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. Read more about the blog.

Presented in a reverse chronology, the Fellowship's history may be navigated via the "Blog Archive" located in the sidebar below.

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

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