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Fellowship Of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway To Presence Discussion – Page 122 July 7, 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/

Comments

1. Fee fi fo fum - July 7, 2012

#121 – 169 or thereabouts.

Ames, I would love to have seen the doctored-up daily cards. The fact that the fake Vines were created by “insiders” (members who were current at the time) made them that much more irritating to the “standards bearers” in charge. And as was pointed out, some of those standard bearers engaged in much worse than showing a bit of skin during the summer months.

2. Fee fi fo fum - July 7, 2012

I remember seeing this one when it arrived at an outlying centre teaching house. I say outlying centre, because we felt a bit removed from the centre of command central (Renaissance). Upon reading it, we gullible students were confused. I don’t think we even laughed until we dutifully discussed its legitimacy. In retrospect, it was yet another manifestation of mind control at its worst: we couldn’t even recognize satire when it hit us in the face. Satire can be subtly subversive. Robert and the Fellowship depend on unthinking obedience, no matter how contradictory or hypocritical the behavior is of those giving directives.

“Renaissance Vine
May – June 1987

“The photograph accompanying this month’s Vine shows members washing dishes at Renaissance. [The accompanying photograph was very “legitimate.” However, the giveaway was that it included a second student bending down into a large garbage bin. Excuse me, trash receptacle.]

“The rising sap of Spring brings unwanted Suckers to our grape Vines. Members visiting Renaissance are strongly encouraged to assist on the Suckering Octave. Please contact S__ D__ for instructions.

“Wheatfields are being sown on the property which, when harvested and processed, will be combined with our burgeoning raisin crop to create a breakfast cereal, which wil be marketed to raise funds for improvements to the property. Visitors are encouraged to contact R__ M__ to volunteer to assist on the Breakfast Cereal Octave.

“Members are encouraged to change their given names to their Italianate equivalents, in keeping with the more Mediterranean flavour of the Fellowship. For example, Roberts may now call themselves ‘Roberto’; Marys may call themselves ‘Maria,’ and so on.

“In order to improve the alchemy of Fellowship gatherings, we have been requested to refrain from consuming radishes, turnips, onions and beans of any kind.

“It has been revealed that there are in fact forty-five conscious beings working with us. Jelaleddin Rumi, Sufi poet, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and essayist, are now conscious. Lewis Carroll, however, is no longer conscious. Please note those changes on your lists.

“If you aint got nothing’,
you aint got nothing to lose.
– Bob Dylan”

3. Tempus Fugit - July 7, 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/Pathway To Presence Discussion
Part 34 through Part 122 (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.

4. Tim Campion - July 7, 2012

(This post came late in the last page, Page 121, Post 169. It should not be missed:)

Moon Dweller – July 7, 2012

I have been wanting to write for awhile now. I am not in the FOF and never have been. I know someone who has been in this cult for a long time. Of course he does not for one moment believe it is a cult and must be mainlining the kool-aid to convince himself. Your blog has helped me understand so many behaviors I have experienced and wouldn’t have understood had I not stumbled on it through a link.A warm, brilliant, loving person has been molded into person who repeats all of the catch phrases, does not think for himself, question, or make his own decisions. Or when he does he chastises himself and becomes an even more devoted “student.” So many things I have read here from all of you I have seen in him. I have also seen glimpses of the person he was and could have been had he not chosen to stay. I still have hope that somehow he will leave one day as you have. So “someone” if you’re reading this you really don’t know who reads the blog, but I can tell you I am thankful that it’s here.

Moon Dweller

5. Ames Gilbert - July 7, 2012

Moondweller, (#121-169, http://tinyurl.com/7eabscc),
thanks for the feedback, I deeply appreciate it, (though I don’t live for it, if you see what I mean) and I bet that everyone who has contributed appreciates it. And, of course, ‘Someone’ doesn’t know or choose to acknowledge the private or public feedback that contributors may get, as she/he does their periodic equivalent of a drive-by shooting. It is possible that more than my share of the private kind comes my way because I use my real name and also publish ways to contact me from time to time, and I happen to live in Grass Valley, CA, one of the closest towns to Fantasy Central.
This blog, for one reason and another, comes in three parts; this last part has had half a million hits, the other two parts have had several hundred thousand hits. From the feedback and from the number of hits, it is safe to say that quite a few people have found this discussion useful, that many a follower has been encouraged to leave the Fellowship of Friends, and thousands have been warned about the “Fellowship of Friends” / “Pathway to Presence” / “Living Presence” / “Beingpresent.org” / “Church of Robert Earl Burton”
. . . and offshoots:
“asabovebelow.com” / “mysticisma.com” / “thyselfknow.com” / “gurdjieffouspensky.com” / “www.arkintime.com” / “ggurdjieff.com” / “meetup.com/powerofnowsf”/ “meetup.com/The-Power-of-Now”

6. Fee fi fo fum - July 8, 2012

Re: my post #2 above – Just to put the photo that you cannot see in perspective: The irony of the photo in the parodied Vine is that Renaissance Vine photos were always about something noble and elevating, such as one of the newly acquired works of art (paid for by your/our teaching payments and special donations, of course).

The commonplace, the humble, the many tasks (commonly aka “octaves”) that involved sweat equity, such as in the kitchen or in the vineyard, were not the kind of photos that got described and distributed. One should ask oneself why; it seems that REB was, from the very first, enamored with hierarchy, with him at the apex. I never saw REB or the people appointed to the ruling class sweat it out as a meal server, clean the bathrooms, sweep the Lodge decks. Does anyone recall even a token appearance by REB doing anything of that sort?

Thus, that “Vine’s” beginning with the description of the dishwashing was intended to rattle one’s preconceived notion of what to expect in the Vines back in 1987.

7. Joseph Nachumovitch - July 8, 2012

“Renaissance Vine
May – June 1987″

Why do you need to go so far back in order to find things that are wrong with the Fellowship?

8. brucelevy - July 8, 2012

6. Joseph Nachumovitch

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

And why are you here? To provide tepid horse shit?

9. Ames Gilbert - July 8, 2012

Joseph Nachumovitch (#122-6 or thereabouts),
Does it matter if lessons learned are recent or in the past? I joined in ’78 and was thrown out in ’94 with a bunch of others around the Troy Buzbee imbroglio. So, that’s my direct experience. That’s mostly what I try to write about. I lived in Oregon House for another four years, was shunned, etc., saw some things directly (stockpiling of luxury RVs, building of McMansions so they wouldn’t have to be paid for following the ‘Fall of California, for example), heard about others. So, less direct, but easily verifiable. After I moved away, it was less ‘in my face’ and less compelling, and anyway I’d promised myself to not initiate conversations about the Fourth Way or the FoF for ten years. When this blog discussion came along (fourteen years later), I was ready to re-engage the subject of the FoF, I felt I had digested my experiences enough, and it was a good way of warning others. It seems that the experience takes some digesting, and recent escapees appear to be very much less likely to want to talk about it. This is all by the way of explaining one possible reason why we get less of the recent stuff. You were after my time (if you are using your true name), why don’t you tell us yourself about the more recent stuff?

I wanted to understand ‘what went wrong’ both in me, other followers, and in Burton. So, I took the trouble to try and find people who were there ‘at the beginning’. Chief of these sources was Stella Wirk (student #6), and I had very interesting conversations with her, and she provided lots of leads. One definite conclusion was that the whole scheme was rotten from the beginning, and I try to present that point of view, although the mess started so long ago, in 1970. “A foundation built on sand”, etc.

If you have more recent experience, please write about it. I can pass on things I heard from a reliable source last week, such as Burton growing bored with the Mayan civilization and now concerning himself with the civilizations of India in his usual superficial way, and that he is now hedging his bets about things ending in December 2012, and instead pointing to 2018 as the ‘end of all things’, but I regard that as a bit gossipy until I hear it from three separate sources, which is my standard. I’d be much more interested in hearing your story, how you came to be caught up with the Fellowship of Friends, the process of how you escaped (if you did), what lessons you have learned, whatever you think is worth passing on.

10. Ames Gilbert - July 8, 2012

Looking at the lies–by–omission on the website of the Fellowship of Friends, one among the many now springs out. In answering the hypothetical question, “Is there a fee to join?” (http://www.beingpresent.org/index.php?toc=FAQ), they state, “ . . . one pays a tithe of 10% gross monthly income. The membership donation is presented in a sliding scale, so that newer members are required to pay less than older members until they are able to verify the basic principles of awakening and sleep.” All tax-deductible, as befits a U.S. based religious organization or church. Sounds fairly reasonable, huh?

Potential members might want to know more details before they commit, and they aren’t going to get them from those conducting the ‘Introductory Meetings’. The basic fees below are transcribed from the February 20, 1982 Board Meeting of Directors (http://tinyurl.com/6tjawty, which I think was posted by ‘Veronica Poe’). Especially note: those days of (!) relative moderation and greed (!!) are far in the past; things have since become much worse. The ‘official’ requests may still resemble those below (allowing for inflation), though there are now mandatory additional ‘center donations’ (fairly moderate) but there is now also an unceasing pressure to supply money, day after day, week after week, year after year, for the little extras, such as seeing, listening to, dining with, or having a photograph taken with Beloved Teacher, or attending any kind of meetings, concerts, festivals or celebrations, or recordings of such. At the same time, there is intense pressure to buy gifts for Beloved Teacher, from the latest cars to jewelry, for birthday, Xmas, the anniversaries of the various degrees of consciousness he claims to have gained. But it doesn’t end there by any means. Beloved Teacher has projects, lots of glorious projects. At his whim, buildings, theatres, landscaping, avenues, wineries, vineyards, always more projects, that must also be paid for. Even after this, there are urgent requirements for objects of art, statues, fountains, religious bits and pieces pleasing to the gods.

These pressures are both invisible and visible, that is, not only are your fellow members looking you over, there are professional fundraisers to apply the constant pressure. None of these contributions is tax deductible, probably (IMO) because they are not (according to my understanding) declared income for Burton, they just go straight to his pocket.

With any money you have left, there is pressure to travel, see museums, visit countries, visit FoF centers, dress yourself nicely, acquire possessions, repay him at three times cost for little gifts he has chosen for you, all under his all–seeing and critical eye (I’m lumping his own and his informers’ eyes together here, of course). If you question these, you are presented with thought-terminating clichés, such as, “Payment is a principle”, or, “These moments are priceless”. And I haven’t even mentioned fines, such as $1500 for smoking (each offense).
So, these fees mentioned below merely entitle you to claim basic membership, nothing more. Anything else is charged for, over and over again. Lots more details on previous pages of this blog.
______________________________

. . . THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the following guidelines be adopted as the currently effective Donation Guidelines applying to members of the church:
1) Members shall pay a monthly tithe (ten per cent) of one’s income before taxes, or $100, whichever is greater; special arrangements for hardship cases may be permitted.

2) Three months after becoming a member, and additional monthly donation of $10 is required.

3) One year after becoming a member, a once-in-a-lifetime donation of ten times of a member’s average monthly payment is required.

4) After eighteen month’s membership, an additional monthly donation of $135 is required.

5) After two years, a continuing, semi-annual donation in the spring and autumn of $650 is required.

6) If a member’s donations are in arrears for more than 8 weeks, he or she may not attend meetings, centre functions, or visit Renaissance until donations are within 8 weeks of being current. If a member’s donations are in arrears more than 3 ½ months, membership shall terminate. Reinstatement of membership requires payment of all donations in arrears at the time membership is terminated, plus a payment of $2500.

7) New income from sources other than ordinary income, such as inheritances, capital gains or gifts shall be subject to a 10% donation from the total of such new money received.
. . .
__________________________

The rest of this document is worth reading, because it is also a tissue of prevarications. The most basic one is the idea that the Board regulates the Founding Minister in any way (see imaginary org chart). The reality is, Burton is dictator, and occupies the mass and space of the top 90% of an organizational pyramid, with the Board, Council of Ministers and other sycophants a thin layer below him, leaving the insignificant lumpen below that as prey. He makes every important decision (and thousands of unimportant ones). The Board is a rubber stamp, pure and simple, there to keep the authorities off his neck. The purpose of the Fellowship of Friends is to satisfy the lusts and whims of Robert Earl Burton. A huge percentage of the resources is diverted for his satisfactions and amusement, a situation the average observer would hasten to label as inurement, and thus illegal. And that is just from the official donations; the probably undeclared or underdeclared, unofficial donations provide at least as much additional income for his sole pleasure. In every way, Burton is unaccountable to anyone.

11. Fee fi fo fum - July 8, 2012

6. Joseph

Why? Do you have more recent examples of good satire and parodies of the ridiculousness of the organisation/organization? No? I bet it’s because there was very little satire generated after some of the wits behind those “Vines” left the FF. My impression of the Fellowship, following the Buzbee scandal, which is more or less when those witty parodies ended, became increasingly empty as a shell.

Totalitarian societies depend on quick repression and squash-downs to enforce their rule. There is also an attempt at rewriting history. It’s all part of the rulebook for mind control, whether it’s cults or governments we’re talking about. For example, look at what some current members’ reaction was to AG’s suicide: statements like, “It was his play. It was what C Influence intended.” What kind of dismissal is that? If you get enough of those whitewash-your-brain statements, you don’t need to think at all, right? Why bother? Let the FF do your thinking for you, and don’t forget to send your monthly checks!

More seriously, Joseph, your several brief comments have a theme suggesting that you left the Fellowship but are holding on to something amorphous that it had promised but failed to deliver. Do you think it would be worth your while to examine what you are clinging so hard to?

12. Tempus Fugit - July 8, 2012

Welcome Moon Dweller! (post 169. July 7, 2012).

Your concern for your friend in the FOF is touching and important. Many have escaped this evil cult and there is real hope for your friend to do the same. When I was in the FOF I had no outside allies, but your friend at least has you. I have a feeling your influence on him is meaningful, and hope he awakens quickly to his dangerous situation and the need for prompt action.

I assume your friend is at least somewhat aware of Robert Burton’s history and the many serious problems with his claims to enlightenment. Have you encouraged him to read this blog?

The main reason I post here is to prevent harm to others. Since it has been so long that I was a member and have no current friends in the group I struggle to get a clear sense of how modern “students” get trapped.

I would appreciate very much if you could educate me on this matter.

What do you think drew your friend to the FOF? Why does he stay? What does it give him that overcomes any doubts he may have?

I join Ames Gilbert (8. Ames Gilbert – July 8, 2012) in wanting to hear more about the experience of recent or current students. Any information you can provide will be useful to me and many others. And if I or others on this blog can provide information helpful to you or your friend please let us know.

Thank you!

13. Arthur - July 8, 2012

Post #6,

I joined the Fellatio de los Amigoes in 1977 and didnt know what it was until the Shiek brought it up out of the darkness.

14. jomopinata - July 9, 2012

6/Joseph asked:

“Why do you need to go so far back in order to find things that are wrong with the Fellowship?”

As David Byrne observed, “Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.”

15. fofblogmoderator - July 9, 2012

#3 and 10 were hung in moderation

16. Mick Danger - July 9, 2012

Jomo –
David Byrne may have been right about a lot of things but not this time – It’s so much more degenerate than you and I experienced and it’s never going to get any better, only worse. The only slim hope for the current membership is for the old fag to die soon. I predict that the leadership can only go down with the stinking ship. Maybe the looting should occur sooner rather than later.

17. Toby - July 9, 2012

2. Fee fi fo fum

Thanks for reminding us about the hypocrisy, and how twisted this cult is. (When satire so closely resembles reality, it’s not a good sign.)

It’s one thing to have leadership suggest that people need to follow an absurd set of rules because it’s allegedly crucial to their spiritual well-being — when in fact those rules foster neuroses, feelings of guilt and shame, and other negative psychological effects. But you’re getting into an entirely different realm when that same leadership is also shamelessly and secretively breaking the same rules.

~~~~

“Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it, religion has actually convinced people that there’s an INVISIBLE MAN…LIVING IN THE SKY…who watches every thing you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten special things that he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish where he will send to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry for ever and ever ’til the end of time…but he loves you.”

— George Carlin, from “You Are All Diseased”

18. Fee fi fo fum - July 10, 2012

7 Joseph

“Why do you need to go so far back…[1987]”

I have it on good authority that Erasmus (“In Praise of Folly” 1509) was pleased when Voltaire (“Candide” 1759) told him that people still found his satirical essay funny, 250 years later. And Leonard Bernstein saw fit to set “Candide” to operatic music, 200+ years later. So heck, what’s 25 years on, since 1987?

Good satire says something about the culture of the time: usually, it’s about humankind’s greed, ignorance, selfishness, stupidity and (the list goes on). The times may change, the countries and languages are different, but humankind seems to have a propensity to repeat its folly.

As I said, it was kind of pathetic that some of us who saw that 1987 Vine got a bit excited about changing our names to the Italianate version. (How’s “Fee Fumato?”) That just goes to show the depth of our being suckers for any, literally, *any* directives from Renaissance.

But that silliness of changing one’s name pales in comparison to the hypocrisy by those very people issuing those directives. As Toby said above (post 17), “…you’re getting into an entirely different realm when that same leadership is also shamelessly and secretively breaking the same rules.”

Why did we fall for it? There are people who claim not to have fallen for the hypocrisy, and who justify their membership by saying that they just ignore RB’s activities and don’t pay any mind to the upper management tier. So what’s that all about?

19. Fee fi fo fum - July 10, 2012

10 Ames’ post on the financial suck-your-wallet-dry phenomenon reminds me of a dinner conversation among a small group of students in an outlying center/centre. (And what was RB’s/FF’s fixation on British spellings?).

Two dinner guests were very wealthy Americans. The other other two guests were native to that country, and “poor” by American standards. The wealthy Americans were not RB’s “pets”: no extraordinary private access to, or tête-à-têtes, with him. However, as is the case with such wealth, they had a certain degree of expectation of such access. One of the Americans said that during a recent visit to Renaissance, he tried to see RB privately several times to discuss something bothering him. RB would not see him, which upset him even more. “I wondered why the teacher didn’t have what I call common courtesy to even open the door to look at me. All I needed was one look from him.”

You can take from that whatever you wish. But in the FF culture of admiring anyone with wealth, high culture, an aristocratic background, or some sort of useful expertise, someone with extreme wealth would “naturally” expect for RB to see him/her privately. The rest of us humble folk? Not a chance.

The two humble folk at the dinner table then said that they had received a recent letter from Renaissance asking for $100 by the first of the month, “in order to put the Fellowship in householder.” (That is, to put the FF’s financial affairs in good order before year end.) Mr Humble Folk said, “I wanted to write back and say, ‘you give me less than 2 weeks to give you $100 to put *you* in householder, which puts *me* out of householder. Plus, your letter reads like a bill. Not only that, you don’t say where the money will go.” Good point.

Unfortunately, the pressure to stay in the FF’s good graces kept all of us at that table in the FF a bit longer. And then we flew the coop. I’m sure the FF missed the magnificent teaching payments from the two wealthy students.

20. Moon Dweller - July 10, 2012

Tempus Fugit and Ames Gilbert,
Thank you for responding. It has taken awhile for me to work up the nerve to add to your blog. I have spent many hours reading here and other related sites gathering knowledge about this and other cults as well.
I can’t say anything personal about my friend here. He is secretive and vague about the FOF. I haven’t discussed the blog with him, for fear he will feel interrogated and won’t associate with me anymore. Too confrontational. I’ve been trying to find a way to tell him what I have learned, but again I’m an outsider. I don’t think he reads it though, especially if it would obstruct his progress, or if he has been told not to. He has the highest regard for the “teacher” and truly believes him to be a conscious being.He has mentioned that he is gay (teacher). He accepts that the work is a lifelong endeavor and has made many personal sacrifices over the years. He strayed a little and must have got yanked back very hard,maybe he was threatened, but he changed overnite. He has been in this cult for a long time and has invested so much of his life he is defined by it and that’s the problem. I know he has suffered and been abused ( I don’t know about sexually) but if suffering and sacrifices are part of becoming conscious then he’ll accept it. What is the limit on the sacrifices and the suffering though? It is truly an evil and dangerous trap.
Everything I have read about Robert Burton is about excess. Everything he does is to excess. My impression is that he is a very possesive and jealous individual, who is definitely a Sociopath. There seems to be no limits to his avarice. How is this spiritual? Why would a concious, all knowing being (which wouldn’t be human) have all of these depraved needs and have to be surrounded by more and more expensive things with such a lavish lifestyle? What were his sacrifices over the years? What were his sufferings to become conscious?
Moon Dweller

21. jomopinata - July 10, 2012

Hi Moon Dweller,

I’m glad you’re here and I appreciate your concern for your friend.

The fact is, your friend’s ability to critically evaluate information concerning the cult and Burton has been systematically impaired during his time in the cult by the use of specific and identifiable techniques of social influence. In thinking about your friend, you may find articles concerning Robert J. Lifton’s criteria for the existence of “thought reform” illuminating. Lifton examined the strange phenomenon of attitude change among American prisoners of war who had been held captive by the Chinese Communists during the Korean War. Later, his conclusions were applied to the strange phenomenon of attitude change among cult recruits. This is one of many good articles on the subject:

http://www.readability.com/articles/pmy7k1pg?legacy_bookmarklet=1

The questions you ask (such as “Why would a concious, all knowing being . . . have all of these depraved needs and have to be surrounded by more and more expensive things with such a lavish lifestyle?) are the kind of questions which people would naturally ask, if their critical thinking capacity were to be unimpaired by the processes of thought reform. The fact is, if I can persuade you to distrust your ability to think critically, because such criticism originates from a part of you that I have persuaded you is “lower” and must be subjugated to parts of you that are “higher,” I can get you to believe, or at least not to reject, all kinds of stuff that ordinary people spurn as bat-shit crazy.

Anyway there’s much that can be said about this subject and I hope you will continue to post here.

22. brucelevy - July 10, 2012

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/10/buddhist-retreat-s-death-saga.html

“Desire is not always wrong,” he said, taking a bite. “It’s not wrong to like doughnuts. But if you’re with a group of people and take the last one without thinking of everyone else, that’s wrong. I got this doughnut here because I shared a doughnut with someone in the past.”

…“What I’m trying to express to you is that you don’t have to be a saint to have the right motivation. You just have to expand on your own selfishness.”

23. ton2u - July 10, 2012

generally ‘speaking’ the game of cults involves a two-way interaction…. 1) there seems to be a very basic human psycho/emotional need to worship (this takes many diverse forms), 2) charlatans / con artists of burton’s ilk find a way to exploit this very basic human need…etc

aspects of cult formation — just the proverbial ‘tip of the ice burg’:

A charismatic leader increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power…. A process is in use called coercive persuasion or thought reform… Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.

http://www.rickross.com/faq.html

24. nigel - July 10, 2012

I thought that the cult was bad enough during the years 1978 to 1989, when I was ‘in’, but it seems that the money, sex and power participation has escalated. Not only are ‘students’ asked for 10% and all the extras that the ‘committee’ i.e. Burton downwards, decide upon, but there are huge ‘donations’ asked of those, now, who can ill afford them. The corruption is rife, Burton is becoming more and more insane and the enablers are more and more entrenched in the ‘dark deeds’. I hope that ‘today’s current students’, questioning why they still belong, will come forward on this blog…..Nigel.

25. Ames Gilbert - July 11, 2012

Bruce (#122-22 or thereabouts),
thanks for the link.
Another excerpt from the same article (Michael Roach is the leader of a ‘Buddhist’ group in Arizona, Thurman is a professor of Buddhist studies):

Thurman argued that Roach’s teachings from the text are difficult to verify because Roach himself operates in a self-justifying universe.
“Most of his followers have only studied with him and learned from his translations,” Thurman said.

Other ex-devotees, such as Sid Johnson, say the student’s blind faith in the teacher breeds cognitive dissonance, particularly if that teacher has a distorted understanding of the role his own desires and attachments play in his interpretation of traditional doctrine.
“How can a student determine the truth in any situation when the teacher doesn’t have a grip on reality?”

Indeed.

26. Tim Campion - July 11, 2012

(Message to Fellowship for Intentional Community🙂

I am writing in regard to your listing of Apollo (Fellowship of Friends) on this site. A cursory web search of “The Fellowship of Friends” and its leader “Robert Earl Burton” will reveal that this is a cult dogged by widespread allegations of crimes including rape, abuse, sex with a minor, bigamy, tax evasion, illegal immigration, money laundering, and many others.

I urge you to review the following websites and reconsider your listing of such an ignoble cult on this site. Intention can be abused, and Robert Earl Burton is a master of such abuse. I was a member for thirteen years. More than 15,000 other individuals fell victim to this cult. Some 1,500 remain entrapped.

http://www.freedomofmind.com/Info/infoDet.php?id=55
http://robertearlburton.blogspot.com/
http://www.rickross.com/groups/fof.html
https://fofdiscussion.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/fellowship-of-friendsliving-presencepathway-to-presence-discussion-page-122/

Thank you for considering this important request.

Sincerely,

Tim Campion
Santa Rosa, CA

27. Shirley - July 11, 2012

22, 25 Bruce and Ames

Below is a link to the earlier NY Times article that is mentioned in the Daily Beast link on page 3.

The top of page 3 of the Daily Beast article mentioned Roach and McNally’s taking a “secret vow [in 1998] to be lifelong ‘spiritual partners’ and never to be more than 15 feet apart”. It reminded me that I had read about Roach and McNally a few years ago, when life was still good for them.

This is the May 15, 2008 article, “Making Their Own Limits In A Spiritual Partnership.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/garden/15buddhists.html?emc=eta1

“Ten years ago, Michael Roach and Christie McNally, Buddhist teachers with a growing following in the United States and abroad, took vows never to separate, night or day.

“By ‘never part,’ they did not mean only their hearts or spirits. They meant their bodies as well. And they gave themselves a range of about 15 feet.”

28. Tim Campion - July 11, 2012

In the above post, I typed a colon and close parentheses sign, but Higher Forces intervened and produced a “smiley face”, obviously indicating their approval of my action.

29. brucelevy - July 11, 2012

Tim, you crazy guy.

30. apostate - July 11, 2012

all the bullshit surrounding the ‘ark’ should be no surprise — at the center is ‘the golden boy’ (real-life golden calf — blow-job bob), a ‘genuine sacred cow.’ of course the whole thing wouldn’t float without rapt attendees… time to ‘wake up’ — the idol has no existence other than that assigned to it by those who worship it.

“Having a leader you can believe in is the key to any good cult. Luckily, the House of Yahweh has Buffalo Bill Hawkins. And Buffalo Bill has a YouTube account.”

http://www.cracked.com/article_16115_6-insane-cults-that-would-probably-be-lot-fun.html

31. Opus111 - July 11, 2012

For those of you who knew P. O’Brien, who recently passed, there is a moving obituary at the following blogspot, with a panoramic slideshow of her all too short life (at the end of the entry).

http://timpeck.blogspot.com/

32. Ames Gilbert - July 11, 2012

Opus111 (#122-30 or thereabouts),
thank you for the reminder. Pamela was a sweet lady.

BTW, the tribute at the link you provided was written by Tim Peck, a member of the FoF from 1976 to 1979, overlapping Dale and Pamela’s stay from 1974 to the beginning of 1995. In his own words, Tim is now an Objectivist, a follower of Ayn Rand (IMHO, a sociopath and a model of hypocrisy) and a practitioner of her philosophy, which provides intellectual cover to predatory capitalists and their ilk.

33. nigel - July 11, 2012

I thought this passage from “Robert Earl Burton – An Unauthorized Blogography” particularly pertinent to the lack of equality and elitism that has surrounded the cult from its inception…..Nigel.

“Wondering Who’s Watching” wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:

4. Truth Be Told [Blog post number and blogger] – August 31, 2011:

‘Some background: Until the late 1990s, everyone was fed at a common trough. Free food was one of the benefits of being “on salary.”’ Not quite the truth as I saw it. Until the mid 1990′s, the main dining facility for the Fellowship of Friends (FoF), beingpresent.org, Living Presence, Power of Now, Pathway to Presence, Church of Robert Earl Burton (REB), based in Oregon House, California and also called: The Farm, Via del Sol, Mount Carmel, Renaissance (Renaissance Vineyard and Winery), Apollo, Isis, then Apollo again, and possibly other names, was the Lincoln Lodge. Yes, the people who were ‘on salary’ dined collectively at this place – others paid. But ‘common trough’ for all would be pushing it. REB and his chosen were always treated in a special manner. Segregated dining room, Meissen Room or Mozart Deck for a time, for example, was where REB and mostly the ‘high rollers’ (people of significant importance and, especially, money) would be served significantly different food and treated in a different manner. Other significant players in the FoF hierarchy were also given special treatment. The common folk did dine in-common and uncommonly well as ‘intentional dining’ was an FoF ‘exercise’ and a hallmark of its civilized feeding. But, this came to a sudden screeching halt when Yuba County declared the Lincoln Lodge facility to be in violation of several building and/or health codes. It appeared that REB squandered much of FoF capital on the acquisition of Classical Chinese Furniture and pretty much ignored infrastructure and longterm maintenance – mostly interested in putting on a good show. Then there was the $5 million out-of-court settlement of the TB underage sex lawsuit REB incurred. By then, REB dined at his residence, at the restaurant on FoF property that was open to the public, or at the FoF member owned restaurant in the neighborhood, when he was in Oregon House. The employed people that were dependent on the Lincoln Lodge had no place to eat. This was prelude to the 1998 prediction of California falling into the Pacific Ocean disaster. After a considerable period of time, a food distribution method was developed where the raw ingredients were supplied to people to prepare meals at their homes and organize common dinners there. Much of this was accomplished by trading Renaissance Vineyard and Winery wine to the suppliers. A lot of the food was really great but consistency and balanced diet was a bit difficult to achieve by this method. Meanwhile, REB was living off the FoF property in the ‘Ming Museum’ while his residence on the FoF property was trying to get special county tax treatment as being ‘officially’ a museum. Special dining happened at the Ming, too. Also, some fairly wild parties. REB was not ‘actively’ or ‘formally’ teaching during this period. (He returned to teaching again mostly due to GH having a stroke.) Eventully, REB started having Friday night receptions, that typically fed 300 people buffet style, as the designated fundraiser for the tens of thousands of dollars that were needed to return the Lincoln Lodge back to operation via renovation. It then became Apollo d’Oro where mostly everyone had to pay for their meals. (REB, and company, did not have to pay.) The last thing I knew was, if you wanted to survive ‘on salary,’ you had to have one, or more, side jobs that became as important, if not more important, than your main job. Or, you became adept at wheeling and dealing in vouchers on the grey market. Or, other creative financing – like creating your own winery. Other possibilities were to have your significant other be employed with a job in the real world. Then, there was the issue of providing yourself with adequate health services – MediCal (impoverished persons public health benefit) was the main strategy. Oregon House Clinic came into existence to cover basic needs, somehow. All of this fueled very interesting money management matters – not all of which were legitimate.

‘Fellowship Council,’ as is the board of directors, are mere tools and puppets to accomplish what REB wants. Galleria uneaten food was typically thrown out, composted (if possible), or salvaged by the workers behind the scenes, so that they could take it home as a side benefit of their ‘third line of work.’ Most was not suitable to take home, though – do you want to eat someone else’s partly eaten food?. Living off the crumbs from REB’s table was tricky business. The inability of persons to survive was a sure means to cycle these indentured servants back to their countries of origin by the time their visas ran out. Those that were well-to-do or got by, by hook or by crook, lived to go on at the ‘heart of the school.’ Pimping for REB, for example, was a way to make yourself useful. Kissing ass, and other parts of anatomy, works, too. Clearing the endlessly overgrown landscape for private parties would be another. (Do not confuse that with ‘bush whacking.’) How about a buttons or ribbons business? Petrarch (Pyramid) Press anyone? How about growing, nurturing, harvesting and selling crops from the FoF property for personal profit? Clandestine Jubaea chilensis (Chilean Wine Palm) sales could be lucrative. Want some palm jelly?

34. Opus111 - July 11, 2012

Ames:

Yes I saw that too (about Tim Peck and his apparent infatuation with Ayn Rand). His tribute to Pamela was very good.

35. nigel - July 11, 2012

My ‘awakening’ was at age 33 in Devon, England, when I realized that G—-d H—n was a ‘cycloptic automaton’ at the whim and beck-and-call of Burton. I remember the ‘shock’ (with weird weather conditions) most vividly. Since then, I have been ‘hoisting myself up by my bootstraps’ in an effort to re-invent myself as a ‘worthy player on the field of Life’…..Nigel.

Review of the book by G H – “The Prize is Eternity”

Reviewer: Ivan Osokin from Moscow, Russia
Girard Haven: (page 145, Appendix B): “And, because this is Robert’s school, and because I am trying to follow his lead, I speak about it [Haven’s stroke] as a shock delivered by C Influence, as if an angel or god pinched off a particular blood vessel in my brain, but I really have no direct experience of that.”

First, Girard Haven spent the last 30 years as a desk-jockey, writing inspirational formulations for the Fellowship of Friends and as the main computer programmer of the multi-million dollar enterprise called the church of the Fellowship of Friends, it is now fairly well-known in the medical community that people sitting at desks for years of their lives are suffering strokes due to blood clots in the legs, so these “gods and angels” must really be getting around. Second, for ex-Fellowship members, the interpretation of the ‘stroke shock’ develops in this fashion: Girard Haven, Robert Burton’s foremost ‘student’ and ‘traveling teacher,’ was struck “dumb,” left unable to talk for several years–the shock is clear, “shut up.” Haven was left physically disabled, the shock is clear: the Fellowship of Friends produces “broken machines” both literally and figuratively.

The external is a reflection of the internal. Girard Haven is in his 50’s, yet physically he is walleyed and half-blind, he is half crippled but nevertheless projects himself from his chair with an over-confident sense of authority afforded to him as minister of a cult of people emotionally enslaved to the psychological criminal Robert Burton, Haven’s boss. Through the chief feature of “smugness” Haven administrates and lectures in the cult of the Fellowship of Friends where he is proclaimed a “man number five.” Haven has spent the last 20 years producing three volumes of formatory tedium chronicling his rise to “consciousness.” The books are pure silliness, they demonstrate that some people, Girard in particular, simply do not possess a significant enough IQ to understand the Fourth Way, much less actually practice it. The books are a tribute to ignorant distortion. The Fellowship of Friends is truly one of the most bizarre practical jokes the Gods have ever played on those lost in this world with a thirst for consciousness, but without the development of an adequate critical discernment. Burton, the “teacher” of this “school,” spends most of his time and energy (according to reports) convincing non-homosexual male “students” that C influence wants them to unzip, and after 30 years of this activity has personally selected a half-blind, half crippled mental midget to represent him as his “man number five.” Hilarious.

36. Ames Gilbert - July 11, 2012

Apostate (#122-29 or thereabouts),
ha, ha, ha, ha! Buffalo Bill Hawkins is a dead ringer for Burton, if Burton had stayed in Arkansas and his mother hadn’t dressed him up as a girl. Plus a few other differences, though minor; I didn’t catch Hawkins claiming he was a 900 million year old goddess, for instance. And Burton used the hook of the 4th Way, rather than the Bible. But the same self-confidence and certainty, and presumably same credulous kind of followers . . .

37. apostate - July 11, 2012

opus, sorry to hear about pam… though i can’t say i knew her, our paths did cross there at “renaissance” and she seemed a kind and gentle person.

i followed the slide show for pam and then read a bit of tim peck blog where it was posted… my impression is that it appears his head is deeply embedded in his ass… too much fox news, or fellowship, or something otherwise went horribly wrong with him.

ames: “…But the same self-confidence and certainty, and presumably same credulous kind of followers . . .”

one of the many ironic contradictions of the fellowship of friends is this notion that as a follower of burton, the “student” is somehow ‘special’ and “a cut above the rest,” selected out of the “common herd” of humanity by ‘higher forces’ to be a part of the only “conscious school” here on earth.

what a load of absolute bullshit! at this point it’s laughable…

i haven’t researched the various hooks and lures used by cults, but my guess is that promoting the idea of some type of “specialness” through membership is a common feature. despite his pink suit burton is at best a garden variety shyster. he, like others of his ilk are supported by loyal (and even initially well-meaning) followers… it would seem this only goes to prove barnum’s theorem “there’s a sucker born every minute” but that doesn’t really address the reason why people do flock to these ridiculous cults and follow absurd and sociopathic leaders (?)

i think it has something to do with the seemingly basic human impulse to worship… something, anything.

charlatans and con artists like burton have “a talent” for finding a way to project a certain sort of “something” which people then use to fill the aching void manifesting through their seeking…. while i’m sorry for all those who don’t ‘wake up’ to this particular scam, i have to thank my own luck — “but for the grace of god, there go i.” the scam by the way is at least partly of their/our own making… i know how difficult it is but the “simple” solution is to walk away.

thank you dear posters for keeping the site going, it represents some evidence that there is indeed full and abundant life beyond the state of “suspended animation” for those poor souls who are trapped in the web of this cult.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/17/jon-ronson_n_862984.html

38. Tempus Fugit - July 12, 2012

Moon Dweller,
Thanks for writing back and please continue to seek help here. You raise the questions that all friends and loved ones of trapped FOF members ask, and more.

“Everything I have read about Robert Burton is about excess. Everything he does is to excess. My impression is that he is a very possesive and jealous individual, who is definitely a Sociopath. There seems to be no limits to his avarice. How is this spiritual?”

Well, of course it’s not spiritual. So why would anyone stay and commit his life to an imposter such as Robert Burton?

The answer is personal and psychological, though these dimensions vary between individuals. The evil genius of the cult leader is to appeal broadly to both the profane and spiritual desires of many people.

Throughout this blog many psychological factors which support cult membership are noted. A big one I heard in your description of your friend is FEAR.

“Students” are told that if they leave “it would be better never to have been born” (translation – “you’re going to hell”).

This hideous injunction, common to most major religions, is simply wrong. Each human being has a direct connection with their Creator if they choose to recognize it. No guru, priest, “son of god,” or fees are required. We just have to look inside our hearts or outside at nature and God immediately presents himself.

But, hey, no money to be made that way! Can’t blackmail anyone into having sex with you by claiming you control their access to the Divine, can’t get them to lie, cheat, and steal for you or justify away your mindless babble. No, no, you have to keep them confused and afraid.

In my opinion, Robert Burton is a master at this kind of chicanery.

One of the great mysteries of human life is why God made ugly things that cause human suffering: leeches, ticks, parasites, and “Robert Burtons,” for example.

Luckily we have also been given the intelligence and courage to defend ourselves from criminals and frauds – we just need to use it.

Translation for current FOF members: YOU JUST NEED TO USE IT!

Life after the FOF is real life with all its challenges intact – and something incredibly sweet you gave away when you joined the cult – freedom to live life the way you choose, answering only to your conscience and your God.

39. Tempus Fugit - July 12, 2012

Thanks Opus, I did know Pam O’Brien casually, and the tribute was touching. I remember her as friendly and kind.

“30. Opus111 – July 11, 2012
For those of you who knew P. O’Brien, who recently passed, there is a moving obituary at the following blogspot, with a panoramic slideshow of her all too short life (at the end of the entry).
http://timpeck.blogspot.com/

Can anyone refresh (or correct) my memory on something else?

Wasn’t Dale O’Brien (Pam’s husband) Burton’s personal physician in the seventies?

40. fofblogmoderator - July 12, 2012

#26 was hung in moderation

41. Mick Danger - July 12, 2012

All those who serve or have served Burton medically, financially, physically or otherwise have or had very few ethical qualms about their actions. And so despotism, perversion and tyranny have their day. Good luck to all.

42. nigel - July 12, 2012

I found a little something from the King James Version of the Bible and also remembered what Gurdjieff said about awakening – “the question about awakening is often misquoted – there are actually three stages – awakening, dying and being born” – take this in the light of Burton having ‘studied’ a spiritual discipline, then straight after becoming head-honcho of the FOF cult. IN MY VIEW, AND IT MAY HELP OTHERS TO SEE HOW THIS COULD HAVE OCCURED, BURTON MAY HAVE SLIGHTLY ‘AWAKENED’ BUT DID NOT DIE TO HIS OLD SELF AND CERTAINLY HAS NOT BEEN REBORN TO A NEW AND SELFLESS SELF (IF THAT MAKES SENSE TO OTHERS)…..Nigel.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

(And Burton definitely ‘abideth alone’ – in his cold, heartless, cruel world of self seeking spiritual crime…..n.)

43. Ames Gilbert - July 12, 2012

Jomo (#122-21 or thereabouts),
thanks for your viewpoints and another great link. As usual, your posts provide much food for thought. Right now, mine are along the lines of, “In terms of the Fellowship experience, how much of what Margaret Singer describes is actual, volitional, intentional thought reform, and how much do the participants help out by ‘washing their own brains’, so to speak . . .”

Of course, the thoughts of political thinkers/manipulators/propagandists from Machiavelli to Goebbels have been pored over and dissected to this day, and surely the psychology of effective advertising and propaganda (studied scientifically from 1914) revealed many practical, actionable opportunities to the likes of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove and their admirers. Though I can certainly see many advertising companies and political action groups using these guidelines as they are, pure and simple, IMHO Burton himself is not intelligent enough to conceive or actualize such a thought reform methodology himself, and researchers like Margaret Singer hadn’t assembled so many of the bits and pieces into a more coherent (and accessible) whole by 1970, anyway, AFAIK.

The way I see it, Burton has natural inclinations and a great talent, and stumbled upon many of these methods accidentally, by himself, seeing the opportunities at an emotional level; then he developed and improved them practically by trial and error. Because he is a sociopath, he can perform experiments and analyze cost/benefit ratios impartially; do the results support his aims or not, is there a good return on his investment? And, of course, sociopaths measure costs quite differently from those whose morality or conscience bid them to include the human costs of their actions. Burton also selected others aligned with his worldview to help manage a larger group as it became necessary. These, attracted to the benefits of power, “being closer to the teacher (no shortage of those!)”, or other rewards, would have been both manipulated by Burton and ready to manipulate others, and certainly inclined to ‘cast off conventional morality’—with the help of plenty of justifications invented by Burton. Of course, for everyone seeking power, there have to be those eager to give up their power, but that is another (part of) the story.
Maybe he got experience first practicing on the kids in the school in Lafayette where he taught after graduation, but I just can’t see Burton thinking up a formal strategy, in advance, as laid out in the Singer article you linked to. What do you think?

44. Toby - July 12, 2012

Ames G. “Maybe he got experience first practicing on the kids in the school in Lafayette where he taught after graduation, but I just can’t see Burton thinking up a formal strategy, in advance, as laid out in the Singer article you linked to. What do you think?”

You’re asking someone else, but I’ll offer some thoughts. . .

Burton’s acting ability has always been an important part of all of this, as it is with any sociopath / cult leader. He may not have had a master plan from the beginning, but he did know that he could potentially persuade people to give him what he wanted simply by acting in certain ways. . . by using certain buzzwords, quoting from certain books or notable men and women from history, standing in a certain way, walking in a certain way, speaking in a certain way, and using facial expressions in a certain way. Part of this is having good timing, being consistent with the act, knowing when to avoid certain topics, and when to address them, and repeating it often enough where he could get better and better at it. He already knew from his experience with Alex Horn that the ideas of the Fourth Way had a hypnotic effect if approached in certain ways. He’s not a master technician, but good enough at it to fool enough people to build a cult, and to enjoy the results of his manipulations.

Like many sociopaths, he’s able to charm and mislead his followers into doing things that are not in their best interest, or that are unhealthy or even criminal. To accomplish this, he had to know how to pretend — how to act.

From all of my years in the FF, by the way, I don’t recall one person suggesting that Burton had an “act.” Isn’t that amazing, given the frequency with which that idea was applied to all of his followers? People were frequently “photographed” for having “acts,” but never was that photograph redirected at the biggest act of all.

45. Tim Campion - July 12, 2012

10. Ames Gilbert

Fellowship of Friends “Payment Guidelines” from April 1, 1984, (April Fools Day) recently posted on the Robert Earl Burton blog.

If I recall correctly, when I joined ten years earlier, the minimum monthly membership “donation” was $40, and there were no other regular donations. (Soon after, however, “special donations” would become a regular feature of Fellowship life.)

46. Just the Facts Ma'am - July 12, 2012

44. Toby – July 12, 2012:

‘From all of my years in the FF, by the way, I don’t recall one person suggesting that Burton had an “act.” Isn’t that amazing, given the frequency with which that idea was applied to all of his followers? People were frequently “photographed” for having “acts,” but never was that photograph redirected at the biggest act of all.’

I do not know about that statement because, I observed and articulated this: ‘teacher feature,’ and, Robert Earl Burton has that, possibly as chief feature, but along with fear, dominance, power, avarice, vanity, humbleness, and some others. Good actors must have a wardrobe of acts to portray.

Did I tell him directly when I had the chance?

47. Toby - July 12, 2012

“Did I tell him directly when I had the chance?”

Well, probably not if you wanted to remain in good graces and stay in the cult. But it’s not really about “telling him” (it would be a waste of time anyway), nor does calling it a “feature” really capture the significance of it. It downplays it, as though it’s just a “manifestation of his machine” like anyone else’s.

My point is that it was ALL an act — not a “feature” that he was “working with” — but something more deliberate and manipulative, and something that we rarely talked about in those terms — because it would mean we were questioning our sanity for following him, and would soon be heading out the door.

48. Ames Gilbert - July 12, 2012

Toby (#122-44 or thereabouts),
so if Burton is acting, then did it seem compelling to us because he believes it himself completely and projected complete certainty (thus, insane)? Or is this the fruit of what we are told is one of the common traits of a sociopath, that they can model themselves perfectly to suit the needs and weaknesses of their audiences? Or did the former devolve from the latter?

Jomo has previously pointed out that in many ways Burton seemed to be feeling his way along this path, testing the ground to see how it held, then pushing on. An example was, how he kept on renewing his teaching credentials even after he had acquired several hundred followers. That would be a sign that he did not believe, or did not yet fully believe, his act. Another sign would be the secrecy about his sexual conquests for the first ten to twelve years among the laity (obviously not a secret to his victims, but there was intense pressure for them to keep quiet).
For Burton, a process of increasing confidence and power, but which seems to preclude operating according to some master plan.

I guess, in the end, what matters most are the unhappy results of his actions; among numerous other crimes, he has set up a rape factory, has got away with it for forty-odd years, and is still getting away with it, with the active support and help of his followers.

49. brucelevy - July 13, 2012

44. Toby

I don’t know about later, but during my years (74-85) us reprobates frequently discussed “Robert acts” when we were laughing…stoned, during the pot tasks. You know, the head bowed, hands clasped, slowly nodding head, indicating humility. It was a fucking joke even then.

50. Golden Veil - July 13, 2012

44. Toby

“People were frequently “photographed” for having “acts,” but
never was that photograph redirected at the biggest act of all.”

Yes, what an “Act” it is that “The Teacher” plays and plays…
just take a look at his ostentatious portrait for posterity ~
Someday, will it be thrown upon a “Bonfire of the Vanities”?

In this portrait of “The Teacher”

“…The red of the rich fabric covering the chair and the drapery above symbolizes anger, sin, and especially lust. In the painting’s center, a white horse’s head represents, in the tradition of Greco-Roman symbology for the horse, the traits of dominance and virility. There are many phallic symbols, including the candles erect behind him, and the black iron fireplace andirons that depict male nudes. He clutches a small phallus, a bronze sculpture in the form of a nude man. The classical painting in the background depicts an older man focusing on the object of his desire, an adoring young male companion. In the fireplace, the “fire of inequity,” also known in classical symbology as the “unquenchable fire,” may be seen to represent satyriasis, his unending and perverse sexual desire for young heterosexual men.”

http://robertearlburton.blogspot.com/2012/05/what-shall-you-give-me.html

51. Golden Veil - July 13, 2012

Oh, and Fido of course represents the ever faithful “Student.”

52. Tim Campion - July 13, 2012

Excellent analysis Golden Veil. I’m not an expert, but it looks to me like Fido is a COCK-er Spaniel.

53. Golden Veil - July 13, 2012

52. Tim Campion

Although your pun is apropos, I believe the intent was to depict a dog more fitting to “The Teacher’s” aristocratic aspirations ~ a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the dog depicted in a couple of Titians that hang in the Uffizi in Florence ~ The Venus of Urbino [1538] and Eleonora Gonzaga della Rovere [1536-1537] and also linked to English royalty since the time of Mary Tudor.

http://www.dogphd.com/cavalier-king-charles/CavHistory.shtml

54. apostate - July 13, 2012

49 bruce
ya i remember groups of us regularly goofing ‘conscious bob’, aping the physical mannerisms, referring to each other as “dear” in mocking and sarcastic tones… with no attempt to hide the antics…. reprobates in deed indeed.

55. Mick Danger - July 13, 2012

Those who can remember the “pot task” weren’t there.

56. Toby - July 13, 2012

49. brucelevy
54. apostate
“ya i remember groups of us regularly goofing ‘conscious bob’, aping the physical mannerisms, referring to each other as “dear” in mocking and sarcastic tones… with no attempt to hide the antics…. reprobates in deed indeed.”

I also remember this, and I’m fairly sure there are still some remaining old-timers who make fun of Burton in the same way. I imagine it’s happening somewhere right now — you might even know the people I’m referring to.

I think most of the time, however, sharing some laughs about Burton’s acts was more a way of making fun of the people who imitated those acts, rather than making fun of Burton himself. The unspoken attitude was always, “Well, that’s just Robert. He does no harm. It’s weird, but hey, he’s conscious, and I’m getting what I need here. I just really find it annoying when someone tries to imitate him. I mean, let’s be real. This guy is on a different level.” So, to me the “Robert act” was usually referring to something that followers did to imitate him.

But when do people talk about BURTON’s act, in the sense that he is deliberately acting in a certain way to manipulate people? Playing the guru role.

Instead, Burton’s acts are referred to as being fairly benign, albeit a little strange — which has led to a lot of people cracking jokes over the years. I think many people are still aware that it’s a form of bullshit when someone tries to “imitate Robert,” — i.e., use his mannerisms, speak in his tone of voice, use his phrasing, or use his body language, etc. But those same people wouldn’t remain in the cult for long if they openly discussed the fact that Burton himself dishes out bullshit on a regular basis. Imagine if someone squirmed in their seats a little at one of Burton’s meetings when he started talking about the “fall of California,: and then whispered something to the person next to them, “Do you believe this nonsense? [chuckling] This guy is really off. You’re not buying this, are you?”

57. Ames Gilbert - July 13, 2012

Well, Bruce (#122-49 or thereabouts),
at the time it would have been hard to distinguish you guys from the ‘serious students’ who were doing the same thing, walking around with “head bowed, hands clasped, slowly nodding head, indicating humility” as they emulated the “brightest light in 2,000 years™”!

Burton acted according to the expectations of his followers of how a ‘conscious being’ should act. When he performed as expected, they imitated him, each party continually reinforcing (and mutually brainwashing) the other. From one point of view, they backed each other into a corner, with no way out.

Anyway, the only way to sort out the fake fakes from the genuine fakes was to look at the results; who left and who stayed.

58. apostate - July 13, 2012

i’m not sure i understand the point…. of course burton has absolute power — he or one of his mindless minions can (and i presume still does) excommunicate those who appear to present a problem…. ridicule may be grounds but i would think the inclination is to “suffer” the insult rather than eliminating the revenue stream.

if it’s a question about “the act” of being “conscious” — if people believe burton’s line of bullshit then it doesn’t matter what the act is… people probably worshipped gurdjieff for similar reasons but from all descriptions, gurdjieff’s “act” would have looked totally different. it’s a matter of getting people to “buy in” then it doesn’t matter what the act looks like, once a “student” is hooked she will ascribe her own (projected) meaning and fulfillment of “subconscious needs” onto the act/ actor.

this is paraphrased from something i read recently:
‘walking the path of… leads to states of extraordinary openness accompanied by great attractive charisma and also an abyss-like vulnerability. traditional spiritual disciplines have evolved structures to protect the seeker in these states: precepts, rules, monasteries, vows… for the lay practice, especial care must be taken — archetypal roles will beckon — the Wise One, the Guru, the Healer, the Poet, the Shaman, or maybe the Seducer… pitfalls… the role defining you, rather than you the role…’

i don’t disagree that the thing was rotten from the beginning… burton has been fucking “his students” from the start and i think he took advantage “students” partly through his experiencing some “extraordinary” states… and partly through the students own projections. in order to exploit “his students” — he believed the inflation these states produced and subsequently was able to attract those who bought into the delusion… and the sad part is this: some there are who still buy into it, still support it.

59. Ames Gilbert - July 13, 2012

Toby (#122-56 or thereabouts),
. . . or at a meeting explaining the meaning of license plates; see http://tinyurl.com/cco5372
(scroll down to the bottom, although, by all means, enjoy the whole page!)

BTW, Mr. Moderator, I recommend adding the ‘Robert Earl Burton blog’,
http://robertearlburton.blogspot.com/
. . . to the Blogroll at the top right of each page. This is an entirely new way of ordering and presenting the information, and unlike this blog, it contains pictures and videos. In my opinion, this newer site is a valuable resource to anyone looking for information about Burton and his cult.

60. WhaleRider - July 13, 2012

Burton Leaves Cult, Admits Doomsday Was Hoax

ALTERNATE UNIVERSE (USA) – Since the discovery of the 900 million year old Higgs Boson “God Particle” earlier this month, in a startling announcement today, Robert E. Burton, CEO of the Fellowship of Friends, Inc. AKA Pathway to Presence, apparently has had enough of his own charade and has decided to publicly leave the doomsday cult he founded almost four decades ago to pursue other self interests.

“It was all just an act”, Burton stated as he was ushered to the front gate. “The world isn’t coming to an end any time soon. I lied. I just said that to keep my followers busy and distracted. There is no afterlife, either. So you all can just relax now and start enjoying yourselves in this life as I have these many years, with the presence that you have always had. I take full responsibility for my selfish actions and deeply apologize if I have caused anyone psychological harm or financial hardship. I am going to try to be a better person from now on and not take advantage of the weaknesses of others.”

Ardent followers turned a deaf ear to Burton’s pleas, shunned him as they were taught, and began scrambling to find a replacement act for the upcoming ‘Spinning Your Wheels’ fundraiser this fall.

Auditions are being planned for mid-August, and many were reported to be rehearsing for the part.

61. Golden Veil - July 13, 2012

This, my dear, is truly fantastic news! And, it may
be prophetic, too…

62. Toby - July 13, 2012

58. Apostate.
I’ll try to express it with some different words… although I think WhaleRider just articulated it pretty well. . .

My main point: We talked about “acting” all of the time in the FF, but ironically we never saw Burton as an actor — pretending he’s something he’s not (like any actor) and trying to make his act believable enough to move the audience and affect their emotions (like any actor).

Forget the connotation of the word “act” that we learned in the FF. His ability to act just well enough — and his followers’ inability to see it as an act — was a key to him gaining control of his followers and deceiving them. (Who would stay if they suddenly realized that everything he was doing was part of an act — just pretending? Once we DID start to see this, it’s no surprise that we exited, which is why IMO this is such a key idea.)

Here’s another point: Thought control is a one-way process. What Burton (or the cult) wanted you to apply to yourself was never applied in return to “him” or to “it.” We were taught that you could not possibly be “working on yourself” if you turned your critical thinking away from yourself and toward Burton and the group as a whole.

So, instead of questioning Burton’s attitude about money, we were taught to question our own attitude about money.

Instead of seeing Burton’s behavior as an act meant to deceive, we were taught to only question our own “acts”. We only turned the idea inward — toward ourselves.

Instead of seeing the lies articulated by Burton, we were taught to only turn the idea of “lying” inward — toward ourselves.

Instead of seeing how we (and the rest of the cult) were asleep to what Burton was doing, we were taught to only turn the idea of “sleep” inward — toward ourselves.

We were taught to accept photographs without question for what they could teach us about ourselves. But we were taught not to direct that same thoughtfulness outward toward the group as a whole, and toward Burton. So it’s that one-way transmission that keeps everything going. If an honest conversation starts going back and forth, where people for example start asking for evidence about where their money is going, it would all come to a grinding halt.

And by the way, this one-way cult dynamic is why Burton eventually put a halt to questions during meetings — he started receiving questions that forced people to think.

Anyway… just one person’s take. . .

63. Just the Facts Ma'am - July 13, 2012

61. Toby – July 13, 2012
Well said, Toby.

64. apostate - July 13, 2012

toby, we may be coming at the same thing from slightly different directions but that’s a good thing… any sense of “truth” requires multiple perspectives… and stating the obvious can be useful for people who read here if they’re not already familiar with the machinations of the fellowship —

“If an honest conversation starts going back and forth, where people for example start asking for evidence about where their money is going, it would all come to a grinding halt.”

if you pay taxes to “uncle sam” you might have the same misgivings… i know i do, i don’t have a say as to how my tax money is used… tax reform anyone?

“we never saw Burton as an actor” and “Once we DID start to see this, it’s no surprise that we exited” — etc….

i think a person can speak about their own perceptions and motivations but to speak for “all” (“we”) presumes a lot. i think it’s too complicated and nuanced a situation to be able to “speak” for all and everyone — because each individual is different.

nevertheless, your point here has caused me to think again about why it was that i left… there were many factors at the time which went into my leaving, most immediately i thought it had to do with the autocratic / dictatorial nature of the hierarchy there. i wrote burton a departure letter which said as much and in that letter i criticized the lack of any democratic process in the followship. i had already left emotionally and psychological long before so i was really out of the group, but in writing that letter i was still naively thinking my words might possibly cause burton to re-think “management style” — for the sake of those who stayed.

sometime later i heard from a friend who was still “in,” that after reading my letter burton’s only comment was that i didn’t understand the system. you know what? i understood “the system” perfectly well, i could clearly see that the whole thing was set up to feed an insatiable desire body and i would no longer continue to feed into “the system,” that is, “burtonism.”

years later and with time i realized there were many other reasons for leaving… (i won’t go into). but with time and reflection reasons may change… deeper issues come to the surface — the dictatorial nature of the fellowship was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

let me see if i have this right: you are saying is that burton was/ is deceptive and there is of course motive behind the deception — this is all too obvious. you’re also saying while in a thought control environment it’s not always easy or possible to see the deception, much less to directly confront it. this might be less obvious unless one has been in a thought control environment.

it goes without saying that burton is the pope of ‘burtonism’ and therefore infallible and beyond reproach or criticism and if “a student” finds that they have a basic “philosophical” disagreement with the pope there’s really little alternative but self-excommunication… either that or get used to the taste of bullshit.

i’ve been hinting around the fact that as adults there’s a point where self examination leads to taking personal responsibility for actions. life is for learning and learning does occur through the mistakes and the crack-ups which life throws along the path… in a way burton was turned into the monster he became because of “students” who bought into his inflation…. and as it turns out, unfortunately this is not a unique situation or an isolated incident.

thanks for posting

http://www.vulgartrader.com/post/22948744584/there-is-nothing-more-precious-than-an-enemy

65. Shard_of_Oblivion - July 13, 2012

I remember when Stella Wirk visited the London Centre in the mid 80s and was answering questions in an informal way. People were asking her about the teacher, knowing she had joined very early and therefore had had a lot of contact in the early days, and might know special things about him. When she was asked if she was sure he was conscious she related an early occasion in 1971 or so when he had already initiated the exercise of cradling a telephone gently and quietly after a conversation. She had an opportunity to observe him when she was confident he thought he was alone and unobserved, and said she saw him follow the exercise of intentionality. I remember being a bit nonplussed at the time as to why this was evidence of consciousness on his part. Now looking back in the light of the discussion of how Burton is probably a sociopath acting a part, I wonder if it implies that Stella had already had her doubts as to whether he was putting on an act the whole time, and seeing him following through on the exercise when unobserved helped put those doubts to sleep.

I am also reminded of an anecdote Dale O’Brian related to me. He was travelling in the car with Burton, and he kept on looking across at Burton. He was challenged by Burton as to why he kept glancing at him, and Dale told him he was looking to see if he could catch him in the second state, and he said Burton laughed at that and said that most people looked at him to see if he was in the third state.

My take on it, is that Burton is unusual in his mental state, ideas of reference being one obvious symptom, and he does not have to try very hard to come across as different, but the real magic is performed by his students who project consciousness onto him – who knows that might even make him more alert or something as a result.

66. brucelevy - July 13, 2012

56

“But when do people talk about BURTON’s act, in the sense that he is deliberately acting in a certain way to manipulate people? Playing the guru role.”

For many…sually just a little bit before they leave, when they no longer give a shit.

67. brucelevy - July 14, 2012

57

But as to the people who REALLY adopted the “teacher acts”, above and beyond, that was a pretty good barometer as to who the real assholes were.

68. brucelevy - July 14, 2012

58. apostate

I think you’re right. I’ve observed people from many different cults, and it’s always the same…the same strata of member (usually a social/power climbing moron) will adopt the acts of whatever guru they’re following, right down to the minor nuances. These people will always be “sucknoses” as we used to say.

69. brucelevy - July 14, 2012

I don’t think cult dynamic is a one-way operation. I see it as symbiotic. There is certainly a preponderance of destructive energy flowing more out from the guru then back at him or her, but the constituency feeds back the adoration, sycophancy, money, gullibility, the wish to be a voluntary sheep. The whole dynamic is needed, but the flow from the members to the hierarchy, although passive in comparison, is just as required for the whole shitter to work.

70. Tim Campion - July 14, 2012

Outstanding discussion, this page.

Shard (122-64), I find it fascinating that you would recall that anecdote about the telephone. From the start of this discussion of “acts”, the memory of being told that story kept arising. Only I recall Linda K. (at the time) as the “witness”. (Perhaps she too told the story in the first person. Perhaps I’m mistaken.)

The point is that, yes, we were to believe that this was yet another confirmation of Robert Burton’s extraordinary consciousness and exalted position in the Ray of Creation. And I can still recall the fawning emotion that accompanied such anecdotes that many of us told about “our beloved Teacher.”

As virtually everyone here has stated (and none so well as Bruce,) it is true that we each, in our own particular way, fed Burton’s insatiable appetites (and vice versa), contributing to the almost unearthly creature he would become. For many years, those who surrounded him sought any opportunity to help raise him above us, in hopes that we too might follow.

71. WhaleRider - July 14, 2012

“The death of the delusional god-projection is necessary for the creation of an internal self.

Little progress can be made in this regard unless the delusion is destroyed.

A life based upon a delusional quest for the “Father” considerably influences the way a person’s internal structure develops.

It would appear that the delusion serves to split off a pre-verbal, helpless self, and while it is often possible to dissolve the delusion, frequently a split-off infant part of the self remains untransformed.

Once the delusional nature of the quest for the patriarchal god-image is faced, a severe, even schizoid depression can set in.

This is the point at which one acutely feels the absence of an inner self; death itself becomes an ally. Life ceases to seem worth living. (play of Abraham Goldman?)

Yet, if the loss of this god-image can be sustained, a new phase can be entered and the inner self can begin to grow.

The ability to accept the reality of evil, i.e. the destructive quality of lies propagated and maintained by unconsciousness, and to consciously own one’s destructive nature is a necessary achievement if the Self is to incarnate.

The lie that must be uncovered when one is dealing with the delusional projection of the patriarchal god-image is the person’s resistance to seeing the true qualities of the object.

(Freud originally identified people in a subject’s environment with the term “object” to identify people as the object of drives.)

The person may accurately see negative qualities in the object, and this is essential, but the fact that a god-projection exists, that the object is really being treated as a god and not as a person is totally ignored.

The capacity to see things as they are has been hidden away in the schizoid layer that thrives upon the delusional belief system; reclaiming it is always a shock. ”

Nathan Schwartz-Salant, “The Borderline Personality-Vision and Healing”

72. jomopinata - July 14, 2012

67/Bruce wrote:

“the same strata of member (usually a social/power climbing moron) will adopt the acts of whatever guru they’re following, right down to the minor nuances.”

I think the observation of taking on the guru’s mannerisms is spot on, but not the characterization of the imitator as “usually a social/power climbing moron.” A recruitee’s acquisition of the cult personality is part of a complex process intertwined with issues of the recruitee’s perception of self as inauthentic, recruitee’s willingness “to lose self in order to find self,” recruitee’s history with imitating his or her parent, recruitee’s bonding with others in the same position of taking on the cult personality (“twinship transference”), the insubstantiality or peripherality of recruitee’s membership in other social groups, and many other things.

Philip Cushman commented on some of these processes in an October 1986 article published in the Journal of the Theory of Social Behaviour titled “The Self Besieged: Recruitment-Indoctrination Techniques in Restrictive Groups.” Worth a read.

73. nigel - July 14, 2012

70. Whale Rider

That was the most astute, relevant quote I have read for such a long time!!!!! For me, detaching myself (physically!!!!!) from the ‘grips’ of the Burton cult was only part of the immense battle (having left the cult for a few years) to gain ‘self-hood’ with both its positive and negative aspects. Having left the FOF, I was battling with my parents, my psychiatrist at the time (I even allowed myself to ‘trash’ his car in the hospital parking-lot, I was so angry with his negative outlook on my psychological recovery) and all the managers of the ‘sheltered accommodation’ in which I found myself for over 14 years, who represented authority figures. I have now been teaching my beautiful craft to caring adults (and, next week, to two 15 year-olds as part of their Work Experience Placement) and had the opportunity, ocassionally, to make some superb commissions, over the last 14 years.

As for the SELF, with all its aspects, I seem to be able to apply my own Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, without the need for Group Therapy or a Group Leader/Psychiatrist/Psychologist – what effect do I have on my students? my personal family? my friends? my professional helpers? Life is so rich (more so than the efforts made in the cult could allow!!!!!) and I thank all the visible and invisible helpers (“I have a dream – I believe in angels” – Abba) that my Fate is so worthwhile to step up to and meet…..Nigel

“All I demand is those I work for
Those that I give all my time
My pain,
Those that I entertain;
Give me the same, compassion in return;
But the fools never learn”

– “Chess”, by Ulvaeus, Anderssonn, Rice

74. nigel - July 14, 2012

Correction on “Chess” quote –

“All I demand
Is those I work for,
Those I give all my SKILLS
All my time, and pain,
Those that I entertain.
Give me the same
Compassion in return
But the fools never learn.”

75. WhaleRider - July 14, 2012

I remember the “tipping point” in time when I was still living at the Goethe Academy, as it was called back then, and began to realize burton had other young men besides myself he was sexually and psychologically manipulating and abusing.

That realization made me no longer feel “specially chosen”, and I began to dread being “on duty,” servicing his insatiable sexual desires in the middle of the night like a zombie sex slave.

These memories still haunt me to this day.

We’d all sleep on tri-fold foam futons under the paintings in different rooms, and he’d tap us “awake” to silently follow him into his room for sex, one at a time. There was nothing “conscious” about it; I felt grossed out, washing the fecal matter off my penis in the scallop shell sink in his bathroom. I remember once how irritated he was when some of it stained his sheets, acting like it was my fault.

I soon began making myself unavailable to him by spending nights at my girlfriend’s house and sneaking back into the Academy in the early morning.

I was at a cross roads, and he knew it.

It became clear to me that he was leveraging my attraction (my shadow side…the social/power climbing moron in me) to the money, power, and furlough from working in the blazing heat that came from being in his entourage against letting him suck my dick whenever he wanted or having to have unprotected anal sex with him.

I could also sense in the background that burton was maneuvering me into a marriage of convenience to a wealthy and dedicated female follower, who was the maximum attraction to my so-called, “body type”.

This is the exact kind of ungratifying, empty relationship that would enable him to have access to me for his own future sexual gratification.

But embedded in the future he was planning for me (as he had for so many others) was missionary work in outlying centers.

I was baited with being sent to a European Center.

This was the line I was not willing to cross with a clear conscience: promoting the FOF and burton as a conscious being.

I decided to take my fate into my own hands instead, went off salary and moved away with nothing more than a suitcase and a head full of bad memories.

76. Golden Veil - July 14, 2012

74. WhaleRider

I am so glad for your courage and perseverance. Memories of this kind of experience must not be easy to live with, and for some former “Students”, I have heard, impossible. I think your keen sense of humor, as evidenced in your post No. 59 above, along with many years of real work on yourself, must be the keys to your survival.

77. brucelevy - July 15, 2012

74. WhaleRider

It’s astounding. I could copy and paste almost all of your post under my name and it would almost be exactly the same, and completely true. I especially remember the epiphany that I wasn’t “the only one” it was happening to. I probably would have realized it sooner if I wasn’t walking around shell shocked for a few weeks. And when I did realize it I suddenly saw the look in the other’s eyes that told me they felt the same revulsion and shock.

78. WhaleRider - July 15, 2012

Thanks Golden Veil.
Thanks Nigel.
Thanks Bruce.

It feels better knowing I am not alone.

I regret that I never told my girlfriend at the time what was going on and feel incredibly lucky that I did not contract and pass on a STD like HIV or herpes, since she and I were also having unprotected sex, too, and it was right about the time the AIDS epidemic was starting to ramp up. Richard the hairdresser was still alive back then and around burton when I was. I have had myself tested many times, and thankfully dodged that bullet.

I do feel less shame referring to myself as a cult survivor…rarher than a former student or a former moron, if you will.

burton has a formula for his exploitation of others which he has honed over the years and has the luxury of a large victim pool, which he incites his ardent followers with rewards of his attention, money, and power to refill with more unsuspecting victims…especially the young men from behind the former iron curtain who are testing their newly aquired religious freedom.

As Jomo points out, there are many books on the subject of cult indoctrination techniques. By naming the demonic processes under which we have been subjected, we can empower ourselves and free our minds from the viral memes of the FOF and fourth way.

I truly believe this knowledge is how we can evolve into whole human beings and not splintered selves, higher against lower.

Followers must be inoculated with the painful truth…under the skin. It only hurts for a little while, and you will get better.

Keep posting!

79. nigel - July 15, 2012

On ‘Google-ing’ – “viral memes”

Meme…..

Genetics
A unit of cultural inheritance, analogous to a particular gene, naturally selected by virtue of its ‘phenotypic’ consequences on its own survival and replication in the cultural environment
Neurology
A block of mental cues associated with experience, which relies on the brain’s ‘pattern-evolving machinery’
Psychology
A thought construct that endows a person with certainty about his/her fate

(Thanks, Whale Rider, for letting me seek the definition…..Nigel)

80. apostate - July 15, 2012

81. Fee fi fo fum - July 16, 2012

31 and on

The video of Pamela O’Brien on Tim Peck’s blog was probably put together for her recent memorial service. I don’t think Tim P. put the video together, and he doesn’t actually say on his blog that he did so. Rather, it sounds like he looked her name up on the internet, saw her obituary and was very affected by it.

82. Toby - July 16, 2012

I’m still sorting through all of this and appreciate all of your perspectives, and similar to what Tim wrote I also really like the conversation on this page.

At 74 and 77, WhaleRider’s comments and testimony really hit me. . . perfectly timed.

I woke up the other day thinking about Burton after having a short dream about him. (In the dream he was “just another person”, and I was offering him some friendly guidance. Obviously absurd, but that’s often what happens in dreams).

In the dream, I recall those naive feelings that I had as a member of the FF. . . how I was “sure” that I was part of something special. . . how I was apparently blessed with several apparently close friends. . . how we listened to classical music, enjoyed fine art,, and spent much of our time in philosophical conversations filled with new-age buzzwords. . . . and ho2 we also had some fun with it all.

Maybe the dream brought back some of those old feelings. When I woke up, I fell briefly back into that hypnotic state–the same state that I experienced as an FF follower. I thought to myself:

“Maybe all of this IS special. Maybe I should completely ignore all of the doubts and just focus on what I had “received” from being in the FF. After all, that’s what several hundred people are doing right now. Maybe they are right to ignore all of the questions. Maybe they are right to conform. Maybe they are right to focus on their work. Maybe they are wise to look the other way.”

Then I read WhaleRider’s comments.

83. fofblogmoderator - July 17, 2012

#59 was hung in moderation

84. Moon Dweller - July 17, 2012

jomo -122 #21 Thank you for your insights and the Link to the articles on thought reform and persuasive coercion are very helpful, and answer alot of questions.
Tempus Fugit -122 #38 You are right, Fear seems to be a factor in so many ways. Not just the everyday expectations, but the terrible unimaginable things that will happen to all of us people who are not “conscious” when the end comes. Whether it’s a doomsday, or just the end of our own mortal life. For a short time I found myself thinking; what if this is true, and experiencing my own fears about not doing “inner work,” Was I condemned? What should I do? Having that fear would be a major incentive to stay if you believed the consequences of leaving. I have had several “warnings” about what is going to happen and that I better get busy.
So thank you and all others for your writings.

85. Golden Veil - July 17, 2012

59. Ames Gilbert

“… Mr. Moderator, I recommend adding the ‘Robert Earl Burton blog’,

http://robertearlburton.blogspot.com/

. . . to the Blogroll at the top right of each page. This is an entirely new way of ordering and presenting the information, and unlike this blog, it contains pictures and videos. In my opinion, this newer site is a valuable resource to anyone looking for information about Burton and his cult.”

I’m with you, Ames, on adding the above mentioned link to the Blogroll on this discussion page. It would be a great way to more fully inform anyone doing research on Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends aka Living Presence.

86. Moon Dweller - July 17, 2012

Whalerider- 122 #75
Your story was heartbreaking and very upsetting. I can only imagine the trauma you went through with this kind of shocking betrayal. As someone wrote above, not all made it through this violation of trust and spirit. Thank you for sharing your story. You are incredibly brave and strong.

87. Fee fi fo fum - July 17, 2012

59 Ames, 85 Golden Veil, or thereabouts

I also agree that putting a link to the REB blog would be a very good addition to the other links at the top of this fofdiscussion page. This blog is an ongoing discussion board, but the REB blog organizes the material into categories with photos.

88. Golden Veil - July 17, 2012

While looking at the above mentioned link to Robert Earl Burton and “The Fellowship of Friends” An Unauthorized Blogography of “The Teacher” and His Cult, I found a reference to a post from this blog, one I hadn’t seen before, that includes an excerpt from an 88 page MS by a former housemaid of REB. The man she calls “Tristan” eventually committed suicide.***

From the Fellowship of Friends Discussion Blog,
Part 80, Post 126 by Ames Gilbert:

I have an unpublished manuscript by a former follower in my hands. The author worked as a maid in Burton’s house for four years before it was converted to the Galleria. She and a helper were given one hour a day, while Burton had lunch, to clean the entire house and its contents. The man she calls ‘Tristan’ was Brian Sisler (see # 16-438 and other references).

“But certain things about the Teacher’s house troubled me. He sometimes kept a syringe in the refrigerator, and there were many bottles of Darvon and Valium (which seemed to be stashed all around the house). Also I saw the empty tubes of lubricating jelly that showed up in his bathroom waste basket with an incredible regularity. I felt like a worm crawling through the most sordid details of his life. It would have been easier if I hadn’t also done his laundry, as well as the laundry of the men living with him, and therefore knew they had the terrible underwear, and he did not.

During my later years in the School, I was good friends with Tristan. He was the only student who always seemed to understand what I was talking about. He and I went through the same inner struggles, or so it seemed. When I feel like I can’t face these memories for another second I remember how pale and agonized he looked when I found him (time after time) on the floor of the back room at the Teacher’s house. How the Teacher managed to hurt Tristan so much I do not know. I tried not to think about it, but I couldn’t avoid it. I wanted my beautiful Teacher to remain just that in my mind, beautiful. But his image collapsed around me. The more I saw the worse it got. I now assumed he was homosexual, but I cannot state this as a fact because I was never a direct witness. There were times when I found as many as five men at the Teacher’s house, all claiming to be unable to go to work. What ever it was, it was a bad situation, full of anger and pain.”

*** See:

http://fellowshipoffriends.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/the-fellowship-of-friends-discussion-part-16/#comment-4213

89. WhaleRider - July 17, 2012

Moon Dweller:
Thank you for your post. Only after processing here what happened back then was I able to come to terms with the fact that burton raped me…on so many levels.

I am now several years into disgorging myself of these memories on this forum and feel incredibly fortunate to have left when I did only after six years in the cult.

There are those who stayed longer and had it worse than I, as evidenced above.

I still carry a degree of guilt and shame for not speaking out to warn others sooner…we were indoctrinated in the cult to think only of ourselves…as burton does.

*************

With all due respect to the new REB blog, I am unable to view the site for more than about two seconds without a PTSD reaction in my gut.

Those whom have left more recently are probably a bit more desensitized to viewing burton;s image…it makes me feel sick to my stomach.

90. Golden Veil - July 17, 2012

89. WhaleRider

It’s understandable that you would not want to visit that blog or read the above mentioned sad history of sexual abuse so similar to yours but that ended in suicide. At the same time, I do think that it would be appropriate to include a link to it from here. It presents a wealth of documented history of the dark side of The Fellowship of Friends, sourced primarily from this blog. And the added photos speak volumes…

91. WhaleRider - July 17, 2012

Golden Veil:
Absolutely there ought to be a link to the REB blog!

I have no problem reading about Tristan, either.

My “gut” reaction was intended for the REB blog creators: I don’t think that is the intent….seeing photos of my abuser in my face is overwhelming. This is a symptom of PTSD.

92. fofblogmoderator - July 18, 2012

I will add the link on the next page….

93. jomopinata - July 18, 2012

Moon Dweller:

A little perspective is a good thing: Have a look at the following link, not about the FOF: http://ganscult.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/fake-schools/

94. Toby - July 18, 2012

WhaleRider,
I still recall some of the dazed, vacant looks of the young men in “Robert’s entourage” — the often confused young men who Burton used for sex, or was grooming for it. One day, one of them nearly bumped into me. At the time, I was only vaguely aware that this was happening, despite how obvious it really was. . . cognitive dissonance, denial on my part, the usual nonsense. It was right before a meeting. People were heading to their seats, and (if you’ll recall) it was customary in those couple of minutes before a meeting for conversations to be brief and hushed, because we were getting ready for something important.

He was Russian — early to mid-20s. Good looking, and seemed really smart. But something was wrong, slightly off. As we were walking in the front door together, he looked at me as though he wanted to say something. I sensed that he needed to talk with someone. That he needed help, a friend, someone he could talk with in confidence and without fear of the consequences. But we walked in the front door, went to our seats, and I never had a chance to talk with him, and I never saw him again.

I hope he found someone to talk with. And I hope he is long gone from that place. . . and living a healthy, happy, productive, and fulfilling life.

95. Ames Gilbert - July 18, 2012

As readers will see if they go to the original post (#122-88 or thereabouts), I was very careful not to identify the author of the book I quoted from, so whoever attempted to do so was doing a disservice to both of us. The author is naturally worried that the Fellowship will use its resources to punish her; it costs a great deal of money to defend oneself, whatever the merits of the case, and it would be rather unusual for a court to award her costs even if she won. The author simply does not have the emotional or financial resources to fight off lawsuits. That is why the manuscript (since heavily revised) has not been published.

96. Ames Gilbert - July 18, 2012

So Burton persuades sincere but naïve, immature and inexperienced young (mostly heterosexual) men to put their trust in someone who then abuses that trust, persuades them that ‘breaking patterns’ will help their spiritual evolution, and that he is replacing conventional morality with a superior kind. And his primary means is to use overwhelming psychological force to convince them to have sex with him. And this happens, by strange coincidence, to be his own favorite method of gratification.

Robert Burton said on Feb 02, 2003: “Only I can love all of my students. What parent does not love all of his children?”
That makes him not just a pedophile in deed, but an incestuous pedophile in spirit . . .
Welcome to Burton’s new civilization with its new morality, where the strong prey on the defenseless, where rape is fully sanctioned, where there is no minimum age of consent, and where Beloved Teacher indulges every appetite without boundaries or accountability.

I think of the young Bruce, the young Whalerider, the young Brian Sisler, and so many other hopeful young selves, trying to find the answers to the big questions. I think of the greedy, grasping lecherous sex addicted Burton ruthlessly taking advantage of them to satisfy his immediate and unquenchable lusts, which have only grown over the years, and I feel a huge wave of pity, as any normal person would. Present members, not so much; in fact, what used to be secret is now quite public and accepted: http://tinyurl.com/c7buv7v

The reality is, Burton preys on kids, folks! Think of how malleable and suggestible you were at seventeen (like Troy), or eighteen, or twenty, or twenty-two. People this age may think they are grown up, and certainly the law treats them as grown up enough to join the army and kill others, or (depending on jurisdiction and era), vote, drink, get married, etc, but absent any warning and proper training against predators, they are just inexperienced kids. Think back on when you were the same age . . .
Ghastly though this is, some parents who are members of the Fellowship of Friends still go further. They groom their own sons to accept Burton’s lustful advances. Some, like Troy Buzbee’s father, merely tell their young, impressionable sons that he is a god, though they knew and know full well about Burton’s sexual preferences and methods. Other followers actually pimp for Burton, looking out for likely young men in distant centers, forwarding information to Burton, and then grooming them. “Grooming” is another technique of thought reform; the gradual normalizing, over a period of time, of what was formerly unnatural, unthinkable or unspeakable.

Some apologists for the Fellowship of Friends presently claim that Burton no longer has to use force, that the eastern European youngsters who form the majority of his present harem willingly accept their fate as sexual slaves or prostitutes. Maybe they do appear more accepting, I don’t know, but it is only on the surface, it is still rape. One explanation as to why it is only the appearance that may have changed is here: http://tinyurl.com/cw6brva which makes the coercion and slavery (inability to leave) quite clear . . .
As the writer of this post says at the end, “Don’t buffer this!” (a message to Burton’s followers—recognize and face up to the cognitive dissonance and your inescapable part of these crimes; other crimes, detailed by an attorney who used to represent the FoF, can be downloaded via: http://tinyurl.com/7jxlft6).

97. apostate - July 18, 2012

ames,
anonymity is important for those who don’t want to reveal their identity and it should respected. a while back i read something i had pseudonymously posted here which was subsequently cut and pasted over to the reb blog but with the addition of my “real” name to a personal account of burton’s misconduct… shocked and angry, it felt like another violation.

whalerider,
ya when i look at those pictures of burton i get a very real sense of revulsion… looking at these images of a disturbed individual is disturbing.

93 jomo,
thanks for the “perspective” — interesting site and links. it goes to show (among other things) that burtonism is a “garden variety” cult — a common denominator (misconception), is that membership in a cult makes the “student” special. but in fact every individuated individual is unique and therefore “special” — some folks need to belong to a cult in order to get that, if vicariously.

“In the absence of alternative sources of emotional nourishment, a believer can develop a psychological dependence on the feeling of enhanced self-confidence associated with being accepted as a member…. Like any addict, they may become dependent on their supplier. A believer can become dependent on the granting of recognition and appreciation by the believer’s adoptive peer group, and by its leaders and hierarchs. This appreciation and recognition can usually be earned, like brownie points, by supporting the group financially or by working for the group in various ways….”

http://www.fwbo-files.com/CofC.htm

in feeding the insatiable sex-demons inhabiting burton’s soul, there is a long, sordid, and by now relatively well documented history of his targeting of young (read: naive), heterosexual boys — i say “boys” because they’re barely “of age” and mentally/emotionally these “targets” of burton are not yet men… in at least one case it was proven in court that the victim was definitely not “of legal age.”

if one was in the cult or if the pages on this blog are studied, it’s very clear that burton couldn’t care less about the harm his predatory activity does to the unaware “targets” of his sexual misconduct.

what is the ‘psycho-emotional’ state of a young man who complies with burton’s desires, why would a heterosexual male “agree” to the homosexual act? why the compliance?

the young man usually is far from home, programmatically cut-off from family and friends, so now the only source of support is the adoptive cult.

once in this thought-control environment the young man will tend to comply with the authority figure(s), even when it goes against his own nature.

as the situation is set-up, burton easily accomplishes the sexual predation — but given the situation the act is not consensual, the sexual act results from coercive techniques and tactics inherent to that particular thought control environment.

the sexual act is not consensual, it is coerced and set up by the situation/environment therefore it is an act of violence, it is rape. through the sexual act burton temporarily sates his own insatiable sexual urges while he violates the very nature of “the student” who is in fact not homosexual but is coerced into the homosexual act.

rape describes the physical act… that’s bad enough, but the violation of trust is where the real emotional and psychological damage is done.

caveat emptor

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-cultinfo.html

98. Mick Danger - July 18, 2012

So, now that Abraham G. has graciously has resigned his position as hatchet man (in style, I might add) and departed for who-knows-where, who does the legal dirty work for the FoF and the supporters of all things Burton?

99. brucelevy - July 18, 2012

96. Mick Danger

I’m sure probably have a more then adequate pool of sociopaths to draw upon.

100. brucelevy - July 18, 2012

I’m sure they…

101. Tim Campion - July 18, 2012

95. Ames Gilbert

Ames, reference to title, author and synopsis of this manuscript appear in this discussion as early as April 1, 2007. They also appeared on the Fellowship of Friends Wikispace, Internet Archive and Fellowship of Friends Wikipedia page (before it was taken down.)

Despite your personal discipline de-linking author, manuscript title, synopsis and content, I don’t think readers had difficulty making the connections. The particular reasons for your caution may not have been fully understood and appreciated. After all, the manuscript (at least the details originally posted by “veronicapoe” and cited by Golden Veil above) is a public record.

102. Tim Campion - July 18, 2012

Correction to my last post: I don’t think the citation appeared in the Internet Archive.

103. Tempus Fugit - July 18, 2012

In response to:

75. WhaleRider – July 14, 2012

Whalerider, I join Moon Dweller and others at expressing my absolute disgust, anger, and sorrow on hearing your story of abuse.

Your courage in your recovery, however, is far more impressive.

Personally I’ve found recovery to be a long road. I mentioned in an earlier post that I joined the school as a starry-eyed “true believer.” When I left I saw myself as a failure who was unable to keep up with the payments “good students” found a way to manage.

Later, meeting with Stella Wirk and others I heard stories like yours and other stories of cruelty and theft.

I was horribly shocked to find out everything I had imagined about Burton and the FOF was false. The anger at such betrayal and the grief for all the wasted years was almost unbearable.

Finally knowing the truth was the beginning of recovery. I needed to fully acknowledge those feelings, and work slowly to restore the natural sense of myself as whole and good.

In the long view of my life I consider the FOF to be a minor act, a small part of my development.

I remember an anecdote about Jung. Seems a patient came to him quite alarmed after having a horrifying dream.

“Wonderful,” said Jung, “let’s open a bottle of the best red wine, for surely something wonderful is about to happen!”

Jung explained the shocking dream meant something beautiful and necessary was announcing it’s eminent emergence from the patient’s unconscious mind, as the psyche healed itself and moved toward wholeness.

This is our path too.

In contrast, Burton’s fate is truly terrible.

As you (and I, and others) recover and resume our march towards Heaven, his fall down the ray of creation will only gain speed.

Lucky it would be to never have known him, but far luckier not to be him.

104. Golden Veil - July 18, 2012

95. Ames Gilbert

I have asked the moderator to remove the aforementioned reference. I think that’s a good idea, but according to Google,
the citation with the author’s name appears not only where I
found it, but also in 4 other locations, 2 of which are also in
the Fellowship of Friends Discussion.

105. fofblogmoderator - July 18, 2012

96, 97 and 101 were hung in moderation. I’ll have to investigate the reason(s).

By the way, is everybody OK with me continuing to maintain the blog? I’ve been doing if for a few years and I’m fine with staying on….

106. Golden Veil - July 18, 2012

You are a great moderator, and I hope that you will not tire
of it too much. The time that you take to keep this going is
very much appreciated by all!

107. WhaleRider - July 18, 2012

Tempus Fugit:
Thank you for your post. I appreciate it. The story about Jung was most excellent.

Each dream is a personalized teaching…true crazy wisdom, not the kind that sociopaths like burton use to justify their abuse and exploitation of others.

fofblogmonitor:
I believe a post is hung in moderation when it contains more than one web link.

108. Golden Veil - July 18, 2012

97. apostate

“anonymity is important for those who don’t want to reveal their identity and it should respected.”

I agree and that respect should be consistent. Although some posters on this site are public figures or choose to post under their own name, the fact is that most choose to post anonymously and that choice should be respected whenever they are quoted elsewhere, too.

109. Shirley - July 18, 2012

105. fofblogmoderator

Yes, thank you for the good job, and please keep moderating.

110. Tempus Fugit - July 19, 2012

105. fofblogmoderator – July 18, 2012
96, 97 and 101 were hung in moderation. I’ll have to investigate the reason(s).
By the way, is everybody OK with me continuing to maintain the blog? I’ve been doing if for a few years and I’m fine with staying on….

Dear Moderator (sorry, had to abbreviate),
Your work here is superb.

You have promoted an active and open discussion which helps former cult members come to terms with their experience, and, I hope, may bring others to freedom.

You’ve been restrained with inappropriate bloggers, and rarely used your authority to limit posts.

I’d certainly like you to continue, but, if you can, I would appreciate knowing more about you and your motivation.

Why do you moderate this blog and how did you get the job?

Whatever you can comfortably share about yourself without compromising your own position would be welcomed.

Thank you!

111. Tim Campion - July 19, 2012

fofblogmoderator

You certainly have my vote. Thanks for all your support.

112. Wouldnt You Like To Know - July 19, 2012

105. fofblogmoderator – July 18, 2012

’96, 97 and 101 were hung in moderation. I’ll have to investigate the reason(s).’

Know that posts having more than one link (URL) in them get moderated. #101 does not, that I can tell, so that may be something else.

And

‘By the way, is everybody OK with me continuing to maintain the blog? I’ve been doing if for a few years and I’m fine with staying on….’

You are doing a great service. Keep it going.

113. Ames Gilbert - July 19, 2012

Tim and Golden Veil,
you are right. It did not occur to me to do a search for the title on the web or on this blog before posting. I was given a copy of the manuscript with explanations and under certain conditions that I thought still applied all these years later. In fact, I transcribed the typewritten pages onto IBM-style 5 ¼” floppy discs at one point to prepare it for publication (a long time ago!), but the project did not proceed.
Although I am no longer in touch with the author, it is hard from my knowledge of her for me to believe that she is any the less afraid now than then. But, if she registered the manuscript with the Library of Congress, then she voluntarily entered it into the public record; whether she understood the consequences, I don’t know.

Mr Moderator, I thank you for doing a great service and navigating the various shoals with grace . . .

114. apostate - July 19, 2012

tim,
it looks like my name was taken off the reb blog… at least that is, i didn’t see it upon a more recent perusal. thanks for your concern and for the work you’re doing in this connection.

thanks to you mr moderator for your dedication.

115. Golden Veil - July 19, 2012

113. Ames Gilbert

The author is on the Greater Fellowship but doesn’t appear to have been active for a long time. It’s not so much her name or the title of the writing, but the citation TO HER of excerpted texts and various writings where people have named her as a source that could present trouble for her down the road. She may not be at risk in a legal sense so much as not care to have an employer, for example, Google her name and read those texts on the internet and see them attributed to her. I think it would be best to remove her name and the title and instead put something like what you did when you quoted from her writings, something like:

A former student who had the task of housemaid for Robert Earl Burton wrote the above in a memoir about her time in The Fellowship of Friends.

116. apostate - July 19, 2012

tim,
i haven’t seen or spoken to “m” in nearly 30 years…(where does time go…?). occasionally over the years i would hear from an ex fofer that they’d seen her at the o.h. store or marrysville. when i left i did make efforts to pry her loose, tried to convince her to escape the cult with me. but admittedly i wasn’t stable myself then, mentally and emotionally, i had no means of support, socially or financially…. (by now you’ve heard my sad story of living on the mean streets of san francisco after leaving… it nearly killed me, literally, and in fact that ordeal did kill a part of me). just on that level, given my own instability i can understand why she would “choose” to remain, the cult was after all familiar and she’d developed a comfort level with the “program” since she’d already lived at the ranch for several years…. anyway there’s a lot more to it…. but that’s enough for now.
thanks for asking

117. apostate - July 19, 2012

singing ’round the campfire:

“i had waited for time to change her… the only change that came was over me… so if you hear my sad song… look into the sun…”

and the shadows fall behind.

118. Shard_of_Oblivion - July 19, 2012

105. fofblogmoderator
Yes please continue the work you do moderating this blog, you are doing a wonderful thing.

119. WhaleRider - July 19, 2012

If burton’s theory were true about the formation and growth of a permanent so-called, inner “steward”, then one could reasonably expect that this inner “steward” would appear in our nightly dreams, creating order of the chaos of the unconscious mind on more than just a theoretical level.

But such is not the case, even for the most “enlightened” of us, IMHO.

The illusion of a “steward” disappears when we fall asleep, because it is just that, an illusion we create to make the ego feel real and in control.

I would wager that with the rampant use and abuse of drugs in the FOF that the average follower would have great difficulty even remembering their dreams, and if they do, their dreams would be primarily fear based, mirroring cult indoctrination.

(BTW, cannabis contains substances that compromises short-term memory, making dream recall nearly impossible. Anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, pain, and sleep medications can inhibit the dream state as well.)

If you want to remember and empower yourself, make the effort to remember your humbling dreams, instead of the illusions and lies you tell yourself to feel special.

At best, burton’s ‘teaching” draws heavily upon arcane psychological constructs embedded in religious art and literature, presented in a hierarchical form, thus masking his hidden agenda…complete authoritarian control over his followers.

After all, he is dependent upon the livelihood of others.

At its worst, burton’s teaching is a complete delusion.

Contrast that with the practice of modern and ethical psychology which IMO, strives to foster the process of individuation, personal responsibility, autonomy, and healthy self-esteem and which is subject to the scrutiny of both the scientific method and of the government.

In addition to dream analysis, since leaving the cult and taking responsibility for my own suffering through accepting my flaws and therefore consciously experiencing my pain and suffering instead of suppressing my negative emotions, I find my spirit is continually renewed without being subject to chronic depression and anxiety.

Thankfully, I have never had to resort to anti-depressants to manage my life.

On the other hand, a person such as burton who denies their unconsciousness, thus creating an inner void, is bound to compensate with inducing positive feelings of physical pleasure, omnipotence, and will be motivated to exert sadistic power over others, obsessively pursing these fleeting feelings and sensations at any cost, even to the detriment of health and those who collude and support him.

I am quite certain that burton, with his narcissistic aversion to pain, learned fairly quickly from the violent techniques of Alex Horn and Sharon Gans, that it was far less painful to be the top dog holding the fourth way club than the underling who gets beaten with it.

120. Golden Veil - July 20, 2012

You bring up a lot of interesting points about the use of drugs
in the Fellowship of Friends, something that I never experienced
myself. And, I did not know that drug use represses dreams.
Perhaps that is partly why there is this propensity for magical thinking, along with the mind control aspirations to elicit money
and sex from followers.

“At best, burton’s ‘teaching” draws heavily upon arcane psychological constructs embedded in religious art and literature, presented in a hierarchical form, thus masking his hidden agenda…complete authoritarian control over his followers.” [ WhaleRider, post 119]

Here he seems to chuckle, almost, at his own audacity to tell
this little fairy tale about Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and R. Collin…

http://robertearlburton.blogspot.com/2011/09/art-of-explaining-license-plates.html

121. I in the sky - July 20, 2012

WhaleRider: 119 –

“If burton’s theory were true about the formation and growth of a permanent so-called, inner “steward”, then one could reasonably expect that this inner “steward” would appear in our nightly dreams, creating order of the chaos of the unconscious mind on more than just a theoretical level.

But such is not the case, even for the most “enlightened” of us, IMHO.”

With all due respect WhaleRider, in my humble opinion, you have not drawn out your conclusion sufficiently to arrive at the correct one. In other words I do believe that the Steward, as you offer the term for consideration, is present in our dreams. The point I take exception with is that it is not the duty of the steward to impose order into the dream world, if I am understanding your premise correctly.

I can offer as an example a recent dream of mine.

In the dream I was about to deliver a speech, or presentation, to an audience of several people I know. As I stood up to begin I noticed that at one table of 3 or 4 people a good friend of mine was engaged in a lively conversation, totally oblivious to the presentation that was about to begin. Some of his other table members attempted to get his attention that the talk was about to begin but he paid no mind to them. As I watched I became convinced that he knew very well what was going on and this was his way of mocking, or disrespecting me.

After what seemed like a long time, of me standing there waiting for him to stop talking and laughing, I picked up a pebble and tossed it at him, striking him on the leg. He looked up and glared at me, but he did stop and the presentation began.

How does this dream tie in with your comment, and what did I learn from the dream? How did I see the role of the steward’s presence in the dream?

Keep in mind that “Steward” is simply one of many labels we could attach to the existence of a “guiding principle” that points us towards right action as it applies to our spiritual growth.

The first thing this dream revealed was the tension that had crept into the friendship between myself and the old friend in the dream who was chatting away.

It was only because of this dream that I could actually go back and see that my last few encounters with this friend were very strained.

In other words, something in my subconscious was aware of something I had not come to terms with in the waking state, and the reality of the strained relations was lived out in a dream, which i could then acknowledge. On some level I was aware of the tension, otherwise I would not have been able to dream it (at least, that’s my belief.)

What was the role of the “steward” in the dream? The steward advised me that while it felt good to throw the pebble, and while throwing it actually accomplished my goal of stopping the chatter; I realized that if, in real life, I was presented with the exact situation, I would find a better way to accomplish the same results. It became very clear that to answer the friend’s form of “violence” (laughing and carrying on) with my own form of violence (throwing the pebble) was not the answer.

The point I’m making is simple; it’s not the role of the steward to intervene and change the coarse of a dream, which is an illusion, however instructive or creative it might be.

It’s the steward’s role to interpret the dream and bring any understandings gained from dreams to our experiences in the waking state, so that order can be restored there.

122. I in the sky - July 20, 2012

change the course of a dream – or, change a coarse dream…

123. WhaleRider - July 20, 2012

To further elaborate upon and deconstruct the fourth way concept of “intentional suffering”…the dehumanizing meme that one must willingly inflict pain and suffering upon oneself to be more “awake” is, IMO, just masochistic, and the road to happiness is not paved with masochism; it leads to chronic depression, anxiety, and emotional dependency.

I believe that over the years burton’s cult has been distilled to those followers who are willing to be masochistic, hurting themselves and compromising their growth as individuals in order to feed his malignant and sadistic narcissism.

To accept oneself as flawed and consciously suffer awareness of one’s unconsciousness is a different brand of intentional suffering all together…this is the kind of narcissistic wounding that humanizes us…not unlike the bruising of a banana which despite causing the banana to appear less than perfect, makes the banana sweeter.

124. paul gregory - July 20, 2012

Whalerider

‘There is a Crack in Everything –
That’s How the Light Comes in’

I was looking for her version of ‘Anthem’ but never mind.

125. nigel - July 20, 2012

119. Whale Rider

I am intrigued by your ‘dream work’. Is this a new venture in your psychology career? I see dreams as somehow ‘the working through of our unresolved present tense’. One recurring dream I have is…..

“I am in the United States – sometimes in Los Angeles; sometimes at Apollo (as it is called now and seems to be transformed from the rambling cultural ‘centre of the cult’ as I knew it over 23 years ago to a well-groomed city, ready for the apocalypse) – I am aware that I do not have my green card (this was true at the time I was in California as I only had my H-1 visa [expired after two years] until I ‘became detached’ from the cult and taken back to the UK) and have Burton nagging me that I should not be earning my living as a producer of precious metal ‘objets de vertu’ but be a computer programmer. The scene often then shifts to the night before I am due to go to my workshop here in Devon and am not sure it is still there”

There are various takes on the above dream, but that is the ‘kernel’. When I am in waking state, I am sure of what I have to do, but in dream state I am unsure of what is ‘real’. Can you interpret…..Nigel.

126. nigel - July 20, 2012

To Whale Rider, with love…..Nigel.

—-feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened:–that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,–
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:

(William Wordsworth – “Lines Written a Little Above Tintern Abbey”)

127. WhaleRider - July 20, 2012

Thanks Nigel.
Surprisingly, I track my dreams mostly for my own work on myself and self-empowerment.

Right upon waking from a dream, I attempt to incorporate the various characters of the dream as aspects of myself, even the frightening ones, using those viewpoints to know myself better, and thus freeing me from projecting the parts I don’t like about myself onto others during my waking state.

One of the themes of my FOF dreams was attending FOF social events long after I had left the cult and feeling afraid that I would be discovered.

It is as though part of me hadn’t fully left the cult even 20 some years later!

Once I took a stand, faced my silent shame, and started blogging my story here, they have thankfully subsided, much to my relief. I used to have way more FOF anxiety dreams before then. This I attribute to the healing process of social rehabilitation.

Sounds to me, Nigel, that the theme of your dreams speaks to the inner conflict created by having externalized control of your life to burton as opposed to following your own bliss.

As you well know, cult indoctrination necessitates that we give up our will for cult membership and is designed to play upon our weaknesses, insecurities and self-doubts. Followers learn to distrust themselves, the opposite of personal growth.

A little self-doubt is healthy and normal, as well as being able to laugh at yourself. The FOF amplifies self-doubt in order to further burton’s agenda of authoritarian control.

Back when cult followers were blogging here, a common ploy was, “what if burton is conscious? How can you be sure he is not if the lower cannot see the higher? Won’t you feel terrible if at death’s door you discover he was right and the gates of paradise were slammed in your face?”

That is total rhino shit!

As Joseph Campbell said, “follow your bliss”, (not someone else’s!)

You can’t go wrong.

128. fofblogmoderator - July 20, 2012

121, 122 and 124 are new

129. WhaleRider - July 20, 2012

I in the Sky:
Welcome to the discussion! And think you for sharing your personal story. I am going to think and reflect about what you said and respond a little later tonight.

130. paul gregory - July 21, 2012

*deleted at the author’s request”

131. WhaleRider - July 21, 2012

I in the Sky:

Maybe since it has been so long since I left the cult that I am not fully understanding the “steward” concept anymore or as burton has since morphed it to serve his agenda.

Correct me if I’m wrong, as you say I am, but my impression from what I remember of the fourth way is that our basic human condition is we have many “I”s, and we are unconscious (in denial) of our lack of unity.

The dream state of sleep is the polar opposite of the more conscious state of self-remembering and that most of the time we spend our lives oscillating somewhere in between, subject to the “law of accident”.

Once one hears about the “esoteric” idea that we are somehow unaware of our lack of unity or ability to “do”, (unless you happen to be Walt Whitman who apparently was aware that he at times contradicted himself and contained multitudes) then a transient “observing I” is established from among the group of “I”s interested in evolution contained in the so-called “magnetic center”. (BTW, Jung called groups of “I”s like these complexes, as in the famous Oedipus complex.)

After a long, long arduous period of time “observing and remembering oneself” the “observing I” evolves into the more permanent “steward”, and one is considered to have conscious being and will…in other words…the conscious ability to “do”…to create order out of chaos…which seems to me one could reasonably extrapolate to extend into the dream state at the other end of the spectrum of consciousness.

But the fourth way, from what I remember, places no importance upon dreams, with which you seem to concur. They are just illusions…not real…they don’t matter in the least…yet I seem to remember burton recounting his prophetic dreams he had of doomsday during his dinners to instill us with fear.

Now what you are saying here is that the so-called “steward” exists in the subconscious mind, (which by definition would make it not conscious), and that the “steward” is “simply one of many labels we could attach to the existence of a “guiding principle” that points us towards right action as it applies to our spiritual growth.”

So that part confuses me.

Are you suggesting then that the “steward” is really just a “guiding principal”, as in the Golden Rule…or is it the permanent establishment of the self, with the power to unify the many “I”s, as I understood the concept to represent in the unadulterated fourth way?

IMO, it is neither. It is an illusionary meme to sooth the ego.

And are dreams actually illusions, as you say?

It seems to me that illusions are the opposite of truth, yet you seem to find truth in your dreams.

And when you dream about your old friend and your relationship to him, are you literally dreaming about your friend, or are you really dreaming about an aspect of your friend you have incorporated into yourself, which your subconscious is using as a mirror to reflect itself back at you?

I hold that each part of or character in our dreams is a part of ourselves, generated from within, and not external elements that enter into our heads at night when we are asleep. Right?

So when you dream about your old friend (assuming you mean you knew him a long time and they are not just elderly) and you FEEL they are “disrespecting and mocking you”, IMO, this “old friend” is in reality your shadow side, the part you have no control over, showing your narcissistic ego in your dream that it (your subconscious) is really in control.

Admit it, when the pebble hit your old friend’s leg, you woke up from your dream, didn’t you!

I don’t believe you when you say the presentation began, because dreams don’t have happy endings, only fictional stories do.

I am certain it came as shock that you could be so “violent”, and then you rationalize your action in response to his “violence” to sooth your ego.

And what about that pebble? Where did that come from?

Where you outside giving your presentation in a gravel parking lot? I doubt it. Did you happen to have a supply of pebbles in your pocket? Nope.

Why did your subconscious choose a pebble, a rigid, hard piece of stone? Why not a spit ball of paper?

Why the silence? Why not SPEAK UP and ask him to be quiet!

That little pebble, IMO, represents your masochism and arrogance.

It has nothing to do with your friend in “real” life

You threw a stone at yourself.

And you had to stoop down to get it. It wasn’t a coin in your pocket, either. You had to make yourself smaller. You had to diminish and lower yourself to be heard in that group.

Sound familiar?

That little stone is the fourth way.

And the part of you that can interpret your dreams?

It is not your “higher self”, nor ego, nor your “guiding principal”, nor your super ego..which informs your ego what you should or should not be doing.

It is your creative intuition, the part of your subconscious that can read between the lines, so to speak, something you have had all along, despite being (or having been) in a cult.

Anyway, that’s my take on your dream.

Who needs to pay for a controlling guru when you can have such an excellent dream as yours each night for free?

All you have to do is show up for yourself and admit that you are not perfect. Neither am I.

Think you…and thank you for posting.

132. Mick Danger - July 21, 2012

Sleep-Dream-Awake-Dream-Sleep…
A dream within a dream.
Well said, exactly and articulately on point, Whalerider.

133. Golden Veil - July 21, 2012

I’ve been interpreting my own dreams for years… when I graduated from high school I dreamed of running through the streets while someone was chasing me and stabbing me. It felt so violent, but
I think it was just my anxiety over anticipating life after school ~ not knowing what would happen next… the old self being killed off, making way for the new. Anybody out there with dreams like that
on their way out of “The School?”

134. I in the sky - July 21, 2012

WhaleRider – 130:

You have your take on my dream and dreams in general, and I have my take on my dream, as well as dreams in general. To each his own. Of course, when people exchange information they are bound to use terms that perhaps have different meanings to the parties communicating with each other, so that what is received is not always what was being conveyed. Such is the limitation of language. One thing I’ll say about dreams is that they are much less restrictive than language. I can dream a landscape which I could not do justice to by setting down in words.

When I said dreams are illusions I was not necessarily diminishing their value but distinguishing their content from actual experiences.

I can rob a bank in my dreams and no one will come to arrest me, even if the cops catch me in the dream. In truth, there are several classifications of dreams, some are entirely illusory. A case in point is I could be a fan of a sports team from my city, and I could have a recurring dream that my team won a world championship while in reality the team is perennially one of the worst teams in existence. Some dreams are a means of releasing a certain kind of mental “waste matter” and serve as would a capacitor in an electrical circuit, to release a certain amount of energy to prevent an “overload.”

I have personally experienced, once or twice that I remember, a kind of dream that Ouspensky described, where a stimulus enters our awareness and we produce a dream that fits the stimulus. The dream actually takes place in reverse. He gave the example of getting one’s legs caught in the sheets and the feelings of an impediment has to be resolved so one dreams a dream that resolves the sensations, which in his example was that one falls into a pit of quick sand and struggles to get out.

Regarding the magical way I produced the pebble; if you are as attentive about dreams as your words would indicate you would have understood that one aspect of dreams is that laws of reality rarely stand in the way.

My dream indicated a pebble was needed and so one was produced. I could have been in a convention room at the Hilton, or in a place where a pebble was accessible, but in either case if a pebble is needed one will be there.

So, to sum up my feeling of dreams I would say in one sense they are like calories; all are not equal in value. Some are nutritious and others are empty, void of any nutrition. The dream I relayed to you, for me, was instructive as it alerted me to a situation (for lack of a better word) with a friend which was subtle enough for me to not be fully aware of it until it was illuminated through a dream. Now I’m in a better position to “defuse it” if possible or at lease to acknowledge its existence.

I would say in most, if not all dreams, there is the effort to resolve something that remains unresolved in our waking existence.
That seems obvious with the dream Nigel wrote of in 125 and also in your own descriptions of dreams after you left the FoF.There were / are obviously matters still unresolved and the dreams, if nothing else, reveal the unresolved issues.

One thing that restricts or neutralizes our discussion is the fact that I answered your comments of why the steward would not intervene in dreams, and you were being rhetorical in the sense that you do not believe in the existence of a steward, as I do.

So, aside from any differences we may have regarding the nature of dreams, those would pale in comparison with the divide we experience over our respective beliefs regarding the existence or non-existence of a steward. Debating that on this forum would be pointless for me and for you. You don’t need me as a foil to promote the points of view you have promoted many times before, and for me engaging you would only make sense if I have an urge to defend my beliefs, which would surely come under a barrage of dismissals. Luckily for you and myself I have no interest in defending my beliefs.

135. Golden Veil - July 21, 2012

133. I in the Sky

You express your beliefs very well and your position is as clear as a cloudless cerulean blue sky…

Let’s hope for happy dreams. Some can only dream of freedom.

136. WhaleRider - July 21, 2012

I in the sky:

Cool, thanks for your honest response. I’ll look at your post again in a little while, if I have the time. I’m heading up to the mountains later today for a week and will be off grid until I return.

I will say that what is amazing to me about dreams, as in Golden Veil’s and Nigel’s case, is that the memory of the dream can be recalled in as much vivid detail and have a significant emotional impact as if the event actually happened in “reality”, which it did on the subconscious level.

So who is to say what is real and what is illusion?

I disagree with you however on your point that dreams are the result of unresolved issues in our waking state.

IMO, dreams are the result of unresolved issues on the subconscious level.

You seem to believe you were dreaming about your old friend in rhe literal sense and not witnessing an aspect of yourself, which leads me to believe you do not wish to know your whole Self.

Regardless, I hope our discussion will serve to bring you closer to your “old friend” with whom your relationship is “strained”, as you put it.

Thank you again for your post, I really appreciate it.

Hopefully we can move away from determining who is “wrong” and continue our interaction with all due respect to our differing viewpoints.

137. I in the sky - July 21, 2012

Thanks for the feedback, Golden Veil and WhaleRider.

WhaleRider, when you say – ” I disagree with you however on your point that dreams are the result of unresolved issues in our waking state.”

That may be attributed to semantics. I consider the subconscious part of the “waking state.” Like the idea of a subliminal message, a part of us sees it and processes it and another part, or parts, do not see it.

“You seem to believe you were dreaming about your old friend in rhe literal sense and not witnessing an aspect of yourself, which leads me to believe you do not wish to know your whole Self.”

Sometimes, in advertising, the image of a cigar is meant to be taken as a phallic symbol. Other times a cigar is just a cigar.

138. Tim Campion - July 22, 2012

California Report story regarding Fellowship of Friends member Dr. Thomas Neuschatz:

Doctor accused of excessive prescriptions in deaths

139. Tim Campion - July 22, 2012

Appeal-Democrat story regarding Fellowship of Friends member Dr. Thomas Neuschatz:

Doctor accused of excessive prescriptions in deaths

140. Tim Campion - July 22, 2012

(Sorry, that previous link was to the “News at 10” story.)

Here is the link to the Appeal-Democrat story on Fellowship of Friends member Dr. Thomas Neuschatz:

Oregon House doctor accused of doling out pain pills

141. Ill Never Tell - July 22, 2012

130. WhaleRider:

‘You threw a stone at yourself.

And you had to stoop down to get it. It wasn’t a coin in your pocket, either. You had to make yourself smaller. You had to diminish and lower yourself to be heard in that group.’

‘Everybody must get stoned.’ Bob Dylan

Those who live in glass houses
should not stow thrones.

132. Golden Veil:

‘I dreamed of running through the streets while someone was chasing me. . .’

‘Anybody out there with dreams like that on their way out of “The School?”’

‘They’ll stone you when you’re walking on the street
They’ll stone you when you’re trying to keep your seat
They’ll stone you when your walking on the floor
They’ll stone you when your walking to the door
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned’
Bob Dylan

135. WhaleRider:

‘So who is to say what is real and what is illusion?’

People may be aware, that it is said, that in the moment just before a person dies, all of the scenes of one’s life passes before one’s mind’s eye in a flash – outside of the limitations of time and space. So, who is to say that what we are now experiencing is not that last moment of life and what we are aware of is flashing past in the same manner? Life is an illusion. Dreams are an illusion. Subconscious is an illusion. Etc.

142. WhaleRider - July 22, 2012

I in the sky:
“Sometimes, in advertising, the image of a cigar is meant to be taken as a phallic symbol. Other times a cigar is just a cigar.”

Ah yes, I have heard that misquote before, on Fox News.

It was in The Betrothed’ Rudyard Kipling said, ‘And a woman is just a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.’

Or in other words, if I dream about bananas, no cause for alarm, maybe I just have a potassium deficiency.

Why not just dream about the lack of potassium, then?

143. fofblogmoderator - July 22, 2012

130 is new

144. nigel - July 22, 2012

140. I’ll Never Tell

Prospero:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158

Trouble is, Mr Shakespeare, we all have to deal with “our own sleep”, or, as Whalerider would have it, our “dreams and unconscious”. As many have stated recently, and I especially remember one, we do not know what lies ahead for us after death (or, as the poster commented, IF THERE ACTUALLY IS ANYTHING AFTER DEATH, which he/she doubted). A “cult belief system” will not help anyone grow an individuality (or soul, shall we call it?????) that would give us a ‘personal confidence about facing death’.

Someone, maybe anonymous, stated…..

“Life is not a rehearsal”

This life is all we have to create something…..Nigel.

145. nigel - July 22, 2012

130. paul gregory

I feel your anguish, believe me!!!!! I have been sectioned under Section 136 of the (British) Mental Health Act over 10 times and have spent months at a time in an ‘asylum’ (definition – ‘place of safety’ – ha-ha!!!!!). I do not know whether the ‘cult’ caused this or whether it is my own mentality that needed to be dealt with. Either way, this is what life has brought you/me/us to. Believe me – you will be stronger, more essential and real for having gone through this…..Nigel.

146. Opus111 - July 22, 2012

Tim re: the FOF physician

The apple does not fall from the tree, indeed.

147. Urgent - July 23, 2012

#138 above has the most thorough report on the California state medical board investigation. The 60-page report is available on the links on that site. “The complaint describes nine patients who died under his care.”

Additionally, this site has a report on the May 2011 FBI and DEA raid on the Oregon House Medical Clinic and the doctor’s home:

http://www.yubafoothills.com/forums/topic/11072/oregon-house-clinic-whats-up

Neither site mentions any link with the FOF, although the doctor was a longstanding member of the FOF and started the Oregon House Medical Clinic, working alongside FOF doctors and nurses.

Since this site has made numerous allegations of drug abuse within the FOF and among Robert and his entourage (Viagra, painkillers, etc.), would you please send anything you know to the California Medical Board?

Do not just post on this site, but please also post on the sites Tim sited above. The California Watch also has some twitter feeds that are interested in receiving more information.

And please, anyone who knows or understands more than I do, please correct anything I have said.

148. Shard_of_Oblivion - July 23, 2012

134. I in the sky
Regarding how long dreams take and whether they might run in reverse time as Ouspensky hypothesised, there has been some very interesting recent research that makes use of the experimental possibilities afforded by lucid dreaming.http://www.lucidity.com/SleepAndCognition.html/

“How long do dreams take? This question has intrigued humanity for many centuries. A traditional answer was that dreams take very little or no time at all, as in the case of Maury’s famous dream in which he had somehow gotten mixed up in a long series of adventures during the French Revolution, finally losing his head on the guillotine, at which point he awoke to find the headboard had fallen on his neck. He supposed, therefore that the lengthy dream had been produced in a flash by the painful stimulus. The idea that dreams occur in the moment of awakening has found supporters over the years (e.g., Hall,1981).

We have straightforwardly approached the problem of dream time by asking subjects to estimate ten second intervals (by counting, “one thousand and one, one thousand and two, etc.”) during their lucid dreams. Signals marking the beginning and end of the subjective intervals allowed comparison with objective time. In all cases, time estimates during the lucid dreams were very close to the actual time between signals (LaBerge, 1980a, 1985). However, this finding does not rule out the possibility of time distortion effects under some circumstances. “

149. Tim Campion - July 23, 2012

The California Watch (misstated as California ,i>Report in my above post) reporter, Christina Jewett has an interesting resume, and she might want to explore other aspects of the Fellowship of Friends, including Medi-Cal and welfare fraud and abuse, as cult members transfer their lives’ savings to the Fellowship (to support Burton’s lavish lifestyle) and are then forced to seek inappropriate assistance from the public trough.

If you’re reluctant to write public comments, I’d still encourage you to contact these news outlets in private. I have written to each.

150. brucelevy - July 23, 2012

I just emailed her Tim and offered to put her in touch with some of us if she’s interested.

151. nigel - July 24, 2012

Found (on a sticker on a waste receptacle in the High Street) the words…..

“Dream, but do not sleep”…..
interesting for a point of discussion…..Nigel.

152. nigel - July 24, 2012

“I wish I could teach you pencils;
Why a broken lead through broken times,
Indicates a feeble essence:
Something to do with diamond theory.

Pressure and fire are the test of reality
Proving that pressure and fire are the making of a human being.”

(a comment on why Burton ‘lost the plot’)

(nhp) 1995

153. Tim Campion - July 25, 2012

147. Urgent

The ChicoER.com article “Doctor accused of over prescribing drugs”, concerning Fellowship of Friends doctor Thomas Neuschatz, offers two additional contacts for anyone having information about the abuse of pharmaceuticals within the Fellowship: Chris Valine, Public Information Analyst at the Medical Board of California and Ben Mullin, reporter at ChicoER.com. According to the story,

“Neuschatz is scheduled for a preliminary trial-setting conference on Aug. 1, where it may be determined if his case is ready to appear before an administrative law judge, said Chris Valine, a public information analyst with the Medical Board of California.

“The ultimate hearing before the medical board will determine whether Neuschatz can keep his license, Valine said. The allegations filed do not prevent him from practicing medicine.”

154. Ames Gilbert - July 25, 2012

Hi Paul (#122-130 or thereabouts),
I’m glad you’ve found some relief for your anguish.

You say, “The substance of my anguish also is the angles that I possess from this ‘being’, numbering probably over 1000 pages, perhaps more like 2000 pages.” That is a lot of material. Is this a collection of ‘angles from Robert’, or a collection of your own understandings about your experiences? Either way, if you cared to pass on thoughts that would help folks in similar situations understand and perhaps escape their predicaments, or which would warn seekers researching the Fellowship of Friends and Robert Earl Burton, that would be a great service. Helping someone else might also provide relief and help your own healing.

I wish you all the best, and peace and joy in your future.

155. Associated Press - July 25, 2012

Philadelphia. Monsignor Gets 3-6 Years in Sex Abuse Cover-up
By MARYCLAIRE DALE
Associated Press
Jul 24, 5:27 PM EDT
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_PRIEST_ABUSE_TRIAL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The first U.S. church official convicted of covering up sex-abuse claims against Roman Catholic priests was sentenced Tuesday to three to six years in prison by a judge who said he “enabled monsters in clerical garb … to destroy the souls of children.”

Monsignor William Lynn, the former secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, “helped many but also failed many” in his 36-year church career, Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said.

Lynn, who handled priest assignments and child sexual assault complaints from 1992 to 2004, was convicted last month of felony child endangerment for his oversight of now-defrocked priest Edward Avery. Avery is serving a 2 1/2- to five-year sentence for sexually assaulting an altar boy in church in 1999.

“I did not intend any harm to come to (the boy). The fact is, my best was not good enough to stop that harm,” Lynn said. “I am a parish priest. I should have stayed (one).”

Lynn’s lawyers had sought probation, arguing that few Pennsylvanians serve long prison terms for child endangerment and that their client shouldn’t serve more time than abusers like Avery. They plan to appeal the landmark conviction and seek bail while the lengthy appeals process unfolds.

The judge said Lynn enabled “monsters in clerical garb … to destroy the souls of children, to whom you turned a hard heart.”

She believed he initially hoped to address the sex abuse problem and perhaps drafted a 1994 list of accused priests for that reason. But when Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua instead had the list destroyed, Lynn chose to remain in the job and obey his bishop – by keeping quiet – as children suffered, she said.

“You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong,” Sarmina said.

The archdiocese called the sentence severe and hoped it would be “adjusted” on appeal.

“Fair-minded people will question the severity of the heavy, three- to six-year sentence imposed on Monsignor Lynn today,” the statement said.

The 61-year-old Lynn was acquitted last month of conspiracy and a second endangerment count involving a co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan. The jury deadlocked on a 1996 abuse charge against Brennan, and prosecutors said Monday that they would retry him.

In 1992, a doctor told Lynn’s office that Avery had abused him years earlier. Lynn met with the doctor and sent Avery for treatment – but the church-run facility diagnosed an alcohol problem, not a sexual disorder. Avery was returned to ministry and sent to live at the northeast Philadelphia parish where the altar boy was assaulted in 1999.

Prosecutors who spent a decade investigating sex abuse complaints kept in secret files at the archdiocese and issued two damning grand jury reports argue that Lynn and unindicted co-conspirators in the church hierarchy kept children in danger and the public in the dark.

“He locked away in a vault the names of pedophile priests. He locked in a vault the names of men that he knew had abused children. He now will be locked away for a fraction of the time he kept that secret vault,” District Attorney Seth Williams said of Lynn.

. . .

“He did the best he could under absolute awful circumstances,” lawyer Thomas Bergstrom said after the hearing. “If he wanted to play the game, he wouldn’t have met with (victims) at all.”

Lynn was the first U.S. church official convicted for his handling of abuse claims in the sex scandal that’s rocked the Catholic church for more than a decade. But he might not be the last.

Bishop Robert Finn and the Kansas City diocese face a misdemeanor charge of failing to report suspected child sexual abuse. Both Finn and the diocese have pleaded not guilty and are set to go on trial next month.

“Protecting children has to be first and foremost,” said Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “We’re extremely grateful that the judge and the prosecutors did not give Monsignor Lynn special treatment because of his priestly status.”

Associated Press writer JoAnn Loviglio in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

156. apostate - July 25, 2012

paul gregory around 130

DESCRIBING SPIRITUAL RAPE:

“…The substance of my anguish is the continued theft and robbery, not only of cash, but also of dreams of a better world, a higher reality, babies fetuses …”

tim,
i tried to respond to your email but the link provided (“greater fellowship”) didn’t connect here… if you don’t mind, can you contact me directly through your own email address?

157. Moon Dweller - July 27, 2012

#130 Paul I share Ame’s interest in your comment about the “being” and the 1000 or more pages you kept. Could you elaborate?
My deepest sympathies for your anguish. I wish you the best in your recovery and hopes of eventually leaving the nightmare far behind.

158. fofblogmoderator - July 27, 2012

New Page

the Robert Burton Blog link has been added to the blogroll


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