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Fellowship Of Friends/Pathway To Presence Discussion – Part 94 June 20, 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 - June 20, 2010

SandraC Says:
May 22, 2007 at 1:39 am

An incident that maybe sheds light on the question so many have: why did I (you)stay if you ‘knew’ what was going on?

Scene: Thanksgiving at my house with 12-14 guests, my parents included. I am in my early 40s, with a young daughter, husband…After dinner, we are all sitting around the living room, my father is standing up talking to one of the guests. I, my mother and a few others are sitting on two couches (L-shape). I am sitting kitty-corner from my mother about ten feet away from my father in front of me.

My mother says something, apparently, not to my father’s liking. He turns and with a great deal of force throws a small football he is holding at her and hits her in the face. (He was a college running back in his day). My mother winces, looks indignant and glares at him with the ‘I will get you later’ look.

Throughout this event, I sit there, stunned in silence. My father immediately makes a joke of his behavior. Soon afterwards, I get up to take care of something. About half an hour later, I am in my room looking for something, and I need to sit down as it dawns on me. ‘Ohmygod, he threw the football at her and hit her in the face in an outburst of rage.’

Here is the wierd part: While I was in the same room with him, I DID NOT EVEN REGISTER that he hit her, even though I was sitting there watching it with my own eyes.

When I did register it, half an hour later, I felt outraged, dizzy with anger even, and determined I had to say something to him, ‘Not in my house, never again,etc.’, But although a few hours passed before they left, I could not get up the courage to approach him. Nor could I call him and confront him, although I vowed I would. (A few years later, I finally did).

Mostly, I was in shock to realize the time delay in letting my perception connect with my conscious mind. I realized that it probably occured much more often that I simply did not let myself see things I could not bear to see, did not know how to react to, things that might threaten my own safety.

I realized that as part of my family trance, we agreed not to ‘see’ my father’s violence (among a number of other damaging parental behaviors). Another, stunning aspect of the trance I learned about later: When my father went to therapy with me once as a favor, he actually sincerely denied ever striking my mother, which I could not believe because it happened often. “Well, I might have shaken her once or twice.” Apparently, perpetrators split off parts of themselves too that cause harm, minimize the behavior, call it something else.

Our psyche is amazing. The degree of unconsciousness, numbing, denial, projection — all those terms are not just psychobabble — that we are capable of is humbling, especially to the rational ‘intellectual’ self-image so many of us carry.

Am I sorry that I have been subject to these kinds of mental states, yes? Do I blame my family? Do I blame Robert Burton? Not any more. Instead more often these days I have so much more respect for what I don’t know about myself. I try to keep this in mind when I find myself being certain about anything!

You decide if this applies to the situation in FoF, I think it does.


2b Says:
May 22, 2007 at 1:23 am

This blog has helped re-define the [FoF] term “Robert acts.”

During my days in the Fellowship of Friends, I often heard people use this expression to indicate “a student imitating Robert Burton, often without being aware of it, in an attempt to appear conscious or a ‘good student’ in the eyes of others.”

After reading this blog for a few weeks, it’s becoming apparent that the “act” that we should have been more concerned about was the act coming from Robert Burton himself — the mannerisms that he himself used to appear conscious, benevolent, thoughtful, kind, wise, and so on. For example, as so many people have noticed over the years, RB often tilts his head to the side, or he often looks down in a crowded room as though feeling humility, or he sometimes crosses his arms and rubs his chin (a thoughtful pose), or he walks very slowly, or he talks very quietly — not a bad set of postures and mannerisms if you want to appear guru-like.

Students in-the-know would often criticize those sleeping masses of FOF students who applied these same mannerisms. “Be yourself, dude. Stop imitating Robert.” Ok, sure, that’s always been worth mentioning. Howard Carter, for example, has a type of “Robert act” in the way he writes. But who has the most significant Robert act?

That would be Robert Burton.

And it’s a very impressive act when you consider how many he has fooled with it. And included in that group would be me.

dick moron Says:
May 22, 2007 at 3:51 am

No Person #395

In a nutshell: the essence of RB; the “cufflink scene”.

Traveler Says:
May 22, 2007 at 7:44 pm

Some people spoke of conscience recently and the absence of it in psychopaths. Adding my 2 cents.

Someone once said, why do you think people are so insecure all the time? Because deep down they know they are faking it!

I’ve often felt that ‘inner considering’ and shame, rather than mechanical manifestations that need to be dealt with and separated from and worked on, are frequently a voice of conscience, of knowing that I’m putting on an act, just painfully pretending, wanting to be someone. Part of growing up is usually learning to successfully keep that voice quiet. Maybe that’s what’s attractive about someone without a conscience, they seem free and unperturbed by this unpleasantness.

Skeptical Optimist Says:
May 22, 2007 at 10:56 pm

Not sure if this has been posted before, but a pretty good analysis of dysfunctional group behavior, “The Cult Test” which anyone can take, is online at:


Check it out if you’re curious about what makes the FoF “special.”


end of page 9

2. reader - June 20, 2010

X-ray (from last come on the previous page) — Yes, the same goes for me and for all of us. But personally I really like that you don’t mince words. Healing and escaping is not always a process of peace and harmony. The FOF is keen on the word “shock,” while not simultaneously acknowledging that shocks are exactly what’s needed to escape from IT.

For many people, it actually is the “peace” and “harmony” that is partly to blame for the lack of decisiveness in leaving this cult.

We could focus quite a bit on what we thought was valid in the FOF, and talk about what we believed and studied, and nod accordingly; but here’s another way to look at it:

HERE is the time and HERE is the place for questioning what we thought was valid, and questioning what we studied, and questioning those beliefs. We’ve already had years and years and years of the silent nodding.

Rudy, there is no doubt that you learned something in the FOF, and that you made something “your own” as you put it, and much of what you made your own was beautiful and strong. I, for one, don’t believe you could have ONLY learned that in the FOF, though. In fact, I honestly believe you would have learned a lot more had you not joined this cult. It’s just my take on it: The Fellowship of Friends is an enormous waste of our time and an enormous setback in our lives, no matter how you look at it. We may have learned bookbinding, or the process of pressing olives, or how to play Debussy? But at what cost, and at whose expense?

I think one of the comments by Charles R. (saw this in best of blog on previous page) sums it up well:

“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.”

I can acknowledge that your way of “solving the puzzle” may be different than mine. But I think there’s a nice message in Charles’ words that might be helpful for you, just as it was for me.

3. James Mclemore - June 20, 2010

Reader said –
“HERE is the time and HERE is the place for questioning what we thought was valid, and questioning what we studied, and questioning those beliefs.”

I agree and think it has to ALL be questioned. Especially the parts we may feel the most sure about. And from that questioning may come the most important things one will learn, and that may far surpass anything we thought we learned while in the cult.

As one example,…. to me, the possibility that the concept of ‘many ‘I’s’ may well have some psychological truth to it (within certain limited conceptual frameworks) is not so much a problem in itself, as it is that surrounding that one idea and the very way that it was introduced in the FOF, there is such a huge variety of incredible assumptions and possible far-reaching errors.

The idea of ‘a play’ and ‘free-will’ also have parallels in other religious and philosophical systems, that may or may not point to something that coincides with reality (whatever anyone thinks that may be), but again, as it was presented in the FOF, it was surrounded and immersed within so much that was RB’s absurd and wild imagination and hidden agendas, and with more than a little magical thinking thrown in.

We all probably gained something in the way of information about ourselves in the cult. It was our intention to get some self-knowledge and we undoubtedly did. I am willing to bet that almost all of what can actually be termed valuable came from very personal insights into one’s own personality. For me most of it came from coffee shops and late night discussions with trusted friends I made there that helped me see certain tendencies that were operating within me personally and that had nothing to do with any theories of any kind.

I would suggest to anyone that has left that cult to salvage what you can and re-inspect (trying to use a different and simpler ‘language’) what you learned directly about yourself. But when it comes to ANYTHING that falls under that dubious and ominous and rather strange heading of ‘objective knowledge’, to at least consider that you may not actually ‘know squat’, and to at least consider the possibility that it might just be complete horseshit.

One last thought is that some of these ideas can make for interesting discussions, but I personally do not think the blog is the best place for them. The GF site has ongoing discussions where people express and debate different systems of thought, and different approaches, and all the age-old questions of ‘free will’ etc. Here on the blog it almost always appears to lead away from what seems to me to be important, and becomes almost like Baptists and Catholics debating theology. To me the blog is at it’s most effective when it is simply exposing the lies and deceit of yet another fake guru / phony ‘spiritual teacher’, the harm he was wrought, and the dynamics of the FOF as just another run-of-the-mill cult. It is ‘special’ only in that it happens to be the one that we got stuck in.

4. WhaleRider - June 20, 2010

You entirely missed my point, dude.

Go ask someone of adequate intelligence who never heard of the fourth way about which “I” has free will or tell them that they are free to express any “I”…and when they look at you funny, then you will know what I mean. It’s nonsense and counterproductive.

You use the unhealthy idea of the “many “I”s to confuse yourself, separate yourself from others, and in turn, separate you from yourself.

Rudy, unfortuately it appears that your self-concept has been corrupted by the fourth way cult mentality and the FOF cult indoctrination, which is designed to make you feel like a fragmented failure, leaving you with little or no personal integrity and fully equipped with the means to project your deep insecurities onto other “sleeping machines” or “life people”.

5. X-ray - June 20, 2010

Well said, Whalerider, but I think you talking to yourself, there is ‘nobody’ there.

6. Best of the Blog - June 21, 2010

Traveler Says:
May 23, 2007 at 2:13 am

From Fellowship of Friends prospective student meeting script, introduction to the first meeting: “We encourage you not simply to believe what you hear, but to listen without either accepting or rejecting what you hear. This will give you the best chance of verifying the truth of these ideas for yourself.”

This later becomes: “The sequence is undeniably objective truth, ancient knowledge possessed by esoteric schools in prehistory. We are one of the greatest schools in recorded history. Eighty billion people have passed through the Earth in a state of imagination, but ours is the good fortune to have been selected by Influence C to evolve. Students are on their seventh and eighth lifetimes, and at death, Influence C will place their souls in limbo to await conscious roles.”

From Scientology official site, front page, welcome text: “In Scientology no one is asked to accept anything as belief or on faith. That which is true for you is what you have observed to be true. An individual discovers for himself that Scientology works by personally applying its principles and observing or experiencing results.”

This later becomes: “You are an immortal thetan who has lived innumerable lifetimes on innumerable planets but are presently degenerated. Our technology will help you become clear and spiritually aware. Only our leader fully understands this new technology, this great new science of the mind. Non-scientologists are so brain-damaged, non-functional, and insane that they are hardly worth dealing with.”

The head thinks it is still verifying. The instinct, after some time, prefers to simply belong.

The Fellowship of Friends Says:
May 23, 2007 at 12:18 am

…It is this consistent self deprecation that I find seriously damaging in the Fellowship of Friends… The sad thing is that those who are working most sincerely don’t realize that in the end it is they who are helping the very corrupt to abuse the rest, convinced by their own vanity that they are the chosen ones and too bad for the poor devils that didn’t get to be chosen by the establishment to participate.

One of the difficulties is that as long as we are unable to look at the community or the whole of the phenomenon and limit ourselves to individuals, then it is easy to justify that this or that individual wasn’t strong enough, good enough…


7. Best of the Blog - June 21, 2010

I’ll Give It a Try Says:
May 23, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Hava Nagillah (#25): Pardon me for responding to your question posed to Yesri Baba, but hopefully my response is also relevant.

You apparently imagine the Fellowship of Friends is unique in teaching being present. This suggests you’ve had very little, if any, exposure to other traditions, many of which have been around for literally thousands of years and are widely taught and practiced–and I’m not talking about cave paintings. When Gurdjieff and Ouspensky were around, many of these traditions were hard to find in the West, so they had to go through all sorts of heroic and colorful seeking to uncover them. That hasn’t been the case for at least thirty-five years. Being present–or whatever you choose to call it–is a core practice of, for example, several schools of Buddhism, including zen and vajrayana (or Tibetan) Buddhism. Just do a little research into shikantaza, or mahamudra, or dzogchen, for example (Google is a good start), and you’ll see. Groups practicing these traditions, some under teachers with documented lineages going back a thousand years, can be found in every major city, and most smaller cities, in the U.S., Europe, and many countries in Asia (and elsewhere, for all I know). While FoF members sooth themselves with their vanity-fueled “we’re the only conscious school on earth, and everyone else is a sleeping machine” routine, thousands of serious practitioners in these other traditions, all around the world, are going about their business of trying to be present. You’ll also find that the supporting practices and intellectual frameworks in at least the Buddhist traditions, having evolved over centuries, are a great deal more sophisticated than the hodge-podge Robert Burton makes up (or “discovers,” if you will) as he goes along. That pathetic “life person” sipping coffee at the counter, assumed to be a “dead machine,” may well have been practicing being present with an excellent teacher for many, many years–I know many such people. I am such a person. I practiced being present for a number of years before I joined the Fellowship of Friends thirty years ago–that’s why I joined it–and I can assure you, I haven’t “died the double death” simply because I found better things to do with my time and money.

… If you choose to accept all the baggage of the Fellowship, be my guest, but don’t imagine it’s a price that must be paid for being around people who value, and practice, being present. And, maybe even more important, don’t imagine that being present, for all its value, is all there is.


8. another name - June 21, 2010

Dear Rudy and others

Dear Rudy and others

Do I hear you say that the many “i”s were useful information and approach to see that we have different parts from were we respond from?

Years now after leaving the fellowship I became more interested in where is “what I” coming from. Am I reacting or it a proactive source?
Is here
Is my “I” a need or an emotion or what is alive in me. Is my “I” a projection. The fellowship language was in fact limited and often an excuse to blame….whatever , who ever…a way to explain; our suffering is a necessity. Which was a way to keep students from growing and becoming who they really are.

When Rudy says I see nothing wrong with it. I would ask Rudy to look deeper. It takes courage to see what was wrong with it. Especially realizing that all the language, the “Work” was not for the benefit of the whole. It was for filling the emptiness of a very sick person and not to become more aware or conscious or more in the presence.

RUDY that was wrong with the “work” and the fellowship of friends, pathway to presence and still is.

If you decide to support this believe that is your personal decision and you will face the consequences of your decision like we all do. To face the future consequences and grief and mourn if it was different that we intended too demands lots of courage.

I wish us all lots of courage

Thanks X ray for your respond.

Prisons are a necessity but not the best solution that is my last 5 ct on this subject

9. WhaleRider - June 21, 2010

Man Critical After Blog Encounter

New Jersey (USA)-A Shurefuck County man was hospitalized yesterday after a brief yet brutal verbal encounter with a blog that specializes in online cockfighting.

Although his condition at Highground Hospital is listed as critical, Rudy Collins, 55, is expected to survive his doctors said today, and he will need some time to recuperate before he’s ready to heal his schisms and leave his fourth way isolation cell as the pieces of himself mend back together and integrate.

He was reported to have sustained multiple bruises and welts on his ego from the vicious but brief challenge of his closely held fourth way beliefs and was x-rayed extensively; although the lasting impact to his vital internal organs of perception over the long run remains uncertain.

“It felt like being ripped apart,” said Rudy from his bed on the Highground. “But you know what, since I left the FOF, I have to be honest with myself and admit that my lower self felt it was kind of fun and exciting at the same time, too, like in an intellectual fight club bounce house sort of way.”

While one or two bloggers enjoy with sadistic relish using the blog as their public stomping ground, stomping on the guts of all who challenge them, and others skillfully use the blog to document the sexual and financial exploitation of the followers of the FOF by Robert E. Burton, some seasoned bloggers state that it is also just like watching children play on the playground, occasionally requiring adult supervision.

Other bloggers have complained that the blog is just way, way too coarse for them and have retreated to the sidelines to watch and comment upon the cockfights rather than take part in them any longer.

“Yeah, I went a few rounds”, said one elderly blogger in his 70’s, “I could lock horns with the best of ‘em, but it was tough sometimes. I know a couple of really mean bloggers who had to be escorted out of the building. It always got my heart rate up, though I sure can tell you that. And even though it hurt sometimes, I did feel more clarity and self-esteem after I dumped some of my cult belief system and superstitions…and I felt a lot less emotionally constipated, too….which at my age, is something to be thankful for.”

Current FOF members were not present to comment.

10. Best of the Blog - June 22, 2010

Presence Please Says:
May 24, 2007 at 4:59 am

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 11 of Deadly Cults: The Crimes of True Believers

by Robert L. Snow
Publisher: Praeger Publishers (November 30, 2003)

“It’s all very stimulating stuff in the beginning…,” said a former member of the Fellowship of Friends in a 1996 Los Angeles Times article. “But there’s no doubt it’s a cult. Our lives were totally controlled.”

Is this man talking about the cult formed around a wild-eyed guru who preaches that all members should embrace poverty and the simple life? Is he talking about the cult that rejects all worldly pleasures, and whose members spend their days praying, chanting, or meditating?

Hardly. According to reports in several California newspapers, the Fellowship of Friends is a pleasure- and consumer-oriented cult. Founded in 1970 by former schoolteacher Robert Burton, the Fellowship of Friends believes that true spiritual awakening can only come through experiencing the finest things life has to offer: fine food, fine wine, great art, great writers, great music. In his book Self Remembering, Burton stresses “the education and discipline of the emotions, the importance of living in the present, a love of beauty, and an understanding of its capacity to create higher awareness.”

True to his beliefs, Burton, who lived out of his car before founding the Fellowship of Friends, has built a lavish mansion… in the style of a French chateau on a 1,300-acre estate in the northern California Sierra foothills. There, among terraced hills supporting a vineyard that produces award-winning wines, the members of the Fellowship of Friends can come and study under a man whom they believe to be both spiritually advanced and a prophet.

Burton, who claims he is guided by 44 angels, including Benjamin Franklin, Jesus, and Plato, is believed by members of the Fellowship of Friends to be near godlike and also privy to information from “higher [forces].” As a result of his claimed direct contact with these angels and higher [forces], Burton predicted that an earthquake in 1998 would swallow up all of California, except for Apollo. He has also predicted that nuclear holocaust will destroy most of the world in 2006, but again spare Apollo, which will then become the center of the movement to reestablish civilization in the post-holocaust world.

While his prediction of a California-swallowing earthquake, of course, didn’t come true, this didn’t humble Burton. He carries on as though he’d never made a mistake. Like most cult leaders, Burton either ignores or attempts to rationalize his mistakes, while also attempting to control every aspect of his followers’ lives. Within the Fellowship of Friends, this control includes regulating the members’ sex lives and diets, ordering them to abstain from any form of negativity, and even directing them to abstain from the use of certain common words, such as I or thing. Burton has also forbidden members to dye their hair, have mixed-breed pets, ride bicycles, or smoke. Smoking, incidentally, is so strenuously outlawed that Burton has instructed cult members to sniff when greeting each other to catch renegades. Burton fined one couple $1,500 each for violating the no-smoking rule. One former member of the Fellowship of Friends claimed that the cult leader, besides barring him from having sex with his girlfriend, also ordered him to urinate only on one side of the toilet so as to make less noise. While most Fellowship of Friends members have jobs and homes, Burton discourages members from mingling or socializing with people outside the Fellowship, including family, whom Burton sees as “spiritually dead.” …

… “They don’t see it coming, and when it comes, they don’t know what’s happened,” said Charles R. about Burton’s aggressive homosexual advances toward Fellowship of friends members.

Another male member of the cult who also claimed Burton aggressively pressured him into having sex said, “I never had a homosexual encounter before this. But he [Burton] told me it was the wish of C-influence (the group’s term for higher forces, or gods) that I have sex with him.” At all-male dinners hosted by Burton, members say he has been known to boast that “one hundred boys would not be enough [for his sexual appetite].”

To these charges, Burton’s attorney has responded, “We don’t think a [sexual] relationship between a leader and a member of the congregation is abusive in and of itself.” However, two lawsuits filed by former FOF members have been settled out of court.

Former FOF officials who have left the cult also aren’t kind in their evaluation of Burton and his organization. “The Fellowship is a dictatorship, a predatory dictatorship,” said Thomas E., an artist and former leader who left the cult after a homosexual relationship with Burton. “I should know. I was a leader.”

Former Fellowship of Friends financial officer Charles R. said, “I thought it was the one true way, but as it turns out, it was just a cult.”

… A cult can be formed around almost any belief or philosophy… A cult doesn’t have to be aimed at the uneducated, the emotionally challenged, or the poor. As shown by both the Fellowship of Friends and the Solar Temple (discussed in the previous chapter), cults can also attract well-educated, wealthy, and seemingly mentally competent people. All that’s needed is a charismatic leader who followers believe has some type of special insight, some type of special knowledge unknown to the rest of the world, or some type of special direct pipeline to God or ascended beings. To attract followers, the cult leader then offers to share this information or knowledge with cult members. This belief in the leader’s gift quickly becomes a strong magnet that pulls people in because gaining this insight or knowledge from the cult leader, members believe, will make them part of an elite group who are a step above regular human beings.


11. Best of the Blog - June 22, 2010

SusanT Says:
May 25, 2007 at 1:45 am

Hello all—

Learning about this blog reminded me that I had some detailed notes from a conversation with Robert thirteen years ago. It seems worth sharing in this wild west of free speech and truth telling. Some background: I had been in the FOF for twenty-one years when this conversation took place. My husband and I had led centers in Palo Alto, Zurich, and Rome. We spent five years in Europe. At the time of this conversation, I was recovering from cancer and couldn’t stand on FOF ceremony anymore; my voice—long absent—was waking up.

On 2/24/94 at 10:00 a.m., Robert called me at home. His call was a surprise, but there was a pad by the phone and I scribbled as we talked. Afterwards, I called my husband, Patrick, at work. “Susie”, he said, “While this is so fresh, write it all down. Word for word if you can. Years from now, you will need to know that what you did was right and good and whole. Write it down and save it. For yourself.”

It is tempting to edit this now—to make Robert seem a little stranger, me a little more confident. But I’m not going to do that. The strength of the simple truth is that everybody gets to come to their own conclusions. People who have not had a long conversation with Robert in awhile may be surprised at his inability to do anything more than repeat decades old platitudes. See for yourself if you think it is really worth paying for this:

RB: I’ve just returned from Rome. There were many shocks this time. I missed Lea, and of course, you. We are returning to European Art, we had to study Asian art for a time so that we wouldn’t draw a blank after 2006 when all the world’s treasures come to Renaissance.

ST: I heard some details of the trip from Kristina on her way back home.

RB: Yes, we had many shocks in Milan. A student’s mother had consumed some acid in order to end her life. I said that the shock indicated that acid rain would begin falling on humanity and two days later it rained, an actual acid rain. (more talk about the student and dinners in Milan…..)

ST: I imagine that you are calling because you heard that I was thinking about leaving the school.

RB: Well, I really just called to see how you were doing and also I did hear that you were experiencing some difficulty. (mention of the Dante class, wondering if I was coming up over the weekend….)

ST: Yes, there are a number of growing conflicts in me now related to my commitment to the school.

RB: Well, what is your relationship to influence C?

ST: I believe that I have a connection to C influence now that is my own. I feel very connected to help from the gods. In this past year I have received such specific help that there is no question about it anymore.

RB: Yes, I don’t doubt that you have a connection. The thing is though that there must be three lines of work. You can’t just take, you have to give C influence something for their help.

ST: Robert, I deeply understand payment and efforts and the need to carve out an emotional life. Whether I stay or go I have to do this. But I’m not interested in all the prophesies and in the movement towards Renaissance being a closed community. It’s interesting to me that although C influence is deeply personal for you, it allows you to live in such a way that you don’t have to take any real responsibility for anything.

RB: We are not a closed community, people from Life come and go there a lot, especially to the Winery.

ST: That’s not the kind of closed I’m talking about.

RB: You are somewhat sentimental about Life. Joel is like that too. You want to believe that C influence is for everyone, but they are not. The laws are very hard. Many are called, but few are chosen. (some other quotes about Life and how they are destined to suffer…..)

ST: You gave me that photograph the first time you met me, I’m sure it’s true to some extent, however, I’m not a fool. You talk to me as though I was a fool. It doesn’t take higher centers to see that there are descending octaves all around us.

RB: (Some acknowledgement of that….some loosening up….) Yes, humanity will suffer. Russia and the U.S. have nuclear bombs, etc…(then the story of his mother’s death, ARK KAN C, strange disconnect…..)

ST: It’s very hard for me to continue to hear these things over and over again. You have been my teacher and you have opened my heart and my mind to hundreds of new things. Now, it’s almost like the repeat of all these stories is closing my heart to you. You know, opened it at one level and now closing it at another?

RB: Yes, it is odd, isn’t it? This may be the last conversation we ever have, so I need to say everything I can. I want to feel that, as a teacher, I have done all I can. However, I like the tone of this conversation. It’s like friends talking. You are calm. I am calm.

ST: I am trying to be present and I’m experiencing no fear.

RB: Good. Fear is not self-remembering, nor is power self-remembering.

ST: I want to ask you something important and personal for me. (pause to calm myself…). If I leave the school and discover that I have made a mistake, may I return?

RB: Oh yes, of course. You can pay the re-entry fee of $1,500.00 and return. But I don’t advise it, the odds are only one in forty of staying again. It’s very very bad to lose a school..(some heavy statements about Life People about to be expunged…). When Miles left, sixty people left the school, now this, some people will lose the way, but it is necessary to prune the vine to prepare for 1998.

ST: How do you know what people do when they leave? How can you be sure that they are losers?

RB: I am an experienced teacher and I have been working half of my life with influence C. I understand these things. It’s curious that the two centers that are having the most difficulty are Marin and Palo Alto—places where people are concerned with their careers and with money. The instinctive center begins to take over.

ST: I don’t think this is about people’s instinctive centers. This is mostly an emotional process of loss of confidence in the way the school is working. I have talked to a number of students at Renaissance who would leave too, but they can’t. It’s a little like a poker game where the longer you sit at the table the more you resist folding and walking away—you have so much invested.

RB: That is a good analogy, I like it.

ST: For someone like me, it’s also hard to see that some of the people that I thinking are growing and evolving are leaving, like Molly, whereas others like Helga stay in a very narrow groove.

RB: The school is larger now than it has ever been. And our students re doing so well. Girard is doing very well. Kristina and Peter and Colin are all here.

ST: Yes, you have your ark. You will always have enough people to keep your own ark afloat. I don’t know if it’s my ark anymore.

RB:(Becoming defensive) When you are offered a life boat, you don’t question the color of the raft.

ST: I want to change the subject as long as you have called me and I am very appreciative of the call. I wondered if you’d tell me what you see in me—I mean changes that you see after twenty years with you? This is such an emotional and positive time for me. This past year was the best and the worst of my life.

RB: Oh really? What happened?

ST: You did call me after surgery, remember? I had cancer. You called me in the hospital. (really flustered….can’t believe he forgot….).

RB: I see. Well I’ve lost many of my women students to breast cancer. The last time I saw you…(struggling to answer my question….), you looked healthy, seemed emotionally good and balanced, if anything I would say that maybe you seemed a bit, you know, too successful. Maybe too much A influence.

ST: (Laughter….couldn’t help it….) Well, they took that all away pretty quick, so I’m not nearly so successful anymore. And it wasn’t breast cancer. Well anyway Robert, we pay all our teaching payments in advance, so if I have a re-entry fee, I’ll have a big credit.

RB: (Very surprised) You mean that you are still paying? So even though you don’t go to meetings now, you are still paying? Well, I didn’t realize that, that’s good then.

ST: Yes, you see, it’s not the instinctive center. There’s something else I want to ask you. I haven’t said that I’m leaving yet. This is not a trivial inquiry for me. Please let me do this in my own time.

RB: No one is pushing you out dear.

ST: No, but you have established an attitude about people leaving the school permeates throughout.

RB: I used to make jokes, but then I asked myself if that was necessary. Now I don’t talk about my former students, I just say that they have lost the way and that the instinctive center has won and….(more of the same.)

ST: This is what I mean. You have set the tone. It all comes from you. Robert, you may be able to keep more of your more mature people if you disallow this kind of talk about those who move on. This is just one thing, there are lots of things like that.

RB: Well goodness, I am running out of steam.

ST: I am too. Thank you for calling.

RB: Goodbye dear.

ST: Bye.

Following this phone call, Robert told people, “Susan T. has left the school.” I didn’t get to do it in my own time because my friends wouldn’t speak with me.

Only Abraham G. called. He huffed and puffed and said I was fomenting rebellion; a junta. A junta?? I am not making this up.

Old friends, if any of you are wondering how you will ever survive leaving, you won’t know how strong you are until you do. There may be hard days; how does a person prepare for being “expunged?” But you’ll probably be okay. If you are like me, you’ll have the best days of your life. What is on the line is integrity, that and maybe some real unconditional love, if you are lucky.

I wish you all that and more.

See you down the road,

Susie T.


12. reader - June 22, 2010

whalerider: “man was hospitalized yesterday after a brief yet brutal verbal encounter”

Thanks for the news report, and for the laughs.

True – when ideas challenge the status quo, they can feel awfully brutal, although I’m sure X-ray is correct and “Rudy” is ok.

But when you strongly believe that changing and improving your life and making positive steps toward growth is an “illusion,” it’s no shock that changing and improving your life actually does become an illusion. You make it so by thinking it so. Your thoughts can change your life, or your thoughts can keep you from changing it.

The good news is that a little fasting from the steady diet of nonsense works fairly quickly. No “lifetimes” required.

13. Rudy - June 22, 2010

Reader said:
Rudy, there is no doubt that you learned something in the FOF, and that you made something “your own” as you put it, and much of what you made your own was beautiful and strong. I, for one, don’t believe you could have ONLY learned that in the FOF, though. In fact, I honestly believe you would have learned a lot more had you not joined this cult. It’s just my take on it: The Fellowship of Friends is an enormous waste of our time and an enormous setback in our lives, no matter how you look at it. We may have learned bookbinding, or the process of pressing olives, or how to play Debussy? But at what cost, and at whose expense?

Reader, what I’m saying is that I can not know for sure where else and what more I could have learned somewhere else. (I’m not talking about external things we did for “octaves” at Apollo, I’m talking about psychology and spirituality) We can theorise about it, maybe a lot more, maybe not, but I don’t know. The fact is that things just happened the way they happened, the “play” was as it was, and I myself was part of it and I went along with it. My being attracted the play as it was. It had to happen as it happened. I was part of the FoF until I had the information and being to break the spell. All we can do is to accept that and learn our lesson about the human condition. I can not say it was a waste of time, just that I payed a very high price for what I gained.

14. .nige - June 22, 2010

13 Rudy

I did my workshop training for precious metals in California and would not have had the opportunity in the UK. I also had my own workshop (1987-1989) and would not have made the Holy Vessels for the Visit of Pope John Paul II to San Francisco if I had not gone to California. All this because I joined the FOF. My Essence Role paralleled my life in the Fellowship until I could no longer afford teaching payments and was over $30,000 in debt and made a serious suicide attempt. I never got back to rejoining yhe Fellowship.

I still use the idea of body-types and centres of gravity in my life and at work (again my own business in precious metals). Like you, Rudy, I believe we have to encompass ALL OUR LIVES and SWALLOW WHOLE ALL OUR EXPERIENCES…..Nigel.

15. Rudy - June 22, 2010

4. WhaleRider – June 20, 2010

You entirely missed my point, dude.
I YOU are missing it Whalerider.

Go ask someone of adequate intelligence who never heard of the fourth way about which “I” has free will or tell them that they are free to express any “I”…and when they look at you funny, then you will know what I mean. It’s nonsense and counterproductive.
That would be very stupid, wouldn’t it. Here on the blog I would expect people to know these concepts.

You use the unhealthy idea of the “many “I”s to confuse yourself, separate yourself from others, and in turn, separate you from yourself.
You have no idea about me. It must be your own projection.

Rudy, unfortuately it appears that your self-concept has been corrupted by the fourth way cult mentality and the FOF cult indoctrination, which is designed to make you feel like a fragmented failure, leaving you with little or no personal integrity and fully equipped with the means to project your deep insecurities onto other “sleeping machines” or “life people”.
Again, YOUR projection.

16. Rudy - June 22, 2010

8. another name – June 21, 2010
Dear Rudy and others
Do I hear you say that the many “i”s were useful information and approach to see that we have different parts from were we respond from?
Years now after leaving the fellowship I became more interested in where is “what I” coming from. Am I reacting or it a proactive source?
Is my “I” a need or an emotion or what is alive in me. Is my “I” a projection. The fellowship language was in fact limited and often an excuse to blame….whatever , who ever…a way to explain; our suffering is a necessity. Which was a way to keep students from growing and becoming who they really are.
When Rudy says I see nothing wrong with it. I would ask Rudy to look deeper. It takes courage to see what was wrong with it. Especially realizing that all the language, the “Work” was not for the benefit of the whole. It was for filling the emptiness of a very sick person and not to become more aware or conscious or more in the presence.
RUDY that was wrong with the “work” and the fellowship of friends, pathway to presence and still is.
If you decide to support this believe that is your personal decision and you will face the consequences of your decision like we all do. To face the future consequences and grief and mourn if it was different that we intended too demands lots of courage.
I wish us all lots of courage

Thank you, Another name for your friendly words.
But believe me, I don’t need to be convinced of the wrongs of RB and the FoF version of the 4th way. I know.
But is does not mean that the work concepts and ideas are wrong. The wrongs are in the people.

17. Best of the Blog - June 22, 2010

Paola E. Says:
May 25, 2007 at 11:36 pm

…the encounters and parties are innumerable, and absolutely boundless, inclusive of people of all ages. There was a whole group of Robert’s Russian guys who were having parties with a good number of friends of mine, we were all living in a surreal atmosphere where everything was possible and where the voice of our conscience had been overruled and buffered by ‘work I’s’; I know now that my emotional center was so anesthetized that I had no idea of what I was doing, neither of the consequences of my actions. I did not believe in suffering, nor in emotional pain: I thought it was just ‘the machine’, and therefore not worth of attention. I thought transformation was about being ‘above’ the machine, identifications were to be despised…

Gabriella F. Says:
May 25, 2007 at 11:59 pm

I just had a “vivid” memory today of my staying in the FOF that is helping me to better understand the “mechanics” that can keep us trapped in something like a cult. I would like to share it.

I have a dearest friend who is still in the Fellowship of Friends and who lives at Isis. A very nice person, with good heart and good will; lovely. I always loved being with him and he was a “reference” for me during my 20 years of staying. He was older in the School than I was and, as an Italian, even though I directed several centers, I always nourished the idea that American students were the Fathers, more “conscious” than us.
He is – I am not sure at this point, but I bet he is – a faithful of Robert and the FOF.

One day, perhaps three years ago, we were in a restaurant. At that point, we had not met each other for a couple of years. He was visiting my town, and we decided to have a lunch together. I really wished to meet him, to share our simple thoughts, and just being together, enjoying each other, sharing our presence.

After a while, the atmosphere became “heavier”. He was willing to “teach”, to be extremely serious, for we are supposed to be very serious when we are present… (I do not agree with this, probably I never did. I think that our highest possibilities include “joy”!). I was desperately looking for my friend…

At a certain point, he became very “intense” and said: “One of the hardest thing in our path is to accept that we are so deeply involved in something higher – and Robert was referred – that even people who we love die because us… for our own evolution…”

He told more than this, but I was impressed and I could hardly keep staying at the table… So, it would mean that my brother’s car accident and my mother’s suicide, and the people I loved died for me? And what about all the disasters, the wars, and the misery: All this happens for the Fellowship’s students to evolve? Oh, my God!

I remember a struggle in myself in that moment: It was clear to me that I could trust what he was saying, and be “pushed” into an unreal world where I-We were the only important entities… Where, a fictitious “celestial” atmosphere can make you thinking that you are really part of something divine … Something in me thought (probably vanity) that I was ready to hear that amazing message.
But something else told me that I could not believe it (probably my common sense), and that I had to remain in the real world, where each of us is not more important than anybody else. But, in this case, I would miss such “celestial” C Influence’s message…

Fortunately, I did not believe it. That day, something changed in my relationship with the school, and I am still remembering that moment, emotion after emotion…

Community Says:
May 26, 2007 at 1:02 am

From Elena

…Robert Burton did nothing to help students study themselves, and if any one of us acquired any degree of understanding it wasn’t thanks to Robert’s practice. Robert’s practice tried to deny everything one came to on one’s own by denying one the possibility of confronting those understandings with one’s friends or himself…

joseph g Says:
May 26, 2007 at 9:43 am

…Defenders of Robert’s rights to privacy “behind closed doors” miss this point altogether. Robert is selling not buying. If his personal actions smell rotten, let the buyer not only beware but run as fast as he/she can in the opposite direction. E.g. I signed on for practical psychological instruction, not pharaoh-babble 101; and now I find out the teacher has created a destructive homosexual cabal? May be time to go.

What happened to the trust we used to have in Robert? What happened to the teacher we thought we had? What happened to the school we thought we were helping to build?

Do you ever ask yourself these things? Has your own trust been earned, or does it come cheap? Is this how you thought your fourth way school would be when you started out? Or is it really just a bad marriage, a life of quiet desperation?

For me, the growing senility of Robert’s teaching was the red flag. It eroded my trust in him, which then intensified all my other simmering questions about the Fellowship of Friends.

Life Person Says:
May 26, 2007 at 4:42 pm

WhaleRider: As you may know, Miles said decades ago that vanity had replaced tramp as the Fellowship’s chief feature. At the time it just confirmed something that had been increasingly hard to ignore. At this point it’s like saying “George Bush can be a bit stubborn,” or “Robert Burton has a greed feature.”

Also, I agree with your sentiments about “C Influence,” an embarrassingly clunky term reflecting a willingness to suspend all critical thinking and see the world as someone else has told you to see it, enabling you to feel really superior because you now imagine you’ve confirmed what every young child briefly imagines, that you are the center of the universe. “Verifying C Influence” means agreeing to allow your vanity to completely take over; it’s the mark of the True Believer, the ultimate test. If RB asks whether you “verified C Influence,” you must say yes or else reveal that you’re on the other side of the line. “Oh, yes, I’ve verified it. (Knowing look, half-smile to indicate “I’m a member of the club.”) RB’s version of “C Influence” has nothing in common with any approach to it in any traditional Fourth Way literature; it’s just his conservative Catholicism masquerading as something esoteric. Like “ladders,” his predictions, and so many other concepts, it’s a tool he created to manipulate others; by definition, only he has the inside track. “C Influence” in the traditional sense would have required that he actually possess the ability to provide oral transmission (no pun intended) of important information not otherwise available. But he never had anything like that to transmit, since he was never part of a lineage in which he could have received it himself. He was forced to cobble together his “teachings” from recycled bits and pieces of other people’s writings, and he apparently still does it today, just less coherently. And “C Influence”–the idiosyncratic, manipulative use of synchronicity–is his trump card.

Joseph G: I suppose you won’t be around to read this, but thanks for your sincere posts. And I agree with your observation about trust; everything depends on it in a healthy relationship, and when it’s gone, everything changes, even though the only thing that may actually have changed is the point of view of one person.

Many of the people who went from True Believer to What The Hell Am I Doing In This Cult lost that trust despite wishing it were otherwise. You see something you didn’t, or couldn’t, see before, and then the illusion is over. There’s no longer a choice. The Great and Powerful Oz becomes the hapless man behind the curtain, yanking levers. (I couldn’t resist.) Until then, you can continue to think, maybe for decades, like “Howard Carter.” His recent posts remind me of how I’ve sometimes looked at a stranger and had a judgment, like “sleeping machine,” or “not too bright,” or “geek.” Later, I’d run into that person and he’d be playing the most incredible music on his violin, or I’d have a conversation with him at a party and discover he’s wise and brilliant. Or I’d hear someone’s voice on the telephone and think, “sounds like a lunar, maybe emotionally centered.” Then I’d meet her and she’d be an athletic martial. But vanity can allow us to live in a bubble indefinitely, if we want it to badly enough. Until we see behind the curtain

Oat Willie Says:

May 26, 2007 at 5:14 pm
Half Life (#166)

… But without dwelling exclusively on RB’s sex life (which is inseparable from all of his other behavior, and all other aspects of the Fellowship, since it all emanates from the same being), if one takes two giant steps backward, and just absorbs all that has been expressed on this blog, and dismisses some of it as speculation, lies, whatever, but multiplies what remains by the thousands who haven’t happened to have posted (yet), added to what you know from your own experience, the picture that emerges is ugly. To my mind, criminal.


18. Best of the Blog - June 22, 2010

Rabbi Burns Says:
May 26, 2007 at 9:37 pm

Thanks Paola for your extraordinarily vivid and honest post (141).

The depiction of life in the “inner circle” rings very true, particularly the complete subservience to the will of Robert Burton in even the most intimate parts of one’s life: His plan to fix Asaf up with the young X! (One wonders how her parents relate to this.) The role of RT as fixer – she used to be quite a principled person – what a change! The vicious response of Robert on receiving Paola’s letter! And so on… It reads like some weird fantasy, but of course we know it’s true – we lived around this for years.

Then Siddiq’s self-calming reaction (173), typical of the Fellowship of Friends mindset, stating that to take what Paola says at face value and draw the conclusions that any decent person would draw, is “judgement”. Wow! Of course that’s how FOF members have managed to put up with these obvious absurdities for so long.


19. Best of the Blog - June 22, 2010

Garrett Browning Says:
May 27, 2007 at 11:08 pm

I wanted to say “Hello”. I was in the FOF from early ’75 through early ’85, mostly in SF and briefly in Salt Lakes City. I met many wonderful people and made sweet enduring friendships during that time. Life was rich. I treasure the practice of observation with rigorous integrity that we shared, that many of us truly cared about and took care of ourselves and each other.

There is so much here in this blog that is interesting, touching, surprising, shocking — a great deal to digest. For now I want to share that after being raised a Mormon and with what I learned therein, what caught and held my attention with the Fourth Way and the FOF was the teaching to observe, observe, observe and observe some more; to question many basic assumptions; that belief, faith, worship, adoration, etc., had no place in that work; and, that verification was a very long neverending process (i.e., be prudent about what you think you have verified).

While many of the blog submissions are poignant and fascinating, many exchanges remind me of political and religious debate. The cutting wit is sad. Debating in an insane asylum seems, well, uh, insane; and, even if one wins, it doesn’t mean one is cured.

If there is an answer it doesn’t seem to lie in “The Effective Management of a Fourth Way School.” The paradigm itself seems flawed. I’m not defending nor attacking anyone for what they do in running or belonging to such an organization. One lesson is probably that in such an organization the results are to be expected.

That said, I doubt that goodness is ever served by a lack of compassion; and, that the one consciousness that all life shares doesn’t afford special dispensation to anyone.

I do recognize some of you and think I may know others. You mean so much to me.


20. Best of the Blog - June 22, 2010

Tim Campion Says:
May 29, 2007 at 6:20 am

…Early on, Robert discouraged us from using the term “love”. (“Sleeping machines cannot love.”) I don’t know if the “exercise” (or suggestion) continues. In retrospect, what an emotionally crippling device this appears.

In the same way, I suspect our proficiency at labeling phenomena became an intellectually crippling device. A cheap substitute for understanding. Perhaps it served the purpose, as some suggest, of producing a more compliant membership.

And so it is disturbing at this late date, to witness how easily (apparent) Fellowship of Friends members here fit their thoughts and perceptions into the same boxes we were taught to use so long ago. And those bits too complex to fit neatly are consigned to more general headings (“the play is written, the lower cannot see the higher, it is the will of C-influence”, proclamations so confident in their wisdom.)

The Fellowship of Friends, as presented here, recalls Western Civilization’s futile struggle using convoluted models to describe planetary motions at a time when the Earth was still considered the center of the universe. It took the critical thinking of Copernicus to demonstrate the fundamental flaw in contemporary cosmology.

The Fellowship seems to be ensnared in its own convoluted and self-centered cosmology, struggling to portray as rational and cohesive, an increasingly contradictory and dysfunctional system.

Adding to the challenge, it appears to be a community increasingly devoid of conscience, critical thinking, and perhaps by design, love.

WhaleRider Says:
May 28, 2007 at 7:39 pm

…Often a predator’s advances can easily be repelled; they are at the core narcissistic and concerned only about themselves and their own self-preservation. They do not want to be injured or exposed in the process, so they display great patience; they stalk their prey. They place themselves in a large pool of potential victims. (Robert has high status and has accumulated a huge moat of money around him for both protection and attraction.) They test this one, then that one, until the victim is identified, cornered and exploited. The weak are often not in a strong position to defend themselves. The emotional damage to the victim is done when they resist or attempt to expose the perpetrator. The perp then defends himself by ‘shunning’, minimizing (such as what you are doing, making YOU complicit in his play of crime), demonizing, and mollifying the victim to discredit them. Others usually rally around the perp since his public behavior is in such stark contrast to his private actions.

Comrade Says:
June 1, 2007 at 5:48 am

…Here’s a short excerpt [from a poster named John}:

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.

Ames Gilbert Says:
June 1, 2007 at 4:29 pm

…My observation is that the FOF is like any institution. An analogy: it has a body. It has it’s own independent form, energy, laws, body and cells. It is governed by its DNA, its belief system and concept about the world. The analogy even extends to the “leucocytes” which leap to defend the self-concept of the FOF; witness Daniel, sorry, Howard Carter, and Hava Nagillah. The self-concept (DNA/belief system) is reinforced at meetings, one of the main ways that members are shaped into recognizable commonality of form (the shaping therefore induces sleep and encourages self–delusion). Deviations from the DNA, in the form of new ideas or fresh intelligence, particularly from the outside, are seen the same way as our bodies see a virus, and evoke the antibody/antigen reaction so often seen on the blog. Such reactions confirm the mutual agreement to sleep. Poor old Girard, poor old Linda, poor old Hava, poor old LOL, poor old @#$%^&*, helplessly turning out to defend the indefensible…

My feeling is that far from supporting an open discussion, the “leucocytes” would much, much rather the blog somehow went away—which of course it will, but in its own good time. The FOF has already tried their version of a blog or discussion board. It was soon abandoned because the heady winds of freedom were too much for the management of the empire. They literally did not know what to do with the new information—so out went the order, “close it down”. They could not trust the members to faithfully regurgitate the party line (transmission of order), or to see or choose for themselves. Little did they know, that like this blog, it had the potential to give them everything they needed to know to ensure the health and longevity of the organization—if only they had ears to hear. So ironic.

Even in the ‘old days’ when there was a journal (a kind of record of meetings, beautifully printed on a letterpress and sent out to individuals in all the centers, for those who can’t remember), the ‘angles’ and viewpoints were heavily censored and often entirely re-written or invented by Burton and Linda T; control right down to the last period (“full stop”, in the rest of the English–speaking world). I’d guess the brief attempt to create a discussion board was an aberration by someone who didn’t understand the probable consequences, or who exceeded their authority…


21. Tatyana - June 22, 2010

Thanks, Best of Blog for Susie’s conversation. I missed it.
This conversation has a lot of material I’ve never experienced while in FOF – never did I have a conversation with the teacher to begin with. And if I had, I can’t imagine talking to him like Suzie did. I wouldn’t agree that she lacked confidence saying things like:

“Robert, I deeply understand payment and efforts and the need to carve out an emotional life. Whether I stay or go I have to do this. But I’m not interested in all the prophesies and in the movement towards Renaissance being a closed community. It’s interesting to me that although C influence is deeply personal for you, it allows you to live in such a way that you don’t have to take any real responsibility for anything.”

“I’m sure it’s true to some extent, however, I’m not a fool. You talk to me as though I was a fool. It doesn’t take higher centers to see that there are descending octaves all around us.”

“How do you know what people do when they leave? How can you be sure that they are losers?”

“You have set the tone. It all comes from you. Robert, you may be able to keep more of your more mature people if you disallow this kind of talk about those who move on. This is just one thing, there are lots of things like that.”

Did you guys talk to Robert like this before 1994? I joined in 96, and haven’t seen anything as such.

22. WhaleRider - June 22, 2010

“I can’t imagine talking to him like Suzie did.”

This is a great example of how far Burton has disconnected from his followers and his own humanity.

Usually the followers who ask Burton the difficult questions are not followers for very much longer. They soon disappear. I did. It is this fear of abandonment that kept you and the other preschoolers from even imagining talking to him like an adult.

I am glad you are back.

Sometimes we believe something, Rudy, without realizing that we’ve been unknowingly duped.

Such is the case with an uncanny number of Americans who believe Saddam was amassing WMD and had something to do with 9-11…all stemming from big Dick Cheney and others repeating the lies over and over on TV (the biggest hypnotizer of all time) until the stressed out, information saturated public believed it. Add some fear of the great mushroom cloud, and bingo, you have control over the masses.

The concept of the many “I”s is a fourth way cult ploy to cause confusion and self-doubt in an individual, leading the mark to mistrust themselves and marginalize the often little tiny voice of conscience into just one of the “many I’s” or the “lower self” or “feminine dominance”. This renders the individual mark malleable and powerless, robbing them of their sense of self and personal integrity. It then paves the way for that individual mark to be exploited by an authority figure within a pre-constructed hierarchy, a hierarchy designed to make the figure’s particular voice seem stronger.

Think about it. What possible good can come from turning a person against themselves and their own impulses other than to control and manipulate them to act against their own self-interest? Sure you could make a person go to war to serve your needs, but war is hell.

Isn’t Burton’s ploy of relegating any follower’s critical or “negative” thought not in line with his zany religion to the so-called “lower self” or “many “I”s obvious to us now that we are out of the FOF? That is the spell you were under. (And the idea of Burton claiming c-influence want you to let him suck your dick just makes me want to puke.)

Here’s the deal. We all have parts of our unconscious that we cannot possibly “see” and stored up memories we don’t want to remember about ourselves. Our egos tend to want to remember only what we like about ourselves…what makes us feel warm and fuzzy…all to the tune of Taco Bell’s Canon.

Sometimes, however, the conscious and unconscious parts have to compete, causing inner conflict, and undermining the ego’s sense of control. One huge ego defense against that conflict is denial.

What do cults like the FOF provide?…a means for one to crawl back into the womb, override the inner conflict, deny their personhood, have most of their validation and infantile needs met, and remain in a state of blissful ignorance.

So yes, as responsible adults, we all have to learn to accept about ourselves that we have entire sub-personalities (I “clusters”, if you will) within us that sometimes seem to have conflicting agendas in different circumstances, based upon our sometimes haphazard and inconsistent upbringing. (I think you’ll find that it is more productive and healthy to think about this in terms of personalities instead of “I”s.)

As we mature, we learn which “selfish” or “I” impulses to respond to and which ones to repress, in order to survive in society and get our needs met. Balancing the impulses of selfishness and altruism, we become civilized humans beings with both the capacity for self-care and empathy for others.

Do you know who doesn’t have such an inner conflict? …a person with a sociopathic or psychopathic personality, that’s who! They’ll pull the trigger time and time again without giving it a second thought. That’s also why we need jails. In order to understand this kind of mental illness, some people have to call that evil. Apparently, there is even a gene for it.

Does anyone seriously think Burton is conflicted about his “many ‘I’s” that sexually, emotionally and financially exploits his followers? Hell no. That’s what makes him so compelling to people with low self-esteem; he has no absolutely conflict about sadistically fucking over other people, and he’ll keep right on doing it unless someone intervenes, while his followers get to be secretly smug about it. When anyone doesn’t conform to his perverted desires, they are simply flushed down the drain of denial.

Burton has constructed a reality for himself that absolves him from all guilt and responsibility, surrounding himself with co-dependent marks who remain co-dependent by tending to blame themselves for failing in a “system” that is purposely designed to fail.

IMO, the “many “I”s is part of that flawed system.

Apart from what you might quote from Ouspensky, what is your current understanding of your “many ‘I’s” now that you have thankfully left the cult? How does this concept serve you?

23. Tatyana - June 22, 2010

Oh, I did not know that respectful communication is reserved for preschoolers only.

Still, he never called me to chat about how I am doing. Too bad!

24. Opus 111 - June 22, 2010


By and large, Burton only cares for (and occasionally addresses) members who wield influence, have money or provide direct access to sex partners. Others need not bother.

The conversation with Susie was a good example of damage control on his part, likely after hearing that Susie was having “second thoughts”. In addition, several of the so-called “older” members had developed a closer relationship with Burton in the early days (prior to 76 perhaps), which may also help explain his direct call to her. After 76, he distanced himself from everyone but the few in his entourage and some key people in position of leadership. In the last 10-15 years, the ivory tower mentality has been in full effect and all attempts at communication go through his henchmen.

25. WhaleRider - June 23, 2010

define: respectful

26. Tatyana - June 23, 2010

opposed to:
“it allows you to live in such a way that you don’t have to take any real responsibility for anything”
“I’m not a fool. You talk to me as though I was a fool.”

Does it sound right to you? To me it sounds as uncontrolled anger. Expressing anger at someone is disrespectful, IMHO.

27. Rudy - June 23, 2010

22 Whalerider
Apart from what you might quote from Ouspensky, what is your current understanding of your “many ‘I’s” now that you have thankfully left the cult? How does this concept serve you?

I’m not going into that question here in the blog jungle.
But I will repeat this for you: I am of the opinion that the fact that the 4th way system was misused and distorted in the FoF does not mean that it is a flawed system. The flaws are in people.
Believe me, I thought a lot about it. So please spare me your preaching.

28. Rudy - June 23, 2010

One more “I”, Whalerider.
I know you were personally misused by RB. Maybe that is why you are so blinded that you easily throw out the child with the bathwater. (Or maybe you just never verified you are many I’s)

29. James Mclemore - June 23, 2010

Hi Rudy –

“(Or maybe you just never verified you are many I’s)”

Although some of my views may differ from that of WhaleRider, and I would guess he may well disagree with parts of what I have to say; I wish to state that I agree completely with the descriptions he put forth on an earlier post of what the effects of utilizing the idea of being ‘many I’s’ can bring about. As taught in the FOF this concept prepares fertile ground for people feeling somewhat helpless, which then often leads to giving up their innocent and simple innate trust in themselves. There are now 94 pages here indicating what can happen after people do that.

Having said that, I would only ask that you take a second and deeper look at that particular idea.
Although for people having recently left the cult, I would personally recommend tossing the whole ‘work language’ thing, I realize that some are not going to do that, and for all I know may not need to in order to shake free from the mind/heart-numbing experience of being in the FOF. This concept of being ‘many I’s’ may even be o.k. for a starting place for an investigation, but as an accepted belief that you ‘think’ you have ‘verified’, I strongly suspect it can be misleading at best. However, before the questioning and investigation of that idea can even be begun, the entire idea of ‘verification’ has to also be completely questioned and re-examined. Otherwise it is quite possible that a person will begin with some fairly wild assumptions already in place.

In fact, WhaleRider should get an award (if we ever have an awards ceremony), for “Best New Word”.
“And the winner is……… “Veri-fabrication”.

30. reader - June 23, 2010

WhaleRider, I’m sure X-ray is correct at this point: There’s no one there. I wouldn’t waste the use of your keyboard, or if you do (for the sake of argument) waste it very sparingly.

Tatyana, you just wrote that Susie’s comments to the cult leader were “disrespectful”. I’m still doing triple and quadruple takes on that one.

Read Opus 111’s really thoughtful comments on the topic.

31. reader - June 23, 2010

“…the entire idea of ‘verification’ has to also be completely questioned and re-examined. Otherwise it is quite possible that a person will begin with some fairly wild assumptions already in place.”

I’ve “verified” that you bring some amazing clarity and focus to the discussion. And I second your nomination for Best New Word.

32. Rudy - June 23, 2010

29 James Mclemore
Although some of my views may differ from that of WhaleRider, and I would guess he may well disagree with parts of what I have to say; I wish to state that I agree completely with the descriptions he put forth on an earlier post of what the effects of utilizing the idea of being ‘many I’s’ can bring about. As taught in the FOF this concept prepares fertile ground for people feeling somewhat helpless, which then often leads to giving up their innocent and simple innate trust in themselves.

James, I’m fully aware of the risks of using these 4th way ideas. I know that there are many traps that people can fall into and I even witnessed one of the students getting psychologically disturbed and diagnosed for schizophrenia. What I’m trying to say that it is fully possible that there are many people who use these ideas while they are fully aware of what they are doing without losing balance and get to a certain understanding about them. It very much depends on the individual. I wonder why some of you guys here need to get nuts about that idea?

33. sallymcnally - June 23, 2010

could it get any more linear? I come here occasionally to check in. All you guys do is argue. And now you are arguing about whether or not we have many ‘I’s and whether it’s a good idea to even think about it anymore or whether it makes you schizoid.

Maybe you should all invite each other to a mad tea party.

34. Ill Never Tell - June 23, 2010

33. sallymcnally – June 23, 2010:

‘Maybe you should all invite each other to a mad tea party.’

Yes, darlings, a Mad Hadder Tea Party! That’s a special version of the Lewis Carroll Mad Hatter Tea Party except that the guests must show that they come from a select group of idiots where they all have been had.

35. nige - June 23, 2010

I’ve got nothing on my mind
Nothing to remember
Nothing to forget
I’ve got nothing to regret
But I’m all tied up on the inside
No-one knows quite what I’ve got
And I know that on the outside
What I used to be – I’m not

You know I’ve heard about people like me
But I never made the connection
They walk one road to set them free
And find they’ve gone the wrong direction
But there’s no need for turning back
’cause all roads lead to where I stand
And I believe I’ll walk them all
No matter what I may have planned

Can you remember who I was
Can you still feel it
Can you find my pain
Can you heal it
And lay your hands upon me now
And cast this darkness from my soul
You alone can light my way
You alone can make me whole
Once again

We’ve walked both sides of ev’ry street
Through all kinds of windy weather
But that was never our defeat
As long as we could walk together
So there’s no need for turning back
’cause all roads lead to where we stand
And I believe we’ll walk them all
No matter what we may have planned

(Crossroads by Don McLean)

36. Agent 45 - June 23, 2010

News Update
Blog declares itself a complete failure.
“Jesus H. Christ”, It said,
“Some people refuse to disrespect Robert Burton and are confused about ‘the many I’s’, etc. etc. etc.
It’s an impossible situation.”

37. Best of the Blog - June 23, 2010

on June 6, 2007 at 5:31 pm

…There is more to this prolonged dialogue than a morbid interest in the sick and distorted relationship between RB and his followers.

As many have said before, it continues because there is a need to understand and have the truth revealed and acknowledged. Unfortunately, there will never be any acknowledgement or even recognition of wrong doing on the part of RB and/or his enablers.
The organization and the leader are very, very sick and worse, they have no shred of conscience.

Most of the sincere posters on this blog are speaking from conscience to people whose consciences are damaged. It is like speaking two different languages. Almost pointless.

Tim Campion
on June 6, 2007 at 12:05 am

This recent note from “my buddy” Al Gore, demonstrates the problems facing the Fellowship of Friends membership are not unique:

“In the months following the release of An Inconvenient Truth, I began to focus on why our democracy has been so slow to deal with the climate crisis. The unwillingness to solve this problem is not only the result of a lack of political will, but it has also been caused by the emergence of a new political environment dangerously hostile to reason, knowledge, and facts. In the long-term, this poses a threat to the very basis of American democracy: the ability of a well-informed citizenry to use the rule of reason to hold government accountable.”


38. Best of the Blog - June 23, 2010

on June 6, 2007 at 6:05 pm

…To say that the predictions were only symbolic is shamelessly insulting to the followers who kept the TASK of quiting their jobs to move to Oregon House for three months prior to Burton’s prediction of the fall of California. I personally know of several people who lost good jobs and are still paying off huge debts because of this. The alternative to keeping this task was to be asked to leave the group. There was one person who managed to stay in the school and not keep this task and it was only because he was too wealthy to risk losing.

When it was timidly mentioned to him by one person that it had taken ten years to pay off the debt incured by keeping this exercise, RB was outraged at the implication that he might have some responsibility for this burden.

How do you justify claiming that these “predictions” and the actions and tasks issuing from them were symbolic? This is fast talking at it’s best.

on June 6, 2007 at 7:09 pm

Similar to those in power in today’s American political climate, Robert Burton and his enablers have one “advantage” in any attempt to communicate with them: They don’t tell people what they are thinking; instead, they tell people what they want them to believe they are thinking.

The reason? Their intent is not to inform but to misinform and obfuscate. The spread of information does not work to their advantage. Disinformation and misinformation, meanwhile, do work to their advantage. Lack of genuine, honest communication is not an error — it’s a strategy. And it’s a strategy for preventing change…

No true or meaningful communication can take place between two people when one or both parties are trying to hide the truth. It simply goes in circles.

This also explains why Fellowship wikipedia editors would suggest that Robert Burton’s predictions were only “symbolic”.

Why would they make such an absurd contention? Well, because the truth is damaging to their agenda — an agenda to present the Fellowship of Friends as positively as possible, and to distract everyone from issues that may present the Fellowhip of Friends negatively. Robert Burton predicted a worldwide depression would occur in 1984, the “fall of California” would occur in 1998, and World War III would occur in 2006. To put it mildly, these predictions reflect a weakness on Burton’s part (as well as a type of mental illness, which some of us have shared or continue to share with him, by the way), but these predictions also focus the discussion on how Robert Burton has had negative effects on the lives of many FOF members. So, in an attempt to distract people from these facts, the fof Wikipedia editors called it a metaphor.

Hmm. Maybe they were thinking no one would notice? I can’t blame them for thinking that, since apparently there are many things that we haven’t noticed over the years.

But trying to hide facts in this way — as Vena writes — is not conscience, is not consciousness, is not the Work, is not doing the will of spiritual beings, is not effort, is not the way of the sly man, is not true personality, and is not awakening.

It is a lie. And as we are discovering, there are many more lies to be found.

Shelley M.
on June 6, 2007 at 9:53 pm

The idea that people who have spent no time in the fof are reading this blog gives me a sinking feeling like when you go up or down too fast in an elevator. If you’re an outsider, I hope you’ve gotten the idea by now that disengaging from the fof is worse than the worst divorce because you’re divorcing a phantom. You’re divorcing something that you thought was the Road Less Traveled. A path that would lead you to your Self in the midst Watergate, Tiny Tim and Iran Contra. Kinda like divorcing a shipping lane in the middle of the ocean. We all know it’s there but it has no distinct boundaries. Is there any individual story that could tell the tale? Whose? Miles? (I hope you are ok Miles.) RB’s? Elena’s? Collin’s? (Hi Collin!).

So much to fathom. Bless you Sheik for creating this space.

No, unoanimo amor mio, I haven’t seen Whale Rider’s toaster. It may be on a sunken ship at the bottom of one of those shipping lanes.

As to the vitriolic rhetoric coming from the old timers… We can only thank them for validating our worst fears. Although it’s difficult to imagine that we once broke bread together.

Once, circa 1978, I was sitting with Laura Bishop (bless Laura’s memory) in the lobby of the Pierre Hotel in New York. For those of you readers who didn’t know Laura, picture Peter Pan as an incredibly sophisticated young woman with a 130+ IQ wearing a Pucci dress, Gucci shoes and an Hermes purse. Not kidding. Laura had just received a family heirloom from her mother. It was a diamond ring. She was showing it to me there in the lobby of the Pierre…an art deco ring with a big diamond in the middle and lots of smaller ones around it. A profusion of sparkles. I looked at it closely and, unbelievably, there was a chip at the edge of the central diamond. After a few minutes I pointed this out to her. We were both shocked. I felt bad pointing it out but it would have been a lie had I pretended not to see it. We both laughed, she transformed her disappointment and I my inner considering. We went on with our day. What Laura would have said about this blog? It boggles my mind.

Saluti to ALL who have tread this path.

As many others on the blog have already implied…
We leave the fof but we need not say farewell to our Self.


In Memoriam
Luciano Tommassini 1948-1995

Walter Tanner
on June 7, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Fellow Travelers,

If it is true that Fellowship officials are trying to re-cast Robert’s failed prophecies as somehow metaphorical, then they are truly the hypocritical cronies some make them out to be.

I was living at Apollo Spring-Summer 1998 when California was to fall into the Sea. Most students who could stored up food, installed water tanks, bought generators…the guy I lived with even got a hydraulic jack in case his house (on a hill) collapsed! I personally knew one individual who nearly bankrupted his family with his “preparations.” Luckily his wife had a good job.

Students in Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles got “out of town” for a particular two-week period–I don’t recall the exact dates–that Robert said were the most likely times. At the company where I worked (in Oregon House), sales trips were also cancelled at this time.

It was a level of madness, but hey, there are earthquakes in California and it never hurts to have some food stored away. So I contributed to the house food fund, but the only other “preparation” I made was to buy a nice combo mountain-touring bike.

When it didn’t happen Robert was just confused as to why C influence would trick him in this manner. The most sophisticated Fellowship theologians (I consider myself in the category) said it was obviously some divinely given “suffering” for Robert’s higher centers to transform.

So no more talk that anything was taken metaphorical. Maybe privately by certain folks, but everyone’s public face was making “preparations.”


39. Best of the Blog - June 23, 2010

No person
on June 7, 2007 at 5:21 pm

Guys, we have a saying in Russian : “Don’t spit in the water well because one day you might need a drink from it.”

I would suggest to current members who tend to “spit” at ex-members: one day you just may become an ex-member too, so please don’t judge ex-members from your current “conscious” pedestal.

I know each of us thought that we’ll never, ever leave our beloved precious school. I sincerely thought so too, and I can bet that many ex-students thought so while being students. But life does to us what it does, it moves us in ways we can’t forsee. One day for whatever reason you just may find yourself out of school, slightly surprised or embarrased or heartbroken.

And often you’ll discover that current members will coldly “dump” you, and cancel the friendship of many years just because you’ve left the organization they belong to.

And you may humbly discover that it’s ex-members who will actually accept and support you, because we understand, we feel, we all have been through it. We will not even hold the grudge against you. The same exact people you are now calling loosers, idiots, false personalities, asleep victims, old wrinkled hippies, swine etc etc.
Please be kind, be nice, and don’t spit in a water well. Because you never know. 😉


40. Tatyana - June 23, 2010

I was watching recently RB’s dinner in Cairo in 2005. I guess I was bored. What amazes me again and again how many intelligent, serious people paying so much money and make so much efforts to get to the events as such! But then I think, hei if people like Joseph G was donating $20,000 a year to FOF who am I to even comprehend the scale of all that if this is about how much I am making annually.

And all these intelligent people paid all that money to sit quietly in the room in the “land of the Pyramids” and try to catch every word of Robert, who—as he said himself—improvising, or doing his insane tap dance right in front of them, by pulling straight out of his ass his interpretations of carefully chosen and arranged quotations by Asaf.

Asaf: “In the Bible it said that in the beginning God created Heaven and Earth” RB: “In the beginning God created work I number one “Be” and…..hmmmm…. 30 wrok I’s”

Watching his body language however I must say he does feel kind of uncomfortable after saying things like this. Like a little girl who just took a cookie from a cookie jar… So, maybe there is a little bit of conscience still left in there?

41. WhaleRider - June 23, 2010


Thanks for hanging in the milieu hot tub here with us, Rudy, I really appreciate it, despite the raucous; it’s a lively place to be.

Lively debate is not allowed in the FOF.

I know not many people enjoy having someone stick a flashlight up their skirt in public, all I’m asking here is to for you is to describe the baby we are talking about here (not your gonads.) If you can’t describe it in some way, maybe there really isn’t a baby after all, just dirty water.

You say the “system” is not flawed, we are. Well, if we are flawed then the system is flawed too, because it is our creation, isn’t it?

You are a thinking/feeling/sensing individual there…if you have balance in your centers you ought to be able to carry on an intelligent conversation on a topic you hold so dear without having to sling mud, quote dead guys, or feel totally exposed and violated. (You know, when I was a kid, we used to have dirt clod wars…it was great fun. That’s where I first learned to duck and cover.)

We can agree that all religions and spiritual “traditions” must contain a grain of truth, don’t they? But that’s the hook. Once you are locked into one flavor or another, then duality sets in…kinda like rigor mortis of the intellect…and soon you are ready to don a suicide vest. (But Rudy, somehow you don’t strike me as the fourth way Taliban type.)

What do all religions share in common? Belief in force greater than one’s self.

Do you believe in the force of gravity, Rudy? Now there’s a force that we all can verify in any country, in any language. Where did you learn about that idea?

Even if one doesn’t believe in a god or “divine father or mother figure” anymore, then at least one can believe in the scientific process, and a good scientist has to remain intellectually flexible and open to new discoveries and ideas. Unproven theories and superstitions have to be cast aside in the face of hard facts if we are to share the truth about anything, right?

Afterall, Science overcame the force of gravity and physically hauled our sorry many “I”s all the way to the moon and back, several times in fact, without anyone having to leave their body…the fourth way ain’t got nothing to top that…you just imagine your soul might go to the moon after you die, if you don’t watch out…or pay up…have you personally talked to any dead saints lately?

Interesting to note what comes up for some in the “many “I”s file in our brains: Like a Mad Hatter Tea Party, many “I”s absurdly talking about many “I”s…(I remember that one getting tossed around in the FOF a lot.) Well, maybe you just haven’t verifabricated it yet then…(the ultimate dig.) Oh, it’s so noisy in here with all the different voices and opinions of life people (it’s supposed to remind me of my own mind)….Will someone just give me some peace…(a room full of lively people expressing their many “I”s sure can be loud) All you guys do is argue…(why don’t they all just shut up…will someone please take control with the party line) Now take three wordless breathes, dear, while I …(it’s supposed to be a great stress reliever)

As Ames so brilliantly put it, “All roads lead to Burton.”

Let’s just say, Rudy, that the “many “I”s file in my brain has been corrupted, and I’ve had to rebuild the file with what I could realistically talk about based upon my experience and observations and not a repetition of what I had read or been told, over and over again.

So if you think there is a baby in there, what’s it look like to you? Expand a little.

BTW, have you ever visited a jungle? I have. People live there, too, and have learned to be respectful of the jungle.

An element of that respect is fear.

42. silentpurr - June 23, 2010

I have a respect for synchronicity and when it is happening to me I pay attention! Robert has contaminated the 4th way like BP has contaminated the Gulf.
Unregulated Greed Motivation.
The silly interpretations continue on through the years!
And what makes Robert’s interpretations SILLY is not that they are HIS, but that he EXPECTS his interpretations to be received as OBJECTIVE DIVINATION.
The ‘students’, his trusty enablers, suspended in a sombolistic fog, ‘listen’ and feel smug.
After all, so much has been invested… why resist?

43. Tatyana - June 23, 2010

Fire burned down a house on Stewart Way in YC. I betcha someone’s stewart in Oregon House got “combusted”. I hope it is not mine— I don’t want to be responsible for $75,000 damage.

44. The FOFion - June 24, 2010

Blog Switches Agenda, Now Supports FOF Party Line

NEW YORK (ARK) — Blog leaders met Wednesday to vote on an historic new direction for The Blog. Rather than act as an avenue for questioning Fellowship of Friends dogma and criticizing Robert Burton, The Blog has decided to support Burton and all FOF ideas and activities.

“We’ve been a little concerned lately that people might think we were being negative or argumentative, and it’s really important that we not give that impression,” said a Blog spokesperson shortly after 12 board members cast their votes. “So we’ve decided to support the Fellowship of Friends and support Robert Burton. The most important thing is that we keep thinking exactly like Burton, and exactly like everyone else in the FOF. Otherwise, some people might believe we’re asleep.”

Expressing any dissent, disagreeing with FOF ideas, or criticizing Burton were counterproductive efforts, said one board member.

“If we start pointing out any flaws in the FOF,” he said, “it’s a sure sign that we’re wrong, because how on earth could Robert Burton be wrong? So we’ve decided it’s best if no one disagrees or offers a dissenting view about the FOF, or questions anything about it.”

As a result of this new directive, The Blog hopes to attract more readers and contributors in the coming weeks, especially those who nod in agreement.

“That’s what’s most important,” said one Blog board member.

Next week in The FOFion: Why the FOF is Not a Cult, and Why We Think Robert Burton is a Cool Guy

45. We Were There - June 24, 2010

44. The FOFion – June 24, 2010

‘Blog Switches Agenda, Now Supports FOF Party Line’

‘Next week in The FOFion: Why the FOF is Not a Cult, and Why We Think Robert Burton is a Cool Guy’

I like this…

46. James Mclemore - June 24, 2010

‘Next week in The FOFion: Why the FOF is Not a Cult, and Why We Think Robert Burton is a Cool Guy’

I like the overall direction and feeling of this also. However I can already see problems looming on the horizon in regards to how he dresses himself. I certainly do not wish to appear argumentative, but I just think there are going to be some real difficulties in applying the term ‘cool guy’ when it comes to his attire. I hate to say it, but from the photos I have seen lately, he just looks, well, a bit clown-like. Perhaps we can just concentrate more on those deeply meaningful and very ‘cool’ things that he says.

47. Agent 45 - June 24, 2010

Act Now! Why wait?
Top 10 Cool Reasons
10. Flashy Dresser
9. No sense of humor
8. Rinses after each BJ
7.-1. ???

48. reader - June 24, 2010

“How on earth could Robert Burton be wrong?”

Yep, this must be what sally is referring to when she says ‘linear thinking.’ who’s wrong, who’s right, etc. she has a good point.

But we might re-phrase the question to: “What do we really KNOW is right about Burton’s comments?”

I rarely even thought about asking myself this question while I was writing my checks. All questions like this were tossed aside rather quickly.

Here are some similar questions…

“Something seems off — I wonder why I feel that way.”
“Why is greed never the topic of discussion at meetings?”
“Why is sex never the topic of discussion at meetings?”
“Why are topics of discussion gone from meetings entirely?”
“Why do we stop talking about the predictions after they fail?”
“Why is all criticism directed at individuals but not at the group as a whole?”
“Who decides how the money is spent?”
“How is the money being spent?”

These may all be very “linear” questions, too.

49. reader - June 24, 2010

45. We Were There – June 24, 2010
“I like this…”

Yes, WordPress should have one of those Facebook “I like this” buttons for each post.

‘Next week in The FOFion: Why the FOF is Not a Cult, and Why We Think Robert Burton is a Cool Guy’

I can’t wait to read that one.

50. silentpurr - June 24, 2010

I know ‘Love is never having to say you’re Sorry’ must be somewhere on his list!

51. Jomo Piñata - June 24, 2010

For those interested, “Fellowship of Friends Retrospective Recruitment Analysis 1970-1980” is now available (6.4MB PDF):


52. Rudy - June 25, 2010

41. WhaleRider – June 23, 2010

“I know not many people enjoy having someone stick a flashlight up their skirt in public, all I’m asking here is to for you is to describe the baby we are talking about here (not your gonads.) If you can’t describe it in some way, maybe there really isn’t a baby after all, just dirty water.”

I mean the 4th way system and the understanding it produces in the individual that uses it, of course. What else did you think it could be? Of course, if you never used it, it only remained unverified knowledge. In that case it doesn’t do any harm to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

“You say the “system” is not flawed, we are. Well, if we are flawed then the system is flawed too, because it is our creation, isn’t it?”

No, that sounds completely wrong to me. I understand the idea that it comes from higher mind. When higher mind is functioning, the “lower world”, internally as well as externally, is seen and can be described according to the ”objective” ideas of the 4th way system. But in order for higher mind to function we need to become conscious of our flaws and energy leaks first. I’m surprised you don’t know this.

“We can agree that all religions and spiritual “traditions” must contain a grain of truth, don’t they? But that’s the hook. Once you are locked into one flavor or another, then duality sets in…kinda like rigor mortis of the intellect…and soon you are ready to don a suicide vest. (But Rudy, somehow you don’t strike me as the fourth way Taliban type.)”

Here I can not follow you. I don’t see a hook. What you say might be true for some people who are raised in a religion and never question anything. But many of us chose the 4th way intentionally because it is rational and not a believe system. And once you understand it makes you understand other systems; on the contrary, I was never locked into one flavor.

“Do you believe in the force of gravity, Rudy? Now there’s a force that we all can verify in any country, in any language. Where did you learn about that idea?”

I do not believe in gravity. You do not need to believe in it if you can verify it for your self through direct experience. You just know that there is something that people call gravity after they teach you that idea in school. (however, science still doesn’t really agree on what it actually is, they just know how to calculate it – Ouspensky had an interesting theory about it). In the same way you can verify for yourself the idea of many I’s once you hear about it and are interested and open enough to see if there is something in it..

Ok Whalerider.
I responded to a few of your paragraphs just to play with you a bit, but what I really want to say is this:
Remember how this discussion started? On the previous page, 213 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 thought this was an interesting question and responded with:

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.

And later I added, to make it clearer because it felt as if it wasn’t understood:

Reader, what I’m saying is that I can not know for sure where else and what more I could have learned somewhere else. (I’m not talking about external things we did for “octaves” at Apollo, I’m talking about psychology and spirituality) We can theorise about it, maybe a lot more, maybe not, but I don’t know. The fact is that things just happened the way they happened, the “play” was as it was, and I myself was part of it and I went along with it. My being attracted the play as it was. It had to happen as it happened. I was part of the FoF until I had the information and being to break the spell. All we can do is to accept that and learn our lesson about the human condition. I can not say it was a waste of time, just that I payed a very high price for what I gained.

The general reaction, apart from Nigel who understood what I was saying, was that there must be something wrong here , I should leave the work language behind, etc. How can you and others judge another person for being a disillusioned victim or whatever you want to call it, over the Internet? The fact that you and others were victims doesn’t mean that everyone else who was in the FoF is a victim. What makes you guys think that you need to “deprogram” anyone immediately? Very formatory, shortsighted, and it reeks to vanity if you ask me.

I just happened to read this from Best of the Blog:

Vena on June 6, 2007 at 5:31 pm
“Most of the sincere posters on this blog are speaking from conscience to people whose consciences are damaged. It is like speaking two different languages. Almost pointless.”

Bye guys.

53. reader - June 25, 2010

“What makes you guys think that you need to “deprogram” anyone immediately? Very formatory, shortsighted, and it reeks to vanity if you ask me.”

When the time is right for people speak their opinions bluntly and directly, just let us know.

But no one is trying to “deprogram” YOU, Rudy. They may trying to deprogram themselves. In the meantime, if anything someone has written hits home with you, that’s great. But believe me, no one is expecting it.

54. Golden Veil - June 25, 2010

We all paid. Yes, and some paid a higher price than others. We all received. And some received more than others. Some say it was an entire waste of time and money. They believe that they were taken for a ride. Others feel that they at least for a time, found something rare and precious. But all former students must agree ~ “Something is rotten in the Pathway to Presence ~ Fellowship of Friends.” And the rot that festers in the head of the organization is hideously dripping down on all those who stand below it.

He waxes desperate with imagination.

Let’s follow. ‘Tis not fit thus to obey him.

Have after. To what issue will this come?

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Hamlet ~ Act 1, Scene 4, 87–90

55. Best of the Blog - June 25, 2010

Comic Relief
on June 7, 2007 at 9:43 pm

The Value of the Blog:
“We find comfort among those who agree with us–growth among those who don’t.” Frank A. Clark

The Wisdom of the Blog:
“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.” Oscar Wilde

Slogan of the True Believer:
“Never give up and never face the facts.” Ruth Gordon

Possible Slogan for ex FoF members:
“Abraham Lincoln was great, not because he once lived in a cabin, but because he got out of it.”

Lessons from the story of the FoF:
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln
“A man’s conscience tells him what he shouldn’t do – but it does not keep him from doing it.”

Possible Benefits of being Awake or Enlightened:
“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” Bob Dylan
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Maya Angelou

The FoF Whitewash on Wikipedia:
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell

Comic Relief
on June 7, 2007 at 5:50 pm

Q: How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?
A: Four.
Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

Abraham Lincoln

on June 7, 2007 at 8:45 pm

Walter T. (144): “I think this is an absolutely rational understanding of what’s going on [referring to a comment that RB is not conscious, and that the fof is guided by RB’s “sexual drives, his greed, his mental illness”], but is it not also possible that on top of all this RB is awake, some of his students are awake, and enterprising students of the sly path may get something through the effort?”

This is not a new point of view, or a new way of thinking about Robert Burton and the FOF. We’ve all considered that — in fact, we spent years considering it. That’s exactly why many of us stayed with the program for as long as we did despite all of the serious concerns we had about RB’s behavior. In fact, the idea is built into the group think and the mind control… i.e., “If you are tossed a life preserver, you don’t question it.” But what if the life preserver is no life preserver at all — but a heavy weight that makes it even more difficult to “survive”?

It may appear wise to adopt a moderate viewpoint on these topics (i.e., if someone were to say, “Robert may still be conscious despite what’s occuring in the FOF”), but it’s interesting that adopting a moderate viewpoint on these things is exactly what prevented many from leaving the Fellowship.

So, add the encouragement of “moderate thinking” to the list of mind control techniques.

on June 7, 2007 at 8:55 pm

Walter T, I forgot to mention… About your comment regarding lineage to Ouspensky and Gurdjieff, I partially agree with you. Lineage is not the biggest concern that I ever had when I was a member. However, I think the issue is more the misrepresentation of the lineage. If RB and the FOF are pretending to be connected to Gurdjieff, then it’s a lie. The question is, why lie about it? Answer: it helps recruitment, and it tends to legitamize an organization that many believe is not legitimate.

So if people object to these claims of lineage, I listen closely. It may not have been “the” issue that precipitated my departure from the fellowship, but it’s yet another odd twist to this entire saga — the spreading of lies, and covering up of the truth.


56. Best of the Blog - June 25, 2010

on June 7, 2007 at 10:41 pm

dear friends all .

First to those of you who doubt rb,s excesses.

I have reason to believe that most of it is true, because if one makes a logical progression from the way things were when my personal experience took place it seems possible and even likely that he requires stronger measures now…

This purported teacher at this time begged me, i mean begged me to “whiz” in his mouth, now this was definately not for my evolution, by the way for those unfamiliar with the term whiz it means to pee or piss [urinate].

I think that one has to experience something like that in order to know the truth of what is taking place, in order to feel the emotional truth of it, whether its something done for anothers benefit or just instinctive greed.

Another detail comes to mind while travelling, in another country his suggesting that we could buy two very young prostitutes a young boy for him and a young girl for me.

Now again for the full truth of it you would have to have been there, yes it did shock me but it didnt enhance my presence or my work in any way and sorry but i dont believe that it was intentional teaching to help me overcome mechanical morality or any such drivel.

When does it become enough evidence for people to realize whats going on? when he starts to make snuff movies?

But i get a terrible sinking feeling that they too would be explained away “oh thats not robert thats just someone who looks exactly like him” etc, etc.


57. Best of the Blog - June 25, 2010

on June 7, 2007 at 10:53 pm

For those interested, the Articles of Incorporation of the Fellowship of Friends, Inc. and an amendment to those articles are now online:


Initially, the specific and primary purpose of the corporation is as a church. In 1979 the specific and primary purpose changes from “church” to “religion.”

on June 7, 2007 at 10:57 pm
#161 Comic Relief:

The FoF Whitewash on Wikipedia:
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell

Precisely. At Wikipedia, however, everyone (and ultimately, no one) is in control. The result is controlled chaos. The truth is out there, but good luck pinning the slippery little hombre down in a Wikipedia article!

Anyway…the FOF article as of 15 minutes ago looked pretty good to me. It’s been greatly shortened, and it clearly highlights the controversial aspects of the group, which I believe should be highlighted in the service of caveat emptor. The failed predictions are presented; the “metaphorical” disclaimer has been removed. The lawsuits are mentioned.

But by the time you read this, someone will probably have rewritten it. Yesterday, the entire article had been tagged for deletion on the grounds that the topic isn’t “notable” according to Wiki standards. OK, that’s probably true.

[Bogart: “Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”]

If anyone cares and has several hours to squander, read the archived Discussion pages for the whole ludicrous history of the thing.

on June 7, 2007 at 11:37 pm

Cathie: “the FOF article as of 15 minutes ago looked pretty good to me… The lawsuits are mentioned…But by the time you read this, someone will probably have rewritten it.”

You predicted correctly. The lawsuit paragraph was removed as of 4:30 Pacific time. As of right now, the article DOESN’t look pretty good. There’s barely a mention of anything controversial.

It sounds like a pretty reputable organization. Maybe we should join.

Oh wait… What’s this at the bottom of the page…

–Blog about the Fellowship of Friends
–Information about the Fellowship of Friends from the Rick A. Ross Institute

Maybe we shouldn’t join.

Copyright Question
on June 8, 2007 at 12:05 am

Veronicapoe, are you posting all of these documents on line?

What is your motivation and why are you doing this?

Also, are these not copyright protected by the Fellowship and if so, do you have permission?

Thank you


on June 8, 2007 at 12:11 am

Articles of Incorporation are public documents.

on June 8, 2007 at 12:16 am

Re: King of Clubs #133
I also skipped it as I do many other long winded posts. I think Goethe once apologized for a lengthy letter by saying that if he had had more time it would have been shorter. And, of course, there is the well known quote from Shakespeare, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

on June 8, 2007 at 12:16 am

“Articles of Incorporation: Articles of Incorporation are already a “public document”, because they are filed with the Secretary of State. The benefit to publishing these on-line is that people can access them easily, and would not need to “bother” the association and or the manager for copies. No specific disadvantage to publishing them comes to mind. They obviously would be subject to a much wider audience (and much more comprehensive scrutiny or study) than if they were not published on the internet.”

on June 8, 2007 at 12:38 am

Its amazing how the blog has changed from the stimulus delayed response to the staccato of the current version. My wife continues to make fun of me as ‘married to the blog’ even if I only skim many of the longer contributions.

While she was joking this time, I recalled our discussions when I joined the fellowship some 20 years back.

The ‘running away from life’ accusations and her fear of loosing me, if she allows my ‘spiritual quest’ . Looking back I realize how much of this search for enlightenment is mechanical too and build into my ‘machine’.

The popular enneagram interpretation ( Don Riso, H.Palmer and my favorite Eli Jackson Bear) , which was hard to allow after living ‘our’ planetary interpretation ( see Joel and Suzanne ‘s books) for so many years, has a type 7 who is a professional seeker.

Is joining the fellowship mechanical as well? Is falling for ideas like the fall of California, 44 angeles and higher worlds as mechanical as to become a Firefighter or a Musician?

Well, yes there are other types in the fellowship as well, but many got dragged into it by folks like me (I got my wife and kids to move with me from Europe to Oregon House in the late 80s).

“Remember why you came” , Gurdjieffs banner over his french compound is still good advice. I want to understand and I appreciate all the many facets of thought in this blog helping me to solve the puzzle, why I joined a cult.

all the best,


58. Rudy - June 25, 2010

54. Golden Veil – June 25, 2010

We all paid. Yes, and some paid a higher price than others. We all received. And some received more than others. Some say it was an entire waste of time and money. They believe that they were taken for a ride. Others feel that they at least for a time, found something rare and precious. But all former students must agree ~ “Something is rotten in the Pathway to Presence ~ Fellowship of Friends.” And the rot that festers in the head of the organization is hideously dripping down on all those who stand below it.

I fully agree, Golden Veil.
Here is something from a publication from Bruce Kumar Frantzis, a Tao master. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me putting it on the Internet:

At their roots, regardless of philosophical doctrine, all spiritual groups, both East and West, operate somewhere between integrity and manipulation, honesty and sham.

Christianity currently the world’s largest spiritual practice, began as a specific “sect” or “cult” within Judaism two thousand years ago. Although Jesus himself was an honest spiritual teacher of integrity, across the centuries other Christian leaders and sects have not always maintained those standards, from the Crusaders who “killed for Christ” to today’s charismatic figures who get their followers to commit mass suicide. These conditions hold equally true for meditation and prayer groups, both esoteric and orthodox, whether they believe in God, Christ, Buddha, or the Tao. Fortunately for humanity, spiritual groups lean more toward honesty and integrity as a general rule.

In this book those groups that operate from manipulation, dishonesty, and sham will be called cults, rather than spiritual groups. There will always be a small minority of individuals who become cult leaders to deliberately manipulate and exploit people for theft own benefit just as there will always be the dishonest and corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, and business leaders at every level.

Sincere students and teachers of the Tao who have a strong desire for spiritual clarity need to differentiate between honest spiritual groups with integrity and manipulative cults. For thousands of years Taoists have observed that cults do not spiritually serve either their leaders or followers. Both cult leaders and students can be blithely unaware of the future repercussions of their obvious and hidden motivations and sell-delusions.

Many corrupt spiritual leaders, especially those with smaller cults, begin with surface integrity and pure motivations, but over time turn to the dark side for a multitude of reasons. Some never truly learned the genuine inner humility or hard work of being a student. Some became teachers before completing their studies. Now, as their flock’s adulation increases, they begin to be influenced by, believe in, and succumb to their students’ overt or subtle demands to be manipulated. Sooner or later they run out of genuine teaching material but find they have become attached to and crave the perks of being an adored leader. Rather than humbly admitting that they have no more to teach and saying, “It’s time to learn from someone more accomplished,” they begin to manipulate their students psychologically in order to maintain their status. Some find that the volume of psychic energy they absorb from their students destabilizes their inner being, causing them to sink into the deeper and darker sides of their nature faster than they can handle or transmute. Some simply slide down the slippery slopes of self-delusion or choose expediency and the path of least resistance over honesty and integrity.

How do people set themselves up for being exploited by a cult? Students need to ask this question while looking honestly and deeply at their own motivations, in order not to become subject to a cult leader’s manipulation. Because the human desire to belong to a group is both powerful and natural, the true motivation of many aspiring spiritual students is to find a social group to belong to, rather than to find a teacher who can genuinely help them to belong to themselves.

Are secular and spiritual goals and needs different? In normal secular society, with its strong social, economic, and political agendas, people often allow external images—physical beauty; clothes, education, way of speaking, class, economic status, and so on—to become powerful motivating forces. For many the primary focus is on style over substance; the cover is more important than the book’s contents. Conversely, true students of the Tao should not take any spiritual teacher’s externals all that seriously. Rather, a teacher’s inner essence, knowledge, and integrity should be the prime concern. A genuine spiritual seeker’s focus should be on substance over style.

When students become trapped by externals, the danger exists that they will sooner or later divert their internal efforts away from meditation and into mimicking the teacher’s image—possessions, clothes, hairstyle, language, gestures, and so on—becoming “act as if” clones. A good cult leader can manipulate mental or emotional images much more easily than true spiritual substance. If a student’s motivations are image oriented, it becomes possible for the cult leader, often using subliminal hypnotic methods, to gradually shift and mold the student’s images into extremely convoluted beliefs, which can have dangerous consequences. At the extremes, an image-desiring student is set up to be exploited by unscrupulous gurus or self-deluded crazies.

These cult leaders use and project a multitude of external images to attract different crowds. They are equally likely to wear conventional suits and dresses, embroidered silks, ethnic costumes, or robes. They may look, speak, and act like well- groomed salesmen or professors, street hustlers, humble clerics, cryptic kung fu television characters, or Jesus Christ “wannabes” with long hair, beard, and robe, quoting biblical passages most convincingly.

To quote a common saying, misery loves company. The needs of students with psychological weak spots or damaged emotional lives to act out dysfunctionally, be conflicted and indecisive, or have endlessly convoluted relationships with parents and family are often transferred to the teacher and the cult community Students should note whether they personally, or the members of the spiritual group or cult they are investigating, allow, encourage, and play these neurotic games. Some individuals misinterpret the idea of a spiritual friend to mean, “Oh boy, now I can mistreat my new spiritual buddies like all my other friends, who mostly tell me to get lost because I act so horribly.’ This attitude easily opens the door for some enterprising cult leader to brainwash, manipulate, and abuse them in sadly absurd ways. Responsible spiritual teachers will not encourage these mentally unhealthy relationship games and will maintain distance from those that do, as these spiritually corrosive games breed neurosis and easily escalate into the danger zone. Good teachers encourage relaxed relationships and cooperation between spiritually inclined individuals, not conflict. Students of the Tao endeavor to treat spiritual friends well, with respect, and with honest, open agendas. Taoists consider these hallmarks of spiritually productive teacher-student relationships. Taoists believe it is good not to confuse human relationships predicated upon compassion, balance, and integrity with those based on the need to defend self-aggrandizing ego tendencies and hidden agendas about power and control that imprison the spirit. Chains, whether made of steel or gold, still bind.

59. nige - June 25, 2010

“To a Friend whose Work has Come to Nothing” (W B Yeats)

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honour bred, with one
Who, were it proved he lies,
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbours’ eyes?
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

60. nige - June 25, 2010


I take the time, these days, to read all blog postings – everyday. I think the reason I respond to your posts positively, and it has taken a few weeks to come to this point and to be able to articulate it is this –

I already had some semblance of Reality when I came to meeting the FOF. I had been at art college for 2 years and, at the time of joining, was engaged in a BA Hons Degree Course in Craft Design. I actually finished the course while still in the FOF but, as it turned out, there was no way that a designer-craftsman can make enough money to be ‘in’ the Fellowship or devote enough time to ‘toeing the party line’. But I did apply ‘system ideas’ to what was going on in my life – and still know that I am naive, vain and fearful in critical situations, although life has tended to have ‘kicked the shit’ out of the vanity feature as it probably would have done with most of us who have tried to return to a true and simply led life after FOF (GOD, WASN’T IT A SHAM, FOR THE MOST PART?!). I think, if these other posters who refute your position, are truthful with themselves, there is still some need for them to have professional therapy (the mind is complex – not either/or). I have had over 20 years of psychiatric help, help from my family (which is still ongoing, especially from my father), help from doing courses which, although meant to be for career reasons, were more necessary for me to bolster up my feeling of ‘worthiness’ and help from friends “grappled to me with hoops of steel”.

Everything we do now is mutable, necessary of scrutiny – perhaps even more than we were trying in the FOF – but there is a little phrase I put together in light of my biploar and the way I operate:-

“The unrisked or unchallenged life is not worth living”…..love…..Nigel

61. nige - June 25, 2010

By Ruskin

Section 1

Had it been ordained by the Almighty that the highest pleasures of sight should be those of most difficult attainment, and that to arrive at them it should be necessary to accumulate GILDED PALACES, tower over tower, and pile ARTIFICIAL MOUNTAINS AROUND INSINUATED LAKES, there would never have been a direct contradiction between the unselfish duties and the inherent desires of every individual. But no such contradiction exists in the system of Divine Providence; which, leaving it open to us, if we will, as creatures in probation, TO ABUSE THIS SENSE LIKE ANY OTHER, and pamper it with SELFISH AND THOUGHTLESS VANITIES, as we pamper the palate with deadly meats, until THE APPETITE OF TASTEFUL CRUELTY is lost in its sickened satiety, incapable of pleasures unless, CALIGULA LIKE, it concentrates the labour of a million lives into the sensation of an hour, – leaves it open to us, BY HUMBLE AND LOVING WAYS, to make ourselves susceptible of deep delight, WHICH SHALL NOT SEPARATE US FROM OUR FELLOWS, nor require the sacrifice of ANY DUTY OR OCCUPATION, but shall bind us closer to men and to God, and be with us always, HARMONISED WITH EVERY ACTION, CONSISTENT WITH EVERY CLAIM, UNCHANGING AND ETERNAL.

62. nige - June 25, 2010

FRONDES AGRESTES by Ruskin, the Evangelist

Section 1.

5. A great Idealist never can be egoistic. The whole of his power depends upon his losing sight and feeling of his own existence, and becoming a mere witness and mirror of truth, and a scribe of visions, – always passive in sight, passive in utterance, lamenting continually that he cannot completely reflect nor clearly utter all he has seen, – not by any means a proud state for a man to be in. But the man who has no invention is always setting things in order, and putting the world to rights, and mending, and beautifying, and pluming himself on his doings, as supreme in all ways.

63. nige - June 25, 2010

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.”

64. Wouldnt You Like To Know - June 25, 2010

58. Rudy

Considering that you could be a new kid on the blog, your writing in #58 certainly is worth having repeated as a reminder. Well expressed. Similarly, I submit:

Wouldnt You Like To Know April 19, 2010:

134. Thot Plickens:
‘What has been good therapy for me is realizing that maybe — maybe — there’s even just one cult member reading this right now who also feels alone and stranded and directionless, and not quite sure how to build a new life. I still think it’s ironic that the most profound act of awakening, and the most profound “transformation” in the Fellowship of Friends — is the act of leaving it behind.’

Quotation heard the other day, as it were, from out of mouths of babes come words of wisdom:
‘When the student is ready, the teacher DISappears.’
The Teacher has always been there inside of you. Learn to recognize it, if you haven’t already. And, if you are unsure, as Jiminy Cricket said, ‘Let your conscience be your guide.’

– – – – – –

Moving forward in life means that you cannot advance by using the rear view mirror as the chief source to inform you which way to go.

65. Agent 45 - June 25, 2010

Cool Reason #10 is hereby amended to read:
10. Flashy Dresser / Looks good naked.
(Emperor’s clothes not withstanding.)

66. reader - June 25, 2010

58. R. : “Here is something from a publication from Bruce Kumar Frantzis, a Tao master. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me putting it on the Internet: ‘At their roots, regardless of philosophical doctrine, all spiritual groups, both East and West, operate somewhere between integrity and manipulation, honesty and sham.’ ”

I liked your long excerpt. Regarding the above paragraph, it’s not too hard to get an idea which side of that spectrum a group is on. Just do the following:

1) Ask a lot of questions.
2) Expect detailed answers.
3) Follow up with more questions.

If a group can’t handle questions, and if the person(s) in authority won’t tolerate being questioned — bad sign.

Another bad sign is when a group and its leaders profess that they have the answers to questions that they can’t possibly answer — for example, what happens to us after we die, what’s going to happen to the world in the future, how many angels are hovering above the chandeliers, why other groups don’t have angels hovering above the chandeliers, imagining we understand the mathematics of the “ray of creation,” and more.

If you really want to know whether a group is honest or not, question things in general. Be skeptical. And be particularly skeptical of anyone who tells you that’s it’s a bad idea to be skeptical.

And what’s more, be skeptical about groups in general. Question this idea that we need to join a spiritual group, or adhere to one specific set of ideas, or follow one philosophy. (See the documentary by Bill Maher, Religulous).

If I ever again “join” something remotely akin to a “spiritual group”, it will be a group that accepts numerous ideas, is open to numerous philosophies, and questions them all. They will not believe that they have found the one true path. They will not express their condemnation to outsiders, or try to evoke fear in those who do not join them. They will express self-doubt, and will acknowledge how much they do not know. They will not discourage the association with other groups, or the association with others who are not members of any group, or discourage anyone from leaving. Rather than separate itself from others, the group will try to connect with people. The welfare, good health, and growth of the individuals within the group will be more important than the survival of the group itself.

Whether groups like this exist or not, I don’t know (the manipulative groups, a.k.a., cults, definitely exist in large numbers). But do “spiritual groups” need to exist? That’s another question that I never asked. I just said to myself, “I need ‘help’ to awaken,” without asking deeply enough what the word “awakening” means and whether I really in fact did need the help of a group to awaken, or whether joining a group was far more delusional than walking my own path. And I never asked myself the question whether help is a lot more abundant in this world than I ever supposed, and whether help presents itself in countless way across the beautiful Earth.

67. nige - June 25, 2010

66 reader

Maybe awakening means awakening to our innate possibilities in Real Life…..Nigel

68. WhaleRider - June 25, 2010


“I understand the idea that it comes from higher mind. When higher mind is functioning, the “lower world”, internally as well as externally, is seen and can be described according to the ”objective” ideas of the 4th way system. But in order for higher mind to function we need to become conscious of our flaws and energy leaks first. I’m surprised you don’t know this.”

Thanks for posting! Life is full of surprises, is it not?

I feel the beginnings of an authoritarian, dualisitic hierarchy structure being imposed…it is so because I said so…no questioning allowed.

I am not going to fall for this ploy, Rudy, of simply believing what you say because you read somewhere that the fourth way ideas come from the “higher mind”, and that is that.

This is a great example of an attempt to make me feel stupid and excluded…so that rather than feel those negative feelings about myself, I avoid them by just accept what you are saying without thinking about it. That’s a cult ploy.

Exactly whose higher mind are we talking about here?

BTW, do you think Einstein had a higher mind? Certainly he had a lot to say about the objective world that nobody else ever thought about. With E=MC2, he enabled humans to duplicate the power of the sun on Earth. Did he have to become conscious of his flaws and energy leaks before his higher mind kicked in?

Do you think the higher mind is flawless, unable to make mistakes?

Tell me about your higher mind, Rudy.

You’ve presumably been working on yourself with the fourth way ideas for quite some time, becoming conscious of your flaws (intellectual?) and stopping up your so-called “energy leaks.” What new thoughts has your higher mind had lately to advance the pursuit of consciousness?

Or does yours just go with the flow and concur with what other fourth way “higher minds” have already said without any real thinking on your part, making you feel like you are on their exalted level, just like what a textbook narcissist does?

Imagine the state of a person made aware of their flaws, while repressing their negative emotions…like a young soldier being indoctrinated into the military…being made aware of his flaws by the drill sergeant and unable to express negativity to his commanding officers…a mind made ripe for the military hypnosis that enables him do what he is told to do without question, to pull the trigger on his “enemy”, another human being, without feeling any compassion but the rush of adrenaline. That’s what PTSD is about in soldiers, Rudy, a person whose humanity is returned to haunt them.

This is what your “fourth way” does to people who become involved with fourth way cults, it turns them into automatons who are taught to act conscious, repressing their humanity while they “journey forth” back into the world to make money for the cult in the service the cult leader’s perverted need for lust, greed, or power.

Reperessing one’s negative emotions hasn’t proven to be a healthy activity, Rudy, it causes mental illness. And if I can make you constantly aware of your flaws and thus feel inadequate, then I can sell you something to compensate for the negative feelings and make you feel better about yourself.

Wouldn’t it be more productive helping each other to be more aware of our strengths and allowing each other to fully express our difficult feelings?

69. Jomo Piñata - June 25, 2010

For those interested “The Inner Octaves of the Fellowship, 1970-1980” is now available:


(<600K PDF file)

70. reader - June 25, 2010

69. Jomo Piñata
PDF: definitely worth a look.

“Play of Crime” — i.e., when people question what’s going on, and leave the cult.

And then we have detailed musings about the “Law of Octaves” and “inner octaves” and “lateral octaves” and exactly where the Do Re Mi, etc., occurred. The do in June 71, the re in Aug 71, the mi in Oct 71, the fa in Dec 1971 — good grief. Honestly, what percentage of these “laws” and ideas went through even the mildest form of scrutiny? How many people approached Harold and said, “Dude, what do you base this on? What did Burton base this on? How do you know? Why convey this as though it’s fact?”

So, the chart states that the second line of work was de-emphasized in 1978. It doesn’t state that critical thinking was de-emphasized beginning in 1970.

As WhaleRider just wrote: “I feel the beginnings of an authoritarian, dualisitic hierarchy structure being imposed…it is so because I said so…no questioning allowed.”

71. Tatyana - June 25, 2010

WhaleRider. Brilliant!

“Exactly whose higher mind are we talking about here?

BTW, do you think Einstein had a higher mind? Certainly he had a lot to say about the objective world that nobody else ever thought about. With E=MC2, he enabled humans to duplicate the power of the sun on Earth. Did he have to become conscious of his flaws and energy leaks before his higher mind kicked in?

Do you think the higher mind is flawless, unable to make mistakes?

Tell me about your higher mind, Rudy.”

WhaleRider, you figured out a lot of things, it seems. From my level I can’t tell the difference between rambling of a schizophrenic person, Robert Burton or Stephen Hawkins (or Enstein).

72. reader - June 25, 2010

T.: “From my level I can’t tell the difference between rambling of a schizophrenic person, Robert Burton or Stephen (Hawking or Einstein).”

“From your level” — what level is that? And why is “your” level unable to tell the difference?

You’ve left the cult right? Do you really need to continue using this type of cult terminology to describe yourself and to make an assessment of Burton?

Regarding “levels” … Like so many ideas in the Fourth Way and in the FOF, we are bombarded with theories like this (man No. 4, man No. 5, etc.) that have been believed by people without the smallest amount of scrutiny — mainly because, as WhaleRider wrote, “I said so… no questioning allowed.” After you hear these things over and over, you begin to believe them. And then you begin to believe that you know it simply by adding the words “verify” or “theory” to it. And when you add numbers, whoa, now we’re really talking mathematics, so it must be true.

Some people say things that resonate with us — some don’t. Even some of what we learned during our mental imprisonment in the FOF was not so bad. We learned from some, not so much from others. But use your common sense. Use your intuition… Is Burton more like the “schizophrenic person” as you describe it? Or is he more like Hawking and Einstein? Do you really need to be on a “different level” to answer that one?

73. Tatyana - June 25, 2010

72 reader

I am not talking about level of “bean”. Level of intelligence? Level of understanding?

I am not a scientist, I am an artist. For me big bang, time-space curvature and forces of gravity make as much sense as theory of celestial influence. Who am I to know what is true? My daughter sarcastically said to her friend about me “she believes in chakras”.

Watch Robert’s dinner in Cairo. You will see there were a lot of people there with the degree in astrophysics, psychology, engineering… and it makes sense to them what is is saying!

“There is smart and there is Ksmart” 🙂

74. brucelevy - June 25, 2010

“You will see there were a lot of people there with the degree in astrophysics, psychology, engineering… and it makes sense to them what is is saying!”

I’m assuming you meant “it makes sense to them what HE is saying!”

Going on that assumption I would say you are still deluded the way you were when you were in. Who didn’t have the “agreement act” along with the sycophantic “nodding” and bowed head of humility when they were in. Some of the most ridiculous, shallow and absurd people that I remember in the FOF are exactly the people you are looking to to give RB credibility. I don’t care if they’re rocket surgeons and brain scientists. In fact, to pump up their self declared status in the hierarchy in the quest for FOF enlightenment they’d look on RB with awe if and when they didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about. They’re understanding if often as phony as RB’s bull shit. It would have to be… RB, even with his exposure to so much” is an extraordinarily ignorant and self absorbed clown. Anyone, at this point, who doesn’t see his bull shit for what it is, regardless of their “degrees”, is no one to look to for confirmation of one’s own “stuff”.

75. reader - June 25, 2010

Wow, I have to believe you’re joking with me now.

Since we’re talking about intelligence, I’m guessing you’re intelligent enough to realize just how brainwashed and indoctrinated your comments sound. Please tell me you’re joking.

I can think of dozens of even the most die-hard FOF followers who would never say that Burton “makes sense”. Of course, they ALWAYS explain it away — until they finally can’t any longer, and wake up and leave.

Regarding the Fourth Way, some of it makes sense — that was the hook for me. But then when you examine it, and really question it, you gradually start seeing how little we actually know. And calling it a “system” — as though everything connects beautifully, like an ecosystem — no.

76. silentpurr - June 25, 2010

Ladies! Remember! It takes a goddess to know a goddess! When you look at Robert do you SEE a goddess? No! That’s is because he is in imagination about himself and delusional.

77. The FOFion - June 25, 2010

FOF Hires 10,000 Vuvuzela Players to Disrupt The Blog

NEW YORK (ARK) — Despite recent reports that The Blog had shifted its support to Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends, the FOF has taken action to “disrupt the conversation,” according to inside sources at the FOF compound in Oregon House, Calif.

“We don’t believe for a moment that The Blog has changed its stance,” said an FOF spokesperson who shared her comments on condition of anonymity. “So we’ve purchased 10,000 vuvuzelas. And we’ve hired several members of the New York Philharmonic and other nearby orchestras to make a bunch of noise outside of Blog Headquarters in Manhattan.”

The vuvuzela, a popular noisemaker for South African soccer fans, produces a loud, distinctive monotone. When 10,000 fans are playing in unison, it sounds like a herd of large bees descending on a stadium — or worse.

“Imagine what it’s like for a bunch of writers trying to concentrate,” said the FOF spokesperson.

Blog Headquarters is noted for its serene and peaceful atmosphere. Hundreds of writers have diligently produced award winning entries on The Blog during the past four years while taking in the million dollar view over Central Park. But all of that has changed.

“I hear some people have left Headquarters altogether,” said the FOF spokesperson. “Mission: Accomplished. Now we can get back to building an Ark and kicking people out of the school who ask too many questions.”

78. WhaleRider - June 25, 2010

Yes, there is a difference between a person with delusions suffering from delusional disorder and a person experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations who is suffering from schizophrenia.

(Believe me, 5 mintues with a person in a schizophrenic process, and you will forever know the difference.)

A delusion is based on a person’s belief which is within their control and a hallucination is an experience that happens to a person that the person has no control over.

From Wikipedia:

“…the psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers was the first to define the three main criteria for a belief to be considered delusional in his 1917 book General Psychopathology.

These criteria are:

1) certainty (held with absolute conviction)

2) incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary)

3) impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre or patently untrue)”

79. Jomo Piñata - June 25, 2010


“You will see there were a lot of people there with the degree in astrophysics, psychology, engineering… and it makes sense to them what is is saying!”

“Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.”


80. Jomo Piñata - June 25, 2010

For why we may find ourselves influenced by observing those smart people who seem to believe weird things and put up with bizarre behavior, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_proof .

81. Opus 111 - June 25, 2010


One more word on the 4th way and the tricky concept of “verification”: In science, you set a series of experiments to test an hypothesis and use analysis (generally statistical) to determine whether the hypothesis might be valid. You test, you do not verify. Even then, you are always left with a certain degree of uncertainty.

There are many ordinary professional disciplines that use 360 degree evaluations to monitor and guide professional growth: from your superiors, your peers, subordinates and from your self. One point of the exercise is to highlight some of the consistencies across evaluations and check whether your self evaluation is somewhat congruent with that of others.

The 4th way, version FOF was set-up very differently: you were given a set of principles, concepts, “truths”, call them what you may. The tool given to ”evaluate” those principles was “personal verification”. However, that is where it can go wrong. The set-up (form) was designed to achieve success, and success was defined as personal confirmation that these principles were indeed truths. On the other hand, failure or lack of progress was implied as the inability to verify those principles as truths. The constructed environment (peers, directors, counselors) would attribute such failure, or lack of progress, to lack of effort, wrong attitude, lack of valuation, etc…

In the FOF, there was never a stated goal to evaluate, the tacit mandate was to verify. The more unverifiable things you had verified (I have verified that REB is conscious, I have verified that C Influence works with our school), the better and the more likely you would be asked to become part of the environment (octave leader, center director) and perceived (evaluated?) as successful. How can you verify something when you are in an environment where success, progress, growth is predefined as the positive confirmation of the truth of a closed system of ideas and behaviors? You cannot.

I will not belabor the point because it already has been the subject of very good postings by others and in fact, is one of the basic aspects of close-minded organizations and cults, developed in many “enlightening” books on the subjects, also abundantly quoted here.

82. nige - June 25, 2010

Sung at the karaoke evening tonight at the “Bishop Blaize” pub during a beautiful full-moon in a sultry summer…..

‘My Heart Will Go On’

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 let go till we’re gone

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

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

83. James Mclemore - June 26, 2010

81. Opus 111

Great post. I don’t think you belabored the point at all. That was about as clear and concise of a description of what transpires in the FOF with that term ‘verification’ as I have read.

84. Rudy - June 26, 2010

81 Opus111

I know what you’re saying. It is certainly what happens in a group. Part of what you describe happened to me too. But that doesn’t mean that the process of personal verification doesn’t exist at the same time. . The temple needs to be built on rock. Not on sand. Rock is your verification, knowing truth within. A group doesn’t wake up, individuals wake up. Part of waking up is understanding group dynamics.

85. Opus 111 - June 26, 2010

Part of waking up is understanding group dynamics.

And certain group dynamics make this attempt futile, if not impossible, assuming waking up IS possible. You might even argue the “waking up to FOF group dynamics” requires, or at the very least leads to, leaving FOF.

86. Best of the Blog - June 26, 2010

on June 8, 2007 at 12:46 am

At one point Robert Burton indicated that he had only three friends: Peter Bish_p, Miles and JoelF.

Of course, Peter has passed. Miles departed the “Fellowship of Friends.” And JoelF is bloggersville.

My view in observing Robert Burton for decades is that he has (and likely had) no friends. This despite little odd friend-like flitations with certain non-Fellowship persons (remember D. Gilfe-ther). Also, he was pretty good to his mother, in a measured sort of way.

Also, don’t know if this has been discussed, but I heard that the term “Fellowship of Friends” was originally the name of Ouspensky’s group in England. After the scales fell from my eyes, this “fact” seemed like just one more misappropriation (like his birthday magically no longer being on the 13th).

I was given to understand that the number 4 is considered unlucky in certain oriental cultures – had wondered what Robert Burton would do with the “44″ (in moving into Japan, etc.). Guess we now know — sorry fellows (and Eliz I) – no longer C-influence, we’re moving on to the always less controversial … cave persons.

Be interesting to see if JoelF remembers this “Friend” comment above and has any current thoughts on the honor bestowed.

Thanks to all for helping me (and others) to leave the Fellowship of Friends again, at a higher level.

for the Best
on June 8, 2007 at 7:21 am

…If by any chance you have the time to read or re-read the “animals farm of George Orwell”, I found it very instructive in this short novel how the thruth gets distorted insidiously, little by little.

Aline C.


87. Best of the Blog - June 26, 2010

on June 8, 2007 at 4:19 pm

to student # 217

“Of course few students ever thought this things will happen, but it was taken as an exercise to focus on something.” Wow, are you ever buffering!

Most students who chose to work with the prediction at all, took it as an exercise to work with the Teacher’s will, regardless of their own opinions. We had plenty to “focus on”, building the school and making enough money to make teaching payments. And there were plenty to truly believed (or pretended to believe) that the predictions would actually occur.

In our case, we tried to avoid the subject at the time, it was really kind of embarassing. We reluctantly attended a few ‘neighbourhood meeetings’. We bought an extra case of tuna and some medical supplies that we should have had on hand anyway.

But many students ran up huge debt because Robert told them “the banks will be under water, and you won’t have to pay off the debt, dear” – indeed I believe the Fellowship itself is stil paying off debt incurred before April 1998. The greed was sickening.

Then there were the students who, in following the task, gave up good jobs to move to Oregon House. I had a good friend who, after much agonizing, decided to “trust Robert and C Inluence”, took early retirement from her satisfying and secure professorship, giving up excellent benefits and good money. Following Robert’s advice/request, she built a house in Oregon House, going into more debt than she could afford as a retiree. The resulting stress of trying to make ends meet, running around doing pick-up work, perhaps contributed to her death last summer of metastasized breast cancer.

Dont call that “an exercise to focus on something.”

That’s insulting.

on June 8, 2007 at 6:15 pm

Robert has lunches at the Apollo d’Oro with his entourage. Shining like the sun. The group walks down the hill to the cars and goes – you know where to do what.

At the reception after the dinner Robert stands up and walks away with his entourage – sometimes 20 guys! You know where to do what.

One can love the Teacher, be inspired by the hydrogens and enjoy his energy. One can believe that Robert is conscious being helping his students to become conscious. One can mind one’s own business…

But these scenes bother me.


88. X-ray - June 26, 2010

40. Tatyana – June 23, 2010

‘how many intelligent, serious people paying so much money’

And how intelligent really are they if they are keeping to pay for his garbage? The answer is: they are not, and you are still dreaming.

‘Watching his body language however I must say he does feel kind of uncomfortable after saying things like this. Like a little girl who just took a cookie from a cookie jar… So, maybe there is a little bit of conscience still left in there?’

How anything can be left, if he never had one to begin with?
I think he just can’t believe how stupid his students are.

89. X-ray - June 26, 2010

“You will see there were a lot of people there with the degree in astrophysics, psychology, engineering… and it makes sense to them what is is saying!”

How can a nonsense make any sense, Tatyana?
You are continuing to surprise me over and over again.

90. X-ray - June 26, 2010

A formal education doesn’t necessarily means intelligence.
You can be educated and yet been stupid, as an above examples shows, or you can be a high school dropout but actually can think.

91. WhaleRider - June 26, 2010


Many brave, sincere and intelligent US soldiers entered Iraq with the strong belief (based on what they were told by the authorities they trusted and not what they themselves could possibly personally verify) that there were stockpiles of WMD awaiting them. I am sure they imagined and even dreamed they would find WMD once they got there. None were found because we now know the intel was patently false and a fabricated lie promoted by individuals with hidden agendas who wanted to rape Iraq.

It would be delusional to persist with the conviction that the WMD were indeed there somewhere, we must keep on searching nevertheless, and it was our own fault for just not looking in the right places. Not even Dick Cheney is that crazy.

On the other hand, Burton believes, with absolute conviction and certainty, as others do whom share his delusion, that he is a goddess in a man’s body, that he is on the level of Christ, and that disembodied spirits are communicating with him through numbers, street signs and license plates…and the reason nobody else but his followers share this delusion as well is because nobody but his followers are viewing him in the correct way, all of which is implausible, bizarre, and patently untrue.

And despite Burton’s three failed predictions and the fact that he rapes his followers as proof to the contrary of who he says he is…Burton’s persistent beliefs as well as his followers’ meet Jasper’s criteria as both pathological and delusional, IMHO.

92. Best of the Blog - June 26, 2010

on June 8, 2007 at 8:07 pm

I’d like to propose that uninformative language, rife with buzzwords and appeals to a commonality of experience, is a hallmark of Fellowship thinking and teaching. The basic allure of the message is: We share something important that nobody else knows about, and we are all in it together.

To take a few examples right from the blog: Howard Carter posted several quotes by Robert at 11/116, to illustrate how self-remembering is related to prehistoric pictures. Thank you. As Ames pointed out nicely, “their semantic content adds up to zero”. Yet, over the years, Robert has learned to use big words to disguise the basic (lack of) meaning. As one of my teachers once said, “Sounding impressive often passes for deep thought.” Take a look:

“The prehistoric tradition is the backbone of the esoteric.”
– Prerequisite: you have to believe that there is such a thing as a “prehistoric tradition”. Pre-pre-requisite: you have to believe that Robert Burton interprets the world objectively. Loaded words: the prehistoric tradition, backbone, the esoteric. Form of statement: A is B. Translation: “What I claim to be true is really very important.”

“Schools are indifferent to the form of the message, which is why we are able to understand the prehistoric.”
– Prerequisite: you have to believe in the tradition of esoteric schools as interpreted by Robert Burton. Pre-prerequisite: you have to believe that Robert Burton knows for a fact what other schools in the past have been like. Loaded words: schools, the message, we, the prehistoric. Robert Burton speaks in all-embracing pronouncements in order to give himself some validity and credibility, hence the use of “schools” when he means “I” and the use of “we” when he means “I”. Form of statement: A, therefore B. Translation: “I don’t care what it looks like, it always means the Sequence – and that’s why I can interpret anything.”

“A student asked why we are studying the prehistoric school, and I said that it is consistent with what we are doing – gathering the teachings of the schools before us.”
– This is beautiful. He re-words the question to provide an answer. Loaded words: the prehistoric school, consistent, schools. Form of statement: A because B. Note how you could leave out “consistent with” and it would still mean the same thing. The word “consistent” is there only for impact, to evoke positive associations of what you want to be like in your work. Translation: “We are doing this because it is part of something we are already doing.” ,,,

The Sheik mentioned above how limiting work language is. One of the reasons is that it operates subconsciously. When Robert or students use phrases that you are familiar with, you automatically think they must be correct. Language is mostly a tool of the rational and logical mind, but it is being used daily to act on your instinctive and emotional functions. Of course we all know that, and we explain it by saying “Robert is centered in the King of Hearts”, so he speaks to our emotions. He sways the emotions. Holds people in fascination. If you want to look at what he is saying rationally, you will be immediately dismissed: “Oh, you’re so intellectual…” And we all know that being intellectual is baaaaad and unhelpful. We can only understand Robert by abandoning reason. Well, at least that much is true.

The Thoughts from the Teacher are full of eloquent formulations:

Put your cleverness away: mere words will never unite you to the state we are in. Kabir
In John 17:4, Jesus—the steward—said, “I have finished the work which thou havest me to do”—I have completed the sequence. One of the most wonderful moments in our school was when we discovered the image of this prehistoric flute, dating to 34,000 BP. The flute, which looks like an obelisk, and represents the sequence, has four holes, representing the four wordless breaths. It is made from a vulture’s carcass, the vulture being a symbol of work ‘I’ number six, because it can soar effortlessly for prolonged periods at high altitudes. Quite interestingly, even though this flute is more than thirty thousand years old, it was found in 1939, the year I was born. Related to this, Ibn Arabi said, “God is one, unique, eternal, and perfect.” He names four attributes, like the four wordless breaths. (3-25-07)

But imagine if the Thoughts came to you neutralized, in the form of actual informative content and everyday language:

“Don’t be clever. You want to be in a higher state. Words won’t help.” (Kabir)
“I did what you told me to do.” (Jesus)
Robert: “This means Jesus is the steward and he used the sequence.
Some students found a picture of a flute that is 34,000 years old. I thought that was awesome and that it will benefit the Fellowship. The shape of the flute reminds me of an obelisk. The flute means the sequence. The flute has four holes, they mean four wordless breaths. The material used to make the flute was the bone of a vulture. According to me, a vulture means the sixth work “I”: a vulture and the sixth work “I” are similar in that a vulture flies high for a long time without effort, and it’s the same with the end of the sequence.
I find it fascinating that this flute was discovered in the same year as I was born (1939), and this seems surprising to me, because the flute is more than 30,000 years old.
I think this is related to what Ibn Arabi said: God is one, unique, eternal and perfect. The reason it’s related is because the things Ibn Arabi mentioned about God, are four, just like four wordless breaths that I talk about.”

Note how in the original Robert does not “own” his opinions. He projects them onto the School to become everyone’s opinion: “one of the most wonderful moments in our school was”, “a flute which looks like an obelisk” (yes, and a cigar among other things also looks like an obelisk, by the way), “being a symbol”. How much less convincing is it if I say “I think”, “this reminds me of” “it seems to me as if” – have you ever heard Robert speak like that? It’s strange, isn’t it? He can support the idea he is conscious because he sounds so sure of himself. People who sound sure of themselves sound like people who can be trusted. At least they know what they’re talking about, thank God.

I guess I have to mention the misappropriation of quotations that has been staring everyone in the face for years but has been justified as a means to a valid end. Robert wants to show us something valuable, so he uses quotes to make his point. Okay, he may tailor the quotes (and pictures) a bit to suit his needs, but the point is still fair, we say. Don’t you see what’s happening? He’s using anything he can get his hands on from any past authority to support his own fantasy, and we are asked to play along in the interest of a greater good. He is exploiting magical thinking in students who unconsciously believe in “greatness by association” – by placing himself in the same context with Kabir, Rumi, Whitman, or other people that you have found inspiring, he takes credit for your inspiration and will now reinterpret it for you so that you will understand it “correctly”. He creates these people in his own image. Some students are actually literally believing that the sequence has been known for 30,000 years and used by Buddha, Christ, Lao-Tze and the rest of them! (Other students who don’t believe it, live in a split personality.) Because we agreed to play along. Because it’s intended to make us more emotional. We allow the first step, we close one eye when he kind of doesn’t make sense, and it’s all downhill from there.

Do you ever hear Robert babbling? His thoughts running on in a perpetual non-sequitur? What did you feel when you read the part about him being born in 1939 and the 30,000 years of the flute? Is he making sense? Is that an expression of his consciousness which you are yet to fathom? Or of his fascination with himself and fixation on numbers?

A fixed idea is typically a decision or conclusion the person has made on his own at some point that has set up an automatic way of dealing with life. It is one specific idea that is regarded as having great value for the person, but which he isn’t conscious of using. He uses it as truth, and it appears to make everything right for him. It is a fixed, aberrated way of handling life. It is a way of being right. Often it involves making others wrong at the same time. The fixed idea makes a certain concept or behavior the right way, per definition. The person has a blind spot about the fixed idea. He doesn’t know he is using it. He is so confident about it that he never has to re-evaluate it. If he gets close to it by himself it just appears as obvious truth and he doesn’t look any further.

I think Robert has a fixed idea that angels are communicating with him through numbers, and some students (especially Girard) have a fixed idea that Robert is something called a “conscious being” and therefore his interpretations of the world are objective and true no matter what. But of course, real students know that it’s not just a fixed idea, because they happen to know that it’s true and it’s just that all those billions of life people out there are so asleep that they can’t see it. Of course.

But the original question was, what is the connection between keying ancient images and self-remembering? I never got it, obviously, so this is my speculation of how it happens. You are given an image, for example, a 15.000 year-old picture on a cave wall, and told that it represents ancient esoteric knowledge, exactly the same knowledge that the Fellowship possesses (5 deer heads over a black stripe = entering the 3rd state through the sequence of 6 steps and controlling 72 divisions of centers). Is it the sheer magnitude of the idea, that you are discovering something not understood by anyone else on the planet, that just makes you quiver and gape in awe, and then that brings you closer to self-remembering?

I wanted to look at some of the Newspeak produced by the Fellowship. And I’m not talking only about expressions like “the sequence” and “the steward” that you need a name for if you’re going to invent a concept and talk about it. It’s subtler than simple units of reference. It’s emotional. It penetrates the heart directly, and if you have learned to turn your head off as unhelpful to your evolution, it does not enter the mind to question the implications of promotional language. You repeat the set phrases designed to evoke a certain feeling, and eventually this becomes the only way you are able to express yourself.

“2006 was the year of the sequence, and what we accomplished in understanding the system exceeded all of our expectations.” –Robert

In the Fellowship, you are repeatedly told what you (we) are thinking and feeling and what state you (we) are in. I know all the arguments, it is only for our own good, and even if it’s not true yet, it’s to encourage us to really think and feel that way, to induce us to really manifest that higher state. Doesn’t that strike you as eerily similar to The Secret? Doesn’t it seem like a hypnotic technique? Maybe you think that’s really useful, but I find it incredibly manipulative and naïve on the part of the students. It works for producing obedient malleable smiling content people, and to me that’s a particularly high evolutionary achievement.

“Safeguarding the nine of hearts from drifting into imagination for fifteen seconds after you have completed the sequence is the greatest achievement in the universe.” –Robert, Jan 5, 2007

Once upon a time, we were told not to express ourselves in absolutes, because it would be lying. Robert, however, is not being grandiose, he is being conscious, so he really knows what he is talking about when he says “greatest achievement in the universe”. If our reason accidentally kicks in, we explain him away, and we say, well, he didn’t mean it that way, he has to speak like that to shake us out of our sleep, it’s supposed to be emotional and evocative. Right. Just like he didn’t really literally mean

“To make the machine conscious and immortal is the ultimate task, and to achieve this, everything is asked from us.” – Robert, May 17, 2007

Nowadays Robert doesn’t talk about predictions much publicly any more. He doesn’t have to. The core of his students have internalized the idea that the Fellowship is the last conscious school on Earth at the end of this civilization. Robert only needs to hint at it.

“The beautiful Egyptian artworks are sacred messages from the first school to the last school.” – Robert, January 2, 2007

Note the emotions contained in the “sacred messages” and “the last school”. It could make one cry. No wonder people become so attached to the Fellowship if it gives their life such a deep purpose in God’s grand scheme of things.

‘The sequence has the incredible privilege of associating with divine presence. By transforming the lower self we produce the pearl of great price – divine presence. Stay away from ‘I’s unrelated to your precious sequence; fast from lifeless, unconscious thoughts. When third eye is doing everything it can to escape from the tentacles of imagination and the diabolical control of the lower self, it does so with ‘Be’. What a mercy it was when they delivered the sequence to us; we can all be conscious beings now. All schools teach us the same thing – how to begin and complete sequences. It is critical to begin a new sequence as soon as the old one is exhausted.’ -Robert

Again, little actual informative content, mostly loaded phrases evoking imagery of a great, formidable, noble and epic battle between good and evil, spanning countless centuries, delivered fresh to your inbox every day for you to feel special about: “incredible privilege”, “divine presence”, “pearl of great price”, “precious sequence”, “lifeless thoughts”, “tentacles of imagination”, “diabolical control”, “delivered the sequence”, “conscious beings”, “all schools”…

But you have seen that presence is everything, and you insist that this is all about presence.

If that is so, dear Friends, please enjoy your wonderful and inspirational teaching events and intimate buffets for 30 with our Beloved Teacher, dining at cozy tables with special friends in gentle conversation, followed by charming concerts. Afterwards, you might wish to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity to take a beautiful photograph with our Beloved Teacher. Group discounts (up to 3 people) will be available. Cash and checks accepted. I also invite you to take part in the 2nd auction this year to resume construction of the Theatron – please help raise tens of thousands of dollars so we can share more moments of presence in this very special place. Purchase your tickets online. You will also have the pleasure of experiencing our newest dining venue at the Nile Garden Terrace. Treat yourself to a wonderful teaching event ($150 sitting, $75 standing) and enjoy the spectacular view (look with presence) before the event. Please move with presence on the Path of Presence as you walk up to the dining event with our Beloved Teacher.

With love and sugar-dripping presence,

“Four legs good, two legs baaaaa-tter.” – The Sheep


93. X-ray - June 26, 2010

And mentioning those ‘noddings’…
Have you ever watched Jean Chapman attending dinners or meetings?
Well, I never saw anyone nodding more.
She was nodding even before Burton was speaking and during his silence.
Once I even thought that she might be getting paid for doing that, because if not, then it’s just sick.

94. reader - June 26, 2010


A good description of the atmosphere at meetings might be “the lack of resistance.”

Nodding is definitely part of that, but the lack of resistance shows itself in several other ways. You rarely see people getting up to leave the room, for example. No interruptions. No talking amongst ourselves, and definitely no laughing at some of the more silly comments. If you do, it’s muted laughter. If there’s an outburst of laughter around the room, it’s quickly stifled, and the room returns to silence.

People at meetings are on-guard to hide even the most subtle facial expressions, as those expressions might show disapproval or disagreement, or the feeling of being puzzled or dumbfounded by what was being said. Movements are avoided. The last thing you want is to make a sound with your chair — at one point Burton even asked people to avoid scraping their chairs on the floor when they sat down or got up.

Of course, we pretend that all of this is “intentionality” and “controlling centers” and “creating presence.” But the end effect is actually one of strange compliance and passivity. The expression of opinion or individuality is strictly discouraged. Actually, strictly prohibited is more accurate.

Some of the “Robert receptions” were a little more natural. Not sure he’s still doing that. People could stand and walk around and drink some wine. But there was a still an odd sense that everyone was being cautious about how they “manifested.” Burton was, too. He sat in the corner with one or two or three of the guys who would obviously be part of his bedroom activities that evening (or maybe they already were a few minutes ago), and generally there would be an older woman sitting next to him. One of the odd things is that few people would stand in front of him, almost like a strange force field — everyone apparently concerned that they’ll get a photograph for blocking his view. Not much mingling go on — he just sits, separating himself from the group, rarely if ever going around to talk to anyone. And if he did, keeping it extremely brief, “Dear could you go in the kitchen and ask Alfred blah blah bah.” My guess is that he knew he couldn’t mingle for very long. If the conversation became awkward or strange — someone might wonder if he really is “conscious.” Also, how could he mingle? With his little friends standing next to him, he would undoubtedly have to bring them into the conversation, too. Might get uncomfortable at that point.

Easier to avoid conversation altogether, or keep the conversation limited to topics of your choosing, and with people of your choosing. Hiding things is very awkward. It requires some planning.

95. WhaleRider - June 26, 2010

“People at meetings are on-guard to hide even the most subtle facial expressions, as those expressions might show disapproval or disagreement, or the feeling of being puzzled or dumbfounded by what was being said. Movements are avoided. The last thing you want is to make a sound with your chair — at one point Burton even asked people to avoid scraping their chairs on the floor when they sat down or got up.”

What’s the Russian word for “control freak”? or shall I say a person displaying freakish-like controlling behavior. What a colossal waste. Next he’ll be asking his servant followers to remove the flies buzzing in the room….or the vuvuzelas. What a waste of energy on fear. All this business about not allowing belly laughter or open mouthed smiles is really extreme. Laughter is a natural anti-depressant, after all. It’s a human right.

96. reader - June 26, 2010

Yes, Burton said showing your teeth was a display of the instinctive center. Oh. Assuming that’s even correct, one must wonder why a display of the instinctive center is a problem. You could list hundreds of ways the instinctive center displays itself in the FOF.

But we know it actually had nothing to do with being a “display of the instinctive center.” I’m sure a few years ago Burton caught a few people smiling widely in stunned disbelief as they listened to one of his bizarre comments, hence the “don’t show your teeth” exercise.

It’s pretty subtle, but if you caught someone smiling and shaking their heads across the room, you might later ask them what they were thinking, and then share your impressions later. Before you know it, we have outright rebellion.

That must have happened to me years ago. I recall someone asking me what I thought of the sequence after one of the ‘meetings.’ All I could bring myself to say — regrettably, was that I didn’t get it, but that I’d withhold judgment. (Imagine if I had responded in a loud voice with dozens of people all around, “What do I think of the sequence?! Are you kidding me?! What a joke! What are we fucking doing here?!”)

But he could see from my tepid response that it was just a matter of time for me. I could tell from the fact that he even asked the question that it was just a matter of time for him, too. And sure enough, he also left.

By the way, I think there’s a “no vuvuzela” exercise.

97. nige - June 26, 2010

To Rene Sell, as a new friend on GF site…..Nigel.

By W B Yeats

‘What have I earned for all that work,’ I said,
‘For all that I have done at my own charge?
The daily spite of this unmannerly town,
Where who has served the most is most defamed,
The reputation of his lifetime lost
Between the night and morning. I might have lived,
And you know well how great the longing has been,
Where every day my footfall should have lit
In the green shadow of Ferrara wall;
Or climbed among the images of the past –
The unperturbed and courtly images –
Evening and morning, the steep street of Urbino
To where the Duchess and her people talked
The stately midnight until they stood
In their great window looking at the dawn;
I might have had no friend that could not mix
Courtesy and passion into one like those
That saw the wicks grow yellow in the dawn;
I might have used the one substantial right
My trade allows; chosen my company,
And chosen what scenery pleased me best,’
Thereon my phoenix answered in reproof,
‘The drunkards, pilferers of public funds,
All the dishonest crowd I had driven away,
When my luck changed and they dared meet my face,
Crawled from obscurity, and set upon me
Those I had served and some that I had fed;
Yet never have I, now nor any time,
Complained of the people.’

All I could reply
Was: ‘You, that have not lived in thought but deed,
Can have the purity of a natural force,
But I, whose virtues are the definitions
Of the analytic mind, can neither close
The eye of the mind nor keep my tongue from speech.’
And yet, because my heart leaped at her words,
I was abashed, and now they come to mind
After nine years, I sink my head abashed.

98. X-ray - June 27, 2010

94. reader – June 26, 2010

In order to resist, you have to BE, and if no one is ‘there’, who will resist?
Burton’s circus would be laughable if wouldn’t be so sickening.

99. X-ray - June 27, 2010

Sheep do not resist.

100. Best of the Blog - June 27, 2010

on June 8, 2007 at 7:13 pm

Hello to all of you beautiful people,

so nice to meet you again! Reading and participating to this blog is a profound experience that is helping so many of us to understand and heal and learn from our past. I am struck by the depth of understanding and compassion shown by many fellow bloggers. It looks like the FOF experience was a prelude to a healthier and fuller life for most of us! For the past week I have been reading your posts until my eyes hurt and I am really grateful for this opportunity to come to terms with a very crucial period of my life. After leaving the FOF my first priority was to move on and to create a new life for me and my family. I did not spend a lot of time thinking about what had happened, I just knew very clearly that my connection with the fellowship and its teachings had ended and I was happy to let it go. Now I see how many unexpressed emotions I am still carrying inside of me, how much I still love my old lost friends, how strongly these memories of long ago still affect me. So many people I forgot about, and what a shock to suddenly see their faces, hear their names again ! (by the way, I think you are aging graciously, don’t listen to spiteful and infantile comments on your looks.) I just desire to share my delight at this new twist of our collective play. I already loved the web and its amazing potential to connect people and ideas, but this beats any use I have had for it so far.

Love to all of you,

Laura Ottina (formerly Davis)

Susan T: I was especially moved by your post. I joined the FOF in Rome when you were center director and have very fond memories of you and Patrick. I am really happy to hear that you are well! It’s the quality of people like you that drew me to the FOF and one of the things that I still value most about that experience.

Ames: your insights were very helpful to me at the time I left the FOF, congratulations, I see you are keeping up the good work!

Comic Relief
on June 8, 2007 at 8:09 pm

Before deciding to start his own school and making the dangerous mistake of hiding behind C Influence to justify his actions, maybe RB should have listened to some omens they tried to give him through Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) whose movies came out JUST around that time:

“He’s a legend in his own mind”.

“A man’s GOT to know his limitations.”

“This is a *44* magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and can blow your head CLEAN off. So the question you’ve got to ask yourself is, “Do I feel lucky?” ”

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make insane” – Roman Proverb

Skeptical Optimist
on June 8, 2007 at 10:26 pm

257 Golb

I believe Howard Gardner pioneered this field in his Frames of Mind. The theory of multiple intelligences.

They are:

Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”):
Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)
Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)
Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)
Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)

An interesting read, and shows the FoF-type of explanations of intelligence embarassingly simplistic and shallow.


No Body Is Going to the Moon
on June 9, 2007 at 12:25 am

There is no need to separate the work ideas from the Fellowship because neither is necessary, nothing is wrong. No one is going to the moon. Life is good, God is great and death will be nice. Don’t worry, be calm, stay calm, there is no need for more consciousness than what we have now. Put it all out of your mind. I’m OK, you’re OK. OK? Everyone agree?

Garrett Browning
on June 9, 2007 at 1:16 am

Seems like humility and wisdom grow from relentless observation and unflinching integrity.

Haven’t we learned that we don’t have to be right; and, to take care when we’re too sure about what we know?


Verify Verity
on June 9, 2007 at 10:16 am

Beware the attempts of the disingenuous as they try to discredit this discourse with their moronic meaningless manifestations. Or, in other words, the off-topic posts of unpleasantries are attempts to discredit this blog and/or to cause people to be frustrated in reading it. Just skip over the useless drivel.

on June 9, 2007 at 8:43 pm

Members of the Fellowship are mistaken if they think that they are invisible in this community. Thanks to this blog local people know what is going on and the ugly secrets are no longer secrets. Members stand out like “sore thumbs” at the post office, the grocery and video stores because of their oblivious and arrogant attitudes. Continued affiliation suggests to everyone that members are people without conscience or decency. With the information about the Fellowship now public and available, members, no matter how well-dressed, polite and refined, are increasingly regarded as sick people who are supporting a sick leader and his sick organization.

What healthy citizens would want such corruption and depravity in their midst? Many people are just waiting for the whole pack of lies to self destruct.

We Were There
on June 10, 2007 at 2:46 am

11/352 LOL

…One thing not lost on the readers of this blog is that current members of the Fellowship of Friends seem to be the source of the majority of mean-spirited, sarcastic and intimidating posts.

Matthew warned “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves… A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit… So then, you will know them by their fruits. (7, 15-20)

Wake up LOL, it’s not too late.

Or is it?


101. Best of the Blog - June 27, 2010

Four posts by Tornado, and one by Alice in W.

on June 9, 2007 at 10:21 am

I want to tell my experiment with the school:

Since before I left the fellowship, few years ago, several people asked me how was it to be in it. My answer was always the same; “I left the fellowship empowered and more conscious without doubt. But I don’t recommend you to join it. There are faster, safer and more efficient ways to get results than there.”

What made me stronger after more than 15 years was not the teaching itself, but the process of sorting out through so much distraction, confusion, and entertainment. If the fellowship is a conscious school, it is one of denial. It is not a school of love.

Whatever is being taught there, needs to be turned around carefully. What helped me, were personal painful experiences that put me in states of intense presence that I verified were of a different quality than the presence Robert and the students in general talked about. I realized that we just talked about it. That is risky because you may became a specialist in talking about presence but not actually be present. The FOF method had too many other components that made thing very confusing to me. I needed more clarity.

I made it through it but many didn’t. I saw people going through the deepest misery and some of them, never recovered. At that time, who was supposed to be a man number 5 was chronically depressed and addictive to antidepressants. That was before his stroke. I hope his is doing better now. He was doing his best.

It was very common to meet older students (20+ years in the school) being depressed or angry without motivation for life. No presence, no aliveness. Good talkers in the meetings, anxious and miserable in private.

My practice in the healing profession allowed me to be able to witness in all those years, many students repeating those patterns that gave me enough evidence to say what I am saying.

It was very painful for me to stay all those years with my eyes open. I knew that something was off, something was fishy. I started practicing presence (what an expression!) daily. I was obsessed with it. I realized how foreign it was to me. I needed support, but the support the students gave me was not working. Most of them were like parrots repeating from a book. And the teacher seemed to be in his own bubble doing his thing.

The most powerful guidance happened when I starting bringing myself present to the deep pain that I was feeling for being an outcast in the school. I felt like a cyst or a tumor sometimes in the body of the school.

But it became simpler and simpler. Slowly, I learned not to condition the state of presence. That means, no expecting anything out of it. It was not easy as you can imagine.

I started turning around what Robert was saying. Whatever he would say, I would do the opposite. It was an experiment for quite a long time. And worked. The consciousness taught in the FOF is not the one I’ve verified myself. There is not circus in it. It is very simple. No angels, no prophecies, no life people vs us, no going to the moon, etc.

It is not a state that comes and goes. It is always in the background. It varies in intensity but is always available. It is there when I am happy, it is there when I am in pain. It never leaves. It is what I really am (if I am anything at all!)

For me it’s empowering. In better words it is all power itself. It is actually living in touch with the miracle of life always available. It’s a state of clarity, were I can live my life from a place of authenticity and integrity. From that place I never say yes when I want to say no. Anywhere I go, the same face, no need for pretense or hiding. Its a place where I can walk my talk. There is a sense of growing connection with myself. There is creativity and a sense of love for life. An honoring. This results in deeper inner peace, freedom and joy in my experience. The aliveness grows and what we call the traits of the young children in an adult’s body becomes more and more a regular part of life.

For me the process of awakening is an ascending octave, suffering is not an option in it, although pain happens. They are very different things, you know.

It is a process where the ability and the skills to deal with pain grow the more I use them. It is about being present to what is happening in me, regardless of what is. It is not about suppressing emotions, it is not about expressing them neither. It is about transforming them with deep presence. If they are uncomfortable (what in the fellowship I used to called: negative emotions) I feel them as human pain. They are not personal. The state of conscious presence as I experience it, embraces life as it is.

There are no enemies to fight. Everything is material for transformation.
It is about less inner talk, less opinions, less analysis, less criticism, less gossip, less us vs you.

It requires to be connected with my body, with its feelings and sensations. In my experience, to be present is to be as authentic as I can. If I feel sad, I feel sad. If I feel angry, I feel angry. No story. No shoulds or shouldn’ts. It’s what is.
End of the story.

Students in the fellowship: It is possible to live like this. It requires to stop believing what my little head is telling me. And what other little heads are telling me too! including Robert’s!

And you know, I learned all this while I was in the fellowship. Funny ah?
I learned it with my patients, some of you, FOF students. I could see that what you were doing didn’t work. I saw it too many times. I didn’t say anything though.
I was doing my experiment still not very certain about it.

I just learned to turn things around. Whatever Robert said I would do the opposite and see what happened. After several years I found a way that worked for me. I also learned not to believe anything he said including the predictions. (that was quite a show. A tragic-comedy I would say)

After several years of deeply feeling the pain of being in the school and seeing what I was seeing happening around me, I left feeling complete. No resentments.
It was about time.

What a change of life! I felt like coming out of a cave. Finally, breathing pure air!
After leaving, I learned that there were other teachings that were already saying what I was doing and I remember wondering, “how come us, the students in the fellowship attract such complicated teaching?”

I realized that Robert attracts very special people. Like myself full of naiveté and arrogance. Dangerous combination! Naiveté and arrogance, the chief feature of the FOF. If you have enough of both in your genetics, you are a good candidate for Robert’s school.

With the intention to contribute,
Thank you for this opportunity to share.


Alice in W
on June 9, 2007 at 6:36 pm

312 tornado “It requires to be connected with my body, with its feelings and sensations. In my experience, to be present is to be as authentic as I can. If I feel sad, I feel sad. If I feel angry, I feel angry. No story. No shoulds or shouldn’ts. It’s what is. End of the story”.

Tornado, wow. Thank you for your post! I think it is the first time the word “authentic” has been used and it feels enormously important as a mature development of essence and emptiness.

A former student said:
“Alice in wonderland states
“I experience conscience as a deep understanding that all human beings are suffering because they are asleep.” That’s fine I don’t experience this. It is too abstract for me.”

I don’t think I said this because I don’t think beings are asleep – just don’t think/feel that way. In fact, at certain times it seems like the whole globe is awake and alive and just one being. I enjoyed your thoughtful post and agree that the experience of conscience (as an aspect of consciousness) awakens compassion – which feels like a connectedness. Pretty simple.

It seems that people (not just fofers) are attracted to power. The power of consciousness without the brakes of conscience. An attitude, or belief, can be a complete blind spot. Most of the current members’ posts express being impressed with RB’s displays of power. His grand displays of his ‘consciousness’.

I remember being very disoriented reading “guns, germs and steel” (J. Diamond) because thru his eyes I could see my agrarian self from a very unaccustomed perspective. I left the fof because I just didn’t believe that RB and devotees are any special-er than anyone else. Could never verify that. (in fact, I think RB has serious psychological illness.) Wm. Blake speaks about “divine Imagination” – like imagining, just for the space of a moment, that one’s beliefs are not real.


on June 10, 2007 at 7:41 am

I also thought that “I have arrived”; “this is the place”; some time after joining the FOF, to realize almost 8 years later that I was off in my perception and that the school was just a small and necessary stepping stone in my soul journey.

It took my ego some time to swallow all the evidence and the humbling experience of accepting that I have not arrived anywhere yet, and that there was still some more work that needed to be done. The most important one.

Later on I realized that this may be one of the reasons why for some of us, takes so much to decide to leave the school. I realized that my self image has been fed with ideas like:

“I made it”, “I’m done”, ” I am a chosen one”, “this is the ultimate place for me”, “I am going to die in the school”; etc. etc.

It was a very painful process for me to dismantle all that structure. It was glued together with one of the most powerful energies that us human beings are able to create in our regular state of consciousness. And that is the emotional energy of what we call; friendship.

One morning was very liberating to realize that the most important friendship I needed to honor was the one I had with myself. There I was watching through those eyes, breathing through this nose, being alive in a body and dismissing myself completely. Distracted by fairytales, or biting upon myself for not being enough or incomplete or deficient…

That day I became aware of a very simple thing that supported me up to this day.
I like it or not, I am my eternal roommate!
How do I want to live in this relationship?

What would my life would be like if I treat myself in the way I treat someone I love very-very much?

These questions still help me today.

Breath with me please…


June 10, 2007 at 7:01 pm

What’s the motivation that makes me write here?

First, it is about contribution to the enrichment of life and the life of others (as Marshall Rossemberg would say)

Ex.: Extending a hand (my experience) to my fellows human beings that are going through the same trial I went several years ago. Possibly giving them what I needed myself in those days. Support, connection, empathy, compassion.

I realized I wouldn’t feel the pull to write here, if this was a blog for former students only

It’s also about integrity; Even though the FOF experience was empowering and liberating for me, as I said in a post before; I left with the feeling you have when you know you could have helped so many people but you didn’t. I had to take care of myself instead.

The timing was not right then.
It’s also about Authenticity and honesty:
Expressing my truth, just because it is my truth. It may be not yours. It may not be theirs.

So what?

I’ve been living with myself for eons and I have no plans to change that.

I better take my side once and for all!

on June 10, 2007 at 7:29 pm

I like the idea of supporting those that are leaving and I am sending you my info. (by the way I have the sense that MOST OF FOF students are going to be former students sooner or later, like you and me and many others thousands).

Although, I feel very uncomfortable when I think of rescuing them. I don’t want to rescue them. Rescuing is one of the most disempowering things we can do to each other.

For those that don’t know what it is, between others things, rescuing implies:

1- Doing for others what they can do for themselves.
(I always clean the mess after you made yourself a sandwich, because you don’t do it)

2- Doing for others when they didn’t ask for any help.
(I just apologized for you to our neighbor dear)

3- Doing something for other person because we think we can do it better than they can it.
(“Go do something else, I will do the laundry for you”)

For example;
Doing a “C section” when the baby is able to go through the channel by himself is unnecessary and is rescuing him from having the powerful experience of going through the channel by his own means.

Rescuing creates resentment at the end. There is a rescuer and a rescued one that are not meeting at the same level. One is higher, more powerful, knows more, does it better, has more money, etc.

The person that is being rescued may resent the other one because “you can do it and I can’t” and the person that is rescuing may resent the other one because “see how you pay me all the things I did for you!”

In rescuing there is a sense of owing in the relationship. There is also usually a hidden agenda. Guilt trips, expectations, shame, etc.

Rescuing is s recipe for conflict, pain and separation. And has been the main cause in tragedy in my relationships of the past.

A question to myself is:
How to find the balance of contributing to the life of students in need and letting them have their own experience that at the end will empower them?

It’s a fine line, isn’t it?


102. Best of the Blog - June 27, 2010

No person
on June 8, 2007 at 8:24 pm

On the day of the earthquake in 1998 a large portion of our center in Moscow went to a cafe where the TV news were on, and sat there staring at the TV for many long hours, waiting to hear the news about the earthquake. I don’t remember if it was official “task” or if it was center directors initiative to do this. Earthquake didn’t happen, and we went home in awkward silence. We felt very confused.

I wouldn’t say that most people didn’t believe in predictions. To my observation most of us had mixed feelings – kind of not believing and also thinking: What if he’s right? Some truly believed, and some people I personally know did get hurt by it financially very badly…

Robert said that he is “saving student’s lives” when he very strictly demanded that all students from Bay area take few weeks off their jobs and move to Isis, which for many resulted in loss of their jobs. It was for real, not metaphorical. I never heard Robert ever apologize for causing so much suffering and difficulty to his students and I was actually hoping that he would. He blamed it on c-influence, and didn’t take any responsibility at all.

Also, he hasn’t given up on this predictions stuff. Just in case you don’t remember, there were many, many “quake allerts” after 1998 in years to follow, when similar suggestions were made – not to fly to Bay area, get out of there during certain dates etc. Ask guys who lived in Galleria for a while how many times since 1998 they were preparing for the predicted quake, taking pictures off the walls, wraping fragile stuff to avoid breakage…

This was not symbolic – this was very literal! Ask them – they may share some stories with you.

Last time I personally heard of another California earthquake warning was as recent as December 2006, I think the dates were 26 or 27 but I don’t recall exactly. It was delivered to me by a devoted “inner circle” student, and he said this news were intended for inner circle only… (Thanks for including me, by the way!)

So as you can see, RB’s obsession with prophecies is still going on. May be it’s uncurable. I have a feeling he is fascinated with disasters and death, somehow he tends to predict only “bad” stuff… How about some positive prediction, some good news for a change?

Ames Gilbert
on June 11, 2007 at 4:51 pm

To LOL (#11-355, 424 and many others)

Like it or not, to many you represent the Fellowship of Friends. I have no idea if you are doing this as part of what you conceive to be third line work (advancing the aims of the school and the teacher), or if it is just a convenient place to vent off the pressures of your life (your implication). I suppose it is possible that you are officially here as part of a plan to try to disrupt the blog. But, as I said, you are seen as a representative of the FoF, as one aspect of its being, and I have to point out that you are not doing a good job as ambassador.
You burst in on the scene a couple of pages ago (in your incarnation as LOL, at least) in a flurry of activity and negativity. I read your words and see a lot of thoughts about injustice, bias, and lying. I’m sure there are aspects of those here, and yet if that was all there were, your own experience should tell you that the blog would have died long before this. When you talk about the Inner Circle of the Blog, I wonder what you mean. By it’s very nature, a blog is disorganized, even if it built around a theme. The only way to have an inner circle, or favorites, is to have an organization, or a vote. So, you must be measuring frequency of posts, in which case you certainly qualify for the “Inner Circle”; you’re welcome to that lofty space, watch out for altitude sickness!

You are pretty keen on the old fart theme, and show that you know something about the past history of the FoF. So it seems possible that you are either an old fart yourself, or joined so young that you have both the first–hand historical view but are not yet old enough to be an old fart. You are obviously in a position where you have either been given permission or feel self-important enough to give yourself permission to attend the festivities. Maybe you are Linda T. herself? She is the only one who can tell us about her inner state without (maybe) lying, and you claim to know it.
Well, we voted to include your views and others like them, and you are keeping on as one of the most frequent contributors. That says something about us, and something about you. Although of course we know you do not represent the whole Fellowship, just as some of your targets on the blog do not represent the whole blog community, one way or another you are giving us a glimpse behind the scenes. So, thank you!

To Simple Truth (#11-465)

Burton is not a private person with a private life. He is a very public person (at least in the large fish in a small pond scale of things), and invites public scrutiny, not least because he has set himself up as an example and guide. Since the FoF is the form, the vessel being built by students, and he is supposed to fill it, it matters a great deal what he fills it with. There cannot be too much light shed on every aspect of his being. That he operates mostly behind closed doors implies much about his being, and of course leads to some guesswork. That’s the simple truth.

on June 11, 2007 at 10:22 pm

It is interesting to me to observe the defenders of the Fof keep asking for proofs of the ‘interesting’ private/not-so private- life of R. It is this the way to defend? Asking for proofs?

I was a night guard for 8 years at the galleria! Do you really want proof, yes is true. You really didn’t know? And you are in the school to wake up? Scary.

Adults that could say no? Maybe, maybe not.
Some are 20 years old, on salary, meaning $400 a month. They believe R. is God. Suddenly they are traveling, nice clothes, good life, everybody (I mean everybody) sleeps with him, so it almost feel normal. Once you said yes the first time, you are accepted in the group (a bit of a disturbed group I would say).

Nobody comes forward. Really? Strange, which heterosexual man wouldn’t like to expose himself, saying that he was or still is part of R. entourage. He already has to deal with the fact himself, maybe is not that easy to tell the rest of the world, that, like an idiot you said yes (at least for awhile) and then you accepted all kind of stupid truths to justify yourself or your teacher. So while dealing with all kind of stupid things like that, why not go out and tell everybody what kind of an idiot you’re?

But then again at least you’re not trying to tell everybody else that everything is fine and if you have verified Incluence C(?!)and that it’s all that is required from you.

Please stop asking for proofs, you know is all true, at least, for a little bit, try to be honest! (or it’s just feminine dominance?)

see ya


on June 11, 2007 at 10:33 pm

Imagine the faithful accepting the unvarnished truth. I can’t imagine the inner trauma they would have to face collectively and individually. It’s much easier to deny, especially when one’s personal blindness, and/or stupidity is entwined in one’s investment. For myself I found that knowledge isn’t quite enough without some kind of third force to overcome one’s reticence about being wrong.

Oregon House concerned
on June 11, 2007 at 10:53 pm

I have an idea for those that are “still members” before they leave.
Forward the blog address to as many people as you know in the school.
 Its amazing to see how many actual students express support with the blog!

on June 12, 2007 at 12:27 am

Some excerpts from:
(Thanks again to the person who posted.)

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” –Buddha

“In school, I learned to call my doubts ‘denying force’. I now believe those ‘doubts’ are really my conscience that is desperately trying to be heard. Conscience is buried but it isn’t buried where I thought it was. There IS something in a man or woman that never lies…”

“Above all, we must be truly honest with ourselves as to what our real questions about School are. What are the things that have bothered me for years but I have never spoken about? Things that I have never spoken about even to my partner or my best friend or my spouse because I was always afraid that they might not really understand what I was saying and/or report me to a teacher?”

“You have a right to know where your money has gone.”

“Why are we taught to shine the light of consciousness on everything except the school we attend? Is secrecy really necessary for school’s existence? Certain things are incapable of living in the light like cockaroaches. What happens if we shine the light of consciousness on school?”

“Silence is Complicity.”

“If we are truly going to think for ourselves then we must ask questions and demand answers.”

Red Rain
on June 12, 2007 at 1:47 am

The worst lies begin with a truth.

on June 12, 2007

In a dusty attic, filled with cobwebs and things long forgotten, I recently made an amazing discovery – fragments of an unknown work:

Devil’s Dictionary
 (by King of Clubs; in cooperation with: Queen of Hearts)

ACCELERATING, THE PACE IS – describes downhill movement

A INFLUENCE – derogatory term for all material pursuits, gains, riches and relations outside of the Fellowship of Friends, perceived as a distraction from pure spirituality

ANGLES OF THOUGHT – (archaic) individual expressions of subjective truth; see ‘quotations’

B INFLUENCE – derogatory term for all spiritual pursuits and teachings outside of the Fellowship of Friends; often perceived as dangerous competition that could misguide you into believing the Fellowship is not the true path and failing to complete your task; see ‘completed his/her task’

COMPLETED HIS/HER TASK – managed to stay a member until death; Cf. ‘lose the school’.

CONSCIOUS BEING – someone whose actions are bizarre and disturbing, but has informed you that they only seem that way because he is in a universe above you, so you can’t understand him

DEAR – subordinate

DINE – to eat while being aware that you are a Fellowship member

DONATIONS – mandatory fees for feeling saved and having friends

EMOTIONAL ENERGY – exhilarating feeling of being backed by numerous people who believe the same things you do

ENGAGE PRESENCE – grab hold of, control presence; get it to do what you want


EUROPEAN STYLE – a method of eating purportedly used in Europe and considered noble, in which you put the food on the back part of your fork and then bring it to your mouth

EXTERNAL CONSIDERING – to drop your pants for your Teacher

FORK WAY – a development of the Fourth Way in which large amounts of gourmet food are beautifully arranged on plates, shuffled around with a fork for a short time and then thrown away

FORTY-FOUR – local timezone; as in: “The concert will start promptly at 6:44 PM.”

FRIENDS – other believers

GOING AGAINST THE MACHINE – doing something stupid just because it’s difficult, to prove to yourself that you’re really evolving

GOSSIP – things you are better off not knowing if you don’t want to ‘lose the school’, see ‘lose the school’

IMPRESSIONS – A influence in the service of spirituality, for spiritual consumption and as building material for one’s immortal soul, particularly when bought by the Teacher; see ‘A influence’

INTENTIONAL INSINCERITY – misrepresenting aspects of your life that embarrass you

INTERNAL WARFARE – see ‘living the contradictions’

INTERVAL – a period of feeling guilty for having your own opinions
I’S – leftovers of reason

KING OF CLUBS – common sense

MEDICAL LEAVE OF ABSENCE – period of probation for people perceived as threats to the establishment

LIFE – people who make you feel good about yourself

LIVING THE CONTRADICTIONS – maintaining cognitive dissonance

LOSE THE SCHOOL, TO – to give up membership in the Fellowship of Friends; the implied failure and carelessness applies to all former members

LOVELY EVENT – a gathering where members are told by the Teacher how they feel and what state they are in

LOW ALCHEMY – too normal to be comfortable

LOWER SELF – spontaneity

MAGNETIC CENTER – idealistic sucker who needs to feel special

MECHANICAL – behavior that displeases me

MEETINGS – where people go to reassure each other that they are right

MOON, IT’S A – warning to avoid impending danger of being exposed to gossip, see ‘gossip’

NEW STUDENT – a person still learning which mannerisms are equated with being conscious

OCTAVE – duty

OLDER STUDENT – a person who has developed an ability to sound sure of themselves; other attributes include: sometimes swirls water in their glass, uses words such as ‘inexpensive’ instead of ‘cheap’ and dines in the European style; see ‘dine’, ‘European style’

PLAY, THE – explanation why things are the way they are and should not be otherwise

PLAY OF CRIME – attempts of enabling people universal access to information that could lead directly to your departure from the organization if you found out about it, much worse than gossip, this blog; see ‘gossip’

POSITIVE ATTITUDE, MAINTAINING – suspending all disbelief and critical thinking with a view to prevent manifestations of the king of clubs and to go against the machine; see ‘king of clubs’, ‘going against the machine’

PRESENCE – subject of ultimate appeal, part of a sales technique where it is suggested that purchasing a ticket or event seat is an indicator of your love of presence

PROSPECTIVE STUDENT MEETING – a gathering for assessing the eagerness of interested third parties to be led and told what is right, to appeal to their disappointments, insecurities and feeling out of place, and to offer a safe haven where evolution is guaranteed (for a price)

QUOTATIONS – pre-approved confetti-like shreds of old texts, declaimed by pre-approved speakers at public gatherings, creating the impression of audience participation; supersedes ‘angles’

SALARY, TO BE ON – to work full time for two and a half dollars per hour in exchange for being exempt from paying a membership fee

SCHOOL, OUR SACRED – an emotive way of referring to the Fellowship of Friends intended to help deepen valuation and the feelings of being special and chosen; see ‘valuation’
SEQUENCE – a self-hypnosis technique

SHAKING THE TREE – a process in which ripe fruits fall off the tree while unripe stay

SHOCKS – events of one’s life as seen from an egocentric perspective

STATE WE ARE IN – self-induced brain fog as a way of dealing with cognitive dissonance

STUDENT – member

TEACHER, OUR BELOVED – king of the sandbox; alpha male

TEACHER’S WILL, DEFEATING – making the Teacher feel powerless; frustrating the Teacher

THEY – purported astral beings who used to live as people on Earth but now are deciding everything that happens on Earth and restrict their direct communication to the Teacher; also called C influence

VALUATION – increased investment of personal identity into being a member of the Fellowship of Friends

VERIFICATION – (archaic) see ‘positive attitude’

VERIFYING C INFLUENCE – paying special attention to synchronicity in your life and believing that it happens because you are a paying member of the Fellowship of Friends

WILL OF C-INFLUENCE – wishes of the Teacher, particularly those that might meet with some resistance; see ‘they’

WIT – a threat to awakening as serious business

WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY – where you go to empty your wallet

Skeptical Optimist
on June 12, 2007 at 3:13 am

549 Moon Angel

Otherwise, we are just “beating a dead horse” at this point since so much has already been exposed.

Consider also that only a very small percentage of people have so far “told their stories.” Most—and that is thousands—have not, so maybe the horse is still alive. All of these stories deserve to be heard, and the blog has materialized the element that was missing—an audience.



103. brucelevy - June 27, 2010

“Consider also that only a very small percentage of people have so far “told their stories.”

Yup. It’s really too bad the FOF didn’t help people grow some balls. Instead it left them little whimpering little children (essence?????).

104. X-ray - June 27, 2010

103. brucelevy – June 27, 2010

‘Yup. It’s really too bad the FOF didn’t help people grow some balls.’

Not only that, they also cut the balls they have and telling these castrated people that spiritual pregnancy is process of nine lives.

105. Best of the Blog - June 27, 2010

The following post by the moderator brought to a close page 11 of the blog, which spanned the first two weeks of June of 07.

Page 11 had many great posts, but it was a challenge to find them. Much of the page was littered with negative and sarcastic commentary — the main intent of which was to express support for Burton, take up some space with nonsensical diversions, make the blog more difficult to read, and discourage people from having a look.

the Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion
on June 13, 2007 at 1:29 pm

I haven’t disappeared.

I cleaned up the spam a bit, it was quite good fun to see an organized attack against the blog – we haven’t had one of those in a while.

Quite a lot of aggression for an organisation that teaches to transform negativity.

Consequently we shall try a new form of moderation. It will be a mix of the old and new styles and we’ll see if it is an improvement on this format. It should be easier to tackle the spam at least.


106. Best of the Blog - June 27, 2010

A former student
on June 13, 2007 at 10:50 pm

Those who missed the spam attack do not understand that is was not based on content but volume. Posting sufficently large posts to slow down the blog and if continued make it unuseable. This is in no way a tactic of using a reasoned arguement or even of presenting ones own opinions.

Ames Gilbert
on June 13, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Thank you, Sheik, for clearing the last page (11) of Fellowship of Friends spam. It is good that you can see the IP addresses—you can catch the perpetrators at their work, and they can’t hide behind their masks of anonymity.

It was a good education to see the spam attack in real time, and to see those opposed to shedding light on the Fellowship for what they are. Hey guys, if there is nothing to fear, nothing to hide, let your righteousness be your armor. Why not put more trust in your version of C-Influence, you have exclusive rights to their help, don’t you?

Sheik, I send you deep appreciation for your work, it must take up a lot of your spare time…

With love to all, ‘in’ and ‘out’,

Tim Campion
on June 13, 2007 at 9:54 pm

“I was only three days off in the prediction of my crystallization, which over a period of ten years is quite good, and I consider that prediction accurate. If a depression occurs in 1984, if California falls in 1998, if Armageddon occurs in 2006, then I was correct. All of which means, I am correct regarding the other information I have been speaking about.”

“Actually, most of what I speak about is facts.”

Robert Burton – June 11, 1979

– – –

By the same logic, if those predictions don’t come to pass?

wake up little suzy wake up
June 13, 2007 at 2:23 pm

…For all of those special moments thank you friends! I will be forever grateful for some wonderful times and life long friendships. Let’s not give Robert credit though. We created it ourselves. All Robert has done is try to spoil it and I think he’s doing a great job of it lately. Please don’t give him the credit. Give it to yourselves. Honor your lives and move forward.

Wake up!

Red Rain
on June 14, 2007 at 3:03 am

Following from Foolofit, (11/526) good comment.

To those that would ask “where’s the evidence?” …

If I undertook to find such evidence, you might also point out that to initiate that line of inquiry is to elicit gossip, lies, and slander from fellow members, to involve oneself in ‘a play of crime’, to listen to the ‘lower self’, to evoke lies and misinformation from ex-members (who ungratefully speak from their ‘king of clubs’), ad nauseam. Finally if the evidence is put in plain view, habitual dissociative mechanisms will bring one back to ‘the moment’.

To speak to that phenomena which allows so many older students who are conditioned in this way, to ‘focus only on one’s own work’ – while underwriting Robert’s activity – is an entirely different and much more lengthy subject. Any takers?

The school has got to a point where ‘being in the moment’ necessarily includes a whole range of dissociative behavior, sometimes pathological in nature. The present is surely something much bigger than we have learned in Robert’s new religion.

on June 14, 2007 at 2:13 pm

“In particular, if he [Robert Earl Burton] knows what he is doing and we don’t, we have no basis for judging or doubting him. Instead, we simply have to trust him, as a child trusts his parents, or dog trusts its master. If he asks us to do things which seem to have no connection to awakening–or even to be ‘wrong’–we have no choice but
to do them anyway.”

Girard Haven, Page 576, Creating A “Soul”:

“Loyalty not only in deed, but in character is demanded of you. Loyalty of character often demands no less heroic virtue than does loyalty in deed. Loyalty in character is unbreakable loyalty, a loyalty that knows no ifs or buts, that knows no weakening, Loyalty in character means absolute obedience that does not question the results of the order nor its reasons, but rather obeys for the sake of obedience itself. Such obedience is an expression of heroic character when following the order leads to personal disadvantage or seems even to contradict one’s personal convictions.

Rudolf Hess, The Oath to Adolf Hitler – 2/25/34


107. Best of the Blog - June 27, 2010

on June 14, 2007 at 5:22 pm

[in response to one poster’s objections to the Nazi comparison]

To me, the comparison to Nazi Germany is mostly about the use of the language, the control of information, and the group-think of the populace. No one is suggesting that Robert will be invading Poland any time soon or embarking on a campaign of genocide — uh, to my knowledge.

Any chance your negative response to such comparisons is a result of the same group think? i.e., Thou shalt keep your views “moderate” (using my definition of the word “moderate” of course.)

Really, think about it. This is what keeps the status quo in the Fellowship — the discouragement of such comparisons. The discouragement of what are called “extreme” opinions. It’s deemed negativity, false personality, and so on.

This is true whether it’s a comparison to G. W. Bush or a comparison to Goebel. Really, pause for a moment and tell me honestly… Are these comparisons really that far-fetched?


108. Best of the Blog - June 28, 2010

on June 14, 2007 at 7:07 pm

“If you really imagine that there is no group-think going on here, on the magically liberated outside of the FOF, then you are still a cult member.”

Are we reading the same blog? I find a remarkably diverse spectrum of opinions and being. Did you find that to exist in the FOF?

Ralph H
on June 14, 2007 at 9:56 pm

Regarding “group think” and what was going on psychologically in Nazi Germany, and on a minor scale the Fellowship…..

One of the defining works on this topic in my estimation is Erich Fromm’s “Escape from Freedom” first published in 1941. I read it before meeting the school and reread many years later when I was going through the long process of leaving the Fellowship. Fromm describes the group think phenomenon that occurs when security and safety are threatened. His book is about the people of Germany published at the start of the war. Fromm was born in Germany in 1900 and emigrated in 1932. His insight is worth the read.

In the psychological terms of his day he pretty well describes the roll of “feminine dominance” and the strength of the “instinctive center” in the decision making process. In a nutshell he says that buying into a vision of security and certainty comes at a pretty high price.

I put this book along side of the “Guru Papers” and Anthony Storr’s “Feet of Clay” when it comes to getting a grip on cults and group think.

on June 15, 2007 at 1:23 am

[addressing another poster]

I would appreciate if you could please explain why comparisons with Nazi thought bothers you so much. For me they work quite well, because Nazism is one of the most obvious examples of how normal people can be manipulated into completely giving up the their personal conscience in exchange for a servitude to someone perceived as “higher”. One of the most important books on the subject of nazi group thinking is “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil”, by Hannah Arendt.

… We are so used to look at nazi Germany as the ultimate incarnation of evil that we fail to grasp the main point of this cautionary tale: those same thought mechanisms are potentially at work in every human being, and these processes constantly take place, on various scales, throughout history and throughout the world. And they are definitely at work inside the FOF, regardless of how “good” and “normal” the people involved may be. I used to picture myself as good and normal, but now I am more cautious with my own self image. Actually I try not to have one, which makes it easier to spot the bad and the weird sides when they show up.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”, as you American friends well know.

on June 15, 2007 at 4:19 pm

[addressing the same poster again]

Thank you for your answer. I am under the impression, though, that you misinterpreted my post. In the hope of creating better communication, I am going to reformulate my point in a more personal way.

I never thought I was in heaven while in the FOF, actually I was always aware of the weirdness of some of its beliefs. I was raised by atheist parents, who instilled me with a strong suspicion of all religions, superstitions, predictions and unverifiabe claims. What attracted me, like so many others, to the 4th way, is its emphasis on practical work and personal verification.

When I joined the FOF I was 22, and so happy to have found a group of similarly minded people to work with. In the center where I had joined, meetings dealt with the practical aspects of the work, and students would talk about their daily observations and struggles. This sharing process was very useful to me at the time, and I still can remember and appreciate many of the insights I gained through it.

When I moved to Renaissance, two years later, I was surprised by how seriously some older students talked (or should I say wiseacred?) about the fall of California (remember the “peak of the pain?”), or the fact that angels were going magically protect the property from Armageddon (I remember something about the winery being used as a nuclear shelter), or about Gorbachev’s birthmark on his forehead signifying the URSS was going to be the first to be hit by nuclear bombs, and many other strange ideas most of you are very familiar with. I could never really get into all that. Still, I loved the work, the place and many of the people in it, so I kept going for another eight years, during which I tried to keep my mind open and separate the wheat from the chaff.

When you say, “you were in a crappy little cult that will dry up and fade away, this is how you spent some years of your life”, and “we are barely a footnote”, I couldn’t agree with you more. I am actually very thankful for having being spared (so far) the opportunity to participate in big scale carnage of historic proportions.

Still, it seems to me realistic to point out how any human who has given up personal responsibility for his own beliefs and actions, and surrendered his/her will to a powerful authoritarian figure, can end up committing mistakes which he/she later may come to deeply regret, when one is finally able to reconnect with one’s personal conscience.

The “obedient and compliant” attitude of the majority of the people is what ultimately allows any form of authoritarian control (religious or political to me it’s the same), to create such distruction. Obedience and compliance are taking place in Isis as we speak. People trusting their leader instead of their own inner voice. People renouncing to apply critical thinking and willing to believe any old nonsense. People holding on to a sense of belonging while at the same time creating fictitious enemies. People putting labels on other humans to avoid looking at them as equals. People leading secret lives for fear of being rejected. People trying to conform to a mold and being encouraged to avoid self expression. It does not matter if the external manifestations are not on the level of mass murder, the point being: inner corruption is a way of life in the FOF, and the ability to see this process and reverse it is crucial for everyone involved.

You can definitely utilize less dramatic examples of this process, it’s up to you. For me, the Nazi Germany comparisons hit close to home. Being Italian, I have always wondered what attracted my fellow countrymen to Mussolini. Now I can say I have some firsthand experience of what it means to just “trust the big man” who is supposedly going to rid us of all our troubles. Not such a good idea, after all.

Thanks again for all the great posts, people. I have to say I really dig unoanimo’s posts. I love taking a ride on his scratchy back while he freely roams across the snowy peaks and secret valleys of our common language. When I manage to hold on during the bumpy ride, there’s quite a landscape to be seen.

Vera.mente 197, I agree with you: it’s beautiful to feel a new connection with one’s past, memories resurface, new insights are gained, we come to look at our past history in the light of our present understanding. That this is happening to us collectively is truly a gift.

Red Rain
on June 16, 2007 at 5:31 pm


About 250 people left between December and now. (This number may be off by 10% in either direction). Of particular note is that an ever-greater percentage of the leavers are over 10 years as members, many over 20. The month of May saw a large spike in the normal monthly average of leavers.

You’d be surprised at the impact of seeing the disappearance of hundred familiar, respected names. As one long-term member ruefully stated to a ex-member ‘my school is leaving the school’. No wonder fomenting talk about ‘who’ and ‘how many’ is considered an undesirable ‘deviation’ of student’s energy.

Free Essence
on June 17, 2007 at 3:44 pm

Isis Notes: More students are on the fence and ready to leave.

There are some “FREEEEEE” meetings (without RB) so students can Feeeeeeeeeeeel good about themselves.

Some galleria boys received new cars.

Yesterday at A’doro Robert and the entourage were dining. There was a young visitor sitting in another table. At the end of the lunch Robert went for the table where the new young boy was seating to say something to him, it seemed pathetic and ridiculous. A [68] year old man chasing a young boy. Well from one angle business is as usual…

Old Fish in The Sea: (13)

Your posting was truthful and encouraging, it will help me to leave, thanks


109. Best of the Blog - June 28, 2010

Ames: “It is good that you can see the IP addresses—you can catch the perpetrators at their work, and they can’t hide behind their masks of anonymity.”

Regarding Ames’ comment…

Sheik pointed out that many posts from supposedly “different” posters were coming from the same IP address — i.e., the same computer, and therefore the same person or group of people. However, note that there was no way for Sheik to “see” the actual human identities of the posters simply by seeing their IP addresses.

110. Tatyana - June 28, 2010

“Larry King interviewed the Dalai Lama on television last year, and ended the interview by saying, “Thank you, your hollowness”, instead of “your holiness”. He does not possess the state we posses right now—divine presence”. ~Robert Burton

A conversation between the current FOFer and the ex FOFer:

–Well, I think you are a good candidate for a Narcissistic Personality Disorder Paradise.

–Oh, yeah!

–I will send you an email there.

–Nope, I don’t think there will be the Internet connection on the Moon

–No? Too bad, well, say “hollow” to our friends

–Oh, we will party! Big time, man!

111. sallymcnally - June 28, 2010

I read a really good article in Ode Magazine today called Experiments in Autonomy. It reminded me of my time in the FOF and the way it held back my creativity by actually adding more rules to the already rule-ridden society I live in. I posted it on my facebook. For anyone interested it’s called Experiment in Autonomy by Daniel Pink in Ode Magazine, which you can google and get online. — be well my friends —

112. reader - June 28, 2010

111. sallymcnally

Sure. The main rule that really holds back creativity, though, is the rule against leaving. It may seem strange to think of it that way, but that’s essentially what it is – a rule: “Thou shalt not leave.”

As soon as you entertain that possibility – leaving the cult — it opens up all sorts of other healthy possibilities. But the FOF teaches you, “Don’t go there.” I think I could have lived with most of the other rules were it not for that one.

113. rock that boat - June 29, 2010

I hope that everybody has a good day, a peaceful day, a day in which whatever needs to arise in your heart will do so. – Norman Fischer

This is what they do at Google:


114. Best of the Blog - June 29, 2010

Toothless is Beautiful

Toothless is Beautiful
A new generation of psychologists is exploring the way people change what they think and believe in order to achieve peace of mind. Happy birthday, ‘cognitive dissonance.’

By Wray Herbert
June 19, 2007 – The Nuer and the Dinka tribes of southern Sudan share an unusual custom. Both of these cattle-herding societies remove several of their kids’ permanent front teeth as soon as they sprout: two on the top and four to six on the bottom. It’s a very painful procedure, done with a fish hook, and it leaves all tribe members with a distinctive slack-jawed look and speech impediments.

This practice probably started long ago, when tetanus was rampant in central Africa. Tetanus causes “lockjaw,” but the tooth removal would have allowed children afflicted by this infectious disease to drink liquids even when their jaw muscles clamped shut. Although there has been no tetanus or lockjaw in the southern Sudan for ages, both the Nuer and the Dinka continue the custom of extracting the front teeth. Indeed, they believe the sunken jaw and lower lip are beautiful. People with front teeth, they say, look like jackals.

Social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson describe this odd custom in their new book, “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me),” as an example of the psychological process known as cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the extreme emotional discomfort we feel when two important beliefs, attitudes or perceptions collide. Humans cannot tolerate dissonance for long, so they ease the tension by making a change in belief or attitude—and justifying the change. In the case of the Nuer and Dinka, they “choose” to believe that the toothless look is aesthetically pleasing in order to justify the infliction of such trauma on their children. Any connection to health and survival is long gone.

Before you deride this custom as primitive or barbaric, think of something a little closer to home, like a humiliating club initiation. What better way to cultivate allegiance than to make entry an aversive experience? After all, if you voluntarily put yourself through a demeaning or painful ritual, it must be worth it, right? Indeed, as Tavris and Aronson show, there is hardly a realm of life in which we do not “make things OK” to get rid of the emotional discomfort caused by cognitive dissonance. This year is the 50th anniversary of the theory, first proposed by Aronson’s mentor, Leon Festinger. The idea has proved remarkably resilient, enduring many theoretical challenges and more than 3,000 experimental tests of its validity, many of which are described in “Mistakes Were Made.”

Yet for all the theory’s power, Festinger never spelled out just why cognitive inconsistency produces psychological discomfort. Or why that discomfort motivates us to change. Why can’t we just live with inconsistency and contradiction? A new generation of psychologists is now taking the theory to the next level, exploring the motivations underlying our sometimes odd beliefs and practices. Some scientists have even begun for the first time to trace psychological discomfort and self-justifying acts to their roots in the brain’s complex neurochemistry.

One of these dissonance-theory revisionists is Eddie Harmon-Jones, a Texas A&M psychologist who has run a slew of laboratory experiments on the inner workings of dissonance. Harmon-Jones believes that dissonance is essentially about action, specifically about everyday decision making and choices and commitments. In his view, it’s not just abstract “cognitions” in collision. We experience unpleasant emotions whenever life forces us to choose a course of action, but we are not fully convinced it’s the right course. Or put another way, when we make an important commitment, the mind instinctively seeks out proof that we’ve done the smart thing.

Here is a typical experiment: Harmon-Jones assembled a group of college students who were on the record opposing a tuition increase. (Right, they weren’t hard to find.) Then he told half the students that they had to write a persuasive essay favoring a 10 percent tuition hike. The other half were told that they could write such an essay, but it was entirely up to them. All of the students in the first group wrote the essay, and some in the second group did as well.

What Harmon-Jones did was experimentally put the students in the second group in a state of emotional conflict by giving them a choice in what they did. By choosing to write the essay, these students were taking a stand, but they didn’t believe in their own choice. Harmon-Jones suspected that these conflicted students would somehow have to alleviate their own psychological discomfort, and indeed that is exactly what they did. When questioned later, they—more than those who were forced to write—had altered their beliefs about a tuition hike. In more ways than one, this is akin to deciding that a painful dental extraction is a good thing.

Life’s commitments—to a job, a cause, a mate—require big emotional investments, and can carry significant emotional risks. So it stands to reason that the brain might be hard-wired for the mental work of monitoring and justifying choices and actions. Harmon-Jones decided to explore this possibility as well. He attached EEG electrodes to the students’ brains just as they began to write the persuasive essay and measured neuronal activity in several regions. He found that the students who were working through psychological conflict had more neuronal firing in their left frontal cortex, a brain region associated with motivation to change. The EEG was basically recording belief change in action. That’s how fundamental the need is to defuse dissonance.

What if you make a choice that is really bad and you can’t hide from it? What is the mind’s strategy for dealing with a colossal mistake? Well, as Tavris and Aronson note, public figures from Henry Kissinger to Ronald Reagan to Scooter Libby and Alberto Gonzales have opted for a simple phrase that deflects all responsibility: mistakes were made. But just as commonly, people who don’t want to own up to a mistake become even more entrenched in their belief once it is proven wrong. They throw good money after bad in the market, grab for straws in a dying relationship or send yet more troops to fight a misbegotten war.


115. Best of the Blog - June 29, 2010

Gary Williamson
on June 17, 2007 at 2:36 am

I actually heard this from another student many moons ago…you catch a monkey by devising a trap whereby he reaches into a hole to grab hold of something he really wants. Once he has it, he will never let go of it…so if the object is too big to come back through the hole you have your monkey. All you need is a sack. And this is a metaphor for…

on June 18, 2007 at 12:26 am

Re: Spencer, FormerFofer, Rhino Neal: “awakening is only possible through prolonged and consistent efforts”/”no it isn’t”

It seems that this is a moot point. As I see it, there is no contradiction. It is necessary to make lots and lots of efforts and practice hard to personally awaken, before you realize that it isn’t going to get you anywhere, except that it did get you to the point that you realized it. Both is true, both necessary and unnecessary. It’s a paradox, that’s why there’s no use arguing about it.

I can’t remember was it one of Monty Python’s sketches or somewhere, there was a fortune-teller who prophesied: “Certain things will come to pass before others occur also.” I think that was actually very wise.

Was KathleenW
on June 18, 2007 at 6:27 pm

I’ve been working with a spiritual approach that encourages learning to commune with, connect with, forms of consciousness in the cosmos that are inclusive of but not confined to human consciousness. It’s less about my consciousness, my evolution than it is about making a connection with a greater consciousness and evolution of which we are a part. Not apart – a part.

When spiritual “efforts” include connection to and service to a greater whole, personal evolution can follow, naturally. That connection lets us participate more in the greater consciousness and can bring an aspect of service that’s missing in personal navel gazing.

Some of what the Western esoteric traditions teach is re-establishing those connections. I include the Fourth Way in this, although sometimes it’s hard to see the thread.

I believe that most of us, due to the way we are constructed, probably need maps and concepts – at least as a starting point. Traveling without a map without getting lost usually requires a basic understanding of the geography, so studying maps and taking geography lessons are an important part of arriving at places.

The Eastern teachings that say that it’s just a matter of shifting perception seem accurate to me. Personally, however, I want to understand the purpose in being here in a state of perceived separation. What’s the point? My map of the moment says that being here is the creative consciousness of the divine having an experience of itself, so there is a point to experience/doing in order to find my way back to a more expanded awareness/being.

I guess this is a long-winded way of saying that whatever works, works, but we don’t exist in the human-centric vacuum that it sometimes seems that we do. Besides, playing the game can be fun.

on June 20, 2007 at 11:32 pm

On the subject of health care, here’s a quaint story from olden days.
We were in the crunch to finish the Town Hall. Robert had given one of his unrealistic opening dates and booked the music. There were several crews working around the clock trying to meet the deadline. We were all working outrageous shifts. Robert would occasionaly show up to help with angles like “Goodness, lets tear that wall down and move it over two inches or so”. Or that kind of bullshit.

I had been working for weeks. We were basically not allowed to leave the property if we were on salary. I noticed some pain in a tooth and asked RB to go to the local dentist who was treating most of the salaried workers because he took medical and he knew the system enough that he would be able to treat an emergency without having to go to Marysville and screw with the red tape.

Robert said no, I couldn’t leave. So I continued to work. Over the next few days my face started to swell on one side, and was constantly hot. RB said I could go when the Town Hall was finished. Long story short, I couldn’t eat due to the pain. The swelling continued. The day of the opening RB said I could go. I went. The dentist, who knew the whole story, said “What the hell’s wrong with that guy”? He told me a story that a student had been sent to have a little chip in front veneered so it would look nice, and he could travel occasionally with RB. As a gift for working hard RB told the student he would pay for it. So he went and the dentist said the kids whole mouth was a mess and he’d be losing teeth. He said putting a veneer on that tooth, in light of what he saw, was like gluing a diamond on top of skin cancer so it would look nice. He was pretty red in the face by then.

So he gave me some antibiotics and told me the choices were to [have it pulled or have a root canal and crown. ] I told him I would have to ask RB… [I was in pain and in no position to argue. Robert wouldn’t spring for it, so he paid the $60.00 or so to have it pulled. The tooth was pretty much near the front.]

Here’s the clincher. RB then had the balls to come up to me and say “Goodness, I want you to know that I paid for the dentist out of my coffer, my personal coffer”. I’ll never forget that moment.

Here’s to the second coming of Christ’s conscience, consciousness, will, compassion of all the rest of his horse shit.

And yes, I should have had my f*****g head examined while I was at it.


116. silentpurr - June 30, 2010

Do you think Robert ‘knows’ that he’s such a creepy guy or is he in complete imagination about himself?
One night when walking from the lower house to the upper house I fell into a ditch, about 8 ft deep and unmarked. Clawing my way out and calling for help, I was finally rescued. When Robert saw me the next day he was amused by my bruises and ‘offered’ to pay for a massage….

117. Best of the Blog - June 30, 2010

Across the River
on June 22, 2007 at 9:12 am

In post 12/606 I disclosed a very personal story that mirrored for me what is wrong with Robert Burton and members of the Fellowship of Friends who continue to ‘feed’ him.

One of the few friends who know this story called to suggest that an additional layer of disclosure might speak more clearly to whoever might benefit from my story. For me that’s the whole point, so . . . . . . .

The old friend that I released introduced me to the FOF well over 25 years ago. He remains an eager and dedicated student and has moved to OH. Another friend soon to quit the Fellowship is still in association with him and mentioned recently that he heavily buffers all the questions that others are unable to escape.

In almost 30 years of ‘work on himself’, the most basic level of self-knowledge has not been achieved. He cannot look at himself. The lack of development in this area is ideal, based on Robert’s model.

For those who still need to see something admirable in Robert’s model, I am so sorry for you. One by one you say yes. The complicity and means are provided to extend Robert’s true pursuits while you bask in magical thinking.

For the rest of you still trying to work it out, it’s over. Good luck, you’ll be fine!

Across the River
on June 22, 2007 at 9:16 am

Some of my favorite posts over these pages are those that express in different ways the point on which understanding turns. Now many of us are more connected in the freedom found through that experience than in the bittersweet memories of the Fellowship of Friends.

A couple of years ago I became friends with a woman who helped me make a break through. She was a founding member of the Fellowship and facing her imminent death from illness. I helped her manage her affairs and we developed a true fondness for each other in her last several weeks.

She was a very bright woman who loved to be intellectually challenged. I asked if she would be interested in helping me resolve a confusing personal dilemma. She agreed to try, so I told her my story:

Many years ago when my children were little, a friend I was living and traveling with allowed my children, in their curiosity, to fondle him to the point of orgasm. We lived a bohemian lifestyle with much sexual freedom among the adults. As children they had no judgement about the incident and it happened once. I learned about it from them years later when they were adults.

This friend in question was my oldest friend and we were still in contact. He didn’t immediately ‘remember’ the incident. He talked about our previous lifestyle as ‘pursuing a dream’, it’s ‘society’ that brings the guilt, etc. I told him a trust had been betrayed and an apology was needed, no matter how late. It was necessary for him to acknowledge to my grown children his wrong-doing, no matter how late.

A few days later he gave me one note addressed to both of them. It described how he had been looking for a better world, that he had always tried to do the best for them, and he always loved them. He was sorry IF he had hurt them in any way during those years. The note’s misdirection confused me and I felt I had to try again to bring him into understanding.

So, this was my confusing, personal dilemma. When I laid this story out to my wise friend and asked how to reconcile this, she said in her very direct and no-nonsense way, “Well, you’ll never be able to reconcile it, because he doesn’t think he did anything wrong!”

And that was it. On a final, long walk together with my oldest friend, I quietly and relentlessly spoke on this point from many angles, hoping to facilitate that turn of understanding that would reconcile all of us. He could not meet me here and now with a new understanding.

So in a third state standoff, I released this friend. Within that year I also released Robert as my teacher.

You are broken. I am sorry and I love you.


118. Jomo Piñata - June 30, 2010

Great Moments in Meetings of the Board of Directors of a certain nonprofit corporation organized under the California Religious Corporations law:

October 5, 1985

“A question was raised as to why the new Sony 30″ TV cost so much. [Name Omitted] explained that it was originally priced at $10,000 and that we received a bargain in paying only $4,600. The costs of shipping and tax brought the total expenditure to $6,000. He also informed the Board that the cabinet was constructed of the finest hardwood from Mount Fujiyama and that this model television is considered the finest ever made.”

119. Best of the Blog - June 30, 2010

Purchasing awakening
on June 27, 2007 at 5:14 am

Hi everyone,
I was looking through my old e-mails from 2004 and 2005 and was shocked to see that I was actually getting 1 to 3 solicitation e-mails from Fellowship EVERY DAY prompting me to buy something. Bookmarks, raffle tickets, trips with Beloved Teacher, dinners, “Thoughts” publications, items for auctions etc etc. Buy, buy, buy! Log on on Propylaia NOW!!!

I recall someone said on this blog (long ago) that there is no pressure in the school to buy things or events, or something like that. Boy, I wish this person looked in my mailbox! I don’t get as much commercial spam from anyone else… I think even used car dealerships pale in comparison with agressive sales tactics used in FOF…

Is there ever enough? How much money does one need to extract from his students in exchange for his teaching? What are we paying for? Where all this money go?

Here’s some excerpts from solicitation e-mails :

Christmas Day is approaching…..the day Robert is to announce the CHOSEN ONE.
We had 290 Students today receive gift certificates to Robert’s “Premiere $25,000 Holiday Dinner”
We need 710 more responses by FRIDAY CHRISTMAS EVE!!!!! 1000 X $25 = $25,000
Go to Propylaia NOW!
500 Gift Certificates were sold since our announcement at the meeting yesterday.
How wonderful for Robert and for us.
World 12…….
Let us sell the next 500 by Christmas Eve.
You must ask for what you really want!
Method of payment:
Send a dollars check made out to FOF to PO BOX 100, Oregon House, CA 95962.
Enter your credit card information on our web site.
Everything you see around you will one day disappear, except Love, which lasts forever. Hafiz
Remember I love you, now and forever. Robert
This leaves only $55,000 to be raised for Robert’s Crystallization Gift, so if you did not have time to contribute last week you can go to https://www.propylaia.org now to enter your gift amount.
On May 12 it will be Robert’s Birthday!
This is our Precious gift to him for this year 2005 – with love!
30 diamonds – 30 work I’s – $30,000 to be raised by May 12th!
“God will ask at the ressurection: Did ou bring me a present? Did you forget? Did you think you wouldn’t see me?” Rumi
Better late than never! Some of you perhaps missed the email about Robert’s Birthday Present!
Go to propylaia and let’s surprise him with more birthday gifts before he leaves Apollo next week!
The price for this special holiday dinner is $1000.,
or $500 plus four full-day vouchers.
“Now is the time to take what the Gods allow.” Robert
There are still 2 more days to contribute!
Purchase a $44 or $12 bookmark and we will enter you in the Prize Drawing.
Have you bought your tickets for the Holiday Prize Drawing?
We have only raised $5000 by now!
Looking forward to see you at the Live Auction,
Apollo Auction Team
Dear Friends,
Did you know that 80 students have already purchased a Birthday bookmark, which automatically enters them in the Birthday Prize Drawing?
We still need another 280 purchases to reach our goal of $17,000.
Have you bought your bookmark? Have you considered purchasing another one?
Maharajah Tent Inaugural Dinner – $300/ $150
The Imperishable Stars Dinner – $250
Turkish Tea in the Oasis – $150
Sunrise Breakfast with Robert – $250
High Tea at your home with Robert – $4,400
Reception at your home with Robert – $4,400
Breakfast at your home with Robert – $4,400
Dinner at your home with Robert – $8,800
Family photo with Robert – $150
Apollo D’Oro Parking Space – $750/ $400
Galleria Parking Space – $650/ $400
Our Beloved Teacher will move with presence across the globe once again
this time in September to Tel Aviv, Florence and London.
Please see Propylaia for Early Reservation and Couples Discount
until September 1st.


120. Tatyana - June 30, 2010

“Maharajah Tent Inaugural Dinner – $300/ $150
The Imperishable Stars Dinner – $250
Turkish Tea in the Oasis – $150
Sunrise Breakfast with Robert – $250
High Tea at your home with Robert – $4,400
Reception at your home with Robert – $4,400
Breakfast at your home with Robert – $4,400
Dinner at your home with Robert – $8,800
Family photo with Robert – $150
Apollo D’Oro Parking Space – $750/ $400
Galleria Parking Space – $650/ $400”

How many milliners are in reality in FOF? Where people can get that much money? Robbery? 9 grands for a dinner? Hmmm?

121. sallymcnally - June 30, 2010

Purchase Awakening? I thought breakfast was rather extravagant. Do they offer an Early Bird special?

122. reader - June 30, 2010

Yet another story with uncanny parallels. This was on ABC last night…

Primetime: Mind Games
“Self-help takes a look in the mirror.”


They introduced me to a new term: “the self-help industry.”

123. X-ray - June 30, 2010

120. Tatyana – June 30, 2010

‘How many milliners are in reality in FOF? Where people can get that much money? Robbery? 9 grands for a dinner? Hmmm?’

No, it’s not a robbery, it’s credit cards.
They max it out and then hope for next prediction to come true so they won’t need to pay it back.
That’s why Burton makes predictions, forcing people deeper into debt.

124. silentpurr - June 30, 2010

I’d like to see the portrait of Robert painted by Francis Bacon. You know the one with the flashing fangs..

125. reader - June 30, 2010

Yes, credit cards. Visa, it’s everywhere you want to be.

Not sure why anyone who’s become familiar with ‘the program’ would think $8,800 is so far-fetched. The expression “can’t afford it” was banned from the FOF back in the 70s.

It’s frightening to think that some people may have actually paid $4,000 or more for a dinner, but when you consider that some of the wealthier people in the cult were already paying more than $20,000 per year to remain members (not including events, dinners, meetings, concerts, etc.), isn’t that crazy enough?

They were probably thinking: “What’s a few thousand dollars more for a private dinner when you can ‘create memory’?” And, yep, it doesn’t hurt to have a credit card with a huge amount of available credit.

126. 78-85 - June 30, 2010

I’ve got a question: who currently in the FOF reads this? Do they interact on this blog or just silently observe? Surely the leadership of the FOF reads this to stay abreast of threats to their organized crimes, but does anyone know of an effect on wavering or “open minded” current members?

127. brucelevy - June 30, 2010

122. reader

Fantastic. Thank you.

In my experience, when someone offers to be your teacher, you’re looking at a sociopath, plain and simple. It’s just a matter of degree, and how far , at that moment, the “teacher” has succumbed to guru syndrome already. The different gurus are all interchangeable, just different faces, different shticks, different “hooks”. Anyone with half a mind, and a quasi-sociopathic bent can find rich material that’s always been around, and combine it, knead it, subvert it and you have “The Way” that no one else offers.
Imagine what it takes (or rather lacks) to be that kind of person. These people are as damaged, and damaging as it gets. One’s path is for one to create. The “schools” are often financial traps built around a sociopath, and their harem of sycophantic followers whose miserable lives depend on joining the shit train as it leaves the station- the flying monkeys.

128. James Mclemore - July 1, 2010

122. reader

Bruce –


I wondered if it had ever occurred to those folks, especially the ones who said they would gladly go to another seminar put on by this same scam artist, that they could have meditated, written in their journals, walked out in the middle of the desert and stayed 36 hours, and gone to a sweat lodge (one where your life is not at risk), without paying some guy $10,000 to tell them to.

129. fofblogmoderator - July 1, 2010

126 is new

130. X-ray - July 1, 2010

125. reader – June 30, 2010

‘Not sure why anyone who’s become familiar with ‘the program’ would think $8,800 is so far-fetched. The expression “can’t afford it” was banned from the FOF back in the 70s.’

These people are religious fanatics who are no different from those who blowing themselves up to pieces for the Allah, in fact, they do same thing, they blowing up their professional lives, their friendships, relationships, their families, their credit cards, all to please their guru, and if one day the guru Burton will push them towards the suicide, I’m pretty sure they’ll follow.

131. sallymcnally - July 1, 2010

I’ve never regretted quitting smoking cigarettes because I didn’t have 2,000 dollars to pay the fine but I think I would regret paying 4,000 for breakfast. Still waiting for the Early Bird Special or the Senior Discount.

132. veramente - July 1, 2010

#126 :78-85
apparently they do not read enough or do not care anymore, we could be yelling and screaming here but the fof continues…we had some current members coming to the blog to do some intellectual exercises to prove how strong they are, brains of steel.
At this point I am happy if people leave, slowly but surely.
There may be also current members that have “internally” left, but continue to play the game because there is nowhere else to go, they may be even a little handicapped when it comes down to deal with “life”. Some others maybe waiting for the right moment in their heart to walk away…personally I think the fof as a whole will just die of a natural slow death due to old age.

133. Best of the Blog - July 1, 2010

This just a quick response to:
126. 78-85 – June 30, 2010

“…does anyone know of an effect on wavering or “open minded” current members?”

– – –
Good question. I don’t think anyone here who lacks a direct connection to today’s followers can pretend to know the answer to it. But I’ve leafed through about the first 14 pages, and there’s more than a little anecdotal evidence that many people have left the FOF because–at least in part–of what they’ve read on this blog and the Greater Fellowship website.

By most accounts, about 800 people have left the FOF in the last 3+ years, i.e almost 40% of the previous number of 2,200 followers (it could be more). But several people have written on the blog itself to announce their departures. Is anyone with an open mind reading the blog right now? People who are closer in proximity to today’s followers can probably answer this better than me. Or maybe someone will write in and let us know.

But if someone isn’t reading it today, there’s always tomorrow or the next day, or the next day. One thing we know for sure–the blog is definitely not bring them in.
– – –

134. Best of the Blog - July 1, 2010

… One thing we know for sure — the blog is definitely not bringing them in.
– – –

135. another name - July 1, 2010

Have you ever had a student friend who would come for dinner and then 30 minutes before the scheduled time call you exited or with an important voice: I am invited to go to Robert’s …dinner or event or what so ever?

This one was one of the things, we “students “compromised ourselves. We went to the dinner and canceled the appointment with our friends. What was the underlying message? Going to Robert is more important then…..
How often did we not follow through because Robert wanted “something”.

We were always busy, too busy and often in a hurry and therefore not always respectful to others.

Deep sigh, Grief, mourning for what was and now. in more awareness we see what was, what we were part of and what we did?

Well, Robert Bly states mourning connects the male and female in us….maybe there is hope.

Enjoy the day.

136. another name - July 1, 2010

From my point of view the stayers the fof ers who choose to stay have limited choices. Why?

1. Need for people, emotional connection, social network.
2. Need for green card or visa
3. Established in the fof community with material issues,
4. Compromised in large extend and do not have a support system outside of the fof
5. Not having to pay teaching payments.
6. daddy Burton serves as a projection of unresolved issues.
7. The fear of the recession and 2010, which is not unique for fof ers.
8. The fof has enough food if something will happen at least this is what they might think.R Burton will take car of them….

Many fof ers would love to spend time with their ex fof friends…..Try it.You can be a bridge for them.

This is MPO

137. reader - July 1, 2010

136. another name. “Many fof ers would love to spend time with their ex fof friends…..Try it.You can be a bridge for them.”

I completely agree and hope that more can do this. I do sympathize with your list of reasons, but there’s really only one, not 8:

What you describe is FEAR.

1. The fear of losing people, emotional connections, a social network. The premise behind this is that there are no people to connect with or emotional connections to be had outside that social network. This one speaks for itself.

2. The fear of not having a green card or visa. One of the premises behind this is that it’s preferable to remain in the U.S.. If actually is preferable, the next premise is that the only way to accomplish that is by remaining in the cult. Both are questionable premises at best.

3. The fear of losing a community. This is based on a premise that one cannot find several open, prosperous and thriving communities outside the cult, with ample opportunities to make wonderful friends. And it’s also based on the belief that one can connect with only ONE community.

4. Fear of losing a support system. Similar to “3”, this is based on a premise that there no support systems outside the cult, and that if there are, they are too hard to find or to connect with. The world is filled with ways to connect with people and to find support, and this is limited only by our ability to think differently, act differently, and think and act creatively.

5. The fear of having to pay teaching payments. Not sure exactly what you mean, but the apparent premise behind this one is that they’ll need to make teaching payments if they leave “Apollo.” Will they? They’ll be leaving it behind for good, and can put their resources to work in helping themselves instead of the master manipulator in charge.

6. Fear of losing a father figure. The only thing I can say to this is that you definitely don’t need one. Especially not this one, and especially since he certainly acts in no way like a father.

7. The fear of what will occur with the world economy. One of the premises here is that you’re better off remaining in the FOF if the world’s economy collapses, because the FOF will take care of everyone. Maybe some, but definitely not all. If you’re concerned about the economy, the key is connecting with more people, not less. It’s a much better idea during times of financial need to connect with as many people as possible, and not limit yourself to a closed group. This is what networking is all about. The next premise is that the world economy actually is about to collapse. Maybe, maybe not, but isn’t this one getting old?

8. This is another duplicate.

There’s really only one reason to stay, not 8, and that reason is fear.

Is that how one awakens?

138. veramente - July 1, 2010

137 Reader

Right on!

The Fellowship of FEAR

139. reader - July 1, 2010

138. veramente

Yes. And based on what Purchasing Awakening wrote, maybe we should replaced “ship with “shop”, too.

135. another name .

“Going to Robert is more important than…”

Yes, so true… and to finish your sentence: “… more important than spending time with your close friends, your spouse, your loved ones, or doing anything else.”

And you say: “maybe there is hope.” I agree there is. Sometimes it helps to remove the word “maybe.” I’m cautious and skeptical about too much belief or excitement in “the Secret” or “changing your thoughts to change your life,” and so forth, but the older I get the more I see that it does help to have a change in attitude. It’s nothing esoteric or magical… just really, really obvious sometimes.

140. X-ray - July 2, 2010

137. reader – July 1, 2010

‘What you describe is FEAR.’

Yes, I think so too.

141. another name - July 2, 2010

Thanks reader,

5 Many students at this point are not pressured in paying teaching payments …it is easy to hang in something you know. And not leave actively.

Reader do not forget that many people come from abroad like Russia and there fear is tremendous……

Yes stay in contact with students ….seems one way to dealt with the fof and to support people to make decisions..

Thanks for your input, great addition.

142. Best of the Blog - July 2, 2010

Ralph H
on June 22, 2007 at 1:14 pm

Just a small story about Bruce…. I never really talked with or spent time with Bruce though our paths crossed at Renaissance in 79 when I was a relatively new student. As everyone knows the Lodge at the time was the meeting place and going back into the kitchen to yak it up with the cooks was the thing to do. At the time we were having nonstop concerts, I think we were having concerts in the town hall every night…. Diana Gilfether, the B.A. trio etc….. all very classical (which I enjoyed very much). One evening after the concert, I was back there enjoying the scene when someone on the dish crew asked: “Who is playing at the town hall??” This loud voice behind me yelled out: “Tomorrow night, it’s KISS!” I looked behind me to see who had the nerve to say something like that…. it was Bruce. I didn’t know who he was at the time but he created a memory for me and instant respect as being someone not afraid and not formatory.

Lady B
on July 2, 2007 at 11:39 am

Did you see today’s daily card? Here it is:

The sequence is simple, and that is why schools
are for ordinary people.

Love, Robert

Sufi aphorism: Beware of fame and its danger. Be
among the ordinary people and do not seek positions.
– – –

I thought students were supposed to be special — the chosen ones, and now we are just ordinary?

on June 27, 2007 at 5:31 pm

Post 403, Purchase Awakening –

I’m nearly speechless at the level of nonsense going on in the Fellowship these days. An old friend Michael S once said that he didn’t like Renaissance because it was just a playground for Robert’s features, but his shameless greed has reached epic proportions. Wow. I wish this BS were all out in the open when I first joined. I think I could have started to trust my own judgment a little sooner. It would have been easier to see that this corrupt organization never deserved either my money nor the “giving up of my self-will.” That’s something that should only be given to an organization one can trust, temporarily, if at all. I truly feel sorry for anyone who’s still a member. New members have only themselves to blame since this is all out in the open. Older members, I’m afraid, are like frogs in a pot — the old saying that if you throw a frog in boiling water it will jump out, but if you put it in cool water and slowly bring it to a boil, it will stay in and die. I guess the water was cooler when I joined, but for God’s sake, it’s boiling people!

No person
on June 28, 2007 at 6:27 pm

[addressing another poster]

With thousands of dollars I used to contibute each year basically to pay for R.’s entertainment, travels, gardens and statues around his house – the question “was it worth it?’ – heck, NO!

With 1-2 brief visits to Isis per year these are damn expensive “impressions” for those who don’t live there (and for those who live there too!)…

There is a national park 10 minutes from my house, amazingly beautiful, with lakes and mountains and admission is free… Metropolitan museum in New York is also basically free – you pay what you want, often just a quarter… It’s unforgettable, too.
There is just something called “GREED”. Incurable insatiable greed that people refuse to see in their “Beloved Teacher”.

Voluntery fundraising? Dear friend, have you ever been agressively approached and lectured by authority fugures why you MUST constribute? Often it is done in front of others (who already did). It is intimidating, humiliating and very pushy. One feels cornered. No, I would’n call it “voluntery”.

One is under heavy pressure, constant never ending very heavy pressure to donate and buy.

You are lying if you deny this.

RB is so busy preparing his “Teaching events” because that’s what brings him money – lots of money. He is searching for stuff to sell to you, silly stories and unverifiable interpretations – and hypnotized people are eager to pay for this utter BS and call it a “teaching”!

When are you going to finally see? Wake up already.

on June 28, 2007 at 7:02 pm

In regards to #515 from innin, I had an experience like he describes as “realizing,” during a time of incredibly intense physical and emotional stress. I had a sudden realization that any kind of striving or effort is completely at odds with the process of becoming, because striving takes one away from where one is and focuses one’s attention on some imaginary future time when one will achieve something. I hope that makes sense, I can’t explain it any better. This remarkable state only lasted about 3 or 4 days, but during that time I felt extraordinarily free from the ordinary pressures to make my behavior conform to the expectations of others. I just felt free, with no past or future in some sense. When the state ended, I felt no need to try and retrieve it, but was content to let it go, and that is where it has remained for the most part.

The fact that the Fellowship seems so focused on telling students they will achieve something in another lifetime shows how far they have strayed IMO — based on my experience, that’s about as far from the mark as you can get.

Tim Campion
on June 28, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Purchasing awakening:

I would suggest you no longer delete such e-mails, but save them “for the record”.

As many here have expressed, a “church” that publicly lavishes its leader with extravagant gifts, vacations and travel, while creating a community dependent upon public welfare for health support may arguably be in violation of its IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

It is a moral, if not legal abuse of the non-profit classification, and reflects a general lack of conscience within the Fellowship of Friends leadership.

. . . Tax-exemption merely redistributes the tax burden throughout society.

In other words, we all pay for Robert’s indulgences.

More history needed?
on July 1, 2007 at 3:40 am

About bankruptcy.

Many students went bankrupt a few years ago. It was even fashionable. People would buy a new car and went to several events and then would sign for bankruptcy. I wish I would have made a list…

143. Best of the Blog - July 2, 2010

Beginning page 14:

Ames Gilbert
on July 3, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Howard Carter, Siddiq, and company.
I have used lots of intellectual arguments in my posts so far.

Far simpler to put it this way: If becoming “conscious” means becoming like Robert Burton — screw that, I willingly join the damned!

If “higher forces” are eternal and behave as Burton claims they do — “humiliating him by requiring him to have sex with ‘his’ students” and so on — fuck them all!

If the price of “immortality” is to squash my conscience, I’d rather roast!

And if the supposed advancement to the “higher possibilities in the next lifetime” is to behave like a shit in this one, up yours. . .

To all those who imagine that the ends, however noble, justify the means — however ignoble — I invite the lighting bolts from the petty gods you have created for yourselves.


144. Best of the Blog - July 2, 2010

Beginning page 14:

Ames Gilbert
on July 3, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Howard Carter, Siddiq, and company.
I have used lots of intellectual arguments in my posts so far.

Far simpler to put it this way: If becoming “conscious” means becoming like Robert Burton — screw that, I willingly join the damned!

If “higher forces” are external and behave as Burton claims they do — “humiliating him by requiring him to have sex with ‘his’ students” and so on — fuck them all!

If the price of “immortality” is to squash my conscience, I’d rather roast!

And if the supposed advancement to the “higher possibilities in the next lifetime” is to behave like a shit in this one, up yours. . .

To all those who imagine that the ends, however noble, justify the means — however ignoble — I invite the lighting bolts from the petty gods you have created for yourselves.


145. Best of the Blog - July 2, 2010

Charles R
on July 3, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Hello, Everyone,

I’ve been keeping up here when I can and I salute you all for your excellent posts. Not everyone may be familiar with Carl Jung’s work and terminology, but the quote below, which I ran across on the Da Free John blog, is so accurate it’s scary.

(Quote starts here, parentheses are mine, replacing Da Free John’s name)

Carl Jung discusses the type of inflation which apparently has possessed (the guru of your choice, even Robert Burton) in two chapters of Volume XI of The Collected Works, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. In Chapter IV, Negative Attempts to Free the Individuality, Jung writes, “…identification with the collective psyche…amount(s) to an acceptance of inflation, but now exalted into a system. That is to say, one would be the fortunate possessor of the great truth which was only waiting to be discovered, of the eschatological knowledge which spells the healing of the nations.”

“Probably no one who was conscious of the absurdity of this identification would have the courage to make a principle of it. But the danger is that very many people lack the necessary humour, or else it fails them at this particular juncture: they are seized by a sort of pathos, everything seems pregnant with meaning, and all effective self-criticism is checked. I would not deny in general the existence of genuine prophets, but in the name of caution I would begin by doubting each individual case; for it is far too serious a matter for us lightly to accept a man as a genuine prophet. Every respectable prophet strives manfully against the unconscious pretensions of his role. When therefore a prophet appears at a moment’s notice, we would be better advised to contemplate a possible psychic disequilibrium.”

I will quote at length from the rest of Chapter IV, as it is the most accurate explanation I have seen of exactly what seems to occur among those who fall for (the guru of your choice – even Robert Burton):

“But besides the possibility of becoming a prophet, there is another alluring joy, subtler and apparently more legitimate: the joy of becoming a prophet’s disciple. This , for the vast majority of people, is an altogether ideal technique. Its advantages are: the odium dignitatis, the superhuman responsibility of the prophet, turns into the so much sweeter otium indignatis. The disciple is unworthy; modestly he sits at the Master’s feet and guards against having ideas of his own. Mental laziness becomes a virtue; one can at least bask in the sun of a semi divine being. He can enjoy the archaism and infantilism of his unconscious fantasies without loss to himself, for all responsibility is laid at the Master’s door. Through his deification of the Master, the disciple, apparently without noticing it, waxes in stature; more over, does he not possess the great truth – not from his own discovery, of course, but received straight from the Master’s hands? Naturally the disciples always stick together, not out of love, but for the very understandable purpose of effortlessly confirming their own convictions by engendering an air of collective agreement.

“Now this is an identification with the collective psyche that seems altogether more commendable: somebody else has the honor of being a prophet, but also the dangerous responsibility. For one’s own part, one is a mere disciple, but nonetheless a joint guardian of the great treasure which the Master has found. One feels the full dignity and burden of such a position, deeming it a solemn duty and a moral necessity to revile others not of a like mind, to enroll proselytes and to hold up a light to the Gentiles, exactly as though one were the prophet himself. And these people, who creep about behind an apparently modest persona, are the very ones who, when inflated with identification with the collective psyche, suddenly burst upon the world scene. For, just as the prophet is a primordial image from the collective psyche, so also is the disciple of the prophet.

“In both cases inflation is brought about by the collective unconscious, and the independence of the individuality suffers injury. But since by no means all individualities have the strength to be independent, the disciple-fantasy is perhaps the best they can accomplish. The gratifications of the accompanying inflation at least do something to make up for the loss of spiritual freedom. Nor should we underestimate the fact that the life of a real or imagined prophet is full of sorrows, disappointments, and privations, so that the hosanna-shouting band of disciples has the value of a compensation. All this is so humanly understandable that it would be a matter for astonishment if it led to any further destination whatever.”

Elsewhere Jung defines the Self archetype as a transcendental concept which encompasses wholeness and the union of opposites. Jung wrote, “If the ego is dissolved in identification with the self, it gives rise to a sort of nebulous superman with a puffed up ego.” (end quote)

If anyone is still “on the fence” (or even “over the fence” and “long over the fence”) I recommend familiarizing yourself with Carl Jung’s work. It’s pretty significant.



146. Jomo Piñata - July 2, 2010

For those interested, Fellowship of Friends letter to membership dated February 7, 1980, regarding the Fellowship’s “Orchestra Octave,” is now available:


“… I have decided to send out a list of those persons currently involved with the octave.

As you may immediately notice, this octave is large. Some persons who have had several years experience with an instrument and have yet to commit themselves to the octave have been listed anyway. If these people truly are unable to resume lessons and practice, will they please write me a personal letter? Our school is successful precisely because it is _ours_. We must use every resource available to us if we are to fulfill the grand aims that the Gods have established for us.

We must realize that a time will come when we will no longer have musical cassettes and stereos to play….”

147. Best of the Blog - July 2, 2010

Skeptical Optimist
on July 3, 2007 at 4:29 am

I’m grateful that the letter below recently reappeared thanks to a student who saves such things.

In 1993 Jill and I moved to California. I had “hid out” in New York since 1979, but in coming back we knew it would inevitably lead to the end of our membership. It was time to confront what had increasing looked like lunacy, it could be avoided no longer if I wanted to get on with my real life.

One of the people I had spent the most time with when in charge of the New York group and afterwards was BenjaminY, and we became friendly. He attended one of the workshops that SandraC arranged to “experiment” with the “work ideas” and ideas from contemporary bodywork and psychology.

After SandraC left the FoF Jill and I continued to attend the workshops which grew more, not less, inspiring. Eventually these workshops, which continued in a different form here in California, helped a number of people “transition” out of the FoF.

During the first year we lived in Marin I made one trip to Oregon House—despite repeated proddings—during which I seem to remember spending most of my time riding around with Jill and CharlesR talking about Captive Minds, Captive Hearts and The Guru Papers and everything that was askew in the FoF.

Right at the end of the weekend, BenjaminY told me that he had reported me to the FoF “authorities” for breaking the rule to not fraternize with ex members. It seemed he had changed since moving to the FoF property and was now quite happy in the role he was playing and the opportunities it opened for him. I was aghast at being treated that way by someone I felt I had nurtured, taught, counseled, and enjoyed as a personal friend for years. My response was this letter:

* * *

January 7, 1994


After thinking about your revelations this past Sunday, I wanted to let you know how I felt about your having “put me in” to the Fellowship authorities.

I feel strongly that your action against me is morally indefensible. While I see that the environment of the school, in which such acts of violence are seemingly rewarded, is partly to blame, there is no way to avoid personal responsibility. Conscience belongs solely to each individual and cannot be dictated by the needs of a larger entity or organization.
I reject your act of betrayal as a person, because by it you abused me, seemingly motivated by ideals of purity, but unconsciously to benefit yourself by showing those whose favor you curry in the hierarchy just how strongly you can cleave to the dictates of the school.

I reject it as a Jew, saddened that another Jew should ever feel compelled, after so many examples of misplaced authoritarianism, to inform on a fellow Jew without trying to find a solution different than the unfortunate “Gestapo” tactics used by certain other members.

I reject your action as a student of conscious evolution, because it came from a set of ideas that, no matter how lovely they sound, in the end only have the effect of destroying individuation, self-trust, and autonomy, without which there is little hope of any real personal change. During my time in the school I have also done many things for reasons that I never questioned deeply, and I have a good deal of remorse now for those actions. But I realize now how much more potent it is to attempt to act on my own, than to remain unconscious of my own motivations, denying my own conscience.

And I reject it as a friend, for no friend should ever be put in the position in which you found yourself, and no one who thinks themselves a friend ought to take the fateful, awful step that you took without first attempting to use the strong offices of friendship that we have built over the years to work out whatever difficulties arise. By rejecting personal confrontation until after the deed was done, you seem to have moved against me from fear instead of moving towards me in the hope of understanding or reconciling the situation.

So I find myself rejecting your action as a person, as a student, as a Jew and as a friend. I hope that the ramifications of your action echo deeply in the recesses of your being until you come to question the very basis on which you believed, and acted. I hope sincerely that you come to question how these acts of violence can be supported by a group that calls itself “conscious” and “loving.”

Benjamin, we have a deep connection going back almost 15 years, and through which I have learned to love you. In this instance I believe you were caught—as was often pointed out to you—between the sides of yourself that curry favor in the school, and the sides of you that relate to others purely as a warm, engaging and intelligent individual. It is this latter part that I love, but I fear it is the former that won out in this case. I do not reject you, the person whom I know and love, but this specific behavior. I sincerely hope you come to a different understanding of this incident. If you do, let me know.


* * *

The next month I left the FoF.


148. Best of the Blog - July 2, 2010

flying free
on July 3, 2007 at 5:39 pm

This TRUE story is for those who are still very attached and hang on to the idea of Robert Burton being a unique and conscious being. Here is the story that actually happened and was the final understanding and closure for me.

There we were, the two of us sitting in a charming little coffee shop in the Bay area about 6 months ago. Both of us had exited the FoF, just 5 months earlier after serving a 20+ year term. It was chilly outside, people bundled up, coming and going. The atmosphere was warm and friendly inside, the tables were full, and the constant hum of voices put a smile on my face – life expressing itself all around me. We were sitting at the entrance door (the only table available) watching the comings and goings.

I was halfway through a sentence when I noticed that my partner’s attention had straying in a fixed kind of way to a new arrival that was just entering. A finely dressed, handsome, youngish gentleman (Asaf type, with a broad smile) opened the door –and who should enter, but A LOOK-A-LIKE , a DUPLICATE TO ROBERT BURTON. We both became fixated! The older gentleman was finely turned out, with an overcoat that was of the finest imported cashmere, a pair of Italian shoes that probably ran into the multiple hundreds, an ebony cane with a finely carved ivory handle, an exquisitely trimmed white beard, a broad smile , and a posture that had a slight stoop that said ‘this is what humility looks like’.

The young man moved ahead to secure a chair for the RB Look-a-like, pulled it out for him, seated him and then moved back and forth between the order counter and him with espressos, and croissants. The two remained in the coffee shop for about 15 minutes. During that time the older gentleman would look around the room from time to time with ‘attention’, smile, and lean over to his younger acolyte and point out something of interest or to teach him something of great importance.

Then it was time for them to leave. As the older gentleman approached the door which was slightly ajar, he used his cane to gently but ‘intentionally’ push it closed (after all it was an incomplete octave, and someone had strayed out without realizing that folly of their ways). This in itself was even stranger, as the two where about to exit from the same door. My partner could no longer contain himself. He had to speak!

For purposes of this dialogue, we will call my Partner ‘K’ and myself ‘C’ and the older gentleman, the look-alike to Robert Burton as RB ².

K: “ That looks like a useful tool. Beautiful cane!’

RB ²: “ Thank you, yes it comes in handy’

K: “ If you don’t mind me asking – you remind me of an old acquaintance- where are you from?”

RB ²: “ From the ABSOLUTE”

K: “ Nice to meet you, and I am B.

C: “ Nice to meet you , I am C. What is your name?

RB ²: “ I am MANOUSH ” ( said with a long soft extended sound , more like Maaannnooossshhh., and accompanied by a broad smile).

K. “ Are you a teacher?’

RB ²: “ Yes I am” (he beamed , with a humble tilt of the head)

K. “ What do you teach”?

RB ²: Turns to his well dressed , handsome acolyte and says “ DEAR, please give them a card ”.

Acolyte fumbles in his wallet, and produces a card. Immediately under the name of the ‘school/institution !!!’ a statement in bright parentheses says
‘ the divine art of being present’.

Hands were extended in goodbye. Manoush clasps his hands together in ‘that humble, I respect you fashion accompanied by a slight dip of the head and shoulders,’. The acolyte leaps forward to hold the door open for his ‘ TEACHER – MANOUSH ’.

If anyone wants to switch, we have the card . It is duplicating universe, isn’t it ?

And a final quote from RB himself (daily card), August 11, 2006

“ When you wake up from imagination, you realize that you have been wasting your time” Love RB

on July 3, 2007 at 6:24 pm

As I exchange messages and browse through the member pages in the Greater Fellowship Ning website, I am struck every day by the huge volume of exuberant, affirmative, loving energy fountaining out across the world via that website. So many old friends, new friends, lost but now found friends. All supportive, affirming each other’s essence and spiritual growth. It as as if all that loving energy that was somehow frozen inside while we were “in” is now breaking out in huge fountaining jets of warmth.

And I now see, this energy is the School. REB started something, but the real School is comprised of all the sincere, honest, loving friends that somehow flowed in and out of the Fellowship of Friends. It long ago ceased to have anything to do with RB’s teaching. The frauds, the con jobs, the scandals, the wounded essenses, the broken trust, the FoF Mafia, the Sequence, all the weird babble – all connected with a very psychically frail, wounded man.

WE are a School. In or Out, makes no difference. The dream was real, the utopia is there – it’s just not physically located anywhere, especially not in the property in Oregon House. Nor is it bound by the frailties, inconsistencies, weaknesses of any one person. And it is not even limited to those who actually ever joined the FoF.

It gives me great hope.

We smilingly refer to the GF site as “Son of Blog” (but without the negativity for now) – so thanks Sheik for being Dad here.

wake up little suzy wake up
on July 3, 2007 at 5:16 pm

Wow Ames!

I too am getting mighty tired of listening to the intellectual crap that continually justifies anything Robert does as some kind of holy deed that simple folks like myself cannot understand.

My advice to these people would be to go sit under a tree, smell the roses and listen to your heart for awhile. There is no justification under the sun for what Robert has done and continues to do to naive, young men and women who come with their hearts and minds open trying to find their truths.

We Were There
on July 3, 2007 at 6:55 pm

9 Laura – thanks for sending me back to I Don’t Care 13-737

Current members of the Fellowship of Friends – doesn’t this post send a chill up your spine?

“Did any of you think that I would be dissuaded by this silly blog? The more you say, the more resolute I become.

“The more you write, the less I will read. The more convincing you make your arguments, the more convinced I am to stay. The more serious your arguments, the less I take them seriously. Reason and logic mean nothing to me. I must keep to my aim.

“Your appeals to conscience fall on deaf ears. It is your conscience, not mine. When members are hurt, I do not care. When children of members are hurt and confused, I do not care. When you draw comparisons to other cults, I will ignore it. When you point to the abuse of power by the leader, I will ignore it. When you show concern for the sexual behavior of the leader, I will laugh. If you point to the wisdom and spirituality that can be found outside the confines of this group, I will call it fake. When you emphasize the presence of group think, I will call that group think. When you say we are not thinking for ourselves, I will be puzzled by what you mean. When you say open dialogue is discouraged and punished, I will change the subject.

“Your appeals to conscience fall on deaf ears. It is your conscience, not mine. When members are hurt, I do not care. When children of members are hurt and confused, I do not care. I will wait you out. You will move on to your lives, but I shall remain here because this is my life.

“But eventually I will also leave.

“Like you, I will wonder why I stayed, why I was not dissuaded, why I remained resolute, why I was convinced to stay, why logic and reason meant nothing to me, why I kept to my supposed aim, why your appeals meant nothing to my conscience, why I didn’t care about children being hurt, why I ignored comparisons to other cults, why I ignored the abuse of power by the leader, why I laughed off the leader’s sexual behavior, why I ignored the wisdom and spirituality found outside the group, why I didn’t recognize that I didn’t think for myself, why I changed the subject when someone pointed out the lack of open dialogue. So you see, I will be the same as many of you.

“I will leave.

“But right now, I will stay. Your appeals to conscience fall on deaf ears. It is your conscience, not mine. When members are hurt, I do not care. When children of members are hurt and confused, I do not care. . .”


149. another name - July 2, 2010

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150. nige - July 2, 2010

Better watch out…..


What does the name Rebecca mean?
In: Names and Name Meanings

*Beauty Bestowed upon her

*Favored by the Lord

*To mend

*To bind

*To tie

*A snare

*Enchantingly Beautiful


*Shy, but confident with friends

*A smart, kind, honest, loving person

*Servant of God

*House built with love, her heart is pure. She gives to those who are in need, and seeks for the good in all.

it means a snare in Hebrew Rebecca was was the mother of Esau and Jacob in the bible

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151. Tatyana - July 3, 2010

In Touch with the Miraculous
Rolando Altamirano (revised edition 2010)

“Once upon a time in one’s life one remembers that above and beyond human beings there exist invisible beings of a higher nature, or higher Forces, whose task is to cultivate a number of individuals for a specific purpose”. So begins the Introduction to one of the most extraordinary books to appear in recent memory. First published in 2007, written by Rolando Altamirano, a pupil of Robert Burton, this book documents what it means to receive an esoteric teaching directly and personally from its conscious source, not second hand, not from books like this one, but directly.

Continuing: “Eventually one begins to recognize how they arrange everything that happens through one and around one: from the way one is born, to one’s relations, and to the events that shape one’s psychological makeup…He who participates in the expansion of consciousness sooner or later recognizes the work of Higher Forces behind it. For just as the spark of consciousness is inherent in us, so is our ability to become aware of conscious beings no longer bound to a physical body.”

Rolando has recorded a message that must be repeated and heard again and again. In this second edition, a collection of daily observations and notes on his experience with sequences has been added. Another boat-rocker “Our Sequence is still like young Pinocchio,” Rolando notes, “and we are trying to show him the way to school for the first time.”

152. Tatyana - July 3, 2010

Meetings With Remarkable Friends
Rolando Altamirano (revised edition 2010)

A compilation of letters, articles and essays that first appeared in various publications this book first appeared in 2007. Since then it has become evident that a second edition is necessary both because of changes in the object of discussion — practical application of the Fourth Way system of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, greatly enriched by the teachings of Robert Burton — and because of the continued maturation of the author Rolando Altamirano. In the Introduction Rolando explains: “A School of Fourth Way is a living organism, and as such it is constantly growing, developing and changing; and most of all, it moves at an increasing speed.”

153. Tatyana - July 3, 2010

Through the Eye of a Needle:
Studies from an Ancient Hermetic
Teaching author: Gilbert Moore (2009)

Hermetic: Referring to anything alchemical, magical, or astrological, the adjective comes from the ancient Greek word herm and literally means “of or pertaining to the stone pillar at the crossroads”.

Placed at the intersections of roads connecting ancient Greek city-states, a typical herm was adorned at its top with the head of Hermes — Messenger God of poetry, invention, commerce, road travelers, and liars — and somewhere near its base with male genitals. In the same shocking, curiously Greek way the studies in this volume represent a union of the sacred and the profane. Beginning with a brief reconnaissance of pre-historic caves at Chauvet and winding its way through ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs,

Through the Eye of A Needle asks a simple question: What do these images really mean? According to the author, their inner meaning may be hidden inside the teachings of the ancient Egyptian priests, of Lao Tzu, Buddha, Moses, of Jesus, the Gnostics and Sufis; and to decode this meaning one needs a spiritual guide. The missing link, it seems, is our continued living connection to the source of those teachings, a mysterious source reached by shaman priests in trance states and by Sufi masters in whirling dances of ecstasy, but also accessible Gilbert believes simply by applying remnants of those teachings to our everyday life.

Enter the profane: By fusing the sacred with metaphors from our everyday life, the enigmas begin to fall away: One discovers keys for mapping the imagery inside Chauvet and in Egyptian hieroglyphs to our inner psychological states. Exploring a small sample of sacred texts – the Amduat, Genesis, Plato’s Phaedrus and Republic, the Gospels (including Thomas and Judas) –, Gilbert illustrates how to fit key into lock and turn, opening a door to a strange and beautiful garden inside all of us that’s always here, but usually locked and forgotten.

Inner Connections
John Stubbs (2nd edition 2010)

Ever wonder about the lost or hidden meaning of man’s existence on Earth? Is there even a meaning? Read this book. Inner Connections unveils the knowledge of the Fourth Way in a profoundly new and different way. Basing his discussion on nearly a lifetime of study and practice of a system made famous by G.I. Gurdjieff and P.D.Ouspensky, the author John Stubbs explores the source of this knowledge. Locked inside each person is a potential for continuous conscious development. How do we unlock it? That is the question. Nothing less than the purpose of our Universe is at stake.

Humanity is the transmitter of its secret inner meaning, both its messenger and the message. Failing in his effort at transmission, all else fails. How this strange and miraculous paradox came about, according to John, has its origin in a grand cosmic design connecting those of us who are committed to realizing our inner potential, a precious few, to all who have gone before us, including conscious beings from higher realms. In a book certain to touch off controversy, John pursues the question of higher orders and realms of consciousness with a single-minded purpose. Never doubting where his discussion is heading, John leaves the reader with a majestic, breathtaking vision of man’s possibilities.

A Story Sequence in Verse
John Craig (2009)

Seven members of an esoteric school, headed home from their various travels, find themselves stranded overnight in the Philadelphia Airport by a lightening storm which has grounded all flights and filled up all the nearby hotels. Resolved to make something of their waiting, they devise a story round in the spirit of Chaucer, and even the more reticent among them agree to offer tales to help pass the night. The youngest student – William, our narrator – decides to take notes on the proceedings rather than invent a story of his own. The students are from many different backgrounds and many different countries, but they are united by a common teaching and a shared desire to be attentive, loving listeners for each other.

The initial tales are mirthful and light, dramatizing the soul’s awakening from the perspectives of childlike innocence and romantic virtue. . But as their effort moves on, the group realizes that they have the chance to create something more than a beautiful game.By discovering and accepting a more serious discipline, each teller can contribute a note to the making of a larger scale prayer of conscious transformation. The remaining tales become more connected to the heroism in ancient esoteric texts and to the urgency of overcoming the psychological obstacles to awakening.

Thus this poem is a window on the work of esoteric schools. It portrays a small, representative group of loving friends who at first naively and later decisively with the potent ancient knowledge in which they have been instructed engage in storytelling’s highest purpose: to remind and remind and remind us again to remember and hold ourselves aware of what our busy minds are always forgetting – the present, where the divine resides.

From Book One, Verse XI: “And there we were, arranged in Heaven’s order, delighted in each other’s company, awaiting flight home, while outside the flaring lightening and exploding thunder threatened all the sky. Hundreds milled about, sat, paced, chatted, read, dozed— stranded in time—while we devised a story game to help us hold the present and get something for ourselves, to help us bring true worth to the airport in Philadelphia.

The Gods Play Chess, Don’t They?
Recovering the Lost Art of Esoteric Warfare
Gilbert Moore (2008)

“AS IT IS now played in both hemispheres on this planet, chess is war, total war, a war of annihilation. The opposing player is not just the opponent, he becomes the enemy who must be destroyed.

Was it always like this? The thesis of this book is that it was not, that in its origins, in a dimly remembered past, chess was primarily a game of self-revelation, it was used by initiates to the priesthood to study and transcend the internal warfare going on inside all of us all the time. Invented thousands of years ago, chess was played to teach initiates the art and science of esoteric warfare.”

154. Best of the Blog - July 3, 2010

This is worth repeating juxtaposed to the above.

Charles R
on July 3, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Hello, Everyone,

I’ve been keeping up here when I can and I salute you all for your excellent posts. Not everyone may be familiar with Carl Jung’s work and terminology, but the quote below, which I ran across on the Da Free John blog, is so accurate it’s scary.

(Quote starts here, parentheses are mine, replacing Da Free John’s name)

Carl Jung discusses the type of inflation which apparently has possessed (the guru of your choice, even Robert Burton) in two chapters of Volume XI of The Collected Works, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. In Chapter IV, Negative Attempts to Free the Individuality, Jung writes, “…identification with the collective psyche…amount(s) to an acceptance of inflation, but now exalted into a system. That is to say, one would be the fortunate possessor of the great truth which was only waiting to be discovered, of the eschatological knowledge which spells the healing of the nations.”

“Probably no one who was conscious of the absurdity of this identification would have the courage to make a principle of it. But the danger is that very many people lack the necessary humour, or else it fails them at this particular juncture: they are seized by a sort of pathos, everything seems pregnant with meaning, and all effective self-criticism is checked. I would not deny in general the existence of genuine prophets, but in the name of caution I would begin by doubting each individual case; for it is far too serious a matter for us lightly to accept a man as a genuine prophet. Every respectable prophet strives manfully against the unconscious pretensions of his role. When therefore a prophet appears at a moment’s notice, we would be better advised to contemplate a possible psychic disequilibrium.”

I will quote at length from the rest of Chapter IV, as it is the most accurate explanation I have seen of exactly what seems to occur among those who fall for (the guru of your choice – even Robert Burton):

“But besides the possibility of becoming a prophet, there is another alluring joy, subtler and apparently more legitimate: the joy of becoming a prophet’s disciple. This , for the vast majority of people, is an altogether ideal technique. Its advantages are: the odium dignitatis, the superhuman responsibility of the prophet, turns into the so much sweeter otium indignatis. The disciple is unworthy; modestly he sits at the Master’s feet and guards against having ideas of his own. Mental laziness becomes a virtue; one can at least bask in the sun of a semi divine being. He can enjoy the archaism and infantilism of his unconscious fantasies without loss to himself, for all responsibility is laid at the Master’s door. Through his deification of the Master, the disciple, apparently without noticing it, waxes in stature; more over, does he not possess the great truth – not from his own discovery, of course, but received straight from the Master’s hands? Naturally the disciples always stick together, not out of love, but for the very understandable purpose of effortlessly confirming their own convictions by engendering an air of collective agreement.

“Now this is an identification with the collective psyche that seems altogether more commendable: somebody else has the honor of being a prophet, but also the dangerous responsibility. For one’s own part, one is a mere disciple, but nonetheless a joint guardian of the great treasure which the Master has found. One feels the full dignity and burden of such a position, deeming it a solemn duty and a moral necessity to revile others not of a like mind, to enroll proselytes and to hold up a light to the Gentiles, exactly as though one were the prophet himself. And these people, who creep about behind an apparently modest persona, are the very ones who, when inflated with identification with the collective psyche, suddenly burst upon the world scene. For, just as the prophet is a primordial image from the collective psyche, so also is the disciple of the prophet.

“In both cases inflation is brought about by the collective unconscious, and the independence of the individuality suffers injury. But since by no means all individualities have the strength to be independent, the disciple-fantasy is perhaps the best they can accomplish. The gratifications of the accompanying inflation at least do something to make up for the loss of spiritual freedom. Nor should we underestimate the fact that the life of a real or imagined prophet is full of sorrows, disappointments, and privations, so that the hosanna-shouting band of disciples has the value of a compensation. All this is so humanly understandable that it would be a matter for astonishment if it led to any further destination whatever.”

Elsewhere Jung defines the Self archetype as a transcendental concept which encompasses wholeness and the union of opposites. Jung wrote, “If the ego is dissolved in identification with the self, it gives rise to a sort of nebulous superman with a puffed up ego.” (end quote)

If anyone is still “on the fence” (or even “over the fence” and “long over the fence”) I recommend familiarizing yourself with Carl Jung’s work. It’s pretty significant.



155. veramente - July 3, 2010

the post about R. Altamirano sparked my curiosity and I googled his name. Suprised he became a writer for the fof:


Any information of the contents of Goodbye My Fancy, from J. Grace? is it all about the “school” ?

156. veramente - July 3, 2010


a new look of the pathway to presence/fellowship of friends?

157. Best of the Blog - July 3, 2010

on July 4, 2007 at 2:56 am

[quoting another poster]

About the negative press about the Sequence. Of course it mostly comes from people who are not even trying to be present…

How can you know that? You’re lying to yourself to make yourself feel superior.

…but consider this: is there any activity that can be done better without presence?

How about a good night’s sleep?

Seriously, I’d like to reply to your question. First, you are assuming that a manipulative technique like the Sequence can actually produce and prolong “presence.” Maybe so, maybe not; it’s still a technique, a form of control, something the mind is doing. As long as the mind has some practice, some technique it feels it can master (saying a mantra, watching the breath, etc.), it’s happy. But that isn’t spiritual awakening. That’s mind activity.

From Adyashanti’s book True Meditation:

“In True Meditation, we start from the foundation of letting everything be as it is. We are not moving toward the natural state [presence], or trying to create the natural state, we actually start at the natural state from the very beginning. This is what I discovered all those years ago when I started to let go of the meditator, the controller, when I sat down and simply allowed everything to be as it was. What I realized very quickly was that the peace and stillness I was trying to attain were already there. All I had to do was stop trying to attain them. All I had to do was sit down and allow my experience to be exactly as it was.”
“We cannot come upon the truth of our nature through manipulation. We cannot move beyond what I call the false identity, the egoic identity, by trying to change. We can only start to allow consciousness to wake up from its identification with thought and feeling, with body and mind and personality, by allowing ourselves to rest in the natural state from the very beginning.”

So while the Sequence (or any similar concentration technique) may have some temporary value in bringing your attention to the present, the technique too easily becomes an end in itself. A dead end.

Laughing Love
on July 4, 2007 at 4:40 am

[addressing another poster]

… You did write “ultimate authority” as opposed to “absolute authority”. What is the difference in your world?

Teaching is not about having “ultimate authority” over any student. That is simple egoism. It is not teaching. It is commanding.

“Ultimately” any good teacher wishes for students to surpass his or her knowledge, encourages them to do so and assists them in finding the way with a tireless drive, patience and enormous generosity.

Your teacher is quite clear that you will never acquire an iota of his knowledge ever and spends most of his time alienated from you while spending your money.

I knew you’d be angry that I would deign to suggest that my own life and teaching experience could be spoken in the same breath with your teacher’s.

What you don’t understand is that I know (have verified) that he is no better than me and knows no more than I do about this mysterious life in any way shape or form. I don’t worship him or anyone and he demands that. My teaching & life experience is just as valid or invalid as his.

He is, however, a fellow educator, and I do find it fascinating to observe his incredibly unethical and poor pedagogical efforts.

I am a professor and have been attempting to learn to do this well for 15 years, continue that quest and have some success. Every day it is a challenge to discover the most effective way to offer my bit of knowledge so that my students can thrive.

I do know what does not work. Most certainly it is highly ineffective to tell students that they will never accomplish their goals no matter how much effort they expend. That is manipulative and extremely selfish and egoistical and clearly signifies that they believe they own knowledge that no one else is qualified to learn.

I have deep compassion for you. If I remember correctly, you have been a member of the school for 20 or 30 years. I can only imagine the fearful confusion our words here must engender.

Still, I know you can’t hear.

Perhaps that is your sentiment about any number of us here on this discussion board. The difference is that we’ve been where you are, but you’ve never been where we are. (Yes, yes…moon food.) We’ve all been in the position of being unable to hear the truth from “inferior” human beings when we were in the school.

Bravely read “The Guru Papers” or “Cults in our Midst”, to see if you can recognize the extraordinarily typical cult situation in which you are entangled. The Fellowship is a text book example of a cult in every way and you typify its product.


158. Best of the Blog - July 3, 2010

David B.
on July 7, 2007 at 5:16 am

I wanted to weigh in on the Greater Fellowship versus Blog controversy. From what I can see they’re mutually complementary. This one allows for anonymity if you want it and allows for more real time back and forth. The GF seems to be more about connecting with friends and establishing a support network for people who have left or are thinking about leaving the FOF. I didn’t quite understand what Unoanimo was referring to. I haven’t seen anything on the GF site forbidding anyone to ‘get negative’ or whatever , it just doesn’t seem to lend itself to that. I’m glad to have access to both – lots of really great, smart, funny people who have shared a common experience just talking together and learning from each other.

on July 5, 2007 at 10:49 am

WHEN THE PROPHECY FAILS (former student and bla bla)

For religious groups there can be no greater disappointment than that which occurs after the failure of a major prophecy to materialize. The historical literature is replete with examples of groups who have predicted the end of the world and their reactions to failed prophecy. Stark (1996:137) asserts:

Other things being equal, failed prophecies are harmful for religious movements. Although prophesies may arouse a great deal of excitement and attract many new followers beforehand, the subsequent disappointment usually more than offsets these benefits.

His argument is that in some instances members may leave the group and the group finally disintegrates. In other cases, members can withstand this catastrophic event and the group continues. However, he qualifies this statement by asserting that new religious movements are likely to succeed to the extent that their doctrines are non-empirical. Religious movements need not deliver on their promises in this world — their most valuable rewards are obtained in a reality beyond inspection.

The standard paradigm for understanding failed prophecy is based on cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, Reiken and Schachter 1956). Following their research on a flying saucer movement, Festinger and his colleagues argued that failure of prophecy resulted in intensification of belief and more enthusiastic proselytising by sect members. Proselytization, the attempt to convince outsiders of a belief system, was regarded as reducing cognitive dissonance. If more people adopt this belief it must after all be true. According to Festinger et al. (1956:3):

Man’s resourcefulness goes simply beyond protecting a belief. Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, but he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: What will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting other people to his view. . .

Purchasing awakening
on July 6, 2007 at 4:22 am

Guys, I think FOF will collapse all by itself and probably sooner than we think… Teacher will teach only if he gets cash. The way things are going there is less and less of cash coming in.
Please keep shedding light, keep exposing the lies, keep telling your stories. Truth doesn’t need to be defended it just needs to be seen. FOF is so corrupted and commercialized but doesn’t show this ugly side to new seekers. The teaching became so clearly absurd and insane so all we have to do is simply post it without adding anything. It speaks (screams) for itself!
. . .

Another example of “fishing” for sacred teaching, or Sacred Teaching in the making. Let’s collect all your random I’s, then have Robert and Asaf regurgitate them, then stage a meeting and make sure it’s filmed and then printed as “Thoughts from the Teacher”- and here’s our new “sacred teaching” for sale!
How can anyone in their sane mind take this “teaching” seriously…

“Dear Friends,

We are attempting to understand the esoteric meaning of the Zodiac. Our aim is to understand how it relates to the sequence of six work ‘I’s-the essence of the system-rather than life’s psychological interpretations of the signs.

A few initial observations: There are twelve signs in the zodiac, roughly corresponding to the twelve months in a year. This suggests that they occur in time, in sequence, where one follows another. At this point, however, we do not know why twelve and not six. Another instance we see a sequence of twelve is in the Egyptian teaching, in the twelve hours of the Amduat, where the night bark travels through the twelve hours of the night before emerging into the daylight hours. Note that there are also twelve hours of daylight, suggesting long BE lasts as long as the steps it took to reach it-although at this point we are only presuming this and are not certain whether or not this is the right interpretation.

In a school, it is enough that one student make a connection for the whole to benefit, as has been the case several times since we began working with the keys. We would therefore like to invite any suggestions and insights you have that can shed more light into the esoteric meaning of the Zodiac. Keep in mind that ultimately the answers are simple and obvious once revealed.

If you have any relevant thoughts on this subject, please send them to xxx…

on July 7, 2007 at 5:21 pm

N_ck: “Robert has asked not to have discussion amongst ourselves, about students who have left…This helps to ‘leave their space clean.’ “

Well, what this actually does is prevent the obvious outgrowth of such discussions — the questions about why people have left, and comments about how many former members are living happy, productive, rewarding, and spiritually enriched lives. Additionally, the discussion inevitably touches upon Robert’s actions, the people who have been hurt by his actions, the cost of remaining in the school, and the idea that maybe they are doing the right thing by leaving the school.

Steven A
on July 8, 2007 at 12:36 am

AFOOT and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.

– – –

As I am going to be moderated, I thought I would invite Walt Whitman to join me in the process.

Probably like everyone who is contributing to, or reading this blog – student or ex-student, this opening verse to “Song of the Open Road”, has at one time been an inspiration for our work – our life. Why? Because it is pregnant with latent possibility. Just reciting it can send a tingle of anticipation down your spine.

Yet when I think how far we have travelled in the intervening years, what a minefield that open road has proven to be.

Like this blog which winds its way through each day like an open road – vulnerable in its pristine state until it is impressed upon by a footprint or many.

And that is the beauty of this path – this blog. It is neutral – a tabula rasa. It is free for anyone to stamp their impression, in which ever way one chooses. There are those who will tell you not to – you yourself may hesitate out of fear of what might emerge from within you, but once you decide to step forth and take to the open road, you are the master of your destiny, wherever the brown path leads.

Many are traveling it now – some cover themselves for protection, others have thrown back their hoods to feel the warmth of the sun…

If you feel a need, you will. Enjoy it while it lasts! . . .

Steven A


159. Best of the Blog - July 3, 2010

Grassroots Protester
on July 10, 2007 at 4:36 am

Many of us inside the Fellowship of Friends are wondering these days, “What can I do?” There’s plenty we can do. The following is a long list (although not a comprehensive list) of the numerous ways we can protest what’s happening in the Fellowship of Friends:

• When Robert Burton asks you to have sex, say “No.”
• Express your thoughts out loud.
• Believe the ‘I’s.
• Express doubts about the Fellowship’s ideas.
• Express doubts about the Fellowship of Friends.
• Express doubts about Robert Burton.
• Tell people that leaving the Fellowship does not invalidate everything about their time in the Fellowship.
• Tell people that you’ve heard there is a beautiful, spiritual, rewarding existence after you leave the Fellowship of Friends.
• Tell people that the Gods still work with them when they leave the Fellowship of Friends.
• Tell people that the Gods worked with them before they joined the Fellowship, during their time in the Fellowship, and after they leave the Fellowship.
• Tell people that the Gods work with people outside of the Fellowship (blasphemy, isn’t it?)
• Tell people that Robert Burton is merely a pawn of the Gods.
• Help people protect themselves from Robert Burton and the negative consequences of remaining in the Fellowship.
• Criticize Robert Burton.
• Sneak into the Theatron for Journey Forth by Day. Don’t pay.
• Carry a bottle of wine into the theatron and enjoy it.
• Leave the Fellowship.
• Before you leave, encourage a friend to leave the Fellowship.
• Dismiss any notion that protesting is “the wrong triad.”
• Dismiss any notion that encouraging someone to leave is “the wrong triad.”
• “Photograph” people for Fellowship-ese.
• “Photograph” people for using the word “photograph.”

• While driving, do everything you can to look for something interesting in the present WITHOUT thinking about the so-called lower-self, the sequence, bible keys, or anything remotely connected to Robert Burton. Try to find something interesting in the present because it is as natural as breathing to look for something interesting in the present, and because it is what you want to do, and because it makes you feel good, and because it brings you in touch with your inner nature, and with God.

• If someone you barely know tries kissing you square on the lips, don’t let them.
• Damn it, think for yourself.
• Express negativity, argue with one another, and don’t apologize.

• When Robert asks you to have sex, say “No.”

• Go on a 5-day fast.
• Examine your conscience without feeling guilty that you are having “morality ‘I’s.”
• Ask yourself, “What in heaven’s name am I doing here?” Ask it out loud, but with a smile, and ask it so that many people can hear you.
• Question authority.
• Listen to someone who is “expressing negativity” about Robert Burton. Listen to them closely.

• When you are at the table, please DO “share funny stories that are true, such as humorous incidents that have actually happened.” (In case you didn’t know, we’ve been asked not to.)

• Talk with your hands.
• Smile so that your teeth show. (In case you didn’t know, we’ve been asked not to.)
• When someone describes a “confirmation from Influence C of the significance of the Thirty Imperishable Work ‘I’s,” please dismiss it with a hearty laugh.

• Drive 5 mph over the speed limit on the property, and laugh at people who scold you.
• Park in the wrong place.
• When someone asks you for money at a Potage brunch, smile and say “no” so that people sitting at the nearby tables can hear you.
• Sign up for a trip to Egypt, but don’t pay for it.
• Open your windows and play a rock song full-blast on your car stereo.

• When Robert asks you to have sex, say “No.”

• Pull prospective students aside and ask them if they are insane.
• Don’t eat European style (even if you’re European).
• Sit on the Ming furniture, if you can find any that hasn’t already been sold at a loss.
• Grab a plate of food for your wife or girlfriend at a reception.
• Hold hands with your girlfriend or boyfriend while walking down from the road from Apollo D’oro.
• Smooch with your girlfriend in broad daylight.
• Smooch with your boyfriend in broad daylight.
• When Robert asks you to have sex, say “No.”
• Don’t wear a tie to a meeting or reception.
• Wear a very short skirt, or wear pants.

• If you see anyone in Robert Burton’s entourage, talk to them about it.

• Create an anonymous hotmail.com account, and send your thoughts to the young men in Robert Burton’s entourage.
• Create an anonymous hotmail.com account, and send your thoughts to several people on the FOF distribution list.

• Talk openly about books that discuss uncomfortable and unwelcome topics.
• Talk openly on topics that are not welcome.
• Make people feel uncomfortable.
• Want people around you to feel good.
• Don’t believe anyone who tells you there’s something wrong with feeling good.
• Use the word, “yeah.”
• Use the word, “nope.”
• When Robert asks you to have sex, say “Nope.”

• Recognize that being honest and true to yourself is not “negativity.”
• See that “negativity” can have positive results for yourself and others if you don’t inner consider it.
• “Photograph” others for using the work language way too often. Ask them to express their ideas in their own words.

• Direct a performance of a Shakespeare play at your home in Oregon House.
• Invite Robert and Asaf to it. And Ni_k. And G_r_rd.
• Laugh at the sequence.

• When Robert asks you to have sex, say “No.”

• Express compassion for anyone who is having a hard time with all of this. Don’t photograph them for self-pity.
• Don’t dismiss depression as a sign of weakness — see it as a sign of being alive and stuck in a dysfunctional group called the Fellowship of Friends.
• See anger and resentment as a sign of being alive and in the Fellowship. When someone expresses it, ask them what’s wrong. Ask them what you can do to help.
• Tell people that the Fellowship is dysfunctional.
• Tell people sincerely that Robert Burton has a serious mental illness, and that he’s delusional.
• Tell people that you were delusional when you trusted Robert Burton.
• Do any or all of the above, but invent some of your own protests.
• When Robert Burton asks you to have sex, say “No.”


160. tatyana - July 3, 2010

I received an email about these books. All those authors are FOF members. I thought it is curious. How ‘Enlightened Desciples bring the Teaching to the humanity… ‘ See, I told you, some people find it meaningful and even write books about it. 🙂

161. tatyana - July 3, 2010

156, veramente, the link does not work. Or did someone (who is reading the blog) took it down? What was there?

162. Anna - July 3, 2010

Dear Best of the Blog,

Thank you so much for your heroic work.

I am so greatful to be able to read these incredible articles and testimonies. Three years ago I found it very difficult to read the blog partly because I couldn’t cope with the poisonous additions of cult members, who were still in the grip of Burtonism.

It was also very painful to see the words of former members who seemed somehow ‘locked’ in denial, or the same unresolved madnesses that had made us victims of Burtonism to start with.

The articles you have chosen are so very deep, so very rich. They make me want to weep and applaud and laugh all at the same time.

Lord what we have been through, and lord what we have learned.



163. veramente - July 3, 2010

161 Tatyana
try the link on post 155, and click under “our teacher” , you will find pictures and information on the Living Presence which is I guess is the Pathway to Presence/FOF.
On the top menu under “our publications” I found Altamirano’s, Grace’s and Haven’s list of books, or whatever they are.

Plenty of photographs of the pious inspired Robert Burton and other members.

164. WhaleRider - July 3, 2010

American Couple Accused of Spying

St. Petersburg (Russian Federation)-A married American couple posing as missionaries was detained in Russia yesterday and accused of spying for Pathway to Presence, a front company for the US-based Fellowship of Friends, Inc sex cult. They are to be formally charged today for money laundering and international sex trafficking of vulnerable young Russian men.

Russian authorities revealed the details of the FOF’s elaborate ruse as a means to convey a constant narcissistic supply of attractive young men willing to sell their bodies in exchange for an air-tight delusional system, hand-me-down suits, gold cuff links, and an all expense paid trip to Oregon House, California, where the sex cult is headquartered.

“We believe the missionary’s marriage was a sham in order to provide stable, positive father and mother role models and attract young men from broken homes in dire financial circumstances who are unconsciously seeking approval from authority figures,” said one Russian investigator connected with the case. “Once the victim is identified and recruited into the cult, they are photographed by their handlers. The information is then secretly passed onto FOF leadership to be evaluated for further exploitation and inclusion in the code-named program, ‘the homosexual octave’ for personal consumption by the cult’s elderly gay leader, the insatiable Robert E. Burton.

As expected, the spokesfollower for the Fellowship denies the truth of the couple’s purpose on Russian soil other than for “humanitarian purposes”, despite the fact that the only life enriched by the Fellowship’s “presence” appears to be that of Burton’s, who lives in luxury.

165. X-ray - July 4, 2010

‘Altamirano’s, Grace’s and Haven’s list of books’

These writings can be found useful for either heating up your house using fire place, or using restroom.

166. reader - July 4, 2010


I didn’t quite their point in posting information about those books. But maybe they wanted to balance the coverage. If yes, I’m all for it, and would wholeheartedly support the same at FOF meetings:

For starters, they could devote 30 minutes to: “The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power” and include a wide-open discussion about how it applies.


“THE GURU PAPERS: Masks of Authoritarian Power demonstrates with uncompromising clarity that authoritarian control, which once held societies together, is now at the core of personal, social, and planetary problems, and thus a key factor in social disintegration. It illustrates how authoritarianism is embedded in the way people think, hiding in culture, values, daily life, and in the very ideals people try to live by.

“Thus our basic problems are not the inevitable outcome of “human nature,” but rather are shown to stem from deep authoritarian implants. This offers new grounds for hope. The Guru Papers powerfully attests that unmasking and decoding hidden authoritarianism can disempower it, increasing the range of human freedom and possibility. The book also elegantly argues that this process is essential for human survival.”

“An exciting and provocative new concept about the origin and process of addiction. A must read for therapists and addiction counselors.”
— Ann McKain, past Pres. American Academy of Psychotherapists

“The potential to shift readers’ minds in a deep way….onto something big—possibly even the root of human error. It can actually change the way one views the world…. Elegantly articulates many of [our]…unformed thoughts”

“Spells out…the dangers of becoming addicted to another’s authority” — LONDON TIMES

167. Renald - July 4, 2010

Recent headline

Nepal’s ‘living goddess’ passes school leaving exam

KATHMANDU (Reuters Life!) – Perhaps divine intervention helped.

168. fofblogmoderator - July 4, 2010

162 is new

169. Best of the Blog - July 4, 2010

162. Anna

Thank you, Anna, I appreciate that. And thank you for adding a beam of sunlight this morning to the blog. Your words capture so beautifully what many of us feel.

170. X-ray - July 5, 2010

166. reader – July 4, 2010

Yes, the Guru Paper is a good one and can destroy false cult personality.
Recommend to all zombies.

171. nige - July 5, 2010

I noticed the name of John Craig mentioned in the list of ‘books’ that had been brought out by FOF members. I always wondered what had happened to him since we knew each other from Los Angeles days. He was always obsessed by father figures and ‘our spiritual family’.

172. nige - July 5, 2010

W E Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow’d.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

173. Best of the Blog - July 6, 2010

on July 5, 2010

W E Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow’d.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


174. Best of the Blog - July 6, 2010

Yesri baba
on July 10, 2007 at 9:47 am

402 Truth and how you distort it

I don’t know why you post that stuff. You are certainly free to do so.

Unoanimo wrote: ” Key yourself and burn the holy books: after all, your soul wrote them all anyways.”

When you read that does it mean anything to you? Do you think you are writing to a bunch of pre-schoolers?

Of course, these are only “I’s”. All that G. wrote were only “I’s”. What is so irritating is that after all these years this stuff has been twisted and used against you. You are being manipulated by it rather than it liberating.

The “I” that sees myself is the “I” that sees yourself. Get it?
You don’t get to “have” a real “I” but if you think if you can buy one keep paying.

on July 10, 2007 at 11:51 am

Good morning ‘Truth is where you find it’ ~

You quoted Gurdjieff ~

“The first demand, the first condition, the first test for he who wants to work on himself is to change his appreciation of himself. He cannot just imagine, or simply believe or think, but actually see things in himself that he did not see before, really see them. Never will his opinion about himself change as long as he will not see inside himself. And in order to see, he has to learn to see: it is the first initiation of man into self-knowledge.”

One may look at the ‘teacher’s’ (Robert Burton) first lie as a ‘do’ as to his “appreciation of himself”, his essential contradictions and “two selves”;

yet, to me, he stepped outside this image, as it is natural for all Saturns to do, to create wondrous rings for thousands to skate upon, rather than one wedding ring towards the inner self and the intent to suffer the consequences of being an automatic conduit for hypocricy, as we all ‘automatically are’,

yet, unbeknown to the Fellowship of Friends, The Work allows ‘choice and will’ to undue these clock tower tick tocks, to free ourselves from the burden of time, not standing still by it’s own ‘catching of breath’, rather, by our will to stop it, love it, be in between the tick and the tock, to sense that we are participating in life and simultaneously witnessing the growth of our physical deaths;

Robert Burton took up the career of satellites and forgot himself, his own ‘what goes around comes around’ laws,

he decided to feed upon the concepts of love, not the percepts, (after all, the lower cannot see the higher)…

again, this is a buffer from his pain body: in being-reality, Robert Burton is about 10 years old in his essence,

something diabolical happened to this man and he has not transformed it, rather, the experience has crystallized into a ‘lifestyle’, a recording,

playing like a record for those who are brought to listen to its hypnotic effect; sometimes it’s like a dog-whistle, other times, like a 2000 lb bull breathing down your neck, daring you to show any red, any unmanly bravery for the self, essence-shaming.

We live in change and Change lives in us; we are always preganant with something, children are our pathways to becoming less selfish and in the King of Clubs;

Robert Burton says, “They are to be seen, not heard.” (A very popular American attitude BTW.) Yet, is not Robert Burton’s attitude towards children synonymous with that of his unreconciled self, his damaged essence?

It’s easy to point to faults and not suggest further than the obvious photograph; yet, I would like to suggest that Robert Burton start all over again, drop the Fellowship of Friends, camp out near his mother’s grave for 6 months, fast, breath, write letters to his mother and this blog, explain yourself by the vehicles of higher centers (and that’s not a contradiction BTW), stop teaching the way of the perpetual si-do; Robert, have you not kept it long enough?

Robert Burton,

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Or is it that you are still ‘two’, doing unto others, your boys, what was done to your ‘not self’? Where is that portion that “…cannot stand the lies.” (?)

Is it not obvious enough that the ‘then as lie’ is the ‘now as lie’, that the ingredient of ‘lie’ freezes one’s being and distances the favors of the muses and ‘real’ time passing into ‘outside of time-being’?

Cannot you, Robert Burton, see that you are daily re-living an unreconciled instance of your painbody’s birth, of efforting towards more drama-shopping, more pain-hunger, and ‘finalizing’ of an account upon its external ‘seems so’ ‘mother of that birth’?

All your “next lifetime”, to me, only points to ‘I have not yet-ness…’ We can keep it simple, yes?

And what of it’s results, your lifestyle, your asking others to be ‘you’ in the hands of an abusive ‘mother’ or ‘goddess in a man’s body’ for the sake of ‘awakening’, awakening to what, another day of being trapped in your parents house, not being able to go when you really need to?

Many of us have had these circumstances, yet, somewhere ‘choice’ arose, will, an an invisible third party; has it not in you, if not, what form will it take, does physical age really mean anything when considering ‘crystallization’?

Perhaps you are the only student in ‘your school’, you cannot cheat when you’re the only one in the room; can you take the test that you yourself have expected of your ‘students’ and not graduated anyone from? Can you take their test?

For some, aging reveals conscience, perhaps this has something to do with your attempts to glorify doomsday; to celestialize the destruction of millions; yet, are these not simply your own unconscious reactions to the number of cells in your physical body, the roaring waves of blood that will someday cease flowing through your heart?

Some become more cynical in old age, others bitter for they cannot reconcile the damage done by others and that which they have reciprocated back; it’s all grey, they cannot distinguish what they think others deserved because they struck first and what others did not deserve, having not stuck first after being first struck.

This blog is your opportunity to see or to hide.

Your lifestyle’s consequences, you cannot pay for them, so, hence the overwhelming greed and affirmative dream-scape of Isis;

yet, Isis is not your mother, the feminine outside your dominance feature and automatic muse-making which refers only back to you yourself, Isis is you, the goddess in a man’s body (or is it your mother’s untransformed wrath, of which you were both victims of your “two selves”, which is possessing you and your ‘boys’ as a way to Paradise or is it just a movie, with the same effect all movies have, the desire for sequels and better movies than ‘that last one’?)

Evolution can be conscious or it can be a habit of having hobbies inbetween extremes.

Everything is ‘To be Continued’, yet, this gives no one who has met self remembering, ‘real license’… no one; Robert Burton, you are driving on a ‘Learner’s Permit’ with no one in the passenger seat… “Why be formatory?” You say.

Yes, Robert Burton, you say and never do anything to stay your hypocrisies; so, what are you doing? When will you bury the gods and sprout yourself?

– – –

Love to you all.

on July 11, 2007 at 2:40 pm

I have observed narcissistic personality traits in people whom lacked a parent (or two). When a child is not provided with a parent due to death, abandonment, or neglect, especially when the ‘missing’ parent is of the same sex as the child, the child imagines one to compensate. That imaginary parent is then idealized and perfect, but not real, as in narcissus’s reflection in the pool. The child and then later the adult cannot possibly live up to that perfection or the idealized traits of the imaginary parent, and thus is preoccupied with themselves “acting’ perfect, but deep down feeling flawed, inadequate, and imperfect. So they compensate with temporary ‘things’ that make them feel better. (They would never settle for a generic product, but want the ‘brand name’ product because it makes them feel superior. And the ‘thing’ or object always has to be new, bright or polished so they can ‘see’ themselves in it.)

The narcissistic wound is a wound the child inflicts upon themselves, derived from the child blaming themselves for the parent’s death or departure. Children are SO dependent upon their parents for survival, that they cannot ‘see’ (or acknowledge) defects in the parent, but blame themselves for their parent’s lacking out of extreme fear of abandonment. Once the unconscious mind accepts the belief that they are to blame for the lack of a parent, they live their lives with the deeply held belief that they are not worthy of success.

This is what I have been alluding to when I suggest that the FOF keeps one out of balance, forever doubting oneself, and never able to attain complete consciousness or higher centers (that which is already there anyway). One is kept striving for the unobtainable. That’s the narcissism that the FOF attracts in its followers. The level of ‘conscience’ that is ‘cult-ivated’ in the FOF follower is a foreboding feeling that one is inadequate, is not present enough and Robert always is. Robert just provides the unobtainable goals. Hence, one can only succeed in the ‘next lifetime’

It takes self respect to leave the FOF.

Ames Gilbert
on July 11, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Eva (#14-454) How nice you see Burton’s game as a “victory-victory game, that’s the trick”.

There is a set of “victory-victory” games (usually called ‘win-win’, FYI) and they all, obviously, are based on co-operation. A co-operative mode requires energies flowing in two directions equally (between participants), and a common goal.

In a co-operative situation we have a teacher who also learns from the student; a teacher who understands that no matter how much knowledge and being he has, there is always something new to learn, even (and maybe especially) from the rawest student. And we have a student who makes the lesson part of his being by teaching others in turn, completing the ‘si-do’ of internalizing the lesson. In other words, no permanent hierarchy, since anyone can be a teacher to others at any time, and a moment later, an eager student. This is a good game, Eva.

I spent many years observing that Burton learns nothing from his students, except in a low, cunning way, how to control them or fleece them the better. You can tell this for yourself by following the “conversation” (read, “monotonous disjointed dialog”) at one of his dinners, or by studying the form of his pronouncements in publications such as “Thoughts from the Teacher”, or by his tens of thousands of arbitrary decisions made in order to control the lives of his followers in the minutest detail. Every one of these decisions is made to close down possibilities, to reduce his surroundings to always simpler terms that he can better monitor and control for deviance, and to satisfy his untrammeled desires.

See him raise the license plate in a meeting, purposing to draw admiration from the audience or transmit fear to it. See the members of the audience trying hard to get just the right sappy look on their faces, and at the same time memorizing gems like, “We are playing the master game, and C-Influence has chosen us all here in this room to be winners”. That is the source of your wiseacring, Eva, not your experience, not your being. How can I tell? Because there is nothing personal in your post, nothing to indicate the angle is yours, or how you made it so, or that you live it.

In a ‘win-win’ or co-operative situation, a teacher lights a fuse, and is delighted when the explosion of new possibilities in the student lights up the sky, including his own (the teacher’s) spiritual firmament. In contrast, the only movement allowed by Burton in the FoF is if it supports, glorifies, or magnifies his own position. Look at Girard, declared the sole fruit of 38 years of unremitting work by ‘44 conscious beings’ plus Burton himself, allowed to be a ‘man #5’ under the condition he stays the eternal student of Burton, subservient and obedient to the last, all his accomplishments and work dedicated to the glory of Burton, his whole being twisted to be merely a reflector of Burton’s supposed superhumanity. Burton has literally eaten him, negated all his potential (and that of many others)—a new Caligula. Look, I mean really look, at the rest of the high muckety-mucks; paler, bloodless versions of the same. This is your idea of a good game, Eva?

Trick indeed, he is the trickster and you are the tricked; he is the joker and the joke is on you.


175. Jomo Piñata - July 6, 2010

“Once when it was a four, it was asked to take the life of a young goat that fellow students were to prepare for the evening meal. So it of course did what it was asked as it did not wish somebody else having to do something unpleasant because it would not do something unpleasant. So it held the muzzle of the gentle little creature, quite firmly, and then did take the knife and sever its throat. It made muted little noises. It was quite firm about what it was doing because that was handling it cleanly and making it easier for the little creature. Now as a teacher it works quite diligently to keep death’s hand from doing the same to students. Death’s despicable hand will touch each of us and it is fondling a student tonight. This is why Walt Whitman said ‘toward death i have been incessantly preparing and it darts awakening rays about more real than i dreamed, more direct.'”

April 16, 1974.

176. Best of the Blog - July 6, 2010

on July 11, 2007 at 9:14 pm

Arthur/467 – regarding R.’s “teaching himself to smile” – flinty spark in the dark:

“What seems to be missing in psychopaths is the compelling nature of an appropriate affective response to the knowledge gained from putting himself in another persons shoes, in the way that this happens in the normal person. This essential missing aspect of empathy in the severe psychopath is not in my experience easily seen and one does not often get a second glimpse of it if one has been treated to a first one by mistake.”

“A rather crude example might suffice for I am sure many of you have had similar experiences. A young psychopath who had inflicted multiple stab wounds on an elderly woman, and was charged with attempted murder, appeared subdued and appropriately sad about the offence during the early stages of a first interview. His eyes were moist as he accurately described how the woman must have felt during and after the attack. But later in the same interview, after a rather jocular rapport had been established, this boy blurted out, “I don’t know what all the fuss is about. The old bag only had a dozen scratches”. To my knowledge, in all his subsequent years at mental hospital, he stuck to all the right lines of remorse which he quickly learned were more appropriate and useful. The bright psychopath, the experienced psychopath, doesn’t stumble like that every often. Although with luck and the right question at the right time in the right place about how the other person’s feelings affected him, will produce a pause, or a puzzled look, or even rarely the question ‘how am I supposed to feel about it.’”


on July 11, 2007 at 9:16 pm

The idea is, he’s teaching himself how to smile so he can *appear* to have appropriate affective responses–making it apparent that he has to *teach* himself this, because it is not an ordinary feature of his human being.

Yesri baba
on July 11, 2007 at 9:20 pm

#456 Veronicapoe

Thanx for the link, it goes straight into favorites.

“The psychopath is the new man being produced by the evolutionary pressures of modern life”

IMO this should be a major focus of thinking for everyone in American culture. Our leaders are increasingly becoming this type. It is this culture’s god.

“Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all”
W.S. “Hamlet”

Laughing Love
on July 11, 2007 at 9:43 pm

Veronicapoe: (456) re: Robert practicing smiling

Sam Vakin’s website, which, as many know, is devoted entirely to the exploration of narcissism, describes that narcissists often practice various expressions in the mirror.

His explanation is that they are practicing to look like a human.

(Sorry, I couldn’t find the exact quote, but the site is easily accessible.)

Skeptical Optimist
on July 11, 2007 at 10:50 pm

Veronicapoe: (456) re: Robert practicing smiling

Others might remember that in the early 1970s Burton often had a drawn, painful, or distorted look on his face during meetings. It was really quite disconcerting. Obviously, people mentioned this to him, and he worked as I recall for about 2 years to try to eliminate this manifestation. He eventually ended up with what I thought of as the “drawn blank” look. Didn’t quite know what to make of this at the time, but might be apropos of this discussion.


on July 11, 2007 at 11:41 pm

About “learning to smile”:

I’m one of those people who doesn’t smile very easily. I had braces as a teenager, and I became very self-conscious about showing my teeth. I’ve stood in front of the mirror practicing my smile on occasion. Should I be concerned? I think not.

By itself, I don’t think Robert practicing how to smile is a sign of sociopathy or neurosis. But, as many have observed, there are plenty of other indications.

Somehow related to this topic is the “not showing teeth” exercise. Is this really a current FOF exercise? It would certainly get Robert off the hook as far as needing to cultivate a warm, sincere smile!

on July 11, 2007 at 11:59 pm

I remember the first time we were given the “cover your mouth” exercise when we smiled or laughed. Many of us then ran around with the giggling little girl essence act with our hands covering our mouths. What an affecting load of horse shit that was, must still be. I would tell them again, Jesus, look at yourselves, aren’t you embarrassed?

I heard the next exercise to be present will be to rub your belly and pat your head at the same time when giving angles, and reverse directions when receiving angles, then courtesy and walk away- just for the men.

steve lang
on July 12, 2007 at 12:34 am

I try not to have judgement when I read entries on the blog. Having judgement “I’s” is something that occurs quite a bit for me.

When I read post 465 from Take It Easy and saw the quote; “Robert said: The school never has lost a true student.”,
I thought to myself, wow, there’s that style of Robert’s. So penetrating and effective. I probably should have never left.
Then suddenly I thought, hold on, what is a “true student”? Someone who will blindly give up there identity and money for a cause they will never comprehend or understand.

When Robert first mentioned how HE uses the sequence, I was very confused. Everyone I knew in the school talked about when Robert crystalized there was a bolt of lightning at the Academy or some such nonsense (whenever I hear stories like that I usually shut down right away. It does not compute) and I assumed that this guy was on such a different level- he was ALWAYS conscious. No need for no stinkin’ sequence. I mean how is it, that for 37 years everything BUT the sequence was the way to awakening. It wan’t that long ago that he had us counting how many times a day we “remembered ourselves”. Students all over the place were running around with those “clickers” that they use to count patrons as they enter a concert and keeping tabs on the number of times they remembered themselves. The goal was 100 times a day. Suddenly, one day the exercise disappeared.

Somebody give me a buzz when they move from the sequence. I’ll be curious to know what the new method is.
In the meantime I’ll be a student from the outside.

Purchasing awakening
on July 12, 2007 at 2:36 am

More Sacred mad teachings by the most Beloved Teacher ever!

The funniest of them all by far!

Excerpts from few teaching events. . .

A cave painting from Lascaux, dating from 15,000-13,000 BP, depicts a rhinoceros hunt. It represents the sequence being intoned in imagination by the rhinoceros—the lower self. The steward is lying on his back, and rather than having five fingers on each hand, he has only four fingers. This means that he is taking the four wordless breaths in imagination. The six stools represent the sequence in imagination. Everything is in imagination. “You will see fantasies rather than the truth.”

The rhinoceros, which is defecating, represents the sequence in imagination.

A cave painting in Lascaux, dating to 15,000-13,000 BP, depicts a rhinoceros defecating. The six stools represent the sequence in imagination. The steward has been thrown down, and has four fingers in place of five, signifying that the four wordless breaths are not in prolonged presence, but in prolonged imagination. He has attempted to slay the bison—another symbol of the lower self—but rather than piercing him in the heart, he has pierced him in the intestines, which are coming out. Nevertheless, the lower self still had the strength to overthrow the steward and to destroy the sequence.

on July 12, 2007 at 3:22 am

For those interested, a copy of the infamous “hell” letter to Sharole Manering can be found at the following URL:


on July 12, 2007 at 3:25 am

“A person is more easily made into a mythical figure if the outlines of his personality are blurred. Myths are largely constructed from our own projections; and the imagination cannot flourish where the exact facts are known.”

Anthony Storr, Feet of Clay

Martin from Berlin
on July 12, 2007 at 9:33 pm

To 440 Observer.

Here is something in relation to your question.
After my time in the FOF I got in contact with other Gurdjieff groups. Usually I would avoid advertising myself as an Ex-FOF, since the FOF has a very bad reputation in these circles. But one day we talked about it and one person said to me, he heard so many horrible stories about the FOF, but each time he meets somebody who has been in there, he is positively surprised and finds them rather OK. And he didn’t even know have of the real dark side of it.

So if one reads this stuff about the drippings and droppings from the cave walls, one would think all these people are complete lunatics. Even I tend to think, oh my god, I am glad it was not that bad during my time. But was it that different? We were talking about the arch, the reason for the existence of the school, building a new civilasation and so on. By now we were supposed to fly to all the museums in Europe and take the precious art back to Renaissance. All imagination, complete fantasies of a sick mind, projections. It is the same with the stuff I read here about ancient art. All complete trash and I believe people in the FOF know it. One can feel it in ones heart that this is neither truth nor wisdom. It is fabricated nonsense. As long as one is in, one plays a game as if one would not notice, to avoid too much trouble. But when you start to believe in yourself again, it all falls off like an old coat. The need of playing these kind of social games disappears and one becomes normal again.

There is only one person that will not be able to experience that freedom, because he is the only one that can not step out of this yezidi circle. I also believe that most members know in there heart that RB is far from what he imagines to be. It just takes time to admit it and love yourself enough to stop following wrong idols. Part of the problem is that good and wrong ideas are mixed together. Also good and bad experiences are part of the FOF. So one believes by leaving the bad and wrong one would also loose the good. But that is not the case. Lies and wrong ideas, and fantasies will disappear. The history of the FOF is an example of that. The only problem is, new lies are invented again and again.

Love and Friendship will prevail, the GreaterFellowship is showing us this truth.

David B.
on July 13, 2007 at 4:25 pm

To Observer (561)

Bass Ackwards (563) and Whalerider (566) have already addressed your questions somewhat but I will add a bit more here to try to clarify.
Referring to a post by a current FOF member (465) who said ‘C influence takes away their (former students’) understanding and causes them to forget their divine verifications’) you wrote:
“how did you tell yourself it was okay for people to talk to others that way?”

Well, you have to understand that this is just the kind of stuff that FOF members say to each other to convince themselves that they are right for staying and the people who leave are making a mistake. While I was in the FOF, I often doubted the truth of such statements but would only say so to a few close friends who I knew I could trust and who probably shared my doubts. If you were to express doubt or criticism of these kinds of statements publicly you would risk becoming a pariah. Although I’m sure many students have doubts about Robert and his teachings, very few have the courage to give voice to those doubts and risk being ostracized, especially when they have severed all their ties to the outside world and have nowhere else to go. I remember in the days right before I left the FOF, I wanted to confront the other members at a meeting (that was back when they still had meetings) and stand up and challenge them all on some of these things. I thought it would be good to stir things up and at least get people talking, and what did I have to lose, right? I had already made up my mind to leave. But somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was just too uncomfortable and, perhaps even frightening, being only one person against all the others. I suppose I was just still too close to it all and wasn’t sure enough about it. I certainly hope that those who are currently poised to leave will consider not going quietly. You will be amazed how many others are also having doubts about the emperor’s clothes.

You also asked:
“How did you deal with the constantly changing rules and predictions and “sequences” and ritualistic “babble” and make that all okay in your minds? Did the camaraderie make it all okay? Were the operas and art that distracting?”

The camaraderie was a big part of it for me. I wanted to be in a community of people who were dedicated to working on themselves and I was willing to tolerate a lot of Robert’s weird crap in order to have that. I remember wishing that Robert would just die or something so we could get rid of the weirdness and have a ‘normal fourth way school’. I have spoken with others who shared those sentiments. Of course that was naive and knowing what I know now I would never rejoin the FOF even if Robert were no longer there.

One other thing. In your post you refer to the “intelligent, spiritually motivated people” in the Fellowship. I think that is attributable to the quality of the fourth way teaching, not so much Robert. Probably most of the truly sincere and intelligent ones are there in spite of Robert, not because of him, and they will eventually leave when they figure it out.

So anyway, Observer, I hope that helps you. Since you were never in the FOF, I’m sure it seems really bizarre and incomprehensible, but I’m glad you’re making the effort.


177. Best of the Blog - July 6, 2010

page 15. . .

refresh your memory
on July 14, 2007 at 7:00 am

In the name of Religion
Church leader’s sexual trysts cause membership defections
The San Diego Union-Tribune/March, 1995
By Gordon Smith – Staff Writer

OREGON HOUSE, Yuba County- Five months after he had a sexual encounter with Robert Burton, the founder and leader of the Fellowship of Friends, Richard Laurel wrote an open letter to his fellow members in the group.

The letter explained that Burton had asked Laurel to become a night guard at his chateaulike home at the Fellowship’s headquarters, called Apollo, here in the tiny foothill community of Oregon House. Among the duties of the guards, Laurel said, was to give Burton massages.

Like most members of the Fellowship, Laurel went on to say, he considered Burton to be practically a god, and someone whom he “could fully trust in every regard.”

So it surprised and shocked him, Laurel said, when during a massage, Burton pulled down his (Laurel’s) pants and, without a word, performed oral sex on him.

“I felt betrayed and used by the man who I thought was my spiritual father,” wrote Laurel, who prefers to be identified by the surname he used while in the Fellowship.

It bothered him even more when he found out that many other members, including his teen-age son, had been pursued for sex by Burton for years, added Laurel, who is married.

Laurel’s letter led to a wave of resignations and expulsions of longtime members of the group. The resulting loss of as much as $500,000 in annual dues may have in turn sparked a financial crisis, according to some former members.

But a spokesman for Fellowship denied that it’s in financial trouble.

And Abraham Goldman, Burton’s attorney, insisted that the sexual encounter between Burton and Laurel was consensual.

“It was not the only time they had physical affection with each other,” Goldman added. “Mr. Laurel’s letter doesn’t tell the full story.”

It did, however, lead some longtime members to question Burton s behavior-partly because Laurel’s complaint echoed charges made against Burton and the Fellowship in a lawsuit by former member Samuel Sanders in 1984.

Sanders claimed he felt betrayed when he discovered that Burton made a habit of having sex with rank-and-file members, most of them heterosexual males and many of them married.

more refreshment needed?
on July 14, 2007 at 7:15 am

Philosophy supports sex drive

But he gradually came to believe that the philosophy was being used to support Burton’s personal desires for control and sex.

“I was needy for spiritual guidance, and I guess if you’re needy, you re willing to take certain things for granted more than you would if you’re not quite as gullible,” said Van Gaal.

He began resisting Burton’s advances after getting married in 1990, and left the Fellowship last October, he said.

Attorney Goldman said Burton had a consensual sexual relationship with Van Gaal.

“I can’t say how long it lasted or how often it occurred. But there were times when Mr. (Van Gaal) initiated the meetings.” Goldman said.

He pointed out that laws vary from state to state regarding whether sex between a religious leader and a disciple-or a doctor and patient, for that matter-is illegal.

“Mr. Burton has never abused his position of power or trust with a member, either involving a sexual relationship or any other aspect of his teaching,” Goldman added.

A current Fellowship member who said he became one of Burton’s Lovers for a time while separated from his wife agreed.

“Robert’s in a position of power being the founder of the Fellowship… but I don’t think he misuses that position”, said the man, who asked to remain anonymous.

“I’ve refused Robert sex,” he said, “If someone feels pressure to give in it’s basically their imagination.

“One thing that rules most of our lives is what people think of us,” he went on, “I feel I took a big step in the direction of being free from that” through having sex with Burton.

However Carl Mautz, a former lawyer for the Fellowship who helped defend the group during Sander’s lawsuit, said Burton’s sexual relationships with members are “an obvious abuse of power.”

Like many other former members of the group, Mautz said he wasn’t offended by Burton’s homosexuality, but by the inherently domineering aspects of a leader having sex with his followers.

Taken advantage of

Not all members of the Fellowship are approached for sex by Burton, Mautz noted. But Johan Van Gaal “was completely taken advantage of.”

In their 1993 book “The Guru Papers,” authors Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad reported that cult leaders often express and consolidate control over their disciples through sex.

Ironically, people who submit to experimental sex with their spiritual leaders often see themselves as liberated spiritual adventures, they wrote.

“That many discontented and innovative people were unwittingly seduced into submission… indicates the depth of people’s susceptibility to authoritarian control,” they said.

Goldman insisted Burton did not seduce Laurel or Van Gaal, “Sexual relations can arise from mutual attraction,” he said.

However the member who is currently Burton’s lover spoke of originally turning Burton down “when he first approached me,” and added, “It is always up to the person he, Burton, is propositioning to say no.”

In any case as Kramer and Alstad pointed out, most [devotees who study under a specific] spiritual leader-and make that study the focus of their lives-find it difficult to deny the leader anything, even when he or she openly expresses a sexual interest.

Moreover, the ideologies of small religious groups typically discourage any questioning of the leader’s actions, they said.

The Fellowship is no exception.

Members are taught that Burton is a higher being with understanding they do not have, said Mautz.

“People in the Fellowship who aren’t close to Robert act around him the way your ordinary 14-year-old would act around Michael Jordan,” Mautz said.

Members nervous around leader

“They’re nervous. They fumble for words. It’s a totally uneven playing field.”

Joel Friedlander, a former spokesman and board member for the Fellowship who resigned last year, agreed.

“One of the teachings of the Fellowship is that doubts come from the false part of yourself. That’s an effective control mechanism,” he said.

Cynthia Hill, the Fellowship’s director of public relations, insisted that while members strive not to express negative emotions, any topic can be discussed as long as it’s in “a neutral tone of voice.”

And longtime member Colin Lambert said the Fellowship has a teacher-student relationship that is based on established spiritual tradition and is difficult for many Americans, schooled in democratic principles, to understand.

“We do not believe that a teacher has to explain himself to his students,” Lambert said. “But you voluntarily enter this relationship, and take responsibility.”

Such ideas support Burton’s continued leadership and lifestyle. But as Lambert acknowledged, only those who trust the teacher stay in the group. Those who don’t, leave.

Charles Randall, the Fellowship’s former business manager, left last October in the wake of Laurel’s letter.

After 21 years in the group, he said, he came to believe Burton was effectively manipulating the minds as well as the bodies of members through a self-serving philosophy.

“I’m kind of humiliated by the whole thing,” said Randall.

“I thought it was the one true way, but as it turns out, it was just a cult.”

He’s among about 100 members who resigned or were expelled in the aftermath of Laurel’s letter, according to Mautz.

Departures create financial bind

The changes could put financial pressure on the group, Mautz said.

“That’s a huge amount of money” to lose in the form of annual dues, he explained (most members give 10 percent of their income to the group).

In fact, the Fellowship is in default on most of its 1994 property taxes, and owes more than $415,000 in ’94-’95 taxes, penalties and interest. The 1,300 acres owned by the group are valued at nearly $21 million, said a spokesman for the Yuba County assessor’s office.

Hill said the Fellowship will initiate a payment plan later this year to cover taxes in arrears.

“This situation is not unusual for businesses,” she said. “As often occurs with young wineries in particular, cash-flow difficulties may arise as production and sales become equalized.”

Others say that whatever the group’s finances, Burton’s predictions of a catastrophic earthquake followed by nuclear holocaust could lead to a crisis down the road.

Margaret Singer, a professor emeritus of psychology at UC Berkeley who has counseled thousands of former cult members, said both doomsday predictions and mass suicides (which she called mass murders since they are orchestrated by cult leaders) will increase as the end of the millenium nears.

“All these cult ‘prophets’ enjoy reading significance into the change in the millenium,” she said.

Friedlander said he doesn’t think the Fellowship’s doomsday scenario will lead that far.

“But you can’t rule it out,” he said. “‘The Fellowship certainly has the idea of gathering the faithful for the coming holocaust, of creating a self-contained community, and believing that former members are out to get them.”

Randall believes the Fellowship will almost certainly endure, as it did after the lawsuit by Samuel Sanders.

Burton is unlikely to destroy the vehicle that enables him to indulge his whims, Randall said.

And as doubters leave and loyalists stay. he pointed out, the group becomes more cohesive than ever.


178. brucelevy - July 6, 2010

179. rock that boat - July 7, 2010

I have been reflecting on the FOF and how it affected me
as a human being, as a an individual.

1). Independence
2). Sense of Self
3). Self worth
4). Initiative / leadership
5). Dreams, Hopes, Creativity, Charity,Wishes, Believes,
Friendships, Loves, Deaths, and the sense that the world
is your oyster

1). Independence
Sheep-Cult member

2). Sense of Self
Self on the shelf

3). Self worth
Uncertain, confidence goes down the drain

4). Initiative / leadership
Blind following, imitation

5). Dreams – Hopes – Creativity – Charity – Wishes
Believes – The sense that the world is your oyster

Nightmares – Despair – Cynicism – Try to tolerate life
B-influence – Same old same old

180. X-ray - July 7, 2010

179. rock that boat – July 7, 2010

What you are describing is a process of degeneration from a human being to zombie.
Glad you made it out, like many of us.

181. Best of the Blog - July 8, 2010

on July 14, 2007 at 4:23 pm

On inner circle students joining the Greater Fellowship.

I wonder to what extent we realize that the strong inner circle of the fellowship of friends is composed of people who have meticulously divided into two very precise personalities. If anyone has lived with anyone of them closely for a good number of years, you would have angles to share on how this manifests when looked at closely. We cannot underestimate this state because looked at deeply it reveals that one of the personalities moved with a certain degree of success and the other one, too. The beauty and the beast are both powerful. The I that is willing to give itself up for Robert and the I that is willing to work on itself and become a better human being, both developed amongst these students, in fact, all of us, but in them to a very different degree and in them, the I that was willing to give itself up for Robert at their own cost, prevails much more strongly while in the rest of us it does not, or at least to a lesser degree. They are in a much more delicate, dangerous and difficult position than the rest of us. They are willing to act against themselves and the people around them to hold Robert above, hence what makes others think that they would not act against you, us, to protect Robert?

I was much surprised at a formal dinner with Girard at the galleria when our friend who is so soft, good willing and kind reacted to my questioning of Robert with a powerful and angry: “The sequence works,” he would have hit me if he could have and the kind, soft and goodwilling personality dissolved into a ferocious and determined man faced with an enemy. . .

on July 14, 2007 at 7:15 pm

Passing comment to all:

This debate [regarding whether Abe Goldman should be welcome on the Greater Fellowship site], with all of its wonderful points and counterpoints… Would it ever occur in the Fellowship of Friends?

Imagine the discussion at one of the meetings several years ago. . .

“Well, I think the decision to expel [name your ex-student] from the Fellowship is questionable at best. His criticism of Robert Burton is very reasonable, and we would all benefit from listening to him. For the remainder of the meeting, we will discuss his concerns, and everyone is welcome to convey their angles on this topic… I think someone had their hand up over there in the corner. Is that Ames? OK, Ames, go ahead. . .”

Lust for Life
on July 14, 2007 at 9:51 pm

182. Best of the Blog - July 8, 2010

on July 17, 2007 at 2:33 am

Another view of “the King of Hearts”:

“When the King of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland tries to calm the Mad Hatter’s hysteria by saying, “don’t be nervous or I’ll have you executed on the spot,” the warning could easily have emerged from the lips of a passive-aggressive man. “Yes, no!” “Stop, go!” “I never lie, I was just protecting you from the truth!” What does he mean? The King of Hearts and most passive-aggressive men share the maddening characteristic of never saying exactly what they mean.

. . . .

Problems arise with the passive-aggressive man because of his fatal flaw: an indirect and inappropriate way of expressing hostility hidden under the guise of innocence, generosity or passivity. If what he says or does confuses you, or, more likely, angers you, this is why. You’re not the only one to react this way. It’s what passive-aggression is all about.

from Living With the Passive-Aggressive Man by Scott Wetzler

on July 17, 2007 at 1:03 pm

Consider that “spiritual seeking” & the desire for enlightenment is other than what we imagine it to be. We imbue specific actions and feelings with a legitimacy & authenticity that may belie the reality. We ennoble some weak or abbherrant aspect of ourselves by creating an entire mythology: the myth of awakening & “work on oneself”.
The FOF (like many groups) springs up to cater to our needs – as defined by self-serving, limiting definitions of our inner experiences.
I thought it worth repeating what the Sheik posted much earlier. The following excerpt (from John Welwood) is completely unreadable and unacceptable to people who are not ready to question the basis of their own behavior – but for those that are approaching readiness…

“…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”

on July 18, 2007 at 2:03 pm

Here’s another well-written post about a recent experience with the Fellowship of Friends…



183. gabrielle - July 8, 2010

Re: 52. Rudy – June 25, 2010
I appreciate what you have to say! There is no one hat that fits all.
The idea of the “many Is” helped me.

184. reader - July 8, 2010

So let’s see “gabrielle,” out of everything posted on this page, you appreciate that? Did anything else impress you?

“The idea of the many ‘I’s” The question is — can you, even to the smallest degree, question that idea? Can you see how the idea was twisted and manipulated to serve an agenda? And how in the process of not questioning it, the idea became a simple self-calming mechanism — i.e., anyone who questions or criticizes Burton has “many ‘I’s.” End of discussion. Can we change the subject now?

185. gabrielle - July 8, 2010

I’ll say this once.
I’m not interested in entering in to a debate. So save your bullying tactics for someone else.
I will not be responding.

186. reader - July 8, 2010

In other words, it’s “just ‘I’s”. No need to discuss it, no need to take it seriously, no need to take action, just ignore, turn the other way. Don’t discuss. Don’t be concerned:

“It’s just ‘I’s. Let’s change the subject.”

187. reader - July 8, 2010

So let’s see… If I disagree and point out what I believe is a common thought virus coming from FOF group think… that’s bullying?

Better to let you say whatever you want with a quiet nod? Isn’t that similar to what people do in “the Fellowship”?


“She’s just expressing negativity. She’s obviously losing the school.” Combined with stern looks of disapproval to keep people in line.

188. gabrielle - July 8, 2010

Very entertaining …
I’m having a lovely chuckle.
Faceless “reader”s making assumptions.
Gabrielle Markus

189. reader - July 8, 2010

“I will not be responding.” Of course, here you are responding anyway, and making your own assumptions. You’re just responding with laughter. And you’re “not entering into a debate,” but here you are. You’re just debating with “lovely chuckles,” that’s all.

Burton was always amused by anyone who disagreed with him, too. And I’m sure he continues to have many a “lovely chuckle” as well to anyone who challenges his way of thinking, or any idea that runs counter to the program.

Gabrielle, do “enter into debates.” It’s good to challenge and be challenged: it’s good to be disagreed with, and to disagree. It just becomes awkward when you’re in a cult, that’s all.

190. gabrielle - July 9, 2010

May I suggest you do a little research … my name is Gabrielle Markus … if you have a look at the GF community site you’ll see I was in a cult but that was quite a few years ago.
I don’t feel the need to explain to others why the idea of the “many Is” helped me… especially to someone I don’t know. The one idea that helped the most was “you must verify for yourself”. This enabled me to exit “the school” and the idea of a “school” led me to believe that my graduation day had come. All very simple … Your last sentence sounds a little patronising … but thanks anyhow for what seems like a hint of concern. I’m very happily living life to the full. My day has started and I have to work.

191. reader - July 9, 2010

If you’re happy, good for you, Gabrielle, sincerely. But if you “don’t feel the need to explain to others why the idea of the “many Is” helped me… especially to someone I don’t know.” … then a rhetorical question: What on earth are you doing here? (especially if you have to work.)

Maybe something is eating at you a bit? It’s clear from reading comments both here and on the GF site that being away from the FOF — even for many years — is no guarantee that these ideas (and all of the accompanying nonsense) are left behind entirely. And terms such as “verify” are giveaways.

192. gabrielle - July 9, 2010

People preaching and not being transparent about who they are is a bother … let’s use the word “validate” … I really don’t care what language you want to use … I can use IT lingo and homeopathic speak too! The idea helped me see something about myself that made my life less complicated.
We could continue this another time if you like

193. Josiane - July 9, 2010

Welcome, Gabrielle. The blog can always use fresh blood and it seems that you are ready for this media.

194. X-ray - July 9, 2010

you are talking to the ‘many I’s’, there is no gabrielle in there.

195. 78-85 - July 9, 2010

I’ll take Gabrielle’s side on this. You guys are too “mechanical” in your opposition to “work language”. The ideas within the system can be used to some benefit in some cases. Personally, I don’t use them, but that doesn’t mean they have no application. Go get yourself a Corona.

196. reader - July 9, 2010

“78-85”. “That doesn’t mean they have no application.”

Actually, I would agree. I do continue to use a few of the “work words,” although not many. The most common one that I use is the word “buffer” for instance. Clinging to these terms is partly that — a “buffer.” Like many other cults, former followers cling to the idea that they gained something from the experience. They don’t want to invalidate a part of their lives that was spent meaninglessly and destructively. They don’t want to believe they were conned, or that people were hurt in the process, maybe themselves included. Or if they do acknowledge that, they say, “Well, I learned a lot from the con man, though.”

The idea of the “many ‘I’s” is one of the most insidious in the FOF. We were taught to mistrust ourselves, mistrust our intuition, mistrust our gut feelings. We saw, we heard, and we felt, but we turned away. In the process, in addition to ignoring the damage being done to ourselves and to others, we also missed some great opportunities for personal growth outside the cult. The idea of the many ‘I’s is one of the most effective for keeping people trapped.

So… BELIEVE the ‘I’s. Listen to them. Don’t “separate” from them.

Anyway, no thanks. I’ll pass on your Corona…

197. brucelevy - July 9, 2010

195. 78-85

I’m with you.

198. gabrielle - July 9, 2010

196. reader
I’m back reluctantly. My experience of the idea was completely different … I ended up learning to recognise, acknowledge and trust my intuition.

It’s a shame you didn’t gain anything from the experience.
My personal growth has not been hindered in any way by my experiences.
What are you on about?

199. gabrielle - July 9, 2010

194. X-ray
I’m inclined to agree … “Many Is” talking to “Many Is”. All a bit funny.

200. reader - July 9, 2010

gabrielle, It sounds like you had more of a positive experience in the FOF than I did, and you’ve moved on to a good life as well… Honestly, I’m happy for you. And yes we don’t need to throw everything away that we learned in the FOF. I get it.

No Corona last night — but I did share a bottle of champagne.

Wishing you all well.

201. Best of the Blog - July 9, 2010

Ames Gilbert
on July 18, 2007 at 7:21 pm

I’m putting an excerpt from Zanymystic’s description of his life in the Fellowship of Friends, taken from his website. It is taken out of context; visit the link Tim Campion gave for the whole story, which I personally find rather remarkable.




Life at “the Ranch” was a constant wonderland. One might go from pulling weeds to peeling carrots, to dressing in suit and tie to dine in the most magnificent room in California, the “Meissen Room”. Of course, that was over 27 years ago, and I suspect these descriptions are long outdated. Robert was truly “King” of this Empire, and everyone emulated his “self-effacing, humble walk”.

Tall, broad shouldered, he carried himself as if he was but a lowly servant, slightly hunched down with a peasant’s shuffle. Of course, he wore silk suits and magnificent rings, not unlike Liberace, but a tad more elegant and “discreet” about his obvious penchant for the Divine Feminine. His Queen was safely tucked away inside, for private consumption only. With student donations pouring in, and “special donations” ranging from $400.00 and up, the man raked it in. By now, he must be a billionaire several times over.


At this time, I traveled back and forth to “the ranch”. One occasion, I got a ride with a tall, slender, good–looking male, an architect. We stopped by his apartment before the final leg of the journey, and he made a pass at me. I wasn’t really attracted, and it had been years since I’d had sex, so frankly I didn’t know what to do. Besides, my own sexuality remained a mystery to all but me.

A day later, I was told “the Teacher wants to see you at the Lincoln Lodge”. Somewhat excited, yet apprehensive, I sat next to him in an overstuffed chair. He told me that my architect friend had asked if it was okay to have sex with another male and had spilled his guts. Bad idea. We were both given “the task” of not ever having sex with other males. Robert said, with a sweeping gesture in the air, “Can’t you see… there’s so much more…” and that was that. You didn’t argue with the Teacher. Period. Depressed, I felt that the school was be-coming “too restrictive”. Slowly, like a society that is being modified and controlled, it goes largely unnoticed – until it’s too late. I felt the school was turning into, or already was, a cult. I couldn’t see why being homosexual should limit my spiritual advancement. Not only that, I was one horny male, after years of celibacy. I told Randolph that I was going to leave. He hated to see me go, but understood completely. We embraced and said goodbye. It seemed “logical” to make my escape to San Francisco, a doomed failure and raging alcoholic.

I ended up living in the Haight Ashbury with a buffed Queen who was rarely home, living the “perfect life” of a fag: the gym, polished copper pots, and two alcoholic roommates. The bars nearby became my new home. Dealing with leaving a school, believing one is basically doomed, is a dark shadow from which to emerge. Many other students either left at that time, or were asked to leave, especially if they “knew too much”. My good friends, Stella and Harold, who had opened a center in Amsterdam, were asked to leave, having disobeyed the “no smoking” rule. Several years later I got in touch with Stella, and the truth came out. Robert had been blackmailing the straight male students, and their underage boys, into having sex with him. They were told point blank if they didn’t comply, they’d be out of the school. This had been going on from the beginning. Robert’s “inner circle” had nothing to do with level of consciousness. It had to do with who could do his bidding and keep their mouths shut. Those were the ones who ended up in “special positions” either traveling with him, sitting next to him at enormous meetings, or taking on “executive duties”. One fellow was used as his “boy toy”, which left indelible scars. He worked through it to eventually become a well–known artist. Those at the top seemed a bunch of arrogant scoundrels. One of the men who sat in front was a Doctor, who I bumped into at the San Francisco baths one night. He cringed and left upon seeing me. I was delighted to have left the school on my own terms, having taken what I needed. “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” says Auntie Mame.

Stella, in the meantime, began a support group assisting those who left or were asked to leave. Many folks were suicidal. I joined the group, and more sordid details of Robert’s sexual machinations were revealed, including a class action lawsuit that ended up settling “out of court”.


202. Best of the Blog - July 9, 2010

Flying Free
on July 20, 2007 at 6:59 pm


I read your letters on this blog, and greatly sympathize. I left a year ago, after being in for over 20 years.

Here is how it works – when you want to live the illusion, when you want to create an imaginary world for yourself that you believe in, you cannot hear anything that is outside the four walls that you have created for yourself. This applies to those in the Fellowship of Friends , or those that are not – that have built careers, or become artists, or whatever walk of life they have chosen. It all depends on what we have chosen to believe in, and to what degree.

This imaginary world can be compared to a child that has built a tent with chairs from the dining room. He sits under that tent and makes believe that this is his real world, and that the rest of the world does not exist. It is safe. He is hidden from view. Mom might even go along with the game and give him a peanut butter sandwich into the tent. Things are happy.

The child will not come out from the tent, until he is ready, or he gets tired of the game. If mom tries to tell him it is bedtime, or tears off the blanket before he is ready, all hell will break loose and she has to deal with tears for the next 40 minutes or so.

A person in a cult is no different from the child. They are hiding. Each one of us ended up in the Fellowship of Friends for our own reasons – some obscure, but in a general sense because somehow the world did not offer us safety, comfort or the ‘spiritual’ solace that our souls craved. Whatever was missing in us, we found in the Fellowship of Friends – comfort, friendship, security, purpose or meaning, specialness and yes, some semblance of a spiritual path.
This guy Robert Burton calling himself The Teacher , clever as he is, went straight to the front, held up the flag and said follow me. So we did. A cult was born!

Until the person paints himself into the corner, cannot stand the contradictions any longer, cannot help but look around and see the lie that he has been living, can no longer stand the noise going on in his head day after day, and can no longer stand the nights when he cannot sleep for want of trying to do something as absurd “as the sequence “( just because some guy dreamed it up to keep the mind active )and can no longer live his life in an absurd ‘dream’, that unbeknown to him , he has created himself – WELL, until that time comes, you as a relative can do absolutely nothing.

All you can do is be patient, keep telling him that you will help in any way you can once he decides to leave, and that you really care and love him. That is it. Sorry. That is it.

Many of us who have dear friends in the Fellowship of Friends have tried to speak to our friends, to try to get them to see the ‘dreamy lie’ that they are living. Well, not a chance! Until the person reads enough of the truth on the Blog, and until they themselves pick up the phone and call to have a conversation – there is nothing you can do. Once they open the door, then you can be there to help them walk through with kindness and lots and lots of patience. Because it is a real cult, that is the process that each one of us has gone through, in varying degrees. The bubble bursts, the anger and pain emerges, and then you are on your way to freedom.

Be well my friend ANON. Be patient. Be loving.


203. Best of the Blog - July 9, 2010

on July 19, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Unoanimo 296

“Outside ‘The Greats’, so far as I have found, contradictions, extremes, mystical experiences, transformations, soul building, are all shared by many who never make it into ‘the books’;
I even fancy that there are tens of thousands of ‘conscious beings’ not even known about when it comes to The Library of Congress.”

I wholeheartedly agree. I also find that many have worked their way to freedom from this land of chains, and most of them do not go around advertising their acquired beingness, unless it is required by their role to do so.
The enlightened beings who choose to “go public” do so for truly altruistic motives, unlike the many false gurus of our age.
The contemporaries of Shakespeare or Whitman could feel they were special only by the power of their presence and the fruits of their actions. And I would assume many were too busy or blind to notice.
The ‘conscious being’ labelling having totally lost its appeal for me, I now simply look at humans and try to get a feel for the force that drives them, the source of energy fueling their actions. I want to offer a small personal example.

Often the most amazing sources of inspiration reach me in a very serendipitous way.
Recently, as I was zapping through TV channels, I came upon the Dave Chapelle & Maya Angelou episode of the interesting TV series “Iconoclasts”. I had only heard about Ms Angelou, and as I watched her I became totally engrossed by her presence and spirit.
She definitely glows with the light I have always been drawn to, the quality of being that makes me think “wow, I really want to get myself some of that”.
I don’t know the objective truth about this woman, she may be “conscious” or not, but I don’t care, I feel a fountain of love, and that’s all I need.

After reading some of her poetry, I am afraid she has a very good chance of being exploited in the future by some uninspired teacher in search for uplifting conscious quotes. Anyway, as long as she is alive, she simply kicks ass, and I thank her.

The Lesson

I keep on dying again.
Veins collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping
Memory of old tombs,
Rotting flesh and worms do
Not convince me against
The challenge. The years
And cold defeat live deep in
Lines along my face.
They dull my eyes, yet
I keep on dying,
Because I love to live.


A Last love,
proper in conclusion,
should snip the wings
forbidding further flight.
But I, now,
reft of that confusion,
am lifted up
and speeding toward the light.

And, if someone is still in the mood for quotes:

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

love to all


204. surelyujest - July 9, 2010

From glad2Bgone via Best of the Blog:

“Consider that “spiritual seeking” & the desire for enlightenment is other than what we imagine it to be. We imbue specific actions and feelings with a legitimacy & authenticity that may belie the reality. We ennoble some weak or abbherrant aspect of ourselves by creating an entire mythology: the myth of awakening & “work on oneself”…

This has been my experience as well. I have seen it in myself, and observed it in others. Here’s an example:

Sometime in the last year, some ex-students started posting about the David Springfield letter on another web site — godlikeproductions, a kind of weird, conspiracy theory and UFO type site. After most people had lost interest, one former student, who is an eager believer in the 4th Way, found himself in a dialogue with someone who obviously had never encountered the Ideas. So our ex-student tried to pull a Gurdjieff — you know, the mysterious mystic with hidden powers. I observed the dialogue take place with amusement and a little sick feeling too — because I used to be like that, though never quite to this extent.

Because the ex-student was soon banned (!) from godlikeproductions, the thread was deleted. But it went something like this:

ex-student: I know more about you than you can possibly know yourself. I know what you do, and why, and I can teach you to know these things too.

random person: You sound completely delusional with your pseudo-mystical crap. Get lost.

ex-student: I thought I detected a glimmer of possibilities in you, but I was wrong. You have no possibilities. Nevermind. Go back to your sleeping mechanicality.

random person: Whatever…

This is not verbatim but it is pretty close. Can you see anything even remotely spiritual in this ex-student and 4th Way believer’s words? All I see is ego, using spiritual ideas for personal gain, if only to impress someone, or even make them go, You can kill an elephant at 50 paces? Teach me to do that! Here’s some money…

That people as intelligent as Ouspensky fell for this con shows how alluring it is, how it flatters the ego with promises of being special. I have been alive for a long time now, and I have verified that people can be alcoholics and sociopaths and back-stabbers and kind and friendly, but I have never verified a single person as being awake.

At this point, I trust my observations.

205. Rudy - July 9, 2010

198. gabrielle

Gabrielle, just forget about Reader. He’s very formatory and doesn’t have any clue about 4th way ideas.

206. X-ray - July 9, 2010

196. reader – July 9, 2010

‘The idea of the “many ‘I’s” is one of the most insidious in the FOF. We were taught to mistrust ourselves, mistrust our intuition, mistrust our gut feelings. We saw, we heard, and we felt, but we turned away. In the process, in addition to ignoring the damage being done to ourselves and to others, we also missed some great opportunities for personal growth outside the cult. The idea of the many ‘I’s is one of the most effective for keeping people trapped.’

That’s right, and that’s the point.

207. X-ray - July 9, 2010

But who are we to say what’s right… we so ‘mechanical’, as Rudy says.

208. X-ray - July 9, 2010

204. Rudy – July 9, 2010

198. gabrielle

‘Gabrielle, just forget about Reader. He’s very formatory and doesn’t have any clue about 4th way ideas.’

Oh, sorry, I missed that.. this is even more pathetic than the privious one.

209. reader - July 9, 2010

Thanks X-ray. I appreciate it. No animosity here.

Sure, there are positive applications to a lot of ideas. Absolutely. But those same ideas can be used (and are used in the FOF) for something negative — for example, to discourage dissent and encourage self-doubt. Stiff resistance is no surprise. It’s a one of the sacred cows.

210. reader - July 9, 2010


sacred cow
Something which cannot be tampered with, or criticized, for fear of public outcry. A person, institution, belief system, etc. which, for no reason other than the demands of established social etiquette or popular opinion, should be accorded respect or reverence, and not touched, handled or examined too closely.

211. gabrielle - July 9, 2010

200. reader – July 9, 2010
gabrielle, It sounds like you had more of a positive experience in the FOF than I did, and you’ve moved on to a good life as well… Honestly, I’m happy for you. And yes we don’t need to throw everything away that we learned in the FOF. I get it.
I guess I was lucky the warnings of my inner voice resonated very strongly. And, I remembered when I was quite young a teacher saying … never put anyone on a pedestal.
Now, I try to the best of my ability to live an examined life without navel gazing. Taking responsibility for my actions and emotional life… and keeping it simple without becoming feral.

Friday night in Oz …. it was a solitary glass of soft smooth merlot here!

Warm wishes to you too.

212. reader - July 9, 2010

Very nice philosophy, and well said!


213. gabrielle - July 9, 2010

Thank you for stimulating me to give some thought to where I’m at.

214. sallymcnally - July 9, 2010

The idea of the many I’s is really kind of amazing in itself. I was so appreciative when I learned that information upon joining the Fellowship. But just like any other of the ideas of the system, if it’s not expanded upon, which means leaving the system behind and going beyond the ideas of the 4th way, then you are left indeed with confusion and doubt and wondering which of the I’s is more real or are none of them real. Hmmm —

Certainly there are I’s that are more conscious than others and ones more intuitive than others. It is the level of the Fellowship that keeps this information limited and not expanded upon in understanding and a reflection of the level of the teacher that students stay confused and hence the misunderstanding that results.

And I do agree that this limited understanding can be really confusing when trying to intuit something and have your thoughts telling you that it’s not real or just an ‘I’, which is indeed in the box thinking.

The system indeed became its opposite for me and I had to go beyond it, in other words expand my thinking. I think all belief systems are limited in that way and eventually one has to go beyond all belief systems to understand things in a more profound way.

215. sallymcnally - July 9, 2010

And I think the Mad Hatter Tea Party is still going on here.

216. Josiane - July 10, 2010

IMHO the 4th Way teaches mechanics, not consciousness.

217. sallymcnally - July 10, 2010

215: So true! Good way of putting it.

218. Best of the Blog - July 10, 2010

on July 18, 2007 at 7:21 pm

I’m putting an excerpt from Zanymystic’s description of his life in the Fellowship of Friends, taken from his website. . .


Life at “the Ranch” was a constant wonderland. One might go from pulling weeds to peeling carrots, to dressing in suit and tie to dine in the most magnificent room in California, the “Meissen Room”. Of course, that was over 27 years ago, and I suspect these descriptions are long outdated. Robert was truly “King” of this Empire, and everyone emulated his “self-effacing, humble walk”.

Tall, broad shouldered, he carried himself as if he was but a lowly servant, slightly hunched down with a peasant’s shuffle. Of course, he wore silk suits and magnificent rings, not unlike Liberace, but a tad more elegant and “discreet” about his obvious penchant for the Divine Feminine. His Queen was safely tucked away inside, for private consumption only. With student donations pouring in, and “special donations” ranging from $400.00 and up, the man raked it in. By now, he must be a billionaire several times over.


At this time, I traveled back and forth to “the ranch”. One occasion, I got a ride with a tall, slender, good–looking male, an architect. We stopped by his apartment before the final leg of the journey, and he made a pass at me. I wasn’t really attracted, and it had been years since I’d had sex, so frankly I didn’t know what to do. Besides, my own sexuality remained a mystery to all but me.

A day later, I was told “the Teacher wants to see you at the Lincoln Lodge”. Somewhat excited, yet apprehensive, I sat next to him in an overstuffed chair. He told me that my architect friend had asked if it was okay to have sex with another male and had spilled his guts. Bad idea. We were both given “the task” of not ever having sex with other males. Robert said, with a sweeping gesture in the air, “Can’t you see… there’s so much more…” and that was that. You didn’t argue with the Teacher. Period. Depressed, I felt that the school was be-coming “too restrictive”. Slowly, like a society that is being modified and controlled, it goes largely unnoticed – until it’s too late. I felt the school was turning into, or already was, a cult. I couldn’t see why being homosexual should limit my spiritual advancement. Not only that, I was one horny male, after years of celibacy. I told Randolph that I was going to leave. He hated to see me go, but understood completely. We embraced and said goodbye. It seemed “logical” to make my escape to San Francisco, a doomed failure and raging alcoholic.

I ended up living in the Haight Ashbury with a buffed Queen who was rarely home, living the “perfect life” of a fag: the gym, polished copper pots, and two alcoholic roommates. The bars nearby became my new home. Dealing with leaving a school, believing one is basically doomed, is a dark shadow from which to emerge. Many other students either left at that time, or were asked to leave, especially if they “knew too much”. My good friends, Stella and Harold, who had opened a center in Amsterdam, were asked to leave, having disobeyed the “no smoking” rule. Several years later I got in touch with Stella, and the truth came out. Robert had been blackmailing the straight male students, and their underage boys, into having sex with him. They were told point blank if they didn’t comply, they’d be out of the school. This had been going on from the beginning. Robert’s “inner circle” had nothing to do with level of consciousness. It had to do with who could do his bidding and keep their mouths shut. Those were the ones who ended up in “special positions” either traveling with him, sitting next to him at enormous meetings, or taking on “executive duties”. One fellow was used as his “boy toy”, which left indelible scars. He worked through it to eventually become a well–known artist. Those at the top seemed a bunch of arrogant scoundrels. One of the men who sat in front was a Doctor, who I bumped into at the San Francisco baths one night. He cringed and left upon seeing me. I was delighted to have left the school on my own terms, having taken what I needed. “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” says Auntie Mame.

Stella, in the meantime, began a support group assisting those who left or were asked to leave. Many folks were suicidal. I joined the group, and more sordid details of Robert’s sexual machinations were revealed, including a class action lawsuit that ended up settling “out of court”.

Howeird Carter
on July 20, 2007 at 5:34 pm

The Weekly Bomb

Rumored word has it from inside sources that several individuals close to Robert Burton get very high salaries (somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000 – $50.000 a year, in monthly increments). This money is not kept by the individual, but is cashed, and the cash given to Robert Burton for his use.

The taxes , on this amount ,are then paid for by the Fellowship of Friends on the individuals behalf (so they do not incur any added expenses for their increase in income).

This is another method that re-directs money (made through teaching payments, or events) to Roberts pocket.
Of course, Robert makes good use of it, by , in turn paying young men who perform for him.

What do you think? Howeird is that?

magazine article
on July 20, 2007 at 6:04 pm

The following is an excerpt from an old magazine article posted on thewavemag.com.


Prophet Motive:
The stories behind the most sinister cults in Bay Area history

By Todd Dever
The Wave Magazine

We all take great pride in the Bay Area’s tradition of leading the world in technology, wine, culture and progressive politics … but there’s one more field in which we lead the globe, though it’s rarely celebrated. For the past 40 years, the Bay Area has been the world’s top breeding ground for totally whacked-out, bizarro, kinky, freakazoid cults.

We’ve handpicked what we believe are the worst of the most bizarre cults with ties to the Bay Area and presented their stories below. But don’t think for a moment that crazy cults are a thing of the past, the unfortunate hangover of the hippie era. “Since I started my work in 1982, the cult phenomenon has just been growing and growing and growing,” says full-time cult basher Rick Ross, who runs the Rick Ross Institute, a non-profit anti-cult foundation he founded after watching his grandmother get duped by a scam cult. “I can’t think of any time in the last 20 years that it’s been bigger than it is right now. I think America has become increasingly religious, and we’re at the most religious point in our nation’s history. People are searching for answers, a sense of community and belonging. These groups seem to provide that and [cults are] becoming an ever-increasing phenomenon in America.”

The following blurb was included about the fof.

Founder: Robert Earl Burton
History: Founded as a non-profit church in 1971 by a former elementary school teacher and San Jose State alum, FoF members believe their leader is “an angel in a man’s body,” whose spiritual authority is trumped only by Jesus Christ. Followers also believe that Burton has the ability to speak with up to 44 other angels, including Benjamin Franklin. Burton is renowned for his strange rules (no swimming, smoking or jokes are allowed – and homosexuality was banned until 1993, despite Burton’s allegedly renowned appetite for men) and even stranger predictions (though he was wrong about predicting a 1998 earthquake that would destroy California, he sticks by his claim that a nuclear holocaust will ruin the earth in ’06 and only FoF members will be spared). More than 600 FoF members live on their infamous Yuba County vineyard known as Apollo, where they produce up to 40,000 cases of wine per year under the Renaissance Vineyard and Emery labels. Their award-winning wine is so respected in the industry that it has been served to the Prince of Wales, former president George H. W. Bush, at one of Ronald Reagan’s birthday parties, and the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco sells the Renaissance Cabernet 1996 for $10 a glass.
Sex scandal: Though the church is more noted for tax evasion (they’re currently paying off more than $2 million in back taxes), the FoF was slapped with a $5 million lawsuit in 1996 by a former member who claimed he was brainwashed and sexually abused by Burton. The suit stated the church was a front for Burton’s “voracious appetite for perverted sexual pleasure and elegant lifestyle.” The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.


219. Best of the Blog - July 10, 2010
220. Rudy - July 10, 2010

215. Josiane – July 10, 2010

I can not agree with this. In order to understand mechanics you need to become aware, conscious, of it within yourself first.

182. Best of the Blog – July 8, 2010
on July 17, 2007 at 1:03 pm
Thanks Best of the Blog for re-posting this entry about “spiritual bypassing”. I Googled this term and got some interesting material about what is called “buffers” in the 4th way system. Refreshing.

208. reader – July 9, 2010
Nice to read that you mellowed down a bit. It seems we agree after all.
So the bath water is the FoF distortion and misuse of the 4th way ideas and the baby is the usefulness of ideas in themselves, right?
Now that I’m talking to you again, I never answered your question about “who’s higher mind?” Answer: your own. You need your own higher mind to verify ideas that come from “higher mind” (here it has a general meaning – higher mind is non-dual).

221. Best of the Blog - July 10, 2010

dick moron
on July 21, 2007 at 8:34 pm

“Rumored word has it from inside sources that several individuals close to Robert Burton get very high salaries (somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000 – $50.000 a year, in monthly increments). This money is not kept by the individual, but is cashed, and the cash given to Robert Burton for his use.”

As I recall, this procedure has been happening for over 25 years to varying degrees of currency amount. Also, cash collected in European centers was often held until RB’s visits, so he would have spending money for his “ministerial duties”, such as buying mink fur-lined raincoats, gaudy trinkets, etc. I’m sure some of the former members who ran the financial & accounting part of FOF and were the center directors could elaborate further.

I remember years ago, when the collection of Meissen dishware was being “sold” to various centers, where students had to cover to the cost, a cheeky Irish student asked RB if he thought it odd that students were asked to pay for something they had already paid for. I believe the answer was a simple “no.”

on July 20, 2007 at 10:19 pm

353 Dilettante

I guess with enlightenment comes heightened paranoia.
This comment got me to thinking, as I have worked as a nurse on locked psychiatric units for the past 15 years, and paranoia is to a certain extent our “bread and butter”at work.
The mystic and the paranoid seem to share a sense of the interconnectedness of things, but they are fundamentally not the same. We sometimes get patients at the hospital who claim to be enlightened, or conscious, but after talking with them for a while it becomes evident that most are fearful, paranoid and humorless. (acting out their fears is often the reason they’ve been brought to the hospital)
Paranoia can be seen as the other side of a feeling of “oneness”, the other end of the proverbial stick, and as the paranoid might say, “Everything is connected and it’s all against me!”
But when this is the case, there is usually a huge amount of ego inflation going on, with the resulting fear and self protection- not, in my opinion, anything that could be called enlightenment.
Years ago when I left FOF I came across Chogyam Trungpa’s Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, and read it with great excitement, as it clarified much of what seemed to be produced in the Fellowship as it was then.
I do not think that with enlightenment comes paranoia- perhaps instead compassion or a familial tenderness towards the world arrives…
When ego takes on “getting enlightened” as a project the results can be laughable- a good outcome!- or tragic. There certainly is a place for ego in spiritual work and in the rest of life, but it seems to me that removing ego from its throne of centrality is a much more interesting project.

on July 21, 2007 at 2:05 pm

“You will always find what you look for, whether it’s really there or not.” – Esoteric Sheik

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip K. Dick

“I can’t preach Scientism because I don’t believe it. I can’t preach Buddhism because I can’t understand it. The only thing I can preach is the felt presence of immediate experience.” – Terence McKenna

I haven’t been looking for synchronicities, but they’ve been happening to me a lot lately. Other times in my life haven’t been so packed with them. Maybe it’s a question of noticing or not noticing.

Coincidences happen. They’re noticed. Meaning is ascribed (or not). Who or what is it that notices and ascribes meaning?

I think when you’re paying attention to both the inner and the outer moment (a kind of “presence”), you notice how the idea that “as within, so without” could be true.

What does it mean to be “one with the Tao”? Alignment between “within” and “without”? Not resisting what is. Keeping mental gymnastics in check so the deeper quality of the now can be felt.

Just some thoughts.

on July 21, 2007 at 6:21 pm


“in one world Robert is the best friend, helper, magic, wizard, artist, god, lover; in another world he is the opportunist, liar, pervert, evil, hitler and worse.”

Both are exaggerations, perhaps.

I find it interesting that fervent students call the blog “poison”. And ex-students have a tendency to call the devotees deluded, or morons, or worse. Very divisive.

Anyway, you probably can verify for yourself some of the items discussed here, though it takes some courage – e.g. talk to the guys who flutter around Robert. Ask the girls why they are marrying Robert’s boys, and whether they have considered std’s and whether they think their new husbands will still be attending on Robert. You can certainly look deeply at yourself and question whether you are being liberated or imprisoned by trying to conform to Robert’s taste in others’ personal manifestations. You can ask yourself: do I want religious fervency/belief or verified personal experiences? What are my verifications, anyway?

Your dividedness – classic cognitive dissonance, very uncomfortable. We all want to make “the right choice” – and we want our choices to seem right to our peers. Agonizing, trying to decide. Takes time for many of us.

My advice: if you stay, do not close your eyes again. Really eat the choice you make, know what you are trying to get from the FoF and get it. But don’t shut out the bad stuff, don’t pretend, don’t stuff your conscience into some dark drawer – some pretty weird fungus grows there. Keep talking to your friends, keep bringing issues into the open. If it comes time to go someday, you will be in a much better place inside.

on July 21, 2007 at 6:50 pm

“I find it interesting that fervent students call the blog “poison”. And ex-students have a tendency to call the devotees deluded, or morons, or worse. Very divisive.”

I don’t personally find this to be true. Yes, in specific interchanges between specific people here some judgments were made and expressed. I don’t recall any posts that judge the FOF members as a whole as “deluded, or morons, or worse”

Actually there has been a significant amount of empathy and compassion expressed towards members that we know/knew and we love or think about.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is little empathy and compassion expressed for anyone not of their membership (at least from the dogma of the school). I can see why we are discussed as “poison”. Can you imagine how many are surreptitiously reading the blog?

on July 21, 2007 at 2:53 pm

I feel compelled to add another personal perspective to the “my life in the Fellowship” thread. I am curious to find out how many people here can relate to it.
As I read the various posts, I started wondering why my process of leaving and the feelings that followed didn’t seem to contain the same quality of grief and anger that many of you have expressed.
Actually, even though I despise Robert’s “mockery of esotericism” organization, I continue to feel that my ten years in the fof were one the best periods in my life.
After pondering for quite a while, I’ve come to the following thoughts.

First of all, it seems that the farther a student stays from Robert, the better it is. During my ten years I think I had five dinners with the man, and only a few casual encounters. The one that created the highest state happened one morning as I was waiting for the bus on the roman Lungotevere, and suddenly saw Robert smiling at me from a car stuck in the traffic jam right in front of me. Well, that sure created memory at the time! (I now realize that shocks are related to the present moment, not to eternal truths. They tell us “exactly what we need to hear”, as Morpheus says).
So, the further you are from the heat, the less you get burned.

Secondly, my lack of dogmatic faith preserved me from taking seriously any of the predictions and illusions of grandeur. When people waxed poetic about the angels and Armageddon and the fall of California I just thought “how odd”, especially since many other predictions had already failed to materialize by that time.

Thirdly, my perverse sense of humor made me very appreciative of the weirdness of my predicament. I had been dreaming of singing mantras on some Himalayan mountaintop one day, and instead there I was, spinning around to the notes of the Blue Danube in unglamorous Yuba County. Surviving on a shoestring in a trailer park, shopping for food and clothes at Sam’s Club and Salvation Army, and dressing up in the evening to go listen to Istvan Nadas playing the Goldberg variations (didn’t he play them twice in a row one night? Boy, that was a lot of friction to transform!) Living in rough and beautiful nature, surrounded by manzanitas and poison oak, trying to figure out how to build a vegetable garden, and receiving ponderous books on chinese furniture as a Christmas present (thank you, Robert). I could go on and on, as you well know, and I have to admit that those incongruities and absurdities were a big part of the fun for me. I was living inside my private American Movie production, full of drama, comedy and romance, and with an endless supply of strange and entertaining characters.

Fourthly, I was never a very good student in the fof sense. I was and still am bad at giving angles, photographing people, labelling machines, making efforts, making money, keeping exercises, studying work books, supporting the teacher, believing in invisible realities. I am lazy, undisciplined, self centered and pleasure-oriented. And I could never even bring myself to really desire to change any of that. I tried, but no can do. After all, I am a lunar venusian with non existence, willfullness, vanity and some tramp, or at least that’s what people used to say.

This brings me to the final thought: what brought me to and kept me in the school? I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a quest for intensity. Having been raised as the beloved daughter of a very intense, life thirsty man, I have spent my whole life looking for that same quality in the world at large. I have always been hungry for intense relationships. music, art, experiences, states I could resonate with. I get bored easily and never felt connected to the society I grew up in. At twenty-two years of age, as my frustrated desires had reached a peak and I was starting to feel really desperate, I found the infamous bookmark. Now that I look back, it’s easy to see why I was so attracted to Gurdjeff. He is intense and controversial, and did a lot of weird, unformatory and wonderful things. For me the Fourth Way provided the squaring of the circle: a spiritual school with a rock’n’roll attitude.

It didn’t take too long to see that RB was no Gurdjeff, still I met enough lovely and exciting students to keep me interested and entertained. And Renaissance, wow! More sex energy than hot summer nights at the disco. I was one of the few european females there at the time, and we were surrounded by an army of horny male spiritual seekers. It was quite overwhelming but, you know, my vanity didn’t mind that at all.
I ended up getting married to an intense man, gave birth to three beautiful children, and lived my life out in the woods, while Robert remained an enigmatic and distant figure in my mind. I always gave him the benefit of the doubt, and felt grateful to him for providing the setting, but having no personal connection meant I just didn’t think about him in a deep way. Most of my friends were similar to me, of course, slackers (no offense intended) with a good sense of humor and no great connection to the form. I guess we pictured ourselves as members of the fof underground. We had a lot of fun together, and I’ll love them to my dying day.

The play was such that I ended up becoming involved with one of Robert’s boys. Only then did the Teacher take center stage in my personal theatre, and I was appalled at what I saw. This coincidentally happened at the same time as the Troy scandal, so I was outta there pretty fast.
And then? I just moved on, kept doing my thing as people do, and only now have begun to relive that past inside my present, to reconsider and make new sense of it.
Thank you all for helping me to do that.

Was it crazy? Yes, Was it intense? Very. Was it worth it ? I still think so.
Would I do it again? No, I don’t need it anymore. Maybe at the time that was the only way for me to deal with own inner contradictory desires and aspirations and contemporarily feed both my magnetic center and most mechanical tendencies.
Was it spiritual? Yes and no, and it has probably been most enlightening in teaching me by default the way to true spirituality.
In the end, when the dust settles, my heart will hold on forever to quiet summer evenings at lake Nancy and endless starry skies on top of mount Renaissance.
In the company of friends.
One of the few pieces of paper still in my possession from that bygone age comes from a Renaissance Waltz program and it says:

I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them, or touch any one,
or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment—what is this, then?
I do not ask any more delight—I swim in it, as in a sea.
There is something in staying close to men and women, and looking on them,
and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well;
All things please the soul—but these please the soul well.

Love to you,


222. reader - July 10, 2010

Rudy: “It seems we agree after all. So the bath water is the FoF distortion and misuse of the 4th way ideas and the baby is the usefulness of ideas in themselves, right?”

Yes, we’re pretty close in agreement there. Only difference maybe is that I see the 4th way as a belief system more than a “way”. i.e., the book could easily be titled the Fourth Belief System by Peter Ouspensky.

But I absolutely agree with you that much of what we studied in the fof has practical value — ideas such as “attention” and “denying force.” “self observation” “identification” “lying” and others. I could write more about my attitudes about the 4th way, but probably best if I just leave it there. [shouts of hooray from around the room]

Great discussion, Rudy. I’m glad we’re talking again.

(I wish we could have had talks like this in the FOF. Can you imagine? It would have been an entirely different place, though.)

By the way, I think your other comment about ‘higher mind’ may have been directed at someone else, maybe Whalerider.

223. sallymcnally - July 10, 2010

Rudy: 215. Josiane – July 10, 2010

I can not agree with this. In order to understand mechanics you need to become aware, conscious, of it within yourself first.

Hey Rudy, that’s true too!

224. fofblogmoderator - July 10, 2010

217 is new

225. Best of the Blog - July 11, 2010

dick moron
on July 23, 2007 at 5:57 am

[quoting another poster}

“Our teacher is a human being so he is not flawless and it is my feeling he makes efforts more than anyone I have known to “be present” and to establish harmony with his students. And he also makes the effort to relentlessly teach to his students this concept, “To Be”. ”

– – –

Really? You say RB is a human being with flaws. I hope RB never hears that you wrote this statement. Maybe he has changed his inflated view of himself and his god-like status since I knew him, but if he has not, you would be in some deep shit for making such a blasphemous pronouncement on his level of being. Watch out!

dick moron
on July 23, 2007 at 3:56 pm

[quoting the same poster]

“I do agree with you Dick Moron that if I approached Robert in the demeanor of his entry 31, then I would understand if Robert would photograph me. But in the past, when I have approached my Teacher, Robert in a sincere and non combative way he is very positively responsive.”

Next time RB is blowing you, politely ask him to please take your pecker out of his mouth and see how “positively responsive” he is. Then try to simply walk out of the room and find out how “non combative” he will be.

dick moron
on July 24, 2007 at 12:30 am

[the same poster] wrote:

To Dick Moron 65:

“To make it clear I do not have a sexual relationship with the Teacher, and Robert is positively responsive to his students whether sex or not is involved. With that being said, I believe the tone of your comment brings this blog to a lower level.”

I’m sorry my language and tone offended you. Obviously you have not experienced the ultra-inner-circle verification of having RB “receive you.” Must be the lifetime thing I always heard about. You could have been one of those lower life-timers that RB would speak about. He was always positive about your possibilities, but, well– how do I say this without offending you– my feeling was he considered you all to be very well intentioned losers, less so if you could write a fat check.

Or the clue to me should have been your nick, Fat Boy. You are probably not the right body type as well as being stuck in a lower lifetime. Still–Keep working on yourself!

I am very aware of the sarcastic nature of my communications. It seems to be an uncontrollable response to other’s constant lying. I will say for the record that in this case I write from direct experience. Maybe it is better to post more true stories based on my actual experience. No sarcasm, just succinct, very descriptive facts of events that did occur. Would you like that better ? I have a few more true stories, so watch out. They may make you a little uncomfortable.

on July 24, 2007 at 12:52 am

Perhaps some of this applies…

– – –

The Cult of the Narcissist
By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

The narcissist is the guru at the centre of a cult. Like other gurus, he demands complete obedience from his flock: his spouse, his offspring, other family members, friends, and colleagues. He feels entitled to adulation and special treatment by his followers. He punishes the wayward and the straying lambs. He enforces discipline, adherence to his teachings, and common goals. The less accomplished he is in reality – the more stringent his mastery and the more pervasive the brainwashing.

The – often involuntary – members of the narcissist’s mini-cult inhabit a twilight zone of his own construction. He imposes on them a shared psychosis, replete with persecutory delusions, “enemies”, mythical narratives, and apocalyptic scenarios if he is flouted.

The narcissist’s control is based on ambiguity, unpredictability, fuzziness, and ambient abuse. His ever-shifting whims exclusively define right versus wrong, desirable and unwanted, what is to be pursued and what to be avoided. He alone determines the rights and obligations of his disciples and alters them at will.

The narcissist is a micro-manager. He exerts control over the minutest details and behaviours. He punishes severely and abuses withholders of information and those who fail to conform to his wishes and goals.

The narcissist does not respect the boundaries and privacy of his reluctant adherents. He ignores their wishes and treats them as objects or instruments of gratification. He seeks to control both situations and people compulsively.

He strongly disapproves of others’ personal autonomy and independence. Even innocuous activities, such as meeting a friend or visiting one’s family require his permission. Gradually, he isolates his nearest and dearest until they are fully dependent on him emotionally, sexually, financially, and socially.

He acts in a patronising and condescending manner and criticises often. He alternates between emphasising the minutest faults (devalues) and exaggerating the talents, traits, and skills (idealises) of the members of his cult. He is wildly unrealistic in his expectations – which legitimises his subsequent abusive conduct.

The narcissist claims to be infallible, superior, talented, skilful, omnipotent, and omniscient. He often lies and confabulates to support these unfounded claims. Within his cult, he expects awe, admiration, adulation, and constant attention commensurate with his outlandish stories and assertions. He reinterprets reality to fit his fantasies.

His thinking is dogmatic, rigid, and doctrinaire. He does not countenance free thought, pluralism, or free speech and doesn’t brook criticism and disagreement. He demands – and often gets – complete trust and the relegation to his capable hands of all decision-making.

He forces the participants in his cult to be hostile to critics, the authorities, institutions, his personal enemies, or the media – if they try to uncover his actions and reveal the truth. He closely monitors and censors information from the outside, exposing his captive audience only to selective data and analyses.

The narcissist’s cult is “missionary” and “imperialistic”. He is always on the lookout for new recruits – his spouse’s friends, his daughter’s girlfriends, his neighbours, new colleagues at work. He immediately attempts to “convert” them to his “creed” – to convince them how wonderful and admirable he is. In other words, he tries to render them Sources of Narcissistic Supply.

Often, his behaviour on these “recruiting missions” is different to his conduct within the “cult”. In the first phases of wooing new admirers and proselytising to potential “conscripts” – the narcissist is attentive, compassionate, empathic, flexible, self-effacing, and helpful. At home, among the “veterans” he is tyrannical, demanding, wilful, opinionated, aggressive, and exploitative.

As the leader of his congregation, the narcissist feels entitled to special amenities and benefits not accorded the “rank and file”. He expects to be waited on hand and foot, to make free use of everyone’s money and dispose of their assets liberally, and to be cynically exempt from the rules that he himself established (if such violation is pleasurable or gainful).

In extreme cases, the narcissist feels above the law – any kind of law. This grandiose and haughty conviction leads to criminal acts, incestuous or polygamous relationships, and recurrent friction with the authorities.

Hence the narcissist’s panicky and sometimes violent reactions to “dropouts” from his cult. There’s a lot going on that the narcissist wants kept under wraps. Moreover, the narcissist stabilises his fluctuating sense of self-worth by deriving Narcissistic Supply from his victims. Abandonment threatens the narcissist’s precariously balanced personality.

Add to that the narcissist’s paranoid and schizoid tendencies, his lack of introspective self-awareness, and his stunted sense of humour (lack of self-deprecation) and the risks to the grudging members of his cult are clear.

The narcissist sees enemies and conspiracies everywhere. He often casts himself as the heroic victim (martyr) of dark and stupendous forces. In every deviation from his tenets he espies malevolent and ominous subversion. He, therefore, is bent on disempowering his devotees. By any and all means.

The narcissist is dangerous.

Joseph G
on July 24, 2007 at 1:44 am

There are a relatively small number of people doing most of the talking here, but a lot of quiet ones out there watching and listening. A lot of current members. Some of them are still sitting at the front of the room next to Robert at meetings. Some holding his hand under the Galleria breakfast table. Some of them own houses up on the hill. Some of them have kids in LCS, jobs at RVW. But they’re reading. It feels like behind-the-iron-curtain just before perestroika. People watching, hoping, fearing, and talking very quietly to one another, often in code, because you never know for sure who the hard-core devotees are. Carrying the metaphor, this blog is Radio Free Fellowship. I suggest we not get “blogged” down by Simple Truth or Fat Boy. It’s not that they’re idiots; they’re simply not very relevant. Bass Ackwards is relevant. David (#5:121) is relevant. Their voices represent the hundreds who are still IN but trying to carve their own path, maybe through the middle, maybe simply OUT but without the baggage, maybe just trying to understand how it all happened before they leave. The FOF Taliban on this blog who shout their asinine platitudes and take photographing Bruce as their righteous-and-oh-so-noble cause don’t deserve the bandwidth we grant them by responding. Every once in a while someone like Confused comes along and surprises us by telling the real truth, showing what everyone is really thinking. That some do still respect Robert Burton. They’ve seen he has certain powers. They know he’s helped people in ways besides financial. Maybe he even helped them once or twice when they really needed it…and yes, maybe he’s brain-washed them a little. Yet they are here reading this now, reading the incremental-but-gradually-whole truth, and being forced to do something with it. On the other hand, I know for a fact that many current members now regard Robert as nothing more or less than a grotesque cartoon character. Kind of like really gross anime. Compromised and ridiculous, but possibly a necessary evil in their vision of a loving, art-focused community. Their main question: should I bail now, or hang on a little longer to help my friends, arrange my parachute, understand where it all went bad?

A few questions I personally think should be asked more often: Why was it essential for FOF-style evolution that Isis/Apollo/Renaissance be preserved as the seat of squalid, deeply entrenched poverty over decades? How can anyone in their right mind think Isis lifestyle is or ever was actually good for their children, YOUR children? How much more time out of your brief lifetime are you willing to throw away, your precious time bleeding away like good money after bad, because waking up from the FOF dream is just too unthinkable? When do the wives realize that their hubbies didn’t just have a few isolated experiences of sex with RB, but still do it every time they go to a wine cellar dinner? When does the young newlywed realize how at-risk she is of a nasty sexual disease from that gorgeous RB-boy import she snagged? When do we stop being mad and just become sad, because it is all too sad and pathetic and soul-sucking? Maybe that’s the whole question: RB sucked a lot of cocks, but what about the souls, your souls, that he continues to suck and suck…and suck?

Not “with love” today. Screw that.

Joseph G


226. fofblogmoderator - July 11, 2010

218 is new

227. nige - July 11, 2010

It appears that lately, on the blog, that there have been many references, both general and personal, to life at Renaissance/Isis/Apollo – how people were/are ‘hypnotized’ by all the art and culture and friendships (however deep and sincere) on the vineyard-clad and classically-dressed hillside.

Even though I spent very little time on the Property (two periods of a month each time, working for FOF) and fewer than most people would visit, when working ‘in life’, the Property was always made out to be a special place (and, indeed, appeared to me to be so, by the high energy level there). However, I could never make out how the folks there were going to afford my precious metal creations, should Armageddon occur and no-one but FOFfers spared.

On looking back, it seems most obvious that the role of ‘students’ working in life was to provide funds that REB would direct to both his personal whims and FOF ‘octaves’. I would feel stupid that I was not earning even an average salary, which led to my becoming and feeling ‘more of an outsider’. Hanns MIchael Heick, quite ridiculously, suggested that, when the authorities made a decision on immigration status, that I should hire a lawyer and find an employer for however many $1000s of dollars (although it was an incompetent lawyer and unscrupulous employers that got me into the illegal immigrant status in the first place).

I think that it may be necessary for recent ex-members, those on the fence and insiders to search in their experiences and see how Fate may have played a part. Some may like to review Karma and see how they are now facing their lives. In all cases, I would hope that everyone think for themselves and find their own answers, and not be dependent on inane platitudes for REB and his enablers…..Nigel.

228. nige - July 12, 2010

sorry…..”from REB and his enablers”.

229. nige - July 12, 2010

The Soul takes its chance:
What it makes with its hands,
Or gives forth with its heart,

The Mind’s Eye interprets
The ecstatic silence
Of things in Being,

nhp 2010

230. nige - July 12, 2010

I have a Nursing Assistant friend in the Cedars Asylum called Stuart. He, too, is Saturnine. For all the time I have known him he has been gentle and kind to all inmates of the Mental Hospital. He has never sought to ‘climb the corporate ladder’ to better echelons and pay-scale. He is who he is and has been satisfied with his lot. I admire him for that…..Nigel.

231. Best of the Blog - July 13, 2010

on July 24, 2007 at 6:04 am

How the Queen keeps his workers in line:

By Amber Dance, LA Times
July 21, 2007

A queen bee needs to keep her subjects calm and quiet, and she does so by secreting a scent that prevents worker bees from learning, according to new research.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that a component in the queen’s pheromone inhibits the sterile worker bees’ ability to learn from negative experiences. The active scent element is similar to the brain compound dopamine, which is involved in learning and memory in *humans* and insects.

By preventing aversive learning, the queen ensures that her youngest offspring will stay in the hive and not use their stingers, even if something unpleasant occurs.

“Aversive learning is when the animal makes an association between a particular odor and a nasty experience,” said senior study author Alison Mercer, a neurobiologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

The “nasty experience” in the study was a mild electric shock, accompanied by a particular smell.

Honeybees separated from the queen extended their stingers when they detected the odor. But young honeybees exposed to the queen’s pheromone did not respond. The young bees that groom the queen are exposed to high levels of her pheromone.

Older bees somehow become capable of aversive learning — otherwise they would have little chance for survival as they forage for food outside the hive.


From Wikipedia:

Dopamine has many functions in the brain, including important roles in behavior and cognition, motor activity, motivation and reward, sleep, mood, attention, and learning.

Dopamine is released by naturally rewarding experiences such as food, sex, use of certain drugs, and neutral stimuli (a stimulus which initially produces no specific response other than provoking attention, i.e. being present) that become associated with them.

Dopamine’s role in experiencing pleasure has been questioned by several researchers. It has been argued that dopamine is more associated with anticipatory desire and motivation (commonly referred to as “wanting”) as opposed to actual consummatory pleasure (commonly referred to as “liking”).

Dopamine is not released when unpleasant or aversive stimuli are encountered, and so motivates towards the pleasure of avoiding or removing the unpleasant stimuli.

Recent research suggests that the firing of dopamine neurons is a motivational chemical as a result of reward-anticipation. This is based on evidence that, when a reward is perceived to be greater than expected, the firing of certain dopamine neurons increases, which correspondingly increases desire or motivation toward the reward.


In layman’s terms, if you want to keep members of a group in line, you create an environment of anticipated reward, not actual reward, such as in the next lifetime or reserved exclusively for those in the ‘inner circle’, as well an environment highly sensitive to the aversive stimuli of negative emotions, which is how we learn ‘good-awake’ (=positive emotion) from ‘bad-asleep’ (=negative emotion). This will produce more dopamine in the member’s brains and inhibit learning from aversion by minimizing it. (That’s why it can take some people 20 years in the Fellowship of Friends before they learn the truth and escape the hive mind.)

It is well known that too much dopamine in the brain is associated with the delusions seen in psychosis and the inability to experience pleasure, leaving the member in a perpetual state of wanting, dependent upon the next dopamine fix, and avoidant of any negativity…especially that painful, negative truth that they have been duped.

The farther away from the queen, the more reality you see.

Ames Gilbert
on July 24, 2007 at 2:51 pm

Here are the intellectual underpinnings of the Church of Robert Burton:

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. (Lt.) Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. ‘That’s some catch, that Catch-22,’ Yossarian observed. ‘It’s the best there is,’ Doc Daneeka agreed.’”
Later, military agents explain: Catch-22 states that agents enforcing Catch-22 need not prove that Catch-22 actually contains whatever provision the accused violator is accused of violating. A woman translates. “Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.”
Joseph Heller, Catch 22

From the ‘fact’ of multiple lifetimes, to the ‘fact’ that people who leave the Fellowship of conditional “Friends” are ‘food for the moon’, to the ‘fact’ that Burton is at a ‘higher level’ than anyone else on the planet, to the ‘fact’ that Beloved Teacher is the necessary intermediary between a student and higher forces, only able to ‘progress’ through Burton’s intervention, to the ‘fact’ that Burton is a goddess trapped in a man’s body (!), to the ‘fact’ that the Sequence represents the highest product of ‘higher schools’ stretching back to prehistoric times…

and on and on and on…

All designed to put one in the classic bind. No way out but to swallow and take a big gulp of “faith”, and watch one’s conscience shrivel away, a sacrifice to Burton, the gift he demands so one can stay safe in his shadow, nestling like chicks under his wings. But unlike real chicks, which must grow and fledge, choosing to stay chicks forever. . .


232. Best of the Blog - July 13, 2010

A former female student from long ago
on July 25, 2007 at 4:12 am

Re: Purchasing Awakening 273 & Bruce 276 “Women & Bearing Children”

I never understood the few, lovely, women I met who had left their children in the care of others at the behest of the FOF leaders. Please note that the directives may have come from Robert after Center Directors told him of situations that might threaten the student’s devotion and or payments. (Darn those silly outside influences.)

I had an abortion before joining the FOF and emotionally and physically, it is not a simple procedure. I have since had difficulty in giving birth to my children because of scar tissue from the first abortion and had complications that have resulted in several surgeries. The results of my own decision have caused life threaten hospital procedures and months away from my newborn children. Enough said, it was my decision but what about the women who followed orders from FOF headquarters.

I knew of a visit from Fran, an older women, who was sent to escort a happily married women to a hospital for a late term abortion of healthy twins. Why was this married student in a happy relationship guided to go to the hospital to abort two healthy fetuses? Robert loved the beautiful, handsome husband and it was during the mid/late 70s when the School could not afford to have students be distracted by the emotional or expensive aspects of children.

This potential mother and father were in in pain but followed Robert’s directives – it was not a pretty situation. Years later Robert got his guy back and the wife was left to earn money outside of Renaissance while her husband was on salary.

on July 25, 2007 at 11:51 pm

Anyone remember a hair dresser amongst other things, Richard F.
A sweet good looking gay guy who died of aids, contracted after having taken a walk on the wild side outside of the pseudo school.
What a strange contradictory situation he must have found himself in, living in O house, in a sea of sex energy and being schooled by a rabid queen who was having sex with the frequency of a machine gun, as if the world was going to end tomorrow.
Yet himself having to work with the no sex outside of marriage and especially no homosexuality exercise.
Plus no gay marriage!
What the hell was he supposed to do? turn straight?
Even Butman hiimself couldnt do that, as he told me.
Alex H, His short term teacher requested that he try to be with a woman so he tried but found it just wasnt for him!
He told me her name and type too.
Im surprised there wasnt a no masturbation exercise but there probably would have been if anyone was so “indelicate” as to have asked about it.
Is the utter hypocrisy of the no homosexuality exercise which was in force at the time as it was considered the wrong foundation for a new civilisation lost on anyone.
Now its in danger of becoming a syphilisation!
All it takes is for one to get infected and then tratatatatata the domino effect! and it wont just be the guys….
take care folks


233. Best of the Blog - July 13, 2010

Ames Gilbert
on July 26, 2007 at 5:41 pm

– – –
June 12th, 1989


Out of respect and appreciation for our long friendship I write today to inform you of my recent actions.

In the final days of the month of may I posted a rather provocative letter to Robert asking him to apologize to me for seducing and molesting me as a new student.

I stated further that I would no longer stand as an accomplice to his crimes by remaining complacent and silent. I have seen too many young men abused by Robert under the banner of love and enlightenment. At the height of Robert’s abuse of me he persuaded me (at Clare Bradford’s house in 1973) to give him a blow job as a necessary step to achieve awakening. During that time he praised me daily for my talents and my great desire to awaken. But all such praise stopped once I refused to enter a bed with him. I thought then that Robert’s love was only as great as my usefulness to him but I ignored the thought.

It has taken great effort and many years for me to heal myself; to establish the proof within that a man’s worth to himself is greater that his usefulness to others. I don’t know if the Fellowship can heal itself of the same ills, but I do know it needs to. Someday members must face the truth about Robert. He is not all good and wise. Four to five hundred male students have been abused by Robert over the past twenty years. All have been led to believe that they would profit spiritually by succumbing to Robert’s advances. I have verified for myself that self remembering does not hinge on submitting one’s body to the desires of the teacher. I therefore cannot support attitudes and behavior in the Fellowship which justify such acts.

Robert has been teaching in a teapot rather than in the world, he has confused people with the fear of questioning; the fear of losing the school and the gods if they don’t see things his way. He has taught the opposite of tolerance and compassion. How much growth of the soul can be expected from so closed and restricted an environment? Everything that Robert says, all institutions in the form of the school which lead in the end to satisfying his personal desires must be questioned.

To survive in the school requires that a student choose either to observe Robert’s corruption and remain silent or to justify it. For those who choose to justify it, all understanding of the system and self remembering must be made to support Robert’s behavior. (Like Joann Keahey telling new students, and old, that Robert’s homosexuality is “One of the school’s greatest blessings”.) For those who remain silent a right understanding can develop but little room has been made in the school for expressing such an understanding. Most conflict between students arises between the differences of those two groups.

Generally Robert will give his time and attention only to those who provide him with either physical, financial or organizational support. Then those who believe that awakening depends on agreement with the teacher will do all they can to fulfill one or more of the three categories.

All this is not to say that Robert is without merit. I would not deny that he has taught me great things. It is the aggrandizing of his faults along with his virtues that I object to. Idealistic and troubled young people are quite suggestible and very vulnerable. Robert has taken undue advantage of the young much too frequently while we older students just sat by and watched. In many ways we are as much to blame as he is for the permission off this vice. And certainly it must be clear that the greatness of the school has been reduced in proportion to our allowance of this vice.

So—in response to all this I stepped out in the open, stated in no uncertain terms what my point of view is and asked for an apology. Robert, with his customary response of calling such actions instinctive, promptly called and asked me to leave the school. And of course he offered me no apology. He did admit, years ago, to molesting me but now as it was then, he felt it was his right to do so.

I had hoped for an improvement in Robert’s attitude. (In many ways he is very insecure, this is why he is so afraid of a challenge.) But alas, he remains convinced in his own mind that he is the second Christ and I doubt that he is. (C–influence may have set him up with that just like they did with the depression and how many other such things.) Personally I just can’t imagine Jesus asking his students to sleep with him, to erect his penis; to titillate his flesh. What then of his behavior if he is not the Christ?

My desire to know the mysteries began long before I joined the Fellowship. My work in the school has enhanced that desire and I’ve even managed to raise the level of my consciousness. So I can’t complain on a personal level. Now I will work alone until such time as C-influence decides to give me company. And I don’t mind this, my delight in the present is wholly satisfying and it’s nice to be free of the need for outside approval.

One last thought—I will not close myself off from friends. Anytime that you wish to see, write or talk to me I will be pleased to hear from you.

With my deepest regards
I am, yours sincerely,

(Thomas Easley)

– – –

I looked through the posts to see if Thomas Easley’s “farewell letter” had ever been reproduced, and, as far as I can see, it hasn’t. I resisted editorializing about Thomas Easley’s letter so it would impact readers in a pure form. Any typos are mine; I keyed in the letter from the sheet in front of me. Please note the letter was written in 1989 and the date when Burton first forced sex on him was 1973.

I remember when he left. He was spoken about in hushed whispers, with plenty of “C–influence has taken away his understanding” and “Those whom the gods wish to destroy…”, and “Food for the moon” angles. I was told that this letter was extremely negative, that even seeking to find a copy was ‘wrong work’, ‘the queen of hearts seeking to gain ascendancy”, and so on. It was shocking, his exit seemed so sudden, I had talked cordially with him a few weeks before on the steps of his little caravan where he worked.
All he could do was to write this letter and put copies in the mailbox and in people’s caravans. The letter didn’t have much apparent effect, the ripples soon died away, and life and Burton went on… but, for some, some seeds were sown.

I would like to hear from Whalerider and any others . . . the exact words Burton uses to bargain with, verbatim if possible, at the time of the seduction. Thomas referred to “a necessary step to achieve awakening”. I think it would be valuable and instructive to hear the exact words Burton uses to coerce those trusting in his spiritual care into having sex with him. I’d also like to hear about any blackmail to keep silence about these activities.


John Berry
on July 26, 2007 at 7:59 pm

I just read a couple of these posts and some of them are really powerful. I am sure that there were similarly powerful posts previously posted in those 15 parts (I currently don’t have 5 h to go through everything). I think that it would be a very positive step if Sheik or someone could open a new page where only the most meaningful posts from all the previous discussions be placed (such as the comment of THAT GIRL and so on). I am sure that this page would mean a lot more and be more appreciated by outside viewers. This page would also have a stronger effect on readers as it would get right to the point. I really hope someone does decide to do this.

Best Regards


234. deludedbob - July 13, 2010

Yet another recruiting website for the Fellowship of Friends


Full of Glossy b.s. giving the mistaken impression of something wholesome. This is lying in motion 24/7.

K—n B—n, you’re a clueless Jackass, feigning modesty and authority. You intend to lead the naive and trusting into the same cesspool of deceit and jeopardy that you happily swim in.

235. Best of the Blog - July 14, 2010

on July 26, 2007 at 11:50 pm

I just talked with a friend who came after “his night on duty” from Robert.

I heard in his voice zero complaints and a lot of endurance, embracing of suffering
He said: “How else you are going to awaken? This pain is necessary for transformation and awakening. What else did you expect from an esoteric school?”

Later he added that he understands prostitutes, that they are the closest people to the God on Earth…

The pain factory which makes me so angry is a preferred influence for him. What could I say? I don’t know…


236. Best of the Blog - July 14, 2010

a former student
on July 28, 2007 at 4:06 am

It’s interesting how Robert Burton has corrupted Gurdjieff’s ideas about an internal work on oneself into a false external system that somehow snares magnetic centers and traps them into a limbo of self doubt. Fellowship of Friends members recieve external praise, approval and social support calling going along with the will of the “teacher” good work and abondone their own inner sense of values.

To question the Teacher and the school is right work. It is the responsiblity of the student to question everything and learn to act from their own understanding and conscience. If it is a true school then ones conscience will experience no contradictions in supporting the school.

It is important to go back to the beginning over and over. Call it what you will , do ones best to get into a state of openness of taking in new impressions, of allowing new ideas to enter. This means being willing to give up all ones opinions , all that we think we know. Nothing real is ever lost only the imaginary fades in the late of critical attention.


237. Best of the Blog - July 14, 2010

Life Person
on July 28, 2007 at 6:44 am

After months of periodically reading and contributing to the blog, what most amazes me is the enormity of the disconnect between what is observed and what some people choose to believe.

Once the emotional charge created by the resurgence of memories that had drifted around for decades dissipated somewhat, and I had for some weeks left off reading the blog, which seemed to perpetuate that charge, and then came back to it, I find myself stunned and incredulous.

Taking away those things that he has said about himself, and those things that others have said about him, and looking only at the evidence before us, we see a man who, before he announced himself as a Teacher, was most easily described as a loser. Fired from his modest teaching position, kicked out of his brief stint in an abusive cult for the most pedestrian reason–being unable to keep his hands off the other guys–living with his mommy or in his van long past the age when we’d expect a man to have a halfway decent job. A man with modest formal education from a white trash background, with the middle name of Earl. Had never accomplished anything of note. Cannot write, paint, dance, or sing. Oh yes–he could play tennis, at the level of the average high school varsity player.

A man who has since lived an entirely parasitic existence, having declined to lift a finger on his own behalf since he was thirty, beyond walking, sitting, lifting fork and glass, talking, and having sex; a man whose muscles have atrophied from disuse. A man who cannot be bothered to pay his own bills, or drive his own car, or fix his own faucet. Can you imagine your father, or your neighbor, let alone Socrates, telling people to do manual labor, including labor that benefits only himself, year after year, decade after decade, while he simply shuffles around in thousand-dollar slacks and five hundred-dollar shoes, without ever contributing anything? Jesus was a carpenter. Dante wrote fantastic works of literature. Leonardo painted masterpieces. Others make shoes, grow food. Here’s a man who jots down notes and sayings at the level of a precocious junior high schooler, and gives others instructions in between efforts to satisfy his physical urges. We find the model for this in, say, Henry VIII, or more accurately, a pinheaded, inbred pharaoh.

Here is a man who has not, in at least 37 years, and most likely in his entire life, had an intimate emotional relationship with another man, woman, cat or turtle that would be recognized by anyone as normal, let alone mature.
Whose “teachings” are almost entirely unoriginal, having been cobbled together, first from the works of Gurdjieff and his disciples, a little later from quotes copied like a lazy freshman from the Harvard Classics, and now from a hodgepodge of sources that does not rise to the level of solid “B Influence”–stuff that, thirty years ago, you wouldn’t have picked out of the trash, like Chariots of the Gods and Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs. He even tried his hand at National Enquirer-style prophecy, and was so spectacularly unsuccessful that he now claims he never meant any of it.

A man who fancies himself an aesthete, of impeccable taste, yet whose taste is classic nouveau riche, reflecting once again the lack of any originality, let alone artistic flair. Everything is copied, taken from others, like the pile of statues in the basement of Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu. Who considers a Greek temple plopped down in the Sierra foothills very classy, and cannot see that it is pathetic kitsch, like Las Vegas casinos featuring recreations of pyramids and Venice.

In any other circumstance, this man would be considered ridiculous. A buffoon. Laughed at.

And this, of course, does not address a level of greed and financial manipulation that would seem eye-rollingly incredible in a made-for-TV-movie about a New Age Guru. Who would believe a character who did all the running after cufflinks, the wine-guzzling, the pouring of rich food down his gullet, the endless supply of suits, shirts, shoes, Rolls Royces and Mercedes, watches, paintings, furniture, and on and on and on, while continually demanding more money from his followers, some of whom make extraordinary sacrifices, destroy themselves financially, to keep the man in silk, cashmere, and the umpteenth performance of Giselle. We’d turn it off in disgust, exclaiming that the movie showed an obvious intent to slander all nontraditional religious organizations and make their adherents seem imbecilic.

And then there’s the fellow’s peculiar sexual habits, which also are no laughing matter. His need to have his various orifices continually filled, not by people with whom he shares a deep emotional bond, but by desperate or naive people he has cajoled with pathetic fairy tales, who hide their faces in shame as he grunts and pants before showing them the door and calling in the next one. People who carry the diseases he has passed on to them, and perhaps their partners, for the rest of their lives, along with the burning resentment and humiliation of having allowed themselves to be so callously and pitifully used by someone they trusted. This sort of behavior is generally accepted everywhere as demonstrating a profound emotional disturbance.

And none of this even touches on the man’s treatment of others when they’re not coming in his mouth, his disregard of what would be considered decent, principled behavior in any culture, under any ethical or religious creed. His complete lack of genuine interest in the well-being of anyone who does not give him, or procure for him, money or sex, his willingness to act, without regret, as though a person he has known for twenty years or more, a person who has given him everything they have, has never existed the moment the individual stops giving him money or sex.

But, I suppose, none of this precludes his being the Light of the World, the Greatest Being Since Christ, and worthy of the highest lifelong devotion. And why? Because he says he is “conscious.” So that’s what being “conscious” means, does it? How could I have missed it. But some say they have “verified” that he is “conscious.” Oh, that changes everything.

For quite a while everyone on earth was convinced the world was flat.

“But he teaches people to be present.” Indeed. Being present to eating too much, drinking too much, having sex with people who don’t want to have sex with you. Present to enjoying the fruits of others’ labors. Present to the sycophantic bowing and scraping of people without any self-respect or discernment. He teaches, by example, how to be present to treating others like shit.

How to account for his success? If a person without any useful abilities of his own sat down and decided to develop a way to allow himself to have all the money, sex, food, travel, power, fancy clothes, adulation, and sheer self-indulgent luxury an adolescent could possibly imagine–if a man embarrassed by his own sexuality and humble social status wanted to be treated like a god–what might he come up with?

And why is it that so many people whose wisdom is so much more easily observed, who are truly kind and compassionate, who genuinely value others simply for their inherent humanity, who find delight in simple pleasures and do not need to be continually praised, obeyed, fucked, fed, entertained, clothed, and carted about, who enjoy being useful, who serve others instead of claiming to serve disembodied spirits while leaving a trail of pain in their wake–why is it that such people do not have as many people trying to learn from them?

Might it be that some people actually want what they see this man has, rather than true wisdom, true compassion?

Might it be that some people cannot bear the thought that what is so obvious might actually be the simple truth, which would make them gullible fools?


238. Best of the Blog - July 14, 2010

on July 28, 2007 at 8:37 pm

Although it is 10 years later; all of this article is still applicable today and then some…


Fellowship Of Friends-A Cult In Oregon House, California.
Another lawsuit filed against F.O.F/Renaissance Vineyard &
Winery, Robert Burton, Girard Haven, Abraham Goldman, Helga
Ruth Mueller, and Clair Bowen–directors of Fellowship of
Friends, Inc. The lawsuit brought by Troy Buzbee and filed
on April 29, 1996 in the County of Yuba.
Complaint for Damages is in Case # 060209
1. Fraud
2. Intentional infliction of emotional distress
3. Negligent infliction of emotional distress
4. Breach of fiduciary duty
5. Negligent supervision
6. Sexual misconduct with a minor
7. Sexual harassment
8. Wrongful discharge
9. Negligence
10. Failure to pay minimum wage
11. Battery
Fellowship Of Friends Cult – By Michelle M. Milligan
“Within the pages of the case are facts and details concerning sexual and perverted acts practiced by Burton, his philosophies and ideologies expected of the members.”
According to the case, Robert Burton, “The Teacher”, as referred to by members, began the corporation Fellowship of Friends in 1971.

The “Fourth Way philosophy is taught and practiced by the Fellowship of Friends. The location of The Fellowship of Friends herein referred to as the F.O.F. is in Oregon House, however the F.O.F. refers to their location rather as “The Renaissance”.

Troy Buzbee’s father became a member of the F.O.F. in 1976. Richard Buzbee’s son Troy was only seven years of age. Richard Buzbee was told that if he paid his teaching payments each month and followed the tasks and suggestions of the teacher, Robert Burton that he would
enter “the way,” become “conscious” and “immortal.” He was told that Burton was a “conscious being” and that he was “celibate.” He was told that he could trust Burton completely with his body and soul.

From 1976 through May 1994 Troy’s father was a member of the Fellowship of Friends. As Plaintiff Troy Buzbee grew up he regarded Robert Burton as a God.
According to the case distinction between Burton and Troy’s father were not clear to him at times. Troy Buzbee became a member on October 10, 1966 when he was 17 years of age, virgin.

After Defendant Burton and Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC’s factual representations and undue influence caused Troy Buzbee to lose his ability to think independently, he became increasingly subject to the domination, control and undue influence practiced, implemented, and used by said Defendants.

In direct consequence of such deception, coercive persuasion, brainwashing and undue influence, Defendant Burton used Troy Buzbee, among hundreds of
other young men, for the partial gratification of his satyriasis, an uncontrollable compulsion to engage in sexual conduct with scores, if not hundreds, of men. In addition thereof, Defendant Burton exploited Troy Buzbee for the provision of cheap labor, well under the minimum

Said exploitation continued off and on until the time when Troy Buzbee terminated his membership with Fellowship of Friends, Inc., in August 1994.

Commencing in December 1986, Burton, would have “teaching dinners” during which he would ply Troy with alcoholic beverages. After one particular such meal in December 1986, Burton instructed Troy to come to Burton’s room and to shut and lock the door. Burton told Troy that
Burton was “an angel in a man’s body”, and the gods wished for Troy to be close to Burton. Defendant Burton then held in an embrace.

Defendant Burton said, “influence C wishes you to be close with me. “He repeatedly assured Troy that his “soul was not (his) body, and that the angels wished for (Troy) to be with (Burton).” Burton explicitly told Troy that the “angels” wanted Troy to disrobe, and the “angels” wanted Troy to submit to Burton’s sexual advances because Burton himself was an “angel”, a goddess in a man’s body.”

Burton said to Troy, “I promise you I am an angel in a man’s body.” “You have to remember that I did not write the play about Robert Burton.” Burton would kiss Troy on the forehead which he said represented the seat of the soul and then instruct Troy to “separate” from his body and just “let go”. Burton reminded Troy that Troy’s
body would soon decay while his soul was immortal.

Burton told Troy that he would talk to him after he died using the same soft voice he used at the time. Burton explained that for him the interaction with Troy went beyond conventional sex and into “supersex”, which was a
method characterological evolution.

Defendant Burton stated, “My
sexuality is on the level of Super-Sex.” From December ‘86–April ‘94, Troy submitted to Burton’s demands, which were: Drop out of college, provide Burton with sexual favors and provide hour long massages after Burton had been sexually serviced.

Burton used money from the corporation to pay other members for performing specific sexual acts. In denominations of $50 or $100.

The case mentions one case of “specific sexual acts” performed on Burton by Karl Feldman, Troy Buzbee’s best friend. Burton spoke openly about his sexuality in the form of jokes at the all-male dinners that he would often lavishly host at all-male, all-you-can-drink “symposiums.” He would boast that “one hundred boys would not be enough(for his sexual appetite).”

Troy worked at the gatehouse on F.O.F. property. Burton directed certain members who are “guards” to arm themselves with firearm-type weapons. Burton then had him become his “personal” guard. During the next four years Troy observed numerous men in Burton’s room in a single night. Troy was asked to massage Burton after his lovers left.

According to the case, Burton suffers from sexually transmitted diseases. He made no effort to tell Troy. As a consequence, Troy acquired viral herpes. In addition, Troy suffered from stomach ulcers.

Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, Inc. was built as a bomb-
shelter in obeisance to Defendant Burton’s prophecies regarding massive and wide-spread disaster and chaos in the near future.

Defendant Burton uses Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, Inc as his alter ego in the same way he uses Defendant Fellowship Of Friends, Inc.

According to the case…..
At all times mentioned herein Defendants Girard Haven, Abraham Goldman (also an attorney), Helga Ruth Mueller, and Clair Bowen were members of the board of directors of the Defendant corporation, Fellowship Of Friends, INC.

At all times mentioned herein all of the Defendants were acting as the agents and servants of each other and in doing the acts complained of acted within the scope of their agency and employment and at the direction and with the knowledge and ratification of the other Defendants.

The Defendant Burton at all times mentioned herein, dominated, influenced, and controlled, and does now dominate, influence and control the Defendant corporations and the directors and officers thereof, as well as the business, property and affairs of the Defendant corporations.

At all times mentioned herein, there existed and does now exist, a unity of interest and ownership between the Defendant Burton and the Defendant corporations; the individuality and separateness of said Defendant and Defendant corporations has ceased; and despite
knowledge of these facts, Defendant corporations and its officers and directors have had notice of acquiesced in and agreed, consented to, and ratified the conduct of Defendant Burton as herein alleged,

At all times since its corporation to the present time, the Defendant corporations have been and are now a mere shell and naked framework which the Defendant Burton has used and does now use as a conduit for the conduct of his personal business, property and affairs.

Defendant corporations are subject to a unity of control, and its corporate structure was created as an attempt to avoid payment of taxes and civil judgments and to confuse courts and those seeking redress for these Defendant’s acts. Due to the unity of personnel, commingling of assets, and commonality of business objectives, these Defendant’s attempts at separation of Defendant corporations and
Defendant Burton should be disregarded.

Defendant Robert Burton directs, controls and operates Defendant corporations and uses them to enforce his orders and carry out his attacks on groups, agencies or individuals, including the acts against Troy alleged herein, to the extent there is no separate identity between Burton and said Defendant corporations and any claim of such separate identity should be disregarded.

The Defendant corporations were created and are being continued and maintained pursuant to a fraudulent plant, scheme and device, created and operated by the Defendant Burton, whereby the benefits and
product of the income and revenue of the Defendant corporations are diverted to the use and enjoyment of the Defendant Burton through the Defendant corporations to himself while concealing the truth of his financial relationship with Defendant corporations.

Prior to the formation of F.O.F. and Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, Burton formed a conspiracy in concert between the corporations for the express purpose and intent of developing and implementing a plan and scheme which would permit Burton and co-conspirators to:

a. use, abuse and exploit the fiduciary relationship between the Defendant Burton and the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC,, on one hand and the members of and contributors to the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC,, on the other hand
for their own personal unlawful gain; and

b. to use, abuse and exploit the fiduciary relationship between the Defendant Burton, as ‘founding minister’, and selective members of the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC., for the express purpose and intent of performing unlawful and perverted sexual acts upon the persons of said members, including Troy, and by causing certain of the members, including Troy, to work for Defendant corporation Renaissance Vineyard & Winery, INC.,

and Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC.

That all times pertinent hereto, the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC., and the Defendant Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, INC, were formed and operated by Burton and said other Defendants for their sole and exclusive aggrandizement and to create an ambiance of neo-religious import which was and is currently being used by Burton and the other Defendants to manipulate, unduly influence, and control the minds, bodies, and the assets of the members of the Defendant
corporations for the sole and exclusive purpose of 1) satisfying Burton’s satyriasis-his voracious appetite for perverted sexual pleasure and elegant life-style; and

2) diverting the contributions and donations of the membership to their own use and purposes.

Members of the Fellowship are required to donate ever-increasing sums of money as they become further and further vested as members of the Fellowship with the caveat that when donations required of them are
not timely and completely made their membership is either revoked or they become indentured servants of the Defendant corporation in residence at its principal place of business for nominal compensation and required to perform degrading menial tasks of a full-time basis
at the whim and caprice of the Defendant Burton

and other authorized representatives of the corporate Defendant Fellowship Of Friends, INC., and Defendant Renaissance Vineyard And Winery, INC.

All donations made by members of the Fellowship are devoted either to the continuing worldwide recruitment of new and replacement members with fresh money to contribute to “the cause,” or the acquisition of assets, including but not limited to, Defendant Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, INC,

which are ostensibly being acquired for the use and
benefit of the membership but which are in reality being acquired for the personal benefit and aggrandizement of Defendant Burton and some or all of the other individual Defendants named herein.

Meanwhile, Defendant Burton annexes free and unfettered use and enjoyment in and to the assets of the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC., Defendant corporation Renaissance Vineyard And Winery, INC., and the benefits to be derived there from, including, but not limited to, the provision money for bribes to young male members to prostitute themselves in an intensification of
Defendant Burton’s compulsion and demand for sexual servicing of his long-standing state of satyriasis.

The entire, purpose, scope and extent of the aforesaid plan and scheme as implemented by said Defendants is to effectively deny the members of the Defendant corporation Fellowship Of Friends, INC., not only the right to participate in its rituals and teachings on an ongoing basis but also, and of equal importance, to deny members of said Defendant corporation, including Plaintiff, of their just right to participate as beneficiaries entitled to use and enjoy
the property of said Defendant corporation.

Troy suffered from fright, horror, grief, shame, anger, humiliation, embarrassment, chagrin, disappointment, worry, self-loathing, self-betrayal and self distrust.

Haven, Goldman Mueller, Bowen knew of all these afore-mentioned practices of Burton.

They have agreed and abetted Burton in his efforts. They knew of Burton’s diseases and said nothing.

At all times pertinent hereto, Defendant Burton, and the other Defendants, caused Troy’s mental and emotional centers to become deceptively and coercively inculcated with the following tenets:

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.”

_______________________________End Quote



239. Best of the Blog - July 14, 2010

To read the following post in its entirety:

on July 27, 2007 at 9:26 pm

. . . Last Summer I had breakfast at the Apollo D’Oro for what I did not know then would be the last time. I sat outside on the deck with a friend and we looked out across our little swathe of the foothills as the last strands of morning mist evaporating into another impossibly yellow California day. I ate as many of Herve’s croissants as I could and we had a funny, warm, affirming conversation. There was only one unpleasant moment: my friend who was prone to sensationalism started telling about an anti-Fellowship article that had just been published, I hadn’t wanted to hear “No, you must read it” he insisted “the guy is smart and absolutely right about some things; he went to an open meeting in London last year lead by RT and he said some interesting things about arrogance.” I felt a surge of indignation: how could someone come to one of our meetings under false pretences like that, and then no doubt distort everything to fit his agenda? It felt like a betrayal. I imagined the writer; he would be a sort of pale grey colour and slightly rat-like, someone who made a living by undermining and demeaning the things that other people loved…No I wouldn’t read his article.

After a while we were joined by B who had just been reading the article too, he was shaking his head and saying “This is serious, this is really serious”. No it’s not I said to myself, why trouble yourself, don’t even think about it, and I had hoped we could change the subject.

Before I said good bye my friend he squeezed a copy of the article into my bag. I didn’t read it until the 28th of May this year and by then it was too late anyway.

The Background
That August I had no inkling that I would leave the school, it was the most precious, most sacred place in my life and there was no question of departing. I had joined 22 years earlier, had effectively dropped out of university, had put no energy into developing a career, my only ambition was to support the esoteric heart of the school, to communicate my conviction to others. I was penniless and all my friends were members. Every Summer I would spend a month at Isis visiting inspirational friends and trying to fill in gaps in my understanding of the work and Robert’s teaching.

I had always considered myself a skeptical person as far as ideas were concerned. I had been expelled from Christian Sunday School at the age of five for loudly disbelieving the stories, and despite wishing desperately to believe in God I had never found anyone who could convince me of the existence of anything supernatural. When I was twenty someone gave me an article about quantum physics which seemed to prove that other dimensions existed. I was awestruck; could it be that the seeds of those religions and mysticisms which I had despised before lay within the folds of these other dimensions? A few weeks later a student POL showed me In Search of the Miraculous; its rightness seemed impossible to dispute.

Until I was 18 I had been at boarding school. It was a hellish experience. I was bullied, the boys would spit and jeer at me, they would trip me up and kick me and laugh when I cried, and they even beat me up once. Often the girls would not talk to me so as not to be infected by my unpopularity, and years stretched by without friends. I was terrible at sport and good at poetry; I didn’t swear, wept constantly, had spots and was despised. At university I had my first taste of peace: I just read and read and read falling in love with dead writers and the productions that had emerged from their tormented lives.

Once in the school I discovered that my love of literature had been my Magnetic Centre, Other students seemed to actually like me, I was told I was a King of Hearts which was an acceptable thing. People hugged me and I gradually learned to hug them back. I threw myself totally into this new paradise. Instead of studying for college, I did Second and Third Line work, I studied the workbooks, wrestled with ideas I didn’t understand begged other students to help me understand, to help me Verify. When I couldn’t Verify something I learned how to Suspend my Disbelief.

When I failed my degree my Life family went into a panic. Unbeknownst to me they launched an investigation into the Fellowship with the help of another family who’s child Anne Rodney had been abducted from the School and de-programmed by an experienced anti-cultist.

I remember the day that my Uncle confronted me with his findings. He had obtained a huge stack of newspaper articles about the Fellowship and when he gave them to me with his hands were shaking and his face was red. He told me that Robert Burton was a charlatan and that I had been taken in hand by the Devil. I looked at him trembling there, so full of Negativity, and said to myself “He’s a fanatic, a Christian zealot, this is an inquisition” The first article on the stack was about a girl who had cancer, apparently Robert had told her that she must pay her teaching payments anyway and if she didn’t she would lose the School and go to Hell… The article didn’t touch me. My happiness and my conviction were unswerving. . .

– – –

Predictions and Photographs.
Robert sent a message asking me to apply for a religious visa and to move to Isis, because he predicted that the apocalyptic event of 2006 would actually occur at some point later that month. When called by a friend at Isis about an application I explained that it would be impossible for me to move so quickly. I had a child and no means to do so.

I sent Robert a note thanking him for his attention and received back the message from him that my King of Clubs and Lower Self were holding me back… and I cared too much about my child and my apartment in Amsterdam. Robert’s diagnosis was not particularly shocking or mortifying to me. I considered what he said and tried to find the truth in it. Yes for sure I was in my Lower Self most of the time, and yes I didn’t hold my work in great esteem, but on the other hand I didn’t feel especially pre-occupied with lower things; I was immersed in the three lines of work and had never given any energy to the acquisition of material property.

At that moment I couldn’t in all honesty find a way to agree with his diagnosis; if I was going to be struck by the magnitude of his insights that would happen later. In the meantime I trusted that he would forgive any temporary lapse on my part.

I asked other students what they thought of Robert’s words: some said that I was lucky to have received an invitation and attention from him; some assured me that my work was strong; others said that it must be a blow to receive such a strong, and by implication truthful, photograph.

During these conversations I registered that other students became very ‘sensitive’ There was a discomfort about the possibility that I might be ‘questioning’ Robert’s diagnosis; no matter how neutrally I presented the story they tended to pre-suppose that I was Negative or resentful about it.

But I was not upset, just curious.

During one such conversation a student MJ (who incidentally is very reserved and disarmingly beautiful) told us about a photograph that Robert had given her. She used to wash dishes in the Academy kitchen as often as possible so as to be closer to the heart of things. Her husband (who incidentally was an overtly sensual and extrovert type) saw her struggling through the task and massaged her shoulders in passing. Robert happened to walk through the kitchen, and a few moments later sent back a message to her stating that she was extremely lustful and that he did not want her to work in the Academy anymore.

Her story was, well, stunning. We sat there silenced for a moment; we did not allow ourselves to say his photograph was untrue, because we wanted him so much to be meaningful, yet we knew his diagnosis to be impossible, and his treatment of her so unfair.

I asked myself “Does Robert really know her? Does he really know me?” Quite suddenly a quiet space inside me had opened up in which it was possible to admit that Robert could not see things as they really were; that he could be wrong. . .

Cycling home one day MJ called saying that Charles and Angela Taylor had been asked to leave. Charles was a good friend, we had both joined in London, we had directed the centre in Hungary together. When I made my annual pilgrimage to Isis I would always seek him out, we would wrestle with the ideas and try to come to terms with aspects of Robert’s teachings which seemed obscure. He really wanted to understand, and his mental precision, his integrity, individuality and commitment had always been inspiring.

I called him immediately. He told me he had been called on Robert’s behalf because he had been attending meetings led by an Advaita teacher named Adyashanti who according to Robert was a “B influence virus” and Charles was asked to either stop seeing him or leave. Charles answered that he did not want to stop and was expelled.

In the past I would have wept when a friend left, and the friendship would have been over. Now there was just this ‘open’ state… There was no interruption from the usual tapes, there was no analysis of what must have ‘gone wrong’ with Charles’s work, and there was no attempt to justify Robert’s strategy.

In this new openness it occurred to me that the Fellowship seemed very much like a religion; Charles had been excommunicated. At the same time four other students had been asked to leave and Robert had requested that various people be ‘questioned’ and encouraged to inform on other dissenters. It was an inquisition; I felt surprised by this observation but not upset. . .

– – –

Christmas with the centre was very odd. I was the centre director but I had stopped believing in anything that was being said. I saw people talking about their verifications and knew that they, as I had, were actually talking about their beliefs. I saw students quoting poetry from Conscious Beings instead of expressing their own beings, I heard them using work language to fortify frailties and inconsistencies in their own limited understanding, but I couldn’t say anything. I saw them using classifications such as Body Types and Centre of Gravity to avoid experiencing more fully the wholeness that was before them. I saw all these things in myself of course too, but bit by bit these tendencies were dropping away in me, not because of any new found virtuousness or strength, but because I didn’t want them anymore. I had seen my lies and it was repulsive to reproduce them.

The most painful times were meetings. The quotations that we were forced to read were appalling. I allowed myself to register that exquisite pieces of poetry were in fact being butchered and moulded to fit the lengthy interpretations which followed them. The constant theme was the necessity of doing the Sequence. At the end of the Sequence was Divine Presence. If we did not do the Sequence we were in the grip of some scaly many toothed monster, images of which were projected onto a wall simultaneously. There were so many words to understand, so many complicated mental connections, so much Disbelief to Suspend, so much failure to separate from. The form was in itself confounding our attempts to simply be. Why couldn’t our teacher see this?

In January a friend in the Council called on behalf of Asaf. He had heard rumours about TH and wanted to make sure that there was no danger of the Fellowship being sued. I reassured him, but was struck by the implicit assumption that I would not find this question tasteless and cold. For Theo’s parents his apparent madness was a tragedy akin to death: their beloved son who had been musical, bright, self-disciplined, energetic and with a wealth of potentials ahead of him had been reduced to a silent almost vegetable existence.

A week later I resigned as director.

Preventative dismissal
Being free of the Director’s work load was wonderful. My domestic life was in a shambles there were business letters that had gone unanswered, and bills that had been accumulating interest for the entire duration of my directorship, there simply hadn’t been time. I took a rest from meetings for a while.

Concern for TH plunged me into reading materials that I had previously spurned as A and B Influence. I wanted to understand the relationship between what seemed clearly an Awakening and what also at least outwardly had deteriorated into madness. I read about Kundalini about Meher Baba’s Masts, about supernatural powers and about psychosis. I wasn’t able to come to any conclusions. TH became mostly silent and he stopped eating or washing without assistance. But in his lucid times he had never focussed on ‘himself’, there was no Narcissism, no hallucinations, no angels, no visions; for him it seemed the brilliance of the Real had been just too much.

My sister called me from Isis. She was worried; apparently two of my friends from Amsterdam had called her to find out where I was. As I told her about my new understandings and felt her stiffen.

I started to receive other calls from friends at Isis. They had heard that I was “having a difficult time”, I tried to explain that it wasn’t difficult but exciting. I tried to explain about the Sequence and was told that without doubt it was my King of Clubs and my Lower Centres that were resisting it. One person photographed me for using the word “utterly”; another sent me an exquisite poem from Rumi about not being troubled by doubt; but I wasn’t “troubled” I felt liberated.

Another Student asked me why I took the Sequence so seriously and that Robert would be sure to have another phase sooner or later. I answered that Robert was my Teacher and that he expected his teachings to be taken seriously, why else would he have a school?

They asked me how I felt about him and I answered that based on my own experiences of Higher Centres it seemed unlikely that he was living in them. Talking about Robert was challenging; I wondered if they would revere him so if they knew how he manipulated his entourage into compliance, if they knew how Negative he was in private. When I tried to describe this their voices became calm… and removed… it was as if somehow they equated me with the outrageous behaviour I was describing; as if I was somehow sentencing myself as dismissible.

“It is clear” one person said, “That Robert is no longer your Teacher, why don’t you just leave?” I was stunned at first by this, it was so brutal: how could I “just leave”; for 23 years Robert had told us that the Fellowship was our real family. My friends were all members… and we had an exercise not to speak to ex-students.

I began to wonder about Conscience. Ouspensky and Gurdjief had said that it was imperative part of Awakening, yet Robert had never spoken about it. Why? In the past I had always imagined that he considered us not ready for the topic, perhaps it was too ‘advanced’; perhaps we were too much under Feminine Dominance to understand it correctly.
Now it struck me that Robert was the one who had coined this term. It wasn’t in the workbooks. Other systems spoke of morality or socio-cultural conditioning. But they had never suggested that going beyond these things meant abdicating from goodness and kindness and helpfulness and consideration, these were different, they were not disposable. Perhaps Robert had quietly and gently become the predator that Gurdjief had warned about in those who didn’t develop conscience? And perhaps we had helped him.

But no matter what new picture of Robert was taking shape in me, it was a new excitement about Awakening that was moving me.

One day as I walked through the park chatting with an erstwhile friend I sense the greenness of the place gently pressing itself into view. An avenue of trees lining up in the corner of my eye… a fragrance, an attendant peacefulness…

I heard my friend saying “But don’t you find the thirty work ‘I’s useful at all? I mean take the ‘I’ ‘Walk’ doesn’t it help you to be Present now…”. I looked at her quizzically and without irony answer “No, the word ‘walk’ is not particularly magical to me.”

In that moment I realized that I had never ‘done’ Presence, it had always just ‘arisen’. I had never tried, the trying would come a split second after, Presence would be recognised and named and called my own and there would be a scrambling to prolong… which would obliterate it utterly. . .

– – –

A farewell
Just before the end of the month I stopped all payments to the Fellowship. I could not bear to pay Robert another penny.

I did not feel anger towards him; I did not know who he was really. It was as if he had been some type of mirage. My teacher had been a dream, the sum of my projections, my hopes and hopefulness.

I knew that he was not awake, but could not imagine him to be particularly malevolent: deluded seemed to be a better word, and hadn’t we all supported him in his delusion?

On May 28th I finally read the Sheik’s first report on the Fellowship. On May 29th I left.

One of my friends wrote to me and said how could you have left your friends of 23 years? I told her that it is so clear that if there is any leaving to be done it will be they who leave me.

It has not been as difficult as I imagined. There has not been as much shunning. Those of us who leave now are lucky.

And what about the work? There’s a certain type of certainty now that nothing can be done. The beautiful things like Presence simply arise, because we want them to; the ugly things I try not to avoid. Occasionally I force myself to read the blog; it is both wonderful and harsh.

For while I was surprised to hear Robert described as ‘evil’; I maintained the idea that we his students had been equally to blame. But two weeks ago I watched ‘What the Bleep do I know?’ The narrator explained that what we perceive in the present is collected from memories from the past… there’s that moment when you see a Shaman standing on the beach perplexed and looking out across what for him is a vast and empty sea. In reality a fleet of armed ships are looming over his cove; but because has never seen a ship before these are invisible to him…

And I know that I have been Naïve. Shards of anger cut through my day.

Consciousness… Oneness, of course is something else. The search for it was the beginning and perhaps the end of all this. Knowing and almost accepting that Anna can do nothing to achieve it has been so very liberating and so very humbling.

If there is anything to be done I suspect it will have something to do with the heart, with grasping for that fine thread of conscience that might have been lost… and with holding on to it no matter what; with allowing that organ to breathe again, to bound back from poor to pure.


240. Best of the Blog - July 14, 2010

on July 28, 2007 at 4:10 pm

Dear Anna: #16-520

Thank you so much for your post. It shines among others as a real gem. Its honesty and truthfulness brought tears to my eyes. You will undoubtedly inspire many others to look deeply into themselves for the answers to the difficult questions facing all of us.

“…he (is) simply attempting to align (with) me, with the minimum possible personal involvement.”

Perfect description of how a sociopathic/psychopathic personality functions in the world.

Your analogy of the sequence as a gateway to higher states is exquisite and bears repeating:

“Imagine that you are longing to go swim in the sea, you stand at the water’s edge and then instead of leaping right in, believing that it’s not possible to enter directly, you take six steps parallel to the waters edge, at each step you say something like: Splash, float, cool, refresh, cool, Splashhhhh…, believing that at the end of these steps you will be actually be in the water, but of course you are not… you remain on the hard hot sand, to get in would involve dropping the notion of a prescribed route there, and this would be ‘wrong’ it would be contrary to your teacher’s instructions, so you persist in walking next to the waters for which you long, step, step, step, step, step, step… perhaps you will feel disheartened and defeated and give up in the end, or perhaps you will continue for ever, eternally failing, eternally missing your goal.”

A word about Theo. Thank you for that, too. I believe your account is the first time his story was revealed on the blog.

I want to assure you and others that doing the sequence is most certainly not the cause of Theo’s break with reality, which may be misconstrued from your post. I regard the sequence as fairly benign, and with the ‘right’ intention and understanding you could substitute your own words for the same temporary effect. (If you do so, I recommend changing the words monthly.) Theo’s symptoms fit the mold of the onset of schizophrenia. The symptoms typically commence between the ages of 17-21, about the time a person begins separating from their parents. Often the symptoms wax and wane, and can even go into remission for long periods. People afflicted often seem impervious to cold, can ‘read’ other’s thoughts, and have a wide-eyed wonder about them, as you might if you started having visual or auditory hallucinations. They often neglect their personal hygiene, and can emotionally and intellectually withdraw as well.

I hope you will continue posting, your voice here is invaluable.

Aline C.
on July 28, 2007 at 6:07 pm

# 520 Dear Anna,

Thanks for sharing this long slice of your life and for being honest about your perceptions and feelings during that times.

Just before I left, I was speaking with some friends (some are still in) and we came to the conclusion that it was like if the teacher was selling us the air we are breathing.

I make this comparison with what you said “ you cannot find something which is already there”.

This is quite a liberation to think that this can be so easily within reach.

During your time in the fof, I remember you were quite pretty, now you are beautiful.

The best to you.


241. Agent 45 - July 14, 2010

RE: deludedbob / livingpresence

Slicker than fucking snot! Fool your Friends!
It’s hard to feel sorry for those folks, and why should we?
…said the spider to the fly.

“There’s a sucker born every minute,” thus fulfilling an apparently necessary part of life on earth.

242. Best of the Blog - July 14, 2010

Purchasing awakening
on July 29, 2007 at 9:04 pm

I just read the Wikipedia article on FOF. It is so obvious that writers are trying very hard to make FOF look like religion. I guess now it is more useful for FOF to pose as a religion to keep it’s 501(c)(3) California non-profit church organization status.
Pathetic liars!!! It has NEVER EVER BEEN A RELIGION!

What happened to the whole “4th way school” that we all joined? Back then it was sold to us as a Conscious School quite opposite to a religion. What happened to the idea of not believing anything but verifying all for oneself?
Now it’s all of a sudden a church, a religion with belief system.
Please take a look for yourself. It’s simply disgusting.

“The Fellowship of Friends is a non-profit religious organization”
“…the aim of making its religious teachings and practices available in all parts of the world…”
“The Fellowship of Friends believes that God has many names”
“..the core of the Fellowship of Friends’ religious practice”
“It is the belief of the Fellowship of Friends…”
“The “Higher Self” is believed to be the real Self.” Etc, etc.

The word ‘believe’ is used prolifically through the whole article as of someone desperately tries to drive his point home: We are a religion! We are a church! We believe!
The article is packed with lies and distortions.

I am simply wondering: why so much lies and cover up is needed for something supposedly so true and great? What is there to hide?
Dear current members how do you feel about all this wiggling, changing and twisting facts by a conscious school and it’s leader? How do you justify to yourself the lying that’s constantly going on and this changing colors like a chameleon?


243. Best of the Blog - July 14, 2010

Joseph G
on July 29, 2007 at 8:35 pm

#51 Elena wrote:

“The adults lost position as people to address with more experience because it is being given to the young and inexperienced who can handle the deal with a lot less concern backed up by Robert against no matter what adult…”

Thank you for this perception, Elena. It is very true. I confess I’ve been there: young idiot, then adult, now simply ex-adult.

As an “adult” I used to rationalize the friction this caused me by remembering the parable about the last being first and the first being last. I tried to consider it work on my own vanity to accept the way very young, seemingly immature and frequently downright arrogant young people were being given so much power over our lives. It did not occur to me that it was all a setup.

Looking further back into the past, Robert gradually immasculated most of his wisest older students and effectively replaced them with “the keys”. Experience, unique personal understanding, what we called “being”, counts for very little today in the form and decision-making process of the FOF. Miles, Joel, Stella, Rosemary, Walter, Kristina…to name just a few, each had their shortcomings, magnified by the power bestowed on them as center director, octave leader, etc., but they also had a real voice, and served to balance and neutralize RB’s excesses if only by offering a counterpoint. Linda, Girard and others abdicated this important role, and have become enablers, permitters through silence. Little by little Robert has marginalized anyone who might potentially challenge him, distract his minions from devotion to his personality cult, or threaten his infrasex cabal.

Power in the FOF today mostly resides with the “dogs”: wagging their tails, baring their teeth (is it a smile or a snarl), licking YOUR plate in the Galleria kitchen as they bark together about how instinctive you were not to leave more, sniffing around the backside and humping whenever the opportunity arises. There are many breeds but a dog is a dog, whether Doberman or Poodle or King Charles Cavalier. Dogs run in packs, and they always know who the Big Dog is. The lead humper. The one who doesn’t even bother to growl anymore because no one else dares to tangle with him.

Of course, RB is also happy to use fools, but he does not expect as much from them. Fools are capable of learning from their folly and tend to run away after a while. Dogs are bred to follow. They work their way up through the pack, they sniff the ground a lot, they ponder over excrement, they guard their turf.

Funny that the apex of FOF evolution was after all simply to be a fool.

Joseph G

dick moron
on July 29, 2007 at 9:51 pm

#56 Joseph G.

The great Frank Zappa wrote:

“The Meek shall inherit nothing.”

The line is from a song about evangelical churches and ministers.


244. Best of the Blog - July 14, 2010

David B.
on July 29, 2007 at 10:20 pm

Purchase Awakening (58)

Of course [some of] the Fellowship and its devotees never had any compunction about lying and deceit, especially if it was to mere ‘life people’. The basic principle seemed to be something like “Our aim requires so and so, and we will do whatever it takes to get it. If ‘life people’ are harmed or deceived in the process, well, that’s just too bad, but it doesn’t matter because, after all, they’re just life people, etc.”
I’m sure this same principle is used to justify the deception of the various government authorities who might try to investigate the Fellowship’s non-profit status, etc.

I even know of instances in which students stole from or took advantage of fellow students, probably because they were so financially desperate due to the onerous teaching payments.

I also remember a lot of deception was used by the telemarketing salesmen who were hawking Renaissance wine (usually to gullible old people).

During the run up to 1998 and ‘the Fall of California’, all kinds of dishonest scheming and maneuvering was going on in an attempt to cash in on the big disaster. All kinds of expensive items were borrowed or bought on credit right before it was supposed to happen, with the expectation that when it did, all that stuff would belong to the Fellowship. After all, those poor ‘life’ bastards would be out there under ocean somewhere, right? Weren’t we just so fucking smug about it too? Of course, it all back fired when the prediction didn’t come true and all of it had to be returned.

On that same subject, I remember some students getting all excited about how they would need to arm themselves against the desperate local population who would not be prepared for the disaster. You know, “We might have to kill some of those life scumbags if they come around here trying to interfere with us building our Ark!”

Robert seemed to always like to whip up that “Us against Life” hysteria. And a lot of the students really ate it up.


245. Best of the Blog - July 14, 2010

Skeptical Optimist
on July 30, 2007 at 5:58 am

16/520 Anna

Thank you for an astonishingly good piece of writing. You have given us a gift. Your writing has a light, refreshing and authentic tone that is quite attractive. You have described your experiences in a distinct voice that resonates with hard-won perspective and honesty. It is certainly in my opinion one of the very best pieces on the entire blog.

I have had experiences similar to the one you had with TH. Years ago, when teaching a course called “Introduction to Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way” at the New York Open Center, and trying to bring practical exercises that would illustrate the topics, as well as putting a lot of emotional energy into my presentation (it was a 7 week course, as I recall), a young woman “broke” with our consensus reality into a different state. Of course, even as a “big mucky-muck” in the FoF, I had no idea what was going on, no idea of how to help the poor woman, no way to answer the questions from her anxious family, and not enough sense to quit doing what I was so proud to be doing.

There are numerous stories of people “waking up” quite without any cause at all, just out of the blue. Even for the people who manage to survive, there’s usually a period of about 3 years during which they are learning to integrate the higher consciousness with their ordinary, functional awareness.

Leaving the FoF is also a major undertaking for some people, and the layers of influence go deep, sometimes taking years (in my case) to reveal themselves, to be seen for the relics they are. The process is ongoing, but the opportunity to heal through the interactions on the blog seems to really root out a lot of the old stuff, or to stir it up so it’s visible and can be understood in a new way, from a more benign, forgiving and wiser perspective. But it does take time.

Thanks again for the time and energy you put into your story. I agree that it should be circulated as widely as possible (along with Life Person’s!) to current inmates.



246. Best of the Blog - July 14, 2010

Alice E.
on July 30, 2007 at 8:29 pm

[addressing another poster]

A noteworthy approach to Acceptance! Yes, we tend to resist the need for change, and this need may be just the thing we should accept a lot earlier. . .

Yesri baba
on July 31, 2007 at 5:04 pm

This non-dual stuff is all quite interesting. I spout off about it once and a while (a lot). I would even be bold enough to say I understand exactly what is being communicated, that I “get it”. The paragraph Laura quoted from the internet had a bunch of good stuff in it in my opinion. [on page 17 of the blog]

I also agree whole heartedly with where A Former Student is coming from. It reminds me of what O. said about there being many descriptions in literature about the “4th state” of consciousness but few about “3rd state”.

Here we are in 2007 America (or 2007 wherever and if it is not America, lucky you) trying to find our way through life. Dealing with the financial realities and rampant materialism and all that stuff and also trying to keep our bearings in a “spiritual” world.

It is all well and good to say just “jump off” and “let go” and bravo to those who can do it and not get sent to the funny farm or prison-industrial complex.

Sometimes I can see quite clearly I am a “dream inside of me” and often return to the simple awareness of myself and at those times I wonder why there is a hell. But I don’t think at this time I am able to answer that question.

I think it has to do with transition (but then doesn’t everything) . It is not that our ego needs to be eliminated (can’t be in my opinion) and our conditioned and habitual selves somehow become uncondioned but the unconditioned in us awakens more and more in waves through time and it is a unique, solitary and difficult process. There are many parts of us that need to be “brought up to speed” and many bends and twists from the past that are hard to straighten. It may be we will have to walk with a limp for the rest of this life.

Thank you again to all for your stories and thoughts. Though, for me, there is the unpleasant taste of the fof language scattered throughout, still, for me, it has been an unexpextedly enlightening blog. Thank you all (and I mean all).

A special thanks to you Sheik!


247. Yo - July 14, 2010

*** Thought some of you would like to know:

A wikipedia editor with an agenda to remove negative data about the FOF, has removed the link to this blog in the Fellowship of Friends article:


So it’s now an entirely one-sided article with no links to negative news articles or books written about the FOF, and a vanilla historical summary with no mention of important dates (failed prophecies, etc.).

Not sure what can be done about it, other than occasionally just going back in and adding the link. Some of these wikipedia editors must have full-time jobs hitting the delete button on wikipedia and doing whatever else they can to support Burton on the internet. What they won’t be doing though, is deleting any prominent FOF links (including links to this page) that show up in Google searches.


248. deludedbob - July 14, 2010

The new recruiting site for the Fellowship of Friends

Below is the text from the homepage followed by a revised version including a little truth which just didn’t make it past the editors.

Welcome to the Fellowship of Friends!

We are a group of men and women, young and old, who have gathered together to share the lifetime pursuit of being present. Based in Northern California, with centers located worldwide, our school provides a place for aspiring souls to live and work together in an atmosphere of beauty and effort, under the guidance of a conscious teacher.

We were founded forty years ago on the Fourth Way teachings of George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky. Today we embrace the practical wisdom of all great spiritual traditions, recognizing that all esoteric schools teach the same thing: how to be present to your own life.

To learn more about our school, and about the art and science of living in the present—working with a precise method, a teacher, and the help of other dedicated people—we invite you to visit our pages, hear what our members say, or find the center nearest you.


Welcome to the Fellowship of Friends!

We are a group of men and women, young and old, who have gathered together, excluding our children, to share the lifetime pursuit of being present. Based in Northern California, with centers located worldwide, our school provides a place for aspiring souls to live and work together below minimum wage in an atmosphere of gaudy beauty and effort, under the guidance of an unbelievably kinky teacher.

We were founded forty years ago on the Fourth Way teachings of George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky but recently ditched them both. Today we embrace, and subtly alter the practical wisdom of all great spiritual traditions, until it seems that all esoteric schools teach the same thing as us : how to be present to your own life.

To learn more about our school, minus some very important but really embarrassing things, and about the art and science of living in the present—working with a precise, useless method, a teacher who is a sexual predator, and the help of other misguided but dedicated people—we invite you to visit our pages, hear what our members say, or find the center nearest you

249. fofblogmoderator - July 14, 2010

247 IS NEW

250. veramente - July 15, 2010

After watching the little video of the new FOF website:
http://www.livingpresence.com, and seeing the older lady F.T. talking about presence, I started thinking how Robert Burton has often had an older woman at his side at some of the events . An older woman could inspire trust and wisdom, at some level operating on the general subconscious mind like a symbol of reassurance.
If the older woman can be on his side, then it all must be OK.
I do not need to further torture myself with all the doubts I feel for “my teacher” no matter how odd he is, even outrageous. I am just over-reacting…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

251. reader - July 15, 2010

veremente, right on. It’s politics. He uses older women as a political tool. He tries using everyone as a political tool.

He tries using everyone, period.

But the political angle with having older women sit by his side: It’s a bit like making friends with the right people to leave a certain impression… classic. You make a great observation.

Ever hear the three most important words in politics?

“Don’t get caught.”


Deludedbob. That is one creepy photo, dude. But you know, it’s a creepy topic. We’ve been adding classical music and mood lighting to it for decades. I’m glad you’re adding a new brand of wisdom.


Thanks for the heads-up. I wouldn’t worry about the WickedPedia article. If anyone finds the FOF on Wikipedia, they will find it everywhere else too, and not be happy with what they find. The Internet is out of control – not a good place to hide information. Burton would be wise to ban the use of computers altogether, and basically just lock everyone up on a brick-lined wine cellar somewhere and tell them it’s for their evolution. He already does that to a certain extent.

252. dick moron - July 15, 2010

250. veramente

In some cultures, those old ladies would be referred to as “fag hags”.
Every distinguished queer has a posse of ’em.

(no offense intended to our gay readers)

253. Wouldnt You Like To Know - July 15, 2010

Hello fofblogmoderator,
Thank you for your continued efforts with this blog. Because of the lengthy Best of the Blog postings recently, these pages have become longer (and more data) sooner than previous pages. The 300 posts target previously used for pagination might be reconsidered in this view of things. Long pages are a problem for those without fast connections or broadband; where pages may not load to completion and thus prevent people from getting to the posting section that is at the bottom of the page. Also, many people in Oregon House, one of the prime audiences for this blog, only have slow dial-up services. There are, likely, other places with similar restricted access. Please consider changing pages earlier, perhaps when a saved version of a page gets to 3-400Kb in size. This page is currently approximately 700Kb. Thank you, again.

254. Jomo Piñata - July 15, 2010

We were “founded” forty years ago by someone who claimed to understand Fourth Way teachings of George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky, but who admitted early on that he had actually never read Gurdjieff’s writings.

We deceptively advertised for decades by placing bookmarks depicting oil paintings of these luminaries, together with the words, “Gurdjieff Ouspensky Centres,” in the books of these authors. For many years only the name “Gurdjieff Ouspensky Centres” appeared on the bookmarks, while “The Fellowship of Friends, Inc.,” which is the actual corporate name, did not appear.

In 1977 the founder claimed that we were the only people who had the right to teach the system at that time (http://bit.ly/byOjMf), and that our group was the greatest mystery of the Twentieth Century. However, the Twentieth Century has been succeeded by the Twenty-First, so we have recently ditched any claim to be following the Fourth Way.

In the mid-1980s we drafted canons (http://bit.ly/bpRGnj) modeled after those of the Catholic Church, in an attempt to hoodwink governmental authorities into believing that we were a genuine religion and should pay as little tax as possible. This effort was only partially successful, as California refused museum status to the founder’s residence (noting it was not a “museum,” but a “warehouse[] where art [was] stored)(http://bit.ly/cXPmVc), and the neo-Catholic veneer of authenticity was abandoned as lightly as it was adopted. Later the founder commented that his new civilization would not be founded on “Judeo-Christian principles,” and that he hadn’t decided yet what principles it would be founded on.

Today we appear to embrace the practical wisdom of all great spiritual traditions, but the truth is that we have no enduring allegiance or principle except self-abasement and subordination to the founder’s sexual predations and inexhaustible need for narcissistic supply. Everything is fungible here, including each of us. Won’t you join us?

255. fofblogmoderator - July 15, 2010

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