve their lying eyes’, that is, the first–hand evidence of their senses, or ‘Lower Self’™.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 14, 2018:
From the latest Fellowship of Friends newsletter, “News from Apollo”©:
“It becomes ever clearer that this intense period is a special opportunity to raise our level of being, regardless of external events”.
And from the same edition, a future classic:
“We do not live for prophecies; we live for presence.” Love, Robert
Ha, ha, ha!

Right after the news of their preparations for the next performance of the ongoing saga, “The Fall of California”™:
“On September 29th the Neighborhood Group Leaders© met for the second time. Geoffrey Rowland© brought us up to date on efforts at Apollo to secure water and electricity in key locations. I Huai Hao© noted that we expect about 150 visitors during the month, and that a special third-line program for all students, called “Prepare Apollo” will be ongoing during October. Tim Quartly-Watson© patiently explained the workings of the radios that Group Leaders will use to communicate with Apollo Incident Command (IC) if normal communications lines are not available. In an emergency situation, Apollo IC plans to broadcast information every hour at a quarter past the hour, and Group Leaders can then pass the messages on to their Group members.”
In the meantime, I am sure that the Maximum Group Leader is also furiously passing on messages to his Group’s male members.

More from the Apollo Department of Psychological Buffoonery©:
“The pace continues to quicken™: an additional Monday meeting with Robert, new third-line octaves occurring each week to improve Apollo; chickens, puppies and sheep arriving at Apollo Farms; and multiple fundraising events to benefit preparation efforts. Apollo d’Oro© will be open more frequently in October, and the Fellowship Council is organizing extra dining opportunities for visitors in private homes. It becomes ever clearer that this intense period is a special opportunity to raise our level of being, regardless of external events.”
Oh yes, ‘the pace has been continuing to quicken’ for decades, it should be at about light speed by now. Yet, everything is frozen in exactly the same state, even the prophecies, the followers plodding within the same old, same old bubble, the same circular self–congratulatory stories being told over and over again to the same befuddled sheep. For crying out loud, can’t Burton come up with something fresh? How about dinosaurs bursting from a hidden kingdom at the center of the earth to gobble up all those who are unworthy?

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 14, 2018:
And more from the Apollo Department of Metaphors©:
“At the homes around Apollo, our physical preparations are moving ever more swiftly; many of us are taking this as a third force to be in better householder, having necessary medicines and food on hand for up to thirty days. The mantra is: “Just buy stuff you are going to use anyway, eventually.” Water is the trickiest issue: some people have generators or solar well pumps or are acquiring them now; others may have to bring in water from neighbors or Apollo if there is a power outage.

Meanwhile, at the Apollo© property itself, water and electricity are the main focus of our preparations. We wish to purchase a generator that can be dedicated to our wells (right now the water system shares a generator with Apollo d’Oro™). In addition, we would like to have a good supply of repair parts on hand, should structures or parts of the water system get damaged in an earthquake (“just buy stuff you are going to use anyway”). We also hope to stockpile materials that would allow us to build outdoor showers at the Apollo Festival Hall™ and/or at the Winery, if needed."

And of course, no project (or Fellowship of Friends metaphor) would be complete without the need to raise money, so, from the Apollo Department of Metaphorical Fund–Raising©:
“These, along with projected needs for extra security and emergency medical response, have led us to appeal for help from students who can spare some extra cash. The Accademia Leonardo© has organized a series of fundraisers at Apollo and can also channel donations – any amount is welcome: just make your check out to F.O.F. and send it to Angela T_c_ _rdi© at PO Box 1112, Oregon House, CA 95962. You may have seen that the Apollo Farms© is also fundraising, and that is another channel you can use.
We hope to be able to keep Apollo d’Oro© open in an emergency, along with the Galleria©, Festival Hall©, the High Gate©, and an Emergency Command Office attached to the Winery. All the other buildings will have no electricity if there is a power outage.

Here we go … heading into the last 20 days!”
Some metaphor!

Note: I freely acknowledge the copyright and ownership of the Apollo Newsletter© and its contents by the Fellowship of Friends and/or that organization’s agents. That is why I have peppered my immortal prose with a plethora of ™s and ©s, in an effort to fend off lawsuits. Anyway, lawyers, I am quoting liberally from the latest edition solely for the purposes of education and enlightenment of the general public. And to have a bit of fun, since that is not (yet) illegal, although the DHS and other 3–letter agencies (not to mention the 45 angels) are no doubt working on that.


And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself—
Yea, all which it inherit—shall dissolve,
And like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vexed.
Bear with my weakness. My old brain is troubled.
Be not disturbed with my infirmity.
If you be pleased, retire into my cell
And there repose. A turn or two I’ll walk
To still my beating mind.

- William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act IV, Scene I

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fellowship of Friends to its neighbors: "We are 'conscious beings.' You are not."

Tax exemptions bestowed upon The Fellowship of Friends "church" and its many non-profit subsidiaries permit the organization
to direct its wealth to noble and charitable works, such as humble "teaching dinners," like the one above in the
"Goethe Dining Room." Robert Burton (center) believes that surrounding oneself with gold "enriches the soul."
(Photo "refined" by Ames Gilbert)

[ed. - For a year now, Robert Burton has been preparing his congregation for an event the gods have been "signaling" (to him alone.) This is "the fall of California" into the Pacific Ocean, now expected early on the morning of October 21, 2018. We have heard this prophecy before, but the community at Apollo is taking this very seriously, reportedly stocking up on food, supplies, and arms, and developing the infrastructure needed to survive off-the-grid. Despite their preparations, the Fellowship refuses to share their "information" and concerns with the surrounding communities. Apparently, the action of one conscientious member led to the following. See also: "Robert seems to only want Fellowship members to survive"]

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 10, 2018:
At a recent meeting, Robert spoke at some length about a letter that appeared on the bulletin board at the [Oregon House] post office. He seemed quite disturbed by this act of treason. Apparently the letter alerted the larger community to the Oct 21 “fall of California.” He thinks it was a lady, a FF [Fellowship of Friends] member, who “needs to be in the kings more.”

Here are some highlights of Burton’s rant (parenthetical comments are mine):

“They (non-members) don’t care about the prediction.”

“If it happens (the “fall”), they’ll probably want to get away as soon as they can, because they want a normal life style, get back to electricity and cities.” (Is Burton projecting here?)

“There will be an exodus, probably. Who would want to stay here? You could hardly get in and out of the place.” (Some members were shocked at these words. It sounds like Burton would be the first to leave.)

“There’s no harm, except it’s not a person’s job to do this (share the prediction with the community). It’s for the teacher or the Board, and you don’t want too many chiefs and not enough injuns (sic). If you multiply that times everyone in the room, it’s chaos.”

“Some people just can’t keep a secret. They just got to yack.”

“We are not together with unconscious citizens in Oregon House. We are NOT (emphasized) in this all together. We’re with angels and conscious beings (as he waves his arm and acknowledges everyone in the room).”

[ed. - A witness to the meeting provided the full context for the above quotations. Very generally, Burton's use of "in the queens" refers to volatile emotional responses, and "in the kings" to disciplined intellectual responses.]
“Do you know that someone put out an anonymous letter about the Fellowship working with this date? At the post office, they tacked it up (I think it was a lady), and she was in the queens, thinking she was in the kings. Now the postmaster saw it and removed it immediately and gave it to Greg Holman. But the last time we had a prediction, students would go into the Oregon House Store and they said, “Well, we expected to see you coming here on Gondolas today.” They don’t care about the prediction. It’s out of the question, really. If it happens, they’ll probably want to get away as soon as they can because they want a normal life style, get back to electricity and cities. There will be an exodus, probably. Who would want to stay here? You could hardly get in and out of the place. It doesn’t hurt us, the letter. It’s just sincere but misguided. Yes, and the queens think they are the kings, but they’re not. They don’t have the depth. And there’s no harm, except it’s not a person’s job to do this. It’s for the teacher or the board, and you don’t want too many chiefs and not enough injuns. If you multiply that times everyone in the room, it’s chaos. But overall, you’re handling it quite well. And the person who wrote the letter needs to be in the kings more. We have the letter, but we don’t want to show it. It’s just.. Also, some people just can’t keep a secret. They just got to yack. The queen of hearts can’t keep a secret. And we are not together with unconscious citizens in Oregon House. We are not in this all together. We’re with angels and conscious beings.” - Robert Earl Burton, October 5, 2018