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, June 1, 2019

Fellowship of Friends discussed on reddit

[ed. - Conversation found on reddit.]


[ed. - Text of reddit page follows.]


Fellowship of Friends

Hello everyone. In my English class, I'm writing an informative essay on cults and how they work. While I was doing my research, I stumbled upon an apparent cult that is near where I live in California.
Here is their website: http://www.beingpresent.org/
Anyways, I emailed them, just hoping to get information out of them, but they seem to be very secretive, and were very interested in learning as much as the could about me without coming off as odd(though I caught on). I have known about them for a while, but don't know anything ABOUT them. For some hands on research, I'm going to be attending a meeting they're holding on the 19th. I was also emailed a book called The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution by P.D. Ouspensky. It's quite odd from what I've skimmed so far..

The reason I'm saying all this, is because I was hoping to get any info anyone has regarding this organization. I haven't been able to find out much about them or if they're super sketchy. I will be meeting at an apartment, and I plan to bring a friend to wait for me, as well as pepper spray.
svatantryam
4 points · 3 months ago

Yeah, I'd be careful. People don't tend to get trapped in these kinds of organisations without good reason:

https://www.culteducation.com/group/927-fellowship-of-friends.html

https://robertearlburton.blogspot.com/

fenderbender46
3 points · 3 months ago
The book they sent you is part of the "fourth way" teaching. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Way It's good you are be careful. Let us know how your investigation turns out

WikiTextBot
5 points · 3 months ago
Fourth Way

The Fourth Way is an approach to self-development described by George Gurdjieff which he developed over years of travel in the East (c. 1890 - 1912). It combines and harmonizes what he saw as three established traditional "ways" or "schools": those of emotions, body, and mind or of monks, fakirs, and yogis respectively. Students often refer to the Fourth Way as "The Work", "Work on oneself," or "The System"

not-moses
2 points · 3 months ago · edited 3 months ago
WikiTextBot saw "P. D. Ouspensky" in your OP and went straight to George Gurdjieff, as well it should have. George was a wild man who was around in the late 19th century and early 20th. He spent a lot of time on the old "Silk Roads" learning from Sufis, Yogic Hindus, Tibbetan Buddhists, et al, and compiling it into several books, the most useful of which for most people is Life is Real Only Then, When I Am. Ouspensky hung with George for years and wrote a pretty fair (for the time) book called In Search of the Miraculous: The Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff.

Gurdjieff and Ouspensky started several teaching groups in Europe in the early and mid 20th century. You may have run into one of them. NOW... here's the issue: SOME of these teaching groups were hijacked by malignantly narcissistic egotists who turned them into mind control cults. (I ran into a guy who'd been in one of those about ten years ago and got to know him quite well. He never really "came out of it," insisting on the rectitude of the group even though it was evident that his life was damaged as a result of reenacting in the cult the same dynamics he'd grown up with in a hyper-patriarchal, Eastern European family with a vicious monster at the helm.)

OTHER Gurdjieff-&-Ouspensky-influenced groups, however, are NOT cults. But how would one know that if they didn't know what can be gleaned from understanding the concepts described in such as what's at the links below?

Cult Recruitment & Membership Patterns

You May be In a Cult IF...

Cult Membership as an Addiction Process... and a Process Addiction

The Typical Path of Cult Involvement

A 10-Level Pyramid Model & Psychodynamics of Cult Organization

Safe, Growth-oriented, Non-Cult Organizations (see my reply to the OP on that thread)

owomi
1 point · 3 months ago

Thank you everyone, I will read everything you've sent me, and will let you know how this turns out :)

ubudragon33
1 point · 3 months ago

The leader is truly one of the most fucked up humans to ever exist. There's a podcast that does an excellent job of covering every little detail. I can't grab the link right now, but the podcast is called Society & Culture - Cults

ubudragon33
1 point · 3 months ago

Here it is - https://youtu.be/F0phgefyD6o (part 1)

https://youtu.be/B-xwNCCKQ5o (part 2)

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