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, August 18, 2019

The Fellowship of Friends now offers an "Online Introductory Membership"

[ed. - Following a recent makeover, the Fellowship of Friends "Living Presence" website (below) now offers an "Online Introductory Membership." The new recruiting campaign may be an attempt to mimic and compete with Asaf Braverman's BePeriod online faux Fourth Way group (see video below). With the help of many Fellowship members, Braverman developed his platform prior to involuntarily parting ways with Burton in 2016. While the Fellowship has steadily drifted from it's Fourth Way roots and into the realm of faith, the Fourth Way Today "online magazine" (below) continues to recycle the old Gurdjieff and Ouspensky talking points ("the hook") while, at Apollo, Burton takes followers into a fantasy world all his own.]


Text of offer:
We offer a six-month introductory online membership for those who live far from our network of  worldwide centers. We strongly recommend face to face contact as the way of meeting us and participating in our school. Actual attendance in activities with other students can accelerate one’s work on awakening relative to efforts done alone. These shared activities increase the opportunities to be reminded of presence and to observe one’s mechanicality. Nevertheless, we hope online membership will provide an opportunity for those for whom this contact is not possible or possible only periodically.

Online membership offers a weekly online meeting in English with Fellowship students, entry in a private discussion group where personal observations can be shared and questions about our teaching can be asked, as well as the possibility to visit our spiritual headquarters, Apollo. We ask a small monthly donation for this membership.

Full membership offers additional benefits. For more information about full membership, contact the one of our centers that is closest to you or send us an inquiry.

For more information about online membership, click here.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 18, 2019:
In their obvious desperation for money, sex partners for Burton, and even more money and sex partners, a new hook is being cast by the Fellowship: an online membership. No mention upfront of the cost; but since the “face to face” membership fee is now only about $50 a month for the first couple of years, the online fee is probably no more than half that. No doubt the pressure will be intense (especially for the males) to become a “real” member once the online membership has expired.

["Introductory online membership" offer above quoted here]



"Golden Veil" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 18, 2019:
Insider [above], thank you for the heads up.

“These shared activities increase the opportunities to be reminded of presence and to observe one’s mechanicality.”

We all know what kinds of sexual participation during which REB could possibly utilize the above kind of language, referencing “Feminine Dominance”, etc. to a reluctant, heterosexual potential lover.

But, REB is getting quite up there in years and evidently has poor arterial health (in addition to his hospital stay not to long ago, and his ED condition – and his necessity for Viagra could be be a “canary in a coal mine” regarding Atherosclerosis.)

Do you think it likely – or as an Insider – can you possibly assert that REB is still actively seeking new sex partners? And are Fellowship of Friends teaching payments still funding shopping trips and exotic travel for REB and his young male inner circle?

Is it possible that these days, the men closest to him, Dorian and Sasha, are more adored male emotional-support companions and possible future leaders to take the helm, be the teaching face of the Fellowship of Friends, rather than active lovers?

Could it be that the new, greatly discounted online venture is instead simply to attract new members (or trickle of funds until the hook is in) to a greatly aging student population?

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 18, 2019:
Golden Veil [above]

“Do you think it likely – or as an Insider – can you possibly assert that REB is still actively seeking new sex partners? And are Fellowship of Friends teaching payments still funding shopping trips and exotic travel for REB and his young male inner circle?”

Yes, still seeking new sex partners. Less than a year ago (as reported here), 2 members were expelled from the FF for refusing sex with Burton. One wanted to stop the sexual activity with Burton; the other, a married man from Europe, did want to begin.

No exotic travel for several years. Virtually nothing outside of California, especially since the heart issue 2 years ago. A lot of antique shopping is now online, which is more out of control than ever, and is funded by donations, the 6-7 meetings a week (2 of which are free), and by foregoing badly needed maintenance around Apollo.

"Joey Virgo" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 18, 2019:
Insider [above]

“We offer a six-month introductory online membership for those who live far from our network of worldwide centers. We strongly recommend face to face contact as the way of meeting us and participating in our school.”

A friend reported to me that he emailed Living Presence about the six-month introductory online membership just to see what the response might be. He received the following response:

“Thanks for writing about our online membership. It is not a course with a curriculum but a trial membership in our school with weekly online meetings with members and a private discussion forum.

Seeing that you live in or near Philadelphia, I suggest that you arrange some kind of meeting with our members in New York or Washington, to find out more about us.

For New York, the email contact is: nycpresent@gmail.com, telephone: (877) 755-0428
For Washington DC, the email contact is: mcdavit.kimic@verizon.net, telephone: 240-882-8682

Best wishes for your inner work.”

So if you live far from “our network of worldwide centers” and want to obtain a six-month introductory online membership, you still have to arrange some kind of meeting with “our members in New York or Washington.”

Is the FoF using Skype now?

"Golden Veil" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 19, 2019:
6. Insider – August 18, 2019 [above] “A lot of antique shopping is now online, which is more out of control than ever, and is funded by donations, the 6-7 meetings a week (2 of which are free), and by foregoing badly needed maintenance around Apollo.”

Shopping for antiques to the point that the property is not taken care of might indicate that REB is not a “good householder.”, and could be another tip-off that he’s not a man with “higher being.”

7. Joey Virgo – August 18, 2019 [above]

Regarding Skype, I don’t know if the Fellowship of Friends uses it, but the cult’s ex-website IT person Asaf Braverman uses Skype for his website’s online student-to-student sessions. By the way, he seems to follow REB’s pattern in that he has his older followers instruct the newer students.

[ed. - Below, "Insider" assesses the results to date of Robert Burton's 50-year mission purportedly devoted to building the ark for a new civilization that will survive an ever-imminent Armageddon. Bolds added.]

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 19, 2019:
8. Golden Veil [above]

Those who are especially close to Burton know that any plans he has for the Fellowship do not extend beyond his own lifetime. That is why Oregon House has no town center, no services, only 1 non-Fellowship-owned store, no cafe, 1 restaurant too expensive for most locals, no main street, no shops, no sense of permanence. And it’s not like all these civilizing influences are located on the “Apollo” property, and not to be shared with the local “life people.” No, there is nothing on the property either. No community, no village, no city, no state, no 10,000-year civilization. Just a temporary stage set so Burton can pretend being a wealthy European nobleman, with everyone else a servant and/or sex-slave.

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, August 19, 2019:
Golden Veil (#8) [above], you have pointed out something very important, IMO, when you say, “By the way, he seems to follow REB’s pattern in that he has his older followers instruct the newer students.”

Yes, Asaf has learned everything necessary to control a group of humans and bend them to his needs from Burton. When he asks a follower to instruct other followers, he is doing at least two things. First, he saves himself a lot of work. But more importantly, he binds the sub–teacher more closely to him. What a privilege, the lucky chosen one might think, Asaf trusts me, he must think I am ‘strong in the work’, I must be worthy. And his/her chest cannot help but swell with pride and a sense of achievement.

But before this, of course, Asaf has evaluated the future instructor. What was he looking for? Boiled down to the essentials, he would look not only for someone who would manage the flock competently, but also for someone who would emulate his style and who would faithfully transmit the message. He would actively pass over anyone who was confrontational, who questioned his authority or qualifications, who had any tendency to independence, who was equivocal, or who asked him uncomfortable questions.

Asaf would also be bestowing ‘authority’ to his lieutenant, and that ‘authority’ would be tangible to the psyches of the rest of the followers. The ‘chosen’ one would be elevated, and at the same time, the ‘not–chosen’ would feel less worthy and attempt more efforts to become worthy (this aspect of the psychological dance has gone on for fifty years in the Fellowship of Friends, and is very easy to observe).

The chosen one naturally would try to please Asaf with this important duty, to ‘not let him down’. I’m sure that he/she would at first probably be nervous, so would try to memorize as many ‘official angles’ as possible and produce the correct one to suit any occasion, try to imitate Asaf’s posture and confidence and assertiveness, and even some of his mannerisms—maybe even practice in front of a mirror.

Asaf would do this because this is how he learned from Robert Earl Burton over decades. He was excellent at memorizing tracts of Fourth Way literature, had a great mental filing system that allowed connections and recall with marvelous ease, was young, pliant, vigorous and active—a very pleasing sacrifice to the God–Emperor of Oregon House. Burton rewarded him by catering to his weaknesses, telling him he was ‘on the Way’ and such, and later, that he was a forthcoming ‘conscious being’. In other words, sent him to sleep.

Braverman cannot help but continue this chain of indoctrination, these are the only methods he knows, they are automatic and he is helpless and unaware of his helplessness. It may be true these techniques have been successful on their own level, he gets the moolah and attention he craves and cannot do without. But these methods do not lead to individuation, for himself or his followers, they lead to the exact opposite. Both parties become prisoners of their circumstances and their desires, more and more dependent on the other, and so less and less free.

[ed. - Below, a snippet from one of Asaf Braverman's online BePeriod workshops.]


And this final word,

"John Harmer" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 4, 2019:
Funnily enough, everything that Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Burton ever said was false.

There is no absolute.
There is no life after death.
Imagination is fun and not at all enervating.
Identification gives meaning to our lives.
Being present, taken to the extreme, leads to self obsession.
Negative emotions are necessary.
There was never a time in the past when Higher Mind existed.
Humanity are not asleep.
It is not healthy to create a single ruling self.
We are not machines.
The inner circle of humanity does not exist.
All claims to psychic powers are fraudulent.

Hey, I just needed to get it out of my system.

🙂

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