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Fellowship Of Friends/Pathway To Presence Discussion – Part 93 May 26, 2010

Posted by fofblogmoderator in Uncategorized.

Welcome to the newest page of the Fellowship of Friends/Pathway To Presence Discussion.

For recent pages from the blog go here

For previous parts of the discussion please click on home and scroll down, or move to the Fellowship of Friends Discussionblog, or to AnimamRecro for the very beginning. For a more organized reading check out The Fellowship of Friends WikiSpace.

The largest meeting point for former and current members of the Fellowship of Friends is the Greater Fellowship, you can sign up to the Greater Fellowship community and connect with mostly former members of the Fellowship of Friends, as well as: some current members, family members of former/current members, and others interested in the Fourth Way here.

To visit “Pathway To Presence”, the newly created web site for recruiting new members to the Fellowship; http://www.pathwaytopresence.org

For sites in Russian and Italian, click http://fofway.narod.ru/and http://laliberastrada.blogspot.com/respectively.

To access the Online Petition: http://www.PetitionOnline.com/djindjin/petition.html

For more information check Rick Ross and Steven Hassan.

This is where you can find the website of the Fellowship of Friends.

If you decide to interact as well as digest, this is where you can start.

And as always (and above else), enjoy and have fun.

At the Moderator’s discretion, excessive abuse, personal attacks, taking up too much space, as well as deliberate attempts to unmask people taking part in the discussion will result in a warning followed by a ban or a leave of absence from the discussion.

Participants require 1 moderated comment before they can start communicating in real-time. (ie. if you are new to the discussion, your comment will appear about 1 day after it has been posted, any subsequent comments will appear instantaneously).

To visit the site created by Unoanimo:http://fellowshipoffriends.wordpress.com/2008/01/20/res-ipsa-loquitur/


1. Best of the Blog - May 26, 2010


1. What You Should Know About Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends – January 18, 2010

• It’s a doomsday cult.

• The predicted doomsday never came.

• Burton predicted major catastrophes for 1984 and 1998, and then nuclear war for 2006. For decades, he predicted the Fellowship of Friends would become the beginning of a new civilization in 2006. 
Burton said, “Our task is to establish a new civilization.”
• Regarding the doomsday scenarios now imagined by some for the year 2012, the message of fear continues: “Theoretically, we will survive it unharmed,” Burton recently said.
• Through cognitive dissonance, followers try to forget the above predictions, or downplay them.

• Like other cults, followers object to the word “cult.” But there’s no better one-word description for this organization in the English language.

• Burton has coerced and seduced several hundred young followers — and perhaps thousands — into having sex with him, using promises of spiritual salvation, expensive gifts, vacations abroad, as well as playing on their fears of being outcast from their circle of friends. As a result, many former and current followers have suffered lasting psychological scars and emotional trauma, and a few have committed suicide. (Read the numerous personal accounts within this blog.)
• In doing the above, Burton has violated the trust of thousands of his followers who were unaware of the extent of his sexual activities within the cult, and unaware of the extent of his deception.

• Burton is a sociopath and malignant narcissist who shows no concern for the welfare of his followers unless they are useful to him in some way. When they cease to be useful to him, he discards them.

• Burton’s “public” persona is one of a gentle guru who speaks with a soft voice. This personality helps him deceive his followers into believing they have found the one truth path to enlightenment, salvation, and heaven.

• Burton tells his followers that 44 angels, or gods, guide the Fellowship of Friends — and that they guide only the Fellowship of Friends. Angels, he says, do not guide anyone else on earth.

• Burton advances a world view that Hell exists, and that there’s only one way to avoid going to Hell when one dies: Join the Fellowship of Friends, and stay in the Fellowship of Friends until your death. All people on earth who do not join the Fellowship of Friends will go to Hell when they die. Likewise, followers are warned that they will go to Hell if they leave the cult.

• Followers are discouraged or forbidden from communicating with former members. Those who leave the cult will lose contact with their closest friends within the cult.

• Followers are forbidden to discuss any of the above. If they do discuss these facts with their friends, or question anyone about these facts, they will be expelled. This in turn fosters secrecy and lack of transparency within the cult.

• Burton charges exorbitant membership fees – anywhere from 20% to 40% of income, depending on a person’s salary. The full amount of these fees is never discussed when representatives try to sell people on joining the cult.

• The fees have helped pay for Burton’s extravagant lifestyle, which includes expensive clothing, frequent expensive vacations, and a lavish home at the cult’s compound in Oregon House, California (between Grass Valley and Yuba City).

• Burton and the Fellowship of Friends have been sued by former members on multiple occasions. Most of these suits have been settled out of court, with insurance companies paying the settlement on behalf of the Fellowship of Friends.

• Burton founded the cult in 1970. For more than three decades, he characterized the cult as a so-called “Fourth Way school.” In recent years, the cult has virtually abandoned any discussions about the Fourth Way.

• Because the Fellowship of Friends (also referred to as Pathway to Presence) has been granted religious status, American taxpayers help pay for this cult.

• In the last four years, several hundred followers have left the Fellowship of Friends, and many followers continue to leave. It’s believed that slightly over 1,000 members remain worldwide, but reliable statistics are not publicly available.


2. Mariposa - May 27, 2010

No Kid, part 92, #13


Yes, I remember the Laughing Man! The idea that we could be in “silence” for 3 days, and not eat for 24 hrs. to begin the “exercise” was too difficult for me at 14 yrs. I went to a tent with Stella’s daughter around 10pm the first night, ate grapes, cheese, and whatever we could steal from the “cold room” at the Lodge. The Laughing Man was, if memory recalls, discovered that evening , due to the “laughing ” heard on the farm trails that night by a “man”, and for several nights after. Turned out to be a local unhappy about the FOF closing the road across the farm…Also, we were “run down” those first few months in 1972 on the “cross” road by a pick up truck and some were really in danger. We survived several dangers that 1st year on the farm, Via Del Sol…
Remember the “search for the Laughing Man” evening? David G. stayed in the Children’s House to keep the children safe…It was rather exciting, with folks finding rifles, hammers, axes, and one machete to track the man down…didn’t find him that night…but a horrible terror/excitement, and a cold feeling that evening, maybe even more than the cold showers! the event terrorized me for a while…
I think it was a kid group idea, or maybe mine, or yours, to have all of the kids huddle together in the one man shower to try to stay warm during our washing in those first months of the C. House. We were just thrilled to have running water, even though there was no hot.! We were a safe group together.

I used to cook potatoes on the pot belly wood stove for breakfast..the house was sooo cold, as there was no heat for the house, and the stove needed to be filled with wood. The little kids stayed in bed and we older ones got the stove going..I was happy not to have an adult there..( they always seemed to sleep through the morning chores in that little room off the kitchen) we managed better with ourselves….

I did go into a stable relationship at the age of 16 in Hawaii with a fellow student, a quite older man. The age of “consent” in Hawaii was 14 yrs. of age at the time, and I was considered by the locals as being an adult. My spouse lived in the Islands, and I, as an American Indian, also simply followed my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother in marriage regarding the age issue. So, this was a normal for me. My marriage was the best thing to happen to me. I had an education, a sense of self and personal value. I also learned values for life. I love that person for saving me from a fate worse than growing up in the FOF alone. Also, though, I’m not surprised at your perceptions and feelings that I was married so young. I was, but wouldn’t wish to change my life regarding this.
Please join the GF site and we can talk more. Find some happiness to remember the better spots in the terrible situation we were in as children. We become the people we ARE, and find the positive days that abound around us.

And may we all.

3. Best of the Blog - May 27, 2010


X Says:
November 30, 2006 at 8:14 am

I am a member of FOF for over 15 years, and my sincere advise to all seekers : Run!!! Because if you join, you’ll subject yourself to the influence which will inevitably twist your understanding and ability to think and make decisions, infuse you with fear of life outside the Fellowship, and develop protective mechanisms (or what we call buffers) to justify your new beliefs… you’ll learn about the lies, corruption and abuse, but you’ll prefer to “not notice”. Yes, that’s what happens. Because if you say something – you’re out!
Regardless if you were there for 30 years… you’ll get a boot, and no one will talk to you, all your “friends” wil turn away. Because they are told so, and they are afraid. Cold, cruel policy with no conscience or compassion. Well, I guess, slaves don’t get compassion – and members are slaves!
 Essentially, the school is like a drug – a psychological one – you’ll get dependent and will not be able to quit. You’ll hallucinate too, and will see things twisted and colored the way your teacher wants them to be…

…It’s “Robert’s teaching”, and what it really means is total obedience, trained behaviour, manners and dress code, huge monthly payments, and crazy ideas. They are not even ideas, they are some codes and his “keys” to the Bible and ancient texts, short prayers and symbols – not rational, not meaningful, not even funny. No questions allowed, no verifications, no doubts. Very religious. Does it look like 4th way to you?

People in the group often act like police – watch, listen and then – report. It is so corrupted, there is so much money squeezed out of students – just to create a very, very high lifestyle for the Teacher. Oh, he is actually Beloved Teacher.
 This School will not bring you to awakening. It will enslave you. 
But to be fare – in first 2 -3 years you’ll get to know some very cool people, learn some basic Ouspensky terminology and will actually be able to observe more of yourself and others. You’ll even have some fun! Probably travel to different places and meet people from other countries. You’ll experience fine dining (very expensive though), high class events in rose gardens with fountains (again -it ain’t free), learn some manners and get some class…

But fun will end, the longer you stay the deeper you sink. And just like the animal who was caged his whole life, you’ll lose sence of freedom and will start defending your cage…


4. Best of the Blog - May 27, 2010

It’s all good commentary (I’m glad this and the GF site are available as well as other web pages that shine some light on the Fellowship of Friends). But I will be checking in occasionally to post what is – in my opinion – some of the more interesting commentary on the blog.

St. Fillan Says:

December 4, 2006 at 6:40 am
Dear E.S.

Thank you for providing this medium for us to talk. One of the principle means of control used by groups like Robert’s is how, when, and to whom information is disseminated. There is a megaphone for all that rings positive about the fellowship, and a sophisticated kind of suppression of questioning and doubt.

This is one more open door for us. I would invite all to take advantage of this site, for ANY commentary that seems pertinent. Personally I have always tried to avoid exaggeration – especially about this theme. The more I learn, however, about the increasingly manipulative, religious, and essentric nature of our organization, the more I understand why members various accounts sound extreme. The facts ARE extreme.

Although anonymity is a compromise, it allows those of us who are heavily ‘invested’ a way to of trusting what we see, percieve, or hear from others. It is shared by many. We just don’t know it yet.

Good luck,
St. Fillan

5. Jon Beth - May 27, 2010
6. Jon Beth - May 27, 2010

7. 2010 - May 27, 2010

Is the Fellowsheep of Friends petting zoo open to the public? You might not want to pet those camels- they have a nasty bite.

8. Best of the Blog - May 28, 2010

Former Long-Time Student Says:
December 19, 2006 at 8:34 pm

…There is a psychological process that one undergoes in order to adapt to the culture of the Fellowship. One can be either more or less aware of it (the more aware of it one is, the less comfortable one will be, and the more need there will be to suppress it). The human tendency in group situations is towards conformity of thought and behaviour, as in any long-term group dynamic, religious or secular. It is often necessary to buffer the ‘cognitive dissonance’ that arises when one’s own values are different from or even antithetical to those of the group if one wishes to stay or is frightened into believing that one will be thrown out with no where else to go.

This is certainly the case for many in the Fellowship at one time or another. The problem for students is that they are taught categorically, and reinforced socially, that any doubts, criticisms or problems they have with the Teacher or the School are unsound. These perceptions are not only unsound, they are positively diabolical, and said to emanate from that part of the “machine” which is the enemy to awakening and which seeks to sabotage one’s work. Some students are finally able to regain trust in their own capacity to see the truth (this often takes years of painful soul-searching), and see that what they were believing in or have outgrown is now clearly seen as one’s participation in one’s own self-deception, not to mention that in doing so, one has succumbed to a less than wholesome teaching.

But until students see this they will also be like the person who is at the stage of full indoctrination: they can only have one response to themselves and to others: if one doubts or perceives that something is “evil,” it is their enemy, their “king of clubs” speaking, and that, as yet unawakened beings, they are incapable of determining truth, as such “negative” perceptions are indicative of a lower dualistic level of consciousness (interesting how even people who discover non-dualistic Advaita or Buddhism still recognise when people are behaving badly and how this is directly connected with real spiritual level). In any case, trying to talk to a person fully in the grip of this fundamentalism is like talking to the person who has heard of the psychological term “denial” and uses that concept in order to nullify everyone who disagrees. E.g., “You want to leave because you’ve fallen prey to your own limited ego, but that’s where you’re deluded.” Response: “No, I’m saying that I have seen that I’ve been deluded and now I’ve woken up.” “No, you are in denial. You’re not qualified to say what’s delusional and what isn’t, since you’re not awake.”

That, my friends, is a subtle trap. You must trust yourselves. What you have made into your enemy (your own conscience and your own common sense) is your best and finest friend. This common sense is your integrity, that unity that you have been seeking and which needs to grow. In the pursuit of higher consciousness and mystical states, one must not lose sight of one’s full humanity.

The problem with closed-systems of thought is just that: they are closed. In the Fellowship, as in most, if not all fundamentalist cults or sects, there is never any good reason to leave. This is an assumption underlying the intolerant and ignorant attitude held by some (not all) students, an attitude taught and cultivated by RB. It follows that if there can be no good reason to leave, there can only be bad reasons. The worldview is conceived in black & white. Especially for Fourth Way students, this extreme dualism should be a flag of the chief characteristic of formatory thinking: “either/or”. ‘X’ has clearly ‘verified’ for himself that one is in danger of losing one’s common sense, one’s ability even to perceive truth if one becomes too psychologically, socially, and materially entangled in the Fellowship.

Many students have found that they have had to make significant adjustments to their ideas of good and evil, to the serious detriment of truth and wisdom and the peace of their own consciences. Students will have to reconcile what they see as cruel, arbitrary and aberrant behaviours with grand, artistic, mystical, and psychologically perceptive words. It would be good for them at some point to understand that there is and must be a harmonious connection between mystical ‘states’ and ethical actions. This is what people understand in their heart of hearts when they seek a spiritual teacher; otherwise they will be accepting second best; this pure perception of goodness is what they stand in danger of losing if they put their moral compass in the hands of one who cannot exemplify real ‘higher love’, a higher love which is not disembodied, for that is far too easy, but thoroughly embodied in consistent acts of kindness and humility.


9. nige - May 28, 2010

(Love Theme From “Titanic”)

Every night in my dreams
I see you. I feel you.
That is how I know you go on.

Far across the distance
And spaces between us
You have come to show you go on.

Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you’re here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on

Love can touch us one time
And last for a lifetime
And never go till we’re one

Love was when I loved you
One true time I hold to
In my life we’ll always go on

Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you’re here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on

There is some love that will not
go away

You’re here, there’s nothing I fear,
And I know that my heart will go on
We’ll stay forever this way
You are safe in my heart
And my heart will go on and on

10. Best of the Blog - May 29, 2010

Luke Says:
January 4, 2007 at 4:22 am

I’d like to share a theme which has become prevalent in many recent conversations with members, though not always made explicit. This theme deals with one of the primary difficulties in leaving the group: the fear of isolation.

To give some background: in the fellowship, we have an ongoing exercise (or task) to cease contact with members that have left the group. The more fundamentlist members of our group have deep-seated negative beliefs about ex-members, and attendant fear and discomfort at even crossing paths with these individuals. At another end of a wide spectrum of beliefs are members that have little regard to the task,
albeit in most cases, maintaining their friendships with ex-members very privately. Members maintaining contact with ex-members are subject to warnings and are ultimately asked to leave the group if they are openly non compliant.

Regardless of a member’s position on this or other tasks, one underwrites the view, promoted by those in charge, that ex-members have lost the “most precious gift in the universe – the opportunity to awaken”. In general the outsider or non-member is devalued; in spiritual terms, he or she is considered only a possibility, whose true potential is dependent upon living in the fellowship. Fellowship rhetoric does, after all, frequently imply the group’s spiritual hegemony over all other groups in relation to the divine. The ex-member, then, is considered someone whose possibilities have ended. The ex-member is assigned the very particular status of being cursed. Again, it is important to mention that this is not representative of the deep-seated beliefs of all, but it is the view promoted by the leaders and is publicly accepted by many.

That said, many of us are at a turning point after 15, 23, or 30 years in the group. For a variety of reasons, the least of which may be the aforementioned dillema, we want to move on. Having arrived at this point, which may involve the undoing of financial or practical ties, we are left with one very large fear – that we will lose most of our friends.

Traditionally, long-time members leaving the group have moved away to some place where they could start a new life, especially if they have
hitherto lived in or close to the community. There are however, those ex-members that have remained in the area, and to a greater or lesser
extent, they exist with the stigma of being outsiders. It seems now that this is changing.

Now many members associate with the growing number of ex-members living nearby – these are after all, old friends that may have shared a good part of their lives. Beliefs are challenged by simple human facts; that members care for, and are inspired by their friends. In the recent words of one member, toward an ex-member and friend, “love and friendship are beyond all that”.
Some members have remade friendships after years of – at best – cordial hellos at the post office. Others are unable to revive lost
relationships. Emotional breakdown sometimes occurs in cases where, having seen through their divisive attitudes, members are unable to repair historic divisions within friendships, marriages or family.

Five years ago, my good friend left the group, and in his case, I have privately maintained contact. For five years I have watched him
flourish spiritually and emotionally, and this has subtly challenged my beliefs every step of the way. The belief that by following the task I protect my self and my ‘work’ from lower influences and deviations is melting down. An alternate view of the task is that of a device, that helps solidify the fellowship beliefs that are promulgated by the leaders. Moreover, the
fear that is a product of such beliefs might mitigate the unthinkable – that I may someday find it not only acceptable, but even desirable, to leave the group.
If we reach out, we find that the concepts of inside and outside are dualistic in nature, limit understanding, and in many of us, engender
fear. This serves the instinctive needs of the group while compromising the individual. To put a different spin on a oft-quoted fellowship
jingle: the King of Clubs is keeping us in the school.

For many years I privately held the view that only formatory mind was capable of alienating ex-students. While underwriting the central
beliefs of the group, I espoused a value system of my own. Now I am forced to consider a whole framework of school beliefs, which encompasses those aspects I still value, as well as those which I find reprehensible. I no longer enjoy the luxury of compartmentalizing concepts to make them fit inside my head. It is my good fortune that the remorse is not causing emotional breakdown, as I have seen in some
cases; After all, I shared a special language and mentors – to whom I would now refer as The Great Explainers – that gave me permission. We spun contradictions variously as ‘work on attitudes’ and ‘feeding the higher self, not the lower’ and when the buffer succeeded, we called it ‘separation’. Clearly the Work ideas have practical and useful applications in our group, especially when second line and first line are healthy. What cannot be ignored however, is the growing tendency to use ideas without reference to context in the present moment. Good ideas become degraded by misapplication and by self-serving use. Self-reinforcing logic becomes the only frame of reference for many members, effectively
disconnecting them from broader and deeper thought..

The so-called work in this paradigm is in many cases defined not only by superficial, but deeply psychological forms of exclusion and
exclusivity. When we realize this, we are forced to confront, and perhaps to reconcile the contradiction; well-learned dissociative behavior has become the seedbed for misconception.

One of the many outcomes of this illusory construct, which develops over many years, is the fear of isolation. The cornerstone of that
construct, to playfully misquote Gurdjieff, would read something like this: “Life is only real, then, when I am – in the fellowship – “.
If we are prepared and willing to bring more of what we can plainly see to bear on our psychology, a disquieting storm starts to gather, and what we thought was solid ground begins to fall away from under us.

In the words of Mark Twain: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure, that just ain’t so.”


11. Best of the Blog - May 29, 2010

ExBrideofChrist Says:
January 4, 2007 at 8:22 pm

Luke – in my opinion, you give an accurate assessment of the real dynamic that keeps people in the Fellowship of Friends. And you can add to fear of loss of friendship, the many other vested interests and material advantages that serve to imprison people in the FOF – under the guise of spiritual work.

To talk from the FOF paradigm, the whole phenomena might be explained as a divine experiment (of the gods) to discover the following:

— What degree of behavioral, moral, and emotional corruption, and intellectual degradation will the human organism accept?

— How far and for how long will a deluded and dysfunctional individual, whose conduct exposes himself, specific individuals, and the entire group to risk, liability, and other damaging consequences be followed without question or challenge?

— How easily can individuals be enticed to surrender their extant values and standards and succumb to psychological tyranny, by adopting a narrow and fixed frame of reference that divorces them from the broader realities of life, with all its natural checks and balances?

— How much money can be extracted by teachings, prophecies, and theories of spirituality that by any metrics are proven to be fallible or injurious?

The long term members of this group have truly lost their spiritual compass, but dare not perceive this to be true: the rationalizations and dissociative thinking are fantastic – for an otherwise intelligent and successful group of people.


12. Best of the Blog - May 29, 2010

Glad2bGone Says:
January 5, 2007 at 11:05 pm

From above, “And you can add to fear of loss of friendship, the many other vested interests…” Such interests include maintenance of authority, position and status, stability & security, material comforts, and avoidance of the inconvenience of changing the comfortable status quo.

All these factors – and many more subtler psychological motives – serve to imprison people in the FOF. Such UNextraordinary motives are couched in language that attempts to mystify and ennoble the humble reality.

Often, members resolve the discomfort that arises when a departure challenges their own basis for remaining, by concluding that “the King of Clubs” took them out of the school”. The implication here is always one of a personal failure of the departing student. (A departure must not be interpreted as a failure of the methods of the school.) This definition of failure stimulates in the remaining students a sense of superior virtue, as – in the contrast – their own work appears to have greater integrity. I have seen this play of attitudes repeatedly. The irony here is that the (instinctively entrenched) members would employ the King of Clubs explanation to denounce departing students even where the departure necessarily includes the loss of all the comforts of the status quo: friends, home, community, spouse – every single aspect of their life that has for many years constituted their entire world. Departing is much rougher than staying.

The teaching cautions against the “King of Clubs” as the enemy of awakening. The concept of the evil King of Clubs is a simple device (well documented in cult research ) that alienates common sense and all practical and intellectual discrimination: any idea or action inimical to the aims of the teacher is labeled the action of the King of Clubs, and is in this way invalidated. This device neutralizes any threat posed by questioning or doubt. With this device integrated into fellowship thinking, no real verification or informed acceptance of principles is possible. No valid way out of the fellowship exists for a member that internalizes the FOF concept of the King of Clubs: a departure is by definition a failure and can never be rational: a powerful and dangerous device, and one of many, MANY instances of faulty thinking that are endemic to fellowship culture. The many similar trite formulae and all the pseudo-logic (although, more recently, outright nonsense) manufactured by the Teacher and swallowed by the many, support the mechanism of brain washing in the fellowship. That mechanism is all the more effective for the continuous infusion of pageantry, grandiosity, and all the affectation of refinement that so characterizes public life in the FOF.


13. Wouldnt You Like To Know - May 29, 2010

93/10. Best of the Blog – May 29, 2010

Luke Says:
January 4, 2007 at 4:22 am:

‘In the recent words of one member, toward an ex-member and friend, “love and friendship are beyond all that”.’

* * * * * *

‘The truth is, friendship is every bit as sacred and eternal as marriage.’
Katherine Mansfield

14. blastfromthepast - May 29, 2010

San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, April 20, 1981
Page 1

A ‘Holy’ Teacher
[Image by Gary Fong] caption:
Robert Burton, leader of the Fellowship of Friends, with one of his valuable paintings

Mystical Cult Prospers – And Stirs Some Fears
By Michael Taylor
Chronicle Correspondent

Oregon House
Yuba County, California

On a blustery, gray morning in the foothills, the only spot of brightness is the figure of a yellow-slickered ranch hand trudging up a muddy road to a distant house, his head down against the wind and the rain.

The two-level house with broad eaves and circular driveway sits near the top of a hill, amid terraced vineyards and near the concrete foundations of a new winery.

But this is no ordinary house, and the ranch hand is no ordinary worker.

They are part of a community called Renaissance, a rural splendor on the southern edge of one of the poorest counties in California. The community serves as headquarters for the reclusive, metaphysical Fellowship of Friends, a monastic group of well-educated refugees from the 20th century – its men and women devoted to the teachings of two arcane Russian philosophers whose works are fond mainly on the “occult” shelves in bookstores.

They are led by Robert Burton, a mystical 42-

Continued on Page 12 Col. 1

15. blastfromthepast - May 29, 2010

San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, April 20, 1981
Page 12

A Cult That Worships Beauty, Materialism

[Image by ???] caption:
Lunch was served to community members under an elaborate chandelier while Bach came from wall speakers

[They are led by Robert Burton, a mystical 42-]
year-old former Bay Area fourth-grade teacher who is deified and worshiped by his followers – not for any emotional or physical reason, but rather because the group’s members believe he is the best man to interpret their complicated philosophies and ultimately lead them to better lives.

He is known as The Teacher, and he is revered for his self-control, as well as for his ability to explain that life can be improved and enhanced through a deep, thoughtful worship of beauty and materialism concomitant with an understanding of the writings of the two Russian philosophers. The system of thought, which embraces philosophy, religion and psychology, is supposed to lead to self-improvement.

A former member still feels both awe and hatred

In recent months, though, murmurs have begun to be heard about the cult’s seeming secretiveness and about the way it treats its followers. A few ex-members, as well as some parents of those still in the group, have begun to express their fears that the fellowship’s rigid ideas, and the unswerving loyalty shown its elliptical theacher, are similar to the magnetism of the Rev. Jim Jones, who led his Peoples Temple followers to mass suicide in Guyana in 1978.

– – –

Lunch for the ranch hand and four dozen other workers is freshly baked cornbread, creamy rich clam chowder and a crisp tangy salad, all of it washed down with a vintage Riesling wine. The meal is served by silent waiters while Bach hums soothingly from wall-mounted speakers.

In the evening, the fellowship’s officers will gather in a room reserved for contemplative dinners, where a Rembrandt print keeps watch over priceless Meissen china and ornate antique dining table set with Baccarat crystal and Wedgewood plates.

Elsewhere on the 1310-acre tract of rolling hills can be found more than $1 million worth of European paintings from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, marble busts of Homer and Milton, Aubusson carpets and ornately inlaid turn-of-the-century Steinway pianos.

Funds for such revered riches of civilization and for construction of new Renaissance buildings come from members’ monthly donations of 10 percent of their incomes, supplemented by “special donations” to improve the art collection. The group says its income, exempt from corporate income tax because it is a religion, is nearly $4 million a year.

In one document made available to The Chronicle, an unnamed fellowship officer notes that because one 18th century painting “requires payment in six installments of $35,000 per month . . . our monthly special donation (for members) will be increased to $115.”

The same document says the group plans to “bring two museum-quality paintings each year to Renaissance so as to preserve the arts for a future humanity.”

Requiring a rigid adherence to its ideals – both philosophically and financially, the cult has attracted a membership of about 1350 worldwide, with chapters all over America and in major cities in Europe. Only about 250 of the members live at or near this Yuba County community. The remaining 1100 members lead normal lives – many of them in lucrative professions, such as electronics, medicine and design – in the world’s major cities.

They attend periodic meetings at local chapters and discuss the cult’s philosophy – one revolving around a way of believing that life for its members can be improved and enhanced by a worship of beauty and materialism through an understanding of the writings and teachings of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff and Peter D. Ouspensky, as well as 40 other philosophers, writers, musicians and artists.

The magnetism of Gurdjieffian philosophy has attracted the likes of intellectual and cultural luminaries Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudyard Kipling, Georgia O’Keeffe, Katherine Mansfield and J. B. Priestley, all of whom “have been affected by Gurdjieff’s ideas,” according to Kathleen Riordan Speeth, author of “The Gurdjieff Work.”

Some ex-members say that actor Marlon Brando once flirted with the idea of becoming a member. Brando, however, is not answering questions about his relationship with the fellowship.

What most followers, who come from the middle- and upper-middle classes of society, appear to be drawn to is the rigid sens of self-discipline and personal control, which are considered important virtues here. Speaking only when necessary is encouraged and, until a recent visit by a reporter and photographer, anonymity has been something of a hallmark of the fellowship.

– – –

The fellowship was formally started in 1971 as a non-profit California corporation. Its officers were students of the Gurdjieff-Ouspensky philosophy, and their guiding light, the man who would actively interpret that philosophy for his followers, was Burton, a speech pathology graduate of San Jose State and a former teacher of fourth graders in Lafayette.

In 10 years, this disciple of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky has attained what many people think of as a rather exalted position in life. He is paid $48,000 a year by the fellowship, and he has an annual expense account of $24,000. He spends six months of every year visiting the European chapters of his organization while hunting old paintings, sculpture, porcelain, chandeliers, pianos and jewelry. The other six months, he is in residence in his art-drenched house on the fellowship estate.

Burton dresses in finery and, until a few months ago, rode around in a Rolls-Royce with the license plates reading “ORACLE.” The Rolls-Royce was sold (“maintenance got too expensive”) and replaced with a new $46,000 Mercedes-Benz 380SEL sedan. It is part of a fleet of Mercedes-Benz cars at the compound in keeping with Burton’s interpretation of the fellowship’s philosophy.

‘Beauty produces its likeness in those who pursue it’

“Beauty produces its likeness in those who pursue it,” Burton says. The idea behind how he inculcates this beauty in what he calls “my students . . . my children” is that one’s level of consciousness can be raised through an appreciation of beauty and materialism, “the finer things in life.”

As he sits in his Aubusson-carpeted living room, with the $210,000 18th century Vigee-LeBrun painting on the wall, Burton waits in silence as a carpenter (and fellowship member) lays a fire and lights it. The carpenter then disappears, back to his task of building what appears to be a reproduction of a French chateau – Burton’s future home. Until it is finished, Burton lives in an adjacent three-bedroom house. When the new palatial home is finished, Burton’s current home, called the Blake House, will be moved elsewhere to make room for another wing which will be added to the chateau.

Burton’s gaze moves around his living room, alighting for minutes at a time on the artwork.

“There are superior impression,” he says. “You know, in buying this kind of art, someone has to be knowledgable so the money is not misspent. It is not easy. Once, I spent nine hours in the National Gallery of Art in Washington looking at paintings and decided what we should seek for our collection.”

Burton’s mission, as he sees it, is to cultivate in his students the philosophy that “one is elevated by” the abundance of art, music and other examples of culture that are strewn about Renaissance like baubles in a king’s court.

This ability to appreciate fine art, Burton says, is something that one acquires through a sense of discipline. He is proud of one incident in his life that illustrates the strength of his own self-discipline:

“My mother was in a hospital and she was dying. They had to do open-heart surgery and I was in the 15th month of a 16-month period of silence. I was denying myself speech. I saw her in the hospital and I did not speak. It was my aim not to speak.”

Such a penchant for discipline has lead Burton to the notion that his vast plantation is “an ark” that will preserve, as Noah did with animals, the finest art in the world for future generations – much like a museum, but with the important difference that the collection rarely will be seen by the public.

An internal fellowship publication, called the Renaissance Vine, quotes Burton in a toast to Renaissance as a place “which cares a great responsibility for posterity,

Continued on Page 13 Col. 1

16. blastfromthepast - May 29, 2010

San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, April 20, 1981
Page 13

The Fellowship of Friends – Reclusive, Mystical, Rich

[An internal fellowship publication, called the Renaissance Vine, quotes Burton in a toast to Renaissance as a place “which cares a great responsibility for posterity,]
for it is here the Gods have taken their stand to ensure humanity shall survive Armageddon.”

Although what is meant by Armageddon is not spelled out in the newsletter, several students said Burton believes that in the next few years there will be a total worldwide economic collapse, followed quickly by a nuclear holocaust. And Renaissance will be the surviving apostle of culture and civilization, nestled in the remote foothills of the Sierra, far from the urban centers which will take the brunt of worldwide disaster.

– – –

[Image/Map by ???] caption:
The site of Renaissance in Yuba County, California

Over the past 10 years, according to Yuba County records, the Fellowship of Friends has carried out a land-buying effort that has secured 1310 acres of rolling hills, just east of Rice’s Crossing Road. For $344,270, the fellowship obtained real estate that, with its buildings, landscaping and terraced vineyards, is now conservatively estimated to be worth more than $4 million.

The fellowship is administered by Miles Barth, its corporate president, with the help of other senior officials such as Karl Werner, who runs the group’s modern winery, Charles Randall, who keeps the books, and Carl Mautz, the resident attorney.

Scattered around the compound and connected by twisting roads are:

– The Lincoln Lodge, named after Abraham Lincoln and used for dining and informal discussions;

– The Town Hall, a medium-sized auditorium where a stage supports a 1904 Steinway concert grand piano, picked up in London for a reported $50,000, a Persian rug reported to have cost at least $10,000, and a breakfront full of Sevres china;

– The Court of the Caravans, a collection of 25 Airstream trailers, considered to be the Rolls-Royce of the trailer industry, housing about 60 of the group’s members;

– The printing shop, where a collection of 2000 engravings is used to emboss the covers of a finely printed “Renaissance Journals,” collections of quotations from cult leaders, culled and edited and then sent out to fellowship offices around the world;

– The Renaissance winery, still under construction and reported to be costing more than $1 million. Werner, who formerly was the winemaker for Callaway Vineyards, says the winery does not expect to sell any of its product until it has matured in the bottle;

– Large and well equipped metal, woodworking and automotive shops, where stainless steel tanks for the winery and finely framed windows, rosettes and doors for the various houses are made, and where the Mercedes-Benzes are maintained;

– The Goethe Academy, now under construction. This is the reproduction chateau that will house Burton in isolated splendor, surrounded by by more than $1 million worth of European Old Master paintings.

The construction at what some members call Mount Renaissance is busy and feverish, but in the long run not very expensive because the labor is practically free.

“We’re labor intensive,” smiles Burton, his delicate hands caressing the inlaid top of the Steinway piano that sits in his kitchen.

More than 200 of the group who live on the property or within a 30-mile radius work either for the fellowship – putting in days that can last up to 17 or 18 hours, by some reports – or for the winery.

Fellowship workers are paid $125 a month and they are given free meals, but since Renaissance Vineyard and Winery Inc., is a profit-making, wholly owned subsidiary of the fellowship, workers there must be paid the minimum wage, amounting to about $580 a month. According to fellowship president Barth, however, the winery workers “donate” all but $125 of that to the fellowship.

[Image by ???] caption:
Beyond the vineyard (foreground) sit 25 Airstream trailers, where about 60 members live

– – –

James Trattner is a 41-year-old psychologist who spent four years in the Fellowship of Friends. He says Burton is “a guy who lives like an absolute king. He’s buying art objects that cost in the millions. And then, right there at Renaissance, all around him, you have the worker beasts, going from morning to till night, planting grapes, doing stonemasonry, carpentry. They’re flat broke; they have no money of their own. And in that sense, they’re prisoners.”

“The parallel with Jonestown,” Trattner insists,

Continued on Page 14 Col. 1

Also on page 13:

The Fellowers of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky
By Michael Taylor
Chronicle Correspondent

Oregon House
Yuba County, California

Robert Burton’s Fellowship of Friends is just one of a number of groups around the world that study the ideas of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff and Peter D. Ouspensky.

Gurdjieff, born in Russia in the 1870s, became popular in France, where his philosophy was discussed in various private salons from about 1921 to 1946. Gurdjieff died in 1949.

His oral lessons were explained in writing by Ouspensky, another Russian philosopher who lived during the same period. He put Gurdjieff’s teachings into several books, the most popular of which is “The Fourth Way.”

The essential idea of the philosophy is that people don’t work hard enough in their daily lives toward an understanding of what they really could be if they tried. The premise has been the cornerstone of many unrelated self-help human potential movements that have sprung up over the past 20 years particularly in California.

Burton, the “teacher” of the Fellowship of Friends, is the most recent in a long line of men who have espoused the ideas of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. What makes Burton’s group different, however, is tht it manifests its ideas through a worship of beauty and materialism, much of it displayed in the form of works of art.

Miles Barth, current president of the fellowship, prefers, like Ouspensky, to call it a “system which embraces religion, psychology and philosophy.”

Burton says he studied with Alexander Horn, who in turn was taught by, among others, Rodney Collins. Collins had studied with Ouspensky, the ultimate teacher and best known for his books, “In Search of the Miraculous” and “A New Model of the Universe,” in addition to “The Fourth Way.”

Horn once ran the “Theater of All Possibilities,” a bizarre offshoot of Gurdjieff-Ouspensky principles. Based in San Francisco, the theater abruptly closed in late 1978 and Horn left for New York, on the heels of news reports detailing allegations of beatings and possible child abuse within the theater’s company.

There are “Gurdjieff-Ouspensky Centres” – most of them private homes – in Berkeley, Marin County, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

The fellowship also has centers in Sacramento, Carmel, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, San Diego, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New Orleans, Chicago, Portland, Ore., Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto and Mexico City.

Prospective members of the fellowship frequently first learn of the group through advertising bookmarks inserted by followers in the pages of the works by Ouspensky that are found in bookstores. The bookmarks have phone numbers of local Gurdjieff-Ouspensky centers around the world.

17. blastfromthepast - May 29, 2010

San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, April 20, 1981
Page 14

Renaissance Can See Itself As Preserver Of Civilization
By Michael Taylor
Chronicle Correspondent

Oregon House
Yuba County, California

[“The parallel with Jonestown,” Trattner insists,]
“is incredible.”

Trattner was one of the few ex-members who would allow The Chronicle to use his name. Other former members, as well as parents of people who either used to be in the group or still are, feared their past ties with the group would tar their future activities in the outside world, should their names become known.

Burton scoffs at allegations that he is ripping off his students by using their money to buy art that is enjoyed largely by him.

The real estate is now conservatively valued at more than $4 million

“They don’t wish to work hard enough,” he says of his detractors. “But I am not angry with them. This system of philosophy is not for weak minds; and there are not many strong ones.”

And of Jones and his suicide colony in Guyana, Burton says confidently: “Mr. Jones was close to the gates of hell. We would hope we are close to the gates of heaven.”

One distraught mother, however, describes the group as one “that has hurt and exploited sensitive young people who are in problems of one kind or another. The fellowship has been hiding behind a screen that is far more sophisticated and intellectual than the other cults.”

“The trouble with the fellowship,” ex-member Randall Moffett says, “is that they take advantage of people’s imagination. The people who are in to it now are so hypnotized. This is a very sophisticated operation.”

The father of a member told a chilling story. “We have gone through years of hell. Our son joined up, and when he came home for a visit he was an absolute zombie. There was no dialogue between us, and if you asked him about the weather, there was silence. He said it wasn’t important enough to discuss.

“He was always an extrovert,” the father said, his voice cracking, “and now . . it’s all so robot-like.

“I started reading up on cults, and I think what you have here is mind control. I don’t know if it’s illegal, but it’s humanly degrading for one person to do that to another. They suck you in and they get you into one of their indoctrination centers and it’s good-bye, Charlie.”

“It’s the kind of discipline that blocks out any kind of thought,” he said. “It’s so far detached from reality – and I don’t believe those kids are there of their own free will.”

Other ex-members remembered what they saw as a lack of any loose, spontaneous enjoyment of life at Renaissance. “Everything was quite serious; you were there to learn,” one said.

A woman with a graduate degree from Harvard who was a member for nearly two years said she still feels both awe and hatred of Burton and the fellowship.

“We never questioned any of it, the money, the teachings. We were told – and we believed it – that the money was making his environment beautiful for him and at the same time it was refining our tastes. And it really becomes so hypocritical . . . we were told to minimize our relationship with our ‘life’ family (relatives on the outside) and don’t talk to ex-students. But if we had rich parents, we were told to curry their favor.”

Another former student said, “Surrounding ourselves with this breathtaking beauty was actually a way of giving ourselves more energy. We could achieve a higher state of consciousness. But after awhile I thought, maybe he is just ripping everyone off.”

“I said to a close friend, ‘ Do you realize what we’re giving this man? He’s flitting around Europe, buying porcelain.’ And my friend, who is still among the convinced, said, ‘Nobody could pretend something this well.'”

“This was probably the most powerful psychological experience I’ve ever had in my life. But the very hypothesis that teaches you to think also makes you see that the emperor has no clothes,” the former student said.

– – –

One of the groups more famous members, actress Laurie Walters of the television series “Eight is Enough,” is still a strong believer.

In a telephone interview from her home in Southern California, Walters said she was attracted to the group because “I realized they were sincere and serious.”

“I realized, before I met them, that I couldn’t change myself by myself, and I had tried several groups – radical theater, Buddhism. My life is very enriched from this group.”

Walters said she comes to the fellowship every four to six weeks and spends a weekend washing dishes, ironing linens and “I go to the dinners, look at the art collection, work in the garden and spend a lot of time talking to my friends.”

“What I want is a higher consciousness, and I feel I get what I pay for.” she said.

According to ex-member Moffett, “Burton used to let rumors leak out that we was the second coming of Christ. ‘These two angels took me out of my body.’ One guy I know said he (Burton) rehearsed that story for months.”

When asked if he thinks he is Jesus Christ, Burton stared for a long moment into the fire flickering warmly a few feet away, then murmured: “Thou sayest it.”

He had chosen the words of his answer from the Bible. That was Christ’s reply (in Matthew 15:2) to Pontius Pilate when asked if he was king of the Jews.

Also on page 14:


Billy Graham tells you how to prepare for Judgment Day
[Image of Billy Graham]
Tonight 9:30

* * * * * *

18. Best of the Blog - May 29, 2010

To read the following in its entirety, see:

Former student says: Says:
February 10, 2007 at 8:14 pm

I was a member of the Fellowship of Friends (FOF) for 12 years, though that was over 12 years ago. Yet it has only been in the last year or so that I now feel free to speak about my experience(s). I joined when I was a full blooded, testosterone active youth of 20 years old…

…It wasn’t long before I got my first invitation to dine at the honored top table and soon began to feed on the attention I was being given by the Teacher. As the omnipotent, all seeing, conscious being he claimed to be, I naturally assumed everyone was the beneficiary of such cosmic affection…

… The most memorable moment occurred after one of the Teacher’s so called Symposiums, this was the name of the all male dinners he was in the habit of hosting each weekend. Indeed true to their title they mainly amounted to little more than drinking parties, taking more of the form of a Bacchanalia without the accompanying Maenads – though I was soon to discover there a sting in the tail.

After dinner it was the custom of the Teacher to retire while the rest of the young men hung around and chatted. I think I was trying to recall how much Cognac I had consumed, when the Teacher’s man servant came and whispered in my ear that the Teacher would like to speak to me. So I slipped out of the room, making my way along the hall to his study, where I knocked on his door.

When I entered he looked a little surprised, but then invited me to sit down on the couch next to him. This was all very cozy I thought. I began to wonder what words of wisdom he might impart, as I definitely felt in the mood for something insightful. So you can imagine my surprise when he reached over and started to undo my trousers. In fact, I was so taken back that I must have slipped into a kind of reverie, for the next thing I was aware of was the Teacher’s head between my legs performing fellatio.

Strangely enough I did not resist, which would have been the obvious reaction, as I had always considered myself very straight, finding the whole gay scene somewhat distasteful – at least not up my particular street! However, probably the combination of the cognac, with the fact that this was my all-knowing Teacher, plus the no doubt subconscious curiosity of what it might be like to do it with another man, permitted me to submit and allow the whole process to reach it’s natural conclusion – or unnatural conclusion, depending on which way you view it.

Anyway, obviously delighted by my apparent willingness and after taking a drink of water, the Teacher then confessed that he had not expected me to come, but another boy by the same name. So it seemed I had jumped the queue – for queue it certainly was. With my subsequent entry into the inner sanctum, not only did the concept of a “Man Number Seven” take on a whole different meaning, but I was soon to discover that I had become the member of what can only be described as a rather exclusive male harem.

As I was ushered out into the night air and mind played over what had taken place, the stars above which had once offered so much promise appeared to pale a little…


…Indeed, the flood gates were now open and I was given a good handling at regular intervals, often without breaks in between. This man had a voracious appetite. Not only that, I was expected to put in my whole quota of daily labor at the same time…

Anyway, it wasn’t long before the silent and overbearing wrath of someone who I can only describe as verging on fully fledged egomania, was threatening me with portents of hell and damnation, or words from some passage you could quite easily find in the Old Testament.

But I stood my ground, besides at this point I had little left to loose. In fact I began to grow in confidence as the initial burden fell away and a sense of relief crept over me. I began to sense the shallowness and immaturity of his words – those of a selfish child, who has been deprived of a handful of sweets. And that was that!

The days leading up to my leaving the FOF where very painful – the stars had now well and truly gone out. I just knew I had to go, but it was still the equivalent of emotional amputation. I had come to realize that I had over the years grown to become two separate persons, my work persona had gone one way, while who I really was had remained true. It was the latter which provided the chink of light through which I could make my escape. However getting my two parts to re-unite once again and work in some kind of harmony would take another twelve years of rehabilitative effort. Before this would happen, I would have to plunge very deep.

I left the FOF with nothing, or so it seemed. All my physical attachments were severed – my so called “friends”, family, home were pulled from under one’s feet, like some perverse party trick. I only had my thoughts, my recollections – which were to haunt me for years. Then there was the fear of what would happen to my during my return to “life*”. After all I had now passed beneath hell’s arch, which bore the inscription: “All hope abandon ye who enter here”.

However, this is the subject of another episode: of rebuilding, reaffirmation and re-gaining confidence and self-esteem, all of which had been pretty much knocked out of me. What I can safely say is that you only know you are brainwashed if you are fortunate to emerge from out the other side. Until then it is like a drug that slowly permeates you mind, as you become part of a small world with it’s crooked and twisted ways and utterly blind and deaf to the faces and voices of sanity on the outside.

I therefore dedicate the above to those who find the will or the way – or simply the luck – to make it out and so have the possibility of knowing what it is to taste true freedom.

“Life” or “life people” is the name given to those outside the FOF and therefore effectively dead, or without possibilities. A wonderful piece of irony!


19. fofblogmoderator - May 29, 2010

14-17 are new

20. Golden Veil - May 29, 2010

21. nige - May 29, 2010

I would like to thank, immensely, whatever their real identities may be – ‘blastfromthepast’ and ‘Best of the Blog’. Their reiterations, which probably involved much research into our blog archives, of solid details from FOF’s past, will do much to help ‘fence-sitters’ make a balanced decision – a decision at last, maybe – and hard-line FOFfers to realize that they cannot escape the destiny of the cult – utter dissolution and the demise of REB as Teacher…..Nigel.

22. Best of the Blog - May 30, 2010

the same thanks back at ya.

23. Best of the Blog - May 30, 2010


Mark Says:
January 24, 2007 at 7:07 am

I joined the FOF in 1973 because I wanted to learn how to self-remember. Five years later I left when it finally became clear to me that if that was what I wanted, I was in the wrong place. Self-remembering was given plenty of lip service, of course (along with fun but useless stuff like body types, center of gravity, etc.) but the real focus of the school was on building up of the school (and the teacher) through the “impressions octave” and “third line work.” The friendships that are developed can make it difficult to leave. But once you have seen that you are living a lie is there any question about what needs to be done?

One needs to ask this: What kind of “friend” would refuse to have anything to do with you because you leave their group? This is cultism, pure and simple. Your real friends will want to keep in touch. If nobody does, then you have learned a valuable lesson: you didn’t have any friends. Deal with it. (voluntary suffering)
I knew without a doubt that I was leaving when Robert said at dinner one night: “Is it not amazing that in the entire world there are only 1100 people (the size of the school at that time) who wish to awaken?” Talk about delusional! The world is full of delusional people, but that doesn’t mean we need to support them.

I only learned that he was a sexual predator after I left. Had I known it sooner, I would have never stayed as long as I did.

Please don’t for one second be afraid that you will be “dead” or that you are “going to hell” (as one student who left was told by R in a letter). This kind of scare talk only further confirms that the group is a cult.

BTW, I have learned far more about self-remembering since leaving the FOF. Not bad for a “dead man.”


24. blastfromthepast - May 30, 2010

’21. nige – May 29, 2010

I would like to thank, immensely, whatever their real identities may be – ‘blastfromthepast’ and ‘Best of the Blog’. Their reiterations, which probably involved much research into. . . . . .’

Nige, and all,
To the best of my knowledge, the postings I made above of San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, April 20, 1981, has heretofore not appeared anywhere in cyberspace and digital realms. I have been around this blog from the beginning and have seen all manner of flotsam and jetsam, but not that. That is the reason I made it available. Perhaps someone will make it a part of the Fellowship of Friends archive. As far as I am concerned, it is free for the taking; presuming the material is in the public domain and of public interest. Glad you enjoyed. It was a bit of work.

25. Best of the Blog - May 30, 2010

26. Best of the Blog - May 30, 2010

27. reader - May 30, 2010

24. blastfromthepast: “To the best of my knowledge, the postings I made above of San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, April 20, 1981, has heretofore not appeared anywhere in cyberspace and digital realms. I have been around this blog from the beginning and have seen all manner of flotsam and jetsam, but not that.”

flotsam definition: “miscellaneous or unimportant material”

Not sure you understood what “flotsam and jetsam” meant when you wrote that. If you did, and if you truly believe that, I’m curious about your mention of the Billy Graham advertisement that was placed adjacent to the article. It seems to suggest you find some significance or value in that by the fact that you included it. Are you still into “44s”?

Just asking — I have no idea what your intentions were. The article certainly calls attention to a cult up in the Sierra Foothills. But it barely scratches the surface of what was occurring in the FOF at that time. It had not one mention of Burton’s deceptions or secrecy with respect to his true intentions with his followers. The word “sex” is mentioned not once in the article. Maybe it’s because Burton told the reporter that he was “working with celibacy”?

Regarding the mention of the actress Laurie Walters:

“One of the groups more famous members, actress Laurie Walters of the television series “Eight is Enough,” is still a strong believer.”

Since someone might stumble upon this page thinking she is still a member, just a quick comment that she remained a member of the FOF for only a relatively short time over 30 years ago. She left in the early 1980s — presumably leaving like many of us after she woke up, and learned the true nature of Burton and this cult.

The article was interesting reading at the time for anyone who joined the FOF, and I recall that many people actually thought it was relatively good publicity, and that the so-called “shocks” were a sign from heaven that “we” were a “real school”. But let’s definitely not call this a great piece of journalism. It barely scratched the surface of what was actually occurring within. That said, I agree with Nigel. I’m glad you made the effort to post it. But it might be good to recognize that it, too, is a piece of “flotsam and jetsam.”

Not quite the “flotsam and jetsam” of so many tired “angles” of four decades of FoF “meeting notes”, “Vines”, “Journals”, and more recently high-definition CDs.

28. blastfromthepast - May 30, 2010

Dear 27. reader, and other readers,

‘flotsam definition. . . . . .’

According to Wikipedia:
‘In maritime law, flotsam, jetsam, lagan and derelict describe specific kinds of wreck. Historically the words had specific nautical meanings, with legal consequences.

There is a technical difference between the two most commonly-known terms, Flotsam and Jetsam: jetsam has been voluntarily cast into the sea (jettisoned) by the crew of a ship, usually in order to lighten it in an emergency; while flotsam describes goods that are floating on the water without having been thrown in deliberately, often after a shipwreck.’

So, based on this definition, flotsam and jetsam, in my context, is material cast off, voluntarily or otherwise, of a shipwreck, or potential shipwreck. The Fellow-shipwreck. That is, material of the supposed Ark – on the high C. I was not trying to make a value statement. Derogatory interpretation is up to the reader’s mind. Flotsam and jetsam, as far as I am concerned, may be applied to these above postings equally as to prior materials documenting Fellowship of Friends history appearing in cyberspace.

‘Just asking — I have no idea what your intentions were.’

Intention in those posts was a verbatim, and photo, copy of the article exactly as it appeared in the newspaper. No intention as to what meaning readers may take of it, whether it was good journalism, or whether it was, or was not, revealing any of the truths about hidden agendas of Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends – historically needed to be available.

‘Not quite the “flotsam and jetsam” of so many tired “angles” of four decades of FoF “meeting notes”, “Vines”, “Journals”,. . . . . ,’

blastfromthepast reserves the right to post, in the future, some of that additional “flotsam and jetsam” so that it may be available to the general public. After all, it would be blastfromthepast.

29. reader - May 30, 2010

“I was not trying to make a value statement.”

One thing I’ve learned over the years – value statements (what are sometimes referred to as opinions) are often stated loud and clear based on what a person doesn’t say. Often people are afraid to tip their hands and say exactly what they think, and exactly what they mean, because it might expose their thinking to a little scrutiny from others.

You “reserve the right to post” — of course you do, like anyone. And certainly others reserve the right to respond. What was particularly interesting to me about your posting of that article was your reference to the Billy Graham advertisement, and the number 44, as though it had some sort of special significance. (You didn’t say anything about the other ads on the page.) I’m sure it’s a case of old habits dying hard. Cult indoctrination is an odd thing – it’s not easy to shake.

30. Jomo Piñata - May 30, 2010

I remember when the SF Examiner article came out. The Billy Graham ad and the number 44 were regarded as an omen. It was part of the general experience of being a member at that time.

31. Best of the Blog - May 31, 2010

Current student from Isis Says:
February 8, 2007 at 8:24 am

I live in Isis for 17 years and to say the truth first 13 it felt like I am going some where, moving forward learning and evolving. But in the last few years of Roberts teaching I have found my self in deep confusion and literally lost. I don’t know what to think any more. My buffers like “this is just his machine” and “a conscious being can afford himself pretty much any thing because he is no longer a human” does not work any more. And to tell you the truth if what I see in him is called “awakening” that I seriously doubting my desire to awaken. I am grateful for this website where people like me can share they thought in a discreet way. In Fellowship we are not allowed to discuss any thing like that. Those discussions are called “gossips” and “expressing negativity towards the school and Teacher” for which one can be punished in numerous ways.

For a long time now I was thinking about leaving the school but I was afraid that Robert will find the way to harm me later. I know that many current student in Isis are visiting this website regularly but still are afraid to leave a comments. My friend had emailed me this link and sad that this site had shocked him at first but later on he found that what he was reading about in those letters was for a long his own experience which he could not accept or even look upon. And now after 26 years in the school he is with “one leg out” as he briefly mentioned in his last later. I don’t know where that will lead me but certainly its useful now. Thank you!


32. Best of the Blog - May 31, 2010

Anonymous Joe Says:
February 8, 2007 at 9:46 pm

Often when one raises uncomfortable questions, the subject of Our Sainted Dead is brought in as a silencer, although I know you did not mean it that way. I know some of those deaths were whitewashed hagiographies, heavily marketed for promotional purposes. Anyway, with the tsunami of positive attention people receive when on their deathbeds, including phone calls from the usually inaccessible leader, last-minute changes-of-heart become improbable.

But only sanctified deaths count. There were other deaths, not spoken of … a few months ago, a man who was on a «leave of absence », and purportedly a former lover of the leader’s, killed himself. Rumor has it that he tried to call the leader in the days before he died, and his phone calls were refused. He, too, was a fellow traveller along the Fellowship road. He was someone we were encouraged to love and care for as an « ascending soul ». Yet his death was unannounced, and unmourned. Those of us who know about it heard it on the much-disparaged grapevine, which is not always reliable. To ask questions is usually considered « gossip » and brands one as a busybody.

Or the quadriplegic who purportedly bet too heavily on the 1998 earthquake prediction, lost his job and medical benefits, and also killed himself. Despite long service, his death was not announced or mourned. We have all kinds of ways to buffer these occasions. These are casualties on the road to awakening, « descending souls ».

Mental illness is usually a factor in such breakdowns and deaths, certainly, but our role in creating the pressure that broke them or our way of working with such cases falls under a blanket of silence. Often we say it was going to happen anyway, sooner or later, with or without us. Maybe true.

Don’t these deaths matter, too ? Who thinks of them ? I do, sometimes.


33. Best of the Blog - May 31, 2010

Vena Says:
February 13, 2007 at 7:31 pm

I am a longtime member who has recently made the decision, with great relief, to leave this group.

I have known for a long time that Robert Burton’s teaching was seriously limited and even making things more complicated and difficult than they are in fact. He is promising his followers awakening but because of his lack of understanding he is keeping them stuck and dependent on an increasingly cumbersome and unnecessary technique – something that he calls “The Sequence”.

There are also many untruths and theories taught that have nothing to do with the Fourth Way or any other path to awakening. I have wondered for years if he was knowingly deceiving people or if he in fact believed what he was doing and saying. Some of his statements and claims are so outlandish that it is almost impossible to believe that he could make them and even more bizarre that intelligent people would believe them.

Someone recently told me about a psychological condition known as pathological narcissism. I did a little reading about this condition on the internet. Robert Burton seems to be a classic example.

According to my understanding of this condition his whole identity would crumble if he saw and acknowledged that what he has created is a charade. It also explains his habit of devaluing people that have served him for years at great expense to themselves if they choose to question him or leave the organization. It explains his unquenchable lust for money and sex. It explains his need to be constantly surrounded by very passive people who reflect back to him the illusion he has created about himself. It explains his enormous sense of entitlement at the expense of others and his exaggerated claims of accomplishment out of all proportion to reality. It has even made it easier to have a little compassion for him. I think as far as spiritual evolution goes he is in a very unfortunate place.

At the last Fellowship event with Robert that I attended it was clear to me that almost everyone there was in some state of hypnosis.
It has also become clear that the real motives behind this organization are sex and money. The FOF has become highly skilled at fundraising from the membership. There is a monthly membership fee of several hundreds of dollars that basically only buys the ability to go onto the property. All other events (except for an occasional open market where members sell goods and services to each other) such as dinners with the teacher, meetings led by him or other students, receptions, concerts, any publications, etc. have a significant additional cost. Members are also strongly encouraged to donate expensive items several times a year to be auctioned off to the group. Those who can afford it buy dinners for eight at these auctions for $8000. About $500,000 a year is raised in this way alone. There are also travel events that are organized by the FOF.

Members are made to feel they are missing out on the “cutting edge” of the teaching if they cannot manage to afford these costly trips which also result in large financial profits to the organization. There are constant raffles that members are solicited to participate in. At every event or gathering there are young female members that go from table to table and group to group asking members to buy raffle tickets or to sign up for breakfasts, teas, and dinners with the teacher. These events cost somewhere from $100 – $300 each.

Special dinners, such as Xmas, New Year’s, the teacher’s birthday, the anniversary of his “crystallization”, etc are sold for even greater amounts, $500 – $1000. Members are also asked to give money for wildly expensive gifts of jewelry for him (that he has already selected) for his birthday and other occasions. The use of credit cards is highly encouraged even if the ability to pay is doubtful. It is needless to say that many members are in serious financial trouble.
He is almost continuously surrounded by the various young men who are his current lovers. This entourage is usually at least eight but often ten or more. Most of these men now come from Russia or other countries where a visa to the USA is highly coveted. They sheepishly follow him around or sit passively near him without speaking, usually dressed in the expensive suits, shoes and jewelry that they receive as gifts. They are so expressionless that they almost seem like zombies. These men are not homosexual but they have chosen for various reasons to submit to sexual behavior that is against their natures. I always found this to be extremely disturbing.

In spite of these things there are many seemingly sincere and intelligent people in this group who know what is going on yet still somehow believe that the FOF is a legitimate spiritual school.

I would like to understand how so many intelligent people, including several mental health professionals, could have joined this group but especially why in countless cases it has taken many years and much anguish to leave. I think Sarah’s recent posting (#82) [page 1 of the blog from 2006-2007] comes very close to an explanation.
I would also like to express appreciation for Former Student’s posting (#71) and just say that I hope he will take the time to write the episode he refers to regarding his process of rebuilding confidence and self esteem. This could be very helpful to other former students.

I would also like to add that in spite of the strange and idiosyncratic nature of the FOF I did learn some important things and certainly had some very interesting experiences.

34. Best of the Blog - May 31, 2010

Innernaut Says:
February 22, 2007 at 11:39 pm

Wow, what an amazing forum. I joined the FOF in 1981 and left in ’89. I must say I have experienced most of the points of view expressed here at one time or another — from the sincere, enthusiastic new student, to the glassy-eyed fundamentalist parroting Burton’s latest “angles of thought,” to the anguished doubter grappling with “negative attitudes,” to an ex-student who finally had to acknowledge that my so-called false personality was closer to being who I truly was, while my “work I’s” were trying desperately to make me into something I most definitely was not.

When I finally was able to make the decision to leave, I felt like Huck Finn when he chose to make the “immoral” decision to help his slave friend Jim to escape, saying “Alright then, I’ll go to hell.” Of course, he wasn’t going to hell for his decision, and neither was I.

Regarding Medusa’s speculation as to whether they will be perusing the Internet years after leaving — maybe you will. Healing is a long, slow process, especially when you’ve opened yourself to the deepest levels of your being the way a sincere student of the fellowship does. It wasn’t until 2001 that I truly came to terms with my experience in the FOF and the 4th Way, when the years of repressed rage came hurtling out. I made contact with some ex-students who had been my friends, and made some new friends via email, creating a little forum of our own. We helped each other (though they mostly helped me), and I remain grateful for that. It was a difficult time for me, as I realized it wasn’t just the FOF that was the problem, but the 4th Way as a whole. It became apparent that, while it was helpful and interesting for a bit in the beginning, it had become little more than a screen of labels that was shielding me from reality. So I removed all “work language” from my thinking. I ripped up my 4th way “work books” and threw them in the garbage — a liberating experience that I still remember fondly. Then something remarkable happened around that time. I understood, and experienced, that you can’t make awakening happen. The harder you work for it, the further away it goes. To break my rule about not using work language (and why not, I don’t live by these silly rules anymore), awakening becomes an “A influence” object of desire. I know others have posted about this experience. I just wanted to throw my own into the ring.

That experience of being “awake” or whatever it was didn’t last forever. But since that time, I’ve been less and less troubled by my time in the FOF — I’ve healed to a large extent.

So why do I read things like this? Oh, I get curious now and then. Call it gossip, schadenfreude, I don’t care. Call me tramp etc. These labels mean nothing to me anymore, though there was a time when they would shoot me through with fear.

Fear — fear of not conforming (it was big even back then), fear of “losing the school,” ad nauseam. Fear is the big one that keeps us a prisoner in something like the FOF.

Thanks for this site.


35. Best of the Blog - May 31, 2010

Note: Here’s a link to one of the last posts from Page 1 of the blog. It includes graphic descriptions of alleged Burton orgies with several of his followers… While the descriptions in this post paint a picture of a guru out of control, many people have emphasized that it is not the sex per se that concerns them about Burton, but it is — among many other concerns:

— The use of his position of authority as a trusted spiritual leader to manipulate and coerce his followers.
— The lies, deception, and secrecy surrounding Burton’s activities and FOF recruitment practices
— The irresponsibility with regard to sexually transmitted diseases
— The lack of transparency regarding the use of money that members contribute
— The threat of expulsion, spiritual doom, punishment, or being outcast if his followers do not comply with his sexual demands, or if they articulate their dissent or concerns to others.

Inner circle facts Says:
March 1, 2007 at 8:25 am

“… and the other has been ‘shipped’ back to Russia for disobedience.”



36. X-ray - May 31, 2010

Best of the Blog and Blastfromthepast,

Thank you for your time and your efforts.
What you are doing is important.

37. Best of the Blog - May 31, 2010

Note: To emphasize again – I find almost all of the contributions valuable and informative on the blog. These are just the posts that immediately hit home for me.

So, here’s an excerpt from one more post from page 1. It quotes from a lawsuit against Burton and the FOF. I sometimes believe that I “already know” these facts, but seeing them laid before me in concentrated form, I sometimes understand something that I didn’t understand before, or see something that I didn’t see before.

(Troy, thanks. You’ve helped many of us truly “wake up.”)



a. Defendant Burton communicated with “C-influence” which was
provided by “44 angels” which were each individually named including, but not limited to, Jesus, “Benjamin Franklin,” “Lincoln” and “Bach,”
and that Burton was the Fellowship’s only connection with
said “angels.”

b. Defendant was and is the most important person on the planet since Christ. Defendant Burton claims a numerology of consciousness where he has already advanced to a man number 7.3, with Christ being a man 
number 8. Burton is above man-made laws, a moral law unto himself.

c. “C-influence” brought Troy to the Fellowship and Defendant Burton, and that Troy’s interactions with Defendant Burton would be the most
important relationship that Troy could ever have.

d. Defendant Burton is assisted by “C-influence” to guide the
spiritual evolution of the member “students” with “shocks” designed
to help them “awaken”.

e. The members of the Fellowship are special, and set apart by higher forces for survival. Members of Defendant Burton’s “inner circle” must associate only among Fellowship members, must disregard non-members, and demonize ex-members who are critical of Burton whom “the
gods” will “destroy.” Such ex-members’ opportunities for growth and development are terminated failing to submit to Burton.

f. Defendant Burton possesses gift of prophecy that is infallible.

g. In 1998 California will “fall” in huge earthquake whereupon people will die in massive numbers.

h. In 2006 there will be an Armageddon, where all humans everywhere except for members of the Fellowship will be expunged by higher forces.

i. Members of the Fellowship will inherit the world’s material goods and act as the “Ark” for a new civilization based on that of the Greeks of about 450 B.C., and are thus presently preparing themselves to bear the torch of civilization now and in the future.

j. By following Defendant Burton’s directives so as to gain “being” (depth of character) through separating from suffering and immersing themselves in culture, mostly Western art, classical music, opera and
ballet, Fellowship members, including Troy, are preparing themselves for being the “Ark”.

k. Everything the members of the Fellowship, including Troy, had
learned since birth was “false” and caused him to exist in a kind
of “waking sleep.” The Defendant Burton informed Troy that in order to “awaken,” he had to replace what was “false” with what was “true” which was defined as the system of ideas as The Fourth Way, including all the “new” knowledge that Burton had added to that system.

l. Defendant Burton stated, and states, to the general Fellowship and to Troy, that without “C-influence” Troy could not “awaken”.

m. Defendant Burton stated, and states, to the general Fellowship and to Troy, that to “awaken” was the only way to avoid having the
purpose of his life be to provide “food for the moon.”

n. Defendant Burton stated, and states, that Troy’s people outside the group as “life-people,” he said were “tragedies.” Burton said
Troy’s own mother was such a “life-person” and that the Fellowship was Troy’s “real” family and Burton was his “Father.”

o. Defendant Burton stated, and states, to the general Fellowship and to Troy, that any challenge to the extent of Burton’s excesses of greed and satyriasis to be a lack of understanding of his practice of “crazy wisdom” which he asserts that he must force himself to perform is forcing himself to live that way for the good of the members as a “lesson.”


38. X-ray - May 31, 2010

Best of the Blog and Blastfromthepast


Burton’s Brothel Busted

39. Panorea - May 31, 2010

Thanks Best of the Blog and Blastfromthepast…

I almost left when the court case became known. Even though the “centre directors” and all “old students” tried to keep it a secret and we were not allowed to discuss the issue. When I expressed my doubts to an “older student”, they advised me to talk with another student who “knew” Burton and they could “help” me with my “I”‘s. I did so and I allowed myself to be told and get brainwashed once more. Easy… I stayed and I was trying to “work on myself” and “do not believe the I’s.” Helping each other to “understand” and “transform.” Learned to manipulate our own thoughts, twist and turn till the crooked appears right…

Took more than a decade to leave the cult. Leaving the cult equals “awakening.” So, if you have any doubts try to be by yourself for some time and think and feel. Stop the eternal nonsense of calling “friends” to help you “not believe your I’s.”

40. nige - May 31, 2010

Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy.
There’s nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you
in time – It’s easy.

All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.
It’s easy.
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

41. nige - May 31, 2010

40 Sorry – meant to attribute that to The Beatles (Blue Album)

42. No Kid - June 1, 2010

Mariposa – part 93, #2

Mariposa wrote: Yes, I remember the Laughing Man!

No Kid: I remember that night hunt. Some of us kids had found some odd tracks we thought might be his. A man with a dragging foot, we thought. There was also, if I recall, a serial murderer running around the Oroville area killing campers with a sickle at the time. That made the notion of this strange laughing (and howling?) man in the night scarier. I remember being pretty spooked walking back to the kids house from the barn at dusk after milking chores. One night I woke up and saw an old man with long hair and a beard looking into the window. Scared me pee-less and I went quiet for a few days. Learning to just go away – “separate” – became a regular defense mechanism for me over the remainder of my time with the group and for some time after it.

Mariposa: Turned out to be a local unhappy about the FOF closing the road across the farm…

No Kid: Wasn’t he a former Hollywood voice actor called Donald Stevens? Used to specialize in “maniac laughs” in the movies in the 1930s? It was quite a sound! If I recall correctly, it was during the fallow year when everyone had gone to the centers and there was just a caretaker there, that he laughed at a local teen girl who was riding her dirt bike and her father and his shotgun had a conversation with him about not doing that any more.

Mariposa: We were a safe group together.

No Kid: Yes, nothing like mutually experienced trauma to make a group cohesive. Trench logic. I lost all of you anyway, though. I had already lost all my childhood friends. I had friendships over my teen years with adult members, and felt their loss too, but I have never felt that our experiences were analogous. I do find a lot of similarities between my experiences and subsequent attitudes and those of people who were brought up by other cults.

Psychologically, my make-up is similar to a “well-adjusted orphan.” My ability to love is intact, but the sense of automatic trust typical of those who were protected as children did not survive. I am not complaining. With the pain and losses, there were gains. I am tough and smart and worldly and I like this about myself. I fear little and am fiercely protective of those I love. Some of this is probably psychologically native, but I do feel that surviving the ordeal of being brought up in the FoF was in some ways a tempering by fire. Of course, pushing this analogy, one had better be good steel to start with or one can end up as a bubbling liquid puddle at the bottom of the furnace.

Mariposa: I did go into a stable relationship at the age of 16 in Hawaii with a fellow student, a quite older man….I love that person for saving me from a fate worse than growing up in the FOF alone. Also, though, I’m not surprised at your perceptions and feelings that I was married so young. I was, but wouldn’t wish to change my life regarding this.

No Kid: I am really glad that this turned out to be such a good thing for you. To clarify: I am not put off by teenage sexuality, and do not consider post-pubescents the same thing as small children. I was shocked at 11, because I thought of you as a peer because of our shared experiences at the kids house. Of course, at that age, five years is a big difference, so you were not really my peer.

I understood that by 14, when I tried to have a relationship with another student, and we were broken up. That was another loss. So many. It was not about my age, btw, but rather about some physiological ambiguities and associated complications that were becoming apparent as adolescence progressed, and which resulted in my being singled out for extra work and “tasks.” For my own good, of course. 😉 Ultimately, I was more trouble than I was considered worth, and was put out.

Mariposa: Please join the GF site and we can talk more.

No Kid: Maybe. What are the protocols there? Would I need to identify myself to join? Are there current members active on that list? There is someone I do not want to lose entirely and I have already had a couple of scares vis a vis my writing here. You know who. I’d probably be cut off for good if it were known I was participating in this.

Best to you (all). NK

43. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

page 2

Vena Says:
March 1, 2007 at 7:21 pm

Dear Courageous Friends,

I agree with a recent observation that the move away from Gurdjieff and Ouspensky has coincided with a great awakening for many. Probably not because O and G and the Fourth Way are not valid ways but because when Robert Burton began to desperately try and concoct a system of his own by cobbling together bits and pieces of other great systems it became obvious that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

It truly seems to be the “Fellowsheep of Friends” or perhaps the “Fellowship of Fools.”

Every whim of his has been justified by explanations like, “We are doing this for the Ark” or “This is the will of C Influence.” Some of these whims have included collections of Meissen Porcelain, Steinway pianos, rare books, Eighteen Century French Furniture, An Art Library (when he was trying to reinvent himself as Bernard Berenson), Eighteenth Century European Painting, and Ming Furniture. Many of these collections contained costly fakes and forgeries and the cost to the members has almost been incalculable. During these phases he attempted to build a book bindery which was aborted and now serves as a “Town Hall”, a grandiose winery which also was aborted, a French Chateau (full of gaudy antiques, full length portraits of himself and grotesque murals), a Greek Theatron when he was fashioning his empire after a Greek city state, which was also never finished. Literally millions of dollars have been poured into these aborted projects and yet as he moves on to the next phase no one mentions the abandoned, costly and failed projects but the fund raising just continues as before. What greater proof of sleep of the members could one ask for?

The whole show has been so fantastic that no one could have made it up as a piece of fiction.

I personally wonder if this school and all its manifestations are the result of a serious disorder which I mentioned in an earlier posting. I have enclosed a list of the major characteristics of this disorder. After reading them I felt that I recognized the cause and reason for the existence of the Fellowship and all its attitudes. I also wished, in spite of the damage he has done, that Robert Burton could be helped. Does anyone in or out think there is any possibility of this or any reason or obligation to try?

Warm regards to All, Vena

p.s. I feel sick at my stomach after reading the posting from “Inner Circle Facts” but I thank him for revealing these things. Perhaps it will help some to wake up to the truth.

Proposed Amended Criteria for the Narcissistic Personality Disorder

* Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements);

* Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;

* Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);

* Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply);

* Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favorable priority treatment;

* Is “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;
Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;

* Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;

* Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, “above the law”, and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.

By: Dr. Sam Vaknin
Author of “Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited”

– – –

“You are after something your entire life, some goal. Enlightenment is giving it up.” Zen Master

“Be quiet, stay unattached to your thoughts and don’t make efforts.” Papaji


44. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

Innernaut Says:
March 1, 2007 at 7:24 pm

No person (#291 – first page of the blog), some thoughts.

Here is what I came to understand, during and after my time in the fellowship.

That there was a “me” that had to grow to such an extent that it could not help but crack open, revealing an awareness that cannot be reached through “effort.” In this way, the FOF does serve a valuable role — it puts you in an environment where the striving and the effort creates a larger and larger “work self” — one that becomes so large that, like the elephant in the room, it can no longer be ignored. Unfortunately, this “self” is not the answer — it is an obstacle in the path of living authentically.

There is a very good story about this in one of CS Lewis’ books in the Chronicles of Narnia. The book is “Prince Caspian,” and in one part of it a boy stumbles across a dragon’s cave, which is filled with treasure. The boy puts on a beautiful gold bracelet and falls asleep on the pile of treasure. The magic of this cave is that those who fall asleep on the treasure become dragons themselves. After much suffering by the boy, Aslan the lion (the “God” figure in these books), removes the dragon skin. There are many layers, and Aslan must use his claws to cut deep into the dragon skin to remove it. Finally, the last layer is removed and he’s just a boy again, though he remains forever changed — more compassionate and mature, less selfish.

My own experience is that my time in the fellowship built up a person that wasn’t me, layer after layer, all fueled by a kind of spiritual greed for the treasure of MY awakening. ME, ME, ME.

During a series of particularly painful experiences, I felt these inner layers peel away. No more efforts. No more greedy grasping at “states.”

So the fellowship served its purpose for me, in its time. Leaving served me even better. Both were necessary.

Personally, I can’t imagine discovering one’s own inner truth by remaining forever in an environment I found to be increasingly oppressive. But maybe that’s just me.

45. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

Innernaut Says:
March 1, 2007 at 7:38 pm

Gw. — the sex makes you “uncomfortable”? How distressing for you. I would think it would make you outraged.

To those who are merely uncomfortable: you might do a little soul searching, and ask yourself whether you have rationalized away some vital core of your humanity in the name of supporting your teacher and school. The joy and beauty and personal nature of awakening do not absolve us of our responsibility for our fellow humans.

And please don’t attempt to explain away Robert’s behaviour by saying “the lower cannot understand the higher” or some other dogmatic cliche — it’s just a cop-out.


46. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

Kid Shelleen Says:
March 1, 2007 at 7:59 pm

Here’s an interesting question: what happens to one’s spiritual pursuit when one no longer believes in esoteric knowledge? What happens to the seeker when belief in the search is gone? What happens when the student is ready and the teacher doesn’t arrive? Gurdjieff, no doubt, would hand one a pistol, but what happens when you laugh at him?

There is no secret magical world to which I must petition to for admission and yet here I am, still here.

Just a thought. “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”


47. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

Voice of one crying in the wilderness Says:
March 6, 2007 at 8:45 pm

Dear Friends,
What is to be said can only be heard through your heart. Please try to listen from that part. For a long time we have been part of a criminal process which has hurt many individuals. Some of these individuals have been sacrificed because we have chosen not to listen to our conscience.

Robert has over the years pursued and sodomized young men. He has used his position to seduce these young men with the promise of immortality. His actions are simply that of a degenerate being no matter how refined. We in our blindness have allowed some dear individuals to be defiled and damaged by his appetites. Our ommission, and it is one in the strictest sense, is allowing it to continue.

Some of these young men have become seriously psychologically impaired through this process. Yet we go on minimizing it because it is safer not to know. These acts are a violation of Robert’s position. If we excuse this by saying that it is his priviledge or his private weakness we are both accomplice and victim. If it is allowed to continue, the karma which we attract will bring down our school and leave very heavy stains on our being. It is simply not worth the contamination wrought.

There may be much discomfort which comes from these words. But please try to think of the anguish some of these young men have been subject to in the name of evolution; and ask yourself whether you would knowingly, as a higher being, conduct your life in this way.

Can you truly accept that one can enter higher worlds by such actions? Would you wish to enter these worlds by such acts? This reasoning leads to one final not-so-profound conclusion; the Emperor is indeed very naked and we sadly provide his mantle.

Robert is a victim also. The highest that one can extend him is compassion and help. If one becomes angered at him or oneself or me the cycle continues. He is and will be confused and hurt by these actions. Yet firmness and equanimity are what is needed. We do great harm to our school and our being should we choose not to act.

We have talked and preached an ethic of love and acting for the higher right. Now is the time to be the words. It would also be a solemn and humane act for us to help the young men who have been hurt and damaged by Robert. It would be a proper legacy to pass on to the next generation.

If you find in your solitude that fear and or the wish to defend has kept you from hearing what has been said, you lose a very dear friend. You lose yourself!

In friendship,

Samuel L. S.

March 4, 1984


48. nige - June 1, 2010

I am reminded, again, from an ex-student who was very close to the ‘centre of the school’ and who left a long time after I did, that despite the vain-glory of the Fellowship of Friends – its show and pomp – there is something very evil at the core…..Nigel.

49. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

Simon Says:
March 2, 2007 at 1:10 pm

… What concerns me most about some of these postings, is not the graphic details which one can encounter in numerous places on the WWW, but the eventual fate of some of the participants. Are these young Russian lads getting any support from friends?

I can assure you from first hand experience it IS a traumatic ordeal, especially when one has entered the group with an open spirit (call it being naive if you wish), but it’s the condition usually required for a genuine desire to work and open oneself to the new ideas.

If it really isn’t an issue, why wasn’t I told at my perspective student meeting that not only will you be asked to make efforts to self remember, verify everything for yourself… oh yes, and as you’re a young, handsome boy you might at some point be requested by the teacher to partake in a little sex with him? At least that way I might have had some forewarning and I would have been able to have a better idea if this “school” was really for me.

As it happened, one day several years down the road I was summoned into Burton’s study, plied with cognac and visions of angels being, only to be unceremoniously debriefed; even if I had the scant consolation of knowing I was serving a higher purpose. Though I now believe that was code for: I had fulfilled my task admirably and was able to rise to the occasion.

Fortunately, I am quite a strong person and I was able to call time on these shenanigans when finally I came to my senses. My only real fear was contracting some kind of disease, especially as I knew a lad who had recently died of aids and I wasn’t sure of his exact relationship to the Burton.

Anyway, back to these Russian boys and any other vulnerable souls for that matter. Seriously is anyone looking out for them? Or have they just be jettisoned back on to the outside to fend for themselves?

INCONVENIENT TRUTH, I thanked you for an absorbing read, however I must agree with INNERNAUT when he states your post is somewhat heartless. Because you are not “involved”, does that excuse any lack of compassion for your fellow students? Or is it really everyone for themselves? Or, it’s your own fault if you don’t watch your back?

Dear VENA, almost everything you say I can relate to. I too was shocked by that post and I can only assume with the rise in FOF service costs over time, what you get for your money has also risen (I seemed to have got off lightly).

But the fact is, however we choose to analyse Burton, the bottom line is we’re not going to change him. We can only change ourselves and our relationship to him and “possibly” point out some inconvenient truths along the way to anyone who has ears to hear.
To inject some scale into proceedings: I’m sure there are hundreds, maybe thousands of people, or forums such as this, with individuals grappling with similar issues where they have found themselves drawn into bizarre – sometimes lurid situations which have in turn had a lasting psychological effect and can in some instances take years to overcome. Indeed there are professionals who earn a living who offer their services to cure people like us. But like all those other individuals who are identified with their genie, we are with ours and every time we rub the bottle, it leaps out at us.

My advice, if I have any to offer, is: put your bottle down occasionally and pick up an inspirational book or poem; listen to a moving piece of music or take a walk in nature. In other words try to keep the faith. It’s difficult I know.


50. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

Traveler Says:
March 2, 2007 at 7:24 pm

In relation to some recent posts a few thoughts come to mind that might be worth sharing:

#19 another FW student says that the button of our sexual morality is being pushed and asks why do people have a problem with it, we should observe ourselves instead.

This is an example of a typical argument given in the Fellowship. Talking about the teacher’s private life is gossip, we are told. So we learn to conform and to not talk about it. But to use some fourth way language, gossip consists in the third force behind your actions. Talking about the teacher that is “gossip”, for the sheer enjoyment of scandal, is only a subset of all possible talk about the teacher. The two need not be confused.

The other typical answer to the issue of RB’s sex life is to imply that the asker must have a problem with homosexuality (politically incorrect almost anywhere) and they should observe themselves more in that area.
This is a fallacious argument and is based on misrepresenting the question as something other than it is. Often, even if the question is not aptly expressed (we dance around delicate subjects), the concern is not Robert’s sexual orientation, nor group sex. Rather, the concern is who is doing this, with whom and in what relationship.

If he used to tell students that he was celibate, forbade extramarital sex and branded homosexuality as false personality (probably an attitude created by Alex Horn), all the while having sex with young male students, doesn’t that raise questions about his credibility? If a number of young heterosexual men found themselves brought to his bedroom in an attitude of complete trust in his spiritual guidance, having no idea that he was going to pull down their pants next, without any forewarning, and use their body as a sex object, doesn’t that make you ask what his human relationship to these people could be? Did he have any respect for them, or was he capable of relating at all? If, when they felt uncomfortable and tried to object, he would tell them to just let go of their body and that having sex with him is the will of the Gods, isn’t that the ultimate appeal to authority? You wouldn’t want to go against the will of the Gods, and the will of the Gods is what I say is the will of the Gods…


51. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

Reality Check Says:
March 2, 2007 at 8:55 pm

I neglected to mention that the morality of the ‘inner circle’ trickles out into the “School” in other ways. My ex-husband (who dropped me like a hot potato when I announced that I was leaving the FoF) had previously been sexually propositioned by one of the more prominent married male members of the FoF team of what I shall refer to here broadly as ‘health care workers’. My husband had found work during the week and began commuting from what was then still called ‘Apollo’ now ‘Isis’. The kind gentleman mentioned above, had offered to lend his home as an overnighter. He insisted, ever so graciously, that my husband could sleep in his bed (I don’t think he expected that I would be accompanying my husband at any time); he probably would not have left his TV set right next to the bed with a video already inserted into the cassette slot. The subject of the video was gay sex. I felt uneasy, as I began having suspicions that there was an agenda behind his offer, but gave myself or should I say, him, the benefit of the doubt. Like all ‘good students’, I said to myself, “Oh, well, whatever he wants to do in his private life, gay videos or whatever, that’s his business. He probably left the video there by mistake, anyway.”

However, the second time this happened . . . the floodlights came on—and did not go out. I won’t go into the rest of the story. Suffice it to say that this story is not concerned with some abstraction such as ‘sexual activity’ or ‘sexual morality’. Nor does it concern the natural human fact of sex or sexual orientation. This is rather a real story about a real person (you can multiply this many times in the FoF) attempting to take what ‘belongs’ to another (whether the other person consents is another issue–here I’m speaking about the personal responsibility of the active force). This surreptitious (and sometimes not so surreptitious) taking is ‘stealing’, ‘adultery’ or, if you don’t like these ‘uncool’ words, just say, downright selfishness, betrayal and treachery.

So, selfish me, I didn’t like not having been consulted first about any feelings I might have regarding this blatant (and supposedly secret) proposition to my husband

But wait: I should ask myself: should I be consulted at all? I’m just a machine. What do my higher centres care about that? It’s none of MY business, right?? How dare I be so ‘mechanical’, so ‘identified’ as to have an opinion on the matter at all? How coarse and unconscious could I be? Have I learned nothing? How unloving, ungenerous and ‘sexually hung up’ I am. I should be ashamed of my ‘lower self’ and get back to self-remembering . . . and the orgy, at once!

Remember, “Keep your eye on the donut and not on the hole.” “Lie back and think of England.” “If self-remembering doesn’t make you happy, nothing else will.” Should these not work, I might further mollify myself (and my fellow students’ consciences–and the perpetrator’s) by keeping my insubordinate jaw from flapping unceremoniously and committing the capital sin of ‘negativity’ and ‘gossip’. I might advise myself, as a previous contributor to this blog would seem to recommend, that I should not observe and judge others, but rather look into myself and see what is wrong with ME.

Supposedly sexually liberated female students: Do you understand that when RB seduces your boyfriend or your husband (even on your honeymoon that you planned to spend together at Apollo/Isis) from you – you who would purport to have ‘the heart and stomach of a king’ – with mere material bribes and empty promises of heaven, that aside from the grand ego trip he enjoys for himself–and the emasculation of your supposedly ‘strong’ ‘significant other’, that RB does not LOVE you in any way whatsoever, but is in fact displaying the most profound disrespect and disregard for you and your existence? How’s that for women’s liberation? But no, you may think it’s all right. You may bask in it. Or you may push it below where it can’t hurt you.

One lovely student I knew, when I had got up enough courage to ask her how she felt about what her husband was doing (he was a long-time traveller with RB), abruptly replied: “We don’t discuss it”. A couple of years later she had a serious nervous breakdown. That’s what keeps it rolling along. Either do not discuss it or convince oneself that it is acceptable, or–much better–that it is noble, beautiful, ‘conscious love’. If that interpretation is what really pleases you, go ahead. But obviously, I don’t recommend it. Nor do I tolerate it.


52. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

Isiswideshut Says:
March 2, 2007 at 8:08 pm

Here is the first Putin like statement from the FOF Council:
– – –
“Dear Friends:
”In recent weeks, some of you have told us that you received unsolicited e-mail and mailings. Apparently mass-mailings and e-mails have been sent to almost everyone listed in the Fellowship’s private membership directories and on Propylaia.  Some emails have pointed to a link appearing to be a Fellowship-sponsored discussion group.
”Very strong laws protect the privacy rights of private organizations and their members, especially religious organizations. These laws range from State and Federal laws to the Constitutions of the United States, and California, and international treaties. California has especially strong rights protecting the privacy of members and the organization from unsolicited communications, and the modern version known as “spam.”
”We are taking the invasion of your privacy rights very seriously. We are investigating the unauthorized use of Propylaia and the Fellowship’s private membership lists and are reporting these matters to all responsible government agencies. 
”Even if this invasion of privacy continues, rest assured that we are aware of the situation. Remember that you are free not to become involved.”

Edward Says:
March 2, 2007 at 9:57 pm

Response to Kevin Brown and Linda Tulisso, authors of letter that appears in #40.

I am relieved to hear that the Fellowship Council is concerned at last about the invasion of my privacy!

Does this mean that you will no longer send out spies to collect information about me if I attend Adyashanti meetings in the Bay Area? Does this mean you will not consult third parties about my reading, my plans, my activities? Does this mean you will no longer “research” the sexual activities of my friends, as occurred in some of the posts above?

A dozen years ago, a Fellowship member was sent to REMOVE fliers from mailboxes at the (then) Lincoln Lodge. Am I now to understand that, respecting my privacy, you will now assume that I can sort my own unsolicited mail, and throw away what I do not wish to read?
I receive lots of spam every day, and had no idea that it was illegal. Usually, I just delete my junk mail without reading, and do not need any recourse to the law. We all know that “mailing lists” are regularly bought and sold. I had no idea that this was illegal.

I have read the U.S. Constitution a number of times over the years. Can you please tell me where I am protected from unsolicited mail and spam in it? Not only in the U.S. Constitution, but in “international treaties,” etc.? I am eager to know my rights.

I will sleep easier tonight knowing that the Fellowship Council is ever-vigilant about the invasion of my privacy. Reminding me of what I have a “right” not to become involved with – especially coupled with Yoad’s recent email informing me of how to spend my time, what is wasting it, etc. – I feel deeply guided by a conscious organization with my best interests at heart.


53. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

Traveler Says:
March 7, 2007 at 7:21 am

Who’s afraid of the big bad blog [posting the text of a letter that warns members about the blog]:

– – –
Dear Friends:

Thank you for the many supportive responses to our recent message about invasion of our rights of privacy.

At this time, when the most powerful teachings from Influence C are being revealed and shared, there are a number of anonymous people who use the Internet to harass the Teacher, the School and its members.

The people involved in these activities use false names, stolen identities, copyright violations, defamation, and tactics of negativity. Among other instances, Asaf’s name has been misappropriated and used for false e-mails containing vulgar profanities. Yesterday Linda Tulisso’s name and picture were falsely used to cast her and Fellowship Management in a negative, false light and to provide a link for unauthorized access to copyrighted materials on Propylaia. It is currently known that this has now gone beyond students with visible roles, such as Asaf and Linda. It now includes stealing names of other students for use in false cyber communications because of their national origin so as to falsely deceive friends in other countries into thinking that one of their fellow student countrymen, be it from Japan, Russia, etc., is actually sponsoring negative attacks against the Teacher and the School.

As with other recent privacy rights violations, the Fellowship takes these matters seriously and reports all such matters to governmental agencies at State and Federal levels as well as in other countries and the European Community for investigation and prosecution. In recent years, the U.S. government, every State, and country have passed strong criminal laws against cyber tactics of identity theft, false representation, and anonymous annoyances and harassment of private individuals and organizations. Law enforcement agencies can trace anonymous or false messages to its source.

If you wish to help, you may forward to the Fellowship’s office any such e-mails, web pages, blogs, CDs or MP3 files you have received, either directly or indirectly, electronically, or by regular mail. Please include a brief factual description including your name, address where it was received, the date of receipt of the communication, and the source, if known. If you have received communications via mail, we would appreciate your including the envelope and/or packaging when you forward this to the Fellowship’s office.

These laws exist to protect all people in all countries. The people involved in the current harassment have openly stated their intent to violate these laws to destroy the School, to injure students and the Teacher. These invasive tactics are not innocent nor can they remain hidden.

The School and our Teacher and friends have been attacked before but we have become stronger and deeper through the transformation of this friction. It is therefore before us to address these matters with presence and with vigilance.

All students should feel free to discuss any of these matters or concerns with their center directors, regional coordinators, the Council, Fellowship Ministers, and Fellowship management.
Thank you for your help, diligence, and presence.

Kevin Brown
Council Dean
Linda Tulisso
Fellowship President


Tim Campion Says:
March 7, 2007 at 7:44 pm

Shock and awe.

It took some time for the forces of freedom to arrive (as presented in posts by Cry Baby and Laughing). It is now safe to speak freely.
In the school, I often heard the expression “as above, so below.” But, “as without, so within?” This “damage control” indeed sounds much like the Bush Administration’s all-encompassing “War on Terror”.
Intimidation can muzzle conscience, but it does not necessarily stop it.

“All students should feel free to discuss any of these matters or concerns with their center directors, regional coordinators, the Council, Fellowship Ministers, and Fellowship management.”

If you should NOT feel free, then this extraordinary forum, might offer an alternate means of expression.

Thanks, Sheik, for your moderation.


54. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

Donald Trump Says:
March 7, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Dear Linda and Kevin:

I am deeply saddened by the most recent email… It seems to be motivated by fear, written “in the queens,” and attempting to intimidate, bully, and control people’s free communication…

… You are threatening to turn this material over to the feds. Do you really want to draw the attention of the authorities to this blog? Do you wish to draw the attention of the newspapers, other bloggers, the INS and IRS to this site? I think you would stand to lose far more than you would gain from such publicity…

Like most things in our brave new world, the blogs offer an opportunity. You can retreat into the grandiose paranoia that your letter demonstrates – or you can choose to use it as an opportunity to be more open with information-sharing, to make a real attempt to communicate. The options you have chosen so far don’t look promising.

P.S. I’m not really Donald Trump.


55. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

No person Says:
March 4, 2007 at 9:23 pm

Thank you Charlie, so well said.

Amazingly, it turns out that the condition of human “sleep” is exactly that: THINKING and believing that you are “not present”, not here. Well, because in reality you are present, always. It just can’t be otherwise. You ARE, here, now. Your thoughts can tell you that you are not here, but are you – the thoughts? YOU are always here and now.

Human’s state of “sleep” is being unaware of the solid undeniable fact that we are always here and now, and there is no past and future., there is only present. If we can acknowledge this simple fact, and stop using ideas as our blinders, then certain clarity occurs, certain relaxation and natural acceptance of what IS happens. But the seekers mind imagines that this is too simple, it can’t be so, there is a desperate need to “get” somewhere, making things complicated and entangled: not only you deny the simple obvious, but in the same time an imaginary Path is created in the mind, leading you nowhere, from past to future bypassing the truth which is right in front of us, here and now. It makes mind very involved, very busy and excited- and that what mind wants – to be put to work, be given rein, to explain things, to divide and label.
Funny, we were told that we need to GET to the present moment. And believed it too! We are told that we are asleep and need to wake up through efforts and paths that will lead us to present. If anything is “absurd” – this is it.
There is only recognising that we are always present, always here and now. There is no getting out of the present! Ever. “Awakening” (if we want to use such a word) means STOP. Stop believing your mental noise and see what’s going on. You are always present, even when imagination occur. No need to panic and try to “get back” – you haven’t left, haven’t disappear, you are right here, relax.

Thought come and go like clouds in the sky, no need to attach your identity to any passing thought or imagination – let them pass and they will pass. You are what watches each thought, undisturbed, right here right now, never departed from the Now… “Sleep” is – mentally denying the obvious.

Thank you again, Charlie, and thanks again, Sheik for letting it all be expressed.


56. Best of the Blog - June 1, 2010

Tim Campion Says:
March 5, 2007 at 3:18 am

“Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
 To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with you hair.”

The Fellowship introduced me to Walt Whitman. For that I’m grateful.

Someone said “it’s a solo struggle.” Be brave, and be happy. Whatever path you choose.

Tim Campion Says:
March 10, 2007 at 2:45 am

(I admire those who, though English is not their first language, vigorously engage in this discussion.)

Some have challenged the appropriateness of this forum. The opposition appears to originate primarily in the current Fellowship membership. To them I would suggest the “44 Conscious Beings” whose influence the Fellowship is heir to, hardly seem the types to shun a lively and public discourse. (Who knows – through the Sheik and the Knight, they might in fact be facilitating here!) Can you imagine our “local heroes” Franklin, Lincoln and Whitman timidly backing down from such a stimulating debate? (I do however think they would refrain from the personal attacks.) In the words of one (infamous) World leader, “bring it on!”

This discussion will not likely benefit those comfortably entrenched in their beliefs. But at the outset, there appeared several “voices in the wilderness” who drew a sympathetic (some would argue “mechanical”) response to their request for advice.

I don’t even know why I’m involved. Perhaps it’s in pursuit of my own “piece of mind” (or to appeal to vanity, public recognition the intoxicant that it is.)

The conversation is a fascinating and (by virtue of this format) confusing one; playing out as it does on so many different levels, from nuts-and-bolts diagnostics to the rarefied heights of intellectual discourse. At best, this discussion will only hint at what I believe we all seek.

As many have said, it remains “words on a page”. It is curious to watch our reactions to “words on a page”, especially such “charged” words. The reactions are telling. (Is this fear I see? Fear of exclusion? Fear of not knowing? Fear of being wrong? Or worse, fear of being right – for that implies a responsibility! At times for this reader, perhaps it’s all the above.)

The Teacher (and I did consider him a teacher) planted many noble thoughts in his students, many which continue to bear fruit.
As a former student, I’m of course obliged to challenge one of the oft-repeated concepts: that those who leave the school are “dead”.
For those striving to “wake up”, what fate could be worse? It is the Fellowship equivalent of hellfire and damnation.

Fear is such a motivator. It also a curious gift in that it delivers simultaneously both question and answer, problem and solution. A challenge, and the energy to overcome the challenge. Conscience understands how to utilize fear when it arises.

(The earth-bound intellect must analyze. “Is one who leaves the school 100% dead? Or maybe only 98% dead? Does there not remain within a person some seed or ray of hope? Do we spin out of control, in a downward spiral to oblivion? If we indeed have multiple lifetimes, it appears the “gods” must be subject to the same “two steps forward, one step back” phenomena we humans often experience. Next life, they will have MORE work to do for my salvation! It’s not very efficient of them.”)

Since moving on from the teaching, I’ve come to believe the situation is not so hopeless. I do believe there is something that continues to exist outside the trappings of this curious organism. Whatever its identity, I regard it the most “real” facet of my human experience, and welcome it when I’m fortunate to be aware of its presence. (I can’t even claim this “visitor” is “mine”. It may be “yours” as well!)

Many here have spoken about having something that observes. Perhaps we all possess, or share, it. This little observer tells me “it’s not over yet.”

For all of us, even those who are “fallen”, dare we believe that the best is still to come?


57. WhaleRider - June 1, 2010

Reclusive Cult Leader Breaks with Tradition

Oregon House (USA)- Robert E. Burton, founder and leader of The Fellowship of Friends, Inc., a quasi-religious corporation, AKA Pathway to Presence, recently departed from traditional cult methods of thought reform and actually honestly answered a question posed to him…without adding a thought blocking quote he borrowed from someone else with a far more evolved intellect than his own with whom he’d like his followers to associate him.

When asked what Burton thinks about the revelations of his sexual, emotional, and financial exploitation of his followers and their children detailed in the suit filed against him posted on the Fellowship of Friends/Pathway to Presence blog Burton stated: “They can’t prove anything! They just keep repeating the same old lies over and over again until people believe them. Why should anyone believe something just because someone says so? Where are all their verifications? There are no dark clouds hovering over the dinner table as they suggest! I never had a loving, caring, adult relationship based on mutual respect with that under aged boy or anyone else for that matter!”

Followers were shocked and awed at Burton’s uncharacteristic denial. “He really is so advanced,” said one follower, “I just can’t seem to free myself from my adult relationships and social responsibilities without his help. He teaches us to repeat to ourselves, cults are for co-dependents who are needy, and know they are needy.”

58. Mariposa - June 1, 2010

No Kid, #42

I don’t remember knowing the identity of the “Laughing Man”, and now that you write about it, there was the “Sickle Man” killer in the next county to worry about at the same time, which I must have pushed away in my mind..Maybe I need to go over the newspaper archives to adjust my memory with fact…I do remember the night we walked from milking the cows and the trail was quite, quite dark.. we kept trying to keep each other from worrying …No parents (or adult protection) and the path seemed miles that night..then seeing the light at the kids house.. .and yet, still, we milked those cows, not thinking that it would get dark so soon…
Now, I milk goats. I also breed Dutch/German sport ponies of a safe and gentle temperament for children. We have beautiful, La Mancha goats who give organic milk and I make cheese from it. The Chevre is simply fantastic. I also have a 7 month old set of “Cheddars” ripening in the spring house, and make quick string cheese for easy eating.

Well, so much for me. Regarding your question about the GreaterFellowship.Ning.com, I can only tell you that I am almost completely computer challenged… I breed wonderful horses and goats, and manage/work an active farm, but I do not understand the workings of a computer. My daughter helped me set up my GF site when it was in it’s infancy about 3 yrs ago. I should check the site out more often than I do , about once a month, but will be adding new photos to it soon. I still support the it fully.

I can only say regarding privacy, that once A. Gold. managed to worm his way in to check out the site in ’07? I gave a vote to remove him from this most personal page regarding our experiences in the FOF, and so did most members. He was banned. But, I don’t know how private it is.

Soooo!!! A call to all GF computer experts. Please inform “No Kid” how to proceed and best ways to protect our privacy. I would love to reconnect our lives away from worries about “Who’s Watching”!!


59. nige - June 1, 2010

I don’t know how many are aware of it but Robert Earl Burton, as the Founder of the Fellowship of Friends, can no longer be regarded as a private citizen, but must be an accountable public figure. All records of his actions are, and should be, liable to universal scrutiny…..Nigel.

60. Mariposa - June 2, 2010

Again… As a separate message from # 58, How can a person remain un identifiable on the GF site, while talking to a fellow GF person? to become friends again? This person needs to be in contact with some folks , and yet remain unknown ?

61. James Mclemore - June 2, 2010

60. Mariposa

You might go to the GF site and look on the main page where it says ‘welcome’ at the top. You will see a list of names of the folks who manage the site, and if you click on them I believe you can send a private email to them and ask your questions. They would know better than anyone I would think.

62. James Mclemore - June 2, 2010

‘Best of the Blog’

Great work you are doing.

63. Mariposa - June 2, 2010

No Kid,

I understand the “breaking up of romances” during the 70’s in the FOF. We were considered to be “older students” as children, since we had lived through so much of the FOF history, and knew the “rules”, and were encouraged to look to our fellow adult, older, single students as prospective spouses, as well their “children’ as companions to be in a relationship, and maybe to marry, although being legally “married” was a later development in 1974-80, and quite pressured for us. But at what age was an “older student?’ I married S. during that time. He was 20 yrs my senior, asked my parents and RB for permission, and me, to marry..But, I was lucky. S. was an unusual and gifted person.

I hope that you can find a way to contact me. I’m quite easy to look up. I don’t look back regarding “blame” in my life, but look forward.. to being content each day to work with the farm issues, and family worries. And love for my farm as a current and future wildlife living area.

64. Mariposa - June 2, 2010

#61 James,

Thank you for the info.! I don’t need this for myself, just my covering my “back” for NK, and No Kid’s info. Thank you for helping us . Maybe NK will try this idea.. Maybe someone can help No Kid?. I think everyone knows me..
BTW, I gave an adopted 2 month old grey tabby barn kitty your name a few months ago, he’s the sweetest cat we have, Mr. James. He doesn’t catch mice, yet…but is a sweet heart on the farm..

Thank you for your advice..

65. Mariposa - June 2, 2010

Best of the Blog.. Good stuff! Hugs! . Yep, I’m up late again with a doe birthing…

66. Best of the Blog - June 2, 2010

Anonymous Says:
March 5, 2007 at 5:48 am

Several people posting have questioned the veracity of post #294 [page 1 of the blog], posted by “Inner Circle Facts,” detailing the sexual activities that are rampant in the Galleria. I have heard similar things from a number of sources I would consider reliable.

A number of people have asked, “Why don’t they don’t just say no?” “Why don’t they just leave?” From what I understand, the answer seems to be twisted up with a lot of strands involving the upbringing and programming in the poorer nations of the world. Some of this is involved with the economics of international prostitution, as described in #238 by Rabbi Burns.

Unless you have spent some time in Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia, you may not understand the post-Soviet fear of authority. You don’t go to the police unless you want your problems to escalate exponentially. You don’t go to the government agency unless you want more trouble – a lot more trouble. English-speakers may also not know the barriers that exist for those who don’t speak English – after all, everywhere we go we can find someone who speaks English. It’s not the same if you speak Russian, or Ukrainian, or Romanian.

I recently spoke with a young foreign woman who described how the young men from Eastern Europe, and now around Robert, often don’t have fathers, or had abusive or alcoholic fathers. Sex, authority, and dad gets mixed up into one package in the Fellowship.

She later wrote me: “I actually know personally the poor Russian kid who performed the ‘fisting.’ He was used because of his miniature fists, poor thing. He left the school.”

She wrote: “These guys ARE looking for an escape, they just don’t know how, and there are too many inner contradictions and entanglements. The fact is, these guys are asking other friends whether they could
provide them shelter or help them to find work if they dare to run away. People who are voluntarily engaging in sex will not be so messed up, confused and looking for an escape.”
She was afraid to post online. I am posting for her. Her letter:
“There is something I wanted to say, certain facts that may be we should not buffer. First of all, any one’s behavior, sexual or whatever, is just their behavior, and not to be judged. As some one said here, no one is a saint, we all are quirky in some ways or another.

There is a line however, when others get emotionally and physically hurt or even damaged by one’s destructive behavior. Again, we all get offended and hurt here and there by someone’s cruel words or actions. But sometimes there is long-term harm, corruption and infliction of large amounts of pain deliberately and repeatedly done to innocent others out of selfish sexual desires, and that’s where the line for me is drawn. That’s when buffering stops. I will not look at another “sheep” being killed and tell comfortable stories to myself why it is not my business. These are my friends, I care.

Some of them I love dearly. We came to this school with a desire to awaken and not to be controlled and told whom to date, and not to turn into indifferent zombies who simply don’t care when our friends are hurt or abused.

I used to date a young man who was a “R’s boy” at that time. He told me in all-too-graphic details how he was seduced, and how he didn’t want it but succumbed under heavy pressure. He wasn’t gay and it was incredibly uncomfortable for him to be handled by an older gay man. He told me how he was covering his face and closing his eyes and the only thought flashing in his mind was, “He is sucking me! He is sucking me!” I was very, very shocked at that time. That doesn’t seem to me like an act of love and compassion. There is just something very wrong with the picture. Later this young man developed a buffer why he allowed such abuse, he even came up with an explanation that it was an “exchange of a sacred sexual energy” and that he was getting it from R. and then transferring it to me. I too soon learned to buffer things, and every time another piece of disturbing news would come, I simply say: “It’s not my business. I came here to work on myself.”

Another young man, a friend of mine, another “R-boy”, confessed that he hates doing this, and he hates going “on duty.” It is like a bitter punishment. He said that the nights he is “off” he feels so happy and relieved. I asked, “Is it like this for most of you?” And his reply was that mostly they all hate it, but the pressure to do it is so high that they comply.

It is difficult and uncomfortable, against his nature, and he has to buffer it every time he has to go “on duty.” I asked, “Why do you go then, why not say ‘No’?” He said he feels totally obligated, because the visa was made for him by FOF, the tickets were bought for him, everything he eats is paid for, everything he wears is paid for, he is given jewelry and expensive gifts and he even doesn’t have to work at all… He owes everything to R. at this point. His whole life is paid for by him. I said: “Run then, escape!” He replied that he will not be able to run far since he has a religious visa and no legal means to support himself. He is completely, totally screwed, poor soul. This was a confused, scared, very unhappy nervous young man to whom I felt so much pity and compassion. Some desperate guys did run away in the past, as I’ve heard, and later most of them had to return. Basically, to me it looks like this young man was “bought” to perform sexual things he hates and that are unnatural for him… He tried to start a relationship with a lady which was brutally terminated by R., leaving both him and the lady heartbroken. He is made dependent legally and financially, so he cannot flee or object in any way. Does this seem right to you? Does this seem OK with you? Do you feel anything towards this guy or guys like him? Oh yes, by the way, he developed buffers, too. He thinks he is being “helped” or “saved”. He thinks he would never had made it in life, anyway. In fact, he says he is almost happy! Well, his body’s nervous movements and his eyes scream opposite. He can’t hide what he really feels… Poor, poor man.

And ladies, how many of you were told to terminate your love relationship, because the object of your love (even if the feeling was totally mutual) was R.’s boy? Wasn’t it an area of long pain and tears for so many of us? How can anyone decide for someone whom to love, whom to be with, why do we think it’s OK to let anyone no matter how conscious to ruin our relationship? When I was in a relationship with a “boy”, he told me how he was asked many times by R. not to trade a love of a conscious teacher to a dirty meaningless sex with an asleep woman, a machine, his girlfriend. Women are nothing but
competitors and trouble. So my boy would stay with the conscious, telling the asleep one that she’ll be home alone this night. That was not good news to hear. How many relationships were destroyed by this? Does this seem right, does this seem compassionate and externally considerate, is this OK with you too? This is an intrusion on your lives, this destructive cruel acts are based on selfish interests only. This person teaches us compassion and external consideration, he speaks of presence and love. Where is it in his
own actions?

Please don’t buffer what I’m saying with “this is all negativity”. These are just plain facts, nothing negative in it. They are uncomfortable, true. But not negative. Please bear it.

I guess one may say it doesn’t matter. After all, what does it have to do with “My Work”?

Yes, very good question to ask oneself indeed.”


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having been there Says:
March 3, 2007 at 12:48 am

Dear Somebody (post 42),

Most of us are judging “the sequence” from personal experience and have objectively come to the conclusion that it is really dumb! In fact it is well below the intelligence level of a child. It is exactly what has been presented here, nothing more, no hidden understanding that has to be better explained. Try looking at it this way and you too will see the truth.

It really is o.k. to say ”the emperor has no clothes”.

As for the “poor Russian boys”, they are to be pitied. Just the fact that some of them are being hurt is enough. Have you ever been in the middle of one of these orgies? If not, why don’t you volunteer yourself and then come back here and tell us how “not boring” it makes your life. Seems as if YOU are judging this without first hand experience.

I say all this having been a student for many years who has also enjoyed the positives of the FOF in so many ways. The positive aspects were real but so are/were the negatives. In looking at both sides and having experienced deep emotions regarding this subject, I can honestly say that the positive experience of leaving has been the best. Nothing trumps freedom from fear.


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Tommy Says:
March 4, 2007 at 3:45 am

Hello friends,

I am an older student and this is my first letter to the BLOG.

I’d like to thank those students that massively distributed the address for this forum. I believe this is the natural result of 35 years with no alternative means of expression available to us.

We all know that any writing we’d like to share with our friends in the group is first subject to inspection and censorship before a decision is taken as to it’s publication:

— If the text contains any ideas that do not correspond to the Official Interpretation of the World and of Internal Work, it will be rejected.

— If it contains any questions related to finances or the use of our funds it will not be published.
— If it contains any comments about Robert’s daily behavior it will also be rejected.

We’ve lived for many years with this situation and have become accustomed to it. We consider it normal – but it is not.

History shows us that man can so easily be fooled and can live for a long time under various types of domination. But history also shows that from time to time, gradually or suddenly, something awakens that allows us to look for a way out of the situation.

When there is a high degree of alienation, a man may be completely unable to see the situation he lives in, and he may even believe that his circumstance is in his best interests. Until recently this seems to have been the case for us.
 Yet help has arrived from without, and I doubt we would have though to start this forum ourselves. 
I appreciate the inspiration that came through the Sheik, who made possible an open dialog without distinguishing between students, ex-students, and non-students.
 I think only now do many of us realize that that we’ve lived under a very strong and unnecessary pressure, almost unaware of it. 
The Council reacts and threatens, acting like any other repressive organism within a totalitarian society, using apparent great power and fear. 
But the movement in a new direction has already started, and cannot be stopped. It is a natural movement.
 The School is entering a new phase that will change the course of its history. We recognize the taste of something we’d forgotten many years ago, and I believe the time is near wherein we will start to express ourselves more freely, supported firmly by our own common sense and in our own understandings. 
Even if in some cases this manifests by our leaving the School – it is about our selves and our lives.

Courage my friends,
From my heart,



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Happy as the Day is Long Says:
March 3, 2007 at 6:11 pm

“There is nothing that shows up a man better than his attitude towards the work and the teacher after he has left it. Sometimes such tests are arranged intentionally. A man is placed in such a position that he is obliged to leave and he is fully justified in having a grievance either against the teacher or against some other person. And then he is watched to see how he will behave. A decent man will behave decently even if he thinks that he has been treated unjustly or wrongly. But many people in such circumstances show a side of their nature which otherwise they would never show. And at times it is a necessary means for exposing a man’s nature. So long as you are good to a man he is good to you. But what will he be like if you scratch him a little?

“But this is not the chief thing; the chief thing is his own personal attitude, his own valuation of the ideas which he receives or has received, and his keeping or losing this valuation. A man may think for a long time and quite sincerely that he wants to work and even make great efforts, and then he may throw up everything and even definitely go against the work; justify himself, invent various fabrications, deliberately ascribe a wrong meaning to what he has heard, and so on.”
George Gurdjieff

Angry Dwarf of Contemporary Spirituality Says:
March 3, 2007 at 7:03 pm

Curiously enough, I ran across this same passage from Gurdjieff the other day in “In Search of the Miraculous.” It’s so persuasive, but … “A decent man will behave decently even if he thinks that he has been treated unjustly or wrongly.” Well, isn’t that just feminine dominance, in the end? Isn’t it convenient to Gurdjieff to silence dissenters in this way as they leave? Is this just Gurdjieff controlling the sheep in the experiment? Why are we so anxious to be considered “decent men,” anyway? And is that just a synonym for being a patsy?

Is it even true? I would think if a decent man finds he got robbed in some pyramid scheme, he would feel the need to warn others, and not just think of himself. I don’t think a decent man, having barely survived a minefield, feels lucky to have gotten out safely, leaves town, and does nothing to put a sign up or notify others of the danger. Why is that the “decent” thing to do?

All of this has made me question Gurdjieff/Ouspensky all the more. We really don’t know much about Gurdjieff or his aims.

And it’s made me question myself. Why was I so persuaded by this kind of thing, for so many years?

Innernaut Says:
March 3, 2007 at 7:12 pm

(#74) Happy as the day is long —
I’m glad this quote was mentioned, because I have a strong personal relationship with it. In me, there is a kind of unpleasant heaviness around this idea — I’m not sure how to describe it better. We have talked about mind-control techniques employed by cults a bit on this forum, and in this you will find a perfect example if you “scratch it a little.”

Look at the subtext of what is being said — one thing is that any perceived “wrongs” regarding the teacher are, at worst, a contrivance by some kind of strange omnipotent group with the power to spy on us and determine our attitudes to the work and teacher. The assumption is that the teacher can, at heart, do no wrong, and that the ideas must remain right for everyone as well. “A man will then be watched to see how he behaves”? Sorry, I simply can’t process how messed up this is.

Also, what is that bit about “exposing a man’s nature” by “scratching him a little bit”? I think you would be pretty hard-pressed to find a person who would respond well to this kind of treatment.

There is a very pernicious strain of thought that is inherent in this quote, and it is very hard to pin down because it is built on the circular logic that is so effective at keeping a person trapped in any kind of cult-like organization. At its heart is an unquestioned acceptance that the teacher and school are infallible. Sorry, I just can’t buy that anymore.

I could go on but I won’t. You may have guessed that I have a “special” relationship with this passage. When I left the fellowship years ago, this passage kept ringing in my ears. It terrified me, and kept me ever vigilant against “negative attitudes.” But a decade went by, and no secret group came forth and said, “We’ve been watching you, you passed our test, we “scratched” you but you showed your right valuation,” and so on. No, underneath that layer of “right attitude” the repressed material kept growing. And it finally came out in some difficult and ugly physical and mental ways.

Maybe I was never a good candidate for the FOF or the 4th way in general. But it’s my understanding that that determination is one of the responsibilities of the teacher. But Robert never took the time to get to know me, though he was certainly quick to take my money.

One last thing — it’s my understanding that both Robert and Gurdjieff have/had a tendency to show a pretty nasty side when “scratched.” Where does that fit with this quote?


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Kid Shelleen Says:
March 5, 2007 at 7:57 pm

Re: post 154
“I think little real progress will be made without admitting yet another disturbing reality: Robert Burton is an extraordinary person of quite uncommon presence and spiritual attainment. There are no grounds for self-recrimination about why one “fell for it”. RB is, in many ways, the real deal.”

Charisma is charisma. We see what we wish to see. At one time, I too thought Robert was an extraordinary man. I’ve now come to view that time from a Jungian point of view: I was projecting my own spiritual aspirations onto someone who was expert at collecting them. I’m now in the process of recollecting them for myself. I often wonder how many people come to the FoF or the fourth way with unresolved Father issues.

Here’s a quick anecdote:

Once, after dinner at the lodge, my wife (who was not a member) and I were sitting around drinking a glass of wine when Robert strolled through with his entourage. Everyone looked and smiled and nodded their heads as he passed. As I had only had dinner with Robert once at this time, the event felt quite electrifying to me. On the way back to our B&B, I asked my wife what she had experienced. She said that he seemed a charismatic figure, but she was uncertain whether she had experience anything herself or had just been affected by a roomful of people who had all turned and acknowledged a mutual fascination. Quite an observation.


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from page 3
Yesri Baba Says:
March 11, 2007 at 1:42 pm

Doesn’t it seem that the discord in the fof is as a part of the discord of the nation at large? The growing schisms, the fundamentalism, distrust, greed,lying and fear. Why are we even bothering with this. The world is desintegrating beneath our feet and we are babbling about the heavens.

This blog is certainly bringing up a lot of old garbage in me and i guess that is good. When i first was told about it i wasn’t even going to look at it but i am glad i did. It is bringing out of the darkness the contradictions of the fof and into the light the evolving spiritual understanding of mankind of which the 4th way is a part. Ken Wilber is doing some great work trying to integrate this knowledge.

Many postings have described far better than i can the landscape we are in. Spirit’s center is everywhere, the boundary nowhere. We are trying to get in. We are trying to get in but as Rumi said we are knocking from the inside. In or out of the fof does not matter. The same inexorable price must still be paid for the same great purchase.

Whatever practice you have, do it (meditation, sequence, looking, listening, divided attention, self remembering, visualization …) they are all valid but none are an end in themselves, there is no end.
Please, those of you in the fof (external life organisation fof), stop idolizing Robert Burton. He can suck my …. wait no he can’t. He is playing the role of a despot holding together fragments of an unknown teaching. Have you ever noticed how similar his eyes and mannerisms are similar to those old newsreel depictions of Adolf Hitler? I am not comparing their works or philosophies just making an observation.

“When we regard ourselves in the many situations life brings, we find that from first breath to last we are conditioned by external factors. Yet is that highest freedom left to us–to perfect ourselves within, so as that we shall come into harmony with the moral world order and attain peace with ourselves, no matter what obstacles may emerge. This is easily said and written, yet it is no more than a goal before us, to the achievement of which we must thouroughly dedicate ourselves. Every day challenges us to do what is to be done and expect whatever is possible.”

Johann Goethe as exerpted by Robert Burton one of my true teachers. I thank him for all the work he has done for us.

Continue, because you must, whoever you are. I know who you are.


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arthur Says:
March 11, 2007 at 5:03 pm

I have lost count of the number of posts but there must be many. I have read all of them and would like to say this about a few of them.

Some of you use a word or a sentence and it’s frigging funny. I start laughing and just have a blast with the fun.

What was that angle about laughter, contradictions and landing simultaneous on (two) centers?

Thank you G. Haven for asking me to leave and thank you Jesus too! I feel like I’ve turned into a laughing Buddha. Which ain’t bad ya’ll.


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Innernaut Says:
March 13, 2007 at 4:56 am

Rodney Collin, The Theory of Conscious Harmony (p. 62):

“We must not forget that the soul grows by being given away. What does this mean for us, where we stand? Attention directs the matter of the soul. If we really GIVE our attention to others — to their needs, their hopes, their problems — we are beginning to give our soul. And that is how the soul grows. If one tries to make a soul to keep, it withers to nothing.”

Innernaut Says:
March 13, 2007 at 5:09 am

Rodney Collin, The Theory of Conscious Harmony (p. 62):

“When people begin this work, they have to be told to observe themselves, study the machine they have to work with. Because they never took their own instrument, its possibilities and its limitations, into account before. But that doesn’t mean they have to go on thinking about themselves all the rest of their lives. If you want to study micro-biology, you first have to study your microscope, find out its magnifying power, adjustments, illumination, factor of distortion and so on. But when you’ve done that, you put all your attention onto your slides, and forget you are looking through a microscope altogether. Then your real discoveries begin.

“Focus on self-study belongs to a definite stage. If it goes on too long, people become professional students, than which nothing is more useless. So they should begin transferring their focus of attention from themselves to their real life-work, whatever it may be. And the sooner they realize what their life-work is going to be, the sooner they will come to reality.”


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George Orwell Says:
March 13, 2007 at 5:36 am

…There’s a number of reasons for the divorce [“of words and meaning”]. Mr. Burton says one year that Taiwan is a ‘giant dime store’, or words to that effect – the next year students were studying Chinese culture and collecting Chinese antiques. He once termed ancient Egypt a ‘king of clubs’ culture; within a few years, Fellowship students were making reverent pilgrimages there. His words reflect a current mood or feeling – they don’t reflect the way things really are. To deal with the contradictions, students had to change their relationship to language and truth.

Another example: Great prophecies were intoned and failed. Most students say they ‘didn’t care’. But it did have the effect of teaching them again not to expect the truth, not to expect that words mean anything. Words are used as a mood-enhancer, or background — like Muzak, or wallpaper.

After all, as one of the organization’s foremost professional angle-givers says, ‘We cannot know the truth at our level.’ But surely, since Ouspensky defines the work as ‘the study of lying’, they ought to try. And certainly they might begin by photographing lying, for starters.

One way to observe lying is to watch what a man says, and how he lives. But no! That’s his ‘private life’, his ‘own stuff’, and therefore exempt, they say. But that is nevertheless his being. Without looking at his being, they are left examining his knowledge – usually that means his words. The words from which, paradoxically, they have come to expect nothing anyway. Hence, they have created an inescapable mobius loop and, as an unfortunate by-product, a class of professional angle-givers – people whose lives in no way reflect the elevated words that they speak so prolifically, but whose words continue to ‘inspire’, whatever they might mean (they are, after all, only a pick-me-up). Some of these angle-givers circle the globe, talking, talking, talking.

They no longer how to look at words attentively and critically. Hence, as others have pointed out, the Fellowship organization can send out emails calmly promising to protect their privacy while setting about to violate it. As I pointed out in my landmark essay, words are not selected for meaning, but used in prefabricated phrases and clichés (‘precious teaching,’ ‘beloved teacher,’ ‘willoftheteacher,’ ‘formoftheschool,’ ‘task has ended,’ ‘we thank thee’) meant to convey an ambiance rather than express a thought or feeling as clearly as possible. In some cases, words are used to hide meaning, or convey the opposite of what they mean – ‘opportunity’ means ‘job’ or ‘friction’.

Several people have already been taken to task for alluding to these posts as a ‘crucifixion’ of Mr. Burton – because the word conveys nothing to them. A man who was publicly tried, reviled and humiliated, stripped naked, whipped and bludgeoned to the point of death, forced to carry his instrument of torture and then nailed to it, hanging there till he died in unimaginable agony – is glibly or hysterically compared to the annoyance caused by hearing words that are offensive, but apparently true.

I say ‘apparently’ because people have been invited to refute these words – no one has factually refuted them, though they have repeatedly taken objection to them. They don’t like the way the words make them ‘feel’ – feelings have displaced a sense of truth. Something is true if you ‘feel’ it is true, a ‘lie’ if you dislike it. (Without wishing to defend the person who made the fake post in her name, the woman named ‘Linda’ objects to being portrayed in a ‘false light’, without telling us what, exactly, is false about it – is the persona of her letter a ‘truer light’? In what sense? What does ‘false light’ mean, other to convey her understandable sense of offense?) Someone referred to ‘smearing’ Mr. Burton – but how do you ‘smear’ someone with the truth? Isn’t it rather like being ‘smeared’ with daylight?

Part of the problem, perhaps, is that they so often say, ‘facts lie,’ and they have come to believe this without reflection. That useful truism has nonetheless led them to mistrust and refute the simple and obvious and caused them to stagger around in the darkness for quite a while. Hence, the desert wanderings you see on this website – some posters referred to it as a ‘babel’. People no longer know anymore how to ‘be the words’ because words themselves have lost any meaning — they are an after-dinner drink or designer drug, and no predictor of actions. No one is held accountable for the words that pour out of their mouths – after all, the words were said in the past and they wish to be in the present. The ‘truth’ of five minutes ago is not the ‘truth’ of now. Hence, impulse is given license, and accountability vanishes along with common sense.

And so people here are trying to discern truth when they have lost all standards for truth and any taste for fact – the truth that we can know, the simple facts that are knowable (often binary – sorry non dualists! the light is either on or off). They have lost the taste for truth, as simple as bread. For example, at least a couple posts have said ‘there is no “you” and there is no “me”’ – so then why do they need to communicate at all (isn’t it rather like telephoning yourself)? On this website, they are trying to measure something, but they long ago broke all the yardsticks.

It’s like trying to look for virginity in a whorehouse.

Forgive any typos (I’m not used to a computer keyboard – and I miss my ancient Remington from London – I’m not used to speaking at all these last 57 years!). But please, all of you, read, learn, and inwardly digest my essay, ‘Politics and the English Language.’ Believe me, your disease is well advanced. You have lost the ability to grapple with a simple fact. Some of you can communicate only in quotations, and some of you can no longer think at all.

P.S. From my essay, since it’s not clear many of you still read books:

“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”


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Inner Jewels Says:
March 13, 2007 at 6:41 am

Once more into the fray!
When I left the school (the second time) a student asked me, “so, how does it feel to fall back into sleep?” Then she smiled haughtily at me. I was stunned into silence. How can one respond to such arrogance coming from someone you once considered a friend? Surely even the die-hard FOFers can admit that awakening has nothing to do with flagrantly putting oneself above others and yet, and yet, isn’t that what the dogma of the FOF is built upon?: We are the chosen ones. This is the only conscious school, etc. etc. We all know the lines and some of us, on the inside and on the outside, say we never believed it. I experienced the untruth of that statement for myself when, after the first time I left, at 19, I had to confront the fears that tore at me from the edges of my consciousness, like some horrible Bosche painting, whispering that perhaps I had, in fact, lost my soul. And I had lost so much. I had lost the ability to be as close to my mother as I wished. I had lost so many fine friends who shared a passion for evolving. I had lost the theater, the concerts, the fine dinners, the orchard. But after the dust settled and the fears dissipated, I came to realize I had gained the most important thing: my own upward beating heart; my own capacity to meet these momentary days and joyfully add myself to the count. You see, I left the first time because my “work I’s’ had run amuck—I had become a talking head, sounding quite nice and spouting work ideas but disconnected from my heart, my body, my dreams. “Life” had mistakenly been discarded in place of my very real desire to grow internally. It took my many years, going back in and back out to come to realize that awakening is not inner vs. outer nor is it a solitary effort; That spiritual work isn’t necessarily contrary to “material” existence. I believe in my heart that when any of us raise our awareness, raise our conscious desire to speak/look/feel love in and for this moment and everything it contains, we lift the entire world with us, closer to the heart of God. I know too, the good of the FOF– I feel it in my dear mama’s heart and in her kind and strong husband. I’ve tasted the beauty of it, and I will always feel the sadness of exclusion, of being on the outside (as long as the FOF keeps the walls up;). But I was excited and even thrilled when I learned that this forum had erupted into existence. Not because I wanted to see anyone hurt or taken down –or out, but because I truly believe that we can all help each other, that we do help each other, every time we open our eyes, open our hearts and speak our truths with an intention to evolve. My truth isn’t the same as anyone else’s, and that’s the beauty of it. We are all on our own adventure, together—what joy! —and we can learn so much, if we truly allow the “other” in.

I’m sorry to say, though, that the tone here has changed. What happened? From my cursory scanning it seems a big bad cry baby heaved a cannon ball of negativity in here and lot’s of people (not toeing the line that is) scrambled. Sure I’m for the expression of differing truths but those are truths with a small “t”–not THE ALMIGHTY TRUTH WHICH I WILL BANG OVER YOUR HEAD TILL YOU ACKNOWLEDGE IT. Reading CB’s post reproduced that sickening feeling that I discovered when I tried to explain the FOF to a friend around the second time I left. I had to ask myself: How could I be a part of something that made me feel sick to my stomach when describing the behavior of the teacher? (And don’t tell me I don’t know by personal experience a little about the suffering RB is causing; I dated some of his boys and I heard first-hand about their struggle to confront him, provoking a powerful negativity when they dared to refuse RB’s demands). I apologize for commenting on CBs post as everyone is, no doubt, a bit weary of the back and forth. But I wanted it to be pointed out simply and clearly: CB’s post reeks of precisely what is so wrong with the FOF. No, not everyone in it feels that way but if you don’t, and you’re still in it, I hope you have the courage to confront that kinds of ugliness, wherever and whenever it appears. I didn’t join the school for RB but I definitely left it because of him. And even if, as has been implied, his behavior acts as a kind of filter ensuring only the really serious ones get in and stay in, well then that is quite a dangerous little truth to build one’s life upon…Personally, I don’t want to close my eyes to what sickens me, I want to look clearly at myself and what surrounds me and do my part to lift it up and in. I have my own sexual deviancies, but thank god don’t have a budget! and RB has provided a powerful lesson of where NOT TO GO.

Another student recently wrote me that if I ever get disappointed enough in “life,” she hopes I’ll return to the FOF. How subtly that sentence evoked a sickening feeling in me again—I have not been able to respond to her so perhaps I am as spineless as CB accused. But I think, rather, it is that I don’t care to respond. I am content to find my own touchstone, deep inside my own true life experience. I have come to trust my body, my heart, and my mind, to guide me where I can continue to evolve. (I had a barely English speaking Latino busboy remind me to be present in LA; clearly, the FOF has no monopoly on that!) I have found a wonderful dance work (5Rhythms, there’s a class in GV/NC if you want to dance yourself free) to practice being present IN my body, through my feelings, not by splitting off from them. I have several wonderful friends who I feel are evolving, I can see it in their eyes, I can feel it in their loving presence. And who knows, maybe someday I will rejoin the Fellowship, but that day could only come if and when RB lays down his instrument of pleasure/torture and admits he’s got a problem (hey, don’t we all?) or at least stops making his students pay royally for it, when all the spiritual tyrants like CB go bury themselves somewhere else in steaming piles of their own negativity…and I’m optimistic –or is it naïve?– enough to hope for that day…a day when I can walk freely with my mama again, through the orchards and the vines, around the ponds and the gravestones… and hold her hand as she holds mine, laughing and free (not that the FOF could EVER take that away from us, we have our ways—once a merc, always a…well you know)….

And so I leave you all with this wish, for the FOF, and for every city in this troubled nation and every town across the globe:

I dream’d in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole
of the rest of the earth,
I dream’d that was the new city of Friends
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love, it led the rest,
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men [and women] of that city,
And in all their looks and words.

Walt Whitman


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Yesri Baba Says:
March 13, 2007 at 9:34 am

While i was meditating today(Mostly on bemoaning my outcast state as i have been quite depressed as of late)outside a child yelled a couple times loadly “Mary had a little lamb.” I don’t know the last time i heard that rhyme, it could have been years ago or last week.The thing is i had just read Blake’s poem on this blog the night before and it made a synchronous connection within me. I made the connection! The 44′s, the looking down at the odometer when it rolls to 44, the looking at the digital clock as it turns to 12:44 and the miriad of banal and profound coincidences are connections made by our own minds. The kicker is the child could have yelled “Mary had a Baleful Bedouin of Baloney” and it makes no difference. These connections are made within our own minds. If we look to these events as some sort indication or a verification of something we are decieving ourselves, we are being superstitious. If someone is pointing to them as being something we are being conned.

The universe is always talking to us and we often don’t like what it is saying but it is always on our side. It is an inside out invisible cloak wrapping us always.


77. Best of the Blog - June 2, 2010

Foolofit Says:
March 13, 2007 at 10:43 pm

I was looking at my lower self the other day…what an ugly creature!

I tought that the years spent in getting free of the judgment toward the machine were over. But then the lower self comes in, has horns, tail, smells like a wet dog and ask for a glass of wine.

I told him to get lost, we don’t want these kind of people around here, but it doesn’t leave. Doesn’t matter how much I criticize him or hate him, it just stay with me all the time.

I love the feeling of guilt of living with such a creature; I’m never alone and I can always feel bad…fantastic!

It’s almost better then the catholic church, with all the sinning and crying….

enough of this….


78. Best of the Blog - June 2, 2010

Mark Says:
March 14, 2007 at 9:34 pm

… Gay sex is not the issue. And it’s not even sex per se that’s troubling. Why would anybody object to the teacher having a sex life? But it is almost universally accepted that counselors and others in the helping professions should not engage in sex with the people they are trying to help. If they do, they will probably end up harming the client. In the guru/disciple relationship the problem is magnified to the nth degree. The student devalues his own feelings, thinking that the teacher knows what is best for him. The fact that the student is married and/or heterosexual may be of no importance to the teacher, but think of the consequences for the student! If the teacher wants to help the student, he should spend time TEACHING him something positive rather than using him as a sex toy.

The usual justification teachers give when they are discovered having sex with their students is to say it is “consensual.” But if the teacher is considered by his students to be a Living God, it is easy to understand why it is so hard for so many students to say no, especially when the teacher tells them that this will “help their evolution.” They feel that their eternal souls are on the line. They are dealing with a master manipulator and it takes a very strong will to resist. [In RB’s case this manipulation is just another version of what he does with the rest of the school, when he tells them that if they leave they will lose their chance at awakening “in this life or any other life.” What nonsense. Those of us who never believed it should not have remained silent when those ugly words were said again and again.]

Is it our business, you ask?

Of course it is! People are investing huge amounts of time, effort and money in this school. They deserve to know the truth…


79. Best of the Blog - June 2, 2010

Innernaut Says:
March 13, 2007 at 8:25 pm

George Orwell (#50) wrote: “Great prophecies were intoned and failed.”

How can you say that? One of the first of the predictions, made sometime in the 1970s by Mr. Burton, foretold the great depression of 1984 — think of the irony Mr. Orwell: 1984! We all remember that — the preparations were made, with stores of canned food, bottled water, and multiple backup copies of Pachelbel’s Canon. And we hunkered down and rode out that tragic time as, just as Robert predicted, the stock markets crashed and the world economy was left in tatters.

Then came Robert’s oft-forgotten observation of Gorbachev — how the birthmark on his head made him “look like he’d been clubbed” — a horrible omen, and a sure sign of the impending hydrogen warfare to come. And we all know what a yukky mess of things Gorbachev made!

I hope I’m not forgetting anything, but next I recall the prophecy of California’s massive earthquake and slide into the sea in, 1998 was it? Uncanny in its accuracy, and a good thing too. That property I bought for a song outside Sacramento is prime beachfront now, thanks to Mr. RB’s crystal-ball and navel gazing.

Then, finally, tragically, the atomic war of 2006 — as predicted, perfectly on schedule. As we crawl back into the sky shrouded in perpetual nuclear winter, through the twisted and smoking ruins of our once proud cities, I shed no tear for the billions of mechanical dead. No, I continue my journey through the waste to the one remaining spot on earth untouched by the horror of holocaust — Isis, miraculously untouched! As though a crystal bubble gently shielded it from the scorching fires of fusion and corrupting radioactivity.

Miraculous foresight! Blessed prophecy!


80. Best of the Blog - June 2, 2010

Comrade Says:
March 14, 2007 at 4:48 pm

… Here and now, many of us are joining the discussion partly to emphasize the lack of critical thinking within the group. We don’t see this as benign. We see consequences from the constant denial — consequences both for ourselves and for our friends. So naturally, we’re expressing our concern. Because whether or not we are still members of the group, we know that critical thinking is an essential part of our work, and an essential part of our mental well-being and vitality, and an essential part of acting and working in good faith.

We all find ourselves continuously facing the influence of “group think” while making any number of decisions throughout our daily lives -– whether it’s going to the polls and voting for president, or whether it’s simply deciding whether or not to believe what we hear and read in the mass media.

Today, in this blog, some of us point out that members of the Fellowship lack the ability to state their concerns directly and firmly to the leaders of the group, and to do so without fear of being removed from it.

The same old responses to these concerns continue to fall short:

– That the suffering caused by the group is somehow for our own benefit, for our evolution.

– That anything that seems objectionable is simply a way for us to see our mechanical reactions.

- That our situation as sleeping beings is so dire that we should allow ourselves to experience anything without questioning it.

– That it is “feminine dominance” or “inner considering” to question authority or listen to anyone who questions authority.

– That we should always be willing to give up our will, because our false personalities are the reasons that we ignore or contest another’s will.

– That it is somehow harmful to the school and our own evolution to question the activities or the attitudes of the school, because the school is being guided by Higher Forces, and because it’s being guided by someone who is beyond criticism…


81. Best of the Blog - June 2, 2010

Vena Says:
March 15, 2007 at 2:12 am

“It was hard enough to understand (and believe) that some people have benefited from the membership of FoF, that for them, it was almost a necessary experience.”

Dear Sheik,

I am posting some excerpts from a letter written by Miles Barth with reflections on this phenomenon. He was one of the first students in the FOF and was alleged by Robert to be a “Man #5. If he is following this blog I hope he will not mind as some of what he had to say could be useful to someone.

“Though I view RB now as a truly evil person, and his group as a pathetic caricature of a “school”, my real interest has focused on the characteristics in both my personality and in human nature in general that were responsible for my remaining in FOF as long as I did.”

“Though I learned much while in FOF, and much more by leaving it, it has been very hard to acknowledge that I was a fool to remain with it for as long as I did, and that I had to remain because I was a fool. RB did not fool me; he fooled himself, and I fooled myself. He exploited our weaknesses because we were there with them, and he could not do otherwise because of his own twisted belief system.”

“I do not judge him now for being homosexual, since I believe that we do not have conscious choice as to our sexual orientation; I judge him evil for the callous abuse of his power over people and his distortion of the 4th Way to serve his selfish purposes. I see my responsibility now as being to understand why I was so susceptible to accepting his distortions, even with reservations. This aspect of the journey has been much more shocking and disconcerting than anything I learned while a member. Anyway, the point of the paragraph, and really of this letter as a whole, is that for me the acknowledgment of my own foolishness was the necessary first step in growing beyond it.”

“I admire your effort to communicate some of your personal truth about RB to members of FOF. I have occasionally contemplated doing something similar, but for various reasons have not. Don’t be surprised if none of them reply; it is still not a wasted effort, because it may help to plant the seeds of doubt in whatever remaining critical faculty a few of them might have. But we can only hear what we are strong enough to bear responsibility for; the rest may as well be in Sanskrit.”


82. Best of the Blog - June 3, 2010

Inner Jewels Says:
March 17, 2007 at 6:05 am

They may have banned telling jokes at the dinner table but there are some fine funny tales spun here. And devastating ones: Miles’ letter. (The one he wrote when he left, which I don’t believe has been posted here, was circulated and as I recall, was quite a shock for the school, as they say, back in the 80s).

On the metaphor that the earth and –our lives– are prisons, I want to chime in. It’s always astounded me that anyone would compare this fine globe to anything but heaven. A watery planet spinning just the right distance from the sun, teeming with untold life and beauty, is the closest thing to paradise that the eye can find as far as we’ve peered into time.

Sure we’ve got sharks and succubus and even lettuce screams when you chop its head off…but this is It. And we, as a species are destroying it—clearly that’s the greater crime. An indicator of sleeping beings: those who flagrantly foul their own beds. Whether or not the waters rise too fast or the clouds condense enough to flip it the other way around, we’re in for a wild ride on p. Earth, thanks to man—and it doesn’t take a prophet to see that. We better figure out what to do about it or we are doomed. Being the eternal optimist though, I have faith that Mother Nature, will out do us in the end. For now, through her grace, we have the immediate air to breathe….
And we are amongst the top one percent on the planet with wine to spare. So yeah, drink up. And bless these meals. And don’t flinch in seeing the fact that we are imprisoning ourselves and each other more than anything. Quite literally, as a nation, we’ve got grotesque numbers of people behind bars. And psychologically– what a fine way to keep the chains on by bemoaning the larger prison we all share?

The goddess was thrown out of Eden a long time ago but we’ve just begun to understand the impact of our split, as a species, from our bodies. It may seem like a tangent here but it’s not: these are mere words : the mind/body split, the lower and higher, spirit vs. matter, school vs. life. And just defining it as simply “all consciousness” isn’t sitting well with me either. A word can never contain it but boy do they mask it well.

As long as we separate ourselves from our bodies, from our own truths, we buy into what religions and governments and anyone who wants power over us has been relying on for all of history: My truth will save you, you will know and revere it. As long as the other shore is way over there and we can’t know it, then ultimately, anything goes. Our only hope is to tether our soul to someone else who keeps insisting that our compass is broken. It isn’t, we’ve just been looking in the wrong place. It’s in the meaning that words can only point to. It’s in the eyes of our friends and our enemies. It’s in the pain of promises that are broken and the intention to do good and harm no one; and in failing, to admit it and try to change; to confront despots; to bless and celebrate one’s own life as a part of all life, and therefore to recognize and praise all life as sacred.

Perhaps Eve took the apple because it was delicious, because she wasn’t afraid to know the difference between sweet and bitter, good and evil, naked and clothed. Sophia, the snake, invited her down the rabbit hole. And here we are. Isn’t this blog a little like that snake too, this sinewy trail of words, feelings, sarcasm (I’ve always considered that a sub-feeling;)? Through the tangents and the trials, the hissing and the laughter, there’s something alive here. And there’s not a person on this blog or planet I wouldn’t raise a glass with and lock eye sockets. I just may not let him drive me home.
Oh and homosexuality isn’t deviant for any of the gods I dance to… Back to the glorious snow outside my window and to remembering the warmth of my delivery boys’ brown face when I tipped him. Hey, maybe I do have a budget.

peace to all


83. Best of the Blog - June 3, 2010

30 Year Vet Says:

March 17, 2007 at 5:04 am

Keith, I was interested in your post (126): “A con is a con is a con. A cult is a cult is a cult. And each and every one of us fell for it in some way or other.” For those of us in the FOF for 30 years or more, this is an agonizing realization. This WAS our life. We can no longer even imagine what our lives would have been without the FOF. We married in the FOF, had homes in the FOF, careers while in the FOF, had children and raised them in the FOF – this was the place of our “higher states,” our spiritual center, even if the diamond turned out to be plastic. To face the con means negating the stuff of your own life, to some extent. It means facing many contradictions at once, and facing a lot of waste. This is where the self-hatred can kick in, leading even to suicidal I’s, as described by Please (83). They do pass, and one gathers what one can from the wreckage. But we can’t be 25 years old again. This was how we spent the best years of our life, and we won’t get them back.
When people say “I learned so much in the FOF” I wonder if it’s just a buffer – how else do you face what you did to your life? “I’m grateful” seems like feminine dominance – in spiritual circles, it’s the “politically correct” thing to say. Would any of us do it again, knowing what we know now? Are you kidding!

30 Year Vet Says:

March 17, 2007 at 5:10 am

And why are you sorry for Miles’s “karmic load”, Keith? He checked out – what? – 20 years ago. Those of us who stayed went through the worst part, and participated in the lying and deceit that allowed it all to happen. We passed out bookmarks, led perspective student meetings, and talked people out of leaving. It’s what we did not know we knew…


84. Best of the Blog - June 3, 2010

Yesri Baba Says:
March 17, 2007 at 10:30 am

I am a little confused about lower self, higher self. Who takes care of lower self when higher self is gone. Does lower self take care of lower self or is there middle self? Or does higher self hire nanny self to watch over lower self? When higher self comes back does he fire nanny self or does nanny self still take care of lower self? Or when higher self comes back does lower self go away or become proxy oral sex self. All very confusing.


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Paul Says:
March 17, 2007 at 10:02 pm

I just arrived at this discussion yesterday, twenty-four years after leaving the FOF, and what struck me was how nothing has changed. In my time, I lived for a while at the Blake cottage, traveled with Robert, was propositioned by him (I said no thanks), physically stopped his attempts to use me for his pleasure anyway (it wasn’t that difficult — he’s not all that strong), and learned that virtually every young (and even not so young) man I knew in the FOF had had a similar experience (except for the saying no part). I found that my previously charming and ego-inflating relationship with Robert had evaporated overnight, and continued for a time as a student in various centers away from what was then Renaissance. I left along with many others after Sam Sanders blew the lid off Robert’s shenanigans, which had been until then known only to maybe two or three hundred people, although I didn’t leave because of Robert. I left because I’d learned what the FOF had to teach me, which was a very great deal.

The justifications offered by members for Robert’s serial sexual abuse haven’t changed a lick in over thirty years. Nor have their pathetic questions about the need to do anything about the fact that they continue to support it with their money. Let’s not mince words–Robert is a sociopath who has harmed hundreds of people for no reason whatsoever other than that he enjoys sex, and continues to do so. I haven’t the slightest objection to homosexuality, or to creative sexual activity of any sort between consenting adults, but for pity’s sake, let’s not go any further in even floating the possibility that what Robert has been doing for decades, since the very beginning of the FOF, is anything other than sexually abusing those who trust him more than they trust anyone else. He’s a very sick puppy. “Conscious being”? Oh, please. If I came up to you and said “I know this guy who for thirty-five years has spent virtually all of his time seeking to fulfill every single one of his sensual desires in the most bloated sort of way, the epitome of sensual greed, and has succeeded only because he has duped well-meaning but confused people into supposing he’s godlike, and I’d like to you meet him and give him lots of your money,” what would you say? Jee-sus! I mean, when is enough enough!?

The FOF was an utterly magical experience for me. The teachings (at least in those days) were extremely powerful, and I’ve continued to use them ever since, and expect I always will. Many, many members were among the most dedicated, intelligent, diligent folks I’ve ever met. Some of the “older students” (which at that time meant six or eight years) were quite impressive; I always learned something from being around Miles. Girard was always a second-stringer, even after being anointed; he’s where he is because everyone who had the right stuff had the sense and integrity to leave. Robert always had a good act–he didn’t get where he is through blind luck. But he was never truly impressive if one was willing to look beyond the hype. It’s a simple fact that everything in the teaching that was worth much came from someone other than Robert, and that the few items he tossed in — like predicting the future — have been proven absurd. He had run out of anything to say, or even a powerful new way to say something that needed repeating, even before I left, and filled his little journal with one-liners that were really rather elementary. Does self-remembering work? Damn straight it works, and so does zazen, vipassana, and dzogchen, if you can forget for a moment “getting” something out of them. Does imagining you are a part of an elite, based on the pronouncements of a man who was exposed as a fraud many years ago, who couldn’t prophecy his way out of a paper bag, aping the behavior of others you wrongly imagine are superior to you, denigrating everyone who isn’t a member, being obsessed with your “evolution,” and burying your conscience until you couldn’t care less what happens to anyone else in the world, whether it’s someone living on two cents a day in Burma or some poor guy with a visa problem holding Robert’s balls in his mouth, work? Well, does it?


86. Best of the Blog - June 3, 2010

Yesri Baba Says:
March 19, 2007 at 8:12 am

If you think you are awake you are asleep, if you think you are asleep you are asleep. If you are asleep and paying someone to disturb your sleep you are retarded. If you are awake and paying someone to disturb your sleep you must be dreaming…and retarded.

“Rose, oh pure contradiction, desire to be no one’s sleep under so many lids” especially Zorro’s


87. Best of the Blog - June 3, 2010

William Heinz Says:
March 19, 2007 at 8:51 pm

Some aspects of the FOF are undeniably good and I have benefited and continue to benefit. I love simple presence and I guess we all have ways to call it up whether with divided attention or the sequence. But that does not alter my opinion that some aspects of the FOF need to change.

Change is always slow because we buffer. We explain away what needs to be changed. We all do it every day.
Cognitive dissonance (from Wikibedia) is a psychological term which describes the uncomfortable tension that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts at the same time. More precisely, it is the perception of incompatibility between two attitudes, emotions, beliefs or behaviors.

We all have a great deal of cognitive dissonance. For some this blog creates dissonance to the point where they have difficulty reading the entries. For others it relieves some of their dissonance to see that others think as they do.

I appreciate some of the standards of human interaction that are largely the result of RB. An environment of order, beauty and intentionality are naturally a part of most fellowship homes and events and this is uplifting. Inner considering, self promotion and the effort to impress are easily detected both in ourselves and in others and are mostly treated with compassion since we all do it from time to time. Not interrupting and having one conversation at the dinner table have become for the most part a way of life. An appreciation and ease with silence are second nature to most students and we have learned something about art appreciation and how to digest and transform beauty. Effort is not something to be afraid of. Isis is a beautiful place with many intelligent and well meaning, hard working people and I always feel loved when I go there and finally the sequence and our meetings do improve our state.

Current or former student, we all have dissonance that is created by the FOF. To remain in the FOF we must develop a different world view and this causes conflicting perceptions. For those still in the FOF, dissonance is revealed by these questions: “How many prediction failures does it take to really see that RB is not a prophet? If he is not a prophet, and if much of what he says turns out to be untrue, is his teaching true? How many times do we have to get fined for trying to avoid building code requirements? How many law suits do we have to settle? How many times do we have to watch overly grandiose plans dwindle into unfinished and almost unfinishable projects? How can we understand a leader who takes so many resources and has so consistently shown impractical judgment? How do we deal with the long standing allegations regarding Robert’s misuse of his role with regard to sex? What is our attitude about RBs difficulty in having a normal back and forth conversation especially where there is some form of disagreement? Can we call this man our teacher who has so often been wrong in practical ways, who refuses dissent, and whose morality is at best difficult to justify?” It creates some dissonance in me just to write these questions but obviously many of us struggle with understanding these issues and carry that dissonance quietly inside.
Cognitive dissonance is interesting because it often goes undetected within, but affects our attitudes, since unconsciously we form our attitudes so as to minimize the dissonance created by our course of action (or lack thereof).

Those who stay justify staying. Those who leave justify why they left. We all justify what we do and we do it eloquently enough to convince ourselves that we have done well. Sometimes we justify our decision to remain subservient and sometimes we justify our decision to rebel. In this way we get rid of the dissonance caused by taking a stand.

There is the story of the cult (not ours) that justified the leader’s failed prediction. The prediction stated that aliens would destroy the earth on a given date. When it did not happen the prediction was modified to note that the aliens had spared the earth because of them. The end result was stronger devotion to the leader. It is odd how we humans will accept outrageous ideas to minimize our dissonance.


If you want to see cognitive dissonance at work first hand, next time you do something that goes against your conscience, watch your imagination try to convince you that what you did was really ok. Another way to reduce cognitive dissonance is to convince yourself that the problem was somebody else’s fault or responsibility. When someone truthfully challenges the merits of our school, note the reaction within. Yes, that is cognitive dissonance. How do you get rid of it?

Councilors and directors in the fellowship help others to reduce their dissonance. A very sincere student once asked me (20 years ago) how to view Robert’s exchange of teaching and gifts for sex. He told me his story and I was a bit shaken. Soon I felt the pressure of my role (center director) to defend the teacher and the school. The best I could do was: “When we are in a higher state, many of these questions disappear or diminish in importance. The morality of higher centers differs from that of our lower centers. We have our own work to do.” I said more, but the more I talked the more hollow my words sounded. I really did not have a believable answer and I did not have the strength to be honest. I have been uncomfortable with that conversation for 20 years and I don’t think he bought it either since he left soon after. I wish I could have been more honest – he was sincere.

We have dissonance and have developed attitudes to reduce it, but it is important not to reduce dissonance by ignoring our conscience.
Having sat on a number of boards in the FOF, it is interesting to see how the boards struggle to be reasonable and still support Robert and how sometimes the only answer is to work around his wishes. Generally the boards are creative enough to find a way to support Robert and still be practical and much good has come from those efforts. But we tiptoe around the man who we put in charge of our funds, our artistic tastes, and our spiritual life, partly because we view it as his school and are thankful, partly because we think he might know more, and partly because we are afraid to confront the rejection that we get when we point out the unreasonableness of some of Robert’s wishes. I feel very sorry for those who play major leadership roles in the Fellowship that must live with even more dissonance than most of us.

The concept of cognitive dissonance and our need to dissolve it, explains why we lie to ourselves. My hope is that we can work on our dissonance, not only with presence (“if I am present enough I can block my conscience”) and nice sounding angles of thought, but also by actually making some changes. With that in mind I would like to offer the following suggestions for consideration:

1. Respectful dissent is not appreciated and encouraged by the FOF as a means of seeing the truth and improving the FOF. Can we find a way to open the fellowship to hearing and considering respectful and well meaning dissent even when it concerns Robert. The kind suggestions for one on one meetings with directors is a good step but not enough. Without allowing dissent, the hope for improvement is minimal. The fact that very few students have signed their blogs shows that the fear of speaking out is real.
2. Can we broaden our thinking, adding to our current definitions, so that 3rd line is extended into work for humanity and 2nd line includes work with all people (in or out). Charity starts at home, but perhaps we can branch out a little bringing our work to more situations and our compassion to more people.
3. Can we step back from the never ending demands for money. I know we have many beautiful things but I find the constant need for more money to be unhealthy to our community and our work. I have gained from it at times, but I believe we are a bit lunatic about this. Perhaps we need to learn to live within our means so that we can clean up some areas of poor householder and finish some projects that we started years ago, and be compassionate to those that are dear to us individually.
4. Our longevity as a group depends on our boards and council working to ensure that the FOF is clean – that our actions, including Roberts, reflect our goals of good householder, efficiency, compassion, reason, beauty and of course morality and legality. Can our boards find a way to make sure that we continue to improve our relationship with the outside world and the way that we operate with Robert? It would be nice to feel that we have nothing to be ashamed of. If we were really clean, our membership would grow and fewer students would leave. Many problems would go away. Robert may also need some gentle 3rd force to contain his lower self (he knows he has one) which at times undermines our success. Does anyone or any group have the being, position, and courage to do that?
5. Our current form does not encourage much creativity, individual thinking, and personal responsibility except within pretty narrow constraints. Can we find a way to broaden ways that students might contribute? (The old meeting formats provided some of that).
6. The sequence as we currently define it creates presence but it seems to side-step some aspects of higher centers. I know it is evolving. Can we find a way so that it helps to build compassion, conscience, and will. Perhaps it does for some.

Admittedly my suggestions are naïve and some are probably misguided based on my own identifications. It was also naïve to think that we would have an orchestra or beautiful gardens and a school that would attract people from all over the world. One step at a time we can improve. I think we can be better.

I am thankful for this blog and my friends in and out of the Fellowship.


88. Best of the Blog - June 3, 2010

the Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion Says:
March 19, 2007 at 9:00 pm

“The only way for you to know and understand the Fellowship is by JOINING and to stay for few years. Are you afraid to JOIN?”

Okay. I agree that the only way for me to fully understand the FoF is to join. But I don’t want to understand it any more than I already do. I made my choice not to join even before I found out about all the dirt that is connected to the FoF and RB. I wasn’t going to pay for something that should be for free (and ultimately is paid for in a different currency than money).

Not to mention that if you read some of my previous posts, you will find that I may very well be the only one here who believes in personal development without the aid of a teacher, or a school. While you may find that concept hard to bite on, it currently works for me.

And would I be afraid to join the FoF? Sure, I would. After starting this discussion and saying the things I have been saying, not to mention my public dislike of the FoF, I doubt that I would be welcomed with open arms, if I would be welcomed at all. Not to mention that I can’t stand a lot of the current members I have met on the blog. Even at the prospective meeting I felt too much pressure and outright dismissal of non-FoF ideas. I do not like such (or other) authority, and I like to question everything (which infuriates even my partner at times). But even that is not the true reason that I didn’t even consider joining the FoF.

Do you want to hear the truth? The while that one of the speakers at the prospective meeting started talking about the idea that it is impossible to survive your own death without something that is delivered by the FoF, they lost me. I have read, seen, and experienced too much, to be able to believe that shit.


89. Best of the Blog - June 3, 2010

Traveler Says:
March 20, 2007 at 10:38 pm

Quoting 272:

– ‘If Influence C took the time to give us this shock, we must take the time to transform it. At this point, the key is not to resent this shock.’

– ‘This is also part of having outside help–these kinds of things too.’
– ‘Also, in these kind of situations I remember that now it is our turn to undergo friction.’
– ‘This shock was all planned even before we arrived at the airport. I marvel the Absolute scripted it for us. Compared to what he has seen, it is very little. We all stayed away from our machine’s imaginary picture of what should have happened.’

– ‘We are very lucky that it was an artificial shock rather than some kind of brutal handling which past schools have indeed experienced.’
– ‘One always has to take Influence C on their own terms, and that is how they will get us to Paradise. We are very lucky Influence C take the time to help us escape; who are we that they would take the time to help us? And why we of all others?’

Me, me, me, the tragic, noble, humble hero, oh!

Innernaut Says:
March 20, 2007 at 8:56 pm

I found Grand Bizarre Incident Detector’s post #272 about Robert at the airport to be very interesting. Just as interesting was the content of post 273, by Across the River. Perhaps most significant for me, however, was the coincidence of post 273 coming directly after 272 — in other words, a story about Robert followed by some cautionary notes regarding him and the Fellowship. “Shocks” cut both ways, I suppose.

Robert talks a good game, and seems to have a handle on certain aspects of intentionality and attention. But it always seems to be in the context of a protective group of students that provides an audience to keep him in character, so to speak. Does Robert ever go anywhere alone? What would the security camera capture if he went through this experience without the fawning acolytes eager to receive his next pearl of wisdom? Maybe he would be the same, performing, as it were, for C Influence, in whom he clearly believes. I wonder. But even in the account by Asaf, there are several examples of Robert judging “life” people: “These people are walking carelessly towards their gate. They do not suspect there is a challenge even to this moment–-to be present to it.”

I suspect no one has ever had the courage to tell Robert that his judgement is more repugnant than these people’s “carelessness.”
I guess the real contrast I saw between post 272 and 273 was how RB has always lived in an artificial environment, with the luxury of focusing exclusively on himself — no spouse, no children, none of the daily grind of living with the same people year after year, which is difficult, no matter how much you may love them. On the contrary, when people around him become difficult or don’t bend to his wishes, he simply disposes of them or pulls away. The “collateral damage” that Across the River refers to stands in particularly stark relief to Robert’s rather dainty philosophising about the “friction” of missing the Bolshoi ballet.

Finally, I found it ironic that, right before being asked to leave the plane, Robert and students were focusing on the question “How not to deceive oneself.” When the incident began, Robert began talking about the Absolute crafting this play just for them.

Self-deception? Hmmm…What do you think?


90. nige - June 3, 2010

89 Best of the Blog/Innernaut

That rectal orifice of great repute has no idea about the Absolute…..Nigel.

91. Best of the Blog - June 4, 2010

Matthew Says:
March 14, 2007 at 6:26 pm

Hey, George! Mount Holyoke has your essay online:


But I think we’ve perfected a thing or two that you never dreamed of! You mention that some people can “communicate only in quotations.” I’ve been to whole dinners where people do little more than swap quotes, in “Can You Top This?” fashion, or maybe “What’s My Line?” Where no one will formulate or offer a thought of their own!

I went to a discussion of Shakespeare’s Sonnets some years back, when that was still the fashion. Talk about pouring from the empty into the void! People had completely lost track of the idea that these were words written by the bard intending to mean what they say. That, on the simplest level, a pretty girl playing a lute was a pretty girl playing a lute, and not just World 12 trying to evoke the Steward or whatever. As if Shakespeare were sitting down, trying to find ways to puzzle and confuse us.

That was long before the “keys.” It’s gotten worse. Nothing ever means what the words say anymore, and nothing is ever quoted in full. Which makes nonsense of Passerby, in Post 15, quoting the passage about the woman “caught in the act of adultery” and about to be stoned to death. Last I heard, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” had nothing to do with screwing, any more than “stealing” is about taking stuff. Robert said “adultery” had something to do with dabbling in B Influences.

Kestrel Says:
March 17, 2007 at 7:24 am

#97 – One and All – I, too, have wondered about negativity. Just turning it over in my head… it’s impossible to question this within the FOF, but looking at the results, I have started to ask more questions…

It used to be a commonplace joke that, when we would bring up the idea of the non-expression of negativity at the 1st prospective student meeting, the classic “Opposite I” was: “What about Christ and the moneychargers in the Temple?” Then we’d have a good laugh at the needle-in-the-haystack way of finding the single exception.

But now it doesn’t seem like an Opposite I; it seems very much to the point. And I’m not even sure that it’s even an exception.
One thing I’ve observed in Fellowship students is a notable absence of what, for a lack of a better term, I’ll call “fire in the belly.” Not peevishness or irritability, but the ability to see an injustice, and, with a powerful emotional third force, make it right. Can this be a thin line, leading to the justification of everyday negativity? Sure. But the justifications cut both ways: we justify and rationalize the abuse of other human beings, even our friends. There’s no criminality that we can’t “make okay” for ourselves. We see dead children from a bombed village on t.v., and we think, “Hmmmmm… how does that make me feel? What kind of I’s does that evoke in me?”

I’m not sure we aren’t better off taking the risk of the wrong kind of negativity rather than let the moneychangers stay in the temple.
That said, I have to admit that I can’t justify my own negativity – my impatience, my edginess, my reactions in traffic. I really cannot see much point in MY negativity, and I’m better off without it. But, I wonder if, in losing our negativity, we also lost any kind of … force … in our own life and in the lives of others. We are a singularly inert group of people, complacent and, for the most part, morally slack.
And is the moneychangers incident a single exception? Doesn’t appear to be – but we’ve altered the hard data to fit our theories. Our philosophy is a long cry from the many who said: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Was he condoning (gulp) negativity? Or the man who said, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” As opposed to our philosophy of: “It’s all a play – and everything is the way it’s supposed to be.”

Oh, but that’s right, none of these words mean what the words say.
Well, Matthew (#85), I’m one of the few perhaps who really does think “adultery” has something to do with screwing.

Mark H (in Seattle) Says:
March 17, 2007 at 7:34 am

“We are aware that material is currently being circulated that presents a negative
view of Robert and the Fellowship.
We realize that receiving – and reading – such material can be troubling and confusing. So we would like to encourage any student who feels the need for conversation to contact us. We will do our best to listen with open hearts and minds.”

Dear CL, HF, MG, EB and GH (110)
What kind of “open heart” says that if you stop paying your money none of your friends in the FOF will have anything more to do with you, and oh, by the way, your chance to awaken will be forever lost? Unless, that is, you pay us some sizeable penalty bucks to return, in which case your friends and your chance to awaken will be miraculously restored? Is this somebody’s idea of “unconditional love”?

For what it’s worth, I too am available to talk with anyone who is troubled or confused, and also anyone who is happy, blissed out or just so-so. We can talk about old times, new times, self-remembering, Gurdjieff, Advaita, you name it — phone, email, or in person (Seattle area). The good news: I charge 0% of your income. The bad news: I peaked out at Man Number 3 1/2, and since then have regressed to roughly Man Number Zero.

Seriously, I am not a teacher of any sort whatsoever, but if anybody wants to talk, do get in touch. I would encourage others to do the same. Stella* set a great example. Maybe it’s time for others to take up where she left off.

One and All Says:
March 17, 2007 at 5:40 pm

The Golden Fleece (163):

Interesting train of thought…I am not sure if you are being serious or sarcastic! But if we take what you say at face value, wouldn’t that imply that consuming semen can help us in our ‘quest for consciousness’? Statistically that would make heterosexual women the most likely group to evolve, prostitutes and promiscuous women perhaps having the best chance!

Sex does appear to involve a higher energy, and can evoke some of the most mystical experiences, yet this seems to be most likely to occur in an equal and mutually consensual context, and I would suggest does not relate to the physical properties of the secreted substance, because if it did, it would be bottled and marketed by now! Women would be paying men to do blow jobs, not the other way around! You are indicating that RB feeds off the spunk of young men to maintain or increase his higher being. But if information from this blog is representative of the facts, most of them are conned into participating. Your justification, no doubt is that the higher feeds on the lower, and most of humanity has missed this secret.

This reminds me of a story about a woman I met who was born into a community of sexual deviants. Her family and their friends were pedophiles, and she was brought up, as were all her siblings and the children she knew, being sexually abused from babyhood by a variety of men and women, girls and boys including her mother and father. She started hearing voices, her first memory of them being aged about 3. Some were negative, others positive. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The amazing thing about her was that there was something in her, despite her upbringing, that knew that this way of life was not right, and as a child she watched programmes like ‘The Waltons’ and dreamed of living differently. She was tortured by the voices she was hearing, as well as the adults supposedly having her best interest at heart. She eventually managed to break away, though the pedophile ring didn’t make it easy and pursued her with horrifying threats. She is able to manage the hallucinations and is now settled with a family living a healthy life.

In response to a question asking what perspective this community of people had about their sexual practices compared to the ‘conventional’ socially acceptable ones, she said that they thought the rest of us were stupid and had missed something, laws about pedophilea were ridiculous, and that their way of doing things was the most enlightened and correct.

Once sex is taken out of the context of adult consensual agreement, it begins to enter other realms to do with manipulation and power. Rape and suchlike has nothing much to do with sex, and more to do with extreme forms of negativity based on power. This probably relates to some of the stuff touched on in an earlier posting about the “me” trying to justify itself, and may stem from a need to assert ones ‘identity’.

Perhaps something like that is going on with RB? Or maybe the lower cannot see the higher and we should all find ways to go on a spunk-fest to raise our levels of being!

Idiots One and All

No person Says:
March 17, 2007 at 8:25 pm

Dear Kestrel, you say “But, I wonder if, in losing our negativity, we also lost any kind of … force … in our own life and in the lives of others.”
To my observation, controlling non-expressing practices plus intellectual explanations how one should or should not feel often produce cold and indifferent people full of concepts. It’s like poorly pruned tree – distorted and unhappy. Too many times I’ve heard students labeling compassion as feminine diminance, love and joy as identification and queens. Sometimes a genuine compassionate desire to help another being was judged by “older student” as feminine dominance, especially if the being in need was not a student. “They” have tramp and self-pity, and you are under feminine dominance if you feel anyhting for them… Cold, very cold. These are beautiful true momevents of our heart, and system’s cold intellectual labels cut them off like blossoming branches in clumsy pruning.
We are in our nature – compassionate loving consciousness, and in quiet moments we all know it. Most of the time we forget who we are, or dismiss it, and take ourselves to be the imaginary picture. When we finally realize who we truly are, most negativity and judgment (stuff based on imagined personality) gets somehow naturally replaced with compassion, understanding, friendly feelings and love. The responses to what’s happening in life become less personal and more appropriate, less intellectual and more immediate, natural. It is not just one fake learned smile to whatever happens – it could be any kind of response, whatever is appropriate in the moment.
This impersonal understanding and compassion becomes a main “force” in one’s life.

Mark H (in Seattle) Says:
March 18, 2007 at 12:14 pm

Paul (183): Terrific post, should be required reading for everybody in the FOF.

I left a few years before you did, was never propositioned by Robert, and didn’t know he was a sexual predator until a few years later, when I got the news of Samuel’s lawsuit. Looking back, I guess I should have figured it out. Once Linda Kaplan made a strange comment to me that Robert was “like a woman.” Maybe in her own weird way she was trying to warn me. Or maybe she thought I was already having sex with him and she was trying to explain his behavior. But that was the closest anybody came to saying anything. Lots of us would have benefited from knowing what he was up to. We would have left the school earlier and gotten on with our lives. Unfortunately, and to their great discredit, for the most part the people that knew, both the ones who stayed and the ones who left, kept their mouths shut.

Mark H
FOF student 1973-78

wakup little suzy wakup Says:
March 19, 2007 at 9:33 pm

Hello one and all:

I would like to use my real name but at this time don’t feel secure doing it. Maybe I will later. Until today I was not feeling like posting on this blog. I have never blogged before in my life.

Anyway, my life started in the FOF in 1976 and ended abruptly in 1994. I left with many others, making it emotionally a bit easier I would say than for someone having to pick up their bags and exit on their own. However, not without significant internal turmoil. I truly believed Robert to be my teacher and I truly believed the Fellowship to be my answer to my idealistic worldview. But upon hearing the story firsthand by a student that had suffered emotional and physical abuse by Robert, I could no longer feel that respect I had for him anymore and bottom line it’s really hard to learn anything from someone you don’t respect. So off I went.

Would I just leave and keep the system of ideas I had in place for so many years? (body type, chief feature, four centers, 4th way ideas of Ouspensy and Gurdjieff). My intuition told me to drop them for now. Not because they were not true and had been extraordinarily beneficial in helping me see things clearly but because it would continue to keep me ‘stuck’ in limbo. And I knew I needed to release my connection with the Fellowship if I was to be successful. So I put it away for awhile and really tried not to use it at all either in speaking or in thinking. Although I stayed in town for awhile leaving seemed essential for my emotional health so I left soon thereafter.

And I began a life that would be difficult both emotionally and financially. I didn’t fit in to this new world I found myself. I had been using the system for so long (20 years) I had to reconnect somehow. How would I do that? So I kind of hid for five years. And during that time I healed and in the privacy of my own thoughts and feelings I found my life again.

Now here we are 13 years later and I can honestly say that I am doing better than I ever have in my life. I embrace life, all of it, leaving nothing out. I have high hopes that the world is entering into a phase of ‘waking up’ itself. There are many people I have found very helpful to my continued upbeat mood. I would suggest to students leaving to not try to find a better school or a teacher but to find support in any way you can. Wayne Dyer, Byron Katie, Esther and Jerry Hicks are just a few people that are helping many people wake up. But these are just people that helped me. Everyone is different and needs to find what works for them.

And it seems to me that what is happening in the FOF is happening out of the FOF. The Fellowship has always been a microcosm of the whole. How could it not be? We are all connected. That doesn’t necessarily mean we like each other or understand one another but like it or not we are all connected to one source. And this idea seems to be understood by ‘life people’ whether they practice religion, spirituality, or are on their own trying to figure it out. The only ones that seem to be confused about that idea are still stuck in dogmatic ideologies with all sorts of names.

I think it’s time for people in the Fellowship to support one another in any way they can and not be afraid to enter the unknown. There is no other way to learn.

This world is going through tremendous upheavals and change and I believe soon it will be difficult for many. But I also believe that our world is not meant for the few to survive and the rest to go down with the ship. Why don’t we try to support one another in or out? There are many people in the Fellowship who can’t leave because they have nowhere to go. Why don’t you open your doors and invite them in until they can figure out what they are doing? Or ask them if you can help in any way.

And perhaps that’s what this is all about and how this world will heal itself. I would like to believe we are all here for a purpose and by supporting one another in any way we can our purpose becomes clearer. And lucky for me I have many people in my life who feel the same way and support me in any way they can. Lucky me. I guess I could say I feel I earned it. It wasn’t easy to move on. But I know of no other way to be free. Hope this helps someone.

IRS Eyes wide shut Says:
March 20, 2007 at 5:22 pm

U.S. Internal Revenue Code
501(c)(3) Exemption Requirements:
To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and NONE OF ITS EARNINGS MAY INURE TO ANY PRIVATE SHAREHOLDER OR INDIVIDUAL.

The organization MUST NOT BE ORGANIZED OR OPERATED FOR THE BENEFIT OF PRIVATE INTERESTS, SUCH AS THE CREATOR or the creator’s family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests. NO PART OF A SECTION 501(c)(3) ORGANIZATION’S NET EARNINGS MAY INURE TO THE BENEFIT OF ANY PRIVATE SHAREHOLDER OR INDIVIDUAL.


Inner Jewels Says:
March 21, 2007 at 6:55 pm

“All emotions are pure which gather you and lift you up; that emotion is impure which seizes only one side of your being and so distorts you.”

~Rainer Maria Rilke


92. Best of the Blog - June 4, 2010

Coming soon in the next post:

Matthew, Kestrel, Mark H (in Seattle), One and All, No person, wakeup little suzy wakeup, IRS Eyes wide shut, and Inner Jewels.

Slight change in format: several posts are combined into one. There were two hyperlinks in the text, so moderation is needed.

This is just one opinion. I encourage you to post your favorites, too. Or just write what’s currently on your mind, and in your heart, and – as they say at the top of the page – have fun.

93. Best of the Blog - June 4, 2010

ok, one by itself…


Equinox Says:
March 21, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Hello friends,

I have been reading this blog for a while but have never posted. For starters, I would like to thank you Sheik for creating and hosting this forum, and I would like to thank everyone who wrote with such depth and sincerity about their experiences in and out of the Fellowship.

I have not written because just about everything I have to say had been expressed by someone already, and with much more eloquence than I could ever attempt. Why am I writing? I don’t know, just feels like it today.

FOF has been part of my life for 4 years, or, rather, since I was a very sincere student, I should say that my life was part of the Fellowship for 4 years, as I was trying to embody the motto: fit your life into the School, not the School into your life. I have experienced all the magical aspects of the school that many people have written about: the beauty, the refinement, the states, the friendships, the sincerity, the insights into my and other people’s mechanics, and more and more. I came to the FOF when I was at the end of my rope, so to speak. My life was more settled materially and emotionally than it had ever been, but I had a feeling of being trapped in the death row, marching towards nowhere. The school seemed like my one and only chance at the time and, well, maybe it was, since I joined. I came armed with the notion “Suspend judgment”, and “The form of the School doesn’t matter”. I was really not into fine dining, and wearing dresses and high heels was certainly a form of voluntary suffering. I would have been content spending my entire life in the same pair of blue jeans, being in nature and with animals all the time. I have to say that this transition created very profound changes. Embracing things that I would have never voluntarily chosen put me in front of the simple fact that the ‘I’s are not real. Some of the most profound states were created in the company of the beautiful, sincere, deep, intelligent, artistic people who shared my passion for awakening.

I was in a center far from Isis and was sheltered from the inconvenient truths about the Fellowship. I knew that Robert was homosexual, and that there were some sexual scandals in the past, but now he was over it. Most of the things revealed in this blog were unknown to me. My trips to Isis were pure magic, third state throughout. I simply did not understand the tension and unhappiness that I perceived from some students at Isis. I remember being taken aback, when a student told me, with a note of annoyance in her voice: “Just don’t try to be a “good student”, please!” Why not??? What is so wrong with embracing the teaching??? I reasoned with myself that there is no work without the friction, and that the School, as a body, has its own lower self, and we just work with it, and it strengthens our valuation… Something along these lines.

Naïve as I was, I eventually had to come to the natural limit of suspending judgment. I, like Charlie Nothing (my apologies if it was someone else) expressed in a post way back, had to put some things on the shelf, and the shelf was getting overloaded. I have to say that going through the mental acrobatics of patching up the contradictions even felt like an accomplishment, conquering the “lower self”, perhaps. Coming from a communist-wanna-be country, I was sensitized to all forms of propaganda, and the tone of official FOF communications, as well as the “octave of attracting new magnetic centers”, with bookmarking, open meetings and all, set off my smoke detectors, but I successfully reasoned myself out of it, convincing myself that since this is the will of the Teacher, I must embrace it for the good of my own evolution (and, yes, suspend judgment).

Someone wrote before that good ideas and practices are so intimately intertwined with dogmas in the Fellowship, that it becomes almost impossible for a sincere person to see what’s what. For any doubt there is a ready-made answer, like: “This is your lower self”, “The lower cannot see the higher”, “This is feminine dominance”. So you feel that even having these doubts may undermine months and months of efforts you have made in the Work! The King of Clubs has crept in! Let’s roll up our sleeves and back to work, fighting the unreal ‘I’s from the devil! The irony is, the more sincere the student, the more he or she is likely to get brainwashed out their senses!

The friction became more and more grinding with the introduction of the Sequence. I was still trying my best, and failing, for the lack of sufficient effort, I thought. The feeling of gloom was becoming the constant feature of my inner landscape. Every time I tried to talk about it with the students in the center, my doubts bounced back off of their firm devotion to the new teachings. Well, I thought, I just need to make more efforts, because they, obviously, are “getting” it! Being a center director at the time, I felt increasingly like a fraud, finding myself in the position of having to preach something I didn’t understand and was unable to work with. I was hanging on though!

It all ended rather abruptly, with a phone conversation with my dear friend, then “in”, now “out” of the FOF. When I put down the receiver and stood up, I had an almost physical sensation of the rubble from the ruins of my shattered concept of the world tumbling down in a cloud of dust. The world stood clean and clear, once again a complete, delightful mystery.

I still didn’t know how I would announce my departure. Staying just did not seem feasible anymore. I dropped the sequence and enjoyed the presence like never before. I found, in disbelief, that speaking and being present came naturally, that being “in the jacks” did not stop the presence in the least, and that, in fact, there was nothing I could do to STOP being present. I vividly remember my last meeting, the light and the colors in the room were exquisite, and my friends were so sincere, reading their angles. They looked like children, and I felt love for them, in a very detached but intimate way. This was the last time I saw them. One student from Isis called after I left, asking me, in a sincere way, what it was about. And that was the end of my Fellowship adventure.

There was some email communication with the students after I left, and their perception seemed to be that I sort of died. Lost my valuation for awakening. Consumed by the lower self. One student wrote that if I ever decided to come back he would receive me with open arms… That really struck me, this conditional love. There is just something wrong about it, don’t you think?

So what now? It seems that there is some flushing and healing going on. There is a recognition of the persona that was created in the Fellowship, and that is breaking up and floating away, revealing how much the world was being processed through that. There is a lot of un-knowing and a definite aversion to filling the void with new, replacement concepts. At the level of the person, there is a lot of confusion and emotional pain. At the same time, there is acceptance and openness and aliveness. It is not a comfortable state. Sometimes I wish I had the clarity that No Person has, but it is not there, and that’s OK. For now, the answer to many of the lofty questions that the mind is apt to pose is “I don’t know”.

But, contrary to what I feared would happen upon leaving the Fellowship, the light is still on, and very much so, the actors are at their best, the play goes on, and the artful, delightful, and exciting play it is!

Love to all of you whom I know and don’t know and thank you for reading through this – I had no idea I’d be so long-winded!


94. fofblogmoderator - June 4, 2010

91 is “new”

95. nige - June 4, 2010

“I am an ordinary angel, winning tiny victories” (Hue and Cry – ‘Remote’, 1988)

I had an interesting and incredibly pleasant experience this morning, when I went to see the Ward Manager of The Cedars, the local city ‘asylum’. She has known me for over ten years on and off, whenever I was in for treatment. I had, prior to this event written the following letter in the manner of a complaint to the Chief Executive:-

‘fiduciary duty:
In a fiduciary relation one person, in a position of vulnerability, justifiably reposes confidence, good faith, reliance and trust in another whose aid, advice or protection is sought in some matter. . . . such a relation . . . requires one to act at all times for the sole benefit and interests of another, with loyalty to those interests.’

Dear Mr Tulley

You may wonder why I am writing to you. It is because I spent 13 April – 11 May in The Cedars and have had some time to reflect on my experience. For the most part I can say it was bearable but there are areas of my admission with which I am extremely displeased.

Firstly, I cannot see why the Crisis Resolution Team had to take away all my medication the day before admission and then send Theo —–? with one morning’s worth of medication on the morning of the admission and questioning me about the meds I HAD BEEN TAKING. I found that experience so insulting to my own sense of trying to cope that I asked Theo —–? to leave the house. I was then left with NO MEDICATION, NO FOOD AND NO MONEY, since I had had to break off teaching my classes to work with the Crisis Resolution Team.

When I was admitted (on a Casual Basis, I might add) I had to have an admittance interview with Dr Moe. I could not understand why, when I answered her questions about what I had been doing up until coming into hospital, she repeated everything in a completely mixed-up and confused manner. I found it so aggravatingly stupid on her part, that I had to leave the interview part-way through.

Dr Moe was not as difficult to deal with as Dr Sahir, whom I find to be self-serving (in terms of the fact that he is making a whopping great salary out of having ‘the numbers up’ as far as patients go in The Cedars) and looks calm and collected at the ward-rounds, rushing between each session to quickly glance at the next patient’s notes so that he can offer some ‘weighty’ pieces of ‘evidence’ in support of why he is retaining patients.

As soon as I was admitted to the ward, I was ‘drugged up to the eyeballs’ with as many ‘downers’ as they thought I could handle, which gave the effect of Parkinson’s Disease (caused by slow dopamine flow between the neuro-transmitters) and could not make my needs known to the nurses on the ward, since my speech was impaired.

As far as being able to take care of my financial situation, since I run a jewellery-teaching business and have to pay for things out of what my students give me, I was given the wrong advice of how to claim benefits and am now six weeks behind in the payments needed to run my business. God knows how long it will be before I receive anything from the Department of Work and Pensions.

I am sure that, if I had decided to leave the hospital as a casual patient, before any ‘treatment’ had been embarked upon, the doctors would have slapped a retaining section on me. Patients such as myself, who have a complete understanding of what is happening to them on the ward, have to put up with other patients who are anywhere between incorrigibly untidy and messy way up to anti-social and verbally aggressive.

I am sure that any patients who care about their well-being IN THE COMMUNITY would wish for a more cohesive and intelligent approach from the Crisis Resolution Team and the doctors, since it seems that it is only the nurses (and some of them have been with the hospital for decades) who seem to be putting any effort and personal commitment into their jobs.

Yours, forcefully

Nigel Harris Price BA Hons, Cert Ed

Michelle (the Ward Manager’s name) was on time for our appointment and was patient enough to go through all pertinent parts of my letter, with a wish to not be defensive, but willing to bring my points of complaint before each party concerned with an Internal Enquiry, which would be far more likely to ‘get the job done’ than would an Official Investigation by the Complaints Committee, which would be more ‘heavy-handed’ and cause aggravation more than a solution to the problem. It is very rare to find people like Michelle in positions of authority in the Public Sector with the abiltiy to listen to a patient’s concerns and be willing to implement some form of satisfaction. And you can bet, that there was, and probably is, no person in authority willing to do something similar in the fellowship of Friends…..Nigel.

96. reader - June 4, 2010

Nigel: glad you got some help, although I’m not sure you needed to share every detail.

Can’t say I know where you’re going with your comments exactly. But I’m getting your point somewhat. I think. In healthy organizations and businesses, there’s a natural inclination to treat customers and members attentively and with respect. Part of that is a simple form of humanity, but it’s also common sense since members and customers are the backbone of a business or organization. Treat them well, and your organization is well.

When the main intent of an organization or business, however, is to feed the queen bee, all sorts of weird things can happen. The mental health, physical health, and general well-being of the individual participants become irrelevant. Lack of good health in the individuals is not a problem for the leaders of that organization at first – as long as new participants step in to continue the process. The old ones can be dumped on the roadside — collateral damage in the quest for, well, whatever. If fresh, new, healthy energy is cut off, however, (i.e., more suckers being lured into the ‘collective’) things start getting even stranger.

97. nige - June 4, 2010

96 reader

You interpreted my post with ‘aplomb’. I have a reason to post on the blog, not only as it serves as a form of communicating with others who have ‘survived’ the FOF and who are relating the way their life was before, during and after (up until now, actually) but with an intent to both share and warn prospective and ‘in’ students (fence-sitters included) how REALLY EVIL THE CULT CALLED THE FELLOWSHIP OF FRIENDS ACTUALLY IS (your above post concisely describing its structure and framework).

The mere fact that I am still involved with the Mental Health Authorities is just as much the reason for writing letters to said authorities in the form of suggestions or complaints as is my reason for remaining in the fofdiscussion blog. For God’s sake! It took me 14 years to get back, truly, ‘into life in all its fullness’ (gospel of John) after having left the FOF and, despite my blips when I sometimes have to go into the ‘asylum’ (dictionary meaning – ‘place of safety’), I can honestly say, at the starting to creak and ache a lot physically age of 53, I have never felt happier in my life. Dr Adrian Midgley, my GP, are of a similar age and both agree that we are truly at the ‘prime of our lives’. The Fellowship took my formative years (both psychologically and artistically) and made a ‘financial bloodbath’ of them. I can honestly say that my three features (header, main and footer) of naivete, vanity and fear never got any easier to deal with in the FOF.

Just a little dedication to Elena, who I hope is finding rest from her craziness…..She said, and I find it true, that cults are microcosms of society. What makes society ‘tick’? Power, sex and money! Can any of you foffers say that, despite the art, music, literature and general finery of objects and actions in the FOF, the ‘inner circle’ is not persuaded by and persuades others in power sex and money.


98. Best of the Blog - June 5, 2010

the Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion Says:
March 22, 2007 at 10:29 pm

I found this quite interesting, and I think that it fits the current mood of the discussion very nicely:

Starting in the 1970s I began to perceive a disturbing tendency among many members of spiritual communities. Although many spiritual practitioners were doing good work on themselves, I noticed a widespread tendency to use spiritual practice to bypass or avoid dealing with certain personal or emotional ‘unfinished business’. This desire to find release from the earthly structures that seem to entrap us-the structures of karma, conditioning, body, form, matter, personality-has been a central motive in the spiritual search for thousands of years. So there is often a tendency to use spiritual practice to try to rise above our emotional and personal issues-all those messy, unresolved matters that weigh us down. I call this tendency to avoid or prematurely transcend basic human needs, feelings, and developmental tasks spiritual bypassing.

Spiritual bypassing is particularly tempting for people who are having difficulty navigating life’s developmental challenges, especially in a time and culture like ours, where what were once ordinary landmarks of adulthood-earning a livelihood through dignified work, raising a family, keeping a marriage together, belonging to a meaningful community-have become increasingly elusive for large segments of the population. While still struggling to find themselves, many people are introduced to spiritual teachings and practices that urge them to give themselves up. As a result, they wind up using spiritual practices to create a new ‘spiritual’ identity, which is actually an old dysfunctional identity-based on avoidance of unresolved psychological issues-repackaged in a new guise.

In this way, involvement in spiritual teachings and practices can become a way to rationalize and reinforce old defences. For example, those who need to see themselves as special will often emphasize the specialness of their spiritual insight and practice, or their special relationship to their teacher, to shore up a sense of self-importance. Many of the ‘perils of the path’-such as spiritual materialism (using spiritual ideas for personal gain), narcissism, inflation (delusions of grandiosity), or groupthink (uncritical acceptance of group ideology)-result from trying to use spirituality to shore up developmental deficiencies.

— John Welwood


99. Best of the Blog - June 5, 2010

Bruce Says:
March 22, 2007 at 10:35 pm

I just had an interesting thought. I would guess that since this blog is obviously receiving some attention in the FOF, it would not be out of RB’s normal MO for him to pick out little items from the posts to use in meetings to illustrate something like: “Well, these people have good intentions (some of them) but it is easy to see that without a “REAL SCHOOL’ they have obviously fallen by the wayside. They think they continue their evolution. They are asleep and misled, the poor souls, and I don’t mean the souls we are creating here, ours are real souls that will survive the shock of death… But dears, this blog proves that we are a real school, and those on the way can see that clearly”

Anyone think I’m that far off?

At the same time, and also true, is that who can deny that whatever our experience in the FOF was, it inexorably changed our lives and our personal cosmology significantly.

I have my own “stuff”, but all I am today includes EVERYTHING that came before. To be perfectly honest I actually got what I came for, and a whole bunch more, some good, some not too comfortable. But I suspect, very deeply, it all happened the way it was supposed to. But that does not negate anything that has been brought up here. All can true.

Bruce Says:
March 22, 2007 at 10:38 pm

Sheik, I think that’s freaking spot on. Thank you.


100. Best of the Blog - June 5, 2010

Yesri Baba Says:
March 23, 2007 at 12:03 am

Chortle Mortal #13,
Loved your post. A whole lot in there and most of it right on. I will respond to no specifics except one, the “splitting off” part. Stop the dividing, it is all you. This higher, lower; mechanical, conscious; personality, essence, self crap. When we fight against a part of our being we split it off and it goes into hiding to come back to fight us another day. We will never win. Trust yourself and let each part play it’s part.

Here are a couple of quotes from a very old Goethe journal.

“The rebirth which is transforming me contiues. But all this is more effort and trouble than pleasure. Though i expected to learn, i never thought i should have to remain at the bottom of the School and have to unlearn or completely relearn so much. But now i have realized this and accepted it: i find that the more i relinquish my old habits of thought, the happier i am.”

“Everyone at home is enslaved, body and soul, and the desire to visit this part of the world has vanished. Drawn by an irrestible need, I determuned to undertake this long, solitary journey to the hub of the world.”

Paul Says:
March 23, 2007 at 1:40 am

“To One and All:

During my decades in the Fellowship, I have absorbed the Teachings, and have realized much. For this, I am eternally grateful to C-Influence, to Robert, my Teacher, and to all of the students, past and present, from whom I have learned so much. I would like to believe my efforts have benefited others as well as myself; only you, my dear fellow students, former and present, can answer that question.

Although it has taken me an embarassingly long time, I realize now, with the full force of Conscience, that my progress has come at great price, both to my Self, and to the evolution of thousands of others. I can avoid the truth no longer.

For so many years I have observed the play of crime within our beloved school, and have turned away. When young men cried out to me, I had not the courage to speak out, but instead betrayed them. As I saw students lose their financial and emotional stability, their relationships to caring parents, children, and partners, and their faith in all that is good and right, I buffered this. I told myself that none may do the Work for another, and that we seek a Pearl of Great Price. I told myself that the Lower cannot see the Higher, and that Robert’s teaching was beyond our ability to understand. I told myself that I had verified that our school is a conscious one, and that C-Influence is a hard taskmaster.

When I saw the millions that were spent on luxuries, on costly wine, food, clothing, and jewelry, while students, not to mention our brothers and sisters in what I called “life,” suffered greatly, I told myself that our work is to separate from our attachment to material objects and from our opinions, and I thanked the Gods that I had been granted the ability to do so. I told myself that we can awaken by being present to whatever the Gods may throw at us, be it sexual manipulation, cruelty, and greed, whether real or feigned, on the part of others, and thanked the Gods for allowing me the opportunity.

I now see that what I mistook for being and consciousness was, in fact, its very opposite. It was cowardice. I am ashamed. I now see the truth in what Jesus taught, in what Meher Baba taught, and in what the Buddha taught. In my heart of hearts, I know it to be the Truth that we were placed upon this marvelous earth to serve and protect the weak, wherever they may be, and that by doing so we serve our Selves as well as That which created it all.

I ask you, my friends, sincerely for forgiveness. Forgive me for not acting on the truth, for keeping silent, for serving my own physical and false personality comfort at your expense. I know it was at my expense as well. I should have confronted these many wrongs long ago. I cannot change that, but I can move forward and do what I can to make amends.”

When you can say that, Girard, you’ll have earned my respect. And your own.

Zorba Says:
March 23, 2007 at 2:52 am

what value the “verifications” of someone induced to distrust his own ability to think critically? what value the decisions of someone emasculated by the fear, irrational but formidable, of eternal damnation?

Breathing Again Says:
March 23, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Dear distributor of the address for this blog.

I am a current member and wish to express my sincere thanks to you for sending news of this blog to so many of us. Your email greatly helps undermine the contrived ignorance on the individual and collective level that we as a group perpetuate.

For 35 years the fellowship has kept it’s members in the dark, and has developed a volume of rationalizing rhetoric to suppress talk about such topics as the teacher’s personal life, his use of fellowship money, etc, etc.

The fact that contributors sometimes quote, criticize, correct, guide, opine, react, pontificate, judge, not-judge, discuss, have brain-farts, on this blog, is not only in the nature of blogs, but more significantly, it is in direct response to the nature of the fellowship. That is, if the fellowship had been open, honest, transparent, inclusive, and were it capable of disclosures (on it’s official web site) of it’s financials, had it’s own forum for open discussion (free from fear of reprisals), and had RB not increasingly discouraged real dialog, then the nature of this blog may be different. But it is not so, and this blog has filled the breach.

I can highly recommend a new film called “The Life of Others” which describes ever so clearly through it’s storyline, the same principle that now exists in and around the fellowship, and from which this blog has ignited.

Contributors try variously to classify the content of the blog now inside work language, trying to photograph negativity, now citing failure of others to ‘move on’, now attempting to stamp out the sometimes messy and ugly stories, now firing feeble spiteful responses with no appreciation for context. It is what it is and is not under fellowship laws, and hardly under any laws of politeness or order. Ask yourself, what brought this blog into being? Why has it gained such momentum? Of course within it’s pages is that is reactive, critical, and negative… but look deeper at the forces involved.

Each of us will be what we will be. It is all contained in the everything.

Vena Says:
March 23, 2007 at 7:30 pm

Most of us joined the FOF with an earnestness, naiveté, idealism, loving trust and gratitude for the school and for Robert as the teacher. It was painful then to observe the greed, lack of compassion and sexual abnormality that characterized his behavior and it took most of us many years to admit that what we were observing was the truth. It is painful to be deceived by someone you love and trust and even more so when there is no acknowledgement of wrong doing or apology.

However, we know that Robert could never admit to himself or others that he was mistaken and he could certainly never apologize. He has never taken responsibility for any damage, financial or psychological, done to anyone. He claims it is the “will of C Influence” or that the injured student’s “being attracted their life”, etc.

Besides wanting to see the truth about RB and the FOF, I am interested in understanding why and how it could happen – what in RB and in us made it possible.

There are some chilling descriptions of personality disorders to guard against on the spiritual path in “Gnosis” by Boris Mouravieff (volume II, chapter 16) that may be of interest. I have quoted major parts of one of them below. I think it is of special interest to note that this type feels no doubt, has a well developed emotional centre that is smothered and that his goals are money, sex and power.

Fifth Case:
(The Sorcerer)
“…The case we are to study is that of a man #1 whose highly developed motor centre entirely dominates his emotional centre. In this type of man the latter is awake and even quite developed, but it is under the sway of the motor centre and as a result it is richly nourished by usurped sexual energy. As in the fourth case, the intellectual centre is not entirely asleep: the negative part of this centre is paralyzed but the positive part is completely under the domination of the motor centre. That is why this type of man feels no doubt. This fact provides him with extraordinary strength and endows his psyche with a suggestive, hypnotic dynamism.

………A magician’s power – that of a Cagliostro, Rasputin and their like – is based, as we said, on excessive development of the motor centre, which dominates the other two. The working of the intellectual centre is reduced to what is strictly necessary to ensure vital needs and to elaborate projects; its negative part is smothered, and this is what leads to the absence of doubt. The emotional centre is not only smothered but is rather well developed. However, this development is unbalanced, as it is not the result of correct discernment of “B” from “A” influences, but of the accumulation of those of the latter whose action, although different in quality, lies parallel to the “B” influences. ……………While the magnetic centre formed of “B” influences is a subsidiary organ enabling esoteric development, the black magnetic centre formed by “A” influences can clearly not be oriented towards esoteric goals. …………..the orientation of this black magnetic centre is automatically directed towards objectives limited to within the perimeter of exterior life. These objectives are well known; money, women (substitute young men), and power in all their forms.

………Evidently the black magnetic centre………emphasizes and crystallizes the “I” of the Personality and inspires it with the strength it needs to impose itself on other Personalities who are in an unstable inner state……While awaiting an encounter with a guide, their (seekers) Personality is wide open to the influences emanating from this type of man, and they may easily fall under his sway.

Besides giving birth to magicians, this type of man gives rise to false prophets, false Christs, and even the Antichrist.

….For there is a type of human being who declines all moral responsibility for himself or for those to whom he is in duty bound.”

Succumbed to the 7 of Heart Says:
March 23, 2007 at 11:58 pm

2 Breakfast with Robert $200
1 Lunch with Robert $150
1 Tea with Robert at your house $4400
2 Dinner With Robert $500
4 Meeting with Robert $600
2 Photo with Robert $200
1 Trip to Egypt and Cruise with Robert $6500

Remember to Breath when you see your credit card bill… Priceless.


101. Best of the Blog - June 5, 2010

Paul Says:
March 24, 2007 at 4:46 am

To add to Breathing Again’s fine post (#65):

I note the judgments elicited by our own and others’ postings. When someone arguably expresses negativity or some other behavior presumed to be naughty, what is the purpose or value of pointing that out? Is it to confirm to ourselves our superiority to the poster, or announce to others our higher level? Obviously, in doing so we simultaneously prove the opposite of what we intended, which was a fool’s errand to begin with. The only useful purpose is to help the other see something of which he or she may be unaware, to create that awareness, not so he or she will stop, or feel bad, or to sooth ourselves into a sense of olderstudentship.

Cultivating the human tendency to always be on the lookout for “good” and “bad” behavior, to view our own negativity, or any other behavior deemed inconsistent with the “higher,” with shame, and that manifested by others with disdain and one-up-manship, is a core effort of virtually all religions, including Burtonism. Compassion lies in seeing we all do the best we can and no one is perfect in the sense of always manifesting loveliness; we are perfect as we are. Having such compassion for ourselves takes some practice.

This is not to be confused with giving ourselves license to do whatever.

fofanatomy Says:
March 24, 2007 at 6:10 am

to Vena #69:

the relevant quote:

“I will not talk about myself, it is not a healthy topic.” RB

Mark H Says:
March 24, 2007 at 6:21 am

[responding to “John,” who writes that he’s unhappy with the blog and has decided to join the FOF]

Hey John (73),

Did your friend tell you that once you join the FOF, that if you ever leave it you will (according to the FOF) lose your chance at awakening, your soul, FOREVER? That you will never have another chance in this life or any other life? That you will be forever, to use Robert’s word, “extinguished”?

So this is no little decision you are making, is it? Then don’t you think you owe it to yourself to investigate the group a little more before joining? The idea that to do so would would be exposing yourself to “prejudice” doesn’t make sense. You have already been exposed to your friend’s prejudiced viewpoint, as well as the prejudiced viewpoints of those at your prospective student meetings. You have heard one side, now why not hear some other sides? There are people posting here who were students for 10, 20, 25 years or more, people who know Robert well. Don’t you think you ought to find out what they have to say?

If I were you I would print out this entire blog and read it with a highlighter. Ask questions of the writers and ask questions of the FOFers who are inviting you to join. Then make your decision.

Here is a prejudiced opinion of mine. Any group that says “our way is the only way, and if you join us and leave you will be extinguished forever” is a cult, and potentially psychologically damaging to those who join it.

FOF member 1973-78

Mark H Says:
March 24, 2007 at 7:31 am

John (73),

One more thing. Better yet, TALK on the phone (or in person, if possible) with some of the ex-FOF folks who are posting here. Emails and blog comments by mostly anonymous people aren’t the same thing as direct contact. The FOF has had direct contact with you, haven’t they? This is a big decision. You owe it to yourself to speak directly with others who have been through it and have a different point of view. Many people have given email addresses. I’m sure that many more would be willing to speak with you if you left an email address so that they could contact you directly.

Good luck.

ears have walls Says:
March 24, 2007 at 7:56 pm

For those of you who regard ‘Robert B’ as a real teacher, spiritual or otherwise, you might want to Google ‘ spiritual teachers’ and see what you get. There are hundreds in the USA alone- a lot of them look alikes (yes even physically) to RB. There are schools, groups and communities (left overs from the 70′s) buried in the foothills of Santa Cruz, Colorado, Los Angeles and Oregon House and other places. Many of these ‘spiritual teachers’ lead a grande life, much like Robert, who have never had a real job in their lives, but live off the community.

Once you realize, that there is no ‘external’ guide but your own pure awareness, your own SELF then it becomes real simple. Sit at Starbucks in a given city and watch life teeming around you. Kids, dogs, manual laborers, business men, schoolteachers, homeless etc etc. You, we , us, them- we are all part of it. Walt Whitman wrote about it. Why was it that we did not hear, and continue NOT to hear. Are we really so afraid to live???
That we must spend a life secluded and separate from who we are? All the while THINKING, THINKING, THINKING ourselves special? And spending the precious time of our lives defending someone who’s spirtual ego needs constant feeding.
Or, is it equally true that RB’s students SPIRITUAL EGO’s need constant feeding???
Here is a lovely statement from Rabindranath Tagore :
” All of our selfish impulses, all of our personal desires, obscure our true vision of the soul, as they only point out our shabby ego. When we are aware of our soul, we perceive the inner life that surpssses our ego and that has profound affinities with the WHOLE”.


102. nige - June 5, 2010

98 Best of the Blog

on – Esoteric Sheik – SPIRITUAL BYPASSING…..

I found the piece of writing on this subject, spiritual bypassing, interesting and deeply pertinent to ‘life’ in the Fellowship of Friends. Having read only ‘In Search of the Miraculous’ before joining the FOF, I was able to personally place much emphasis on Gurdjieff’s words – “At first, all work must be on Essence”. I was involved with an Honours Degree Course in Craft Design at my time of joining the FOF and managed to spend my time at college, late into the night, studying the workbooks. When I visited the London Teaching House, I was always interested in the ‘careers’ that the various students had. Little did I know how many of them had been ‘persuaded’ into the lucrative sphere of computers by the leaders of the FOF, since REB had obviously decided that such related jobs were great for students to make pots of money and globetrot, ‘spreading the gospel’ (otherwise known as supporting other centres). Many other students gave up not necessarily money-making vocations for the sake of serving the ‘school’. A worthy sacrifice?…..Nigel.

103. nige - June 5, 2010

Yogananda (on recommendation for looking up ‘spiritual teachers’)…..

“…..demonstrating that simplicity of living plus high thinking lead to the greatest happiness!”

104. nige - June 5, 2010

99 Best of the Blog

on – Bruce – A Real School?

How many of us, having passed through the FOF experience, have realised that LIFE (in the real sense of the word) is now our teacher and we continue on Our Path (both secular and spiritual), however the Shadows and Cripplings have touched us and, maybe, still touch us?

Those little sayings that people used to say were ‘formatory’ such as – “You only get out of life what you put in” or “It is always darkest before the dawn” seem to say so much to us now, maybe?…..Nigel.

105. nige - June 5, 2010

100 Best of the Blog

on – Breathing Again recommends

“A terrible sadness lies at the heart of “The Lives of Others” — a reckoning of lives and talents wasted by a state with no good reason to exist apart from the maintenance of its own power. But there are comic, even farcical elements as well: a dictatorship that calls itself a democratic republic is inherently ridiculous as well as malignant.”

106. nige - June 5, 2010

If anyone, current, fence-sitter or ex-FOF member would like to correspond in person with me, since I do not want to take up too much (as recommended by Steve) blog space, but feel the need to ‘reach out’, I can be contacted…..

011 (44) 1392 462103

107. Best of the Blog - June 5, 2010

No person Says:
March 25, 2007 at 2:13 am

… I didn’t realize how much judgment toward “life people” we as members subtly accumulated. Interestingly, although RB often speaks of non-judgment toward life, he himself is judging it a lot. If you don’t think so – just go through your collection of daily cards. A lot of it is about “us” and “them”, how fortunate and awake we are and how unfortunate and mechanical they are, sleeping machines wasting their lives. We have to admit that there is a LOT of judgment and a sense of superiority in most students towards non-members. I knew I had a lot of it (wouldn’t admit it though). So, monthly fee seems to make one fortunate ascending soul, and once you didn’t pay -you’re a machine wasting your life. So funny, as if it matters at all…

So when you realize that there is no “us and them”, when judgment finally drops – communication between people becomes fun and natural, and there is a lot to learn and to enjoy and to share. Life is not a desert, it’s a garden full of delight.

Friendships based on monthly payment to FOF seem unnatural and superficial. I don’t miss “friends” who reported to the council behind my back and who now wouldn’t even say “hello” after years of what looked like close friendship on the surface. I may understand their behavior and don’t hold it agains them, but I don’t miss them.

it used to scare me; thankful to be released Says:
March 25, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Now this certainly brings back some bad memories. ‘Be Careful. Watch out.’ Why would a school that preaches love to its members behave in this fashion?

naive and idealistic member Says:
March 25, 2007 at 6:04 pm

To all those concerned about the sex rompings described in #294, I believe the concern should not be in the particular sexual activities described but the emotional and physical damage done to its naive and idealistic participants. I’ve never heard that addressed by the inner circle of the FOF. What about a letter addressing that point?

More history needed? Says:
March 29, 2007 at 12:14 am

The letter below was sent to Sheila Cousins, also known as Sharole Manering, who had fallen and injured herself in 1980 and had gotten behind in her monthly payments to the Fellowship of Friends.
Sharole died in 1982 after a long struggle with cancer. Her mother was very upset to find the letter from FOF among her papers.
Sharole’s mother also was disturbed to find out that Fellowship members had come to visit Sharole in the hospital, to sit and stare at Sharole, and eventually talked Sharole into returning a cameo “given” to her by Robert (the reason for this is unclear).

You see, Robert “gave” lots of cameo “gifts” to the women in the group, and they had to PAY for them! The prices weren’t cheap, some up to several hundred dollars.

Sharole’s mother was very angry about this, and demanded return of the cameo, with no success. She finally requested the help of Karl Werner (winemaster at the time) and he quickly came to her aid to effect the speedy return of the cameo rightfully to her.

Sharole would have wanted it this way; she was too weak in the hospital to deal with FOF students who came to see her, and could hardly stand to have them sitting there staring at her. We know about this because we lived in Nevada at the time, and we visited her frequently. She confided in us these things. Her mother told us about the cameo scenario, and she was mad as hops. We suggested she contact Karl.

The late Karl Werner had a sense of fairness for such things, and if anybody could accomplish the cameo’s return, it would be him. He, one of the few rare ones, could speak up to Burton and any of the hierarchy. He was unimpressed by people acting snooty.

When Sharole died, the only person “assigned” by Robert to attend her funeral was Doris Elizabeth. When it was discovered that Harold and I were still in Sparks, Nevada, Doris decided to allow us to represent FOF as we were going to the funeral anyway.

We represented ourselves at the funeral, and chalked up another notch for the inconsistencies and insensitivities of FOF members learned from the leadership.

Here is the letter which upset Sharole’s mother deeply because she realized her daughter had kept this letter with her for two years, no doubt very hurt by it herself. It has come to be known among ex members as “The Hell Letter.”

– – –
Fellowship of Friends
March 27, 1980

Sharole Manering

Philadelphia Centre

Dear Sharole,
As you requested, herein are the angles the Teacher offered to you.

“Tell Sharole hello for me. And tell her to remember that she is working with Influence C and that she needs to be a good businesswoman with them. Tell her that she has held on this long and that there is no reason that she cannot hold on eternally; that is, until she becomes an angel. Remind her that this is C influence speaking directly with her through me. Remind her that this is their way of warning her and that she has to become current with her donations now or she will have to leave the Fellowship. Tell her that the only other place to go is hell.”
– – –


108. Best of the Blog - June 5, 2010

dick moron Says:
April 1, 2007 at 3:20 am

Hello everyone,

I finally looked at this blog today–and it is quite amazing. Spent most of the day reading posts from the last month. I spent 22 years in the FOF, joining on my 19th birthday in 1974.

Leaving the FOF was a process that probably happened over a period of 5 years. While never very involved in the bureaucracy or missionary aspects of FOF, I was one of Burton’s closest and most trusted friends for many years. While I do credit the man in teaching me quite a bit, ultimately my conscience would no longer allow me to suppress and justify what I saw in him as unbridled greed and selfishness.

For about a year after I left, my wife remained in FOF, soemtimes having dinner with RB and coming home to tell me about it. Apparently she was writing a big enough check each month to make it acceptable for her to live with moon food. But that is how it always was in FOF– different rules and standards for everyone. A true aristocracy with a literal peasant class.

Now, I rarely think about FOF, except for occasional surreal dreams, where I find myself at Oregon House, feeling a little uncomfortable because I know I have not made a teaching payment for years.

Today, it is beautiful outside and the air is clear. I have never looked back on my decision to move forward with my quest for truth and leave FOF. My work has only accelerated. Teaching can come in all forms at any time. Spoken words are not always the truth. A liar can be a true teacher and then the teacher can vanish and become a barking seal.

To those friends still in FOF that are holding on to the past, have courage. Free yourself.

– – –
Rintrah roars and shakes his fires in the burden’d air; Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

Once meek, and in a perilous path, the just man kept his course along
The vale of death. Roses are planted where thorns grow, and on the barren heath sing the honey bees.
Then the perilous path was planted: and a river, and a spring on every cliff and tomb; and on the bleached bones red clay brought forth.
Till the villain left the path of ease, to walk in perilous paths, and drive the just man into barren climes.
Now the sneaking serpent walks in mild humility, and the just mans rages in the wilds where lions roam.
Rintrah roars and shakes his fires in the burden’d air; Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

– – –


109. X-ray - June 5, 2010

Fellowship of Friends
March 27, 1980

Sharole Manering

Philadelphia Centre

Dear Sharole,
As you requested, herein are the angles the Teacher offered to you.

“Tell Sharole hello for me. And tell her to remember that she is working with Influence C and that she needs to be a good businesswoman with them. Tell her that she has held on this long and that there is no reason that she cannot hold on eternally; that is, until she becomes an angel. Remind her that this is C influence speaking directly with her through me. Remind her that this is their way of warning her and that she has to become current with her donations now or she will have to leave the Fellowship. Tell her that the only other place to go is hell.”
– – –

What a piece of shit.

110. nige - June 7, 2010

desiderata – by max ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920

111. Best of the Blog - June 7, 2010

Veronicapoe Says:
April 1, 2007 at 4:41 am

from the present Wikipedia entry on the Fellowship


Objective statement of the history of the organization is problematic, because the organization ostracizes ex-members and prohibits current members from contact with ex-members. This creates a situation in which the organization’s institutional history is mostly unknown to its current membership. Objective sourcing is also problematic because of an institutional policy that promotes the destruction of papers documenting the organization’s early history, and is further complicated by misrepresentations of fact in official documents which the written and oral accounts of contemporaneous observers no longer within the organization contradict. These, taken together with the individual caches of old papers which have survived, as well as early photographs, drawings, and handwritten documents, together permit the delineation of a sourced, detailed history.

An essay written by the organization’s first member, Bonita Guido, a woman expelled from the organization in the early 1970s who now resides in Denmark, recounts that the Fellowship began after she met the founder at a New Year’s Eve party on December 31, 1969 in Lafayette, California. At the time, she was married for the second time with children in school, while he was a single man of 30 living at home with his mother. The essay, titled “History of the Fellowship of Friends: From January 1970 to December 1973″ was privately published in 1997 to an electronic mailing list of ex-members and has since been circulated privately.

While Ms. Guido does not recount the entire conversation between founder and recruit on December 31, 1969 and January 1, 1970, she does indicate that at the time she and the founder met, he said to her, “I know a God who has no clay feet.” Mrs. Guido indicates that she was under the influence of a psychedelic drug, probably mescaline, while the founder was under the influence of alcohol. She also indicates that she attended the party somehow knowing beforehand that she was going to meet someone significant.

On July 4, 1971, the Fellowship organization purchased 1,200 acres of mostly uncleared land in the Sierra foothills and spent the next five years developing the property to serve as a central retreat for Fellowship members. From 1971 to 1976, the organization established a network of satellite groups or “centers” in California. In the early 1980s the founder directed individual members to move to Europe to found centers in major European cities. Today (2007) the Fellowship has 2,200 members, approximately a third of whom live near the retreat, which changes its name every few years and is now called Isis but has previously been called Apollo, Renaissance, the Mount Carmel Monastery, Via Del Sol, and the Farm. Others live in approximately 65 centers around the world.

Recruitment and Influence Techniques

An article by “A Collective of Women” published in the Cultic Studies Journal refers to the “studied indifference” practiced by members of the organization in respect of the recruitment of new members. See A Collective of Women, “Sex, Lies, and Grand Schemes of Thought in Closed Groups,” Cultic Studies Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1997), pp. 58-84. This “studied indifference” is a formal policy of the organization repeatedly documented in its internal literature. The “prospective student meetings” are tightly scripted and have been registered as a dramatic work with the United States Register of Copyrights at the Library of Congress. See LOC Registration No. TX-4-472-455. Attendees are not informed that they are attending the performance of a dramatic work and may not understand in retrospect that the meeting they attended was not in fact “spontaneous.”

The founder at one time directed that persons conducting such meetings “administer a shock to false personality” of potential recruits by declining to accept the recruit’s hand offered in greeting. The “studied indifference” of the member toward the recruit intensifies the recruit’s desire for acceptance and offers organizational membership as that acceptance. This phenomenon has been widely discussed in the psychological literature. See Cushman, P., “The Self Besieged: Recruitment/Indoctrination Practices in Restrictive Groups,” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, March, 1986; Aronson, E. & Mills, J., “The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group,” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59, 177-181 (1959).

Prospective members and members alike are urged to refrain from the expression of negative emotions as a tenet of the Fourth Way generally and as a rule of the Fellowship organization particularly. The attempt to refrain from the expression of negative emotions creates a competition within the individual between the desire to express the “negative emotion” and the desire to refrain from its expression. Within the Fellowship organization, this competition is described as “the friction which produces consciousness,” and is lauded generally as evidence of a “deputy steward” and “the condition of Man #4.”

The influential theorist of human emotion, Silvan Tompkins, has written that “the learned inner restraint on any affect in competition with the wish to express the original affect. . . constitutes [a] stimulus to shame.” E.K. Sedgwick, A. Frank, and I.E. Alexander, Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tompkins Reader (Duke Univ. Press, 1995) at p. 162. As a matter of Fellowship culture, the competition between these two desires in individuals is deliberately incited and intensified by a variety of specific and identifiable techniques. These include the injunction to restrict one’s friendships to other Fellowship members; the social stigma attached to “losing the school” which the founder equates with “spiritual suicide”; the hierarchical directives on what constitutes proper dress, or the type of music to which one should listen, or the particular practices one should observe while consuming food; the so-called “gentle art” of “photography” and how one is properly to “receive” a “photograph”; the admonitions to “avoid opposite ‘I’s,” i.e., to avoid refusing or disagreeing when a politically powerful individual requests a recruitee to take or refrain from some action. Many more examples exist, and they combine to create a culture of behavioral control through shame induction.

Shame induction is generally discussed within the literature of “coercive” or “exploitative” persuasion and “thought reform.” See L. Festinger, A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Stanford University Press, 1957); L. Festinger, H.W. Riecken, and S. Schachter, When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World (Harper Collins, 1957); R. Lifton, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of Brainwashing in China (W.W. Norton & Co., 1961); P. Cushman, “The Self Besieged: Recruitment/Indoctrination Techniques in Restrictive Groups,” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour (March 1986). The product of the Fellowship organization’s culture of shame induction is at first to influence recruitees’ behavior, and later their belief systems, without their concurrent knowledge and informed prior consent. Such influence principally occurs when a recruitee’s distrust in his or her own ability to think critically impairs his or her ability to evaluate information objectively. While “verification” purports to be a tenet of the Ouspenskian system generally, and the Fellowship organization claims this tenet as its own, Fellowship recruitees induced to distrust their ability to think critically suffer deficits in their perceptions of reality.

Such perceptual deficits attend demands made upon new recruits for an escalating series of financial and behavioral commitments to the Fellowship organization. As the literature of cognitive dissonance demonstrates, one induced by others to act in a way dissonant with the way he sees himself will change the way he sees himself to reduce the dissonance. See P. Cushman, Op. Cit. Having complied with each step of an escalating financial commitment, the Fellowship recruitee at last sees himself as a committed student who has survived financial and spiritual trials, although he may be lacking information crucial to evaluate the wisdom of his decision, or the ability to evaluate his decision critically, even if he had such information. He is now deeply invested in the Fellowship organization. See Allan Teger, Too Much Invested To Quit, (Pergamon Press, 1980).

Material referencing experiences in the Fellowship

Strange Truth: A Horror Story (1983), by Marlane Dasmann, Library of Congress Registration No. TXu-149-031 (88-page account of author’s ten years in Fellowship and what she observed while acting as the founder’s housemaid)

Case Studies of Voluntary Defectors from Intensive Religious Groups, by Ursula Hilde Sack, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Southern California, 1985 (includes accounts of defectors from Fellowship of Friends)

Cults and consequences: The definitive handbook (1988) by R. Andres & J.R. Lane, Commission on Cults and Missionaries, Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles (includes account by former Fellowship member Barbara Bruno Lancaster)


112. Best of the Blog - June 7, 2010

Perpetua Says:
April 7, 2007 at 8:42 am

I found this letter in Stella Wirk’s website.
I think some of you might like to know about it.

Samuel Sanders Tries to Help FOF

The following Letter to the Board of Directors, Fellowship of Friends, was presented by Samuel L. Sanders, one of the FOF board members, in an attempt to have the Board of Directors take appropriate action to censure the unethical and criminal behavior of Robert E. Burton, self-professed prophet of the Fellowship of Friends.

(Around this same time, a precedent was set for this by the San Francisco Zen Center which had done the same for their leader for similar activities, and had given their leader a year off as leader to get straightened out with counseling or whatever. This had given some hope to FOF members that something similar could be accomplished.)

It was not discovered until later that Burton’s unethical activity already had transpired unabated for fourteen years!

– – –
Samuel’s letter to the Board:
March 4, 1984

Dear Friends,

What is to be said can only be heard through your heart. Please try to listen from that part. For a long time we have been part of a criminal process which has hurt many individuals. Some of these individuals have been sacrificed because we have chosen not to listen to our conscience.

Robert has over the years pursued and sodomized young men. He has used his position to seduce these young men with the promise of immortality. His actions are simply that of a degenerate being no matter how refined. We in our blindness have allowed some dear individuals to be defiled and damaged by his appetites. Our ommission, and it is one in the strictest sense, is allowing it to continue.

Some of these young men have become seriously psychologically impaired through this process. Yet we go on minimizing it because it is safer not to know. These acts are a violation of Robert’s position. If we excuse this by saying that it is his privilege or his private weakness we are both accomplice and victim. If it is allowed to continue, the karma which we attract will bring down our school and leave very heavy stains on our being. It is simply not worth the contamination wrought.

There may be much discomfort which comes from these words. But please try to think of the anguish some of these young men have been subject to in the name of evolution; and ask yourself whether you would knowingly, as a higher being, conduct your life in this way.

Can you truly accept that one can enter higher worlds by such actions? Would you wish to enter these worlds by such acts? This reasoning leads to one final not-so-profound conclusion; the Emperor is indeed very naked and we sadly provide his mantle.
Robert is a victim also. The highest that one can extend him is compassion and help. If one becomes angered at him or oneself or me the cycle continues. He is and will be confused and hurt by these actions. Yet firmness and equanimity are what is needed. We do great harm to our school and our being should we choose not to act.

We have talked and preached an ethic of love and acting for the higher right. Now is the time to be the words. It would also be a solemn and humane act for us to help the young men who have been hurt and damaged by Robert. It would be a proper legacy to pass on to the next generation.

If you find in your solitude that fear and or the wish to defend has kept you from hearing what has been said, you lose a very dear friend. You lose yourself!

In friendship,

Samuel L. Sanders

– – –

Update within a day:
The Board of Directors would not discuss this letter or its contents and closed the meeting to “think about it.” The next day, unbeknownst to Samuel Sanders, the Board of Directors voted to remove Samuel as a Board member and excommunicate him from the Fellowship of Friends…

– – –
It was approximately two years ago [from the time of Stella’s posting] that an upsetting event took place at a meeting held at the FOF farm at Oregon House. From information received, the meeting was led by Belinda Rockwood (formerly known as Linda Kaplan), who asked the members attending, “Are there any questions?” the standard opening for an FOF meeting.

Yes, there were several pointed questions about what was occurring with Robert Burton’s activities, to which Belinda would redirect the meeting by re-stating her required topic. Some people still tried to ask questions and Belinda abruptly ended the meeting. Those people who had stood at the meeting and asked questions were excommunicated from the Fellowship by the next day. Emily Gordon, Ramona Merryweather, to name two long-term members (Ramona from the 1970s!), thrown out of the group for no other reason than requesting truth!

Of course, people being ousted from FOF are not said to be “excommunicated.” The line for their removal is, “They were *released* by higher forces.” Mmmm Hmmm, sure. “Higher forces” are supportive of the life Burton leads, according to Burton, which is almost as absurd as Goldman’s remarks.

It was about this time in 1995 that approximately 250 members left FOF (although rumors erroneously report about 400 people left).
Last we heard, the farm, now called Apollo, is no longer open to the public one day a week and no tours are being made there. The restaurant, La Cochina, is closed to the public and only open once a week for the membership.

The Fellowship conspiracy to “cover up” Burton’s activities is not explained by weather balloons flying over Apollo, yet it may be becoming more clear that these terrible secrets may be coming out at long last.

If a board covers green grass on a lawn, the grass turns brown and all sorts of insects, worms and other wiggly things take up residence under the board. When lifting the board and allowing the sun to shine in that former dark spot, the grass immediately begins to heal in the sunlight, and the bugs, beatles and other insects scurry out of sight fast! Healing for the Fellowship requires that light be shed on all that has been kept in the dark for a quarter of a century and the group must return to adhering to the *original principles* of the Fourth Way!

Everyone in the hierarchy involved in keeping the membership in the dark certainly is responsible for supporting this unfortunate situation.
– – –

113. Best of the Blog - June 7, 2010

dick moron Says:
April 1, 2007 at 8:34 pm

A few observations for poster of #97:
“I am a member of the Fellowship, and like you I have been reading with an open mind everything being posted here, letting it enter and agitate my being, even to the point of leaving the school if that is where it leads. It is disturbing, but I do not want to “crystallize in outdated points of view or close my eyes to what may be true.”

Listen to your conscience. It is the too-often silent voice of truth.

“I am grateful that the school is entirely organized–down to the last salt shaker—with the aim of creating consciousness in its participants, and that almost all its members share that aim. I appreciate the non-sentimental approach to effort and the transformation of suffering. I appreciate the attempt to avoid the expression of negativity. I appreciate its focus, its freedom from distractions and the law of accident. Others seem to find this limiting, but for myself, it is essential.”

Routines create a false feeling of comfort and safety. It’s easy to let another tell you what art, music and culture are good. Where is the effort in this?

“It certainly would be blissful to think there is no more work left to do, but it does seem naive. A system that does not include the idea of denying force and the need for effort does not correspond with my own observations.”

Once you understand and have verified the purpose of denying-force, you will never be lacking denying-force in your life–where ever you are. It goes beyond any system.

“I actually think Robert is relieved when we free ourselves from our dependency on him, but as usual, he is not telling us this until we get there.”

He is relieved because he does not really care about or want to be bothered by students that are not of personal value to him.

“A question is then, have we as students developed enough strength and will to go out and do it on our own? The answer is probably yes, and if the school were to fail, I am sure that most of the students would sincerely continue their work wherever they found themselves.”

When you finally realize the school HAS failed, you may no longer have the strength to “do it on your own”.

“There is no exclusivity in our position. It is more, as Robert said, that we are “equally beggars.”

I believe Jesus Christ first said something to that effect.

“And where did all this morality come from anyway? I thought we were the products of the sexual revolution. How much do we actually know about sex? I have been surprised to see the witchhunt for R for his alleged sexual life. Maybe the family values people are having an effect!”

You obviously have never been forced by another to have sex against your will and desire.

“I would also like to suggest to Medusa, Mole, Walls Have Ears, and some of the others who no longer belong in the Fellowship, but are still in it, to quietly go. It is fine to be disappointed and to voice your frustrations, and absolutely fine to leave the school and check out the alternatives, but it is not useful to go out in such a blaze of negativity. Your revenge will probably not do much harm to the Fellowship, but may very likely may do harm to yourselves.”

The best advice in your entire post.

Mole Says:
April 3, 2007 at 2:01 am

Yes, watching the little ‘John’scenario unfolding on the blog has been amusing.Problem is John,after your apparant ‘humble and touchingly honest’discourse with yourself(s) as pointed out nicely by Watch Out post #208, you let it all slip badly in post #144 by judging Rita just like a FOF veteran.I’m afraid it takes a bit longer than a week in FOF to develop that special kind of arrogance…..
I may as well mention a couple of other posters that all have the same flavour and are obviously not who they are trying to pretend they are.
‘Seeker’ from a few pages back.Pretending to be an ‘outsider’.Quite laughable that attempt but probably a practice for the later incarnations of John, ‘Friend’El Zorro’ and co.
‘Former Miss America’ Pretending to be an ex student..but continuing to judge the blog from the perspective of a diehard FOF member.

I’d say ‘Friend’ is also the same person who spends so much time geting unflattering reviews of R.Burtons book Self Remembering’removed from amazon.com and flooded the recent Wikipedia FOF entry with pages of FOf propaganda therby burying from view the material that he is obviously terrified of getting out to the public.

Must be a full time job !

dick moron Says:
April 5, 2007 at 5:47 am

Post 256. Clara Elena. I truly admire your courage to speak the way you do in this public forum. Still, from the perspective of someone who had been totally committed and dedicated to serving the “teacher” for so many years (never really committed to serving the other “anointed ones’ though), I have to say the comparison to Hitler is still not accurate. A better comparison would be between RB and Adanoid Hinkel, the character played by Charlie Chaplin in “The great Dictator”. Think of the scene where Chaplin bounces the inflated world globe off his fingertips. If you haven’t seen the movie–rent the DVD.
The main difference I see is that anyone CAN just walk away from Burton and FOF. Really! Just try not sending a check for a couple of months and see how easily you are escorted to the border. This was hardly the case in Nazi Germany, even if you were a loyal Arian native. The emotional and mental difficulty that leads up to leaving the FOF may feel like being in a concentration camp, but it is temporary– believe me.

Be brave.

Veronicapoe Says:
April 6, 2007 at 2:57 am

Clara, Innernaut, Vena, Another Former,
I applaud and support you all for speaking your truths. They resonate with my experience.
About the term, “feminine dominance”:

It is Burtonspeak.
It is misogynist.
It demeans women.

Better terms to refer to attempts at behavioral control by inducing shame or guilt are “shame induction” or “guilt induction.” Shame induction and guilt induction are not the same, because guilt and shame are not identical, but they belong to the same family of emotions.

Clara Elena Gutierrez Says:
April 6, 2007 at 10:03 pm

Dear Jewly and friends,
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross says that some people’s souls sacrifice their bodies to help other people’s minds understand ‘reality’. Dorothy is such a human being.

After two years of looking after Dorothy and at the limit of getting chronic fatigue I asked Robert for help with still another person to help care for her that I would personally pay within the framework of salary so that we would all get some money from the nine hours a day, at six dollars an hour that I was getting from her insurance. The letter was not answered immediately and I was desperate so I wrote another letter with full details of Dorothy’s and my play. I received the answer that Robert never wanted to hear about the octave again, that I was under feminine dominance, that I was not to ever talk to four “reckless” ladies in charge of the administration of the Fellowship about it, that the Fellowship had never been a school for healing and that yes, I could go ahead and pay anyone with my money and have them not pay teaching payments. I was also not to send out any more e-mails on my name and one went out with my name but not written by me. Then Girard started sending them out. I was also told that a home would be looked for where she could be sent. This was changed when I asked to take Dorothy with me and leave the school…

114. Best of the Blog - June 7, 2010

Conscience be your guide Says:

April 8, 2007 at 3:07 pm
It’s not the sex. It’s not the depravity. It’s not the abuse of power. It’s not the spiritual terrorism. It’s not the megalomaniacal behaviour. It’s not the lies, lies, lies. It’s not the…

It is the lack of conscience:
Consciousness and conscience are two sides of the same coin. Without both, developing in parallel, there is no current C. The unbridled pursuit of consciousness, with the exclusion of conscience, is unconscionable. This is the raison d’être (basic reason for existence) of malady and disharmony in the Fellowship of Friends. Community reflects the values. This condition is an abomination to God and Nature. Until that is fixed, with every person in the Fellowship, progress will be stunted, at best, on the spiritual path – the organism will be deformed. Create endless beauty on the surface of life – shock and awe – but what is within cannot be hidden from discerning eye (third eye). There is something rotten in…

I could tell you true stories that happened in FOF that you would not believe. What’s your story?

– – –
Foul deeds will rise,
though all the earth overwhelm them,
to men’s eyes.
William Shakespeare
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Act 1, Scene 2.

– – –
I dream’d in a dream I saw a city
invincible to the attacks of the
whole of the rest of the earth,
I dream’d that was the new city of Friends,
Nothing was greater there than
the quality of robust love,
it led the rest,
It was seen every hour
in the actions of the men of that city,
And in all their looks and words.
Walt Whitman
(Does that still apply to FOF?
Remember the days we believed?
What kind of love is this?)

– – –
We have met the enemy and he is us.
Walt Kelly

Conscience be your guide


115. Best of the Blog - June 7, 2010

Vena Says:
April 8, 2007 at 8:24 pm

Regarding storming the Bastille: Once, many years ago, while walking with Miles and several other students through the vineyard, I was shocked to hear him say, after someone referred to Robert being “on Leonard da Vinci’s ladder”, that it seemed more likely that Robert was on Marie Antoinette’s ladder.


116. Best of the Blog - June 7, 2010

wake up little suzy wake up Says:
April 9, 2007 at 5:16 pm

Howard Carter (#15), no matter how much you justify staying in the Fellowship you have given up your soul to do it. The side where your conscience resides. And in reading your blog it’s basically ‘all about you and your life’. I cannot feel any compassion for others in what you say. Do you truly believe that Robert only beds with men he cares for and is attracted to and who return that love? What about the ones who have been psychologically or physically damaged? Do you admit those exist? Is that their fault and their responsibility? I believe you think it is. Then you go on to say, no, you don’t care so long as you get what ‘you’ came for. It sounds to me from reading your blog that you’re fearful that if you leave the school all your bad habits will reappear and you need the structure of the school to stay on top of your game. Again, it’s all about you Howard. Isn’t it lonely in that place of yours where you don’t allow your feelings in?

Then you go on using so many work angles to justify your coldness and unfeeling parts of yourself. Is it just too painful to accept what truly is and always has been happening?

Clara is expressing all kinds of emotions about leaving. This is healthy. This is what it is like to leave for us who were sincere about joining and sincere about leaving. It’s not fun, not safe, but there is such a freedom when one does it. Because for the first time in years their conscience is making the decisions. Conscience and consciousness are synonymous to me. You can’t turn your back on this part of yourself or what happens to you is you become part of that unconscious, unfeeling machine that runs the Fellowship. And if you don’t face it when you leave you will just go look for another place to justify this damaged behavior in yourself. Howard, this is what they call denial. This IS the most painful part of the process of leaving. Each person that does experiences this painful process is healing themselves and forgiving themselves for their unconscienable behavior.

I wish you only the best Howard but you don’t sound like you are ready to face this painful process yet. You are basing your reasons for staying on all the comforts of home, all about you, all about your life and how you benefit. Your blog resounds with me, me, and more me.

The way I feel today is that we have a responsibility as humans to care for one another, no boundaries, in or out. We are the caretakers of this beautiful earth, and this includes everyone. It is our responsibility to help the poor, the less fortunate, the sick however we can. This is where conscience comes in. Howard you justify your reasons to stay in the Fellowship with convenient work angles. In my opinion it’s a sad place to be Howard because in the end you lose.

I am so glad to be out of this denial and selfishness. Try a little selflessness. It feels wonderful.


117. Best of the Blog - June 7, 2010

ears have walls Says:
April 9, 2007 at 5:50 pm

Information has it that Abraham Goldman (the FOF pro bono lawyer) had a meeting of all council members, FOF board and all octave leaders at FOF, who were told ( among many other things) to be very careful who they spoke to and that these are ‘very dangerous times’ for the FOF.

Interesting! If there was nothing to hide, why would it be considered dangerous times??? I wonder what the ‘outside’ threat is? Or is inside threat? Maybe students are starting to open their eyes, ears and hearts and starting to question their ‘beliefs’.

Hmmm. I would say these are interesting times for most, and dangerous for a few.


118. nige - June 7, 2010

117 Best of the Blog

“Interesting! If there was nothing to hide, why would it be considered dangerous times??? I wonder what the ‘outside’ threat is? Or is inside threat?”

Things that could be investigated by the appropriate authorities…..

The financial personal direction of FOF (church funds) money towards the promotion of the lavish lifestyle of REB (inurement).

The lack of fiduciary responsibilityby REB, as a spirtual leader, as witnessed by former lawsuits by former members.

Reason – if the FOF is still a church and has financial and spiritual responsibilies, why are these not adhered to?…..Nigel

119. Best of the Blog - June 8, 2010

Elena Says:
April 8, 2007 at 10:33 pm

Dear Zorro (#5/381)

I sincerely appreciate your participation in this dialogue.

You say:
Z. Your decision to look after Dorothy is certainly NOT under “feminine dominance”, it is a free choice you made guided by your noble essence.

I say:
E: You’re contradicting your teacher, it was HE who said that what I was doing was “Feminine dominance”. I have been very careful not to disclose the whole letter I sent him so that we don’t shock too many people out of their feet, nor attack the ignorance and unconsciousness of the many students that helped and allowed for something like this to take place, unconcerned, but I will be happy to do that if you press just a little deeper so that we really understand the issues involved.

Z: Nevertheless, your expectation that the FoF should help you in this task is certainly under “feminine dominance”

E: You’re getting back to your teacher’s stand. Would you please explain why you think the FoF should not help someone take care of Dorothy after he or she states that after two years of doing the octave, they cannot continue volunteering? The issue is not “me”, it is the objective responsibilities that we are assuming as a conscious school or community, whatever fits you better. If it is a school who at some point asked students to abandon their biological families and ties to their nation and humanity, should it not assume responsibility for its students, at least?

Or are we playing again with this double morality that the “standards” of the fellowship are way above life standards when it is convenient for the Fellowship and very much aligned with life standards and way below them, when it is convenient for the fellowship?

Are we going back to “A friend’s” statements that since there is no justice in the world why have any of it in the Fellowship?

Or his other statement that says
F: (5/183) What would you like to see in the school? A Father Knows Best community–a Mother Teresa hostel for the poor–or a Camelot with a noble king and loyal subjects, where it only rains at night? It would be nice! Or what we have—thorny and contradictory, reflecting life itself?

E: So are you saying that the cheap brothel disguised in the clothing of a noble king and his subjects, in which Mr. Burton has converted our lives with little bunnies coming to interrupt even our most intimate moments to ask for a little more money for the brothel to survive, are much better than the father knows best community or Teresa’s hostel for the poor? You sound like you’re the answering machine of the brothel and have something to protect. Is it the brothel? Or the fact that you condone the abandonment of your family and friends as soon as they become too ill to continue because you have to continue “work, work, work” so that you don’t have time to look around you and clean any one else’s pain? Or perhaps you just wouldn’t lower yourself to such a ‘third world’ job? The mother Teresa’s and her kind who Mr. Burton actually makes fun of in his meetings, probably jealous of the fact that insignificant as she is, (dressed like Gloria who was asked to never dine with him again), Mother Teresa of Calcutta can actually stand in any country on the globe and stop a war while she gets the children out? If we’re really out to compare things, don’t you find that it is much better to be in Mother Teresa’s shoes than in Mr. Burton’s “Guci” shoes who has to go around the world hiring boats to take his quiet, submissive and understanding adepts for a spiritual stroll?

You continue:
Z: The FoF’s mission is not to provide shelter to ill individuals.
E: Indeed, it seems its mission is to make them sick, irresponsible… who depending on their weakness adhere and accommodate to a form that obnubilates them from themselves and the community they live in convinced that they are flying straight into the third state avoiding all their human responsibilities with themselves and the people around them.
Z: Its members don’t pay their monthly donations in exchange of a pension plan or a medical insurance.

E: No, they don’t unfortunately, they’d be much better off. They pay donations so that Mr. Burton can import twenty year old men from all over the world who want to give themselves a chance to make a little more money than they can in their country, work for a more conscious life and live in a conscious school with real people and instead land in the wolf’s mouth, “be” immediately devoured by him with the blessing and applause of everyone around him who are “so happy to pay for it”.

Or maybe you mean they pay donations to build more prytaneiums and theatrons were they can continue submitting to Mr. Burton’s all encompassing subjectivity in his non ending monologue and journeying forth by day in his unlimited lust to “LOOK” at beautiful young men dancing ballet? I think we hadn’t even mentioned the voyeurism of Mr. Burton’s greed or do you think he watched football for years, instead of teaching, because he just enjoyed the ball? Or maybe they pay donations for such deeply spiritual rituals in which nothing but Mr. Burton’s higher and lower centre’s birthdays, school anniversaries, auctions and dinners have no other vision than his tired monologue in which he has to ask Mr. Braverman what he’s talking about? Or is it just that you’re only present to yourself and can’t see beyond yourself as the perfect student who took Mr. Burton word by word just like all the German nation did with we know who? I am not saying this to attack you, just to let you know how common your behavior is, specially in “developed” countries.
Maybe I am confused and you probably mean that students pay donations so that they can support the artists of the Fellowship. Perhaps they get well payed for giving up their talents to such a reduced community for the length of their lives or perhaps they just wonder why they don’t get payed a reasonable sum because they have to give it up to pay life musicians better than they that come to show them what real music is? Real ballet? Because Mr. Burton cannot bring his eyes to “look” at them and can only attend life musician’s performances? There are of course exceptions that make the rule.

Or maybe you just sincerely mean that students pay to support the inner circle. Those young men and women that managed to get Mr. Burton to support their education in Europe, open wineries and olive companies for themselves, small businesses or study a career that would meet the present urge? Or maybe students like Mr. Haven who gave up their life to convince students like me that it was all a conscious effort? And who, as you say, never have or will have “shelter to ill individuals” or “medical insurance” and instead go around begging and asking for loans from other students to pay their medical bills and lend themselves to this double morality of your conscious school so that it looks so human? So that everything gets mixed together and no one knows in the end what exactly they are paying for, Mr. Burton’s mate or Mr. Haven’s fate?

Do we not as members of this foundation not have a right to know exactly where our money is being spent and why, or do you think our king of clubs is not developed enough to understand wether it is really that willing to pay for Mr. Burton’s king of clubs or not?

Z : The only thing that the “teaching payments” can buy is opportunities to be conscious of your own life. What each member then does with this consciousness, how they use it in their daily lives, is totally their own decision, not the FoF’s.

E: I completely agree. Would you please expand on why the Fellowship is not conscious and transparent in its daily life and the decisions it makes so that the students can decide for themselves?

Z: There is possibly a misunderstanding of the term “external consideration” here.

E: The misunderstanding of “external consideration” is Mr. Burton’s who has confused the idea of remembering one’s self with affirming one’s king of clubs and in so doing found it impossible to bring himself or the School to a community reducing it to a very dangerous private club.

Z: Its esoteric meaning is mainly connected to the ability of consciousness to consider a situation externally, from beyond the machine, instead of considering it internally just from one’s own mechanics.

E: I completely agree, this is exactly what Mr. Burton and Mr. Haven were unable to accomplish for themselves as individuals or the school as a whole.

Z: The term is diminished, it becomes exoteric, when it is used merely from the point of view of addressing the needs of others.

E: The term becomes exoteric when external consideration becomes the personal use of Mr. Burton for the privileged few that he happened to like without any objectivity. All those students who supported him because of their monetary or emotional possibilities, by their own weaknesses to be part of a conscious man’s life or by their own strength to innocently believe in the beauty of it all.

It is important to realize that this is what has “happened” to us ALL, including Mr. Burton. I do not believe that any one of us maliciously conceived it or carried it out, it simply kept happening and the few attempts that have been made to stop it where easily payed off and dismissed, the issues were hidden and silenced by those who remained and the school continued to receive honest and innocent people wishing to awake. There are serious responsibilities for those who have kept quiet and continued to promote the same conditions, for too many of us know now and understand the issues involved. There are both karmic responsibilities to account for in the long run and in the short run. Weak as life standards might be, they are still objective enough to put an end to the abuse that one or a few men can impose on a community.

Suing the Fellowship and its administrators is a possibility for all the young men that are still being used as Mr. Burton’s mates and every student who has been deceived to pay for the wrong cause for I do not believe that the founder of a church like ours can have unlimited use of the money involved or that any student doesn’t have a right to look at what is done with what he pays.

I did get my money’s worth but besides my money’s worth I got a lot of pain from each deceit. It is with this pain that I will not let it be.


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Yesri Baba Says:
April 9, 2007 at 9:29 am

Can we please stop with the “verify” nonsense? Anything that can be known is only more or less relative “truth”. The “truth” of an idea or perception exists only within a context. When the context is changed so is the “truth”. Nothing in the universe is static. There is no absolute “truth” except notions cemented into the mind. I know this will be near impossible for many to see but it is so.

When we say we have “verified” such and such we are really saying now i see clearly what you are trying to convince me of.

It is a frighteningly wonderful world without any “verifications” and the truth is everywhere one looks.


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Traveler Says:
April 9, 2007 at 4:44 pm

Howard Carter says: ‘Am I prepared for the possible reality that the FoF is everything it claims to be, and that I have been dead wrong about it? […] I’m asking people to suspend their beliefs, and ask themselves – what if the FoF is what it says it is? […] Remember, all former students; if the FoF is indeed a fraud it means you were once dead wrong about it. You went looking for a school and you mistakenly settled for a cult/group. Now that we know you CAN be wrong, ask yourself this? What if I were right to begin with and wrong now?’

I would ask everyone to please read this paragraph above again and again and really try to follow the thought that Howard is suggesting. It is such a perfect illustration of Fellowship mindset. If you realize you have broken your brain with the reverse logic and all the what-ifs you are trying to sustain at the same time, and you are feeling confused, you can simply keep ‘turning’ from all the i’s, stay in the FOF forever and just be present now, because you can be sure the gods want that. Or you’d better start paying membership to be allowed to worship the flying spaghetti monster quickly, because what if it is real too? I mean, think of all the faiths out there you need to suspend your judgment about in order to truly understand that they are really real. So many claim they are the only true way! What a quandry. I sure don’t want to go to hell or be relegated to the end of a very long queue by not lending them my devotion.


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dick moron Says:
April 9, 2007 at 8:46 pm

Howard Carter/15:

You present yourself as being absolutely sure in your verifications and beliefs that the FOF is a real school and that angels are working directly with members, Burton, etc.

You might ask yourself then, why are you such an active participant in the discussions of this Blog, which, obviously is a forum and tool for those expressing and searching for diverse points of view.

It would appear that you are either actually insecure in your verifications or that you are being intellectually combative in order to reinforce your sense of superiority and status as a good student. Then again, you are repeatedly interacting with former FOF students, which I thought was against Burton’s directives.

You wrote:
“Remember, all former students; if the FoF is indeed a fraud it means you were once dead wrong about it. You went looking for a school and you mistakenly settled for a cult/group. Now that we know you CAN be wrong, ask yourself this? What if I were right to begin with and wrong now?”

I have no regrets about joining the FOF and no regrets about moving on when the time was right for me. I don’t need to put a label on my experience: Cult, school, religious group, fraud. Each living being who has the ability, discerns for themselves what is right and wrong. It is part of the nature of duality. Like the magnetic poles of the earth, those understandings can switch back and forth.

Can anyone, in reality ever know what is an absolute truth? Do you think your little mind will survive physical death and you will finally be able to say: “See, I was right and you were wrong”? Will Leonardo give you a high five in the after-life? Maybe so, but no one here will ever know, will they? To use your poker analogy: if everyone in the game but you folds, they don’t get to see your hand. Were you bluffing or did you have 4 Queens?

I choose to view this life I have now as all I will ever know. I can affect change in myself and be present only in this moment. Maybe I was wrong to not accept Jesus into my heart during the Pentacostal meeting I attended when I was 15. Maybe I’m screwed because I am do not pray to Allah or was not born Jewish.

You are starting to sound like the Jehovah’s Witness I mistakenly invited into my home and tried to engage in a discussion about their little pamphlet.

Have you really given up your imaginary picture of yourself, or have you only painted a new one over the years?

Maybe it’s time for you to go back to Egypt and discover another unopened tomb, Howard. Don’t forget about the curse.
Good luck.


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To Mark H. in Seattle, I’ve been omitting your email address until now….. was wondering if (after three years) you were enjoying life as far away as possible from this. But let it be said that your words did resonate with many people on these pages.

And Nigel, keep on posting brother. I’m just letting it fly.


Mark H Says:
April 9, 2007 at 10:44 pm

Howard (15):

You ask us to consider what if the FOF is what it claims to be, and what if it is true that those who find the school and leave it will suffer “not a good fate.” (RB is more explicit, stating that you will lose your chance to awaken forever.) You suggest that one has nothing to lose by staying in, but risks everything if they leave.

By the same logic one also risks everything by staying in the FOF and not joining some other cult which says that THEIR way is the only way.

But why believe RB or any other cult leader when they speak such obvious nonsense? Why allow yourself to be ruled by fear? Why not use your native intelligence to see that all these emperors are buck naked, raving lunatics?

Your fear is based entirely on your blind belief in the pronouncements of one man, Robert Burton. This is a man who, according to numerous sources, tells people that if they have sex with him it will benefit their spiritual evolution. Now, maybe you regard his sex life as none of your business. But what does it say about the credibility or “level of being” of someone who would say and do something like that? And why, why, why would you believe for even one second anything about what he has to say about the fate of your soul should you decide to leave the FOF?

Will you please answer those questions for me?

Mark H. (mkhovila@yahoo.com)
Seattle, Washington
FOF member 1973-78


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Yesri Baba Says:
April 9, 2007 at 10:56 pm

Hey Howard, if someone walks up in front of the pews and pulls down their pants, squats and lays a steamy pile in front of everybody, there are likely to be a large number of similar responses. There is no need to get all Freud and Shakespeare to figure that one out.
You seem to be an intelligent guy. You should realize we are all pretty familiar with the party line and the smell evokes a lot of retching and puking. If you would turn your metaphor making mind to the examination of the pile behind you instead of spraying Glade your contributions to the blog might be better received.

the Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion Says:
April 10, 2007 at 1:32 am

Dare to Dream (32): Humanity is on the verge of a global rise in consciousness. You’re either on the bus or off of the bus. So enjoy the ride…

Yeah… It’s freaky, isn’t it?

Inner Jewels Says:
April 10, 2007 at 7:39 am

Dear All,
Tonight was a night of coincidences that make it hard believe angels are not here, wafting breezes of conscious recognition into my life….Allow me to share a personal story:
I spent the evening with my “soul sister” (we decided to call each other that tonight) and her mother. Sophie is 17 and unbelievably beautiful, life is bubbling up in her with so many possibilities. She’s a painter and an epicure and a warm, loving young woman who I took care of from just four months till when she was four years old in Los Angeles. Her mother is an older mom who is married to a screenwriter in LA whose career is failing, despite a few early hits. In the course of our dinner, Karin, the Swedish mom, told me about a man who had Alzheimer’s who lived in their Santa Monica neighborhood. This was a man who had survived the holocaust, who through an extraordinary capacity to understand human psychology and to “seize the moment” (as Karin told me she had deduced), he had managed to escape the clutches of that fascist nightmare, more than once….only, alas, to find his own family dismissive of him in his later years. Apparently, he had had an affair which made his family judge, reject, and ultimately refuse to care for him (the irony of this story was coming on strong by this time). But in his final years, an ad-hoc community had rallied around him and took him in, cared for him, unearthed his stories, built bridges from this terrible disease into his tender, heroic heart, which still had so much to give. Karin talked about what a gift it was to know and care for this man, and though he had died last year, how much he had given to the community and to her own daughter. In fact, Karin said, she was gearing up to volunteer as an Ombudsman for seniors (after Sophie went away to college), to take some of what she learned and develop it into what she hoped could become a new way of helping people as they age—she wanted to give older folks the chance to experience “the joy of growing older” she said. Her own father had had Alzheimer’s and in the course of his demise, she discovered that though he could not speak, he understood things on an emotional level. When she told him what a good father he had been, for example, he became a little shy and humble, taking in the compliment. She knew there was someone behind the disease who could still be loved. Someone who loved her. All this was so poignant and powerful to hear…. Oh and earlier, an artist I met at the Met— whose paintings are in the Smithsonian—talked about how producing art was a conscious engagement with limitless creation, requiring us to go beyond the mental contraptions of who we thought we were, or what anyone else told us we should be ….It was such a wonderful night I wanted to share it with you all, my sweet cyberfriends. To let you know that I carry you with me, these hard lessons and words and decisions, I carry them with me and the gods seemed tonight, to have given me some surprising alternatives, mirroring magically some of what we’re learning here. The topper was: the coat check lady gave me a 10 of hearts card to claim our coats. By then I had to laugh out loud. And so I pass along this little tale, to share the light and the laughter and though I want to assure you, I’m probably just a queen of spades or clubs—but the card was for all of us here. And for all those people around the world who want to do good and who are doing it, with heart and mind and soul, for the benefit of all
with love,

The third pig Says:

April 10, 2007 at 8:25 am
to whom it may concern,

you are not alone

the universe is all around

it gives off life and light

and recieves life and light
your view is unique

the love, the light , the passion

they are the same
we love you

we understand

be open to us

we will surround you

pigs with wings


Mary Battista Says:
April 10, 2007 at 9:11 am

Just watched the true story of “Jonestown” on tv tonight.










the Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion Says:
April 10, 2007 at 3:27 pm

Is it really so hard to believe that the Fellowship of Friends is not the real deal?

There are so many people who will willingly join spiritual groups, believing that there is a shortcut to the divine, that only they will be saved.

There are also many (and the numbers are going up) who simply got there. If you believe that the Fellowship of Friends (or any other group, including any and all religions) is the only source of real awakening, then you are cutting yourself of from a very tangible and real supply of enlightenment here on Earth, one that so many others are tapping into.

You see, no one really cares whether you take advantage of what is on offer, but don’t lie to yourself that what you are getting now is all that is available.

See you around the corner.


125. Best of the Blog - June 8, 2010

somebody Says:
April 11, 2007 at 2:39 am

This is a video on how to start a cult…
Does it remind you of anything?


126. nige - June 8, 2010

Sandi Thom – “I’m a human being”

There are six and a half billion souls
I believe to be breathing you can love them you can leave them
They’re walking and talking up ad down all around this world
There are six and a half billion dreams
From london to new york, new york to bejing
Every man every woman every boy and every girl

There are six and a half billion beliefs
But in the end were the same underneath
Every different shape or size
If you’re strong or if you’re wise
Its all beautiful
There are six and a half billion lives
Some are laughing some are crying
Some are living some are dying if you’re small or ten feet tall
If you’re strange if you’re weird you’re wonderful

I’m a human being
I’m a living loving breathing
I’m not a dumb machine
I’m a walking talking dreaming
And I don’t know what it means
But I know what I believe in
I believe in love and I love being a human being

There are six and a half billion songs
Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder and the Rolling Stones
If you’re straight or if you’re drunk
If you’re hippy or a punk
Get musical
There are six and a half billion hearts
Some are keeping it together some are falling apart
Some are good some are bad
Happy and sad
They’re loveable

I’m a human being
I’m a living loving breathing
I’m not a dumb machine
I’m a walking talking dreaming
And I don’t know what it means
But I know what I believe in
I believe in love and I love being a human being

There are six and a half billion minds
Thinking and inventing and changing times
Making up the grades and turning the pages in history
There are six and a half billion pairs of feet
Walking to the sound of the drummers beat
They go hop skip and jump thumping in time
Sing 1,2,3……

I’m a human being
I’m a living loving breathing
I’m not a dumb machine
I’m a walking talking dreaming
And I don’t know what it means
But I know what I believe in
I believe in love and I love being a human being.

127. Best of the Blog - June 8, 2010

Yesri Baba Says:
April 11, 2007 at 2:42 am

The saying goes something like: If you wrestle in the mud with a pig long enough you will come to realize you can never win because the pig is enjoying it. So it is with your vanity Howard Carter.

As far as i know there is no punishment for complicity in spiritual crime except ones own conscience and perhaps continued incarnation. The Caligulas, the Hitlers, the Pol Pots, the Robert Burtons, the Jim Joneses, the Rajneeshes and their petty, fearful minions are an endless parade which will continue to arise forever and we will continue to rise to oppose them.

In the end you are right Howard Carter. If the Absolute is an esoteric, exclusive and vengeful God only allowing ass kissers into heaven you win. If it is a loving, forgiving God you will have an eternity of lifetimes to grow weary of yourself and the stench rising from beneath your lips. Again you win.

In reality the framework is wrong. The truth is there is only you Howard Carter so you lose.

the Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion Says:
April 11, 2007 at 1:06 pm

Howard Carter (88): Great reply. I really really like you, I think that you are a nice guy and I enjoy reading what you have to say.

I do not question that the FoF works – it may very well work for a small number of members, perhaps you among them.

I find the notion that the FoF is the only place that works as ludicrous as believing that the FoF will not ever work for anyone. It will, and perhaps it has. If you are willing to consciously put up with all those little blemishes (manipulation, brain washing, indoctrination, cult of personality), then the FoF can facilitate growth as much as anything else.

Sadly enough, there are hundreds of groups similar to the FoF (yes, really, hundreds), thousands of teachers and gurus (many of them not unlike RB), millions of people looking for the same answers with just as much passion and vigour as you are (many of them not unlike you)…

So it’s not a question of whether the FoF is a real school or not (that is a subjective question, not an objective one) – it is a question of whether the majority of the 2,000 members aren’t wasting their time. There are thousands of places to look, limiting your choices in such a way as to stay in the group for 20+ years seems a bit wasteful to me. Stagnation and passivity, succumbing to the fear of change, will get you nowhere. Wouldn’t you agree?

somebody Says:
April 11, 2007 at 5:45 pm


ESTABLISH FRONT GROUPS: (prospective student meetings)
“We are Bible study group, we are meditation group, we are personal development center” (We are Gurgieff – Ouspensky school)

“Don’t you want a world of unconditional love and brotherhood? We have the secrets to self-improvement” (we have living Gods working with us called influence C. Fellowship of Friends. Conscious Love)

TELL THEM THIS IS THEIR ONLY CHANCE AND THEY HAVE NO TIME: (The last civilization is coming to an end. We are the only Real school on the planet Earth)

Nothing in this world has value unless relates to the leader or the ultimate purpose (sleeping machines)

Keep them active and with a little sleep as possible, low protein diet (put them on salary or demand the teaching payments. Dress code)

Let our doctrine think for you

Induce guilt: “You are not living up to your potential”
Fear (you will be eaten by the moon or die like a dog)
Block out the info which is critical for the group (blog!)
Encourage to spy and tell on one another (call Linda)

“When I was meditating I felt an infinite emptiness it was terrifying” – ” No, this is good, you are transforming, do it more, You are reaching God! You are being re-born! You are become one with the Universe, one with our Family.”
“I don’t know who I am anymore” – “Good, now you are free. In fact there was no you there to begin with!”

“You battling your sinful nature, your body is detoxifying. Your ego is a source of all your problems” (Lower self King of Clubs etc)

“Your Bible clearly states that I am the Messiah”

“I am the enlightened master of the universe. I invented air.” (gathering the keys)

“I have a special access to the aliens”. (I am one of Them and one of you. Leonardo Da Vinci gives me shocks every 3 seconds)


“Your friends and family probably won’t understand maybe you should stay away from them. It’s unhealthy for you to be around unenlightened people anyway! If you can’t recruit your friends – cut off from them Stop wasting time with non-believers.”

“The whole purpose must be the focus, the self-purpose must be subordinated”

“Before I came to emerge I was a bad person I was greedy, misguided, self-centered, and lost. My life is wonderful now. I hate my old life.” (applouds) “Before coming to emerge I was always in my ego. My toxic mind was running my life. I was a sinful negative looser. Thanks to the leader – every day I am a winner.”

Make them feel part of a special elite group with an important mission.

“I think I want to leave” – “You must be insane!”
Make them feel guilty – “We are doing important work here! Do you expect saving the world is easy? We are all called upon to make some sacrifices for the cause. Just when things get tough you want to gave up. You are weak! Do you want to move on to the enlightenment or do you want to fall back to you old dirty ways? What’s more important – our mission, eternal salvation or your petty grievances? You are being negative! Ignorant! Selfish! And sinful! Our leader is flawless. The doctrine is flawless. There must be something wrong with you!”

Tell them that they can be possessed by evil spirits, or if they ever leave – something bad could happen to them:
“I am just warning you that without us your life is going to get to a bad accident, get sick or even die. If you leave you just going to be reincarnated into a lower life form.” (you will go back to the end of the queue)

THE SONG: “We love the leader, the leader is Love, when I am not with Him I feel like a shlab”

flying free Says:
April 11, 2007 at 10:46 pm

… There appears to be an FOF exodus occuring all around the world. Yes, many of us ‘long lifers’ (myself included of over 20 years in the FOF) , grew up, matured, woke up,(whatever) and finally left the cult.
There are only a few that post on the blog, but a whole bunch are reading it and starting to finally ask themselves some ‘reality’ questions. I have further suspicions that after the hefty April 1 additional ‘involuntary’ donation of $750,(in addition to the 10% monthly donation) and the 3 1/2 month period following – if you didn’t make the donation, we will see even a greater falling out of members by mid June or earlier.
Stay tuned! Students both current members and ex-students are opening up, talking, questioning and generally starting to think for themselves (indeed a very dangerous time for the FOF).
Thanks Sheik for making this Blog possible, and helping many realize that in their confusion, doubts, sleepless nights, and stressed days , that they are not alone, and many current and former FOF students experienced the same process. It is normal when leaving a cult that instills fear,loss of friends, damnation, and a lost opportunity for the afterlife, that excessive confusion and withdrawal symptoms will be experienced.


128. Best of the Blog - June 8, 2010

Don Juan Says:
April 12, 2007 at 2:24 am

Someone asked about how one might “diagnose” the possible personality disorders on display in the person of Robert Burton.

Back in 1994, a couple of books on cults were making the rounds in the Fellowship (“The Guru Papers” by Kramer and Alstad, and “Captive Hearts, Captive Minds” by Tobias and Lalich) (OK, the rounds of some in the Fellowship). The writers of the latter book suggested that many cult leaders could properly be described as “psychopaths,” and provided a fifteen-point profile of a psychopath.

I remember being shocked at how closely the description of the psychopath fit; everything from self-serving manipulation based upon charm, to a grandiose sense of self and feelings of entitlement, to a complete lack of remorse, shame or guilt, to an incapacity for true love or empathy, to indifference to the harm they inflict on others . . . and on and on. If you haven’t seen it, check it out for yourself; it’s quite remarkable. I’ve quoted it below (parts of the book are available on the web).

What I’ve always found fascinating is that the qualities of seeming “strength” that many people are attracted to in a leader, whether of a cult or a nation, may merely be the pathological absence of normal human capacities for love, empathy, remorse, and concern for others. It is easy to manipulate someone who seeks relief from his own insecurities and uncertainties in the leader’s absolute lack of doubt in himself or his actions.

Anyway, here goes.


From “Captive Hearts, Captive Minds,” by Madeline Landau Tobias and Janja Lalich, pp. 67-79

The Cult Leader as Psychopath

Cultic groups and relationships are formed primarily to meet specific emotional needs of the leader, many of whom suffer from one or another emotional or character disorder. Few, if any, cult leaders subject themselves to the psychological tests or prolonged clinical interviews that allow for an accurate diagnosis. However, researchers and clinicians who have observed these individuals describe them variously as neurotic, psychotic, on a spectrum exhibiting neurotic, sociopathic, and psychotic characteristics, or suffering from a diagnosed personality disorder.

It is not our intent here to make an overarching diagnosis, nor do we intend to imply that all cult leaders or the leaders of any of the groups mentioned here are psychopaths. In reviewing the data, however, we can surmise that there is significant psychological dysfunctioning in some cult leaders and that their behavior demonstrates features rather consistent with the disorder known as psychopathy.

Dr. Robert Hare, one of the world’s foremost experts in the field, estimates that there are at least two million psychopaths in North America. He writes, “Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret.”

. . . . .

The Profile of a Psychopath

In reading the profile, bear in mind the three characteristics that Robert Lifton sees as common to a cultic situation:

1. A charismatic leader who…increasingly becomes the object of worship

2. A series of processes that can be associated with “coercive persuasion” or “thought reform”

3. The tendency toward manipulation from above … with exploitation — economic, sexual, or other — of often genuine seekers who bring idealism from below

Based on the psychopathy checklists of Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare, we now explore certain traits that are particularly pertinent to cult leaders. The fifteen characteristics outlined below list features commonly found in those who become perpetrators of psychological and physical abuse. In the discussion we use the nomenclature “psychopath” and “cult leader” interchangeably. . . .

We are not suggesting that all cult leaders are psychopaths but rather that they may exhibit many of the behavioral characteristics of one. We are also not proposing that you use this checklist to make a diagnosis, which is something only a trained professional can do. We present the checklist as a tool to help you label and demystify traits you may have noticed in your leader.

1. Glibness/Superficial charm

Glibness is a hallmark of psychopaths. They are able to use language effortlessly to beguile, confuse, and convince. They are captivating storytellers. They exude self-confidence and are able to spin a web that intrigues others and pulls them into the psychopath’s life. Most of all, they are persuasive. Frequently they have the capacity to destroy their critics verbally or disarm them emotionally.

2. Manipulative and Conning

Cult leaders do not recognize the individuality or rights of others, which makes all self-serving behaviors permissible. The hallmark of the psychopath is the psychopathic maneuver; which is essentially interpersonal manipulation “based on charm. The manipulator appears to be helpful, charming, even ingratiating or seductive, but is covertly hostile, domineering….[The victim] is perceived as an aggressor, competitor, or merely as an instrument to be used….The manipulation inevitably becomes the end-all and is no longer qualified by the reality principle.” In other words, there are no checks on the psychopath’s behavior–anything goes. The Psychopath divides the world into suckers, sinners, and himself. He discharges powerful feelings of terror and rage by dominating and humiliating his victims. He is particularly successful when, through an overlay of charm, he makes an ally of his victim–a process sometimes described as emotional vampirism or emotional terrorism. Examples of this type of manipulation are plentiful in the literature of Jonestown and other cultic groups. It is especially prevalent in the one-on-one cultic relationship, where there is direct involvement with the manipulator.

3. Grandiose Sense of Self

The cult leader enjoys tremendous feelings of entitlement. He believes everything is owed to him as a right. Preoccupied with his own fantasies, he must always be the center of attention. He presents himself as the “Ultimate One” enlightened, a vehicle of God, a genius, the leader of humankind, and sometimes even the most humble of humble. He has an insatiable need for adulation and attendance. His grandiosity may also be a defense against inner emptiness, depression, and a sense of insignificance. Paranoia often accompanies the grandiosity, reinforcing the isolation of the group and the need for protection against a perceived hostile environment. In this way, he creates an us-versus-them mentality.

4. Pathological Lying

Psychopaths lie coolly and easily, even when it is obvious they are being untruthful. It is almost impossible for them to be consistently truthful about either a major or minor issue. They lie for no apparent reason, even when it would seem easier and safer to tell the truth. This is sometimes called “crazy lying.” Confronting their lies may provoke an unpredictably incense rage or simply a Buddha-like smile.

Another form of lying common among cult leaders is known as pseudologica fantastica, an extension of pathological lying. Leaders tend to create a complex belief system, often about their own powers and abilities, in which they themselves sometimes get caught up. “It is often difficult to determine whether the lies are an actual delusional distortion of reality or are expressed with the conscious or unconscious intent to deceive. These manipulators are rarely original thinkers. Plagiarists and thieves, they seldom credit the true originators of ideas, often co-opting authorship. They are extremely convincing, forceful in the expression of their views, and talented at passing lie detector tests. For them, objective truth does not exist. The only “truth” is whatever will best achieve the outcome that meets their needs. This type of opportunism is very difficult to understand for those who are not psychopaths. For this reason, followers are more apt to invent or go along with all kinds of explanations and rationales for apparent inconsistencies in behavior “I know my guru must have had a good reason for doing this.” “He did it because he loves me even though it hurts.”

5. Lack of Remorse, Shame, or Guilt

At the core of the psychopath is a deep-seated rage which is split off (i.e, psychologically separated from the rest of the self) and repressed. Some researchers theorize that this is caused by feeling abandoned in infancy or early childhood. Whatever the emotional or psychological source, psychopaths see those around them as objects, targets, or opportunities, not as people. They do not have friends, they have victims and accomplices-and the latter frequently end as victims. For psychopaths, the ends always justify the means. Thus there is no place for feelings of remorse, shame, or guilt. Cult leaders feel justified in all their actions since they consider themselves the ultimate moral arbiter. Nothing gets in their way.

6. Shallow Emotions

While they may display outbursts of emotion, more often than not they are putting on a calculated response to obtain a certain result. They rarely reveal a range of emotions, and what is seen is superficial at best, pretended at worst. Positive feelings of warmth, joy, love, and compassion are more feigned than experienced. They are unmoved by things that would upset the normal person, while outraged by insignificant matters. They are bystanders to the emotional life of others, perhaps envious and scornful of feelings they cannot have or understand. In the end, psychopaths are cold, with shallow emotions, living in a dark world of their own.

Hiding behind the “mask of sanity,” the cult leader exposes feelings only insofar as they serve an ulterior motive. He can witness or order acts of utter brutality without experiencing a shred of emotion. He casts himself in a role of total control, which he plays to the hilt. What is most promised in cults–peace, joy, enlightenment, love, and security are goals that are forever out of reach of the leader, and thus also the followers. Since the leader is not genuine, neither are his promises.

7. Incapacity for Love

As the “living embodiment of God’s love,” the leader is tragically flawed in being unable to either give or receive love. Love substitutes are given instead. A typical example might be the guru’s claim that his illness or misfortune (otherwise inconsistent with his enlightened state) is caused by the depth of his compassion for his followers, whereby he takes on their negative karma. Not only are devotees supposed to accept this as proof of his love but also are expected to feel guilt for their failings! It becomes impossible for members to disprove this claim once they have accepted the beliefs of the group.

The leader’s tremendous need to be loved is accompanyied by an equally strong disbelief in the love offered him by his followers; hence, the often unspeakably cruel and harsh testing of his devotees. Unconditional surrender is an absolute requirement. In one cult, for example, the mother of two small children was made to tell them nightly that she loved her leader more than them. Later, as a test of her devotion, she was asked to give up custody of her children in order to be allowed to stay with her leader. The guru’s love is never tested; it must be accepted at face value.

8. Need for Stimulation

Thrill-seeking behaviors, often skirting the letter or spirit of the law, are common among psychopaths. Such behavior is sometimes justified as preparation for martyrdom “I know I don’t have long to live; therefore my time on this earth must be lived to the fullest.” “Surely even I am entitled to have fun or sin a little.” This type of behavior becomes more frequent as the leader deteriorates emotionally and psychologically–a common occurrence.

Cult leaders live on the edge, constantly testing the beliefs of their followers, often with increasingly bizarre behaviors, punishments, and rules. Other mechanisms of stimulation come in the form of unexpected, seemingly spontaneous outbursts, which usually take the form of verbal abuse and sometimes physical punishment. The psychopath has a cool indifference to things around him, yet his icy coldness can quicky turn into rage, vented on those around him.

9. Callousness/lack of empathy

Psychopaths readily take advantage of others, expressing utter contempt for anyone else’s feelings. Someone in distress is not important to them. Although intelligent, perceptive, and quite good at sizing people up, they make no real connections with others. They use their “people skills” to exploit, abuse, and wield power.

Psychopaths are unable to empathize with the pain of their victims. Meanwhile, part of the victims’ denial system is the inability to believe that someone they love so much could consciously and callously hurt them. It therefore becomes easier to rationalize the leader’s behavior as necessary for the general or individual “good.” The alternative for the devotee would be to face the sudden and overwhelming awareness of being victimized, deceived, used. Such a realization would wound the person’s deepest sense of self, so as a means of self-protection the person denies the abuse. When and if the devotee becomes aware of the exploitation, it feels as though a tremendous evil has been done, a spiritual rape.

10. Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature

Like small children, many psychopaths have difficulty regulating their emotions. Adults who have temper tantrums are frightening to be around. Rage and abuse, alternating with token expressions of love and approval, produce an addictive cycle for both abuser and abused, as well as create a sense of hopelessness in the latter. This dynamic has also been recognized in relation to domestic abuse and the battering of women. The cult leader acts out with some regularity–often privately, sometimes publicly–usually to the embarrassment and dismay of his followers and other observers. He may act out sexually, aggressively, or criminally, frequently with rage. Who could possibly control someone who believes himself to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and entitled to every wish, someone who has no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for the impact on those around him? Generally this aberrant behavior is a well-kept secret, known only to a few disciples. The others only see perfection. These tendencies are related to the psychopath’s need for stimulation and inability to tolerate frustration, anxiety, and depression. Often a leader’s inconsistent behavior needs to be rationalized by either the leader or the follower in order to maintain internal consistency. It is often regarded as divinely inspired and further separates the empowered from the powerless.

11. Early Behavior Problems/juvenile delinquency

Psychopaths frequently have a history of behavioral and academic difficulties. They often “get by” academically, conning other students and teachers. Encounters with juvenile authorities are frequent. Equally prevalent are difficulties in peer relationships and developing and keeping friends, marked control problems, and other aberrant behaviors such as stealing, fire setting, and cruelty to others.

12. Irresponsibility/Unreliability

Not concerned about the consequences of their behavior, psychopaths leave behind them the wreckage of others’ lives and dreams. They may be totally oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they inflict on others, something which they regard as neither their problem nor their responsibility.

Psychopaths rarely accept blame for their failures or mistakes. Scape goating is common, blaming followers, those outside the group, a member’s family, the government, Satan–anyone and everyone but the leader. The blaming may follow a ritualized procedure such as a trial, “hot seat” denunciation, or public confession (either one-on-one or in front of the group). Blame is a powerful reinforcer of passivity and obedience, producing guilt, shame, terror, and conformity in the followers.

13. Promiscuous Sexual behavior/infidelity

Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, polygamy, rape, and sexual acting out of all sorts are frequently practiced by cult leaders. Conversely, there is often stringent sexual control of the followers through such tactics as enforced celibacy, arranged marriages, forced breakups and divorces, removal of children from their parents, forced abortions or mandated births. For psychopaths, sex is primarily a control and power issue.

Along with this behavior comes vast irresponsibility not only for the followers’ emotions but also for their lives. In one cult, for example, multiple sexual relations were encouraged even while one of the top leaders was known to be HIV positive. This kind of negligence toward others is not uncommon in the psychopath’s world.

Marital fidelity is rare in the psychopath’s life. There are usually countless reports of extramarital affairs and sexual predation upon adult and child members of both sexes. The sexual behavior of the leader may be kept hidden from all but the inner circle or may be part of accepted group sexual practices. In any case, due to the power imbalance between leader and followers, sexual contact is never truly consensual and is likely to have damaging consequences for the follower.

14. Lack of realistic life plan/parasitic lifestyle

The psychopath tends to move around a lot, making countless efforts at “starting over while seeking out Fertile new ground to exploit. One day he may appear as a rock musician, the next a messiah; one day a used car salesman, the next the founder of a mass self-transformation program; one day a college professor, the next the new “Lenin” bringing revolution to America.

The flip side of this erratic life planning is the all-encompassing promise for the future that the cult leader makes to his followers. Many groups claim as their goal world domination or salvation at the Apocalypse. The leader is the first to proclaim the utopian nature of the group, which is usually simply another justification for irrational behavior and stringent controls.

The leader’s sense of entitlement is often demonstrated by the contrast between his luxurious lifestyle and the impoverishment of his followers. Most cult leaders arc supported by gifts and donations from their followers, who may be pressured to turn over much of their income and worldly possessions to the group. Slavery, enforced prostitution, and a variety of illegal acts for the benefit of the leader are common in a cult milieu. This type of exploitation aptly demonstrates Lifton’s third point of idealization from below and exploitation from above.

Psychopaths also tend to be preoccupied with their own health while remaining totally indifferent to the suffering of others. They may complain of being “burned out” due to the burden of “caring for” their followers, sometimes stating they do not have long to live, instilling fear and guilt in their devotees and encouraging further servitude. they are highly sensitive to their own pain and tend to be hypochondriacs, which often conflicts with their public image of superhuman self-control and healing abilities.

According to them, the illnesses they don’t get are due to their powers, while the ones they do get are caused by their “compassion” in taking on their disciples’ karma or solving the group’s problems. This of course is another guru trick.

15. Criminal or entrepreneurial versatility

Cult leaders change their image and that of the group as needed to avoid prosecution and litigation, to increase income, and to recruit a range of members. Cult leaders have an innate ability to attract followers who have the skills and connections that the leaders lack. The longevity of the group is dependent on the willingness of leadership to adapt as needed and preserve the group. Frequently, when illegal or immoral activities are exposed to the public, the cult leader will relocate, sometimes taking followers with him. He will keep a low profile, only to resurface later with a new name, a new front group, and perhaps a new twist on the scam.


129. silentpurr - June 8, 2010

I would like to say that after leaving the fellowship, my life improved in all ways. All dimensions, internally, externally, my life flourished.

130. nige - June 8, 2010

I Believe – Robson and Jerome ***

I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night a candle glows
I believe for everyone who goes astray someone will come to show the way
I believe, I believe

I believe above the storm the smallest prayer will still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word
Every time I hear a newborn baby cry or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why I believe

Every time I hear a newborn baby cry or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why I believe (I believe)

131. Best of the Blog - June 9, 2010

Comrade Says:
April 12, 2007 at 6:40 pm

… We often say the best place to hide an esoteric idea is right in front of people (e.g., the deck of playing cards). Very true, and you can hide many things that way, not just esoteric ideas.

I always enjoy the scene in Casablanca where Rick walks up to the piano right in the middle of the restaurant and grabs the “papers” without a soul noticing him. It could be we are a bit like those restaurant patrons — enjoying the music and the company of friends, and meanwhile oblivious to a significant event occurring right in front of us.

Comrade Says:
April 13, 2007 at 8:34 am

Hello everyone,

None of this is breaking news, but I felt someone had to say it.

Today, April 12, 2007, is the 9th Anniversary of an interesting date in the history of the Fellowship: Robert Burton predicted a cataclysmic earthquake would occur on April 12, 1998. He said California would fall into the Pacific Ocean.

Because of this predicted cataclysm, RB stated that Renaissance (Apollo, Isis), which is located approximately 1,500 feet above sea level, would become near ocean-front property. He began making these statements approximately 20 years earlier, and the prediction became an integral part of his idea that the Fellowship would become an “ark” — a safe haven for esoteric knowledge, the sciences, and fine art. A new civilization would spring up from the ashes. RB said the “fall of California” would be a precursor to a much larger event that would have occurred about five months ago on November 11, 2006 — a nuclear war that would destroy civilization.
The date of November 11th, 2006 was such a central part of RB’s comments for so many years, it would have been hard to imagine that the date would pass with barely any mention. But the date has passed, and the predictions are a distant memory.

However, I think it’s very difficult for outside observers to really understand what’s occurring in the Fellowship without emphasizing the significance of these predictions. In 1984, there would be a stock market crash that would lead to a depression. In 1987, there would be a war in the Middle East that would get us out of the depression. In 1998, California would fall. In 2006, nuclear war. The ark, in the meantime, would be built year-by-year in preparation for these big events. The ark would be self-sustaining, and a new civilization would begin where the small town of Oregon House, Calif., now rests.

People have had very different experiences with these predictions. Some may have rolled their eyes. Some may have tolerated it, but really didn’t care. Or maybe they tried not to think of it. When the stock market didn’t crash in 1984 as predicted, RB said that his teaching was always about self-remembering, and that his teaching was still about self-remembering even after the failed prediction. On occasion, he even joked about his poor track record as a prophet.

But his teaching WAS very much about the predictions. For many, many years, it was part of the dogma. Despite the failed prediction in 1984, RB never backed down from his prediction of the fall of California, and for nuclear war in 2006. Many of his comments for several years were focused on these predicted events, and how the Fellowship needed to prepare for it, and how these events were related to the Fellowship’s connection to Higher Forces. Not only was he predicting these events, but these events were to occur to fulfill the destiny of the Fellowship.

As 1998 drew closer, a considerable amount of pressure was placed on members to move away from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento, and to start new lives at Apollo. Some resisted and left the Fellowship. Others did not leave but still resisted the idea. Many members quit their jobs along the coastal cities and began new businesses from home offices in Oregon House. Some of them joined the Fellowship or RVW payroll, while some retired prematurely from their careers and simply waited for the event to occur. When it didn’t occur, many people were able to find a new life in Oregon House, while others suffered serious financial consequences. Overall, the prediction contributed to a population increase in the area, and the number of local members grew to over 700.

There’s much more to tell, but that’s the basic history of these predictions as I recall it.

Now for some editorial commentary:

It’s hard for most of us to deny the possibility of nuclear war — it could happen. When or if it will happen, we don’t know. We hope not. We hope there is a growing global consciousness that many of us have been speaking of, and that we can contribute to that in our own ways, and that a catastrophic war with the unimaginable suffering that would accompany it could be avoided. Even then, we know the power of Nature, and the power of the Earth. So we know that cataclysmic earthquakes are not out of the question either — although most geologists would doubt the likelihood of anything on the scale that RB predicted.

I never rolled my eyes, though. I for one, always believed that RB’s predictions were possible, and the anticipation of such events produced an odd sort of presence at times. It reminded me of the precious little time that I have, and the precious little time that I have with the ones I love.

I have always sensed that RB believed what he was predicting. On the other hand, I can’t deny that such predictions are the stuff that cults are made of. It’s typical: see the infamous YouTube videos in earlier posts.

When RB said his teaching was always about self-remembering I took that to heart. I truly believed that, and part of me still does.
But many of us are afraid that another possibility is post 6/112 by Don Juan.

Could both be true? Is the Fellowship suffering from a type of “double crystallization”? On the one hand, we have a beautiful and perfect teaching that has given us so much. On the other hand, we have failed prophecies and destructive cult behavior. Cognitive dissonance indeed.

Joseph G Says:
April 13, 2007 at 10:50 am

Dear Robert,
I have decided not to make another teaching payment by April 15, the latest day on which a payment may be received before the Fellowship of Friends releases me from its roster.

In parting, there are many things for which I could personally thank you, but only one of ultimate value. Thank you above all for showing me the preciousness and the accessibility of self remembering in my life.

My decision to leave is based on a combination of two factors: the weight of the financial burden, and my increasing dissatisfaction with what I specifically receive for it.

I hold no bitterness regarding my past payments to and for the school, financial or otherwise. Until recently the prize has consistently exceeded the cost. Nor is any alternative teacher or philosophy drawing me away.

Your sexual preferences and your personal lifestyle have also never been a major problem for me, although it needs to be said that I do not condone the way you use your authority as a spiritual leader to manipulate the inexperienced and vulnerable essences of the young men you pursue as lovers…including, once long ago, myself. Much may be justified in the name of consensual sex, but the difference between a naïve 17-year-old minor and a naïve 23-year-old FOF student is strictly a legal distinction.

No. After all, you have simply stopped being my teacher, and so it appears I will now no longer be your student. It is time for me to move on, resolutely if unexpectedly, with many lovely memories, without resentment, without blame, ojalà.

Or as the late Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “so it goes.”

Good luck with your new system. I sincerely wish you a fond farewell.


Joel Friedlander Says:
April 14, 2007 at 9:59 pm

Greetings from another xfofer.
Kudos to the Sheik. Your original post was quite a nice piece of writing, and you seem to be a canny observer. And you don’t have to apologize for your English, it’s quite good!

Thanks to the people who have posted their personal stories. For those still in the group, this takes incredible guts and a lot of courage to hit the old “send” button.

Many years ago, when struggled with “cognitive dissonance” while infof, I got a tremendous jolt right where I needed it from “The Guru Papers.” “Captive Hearts, Captive Minds” co-authored by Janja Lalich helped me understand the situation I was in, and I later became friendly with Janja, who was in a “feminist/political” group in the East Bay and had made many efforts to help people similarly entrapped. Margaret Singer’s book “Cults in our Midst” (if I remember rightly, no guarantees there) is also profound, and I had the chance to talk with her several times before she passed away a few years ago. Margaret was a lively intellect who spent most of her career studying closed groups. She was quite amusing recounting the variety of subject matters around which these groups were organized, and how the leaders came to put together their communities.

Here are three kind of random thoughts:

I don’t think it’s ever wrong to have gratitude for the good things that have come my way over the years–it’s a great feeling to abide in, and connects me in a very pleasing way to an abundant reality.
People who can “speak truth to power” seem admirable to me, and I’ve tried to emulate them when I can.

Fear–primal, inchoate, unconcious–stands between my dreams and their realization. To not be captive to fear, or always acting in response to it, is incredibly hard.

I haven’t thought about the fof for some time, but a recent stream of events has brought a lot of it back, and this blog is one of them.
Thanks for reading.

Got the T Shirt Says:
April 14, 2007 at 11:15 pm

Hello, All,
I join everyone in thanking you Shiek — Thank you! This blog is a very good thing and I think it will be a big help to decent (those with ears and eyes) people both in and out of the FOF.

In the spirit of those who have shown their real and imagined letters to Robert, I thought I’d share a real one from 1994. I heard through reliable sources that Robert actually read it, and commented to someone near him that “Charles doesn’t believe in Influence C any more.” That apparently was all he said about it.

So, if you are wondering if Robert ever was confronted directly on his s**t, he was. The results speak for themselves.

I’m very happily living my life in the glorious world with excellent friends and family. I would never want to be in the clutches of the FOF ever again.

October 1994
Robert Burton

Oregon House, California

Dear Robert,

Many of my friends are leaving the Fellowship right now, and many blame you for deceiving them. I tend to think that you may be equally deceived. I think that you, as a result of your experience with Alex Horn, may be subject to a personality formed in you that has dominated your psychology ever since.

For the last six months I have been seriously studying the current literature on cults and cult related psychology. The conclusion I have reached is that the Fellowship is, in fact, a cult — just like so many other cults. You are cast in the role of “cult leader,” and your behavior parallels other cult leaders to a surprising degree.

I think the so-called “verifications of C-Influence” are not verifications at all.

The “shocks” that we all see are real and have been known to people since the earliest times; Carl Jung called them “synchronicity” or the meaningful coincidence of two or more events. However, your interpretations of them (validating your claims) , the assumption that only Fellowship people receive them (the “chosen people”), attributing the cause to 44 former humans seen only by you — these things I contend are not real, but rather are fantasies. Fantasies generally satisfy an underlying psychological need and that, I think, is the case for all of us who have been involved with the Fellowship, including you, and maybe particularly you.

The fantasy related to your predictions has the potential to be really pernicious.

Robert, the world-wide economic collapse you predicted never happened! Please don’t believe it did, and please don’t change your story to say that you predicted a stock market crash — you predicted a crippling global depression. As for the fall of California … well, it’s absurd. Give it up. The moving of your most psychologically dependent followers to Oregon House, the closing in and isolation it will lead to, the already present armed guards — I think these things are a sign of paranoia.

I am abandoning the fantasy, and I recommend that you do, too. I recommend that you turn your considerable intelligence to studying this cult psychology phenomenon. If you are honest with yourself I think you will find that the shoe fits.

For your sake, and for the sake of those following you, please give up your messianic role, disband the Fellowship, send away your followers, and become an ordinary human again. It’s not too late.
Please do it.

Charles R.

Shelley Mitchell Says:
April 16, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Sheik, first of all, thank you for your time and guidance on this forum. I am an ex fof member. If anyone reading this would like to see a brilliant treatment of the controversy at the root of this bittersweet blog I suggest you see Harvey Keitel’s performance in Jane Campion’s film HOLY SMOKE (with Kate Winslet). I coached Mr. Keitel for his role. Jane Campion used material directly from true stories I shared about the fof.
I joined the Followship in 1975 where Girard was center director and was ‘kicked out’ with a letter signed by him 17 years later. During my tour of duty I was married for a few years to Robert’s #1 gate keeper, organizer and personal assistant. I was also Robert’s personal chauffeur, ‘hostess’ and point person in New York City for about 5 years in the late 70s. I often wondered why there was a tube of KY jelly next to the toothpaste in his hotel bathroom. To say I was naïve would be generous. It took me 10 years to leave after I DID find out why the KY was there. WHY did it take so long to exit? I was nearly 30 years old and had passed the bulk of my 20s in the fof. I burnt my bridges with anyone I knew in my chosen profession and I felt unequipped to confront the superficiality and crassness of popular culture. My days continued to be peppered with C-influence (synchronicities) despite the sense of personal betrayal and manipulation I felt, not only by Robert but even more by most of the people he authorized to speak on his behalf. (Many of whom, shockingly, were skeptical regarding C-Influence!) During the mid 1980s I tried to have the conversation now flowing in this forum and was highly criticized and eventually rejected for it. I lived (hid out) in Europe and despite my personal doubts about the fof became the center director of a small city in Northern Italy where there were only two students… my husband being the other one. If I do say so myself, I think we directed each other with great aplomb. I started to get in trouble once some young Italian people actually started joining and visiting (or immigrating to) Renaissance. Before they left for America I warned them that they might get hit on by the teacher. I worded it more delicately, of course, but it wasn’t long before I got a call from Guinevere and then Robert himself asking me not to speak about his personal life to anyone, ever again… or else! I told both Guinevere and Robert that for my own personal ethic I needed to be honest with these young international travelers about the possibility that they might be seduced. Notwithstanding the fact that I found the 4th way work to be a driving force in my own search for meaning, I also confessed to these young Italians my own confusion at being a spokesperson for an organization whose leadership I questioned. During one long distance (Oregon House-Italy) conversation with Robert, I told him that I had nothing against homosexuality, that I actually thought it was cool. I said something to the effect that he should take away the exercise against it and accept himself as he was. He told me that he was not a homosexual but that he actually became a woman when he was with these young men, and that the sex was part of his, and their, awakening. I held my ground and said that, for my own personal reasons, I would continue to warn young travelers about what they might encounter upon meeting him. I added that it was up to their own discretion what to do. I also told Robert that I loved him (which is true) and that there were no words to express how much I valued what I had learned through his efforts as a teacher. At the end of this 20 minute conversation he asked me to pass the phone to my husband. Robert apologized to him for any pain he may have caused and asked him to pass the phone back to me. Robert told me what he had just said to my husband. I think I thanked him and put the phone down. I know I was shaking. My husband was crying. We both sat very still and silent for a long, long time.
…I am of Jewish Russian descent, Minsk and Kiev.
My heart goes out to all, but especially to any confused young students from Eastern Europe.



132. Best of the Blog - June 9, 2010

Lots of posters bunched together. The post above includes Comrade, Joel Friedlander, Joseph G., Charles R., and Shelley Mitchell. The following post includes King of Hearts, Skeptical Optimist, Don Juan, Kid Shelleen, and Soon to Defect.

King of Hearts Says:
April 16, 2007 at 8:08 pm

Over the years, I’ve heard a fair amount of criticism for my good friend, the King of Clubs. I want to thank The Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion for giving me this opportunity to offer a different perspective on him.

First of all, I don’t want to imply that King of Clubs is above criticism. I know him well, and sometimes he’s “up to no good” -– especially when he’s fully developed with his psychic powers. But over the years, I’ve often overheard such comments as:

– The King of Clubs is opposed to your work.

– Never underestimate the cleverness of the King of Clubs to undermine your efforts.

– The King of Clubs will disguise itself as Higher Centres.
– The King of Clubs does not wish to be seen, because then his true nature will be revealed.

– The King of Clubs deceives you.

– The King of Clubs leads people out of the Fellowship.

– The King of Clubs rejects Influence C.

– etc., etc.

It makes me wonder why any of us would walk out the front door in the morning. It’s scary stuff.

We occasionally give the King of Clubs some credit. For example, it’s widely acknowledged that he is the intellectual part of the instinctive centre, and that he controls the five senses, protects the body from harm, provides intuition (what some people refer to as the sixth sense), seeks healthful food for the body, and is concerned with the healthy functioning of the environment that houses each of our bodies.

But overall, people don’t trust the King of Clubs. He’s like the guy who walks into a pub, and immediately all of the music stops and everyone takes a break from their conversations to look around. He goes off and sits down at a table by himself, and the bar tender glares at him before asking, “What’ll it be.” But me personally? I love talking to the guy. He’s helped me through all types of situations, and I can’t say enough about how close we are as friends. (They say we Kings are much more alike than the Jacks and Queens. And some even theorize that very good things happen when at least three of us get together, but that’s another story.)

But anyway, I’m sure ‘Clubs’ would say the same about me. Believe me, we’ve had many a brew together over the years. He watches out for me, and I watch out for him. He sometimes wonders why I’m interested in the off-beat esoteric ideas that we find in the Religion & Philosophy section at Borders. But overall we get along fine, and I enjoy hearing what he has to say.

For example, in the past couple of years, there’s this new guy called the Lower Self. Some people are trying to associate Lower Self with King of Clubs as though they are close brothers. But King of Clubs tells me he has never met Lower Self. “I’ve never seen him, or even seen a picture of him,” Clubs says. “And I’ve actually never met anyone who has seen him. So for all I know, someone made the guy up.”

Interesting take on that.

Clubs recently told me: “I’m sure I’m an ‘obstacle’ in my own way, just as you are an ‘obstacle’ my friend. But I’d like to mention something about Lower Self. The Lower Self became a Big Thing in the Fellowship right around the time we started hearing about this so-called Sequence… When people sincerely tried the Sequence, something very odd happened around the second or third step. A little voice inside of them said, ‘Uh, excuse me. What are you doing?’ And sure enough, the Sequence would stop in its tracks.

And someone called this the Lower Self. Why? Because only something within you that lacked good intentions would ever dream of stopping the Sequence. But the impulse to stop the Sequence is actually what we commonly refer to as Intuition. And Intuition can be a very good thing.”

I asked Clubs to explain what he meant by that.

“Well, I think people who sincerely try the Sequence — in other words, sincerely TRY IT, and not try it by simply reciting a bunch of words — quickly find that the Sequence is naturally interrupted, not because the so-called Lower Self is interrupting their work, but because Intuition senses something is wrong,” Clubs said.

“But isn’t it possible that you are wrong,” I asked Clubs, “and that getting through the Sequence and getting past that initial doubt just requires an extra effort and a positive attitude?”

He replied: “King of Hearts, I hope you are just playing ‘devil’s advocate’ here, because if you truly believe what you just said, you have your head in the clouds. ‘Getting through it’ amounts to nothing more than playing a strange word game, and imagining all sort of things. Intuition isn’t quite so concerned about the word game. If you want to play a word game, then go right ahead –- have at it. No, Intuition becomes concerned when someone SINCERELY tries a Sequence and sincerely starts being on the lookout for the so-called ‘lower self.’ When that happens, Intuition quickly jumps in to stop it –- possibly for reasons of health, well-being, and sanity.”

Hmm. Those are bold statements, but I always expect that out of Clubs. I’ve been known to make bold statements of my own at times, so I don’t judge him for it. I don’t always believe him, but this time he really has my attention.

But I’m not sure what to make of this phrase: “…possibly for reasons of health, well-being, and sanity.” Is Clubs suggesting that the Sequence is actually UN-healthy? And that watching for the so-called “lower self” is actually UN-healthy? Hmm.

But unfortunately Clubs and I didn’t have time to talk more on the subject. The last thing he said was, “Just listen to your Intuition, and listen to your Conscience. I can’t answer these questions for you.”

And then, as he was walking away, he stopped and laughed, and said:

“Wait. How can anyone answer a question that they haven’t yet asked? So my advice is this… Forget answering these questions… Will you please at least ASK them?”


So for me that was a rather memorable conversation –- a bit shocking, actually.

Personally, I’d be very happy if the Sequence WERE real, but I’ve decided to take Clubs’s advice and watch more carefully. My current attitude about it? I sense that the Sequence is nothing more than an invention, and that the Lower Self (as we’re describing it in the Fellowship) is nothing more than an invention. To give the benefit of the doubt to those who have put forth these ideas, the best I can say about the Sequence is that it’s “an experiment.” But if it is an experiment, we should stop pretending that it’s actually The Word of the Gods as Passed Down from the Conscious Teachings of Ancient Civilizations.

Clubs seems to take it a step further… He once described the Sequence as an experimental “drug,” and that we should stop pretending it’s been tested and approved, and that we know its effects and side-effects, long-term, short-term or otherwise — or whether it has any positive effects whatsoever.


Finally, my friends, I do have one more thought on King of Clubs. Clubs provides another very important and useful function, and I can’t emphasize this enough:

He has the ability to intuit when you are being deceived or harmed in any way.

Given that, it’s interesting that we would have so many negative things to say about him. Because if people would listen to him, just as they listen to me, and just as they listen to King of Spades and King of Diamonds, they might gain a deeper understanding about themselves and what’s happening in their lives, and in the meantime avoid all sorts of trouble. And if they do get into trouble, they would later find a way out of it, and they would find a way to help their friends out of it.

All I can say is this: Listen to all of us, not just me. Listen to your Intuition. Listen to what your thoughts tell you. Be strong, be happy, and whatever you decide to do, leave fear and shame far behind. You are not alone. You are safe. You are in good hands –- each and every one of you.

Skeptical Optimist Says:
April 17, 2007 at 10:14 pm

Tales of the Interregnum, 1.
(Note: in this case, the interregnum is the time when the internal controls of the fof programming, ideas of the 4th way, and “work personality” had started to slip away, but before my own understanding could retake internal control.)

It was 1994, shortly after having left the fof, and struggling to understand what had really happened over the preceding 22 years. At a church meeting room in San Francisco, I was attending meetings of a support group for former members of HIHCCGs. (The word “cult” seems to trigger people, so I’m using Margaret Singer’s description: “high intensity, high control, closed groups”).

Among the 20 or so participants, representatives of many HIHCCGs. Each briefly described what had brought them to the meeting, some quite fearfully. As the stories went on, I became more and more uncomfortable. Whether overtly or by intimation, each person was at pains to picture the “special” quality of their group, maybe as part of a rationalization of why they had committed themselves so completely.

Soon these impressions became mutually exclusive. If group A was “special” because of the social awareness fostered there, group B was “special” because its members were going to quietly save the world. But wait, group C was “special” because of the keen appreciation they had been taught for nature, and group D was “special” because of their leader’s incredible discernment, humor and access to secret knowledge.

Not all of these groups were “spiritual” of course, but the feeling of “special ness” was astoundingly routine and unquestioned, with long explanations of what was really wonderful in the group’s teachings or the person of the leader.

My discomfort clearly traced to my own feelings that the fof was truly “special.” Could it be that there was no difference between the fof and these other HIHCCGs that seemed just utterly bizarre and wacky to me? Or between our “special, conscious” leader and the leaders of these other groups, each of whom, in the descriptions of their followers, seemed obviously dysfunctional, probably psychotic, and someone I (as a rational person, mind you) would run away from if I ever happened to meet them? Huh?

I left the meeting more confused than when I had arrived, although I would go back for more meetings over the coming months. But this is where a wedge was driven, in my thinking, between the “content” of the fof and the “process” of what actually went on there. I began to understand why Margaret Singer was completely unconcerned about the high purpose of what we had studied and practiced in the fof, and just laughed when we tried to get her to talk about it.
Yes, the “content” was irrelevant—consciousness, great artworks, fine dining, travel, and all the rest—might be legitimate studies, but had absolutely nothing to do with the “process” that brought people into the group, tied them to it, and made it almost impossible to leave without real personal trauma.

Gradually I came to understand the fof as just another HIHCCG, no different really than any other in its workings. This has been a blessing. It’s just another whacked-out HIHCCG with a charismatic leader and his bunch of rationalizing captives, of which I used to be one. It has also brought me to where the Sheik is:
“You see, the FoF is really unimportant, and the only ones who fail to see that are the ones who have been, or are currently members. No one else cares much.
People matter, individuals matter.”
Thanks for reading.

Don Juan Says:
April 19, 2007 at 7:19 pm

I’m a bit surprised to continue to see posts expressing the hope that the Fellowship can change. I would have thought that reading even a small portion of the posts on this blog would have disabused anyone of that notion. Many of us have been there and tried that; in our time, we came to Robert with our hearts in our hands and came away with nothing.

So for William Heinz (3/240) to Elena (6/368), and everyone else before, after and in between who naively hopes for change, I would like to suggest that THE FELLOWSHIP OF FRIENDS WILL NEVER CHANGE, at least not in the way that you are hoping it will. Surely you know that in asking the Fellowship to change, you are really asking Robert Burton to change, which is not going to happen.
Some thoughts on why:

1. “THE LOWER CANNOT SEE THE HIGHER.” According to Fellowship dogma, the lower (that would be you, dear) cannot see the higher (that would be Big Bob), and thus it is impossible for you to offer anything in the way of constructive criticism. To admit that your ideas are worth listening to would overthrow the entire house of cards of the Fellowship power hierarchy. You cannot be seen to know more than the All-Powerful Oz, sometimes even with regard to the smallest of matters.

2. PSYCHOLOGICAL PATHOLOGY CANNOT ADMIT MISTAKES OR FEEL REMORSE. Whatever affliction Robert suffers from, whether narcissistic personality disorder (1/84 and 2/8) or psychopathology (6/112), makes it impossible for him even to consider changing his behavior. And any attempt at conversation would likely be perceived as an attack on himself, or at the very least as confirmation of your inferiority and disloyalty. Even if you don’t accept the medical view, consider the meaning of the curious term “crystallization.”

3. THE DIE-HARDS WOULD DESERT THE SHIP IF TRUE CHANGE OCCURRED. The egos of true believers demand that the Fellowship be bizarre, demanding, exclusive and expensive, for this makes it — and by extension, them — “special” (see Optimist, 6/324 on HIHCCGs). Any retreat from this extremity, especially if in response to calls for change from “below,” would be perceived as weakness by the true believers. It is their faith that is Robert’s true support, and this he cannot afford to lose.

I’d love to be proved wrong on this, but my personal experience of almost twenty years in the Fellowship tells me I’m right. I’d bet big money that all you’ll ever see is cosmetic change, if that.

Kid Shelleen Says:
April 19, 2007 at 11:55 pm

Hey Joel,
Good hearing from you. We only met briefly a couple of times in NYC. I, unlike some others here, always thought of you as one of the few older students I knew who hadn’t had their sense of humor totally removed (but, of course, we all know where that leads). I remember an East Coast ‘do you started by saying, “If someone were to watch us from outside the window here, they would probably think we are a group that worships flowers.” Cracked me up then; cracks me up now.

I, too, am a big fan of stories here. I truly believe that the mysterious core of our existence cannot be spoken about or approached directly, it can only be hinted at or caught from the corner of one’s eye. The stories that we tell ourselves and each other, if we listen carefully, reflect and reveal our own truths. So, let ‘em rip.

Soon to Defect Says:
April 20, 2007 at 1:45 am

About a dozen people I know have recently left the fellowship, say in the last 3 months, yet their names continue to appear on the inernal web site. These are just the ones I know. How many more are out of the fof, can anybody quote the actual population at this point? It’s kind of like filling all those events with invitees, rather than paying customers. The marketing is really something. What a smoke screen.

Attrition, like all bad news in the fof, is known by word of mouth only, and is carefully guarded by the FIA. On the receiving side is the principle of voluntary ignorance: the segue to a soothing, and completely dissociated experience.


133. Best of the Blog - June 9, 2010

Joe Average Says:
April 20, 2007 at 10:04 am

I am forwarding an old letter from an ex-student, as valid now as then. Be warned – I have trimmed it a bit where you see …, but it is still long.


Dear Friends,

Of late, my friends and I have been labelled “dissidents”, and worse, by FOF’s leadership. While reading this letter it would be helpful if you could simply consider me an old friend.
… Please permit yourself the clear space to receive these thoughts and feelings in order to work with them as completely as possible. Given the current situation, I understand that this will not be easy for you. It certainly has been a disturbing process for me as well. However, I have been overwhelmed by the weight of my observations and feel duty bound to share them with you.
This letter is not intended to serve as the last word on REB or the FOF. Nor is it written to prove or establish a particular point of view. Instead, I hope that it will create a balance to the information you have received from FOF, and act as a springboard from which you may begin a long overdue reappraisal of your own feelings and presumptions. Many of you are mired in a way of life which, for myself and many other ex-members, was neither happy nor enlightening, but instead offered little more than tedium, suppression, exclusivity and debilitating dependency.
Of late, FOF has required all of you to believe that certain ex-members, as “dissidents”, are “bad” simply because criticism of REB and FOF is not now and never has been permitted. These people have been described as “vindictive”, “crazy”, or “liars” … Apparently it is unthinkable to FOF that anyone could sincerely believe (or know) that the allegations directed at REB are true. But given a history of intense involvement with REB, do you really believe that ex-members would turn around and speak this way unless they really felt that something was wrong? From FOF’s narrow point of view, one would have to be fallen, dark, and just plain wrong to criticize their “guru”. I implore you to remain open to the possibility that your old friends are none of the above.
The author of this letter has over the past year spoken with approximately 40 ex-members who have uniquely personal and varied perceptions of REB and FOF. Among these people are a number of former high-ranking FOF officials and board of directors members, as well as personal and sexual intimates of REB. …
They are all united in the belief that accurate information, dialogue, real consideration and anything remotely like discrimination have never been offered or encouraged by REB or FOF. Therefore, they would like to see a free, full, and honest discussion occur. Such a discussion would benefit everyone, except for those who desire only the maintenance of their status and claim. Everyone, especially the “rank and file” FOF membership, must be set free in order to find their own true way through this controversy.
It is obvious however that as long as ex-member “dissidents” are seen as negative, dark, angry, unspiritual “others”–and “you” in FOF remain the righteous, holy lovers of god, unjustly criticized, god’s army fighting off the heathen masses and demonic media–as long as this contrived dichotomy persists there can be no clarity. …Do not permit the FOF leadership to call you to a false, childish, and simplistic understanding of this controversy. It is a complex, personal and deeply emotional matter that cannot be resolved or dismissed through name-calling and character assassination. … This matter cannot be reduced to a battle between good and evil…
Instead of encouraging an open discussion, FOF has used the same tactics that any political organization would use. They have created a “cause” for you to rally around and feel emotionally committed to and identified with, so that you won’t stare the accusations against REB straight in the eye. They would rather hook you into a fight to protect “the right to freely practice religion”, a right which they claim ex-members have tried to deprive you of. But in what way has anyone actually done this?
Let’s take a little closer look at the constitutional protections afforded to “religions” such as the FOF. The right to believe whatever you want is protected absolutely. However, the right to do whatever you want is not afforded the same absolute protection at all. Many of the things which REB has been accused of do not fall into the category of actions which are protected. Additionally, is it not reasonable as a common citizen to ask why people who have been involved in illegal activities should be granted the privilege of tax-exempt religious status, as claimed by FOF? And if, in fact, abuses of people have occurred (through actions which are commonly recognized as abuses in our society) shouldn’t the victims have a right to address them in all the forums available? How then does this amount to an attack on religious freedom?
…The difficulty for many of you is that it has been so long since you entered into an examination other than one created for you by REB and FOF that to do so on your own and to examine “the authorities themselves” is a very difficult task indeed. And yet it must be done if there is to be any clarity or passage through this controversy.
All I ask then is that this process of unfettered examination be permitted and actually encouraged by FOF. Ask yourself how it is that you are now “advocates”, burdened by belief and fixed presumptions. Why hasn’t REB and FOF welcomed and seen the necessity for an open airing of issues? Why have you all been programmed and “educated” by the FOF propagandists on their way to whitewashing the so-called “FOF sacred history”? How does spiritual practice properly lead to all this manipulation and defense? Who and what is requiring that you become politicized rather than clear? And how well do you really understand that which you are being called upon to defend?
I invite you to regain the discrimination and inquisitiveness many of you have unconsciously chosen to relinquish in order to associate with REB and the myth he has drawn you into (both as to who he is and the necessity of turning to him for your liberation). If we assume for the moment that REB began his “teaching work” by speaking to our desire for liberation, apart from excess dogmatic baggage and entanglements, it is evident that he has now “moved on” and is at work merely cultivating in his students a yearning for salvation in a system where only he can do the saving.
… And if we accept that REB’s writings carry a credible message, they do so only insofar as they release the reader into his or her own inherent sense of “being” and “truth”, free of the game of “the search”. It appears impossible for this to occur in the midst of all the medieval, dogmatic, exclusive, ritualized form beneath which direct, unmediated truth has been buried by REB and FOF. After all these years, where is the real evidence that any type of “spiritual process” is uniquely occurring within your community? People are just growing older. The greatness of god has been subordinated to the glory, of REB and his hierarchical empire. Needing to be nurtured and fathered, and being naive as to true spiritual culture and to the game of spiritual authority, most of us never even noticed the light go out.
This is a large part of what ex-members are trying to address. You are part of a highly ambitious and politicized “machine of seeking” where you no longer own your own perceptions. Ideological dogma coupled with the edited information of the group dominates and molds your life. You are required to adapt to a complex, sophisticated technology of mind and emotion, through which you understand yourself and upon which you view the world; it is a hierarchical scheme with REB as the head, reigning above and beyond the world of man, as external savior or father. We have all been too much in need of an external mediator to serve the participation in and awareness of our own true condition. We must grow beyond the childish and incapacitating dependency bonds which are everywhere propagated by REB and FOF.
In many ex-members’ experience, the first doubts and questions about their lives as devotees centered around the observations they had regarding the “community” and “institution” of FOF. But they found it much harder to take the obvious next step and look directly at REB, the source and creator of every aspect of the “culture”, institutional structure, and spiritual life of those in FOF. These ex-members, like many of you, dared not break the great taboo of seriously questioning or doubting REB; either their comparative lack of in-depth or prolonged personal experience with him or their incapacity to break through the indoctrination prevented them from seeing him clearly. But finally, in the face of what is now obvious, their relationship to the mythology and imagery which is REB has broken down. These people have “discovered” the man Bubbles Burton, and now know that “the emperor wears no clothes.”
At this point it would be good to examine the specific activities of REB that many people are concerned about. Some of the information recently brought to light will be recounted here for those who are unfamiliar with what has been said, or for those who have been confused and distracted by FOF…
To begin with, REB has historically had control over the finances, properties, and other assets of FOF as if he personally and solely “owned” FOF, in stark contrast to the purposes and laws governing non-profit religious organizations. He has personally made all key decisions and has gratified his every whim, caring not for the financial strains he has placed on others. There are serious questions regarding whether REB has over the years abused the tax-exempt status of the FOF corporation for his own personal gain. Perhaps this is why FOF officials in the past few years have strategically destroyed documents that tended to reveal that REB was actually “running the show.”
REB has always demanded that people “go beyond themselves” to give him more money than they could afford, and then has spent the money on whatever he wanted to create or consume in that moment. Like a child, he has demanded the immediate gratification of his material desires, and then has often abandoned what he has been given in search of a new and more expensive “toy”. … In private, REB has laughed at those who have shown any concern about his financial exploitation of others. This is purportedly an example of the fact that REB is “free of conventional morality.”
…REB has participated in and required others to perform in sexual and related acts of a highly degrading and demeaning nature which have caused psychological and/or physical damage to those participating. FOF has recently admitted to examples of these types of activity, which many people believe are a reflection of the perversion of REB, rather than anything like enlightened “spiritual instruction.” … These sexual excesses of REB are not a thing of the distant past….. And it is the firm belief of many people that the inordinate amount of time and attention REB spends on sexuality reflects nothing more than his own obsession and desires.
The vast discrepancy between what REB claims and says, versus what he does and intends must be thoroughly examined and understood before one can make an informed response to the man. What should be clear to everyone is that no one in FOF is given the opportunity to “cast the light” directly on REB. Why is he so estranged and hidden from you, really? Apart from your child-like fantasies and subtle beliefs about “who he is” and “how he works”, how much and how privately have you observed him and then tested your observations? The fact is, apart from what you have read and are told, intermixed with a variety of contacts with REB years ago, most of you know very little about your teacher. You have therefore been called to relate to only the most superficial imagery about who REB is, and at the same time you have become steeped in an officially prescribed method for relating to him which permits only subservience and fawning devotion. And those of you who have been close to him should ask yourselves to what degree you own hopes, needs, and self-generated projections and expectations, coupled with the mythology about how REB’s “unconventional behavior” has been designed to teach you, has colored your perceptions of him. Ex-members know from their own experience that many of you are paying a heavy price in terms of emotional suppression, confusion, and self-delusion in order to maintain the false conclusion that you have actually been served by this “crazy-wise” madness.
Another disturbing matter regarding REB is the ritual of secrecy and deception surrounding him. Some of the things described about REB’s life would not in themselves be worthy of any real concern if they did not stand in complete contradiction to an idealized image which has been used to exploit the people who have supported the whole affair. … It was on the basis of this lie that so many accepted the notion that his past behavior was in fact a “teaching demonstration”, and went on to give their lives, minds, hearts, and money to this man. However, upon discovering this deception, many were understandably outraged. …
You may ask yourself why those who know all of these secrets have always withheld them from you. But we already know the answer. How glamorous to be associated with the ultimate matter and the ultimate master! But what a conceit and what a foundation for the pursuit of power. Through the screening mechanisms of the so-called “culture”, only the few “mature” or “committed” members are given access to REB based upon a paranoid and patriarchal mentality of obedience. The demonstrated signs of your “maturity” (i.e. submission and obedience) gauge the level of your “status” and regulated, controlled access to events, places and people on the political (not spiritual but political) pecking order… REB’s behavior is a reflection of his own character and motivations, just like everyone else’s, and he should rightfully take responsibility for the problems his shortcomings have created in his own life and the lives of others. He is anything but free of ego. He has his own strengths and weaknesses. Yet through the process of indoctrination and manipulation, coupled with the weaknesses of those around him, he has been successful at keeping himself invulnerable and unquestioned. In so doing, he has become afflicted in all the ways that any man would be corrupted and deluded by excessive power and isolation from critical feedback. He has also thus imprisoned himself within the expectations he created in others and the torment of pretending to be something he is not. …
…Nor is it any longer accepted that “the world” is a terrible place full of terrible people, and that spiritual life ends when one leaves FOF. People now know better than to become ensnared in the tentacles of this argument. And where there was only “one” worthy of love and respect, all others became unworthy and worthless. This is what happened in FOF, for as we were all divested of our own selfworth and simultaneously invested in REB, we were rendered nothing rather than “no-thing.” Can you feel this?
We have all (current and ex-members), along with REB, cooperated in constructing this insane empire. It is a classic and perverted play on what might have been. And it is nothing like what most of us signed up for or thought we were choosing. But so long as you are exposed to the “system” which life in FOF represents, there is no space within which to understand this and be set free.
…those who serve critical functions in your “culture” adapt to a profoundly dependent form of relating to REB and a resulting righteous, exclusive, self-glorifying, self-protective and politically charged “life of service.” You are all aware of the institutional mentality of those who lead you at FOF. They are part of a machine and priesthood of aberrated spiritual seeking and corruption, an exclusive club, reigning in association with the “enlightened” source or “goodie” who is offered as a reward to those giving over their center, discrimination, and direct unmediated ability to live the truth of their own condition. In this process many of you have lost yourselves, your power and your way. And for REB to hide behind a claim of “blamelessness and divinity” while placing all the blame on the immaturity of his devotees, those very people who depend on him for their spiritual guidance, is not only irresponsible and cowardly, but the perfect vision of a perfectly narcissistic megalomaniac. Surely there was a time before you came to FOF where you could have simply recognized this to be so.
But can you now? It is so hard from where you are. I know, for it has taken many people years, even after leaving FOF, to wake up from the sleep which had settled into every corner of their mind’s eye. Although discrimination is spoken about in the teaching, it is nowhere present in the lives of devotees. Many of you have, through non-use, lost your own personal, instinctual feeling for life, having been conditioned to believe that it represents recoil from the divine. You have become good at obeying without reflection. Your blank agreement is applauded as “equanimity” and the transcendence of reactivity.
Those who are in the FOF hierarchy have the most to lose. And they are among the most corrupt and in need of help. These people are relieved of the ordinary responsibilities of life and live instead a bizarre fantasy life. To do the bidding of their teacher they have become proficient at selectively withholding and releasing edited information, and have made the poor choice of abandoning their native sense of human decency in exchange for power and prestige.
Many of these same people are the most seriously ambitious in their “search.” It is as if they have not yet adapted to the rudiments of the practice as it relates to the “search” and yet are influential simply because they are “submitted.” Having made such a heavy investment of time and energy in gaining their status and position, they are now banking on their “personal” relationship with REB to save them. In this way there is a tremendous amount of manipulation around the poles of hope and fear. You spin and turn but rarely find a seat from which to observe the play. … The shocking news that thousands of people see this “master” of yours as a tyrannical and deluded power broker never quite reaches your ears or cannot penetrate your rehearsed belief.
When finally pressed up against this blunt observation from “the world” outside, you hold up “the teaching” like a crucifix to stave off the heathen hordes. You retreat into the “certainty” that nothing like “the teaching” could ever have been written by a charlatan. But many believe that REB’s, or anyone else’s ability to artfully synthesize, categorize, and recapitulate ideas and insights does not bear any necessary relation to spiritual realization and maturity. Aside from his particular style of presentation and arrangement of things, there is nothing uniquely described in REB’s literature that does not appear elsewhere. … he has borrowed from or been heavily influenced by numerous others to whom he has given no credit at all. The fact that he has been able to articulate the free and transcendent relationship to life that we all instinctively feel in moments, coupled with the fact that he writes and speaks about many things which are beyond the realm of your personal experience, is offered as “proof” that he is spiritually superior to you.
Many of you have apparently forgotten the simple truth that actions speak louder than words, and that insights which are not practiced are meaningless, if not dangerous. Your distraction with a complexity of abstractions and a sophisticated, “pre-packaged” context within which to interpret everything has left you “incapable of seeing the forest for the trees.” “By their fruits shall ye know them”, said one spiritual teacher nearly 2,000 years ago. And it is on this basis that each one of us must draw our own conclusions regarding the spiritual status of Robert Burton.
I am so glad to no longer be where many of you are, and I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you why. In many respects it would have been far easier to write this entire matter off as just another set of experiences. But I have felt too much passion and serious caring to have made that choice.
Should any of you meander out beyond the fences and psychological barriers of FOF, you will find that there is “unavoidably” only god outside your temple walls. Your spiritual life may change in form, but it will continue. And there are many people who have been through what you have experienced and can thus offer help. Many have needed and received support in order to make the critical transition back to a measure of self-respectability.
…It would have been preferable for all of you to have done the work of provoking this discussion. But I understand why this could not be so and trust that you will soon recognize the benefits which will ultimately come from what has been started. If in the end there is a bit more openness and honesty in FOF, a degree of self-critical inspection, or a drop less arrogance and exclusivity on the part of Robert Burton, we will have all been served…
Mark D. Miller Sausalito, California USA

Now, before you dig too deep in your memories trying to remember that name, I should let you know that I needed to make a few small changes to the letter.

Do the following substitutions, and you have the original letter:

Bubbles Burton = Franklin Jones

Robert Burton = Da Free John

FOF = JDC (Johannine Daist Communion)

The idea is obvious, hopefully. Just change the names and the rest of the text, despite its length, complexity and level of detail, is a near perfect fit – word for word, point for point. Would Margaret Singer just smile and nod knowingly at this point Joel?

Nothing unique in REB’s approach, nor in its results in his students.


134. Ghost of Xmas Past - June 9, 2010

Are we doing so much “best of the blog” because we’re out of steam? I’m not doubting the value but “oldies but goodies” isn’t a sign of life.

135. 2010 - June 9, 2010

“Best of the Blog”, I tend to agree with #134. It’s good to look back, but I think the balance on this page is off. I appreciate you taking the time to research the archives, but I think people now realize they can look back on their own. There are links at the top of the page that will take you back in time.

136. nige - June 9, 2010

“It is one of the greatest human weaknesses that, for the most part, we do not learn from the past” – author not known.

137. Best of the Blog - June 9, 2010

“Are we doing so much “best of the blog” because we’re out of steam?”

No. It was just an experiment. Hopefully it did some good, but who knows. Points taken.

Yes, hopefully people occasionally have a closer look at the earlier pages. It was quite an outpouring of commentary in ’07.

There was a lot of noise, too — a lot of it was a deliberate attempt to divert attention from the real whoppers, and water things down. So “best of the blog” was a bit like gathering some papers that had been blown all over the back yard and placing them in a binder. But you’re right that everyone can do the same on their own…

138. James Mclemore - June 9, 2010

Ghost of Xmas Past & 2010 –

I disagree a bit. I thought it has not only been quite potent, but there is also now a section of the blog that can be referred to, along with Res Ipsa Loquitur –‘It speaks for itself’ (which is the work Unoanimo put together) where people who may have trouble wading through those earlier pages, can get right to some of the most powerful core messages of what the blog has had to offer.

Also, I saw no ‘signs’ on the roadway that indicated others were not to post while ‘Best of the Blog’ did this powerful gathering.

139. Agent 45 - June 9, 2010

It’s not your fault Best-o-Blog.
As soon as Pavel criticized his creation for being repetitive, it was bound to happen.
As Dr. Frankenstein said: “I’ve created a monster.”

140. The FOFion - June 9, 2010

FOF Begins Off-Shore Oil Drilling Project

FOF CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS, OREGON HOUSE, Calif. (ARK) — Despite an uproar from environmentalists and strong objections from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Fellowship of Friends has quietly begun drilling oil three miles beneath the surface of the ocean off the coast of California.

The FOF began the project this week despite receiving no approval from local and national authorities.

“That hasn’t stopped us before,” said an FOF spokesperson. “This is our chance to work against feminine dominance.”

The FOF is funding the project using contributions from recent raffles and prize drawings.

141. The FOFion - June 9, 2010

The Blog Comes to a Grinding Halt

SECRET BLOG HEADQUARTERS (ARK) — For the past two weeks, only about seven or eight new postings have appeared on The Blog, leaving many concerned that The Blog is not the happening place it once appeared to be.

“We really need to keep up appearances,” said a blog spokesperson during an exclusive interview with The FOFion on Wednesday.

“Every day we need to have at least 50 to 100 new posts, or it may appear to people that the Fellowship of Friends is actually not a cult at all, and that all of these posts are just lies and exaggerations.”

The Blog Team met last week to discuss ways to generate more interest. One proposal is to transform The Blog into a pseudo country club where membership provides eternal life to those who never leave, and the loss of all possibilities to those who do leave.

“That sounded a lot like a cult,” said the spokesperson, “so we shelved that idea for now. But I have to admit — it may simply be our Lower Selves saying that, and therefore undermining our work. When you think to yourself, ‘Hmm, that sounds like a cult,’ it’s probably not. It’s good to take a step back and observe where that’s coming from.”

142. Golden Veil - June 9, 2010


“One proposal is to transform The Blog into a pseudo country club where membership provides eternal life to those who never leave, and the loss of all possibilities to those who do leave.”

“That sounded a lot like a cult,” said the spokesperson, “so we shelved that idea for now. But I have to admit — it may simply be our Lower Selves saying that, and therefore undermining our work. When you think to yourself, ‘Hmm, that sounds like a cult,’ it’s probably not. It’s good to take a step back and observe where that’s coming from.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ah ah HA HA HA ! The FOFion!

Re: Best of the Blog

I think that it is a good idea to bring these posts back to the
forefront of the blog. The Best of the Blog’s selections appear
to be made with wise discernment.


143. X-ray - June 10, 2010

Ghost of Xmas Past & 2010 –

Do you have anything of higher value to offer?

Best of the Blog,
please ignore these ‘smart’ remarks above and continue what you were doing. This page is a good summary and for some people reading this alone can be enough to make the right conclusion.

144. Best of the Blog - June 10, 2010

Page 7…

Inner Jewels Says:
April 20, 2007 at 5:45 pm

Hey lovely cyberseekers,

I too, have felt somewhat discouraged by the tone of the blog in general. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in a little slump…. Everything seems to coalesce in such amazing ways, and not all of them are joyful. It’s painful to see where I have failed to love and beloved.

It’s a bit stale by now but Howard, dear, don’t turn your circular reasoning on me and think I’ll belly up to your insulations that I’m being formatory. I’m not the one who belongs to a group claiming to “own” C-influence and the shocks they deliver. I know how the school defines formatory thinking and I think you’re swimming in it. You ain’t got nothing on my sweet mama.

Practical (6/382): “That is why this blog is so depressing. It is based on the assumption that because the Fellowship did not help some people in their search, that it cannot help anyone.”

If you have truly read my posts or many of the posts of people who have been in the FoF for ten, twenty years, and who are part of this discussion, I don’t think you would say that. I, for one, have never said that you can’t be helped by the school.

The problem is, and all you defending the FOF, please try to let this sink in… Be clear about what you’re defending! It’s not that the FoF isn’t full of wonderful, well-meaning people, or that there are some working ideas and aspects to the teacher and his approach to awakening, it’s that there are some very ugly aspects to his “system” which are incredibly painful to confront if you have the courage to leave. Practical wrote, “Why assume that students are so mindless they cannot take what is useful from the teaching and put aside the rest?” Fine, on the first part but consider this: What you are “putting aside” is ME and other’s like me; personally, what is being “put aside” is a totally inclusive relationship with my mama (and her community), what you are “putting aside” are all the living, breathing individuals who have left and been condemned, if by no one else, than by your teacher (isn’t that enough!?), as “food for the moon”. Sure, go ahead put it all aside. Cause I’ve had to put THAT painful untruth aside to live my life.

And for you non (in my opinion) non-dualists out there. Sorry, but I can’t apologize if you don’t get my complaints about what seems to me going from the frying pan into the fire. In the words of John Wheeler: “What I am is that pure, non-objective presence-awareness that cannot be doubted or denied. What I am not is the body, emotions, mind and — most importantly — a separate person or character created in thought.” That’s not helpful talk to me. It is, in fact, very dangerous talk to me. It’s the kind of talk that has allowed people for centuries to destroy, deny, and debase the bodies, thoughts and feelings of others.

I want to respect my self and others —in body, thought, heart and soul— I want to live a full life here and now. And that means looking at it all clearly and accepting that it’s all going down as it is in this body, with these thoughts and feelings …it’s in realizing that I can take responsibility for some small portion of how my life unfolds, and connect to the I Am that we are at the same time that I fearlessly dive into this experience of Being Human.

I’m tired of intellectualizing my life away. I want to live it.

Join me in NYC sometime and we’ll see if we can make the gods laugh in and through and with us….



Rita Penfold Says:
April 20, 2007 at 6:17 pm

Dear All,

Yesterday I’ve received a message from my close friend Kosta Dmitriev from St.Petersburg, which he sent to the students in Russia.

I thought that it was quite funny (if it wasn’t sad), and asked Kosta if I could translate it and post it on the blog, to which he agreed. If you have any questions, you’re free to ask Kosta directly, his email address is: shantiway@yahoo.com

To those who don’t know Kosta personally, I am pleased to tell that he is one of those handsome young Russian men who rejected Robert’s advances.

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for the time we spent together, it was wonderful.

As many before me, I decided to leave the school when I discovered the details of sexual ‘adventures’ of the teacher.

Of course, as everybody else in the school, I knew that Robert is a homosexual. So what? So many great people and even our friends were and are homosexuals, bi-sexuals, transvestites – nobody is shocked by this nowadays. Especially among the different kinds of ‘spiritual seekers’, where there are always many, let’s say, exotically oriented people. That’s not the case, as me and my wife too, sometimes doing such things, that… let’s not talk about it.

Back to business, here are the results of my observations and investigations.

The school as organisation and its exercises are intended to:

1.Attract sponsorship for the very expensive and exquisite erotic games of Robert and Co. Teaching payments are spent on expensive clothes, often made to order for the boys and the entourage; original Viagra pills which cost $50 per tablet (completely identical ones in India cost $0.5). Air tickets and 5-star hotels for the harem; fake passports which are bought from Italian mafia, for the especially treasured lovers from Russia, and of course, for the new centres in developing countries, where new ‘members’ (‘member’ in Russian is the same word for penis – Rita) are so cheap. Also, 5-figure sums for the lawyers and parents of some of the ‘woken up’ underage victims of the teacher’s ‘mischievous’ activities.

2.Cover up the very fact that those orgies are taken place just before and after the meetings and are the main interest of the teacher in his school and the reason for its existence.

The cover-up is necessary in order to prevent students from thinking about how the teacher was using his mouth just before he kisses their foreheads. Many wouldn’t like to think about it at all. Of course, there will always be those who will work with acceptance and continue to be present to any sort of madness. But most students would leave the school to be present elsewhere.

Robert is interested only in young men, only straight (otherwise it’s not such fun to ‘get’ them), usually in financial need, preferably spiritually unripe and, what’s called in Russia, ‘without a King in the head’, and with high level of conformity of behaviour. That’s it.

Yes, my friends, it’s all about ‘members, members and more members’. Preferably big in size and several at the time. But if only that was all…

The stories of the participants are beyond even the most perverse sexual imagination.

One student has almost chocked on the teacher’s penis while giving him a blowjob. He had to be rescued by his fellow orgy-participants from the unstoppable in his sexual urge teacher.

The ‘height’ of those stories is the ‘Fountain of Eternal Youth’. What do you think that would mean? Very simple. Students are pissing in the teacher’s mouth. One at the time, or all together. I asked about the next, you know, logical step… They said – yes! That step has been taken. Sometimes all would get smeared. And why? You won’t believe… Gurjieff ordered from the astral plane!!! In order to be more present!

It’s understandable that such moments of presence will never be forgotten. You’ll be in the third state without any effort, and maybe even beyond third state, as many afterwards live their lives, wearing ‘horse faces’ forever.

You will ask me, what makes these people do this?
It’s very simple, really: everybody does it, they say. It’s accepted behaviour. You know about ‘norms of group behaviour in the totalitarian sects’.

Strangely, but many continue to interpret what happened to them in terms of the enlightenment. As a special, mystical experience of presence, which they would not get anywhere else. And, at the same time, they hate Robert for what he’s done to them and cherish plans for revenge (usually blackmail of some kind). It’s understandable, because otherwise you’d have to admit that you’ve been simply ….. .

Some invested too much in the school, suffered, paid; some simply have nowhere else to go. Most students simply don’t know many things, despite the fact that all information is published on the Internet. And, except for the ‘special’ details, it’s known to the ‘old’ students. I didn’t know the details myself, so I was hoping that Robert’s ‘antics’ were simply ‘free love’ with a bit of tantra. But, according to the participants, the whole thing is completely rotten and Robert is a typical ‘post-traumatic psychopath’. Of course, you can continue as if it wasn’t true, but then you’ll have to pay him, and that is a question of moral standards which, as any case where one is trading one’s conscience, is deeply personal. For me, it’s simply too much. It’s your business now, think for yourselves.

I wish you with all my heart to wake up before, and not during, the time when you are asked to piss someone in the mouth, given the reason of working on the 3rd line of work.

Thank you. You are welcomed any time to call or to write me.


Bruce Says:
April 20, 2007 at 6:50 pm

“At the core of verification are two things: constancy, and trust. These attributes come into play after one has verified something. In the school one’s verifications are tested often over time… If one has verified the school is real there is a finality involved. One doesn’t have to keep re-verifying it. If one feels the need to keep verifying it, it only means one has not really verified it to begin with.”

Complete and utter horse shit, designed to perpetuate the status quo, and just another step in the cult dynamic.

And if you’re going to mention “being tested” let’s discuss “guru syndrome”. You know, where one starts a group for supposedly altruistic reasons. Slowly the power hungry and sycophantic followers huddle around the “teacher” supporting his image of himself, like worker termites having to roll the fat lazy Queen termite from one part of the nest to another. Eventually he, or she, begins to believe their own myth. Before you know it, it’s drug, sex and rock and roll (maybe without the rock and roll). I’ve known or come into contact with a few “biggies” as far as gurus in my life, and the VERY FIRST TEST they get as a teacher they invariably fail. They become corrupt, some quickly, some slowly, but invariably they do become corrupt.
This does not, in any way (to my way of thinking) negate the “rightness” of one’s path, including the FOF, but facts are facts. Just because the cop on the corner can directly and safely direct you to the grocery store you’re looking for, that doesn’t mean he isn’t also a psychopath who’s keeping children chained up in his basement.
Maps can be useful, but remember that the lay of the land can change fairly quickly, and there you are holding an obsolete map.

Just an Average Joe too Says:
April 20, 2007 at 8:13 pm

#407 To Joe Average [also posted above on ‘Best of the Blog’]

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This letter is so complete and pentetrating, I will send it on to a few ‘committed FoFers” that I particularily care about with the vague hope that they recognize their situation.
Perhaps others would consider doing the same.

After this letter, all words pale, all thoughts that continue to defend the FOF and REB are just that.

Good Luck to us all!

Flying Free Says:
April 20, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Suggest that current ‘FoFers’ read # 407 from Joe Average . And then re-read it.

It tells it all. What more do you need to know?


145. Best of the Blog - June 10, 2010

Skeptical Optimist Says:
April 20, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Esoterica wrote, 6/404:
“This “Howard Carter” is putting the issues neatly and directly in front of us and argues them well. It seems that you cannot deal with it, because of course the matter of joining or staying in the FOF cannot simply be summed up as reducing the experience of students to wanting to be “special”…if that was the case, someone as smart as you would have left a long time before you did, yes?”

Esoterica, do I know you?

My post about realizing the fof is not “special” was just one note in a larger work, not the whole of it.

Looking over the posts of the entity calling itself “Howard Carter” is enervating. I find no humanity, no warmth, no humor, no concern for the suffering of individuals, no depth of personal introspection, no engagement with the larger world, and no great intellect whatever. It is the disembodied voice of a mind wholly controlled by dogma.

Burton’s mind-control cult of personal aggrandizement called the Fellowship of Friends is no longer of much interest to me–been there, done that, came out the other side.

So no, it’s not that I “cannot deal with it” but that I have no interest in doing so. I was an apologist myself for some time, maybe as adept as “Howard” at circular logic, and there’s no joy engaging in that world any longer.

I don’t see the fof as different in any substantial way from any other high control, high intensity closed group (see the brilliant Da Free John post above, for instance). I’m not very interested in what’s going on infof now; I’m sure I no longer know many people still infof these days; and I don’t really care what happens to it as an organization.

(Although I have to say I’ve gotten some really good laughs out of “The Sequence” posts. Hard to imagine a “practice” that would so decisively take me out of the moment I’m experiencing. The “discovery” of “ancient wisdom” just struck me as hysterically funny, like if SNL did a parody of cults. Can’t you see Bill Murray as the cult leader poring over cave drawings of defecating boars, divining great wisdom from the shit-drops?)

So no, I don’t think “Howard is putting the issues neatly and directly in front of us and argues them well.” These are not my issues, I don’t find any originality in his posts, and frankly they bore me. Just more intellect gone to waste rationalizing the guy who’s holding him a mental prisoner. You debate him if it’s important to you. (And would you mind not flaming me? Thanks.)

Thanks for reading


146. Best of the Blog - June 10, 2010

Cathie Says:
April 21, 2007 at 12:21 am

Jules #5:

I worked in the office at Renaissance in the early 80s, and sat next to your mom for a while. Such a sweet lady, I remember her well. Didn’t see much of you in those days, but we met a few years ago at Burning Man. So, hi there.

You write about the non-dualist approach: “It’s the kind of talk that has allowed people for centuries to destroy, deny, and debase the bodies, thoughts and feelings of others.”

I’m not here to defend Wheeler or anyone from the non-dualist perspective, but it seems to me you’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater here. (coot made me say that!)

(aside to coot: maybe you do Frying Pan/Fire for Dummies?)

The idea the non-dualists are trying to get across, as I understand it, is that I don’t have to IDENTIFY with thoughts, emotions, body, personality, etc.–in other words, all that impermanent stuff that’s NOT my true nature. It’s not a license to deny, destroy or debase anything or anyone. In fact, it seems to me just the opposite, in practice. There’s an openness, a curiosity, a lack of judgment (not to be confused with discrimination, which is certainly encouraged), with respect to self and others.

I think it’s possible for any truth to be distorted, to be misinterpreted, depending on the hearer’s being, and this may be the danger you’re pointing to. But this danger is not unique to the Advaita tradition.

You also write: “I want to live a full life here and now. And that means looking at it all clearly and accepting that it’s all going down as it is in this body, with these thoughts and feelings …it’s in realizing that I can take responsibility for some small portion of how my life unfolds, and connect to the I Am that we are at the same time that I fearlessly dive into this experience of Being Human…I’m tired of intellectualizing my life away. I want to live it.”

Yes, beautifully put! And I don’t see anything there that would be at odds with the non-dualist approach. To “connect to the I Am that we are” is exactly the point, it seems to me.

Blessings and thank you for being here.

mifis Says:
April 21, 2007 at 1:51 am

… I would like to reiterate earlier postings as food for continued thought:

“FenceRider” (5/140)
The sex is not the issue for me. Without going into detail, it is the abuse of power, misuse of resources, continual excesses, stifling of open discussion, lack of compassion for the other side of the fence, encouragement of borderline ethics, poor judgment, unreasonable interpretations of events, and use of fear and unfounded promises to control others that are at issue. It is not the money. It is not on that scale. It is about what we support. It is about conscience.

“coot” (6/215)
Older non-leader student think what happens off-stage does not affect your “work?” Deadening of conscience does not affect your work? Does not apply? Two words: Brian Sisler and Kevin Kelly. You know. You know you know. And knowing, must finally “at long last” come to understanding that if price of FOF is allowing vulnerable to be preyed on for YOUR apparent progress, then there is no progress – only hole in heart.

– – –

The painful thing for me after all these years is the growing realization of the extent of RB’s depravity. I feel a deep sadness and a deep anger at the same time. However, I want to not allow this to taint the true and countless meaningful moments I experienced as a fof member (yes, including many moments with Robert). Believe me, I understand about not wanting to accept that this could be true and buffered the facts for many years – in and out of the fof. It’s a crying shame and I truly hope that Robert gets the help he so desperately needs.

Flying Free Says:
April 21, 2007 at 4:54 am

Dear Rita and Kosta,

Thank you for the letter and the translation. Well written and honest.

Have the students in the FoF signed an agreement of insanity? What is it going to take before normal, intelligent people, many who I have a high regard for, and have been friends in the past (until they stopped talking to me after I left) realize what they are paying for?

The other day I was stopped by a Green Peace person in the street and handed a brochure describing all the wonderful things these young (and not so young people ) are doing in the world to slow down the process of destroying nature , our natural resources and the environment we live in. They asked for a contribution. Did I give it? You bet I did! I thought of all the years of paying into something that was perverted at best and illegal at worst (a church using its money to perpetuate the leaders perversions and insatiable greed). At least these Green Peacers show something for their efforts as they work toward preserving (in whatever small ways they can) the environment for future generations.

And this guy RB calls himself a ‘teacher’ and suggests that he is preserving something for future generations. Ha, Ha, Ha!

Next time you go to a $125 breakfast or dinner with RB, and Dorian is carrying a cushion for Robert to sit on, think about it. Or when you are sitting there waiting for him to come out, and it is taking a verrry long time, think about it! And then think about the donation you made just a few days ago and how it is being used. Just listen to your conscience (the quiet voice that you keep overlaying and squashing). Wake up and listen.


147. GOXP - June 10, 2010

143. X-ray – June 10, 2010
Ghost of Xmas Past & 2010 –

Do you have anything of higher value to offer?

That remains to be seen. I asked a question and you expressed your view. We both elicited agreement from others. Neither you nor I are directing this chorus.

148. GOXP - June 10, 2010

Let me try this: I was there in the late 70’s until the early 80’s. Lived there and didn’t realize the corruption going on until it was exposed by the lawsuit. Then many little clues came together for me and I left. It blew my mind because I was totally committed to “awakening”. I still understand the value of developing our consciousness, but I know that it takes many forms in ordinary life. Character traits like integrity, honesty, reliability and patience are all indicators of consciousness and are displayed by people you can meet every day. “divided attention” and “self-remembering” are techniques like meditation and breathing exercises that can enhance one’s sensitivity to ourselves and the world around us. But I have no evidence that one needs a “school” or a special teaching to enjoy a quality life.

149. Best of the Blog - June 10, 2010

Posts by Traveler, No Person, Just Asking, and Ames Gilbert

Traveler Says:
April 21, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Howard Carter says: ‘…sensationalized information about Robert’s private life; information whose only purpose is to attack his character and otherwise discredit him. You must know that none of these reports posted have gone through any means, legal or otherwise, to prove their authenticity or accuracy.’

Life is not an artificial courtroom. There is such a thing as common sense. If very similar reports of Robert’s extreme behavior keep surfacing for decades from all these different people, it is simpler to conclude that there must be a fair amount of truth to them, rather than to conclude that there is a worldwide conspiracy spanning numerous people and years, whose only purpose is to discredit and harm innocent Robert.

No person Says:
April 21, 2007 at 7:15 pm

… One’s conscience is a very good guide, unless it’s totally numb of course.

And it’s not about “accusation”, but rather it’s about exposing lies, shedding the light on something kept in the dark, opening people’s eyes to something they buffer. It’s not RB’s private life only, it involves others, who are actually being emotionally and physically hurt, and lots of others who are paying big money for it and being repeatedly lied to and misled.

I wish you were as eager to find the proof for all the bizarre pseudo-teaching you’re now fed ( and eagerly supporting), for all these pre-historic off-the-wall-interpretations… Which proof do you have for this, Howard?

Just Asking Says:
April 21, 2007 at 6:10 am

I’ve seen many posts earnestly trying to respond, directly and point by point, to posts from (apparent) FOF members. If any member puts a question up here, there will be posts from people trying to be helpful, or at least responsive, often painstakingly so.

May I request the same from those who approach these issues from the perspective that the FOF is wonderfully valuable, real, and so forth?

For example, Howard Carter, I find your posts parry every statement in a manner familiar to almost anyone who’s ever been an FOF member, choosing one of the stock angles that have been used for decades to counter the various “I’s” that question the FOF line. The more pointed issues, without obvious counter-angles, are generally ignored.

Would you be kind enough to set those refrigerator magnets aside for a moment and respond to the following, without trying to be “right,” or to justify your continuing loyalty, and without worrying about whether your response risks altering your role as Defender of the Faith on this blog:

What would it take for you (and I welcome a response from any member) to come to believe that there are fundamental flaws in the FOF, or with Robert, that are serious? Could anything possibly do that? My thesis is that there is nothing that could do it, because you believe that the FOF is a conscious school with a conscious teacher and, accordingly, by definition the only flaws that could exist are in the student’s understanding. For example, is there any sort of behavior in which Robert might engage that you would see as good evidence that he is anything other than a great conscious teacher? So far, it appears that, whatever anyone says about his behavior, your response is, “Maybe so, but all that means is that he’s under different laws.” Are there any limits to your willingness to resort to this perspective? Are there any limits to the perspective that as long as you’re trying to be present, nothing else matters, and the more outrageous the behavior, the more grateful you should be for being shaken out of your sleep?

Thanks for your consideration.


Ames Gilbert Says:

April 21, 2007 at 6:33 am
Hello to all, and warm greetings to all I knew in the FOF, and thanks to the Sheik for shakin’ things up.
I joined the London center in 1978, and was thrown out in 1994. I promised myself that I would not say anything publicly about the FOF for ten years, and apart from papers subpoenaed by Abraham Goldman for the Troy Buzbee case (sealed in any event as part of the settlement), I kept that promise.
I spoke and wrote to others about what was happening in the FOF for a couple of years before I left, and finished off with the letter below. I offer it for two reasons. First, some of the content may actually help readers. Secondly, it is has receded into history, so to speak, meaning that it can help one see that these disturbances in the FOF arrive in waves, and I was a part of just one of them, and what is occurring now is just another. From Ronald Macdonald leaving with about one third of the members in the early 70′s, through the Samuel Sanders, Miles Barth, Troy Buzbee, and other cycles, to the present, the waves are a feature of the FOF. So, as you can see from the letter, I expected change, and I am sure the other particpants in previous waves did also. Robert is still there, only his appetites, always prodigious, have grown a bit. I cringe at some of the contents of my letter of thirteen years on, but what the heck!
I had to retype the whole thing, the original files are in a now-defunct program, so forgive any errors, but it is unaltered apart from typos. As before, I have no problem signing my name—Ames Gilbert

– – –
14 November 1994
Here are some thoughts I am circulating among a few friends:

There have been quite a few letters and other materials passed around in the last few weeks, and I have been responsible for some of this. I felt that spreading information was the most practical act of regeneration to counteract the crimes of closing down and censorship that have been taking place in the Fellowship, spreading light to counteract darkness. Because I have nothing to fear and nothing to be ashamed of, I have taken full responsibility for my efforts by signing my name to everything that I originated, although I also re-printed and circulated anonymous letters when I felt it was right.

You may have heard about the meeting last Saturday, led by Linda Kaplan with the help of Girard Haven. If you have not, I feel you missed an unusual happening, and I advise you to talk to someone who was there. I feel that we were all given a great gift, that there was a demonstration of the rigidity of the form and its mechanical response to what Gurdjieff called the sacred cry from below against the unbecoming manifestations from above. I also feel there was a demonstration that we all get exactly what we ask for. Some have asked for the courage to obey the Master within, our consciences. Others sought an important external role; they have been given it, and they demonstrate daily how they use the opportunity. Some wanted to give up all responsibility for their evolution to others; their wish has been granted. A few wanted to buy an insurance policy to heaven; they are comforted in their illusion. Some gave themselves unconditionally to support someone else’s vision, believing it to be noble. They are noble slaves. And I believe the majority of students have some or all of these aspects. They see some of the dichotomies, and are sincerely struggling to resolve the good they have verified with the difficulties they see. They want to stay positive and comfortable. I understand. I want the same.

You may not know that the next day after the meeting, Howard Kingston, Stephen Merryweather, Ramona Merryweather, and Emily Gordon were given lengthy leaves of absence from the school. Cynthia Kingston was asked if she wanted to take a leave of absence, and I was told to leave the school permanently. You may not know that the day before, James Battaglia was given leave of absence for distributing copies of a telephone conversation with Robert. If you wish to ask the others the reasons they were given for these actions, I invite you to ask them individually. The reason I was given by Robert via Peter Bishop was, “Ames does not understand the purpose of meetings”. I have been trying to make transcripts of some of the “exit conversations”, and these may follow in due course; they may help you see the situation in a new way. For me, these dismissals constitute crime by the organization against the school, and the crime emanates from the highest source of authority, Robert. If you have any doubts, please study the situation—and please tell me if you reach different conclusions. At any rate, for me it is right action and regeneration to expose these crimes, and others, and shed light on them.

The rest of this letter constitutes my personal opinion about the situation in our school. But, these conclusions are not pleasant! Please believe me when I say that I am writing from a good place, the best that I can find. I acted and continue to act according to my conscience, which I came to the school to learn to do. I am confident that when I decided to act, I was given the help that I needed and asked for. I am confident that this will continue. I do not claim to be right, only that I must act according to my conscience, no matter what the consequences, and that is the right way for me.

My own difficulties with the form began fifteen years ago when I was at Renaissance. Robert entered the bedroom of my good friend John M., in the London teaching house. Robert was nude, armed only with an erection and overwhelming psychological power. He told John that he was an angel, and that C-influence wanted John to have sex with him, that he should externally consider the needs of his teacher. As a result, my friend left the Fellowship in agony. But, I personally did not act. I abhorred what had happened, and yet justified it by telling myself that I was getting great benefit from the school, and that I was not personally harmed. And this pattern has repeated itself many times since: each time, though, I was left more distant from the form.

I feel that we are in the hands of higher forces, and that a great play is unfolding for our benefit. The play so far has been a mixture of hope and tragedy in the finest tradition. I have come to think the following. With the help of higher forces, Robert was allowed to start the school for reasons that from the beginning were not entirely altruistic, and this has spoiled the possibilities for him, and at the least delayed them for us. The average student, like myself, came to the school with a spiritual longing. We also came with psychological dysfunctions of varying severity, problems from our previous life that we had not resolved. And we dumped all responsibility for the answers we sought on Robert Burton. For most of us, this was not the careful, partial and temporary lending of will advocated by the system, but the giving of everything, including the individuality we are supposed to reserve to ourselves. Robert even told mothers to give up their children, and many did! I know how this can be, because I too gave up almost everything in the name of something higher.

To try to understand what is happening now, I looked at Robert’s past. According to my sources, Robert Burton was asked to leave Alex Horn’s school after eighteen months of work on himself. He was given the task of not sleeping with other men, and failed this task from his teacher. But, Robert is very intelligent and had learned the outward form of how to run a Fourth Way school from Alex Horn. He had enough theoretical material, he was mechanically a gifted teacher, he felt qualified to teach others. Perhaps he hoped, as ordinary educators do, that he could stay one step in advance of his pupils, in this case a spiritual step. And, because he was emotionally centered with chief weaknesses of dominance and greed, he saw the opportunity to have others support him materially. However, Robert from the beginning mistook the weakness of signals from his poorly developed conscience for impartiality, and then took this sense of impartiality as an objective indication that he was free from certain laws. Please understand that he carried with him the part that won out when he failed his task; he brought his weaknesses. And I believe he did continue to work on himself, but only in order to learn to intentionally use World 12 creative energies, which are accessible to everyone unconsciously.

However, he soon began to take advantage of the enormous accumulation of trust, power and money that came with the complete abdication of responsibility by his students. Each time he ignored his conscience, it became weaker, and Robert’s conscience became completely buried after about ten years. He started to explore new areas of power with complete impunity. He found that because of the blind adoration of his students, every action remained unquestioned, and in fact students eagerly leapt to provide explanations that defied commonsense. He found that every indulgence could be satisfied. Anything could be explained by appealing to the inexhaustible credulity of a group of people that deliberately trained themselves to excuse everything in the name of ‘crazy wisdom’. His instinctive center started to enlarge, as it perceived it had no limits, unrestrained by increasingly feeble messages from his emotional center. At this point, his psychopathic development was complete; he is now a part of a group of people who are often intelligent, personable, charming, charismatic—a typical cult leader. They just happen to be devoid of conscience. The intentional absence of precautions against sexually transmitted diseases is just one aspect of this. There are now thousands of people who have had direct and indirect sexual contact with Robert. The implications are horrifying.

With the acquiescence of Fellowship doctors, he became addicted to painkillers and to Valium, a drug that allowed him to maintain a calmness we mistook for spirituality. At some critical point (between 1979 and 1981, in my opinion), his emotional center lost all contact with his instinctive center, and started to starve. His conscience is now inaccessible to him; buried under layers so thick that nothing but melting energies from higher forces can penetrate. The ‘emotional’ and ‘spirituial’ energy we think we are receiving is now being emanated from his instinctive center, his new center of gravity. And, his instinctive center is addicted to unlimited sex, money, and power, so it works to attract these things to itself, day and night. We are seeing him possessed, truly a blind Christ.

However, Robert is a very clever man, and we are very gullible. Once his quiescent conscience was buried, he had lost his internal guide. Se he started to look for signs outside himself, and there are plenty of signs if one looks for them. This has become a major interest for him—you cannot have failed to notice. Now, no longer a teacher, he encouraged his students to start looking for a guide outside as well. And all the while, higher forces are indeed managing the play! They gave signs, not necessarily the right ones; the rightness depended on whether the higher or lower was looking at the time. Those students seeking something higher received beneficial shocks, as many as their being could use. Those seeking self-aggrandizement received confirmation of their sense of self-importance. And now we have an organization where conscience is credentialed, a religion or cult, alongside a school where, if one wishes, one can verify that consciousness cannot be credentialed. Ah, the sweet beauty of Howard Kingston’s photograph to us all! How can we tell if another person is a man number five? Why would we believe Howard? Why would we disbelieve him? And, how can it matter to anyone else but Howard?

Consider the current situation. We have Robert Burton, who celebrates his consciousness in outward displays—parties, announcements, even estimates of degrees (7.3 last month); we have Girard Haven who coyly announces last week that he is a man number five. We have a teacher who says he is needed to tell some one that he is, or will be conscious, and that consciousness cannot be achieved without his intercession. Robert claimed last week that we only achieve higher states because of him! And at the same time we have people genuinely trying to work on themselves, students that are making progress, who have verified that they are being helped, who are clearing away the rubbish of false personality from around their consciences. From time to time, some of them stumble across their conscience when it has grown too large to ignore. This is a critical point, and for me there is nothing more important in one’s evolution than what is occurring at this time. If we take Robert’s direction, that is, we accept his claim that he is the centrally important guide or permanent star in our spiritual firmament, then we must squash conscience. You might be interested in these words from Peter Bishop. Last Sunday, he delivered Robert’s message to leave the school. He was asked, “What is conscience?”, and replied, “Conscience is a collection of subjective I’s. If a student accumulates too much material there, he should leave the school.”!!!! Well, I say, on the contrary!! I say if we realize that there can be no external master, and that our highest duty is to serve the Master within, then we are finally safe, we have found what we are looking for! And certainly, we cannot serve two masters at the same time.

So here we are, in a marvelous situation. It seems higher forces used Robert to gather 1900 students together, for reasons not yet fully apparent, and the process affected and linked multiple thousands more. Robert withdrew from his conscience into his fantasy. Higher forces are now withdrawing their support for him. His play is being made manifest to us. Unfolding before our eyes, if we wish to see, is a play of epic tragedy, a lesson for the ages. We are seeing how power attracts the corruptible, and how absolute power attracts the absolutely corruptible. We are witnessing the absolute of corruption, and we must learn the lesson, embrace the pain, allow it to penetrate the very core of our being. Then, when we in turn are tested to see if we have learned the lesson, at those moments of choice when our fate hangs in the balance, we may be able to turn the powers offered to us and dedicate their use to higher service.

What now? If these theories have any basis in reality, we can expect Robert to become more and more frightened, because he has nothing real to retreat to. We will be able to feel the fear emanating from the center. For example, today (11/18) Michael Goodwin called ex-students in the area to tell them they were forbidden to cross the property to come to La Cucina, a public restaurant. Bizarre, and illegal! We can look for and expect the actions of a scoundrel, a psychopath. There are several possibilities.

Robert might announce his retirement, on his terms. This would be a slow-motion, but nevertheless large-scale looting of resources. Such a turn would make him conveniently inaccessible, even more unaccountable, but with access to the same large amounts of money, power and sex. Or, he might liquidate all the assets he can here, including the Ming furniture collection, borrow as much from his American students as their credulity, savings, and credit cards will allow, and abscond to Europe to reign in the relatively undisturbed feeding grounds there. Perhaps he will try to hold out, exhibiting increasingly bizarre and out-of-control behavior, by clamping down on all dissent, increasing his reliance on external signs, making more claims of near-divinity to bolster his weakening authority. If he takes this course, it will probably end in both external and internal tragedy. There are other options. Whatever happens, I think it will happen quite soon and quite quickly. The structure he has created is too inflexible, too fragile, and his compulsions too great to allow the present illusions to continue for much longer.

Friends, it is of critical importance for us and for him that we do not let Robert go on his terms. It would be the end of all possibilities for him; that is, he would have lost his last chance to ask for help from higher forces and from us. And, he cannot receive help unless he asks for it. Even the angels must obey that law. And for us, we would have no way to repay the help and high favors we have received, form him and from higher forces. This mess is not Robert’s alone. There is only one of him, and thousands of us. It is our mess, too, and each one of us bears individual responsibility for feeding his addictions. We dumped all our problems on him. We gave him our birthright of power and individuality. We gave him huge resources; our time, our money, our labor, our love, our obedience, and some of us, our bodies. He could not resist the temptation, and is corrupted. There have been many warnings. We would not listen. We swallowed a ball of dung because it was gilded with gold. We heard voices, our consciences, tell us something was wrong and getting worse. We pushed those inner voices away, and sinned by using those most precious and beautiful gifts, the system and the tools, to explain away the discomfort.

My conscience surfaced for what I intuitively knew would be the last time, a few weeks ago. I knew that if I pushed it under one more time, it would become so weak that it could not speak to me again. I knew this was my last chance. I am so glad I took that chance! And so, I appeal to your conscience. I do not advocate those in the Fellowship leaving, or those outside the Fellowship taking action, or indeed taking any particular course. I just appeal to your conscience. It will tell you what to do. When you obey it, you are obeying the only true Master, the Master within. Trust it, and you can make no real mistakes. And this is true even if, and perhaps especially if, everything I have put forward about Robert and the state of the school is mistaken.

I do not seek to destroy the Fellowship, as Robert and the hierarchy that support him claim. I cannot be a “traitor to C-Influence”, as Robert has claimed before, even if I wished to. Think of the scale—how could an atom betray a man? It is my school, too, and to harm it would be like cutting off my arm. But the form is crumbling, according to immutable laws, as energy is withdrawn from it. All external structures descend. That the body of the Fellowship is throwing out healthy cells in such numbers, turning on itself, is a signal of present and impending trouble. There may now be more being outside the formal Fellowship than inside it. And if my own actions, which are internal, are wrongly perceived as external threats against the organization, there is indeed rot, and the form is tottering.

For myself, I pray that we will bridge this interval in the octave of the school together. I pray that the affirmative forces that Robert represents can be harmonized with the denying forces that have arisen to meet it, that both “sides” can come to see that they are both necessary for a healthy future. If either of these forces overwhelms the other, the school will be destroyed. We know that there must also be a reconciling force. I pray that I can recognize it and align myself with it. I pray that Robert will ask for help, and allow higher forces to redeem him, and that he can rediscover his Self. I pray that when my tiny mite of help is asked for, that I will not turn aside. I pray that Robert will be able to resume his Path, that he will be able to see that his journey is by no means completed. Indeed, I feel that the longer we support what he has become, the further back on that Path he will have to go. I pray that we can continue the journey together, helping each other as we are able, learning to love and care for each other, able to explore our humanity fully, but fully understanding that we are alone and responsible for our Selves and to our Selves, and that our plays are in the hands of higher forces, not in the hands of an external teacher.

Whatever you do, and whatever you think about this letter, please heed James Battaglia’s splendid advice. Keep you eyes and ears open, and try to be in the moment. Please do not copy or distribute this letter, although you may let others you trust read it.



150. Best of the Blog - June 10, 2010

Inner Jewels Says:
April 21, 2007 at 9:23 am

I felt compunction for flaming the Wheeler “dealers” here– sorry that was harsh…maybe you’re right Cathy, I’m just scared by how those ideas can be used to abuse (but I’m always open to a jam, Bman or Woman;).

Letting all the feelings surge through me without judging them is still a new experience. The anger helped me move past the inertia and sadness. Maybe that’s why anger can be so valuable–and necessary to control by those who don’t want us to move through anything.

Aloha Advaitas and Aspirants of all time and space!


Page 7 had some interesting responses back and forth and side discussions about non-dualism. I’m trying to avoid posting too many comments about it here, though. One of the wonderful advantages I’ve noticed about leaving the cult is that I can learn about many philosophies, and gather wisdom from several different sources — from friends, colleagues, a wide array of books, from lectures, courses, higher education, and by living and breathing more freely. An approach to life where I’m closing myself off to valuable lessons all around me — simply because those lessons are not a part of my “group” or “community” — is unhealthy. Conversely, I find that being open to ideas such as non-dualism can be life giving and healing — especially for someone who spent many years in a cult. However, I’ve had some the same concerns articulated by Inner Jewels (who by the way, may be a “practicing” non-dualist for all I know by now, whatever “practicing non-dualist” means).

I am absolutely avoiding any belief in the idea that nothing can be accomplished in life without focusing on one set of ideas — been there, done that. Many things can be accomplished with a critical mind combined with an openness to what is offered all around us. That balance, to me, is the makings of a real school. There are some clues that we’re all part of a school — the Earth. We just don’t know it, or maybe we just forgot this at a very early age.



Comrade Says:

April 21, 2007 at 7:21 pm
To Sydney in post 7/26:

You wrote:
“As for cost that is the single most ridiculous argument. In ‘life’ to attend a highly rated University to the level of receiving a Doctorate can easily cost $100,000. If those who are members of the FOF think they have verified the reality of self remembering and that the FOF can help create this in them then cost should mean nothing.”

Yes, I know exactly what you mean. I struggled with the money issue for quite a long time, but after much soul searching I was able to look the other way as I paid my college tuition. Because it’s well known that university presidents and chancellors use that money for trips around the world with an entourage of sex partners. But that meant “nothing” to me because I received my cherished college diploma.

Anyway, just pointing out one of the many absurdities of your analogy.

If “cost should mean nothing,” why do you still have a bank account? A home with equity? A 401k? Why worry about retirement? Why not sign over all of your money today?

Rhetorical questions. You don’t take these actions because cost does mean something to you, as it does to all of us. Each of us here may disagree about the threshold, but I doubt that anyone sincerely agrees that it means “nothing”…

isiswideshut Says:
April 21, 2007 at 8:13 pm

No more angles or questions are allowed at meetings. Why?
In Russia a male student openly asked about Roberts sex life. Nex the discussion list was shut down and the new format appeared with the quote cards.

Teaching payments? Membership payment more likely.
If one wants teaching that’s an xtra $60 per meeting.

Meetings: Not a clue what’s being taught anymore. Cave coppulation image: Guy -its done doggy syle, is the Steward
completing the sequence, woman is the 9 of hearts. The poop thing….. I realy dont get it

Still on the fence, but not for much longer

Traveler Says:
April 21, 2007 at 9:52 pm

Confused Says: ‘I was told that he is using sex not for pleasure but for getting fine energy and then transforms it into a conscious energy for a meeting or a dinner to ignite our Higher Centes. And that he does not force anyone to do it!’

Dear Confused, you sound like a really nice and sweet person who is able to see things from a positive side and does not get distracted by gossip. That’s why I feel confident to tell you that I, too, have become a conscious being. When that happened, I discovered that Robert was right all along. As a conscious being I no longer indulge in ordinary sex, I have super-sex and transform this sexual energy into more consciousness. You are absolutely right. Since you already understand this, I will send someone to bring you to my room tonight so we can have super-sex together. I will help you ignite your higher centers through my emanations and you will be grateful. Don’t worry if it’s against your sexual orientation or if you don’t feel any such desire, those are all just I’s from your functions and belong to the lower self. I, in contrast, am really an angel, not this body. Yes, you’d better believe it, because it’s true. And I’ve received a communication from other angels in my room just half an hour ago: they told me that they wished the two of us to have sex.

Let’s work towards our common aim, dear, to fulfill the wishes of higher forces. Just relax, let go of your body, I’ll take your pants down, here you go, and now I’ll suck you. It’s to create more presence. We all want to create more presence, don’t you agree?

Why do people choose to believe Robert when he talks like this? Because 2000 people have agreed to agree that he’s a conscious being and therefore anything he does must be right? Dear Confused, once upon a time all men agreed that it was OK and natural to keep other people as slaves. Does a majority opinion make a statement true? What do you think?

Confused says: ‘I personally find it hard to believe what Kosta or Inner Circle say about RB.
I wish someone could SHOW me, prove me that it is true. Majority of students would LEAVE if they knew it for sure. Can someone take a camera or a cell phone to bring the evidence from his bedroom out here?’

Which part exactly do you want proof for? How many people he has sex with at the same time? The details of whether they really pee on him? Is that why you would leave the Fellowship, if you had firm video-recorded proof that they really pee on him? There is already more than enough evidence that he abuses his position of power without consideration for his students as individuals, that he uses them as impersonal means for his gratification, that he is obsessed with himself. Some of his boys enjoy the attention and special status that being his chosen ones affords them. If you have not been able to see that, you must have buffered very hard. I suggest you start talking to people and asking them unpleasant questions.

There is nothing that Robert can do wrong if you believe him to be above human laws. If video material of his orgies actually appeared, I’m sure it would be reasoned away by true believers. It is not about the details of his sex life. It is about his personal integrity. How much do you know about Robert Burton as a person, what has been your actual one-on-one experience and interactions with him, and how much of what you know about what he is like comes from a myth that he creates about himself and lets his students repeat it?

unoanimo Says:
April 21, 2007 at 11:18 pm

…So as far as Post #294 via Blog #1 and Post #6 via Blog #7 (a similar observation, also made by a Russian student). The ‘contents’ of Post #294 has been verified by one of RB’s closest and trusted people, who added that its ‘mood’ was a bit exaggerated, though its contents was/is all true…


151. Best of the Blog - June 10, 2010

138. James Mclemore – June 9, 2010

…there is also now a section of the blog that can be referred to, along with Res Ipsa Loquitur –‘It speaks for itself’ (which is the work Unoanimo put together) where people who may have trouble wading through those earlier pages, can get right to some of the most powerful core messages of what the blog has had to offer.

Also, I saw no ‘signs’ on the roadway that indicated others were not to post…

James, yes. You summarized the thinking behind this really well.

152. fofblogmoderator - June 10, 2010

147 & 148 are new

153. voloneska - June 10, 2010

Thank you Best of the Blog. Please continue to post these. Not only for reminding of posts for regular readers. This is gold for newer visitors.

154. silentpurr - June 10, 2010

The best, the cream.

155. nige - June 10, 2010

The beauty of this lyric poetry music always reduces me to tears…..

James Blunt – “the voice of a fallen angel”

Did I disappoint you or let you down?
Should I be feeling guilty or let the judges frown?
‘Cause I saw the end before we’d begun,
Yes I saw you were blind and I knew I had won.
So I took what’s mine by eternal right.
Took your soul out into the night.
It may be over but it won’t stop there,
I am here for you if you’d only care.
You touched my heart you touched my soul.
You changed my life and all my goals.
And love is blind and that I knew when,
My heart was blinded by you.
I’ve kissed your lips and held your head.
Shared your dreams and shared your bed.
I know you well, I know your smell.
I’ve been addicted to you.

Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

I am a dreamer and when I wake,
You can’t break my spirit – it’s my dreams you take.
And as you move on, remember me,
Remember us and all we used to be
I’ve seen you cry, I’ve seen you smile.
I’ve watched you sleeping for a while.
I’d be the father of your child.
I’d spend a lifetime with you.
I know your fears and you know mine.
We’ve had our doubts but now we’re fine,
And I love you, I swear that’s true.
I cannot live without you.

Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

And I still hold your hand in mine.
In mine when I’m asleep.
And I will bear my soul in time,
When I’m kneeling at your feet.

Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

I’m so hollow, baby, I’m so hollow.
I’m so, I’m so, I’m so hollow.

156. nige - June 10, 2010

I had wanted to connect this selection up with Ames but he ‘came off the blog ‘for a while. Best of the Blog ‘resurrected’ hime. It is by the Evangelist, John Ruskin…..

Frondes Agrestes 1.2

“The temper by which right taste is formed is characteristically patient. It dwells upon what is submitted to it. It does not trample upon it, – lest it should be pearls, even though it looks like husks. It is good ground, penetrable, retentive; it does not send up thorns of unkind thoughts, to choke the weak seed; it is hungry and thirsty too, and drinks all the dew that falls on it. It is an honest and good heart, that shows not too ready springing before the sun be up, but fails not afterwards; it is distrustful of itself, so as to be ready to try all things; and yet so trustful of itself, that it will neither quit what it has tried, nor take anything without trying. And the pleasure which it has in things that it finds true and good, is so great, that it cannot possibly be led aside by any tricks of fashion, or diseases of vanity; it cannot be cramped in its conclusions by partialities and hypocrisies; its visions and its delights are too penetrating, – too living, – for any whitewashed object or shallow fountain long to endure or supply. It clasps all that it loves so hard that it crushes it if it be hollow.”

157. X-ray - June 11, 2010

147. GOXP – June 10, 2010

‘That remains to be seen’

Then we will evaluate that when that will be seen, but for now, I see more value in what BB is making seen.

158. Best of the Blog - June 11, 2010

SandraC Says:
April 21, 2007 at 11:55 pm

…For what it is worth, I think this is the number one learned lesson of my FoF days: I believe I have been immunized against most fundamentalist thought. For some of us, it apparently takes many years (maybe a lifetime?) of commitment and passion to a system, relationship,or organization for it to build up enough psychic importance so that the ultimate disillusionment will BREAK DOWN the ancient mental/emotional tendency to grip onto a belief to ward off deep-seated anxieties (fundamentalism in my definition). Such beliefs become part of one’s very identity, one’s sense of separateness.

Through this deep dive into commitment to FoF (to me it was more intense than falling in love, I would call it a conversion experience) and the disillusionment that followed, I was loosened up from one more huge, but subtle block to the dissolution of my sense of separateness, a dissolution that often now opens me to the Beauty & Grace & Love inherent in my depths. I believe FoF experience has helped to break in me a long-held mental tendency to fundamentalist, mind enslaved thought, and that leaving helped give me the courage to face many difficult aspects of not only myself but of being alive.

Finally, and most importantly in all this, I want to share with you my how much awe and gratefulness I feel — most recently for Roger C (and his family)…. and Neal O. and Stanley R and Peter B. and Rosemary M — great soul friends, all who died as FoF members.

I also have deep appreciation for Kristina N and beyond all, my late husband, Dennis K, both who died as former members, DK by my side. These great beings have opened me, each in their own way, to the mysteries of death, what I understand now as the release of the soul from the body.
Through their deaths and my bonds with them, they have shown me that they live on, that the mystery of our connection continues — and that in/out group boundaries are irrelevant mind constructs that do not stand this final test.

Thank you to everyone who is letting their voice be heard through this amazing medium.

With as much love as I can muster,

Innernaut Says:
April 22, 2007 at 12:39 am

Inner Jewels (#44) wrote:

“Letting all the feelings surge through me without judging them is still a new experience. The anger helped me move past the inertia and sadness. Maybe that’s why anger can be so valuable–and necessary to control by those who don’t want us to move through anything.”

YES! This is a critical step in healing from the FOF mind-bender. Acknowledging how we feel without judgment or trying to change what we’re feeling.

See. Accept. Repeat.

Don Juan Says:
April 22, 2007 at 2:25 am

Howard Carter (post 45):

This is the silliest thing I’ve read so far on this blog.

You claim to be talking about “sensationalized information about Robert’s private life.” I’m sure you realize that NO ONE IS DISCUSSING ROBERT’S PRIVATE LIFE. This is NOT ABOUT SEX, and it is NOT A PRIVATE MATTER.

The personal accounts of experiences with Robert Burton are about his abuse of the power of being a teacher; his abuse of the trust placed in him by his students; his diversion of tax-deductible donations to an ostensibly non-profit “charitable” organization to his personal — and quite lavish — use; his use of the organizations resources to pimp for him and attract eligible young men to him for his uses . These issues have nothing to do with Robert’s sexual preferences.

And because these matters are inextricably interwoven with his fitness to be a teacher, they are PUBLIC, not private matters, within the community of those who are, and have been, members of the Fellowship of Friends. And to the extent that criminal activity is involved, they would be public matters for the larger society.

And as to your policeman-arresting-the-blogger/legal-standards-of proof scenario, surely you are not so naive as to think that people are just making this stuff up. No one is seeking to prove anything here; people are recounting their personal experiences. But I guess that would be incomprehensible to you, as open discussion is forbidden in the Fellowship.

Anonymous Says:
April 22, 2007 at 3:15 am

Alexis 7/50:

“Robert did not make me do anything. Nor did Girard. I left house, home and family, the only family I ever had. The actions were my responsibility, no one elses.”

The really evil thing about having been subjected to thought reform is that the individual, looking back, sees a series of actions that she took and is prone to own up to them. However, she does not see that her choices were not truly free, but resulted from a compromised ability to choose.

We cannot choose freely when information is withheld from us. Who among us would have joined the Fellowship if we were told at the first prospective student meeting that the teacher was a single man pretending to celibacy while secretly seducing hundreds of young heterosexual men; that he was preparing for Armageddon by buying European art, Meissen teacups and Ming Dynasty furniture and storing it in a Versailles-like palace in rural central California; that if we joined and later decided to leave, it would be better for us if a millstone were hung round our neck and we drowned, because we had turned our back on the angels? More than likely, we would have left before intermission.

No one told us these things until our ability to evaluate them was impaired by our implementation of a technique >emanating from the same source

Open Your Eyes, You Ninny Says:
April 22, 2007 at 3:38 am

Confused (56), it’s very hard to understand how you could possibly have read through all of the posts on this site and say what you’ve said. You demand “proof?” Don’t be ridiculous! Hundreds of FOF members have known what’s been going on for decades for an absolute fact, since hundreds have had sex with Robert. Do you think it’s all a huge conspiracy to sully Robert’s good name, and that we have nothing better to do than try to trick you, and get pure-hearted students to abandon their noble work? This subject has been discussed and discussed, on and on, year after year, decade after decade. Every ten years or so another few hundred can’t stand it any more and leave, and the ones who stay tell themselves that they stayed because they’re “real students,” and the ones who left were “fake students.” Anyone who doesn’t know by now that Robert is a smiling psychopath doesn’t want to know, but prefers the comfort of believing he is a “real student” in The Great and Only Conscious School. You sound distressed, but there’s a point at which I can’t sympathize any more with people who insist upon the right to be blind, lashing out at everyone who tries to speak the truth to them.

You don’t believe it? Fine. Pay your money, and wait. Sooner or later, it’ll all become clear to you. Dear.

Open Your Eyes, You Ninny Says:
April 22, 2007 at 6:07 am

Confused, I must apologize for my snarling post. My frustration was misplaced. Yes, you’ve been duped, but it’s not your fault. We’ve all been there. Now, you have to figure out the truth for yourself. We’re here to help.

Joe Average Says:
April 22, 2007 at 3:41 am

Thank you Ames, for an extraordinary letter(7/38). I just wish someone had shown it to me back then. While I can understand Ames’ promise to not speak of the FOF for 10 years, I urge you all not to follow the example. Tell your stories. Tell them to your friends. Write them here. Do it now.

Despite what many may think, the history of abuse in the school is not so widely known. If you have spent most of your time in the school in Oregon House and kept your ears and eyes open, you may have heard quite a lot, but I can guarantee you that very little ever gets out to the centers around the world. Most students know little more than the sanitized version put out by the FOF itself to newspapers, that Robert is rarely intimate with his students and when he is, it is entirely consensual. There has been no television coverage, no books other than adulatory ones by current students, just a handful of newspaper articles from LA, SF and San Diego, most of them from the 1995-1996 period. Every suit by former students has been bought off, their silence insured. Even the Rick Ross site in earlier years only carried some tepid remarks from TE about being taught by Robert how to piss properly and Stella mourning her dogs. Not very compelling stuff. When Veronica posted the material about FOF student suicides, the name of Brian Sisler only created a ghostly echo for me. It took me days before vague memories surfaced of students murmuring his name in hushed conversation, shocked, tearful eyes, frozen faces. I tried repeatedly to get information from them about what happened as it so clearly overwhelmed them. As a group, and later singly, they refused to talk about it.

I was not in Oregon House at the time of the dramatic meeting in 1994. I heard rumour only that something controversial and quite out of the ordinary had happened. Despite asking many people I could get no real accounting. Finally one person described it as a bunch of people declaring themselves men number five at the meeting and demanding to be heard, while angelic LT patiently guided the meeting back on course each time. I was told nothing of the actual content of what these people said. Case closed.

There was a similar meeting in Russia, I think around 2000, when several Russian students asked Robert directly why he found it necessary to have quite so many young lovers among his students. They were, of course, also excommunicated after the meeting. The only reason I heard about that one was that one of the students involved managed to write about it to the former FOF discussion list before being expunged.

So please do not assume that everyone knows or that another old story will not help. It will. Robert has thrived on silence for 35 years. He is terrified of open communication. You will not “bring him down”, but you will help a few more people crack open their cocoon of buffers and rationalizations by the sheer weight of open testimony.


159. Best of the Blog - June 11, 2010

In addition to Veronicapoe, this one includes long posts by Ames G., Charles R. and William H.

Veronicapoe Says:
April 23, 2007 at 4:59 am

Group myth 1: The Fellowship was something that started out good and true and right and wholesome and somehow along the way became corrupt or faltered or something.

Response to Group myth 1: The Fellowship was thoroughly, fatally corrupt from the very beginning.

(Which is not to say that all the people, or even most of them, were or are corrupt. The key thing is deception. The more innocent, naive and idealistic the person, the more manipulable he or she is, generally speaking. And deception works even better when people at all experience levels are led to disable their critical thinking faculties by “separating from the ‘I’s.”)

Foundation for response to Group Myth 1: Accounts of Bonita G. Discussions with Harold W. and the late Stella S. Discussions with the late Don B. Discussions with Jordan F-S whose whole family was in FOF in 1971. Discussion with respected student who left in 1971. Attendance sheet from 1971 showing the degree to which peoples’ attendance at events was monitored. Handwritten note in R.’s handwriting from period of silence stating “It is good when weak students leave as they are weight. It used to bother me but now it’s like a useless object being gone.”

According to people who were there, R. intentionally broke up almost all marriages and relationships of people who joined during the first two years. Someone knows the quantity of relationship splits; I don’t. The number I heard was in the 20s or 30s, a huge number in a small group.

In 1971, R. screwed Student #1 (female), who had separated from her husband after she had an affair with another FOF member. The day after, R. told her she hadn’t valued the experience of sex with a conscious being enough, and made a public announcement, reported in the Via Del Sol Journal, that he had been celibate since the beginning of the school. Her response was “why would he lie? It just didn’t make sense.”

After the end of 1970, R. began to require people to give him large amounts of money in order to continue to remain in the group. R. had been living at home with his mother and decided that people should give him money so he could get wheels, a VW bus. From dismissed elementary school teacher (March 17, 1967) to living with Mom at age 32 and giving tennis lessons at the Claremont, to conning Student #1, a woman older than he was who was obviously fascinated with him and was a married with kids in school. He soon monopolized her time 6 days a week. Go figure that one out. She’s married, she has responsibilities to husband and kids, but he monopolizes her time. The word parasitic comes to mind.

Anonymous 1971 defector, who knew nothing of FOF’s subsequent history, stated, “During the period of silence, R. would blow kisses to people. The ones he blew to me were contemptuous. There was something contemptible and contemptuous about him. I sensed in him a radical lack of integrity. My take on him was ultimately sociopathic. This was the social archeology of 1971 cognitively uncontaminated by anything that came later.

Don B. indicated that when R. used to park at Nut Tree he would take up three spaces so as to keep anybody from scratching his Rolls Royce. Classic narcissistic behavior immune from standards which apply to other people.

The thing I have never quite fathomed is that, if accounts of people without axes to grind are to be believed, R. was a popular and well liked elementary school teacher by both students and parents. How did he go from that to creating, in the FOF, such a hostile environment for children?

Ames Gilbert Says:
April 23, 2007 at 3:56 am

Chopsticks asked (#116):
Ames, can you please tell me in few words what did your conscience say before you left. What is your spiritual path now? Thanks.

I assume you are asking in good faith, and I will answer likewise. I’ll be as brief as possible, but perhaps still longer than you wished. My conscience doesn’t speak to me in words. It is much more like a little flash of illumination, and I see whatever the situation is in a different way, which I have learned to trust is, for me, the truth. Learning to see this was my main education in the FOF and was mostly despite the FOF, in that I had to find out what were the voices of conventional morality, of my mother, what the neighbors might think, what Robert or Girard or fellow students might think (most ‘angles’), and so on, and disregard those voices—a very long process for me, I’m afraid, over many years, leaving the “small still voice”. Once I got the flavor, it became easier and easier to recognize. Nor has it ever let me down.

So, to answer your question specifically; at the time I mentioned in that letter, I was running up on Mt. Renaissance, not many I’s circulating, enjoying the breathing, grateful for my strong, well-functioning body, and I experienced the ‘flash’, and I FELT what it was like to be the lonely young man I had talked to a few weeks before, a South American in Burton’s entourage who had told me that he felt “like a slave” and that he had no escape from his plight. In that one instantaneous insight, I felt not only remorse (I even started crying as I ran), but certain that I was indeed connected directly to him and that I did have responsibility for his pain. That, Chopsticks, was it, best I can do in words.

I ran straight back home, and wrote down what I could of the experience.
The energy from the flash continued to fuel my writing for twenty minutes, and became a personal essay on how my contributions to the FOF enabled Burton in all his excesses, and the pain and blind alleys to which he was leading all the young men. I realized in the fullest way that because I lent energy to Burton and the structure, I was part of the input, and so inevitably I was responsible for the output. At the end of this, another flash; I have an obligation to do what I can to ameliorate the situation, that is, heal (regenerate) according to my power, within the structure. Another flash; to refrain from acting according to my gifts and power is a large ‘sin’ against myself.
So, that was it.

My spiritual path now? Partially answered by my post # 127. In no particular order, other explorations did include two sessions of magic mushrooms, and one of ayahuasca, years apart, which taught me what fragile, chemically controlled body/minds we have, and also new depths of ecstacy, gratitude and worship. A month after leaving, I spent three days alone awake continuously, fasting and meditating in the Yuba Gap (past the power station, quite remote), a quarter mile from James Battaglia, who was doing the same. This purged me of much turmoil and useless emotions connected with being thrown out of the FOF. A few months later, I spent many days and nights going through “a dark night of the soul”, in which, recorded in writing, I confronted many demons and dark parts of myself, and was shown (by grace) some hard, hard truths about myself and our situation.

I read the book by Satyam Nadeen, “From Onions to Pearls” and was deeply moved. I went to one of his week-end sessions in the Bay area (someone said he’s moved on now), and he helped me move much emotional shit in a huge catharsis, for which I was profoundly grateful. He also helped me see that my expectations for spiritual evolution were mostly imaginary, and were getting in the way of living a full life. He sent me on my way, neither of us expecting to see each other again, (which we have not), grateful for the insight that ‘I Am That’. With that insight, it is not necessary for me to have formal teachers or a teaching; I can find a teacher in the person next door at the moment I look. And I can, whether conscious or unconscious, provide the same service for others.

A conclusion I reached later: this was actually also happening in the FOF, but I didn’t recognize it fully at the time. I was in a school, separate from the cult of Robert Burton, and to an important extent, independent of Burton. My teachers were other students, often without them knowing. They provided the energy I enjoyed; theirs was the hard work. Externally, they built the vineyard (think about it, most of the external work was done by students long departed…). It’s true that Burton provided the initial vision, but the best, and for me, the most important, was the efforts, internal and external, of the rest of us. Burton turned into the uber tax collector, a vampire of the energies, and we let him.

Hope that answers (at least on one level) your questions. I’m sure it was more than you wanted, but that’s the risk you take!


Charles R. Says:
April 25, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Again I want to thank the Sheik for his efforts and this very useful blog for all of us members and former members of the FOF.

I am in awe of many of the posts that have been created. Ames G. is very insightful and profound, in my opinion, and I really didn’t know he had so much to share before this. Sandra C. brings a depth of emotion that is always pretty amazing, and now, additionally she brings a broad understanding of psychological issues that are very pertinent to what we are all facing. Joel I have known since 1973 and I always appreciate what he has to say. I could go on and on but maybe more of that in later posts. Hi Bruce, Cathie, Don Juan, Mark H. Dick Moron, Mifis, Inner Jewels, Wake up little Susie, and all of my anonymous friends. I’m happy you’re here and I’m happy to be here, too.

Mark H. and later Chimes have asked to hear about how some of us experienced the period of time between when we first became aware of Robert’s “little secret” and finally leaving. It’s an interesting question and probably one that I should process through therapy, but I’ll give it a try as I am.

I found out about the fact that Robert was having sex with men in the Fellowship on January 13, 1982. Carl M., the FOF lawyer, and I were talking that day about a former student who was reported to have accosted some students in Marysville and said to them that Robert was a homosexual and was seducing young men in the school to have sex with him. We both, believing that this was a lie, and a continuation of the false rumors that many former students seemed to like to spread (this wasn’t the first we had heard about it, but we thought it was just more “false personality” trying to undermine the “school”) decided to report it to Miles. At this time I was the Treasurer and CFO of the Fellowship, Chairman of the Board, and met with and saw Miles every day. Before we met with Miles, Carl spoke to another student, who was also a lawyer, and said we were considering a libel and defamation suit against the former student for spreading lies. The lawyer student told Carl, “Well, truth is an absolute defense against libel.” Carl was incredulous and asked, “What do you mean?” whereupon he was told that we better talk to Miles about it.

For reference, Robert, at this time, and for many years, had been telling students that he was celibate and that he had given up sex for his students. I took that to be a rock solid fact along the lines of “Robert said it, I believe it, and that settles it!” (Howard Carter had nothing on me!) Carl M. was likewise convinced. Many people here have expressed how they were fully dedicated to the Fellowship, and I can see they were. I was, too, as much as I could possibly muster. At this point I had been in the FOF for almost 9 years. I had served in many centers, been a director, made teaching payments, gone on salary and been selected for a key position in the school. I was very happy with my life at this point. In 1979 after the death of my mother I had refused to go to her funeral (at the great consternation of my loving family, may they be blessed for not hating me, but instead, for lovingly accepting me back when I had finally escaped the FOF) because my brother, who was a former member would be attending. I was proud internally to be able to “hold my work” in such a trying circumstance.

We went to Miles’s caravan that evening before going to dinner at the Lodge. He and his wife Susan invited us in and we were served a good cabernet, as I recall (in my mind I’m there as I type this). We recounted the day’s story and asked him what he knew. He said the allegations were true, that Robert had had affairs with a number of young men, and that he, Miles had been working for some time with talking to the young men when they needed counseling. Miles and Susan seemed relieved to be able to talk openly with Carl and me after we brought the subject up. We had all been working together for months or years, with them knowing and Carl and me not knowing, but it took our asking to finally have the subject broached.

I was personally stunned. I just couldn’t believe it. Carl and I went up to the Lincoln Lodge for dinner. At that time there was a practice of having Margaritas with dinner. I had several. The dinner happened and people talked, but I was in my head. I somehow drove home to the trailer park on Rice’s Texas Hill where I had recently moved into a room in a mobile home.

In the morning I awoke with a strong hangover and called into the Ouspensky office to say I wasn’t coming in. Carl M. lived across the driveway in his own mobile home and I went over to talk with him. I said to him that I guess it’s all over and the whole thing has been a lie. He didn’t agree. He thought we should think about it. We began rationalizing how such a thing could possibly be. I remember that he had a little music box toy that had a clown on pins that danced to the tune of “Here Come the Clowns”. We were still inebriated from the night before and we were laughing sadly while watching the clown dance. “What the hell is going on?”

Then, somehow, the day passed. And then more days.

I came to realize that there was a secret “inner circle” of people who already knew about Robert. Some had known for years. They wouldn’t tell anyone, but, if you let them know that you knew, then they would talk about it openly. I told my closest friends about it, if they didn’t know. Soon there was a larger circle of people I could talk to about it. I went to many people and talked with them – I told them I didn’t like what I’d found out, that I didn’t understand it, and that Robert had been lying to us. Almost everyone I talked with said that they didn’t understand it either, but that they valued the school and what Robert was giving us, and that “in time we would know more.” In a way we all talked each other into believing that we couldn’t understand the obvious, that there “must be” a higher understanding that we would come to later, in our work.

I developed a kind of neurosis, whereby my “work personality” redoubled efforts to be a better and better student, while my “old personality” took on the role of provocateur by seeing and voicing the rational flaws in the Fellowship. I sought out students who were willing to question the school, but only to a point. When people actually would leave, I pulled back. Like poor Hamlet, I kept trying to find the perfect proof before I could pull the trigger.

Looking at it now I would compare it to those science fiction films where the all-powerful computer or robot is disabled by tricking it into processing an unsolvable puzzle. I was trying to understand a corrupt situation using the tools provided by the corrupt situation.

This went on for many years, through numerous twists and turns -the IRS audit of the Fellowship, the Sanders case, Miles leaving, etc. etc.

I would say the turning point for me was in the early 90’s when I read all the Meher Baba books. I found a system of ideas that were even more complete than the Gurdjieff one (not that I’m following that system – just that it is a beautiful exposition. I didn’t “interpret” it through Fellowship concepts, I saw its completeness unto itself.). Somehow that freed my mind to see that the Fellowship was not the pinnacle of anything, but just another system – and not a good one, as you can see by reading this blog. Also, more of my friends were starting to question and some to leave. I finally knew it was time to go. What a relief!

From that point it was just a matter of arranging my life to make it happen, which took another year.

I don’t know if these ramblings are of much use, but that was my experience, for what it’s worth. I hope it helps someone who’s trying to solve the puzzle – just remember that you can’t solve it by using the FOF concepts. You have to step away and look back to see the truth.

Love to you all,

Charles R.

FenceRider Says:
April 26, 2007 at 6:01 pm

When we read a novel we suspend our disbelief so as to enjoy the story. This allows the writer to take us into a magical world – a world of symbolism, impossible powers, triumphs, imaginary monsters and angels. While we sit in bed and read – while we are in the state of suspended reality, life seems worthwhile and full of purpose and direction. Our hearts are full.

The novel allows us to believe many beautiful but impossible things (predictions, license plates, prehistoric sequences, eternal city of paradise, crystallization ear smoke, angels in the room, Egyptian connections, prehistoric sequences– the list goes on and on). And even if we don’t believe, we still let go just enough to become swept away.

We have suspended our disbelief so as to enjoy the possibilities offered and learn what Robert has to teach. The hypnotic effect is very strong when a group of people together try to be present, traveling in a trance like state, through the pages of the novel. No one wants to break the spell. The novel is too good and those that are not part of the spell become an obvious denying force. They must be moved aside, quickly, before they (like a virus) break the illusion. We learn to look away. They make us so uncomfortable.

Tulips, harp music, singing, palm trees, nice clothes, gentle wind, flowing fountains in dry air, sweet conversation, beautiful women and men, beautiful present eyes, sweet welcoming smiles, illusions of love, illusions of important work to do, all reinforce the story.

But reality, like the fly that keeps landing on your forehead while you read, keeps trying to pierce the spell. We absently brush off the fly and ignore the distraction. The story is too good. We avoid blogs where flies abound. We avoid some conversations. We find justifications that chase away flies. We hire professional exterminators. Those that notice the flies are labeled as lost. They are losing the novel.

For me the novel has come to an adequate completion. I see no reason to continue to suspend my disbelief. I no longer choose to believe the nonsense. It must have been a good novel to last 31 years! 31 years!- oh my, where did my life go? What work have I avoided? Why did I not put the book down? But the story was so good and it covered up the emptiness, the lack of purpose, the lack of belonging, the senseless struggles, all the things that I wanted to escape as a young man.

Now I just want to be simple, honest, unpretentious, loving.

That is enough. I do not want the constellations any nearer. The book was too long. I am tired of reading.

I am off the fence!

”Long have we lived, joy’d, caress’d together;
Delightful! Now separation – Good-bye my Fancy”….Whitman

FenceRider (a.k.a William Heinz)


160. dick moron - June 11, 2010

Truth is stranger than fiction…

161. silentpurr - June 11, 2010

Gee William, You could write a book!

162. Best of the Blog - June 12, 2010

Veronicapoe Says:
April 28, 2007 at 7:11 pm

“Teleological” reasoning is a process of reasoning in which the result to be reached controls the process used to reach it.

If the result to be reached is “not losing the school,” the reasoning process used to reach that result will not admit information that might lead to a different result.

Teleological reasoning is not free reasoning. Something to keep in mind.

Mind The Gap Says:
April 29, 2007 at 3:29 am

Thank you all for the conversations, poems and comments. I was a member of the Fellowship of Friends from 1976 to 1981/2. I was young when I joined the FOF and it was during a time when some Centers (in the Midwest) were quite Puritanical. Anyway, I am using the name “Mind the Gap” because I have a “gap” in my life history. The time in the FOF was real and the friends we made in the FOF were special but how do you explain being shunned and having a gap in your life history, a lack of lifelong friends or acquaintances that you see from time to time.

It is a sort of Resume with an “mmmm” during a certain phase in your life. It has been a long time since I have been a member but it is a part of my life that I haven’t shared with people outside of the “School”. I struggled and left for my own reasons and always felt that it was my own inability to be the type of student that I saw as “the good student”. However, I know that there were some strange and very sad situations in the FOF but I left before S. Saunders and Miles left the school or these situations were disclosed. I don’t want to go on about my story but I so like hearing from all of you. If a “historical site” is created, I would like to contribute.

I discovered this site one week ago and it has made me think again about organizing and writing about those years in my life when I was in the FOF. I am now 53 years old, a mother of two boys, 15 and 13 years old. I have not communicated with them about my time with the FOF but I would like to place this in context for them. I have a very loving husband and our connection is with laughter, love and living.

Thank you, Sheila

Lady B Says:
April 29, 2007 at 10:57 pm

I am still in the school but I am not a student anymore.

I joined the school 20 years ago with all my heart.

I survived several of the school’s big intervals, when Influence C was “shaking the tree.”

When other students left, I never wanted to know the reason. Each time, some “good student” or center director would act as a filter, saying that the student left because their instinctive center didn’t want to pay any more or because their American puritanical morality made Robert’s sex life into an excuse for leaving.

After a year in the school, a friend of mine left, and before she did she told me that her friend had a relationship with Robert. It was a bad experience, and he left in shock. I was actually relieved to hear that Robert was gay. I’d already been in a group where the teacher was gay. In a second group, where the teacher was straight, and very interested in women, his “wife” had me kicked out because she imagined I was having an affair with him.

In the FOF, I lost a husband, a house, and a lot of money that I didn’t have and don’t have, but none of that bothered me enough to make me leave. Robert has never spoken to me directly — I don’t have money, I’m not rich, I’m a woman. I’m not an artist or actor. I don’t have blue blood or a name of noble origin. So, my role in the school — according to other students — is to pay. That’s my role and for many years I’ve been paying my teaching payment.

I began reading this blog and the letters sent to me by ex-students. I told myself that I’ve been in the school so long that I wouldn’t hear anything bad enough to change my mind, my desire, or my love for Robert.

It didn’t take long to realize that I hadn’t been aware of the level of suffering that many students endured. When Elena wrote, it was as if she read my heart. Now I understand why friends who became Robert’s lovers are so depressed and unable to have a full emotional life. I’ve seen mothers who are happy that their sons were chosen to be Robert’s lovers, and encouraged them not to lose the opportunity to experience higher levels with an angel.

At Isis, children are the last concern. In fact, a friend who doesn’t have children told me, “I think that Isis needs an orphanage.” I was shocked and offended.

I believed that I was helping to build a new civilization, not supporting and paying for all this suffering. I can’t be an accomplice any more. This isn’t the school I was looking for. I’ve learned a lot, but at a very high price. I have a conscience — someone might call it feminine dominance, but I don’t care. All those years I’ve pushed down that inner screaming voice, and had — as many others have — health consequences.

I want to leave the school without a fuss, the way I came, but I want to give a warning to potential students so they have an idea of what they’re getting into. If this blog was available to me 20 years ago, I probably would have made a different decision.

Someone said — I wish I could remember who — that you can see the level of civilization in a country by looking at the way they treat children and old people. Elena, you’re right: I don’t recognize the same Ark that I boarded 20 years old.

During these 20 years, I’ve met some wonderful people, and leaving those friends is going to be a much bigger payment than I’ve ever made. I’m sorry, and I love you.

Mark H Says:
April 30, 2007 at 9:50 am

I left the FOF so long ago that it seems odd to be spending so much time reading hundreds of messages on this blog. Obviously I was not as finished with FOF as I thought I was! I still have feelings for people I left behind, many of whom I was open with in a way that I had been with very few others before. It pained me that they were under orders not to have anything to do with people such as me. I also have feelings for those who joined after me, people I never met. I am very glad for this forum, because it has made it much easier for people in the group to learn the truth, if they wish to do so. Thanks, Sheikh!

The most important truth to understand about FOF, as I see it, is that memembership in this “school” is absolutely NOT a requirement for awakening to your true nature. The time has come for such childish ideas to be abandoned. This abandonment is happening here and in many other places where former cult members meet and share experiences (i.e. the TM-free Blog, where, among other stories, you can read about people who would leave home to meditate all day while their children would be grouped together unsupervised and subject to horrible sexual abuse).

Most people will do anything to avoid truly seeing themselves. For spiritual seekers, a way to avoid seeing themselves may be to invest their hopes in a guru, a teaching, a group, a church. This is one way of escaping from their fears, because now they say can they “belong.” They are one of the “chosen people.” I would say that the true path (if one can call it a “path”) is incompatible with such comforting superstitions. And anyone who tries to convince you to believe in such superstitious nonsense is not your friend, and certainly not a “teacher” worthy of the name. Their aim is not to help you, but to use you for their own selfish ends.

It is both heartening and enjoyable to read the words of old friends, as well as people I don’t know. I really like reading what Joel, Charles, Bruce, Sandra and many others have had to say. All are very insightful. Duncan made me laugh today when he reminded me of his 40 days of silence, a period in which he was more overbearing than he was when he talked! (But hey, it was worth a try, LOL)

It saddened me to read the stories of those who distanced themselves from their families, the “sleeping life people.” I also did this to a degree, for a time, and as a parent now I can understand the pain my parents and siblings must have felt. I hope FOF is not still telling people to do this, and if it is, I can only say to people currently in the group: Don’t do it!

Charles R’s statement that a turning point for him came when he studied another teaching (that of Meher Baba) is very interesting. I had the same experience, but with another teaching (Ramana Maharshi’s). This teaching in fact helped accelerate my departure from FOF. It was important for me to see that there were other equally valid approaches to the truth. How naive and arrogant it was of me to decide, at age 22, that I had found the highest teaching of all!

Good luck to those of you who want to reform the school, whether from within or without (via litigation). I have strong doubts that anything significant can be achieved by such means, but I guess you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. More promising, IMO, is the idea of a website where all the facts can be brought together.

BTW, does anybody know what happened to Donald M., the #2 guy who left around ’75? I wish I had called him at the time and asked why he left.

Mark H.
FOF member 1973-78

claudelarson Says:
May 4, 2007 at 11:20 pm

Hello, all of you gorgeous creatures. What a deal, huh? I just read some of this blog for the first time, and Holy Shit, I had no idea. What an incredible, juicy, intense Dramedy. I have a theory. The FOF either turned us against ourselves or towards not personally being ourselves, or both, or neither. Also, I do have one piece of advice. Wholeheartedly, vigorously, and unflinchingly express negative emotions. I know because it took me a while to get caught up…then, the toxicity disappeared.

No person Says:
May 5, 2007 at 7:11 pm

One of the main things this blog successfully did and keeps doing – is exposing lies and dishonesty at the base of FOF. It’s shocking to realize how many lies small and big were deliberately fed to us by the teacher, and how amazingly we managed to buffer them or call them something else – but not lies. He started FOF with dishonesty, supported it with lies and false statements and continues to BS people now with more unproved lies. FOF still uses dishonest techniques to recruit new members, conceals the real state of affairs from existing members, distracting them from seeing that the leader is immersed in lust, greed, decadence and abuse of power. As a “church” we should be well informed about what’s going on in our church that we support, right? And majority of us were too afraid ( and too brain washed) to ask questions or admit to ourselves that the emperor has no clothes. After all there are so many beautiful things around and nice smiling friends and lovely experiences to focus on – why rock the boat? Just [go with the flow], do the sequence… We all know what happens to those who ask questions…

It’s funny how many similarities I see between FOF and old Soviet Union, where I was born and raised. Saturated with propaganda, a state based on false promises, corrupted, full of fear, impoverished, constantly blaming and negatively labeling the world “outside” – “us” and “them” – the whole system was based on suppressing free flow of information and using lies to cover up greed, excess and decedance of the leaders. What’s interesting that so many soviet people actually believed that we were the “luckiest in the world”. My poor mom, who in her whole life never had a chance to travel abroad (it was not allowed for regular soviet people back then) sincerely told us kids: “You are incredibly lucky to be born in Soviet Union. This is the best place on Earth, where you can have great life”. She really believed it, in spite of the fact that we were poor, there were always long lines for food and clothes, and no one could speak their minds sincerely in fear to be prosecuted or listen to the Western music you wanted to listen.
It turned out later that USSR was actually one of the worst places to be, with very limited opportunities for professional and spiritual growth – but we couldn’t know it until later, when the cage collapsed and the gates finally opened. It all ended surprisingly quickly when the truth got exposed during Perestroyka, people were suddenly able to talk freely and see what’s really “out there”. The monster state lasted for 70 years, and it felt pretty real, but then it rapidly vanished and got removed and replaced – like an old theater stage set with all it’s red flags, bronze Lenins and meaningless red-and-white slogans.

The lie can only exist until it’s fully exposed. Then it loses it’s power, it’s hypnotic potency. A lie need to be believed in, it needs constant support, cover-up, distraction.

The truth stands by itself and needs no defense but it does take some courage to see it and listen to your own conscience, especially if the crowd around you is chanting and praising the naked emperor.
Thank you Sheik, for providing the space, and thank you all the contributors for exposing the “other side” of FOF.


163. Renald - June 13, 2010

I was going through some of my files and found a post which goes back to Nov. 14, 2008. I read it and was left with a wondering. It was “ How many of the names which appeared at the bottom had escaped or graduated ? Her it is:

“ 52. tatyana – November 14, 2008
Last couple of days I could not get read of the strong anger towards Robert, after talking to my friend who is stuck there and suffers that her husband sleeps with Robert. She told me in details how russians are trying to talk her into accepting “the play”.
Knowing all those russians and coming from the same background, the same center even, being the same age, it makes me very sad to see what they have become. It is like if they became sick. And Robert uses it and increases his own sickness.
Russians have problems with boundaries. It is perfectly fine for a friend to come to your house without a call, or eat from your refrigerator. We were told that everything is “common” and therefore nothing belongs to anybody. It sits so deep in our psychology and it takes professional help and a desire – to learn what the boundaries are.
When it comes to the area of relationship, sex and children things get more complicated. Ex-wives come into the new wife’s life as if she has a right. Ex husband comes to visit a child using his own key and makes himself a cup of tea. People accept to share a lot of things, which in western mind are not for sharing. It gives one an excitement and a feeling of never ending Burning Man festival. They enjoy suffering – so they have a reason to drink a bottle of vodka and sing sad songs.
All this ex-lovers-wives-husbands are bonded like shishkibobs. It is not king of hearts and being above the instinctive center, it is immaturity and luck of responsibility. And so called conscious love is untamed sex energy circulating between people with no principals more like extended group sex.
Also russians do not have a democracy in their veins. They don’t want it. They inherited love for the strong tsar, and the more terrible, the better.
Olga, Denis, Sasha, Swetlana, Sergei, Nicholai, Natasha, Kirill, Vlad, Genya, Misha, Leonid, Maxim, Vasily, Igor, Marina… My heart aches for you! You have so much more options in life than this mad house.“

Best wishes and Much Joy to all,

Cheers !!

164. Renald - June 13, 2010

What my previous post also shows is just how little information gets back to followers regarding who left and when and why. I am referring primarily to those who lived at Renaissnce for many years and who did not work in the office where it had to be known when people came off the list of payers. People just came and went in such great numbers that it was almost impossible to keep track. I am still surprised when I go back to check when so and so left to see that it was sometimes many years before I would have thought.
For example I see now that the three Maxims I knew about had already been out for about two years or more when the above post appeared indicating that they were still stuck there. There must also be others on the list that were out but this friend of theirs did not know they were out.
Anyways, that`s the way it was.
Cheers !!

165. Best of the Blog - June 13, 2010

Posts by Ames, WhaleRider, Vena, Innernaut, Bruce, Elena, Joe Average, Jeanette, and Charles R.

Ames Gilbert Says:
May 4, 2007 at 9:15 pm

…There is a choice on how to use the creative energy. If one chooses to be the master of it, one becomes the slave of it. This is a major thought, so I’ll restate it in other terms. The choice is stark: does one choose to put these creative powers into service? Or does one choose to indulge oneself and become addicted to pleasure and control? Since it gives one a ‘rush’ to use it (one has opened channels to previously unavailable quantities and qualities of energies), and one can do whatever one wants, one can choose to indulge the power and what it brings. The other choice is to place the acquired power in service, THEN one truly becomes the master of the creative energy.

Readers with me so far will reach their own conclusions. Here are mine, for what they are worth. I concluded that Burton brought all his strengths (and they are many) and weaknesses (and they are many) to the “crystallization party”. He was phenomenally greedy, a liar (to others–and infinitely more dangerous–to himself) and already a sex addict. He was also kind, emotionally extremely perceptive, and an idealist in the best sense. Both sides of his nature became crystallized. He may have been in imagination that somehow the dark side would be ‘left behind’, I don’t know. At that moment, he had to choose. He was unprepared to do so, both by his teacher and by his being (too arrogant to read and heed Gurdjieff, for example). He did not spend his ‘forty days in the wilderness’ examining and coming to terms with his dark side, humbling himself and asking for help (grace). He made his choice exactly according to his being at the time. He was offered the ‘riches of the world’—and took them. In contrast, Christ rejected the temptations, and instead offered himself to service (Luke, ch. 4).

Crystallization is a serious and important subject within the Fourth Way. So, you good folks in the FOF who want to crystallize ‘rightly’, think, what is the example before you? You only have Robert Burton, who “has no other gods before him”…

WhaleRider Says:
May 5, 2007 at 9:52 pm

Reading this blog has been a very visceral and emotional experience for me, which I am grateful to transform into presence, for I live the work every day of my existence. When reading it I perspire heavily. In the past week since I was informed of it and dived in, I have had many instances of energy shooting down my sides, and I am moved to tears several times a day when I reflect upon what I experienced in the FOF. Yet the sheer energy contained in this blog, both raw and refined is quite impressive as I am sure the venerable sheik and knight will agree, and I cannot stop reading it. I find myself hoping of recognize my story, only to realize that it is not there because I have not told it.

I want to be clear that I do not wish to be part of any lawsuit against RB or the FOF. I am not motivated by any hope of financial gain, nor am I willing to join a crusade to end the FOF. It will undoubtedly collapse under its own excesses, or not, I could care less. Each person, in or out, must choose for themselves, which I believe is one of the reasons this blog is so valuable. I have built a comfortable, happy life and successful business post-FOF for myself and my family which I wish to protect. I ask anyone whom may recognize my identity to please respect my privacy and keep my name anonymous. Although current FOF members may wish to argue that in divulging my story I have violated the personal privacy of RB, that his public life is distinctly separate from his private life. My response is this: when a teacher brings his student into his private life and uses “work” language in his seduction, that distinction is gone. For each of us, no matter how long we have contact with the FOF; it is and will be a deeply moving and personal experience, not because of the man, but of the possibilities of growth within each of us.

…I have ridden the BIG FISH into the deepest, darkest, coldest depths until my lungs have screamed for air, my soul choking in my throat, and I have survived. I let myself be swallowed whole, have kept myself intact, had my semen drained nightly by a sex maniac who gave the most wondrous, intentional, conscious blowjobs, had my essence gouged open as I lay resting on the Goethe Academy floor as a human shield for the precious artwork, the lights left on the LeBrun all night to keep my exhausted body in first-state deprivation, my king of clubs bound and gagged, unable to protect me from this terrible angel who would rouse me and lead me secretly, stealthily into the dark of his gilded bed-chamber to service his need for the good of us all, in this school of “shut up and be present”, this silk-lined labyrinth of luxury complete with the matching salt and pepper shakers, where I puke out his semen in the imported porcelain toilet along with the fine wine and pepper steak from the teaching dinner earlier that night and wipe my face on the Egyptian cotton towel just before I’d retire until dawn cracks open another day and he slumbers peacefully until lunch dreaming of sugar plums because they remind him of testicles…while the rest of us toiled in the searing hot sun the next day still weary from our lunatic efforts the day and night before…not once was I told that I was loved in this school of love, but he loved when I returned the favor-only to have to excrete myself one year later, quietly leaving in a gentleman-like fashion, not making a splash, barely a ripple, so as not to disturb anyone else who might be sleeping…to remain alive, and carry out my prophesized soul death sentence as a life-person-oh yeah, that’s right, there was no gun to my head…but thankfully his predictions don’t come true either, do they?

And Howard, Girard, Golden Fleecer, the brave-new-man and miscellaneous moon angels…with your eloquent tongues and trite, text-book explanations for our suffering…I have seen 50 like you dis-“membered” by the insatiable Minotaur at the center of this perpetual labyrinth you call haven, home, Isis… do you have the balls to hear the truth?…the graphic truth?… the painful truth? The truth I paid for with my own hydrogen 12? Do know why he calls himself a goddess? You think an angel told him. Did you know the prostrate gland is the male G-spot? He would orgasm from anal sex without any penal stimulus, and think he had awakened his female side, just as a woman does during anal sex without ever touching the clitoris… He taught me that, he’s such an elevated and exalted teacher! Look it up on the internet, or better yet, try it for yourself sometime…

And can you even FATHOM the nauseating, soul imploding disgust I felt the night he did “rimming” on me, without my consent, and then brought his fecal coated lips to mine and kissed me? Try separating from that. The Darvons he used to hand out were not enough to quench the pain, for this pain is exquisite and it leaves no visible marks! Think of me the next time he kisses your forehead…once those lips had been planted firmly on my asshole and probably countless others from all corners of the planet. And that’s the ultimate of all ironies; he kisses your third eye with those lips, coating the seat of your very soul with fecal matter from the seat of his inner circle. Please, by all means, stay in the Fellowship as long as you like! Stand by him! Support him! Bring him fresh new, exotic meat, he’s HUNGRY! Or if you like, have a look down the escape hatch he had installed in his closet just in case C-influence happened to be on vacation and he read the tea leaves wrong. Then you will know the darkness that resides under that silk suit. You might want to have your own plan B just in case the Earl has run out of man number five party hats that you have been so patiently waiting for him to bestow upon you…


Vena Says:
May 6, 2007 at 6:53 pm

Dear Whale Rider,

Thank you for your courage in sharing this nightmare of a story. How anyone with the awareness of this kind of thing can continue to have any affliation with RB or the FOF is beyond me. I feel outrage for you and the others who were subjected to this depraved behavior and especially as he uses the pretense of spirituality to support it. I only wish more men would speak out. Enough of these personal stories might begin to build a momentum that could put a stop to this obscenity.

Innernaut Says:
May 5, 2007 at 11:36 pm

Ames (#228): I never made it through Beelzebub — not even close. But your post was so interesting it had me wishing that I had. Then I read Cathie’s post (#249), in which she said, “I realized after a few pages that the author had a deep-seated contempt for people.” I think this gets more to the heart of why I never made it very far in the book. When I purged the 4th Way from myself, I tore up almost all my “workbooks” in a burst of catharsis. I got particular satisfaction ripping up Beelzebub — I remember thinking, “This is the worst book ever written!” at the time.

Bruce Says:
May 6, 2007 at 7:04 pm

#268 “Bruce’s posts for example are so angry, I wonder if he has learned anything in all these years since the FOF! Some people unfortunately can only respond with extreme negative emotions.”
I think you’re reading into my statements what you want to see to reinforce your own beliefs. I state what I see, no more, no less. Don’t mistake it for anger. I have never enjoyed my life as much as I am presently. I value where I’ve been, I love where I am going. I wouldn’t change anything in my past, but at the same time shit is shit, and I’ll continue to call it thus. Mistaking that for anger is “your” choice. That’s too easy a buffer, unless that’s what’s needed to make you feel better about your own choices.

Elena Says:
May 6, 2007 at 8:12 pm

Thank you WhaleRider, Ames and everybody else, for your posts.

We each did what we did in the fellowship and taking responsibility for our personal actions does not mean that the Fellowship as a whole is not also responsible for promoting situations in which people are used and abused, probably those in high places, more dramatically so than others. This is the deep questioning that I am willing to continue.

In the same vein, the fact that I love my husband and the Fellowship, (and I do not care whether you believe that or not), does not mean that I am willing to condone the way in which he has been damaged and has helped support Robert blindly with both his strengths and weaknesses. Neither he, Robert or the Fellowship can continue unquestioned if any healing is to take place in the individual and overall process…

The inability of people to assume social responsibility is not consciousness. The “me, me, me” attitude is just selfishness, not self remembering or presence. The reinforcement of such an attitude is what is so dangerous about what is happening in the Fellowship and I am not willing to respect that. It goes way beyond people’s beliefs.

Joe Average Says:
May 6, 2007 at 11:29 pm

Two bits for relativity:

Not all so-called advaitists disclaim the need for any practice or effort. From Adyashanti:

“for almost everybody that really comes into the true truth, the truth that’s actually true rather than that sort of taffy coated nonsense that they sell as truth in many spiritual circles. Like you’re gonna do this nice little end-around around all of your illusions and desires and hangups and you’re gonna get to enlightenment. You might get to go there as a vacation, but sooner or later everybody gets the good fortune of plowing headlong right through everything they thought was true and literally watching it as it’s summarily torn off of you, thrown on the ground as so much dust.”

And RB was not without his secret heroes and role models. He repeatedly referred to Osho as someone “who had his sleep shaken” and who “was not naïve”. Given that RB had barely concealed contempt for almost everyone, I took this to be his way of expressing admiration for Osho. So, this from Sheela, Osho’s “#2″ for many years:

If you’ve the time and bandwidth, I would recommend the whole series from Sheela for a hilarious and, for FOFers, quite familiar story of the politics of gurudom and the gullibility of worshipers. Part 2, for example relates how Osho built “his inner circle”(yes, Sheela uses that term).

Jeanette Says:
May 7, 2007 at 12:30 am

#262 Whalerider
Thats some fucked up shit you (and so many others)went through, glad you came out of it OK.

Here is an interesting quote from R.B.’s book “Self Remembering “pg.205
“Infra-sex: The use of sex energy for purposes that are not connected with procreation or regeneration; for example, it’s use for personal gratification or to influence others”


– – –

#270 Siddiq says;
“As you should have gathered from many posts, the Fourth Way is not about belief but about verification. There is a place for some belief, but this is more subtle and definately not anything religious, or blind in nature.”

Many have responded to you regarding this already, but just remember that there isn’t one ex-student out here in blog-land that didn’t believe the above just as ardently as you do now. So what changed? Did we really “lose the work”? For me, I began to notice many of the “teachings” Robert was dispensing had nothing to do with the fourth way, nor were they verifiable. If you look critically at many of these ideas you might find that the wizard is just an old man hiding behind a curtain…but the old man knows how to put on a believable show.

Some things to verify:

~Celestial City of Paradise
~44 famous angels working with this, and only this, school (C influence)
~9 lifetimes must be lived before going to said City
~If you’re not on your 9th lifetime then when you die your soul will be put in a jar in limbo for a number of years (can’t remember #)
~”I am an angel in a mans body”
~California will fall into the ocean in 1998 (oops)
~ There will be armageddon in 2006 and only those in Renaissance/Apollo/Isis will survive (oops)
~A billion year old angel who wrote the play of the Fellowship visited Robert in the 90′s
~(during a dinner) Leonardo da Vinci(or other member of 44) is in the room right now.
~When someone leaves the school they become “food for the moon”.
~The sequence (Wild and Free #268 This is not something RB or the FOF “invented”-it has an old tradition, going back thousands of years.)
~ Mother Theresa is on the moon
~This school will produce seven conscious beings
~Feminine dominance

This list is not meant to poke fun (but it was fun to remember all of it), like I said ,I and other ex-students believed this at one time or another. All of the above examples are part of Robert’s teachings but they are NOT a part of the fourth way (although the “Moon Food” idea is a bastardization of a fourth way concept). I guess my point, Siddiq, is that you are correct in stating that the fourth way requires verification but IMHO RB left the path of the Fourth Way long ago. The teachings of RB now seem to require faith as verification is not possible.


Charles R. Says:
May 7, 2007 at 12:33 am

The post by WhaleRider #8/262 was very moving. I could feel the angst profoundly. It is so obvious that there is no love involved in Robert’s sexual victimizing.

WhaleRider, I am deeply sorry that you had to endure that situation, and I regret and apologize to you, and to everyone else who had to endure such a thing, that I could not stand up for you. I did not suffer the sexual advances of Robert, for whatever reason, but I feel violated whenever I hear about them, because I was supporting the cause all during that time.

To anyone reading this who is in the Fellowship, please help your friends – free them and yourselves from this travesty. Better late than never.

Charles R.


166. Best of the Blog - June 13, 2010

Post from the Sheik, Old FOF, flying free, WhaleRider, Yesri Baba, Vena, Bruce, and dick moron.

the Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion Says:
May 6, 2007 at 3:41 pm

…You are searching for a dream, my friend, no one is tolerant all the time. One of the biggest dangers in the journey is to seek something that does not exist. It is possible to act as if you were consistent, permanent and in unity all the time but you will soon find out (whether from personal experience or from watching those who claim to be such) that it is impossible, ie. the illusion will crumble and you will understand that inconsistency is an unavoidable human trait (not only of those who are asleep). Do you think that RB is consistent and in unity? Seriously, man, do you?

On belief.

Believing in many I’s and in the concept of sleep is a belief. Believing that RB is the only awakened being is a belief. Believing that everyone who does not work on themselves through the FoF is asleep and food for the moon is a belief. Believing in the C influence is a belief. Believing in the importance of coincidences is a belief. Believing that higher states can become permanent is a belief. Believing that the Teacher does not answer to morality and ethics is a belief. Believing that the so-called ‘higher states’ are the only non-ordinary state of consciousness worth exploring is a belief. Believing that Gurdjieff and Ouspensky had the answers is a belief.

old FOF Says:
May 7, 2007 at 4:02 am

…About two hours after reading your post, Whale Rider, going along about my regular day – I unexpectedly burst into tears. I cried for you, for all of “Robert’s boys” and maybe a little for my old lost innocence.

It was a process so long ago. For the longest time I hadn’t known about Robert’s behavior, despite my leading centers. It was only later – and after many dropped buffers – in retrospect, that scales dropped from my eyes.

I then “saw” what had happened, sensed the flow of vulnerable young men — and realized what people returning from Renaissance (called then), again in retrospect, had been trying to say to an uncomprehending me.

I remembered the breakdowns – one young solar required his father to come from the East Coast to the Property to pick him up; another going back from the Property to Europe was found wandering in the subways of New York in a psychotic condition and had been committed to Belleview psychiatric hospital. He was later medicated and shipped back to Europe.

In my mind, based on experiences in two small centers I later guessed that Robert may have had sex with as many as 25% of the male students. I’m not sure if this number would hold if generalized over time and geography. But, it floored me. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear if the number of students thus compromised were in the hundreds, and possibly more than a couple thousand.

Some of these young seekers, to my deepest regret bordering on self-disgust, were people whom I helped bring into the Fellowship…

Also, the isolation of the young men should be noted. In the earlier days at least, many of the “older students” like me were in the dark. So, who could they get reasoned advice from? Robert had a very closed and secreted system. Any problems, they were asked to leave the school. And shame must have been a terrible cement.

I also want to confess that – in classic blame the victim style – for a short time after discovering these facts, I thought these young men chose their path – it was consensual. Fortunately, that buffer fell in short order. And I quickly removed myself from any leadership role – and found my way out. Not particularly noble, but there it is.

I thought that I personally gained a great deal from my experience in the Fellowship of Friends. But, at what cost? I’m still tallying.

This blog is very dynamic to my perception – in strange way. It seems to provide the means to leave the Fellowship at a higher and better level. And also, somewhat oddly and disconcertingly, to provide a more comprehensive personal narrative – that doesn’t just note the gains. But hints at one’s past personal deficits and what they might mean. Overall, it’s positive, but it scares me a little.

Whale Rider, I am so deeply sorry that this happened to you. Thank you for your story and for your courage…

flying free Says:
May 7, 2007 at 7:28 am

#262 Whalerider

This was so intensely expressed that I could hardly breathe as I was reading it. Over 20 years in the FoF and I had my head buried in the sand the entire time, and had only hints and allegations before I left. I can only hope that this Blog will continue to expose what is going on among the existing current students. And I hope that students talk about it openly among themselves- for there are many who are afraid to read the Blog (it has been touted as negative by the powers that protect RB- just like any truth that was spoken in the past) How can anyone even suggest that this very sick man called Robert Burton is an enlightened being? How many more pained stories does one need to read/hear to wake up to reality? How can anyone funnel a single cent further to this sick f-ck and call him a teacher?
Whalerider, I am glad that you survived and have thrived in your life after the FoF, although I am sure the scars remain. I am not so sure that others have or will be as lucky.
I am grateful everyday that I got out when I did, and only wish this Blog existed 15 years ago.
All the best to you

WhaleRider Says:
May 7, 2007 at 7:36 am

Whew, more tears, more sweat…I tossed and turned all last night…In the spirit of sharing and completely divesting myself of the FOF brand of personal improvement, cuz’ I’m feeing a distinct Hawaiian vibe here, thanks Arthur, Charles R (I remember you well), Jeannette, Vena, and everyone else for your kind thoughts…what made up my mind to take Morpheus’s little truth pill and flush myself from the Matrix 22 years ago was this: (for which I paid dearly) being close to RB afforded me the chance to see and understand first hand that his relationship and use of the concept “C-influence” was actually in fact ‘magical thinking’ (angels are hovering over the table right now) and ‘ideas of reference’ (the number 44 appearing somewhere just for you), which are two neuroses that function as defense mechanisms for individuals with ego deficits. I am deeply thankful to Miles Barth, who introduced these to me when he followed his conscience out of the school; it awakened mine. I left the FOF five months later.

An easy way to understand how ‘ideas of reference’ works is to assign strong personal meaning to a number other than 44, which I did, and voila, there are just as many shocks out there for those willing shed their FOF blinders and look for them. Don’t take my word for it, do it yourself.

When I began the work, I understood that Gurdjieff’s original definition of C-influence was this: it originates from the lips of a living, breathing, conscious teacher to the student, directed specifically to them, for furthering the student’s evolution. B-Influence was whatever the conscious being produced and left behind when they pass over. (After all that effort, who’d want to hang around on this plane, anyway?) Everything else was A-Influence. Ergo, you do whatever you can to be close to a conscious being to get what you need to evolve. But that was not RB’s brand of “C-Influence”, and it irked me.

My direct experience was that RB was not intellectually sophisticated enough for the task of focusing that much attention (and love) on any one student, he likes to play the field so to speak. So he merely projected his own defense mechanisms into the group to mask his inadequacies. (If shit happens, it is God’s will, not mine.) He diverted our ingrained religious beliefs to the 44, and we bought it. He’s a master of spin.

After posing the question at a meeting in Renaissance, “how does one prolong a higher state?” after much silence and one helpful angle, I received a photograph for vanity feature from Belinda and the subject was changed. Undaunted, I asked Robert the same question during a discrete lunch, with only two others attending so as not to put him too much pressure on him. His answer was to place a wine cork under his French sleeve cuff and to show me how a person in his position could create a memorable state in others who look up to him, but that would not be enough for awakening, the rest is left up to the individual. In other words, he didn’t have the answer. (The thought of doing the sequence 24/7 doesn’t seem to be the answer either.) It then became clear to me that Robert’s self-assigned role as teacher was how he kept himself dialed in and relatively present, but not fully awake in his higher intellect. He wasn’t one for “long thoughts”. All the emphasis on being present seem to inhibit critical thinking, lofty or not. We students were his reminders to pay attention, and he was feeding on us because he had a role to play.

A good example of “ideas of reference” is RB claiming the detention at the airport being a grand play designed by higher forces specifically for him and his entourage to transform into a higher state. (Jeeze, I get that friction every day just riding the bus!) The detention at the airport was a indirect result of his actions, in that he created and maintains the FOF, and it’s always been an odd bunch, to say the least. They raised the suspicions of the airline workers. That’s pretty understandable post-911. “C-Influence” providing friction just for him…I don’t believe so, that’s the snake biting his own tail, he doesn’t know himself. Robert caused this friction on himself and the others by virtue of surrounding himself with a “school” of entitled odd ducks that behave strangely. The idea of not losing your temper and going off at some underpaid, over-zealous republican homeland security dude with an attitude because you have ballet tickets… well, that’s common sense, unless you are looking for a full body cavity search or something.

True C-influence is designed for you (customization- 5/318-innernaut) based on direct observation and means you actually get to evolve, eventually becoming equal or surpassing your teacher (which I don’t claim to be)…but wait…evolving students? That presents a dilemma for the teacher who happens to have developed narcissistic personality disorder (not a disorder that would meet the legal definition of insanity, by the way). Here’s the rub, the nature of that disorder would instinctively compel that teacher to undermine anyone’s evolution if they were to get anywhere close to his level because that teacher always has to be top of the heap, maintaining an unreachable status. (First people RB clears from the playing field, women, no WOMAN will awaken in HIS school, by God. He personally prefers men.)

In groupthink the commonly held myths (i.e. beliefs that cannot be verified) function as an adhesive, binding the group together. Most of us have the need to belong, to feel part of a bigger identity than our small subjective one (a school is for those who know they need one) and the fear of abandonment (shunning) is so strong it keeps the members in line, censoring themselves and putting up with more and more cognitive dissonance. Fear manipulates the members into making excuses for any shortcomings or glossing over the glaring contradictions in order to maintain the status quo and retain membership. And by fear, what could be more frightening than losing your most prized possession, your soul? (In other less materialistic times, it was the fear of everlasting pain.)

So how can you debate the belief that “C-influence” had its hand in creating this school and will determine its fate? (Howard espouses Robert’s beliefs the best.) Or angels guard the gates? Or that God made the world in a matter of days? Or that Allah is the ONE and ONLY prophet. You cannot. Religion is not subject to debate, it is based on faith. You either buy into because you need the eggs, or you don’t.

Discussing these realities to others within a groupthink structure though, would be the equivalent of attempting to describe water to a fish. Besides, I was in my mid-twenties when this was happening, who would listen to me? I’d just get the boot on the spot. Given all I had experienced with RB and that at the very core I disagreed with his definition of “C-Influence” but could buffer that no longer, there was no choice but for me to walk. I did it on my terms, without fanfare. I went out, made a life for myself, and created a family with someone who had no relationship with the FOF. I love them deeply. I am eternally grateful to have accomplished this and worked hard not implode.

I still do believe in synchronicity IN MODERATION. Would I stake my children’s life on it? Hell, no! I use for personal validation purposes only, not to divine the future for others. Remember, the house always wins, as long as you choose to play.

Now I can have some peace.


Yesri Baba Says:
May 7, 2007 at 10:17 am

#271 Half-life

I will start this post off with a big WOW to #262 Whale rider.

Then to good writers, wits and provocateurs (#266 moon angel) along with siddiq’s “many I’s”.

I don’t think i have posted but one or two things that i did not regret posting because i didn’t think i said what i meant to say or it didn’t seem like it was written very well. This blog is about the only prose writing i have ever done post high school.

I usually brace myself a bit for a bite from Exlax or talk myself into believing there is some profundity in unonanimos presentations and everyone here is just plain smarter than me but i know i can stand toe to toe with them and look them straight in the eye or any “devil” or “angel” that may happen by.

Yeah this blog is just “I’s”. But some of them are “I’s” from the bottom of the soul like Whale rider. Some are weak little imagine what it would be like to get slapped across the face- as opposed to getting slapped across the face “I’s”.

As for “shallow popular junk” non-dual stuff i wonder what is making that judgement. Why is it some “great philosopher” some where has the corner on deep thinking. This man’s scope and that man’s reason are always admired but i myself have experienced many things of heaven and earth. I am not giving anything up to anybody. I am what i am non-dual and fragmented.

There is magic in this blog. As long as people keep saying things in their unique way and Bruce and Exlax keep calling the bullshit I’ll keep hanging around.

If you would be interested at all in how i see the “non-dual” i will refer to the work of Ken Wiber. The book “Integral Spirituality” is a good start.

Vena Says:
May 7, 2007 at 5:15 pm

I only wish this blog had appeared soon enough for Brian Sisler. It may have given him the opportunity to heal his terrible wounds. It seems clear that his almost thirty years of tormented suffering was the consequence of his relationship with RB. One evening some months ago he went to the gatehouse and asked to see Robert. He was turned away. He drove to Marysville, checked into a motel and hung himself.

Bruce Says:
May 7, 2007 at 5:54 pm

GOlb 306.
I’m truly sorry for you. The scale of your denial feels about one inch from total panic.

dick moron Says:
May 7, 2007 at 10:42 am

The post by WhaleRider, #262 shows great courage and humility in confronting a betrayal of trust and hope by a so-called “teacher” who has been motivated in his essence by lust and greed (and mediocre taste in art). My own experience was less fecal, but still was something I tried very hard to suppress for many years, in the FOF and after leaving. After basically failing the first go-round with me, RB managed to get another shot 8 years later, using my failed marriage as a stepping stone. The fact that my wife left me for RB”s current “secretary” at the time, only made me more vulnerable. I later realized that this was often “the way out” for RB’s bed mates, to bag a fine lass that would save them from RB’s “goddess lips”.

The second time around, I finally had the courage to say no after being broken down during a 10 week trip with RB in Europe, where I was subjected to psychological games I cannot begin to describe here. Yes, I was the one who barfed on the tour bus in Greece with Miss Lelli. While I was indeed truly sick and exhausted, it was also a sign to all on that trip of the state of “the teaching”. Few or none on that trip are still in FOF or even alive.

To get back on point: My experiences with being pressured to give in to sexual advances, no matter how unwanted, gave me a profound understanding of what women have no doubt endured though all of time. The testosterone fueled aggression of men, who wage wars, rape and kill and will not consider the wish of another to just be left in peace. Relentless aggression.

Then there is a male’s pride. A loving relationship, gay or straight, is a main cog in the divine clockwork. When there is no love or mutual sexual interest, like most of RB’s escapades, the other guy has a lot of pride to swallow (no pun intended). I think, many of the old guard FOF men who have had their time with RB, but still man the fortifications in his defense, have simply not accepted that they were used as boy candy in their younger and slimmer days. These are the ones with huge egos and much vanity. Several are now the pillars of the FOF leadership. It is a fitting end for them.

To all the women who’s strong voices have been heard in this forum–the world needs more like you. It’s too late for the fellowship. The Queen will only off your heads.

dick moron Says:
May 7, 2007 at 7:52 pm

To #294 Exlax101.
It IS hard to argue with your logic about consenting FOF students.
If one is stupid enough to totally give up their will to a lunatic posing as teacher, they have consented to pretty much anything, right?
Members of that Heaven’s Gate group each made their own responsible decision to put on the identical Nike shoes and kill themselves. You can’t really say that about the people who took the Koolaid at Jonestown, because they literally DID have guns to their heads, but you get the idea I hope.


167. Best of the Blog - June 13, 2010

Posts Joseph G., dick moron, John, and no person:

Joseph G Says:
May 9, 2007 at 2:21 am

WhaleRider, I can vouch for your story, as it mirrors my own in many details. And of course we knew each other well. I was 23 in 1978 when Robert came on to me. Not as many times nor as intensely as you describe, but otherwise the same story. Some historic context: in those days many people slept on floors in sleeping bags. For some of us the Blake Cottage was simply an upgrade from sleeping at the Lodge under a dining table. When I moved in there I had no idea that Robert would do what he did. I think it happened less than ten times to me altogether. This covert sex life was emotionally stressful for me, but not unbearable. During my time in Robert’s entourage I received only three gifts that I can remember: a rosewood pen & pencil set, a special-press edition of the Rubaiyat, and an Hermes cashmere jacket. The jacket had actually been purchased for another student but didn’t fit him, so someone had the idea it might fit me. I was married in that jacket less than a year later. Not difficult to do the math in hindsight. There were no orgies back then, at least that I am aware of. There were no Russian students hoping to get green cards, or sex for vouchers either. I worked with a chain saw clearing land in advance of the vineyard landscaping and planting. Lots of poison oak. I remember distinctly that I did not want undue gifts for what I did. The pervasive sense of service, shared conviction and shared affection was very satisfying, probably addictive. We would work hard during the day and take turns serving each other at night. My evening job was providing wine, which strangely has remained my profession to this day. It’s hard to say exactly when I realized that I was not the one and only lover Robert had, but at whatever point I did realize this fact, I also assumed there were probably no more than a few others. I also had no awareness of people getting hurt at the time. I never talked about it, nor did my housemates. In hindsight this seems incredibly naive, even at 20-something. What needs to be understood is that the men close to Robert were envied by many in the community, and continue to be today. Not because of the sex or the gifts, but because they were allowed to be close to the teacher. This is important to understand because when you envy someone it is extremely difficult to think of that person as a victim. And when you are envied by others it is also difficult to think of yourself as a victim. This dynamic has become even more acute lately, as Robert has substantially withdrawn himself from personal contact with most of this run of the mill students.

The big difference in my story from WhaleRider’s is that I stayed in. It has only been one month since I left the FOF, and 31 years since I joined. Consequently I have many friends in the FOF today. Some are probably reading this. If I had known what Ames or Charles or Miles knew, I may have left earlier. But I did not know everything they knew. Even now I think many FOF members do not know, and some absolutely do not want to know.

Although no longer an FOF student, some of the revelations of this Blog have been shameful and horrifying to me, and I agree with the many comments regarding conscience as a glaring weak spot, both within myself and in the FOF. In my own case it was not the sex or the abuse of power that provoked me to leave the FOF. I left because I lost all respect for the teaching. It has no integrity for me now. The “real school” I thought I joined in 1976, the practical school that urged me to verify everything and remember myself always and everywhere, that valued being over knowledge, has been turned into a weird circus of revisionism, numerology and inane ritual. With four children at home I simply could not justify paying $15K to $20K per year merely to attend concerts, community markets and potager lunches. Going to a meeting or dinner with Robert had become a dreaded experience for me; and yet I tended to blame myself for no longer being able to connect with my teacher or with his obtuse and increasingly delusional teaching. Being free is an unexpected relief. I am happy and grateful to find myself in the role of a beginner once again.

With love,

Joseph G.

As a postscript: A few months ago I received a letter from my high school regarding a Jesuit priest who had been institutionalized for having sex with students. His name was Father Bradley. He had been a disciplinarian at my school when I was a junior and senior. It was a strange shock. I realized that in hindsight several of my Jesuit teachers had clearly been homosexuals, and that the scandal in the Catholic Church had come uncomfortably close to touching my own play. What would I have done if that man had forced himself on me as a 17-year-old? Could I have avoided it? Would he have thought it was consensual? How different was it that Robert took advantage of my youth and inexperience a few years later? In point of fact there was one huge difference: Father Bradley was an unpopular sadistic-looking priest in a religion I had already turned away from, while Robert was my spiritual teacher, and the man who brought me the magic gift of self-remembering. For the record I still believe self-remembering is a great gift, despite all the interesting counterpoints within this Blog. And I am prepared to allow for an ongoing glimmer of karmic gratitude to Robert, in spite of what I now know about him. Just don’t mistake this for condonation or support.

dick moron Says:
May 8, 2007 at 9:22 pm

to Whalerider re #231:

You do not need to produce physical evidence to be believed. Blake said: “Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed”

GOlb and others who have responded to your stories with doubt, are probably professional defenders and lackies of RB, who have built their status and pathetic careers within FOF by eloquently denying or justifying any “funny business”. They know the truth of your story–they probably were in the same position(s) as you in their younger days.

Many of those who submitted, even just once or twice, to RB’s “desires” and then acted like it was a wonderful thing, or, more often, simply kept quiet and continued in their devotion and service to the FOF, were “taken care of” by RB from then on. This ususally took the form of perks and gifts. Fully paid “Traveling preacher” trips to Europe or other exotic centers. Golf trips to Palm Springs. Some were set up with “important” roles within the FOF hierarchy, drawing salaries(while still paltry by “life” standards) that were many times greater than the standard FOF salary. Some have been probably been assisted in setting up businesses, art studios and little wineries around Oregon House. One method was to have expenses and purchases deducted from teaching payments. Others, had businesses and never had to make teaching payments. There were many creative approaches to rewarding the loyal.

Those who chose not to stay around Oregon House, still were rewarded with attention, expensive dinners at fine restaurants with RB and more gifts.
I know this, because, I was one of this group. I was basically silent at meetings and stopped attending them entirely 5 years before I left. I was never a center director and generally scorned the directors in the centers where I lived when I left Oregon House. I had no need for them as I had a direct line to the teacher himself. He would always answer my phone calls. I was RB’s loyal friend, who would usually be invited to dinner etc. when he was in town. I would run errands for him in NY and call him if I found a particularly exotic big bottle of wine for him to purchase. I monitored the auctions of some of the bland old master painting collected at the time. My one-bedroom apartment was always available for entourage members to stay at. One of RB’s secretaries actually made a set of keys to my place without telling me, so he could let himself in.

At Oregon House (I use the town name because I cannot keep up with all the name changes of “The Farm”) there were the gatherings to watch football and basketball games, where RB would often invite one of his new “projects”. I now realize that my being there with a couple of other “old-timers” helped create a relaxed and normal appearing environment, where the “guys” rooted for the home team, drank lots of beer and actually casually conversed and made jokes with RB. So, while there was no intent by me, I was no doubt a part of the scheme of manipulation that eventually ended up in the bedroom for some of the naive new guests. I participated, mainly because I liked the attention and had developed a taste for the finer things in life like wine, good food and comfort. Basically I was taking care of my instinctive center like all the rest.

Since I left FOF about 10 years ago, I have heard the excuse of some of my friends who remain in FOF, that they stay mainly for the social structure of friends and community and that deep down inside they feel RB is full of it. They have no where to go if they left, or no financial security. Again, the instinctive center ruling one’s life.

Some advice to any of those old friends who might read this: Your simply remaining a member who still looks RB in the eye and smiles around him, makes you an accessory to his lie. Get up off your asses and make some real effort to live in truth.

So, Whalerider, I apologize to you if we knew each other back then and I anyway supported an environment that led to your painful experiences. Truthfully, my conscience WAS telling me to speak up or just run, but my ego and lazy instinctive center managed to rule until I finally found strength.

I hope that writing and sharing your terrifying experiences with others on this Blog is helpful. I never thought that it would have been as cleansing for me as it has.

I hope you can continue to find peace with your past and use it to become stronger and wiser in the present.


John Says:

May 8, 2007 at 11:24 pm
On “brainwashing”

Looking at Robert Jay Lifton’s study on “brainwashing” I would like to make some parallels with the Fellowship that others might find useful.

In his idea of Milieu control, it says:
“The basic feature of the thought reform environment, the psychological current upon which all else depends, is the control of human communication”.

In the Fellowship this is done by institutionalizing what one must think, read or talk about as much as with whom, where and when.

The control of communication in the separation from “life” or the outside world couldn’t be more aggressive with statements like “life being the six million dead people outside of the fellowship”.

Students have been given the exercise to not read newspapers and many life books, influence b, books and it is suggested that we read only what the teacher is publishing and researching on.

The aim is not so much to enlighten students, as to keep them from reading, thinking and talking about their own inner life because their own inner life is labelled the ‘lower self’. It is very smart programming because it disguises itself with being a noble enterprise between students and while there is nothing wrong in these readings, what is extremely harmful is that the students are not given any opportunity to express and validate their own interests, inner life, search, understandings and struggles.

The treatment of life families as “biological families”, increases the separation and students become more emotionally and intellectually, as well as instinctively dependent on the Fellowship.

In their “inner life”, students are told that every thing they think or feel are just I’s, ten thousand idiots, nothing is worth the effort except mindlessness. This is justified by the acquisition of an enlightened state beyond functions: presence

But the milie control in the Fellowship is also given by the form of the school in any of its aspects. The simple imposition of the way people should dress is a basic arrest on the individual’s feeling for his own self expression. While this is done with the justification that dressing beautifully makes people make more effort about themselves, it also takes the aspect of programming that self expression is given up to the collective will.

The only ones with individual will accepted in the Fellowship are Robert, Girard, Asaf and the few chosen ones by Robert. The rest of the students are expected to give up their will to Robert and are then told that they are more awake by doing so in meetings. “You are all present now. Together we are more awake”

Giving up the individual will is justified by the old form of teacher-student relationship but there is no teacher-student relationship in the Fellowship and the individual will is expected to be given up to a collective will in which the only thing that is demanded from the student is that he refrains from expressing himself, his interests or wishes and pays money to be able to participate in every event. It is the money that determines the student’s participation in the school, not the will he gives up. The student is programmed to give up his/her will so that he continues to pay without questioning the form.

Lifton: “Such milieu control never succeeds in becoming absolute; and its own human apparatus can -when permeated by outside information- become subject to discordant “noise” beyond that of any mechanical apparatus. To totalist administrators, however, such occurrences are no more than evidences of ‘incorrect” use of the apparatus. For they look upon milieu control as a just and necessary policy, one which need not be kept secret”

In the Fellowship, the master mind which has kept the “milieu control” without serious questioning is mostly Girard Haven with his artistry in returning all questions and obstacles into forms that students cannot argue with and still remain in the school.

Ideas such as:
Since Robert is a man number seven and the rest of us are barely men number four we cannot question him because we do not have the being.

This angle by Girard or others in the inner circle have two aims, wether they do it consciously or unconsciously. One is to justify the separation between students and Robert and with it all of Robert’s inability to have simple direct contact with individual students and the other is to put students into a frame of mind about themselves that they are inferior beings, that they do not have the being to question the dissonances.

In both Girard’s and Robert’s behavior we have consistently seen how they are unable to relate to individuals in a personal, normal, simple interaction. They keep themselves separated by an act of “good manners but stay away”, so they greet people, they may even kiss them or embrace them but it is clear that this is just a formality and that there is no direct human contact or acceptance or love in it. When they do establish direct relationships with people, sex mates or wives, they treat them as necessary objects that are not to be given more than a functional role. They disguise and justify this behavior by the assumption (which the Fellowship has made us all believe) that they are higher beings than the rest of the students, that they are busier, more important, have counted time, but what they are really saying is that who ever you are, you are not worth their time or their being. They put students in a lower state, condition, social status, so that they can continue to manipulate them intellectually, emotionally and instinctively. By doing so emotionally they do not need to force students like a dictator would have to do, students volunteer to serve them because they become emotionally identified.

At the same time it looks very legitimate because although they neglect to establish simple, spontaneous human contact, they have given their lives to serving students in made up situations, shows, such as meetings, dinners, events, in which they show themselves benevolent, loving, understanding and with this keep the emotional identification students have of a higher being, loving them. Girard’s commitment to Robert is the most inspiring force that has kept the Fellowship running.

When students can see the motives behind Robert to keep his role and Girard’s and Asaf’s to keep Robert’s and his own role, they will begin to understand how they’ve been “set up” by these men.

No person Says:
May 9, 2007 at 12:30 am

Dear Ames and others who left a while ago,
Yes the meetings have changed very strongly since you left. They change to the worst. Slowly, the life was choked out of them.

First (about 2 years ago or so) in the centers we were given paper quotes to read at meetings, to mix in with personal angles. Some quotes were beautiful sayings from prominent beings. Soon quotes started to have “Robert’s comment” added, often unnecessary, bizarre and kind of made fit… Then images from various sources were added, also with “Robert’s comments” and often some Photoshop editing, also to make them fit his point. Personal angles were reduced to almost nothing – questions and personal observations were not encouraged. (to prevent law of accident, I guess, or – independent thinking). In some centers personal angles were completely banned for a while (in Russia, for example). The meetings become lifeless and uninspiring.

Then we were asked to maintain a steady eye contact with the speaker. Those who didn’t or forgot to do so were “photographed”. The reason for staring – to promote presence, of course. So the meetings turned into very rigid quote-interpretations readings with staring in each other eyes and passing the weird images around… It became very heavy and serious – no more laughing at meetings, no jokes, no “personal anecdotes” (observations, that is). It became really, really bad. No, it honestly did not promote presence, or any thinking, any exchange of thought – it was really sleep inducing, and very difficult to bear. It used to make one rather upset and frustrated more than anything else. Often students would confess, that this was a painful part to endure, but at least it was relatively quick and after the meeting you can have a glass of wine, relax and chat with a friend. But our “believers” really thought this was the best meeting format we ever had – totally controlled, serious, no fun allowed.. “We never had it so good!” Right, guys?

Lots and lots of students all over the world were unhappy with a “new form” and were complaining about it.

Soon in Isis the big meetings were completely stopped and instead not 1 but 2 Galleria meetings per week were introduced, both led by RB and Asaf. It was pre-staged quote-image-interpretation ping-pong exchange between two of them, with everyone staring in their eyes. No personal angles were allowed. Oh yes, these meetings also cost money, they are not free. The prices used to be $50 for standing, $100 for seated. [and much more to sit in the first couple of rows.] Every performance gets filmed and then sold again in centers as a “Teaching video” for $10 per watching. You do the math.

Once when I was at Isis meeting something unexpected and funny happened, and everyone relaxed and started to laugh, even Asaf. It felt as if the “spell” was broken for a second and everyone became alive, like a breath of fresh air came to a stuffy room. And it was shocking to see how RB without any smile on his face suddenly got very intense and almost yelled: “Let’s continue, let’s continue! Look at me! Asaf!” His face was scary and very unkind in this moment – not his usual “nice” face. Within seconds everyone was quiet, glued to the next bizarre image and the hypnotic show continued. This was the first time I considered these meetings to have a hypnotic element, where everyone gets “inoculated” with new teaching no matter how mad and absurd… Before this episode I strongly rejected any notion of hypnosis or brainwashing during meetings.

It is amazing that people can tolerate this much crap force-fed to them AND pay money for this. How can anyone still believe in it – is a mystery. It’s not even esoteric ideas anymore, not a system, not anything one can possibly verify. RB counts and interprets or “keys” painted stuff like hairs in giraffe tails, 6 poops, penises, breasts, hands, mating scenes, counts wordless breaths, imagines endless battles between Steward and the devils, engages in weird numbers games that make no common sense.
This is all RB talks about these days, prolifically, at every meeting, and people go there and pay to hear this. It’s not 4th Way, not Gourjieff-Ouspensky, it’s RB’s own mad creation that requires faith, obedience and loss of critical thinking. Faithful “researchers” supply him with more material to decode and regurgitate, so the meetings “show” can go on. It’s like some strange decoding machine – everything it encounters is supposed to have deep meaning, and it’s all related to the sacred Sequence (this time around).

Please have some respect for yourselves, dear friends! When will you really see that this is only selfish madness, decadent and excessive, and quit supporting it? Open your eyes.

If you are generous – please donate to charity, help your neighbor, or a friend in need, or our environment, or local community – do something truly good, something kind, selfless, beautiful. Do not support a false teaching by an abusive dishonest leader – no matter how sweet he looks when he smiles to you.

SIncerely wishing everyone inner freedom and courage to see things as they truly are.


168. Best of the Blog - June 13, 2010

Includes also a post by SandraC and a response by dick moron.

dick moron Says:
May 9, 2007 at 8:11 pm

Cake #380
My mystical experience.

While I, in no way, can truly know what you experienced that night with RB, I want to suggest another way of understanding the state you were in at the time.

Early in my involvement with FOF, I would experience what I felt were higher energies and mystical experiences during meetings when RB taught, or even Donald M, Helga or Joel were the leaders. I attributed these energies to those beings to whom I was focusing my (supposed) divided attention. It seemed that they were releasing these energies in me, through some higher presence they had obtained.

Early dinners with RB had the same effect. It seemed very special. I now believe these states were the product of chemical releases in my body, due to great expectations, and a kind of star-struck adrenaline rush. Concentrating one’s emotional and mental attention on someone who is thought to be godlike, can play tricks on the mind and body. I will never forget, once attending a 7th day adventists meeting in the southeast US when I was a teenager. As a disinterested observer, not a participant, it was remarkable to see the states of ecstasy and rapture produced in the faithful, who were rolling around on the floor as the service climaxed. To them, I am sure it was a very real experience.

Those of us who used psychotropic drugs such as LSD in the past, certainly know how chemicals can produce mystical states.

Several years ago I was introduced to the actress Nicole Kidman. Immediately afterwards, I was reminded of the heightened states I used to experience at FOF meetings and early contact with RB. Was Kidman producing this state in me through her higher centers? No, clearly it was a chemical reaction I was having due to being in awe of a beautiful celebrity.
Was it a 3rd state experience? Maybe, but it had nothing to do with her level of being.

In no way am I denigrating the experience you had. From your lovely description I can see it is a dear memory to you.

That indescribable observing presence in you, that witnessed and recorded this mystical experience in your physical self, is what we are all trying to be. Not the experience itself. There are many roads that can lead you there. RB was like the guy at the gas station who sells you a map. He used to sell maps, charted by others, that might get you there. Now, from what I hear, he’s drawing his own crazy maps.

SandraC Says:
May 9, 2007 at 10:32 am

I want to voice my appreciation for the posts by WhaleRider #262 and Joseph G #360 and #304 Dick Moron (and many others I have not noted) and share my sadness as others have done that you have had such traumatic experiences at so impressionable an age with someone you trusted and believed in. Your courage in coming forth with your stories inspires me.

As I have mentioned, I left FoF in 1992 after 20 years, 10 years of which I played a ‘leadership’ role, and I am JUST NOW actually beginning to come to terms with the personal impact of RB’s sexual behavior.

It has taken this long, I believe, to have the strength to bear it. And these heart-rending stories are helping. As I read them, I feel a heavy sadness and wonderment at the lingering power of ‘the trance’ to protect from unwanted truths.

I have been surprised also by how much has been stirred in me by the humanity coming through this exchange. I have been gripped with an achey grief about it all, something I thought I had thoroughly worked through long ago, but now it goes deeper.

I have been away awhile here, catching up, I want to share with you a few things that have happened in the past two weeks since I first encountered this site.

1) For the first time, I actually felt the kick-in-the-gut wrenching of having been lied to the first ten years. Not that I haven’t known about the lies, not that I haven’t been furious with myself and raged at Robert –in group, in therapy, to myself about so many things, especially in the early days after leaving — not that others here haven’t stated the same things I am about to say with more passion and eloquence, but after the way it has hit me this time, I just want to express my outrage to Robert here for this record:

How dare you lie to us? I believed you, I trusted you, I listened to you, I worked for you, I supported you, I influenced others on your behalf — I represented you to my shame, you, the celibate, heterosexual, loving, conscious being.

How dare you lie to me and other mere children in the name of ‘God’. Why? to have your way, to satisfy your appetites — mostly, I am afraid, to fuel your delusions. I have a 21-year old daughter now, and know how young, how green, how impressionable we are in the early 20′s.

2) With this has also come a wave of intense self-hatred: The voice goes: How could I be so blind, so naive, so susceptible to narcissistic manipulation? How could I waste my life, throw away the most productive years and misuse my talents and gifts? How could I let myself be used for a corrupt, even criminal enterprise, supporting addictive, harmful behavior and helping to keep the whole thing going with my energy, my money and my work, how could I not have noticed what was going on, how could I have unknowingly continued to procure new student victims with a smile on my face (any Portland, Paris, NY students who are still in FoF, it pains me to hear your names mentioned and to realize you are still there), all along imagining myself to be something special, evolved, turning away from whisperings of sexual misconduct, continuing to look only at the ‘work’, and never, never at Robert, allowing myself to be enthralled to the charisma, the thrill of contact and attention from ‘the teacher’.

3) I have also felt more deeply, as reconnections are made here with old familiar names and voices, the extent of the loss involved in having been ex-communicated from people I had known for 20 years of my life, how stifling it has been to a huge part of myself to be involved in a gag-order of the first degree, to have a small army of old friends holding me as ‘fallen, moon food’. The cruelty involved hits me more fully now.

Meanwhile, I have recalled some things that have helped me make sense of it all along the way. Things that have helped me to forgive myself and other victims, even to experience compassion for the predator side of RB, to realize I have both predator and victim in myself, and so on.

I pulled out “Trauma and Recovery” by Judith Herman again. While published in 1992, I still find it helpful in understanding how the experience in FoF was an experience of psychological captivity (See Cpt 6 and the chapter on child/domestic abuse, the similarities to closed religious environments are striking. The sections on rape I believe could be helpful to those who were/are involved with him). Peter Levine’s “Waking the Tiger” also may be helpful in understanding and resolving the mental/ neurological/emotional aftermath of long-term FoF membership.

The explanation of symptoms concomitant with complex chronic trauma (denial, numbing/ dissociation,and intrusion of traumatic memory) have helped me understand the state of mind that allowed me and so many others to remain in this scary environment for as long as we did and still not be able to SEE what are now the most obvious things.

I also have found myself asking again: what was my part? Soul-searching, asking, who in me attracted Robert Burton? And as of today here is what I come up with: an innocent, trusting, dependent, child-like part of myself, a powerless someone who is afraid of the big world, insecure in herself, someone who wants to believe somebody out there knows the answers, is powerful and can shelter me.

I don’t recall who said it, (and not that I believe in ‘evil’), but the saying makes a point that I begin to understand: Innocence attracts evil, perhaps needs evil to grow into maturity, into wisdom. The ignorance of naivete seems to me now only a part human state, for which we cannot absolve ourselves of responsibility. Apparently some of us need the RBs of the world to shake us out of this innocence into a fuller humanity. (In no way does this possibility absolve him of his responsibility, of course).


Thank you to Susan K (hello, Susan!) for #192 and your suggestion there for anyone leaving now, and I would say any long-time members, to get help in dealing with the trauma aspects of FoF. The effects do linger.

Bruce, your postings make me laugh, they contain what I always have enjoyed about you — a blunt certainty, saying it like it is, that seems completely congruent with who you are, special appreciation for

To whomever is the PAIN BODY proponent, I think that the idea (explicated in “Power of Now”) is one of the most amazingly useful I have ever encountered, so helpful for disempoweing an entire range of habitual, draining emotional states. I LOVE the idea, pure genius, I believe.

Thank you for reading.


dick moron Says:
May 9, 2007 at 8:50 pm

Thanks for your last post. We knew each other for many years, though I was never as close friends with you as my wife SM. It would be great to see you somewhere, sometime.

I always respected you and felt somehow you had NOT totally bought into your leadership role in FOF. I did see the innocent, child-like part of you behind the center director.

While that trusting innocence allowed many of us to be used and abused, I think it is what ultimately redeems us. When experience finally made us realize what RB is all about, we found a way out.

Time has sent most of my FOF experiences down the river, but one can never forget. Writing down my thoughts and experiences here, are no doubt part a selfish exercise to further cleanse myself. Hopefully others who read them can get something out it.

Also, like my buddy Bruce, I find it a great forum for constructive sarcasm and naughty sharp-pointed humor.


169. brucelevy - June 14, 2010

Sound familiar?

“Does the Church of Scientology Force Abortions On Its Pregnant Members?”


170. Golden Veil - June 14, 2010


I think that we are all very thankful for the devoted efforts The Best of the Blog has made by their numerous compilations. Especially since the fence sitters and potential students can more easily access material that might be crucial in assisting them to make an important decision.

Some thoughts on the Best of the Blog:

I find myself wondering if the re-posts are being made by a long time student that has newly left the Fellowship, and is chronologically reading the discussion blog from its inception, and then posting “The Best?”

Whoever they are, this self-appointed blog editor has a knack for choosing excellent, revealing posts. Personally, though, I find that I am overwhelmed by the massive number of The Best of the Blog’s posts. I am not getting around to reading all of them!

As rich a mine as this plethora of posts is, I feel these re-postings are not as effective as they could be. First of all, it would be much more readable if the blogger kept in mind how much time it takes to actually read all of these posts. Secondly, there is the fact that most people are not blessed with limitless attention spans.

I think that if the self-appointed blog editor limited their re-postings to one lengthy multiple re-post a day, their intention, if it is to inform and also inspire comments and dialogue, would be better realized. I would suggest continuing in the exact same format, but limit the daily post to only one lengthy multiple post. If they should choose to do this, I think that their posts will be much more effective. There might be a downside, though, and that is that this self-imposed task will last much, much longer!

Again, thank you Best of the Blog for your time and great efforts!


171. Best of the Blog - June 14, 2010

I won’t be able to keep up the pace that you suggest (one long post per day), let alone the pace I’ve been on so far. So don’t worry.

I’ve already accomplished part of what I set out to do. James’s comments further up the page summarize my intentions well: 1) highlight many of the posts that I found to be more articulate, enlightening, or inspiring, 2) and make it easier for people to find them in one location.

I wouldn’t use the term ‘self-appointed blog editor’. At the outset, I encouraged others to do exactly the same as I’m doing, or to just continue posting as always, and I still encourage that. I’m not the moderator, so would have no control over that anyway.

(Regarding “attention spans”: I find that interesting. Cults don’t want people to actually “pay attention” to what’s occurring within them. Attention would wake people up. So if people lack attention spans — i.e., if only sound bytes and daily cards can grab their attention — it works in the guru’s favor. So maybe that’s part of the problem. If someone stands for a moment longer, and actually looks more than a second or two, many things become more obvious.)

172. Best of the Blog - June 14, 2010

Thanks for your feedback by the way — you obviously put a lot of thought into it. Trying to figure out what works and abandoning what doesn’t work or is out of whack is the key to a lot of things, isn’t it? If we’re not always examining that, pffffft, not good.

173. Golden Veil - June 14, 2010

138. James Mclemoe

“… there is also now a section of the blog that can be referred to, along with Res Ipsa Loquitur –‘It speaks for itself’ (which is the work Unoanimo put together) where people who may have trouble wading through those earlier pages, can get right to some of the most powerful core messages of what the blog has had to offer.”

142. Golden Veil

“I think that it is a good idea to bring these posts back to the
forefront of the blog. The Best of the Blog’s selections appear
to be made with wise discernment.”

171. The Best of the Blog

~ My point about considering people’s attention spans seems to have been somewhat undermined. And I think that I do understand the Best of the Blog’s intentions. I am beginning to wonder, though, how people will find this section of posts once the blog is on new pages down the line? By the process of scrolling backwards? if the posts were spread out to one a day, they could then be followed backwards more easily, like bread crumbs through the forest, at least for a much longer duration.

Alternatively, the Best of the Blog posts could be given a section of their own like Res Ipsa Loquitur –‘It speaks for itself.” If the posts were compiled in a designated section, they would then be more accessible to those lacking the time to read these long posts as they float down the stream, and perhaps more importantly, the Best of the Blog posts would also be more readily discovered by those new to the blog.

174. Best of the Blog - June 14, 2010

Golden Veil,
I wouldn’t worry about it, or over-analyze it. The goal was to build an anthology, and that’s what I’ve done. Whether it’s finished or not, I don’t know. I’ve gone through only 8 pages, so there’s a lot more to read. I disagree with some of your conclusions, but it’s possible we agree more than you realize: I’m already heading in the direction that you suggested (fewer posts).

But I’ve really enjoyed reading the old posts, and sensed a need to call attention to some of (what I believe are) the more inspiring and informative comments. I hope it helps someone. I believe it can, but – then again – who knows.

On another note: In cults, people develop a bad habit of listening mainly to people who they believe are “in authority.” So cult members tend to filter what they hear or read through that viewpoint. With that habitual way of seeing the world, I have to imagine it would be frustrating to read a blog where many of the participants are anonymous: We want to know who they are first, and then listen to them. Otherwise, it’s “out of control.”

So, all of those artificial distinctions about whether someone is “in” or “out” of the group, or whether they had a “role,” or led meetings, or wrote a book, or had some hang-time with Robert Burton (pun not intended)… All of that is the exact sort of group think that keeps people attached to a cult. That’s why many of us didn’t pay attention when we heard those first-hand accounts… It simply wasn’t cool to pay attention to those specific people. It wasn’t acceptable behavior to listen to them.

I really suggest you just have a look at the words. The only thing that’s important is whether they touch you, inspire you, enlighten you, and inform you. One of the ‘golden veils’ in the FOF is the manner in which words are presented. Behind the golden veil, there’s something ugly… so your moniker is a really good one.

175. X-ray - June 15, 2010

169. brucelevy – June 14, 2010

‘Sound familiar?’

Sure it does.

176. another name - June 15, 2010

Dear all

The blog is in a different phase wit the Best of the Blog.
We hardly ever know what the outcome is of “our action” like republishing. Thanks anyway

I hope students read the blog….to have more information and to make “more informed decision” why to stay in the fellowship or not.”

My need for another direction is in the form of the following question/ observation?
Anybody having some more thought on the (subconscious) needs of student and ex students to “replace the father figure they never had (or an emotional/ or physical father figure)?

Several friends over the years have mentioned this issue and I can relate to this. The need to subconsciously find a ” safe”, group with like minded ideas? And to have a different society (read family) as where we came from?

Does this triggers any more thoughts?


177. WhaleRider - June 15, 2010

another name:
I can relate to what you are saying…and I feel incredibly fortunate that I had the chance to work out some of those issues with my father after I left the FOF and before he died in 1997. I also employed the help of a shaman.

At the time of my leaving, I’d had enough of being in groups of “like minded” individuals. I wanted the diversity…and to learn how to get along with people with different points of view without judging them.

178. nige - June 15, 2010

177 Whalerider

I too have a good relationship with my father. He had to wait while I went through a wasteful time when I had no clear direction with my life and vocation. This was for fourteen years after leaving the FOF. He is now taking a keen interest in my little jewellery/silverwork fabricating/teaching school and has set up an advanced system of handling the finances, since he is a retired bank manager. He stated many times that the reason everything went wrong in California for me was I was ‘obsessed with the FOF’. On ‘like-minded individuals’ – I could not get along with folks who were hell-bent on making potloads of money (through being computer people or corporate headhunters and the like) and stating inane little platitudes at meetings…..Nigel.

179. nige - June 15, 2010

I wanted to post a little response to the post by Ames Gilbert that BotB found in his back-searchings on the blog. It was about creative energy and how you can use it for your own selfish means, as REB does, or how you can use it at the service of others. As Rodney Collin pointed out, sex energy is not just for the production of progeny but can be used in artistic creation, or the ‘children of the soul’. I think it is for that reason that, even at the start of the ebb of my sexual energy at age 53, and with the having to take strong tranquilizers to abate the frantic energy of hypo-manic states, there is still some form of ‘warm sexuality’ in having my Academy of Precious Metal Arts and teaching jewellery and silverwork to others. There are five male students in my school and approximately 25 women, mostly married or in relationships. I appreciate it when, sometimes, I am in the the workshop alone with just one of the women at any one time – different ages and body-types/centers of gravity – but do not feel any need to impose upon them with sexual advances, knowing that it would spoil the whole situation and would eventually lead to the destruction of the set-up of the school, since word would soon get around. It is somewhat that I can feel the need, in my own creative work, for a certain sort of ‘aloneness in my art-form’ and can see that everyone needs their own space in this context. REB actually stated once that “God and Sex are short words because they are so sacred”. Could someone remind him of what he has forgotten for himself…..Nigel.

180. Best of the Blog - June 16, 2010

Skeptical Optimist Says:
May 10, 2007 at 7:24 pm

FenceRider #319
“Presence is the foundation for all that Robert has taught since day one. It is the only reason that many stay in the FOF. For some it is reason to overlook all the rest and to ignore Robert’s excesses. It is what fuels this blog and it is what causes former members to have difficulty letting go of the FOF.”

FenceRider, can you see that you 1) don’t actually know what Burton has “taught” from day one, 2) have little idea of what “fuels this blog” and 3) have absolutely no concept of what it means to “let go” of the fof?

The idea that people think you have to be infof to experience “presence” is either hilarious or quite sad–you pick.

My interest here is healing myself and helping, if what I post has value, for others.

Letting go of the fof was never the issue–it is healing from the personal mistakes, unconscious complicity with a “spiritual cannibal”, time lost, wrong thinking, and devastating loss that are the issues for me (and for many other bloggers, it looks like).

Try to realize also that the only people on this blog who have a chance at evaluating the fof are the people who have left. Those still in have no chance–they can only see one side, and haven’t realized yet just how much their judgment has been compromised by the gradual “self-image manipulation” required of anybody with a soul and a conscience to remain a member.

Hope this helps, and thanks for reading



181. Best of the Blog - June 16, 2010

For my friend Says:
For my friend Says:
May 11, 2007 at 4:08 am

Here is a true story from my dear friend whom I know for many years. When this happened just few years ago I was very shocked and almost couldn’t believe it. And then the story became even more strange and shocking… But see for yourself.

Here’s how she got married… She dated a young man who happened to be RB’s boy. A month after she started dating him [a person] approached her and asked her to “serve the school” by marrying this guy because his visa expired and he would have to leave the country, so if she marry him – he would receive a green card through her and everyone including the Teacher will benefit from it.

My friend wasn’t planning to marry this guy, but being a Good
Student and passive type, and honestly willing to “serve the Teacher and the school” she went as far as marrying a guy she met just a month ago!

A few months later after a Margarita Dinner with the Teacher he goes to her 9 years old daughter’s bedroom at night and
molests her. When little girl screams for help and
tells to her mom what happened, my friend reacts as any normal mother would and immediately calls the police. Police arrived, her husband is arrested and now facing 8 years in prison! My friend is in complete shock, feeling as a victim herself, a mother of a victim and a wife of a victim – all at once.

Now is the most screwed up part: RB’s comment on this was that she made a tremendous mistake to call the police. Different students would talk to her everywhere expressing their mostly judgmental opinions. Among many there were: “he is an angel, he was with Robert” “he is in essence” “it was a Play written by the Gods, “you should never have called the police”, “It’s school’s business, we should keep it inside”, “you were under feminine dominance”, “he is not guilty” “he might be killed in prison because of your foolish selfish behavior”! Basically, pretty much everyone – including the Teacher – judged her and blamed her, and in the same time condoned and justified an outrageous crime – child molestation! How screwed up is that! What’s wrong with you people?
My poor friend was torned between the feelings of guilt and rejection from fellow students and natural desire to defend her daughter.

She finally leaves the country under pressure and the case is dropped for the benefit of all.

But the story did not finish here. A few months later her hubby who was free by then needed to go to an interview for the green card. He begs her to return – he needs her for the interview. She moves back from another country where she had began a nice life and a career – to help him again – my dear, kind-hearted friend!

But the “family” could not function anymore – 3 could
not co-exist in the same house. Besides a few months
after her sacrificial return he started an affair with
another woman… My friend being rather frustrated after getting such a reward for all her heroic selfless efforts – finally has enough of it all and wants to file for divorce.

But being an RB’s boy he complains to daddy -RB – about it. What happens next? You guessed right! A phone call from Linda T. – “The will of your Teacher is to not divorce him. Work with your queen of hearts. Are you going to disobey the will of your teacher?”
How could she? “The will of the Teacher!” That’s serious heavy duty stuff! It’s really scary to disobey the “will of theTeacher”… So she swallowed her pride and did not divorce this jerk.

She came out of all this with a deep trauma and a
confusion about what right action of defense is. Now
even if the murderer will get in her house she
probably won’t call the police, especially if he is an RB boy…

Now talking about safety of the children in the FOF, talking about crimes, talking about f…ed up judgment!

Did her Teacher cared for her at all in this horrible play? Or all he cared was his prostitute who got in trouble and needed cover up for his crime and a green card so he can stay around? She was used like some kind of disposable tool in the most cold and unloving way – by a “conscious being” who preaches love and external consideration to all of you, blind! Open your eyes already, will you?
And shame on all of you people who were so brainwashed, scared and screwed up to blame my friend when she called police! Would you cover up a rapist of your own children too? Would you call police if your innocent daughter was molested or raped? Or you’d rather protect a criminal, buffer and lie, so “your Beloved Teacher” – who is just as criminal – can keep his dear whore for his perversive disgusting pleasures?

Shame on you people, you owe my friend a big, big apology. I feel sorry for you for your complete loss of common sense!

I am not saying names here but it is a totally true story, and many of you already heard it, probably with lots of distortions. I heard it first hand from my dear friend whom I love and trust. I wish her healing, and may be exposing this on this blog somehow will help it! We need to know stories like this, be aware of what’s going on, of what we support. And the ongoing crime should be exposed and stopped, and healing should begin.

Make your own conclusions. Don’t buffer, please.

Rita Penfold Says:
May 11, 2007 at 3:02 pm

#439/8′ For my friend: it is the most disturbing story I’ve ever heard.

I remember that story, it came out a few years ago in the same way as you wrote it and shocked all of us here. Then, almost immediately, the news came that the woman accused her husband in raping her daughter “because she was jealous of him.” Later the story changed again into that the girl lied because she had a [crush] on her mother’s husband!

How ugly, twisted and perverse this all is! …

Robert did all in his power to turn anybody away from him. I don’t know what else the man has to do to make people wake up and leave him, to actually run away as quickly as possible from such a monster…

I am so sorry, my friend, I hope you’ll find strength to rebuild your life. I wonder how is your beautiful daughter doing? Last time I saw her she was about 3 years old, so pretty…

Yesri Baba Says:
May 11, 2007 at 8:48 pm

#439 For my friend

This is one of the most irritating posts I have read.

“And shame on all of you people who were so brainwashed, scared and screwed up to blame my friend when she called the police!”

Of course she did the right thing calling the police. The allegation of molestation needs to be investigated. It is against the law.

Your “Dear, kind hearted friend” is brainwashed, scared and screwed up. The “brainwashed, scared and screwed up” that chastised her are dear and kind hearted.

It is ironic that we all probably joined the fof with a somewhat sincere, though naive, desire to “awaken” many of us didn’t notice when we crossed the line into the deep unconscious roots of sleep that kept us there.

It takes two to tango. Your little story is the best depiction of the sado-masochistic dance I have seen.

Skeptical Optimist Says:
May 11, 2007 at 10:33 pm

For my friend #8/439
I think this is the most disgusting story so far regarding the inhumanity of Burton and his supporters. Just completely repugnant and inhumane, really. What was even more chilling was that I had no surprise or incredulity, just sat shaking my head and thinking, “how low can you go?” The fact that it’s not shocking is what’s shocking to me.

Don Juan Says:
May 11, 2007 at 11:50 pm

To “For My Friend” (8/439):
Your story of the rape of your friend’s nine-year-old daughter, and Robert’s silencing of your friend to protect the perpetrator, makes me completely sick. It’s one thing to seduce twenty-something young men; it’s quite another to cover up the rape of a nine-year-old girl. We’re talking nine years old, not seventeen.

If this story is true, it is beyond being a private matter between the parties involved. It is a criminal matter to be prosecuted by the State of California through the District Attorney’s office of Yuba County. Even if your friend remains under the sway of FoF mind manipulation and is reluctant to do anything, her daughter is a separate person who deserves the protection of the law. I would hope that someone could take action to put the sick fuck who did this where he belongs — not to mention those who participated in keeping it all quiet.

This is by far the most disgusting thing I have heard that relates to the FoF and Robert Burton, and that’s saying a lot. It leaves me with a heavy heart today.

May 13, 2007 at 2:19 am

To my friend 8/439

100% True story….

… He never smiled,never spoke and always looked upon the ground. People tried to avoid frictions with him because messing with him was messing with Burton.

For years [he] was daily beating up [his previous wife] before his new fraudulent marriage with T.

And in the school where negative emotion were strictly forbidden people were ignoring that horrible behavior and never spoke about or even mentioned that. Many were aware of his permanent violence but all of them have feared Burton’s anger. [He] was a Burton’s lover. He never had his permanent “serving days” and usually was randomly called.

This story is one of the best revelation of Burton’s criminal essence.
Many people were praying to see this bustard staid in jail. Where most likely he would harshly and justly die from the same reason he got in there.

After 6 month of imprisonment in Yuba City jail [he] was returned to his landscaping octave like nothing happened.

But fate of the depressed abandoned mother and her traumatic daughter remained uncertain to this day.

Message to his former wife T.

Dear T. we all supporting you! Your action was absolutely right. You have acted like a real mother and normal human being. We also know that you were under heavy pressure from the FOF to leave the country before the judgement day.

You will see, the Justice will arrive and every one will get what had deserved.

With much support,
your friends


182. dick moron - June 16, 2010

176. Another Name

Oh, yes, the father figure issue… or “daddy issue” for girls.
Made me recall the song by George Michael (busted a while back in a Beverly Hills public restroom blowing some guy)….
Lyrics sounds like he was channeling Big Gums Burton.

Yep, creeps and perverts have always preyed on those who trust them as a father figure. FOF was fertile ground for many others preditors, not only Bob. I can think of quite a few that used that shit on boys and girls.

I will be your father figure
Put your tiny hand in mine
I will be your preacher teacher
Anything you have in mind
I will be your father figure
I have had enough of crime
So I am gonna love you
till the end of time
I will be your father
I will be your preacher
I’ll be your daddy
I will be the one who loves you
till the end of time

183. GOTP - June 16, 2010

Does anyone have current information on the happenings within the group? I think it would be interesting to know if anyone on the inside could relay what is being said and done. It would be fascinating to here. How does a cult function in today’s environment? I imagine that if current members are reading this blog there would be at least one who is willing to communicate anonymously with us. Yes?

184. James Mclemore - June 16, 2010

183. GOTP

If there are people still in the cult that just read what happened to that young lady’s daughter and as a result of that horror, to herself, and are still planning on making their next payments to Burton, I am personally not sure I would care to hear what they had to say.
If such people do exist – Shame on them.

185. X-ray - June 16, 2010

181. Best of the Blog – June 16, 2010

The name of this Italian child molester is Mauricio.
The guy is a real jerk. Never smiled, never talked to anyone, never looked in people eyes.
I hoped to see him die in jail after years of constant rape by inmates.
Was one of Burton’s favorites
But as they say, the fruits not falling far from the tree.

186. another name - June 16, 2010

My assumption of Maurizio is that he himself probably was abused or having a “difficult childhood.” I warned the next girl friend ( who had two children) and got an angry phone call from his “family”. At least the woman was informed. This relationship did not last long.

He battered another women before T, who never spoke up out of fear and he stole a camera, acc to this woman..
Yes he does not make eye contact….Strange soul.

At my job I see a abused men man who had horrible youths. Many of them can not stop their destructive abusive behavior……battered souls….

Why are we not able to help heal the battered fathers who batter their “son and daughters”. Why? Why can we not make this place a better place?

This blog is at least a place to inform others and to help them make more conscious and conscience decisions.

Also we lack so much knowledge. The women in the fellowship who ended up with bad vaginal infections (and increase risk of infertility) and the men with prostate problems due to E coli. A bacteria growing in the gut.
Who talks about this things and who informs you/us of the risks….???

187. WhaleRider - June 16, 2010

I woke up this morning with this tune in my mind, and somehow it reminded me of you. Take it easy on yourself.

188. nige - June 16, 2010

187 Whalerider

Unfortunately, I cannot get sound on my computer, but the images were evocative – somehow remind me of Sheffield, in Yorkshire, where I tried to hold down a job, 10 months after ‘losing the school’. It took me 13 more years of torment to come to a balanced ‘being with my Essence’ and yet teaching from that place. Today I was in a reversed role. Two of my students and I went on an external enamelling course and I had ‘to become student’ – the tutor was a Mercury with Power and Vanity – very dictatorial, but well worth the discipline – maybe we have to learn better in order to teach…..Nigel

189. X-ray - June 17, 2010

186. another name – June 16, 2010

‘My assumption of Maurizio is that he himself probably was abused or having a “difficult childhood.”

Even if that so, does that justify the action of this soulless fucker?

190. another name - June 17, 2010

X ray

Never eluded to justification in my awareness It does not justify anything it is just and endless part of society and a dynamic I see over and over. The prison are full of those people….is that an efficient use of resources and a effective strategy?

Not IMO…awareness at this point is my aim. In the hope to come as a society to healing and discontinue of these abusive patterns.

191. sallymcnally - June 17, 2010

Basically without all the drama, it’s kind of boring being in the FOF —

192. reader - June 17, 2010

… society, larger issues, and prisons and so forth… Sure, it’s good to see that the FOF is part of a larger set of issues.

This issue, however, was literally in our living room (and is probably still in that same living room), so forgive me for being less concerned about society right now.

What’s particularly troubling here to me is not so much the set of conditions in society that led to Maurizio becoming what he is, but the conditions within this particular cult that led to it, and the blindness and denial of those around him in the cult that helped make it possible.

I also remember Maurizio. I look at him as yet another set of questions that I never asked. Just simple questions. Who is he? Does anyone else see something odd or strange about him? Why does he never talk? and more.

For those who may have just tuned in, we’re discussing 181. Best of the Blog – “For my friend” above.

193. Agent 45 - June 17, 2010

Dear Best-o-Blog:
Good Lord, how do those folks live with themselves? I am very surprised that someone or someone like her doesn’t step forward to defend these occassional, isolated criminal incidents & minor moral lapses that are the hallmark of the Fellowship of Friends, or at least sweep them under the gilded carpet.
When they do, I’m on it.
Richard Boone

194. rock that boat - June 17, 2010

191 it’s kind of boring being in the FOF –

Dress like this! Behave like that! Watch this, don’t watch that, don’t read these books, dont listen to anyone else besides RB, don’t smile (and show your teeth) don’t wave your hands, don’t joke or, god forbid, burst out into laughter!

How boring is that!!! How dangerous actually, to suppress your individuality, your true nature, and be dominated by insane rules and restrictions!

No wonder so many students got very sick, with cancer
or ended up with serious mental issues
What a price to pay!!!

195. X-ray - June 17, 2010

190. another name – June 17, 2010

You are naive.
There is no cure for this type of criminals.
They are dangerous and they have no place in free society.
Prison is where they have to be.

196. silentpurr - June 17, 2010

The Fellowship of Friends is a silly/secretive and expensive game. It is played with not all the pieces.And is best played in reverse. The game’s aim is to keep the player in extended involvement with as many handicaps as possible. Each piece is won with hard-earned misery. Placed together the pieces form a kind of sense/map allowing one to depart. Only after exiting can one begin to be treated to the comprehension of the full extent of one’s loss…..which is a plus.

197. veramente - June 17, 2010

191 sallymcnally
you started a good thread! and Silent Purr, Rock the boat, you are right on.
Our (excuse me for the generalization) joy was supervised, and sometimes on top of that we had to find it in difficult situations as the ecstasy in the agony. What a bunch of false martyrs!

I remember one time when I was living in appalling Apollo, I went to the movies in Marysville, it was not a masterpiece of a movie, it was simply entertaining at that time, yet it made an effect on me that was very liberating, it was if I woke up from a dream of confinement, as I could feel much more alive if I just remembered what that was.
The effect lasted a few days; the daily grind resumed fast enough to feel like I had lost all the colors again; a gray existence day in and out, trying to catch the exotic self-remembering, the “cure” for all.

198. WhaleRider - June 17, 2010

Condom Wielding Man Detained

Oregon House (USA)-A man demanding entrance-ment, wearing a pink suit, and menacingly waving a fully inflated condom with the words “the Truth” written on it, was briefly detained yesterday by security guards at the front gate of the world headquarters of the Fellowship of Friends, Inc., AKA Pathway to Presence, a quasi-religious Californian Corporation in Yuba County. He was then later released from c-influence.

“I didn’t want to leave…compared to Russia, I had it good! And now they won’t let me back in!” complained Majdanek Auschwitz, recent collateral damage of the FOF’s latest membership purge. “I was pushed out into the cold by Linda T for using a condom.”

Linda T, long time FOFophile and FOF camp commandant known for her extremist views, is reported to believe in the literal interpretation of the leader’s “enhanced spiritual techniques”. She was unavailable to comment on the so-called, “no-condom exercise”.

“I already cut off one of my thumbs so my four fingers remind me of the four wordless breaths; I’ve tatooed the entire sequence on the back of my eyelids…I just didn’t feel it was necessary to get herpes to be more conscious,” said Mr Auschwitz with a glint in his third eye. “But now that I cannot have any more access to his (Burton’s) presence, I cannot access my own presence, and feel like just a machine whose penis has fallen asleep. Life just isn’t intense enough for me! I don’t care about my health, I’ll take the herpes! I just have to be near him…or I don’t exist!”

“They are intense,” reported one ex-follower. “We all believed the world was going to end soon, so we worked our asses off and after hours were taught to use these extremely unsafe sexual practices in an effort to purify ourselves…usually involving long nights, multiple partners and heavy doses of Viagra. If you ask me, I think STD’s are just nature’s way of saying, “enough is enough.””

According to many other ex-followers, Robert E. Burton, the Fellowship’s elderly gay leader and founder, who reportedly blames his string of failed prophecies on the visions of 44 ghosts that constantly torment and taunt him for not giving enough unsafe blowjobs to his captive followers, uses overcoming the fear of contracting herpes as test for young male underlings to enter the rear of his inner herpes circle.

Despite the fact Burton is out of his gilded closet and now openly gay, women such as Auschwitz’s wife, Clueless, still remain blissfully faithful and his devoted followers. Only women are allowed to shine his shoes for him and clean his seemingly unending supply of soiled underwear.

Burton even reportedly holds the group of women in dear regard who have contracted herpes from their spouses and boyfriends, allowing them stand in the back for free in his freakish meetings where seats right next to him cost other followers their very souls.

Apparently Mr Auschwitz and current followers of the FOF cult seemed to be suffering from what appears to be a group delusional disorder, whereby the group entertains the delusion that their leader is a fully enlightened being beyond the level of Christ, and when they are basking in close enough proximity to his prissiness they experience a hysterical response of heightened awareness akin to hero or celebrity worship, which they attribute as not originating from themselves but mistakenly from the dimwitted Burton.

Luckily, the American Psychiatric Association recommends that the only treatment clinically proven to shake the deep delusions associated with this cultic form of hero worship is massive doses of electro-convulsive shock satire therapy.

199. X-ray - June 17, 2010

196. silentpurr – June 17, 2010

‘The Fellowship of Friends is a silly/secretive and expensive game’

And it’s a losing game, a game designed to enrich one person of expense of others on whom he is imposing rules by which he does not play himself.

200. Best of the Blog - June 18, 2010

HELP! Says:
May 11, 2007 at 7:15 pm

…I have many friends RB’s boys who are being abused for 5 or 10 years! They “managed” their natural feelings. They never speak about IT. They avoid talking about feelings at all. They became tough, they don’t listen to their “mechanicality” and they do not look out for help.

They feel challenged to “do what the machine does not want to do”, “stick it out till the end” or feel like “this is like a prison” and don’t want to give up, but one thing they don’t know – they are sick! They don’t know that people can be nice, loving, fair, just, happy – they don’t trust anyone! They believe that this what makes them conscious!

It is a very sad story. How to help them? What words, what techniques can “un-do” the abuse? I heard that there are some practices that help abused children to open up, to see it for what it is, and get it out of their system!

Flying Free Says:
May 11, 2007 at 10:08 pm

Dear Whalerider

Your writing style and personal expose touches me deeply everytime I read your blog contributions. Probably like many on this site, I often feel ‘boy I would love to share a coffee with this real human being’. To sit in the sunshine together and maybe not even exchange words.

I left after 20 years (recently) and yes, it took all of the that time to ‘wake-up’. Yes, I was one of ‘the many’ that did not want to know, that dennied the truth, and that was afraid to let go of a narrow set of beliefs and ‘live’. Well, it has been almost a year, and living just keeps getting better.

Life is everywhere, from the strangers dog that licks your hand at the local coffee shop, to the big round eyes watching you over dads shoulder as you follow behind him carrying your groceries, to the sweet smell of jasmine permeating the air in the neighborhood on your walk to the post office.

After 20+ years in the FoF – Adyashanti, John Wheeler , Tony Parsons and Sailor Bob Adamson and others pointed to the awareness that permeates everything, everything! To discover I am that, is something that cannot even be talked about- it would be reduced to the banal. And life is anything but banal. A mystery around every corner.

Just finishing a book by Catherine Ingram called Passionate Presence – Awakened Awareness and I cannot help but quote one small paragraph from her, which summarizes where I was for the 20 years in the FoF.

” Pretension comes in all guises. One dangerous area, for example, is in the form of spiritual teachers or gurus that have what in Zen is called ‘the stink of enlightenment’. These people who claim some kind of perfection for they claim an enlightenment that rationalizes their apparent imperfections, and they are often worshipped and codled as a result. They usually enjoy great riches and have servants for their every need. It seems the greater their pretentions, the larger their following, as so many people want to believe in something more exalted then themselves”.

Amen. I got out. The story is over. Life has too much ‘aliveness’ in it is to stay in the prison of a set system of ‘beliefs’. Good luck to those who need to defend theirs.

All the best.
Flying Free

dick moron Says:
May 13, 2007 at 9:42 pm

I viewed a film titled “Little Children” last night and found it to be a powerful experience and somewhat related to some of the discussions here about village life at Oregon House. If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend it.

No person Says:
May 15, 2007 at 7:07 pm

The most amazing thing after leaving the FOF – that nothing bad actually happened. In fact – I was surprised, how uneventful and easy the departure was, like so no big deal… I was expecting very bad things to happen to me if I leave, since that’s what you are told happens to people who left. I honestly was very afraid of huge emotional pain, loneliness, disconnection, punishment from higher forces, loss of direction and meaning to my life. I really honestly thought that “There is nothing out there”. (Ha-ha!)
Well, how nice to see that it’s not so! In fact – not at all. It’s was great to discover that actually nothing bad happen if you leave. None of the things I was afraid of had occurred. In fact, I got connected to more friends, have more fun, spend lots of time doing things I really like, my business is doing just great, and there is so much beauty and meaning in life just as it is, un-keyed…
What’s gone – is fear. In fact it is so completely gone – only now can I see how many layers of my life during FOF years were completely saturated with fear and guilt! Even eating alone and catching myself forgetting this damn third bite made me feel so bad about myself. Like I failed something. Yes, I was not supposed to feel this – but unfortunately I always did, and it was like a circle of guilt and self-deprecation. It’s amazing, how a “school for awakening” can gradually make you feel so unsure, scared, contrived and guilty about the smallest things in your life. It’s like the natural joy of living was being replaced with joyless controlled rituals and success/failure of doing them.

I remember calling my friend Stephen shortly after when he left, and asked him how does he feel. And he said something so strange back then – “I feel like I just walked out of prison.” I didn’t quite understand him then, still being a member, but boy do I understand him now. It’s exactly how it feels. Walk out of a stuffy dark room to an open fresh air and feel the wind on your skin. Wake up after a dark dream and smile. Free to simply live your life, not under any one’s questionable “conscious will” or under monitoring of fellow-students who would report you if you “sinned”.

I see now that one’s conscience and common sense are great natural “built-in” guides for one’s life.

Strangely I could only see it after I had to “walk out” and take first breath of fresh air. While inside – some strong buffers are still at work, lots of things are justified, and there is a big fear that there is “nothing out there”.

Good luck, and love to all of you.

Self Remembering Says:
May 16, 2007 at 2:13 am

Reading some of the surly, defensive posts from such as Anonymous, I’m reminded of when I joined the FoF thirty years ago, and how taken up I was with the FoF trip. Someone posted a link within the couple of weeks to a description of attending prospective student meetings in, I believe, Japan, and it was wonderful, and eerie, and humbling, how similar it was to my own experience. The sense of having stumbled upon something so hidden, so esoteric. Of being more aware, more evolved, than all the sleeping machines wandering the streets as I called my FoF contact from a pay phone; the cloak and dagger suspense of meeting the contact on a snowy street corner, to be driven to remote locations for my prospective student meetings; the students at the meetings dressed as if it were the 1950s; everyone so calm, so seemingly confident they knew the ultimate secret. Everything fraught with significance. And so forth.

I also remember how quickly I bought in to the notion that I had become a member of the ultimate secret society, how willing I was to start thinking of my family and friends as hapless life people, to be manipulated if possible, tolerated at best. I remember how heady it felt to be clearing trees at Renaissance, how glorious to be a part of the Great Work. It really was the most powerful vanity trip I’ve ever experienced, in which someone, no matter how modest his talents or accomplishments, could imagine himself one of the elite on earth. Considering this, teaching payments were a bargain.

I also remember a student attending my first meetings for several months who made somewhat bitter, cryptic statements about how Robert wasn’t what everyone seemed to think he was–at the time I hadn’t even met Robert, and had no idea what she was talking about, but I naturally repreated to myself the lines from In Search of the Miraculous about how people behave when they lose the school, “their little song has been sung,” etc.

I remember hearing about a student who had left the school having said that she felt like she had gotten out of a cage, and I thought, “Yes, freed from the need to make efforts, free to go back to sleep.”

I remember the first time a student told me, with some agitation, how something had happened to him at the Blake Cottage with Robert. I couldn’t understand exactly what he was talking about, because no one ever came out and just said “Robert _____ed my ___, OK? He told me to ___ him in the ___!”

So when I read a post from a student who is defending the FoF, or sneering at someone’s account of having been sexually abused, or even calmly and meticulously laying out the inevitable work angles that may be used to support any position in any discussion, I remember. I remember and try to understand what the person is defending, that asking someone to examine his beliefs about the FoF is asking a whole lot. It’s asking him to accept a huge blow to his vanity, to accept that he’s just another shlemazel. To consider relinquishing his place in the queue to paradise and go back to being what he was before, if an older and wiser version.

As Yeats put it, “Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams.”

Radiccio Says:
May 16, 2007 at 2:24 am

…I can’t agree that the problem with Robert’s sex life is explained mainly by unequal power. For one thing, this strikes me as a kind of theoretical liberal ideal (and I would count myself as a liberal.) Plenty of sexual partnerships are based on unequal power – uneven balances of power between male/female, young/old, active/passive features, rich/poor, etc. Maybe you don’t see much of that… but there’s a lot of this out there in the wider world. And many of the “boys” are quite strong individuals.

Robert’s sexual orientation IS part of the problem, because most of the men he has sex with are not homosexual or bisexual. Likewise, the extremity and frequency of the sexual practices and the sheer number of men contribute to his sex life being unacceptable. If he just gave the guys a kiss and a cuddle and patted their butts occasionally, but everything else was the same as it is now, I wouldn’t have so much of a problem with it. Or if he had only behaved this way with ten men in his entire lifetime, I could probably live with it. But it’s the combination of everything, including “unequal power” that makes it so unacceptable.

Ellen Says:
May 16, 2007 at 12:52 pm

I am That, pg. 422
“The true Guru will never humiliate you, nor will he estrange you from yourself. He will constantly bring you back to the fact of your inherent perfection and encourage you to seek within. He knows you need nothing, not even him, and is never tired of reminding you. But the self-appointed Guru is more concerned with himself than with his disciples.”

– Nisargadatta


201. Best of the Blog - June 18, 2010


Innernaut Says:

May 16, 2007 at 5:36 pm
No person, post 142, said:

“What’s gone – is fear. In fact it is so completely gone – only now can I see how many layers of my life during FOF years were completely saturated with fear and guilt!”

One of the main reasons I left the FOF was the overwhelming and near-constant feeling of fear and guilt — especially guilt: guilt that I wasn’t a good enough student, guilt that I didn’t like the correct things, and so on.

Toward the end of my time in the school, I tried, on numerous occasions, to discuss my feelings with students I felt like I could confide in. But they genuinely could not seem to understand what I was talking about. They just looked at me the way a dog does when you confuse it — you know, they wrinkle their brow and tilt their head a little. That was all I got back. So in addition to feeling guilty, I felt like I was very much alone with my own peculiar form of insanity. It was only much later after I left and hooked up with some former students who had gone through much emotional pain in deconstructing their experiences that I realized that I was not so alone.

Actually, I just remembered one student who acknowledged feeling guilty to me — we talked about it on a drive up to Renaissance once, and commiserated about our inability to get any feedback from others in this area. Otherwise it was blank stares all around.



Is it possible? Says:

May 16, 2007 at 6:50 pm
Here are some questions for people living at Isis;

When was the last time you dined with a student living at Isis who’s name you didn’t even know?

When was the last time you went to a wine cellar dinner? If your are a woman we already know the answer.

When was the last time you knew how much all the teaching payments from all centers added up to and what was happening with that money?

When was the last time Robert asked you to join him at his table for lunch?

When was the last time Robert asked you to take a trip into San Francisco with himself and his entourage?

I’m sure all these questions sound trivial and trite, but they start to paint a picture of the one-sided nature of the fellowship. Why do think Robert is always happy? I think it’s because he’s always surrounded by his harem and he gets whatever he wants- Period!

These remarks don’t come from any “higher” parts in myself, but they are being expressed nonetheless. What parts in Robert require the need to be with straight men? If it were a semen issue, then gay men would be just as good as straight men, right?

The school basically never talks about the sex center, yet this seems to be the part of most people on the panet (including all students) that generates the most I’s. Something seems wrong.
I’ve never experienced the four wordless breathes because it’s not going to happen from a classroom environment. The school doesn’t seem to offer any individual tutoring program, and now that any dissidents are being asked to leave, who wants to open up about questioning the validity of the teaching methods?

Wishing everyone a productive day

arthur Says:
May 16, 2007 at 8:27 pm

Is I’s I’s the correct spelling of Fort Isis?

A comment about Innernaut’s guilt and fear struggle. I was expelled from I’s I’s in 1979. I sort of ‘came to’ while walking the back alley’s of downtown Long Beach after midnight… Enough time for me to reflect on my own guilt and self-loathing. Because I thought I lost a real school.

For twenty-seven years I kept the oath. Don’t talk bad about the work, don’t talk bad about the school, don’t talk bad about the teacher, don’t hold any ill will toward (P), nor G. Haven for doing his job. You are the ultimate failure.

I’s, I’s.

Not until I found this blog did I realize that I too wasted way too much time.

Rabbi Burns Says:
May 17, 2007 at 4:03 am

Interesting to see more postings by Anonymous. It’s helpful to be reminded how the fully hypnotised FOF mind works, using phrases that sound vaguely meaningful and ‘spiritual’ but when looked at closely and in context have no substance. We can look at the FOF website and newsletter for more developed examples of the same phenomenon.

Anonymous’s sloganeering illustrates well the intellectual and emotional shallowness of those providing smokesceens for the FOF’s weird activities, the perplexing unwillingless to see Truth that is staring them right in the face.

Oh well, maybe one day!

What a contrast with some of the vivid, thoughtful recent posts from Joseph G, Radiccio and many others.

cheers, RB

Ames Gilbert Says:
May 17, 2007 at 7:16 am

…Burton claims that his ‘super-sexual’ adventures feed his astral body, the implication being that this brings advantages to the students at large as well as the students participating. Does ‘collateral damage’ have an effect on you, do you bear any responsibility? These are the questions I struggled with. You know what the answers were for me, and what I decided. My guess is, that at some point you’ll arrive at a place one day where you must answer them as well. What the correct answers are for any given individual depends on that individual, but first he has to be an individual, that is, make the questions his own, and get the answers for himself—so the usual rote angles are not going to help here!

Warm regards,


202. sallymcnally - June 18, 2010

The FOF is like Pleasantville with an Egyptian theme.

203. tatyana - June 18, 2010

Sun conjunct Uranus
It is natural for those born under the Sun conjunct Uranus aspect to question tradition. These are individualists. They naturally rebel against that which is established. It doesn’t mean that they consistently break all the rules, but they definitely do question some of the rules, especially those that simply don’t make much sense to them. These people have a huge distaste for routine. They work best when they have some say as to when and how they get things done.

Sun conjunct Uranus people possess much self-integrity. They prefer to answer to no one except themselves. They avoid labeling people and are most offended when others attempt to label or stereotype them. Although progressive, they can be maddeningly stubborn at times. They do enjoy a certain level of excitement in their lives, and they do accept change as exciting, and they do appear to be quite open-minded–yet on a personal level, they can stubbornly stick to their ideas and they will resent anyone who tries to push them into doing something they really don’t want to do.

The Sun, as the ego, meets Uranus, the reformer. The result is a person whose identity rides strongly on being unique. Compare them to someone else, and these apparently open-minded, freedom-loving people can quickly turn livid. This is when these “free spirits” redefine the word temperamental. There, you’ve done it–you’ve found their weak spot. If you place them in a class of their own, on the other hand, they’re happy as can be.

These people are inventive, creative, and spirited. They perhaps appear more flexible than they are. On paper, at least, they are open-minded. If things get too personal, however, they can be difficult to deal with. This is largely due to the fact that they cling very tightly to their personal space and their personal sense of freedom. Anything that seems to threaten their individuality pulls up resistance in these people. Sun conjunct Uranus people are refreshingly honest, highly independent, intuitive, and somewhat erratic or inconsistent. They are often described as quirky, and they are nothing if not interesting.

Some Famous People with Sun Conjunct Uranus: Willem Dafoe, Walt Disney, Anjelica Huston, Meredith Baxter, Sigmund Freud, Donald Trump, Meryl Streep, Clara Barton, Ram Dass, Roy Orbison, (Robert Burton)

204. veramente - June 18, 2010

Tatyana, sorry but I cannot help it,
I can really see Robert Burton having a major conjunction with ur-anus…

205. dick moron - June 18, 2010

What is the color when black is burned?

206. X-ray - June 18, 2010

204. veramente – June 18, 2010

Urinating in his anus and his mouth, a conjunction you can verify.

207. The FOFion - June 18, 2010

Independent Study Concludes that the FOF is ‘Not That Big of a Deal’

OREGON HOUSE, Calif. (ARK) — A new organization calling itself the Better Understanding of the Fellowship of Friends and Everything Robert Society (BUFFERS) has concluded that “the Fellowship of Friends is really not that big of a deal.”

BUFFERS, which is funded by the Fellowship of Friends, released a 5-page report to the media on Friday.

“We really have no idea so why many people are concerned,” said a spokesperson from the IOSRF. “We’ve concluded that all negative comments about Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends are based on low level of being, lack of relativity, feminine dominance, the lower self, the king of clubs, the jack of clubs, the queen of clubs, the queen of hearts, planetary influences, sleep, unnecessary talk, lack of valuation, judgment, negativity, the many ‘I’s, lack of effort, the law of octaves, lack of understanding, not remembering their verifications, mechanically, the inability to give up their will to the teacher, non-verification of Influence C, not enough first line of work, not enough second line of work, not enough third line of work, too much fourth line of work, buffering, non-existence, vanity, power, being late on their teaching payments, not buying enough raffle tickets, not spending enough on expensive dinners, asking too many questions, doubting the form of the school, saying no to Robert, lack of loyalty to Robert, thinking that conscience is important, being overly concerned about STDs,…”

The spokesperson continued speaking for about 30 minutes and listed all of the reasons that “people just don’t understand Robert Burton.”

208. The FOFion - June 18, 2010

Note: The IOSRF is part of BUFFERS. No one knows exactly what that stands for.

209. silentpurr - June 18, 2010

I remember the evening meeting at Renaissance, out under the stars. It was the night when a question was asked concerning Hermann Hessa’s ‘level of consciousness’. Very seriously, Robert dismissed Hessa as having ‘nothing to offer’. Therefor to be discarded and not read by ‘students-wishing -to-be-on-the-way’. A pang to the hearts of all who enjoyed Hessa; or Nicol, who ‘missed the mark’, or CS Knott, ‘who sees not’… or hundreds of other things!
What I realized later was that it wasn’t about Hessa the writer at all, It was about Robert’s self-pleasuring need to manipulate ‘students’ to the core, in every possible way.
In the Fellowship, deep down, it’s the individual who has been sacrificed! The individual, wrapped in a soft, Robert-spun shroud, sleeping Just below the surface of one’s own ‘reality’……

210. silentpurr - June 18, 2010

Error. Hessa should read Hesse.

211. another name - June 18, 2010

Thanks guys bring on the fun. I love it LOL.


There is no cure for this type of criminals.
They are dangerous and they have no place in free society.
Prison is where they have to be.

Can not remember suggesting that there is a cure or not….I AM TRYING TO INCREASE AWARENESS. I work with criminals on an irregular basis and prison is not the solution on the long run IMO and experience. People do not learn much in prison and are exposed to a lot of crime and sexual abuse. AND it i a very expensive
So much for prisons.

212. Walter Tanner - June 18, 2010

The Fellowship had devolved to a school for Man#2 by the mid-nineties.

213. reader - June 18, 2010

It’s possible that some of us gained something. The question is how much we *actually* gained, and how much of it was just a *belief* that we gained something – and also very relevant, how much we actually lost in the exchange – maybe quite a lot.

Maybe there were the makings of something real at one time.
(or was there, hmm.)

And maybe that thing, whatever it was, appeared to be a Fourth Way school to us, or least that’s what we believed. But at some point I began questioning even the term *Fourth Way school* ; let alone whether or not the FOF ever was one.

The fof and burton may well be devolving. But that’s just a disease starting to show more pronounced symptoms. But by most accounts, not much has really changed except for the outward form.

214. WhaleRider - June 18, 2010

The FOFion:
“The spokesperson continued speaking for about 30 minutes and listed all of the reasons that “people just don’t understand Robert Burton.”

Shucks. I, for one, would enjoy very much reading your particular rendition of all the reasons why ordinary people just don’t seem to “get” Robert Burton.

(You rock, BTW)

215. Jomo Piñata - June 19, 2010

213/reader wrote:

It’s possible that some of us actually gained something. The question is how much we *actually* gained, and how much of it was just a *belief* that we gained something

“Gained something” — what does that mean? Like, “developed the foundation of an astral body”? Or “developed the ability to distinguish cabernet from merlot from carignan? Or to distinguish Tchiakovsky from Debussy? Or to “make money with the left foot”?

If the first, how would such a fantasy achievement ever be measured? Oops, revealed my position.

If someone claims to have “gained something,” think “ordinary stuff” — examples two, three, four. And think “dissonance reduction.” And think “deliberately vague, to suggest ‘esoteric achievement.'” And think, “self-image management.”

216. another name - June 19, 2010

I have asked myself this question a lot. What did I gain in the fellowship?

If an aim, an intent is based on a lie …what can you gain beside compassion, grief, humbleness and sorrow. Sorrow for supporting lies and supporting the abuse of people to full fill some sick person’s desires?

Time will tell. I would not recommend this path of mine to any other person, not even my enemy, if I know who he/she was…..

217. reader - June 19, 2010

Jomo Piñata
I was responding to the comment that, “The Fellowship had devolved to a school for Man#2 by the mid-nineties.” (whatever that means)

It seemed to imply a belief that things were once better in the FOF, and that maybe it was a “real school” at one time and that people “gained something” from being there until things went downhill. I was just saying “no” to that idea in my own way. You didn’t gather any of that from what I wrote? Me, with my precise use of the English language? I’m shocked.

218. James Mclemore - June 19, 2010

215. Jomo Piñata

I guess I really struck out. I did not even ‘get’ examples 2,3, or 4.

217. reader – “I was just saying “no” to that idea in my own way.”

I got the gist of that from what you wrote in the earlier post. I questioned the same words you did in the very same way. I suspect the same as Jomo Pinata, that in most cases it has something to do with “self-image management.”

219. Rudy - June 19, 2010

Reader said:
It’s possible that some of us gained something. The question is how much we *actually* gained, and how much of it was just a *belief* that we gained something – and also very relevant, how much we actually lost in the exchange – maybe quite a lot.

I for one would say I did “gain” something . It could be described as the loss of illusions about life, myself and other people, or becoming aware of reality. I know for myself what I gained, I know how I was before I started to remember myself with the help of the system. There is no external measuring stick for that. In that sense the FoF was a school for me. I can not know if I could have learned the same things elsewhere, this play was the play I had to experience. The payment was very high, and I stayed too long, from one point of view. But then again, it couldn’t have happened any other way.

220. nige - June 19, 2010

219 Rudy

“The payment was very high, and I stayed too long, from one point of view. But then again, it couldn’t have happened any other way.”

I would say exactly the same myself…..Nigel.

221. GOXP - June 19, 2010

20. nige – June 19, 2010
219 Rudy

“The payment was very high, and I stayed too long, from one point of view. But then again, it couldn’t have happened any other way.”

I would say exactly the same myself…..Nigel.

It bugs me when people say, “things happen for a reason” or “it couldn’t have happened any other way”, or a version of, “it’s the play”.

The reason things happen, as far as I know, is because other things cause them.

It could have happened differently if you or I had made different choices.

And the play will be different if you play differently.

You and I have free will. At least we need to act this way. Wake up – the best that you can – and take responsibility for yourself.

There is no evidence of Higher Forces or GOD. Deal with it and enjoy your stay here.

222. reader - June 19, 2010

GOXP: “There is no evidence of Higher Forces or GOD. Deal with it and enjoy your stay here.”

I really like your post, although the belief in “higher forces” or “angels” or God doesn’t concern me so much. What concerns me is the FEAR that can often accompany that.

The fear of what might happen to you for NOT believing. And then the fear of authority figures who tell us all about the imaginary consequences.

For all I know, the universe may be just an accumulation of chemicals and dust, and when we die *poof* we’re all gone; or it may have meaning for all of us. I can’t say that I know or have verified either viewpoint. What I do know is that fear takes you down a road that you don’t want to travel. I sometimes wonder why people lose their conscience: Probably the first step is fear.

James, Jomo Pinata: yes “self image management.” The FOF is a big fat hole in the resume. No amount of self-image management can change that.

223. GOXP - June 19, 2010


224. Best of the Blog - June 19, 2010

Full Mooner Says:
May 17, 2007 at 8:36 am

Today is the Full Moon!

In FOF that usualy means a lot of trouble.Gurdjiev was saying that the Work suppose to deliberate man from external influence,especially from the moon influence but in FOF the moon acts for a God.The longer the students are stay in FOF the more they becomes affected by this idea.

During my time in FOF I was observing many students and especially the older students who were experiencing a lot of frictions and difficulties during the New and the Full moon.At the same time all of those difficulties were explained by the moon’s influence.Or by the meteor showers or by the “August” idea and of course by the “Mars is closer to the Earth”.

But since I left FOF those celestial influences are mysteriously disappeared and totally stoped bothering my mind.I have simply forgot about them.

I think this is a typical Fellowship bullshit.A kind of “a house specials”.The same way were created farther ideas such as: “9 lifetimes”,”the ideal Plato state”,”The Ark”,”the 30 imperishable stars”,the “Sequence” ,”the 4 wordless breathes” and “the Asaf”.
Even duo those ideas are ridicules in their essence,they were still keeping people in deep sleep without any hope to awaken because no matter what you will do,you still will die at the very best on your 8th lifetime.

I can only imagine how many angry faces are cursing our beautiful moon tonight,which has for centuries inspired many poets,musicians and other artists to create an eternal Beauty.

Rabbi Burns Says:
May 17, 2007 at 6:38 pm

The Quiet One (198): “And for God’s sake, please really listen to Robert and what he is saying. Try to separate yourself from the idea that he is conscious. This is all programming. He is pulling divinations out of the air with no foundation other than your belief in what he says is true.”

This is spot on! The belief that Robert is conscious is drilled into us from the very beginning of our time in the FOF. After a few years it becomes unquestionable, even though there is no real evidence that it is true.

All you current FOFers, please try to look at this with an open mind. Why do you believe Robert is conscious? Don’t accept the first superficial answers that come into your mind – look deeper. For me, and several others I’ve spoken to, this was the last illusion to fall away. We really clung onto it. It justifies all the absurdities of the FOF. When it evetually does fall away, the sense of freedom and wonder at normal, everyday life can be almost overwhelming.

Full Moom (203). Thanks for mentioning that. Yes, the FOF moon theories are just plain silly – how many times did I catch myself feeling great on a moon and then tried to justify that inconvenient fact in some convoluted way! Why did we persaude oursleves to believe these crazy theories when they were directly contradicted by our own experience?



225. Best of the Blog - June 19, 2010

No person Says:
May 17, 2007 at 6:59 pm

When I read some postings here, like Anonymous and such, defending and justifying FOF in a one-sentence manner, with condemnation and judgment to us, “losers” – I say to myself – “I too was just like that, just like that”.

And it is so true – for many years while in FOF I was “intentionally” blind and deaf to all the contradictory information, evidence, facts, stories… I learned to be blind and deaf to my own conscience, too – it was conveniently labeled and a voice of feminine dominance.
I would dismiss the contradictions and “keep my own work” – whatever the heck it meant.

The critical information was actually always available, may be not as much as now. Certainly there was nothing existing like this blog (thank you Sheik again for doing a good deed). But I deliberately avoided the “bad” stories and criticism, fearing (or may be just knowing) that if I allow it in and digest it – the buffers and lies to myself will have to go. Nobody kept me in the dark, but myself. Once or twice during my membership ( in an “interval”, I guess) I opened and read Rick Ross and Stella’s websites, and each time a very uncomfortable feeling crept in: ” It sounds so true…I saw these things too…”

And then immediately – “But it can not be true! These people really DON’T KNOW what’s really going on inside the school, they just lie here out of bitterness and revenge, they are losers, they have no idea!!!”… Somehow this buffer really worked every time – it quickly put me in a “defense of the school” mode, “fight the infidels” kind of spirit. I even posted something once on a Russian blog, totally in Anonymous or H. Carter style. It would be hysterical to dig it up and read it again now!

By the way have you noticed that in the school there is a label virtually for everything? And when you label it, usually in one learned sentence or phrase, you feel so right and so good about yourself. Funny, isn’t it? As if a system label can bring you closer to real understanding… Well, we learn this tricks from you know who. He is a master de-coder, key-er and labeler.

Does all this stuff sound familiar to you? I have a feeling a lot of us went through this deafness and buffering, to finally discover that there is beautiful meaningful life after FOF. May be it is somewhat a NATURAL process that seekers go through?.. Work your way through deception to clarity, so to speak?

So I do understand and feel for our friends who are still under the deaf/blind spell, and it may take time for some of them to get really tired of BS and lies and deceiving themselves. I feel for them, I know their pain, their anger. (Although they may sincerely think they don’t express any negativity, but whatever…)

I don’t think they are brainwashed idiots. I don’t think they are cold and heartless. This is simply what happens to normal people when their conscience gets comfortably numb. I WAS JUST LIKE THAT MYSELF.

It took many years for me to unclog these ears and cure the “shiny eyes” syndrome… Some non-dual books really pushed it for me. Forever grateful to John Wheeler! (His new book is out, BTW).
So all I can do is to sincerely wish our stuck friends an emergence of conscience and, sooner – better! RB may be beyond help, (even beyond medical help) but most of our friends in FOF could still use a hand.

Much love and support to all.

Traveler Says:
May 17, 2007 at 7:10 pm

Read this carefully and think about how many times you’ve made adjustments in your mind as to what Robert must have actually meant:

Daily Card – May 17, 2007

To make a machine conscious and immortal is the ultimate task, and to achieve this everything is asked from us.

Love, Robert

Disinformation Says:
May 17, 2007 at 7:17 pm

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Disinformation.

I’d like to show you some of my work on the Fellowship of Friends Wikipedia page (as of today):

“Since the Fourth Way teaching says that different levels of hydrogens rule over different bodies in man, the “inevitable hydrogen warfare” Burton mentions in his book might well be related to this ‘civil war within’, since it is common for spiritual teachers to talk in parables [as in Matthew 3:13].”

This is some of my best work. No, Robert Burton… never predicted that World War III would occur in 2006, …

James B. Says:
May 17, 2007 at 8:34 pm

For many years I had almost daily interactions with RB, and was mightily impressed with his ability to look at situations in creative ways. Over time, I became increasingly troubled by what I saw, and by several young men asking what they should do about his unwanted advances. Ironically, as my commitment diminished, I was to spend more and more time around him, which proved problematical for continuing as a member. I could not avoid the conclusion that he spent most of his days simply ‘screwing around’ (Charles R. used to refer to it as ‘a permanent vacation’).

Finally, after 20 years, I left just as I had joined – because I had no choice. Neither decision was intellectual – I simply could not stay any longer.

What’s life like post-FoF? Much like before… full, with daily joys and struggles and rewards and uncertainties. Unlike for many on this blog, the Fourth Way remains the most powerful tool for living that I have yet to encounter. And while I believe that my “decision” to leave the FoF was the right one, I don’t regret my years there at all; my life was enriched and I became a man. My best friends to this day are former members…

Joe Average Says:
May 18, 2007 at 12:54 am

A huge part of my self-deception concerning the FOF was my projections onto students of common sense. When I was first presented with the list of “the 44” and RB’s predictions, I was devastated. I was perhaps 1 month in the school at the time and really thought I had found something extraordinary, a true path for awakening.

When I heard these things, I felt it was the end right there – these people were obviously nuts. Yet an older student asked me about my reactions to this knowledge and when I told him (softening the sentiments greatly out of embarrassment), he said “Don’t think you are the first one to have such I’s”, with a mischievous half smile. I was immensely relieved. He seemed to feel these “theories” were absurd, arrogant, and embarrassing also, yet he was an older student.

At that point, a central core of my relationship to the school and its more bizarre aspects was set. Oh! I get it. It is intentional insincerity. It is exactly like Gurdjieff’s wild stories that simultaneously taught by analogy and served the purpose of driving off the silly and gullible. So I went my way assured that, while there might occasionally be some complete idiot who really took these fables literally, the shocks inherent in the form of the school would weed them out so that the “serious” students could continue work on ourselves.

And every time I heard something bizarre that RB did or said and perceived that some students took it on face value, I chuckled arrogantly to myself at the students’ stupidity and quietly thanked Robert in my heart for “voluntarily suffering” in playing the fool for the good of the school.

So I continued year after year defending the illusion that the people I liked felt they way I did. These were intelligent, discerning, emotionally mature people with humour and creativity. Of course they did not actually believe all these unverifiable fables! Every time I was clearly shown my delusion, I made some excuse – they are just saying that because it is the form of the school and they are trying to fit in – they are experimenting with intentional insincerity themselves, emulating their teacher- I must have misunderstood them, they can’t really believe that…etc.

I spent almost all of my time in the school outside of Oregon House. I doubt I could have maintained my delusions for so many years if my face were shoved in the middle of the manure pile year after year. Who knows. Nicely detached and distant from the whirlpools of insanity emanating from the Blake cottage/Academy/Galleria, it was much easier to ignore the depressing truth: most of these people really did buy into the whole steaming pile. The “buzz” around Robert was primarily not higher hydrogens, just the flies that such piles draw. It is a symbiotic relationship; the pile and the flies draw each other.

And yet again it was not so simple to maintain, even in distant centres. Many of the students I knew well totally expected the crash of 84, were stockpiling goods etc. A well-off couple in their late 40’s even lost quite a bit of money investing in a scheme which depended on a crash to make a profit. Then after many years of easy delusion came 1998 and again I was shown how literally people took things, how many were simply salivating for an ultimate external validation of their teacher’s divinity. Again, many people put their money where their lack of minds were, betting that the gods would make them stinking rich by murdering 30 million Californians (and much of the Pacific rim through tsunamis) on cue.

It always seemed a delicate balance; how to discourage students, particularly young students who had more of a chance, from being so pathetically credulous without crushing their beautiful hope and aspirations toward consciousness. It was made more delicate because, at some level, I knew that if I pushed too far in such efforts, my own imaginary world would start unravelling. My secret (even to “myself”) need to feel superior, not just to most of “life”, but to many of the students, would not permit it.

Only after more than two decades did I become dimly aware of the arrogance and denial that ran like a lead thread through my entire school “career”. After that, about two years of consistent work trying to dismantle the feelings of superiority served not only that end, but also dismantled much of what had seemed magical and beautiful about the school.

For some students, the excrement from Robert may have been literal and the smearing without consent. For me it was figurative, but smeared I was, and with consent. As the moral to the fable goes “if you are warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut”. I doubt that anyone is really happy once they realize where they are. Many sense that something really stinks, but they can’t seem to figure out what it is.


226. nige - June 19, 2010

221 GOXP

Just my nickel’s worth. Some time back – having come out of the FOF and having no creative work to do, because I could not get back, in a real sense, into my ‘life’s work’ – jewellery design, fabrication and teaching – I would have cursed ‘The Play’. But today, with all the beauty and worthwhile struggle I have with the business I own and working with my own psychological problems, I see how the whole play is written for our benefit – WHEN WE ARE REAL!…..Nigel.

227. silentpurr - June 19, 2010

Nigel, The ‘nickel’s worth’ you offer is actually worth it’s ‘Wisdom’s Weight’ in gold, and a key in itself.
What we ‘gained’ was the ABILITY to leave what was a essentially a parasitic relationship. What we lost was our spiritual gullibility…
And to know it’s value.

228. Jomo Piñata - June 19, 2010

reader, I get you and agree.

a belief that things were once better in the FOF, and that maybe it was a “real school” at one time and that people “gained something” from being there until things went downhill.

“Always and Everywhere” it was a confidence scheme designed to extract narcissistic supply, money and labor from the marks (i.e., us), from the very beginning. Not everyone holds this view, but when I review the evidence from earliest days, I come away convinced. Did you know Burton renewed his elementary teaching credential in 1975 for the period 1975-1980? Probably he thought the scheme was going to collapse and that he’d need a way to earn a living.

229. reader - June 19, 2010

228. Jomo Piñata “designed to extract narcissistic supply”
That absolutely rings true to me.

“Did you know Burton renewed his elementary teaching credential in 1975 for the period 1975-1980? Probably he thought the scheme was going to collapse and that he’d need a way to earn a living.”

No, I didn’t know that. That’s a bizarre factoid about Burton given all of the usual beliefs about him. Brings up the question, what would a Man #6 who is founding a new civilization need with an elementary teaching credential. Yes, a fall-back plan. Sociopaths must occasionally be surprised that people fall for their plots so easily. Eventually, they start believing their own bullshit, too, though, which maybe is one of their achilles heals.

230. nige - June 19, 2010

227 silentpurr

Thanks, you cool cat!…..Nigel.

231. Rudy - June 20, 2010

221. GOXP

“It bugs me when people say, “things happen for a reason” or “it couldn’t have happened any other way”, or a version of, “it’s the play”.
The reason things happen, as far as I know, is because other things cause them. It could have happened differently if you or I had made different choices.”

This is an illusion. We did not make different choices. We thought at that time that the choice we made at that time was the best choice. We always do. That is why things always happen in the only way possible. If things could happen differently, they would. Everything in your past happened the way it had to happen.

“And the play will be different if you play differently.
You and I have free will. At least we need to act this way. Wake up – the best that you can – and take responsibility for yourself.”

Yes. Our being attracts our life (according to the circumstances). Change your being and you will attract differently.
But which “I” has free will?

232. reader - June 20, 2010

Rudy, wow, let’s ease off on the excerpts from the Cult Handbook.

We know the lines… We’re powerless, it’s all just ‘I’s, our being attracts our life, thinking we can “do” is an “illusion”, it’s a play, change your being, we have no free will, and a lot more. Even If any if this were true or “practical” in some way… When you read everything above on this page, don’t the words start sounding a bit shallow, meaningless, old and tired, and even a little strange?

Leave the “work language” behind. It’s one of the locks that keeps people stuck in the prison. It’s a Saturday… go have a glass of wine, hang out with your friends or significant other, and enjoy. That’s a choice right there.

233. Rudy - June 20, 2010

232 reader

We can leave the work language behind and replace those words with different words. No problem. But the understanding of the concepts behind the words is our own.

234. nige - June 20, 2010

233 Rudy

I’m with you on this one…..Nigel.

235. reader - June 20, 2010

Ok, guys I’m going to photograph both of you for Lemming Feature.


Just a suggestion my friends:
Try to describe what you think using different words than the usual expressions and terms fed to you by the FOF. Think double-speak in the book 1984. Similar concept.

The attachment to these words is a huge part of the problem. Take a close look even at the expression itself — “work language” — what does it really mean? Question why the word “work” is used. Question why the word “language” is used. Why do we call it “work” and why do we call it a “language.” etc.

236. Best of the Blog - June 20, 2010

Que sais-je? Says:
May 18, 2007 at 1:22 am


The problem may not simply be that people imagine Robert to be “conscious” while he not, but that we assume there is something called being “conscious” as a permanent state. No, I’m not talking about pseudo-nondualism, but has anyone here verified that anyone exists in a perpetual, effortless state of consciousness, radically different from virtually everyone else? Oh, I’ve met my share of wise, kind, even-tempered people who are recognized as spiritual masters, but I’m not talking about that; none of them have claimed to be permanently “conscious,” or even aspired to be. I don’t recall Gurdjieff making an issue of it. Sure, I’ve read about Ramana, and Meher Baba, and others that seemingly fit this description, and the doctrines speak of various endpoints of meditation, etc., but I suspect we’ve interpreted this through our minds into an infantile fantasy, akin to hoping we can someday return to the womb or the breast, and never have to experience any pain ever again. Never have to admit a mistake ever again.

In any case, if such a condition exists, I can’t imagine how anyone could imagine that Robert Burton exemplifies it, even setting aside all of the sexual stuff. He used to say, long after he claimed to have “crystalized,” that he stopped trying to remember himself when he went to bed. Nothing wrong with that, but how does trying to sustain the “third state”, and then setting it aside so he could go into “first state,” jibe with being perpetually “conscious”? What would it mean to be “conscious,” anyway? Does it mean one is never negative? If not, why not? Does it mean one hears the voice of “Influence C,” which sometimes provides good information, and sometimes doesn’t? Just how useful is that? Some people seem to imagine RB is never negative, but only people who have had very selective experience with him, or just see him shuffling along or nodding humbly, could think so.

Deny him something he wants–if you dare–and see how he deals with it. It ain’t pretty, believe me.

What makes him seem “conscious” other than his having said so? Take away his say-so and we see someone who acts just like any teenager with a trust fund would act if he found himself surrounded by sycophants.

Re the revisionist history of RB’s predictions: How sad to be unwilling to own up to a mistake, even after he had done so within the FoF. When Yankees catcher Thurman Munson was killed in a plane crash, RB intuited that this meant “New York would be a catcher’s mitt for a thermonuclear warhead.” But he was only speaking about the internal New York, and an internal catcher’s mitt. It’s certainly possible.


237. Best of the Blog - June 20, 2010

alice in wonder Says:
May 18, 2007 at 5:43 am

Reminded of the great depression that was going to start in 1984. It was predicted to start on my birthday, and I lived at Renaissance and was having a party that evening in my fixed-up shack – it was a lovely party, but afterwards I felt the knock of conscience. There was absolutely no mention of assisting anyone but ourselves. After that the fof just looked more and more debauched. This is not abuse, just observation. Sometimes observation is just not pretty with happy talk – its just clear.

After I left I intentionally did not use the work language but translated – like said by someone earlier (for example “man is a machine” translates to “people are meat”.) – I treated everyone I met as containing that which can awaken – or tried to at least. But as I visit this blog I am reminded of why I really did love the fof – and that is the very cool, interesting and often unusual people. The everyday people. There is something deeply human about community – maybe deeper than human…

Rabbi Burns Says:
May 18, 2007 at 6:24 am

Comments on 233/234 from Hava Cigarilla/Anonymous:

“The Sequence is a deeply rooted esoteric method to eliminate imagination and reach presence. It has been a major part of many traditions for thousands of years.”

That a living human being, presumably with a functioning mind, can make a statement like this, asserting that a totally unverifiable and zany theory is a fact, speaks for itself.

Traveler Says:
May 18, 2007 at 8:28 pm

Some people have complained that the Fellowship has become a cult over the years. I deeply disagree. If the account from the first student Bonita Guido is true, and I have no particular reason to think that she is making it up, then the Fellowship was deeply flawed and misguided from Day 1 when Robert asked her how much money she would be willing to pay him “to have her soul saved”. I maintain that Robert is essentially evangelical fundamentalist Christian in his beliefs (not surprisingly, coming from Arkansas), and this is only thinly masked by Fourth-Way terminology.

Robert Burton Says: We will all become immortal in the celestial city of Paradise. Paradise has 30,000 inhabitants [information he obtained from a nearby town also called Paradise with 30,000 inhabitants; I have heard that some Christian denominations believe there will be 40,000 people in Paradise, please confirm]. Jesus Christ was the highest conscious man who ever walked the Earth (and possibly the only one more conscious than RB). Influence C ushers us to Heaven’s Gate. Jesus Christ & 43 others are Influence C. RB is the one who is our direct living link to Influence C, he is THE conscious teacher on Earth right now. [Compare JC: “I am the way the truth and the life; NO MAN cometh unto the Father BUT BY ME.”] Enormous suffering must be transformed and endured in order to become conscious, it is a heroic endeavor, we each must be crucified in our own way. We have Influence C and the help of the Gods, while life rejects it and pursues Inluence A. The students in the FoF are the only people who wish to awaken. The rest of humanity will have a sad fate. If you leave the school, you are throwing away the greatest gift on Earth. God is on our side. Our school is the pinnacle of humanity. We do everything to make ourselves available to life, but if they don’t want us, it’s their loss. We are the special chosen ones. When asked in a rare interview for Sacramento Bee years ago whether he was a reincarnation of Christ, Robert Burton humbly replied: Thou sayest it. We have to get as much consciousness for ourselves as we can before we pass into oblivion. And, breaking news, latest daily card: the ultimate task is to make the machine conscious and immortal.

I’m not saying that students in the FoF actually believe all this, but isn’t it telling that the leader of the organization, everyone’s Teacher for Christ’s sake, believes it?

Here’s what I think: The pace of the school is accelerating. What has always been there is becoming more obvious. There is more urgency felt now to remember yourself and create a soul that will not fall prey to time, than ever before. All is swept aside, except trying to be present without words and eliminating all thoughts, because it is believed that each such effort will add to the infant soul and bring you closer to immortality.

Robert Burton is getting old. He is going to die and there is nothing he can do about it. He is very afraid.

Innernaut Says:
May 18, 2007 at 11:26 pm

Mark H, post 261, wrote:

“But the appeal this kind of fearmongering has to the ego can override all common sense, and therein lies its genius as a cult-building tool. By staying in we get the enormous ego benefit of being among the lucky few who have found the One True Teaching. To admit otherwise can be tremendously deflating.”

I recall reading on the blog a couple of weeks back that Robert said during this time of turmoil in the school the number of students would drop from the current 1200 to 400. I don’t know if he really said this, but I do remember thinking at the time that this was truly ingenious — it plays on one’s vanity as one of the true and strong students who can survive the “shock,” and be closer to the inner circle for it.

It also reminded me of when Miles left and many students left along with him — I remained in the FOF and remember feeling puffed up, like, let them leave, the more the better, because it pushes me up the totem pole and puts me closer to the center of the action. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t get too much closer.

Thinking Allowed Says:
May 19, 2007 at 6:21 pm

Robert Burton is conscious.

Believing this is central to everything. One can ignore reason, personal experience and irrefutable testimony and submit to what one is told is the will of a higher power – if Robert Burton is conscious.

As has been pointed out we are not in a position to verify that Robert Burton is conscious as we are on a lower level than him, just as a monkey is not able to verify that a human can think.

However we can verify that he is not conscious by observing him. If when you look at him you restrain your conditioned positive acceptance of the myth and just observe him as a man, things come into focus that you could not see previously.

For example, a couple of years ago I was at a dinner where I sincerely felt that he was asleep the entire time. I did not set out to see him like this, but that is what I saw. He said the same things as usual, had the same expressions on his face, was surrounded by the usual hypnotic atmosphere but I saw that he was like a spring unwinding. There was an absence of something vital, he was dead in the same way that the people going about their daily life in Marysville are dead.

Of course, this example is only my experience at that time and does not prove anything to anyone else and nor should it prove to me that Robert Burton is permanently asleep.

However, by the same token, my previous verifications that Robert Burton was conscious were equally subjective and such extreme conclusions as that he is permanently conscious should not be drawn from them as they would be equally erroneous.

This is where the religious side of the Fellowship clicks in. This is where we follow a pattern so common in the world and attribute god like status to someone due to the dynamics of the group we belong to. This is where ‘belief for a man number 4 is the result of his verifications’ is an apparently reasonable foundation for believing in the same way as everyone else believes.

It is quite shocking that one should end up worshiping the same old gods after joining a school of 4th way psychology.

Joseph G Says:
May 19, 2007 at 7:45 pm

I have been thinking about integrity.

Integrity – adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty

The 900 lb gorilla in the room is how Robert coerces (coerce – to compel by force, intimidation, or authority, esp. without regard for individual desire or volition) heterosexual followers to have sex with him. The way we tended to rationalize this disturbing behavior in the FOF was by calling the sex consensual, but if something is “compelled” can it still be consensual? And though Robert as far as we know has not used physical force to coerce sex, it is well documented in this Blog and elsewhere that he regularly uses intimidation and his spiritual authority to convince his trusting young students to have sex with him. He makes them an offer they cannot refuse. (Basic reality check: what if it were your own 23-year-old son?)

Back to integrity. In the FOF the words “ethical” and “moral” are usually only found in the same sentence with the word “formatory” (a word that is not in the dictionary BTW), but common sense (the sense common to all centers?) tells us that coercing sex does not reflect adherence to any human “ethical and moral principles” in any culture all the way back to the caveman. Let’s face it, sexual coercion is what animals do, and what men who act like animals do. But in the FOF we are very clever about using our own special language to redefine things, so the bird we see swallowing a worm is not simply that: a bird swallowing a worm. In this instance the bird is eating a whole can of worms and we call it consensual because the worms seem to be wriggling with enjoyment on the way down.

So can we agree that coercing sex from young hetero followers reflects a lack of integrity?

In my experience a lack of integrity in any one area tends to permeate many others as well. Here is where it gets interesting for me, because it explains why so many things have been bothering me for the last few years: why things are the way they are. Some examples…

1. You are waiting in line for a meeting. A woman approaches. She asks for $50 to buy a gift for Robert. You ask if it is mandatory and she says yes. You see a student in front of you raise his eyebrows at this, so you say “no, thanks, I do not have the money today.” Unperturbed, the woman moves to the next student in line, who is visiting from Mexico and obviously has very limited resources. The Mexican student does not understand what the woman is saying, so the woman asks you to translate for her that Robert wants her to donate $50 for a gift. You say in Spanish: she wants $50 but you do not have to do it. The Mexican student thanks you and shakes her head at the woman. Later there is an auction. The tone of the auctioneers reeks of what from your earliest days in the school you were taught to recognize in yourself and others as false personality. One of the auctioneers is the woman from before the meeting. Robert sits in the back of the audience, smiling paternally, proudly. Some people make sly jokes about themselves. You were taught to call this vanity. The cheerleading up front continues. You grimace. Something in you vows: never again.

2. You are at a dinner celebrating your 30th anniversary in the school. Around the table are 80 or so students who joined in American centers in 1976. The theme is an arcane Egyptian festival connected to the number 30. The numerology is mind-numbing. The numbers 30, 7, 6, 12, and possibly 36 and 72 are all given special significance. Numbers divisible or multiple by any of these important numbers are also implied to have special meaning somehow. At one point there is a quotation describing five steps in a process. Robert’s comment on this points out that yet again we can see the number 6 woven into so many examples of ancient wisdom. You grow a little frustrated at this. Photographic images are shown throughout the meal by young men who have seemed to be frowning at you whenever you took a bite of your food. Two of these men were recently caught soliciting ménage-a-trois sex from married women in the community. You have heard that these servers frequently make comments in the kitchen about how much food has been consumed by individual diners, after they remove their plates. You have heard that the photographic images have been photo-shopped to better fit the context of the keys they are meant to illuminate. You see Graylin looking at you warmly but quizzically. People like him are the reason you have always loved this place. How could this beautiful place have changed so horribly. Something in you vows: never again.

3. You just filed your taxes and your FOF donations last year were close to $20,000. Spring donation is due: $750 plus your $1200 monthly. People in other countries pay about $300 per month plus a small seasonal donation, but this has never bothered you because you are proud to be able to support the school that has given you so much. Has made you who you are. You used to live at Isis and commute 120 miles each way to a job down in the valley, but your employer told you this was not acceptable so you were forced to move. You have young children. It is hard to visit Isis and you cannot often afford $100 for a meeting because your teaching payments are usually running late, but this weekend you will make the effort. The meeting is led by Asaf. You notice a strange ritual as Asaf enters the tent. He is a young good-looking man who seems unable to do anything but smile. He walks slowly, solemnly, from his pre-meeting stroll around the fountains. Some older students embrace him as he arrives at the tent. He beams at them with that special inner circle look. They beam back at him with collegial goodwill. They are “keys” specialist. Nevertheless, you stand in the back of the meeting and try to remember yourself by way of keeping an open mind to the knowledge being shared. The talk is focused on the esoteric meaning of “grass.” Many quotes about grass from throughout history. You feel faint but are going to get through this thing. Almost every quote seems to mean the same thing. The king of hearts leads to the steward who fights imagination with the sequence, defeats the devil / lower self, and achieves higher states when the master comes. All is clear, nothing is in doubt or has any alternative interpretation. After the meeting you are relieved to be with some old friends, but careful not to get entangled with certain people. Later you are strolling with your small children around the idyllic lawns and fountains. The kids are laughing and running around, people are smiling and happy. A student approaches you. He photographs your children’s behavior. You were dreading that something like this might happen, again. Previously you have observed this man treating his own children with neglect bordering on abuse. You thank him and move on. Something in you vows: never again.

Is integrity such a big word? We used to say we valued consistency. This meant “being the same person.” Is the school “the same school?” I’m not talking about the form here, but the substance…the level of being. Did I leave the school, or was my teacher the one who left it, years ago? Have we stopped being friends, you who are reading this? Do you think I am lost now? Can you really risk judging my decision, my perceptions? Is this who you wanted to be, who you want to be? Is this the teacher you loved? My personal answer is self-evident.

With love.

Joseph G.


238. X-ray - June 20, 2010

190. another name – June 17, 2010

‘Not IMO…awareness at this point is my aim. In the hope to come as a society to healing and discontinue of these abusive patterns.’

211. another name – June 18, 2010

‘Can not remember suggesting that there is a cure or not….I AM TRYING TO INCREASE AWARENESS. I work with criminals on an irregular basis and prison is not the solution on the long run IMO and experience. People do not learn much in prison and are exposed to a lot of crime and sexual abuse.’

Are you not talking about the healing of society, referring to ‘increasing awareness’ as been a cure for that?
If in your opinion prisons are not the right places for criminals, then lets shut the prisons down, if they serve no good. Lets instead try re-educate the criminals right on the crime scenes and then lets follow them around with our preaching to their next victims.
You don’t want to see Burton in jail because you don’t see him as such, and even if you would, you still would say that ‘prisons are not the solution on the long run’ and there we go again, biting our own tail.
I don’t want to get into criminology with you, I think it’s pointless, and I will finish up by saying that your ‘positive approach’ will only lead to more crime and I hope you won’t be needing to become a victim of your own delusion, to change your views.
Evil must be treated with justice, but I have already heard your views on that.

239. X-ray - June 20, 2010

231. Rudy – June 20, 2010

‘But which “I” has free will?’

Just another 4th way system victim.
Reclaim your mind if this is not too late.

240. GOXP - June 20, 2010

I think the tendency to separate ourselves from others not familiar with “the system” reveals our vanity. Work language and thinking that somehow we are superior or have secret knowledge is a joke. You and I are as good as our character. Character = our consciousness level. Consciousness is integrity, honesty and reliability.

Many parts of “the system” are in perfect agreement with this. This doesn’t make the system special; it is simply recognizing the truth. Christianity and Buddhism recognizes many truths as does Scientology.

I think it would be a good “exercise” to purposely try to avoid any “work language” just to remind yourself you are ordinary.

241. Rudy - June 20, 2010

235. reader

“Just a suggestion my friends:
Try to describe what you think using different words than the usual expressions and terms fed to you by the FOF. Think double-speak in the book 1984. Similar concept.”

Hey, Reader, can you read?
I said:
We can leave the work language behind and replace those words with different words. No problem. But the understanding of the concepts behind the words is our own.

“The attachment to these words is a huge part of the problem. Take a close look even at the expression itself — “work language” — what does it really mean? Question why the word “work” is used. Question why the word “language” is used. Why do we call it “work” and why do we call it a “language.” etc.”

I did all of that, and I find no problems with it.

239. X-ray
” ‘But which “I” has free will?’
Just another 4th way system victim.
Reclaim your mind if this is not too late.”

I guess you just don’t know about the many I’s.
I don’t consider myself a 4th way system victim and I never lost my mind either. Who do you think you are?

242. X-ray - June 20, 2010

241. Rudy – June 20, 2010

‘I guess you just don’t know about the many I’s.’

Oops… I think it is too late.

243. Rudy - June 20, 2010

242. X-ray – June 20, 2010
241. Rudy – June 20, 2010
‘I guess you just don’t know about the many I’s.’
Oops… I think it is too late.

You are free to express any I.
But it doesn’t sound intelligent to me… shallow mind.

244. X-ray - June 20, 2010

243. Rudy – June 20, 2010

‘You are free to express any I.’

Thank you for your permission, dumbass.

245. X-ray - June 20, 2010

243. Rudy – June 20, 2010

‘But it doesn’t sound intelligent to me… shallow mind.’

And I’m glad it doesn’t.
I would find that to be insulting to be ‘approved’ by you.

246. We Were There - June 20, 2010

Rudy and X-ray,

Go to your rooms, children, until you can play together nicely.

247. WhaleRider - June 20, 2010

“But which “I” has free will?…You are free to express any I.
But it doesn’t sound intelligent to me…shallow mind.”

Is this supposed to be an expression of your intelligence, Rudy?

248. Best of the Blog - June 20, 2010

James B. Says:
May 19, 2007 at 7:57 pm

To prior young worker (9/310) “I knew Brian S… He was a very gentle person and I saw him wither.”

and More Rumors & Lies (9/317) “Brian S. Many tried to help him in many ways, he was an incurable alcoholic and although was given a task not to drink, simply refused to stop.”

and Whalerider (9/308) to exlax 101 #243 “Would you be willing to tell more details of what you know to be true in the sad circumstances of Brian’s passing? The FOF party line is that he was a “hopeless alcoholic”, which you and I both know is false.”

and especially to you good, good friends still in the Fellowship of Friends

I knew Brian as a sweet, artistic, very vulnerable young man (solar lunar) who became one of RB’s boys. Over time it was clear to all that he was suffering from very serious mental problems (erratic behavior, withdrawal, etc.) and he was diagnosed as a schizophrenic. I don’t know if he was treated by Fellowship of Friends psychiatrists, but RB eventually sent him away from Oregon House.

According to the unfortunate Fellowship of Friends parlance of the time (current members, has this changed?), Brian was ‘a damaged machine’ – and, after all, ‘some come to eat, and some to be eaten.’

Brian landed homeless in Sacramento, where he was attacked one night on K Street, suffering multiple stab wounds. While he was in the hospital in critical condition, his father came from the midwest to take care of him – and RB sent me and another (now ex-)member to meet with him.

We met Mr. S., a good householder type, at the hospital and then went to a coffee shop. Obviously, it was an emotion-filled scene. After a few minutes of pleasantries, Mr. S., asked us ‘You seem like decent fellows; what are you doing being involved in something like this?’

We had no answer, and a deep sense of shame came over me, a feeling that I could never buffer by calling it ‘mechanical goodness’ or ‘feminine dominance’ or ‘the play’ (I believe at that moment my conscience was jolted awake).

Eventually Brian recovered enough for Mr. S. to take him back home to recuperate and to receive psychiatric care. Several months later, he was much better and asked to return to OH, which RB allowed him to do. Fairly soon, it was clear that his mental state began to deteriorate… Perhaps someone else can pick up his sad story here.

By the way, I never saw Brian under the influence of alcohol, and calling him a drunk with moral failings is a vile slander.

As I said in my previous post, over time, I became increasingly troubled by what I saw in RB and the Fellowship of Friends, and I could not buffer how heartless our group had become.

Just one small example that stands out for me were the many times RB would speak about someone who ‘had lost the school’ and then laugh. Each time I heard him laugh I would ask myself ‘how can he think it is funny that someone has been sentenced to eternal damnation? Isn’t that the saddest, most serious tragedy that could ever befall someone?’

I’ll close with a few other questions I struggled with:

Why would RB have sex with a vulnerable and troubled young person?

Why would RB allow someone with serious mental illness into a Fourth Way school?

Why doesn’t RB own up to his own personal mistakes in these matters?

And just one from today:

Why would RB allow his representatives to besmirch sweet Brian’s memory on this blog?

I can still hear Mr. S. – ‘You seem like decent fellows; what are you doing being involved in something like this?’


249. Best of the Blog - June 20, 2010


Ames Gilbert Says:
May 20, 2007 at 3:07 am

Some more history…
After Richard Buzbee (school name, Richard Laurel) distributed his letter telling of his sexual encounter with Burton and how he discovered his son Troy had been having sexual relationship with Burton (beginning when Troy was underage), Burton called quite a few students to ‘try to quell the flames’. Here is one of those conversation, verbatim.

Phone call from Robert Burton to James Battaglia, October 23, 1994

R. Hello James, how’s your liver? Are you feeling well?
J. I’m fine, Robert, and it was a kidney transplant that I had.
R. Yes, that’s right. Are you disturbed by this Richard Buzbee incident? I understand you left the meeting in protest.
J. Let me explain the scenario. I had been standing for an hour and you know my physical condition. It was two minutes to eight o’clock and there were about a hundred cars at the Town Hall. Why do you think I left?
R. To beat the traffic!
J. That’s right. If I was protesting this meeting, I’d do it verbally.
R. I don’t want the meeting to be an arena to discuss my sexual life and I allowed it to happen. C Influence wants me to be a homosexual and have sex with my students so that I may have humility. It’s a beautiful experience for myself and my students. I’m very loving and careful with them. The morality of the ark will not be based on Judeo-Christian principles.
J. What will it be based on?
R. I don’t know yet.
J. I’d like to ask you some questions concerning this matter about Richard. Are you open to that?
R. Yes.
J. Did Richard consent to having sex with you?
R. I’m over fifty and not a strong man. Richard lifted his buttocks up so that I could remove his pants. After we were through, he said that it was beautiful.
J. Had you had sex with him previously?
R. We had laid naked together in the other (Ethan’s) house and I fondled him. My students willingly have sex with me, I don’t force anyone.
J. I’ve talked with Richard myself and I feel that I have a good understanding of his experience.
R. Just remember I am a conscious being and Richard is an unconscious being. Richard is lying through his teeth, and he set me up. Richard is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and I fell for the setup.
J. I’m not conscious and I can’t verify if you are conscious. The system tells me that the lower cannot see the higher.
R. I am the brightest light in two thousand years.
J. I can’t verify that.
R. Have you verified C Influence?
J. Yes.
R. Well, the reason you’re able to do that is because I am a conscious being. Do you remember when I sent the car for you?
J. What do you mean?
R. I have to make about five hundred decisions a week. That I was able to send a car for you to pick you up at the hospital was an act of a conscious being. It’s the little things that matter.
R. Robert, I don’t see how that allows me to verify that you are conscious. Are acts of kindness an indicator of consciousness?
R. You don’t sound like you are coming from the king of hearts, more from your king of clubs.
J. I’m glad you brought up the king of clubs. It seems like you have a big identificiation with things pertaining to the king of clubs. What do you think is the right work of the king of clubs?
R. Gurdjieff says the king of clubs is the beast of the jungle, it protects the machine from harm. It lives in the jungle.
J. Then it seems to me a necessary part to recognize and understand. Yet you have an aversion to king of clubs things like holistic healing, hands-on healing, etcetera.
R. (vague response)
J. Robert, the only thing important to me is to keep my ears and eyes open and try to be in the moment. This moment. Talking to you is the most important thing happening. It helps me see the truth. That’s why I came to this school; I felt it was a bastion of truth. In time, though, I’ve found that most students don’t want to face the truth. Whenever I make an observation, the general response is that I’m being negative or that I’m losing the school. I see fear and feminine dominance as tools to keep students in control, I don’t have any fear of losing the school. I just need to be in the moment and if C Influence takes me out, so be it. Being in the moment is all that’s important to me.
R. That’s not enough.
J. What do you mean, not enough? That’s what you’ve been preaching all these years, self-remembering. What more is there?
R. You have to be concerned with your future.
J. What?!
R. You have to be concerned with YOUR future.
J. I’m concerned with the moment.
R. Remember when you were thrown out of the raft?
J. Yes.
R. C Influence can shake you out of the school just the same.
J. Robert, again let me say all I can do is keep my eyes and ears open and stay in the moment. That’s all that’s important to me. I don’t fear losing the school if I’m bounced out of it.
R. You have to be concerned about your future.
J. I’m only concerned with my present.
R. You have to be concerned about YOUR future (very strong emotional energy coming from Robert). Well, I’m glad that you’re o.k. about this incident. It’s fine to share this conversation with other students.
J. I won’t do that, Robert, because it would influence their thinking on this matter. I would encourage them to speak with Richard and you to form their own opinions. Are you open to them calling you?
R. Yes. Well, there’s a wedding here today and I have things to do.
J. Let’s keep the channels of communication open, Robert, and thanks for calling.
R. Goodbye, dear.

James followed up this conversation with a letter a few days later…

Dear Robert,
I appreciate you calling me and have taken time to digest the experience, and I’d like to offer you my perceptions.

My emotional center registered from your tone that you were very concerned with how I was dealing with what I’ll call the Richard Laurel incident. My action at the meeting of questioning Wayne’s angle and then leaving soon after was the catalyst for your call. I find it interesting that this was reported to you and that you acted so quickly on it. It verifies to me that you are quite active in the process of damage control over this incident with Richard and it makes me question why.

I made thorough notes of our conversation and thought about the emotional content of your voice during it. I feel that you put a lot of energy out to convince me that you are a conscious being, bordering on divinity. “The brightest light in two thousand years”, as you put it. The examples you gave to me for verification, such as my having verified C Influence because you are a conscious being and your sending me to a car to pick me up at the hospital did not penetrate as valid verifications of consciousness. I had verified C Influence before and after being in the Fellowship and I don’t see any connection with your theoretical consciousness. As to you sending a car for me and supplying rides to my doctor’s appointments at my request, I appreciate it greatly and that shows me that you were very considerate of my situation, yet I don’t know they constitute acts of consciousness. Yet I have a pretty good idea of what is not consciousness through self-observation and observing others.

As to our discussion of your sexual preferences and that C Influence wants you to be a homosexual and have sex with your students, this in unverifiable to me. Your sexuality is your business and is not a real issue with me. The issue with me and other students I’ve confided in is the possibility of you using your position as a means to gratify what appears to be a large sexual appetite. I’ve talked with students who have been your partner and their experiences have been as diverse as the individual. Some have said they were pursued quite vigorously until they succumbed, others felt it was a beautiful experience from which they gained tremendously, and others felt they were treated as an instinctive object for pleasure, then discarded. You said that your students willingly are with you and you do not influence them and t his my be true. You do hold a very influential position over many and I’m sure that you realize this does affect a person’s process in responding to you. Years of observation about the type of men you have in your entourage have shown me that they are predominantly very similar in their psychologies and appear to be particularly malleable.

My final concern is that over the years it appears you have many sexual partners and that precautions for sexually transmitted diseases are not taken. I feel this is not responsible action by all parties involved and can lead to dire consequences for you and many others. Have you ever had an AIDS test and have any of your consistent partners been tested? What do you feel is your responsibility and how do you deal with this issue?

My responses and statements to you appeared to make you more defensive of your position until you photographed my as being in the king of clubs rather than the king of hearts. This appears to be a standard response by you that one is becoming instinctive if your authority is questioned. The Fourth Way, as I understand it, is a process of questioning, observing, and verification. One that does not question is asleep, in my opinion. My questioning is a step in the process to find the truth, it does not come from disrespect or judgment.

At the start of our conversation you mentioned that you had just returned from staying at a hotel, I believe it was named after Muir, and that the address was 1998 and you made a reference to the numerical significance. At the teaching dinner I attended in September, you spent a considerable amount of time talking about interpreting license plate, place names and the like. Robert, what relevance does that have towards evolution and why is it such a common topic by you to students? I searched books by Ouspensky, Gurdjieff, Collins and Bennet and have not found any references to predictions. What does this information have to do with the Fourth Way and awakening? To me it appears to feed imagination. I may be wrong, so could you clarify your intent on speaking of these matters? I’d appreciate some relativity.

Robert, I feel the intention of your call was to assure me that everything is fine and as you put it, Richard was lying through his teeth, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as you stated and you fell for his setup. I don’t know why you made a particularly strong effort to convince me. I’ve been told that one of your roles is to keep students asleep as well as awaken. If this was said by you I feel that you were trying to assure me that all is well and that it’s business as usual. And you realized that I wasn’t buying it. Thus your example of being knocked out of the school felt like a strong warning to me. As I said to you, I’ve never felt as committed to my work and to supporting students as I do now. All I can do is to try to be present to the moment, keep my eyes looking and my ears listening. Trust my conscience and I’ll be shown the truth. The future will unfold as it will and I will accept it as it happens, without fear.

Robert, I appreciate all the opportunities I’ve been given to self observe and try to develop will. For our efforts and all the efforts of all students who have built and are building Renaissance/Apollo I am forever grateful. I know of no other community where I have 1901 teachers and it is something I value highly. My observations to you come from a place of caring, support and concern for what we are building and I know that you can understand and appreciate that. Let’s keep the communications open. Thank you.

With love and friendship,
(signed) James Battaglia

On the 13th November, 1994, James received his reply. He was told to leave the Fellowship, along with five others, including myself.

Historical note: “Wayne” is Wayne Mott, onetime Burton’s personal secretary (can’t remember if he was so at the time). The meeting referred to was led by Steven Dambeck, with Wayne Mott, Gunter Weninger and a couple of others (can’t find my notes right now!) up on the podium. What was notable about this ‘public’ meeting is that these folks started by freely admitting having sexual relations with Burton, and each testified that the experience was helpful for their inner work. Steven then continued the meeting on the lines of morality (with special emphasis on the inapplicability of ‘life’ morality), and steered away from any concerns about abuse of power and so on (refused to accept such questions by asking for others that suited his agenda better). A couple of days later, I responded with a letter to him that photographed him for the sleight of hand and misdirection, which I may post later.

With love to all,


250. Best of the Blog - June 20, 2010

Simon Says:
May 20, 2007 at 1:03 pm

…As mentioned on the blog, the frightening part is that no matter what is stated in regards to Robert’s excesses, it doesn’t seem to shock me either.

He conducts himself above the law in the spirit of: “do as I say, not what I do”.

The law I am referring to here is the law of humanity and it the flaunting of this law which was probably the most painful part of the Fellowship Of Friends experience. Not the sex, the drunkenness, the misogyny – all of which I found distasteful and like many was willing to put up with for far too long. But what really swayed it for me was the utter lack of humanity this unnatural lifestyle finally induced. In the Fellowship Of Friends we become for the most part dehumanised…

When I read some of the stories on this blog, it evokes all the memories of the sordidness which many of us including myself were happy to brush under the carpet for so many years. Having been a party to Burton’s excesses and dare I say “victim” – I say this with hesitation as I know some of you out there feel the need to question if it was as one sided as many of us make out. I myself know where the power lay / lied! Irrespective of this, one cannot deny that on this blog we have merely touched a large tip of the iceberg.

During my time, I was in a position to talk to several young lads who were subject to Robert’s advances and as a result became very confused. (Some may remember young C. the Brazilian lad who went through a trial by fire as he struggled with his moral conscience, or H. the gardener with whom I travelled around Italy and who one night poured out his heart and all the contradictions which Robert’s actions evoked in him. Then there was J. who almost died after breaking his neck and who I would visit quite regularly in hospital and whose main concern was not the x-rays of his body, but getting an aids test. These are just a three instances of many.

In the beginning I too tried to justify Robert’s actions to others – I had to – if only to convince myself that what I was supporting was useful to my evolution and my existence within the FOF. However later, as I began to wake up the dangerous game Robert (and myself) was playing, I was less willing to tag along. On the contrary, I began to resist at first and finally rebel, which didn’t amuse Robert. You don’t joke with Robert unless he gives you permission.

My own story concluded in a major stand off with Burton after I refused his will / sexual advances one more time. It’s only when you catch him at a moment when he doesn’t get his way, you begin to see the true colours of this man. The coldness behind the “conscious” persona (the mask of presence he puts on before the students at his dinners and meetings and public appearances). I will never forget that look in his eye – the momentary glimpse of contempt (it’s the only way I can describe it) of someone who is not getting his way (someone who is used to getting his way all the time!) and realising that his power is being undermined. Then the subsequent stratagems he employs to try and work you round to his way of thinking. The offer of gifts is an obvious one, but if that doesn’t work, the subtle nudges from feminine dominance, reminding you that he is your teacher and should be obeyed. Finally there are threats he invokes using the weaponry of higher forces, and that by going against the will of the teacher there is a serious risk of terminating any possibilities of becoming conscious and endangering your soul in the process.

Though by this time I had seen through this facade and nothing could change my overwhelming desire to escape the oppression / depression that was overcoming me, it was a heavy trip all the same. That said, the more he ranted (yes, Robert does rant!) the more I knew I was correct in my actions and I believe something in him probably knew it too, because after that episode his attitude toward me consisted of either token efforts of reconciliation, or mild threats to remind me that by abandoning him / the school the only option I had was life (death) / food for the moon and all that detritus we were so willing to accept. In a word, anything to make you feel small, insignificant, helpless and fearful. It worked, for upon leaving the Fellowship Of Friends shortly after, it resulted in many years of extreme low self-self esteem, doubt and fear.


This is just part of my story and I’m sure there are many similar in nature. But the question which continues to intrigue me is: what is it that draws us to a place like the Fellowship Of Friends, which on hindsight is so obviously a cult? More than that, what duped us into remaining for so long – in some cases half our natural life time. Okay, Burton is the charismatic instigator and figurehead behind the Fellowship Of Friends, but he is like many leaders throughout history who have presided over some morally dubious and corrupt regimes. Such groups are made up of people, so there is a continuing collusion between its members to ensure its existence. Often this is done “voluntarily”. Being a member of the Fellowship Of Friends is something all of us here share in common, except the Sheik and possibly one or two posters who ended up here by accident, so in a way we each shoulder a portion of the responsibility, I suppose. At least we must always ask, when pointing the finger of blame, what part we played in this. Only then perhaps can we help others.


251. Rudy - June 20, 2010

247. WhaleRider – June 20, 2010
“But which “I” has free will?…You are free to express any I.
But it doesn’t sound intelligent to me…shallow mind.”
Is this supposed to be an expression of your intelligence, Rudy?

Are you serious? The freedom of expressing I’s has nothing to do with the idea of “free will”.

252. Best of the Blog - June 20, 2010

Rabbi Burns Says:
May 20, 2007 at 11:27 pm

Dear All,

For anyone who tends to skim the longer postings, please take the time to digest the following: Joseph (324), James (325), Simon (354). Many of the fundamental facts showing that the Fellowship of Friends is a cult and Robert Burton is a conscience-free sham are laid down in these postings in a reasonable, non-aggressive way by people who are clearly writing from personal experience.

I find it hard to imagine how any current member of the Fellowship of Friends could remain if they can accept the truth of these postings. And how can they be denied? Maybe mindless fanatics like Hava Nagillah can find a way, but anyone else? Surely not.

good luck, RB

Sam Says:
May 21, 2007 at 12:08 am

…For those still in FOF you have all the knowledge you need to move on with your lives and evolution. If you refuse to see the evil that is being done and how you are being used then you truly are asleep.

Awake, your higher self would never allow you to be under the influence of a teacher who misuses and abuses his students. Your awakening cannot come at the expense of others.

Rabbi Burns Says:
May 21, 2007 at 3:13 am

‘I see’ said the blind man (370): “Assuming that the Fellowship of Friends is actually a bogus organisation that has developed as a means for Robert Burton to satisfy his probably psychopathic need for sex, money and dominance of others, what should one do?”

The first step is to to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible. There are many current students who see that there is a lot wrong with the Fellowship of Friends but stay because, for example, they want to help their friends see the truth. This is not a good reason, believe me. Even if you see clearly the evil that is occurring you are still seriously compromised by the Fellowship as long as you remain a member. It’s almost impossible to see the insidious corruptive influences you are subject to while you’re in. As soon as you leave, much of the Fellowship programming falls away. You can help your friends from outside, especially these days, when the ignoring ex-students rule is only followed by the fanatics.

Once you’re out of the Fellowship, what else can you do? Big question, I hope there’ll be some postings on that topic. It’s time for my bath.

good luck, RB

Intercontinentia Buttocks Says:
May 21, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Forgive my anonymity, but what I am about to write concerns my friends, to whom I don’t wish any troubles with the authorities.

Some 4 years ago two of Robert’s boyfriends, both Russians, were rejected visas to the US. Robert then came to the aid of students (then in Rome) to [allegedly] acquire forged Czechoslovakian passports through Italian mafia with which they tried to enter the country.

Immigration officers discovered the forgery and the two boys spent some time with police at the airport.

Decision was made to send them back to the country from which they came from, i.e. France. They spent about 3 months in prison there, after which time they were sent back to Russia.

Being in the prison did some good to one of them, as he had time to ‘come to his senses’ and finally decided to leave Robert and the school.

The other, however, is still ‘serving’ Robert, although hating it, but such is the price of staying in the country of his choice.

The one who was leaving told Robert about his decision, to which he said that if he does leave him, his wife is going to leave him and he’s going to loose some attractive things offered to him by his teacher. Still, he left and after a while his wife left him.

After a while, he decided to blackmail Robert by writing an article about his experiences with him in American papers. I told him to get a good lawyer if he were to do so, but he went ahead alone and had to deal with Mr. Lawyer A.G., who [allegedly] blackmailed him back, using his knowledge of certain circumstances of the boy’s life. The whole thing was settled for a pitiful $3,000 in exchange for a signature on a paper stating that the information about Robert should not be disclosed to anyone.


martha Says:

May 21, 2007 at 6:34 pm
Thank you to the Sheik and to all the voices here, some familiar and many not, who have provided the opportunity to revisit time spent with the FOF many years ago. Recently while working with koans at a zen retreat I was surprised when a chunk of FOF thinking and assumptions surfaced- still alive, functioning, and unquestioned after all these years. Guess I thought I was more done with it (or it with me) than I was. And now coming upon this blog has further stirred the pot.
I was a member of the Fellowship for 5 years, from ’79-’84. By the time I joined Robert had quit public teaching, and I had little direct contact with him. After reading some of the excellent and disturbing posts here, this now seems fortunate, though at the time I just felt unworthy. From our few interactions I got a sense of his power- no doubt with some projection on my part- but I agree that he probably has some abilities and talents which make him seem “conscious”. These talents are not so rare, but rare enough so that when used skillfully they weave a powerful spell. In this case he successfully conjured the fatherly/divine intermediary to “higher states”, and I bought it.

The first few years in FOF were particularly seductive because after years of bohemian wandering a part of me could relax and experience a parent-child dynamic for the first time since childhood. It was a novelty and a relief to have a structure- exercises and studies and particular music and art, food and wine, the vineyard, and all in the service of awakening! A lot of the people FOF attracted were extraordinary, and the work knowledge sometimes worked. The emphasis on beauty in an often sordid world, the meetings and conversations, dinners and drinking, plays and concerts actually did produce cracks in old, ingrained habits and thought patterns, releasing plenty of joy and energy. Not much body involvement, but heady stuff indeed!

After a while questions came up, trouble in paradise, the kid sees the zipper on the Santa suit (open)- and the response was to abuse these favorite ideas- the dissonance of discriminating mind squelched repeatedly as “negativity”, or rationalizing the emergence of conscience as “unnecessary suffering”, as I think I did for a while after learning about some of the lying and sexual scandals in ’83. I continued to be a “bad student” and saw old friends and family, doing what I increasingly felt was right, and eventually left the group. In a way I see that my weaknesses were protective here. I am so sorry some of you were hurt while you were involved. I wish you healing.

Eventually it came to feel that one of the core problems with FOF (by no means exclusively) is the old familiar “us and them” stance, used since ancient times to control, invalidate, and make war upon other human beings, other species and even the planet itself. It is subtle and pervasive and extends itself deep into our psychology where we torture ourselves and others with it. It has nothing to do with anything like awakening.

I am thankful to FOF for receiving a “vaccination” against this type of thought which seems to be gaining strength in the various religious fundamentalist movements across the world right now, and causing so much suffering. I think Sandra C. mentioned this as well. (so great to hear you Sandra !) The uncertainty and complexity of post- modernity is scary, and it’s a very human desire to want to retreat back to a time when the parent/child dynamic was strong and mother and father knew best. Same goes for teacher, preacher, etc.
Caveat emptor!

It is a delight to hear many voices from years ago, still full of humanity and fire and sweetness and grouchiness and…


Skeptical Optimist Says:

May 21, 2007 at 7:10 pm
To the ranters and flamers:
(ManNumberSeven, Prior Young Worker, et al)

It seems to me there’s a big difference between the people who post here anonymously in order to tell a personal history that might be embarrassing or might compromise their current life, and those of you who hide your identity simply to insult, attack, or flame other posters.

Certainly I have many regrets about my time infof, although I was never on the “organizational” side and, like many others, actually knew almost no details of rb’s sex crimes until the Buzbee case, right after I left.

I began apologizing to people I had influenced in 1994, and have been apologizing on this blog since page 6, sometimes for offhand remarks made maybe 25 years ago.

But I don’t really have much patience for those of you who seem to have used me or others as objects by which you justify your own self-loathing. Should I apologize for that?

On some level, everyone is engaged in their own very personal struggle. I sense that we’ll do better if we try to be kind to ourselves.


The King of Clubs Says:
May 21, 2007 at 6:51 pm

From Burton’s book “Self-Remembering.” …

“A cataclysmic disaster may be imminent that could be a prelude to hydrogen warfare. If California fell, there would be no major population center near Renaissance and so the coast would be clear.” (page 53)

“Almost all of Christ’s disciples died an unnatural death. We must talk of these things to prepare us for what is to come. Enduring suffering, one takes up one’s own cross. We are chosen to play these roles.” (page 87)

“They [C Influence] have given us some prophecies that are facts for them but, until they turn into facts for us, they must be called prophecies.” (page 142)

“Influence C ushers us to Heaven’s gate.” (page 151)

“We have been chosen by Influence C to awaken, while almost all others have an indifferent fate. That is, they are left alone to a great extent by higher forces. Influence C wants something for us: an astral body. And they want something from us: an ark to survive hydrogen warfare.” (page 155)

“Hydrogen warfare seems inevitable, and one no longer has to be a prophet to predict it. Incredible events may happen in our lives, and I will be very surprised if anything but us survives.” (page 156)

“We are truly involved in tremendous events, such as hydrogen warfare, and yet these events favor us because they have evoked a school on earth from higher forces.” (page 161)

“I still have considerable difficulty transforming negative emotions, primarily due to the violence of the suffering I must absorb to lift a school and humanity out of the chaos of impending hydrogen warfare.” (page 176)

“Our school will produce seven conscious beings. Apollo will not reach its peak for centuries or millennia. Our school is one of the greatest schools in recorded history, and that is why suffering is so abundant.” (page 185)
– – –

No person Says:
May 21, 2007 at 7:12 pm

It was mentioned before that it takes time to “open your eyes”. Something has to happen, something very personal and strong, a sobering shock of some kind to shake you up. It eventually happens to most students sooner or later – and they suddenly see what they buffered before. But until then – it’s like a closed shell – nothing penetrates and all one produces is buffers and canned phrases. Dear Siddiq, I know where you’re coming from. I completely understand – been there myself.

I was under a happy spell for many years, until this big RB event at our house…This when I suddenly got the first glimpse of an uncomfortable feeling that may be we all are being dooped. Strangely, but before this event I saw nothing wrong, heard nothing wrong and would defend the school like it was my own home – just like you do now.

Our center had to prepare for big Tea. Our center didn’t have money to rent a large space in the city so we were asked if our house could be used. At that time it was a total construction zone, but we agreed – and gladly so! And we went nuts, preparing for this event and spent thousands of dollars just to make it nice doing temporary improvements just for this event. We even built a temporary wooden fence to disguise the dumpster in front of the house… Of course we never even asked for reimbursement – there wasn’t even a thought about it! All was done from our heart, sincerely, and we didn’t care how much it costs us… We were good students.

And Robert arrived, and briefly gave his usual keys performance with Asaf, and everyone stared in silence with smiles and glossy eyes. No one haven’t even touched the fine French pastries or tea… I was seated on the couch next to my Teacher and I was in total heaven, listening to his voice so close to me, smelling his fine cologne and feeling the flavor of pastries in my mouth… Yes, I was actually eating the whole time. Love those pastries, can’t help it! It was caught on camera, and later quite few of my friends called me to tell how shocked they were to see me eat and drink at Teaching Tea.

The event was over, and Robert rushed to the door. And then the ugly “cuff link scene” occurred. Robert was rushing his boys to run get the car, to get to the city quickly, before the jeweler closes… One of them asked: Robert, do you really want these cuff links?” – “Yes, yes! I told you. I want them! Hurry up, get the car, let’s go. Now. Quickly. Call him, now, make sure he is still open…” His face was tense, he sounded… just like an identified angry guy. Yes, he was very identified. I have never seen my teacher like that, although I heard stories before.

My boyfriend and I were allowed to stand nearby and so we heard every word. Suddenly he turned to us and gave us one of those peaceful loving smiles… The smile we know and love so much… That makes you feel OK…

But I felt so bad. I felt deception. I felt like this was all fake and we were just taken, used by this powerful man… He just used us, our friends and our house to make good money on his brief performance and now is done with us and rushing to get what he wants. And doesn’t give a damn about this huge crowd of devoted students, who love him and made huge efforts to travel to our place from all over just to spend time with him… A stupid piece of jewelry was – obviously – so much more important to him than all of us.

I had mixed thoughts in my head, I couldn’t understand, justify, explain all this. And it only got worse, when I returned to the kitchen. I saw that all these polite good students, who were just nobly “preferring presence over food” in front of the Teacher, were now devouring pastries right from the plates by the sink, using their hands, stuffing their mouths like hungry beasts! This was just hysterical. The falseness and hypocrisy of the whole thing was unbearable.

I suddenly saw things in a different light.

This event was a first wake-up call for me. I still needed few more like this, and I had them soon after that. I guess everybody has to have theirs to pry open their shell.

Question to [the posters who were supporting Burton and trying to deflect the criticism on the blog at the time] … – do you ever see any hypocrisy and falseness in Robert, in Council actions, students behavior, in teaching events? Ever?


253. X-ray - June 20, 2010

246. We Were There – June 20, 2010

Yeah, you right, I shouldn’t be involved in this stupidity.

254. fofblogmoderator - June 20, 2010

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