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.")

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.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Robert Burton never let's a tragedy go to waste

Peter Morrow longtime Fellowship of Friends member and Robert Earl Burton patron
Peter Morrow (Source: Ocala-News)

“What is greatest in our existence, what makes it precious beyond words, is the modesty to use sorrow so that it penetrates our soul.” - Rainer Maria Rilke

[ed. - On Halloween, Peter Morrow, a member of The Fellowship of Friends and patron of Robert Earl Burton for over 40 years, died when his airplane crashed on a Florida highway. In the days following, official Fellowship events seemed to indulge a morbid fascination with Peter's death and "signs" that angels choreographed the event for the exclusive benefit of Robert Earl Burton and his followers. These records demonstrate, in all its glory, Burton's "magical thinking."

The excerpt below is from Peter Morrow's Elysian Society memorial page. That both Morrow's and Burton's mothers died on a Halloween offered Burton an opportunity to remind followers that he defeated his mother's "feminine dominance," a story he's told countless times (suggesting the "victor" may have indeed been his mother.)]

Dear Friends,

Peter Morrow, a beloved member of the Fellowship of Friends, completed his task on October 31 at 1:00 pm ET in an airplane crash in Florida while piloting his own plane. A mechanic was flying with him, testing electrical equipment. Peter would have turned seventy-four this coming January 30th.

Peter joined the Fellowship in the New Haven Center on May 1, 1979.  He has been part of centers in New York, London, and Apollo, where he has lived since 2001.

Peter had a deep commitment to the Fellowship and to supporting and beautifying Apollo. He expressed his love of presence and of sharing presence by hosting students at his home at Apollo and his hotel in Jamaica. His passion for flying was central to his play, and many students will remember flying with Peter in his plane.

Robert said that it is a strong shock for the school that happened on Halloween, and that it is much worse than the death of his mother. Nothing wrong occurred with Peter.

[ed. - That simple introductory statement of facts then veers off into Robert Burton's magical thinking. Burton fills his narratives with 44s and other usual "signals" (often in the form of license plates) to assure followers that 44 (now 81?) angels are indeed watching over his flock. There is commonly an all-hands effort to collect and decipher these coded messages from the gods. Note: The crash occurred on State Road 200, near SW 43rd Court. And, per the NTSB's Preliminary Report, it happened at 11:30, not 11:44. Robert Burton cannot be accused of modesty in his use of sorrow.]
[Quoting Rilke, above] “What is greatest in our existence, what makes it precious beyond words, is the modesty to use sorrow”—Peter Morrow—“so that it penetrates our soul.” It certainly does penetrate our soul. I said the other day, “You do not know how much you love a person until he [ed. - or she] dies.”

Even so, we are in the business of not dying, and it is working perfectly. A student observed that this is the forty-fourth week of the year and that today is the last day of the forty-fourth week. After Peter’s crash, the emergency vehicles were directed to go to the 44th block, between 43rd and 44th Streets. Then a former student who used to fly with Peter, Peter Ingle — meaning 'angel' — came to the scene.

An angel attended Peter; that is why he came. No harm has been done. Their aim is to make the state we have stronger. That is strictly why Influence C did it. It is a brutal shock, but that is the nature of evolution: Trick or Treat, my mother is dead, her name is Shock, it is Halloween [link added]. My mother’s shock meant virtually nothing compared to Peter’s death. She had no presence while Peter had a lot of presence. He met an objectively useful death. He received what he needed from this life. And now we are getting what we need from this shock. - Robert Earl Burton

[ed. - In the days following Peter's death, Fellowship meetings and dinners at Apollo focused on the subject and its "esoteric" significance. The Apollo Miracle newsletter captured meeting highlights. (Excerpts below.) In the following transcriptions, I have retained the full names of well-known Fellowship leaders.]

Robert Earl Burton Fellowship of Friends Apollo Miracle Newsletter regarding Peter Morrow's death

[ed. - An anonymous Fellowship insider reported on November 16, 2019:]
Peter died on Thursday, October 31st. His death and related "information" was the sole subject of the Friday night meeting, Saturday morning meeting, Saturday dinner, and Sunday morning meeting. I don't know if it extended into the following week (most likely it did, beginning with the Wednesday night meeting.)

I believe the reason for all the attention is the simple matter of Robert Burton taking advantage of a pretty major, unexpected "shock" to reaffirm his position as the wise, detached, all-seeing, all-knowing island of stability, security and relativity amidst the emotional chaos and identification of his immature and dependent children. I guess he needed so many meetings and dinners in order to make sure everyone knew what to think, what to say, and what to feel (or not to feel). I'm certain that Burton's status as conscious-immortal-enlightened wise man is sky-high right now, and the ability of Fellowship members to come to their own understanding and conclusions is at an all-time low.

During the meetings, Robert mentioned a few times something related to the ark, the future role of the Fellowship, etc. He said something about Peter's Italian-inspired house (photo), how it might become a learning center of Italian culture, or something like that. He dragged out a real oldie-but-goodie about everyone speaking Italian someday. Well, he said that 20-30 years ago, and nothing whatsoever came of it. (Burton certainly did not lead the way in learning to speak Italian.) [ed. - In the 70s, Burton wanted his students to learn French. As far as I know, he didn't learn French either.] It's almost as though Peter's death and the fact that he had this "Italian" home, stirred up these old dreams in Burton, like long-past military exploits in an old man, which will soon retreat back into his sub-consciousness.

It's clear that Burton was not going to let pass a huge potential financial opportunity.

Another possible explanation involves the Fellowship's elite.The Fellowship financial elite include Rowena Taylor (beneficiary of her father's jade mines and retail business in Guatemala,) Geraldine R.'s family (with land and livestock holdings in Australia,) Ethan Harris, Marcus Lasken (with a large inheritance from his father's business,) Diana Kay (however she became rich,) Alisanne Frew (consummate wheeler-dealer,) three members in Mexico City (Javier G. and a couple, Emilio and Lourdes), all with high connections within the government (at least the previous government); an Indian fellow named Rathin, the "Godfather" of the Indian centers (like Robert Taylor was in Russia for many years); and, of course, Peter.

No doubt Burton was somehow hoping to be willed Peter's house, but found out quickly that that would not happen. He wanted the Fellowship to buy the house for him. And, of course, this is where the wealthy elite come in. Can he get them, collectively, to donate $750,000, more or less, or maybe even $1 million; depends on what Peter's heirs or trust would be asking? What would he have to do, or promise to them (hint, hint: something about "Paradise"), to get them to donate such a large amount of money?

This venture would also include a major, year(s)-long funding-raising effort throughout the Fellowship, so that everyone can feel part of the endeavor. One of the selling points might be that Peter paid the ultimate price, and the least we can do is to honor his death by keeping his house within the Fellowship and, at the same time, showing how much we love and worship Robert Burton. Even $10 (a week) will assist in this divine effort. There will be a collection plate at every meeting. Jewelry gladly accepted. The great gods hovering in the room right now will be eternally grateful.

Finally, per a member who heard it from the horse's mouth, Robert Burton did not attend Peter's funeral service, burial and reception (at Peter's house) this past Saturday afternoon, so that he could save his energy for the dinner. (Of note, he has not attended a funeral service for many years.)

[ed. - The double entendre below was likely unintentional, though Peter Morrow was a member of the Fellowship during the era when present-day Apollo was referred to as Renaissance, California.]
"He was a true Renaissance man if there ever was one."
From Jamaica Inn "In remembrance of Peter Morrow"

Additional coverage of the tragedy:
Jamaica Gleaner report of plane crash

Jamaica Gleaner article about hotelier Peter Morrow
Kathryn's Report coverage

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry

Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry

By Robert Jay Lifton
Available October 15, 2019

Amazon's synopsis:
A definitive account of the psychology of zealotry, from a National Book Award winner and a leading authority on the nature of cults, political absolutism, and mind control

In this unique and timely volume Robert Jay Lifton, the National Book Award–winning psychiatrist, historian, and public intellectual proposes a radical idea: that the psychological relationship between extremist political movements and fanatical religious cults may be much closer than anyone thought. Exploring the most extreme manifestations of human zealotry, Lifton highlights an array of leaders—from Mao to Hitler to the Japanese apocalyptic cult leader Shōkō Asahara to Donald Trump—who have sought the control of human minds and the ownership of reality.

Lifton has spent decades exploring psychological extremism. His pioneering concept of the “Eight Deadly Sins” of ideological totalism—originally devised to identify “brainwashing” (or “thought reform”) in political movements—has been widely quoted in writings about cults, and embraced by members and former members of religious cults seeking to understand their experiences.

In Losing Reality Lifton makes clear that the apocalyptic impulse—that of destroying the world in order to remake it in purified form—is not limited to religious groups but is prominent in extremist political movements such as Nazism and Chinese Communism, and also in groups surrounding Donald Trump. Lifton applies his concept of “malignant normality” to Trump’s efforts to render his destructive falsehoods a routine part of American life. But Lifton sees the human species as capable of “regaining reality” by means of our “protean” psychological capacities and our ethical and political commitments as “witnessing professionals.”

Lifton weaves together some of his finest work with extensive new commentary to provide vital understanding of our struggle with mental predators. Losing Reality is a book not only of stunning scholarship, but also of huge relevance for these troubled times.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

"Take It From a Former Moonie: Trump Is a Cult Leader"

Steven Hassan's upcoming book
[ed. - Steve Hassan operates the Freedom of Mind Resource Center and has included The Fellowship of Friends among the many cults he has profiled.]
By Steven Hassan

The Daily Beast
Updated 10.13.19 7:18PM ET / Published 10.13.19 5:11AM ET

[Excerpt]

"When I was in the Moonies, I was so indoctrinated that I was prepared to take up arms and die for the cause. I wasn’t alone. My fear is that Trump might order his followers to take their weapons to the streets if he is not re-elected. In a recent tweet, he quoted his Christian Right ally, Robert Jeffress, that his removal from office 'will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.' Worse still is the possibility that, if feeling sufficiently threatened, Trump might, like Jones, try to take others everyone with him, using his access to the nuclear codes. It’s a dark scenario, but not entirely outlandish.

"The good news is, I woke up and got out of a cult, as have millions of people. What I have learned in working with cult members, as I describe in my book, is that attacking their beliefs is doomed to fail. To help them recover their critical faculties, it is essential to develop a warm and positive relationship before teaching them about how mind control works. I often do that by showing how it operates in other groups, like the Jonestown cult or Scientology. We might use the same approach to heal the 'us versus them' mindset of Trump’s followers—and also of some of their more rabid opponents. Ultimately, the goal is to educate and inspire people to regain their capacity for critical thinking, and to free their own minds.

"I have seen people throw off the mental and emotional shackles of many years—even a lifetime—of destructive conditioning. I believe that love is stronger than fear and that truth is stronger than mind control. But I also believe that the dangers of mind control are greater now than ever due to the digital world we are so plugged into. We ignore the lessons of history—of Jonestown and other destructive groups—at our own peril."
Read more at Daily Beast. Also see Steven Hassan interviewed on CNN.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Thirty Imperishable Stars fade from view

"The Thirty Imperishable Stars"
Once part of The Fellowship of Friends' essential "Sequence," they are now unnecessary.


"...we are all conscious beings with staying power now. We have uncreated
light with staying power, without the sequence."
- Robert Earl Burton, November 1, 2019


[ed. - Now that all Robert Burton's followers have achieved consciousness, The Sequence, the most miraculous tool ever devised for creating consciousness, can be set aside. See also: The Era of the Sequence, "The Research Octave" and The Esoteric Keys, The Keys, The Sequence, and The Thirty Imperishable Stars. Oh, my! and More Sequence Gems.]


"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 2, 2019:
So Burton jerks people around with one fanciful idea after another. Out of nothing, he decides that the greatest secret in the universe is the “Sequence,” and that every “school,” including the “prehistoric school,” practiced it, and subtly passed the secret to succeeding generations. With a well-practiced formula of “repetition plus receptivity” (i.e., the hypnotic state of “essence”), this idea got implanted in the Fellowship hive mind over the past 14 years.

Now (guess what), Burton has gotten rid of the “sequence.” It is no longer to be practiced or spoken of. Without any doubt, soon enough hardly anyone will remember that this “sequence” was once the center of everyone’s (faux-) spiritual life. “We never had a sequence, nor do we need it,” the hive will buzz.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 8, 2019:
I was thinking how incredibly advanced, spiritually, are the current Fellowship of Friends followers, both from the point of view of their unsurpassed “level of being,” and also based on their amazing flexibility in regularly altering what they believe in.

This ever-deepening realization was strengthened recently when Robert Burton announced the end to the practice of the “Sequence,” including speaking about it, and finding evidence of it in artwork from previous so-called “Schools.” The reason given for abandoning this spiritual practice, at the core of Burton’s so-called “teaching” since 2005, is that everyone now is at such a high level, that consciousness/light no longer has to be created, or can be created, by a practice such as the “Sequence,” but rather exists eternally, with no beginning or end, “uncreated light,” as Burton is calling it.

I’m not sure how this state of “uncreated light,” now manifesting in virtually every Fellowship member, can be reconciled with the behavior of one of the flock at the post office recently, who was haranguing the postal worker about the absurdity of having to know a zip code before a package could be mailed. But I’m quite sure I would understand if my level of being were not so low.

I’m beginning to think that Burton is wrong about something he has been saying for a few years now, that consciousness exists in only 2 places in the universe: in Paradise, and at Apollo. It might be that consciousness actually exists only at Apollo, since the 30,000 residents of Paradise can raise their “level of being” only by helping others to “escape.” Thus they clearly still exist on the level of “created light” (and, by extension, in Time), whereas Fellowship members no longer have to do any sort of work whatsoever, since they embody “uncreated light” (which, as everyone knows, is out of Time).

So, just as Burton is on the same level as “The Absolute,” having crystallized together (per Mr. Burton), and are on regular visiting terms with each other, so too are members of the Fellowship of Friends at least on the level of the angels in Paradise, but likely higher.

I suppose, given the foregoing, it’s mere child’s play for Fellowsheepers constantly and easily to alter their belief system, based on whatever Burton decides to put into his “reality bubble” that particular month or year. And I must say that this flexibility is both remarkable and admirable. It clearly demonstrates an exceptional level of non-attachment, which, according to Van Morrison, is at the heart of enlightenment.

In a heartbeat, they move from the study of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, to eliminating and even denigrating them; from embracing the “Sequence,” the greatest secret in the history of the Universe, to casting it off like an old coat; to accepting that “effort” can “awaken higher centers,” (i.e. a somewhat silly idea that matter can create spirit, that what is unconscious and limited can produce something conscious and limitless), to rejecting the need for any further “efforts” or studies; from teaching each other the necessity of verifying everything, to preaching that one must never question or doubt anything that Burton says or does.

So, here’s to you, Fellowsheepers, whoever and wherever you are.

"amesgilbert1" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 9, 2019:
Insider [above], thank you for letting us know that the Sequence is now officially abandoned (#84 and 98 above). As you say, it will soon be forgotten that it ever existed. And I’m sure sales of Excedrin and Ibuprofen at near Fellowship of Friends centers around the world have plummeted, now that followers no longer get daily headaches trying to make sense of it all. Even though Burton claimed the basics were apparently passed on through great trials and tribulations from School to School over a period of 150 centuries—hey, easy come, easy go, according to the God Emperor of Oregon House.

This leaves Asaf Braverman, who I gather was mostly responsible for its invention in the first place, free to lay full uncontested claim to the phenomenon and inflict it on his own followers over at BePeriod in due course. One question to observers is, will Burton give up the superstitious numerology and unique interpretation of ‘omens’ so central to his psyche, now they are no longer actually necessary to bind his followers to his fantasy? Yup, you guessed right.

And my second question to you in particular, Insider, is, any more news of the ‘Final, final, final coming of Armageddon’, predicted for some time in 2019?

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 12, 2019:
100. amesgilbert1 [above]

It’s difficult to know exactly what Burton said about this “abandoning” of The Sequence. He says different things at different events. Plus people hear what they want to hear, may not have been fully focused at that point in the meeting, misconstrue what they heard from someone else, etc.

Putting it together as best as I can, it seems that Burton still believes that the practice of The Sequence is the greatest gift and secret handed down ever since the Prehistoric School (and their 6 immortal rhino poops). However, this practice is no longer required within the Fellowship, since everyone’s level of consciousness, being described as “uncreated light,” cannot be increased further by any spiritual practice, not even The Sequence.

About Asaf: Yes, he (along with Mihai) claims to have invented The Sequence as a means to engage all the “lower centers” simultaneously. Afterwards, Burton, having been oblivious for 35 years to the hints and omens coming from 44-80 “men who became angels,” finally recognized the magnitude of what Asaf invented and, as they say, “ran with it.”

(It should also be noted that, after Asaf was kicked out of the Fellowship, Burton then began giving Dorian credit for discovering The Sequence. No, Dorian did not correct Burton.)

Finally, “Armageddon 2020” is very much still on the table. And it’s supposed to be really, really, very, very big, affecting (wiping out) much of life on Earth. But not to worry about Burton: Apparently, he is already planning his refuge in the bottling cellar at the winery. And lest we think he will be inconvenienced by living in close quarters with 1500 followers, preparations for the Oct 21, 2018 non-California-falling event made it clear that 98% of the Fellowship membership will not be welcome at the winery or anywhere at Apollo. Good luck suckers; see you in Paradise.

"John Harmer" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 12, 2019:
Presumably since all fulling paid up members are cooking on “uncreated light” global armageddon is just the friction required to propel them into the lux aeterna flagrante delicto.

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, October 12, 2019:
102. John Harmer [above]

The bigger the lie, the more readily it is believed.

All the “conscious” men and women ever “produced” on the Earth, are now assisting the Fellowship (and no one else).

“Consciousness” is only to be found in 2 places in the universe: in “Paradise” and at Apollo.

“The Absolute” periodically visits Robert Burton at Apollo, sometimes in male form, sometimes in female form.

Robert Burton is the highest being ever to walk this planet.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Recruiting in Ahmedabad

[ed. - An ad from the October 5, 2019 online version of the Ahmedabad Mirror. The meeting is led by David Tuttle, contributor to the Fellowship's Fourth Way Today website. David began following Robert Burton 45 years ago, when he was just 19.]