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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Apollo gets a facelift thanks to American taxpayers

The Fellowship of Friends Galleria (left) and Theatron (right) at Apollo (Oregon House, CA). The Galleria is Robert Burton's residence.
The grounds are currently undergoing renovations, in part funded by a $200,000 Paycheck Protection Program small business loan.

On April 6th, National Public Radio reported,
Under the Trump administration, the federal government has already been providing funds directly to churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious organizations. In 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency changed its rules to make houses of worship eligible for disaster aid.

The new [Small Business Adminstration's Paycheck Protection Program], however, takes federal funding of religious institutions significantly further. Under the new Paycheck Protection Program, businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including faith-based organizations, are eligible to receive loans of up to $10 million, with at least 75% of the money going to cover payroll costs. The loans are in large part forgivable, so churches and other houses of worship won't have to worry about paying all the money back. [ed. - According to the SBA website, "The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities."]

Organizations that advocate for strict church-state separation are criticizing the program.

"The government cannot directly fund inherently religious activities," argues Alison Gill, legal and policy vice president of American Atheists. "It can't spend government tax dollars on prayer, on promoting religion [or] proselytization. That directly contradicts the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. This is the most drastic attack on church-state separation we have ever seen."

According to the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

[ed. - Inside sources report that under the PPP program, The Fellowship of Friends secured a $200,000 loan. Terms of the SBA loan mandate that a minimum 75% of the funds be directed to salaries. (The loan money is expected to cover both April 15th and May 15th payrolls. It is uncertain whether funding will apply to the June 15th payroll as well.)

As a loan condition, the Fellowship books will be subject to IRS scrutiny (though agents are unlikely to uncover the Fellowship's legendary practice of  keeping two sets of books.)

Coinciding with this "gift" from taxpayers, projects including road repair, renovations, and landscape work were launched around the Galleria. (The Galleria serves as Robert Burton's residence, Fellowship meeting place, private restaurant, and repository for Burton's vast collection of art, antiques, and statuary.)

As one observer commented, "Clearly, Robert Burton is having a great time directing all this activity, just like the good old days."

It is also reported that in early May, Burton resumed hosting fundraising dinners at the Galleria, in violation of Yuba County Public Health Orders. The "invitation only” meals have been limited to ten guests (though not restricted to "household members.") Under Galleria conditions, "social distancing" cannot not be maintained around a single table, placing at risk the health of guests, servers, chefs, and other kitchen and facility staff. According to the county order, no one 65 or older is permitted to attend such gatherings, however Burton is now 81, and it is likely the majority of dinner guests are older than 65.]