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Fellowship Of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway To Presence Discussion – Page 118 February 13, 2012

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

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 official site of The  Fellowship Of Friends;

http://www.livingpresence.com/

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1. Tempus Fugit - February 13, 2012

INDEX TO THE BLOG

Animam Recro – Fellowship of Friends – a cult for intellectuals, and Fellowship of Friends Discussion
Part 1 through Part 10

http://animamrecro.wordpress.com/2006/04/16/fellowship-of-friends-a-cult-for-intellectuals/

The Fellowship of Friends Discussion – Free speech is a dirty business
Part 11 through Part 33

http://fellowshipoffriends.wordpress.com/

Fellowship of Friends – Living Presence Discussion
Part 34 through Part 115 (current page)

https://fofdiscussion.wordpress.com/

These links will allow you to access every page of this blog from its beginning in 2006.

Read with an open mind and you will find out the truth about Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends.

And if you are a member of the FOF you may find your path to freedom.

2. silentpurr - February 13, 2012

“Ammit the devourer waits patiently”..

3. Tempus Fugit - February 13, 2012

Thanks to all for the recent posts – you’ve inspired me to write again.

I think the true horror of the FOF is so shocking that our minds can only grasp little bits. Something in us resists the truth. We want to believe that Burton and the FOF are not really evil, that there is some explanation, some redeeming value.

These are the same psychological self-protective mechanisms that enabled thousands of German soldiers and citizens to torture and slaughter millions of fellow humans without being slain by their own conscience.

We don’t want to believe that we were fooled, but we were. And the only path to freedom starts by admitting that truth.

Focusing on “beautiful” experiences of art, music, etc. we had in the FOF are just forms of denial. In my opinion the FOF is a dead organization led by a walking corpse.

Get out while you still can.

4. 2012 - February 13, 2012

Last night on 60 Minutes on CBS they ran a story on a cancer research doctor at Duke University that made up false data to support his claims of discovering a radical new approach to curing lung cancer. It turns out his resumé which listed him as being a Rhodes Scholar was also fabricated. The head of the research department was asked why he blindly believed this doctor without verifying his credentials or his research. He basically said that his desire to believe overtook his sense of being able to be critical. It reminded me so much of my experience in the Fellowship

5. Tim Campion - February 13, 2012

2. Tempus Fugit

“Focusing on ‘beautiful’ experiences of art, music, etc. we had in the FOF are just forms of denial.”

Your words are painfully true, and evoke this familiar thought from the past:

And we, who have always thought of happiness ascending would feel the emotion that almost startles when a happy thing falls.

6. Bares Reposting - February 13, 2012

‘Page117/224. Wouldnt You Like To Know – February 12, 2012

3.
Judgement of Osiris – The Weighing of the Heart 2:12:

‘The usual weighing scene shows the dead being lead by the hand by Anubis – it is Anubis who will perform the weighing, the heart is placed on the left scale, the feather of Maat on the right. The god Thoth stands ready to record the result, an interested AMEMAIT (the \’Devourer of the Dead\’) waits for the decision – if the heart is heavier than the feather of truth then she will devour the heart and the dead / deceased with suffer the final complete death.

Spells included with the \’Book of the Dead\’ enable the dead to plead with its own heart \’not to oppose [the dead] in the realm of the dead\’. In the very top part of the scene the dead also makes offerings to 12 of the major gods who sit in judgement.

Declaration of innocence before 42 gods

The trial is not over yet – the deceased then has to make a declaration of independence before a tribunal and divine advisory board:

Behold, I have come to You,
Bringing Justice to You,
Repelling evil for you.
I have not done evil against men.
I have not improvished my associates.
I have not acted crookedly in the Place of Justice.’

‘TEMPUS FUGIT , ERGO CARPE DIEM’
[Time flies, therefore, seize the day (moment).]

In short, the weight of your heart speaks volumes about the actions of your life even after the death of the body. So, all sentient beings take note: Your time will come.

7. Shirley - February 14, 2012

4. 2012

“He basically said that his desire to believe overtook his sense of being able to be critical.”

The greater the lie, the more people will believe it.
– Adolf Hitler

8. J. D. - February 14, 2012

You too can now own a piece of insanity:

Dear friends around the world,

In keeping with Robert’s wish to share his thoughts and travels with students around the world, a Twitter account called LivingPresence has been created. Twitter is free to use and allows instant live messages (“tweets”) of Robert’s observations to be shared with his online followers, as he creates them. These short messages will be sent out by students who accompany Robert on his travels and at Apollo.

To follow the LivingPresence Twitter account, go to http://www.twitter.com and set your own Twitter account to be a follower of @LivingPresence. You can choose whether to receive Twitter notifications via your Twitter account or via instantaneous text messages sent to your mobile phone. If you wish text messages, choose “Mobile” options and enter your mobile phone number (Twitter will ask you to validate the phone by texting Twitter as a next step).

These messages are not intended to take the place of the Weekly Notes, but to simply create sparks of light in our daily life…

Enjoy!

9. Ill Never Tell - February 14, 2012

8. J. D. – February 14, 2012

‘Twitter account called LivingPresence’

Isn’t that tweet to get tweets from a twit!?

10. Tim Campion - February 14, 2012

8. J.D.

Oh, this should be fun…

Maybe it will lead to the Apollo Spring (as in my prophecy.)

11. Someone - February 14, 2012

Guess who said the following in 1982:
“School work is the only solution for man’s mechanical nature.”
…………………………………………………………………………………………..
That’s right…Tim Campion

I found 17 similar quotations by Tim Campion

12. nigel - February 14, 2012

…..from Walt Whitman – “Song of the Open Road”…..

“Here is the efflux of the soul,
The efflux of the soul comes from within through embower’d gates,
ever provoking questions,”

13. Jomo Piñata - February 14, 2012

11/Someone

So you can find a bunch of things Tim said thirty years ago, while under the influence of a thought-reform environment, which appear to contradict his beliefs and actions as expressed in the present. Do you genuinely believe this has any real significance?

“Commitment and consistency” is a key principle of persuasion. (See, for example, Influence, by Robert Cialdini, in which this principle is discussed.) The basic idea is that if people commit orally or in writing to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment, because doing so helps them to minimize the cognitive dissonance created by their earlier public statement or written expression.

“Commitment and consistency” is also a key element of “thought reform.” That was how it was used in the Fellowship of Friends, Inc. After the Korean War, the Americans had to figure out how it was that many American GIs had defected to the enemy during their captivity. The Chinese term 洗腦 (xǐ năo, literally “wash brain”) was used to describe the persuasion techniques used on the captives. One of these techniques was having the captives write things down. If a prisoner was not willing to write a desired response freely, he was prevailed upon to copy it. As the American psychologist Edgar Schein describes it:

“A further technique was to have the man write out the questions and then the [pro-Communist] answer. If he refused to write it voluntarily, he was asked to copy it from the notebooks, which must have seemed like a harmless enough concession.”

A written declaration, as you have discovered, “Someone,” has some great advantages. First, it provides physical evidence. Once a man wrote what the Chinese wanted, or once one’s publicly uttered Fourth-Way aphorism made its way into a Journal, it was very difficult to repudiate it. There it was in the journal, with one’s name on it! A second advantage of a written testament is that it can shown to other people. [That’s what you’re doing here, “Someone” — showing to others Tim’s public utterances from thirty years ago, frozen on paper. Why?]

Isn’t it more accurate to measure someone by his actions in the present, rather than by words he uttered thirty years ago, under beliefs he now repudiates?

14. Threshold - February 14, 2012

Jomo Piñata: “Do you genuinely believe this has any real significance?”

I’ll answer that one, since I doubt Someone will step forward with a genuine answer. The answer is, no, he doesn’t.

Tim has stepped forward as one of the most articulate and effective commentators about Burton and the FOF. No doubt, he has struck a nerve, both here, and here: http://robertearlburton.blogspot.com/

Regarding whether someone (or anyone) really believes what they say or write, Ames’ quote from Thomas Paine (‘The Age of Reason’) on the previous page provides some thoughtful insights:

“. . . it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

“It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.”

15. Tim Campion - February 14, 2012

11. Someone

Good work, Someone! This is absolutely fair. (Are you certain you found 17? Perhaps I was even more prolific than I recall.)

Still, for 13 years in the school, it’s a rather pitiful legacy. Robert Burton could have that many quotations under his belt before the main course was concluded.

And there’s a difference, obviously. Robert Burton is still saying (and perhaps believing) these things. I stopped believing his sham teaching a long time ago.

If you were encouraged by my “angles of thought” back then, when I was “under the influence”, I apologize.

16. sallymcnally - February 14, 2012

If we continually stay in the same relationship to our beliefs doesn’t it become quite boring? That was one of the first observations I made when I was getting ready (5 years before I actually left) to leave the FOF. Without some fine wine it became kind of boring.

Now they call politicians who change their relationship to previous beliefs flip-flopping, as if it’s a bad thing. Strange planet, planet Earth, yet entertaining at times.

17. Someone - February 14, 2012

15. Tim Campion

I do not know why you left.

I left because I was broke. I am 100% responsible for not taking care of my financial deterioration back then. I could have done much more in that direction and I didn’t.
No one in the FoF has ever tried to hinder me in any way. That is a fact.

Yet, one day it reached a point when I literally had no money. I was close enough to the level of not being able to buy food. At that point I realized that my closest friends did not really care and that included two of them who were “FoF officials” (one of them also left later on).

I think that absolute slander of the FoF and especially going against individual members just because they are still there is wrong.

I am fully aware of the fact that others have been hurt and it is really shameful that after all the tons of hot steam there are no lawsuits and no effective juridical results whatsoever.

Please think about how ridiculously vicious it is to slander the memory of a freshly dead person whose body is still unburied, just because he was a member.

18. Tim Campion - February 14, 2012

17. Someone

Again, it is fair for you to challenge what you perceive as my vicious slander of the dead. I don’t see it that way, but I’m also listening to you (and to the other voices here.)

And I am touched that you would offer a glimpse into your personal story (which sounds all too familiar. I was there.)

I also challenge your statement. “I could have done much more in that direction and I didn’t. No one in the FoF has ever tried to hinder me in any way. That is a fact.”

Don’t you see that you (and Michael, and each of us) was immersed in a “cult”-ure in which an absence of honesty, conscience and true compassion was institutionalized? That is a terrible hindrance! You probably could not have done more for yourself (that is, without leaving.) And in this, I think you judge yourself unfairly.

19. Des - February 14, 2012

Someone: “Please think about how ridiculously vicious it is to slander the memory of a freshly dead person whose body is still unburied, just because he was a member.”

I’m puzzled why anyone would focus their critical thinking in this direction, where a reader can (generally) find honest commentary about the FOF that can’t be found within it.

Meanwhile, there’s no objection to Burton’s shameless attempts to use the deaths of his followers (including Michael, and including Abraham, and many many more) to promote his product — which amounts to a lifetime of blind devotion to him (Burton) while he (Burton) hides his true self and his true motives, all the while calling it “work” and “consciousness.”

As the music plays at Michael’s private fof funeral, I hope at least a few people can question the somber mood, question the quotations and the silent nods, and question if it’s not just another afternoon of self-hypnosis and self-deception.

Death is a marketing tool in the FOF. It’s odd to think of it that way, but it’s true.

The self-hypnosis is that no one else on earth can bring themselves closer to self-reflection and awareness if they don’t write those checks to the Fellowship of Friends. We sit there silently and hold the illusion that only we can ponder our own deaths. Only we can be thoughtful about death, or the deaths of someone close to us.

In a certain way, maybe someone is truly honoring Michael by not buying it, and by pausing and thinking about him directly, and what he may have meant to us and others. And disposing of the utter bullshit — for just a second at least. Maybe THAT is a higher state.

20. Otto e mezzo - February 14, 2012

Someone: “Please think about how ridiculously vicious it is to slander the memory of a freshly dead person whose body is still unburied, just because he was a member.”

(1) “Slander” by definition means the statement is false. There’s been no slander here.

(2) The statements about Michael were not “just because he was a member.” They were because he was apparently a pimp, who didn’t appear to care much about the effects of his actions on others as long as he got to waive his baton and have people applaud. At least, he didn’t care enough to do anything about it, or even to stop facilitating it.

21. Another name - February 15, 2012

video interview with Michael Goodwin. I wonder what you guys think of his eye movements. So restless back and forth…..? Almost scattered….

22. Just the Facts Ma'am - February 15, 2012

16. sallymcnally – February 14, 2012
‘If we continually stay in the same relationship to our beliefs doesn’t it become quite boring? ‘

Maybe. You would think so. But, sometimes people just go deeper and deeper into it. But, in psychological terms it could be called a fixation or a complex; from Wikipedia:

Fixation is a concept originated by Sigmund Freud (1905a) to denote the persistence of anachronistic sexual traits’. Subsequently ‘”Fixation” acquired a broader connotation. With the development of theory of libidinal stages…the term came to mean a persistent attachment, not only to the specific instinctual aims of a particular era, but, instead, to the entire complex of self and object relation’ at that time.

More generally, it is the state in which an individual becomes obsessed with an attachment to another person, being or object (in human psychology): ‘A strong attachment to a person or thing, especially such an attachment formed in childhood or infancy and manifested in immature or neurotic behavior that persists throughout life’.’ . . .

And:

‘A complex is a core pattern of emotions, memories, perceptions, and wishes in the personal unconscious organized around a common theme, such as power or status (Schultz, D. & Schultz, S., 2009). Primarily a psychoanalytic term, it is found extensively in the works of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.

An example of a complex would be as follows: if you had a leg amputated when you were a child, this would influence your life in profound ways, even if you were wonderfully successful in overcoming the handicap. You might have many thoughts, emotions, memories, feelings of inferiority, triumphs, bitterness and determinations centering on that one aspect of your life. If these thoughts troubled you, Jung would say you had a complex about the leg (Dewey, 2007).

Complex existence is widely agreed upon in the area of depth psychology. It assumes the most important factors influencing your personality are deep in the unconscious (Dewey, 2007). They are generally a way of mapping the psyche, and are crucial theoretical items of common reference to be found in therapy. Complexes are believed by Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud to influence the individual’s attitude and behavior.’ . . .

Some typically mentioned: Oedipus complex, Electra complex, Oral Fixation, Penis Envy, etc.

Here is another example:

Compensatory Narcissistic Personality Disorder

PTypes personality types proposes Compensatory Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a pervasive pattern of unstable, “overtly narcissistic behaviors [that] derive from an underlying sense of insecurity and weakness rather than from genuine feelings of self-confidence and high self-esteem” (Millon), beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by ten (or more) of the following:

– seeks to create an illusion of superiority and to build up an image of high self-worth (Millon);

– has disturbances in the capacity for empathy (Forman);

– strives for recognition and prestige to compensate for the lack of a feeling of self-worth;

– may acquire a deprecatory attitude in which the achievements of others are ridiculed and degraded (Millon);

– has persistent aspirations for glory and status (Millon);

– has a tendency to exaggerate and boast (Millon);

– is sensitive to how others react to him or her, watches and listens carefully for critical judgment, and feels slighted by disapproval (Millon);

– is prone to feel shamed and humiliated and especially hyper-anxious and vulnerable to the judgments of others (Millon);

– covers up a sense of inadequacy and deficiency with pseudo-arrogance and pseudo-grandiosity (Millon);

– has a tendency to periodic hypochondria (Forman);

– alternates between feelings of emptiness and deadness and states of excitement and excess energy (Forman);

– entertains fantasies of greatness, constantly striving for perfection, genius, or stardom (Forman);

– has a history of searching for an idealized partner and has an intense need for affirmation and confirmation in relationships (Forman);

– frequently entertains a wishful, exaggerated, and unrealistic concept of himself or herself which he or she can’t possibly measure up to (Reich);

– produces (too quickly) work not up to the level of his or her abilities because of an overwhelmingly strong need for the immediate gratification of success (Reich);

– is touchy, quick to take offense at the slightest provocation, continually anticipating attack and danger, reacting with anger and fantasies of revenge when he or she feels frustrated in his or her need for constant admiration (Reich);

– is self-conscious, due to a dependence on approval from others (Reich);

– suffers regularly from repetitive oscillations of self-esteem (Reich);

– seeks to undo feelings of inadequacy by forcing everyone’s attention and admiration upon himself or herself (Reich);

– may react with self-contempt and depression to the lack of fulfillment of his or her grandiose expectations (Riso).’

(Sound like anyone we know?)

To put it in Work language: It means to be Identified with seeing the world in a certain specific way that a person cannot stop or change.

23. fofblogmoderator - February 15, 2012

20 is new

24. 2012 - February 15, 2012

I’m not posting this to bash Michael Goodwin, just to relate a true story regarding Michael and the FOF.

I was an orchestra member for a few years and Michael used to hire local musicians from Grass Valley, etc to help fill out certain sections of the orchestra. I was semi-dating one of these locals and she confided in me that during one our wrap parties (we would occasionally have after-concert parties at various member’s homes) she was approached by one of the orchestra members who was a student and he suggested they take a little stroll outside. Once they had gotten a little distance from the house, he suddenly pulled out his penis and exposed himself and suggested they have a little fun together. She was shocked and went back to the house and got her things and left. She called Michael the next day and told him what had happened (the student who exposed himself had just recently been married) and Michael told her not to contact the authorities. He said he would handle taking responsibility and making sure that the student was disciplined and that he was sorry and it wouldn’t happen again. Whether or not this happened I don’t know (or just don’t remember)

The only point I want to make with this story is that so many people in the FOF covered up for others and still do and I say it’s quite telling that FOF members espouse being above “life people” and proclaim to be so immersed in their “work” but they can’t be honest with themselves or with others. The Fellowship is in the habit of squelching any information that shines a negative light on any of the membership. It’s usually frowned upon as being “gossip”.

25. brucelevy - February 15, 2012
26. sallymcnally - February 15, 2012

The Fellowship psychology is very messy, as has been said, and only becomes messier with the passage of time if one remains. People’s core issues never get resolved and actually seem to become buried by ‘the work’ . People who have left usually see how tangled the psychological web has become. It takes courage to leave and tackle personal issues that were never addressed. I admire each person that leaves.

27. Ames Gilbert - February 15, 2012

Are there two “Someone”s on this blog? One appears to have a native command of the English language, the other seems to be a non-native speaker . . .
Whatever, I’m addressing the Someone who has counted how many times Tim featured in FoF publications of thirty years ago. You have neglected to tell us how many times you were recorded in the Renaissance Journal or Mt Carmel Journal or whatever over the same time period. And if you appeared later on the scene, whether you ever spoke up at meetings, even if never published. And whether you admit supporting the “Fellowship of Friends” / “Pathway to Presence” / “Living Presence” / “Being Present.org” / “Church of Robert Earl Burton” organization by doing so, in your own way.
I was there in the time of the recorded journals, like Tim. He appears in some of them, probably heavily edited. I don’t. Does that make me better in some way?
Even rolling up to a meeting and saying nothing supports it, surely? Attendance means acceptance of the form, the rules, the constraints spoken and unspoken, doesn’t it? That’s one of the layers one can observe in the study of any cult, including our own super¬–cult, the larger society we live in.

Thanks for letting us know the circumstances of your leaving (#118-17 or thereabouts). Your money ran out, but evidently you didn’t approach the limits to your belief systems at the time. Maybe changes in your belief systems came later, to help justify your leaving?
Whatever, you’re better off out, IMO.

You say, “it is really shameful that after all the tons of hot steam there are no lawsuits and no effective juridicial results whatsoever”. You are in error. There have been lawsuits. As to effective judicial results, that is open to interpretation. But, there have been other positive results, like the FoF not being able to get insurance to cover Burton’s misdeeds any more, negative publicity that has led to reduced membership and reduced cash flow, and so on. Most here wish there had been more, but if no one comes forward with recent evidence of crimes that have been committed, then there is no basis for a lawsuit. Do you have such evidence? Are you prepared to put it in the hands of the proper authorities?

28. Otto e mezzo - February 15, 2012

Who cares what Tim or anyone else said or did thirty years ago, let alone what got put in a Renaissance Journal? How silly. People grow up and move on. No one’s trying to hold anyone accountable forever for everything they ever did in their life. The question is whether a person ever does grow up and move on, and whether he feels any remorse for mistakes, and makes any effort to make amends.

29. Shirley - February 16, 2012

Anonymity on the blog:
The past days’ comments made me think about the pros and cons of anonymity on this blog. Each person using a pseudonym has his/her reasons for doing so, and although some individuals have disclosed who they are in some of their posts or privately to people through emails, what happened in relation to the accusations against Tim’s comments in the Journal 30+ years ago highlights why the predominance of pseudonyms skews some of our conversations.
Who are we talking to, when we address a pseudonym? Unless the person gives clues about themselves, his/her identity remains abstract and disembodied. In the case of personal attacks, if we’re going to dust off 30-year old publications and look up someone’s quotes, at least tell us who you are, so we can say, “Oh, it’s YOU.” At least we’d all be on a level playing field. As it is, and aside from the occasional personal attacks on this blog, there is something inherently unsatisfying about not knowing even the basics of the person: male or female, recently left FF or left ages ago, been in the FF for decades or for a short/medium length of time, been part of Robert’s harem or not, former center director or just a slave, etc.
The FF operates via a culture of fear, and that is probably what inspired/inspires some of the use of pseudonyms on this blog. Plus, there were a few individuals who were so poisonous that they’ve been banned from most blogs, so who wants them to know who you are? That is understandable. But when the pseudonyms are taken advantage of as cover in order to slog another blog poster, then it feels cowardly, and it detracts from some of the blog’s purpose.

Leaving the FF because one went broke:
Countless FF students said that going broke was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” (or as some would say, the third force) for FINALLY leaving the FF. Why did so many of us hang on for so long, and many people still in the FF still hang on, despite knowing what we know about the FF? It’s partly the RB-instilled belief that there’s nothing else outside of the FF, reinforced by the disdain for “life people” and cutting off friendships with former members. However, if going broke was the primary reason one left the FF, rather than a clear recognition of how empty and distorted the FF is, then one may still have illusions about RB and the FF.

30. wildz - February 16, 2012

Well said, Shirley…Victoria

31. Aristmus - February 16, 2012

Pro-FoF always use pseudonyms. Anti-FoF sometimes use pseudonyms. Who’s afraid of the truth?

32. Jomo Piñata - February 16, 2012

17/Someone

no effective juridicial results whatsoever

If this is so, perhaps it is because the law itself is deficient. People who have been exploited because they relied upon “spiritual” assurances or inducements may have no remedy, because (in the eyes of the law) they weren’t justified in relying upon such assurances or inducements in the first place. And the law has been slow to recognize that it’s tortious to impair people’s ability to think critically without their knowledge and consent. Indeed, harmed persons have been slow to recognize it until long after the ability to do anything about it is gone.

33. Joseph Nachumovitch - February 16, 2012

Does anybody here regret being in the School?

34. nigel - February 16, 2012

33. Joseph Nachumovitch

Dear Joseph

I have thought long and hard about your question even before you posted it here. Luckily, I did not become entangled in too many roles that ‘warped’ my Inner Self (in fact, I was pretty much a ‘fringey’, looking on in amazement as ‘friends’ with roles of dominance, power and vanity played major parts in the ‘fellowship game’) and was able to spend my ‘life role’ learning about my beloved art-form and becoming more proficient as a precious-metal craftsman. I often think what would have happened to me in Life if I had not joined the FOF – I certainly would have had no reason to go to California, but then I had gained some wonderful commissions ‘under my belt’ whilst a member of the FOF in California.

However, after my ‘dramatic exit’ from the cult, it took many years for me to find something within myself that could interact ‘steadily’ with Life. This history has been on the blog before, so I will not bore older posters with a re-run. The major question I have, having extricated myself physically, intellectually and emotionally from the FOF is – “Am I still mystically inclined and do I still believe in an Inner Evolution without the form of a ‘spiritual semblance of school’?” The answer can be found by those of you who feel I am offering something substantial to the fof/pathway to presence discussion and by my students in the Academy of Precious Metal Arts, for which I am a tutor/facilitator/psychological helper. I can only work day-to-day for the future – to look back is to ‘become a pillar of salt’ as the saying goes and will only make me angry.

I believe that the ‘school’ is full of people with Outward Show and rotting Inner Lives. If you question this organization of which you are a member, you are over 50% on the way to rescuing your Normality from the ‘grips’ of the psychotic Burton and his ‘enablers’. Joseph – I hope you continue to post…..Nigel.

35. James McLemore - February 16, 2012

“Does anybody here regret being in the School?”

I don’t think hypothetical questions will tell us anything of consequence. Look closely at “who” it is inside that that may try to answer this question, and what you think may be learned by trying to do so.

I remember going to the local county fair once when I was a teenager. I was walking past a booth with my girlfriend when I heard a voice beckoning me to “come over here and I might win a really big prize”. He said that I could get three rings for only fifty cents. Alas, I spent a lot of time and money at a game where I tried to toss rings onto the necks of coke bottles, in the sincere hope of winning a giant teddy bear for my girlfriend. I failed of course. The game was rigged. When I finally gave up out of sheer exasperation and lack of money and mistrust of both the game and the vendor, I had the overwhelming need to berate myself for being so fucking stupid. My anger at myself didn’t help a bit, and also made my girlfriend mad because I was now not only broke but in a bad mood. I did learn a somewhat valuable lesson however about the people who run those games and the games themselves. I also took some comfort in the fact that I would not have to carry a huge ridiculous stuffed teddy bear around for the whole rest of the evening.

36. Tim Campion - February 16, 2012

33. Joseph Nachumovitch

Joseph, this is a wonderful, many-layered question. It might help if you could elaborate. What are you trying to understand in asking the question?

Knowing what I do now, I absolutely regret being in the cult.

In relation to my Fellowship of Friends membership, the emotion is unavoidable. I regret the decision to join the school. (If, in the first prospective student meeting, we had been told “and oh, by the way, our teacher is a narcissistic sociopath who preys upon young heterosexual males and his teaching is a sham”, would I have joined? What do you think?)

Do I reject everything that I experienced, all the people I knew in the Fellowship of Friends? Of course not.

An important aspect of this emotion is what you do with it.

37. James McLemore - February 16, 2012

more on “regret” –

Tim made me think of other things, which I would not write so lightly about.

I was a lucky one. My time in the FoF was relatively short – only 5 years ending in 1979. I never spent much time around Robert and knew nothing at the time of what he was really up to. I thank the blog for this information which I did not have about a portion of my life for which I still had questions. Upon finding the blog some years ago, I got more than I ever bargained for. So many stories.
So there are regrets that came with this new information. The regrets are mostly to do with other people who did not come out unscathed. I regret ever giving any money to Robert and his cult who brought injury to many. I regret my participation in the ‘prospective student meetings’. I regret anything I may have said that brought people to the cult or kept them there.

38. Golden Veil - February 16, 2012

To the question of whether or not I regret being in “the School,”
for me, the answer is both “Yes.” and “No.” Like Tim Campion,
if I had been told “…our teacher is a narcissistic sociopath who preys upon young heterosexual males and his teaching is a sham.” I wouldn’t have become a student of the Fellowship of Friends, nor experienced a gradual brainwashing to the extent that my hearing that “the Teacher” interpreted the signs of “Influence C” from the license plates of passing cars, etc. didn’t sound like absolute charlatanism.

Yes, I did meet some talented, beautiful people, friends who often maintained a kind of strange, emotionally removed quality, perhaps out of fear of manifesting “false personality.”

39. Shirley - February 17, 2012

33 Joseph, what leads you to ask your question? What’s on your mind?

40. Aristmus - February 17, 2012

I gotta agree with James McLemore, it’s an absurd hypothetical question designed to trick the respondent. If you could change the past, would you? In Fairy Tales you get 3 wishes and the 3rd wish inevitably has to be used to try to repair the damage done by the first two wishes. If wishes were fishes, we’d have some to fry.
“What has happened had to happen. What has to happen will happen.”

41. Threshold - February 17, 2012

Regret is a strong word. It’s an emotion, and it’s often accompanied by other emotions like shame and guilt. It’s possible to just acknowledge that joining the Fellowship of Friends and following Robert Burton was a bad mistake That’s not necessarily “regret” per se — it’s just waking up. It’s learning from it.

Do I wish I hadn’t joined? Sure. But I’m also glad I left. I definitely don’t regret that decision.

42. Joseph Nachumovitch - February 17, 2012

Let me put it another way: would you want to be the person you would have been now had you not been in the School?

43. Golden Veil - February 17, 2012

33. and 44. ~ Joseph Nachumovitch

The answers to these two questions are clearly significant to
you. It seems to me that your intention is to make a point that
you feel is very important.

Why not be more direct about what you want to communicate
by personally answering these two questions yourself?

That would go a long way in the direction of getting others to
understand what you want to transmit.

44. Golden Veil - February 17, 2012

I meant to write 33. and 42. !

45. Joseph Nachumovitch - February 17, 2012

I wasn’t trying to make a point. I wanted to know whether there are other ex-students, like myself, who feel that corruption in the school or its teacher could not actually detract from what they gained in ways that matter to their evolution. Perhaps yet another way of asking would be whether or not they think they would have had more being now if they had not been in the school.

46. Fee fi fo fum - February 17, 2012

42 Joseph

Were you ever or are you currently in ‘the School’? It would give your questions and others’ answers some context.

47. Jomo Piñata - February 17, 2012

42/Joseph

would you want to be the person you would have been now had you not been in the School?

I understand the impulse to imagine “the person you would have been now” if [X, Y, Z had not happened].

(As an aside, consider not thinking of the Fellowship of Friends as “the School.” That’s the Fellowship’s characterization of itself and, in my opinion, the concept that the Fellowship is “a School” [note capital letter!] limits the ability to understand what the Fellowship really is.)

But “the person you would have been now” is a fiction, pure and simple. Try to imagine “the person you would have been now” if you had had different formative experiences:

If your mother had not died when you were still a child;

If your father had not beat you;

If you had not dropped out of college;

If you had stayed in the polygamist community and married that old man instead of escaping to the city when you were fifteen;

If you had attempted to convince your drunk friend to give you the car keys, but you didn’t, and then he drove into a tree and got killed;

If you had gotten on the bus to Boonville, as you had been invited to do, and spent three sleep-deprived weeks in structured lectures, doing calisthenics and never being permitted to be alone before you were told the commune was part of the Unification Church.

If you had never had your intense engagement with a book illicitly harvested by the placement of slick bookmarks with author portraits on them, bookmarks which led to staged propaganda events misleadingly called “prospective student meetings,” in which definite constraints were placed upon your behavior and your ability to think critically;

If you had never trusted someone who you later understood not to be trustworthy;

You can’t really imagine “the person you would have been now,” because that person would have had a different set of formative experiences. That person wouldn’t have been “you.”

48. Threshold - February 17, 2012

Joseph: “Let me put it another way: would you want to be the person you would have been now had you not been in the School?”

It sounds like James McLemore and Aristmus were onto you. You can tie yourself in knots thinking about hypothetical scenarios. The larger question for me is, Why wouldn’t I want to be that person?

If the suggestion is that somehow “the school” gave us something valuable that we couldn’t have found anywhere else, now THAT is a really interesting question… This is one of the main reasons that people are able to join cults, and why they have trouble leaving — because they believe that they can find nothing of equal or better value anywhere else in the world. To them, the world is a desert with no life, and no value, or at least limited value in the way it serves “me” and “the school.”

But when a person starts questioning that belief, they may start to realize that the world is actually filled with many MORE opportunities for evolving — not fewer. My ego wanted to believe that it was all HERE — only here, and nowhere else. Is there any need to explain just how absurd that is?

And you wrote:. “Perhaps yet another way of asking would be whether or not they think they would have had more being now if they had not been in the school.”

First of all, how do you measure “being”? And who decides? Robert? Girard? The bookkeepers? Is Gurdjieff up there taking notes and making evaluations? Is “being” the ability to separate yourself from others so that you are better, stronger, and more admired within the group?

I personally think “being” is nowhere near that. It’s something more elusive — not so easily defined or measured. But if you press me on it, I would say that “being” is certainly not the desire to stand apart and be one of the chosen few, to be better than others, and to pretend that I am more awake than others. Being is certainly not giving up my conscience just to remain in a cult.

I don’t know what I would have become had I not joined the school, and personally don’t find the question very useful. But I do know that leaving behind the insanity and delusional thinking of a cult was a huge step in the right direction. That’s not a hypothetical.

49. nigel - February 17, 2012

45. Joseph Nachumovitch

Joseph
I do not know why you are going along the line of asking these questions. Those who have left the Fellowship of Friends have, for the most part, regained their sanity and gone on to lead worthwhile lives. They are not likely to make a similar mistake again. We all have a weakness to rely on father/prominent figures for our ‘moral’ direction but most of now know that we have only our conscience as a guiding factor. I am not sure you are going to have any concrete answers to your present line of questioning…..Nigel.

50. nigel - February 17, 2012

…..from ‘The Free Online Dictionary’…..

con·science (knshns)

n.

1.
a. The awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one’s conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong: Let your conscience be your guide.
b. A source of moral or ethical judgment or pronouncement: a document that serves as the nation’s conscience.
c. Conformity to one’s own sense of right conduct: a person of unflagging conscience.

2.
The part of the superego in psychoanalysis that judges the ethical nature of one’s actions and thoughts and then transmits such determinations to the ego for consideration.

3.
Obsolete Consciousness.
Idiom:
in (all good) conscience
In all truth or fairness.

51. Renald - February 17, 2012

This is my first glance back at the blog since what seems like years and only includes this page.
My conversations with Michael back in 2000 indicated to me that he was well aware of the lack of usefulness the fof was bringing to his so-called evolution or growth. Quite simply he could not and would not take another risk. This is sometimes called being `gun shy`. This is not unusual at all. At that very time I was in the same boat except that I had found enough contrasting material to help me regain some balance in my life. The seed had been planted and it took me about a year to create the circumstances which would help me leave Apollo and another year to do the same with the entire organization. Sorry for the planting analogy, maybe the inclination is as a result of spending five years in the garden and six more in the vineyard.
My two cents.

52. not - February 17, 2012

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120148/plotsummary

dwelling on what ‘could have been,’ smells like self-indulgence, dwelling on regret is self-pity and a waste of time. mistakes are made in the course of a lifetime but after all is said and done, life is for learning.

53. Otto e mezzo - February 17, 2012

I find it a little easier to respond to the question whether “corruption in the school or its teacher … detract[ed] from what [I] gained in ways that matter to [my] evolution.” Although not much.

People are responsible for their own development–neither a teacher nor a group can “evolve” someone. All development includes pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and the unpleasant ones can be the most valuable, whether or not those experiences resulted from others’ intentional acts or were well intended. So, my unpleasant experiences did cause some unhappiness, but that has nothing to do with whether they harmed by development. I learned from them, so I benefited from them. Of course you can ask, “But would you have learned as much if you hadn’t had those unpleasant experiences?” and then we’re back on the pointless merry-go-round of speculating what the world would be like if reality wasn’t reality.

54. Ames Gilbert - February 17, 2012

Joseph Nakumovich (#118-33 or thereabouts),
Milarepa is supposed to have said, “My religion is to live and die without regret”, and when I first came across these words, I appreciated them so much I made a fancy poster to put up on my fridge door. Good words to try to live by . . .

But the fact is, I do regret some aspects of the time I spent in Burton’s organization (I use that word because I’m pretty sure it is not any kind of a School as I supposed and Burton advertised it to be, but it nevertheless taught me a lot). But, I know that, had I not met this particular organization, I would have still carried the same baggage, including weaknesses such as my naïveté/idealism, wanting answers from the outside that could only be found within, and so on. Put it another way, I was ripe for being scammed, and the universe obliged. IMO, if it hadn’t been Burton, it would have almost certainly been someone else. And I can imagine worse. What would have happened if I had put myself in the hands of a violent person like Alex Horn. Or a cross between Burton and Horn?

So, although I can’t say I don’t have regrets about what I learned from the experience, I can say I try to minimize the amount of time spent on them. Certainly I wish I had taken more responsibility for myself sooner, that would have been good.

So, back to Milarepa and his inspiring words . . .

P.S. If anyone wants a copy of the poster I mentioned for their own fridge, I’ve put up a PDF at:
http://www.californianativebulbs.com/PDFFiles/Goethe%20Quote.pdf
The Goethe quote I’ve offered before on this blog is at:
http://www.californianativebulbs.com/PDFFiles/Milarepa%20Quote.pdf
Your printer may make a nice job of printing these out—or it may not. No guarantees!

55. not - February 18, 2012

if there were an “inner circle” to the fellowship (ironically) this forum would be (is) it.

may peas be upon you dear readers.

56. James McLemore - February 18, 2012

Joseph Nachumovitch –

My feeling is there are things about the FoF and 4th Way that you still feel some affinity to. There are, I suspect, many on the Greater Fellowship site that feel the same. I am not saying this is wrong. It is to be expected. The FoF can be a pretty powerful place to have spent time in. So you are not wrong if you have a lot of questions, but I think you can answer all of them by yourself. In fact no one else can do it for you. But the answers cannot come from the FoF or the 4th Way, and if you simply ‘believe’ what people here have to say you are again just following someone else’s opinion. You can find out for yourself.
To really inquire into your questions anew, I think you will have to set the language that was learned, and all those “loaded” words aside, at least temporarily. Otherwise you will continue to travel in a small circle of thought set up by the FoF and the 4th Way. To approach those questions, you can take some of the suggestions that were made to you by members of the blog. Take those suggestions, not as opposing beliefs, but merely as ideas for your own study.
Read again what Jomo Pinata said,…

“(As an aside, consider not thinking of the Fellowship of Friends as “the School.” That’s the Fellowship’s characterization of itself and, in my opinion, the concept that the Fellowship is “a School” [note capital letter!] limits the ability to understand what the Fellowship really is.)”

And what “Threshold” said in response to your question about “Being”,

“First of all, how do you measure “being”? And who decides? Robert? Girard? The bookkeepers? Is Gurdjieff up there taking notes and making evaluations? Is “being” the ability to separate yourself from others so that you are better, stronger, and more admired within the group?”

So my suggestion is, put aside all those terms, at least for now – “School”, “Being”, “Evolution”, “Objective Knowledge”, “Presence”, “C Influence”, – the whole lot of them. Look and see what you really know beyond all the so called “spiritual” descriptions you have been given.
It can be truly exciting. Whatever conclusions (or even more questions) that may arrive might be far different than what you expect. Every day is a brand new day. The best of luck to you.

57. fofblogmoderator - February 18, 2012

#54 was hung in moderation

58. Arthur - February 18, 2012

Off subject…

A couple of years ago on the Greater Fellowship (I dropped out) there was a Russian who started a group for working with healing plants.

His first name started with S and ended with Y.

I remember the healing plant group disbanded. Is he still a member of the Greater Fellowship? I would like to contact him if he is.

59. Shirley - February 18, 2012

45 . J – “I wanted to know whether there are other ex-students, like myself, who feel that corruption in the school or its teacher could not actually detract from what they gained in ways that matter to their evolution. Perhaps yet another way of asking would be whether or not they think they would have had more being now if they had not been in the school.”

It sounds like a good time to re-examine the vocabulary that we got used to, which we vested with such highly charged meaning, such as “man’s evolution” and “having more being”. Maybe try setting those terms aside, and use ordinary words that your next door neighbor can understand. (That would have the extra benefit of reducing the illusion that “Students” are above “Life People.”) Do you really believe the 4th Way was the only “objective System” to escape some humdrum level of “sleep”? Please. People have been searching for the meaning of life since the beginning of time.

Also, ask what we’ve done to ourselves by enshrining the FF as “the School” and RB as “the Teacher” with capitalized letters. Why let our vocabulary lead our mind and emotions forever down an old rut? Words are just words, until they are associated with meaning. One way we can deprogram ourselves is to find more neutral words to say the same thing: It’s a group of people. It’s a 72 year old man.

It’s similar to breaking the taboo of not using profanity. As someone once said, “Detonate those words.” Meaning, say one or two, and try to realize that in and of itself, those words are only words. It’s about breaking the programming from having such a grip on your mind. This is not to diminish any concerns about a group or people or a 72 year old man having wasted our time and money. But we give the FF and RB continued power over us as though they were extraordinary, even after we’ve left and stopped making payments, if we can’t undo the programming from the inside.

60. Shirley - February 18, 2012

60 Hi Arthur, long time to hear. I was wondering if you were alive and well. Maybe you should go back on GF and take a look. There is currently no healing plant group on GF. If that person started it, and left GF, his group would have disappeared.

61. Shirley - February 18, 2012

I need an editor, too. I meant, 58 Arthur, long time no hear.

62. Tim Campion - February 18, 2012

(Joseph, I hope you don’t “regret” asking your question. You certainly provoked some interesting responses.)

63. Golden Veil - February 18, 2012

48. Threshold and following posts…

Beautifully put.

62. Tim Campion

Yes! I agree!

64. Golden Veil - February 18, 2012

47. Jomo Pinata, too…

Yes! Very well put.

65. not - February 18, 2012

addendum: “this forum” applies not only to the blog here but also to any venue where there’s discussion by fof ex-pats on the subject of ‘burtonism’ and fof machinations — from the perspective of being outside, looking in and reflecting back.

“ironically” because those who have managed to find their way outside the fof have a much clearer perspective than those inside who are in “the inner circle.”

simply put, being outside is nothing to regret, it’s something to be grateful for.

“….thank you for my victories and my defeats.”

66. Arthur - February 19, 2012

Shirley (60),

Thanks, I’m doing good.

I guess that’s what I’ll have to do, rejoin GF.

The plant group disbanded before I dropped out of GF. He sent me an e-mail and inquired about a plant, but I never answered that specific question. Now I want to answer the question.

Hope you are doing good.

67. Shirley - February 19, 2012

Arthur, he’s not on GF anymore, but maybe see you there anyway. Try Facebook.

68. WhaleRider - February 19, 2012

Joseph:
I happen to measure my evolution and personal growth starting from the day I left the FOF.

The shame and humiliation I feel to this day for having been involved with that cult is only tempered by the fact that had I stayed longer, it would have been far worse. I could have become Burton’s pimp as well as his bitch. That is why I do not use my real name here.

Don’t fool yourself in to thinking you were somehow not taking part in the corruption.

You drank from the well, too; we all did.

IMO, it is moral corruption to believe any one group of people is better than another. I feel the same about religions or political parties that exploit this human weakness.

To consider non-members as “sleeping machines” and “fodder for the moon” displays a profound lack of empathy and compassion for the human condition.

I thank you for your posts and applaud your quest for the truth, no matter how much discomfort and suffering it may cause you.

69. nigel - February 19, 2012

…..thanks to the hint from Ames – quite a strong quote but may lead to answers for many…..

“Accustomed long to studying, by myself, my own experiences,
I have forgotten the need to seek the opinions of friends and brethren.” – Milarepa

70. nigel - February 19, 2012

…..another quote (‘Google-ing’ – milarepa teachings)…..

“If you lose all differentiation between yourselves and others,
fit to serve others you will be.

And when in serving others you will win success,
then shall you meet with me;

And finding me, you shall attain to Buddhahood.”

Milarepa

71. nigel - February 19, 2012

68. WhaleRider

“IMO, it is moral corruption to believe any one group of people is better than another.”

I remember ‘looking out’ at ‘life people’ from the day I entered the FOF and considering them somehow ‘blessed’ (is that the word, WR?) and it continued while I was making my way and trying to ‘grow up’ – God! I was so naive to be in the Fellowship of Friends and was heavily reliant on ‘life people’ for what progress I made in my craft (part of the ‘Real Me’). In the final throes of leaving the cult (emotionally, I would add) it was my loving family who stood by me. My mother has passed on – she suffered from unipolar depression – whilst my father is nearing 90 and is my Chief Financial Officer. I suspect, too, WR, that you have felt nourished by special friends you may have made since leaving the FOF…..Nigel.

72. Shirley - February 19, 2012

68 WhaleRider

“shame and humiliation” – yes, that is one way that RB maintains power over individuals. It certainly keeps students quiet in a self-imposed silence. It is a terrible thing to trust someone, only to be betrayed, and yet feel one cannot broadcast the facts openly.

There are supposed to be shame cultures and guilt cultures (and no doubt, some of both in all cultures). Both are psychological ways that communities use to control the people within it. (Strange, how come RB doesn’t evidence either shame or guilt, that we can see?)

Now that we’re out of the FF, (and depending on what, exactly, we’re talking about here), the episodes and acts, themselves, are over for each of us, and have been over, a long time ago. However, what remains is some of the anger and residual effects of shame. Some of it undoubtedly dissipates, through processing and healing and simply through time. But sometimes a nugget of it all remains, tucked away. It’s hard to understand this phenomenon unless one has gone through it, or gone through something similar enough to be able to relate to it.

73. not - February 19, 2012

this may not have anything specifically to do with the baseness of burtonsim but it may have something to do with the of evolution of soul: following arthur’s theory of process leads to this: everything is made of light… it starts with the primary “particle/wave” photon which “descends” in it’s downward arc to the atomic/molecular level in the creation of “matter” and then the primal “substance” (read: spirit) reascends on it’s upward arc.

74. not - February 19, 2012

should have prefaced previous post pertaining somewhat to the current thread re: experience and regret– “…once u know how to do things you become less interested in them… the crack-ups were teaching you something…..we need problems in order to evolve… it’s a growing from within…” etc

but there’s so much more here and on links to this page…

75. WhaleRider - February 20, 2012

Nigel:
Thanks for your post. I am nourished from many diverse sources, through my work as you are, and especially by my two children. Two people whom I would not have met had I stayed a follower of Burton’s Rape Factory.

76. Ames Gilbert - February 21, 2012

Not (#118-74 or thereabouts),
thanks for that! Arthur M. Young led a truly interesting life. I think he gave us some really valuable insights into the relationship between mind and matter.

77. sallymcnally - February 21, 2012

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Splendide_%28film%29

just watched this movie on netflix, a satire on brainwashing at its best.

78. not - February 21, 2012

76 Ames

thank you… what’s “between mind and matter” ?

here’s to reducing the “cartesian” dualistic division of mind and matter:

“its the erosion that science has made in our moral fiber that I’m trying to combat, i understand it isn’t my theory, it’s the theory that the ancients have had right along and i’m just trying to make a correlation… current science confirms this theory of an original divine spark, a monad that starts it all off.”

arthur m young

79. nigel - February 22, 2012

…..against all the repression and insistence on conformity in the Fellowship of Friends…..

“Because We Believe” sung by Andrea Bocelli (English Translation)

Look outside: its morning
This is a day you’ll remember
Hurry, get up and go
There are those who believe in you
Don’t give up

Once in every life
There comes a time
We walk out all alone
And into the light
The moment won’t last but then,
We remember it again
When we close our eyes.

Like stars across the sky
And in order to shine
You will have to win
We were born to shine
All of us here because we believe

Look ahead and never turn your back
On the caress of your dreams,
Your hopes and then,
Turn towards the day that will be
There is a finish line there.

Like stars across the sky
And in order to shine
You will have to win
Like stars across the sky

Don’t give up
Someone is with you

Like stars across the sky
We were born to shine
And in order to shine
You will have to win
And then, you will win!

80. Des - February 22, 2012

There’s no need to be “against” something that has no power over you. The FoF is like a prison where everyone is told the doors are locked. and that the prison guards will shoot to kill (metaphorically) if anyone tries to exit, and that all of this is to protect the inmates from the horrible fate that awaits them outside the walls.

At some point, the inmates learn that 1) the doors are not locked, 2) there is no danger of being shot, and 3) that fear isn’t going to help.

81. nigel - February 22, 2012

…..addressed to that sociopath/psychopath, Robert Earl Burton…..

“And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud.”

– Walt Whitman –

82. Des - February 23, 2012

81. True. Sympathy to a sociopath is a sign of weakness. The lack of sympathy is taught in the Fellowship. It’s work against feminine dominance, which I guess means that women everywhere are going to march right in and take over if they notice any acts of kindness. Good god, we can’t have that. Whatever you do, don’t show sympathy.

Any chance this is all just a sign of Burton’s numerous insecurities?

(Yes.)

83. nigel - February 23, 2012

76, Ames Gilbert / 76. not

If the film ‘The Golden Compass’ is anything to go by, we are all made of stardust – no wonder the Roman Catholic Church shunned it – the big daddy in the sky theory of God is questioned. But, taking the Big Bang Theory, some entity ‘exploded’ giving forth intelligent matter. Gurdjieff, himself, stated that “all is material” and I take that to mean the invisible also. Science, itself, states that energy cannot be destroyed, it can only be transmuted/transformed. This is what makes me unafraid of death…..

“The best of me when no longer visible…..” – Walt Whitman.

84. nigel - February 23, 2012

sorry 78. not…..Nigel.

85. fofblogmoderator - February 23, 2012

80 & 82 are new

86. nigel - February 24, 2012

Spirituality and Money
Just How Spiritual Is Money?

©1994, 2003 by Andrea Conway

Two women browsing in our local New Age bookstore a few weeks ago picked up Deepak Chopra’s new tape on abundance and talked about how disappointed they were that such an important spiritual teacher was now encouraging people to acquire affluence. Standing down the aisle from them, listening, I could sense the complete distaste they felt for the entire subject. Their dialogue stayed with me, a reminder that for so many of us involved in the “New Age,” money is still a dirty word. Yet, if our main function as light workers on this planet is to transform mass thinking from its current vibration of fear and lack to the new vibration of love and abundance, healing our personal attitudes about money may be one of the most important contributions
we can make to our world and to the universe.

Why Us, Why Now?

It’s time now for more of us to accelerate our healing of personal and planetary attitudes about abundance. This healing is part of our overall reclaiming of personal power, assisted by the intensified light energies available to us now. We’re entering a time when we must learn to channel these light energies through our bodies easily and joyfully. We live on a planet of bountiful abundance. If you have ever tried to count the number of leaves on a maple tree in summertime or the blades of grass in a field, you’ll have some idea of the magnitude of natural abundance that surrounds us and is available to each of us all of the time.

Lately in my work I’m seeing increasing numbers of people who want to start their own business – be it a single-person massage practice or a group endeavor delivering a new kind of product or service. And, as more and more talented, educated people are laid off by large corporations, they are looking at alternative ways to make money in the so-called “recession.”

To me, this recession that we fear so much is actually a fundamental and much-needed restructuring of the world economy, part of releasing the old idea that the corporation or the lifelong job would take care of us. On a mass consciousness level, we are letting that belief go as, one by one, we learn to be our own source of security. Even on Main Street in the middle-class North Shore community where I live, the past year has seen the opening of three new stores offering crystals, Native American handicrafts, and Guatemalan imports. Person by person, small business by small business, we’re offering the gifts of who we are to the marketplace. At the same time, our negative beliefs about money, success, and abundance run deep. As more of us risk bringing our light into the world, we need to bring our attitudes toward money into the light with us. In doing so, we open up our ability to succeed, both in our personal endeavors and in bringing in the New Age.

Money and Why We Fear It

Let’s accept that we’ve had some compelling reasons to be fearful
about money. In this lifetime alone, we’ve witnessed the severe damage to the ecology of our planet through industrial pollution in the name of free enterprise. We’ve also seen the worldwide effects of wars fought by expensive and destructive military weapons built with our tax dollars.

Many of us may also have a karmic or past-life history of misusing
money or power in general. Though most of us would like to think that we have spent a majority of our past lives being good, saintly or uplifting, it may be more realistic to acknowledge that, in order for many of us to have evolved to the point where we are today, we’ve had just as many past lives as downright creeps as we’ve had as seekers of light. And that’s OK.

It’s all been part of the Piscean age (among others), in which we
underwent a collective learning about duality that was necessary to
get us to the point where we can now witness our judgments–good and bad–bless them all as the creators we are, and release them to the light. To me, being a light worker means knowing enough about darkness to recognize it and transform it. In order to recognize darkness, you have to have experienced it.

Money, in and of itself, is neither good nor evil. Money is simply the
physical expression of an energy, and the energy of money can be used positively or negatively.

87. James McLemore - February 24, 2012

Bares reposting –

‘It is not even essential that we keep writing. As long as people like Steve Lang are willing to contribute their energy to maintaining the site, this history will stand, and will appear in relevant web searches.”
Tim Campion

Nigel –

Maybe you could takes Ames advice and just post a link for these long copied posts that seem to interest you.
Especially if they are “New-Age” crap.

88. sallymcnally - February 24, 2012

James McLemore — did your heart get misplaced along the way or are you taking lessons from Grumpy?

89. James McLemore - February 24, 2012

OK, OK .
I will make an adjustment so as not to appear cold and heartless. You may delete the judgement I have shown by the use of the word “crap” and replace it with “variety”.

I will admit to not reading the whole thing, In scanning, some of the phrases that caught my eye and that I had trouble with –

“Many of us may also have a karmic or past-life history….”
“..in order for many of us to have evolved to the point where we are today, we’ve had just as many past lives as downright creeps ”
“It’s all been part of the Piscean age…”

90. Bares Reposting - February 25, 2012

Posted on Greater Fellowship and worthy of wider circulation:

‘Another One Bites The Dust

Influence C finally did something right: Michael Goodwin died and the RV passengers lived. Nice one, Leonardo! Actually, Michael wasn’t such a bad guy if we ignore his pimping young Russian men for RB. Not the sharpest pencil in the pack, but neither was he an evil-minded gangster like some of them.

It can’t be too long before RB himself finally kicks the bucket. How will the surviving FoF bigwigs react? They’ll claim that because he’s a man number 8, equivalent to Jesus Christ, his body won’t decay but will remain sweet smelling for decades, with all the healing spiritual qualities that are essential for maintaining an inflow of dollars. If he does start to stink they’ll embalm him. That way they can continue to charge $100 for a “Photo with Robert’s Corpse”. There’ll be “Meetings with Robert’s Corpse” where Asaf or the latest boy wonder will do his ventriloquist’s dummy routine: “What was that, Robert? Five times twenty four divided by eight equals fifteen, which is the same as fourteen? And that’s the number of toilets in the Celestial City Of Paradise?” No change there then….

Or maybe they’ll cut him up and sell the body parts to centres as holy relics?’

And:

[Regarding REB]
‘Marilyn, I don’t think the syphilis explanation is either likely or necessary. I think the 1968-Modesto-traumatic brain-injury-in-an-auto-accident explanation does just fine. Damage to the orbitofrontal cortex can produce something called “acquired sociopathy” in which the person loses the ability to care about, or conform his behavior to, societal norms. That region of the brain is also involved in reality-testing confabulations that come from a different area of the brain. An anosognosic patient with orbitofrontal cortex damage who has not been out of his hospital room for two months may give you a detailed account of the restaurant he went to the previous evening and what he had for dinner there and the conversation he had with his dinner companions. He is unable to know that he is lying. For a fascinating read, check out William Hirstein’s 2005 book, Brain Fiction.

Is Burton anosognosic? I have no idea. Is he sociopathic? Plainly. Was he always sociopathic? I doubt it. I spoke with someone who knew him in the 1960s who described him as a capable and well-liked elementary school teacher. I think his transformation into the self-regarded “avatar of the age” occurred at the intersection of multiple influences, but I think the Modesto auto accident has some real explanatory power. Dispassionate examination of the historical evidence shows an enterprise corrupt from its inception. Whether there was some acceleration of deterioration is subject to debate. If there was, could it have occurred by reason of organic illness or disease? Sure, why not. But you’d think syphilis would be detected, and treated.’

91. not - February 25, 2012

re 90 bares reposting:
and now he’s a “capable” sociopath. the past cannot exonerate nor excuse what he’s become…. what he is. why would anyone waste a moment of time considering whether he’s “agnostic” or otherwise? it matters not one iota… and it doesn’t matter how much “givenchy” he douches with, he can’t hide the fact that the whole enterprise stinks to high heavens. he’s already a rotten corpse who preys on the dead.

92. nigel - February 25, 2012

87 and 89. James McLemore

Sorry that my ‘long post’ caused something negative. It is just that I have never been involved in major roles in corporations and have learnt through my time in VERY SMALL business in the USA with my craft (not earning much) and have also learnt from my failing at trying to do any sort of job (either something I could ‘master’ or pretty ‘naff’ types of employment) until I started training as an adult education teacher. Freelance as I am now (and, again, not earning much), I can empathize with the passage from post 86…..

“Person by person, small business by small business, we’re offering the gifts of who we are to the marketplace. At the same time, our negative beliefs about money, success, and abundance run deep. As more of us risk bringing our light into the world, we need to bring our attitudes toward money into the light with us. In doing so, we open up our ability to succeed…..”

93. nigel - February 25, 2012

…..addendum…..

92.

…..any sort of job, on my return to the UK…..Nigel.

94. Shirley - February 25, 2012

Nigel – I think you may be missing part of the point of what some people are objecting to in certain of your posts, e.g., #86 above. You thought it was because it was too long. In fact, the objections have also been that you frequently copy and paste out of Wikipedia or some other website that you have Googled, and those posts become very long.

Even if we all loved what you shared via your Googling, the frequency with which you did/do this not only outweighs the blog’s other conversations (when they are happening), but also can skew the blog off into subjects that are fresh discoveries primarily for you. Although a few other people have said they like them, the point is, the combination of it all (length/ copy-paste / subject matter not appealing to wide audience/ frequency of such copy-pasting) detracts from the purpose of the blog.

I know that you’ve been curbing the frequency of that kind of posting, but what James pointed out via the comment “‘New-Age’ crap” – before Sally tried to curb him with the Grumpy comment – was questioning the value of the content that you share through Wikipediaing and Googling.

I thought James’ suggestion – which Ames evidently also suggested – was constructive. It was to “.. just post a link for these long copied posts that seem to interest you. Especially if they are “New-Age” crap.” If you feel compelled to share your discoveries, try to find a way to direct people to a link and precede that with a one or two sentence preface. If New Age subjects (or whatever) interest some of the people here, they can then follow your links.

95. Joseph Nachumovitch - February 25, 2012

What are you people trying to convince each other of?

96. not - February 25, 2012

i’m for liberty and free speech… therefore if no harm is being done then why bother nigel for posting whatever he wants to…. if it makes him feel good for whatever reason, then why not be tolerant? i

if/when the moderator deems it necessary, he can and does step in to regulate things… maybe some of the other would-be self-appointed censors here should petition the moderator for his job…. (that’s not a criticism of the current moderator — i hope you get my drift).

after all and otherwise, readers here have the liberty and freedom to scroll on by… so why try to control what nigel does?

here’s to being more forgiving… and more for giving, less for taking.

97. Tim Campion - February 25, 2012

95. Joseph Nachumovitch

We’re already convinced Joseph. Now it’s your turn.

98. Aristmus - February 26, 2012

Ah yes, the famous slippery slope. Exactly what should be tolerated and for how long and can I change my mind and go back a few steps? Should we be forgiving of those who are less tolerant and say so?
But back to the case in point. One of the reasons the moderator limits the number of postings per page is to allow reasonable dial-up connection time, particuarly for the center of controversy in Oregon House. Earlier in the blog pages would run 600 postings or more. It’s not so much the number of postings but the number of words in the posts also. Personally I skip a lot of things that I consider uninteresting, and you can to. However the Blog is particulary judged as a whole and if it’s just New Age Crap and sappy sentimentalism, I got better things to do.
In conclusion, I prefer grumps to wimps.

99. Golden Veil - February 26, 2012

To whom it may concern:

About those long winded end-to-end posts of poetry, philosophy, and cult writings that some people post… I am in agreement with what Ames, Shirley, and James have all suggested.

I think that it’s more conducive to distill related material into a brief summary, spelling out the main points of how in your opinion it is connected to the Fellowship of Friends commentary path, and then attach a link to its actual location, rather than copy and paste long blocks of text without any mention of context or footnotes of where
it was found.

A poem now and then is beautiful, but several poems without any word of context is bewildering. And, as has been said before: if someone who is questioning the authority of the Fellowship of Friends first opens the discussion blog only to find poem after poem by Walt Whitman amongst the song lyrics by pop groups, they might just turn around and make a quick exit…

Signed,

Just another grump

100. nigel - February 26, 2012

96/98/99

If someone would be kind enough to let me know how to post links, as opposed to actual articles (and/or song lyrics), I will try that out…..Nigel

101. nigel - February 26, 2012

“All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind. ”

– Abraham Lincoln –

102. not - February 26, 2012

100 nigel
highlight the url or source address, then hit copy and paste it into the reply box here.

aristmus:
“Should we be forgiving of those who are less tolerant and say so?”

or should we be less tolerant of those who are more forgiving?
what about grumpy wimps?

103. Fee fi fo fum - February 26, 2012

95 Joseph

Who is “you people”? Instead of seeing what happened as those people over there “convincing each other of” something (meaning what, something trivial? or something mechanical, as in “life people’s concerns”?), why not see it as a process of finding an acceptable solution or compromise to a problem – which we seem to be heading towards.

For the most part, the Fellowship didn’t help anyone sharpen their critical thinking faculties. Instead, it encouraged endless photographs of our “mechanicality”, most of which were of questionable value.

104. Tempus Fugit - February 26, 2012

Dear Nigel,
I must admit I’m getting a little envious. You get more attention on this blog than anyone else. Perhaps I’ll have to post something controversial and try to catch up!

But the best I can do right now is repeat myself. In my opinion you are one of the stalwarts of the blog. It’s not the Walt Whitman or William Blake (two great poets I love) and it’s not the lengthy quotes from Wikipedia (if I’m interested I read them and if not I just skim past them, no big deal).

I think you are great for two reasons, and both are important.

1) You are a champion survivor. You transcended the FOF to become a successful, decent man giving of yourself to others.

2) Your warnings through this blog about Burton and the FOF are clear and powerful, and I would like to hear more of them.

That’s because I want others still trapped to escape. And if they read our posts here I hope they quickly find out the truth about the FOF and Robert Burton.

In my opinion Robert Burton is a criminal with no conscience who is stealing from the members of the FOF their time, their money, and perhaps their very lives.

I think that you and many former students who post here share that opinion, so perhaps our greatest challenge and greatest responsibility is to communicate the danger and delusion of the cult.

Once the true nature of the FOF is seen, then escape becomes a necessity, even if taking the action is hard because of conflicting loyalties or other reasons.

I left the FOF because I could no longer make my payments, but at first I felt like a complete failure. I was still a believer in Burton and the FOF, and concluded I was spiritually unworthy of the teaching. I thought Burton’s threat that “C influence will arrange a horrible fate for those who abandon the teaching” was my future, and I lived in continual fear.

Then I found out my old friend Stella Wirk was holding meetings for ex-members. Stella was one of the first students, and a staunch supporter of Burton until she could no longer deny the many reports of abuse she was hearing.

Meeting with her and others opened my eyes to the truth, and fear was replaced with anger. The anger has never entirely disappeared but has slowly faded as I developed a new life.

For those of you who are still in the FOF – please listen – the truth is simple. NOTHING you have been told by Burton is true, NOTHING. He is not a “conscious man,” the FOF is not a “conscious teaching,” there are no “angels” directing the group, and you are not one of the “chosen ones.”

In my opinion these claims are just the fantasies of a mentally ill criminal who has fooled you and exploits you, and will continue to exploit you as long as you let him.

I am so grateful now to be free, and if you are an FOF member reading this I hope you will find the strength and courage to walk away and claim your own freedom. No matter how long in, or how deeply involved, your freedom waits for you.

But remember, time flies.

105. Tim Campion - February 26, 2012

104. Tempus Fugit

Outstanding.

(“Joseph N.”: any more questions?)

106. Ames Gilbert - February 26, 2012

Not and others (#118-102 or thereabouts),
I’ve noticed that sometimes very long URLs don’t paste properly on this blog, which makes such a link useless. If you have a long URL, you can go to the TinyURL website at:
http://tinyurl.com/
You just paste it in the window there, and they will give you a much shortened URL. Copying and pasting that into your post ensures the link works first time. This service is free.

107. Golden Veil - February 26, 2012

A public address to current “Students” of the Fellowship of Friends, excerpted from 104. Tempus Fugit:

“He is not a “conscious man,” the FOF is not a “conscious teaching,” there are no “angels” directing the group, and you are not one of the “chosen ones.”

In my opinion these claims are just the fantasies of a mentally ill criminal who has fooled you and exploits you, and will continue to exploit you as long as you let him.

No matter how long in, or how deeply involved, your freedom waits
for you.

But remember, time flies.”

~

This, and much in this post is beautifully put.

Thank you.

Signed, Grumpus Fugit

108. Arthur - February 27, 2012

“I left the FOF because I could no longer make my payments, but at first I felt like a complete failure. I was still a believer in Burton and the FOF, and concluded I was spiritually unworthy of the teaching–I thought Burton’s threat that “C Influence will arrange a horrible fate for those who abandon the teaching” was my future, and I lived in constant fear”. Tempus Fugit

Added on top of that constant reminder is “Eli, Eli lama sabachthani uttered by Jesus hanging on the Cross, “God why hast thou forsaken me”?

Once fortunate to find the FOF then plunged into the dark night of the soul fraught with psychological worms eating your own substance.

Stay there and you’ll see.

109. Des - February 28, 2012

Tempus Fugit: “I left the FOF because I could no longer make my payments, but at first I felt like a complete failure. I was still a believer in Burton and the FOF, and concluded I was spiritually unworthy of the teaching. I thought Burton’s threat that “C influence will arrange a horrible fate for those who abandon the teaching” was my future, and I lived in continual fear.”

And Arthur: “Once fortunate to find the FOF then plunged into the dark night of the soul fraught with psychological worms eating your own substance.”

The Fellowship of Friends is quite the mind fuck, isn’t it?

I feel for people out there who may still be locked in the state of fear and shame that Tempus Fugit and Arthur describe. I share the same memory. It really helped to reconnect with former FOF members — people who had freed themselves both physically and psychologically. and who had developed their bullshit detectors.

There’s a lot of therapy in helping others to free themselves. It helps to just articulate the danger of surrendering your critical thinking in exchange for following the madness of a cult leader.

110. brucelevy - February 28, 2012
111. Fee fi fo fum - February 29, 2012

Here’s a passage from the NYTimes/Science Times article whose link Bruce posted in #110. The description could easily fit the FF, except of course, RB says he is a goddess in a man’s body.

“Joan Bridges was one of [Swami Muktananda’s] lovers. At the time, she was 26 and he was 73. Like many other devotees, Ms. Bridges had a difficult time finding fault with a man she regarded as a virtual god beyond law and morality……’He told us to be celibate, so how could this be sexual? I had no answers.’ To denounce the philanderers [the teachers and gurus] would be to admit years of empty study and devotion. So many women ended up blaming themselves. Sorting out the realities took years and sometimes decades of pain and reflection, counseling and psychotherapy. In time, the victimes began to fight back.”

Sounds familiar?

112. Des - February 29, 2012

Not only does it sound familiar, but it sounds almost exactly the same.

“To denounce the philanderers [the teachers and gurus] would be to admit years of empty study and devotion.”

Yes. That’s the first step to freedom, though.

113. Alider - February 29, 2012

Probably there are many first steps out of the FF illusion as there are many different individuals and stories.
My first step was, to not allow a certain set of values I had to become corrupted (gratitude for the help of a friend, and thus remaining committed to the friend who no longer was in the FF) .

– Though many other values I cherished before becoming a FF member became corrupted, I insisted on this one, my personal understanding how to remain truthful to someone who helped when I was in need.
And this was against what this old man wants, because now this person is a lost soul, not worth to relate to and RB is afraid of this person as well.

After that, regaining critical thinking and common sense have became essential and the beginning of a long term healing process.

114. WhaleRider - February 29, 2012

GURU NAMES NEW HOLIDAY

Ashram House (CA)-Robert E. Burton, spiritual bleeder of the Living Presence Church of Robert E. Burton, AKA Fellowship of Friends Church of Robert E. Burton, has formally decreed his birthday, May something or other, to be an official Church of Robert E. Burton holiday, complete with all the trappings.

Burton is naming that day, May whatever it was, you guessed it, Robert E. Burton Day.

Apparently the group is now doing some inter-breeding, hoping to cultivate a special refined blend of eastern ground hog-camel creature, known as the ground camel, to be used and reused as an emblem of the holiday occasion. The small creature as evolved the ability to stay put in its burrow for months and months just barely scraping by, sucking on roots and tubers.

Burton’s followers are cultivating the ground camel to have a large hump on its back in which it stores the water it survives on during its long time underground and during the hot, dry summers. Those with the largest humps are favored, while those with the smallest humps and reserves are eventually thinned out.

Sometime in May, probably around the middle of the month, one can never be sure with Burton, but once a year, to celibate Burton’s coming and to keep the population of furry little hump-backed rodents under their strict control, he and his followers serenade the ground camels in the field with Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major over loud speakers for hours on end.

Upon hearing the soothing music, the entranced ground camels faithfully trundle out of the light of day and deep into their little under the radar burrows, humming the tune to themselves, never to see their shadows, remaining in an ever present state of wide-eyed blindness and fear, and thus assigning many extra years of winter darkness onto their lives in servitude of Burton’s cold subterranean world.

Released into the hills of the decaying vineyard, the new theoretically evolved species of young ground camel has quickly overrun the native population of old thirsty northern Californian gophers and driven out their families.

Locals are concerned and seek to contain Burton’s maladaptive practices.

115. brucelevy - February 29, 2012

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/28/wall-street-psychopaths_n_1307168.html

“One Out Of Every Ten Wall Street Employees Is A Psychopath, Say Researchers”

And I would bet my ass that 7 to 9 out of 10 “gurus” and “teachers” are clinical sociopaths.

116. brucelevy - February 29, 2012

And that’s because I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.

117. Des - February 29, 2012

brucelevy: “And I would bet my ass that 7 to 9 out of 10 “gurus” and “teachers” are clinical sociopaths… And that’s because I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.”

I absolutely agree. I also think the Gurus who are clinical sociopaths take advantage of the benefit of the doubt that people give them… People place their bets that “their” guru is part of that 1 to 3 out of 10. I definitely did.

A long time ago I was talking with a friend (now very far away from the FOF) about what made the Fellowship different than “other” cults. Why was ours “OK”, while others were weird or evil. We both agreed Burton had all of the traits of a cult leader, and the FOF met the definition of a cult. He’s a guru who takes advantage of his naive and devoted followers, weird ideas, lack of critical thinking, and a lot more. But, what the heck, we stayed anyway for a few more years. What’s with that? Were we insane — KNOWING that we had joined a cult — but somehow believing that ours was different?

Our benefit of the doubt is what hurt us in this case. Giving people the benefit of the doubt is a positive human emotion that helps us maintain our connections with people (sometimes), and build lasting and meaningful friendships (sometimes). But giving cult leaders the benefit of the doubt is like stocking your car with all of your valuables and then parking it unlocked on a dark street on the south side of Chicago. (or something similar.)

brucelevy, thanks for such reminding us (with your numerous comparisons) that we were not by any means different.

118. Des - February 29, 2012

… editing that last statement:

brucelevy, thanks for reminding us (with your numerous comparisons) that we were not by any means different.

Speaking of yoga, there’s a group of people trying to make it into a competitive sport. There’s an international competition set for this summer in L.A., and the same people want to turn it into an Olympic sport. Is meditation next?

(Whalerider — looks like a good Onion article… “Awakening Games Set for Summer 2012 in Oregon House: Divine Sequence World Record Holder Slated to Compete”)

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-400_162-57386907/yoga-poses-as-olympic-sport-is-that-a-stretch/

119. nigel - March 1, 2012

104. Tempus Fugit

Thanks for your kind comments…..

What I am trying to do with my time on the blog is not only ‘attack’ Burton’s set-up with commentary on his goings-on as they are related by other bloggers and such things as the Robert Earl Burton – An Unauthorized Blogography and Living Presence and Pathway to Presence sites, but to let ‘insiders’ and ‘fence-sitters’ know that there is a whole world out here that is both beautiful, imperfect and worth reaching out for. That is partly why, sometimes, I post material that may not seem appropriate to the blog or just ‘off the wall’ and may, quite appropriately, attract criticism from other bloggers. You see, I feel a timely insertion of poetry or a song lyric can let those people know that the world outside to FOF is much bigger and has more to offer, in a humane way, than the constricted life of the cult. Anything which is positive in the FOF, and worth keeping, can also be found in ‘life’ (funny Gurdjieff coined it that, or was it Burton?) as well as true friendship, true relationships with a lover or family and the chance to ‘realize your dreams’ in a profession that is not all about ‘gouging for money’.

Two phrases that I would dearly like to hear on the blog…..

1) Robert Burton has died…..

or, better still…..

2) Robert Burton has been arrested…..

…..Nigel.

120. nigel - March 1, 2012

…..from – foreword to ‘Self-Remembering’, by Robert Earl Burton…..

“Robert Burton stresses the education and disciplining of the emotions. The unique qualities that he offers to his students include a love of beauty and an understanding of its capacity to create higher states of awareness, a non-judgmental acceptance of people and events as they are, and a profound humility and obedience in the face of a higher intelligence. “If I had three wishes,” he once said, “they would be, ‘Thy will be done, thy will be done, thy will be done.””

…..funny how this passage does not mention the necessity of REB having a ‘fix up his ass’, almost on a daily basis. And is that the will of higher intelligence? I leave this open to debate…..Nigel.

121. nigel - March 1, 2012

Remember this one, not heard of lately…..Nigel.

Petition:

“We are past members of the Fellowship of Friends, an organization operating as a “church” in the rural Sierra Nevada foothills of California. It is dominated and controlled by a man named Robert Earl Burton. Our petition asks for an official investigation into the practices and character of his organization. The charges are documented by personal accounts declared pursuant to California law and under penalty of perjury.

We estimate there are about 15,000 former members worldwide, with current membership estimated at 1600. The long-term influence of this organization can result in the exploitation of its members, the consequences of which are often poor physical and/or mental health, financial ruin and moral devastation. These damaging results are documented.

Robert Burton calls himself a spiritual teacher and compares himself to Jesus, Buddha and Moses. He uses charisma, persuasion, psychological manipulation and coercion to drive large “donations” of labor, money and assets to support the “church”. It is documented that these donations are used largely to fund his extravagant lifestyle, outlandish projects and for sexual predation of his “students”.

Most all “donations” are mandatory and Mr. Burton enjoys the protection of the organization’s tax-exempt status under the laws of California.

122. Aristmus - March 2, 2012

Just to change the subject, and to fulfill your desire for attention, Tempus Fugit, I think your postings are bullshit.

123. Des - March 2, 2012

Wow, really? “Bullshit”? I like his posts.

Bares reposting…

3. Tempus Fugit – February 13, 2012

“Thanks to all for the recent posts – you’ve inspired me to write again.

“I think the true horror of the FOF is so shocking that our minds can only grasp little bits. Something in us resists the truth. We want to believe that Burton and the FOF are not really evil, that there is some explanation, some redeeming value.

“These are the same psychological self-protective mechanisms that enabled thousands of German soldiers and citizens to torture and slaughter millions of fellow humans without being slain by their own conscience.

“We don’t want to believe that we were fooled, but we were. And the only path to freedom starts by admitting that truth.

“Focusing on “beautiful” experiences of art, music, etc. we had in the FOF are just forms of denial. In my opinion the FOF is a dead organization led by a walking corpse.

“Get out while you still can.”


Seems fairly straightforward to me. “Bullshit” is where you say one thing but in fact believe another. Bullshit often makes no sense, is meant to distract from relevant topics, and is disingenuous. Fwiw, it sounds like he’s a good counter to the bullshit.

124. more history needed - March 2, 2012

This is video of the last meeting re food production in Oregon house.

http://www.northyuba.biz/wp/?p=77

125. brucelevy - March 3, 2012

Wow. Interesting. “Bringing people to Oregon House…”

While everyone knows Linda is the asshole of Northern California I’d have to designate Oregon House as the arm pit of N. California. I don’t know if I’d rather die or live there. It’s close.

126. brucelevy - March 3, 2012

Just to clarify, I meant the “town” of Linda, not the person. Although the “person” might be seen as the asshole of the FOF.

127. Golden Veil - March 3, 2012

There are many cults out there that subversively indoctrinate and brainwash new members. I met a woman at a health fair in California yesterday. She had flown in from Maine with attractive healing instruments that she said had helped many people. As I grasped the silver and copper strips on the box covered with brightly colored images of the i Ching she focussed on me intently as she basically bamboozled me with the story of how the instrument would heal all the hurts that so many people suffer in childhood. She was an attractive silver haired beauty with the happiest demeanor and an unlined face. When she told me that everyone in the company’s last name was Miller and that she had lived with them for 30 years (since the designer of the healing instrument and she had the same last name I had asked her if he was her husband) my ears perked up… this is what I found… The Gentle Wind Project. Ring a bell?

http://www.windofchanges.org/

This is a helpful ink on the above discussion group website:

http://www.windofchange.org/Links.html

128. Golden Veil - March 3, 2012

Yes, sadly, as Gertrude Stein similarly said once about a rose,
a cult is a cult is a cult is a cult!

“Following my final exit, after many years, from Gentle Wind’s influence, and after four years of reading, meeting former members of other high-control groups and cults, and generally recovering, I now realize that I didn’t allow this to take place. It happened so slowly and subtly that I was not cognizant of the process at the conscious level. Had someone asked me early on whether I would submit to handing over a large part of my income and life’s savings, give up a nurturing and valued relationship with my wife, take a back seat to seeing and parenting my children, sell the business I loved, and live in greatly reduced circumstances, I would have laughed at the idea. But, as I will describe here, the process was deceptively subtle, pervasive, and persistent.”

From: Inside the “Gentle Wind Project”
A Husband’s Perspective by James F. Bergin

http://www.windofchanges.org/Husbandsperspective.html

129. not - March 3, 2012

bruce 126
re: your previous reference to “the asshole of california” — i’ll go with my initial interpretation of Linda the “person.”

130. Golden Veil - March 3, 2012

Like the Fellowship of Friends, the Gentle Wind Project has changed their name several times in an attempt to separate themselves from the lawsuits, bad press, and discussion groups of former members.
So similar to “Living Presence,” the tendency towards refinement.
They are now packaging their cult con in a company / retreat format.

http://ichingsystems.net/index.html

131. Fee fi fo fum - March 3, 2012

124 more history needed

Interesting video of the OH-Dobbins food production meeting. Haven’t seen some of these people in awhile. Was that Steven (Apollo Olive Oil) leading the meeting? That makes sense, because AOO clearly makes an effort to market their product. Behind Grant, was that John? And the person who runs the organic orchard sounds like KW. Gee, almost like a high school reunion, where you look back and ask where we’ve all been and how we’ve spent the last few decades.

The body language of the couple of people who were FF members (that I recognized) was as interesting to watch as was the concern that they have as long-time residents of the area. The FF old-timers – coined by the woman who said they were 60 years old – had the restrained “no rooster feature” movements , and a few still had the hand gestures that RB used back in the 1970s when he led meetings or talked in social settings like restaurants or the Lincoln Lodge. (Curb that false personality! Don’t point those fingers at anyone! Keep those elbows in!) It’s just a small, maybe insignificant observation – including the “nice quality clothing” they were wearing (strive for gold alchemy and work against tramp, remember?), but it’s one way that FF members end up conforming in their external behavior, and don’t realize how they appear to “outsiders.”

One question the video raised was to ask how FF members in O.H. feel when they actively engage with the local community, in this case about agrobusiness. Do they really feel a kinship with “ordinary people in life?” Or are “life people” still a realm apart, necessary primarily for commercial reasons? A lot of FF members moved to O.H. only to be at Renaissance/Apollo. Many are probably stuck there for economic reasons and don’t know how to leave, especially if they are struggling, financially. Watching the video, I also had the sense that for the ones who are around 60, where would they go, if they had to start over and rejoin “life”? If they left the FF, they, too, would be cut off from FF students (so much for friendship). How do they reconcile a possible sense of failure with the knowledge that they are supporting RB’s lifestyle?

132. brucelevy - March 3, 2012

127. Golden Veil

Holy shit. I just read the Husband’s story.

133. Tim Campion - March 4, 2012

128. Golden Veil

Thanks for drawing our attention to this cult. On the same page is a link to an insightful interview with Jim Bergin:

Cult Recovery 101

Starting at the 35-minute mark, he discusses the importance of strictly regulated sexual conduct as a method of mind control and manipulation common to most cults. Without referencing it by name, he indicates the Fellowship of Friends was among those cults he studied.

134. Golden Veil - March 4, 2012

133. Tim Campion

Thank you for the link. I find that that Jim Bergin’s comparison of cult membership to real addiction, a very apt and shrewd one.

Listening to this interview and his references to things such as feeling that he was part of a group that had special special knowledge and that he was one of the chosen few who could play a role in saving humanity, recalls to me the Fellowship of Friends “Ark.” I remember being told that Robert Burton would often point to Christ’s saying “Many are called but few are chosen.” Jim Bergin refers to how common the act of “shunning” members that leave is in cults, the sexual use of members by cult leaders, and that long time members who leave their cult sometimes feel a “spiritual hole” and the need to seek other spiritual paths to fill it. All these and other aspects that he relates lead me to the conclusion more strongly now than ever before that The Fellowship of Friends is really NOT so special as many former members still, as Joseph H. recently asserted here, and many of us, really, occasionally avow. No, The Fellowship of Friends is just another insidious cult of mind control, a perhaps orchid in the garden of cults, maybe, but not so special after all.

135. brucelevy - March 4, 2012

Fellowship Of Friends

You can tell a lot about a cult by what famous figures from beyond the grave the founder claims to have talking to him. For Robert Earl Burton, the leader of the Fellowship Of Friends, it’s a party – Benjamin Franklin! Abraham Lincoln! Plato! And you, too, can talk to them – what the cult calls “C Influence.”

How? Well, you can let Burton put your penis in his mouth, as happened to former member Richard L., who fled the group after being totally freaked by Burton’s mouthlove. The Fellowship looks kind of stupid these days, as their prediction of nuclear war in 2006 (which they would not only survive, but rule the Earth afterwards) didn’t quite pan out.

Apparently inside the cult’s compound, one whole ceiling is covered with a giant painting of a dude with a boner. Members aren’t allowed to use contractions in their speech – oops. And they make money by selling organic olive oil from trees on their giant ranch. So basically this is Old Anal-Retentive Gay Dude: The Cultening?

http://www.ugo.com/web-culture/fellowship-of-friends

136. nigel - March 4, 2012

For further information on the ‘nature’ of cults…..

http//:www.rickross/

…..an expert on discovering/uncovering cults.

137. nigel - March 4, 2012

Sorry – http://www.rickross/ …..Nigel

138. nigel - March 4, 2012

Let’s try again – http://www.rickross.com

139. nigel - March 4, 2012

Re: New Members in Cults (from the Rick Ross site)…..

“The goal of cult psycho-technology is the production of a series of peak experiences designed to make an impression on new recruits. For many cult members, these behaviorally and environmentally induced “spiritual experiences” lead from a healthy, open and questioning attitude to a complete regression into dependence and reliance on the cult group.

These experiences, occurring often as they do within the highly charged, tightly controlled atmosphere of the cult, are not subjected to the kind, critical scrutiny that they ordinarily would be. Instead they are metabolized and socialized within the language and doctrine of the cult. They are the occasion for increased approval from the group. Phenomenologically speaking, they initiate the “divine history” of the individual, and they reinforce the history and mythology of the group. What is perceived as a flash of illumination and liberation becomes, in fact, the first step in a march toward moral slavery and psychological bondage.”

140. Golden Veil - March 4, 2012

134. Golden Veil

Did I really say that my former cult, The Fellowship of Friends, was perhaps an “orchid in the garden of cults?” Whoops! Here I am, feeling that my cult was oh so special again!

141. silentpurr - March 5, 2012

We mistook a jungle for a garden and the bewitching orchid was really a Corpse/ Carrion Flower ( Amorphophallus ) stinking to high heaven.

142. Ill Never Tell - March 5, 2012

Oh! Silent One, beyond the Veil d’Oro, could it possibly have been a Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)? Or?:

143. Aristmus - March 5, 2012

“Truthfully, I miss the school and do not have much negativity about it. I decided to leave for financial reasons–I have two children and now another one on the way. The school would say I have fallen into feminine dominance in regards to my life. I can’t help but wanting the best I can give my kids, which means affording dance and piano lessons and working only part-time in order to look after them up to my standards.
I am currently in MSIA (Movement of Spiritual Awareness), a organization from California too. I study their materials from home, and attend their meetings when I can. It is enlightening at times, but not as exciting as FOF. My husband is still in the school and I benefit from that (he is a quality person with deep thoughts, little negativity). The payment is big, but I know it makes him happy. Can’t take that away from a person.
It appears you have children too. If the ones in the photos are yours, they are adorable and handsome! Your brothers, whatever happened to them?
I would love to communicate with you and know your journey out of the school and how you are finding your way. In a nutshell, for me it has been somewhat lonely and depressing. I miss the students and Robert. Will I return? I don’t know. I have meanwhile my own way which is proving to be adequate for my soul. But I am a simple soul, I have learned. I can be satisfied with little if need be.”

144. Tim Campion - March 5, 2012

Here is the “friendly” reminder I received from the Fellowship of Friends Secretary, dated August 26, 1985:

Dear Timothy,

Trying to salvage your marriage is taking priority over remaining in the School. I feel a leave of absence would only serve to strengthen the attempt by the instinctive center and the feature of feminine dominance to strip the School from your grasp. Therefore, you will need to work with the requirement of not falling more than 14 weeks behind with donations; should you become further behind with donations, you would be required to make a re-entry donation before returning.

If you would like to try to work out some schedule of donations to allow you to catch up over time, I am sure we can work together on it. As Marcus Aurelius said, “In everything, look to the end.” The end is clear here.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Warmly,

(s)James

145. BruceLevy - March 5, 2012

I trust you wrote back some thing that approximates “Dear James, Bite me.”

146. Ames Gilbert - March 5, 2012

Aristmus (#118-143 or thereabouts),
your whole post is in quotes, so I’m not sure if you are quoting yourself or the someone else who wrote that letter on the Greater Fellowship site.

It’s pretty sad, but understandable. The author left for financial reasons, and (IMO) strongly implies that if it were not for that, she would still be there. That leaves her straddling the fence, and that is usually a mighty uncomfortable position. She still subscribes to the magical thinking, including that the Fellowship of Friends” / “Pathway to Presence” / “Living Presence” / “Being Present.org” / “Church of Robert Earl Burton” organization is something special. She is not over feeling special herself, and so she’s probably afraid of losing her ‘chance of salvation’, not to mention her husband. At the same time, she sees that consigning the fate of her children to Burton and what she has been taught as ‘C-Influence’ has not turned out well for some families in the past. So she has doubts . . .

My advice would be to cultivate those doubts and examine that part of her that raises those doubts. Somewhere there, there is a conscience stirring. Maybe at some point she can leave for her own sake, not just for the sake of the children, because she has learned to recognize and listen to her conscience. Maybe she can learn to stand on her own. Maybe she can see the artificial excitement of the FoF that she misses, for what it is, artificial, the random stirring of the pot by an uncaring nutcase. Maybe one day she can look at the drama out here in ‘life’ and accept it, and her place in it, on their own terms, ‘good’ and ‘bad’, with equanimity and grace.

I wish her luck.

147. Golden Veil - March 5, 2012

143. Aristmus

You have put quote marks around your post but this appears to be written in the first person by yourself and to be about your own experience. I had not heard of the John Rodger led Movement of Inner Spiritual Awareness, or MSIA (pronounced “Messiah” by its followers) before. I read this article (see link) and unless it’s all made up, the number of parallels between John Roger, the leader of this cult and the man at the helm of the Fellowship of Friends cult are remarkable.

http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20100035,00.html

1. John Roger, leader of MSIA “taught English in a Rosemead, Calif., high school. Starting with karmic coffee klatches in his own living room, where he would share his spiritual wisdom and accept $3 donations, he worked his way up to his current estate, which includes seminars offered by his worldwide organization”

2. John Rodger claims “embodiment of a divine spirit”, and even more, according to cult expert Steve Hassan, who explains to newsman Ted Koppel in this Nightline video (see 1:58 – 4:10) “John Rodger claims to be the greatest spiritual teacher in 25,000 years of human history.”

3. The article describes a”succession of attractive young men who shared his opulent Southern California house ” and John Roger “abusing his spiritual authority by brainwashing his followers, seducing young male staff members” and says that former member
“Victor Toso, 34, now living in Minneapolis and engaged to be married, says he was not homosexual but that he consented to J-R’s requests for sex because he feared being kicked off the MSIA staff.”

4. “For his part, John-Roger has denied all the accusations and is reported to be traveling in Europe. When news of a possible scandal broke, his various enterprises were renamed” and “so far as is known, no law enforcement authority is investigating.”

Well, to be fair, this is an old article from 1988… maybe John Roger was actually more of a role model for the founder of the Fellowship of Friends, who claims to be “the brightest light to walk this earth in 2,000 years.” After all, the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness was founded in 1968 (a non-proft was formed on June June 25, 1971); the Fellowship of Friends was founded on January, 1, 1970.

In the words of P.T. Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
Even in the best and the brightest, gullibility knows no bounds…

148. Golden Veil - March 5, 2012

147. Golden Veil

RE:

2. John Rodger claims “embodiment of a divine spirit”, and even more, according to cult expert Steve Hassan, who explains to newsman Ted Koppel in this Nightline video (see 1:58 – 4:10) “John Rodger claims to be the greatest spiritual teacher in 25,000 years of human history.”

The YouTube link:

149. Tim Campion - March 5, 2012

145. BruceLevy

Ha, ha. It was a missed opportunity. But, no, in those days some of us took these matters very seriously, as in “life and death seriously”. The day I received that letter, my wife and I agreed to initiate divorce proceedings. I adhered to an “arrears payment schedule” for a bit, though I was already discovering life existed beyond the Fellowship of Friends.

146. Ames Gilbert

Mighty fine post, Ames.

150. Dick Moron - March 6, 2012

I only occasionally check in with the blog and I just saw the news about Michael Goodwin. Sorry to hear about his death. He used to ride back and forth to Chico with me when we were both students at the University. He was a nosy little man who always wanted the latest gossip about Burtons activities, but like most FOF members, I think he was essentially naive and idealistic about “The Work” at that time.

I would also like to state that I am not nor have ever been “a tortured soul” as Tim C. says in his post 217. on page 118. I am not a victim, but I have a long memory and will never forgive the selfish actions of others that have hurt me in the past.

If I had remembered these lines by the great American writer and poet Charles Bukowski, when I first stepped into the Blake Cottage, I may have turned and ran.

“Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually clean kitchen, and 8 times out of 9 I’ll show you a man with detestable spiritual qualities.”

I know Burton always had others in his house, but in reality he has always lived alone. Other people in his home were merely furniture to him.

151. Fee fi fo fum - March 6, 2012

The problem with someone leaving the FF primarily for financial reasons is that it implies that one would rather have stayed, but for the lack of money. If there isn’t a revulsion towards what’s going on in the FF, or a strong rejection of what RB is doing to one’s wallet and mind, then there may not be a sense of finality about one’s leaving. Also, the FF’s indoctrination that any “expression of negativity is bad” may have the residual effect of making one afraid to articulate anything critical about the FF or RB.

I knew someone who was asked to leave the FF. After many years, the person asked to rejoin. It was as though the FF/RB’s rejection of him caused him to be in the position of supplicant. Instead, he should have been grateful to have been booted out; they did him a favor. Such are the mysteries of human nature, that we often want the very people who reject us.

152. Arthur - March 6, 2012

153. Arthur - March 6, 2012

154. Arthur - March 6, 2012

Practicing how to transfer youtube video to this place. Not done yet!!!

155. Another name - March 6, 2012

Aristmus

You have a spirit and the school is not a school. I know your opinion is that you and your husband are benefiting from it. The FOF is a cult. Speak with the people who live in Oregon House/ Yuba city area. Who have dealt with FOf ers for years and you learn a lot.
i would invite you to look deeper and see where the benefit is.
When I hear you say: i am a simple soul, I hear the language of the FOF with its hierarchy and division? You have a soul or spirit and as a 8 year old told me: I do not believe in growing a soul, you have one or not.

I learned after the FOF that Top down approach and hierarchy takes my life energy away.
Myself leaving the FOF was an empowered experience. I better balanced after years of grieving and more integrated and respect myself more then ever. A celebration to me.

O and one the best things for a women is to love and take care of the needs of the children. Fully.

The best thing a man can do for his children is to be good to the mother.

Enjoy and be your own self.

156. silentpurr - March 6, 2012

Fellowship women!
Know that the goddesses are not pleased with the arrogant imaginings and prurient minded offerings of such a one as Robert Burton!
“Feminine Dominance” indeed! -it is a purely made up concept, imagined by a mere mortal who has no understanding of the feminine or what it means to be a woman, least of all, a goddess!
The real feminine element only seeks to be included!
Sadly, inclusion is something not enjoyed by female students of the faux fem farce Fellowship of Friends game.
And yes, you may make your payments but but you can never really be included.
Yours is a supportive role at best; a lovely ornament of reflection, placed on the outside looking in…at behavior incomprehensible.

157. nigel - March 7, 2012

…..from Rodney Collin – “The Theory of Conscious Harmony”…..

APRIL 30, 1949 – “It may sometimes be a bad fate to be a lady— but to be a woman, never! The only question is, what does it mean to be a woman? Evidently something very interesting indeed. But it means digging down very deep—giving up bad imitations of men’s ideas, men’s feelings and men’s behaviour. To be a woman is something very positive. And I can understand that ‘to become a woman’ might be quite a big aim, just as ‘to become a man’ can be. Any negative attitude towards one’s sex is an obstacle to development, while a positive attitude towards it may bring quite unexpected and extraordinary things.”

158. Aristmus - March 7, 2012

Clarification. I am not the author of Post 143. I quoted it because I was amazed that there is this category of ex-FoF that seems to be blissfully unaware of the true nature of RB and his various organizations. That type of person would never believe or even read this blog. Too bad, those people too are responsible for their actions or inactions.

159. Arthur - March 7, 2012

Ok, whoever finished #152 for me, thanks, I had given up (couldnt follow the directions).

I think this HumanityHealing website has some very creative people at their service. Nice music, nice videos and good ‘esoteric information.

Thank you again, kind stranger!

160. silentpurr - March 7, 2012

Finally! Rush is receiving the kind of attention he’s been craving since high school. Robert, on the other hand expects the crucified.

161. Golden Veil - March 7, 2012

I didn’t get the above reference until I did a little research. I now know about the Rush Limbaugh controversy over his denigration of a law student, but I’m still not getting the crucified reference to R.B…

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/Vox-News/2012/0307/Rush-Limbaugh-rips-Obama-hypocrisy-on-Sandra-Fluke-video

162. silentpurr - March 7, 2012

Sorry for the error – I meant: Robert expects to be crucified.

163. commentator - March 8, 2012

the blog now shows up on the first page of google searches for “living presence” as well as “pathway to presence.” several negative results show up on the first page for “fellowship of friends.”

time to change the name again. or find a way to keep recruits away from the internet.

164. nigel - March 8, 2012

I have no clue as to the identity of the person who posted this…..

Fellowship Of Friends/Pathway To Presence/Living Presence site…..

Page 102, Post #3…..

…..a bit lengthy, but worth reminding ourselves of the FOF criminality…..

(moniker) What You Should Know About Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends – April 27, 2011

• It’s a doomsday cult.


• The predicted doomsdays never came.


• Burton predicted major catastrophes for 1984 and 1998, and then nuclear war for 2006. For decades, he predicted the Fellowship of Friends would become the beginning of a new civilization in 2006. 
Burton said, “Our task is to establish a new civilization.”

• When his predictions didn’t come true, Burton on a few occasions revised them to dates in the near future, or hinted vaguely that the “events” would occur in the near future — similar to many other cult leaders who predict doomsdays.

• Regarding the doomsday scenarios now imagined by some for the year 2012, the message of fear continues: “Theoretically, we will survive it unharmed,” Burton said in recent months.

• Through cognitive dissonance, followers try to forget the above predictions, or downplay them.


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

• Burton has coerced and seduced several hundred young followers — and perhaps thousands — into having sex with him, using promises of spiritual salvation, expensive gifts, vacations abroad, and entry into the United States for those from other countries. Burton plays on their fears of being outcast from their circle of friends, or being sent back to their home countries.

• Many former and current followers have suffered lasting psychological scars and emotional trauma, and a few have committed suicide. (Read the numerous personal accounts within this blog.)

• In doing the above, Burton has violated the trust of thousands of his followers who were unaware of the extent of his sexual activities within the cult, and unaware of the extent of his deception.

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


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


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


• Burton advances a world view that Hell exists, and that there’s only one way to avoid going to Hell when one dies: Join the Fellowship of Friends, and stay in the Fellowship of Friends until your death. All people on earth who do not join the Fellowship of Friends will go to Hell when they die, Burton says. Likewise, followers are warned that they will go to Hell if they leave the cult, and — to promote his message of fear even more deeply — he frequently implies that leaving the cult may lead to a fate even worse than those who never joined it.

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

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


• Burton charges exorbitant membership fees – anywhere from 20% to 40% of income, depending on a person’s salary. The full amount of these fees is never discussed when representatives recruit people. When they join, followers are rarely fully aware of how much they will need to pay in the long term.

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


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


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


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


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

165. fofblogmoderator - March 9, 2012

163 is new

166. nigel - March 9, 2012

…..from ‘Robert Earl Burton – The Unauthorized Blogography’…..

“sea” wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, April 29, 2008 at 8:44 p.m.:

Robert Burton uses manipulation. Over time his followers are groomed for this experience: he continually tells them that their lower selves will resist any thing that will bring them closer to awakening, he plies the males with luxury and ‘beauty’, has them floating in an unreal bubble, in which conscience and personal integrity are gradually dissolved and rejected as ‘feminine dominance’.

Women are groomed to allow their husbands to comply.

Eventually Robert pounces. If the follower rejects him he will threaten them with having to work out doors in the serf roles that those he is not having ‘sex’ with generally perform. Or he will tell them that they have to return to their home-lands which are often impoverished. He is prone to extreme jealousy and has been known to banish current ‘sexual’ partners simply for falling in love. He railed at my dear friend his most devoted and loyal follower for half an hour with out stopping and then banished her from his sight at events.

The sexual activity has been very unpleasant for most males that I have spoken with. The ‘loving’ experience is a myth. I did once meet a follower who applauded the experience briefly; but he suffered years of disgust and despair afterwards. The degradation is very difficult to absorb. You make excuses for it: it is so weird and ugly and cold and bewildering, and you are so desperate to believe that Robert holds the key to your higher centres that you re-describe what is happening to you in terms which make it bearable.

I know one follower who has been close to Robert for years, and who says that Robert is very ‘gentle’. But he has to do this… saying anything else would mean facing the full tragedy of his situation, facing himself.

One of the characteristics that enables Robert is that he does not mind if his boys absolutely hate the experience, as long as they comply. They have asked him about this but he somehow shakes their questions off. He sometimes makes their orifices bruised swollen and bleeding and mildly insists that they are being forced to let go of their lower selves. He tells them that it’s only their bodies, their ‘King of Clubses’ that reject it.

In the beginning Robert also manipulated his female followers in to having sex… there is testimony about this on the esoteric archives. It was disturbing reading: he had no interest what so ever in their pleasure. [ed. – see Bonita Hightower’s “History of the Fellowship of Friends”]

I do not judge the students who submit to this: I know that they comply because their hope and longing is so desperate. I am so sad though that this ghoul has exploited (and necessarily obstructed) their search.

The sick reality only began to press against the boundaries of my bubble when Robert told a follower that he did not enjoy the teaching events and meetings, the follower had to press him to continue, reminding him of the money they made; so Robert did continue but reluctantly, saying “I only do it for you boys…”

167. nigel - March 9, 2012

…..again, from ‘Robert Earl Burton – An Unauthorized Blogography’….

“J.D.” wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:

In September 1967, through his first spiritual teacher, Robert Earl Burton met Influence C, the direct influence of divine aware beings, without physical body, which later would have worked exclusively with paying members of the Fellowship of Friends (FoF) to ensure their awakening.

After being expelled from the group for sexual harassment in regards to other members, the Angels began to speak openly and directly with Robert Earl Burton and this event marked the beginning of a long and profitable dialogue between him and the gods. Sometime later another event would mark the bright future of such spiritual master: his crystallization (the process by which psychological characteristics become stable and permanent).

Based on those fateful, sudden and accidental revelations, Robert E. Burton established the basis for exercising his official authority, from crystallizing a man number 5 to evolving into a man number 7.8. For the record a man number 7 is a person who has achieved everything possible for a human being (Jesus Christ is a man number 8!) Men number 7 are completely united and have the will and knowledge that are independent from all their functions and, as demonstrated by Robert E. Burton, still slaves to their uncontrollable sexual voracity toward the members of his members, and subdued to gluttony for total sovereignty and riches.

168. Golden Veil - March 10, 2012

163. commentator

Thank you for pointing this out. Yes, Google and other search engines are bringing this site to the forefront when a search is made of the various names of the cult. I think that it helps to promote this site if the current page is not bookmarked to immediately open on the computers of Fellowship of Friends Discussion Group blog readers and posters. Traffic creates an online memory and sites that have the most traffic will come to the forefront in searches.

This is a good thing, of course, so that prospective students researching “The School,” “Living Presence,” Pathway to Presence,” and the “Fellowship of Friends” will learn that it is only another garden variety cult led by a charismatic leader with an insatiable appetite for luxury goods, international travel, and classical art; a “Teacher” who demands outrageous monetary dues, strict obedience from his “Students”, and sexual favors from his male hetereosexual followers.

~

166. Nigel

I didn’t know about this material. Here is a link for readers that want to see the source of Nigel’s above reference to:

HISTORY OF THE FELLOWSHIP OF FRIENDS
From Dec. 1969 to Dec. 1973
By Bonita Hightower
First student of Robert Burton

http://fellowshipoffriends.wikispaces.com/Bonita

169. Golden Veil - March 10, 2012

Subject: Integrity and honesty

Compare these two Meet Up group listings. Ames has previously brought up the fact that the Fellowship of Friends has been recruiting via a bait and switch technique, acquiring Prospective Students via Eckhart Tolle bait. At the very least the Fellowship of Friends, Living Presence, and Pathway to Presence should all be listed under the OUR SPONSORS heading on the left side bar of the Power of Now Meet Up group site. I agree with Ames that the Eckhart Tolle authentic sponsored site should be informed. Would anyone care to do so?

Penetrating the Power of Now

Rancho Cordova, CA
165 People of the Now

Inspired by Eckhart Tolle, this group seeks to go beyond Eckhart’s book into the actual day to day practice of being Present.One awakens the moment one realizes one is asleep…

Next Meetup

2nd Saturday MINDFULNESS WORKSHOP

Saturday, Sep 13, 2014, 5:30 PM
1 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

The Mirror of Light Meet Up group may be a fishing school too. But, at least they are up front about their sponsor. See on the left sidebar? It lists the Academy of European Arts and Culture, a fourth way school founded in 1991 by none other than Mervyn Brady, a former Fellowship of Friends Student.

The Academy of European Arts and Culture Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA
57 Friends

Following the tradition of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Collin, The Academy of European Arts and Culture is a global school committed to the process of Awakening the Soul.Founded…

Check out this Meetup Group →

For Ames Gilbert’s experience with the Power of Now Meet Up group that is actually a Fellowship of Friends front, see posts 2, 3, and 6 on Part 111 of the blog, August, 30-31, 2011

https://fofdiscussion.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/fellowship-of-friendsliving-presencepathway-to-presence-discussion-–-part-111/#comment-23563

170. Golden Veil - March 10, 2012

No more Wiki page for the Fellowship of Friends!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fellowship_of_Friends

168. Golden Veil

There are other Meet Up groups founded by P+t+r M*rr*w.
Maybe it’s an international endeavor on Meet Up to generate
more money via new members! Anyplace else out there
with local phony Eckhart Tolle Power of Now Meet Ups?

San Francisco!

Eckhart Tolle & Other Contemporary Teachers – San Francisco

San Francisco, CA
75 People of the Now

Practical discussions, tools and tips for accessing the Power Of Now and living in the Present based on the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, and other contemporary nondual oriented…

Check out this Meetup Group →

San Jose!

http://www.meetup.com/The-Power-of-Now-San-Jose/

171. Golden Veil - March 10, 2012

168. Golden Veil

Whoops!

I meant to post this link to the Power of Now
San Francisco Meet Up Group:

Eckhart Tolle & Other Contemporary Teachers – San Francisco

San Francisco, CA
75 People of the Now

Practical discussions, tools and tips for accessing the Power Of Now and living in the Present based on the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, and other contemporary nondual oriented…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Is this not false advertising in that it doesn’t disclose a relationship with Living Presence / Pathway to Presence?
There is no Our Sponsors notice listing their connection…

172. fofblogmoderator - March 11, 2012

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