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Fellowship Of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway To Presence Discussion – Page 123 July 27, 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. Tempus Fugit - July 27, 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 123 (current page)

https://fofdiscussion.wordpress.com/

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

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

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

2. nigel - July 27, 2012

paul gregory

Let no-one tell you that recovery from cult indoctrination is easy. Remember – you came to the FOF in search of something and were duped and lied to – made to work hard for and pay huge amounts of money for A SCAM. You do not need to join a group to have a sense of selfhood. Having said that, you joined, suffered and left. Now, perhaps, you are still suffering – no friends (real or otherwise), no worthwhile job or career and, I would say definitely, no sense of belonging. For me, it took many years to find stability and something approximating a sense of self-worth. I got into teaching with the aim of making a reasonable living out of my craft and found REAL TEACHING – REAL THINGS TO REAL PEOPLE – to be one of the beautiful things you can be involved in. It matters little that I still exist on a little above the poverty level. Happiness has been hard-gained…..Nigel.

Song of the Open Road
By Walt Whitman 1819–1892

1
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)

3. Tim Campion - July 27, 2012

In the next two weeks, I plan to let the domains “robertearlburton.com”, “robertearlburton.org” and “livingpresence.info” expire. There appears no advantage to keeping them. The Robert Earl Burton blog address is http://robertearlburton.blogspot.com. From now on, please use this address, as by mid-August, the other links will be deactivated. (The link added to the Blogroll at the top of the page reflects this change. Thanks, Steve!)

4. fofblogmoderator - July 28, 2012

Post #1 TF. Good idea…..

5. nigel - July 28, 2012

Whale Rider – New Dream

I made a trip to the New Conscious City at the top of the World and made Pineal Gland contact with the Perfect Master. The New City was peopled by those who had ‘survived’ the FOF. I started by scarifying the old, worn-out grass and expected my People to do the same. Work on ‘basics’ and recovery was there to be done. A short but psychadelic and multi-coloured dream…..Nigel.

6. Tempus Fugit - July 28, 2012

“3. Tim Campion – July 27, 2012
In the next two weeks, I plan to let the domains “robertearlburton.com”, “robertearlburton.org” and “livingpresence.info” expire. There appears no advantage to keeping them.”

I wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Tim Campion for his singular efforts to expose the Fellowship of Friends and help others escape this horrible cult.

In addition to the enormous effort on the Robert Earl Burton blog and other websites, Tim has taken a very personal and public stance to provide information to whomever wishes to know the truth.

Tim, I admire your resolve and envy your courage. Thank you!

7. paul gregory - July 28, 2012

I don’t know about this blog. First you blank me then you all want to be my friends. You have moderated important things out of the blog. That might be because I informed you that things had changed with my stance. But I find it deeply creepy.

The ‘angles’ of R.E.B. number probably 1000 pages…
Just as the Nuclear Holocaust (Paradise Postponed) angles were doctored and I was not allowed to post here, now you all want to donate medicinal advice and handwringing. Fuck Off. I Do Not Care.

I’ll scan them later myself. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing yourself.

I was going to tell you lot to fuck off in about 1000 different known languages to man, but let’s face it, we all want the same things.

*
2. nigel – July 27, 2012
paul gregory

Let no-one tell you that recovery from cult indoctrination is easy. Remember – you came to the FOF in search of something and were duped and lied to – made to work hard for and pay huge amounts of money for A SCAM. You do not need to join a group to have a sense of selfhood.

*

Mate, I don’t need any encouragement, believe me. This shit is in it’s last stages, but I will need to find some emetics to complete the show. I have, actually, invited you to it. I am very serious about this.

THE LAW MUST BE SEEN TO BE DONE.

Now please remove my previous comment as it contains personal information.

Thank you.

One thing I can tell you, from my 24th year, is the answer to my question: ‘Is Anger Divine?’

Yes, it is. Fuck your conversational mode of apology and desiccation/desertion, Fuck the fascinating world of self-un-knowledge, Fuck the fact that I didn’t pay enough in your eyes.

CRASS songs?
Shurely shome mishtake.

8. nigel - July 29, 2012

Not to argue with you paul, but just to ‘shed some light’ on what can happen…..Nigel

…..from ‘The Free Dictionary’

Psychosis may be caused by the interaction of biological and psychosocial factors depending on the disorder in which it presents; psychosis can also be caused by purely social factors, with no biological component.

Biological factors that are regarded as contributing to the development of psychosis include genetic abnormalities and substance use. With regard to chromosomal abnormalities, studies indicate that 30% of patients diagnosed with a psychotic disorder have a microdeletion at chromosome 22q11. Another group of researchers has identified the gene G72/G30 at chromosome 13q33.2 as a susceptibility gene for child-hood-onset schizophrenia and psychosis not otherwise specified.

With regard to substance abuse, several different research groups reported in 2004 that cannabis (marijuana) use is a risk factor for the onset of psychosis.

Migration is a social factor that influences people’s susceptibility to psychotic disorders. Psychiatrists in Europe have noted the increasing rate of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders among immigrants to almost all Western European countries. Black immigrants from Africa or the Caribbean appear to be especially vulnerable. The stresses involved in migration include family breakup, the need to adjust to living in large urban areas, and social inequalities in the new country.

9. Ames Gilbert - July 29, 2012

Well, it’s Sunday, and there isn’t much going on, a lot of the inhabitants in this country are at church. If you got up late and are looking for a sermon, you’ve come to the right place! If not, quickly scroll to the next post below!

Dedicated to Tatyana H., a former contributor to this blog, who decided to rejoin the Fellowship of Friends a year ago after a couple of years absence because she watched a video of Burton in the interim and “realized that he was conscious” (as she wrote in an e-mail to me). Thinking about her decision led somehow to this essay, which of course is just a collection of my subjective opinions.
_______________________________

You know, it is actually quite easy to start on the road to ‘seeking the truth’; I don’t think that there is anything that special about we ‘truth seekers’ at all. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘seeking truth’ is as mechanical and about as special as the impulse to seek money, fame, justice, true love, or status. In other words, it’s one of the cards one is dealt with from the deck, one of many possible characteristics in our DNA. The ‘seeker’ gene provides an impulse: “You are hereby given (cursed/blessed with) the following, probably incurable, itch… it’s your given calling/profession/main interest… make the best of it.“

Winston Churchill said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened”.

No, the really hard part is accepting the truth. Now, that takes character! It requires training and development of discrimination to do this. And of course it is an individual, not group, activity. What I mean is, it is rare to be able to recognize it when it is presented, and even rarer to fully take it in and integrate it, make it one’s own. For me, the importance of ‘being present’ is that it is the gate to deeper truths if I care to recognize them. Where I am, physically and psychologically, is the result of all the past. This includes all the choices I made—or avoided. I can’t wriggle out of it; the only way to escape is to misuse my imagination to continually replay the past, altering strategic bits and pieces until I arrive at the version of the present I wish were the case. Or I can project into the future an outcome that obfuscates the present facts and trajectory of my life; that projection is self-deception or a lie, however sophisticated. Unfortunately or fortunately, what is, is. If I can deepen presence, this reveals more of the truth, and shows the ego for what it is; useful for certain purposes including self-protection, but still, an artificial though necessary construct that can so easily take control to escape from the present.

Anyway, as one cursed/blessed with the seeker itch, it seems to me that one gets at the truth by immersing oneself in life, and seeing what gets reflected back, with as little self-justification and blame as possible, taking particular care not to blame others for what is one’s own responsibility or results of one’s choices. Then one can properly digest the experience by introspection. Then one can make it part of one’s being by testing the conclusions with further action.

Ideologues—for that is what many people in (and out) of the Fellowship of Friends are, but especially the True Believers—cannot tolerate contradictions; it is their hallmark to fear contradictions. For their world to contain no contradictions it must be very small, small enough for them to claim to understand it all, or at the very least claim some core certainty to cling to. This leaves no room for mystery, only for the certainty, even if that violates common sense. Ah, that special brand of certainty when Beloved Teacher says that all the followers are saved, simply by virtue of their membership, simply by writing another check. I say, step back enough to enjoy the contradictions, to savor them and bless them, because they are the spice of life.

For me, the truth of the situation is that the gift of life is temporary, precious and must be lived in gratitude for the gift. There is no right or wrong, no judgment if it isn’t lived fully, but certainly a feeling of wasted potential (which one can use as a reminder to dive back in, if one chooses).

O.K., so for some people the search leads them to the Fellowship of Friends, and if they are naïve enough, desperate enough, and have not studied comparative religion, they get sucked in. Or they may actually be on the path known as the Second Way, and are seeking a licensed intermediary to explain it all. So for me the question is, why do they join? I found a better way to answer this for myself was to study the question, why do people return to the Fellowship of Friends? When I observed folks returning for the second round, it seemed to make it much clearer why they joined the first time. This was because motivations were purer, and it was easier to see and empathize with what was most important in their lives that led to such a decision. Unfortunately (only from a more ‘scientific’ or objective point of view!) I have no first-hand experience. I never rejoined, so I can only rely on a relatively few observations, some empathy and very probably some projection. But that won’t stop Ames from speculating or pontificating, no sirree!

The factors I saw were:
• Safety, familiarity, need for friends, need for community where they can see the boundaries, feel comfortable within the space.
• Rules are known, they are safe if they keep within them.
• Salvation, or at least answers, is guaranteed in return for . . .
§ obedience
– confirming chain of authority
– revealed knowledge, comes from above
≈ faith in revealed knowledge
≈ individual faith strengthened by group faith
§ supporting a ‘field of agreement’, to enter Burton’s fantasy and normalize it by:
– helping establish common worldview (e.g., “Robert is conscious”), the bedrock of the mental structure
– inventing or supporting justifications for Burton’s behaviour, and that of important honchos (note that just listening to such justifications without objecting supports and normalizes them internally and externally, and of course, active participation such as inventing new justifications strengthens that worldview and the importance of one’s contribution to it— and equally of course, every contribution in the direction of strengthening this commonality simultaneously weakens the possibility of individuality)
– supporting and being supported in difficulties dealing with buffers (cognitive dissonance), using methods such as:
≈ humor, esp. ‘inside jokes’, as a recognized safety valve which relieves the pressures of cognitive dissonance; there is also a general agreement about what is ‘too far’, and hence reportable, and also a recognition of particular circumstances (e.g., a greater tolerance of unpalatable truths when tipsy or drunk)
≈ irony
≈ ‘acts’ of scepticism
≈ the famous ‘knowing smile’ ‘direct gaze’ and other ‘acts of presence’
≈ the ‘acts of photographs’
– a system of encouragement, and also periodic reorientation, to get through ‘intervals’
– regular reinforcement of and realignment to group beliefs through ‘meetings’ and other exercises in propaganda

All this serves to give a strong sense of place and position in an hierarchial authoritarian structure. It should go without saying that this only serves to send one more completely to sleep (reduction in awareness, potentials and possibilities), and in this respect, a returnee is in a much more dangerous position than a new recruit. For example, a returnee is often viewed with suspicion, despite the rewards in the form of glad welcomes and hugs, so extra efforts are demanded of the returnee to re-establish trust and proof of conformity, and in almost every case, the returnee willingly obliges; this manifests as extra public and private efforts to conform, to show visible proofs of contrition and regret for past mistakes and errant thinking, and to justify the correctness of Burton’s worldview in thought, word and deed.

But what of freedom, and the commensurate acceptance of risk? The prodigal son or daughter, in return for the comforting warmth, sense of safety and sense of belonging, has given up all possibilities of expansion, exploration and consequent exposure to risk. They returned because they could not handle freedom, were deeply afraid of risk, of failure, of damnation. They have plenty of warnings, born of actual experience, about the explicitly and implicitly guaranteed consequences of leaving, unlike new recruits, they know what follows from leaving the nest. And, they have explicitly accepted that there is no graduation. They are forever in class, perenially dependent, forever inferior in knowledge and wisdom to their teacher, and forever in thrall to his belief system, unless by unhappy fate they get to leave again. Unlike the new recruits, a returnee has made a commitment of unusual gravity and importance to the organization, and equally if not more important, an official and public rejection of the values of the life they are fleeing from. Hence the official group jubilation at the return (he/she was lost, and now is found: “I say unto you, there is more rejoicing in heaven over the sheep who is found than the ninety-nine who were not lost”).
Despite this, I would guess it must be very discomfiting to find that one is not always fully trusted at the individual level, follower to follower; someone who has gone and returned is an affirmation of the correctness of staying put on one hand, and yet there is the sense that one cannot have visited the flesh pits without having been contaminated, since it was simple weakness of faith or some failure of the ‘work’ (‘lack of valuation’ or ‘insufficient efforts’ in some area) that led them into temptation in the first place. Of course, there may be a measure of simple jealousy; the flesh pits are attractive by design, and to have tasted the joys of such yet be forgiven and achieve salvation might seem to be rather unfair to those that meanwhile remained and were true to the faith.

Now so far, this sounds like a simple choice between a more or less comfortable life, or between less or more structure, or more or less assurances of ‘getting into heaven’. But to see it this way misses something essential, in my opinion. That is: the real nature of hazard, or risk. The gentle reader will be relieved to know I’m finally coming to the main point of this essay! I think that hazard actually gives life more than just some extra frission or thrill, it actually gives life meaning, and in a deeper sense, all meaning. It’s actually what makes us alive. Imagine how it would be if every action was assured of success, that all outcomes were favorable, that good fortune always smiled upon you. That would actually be a pretty dull existence, and, in the final analysis, meaningless. It would be flat and boring, and entirely without consequence. Which is how it is in the Fellowship; your salvation and future are assured by Burton and various beings of unimaginable power, simply because you send a substantial check to Burton once a month and do your best to believe in and support his particular fantasy and the general consensus belief system. Accompanied, of course, by a lot of well-meaning efforts to be present, now and always. But basically, if you are ‘current in your teaching payments’ all is well, and if not, you will go to hell. Every member of the Fellowship is a winner, and the prize, according to Burton and Haven, is eternal life (whatever that means!)

Although at first glance such assurance might seem attractive, this is not actually how life works, and a little thought shows how shallow such longings are. Review your own experience. What were the truly worthwhile endeavors? For me, they were the ones whose outcomes were unknown, where, despite all precautions or my best planning, in the end I had to make the decision to proceed, take a deep breath, make the plunge and hope for the best. And the juiciest were the ones with the greatest risk. The reality is, an existence of known outcomes would not only boring, it would be lifeless and soul-sapping. And, thrilling though the successful outcomes in my life have been, the failures have been as rewarding. In the life of guaranteed outcomes, failure is only a theory. I know darn well from my own life experience that failures, which can only result from decisions to and consequences of taking risks, are the only way to learn certain lessons, and the only way to be in the positon of truly savoring the contrast between failures and successes. The uncertainties, from the moment of decision to the final outcome, are what gives life savor and meaning. I might even go as far as saying that experiencing contrast is what this life is all about.

You, dear reader, are obviously more intelligent than the norm, so you will by now be asking, what is the difference between this hazard that Ames is waffling on about and what was called, and maybe still is called, “The Law of Accident” within the FoF? The answer, on one level, is nothing much, and on the other, a great deal. Hmm, that doesn’t help much, Ames! What I mean is, using Fourth Way terminology most readers are familiar with, both are obviously representations of the consequences of the intervals in octaves. However, the important difference is, within the FoF belief system, it is supposed that one can actually avoid the consequences of intervals (and the ‘law of accident’) if one is only alert enough to be aware and present at the time. This I believe to be one of the many fallacies of that particular (read, Burton’s) belief system. Instead, I postulate that hazard is unavoidable because it is an inherent quality of reality itself. You, dear reader, with your manifest breadth of vision, will see a very important difference—one theory postulates that with enough effort and attention, one can avoid some of the consequences of the ‘Law of Accident’, and that that is a worthy and important ambition in of itself; the implicit result of such efforts is more order and the explicit result is more brownie points. The other theory postulates that hazard is not only more real, not only unavoidable, but that a true adventurer will actually come to welcome the possibilities that can only manifest in reality if this is indeed the case. If a belief system, such as Burton’s, posits that everything is pre-ordained, “the play is already written”, then there can be no courage, no choice, no effort that means anything; it is a universe suitable for choiceless robots and cowards. Examination of actual reality reveals the opposite, that there are choices, that decisions are meaningful, that efforts are worthwhile, and that one can take sides in the struggle between good and evil, however one perceives them. Of course, in this kind of universe where there are no guarantees, there is also no guarantee that good will prevail; if you believe that, I think I can state, without judgement, that you are still immature and not yet ready to take the steps necessary to individuate and function as an adult in this reality.

Another way to look at the difference between those who leave and those who stay (and, most especially, those that return) is from the point of view of maturity. To stay in a situation indefinitely (knowing that it is indefinite) implies stasis, a lack of movement, and consequently a lack of vitality, of life. In a word, immature. This artificial extension of childhood is unnatural and ultimately pathological. A child’s purpose is to be a child, with all the joys, tribulations and learning that accompanies that stage, but also to prepare for adulthood. The transition from one to another embodies risk; not all children make it to adulthood. This is formalized in some cultures with rites of initiation. These rites range from almost set pieces (e.g. Bar Mitzvahs) to the moderately dangerous to the very dangerous. Coming of age rituals such as ‘going walkabout’ or some of the traditional African equivalents, have mortality rates of ten percent or higher. That is, the adolescent has a not-remote chance of dying during the ordeal. Young people have died even in the sanitized western versions organized by folks such as Outward Bound, though rarely. Lack of some formal transition point between childhood and adulthood seems to be detrimental to humans, but one way or another it is at least partially achieved, even if it only with a drunken twenty-first birthday celebration where caution is thrown to the winds.

All this is to point out what is known to psychologists: humans seem to go through various stages of maturation, and though this is automatic in most cases, failure to do so leaves one ‘stuck’ with the issues that should have been resolved before moving on. My theory is that most people who join the Fellowship of Friends are immature, in that they (we) bring with them unresolved issues from previous stages of their lives and do not know how to resolve them or get help resolving them. (I think they are also discouraged ‘idealists’ but this is another, though related, subject.) The Fellowship provides a safe haven where they do not have to deal with those issues; instead, they can push off responsibility onto Burton, ‘older students’ or the organization, and they will pay a commensurate price. There is no help in the Fellowship because all the other followers are in the same position, ‘the blind leading the blind’.

The fortunate part of this story is that if people are not too deeply involved with the FoF belief system or do not put all their faith in Burton or his fantasy, they may resolve enough issues as a result of continued existence on the planet and become more mature anyway, thus enabling them to exit stage right. When, for one reason or another, they decide to take the risk and leave the nest, there is no particular guarantee of a happy ending—that is the nature of hazard, after all—but there are certainly new possibilities that did not exist before. And if they are sufficiently mature, they will be able to cope with the vagaries of life on its own terms, will be able to continue to learn and even prosper. There seems to be no end to the process of maturation, and anyone who is observant and has been around the block a bit will have concluded that level of maturity has no relation to how long one has existed on the planet.

Those who have stayed with me so far, and have made their own independent observations about hazard will see that these words so far are woefully incomplete regarding followers of Burton. I’ve been postulating that these folks have chosen the safer path, freer of hazard, with Burton and some supposedly very powerful spiritual allies basically guaranteeing a good outcome. We are told that those that take out insurance policies against bad things happening are among the most sensible, and my observations of fellow long-time followers was that many, if not most, stayed as a form of spiritual insurance.

What’s not to like? Well, Burton’s claims are only that, claims. If they have a basis in reality, all well and good (for those who seek comfort and safety), but if they do not, then actually being committed to the role of follower is in itself exceedingly dangerous, possibly far more so than ‘out there in life’. In actual fact, putting one’s faith in a belief system, any belief system, including Burton’s, is by defintition a gamble. One is trusting the honesty of the claims, not on their own merits (in the case of Burton and his peculiar religion, these are mostly unverifiable) but on the supposed merits and authority of the person making the claims. One can instantly tell if a follower is in this position if he or she says, “I have verified that Robert is conscious”, or, “I have verified C-Influence”, or in fact any claim that by definition resides outside their own possible experience of consciousness. They are depending on Burton’s honesty, and so it matters a great deal if Burton is in fact honest or not. Followers are betting their future on all sorts of levels on that.

I do not need to make a list of all the lies that Burton has told; they have been cataloged on the blog both in quantity and detail. Suffice to say that there is no reason to believe a single word he says. If he is honest, it is only by accident; in my experience he and his followers go out of their ways to gratuitously lie or confabulate even when it is not necessary, basically lying for it’s own sake or from the habit of going to almost any lengths to justify their choices or actions. But we can go further, and try to understand better why he must intrinsically be a liar, and thus why his whole organization must be fraudulent, and by extension why joining the Fellowship of Friends leads to the very opposite of ‘searching for truth’, on any number of levels, which supposedly intitially attracted the follower.

Many apologists for Burton and the Fellowship have come forward to adress some of the central claims of that belief system. One notable one is: that there is a play, and that it is written in advance by powerful beings, presumably backed up in turn by the Absolute (who by definition is all-powerful and omniscient). According to this story, every event is pre-ordained to the last crossed ‘t’ and dotted ‘i’, and there is no mystery and no potential, only a series of realized actualities orchestrated in advance and enacted according to an unyeilding timetable. If this were so, what do we make of the phenomenon of intelligence? What need is there of intelligence when automatons could fulfill the same role just fine and with a lot less bother to the director? (And why bother with such a charade anyway?)
A little thought shows that there is only need of intelligence if there is a need to navigate a reality that intrinsicaly includes hazard and risk. This goes all the way up the scale (and all the way down). That is, if the Creator entered the creation—and if hazard we observe is an intrinsic quality of the creation—then the Creator is also subject to hazard, that is, is the very opposite position to that advertised by Burton and most other religions, is NOT all- knowing and all-powerful, and certainly has not ‘written the play in advance’ in any way, conceivable to us or not. [As an aside, one of the implications, from the idea of the Creator entering the creation is that intelligence in the creation is separated from that of the Creator, or alternatively, the quality and quantity of intelligence itself became subject to evolution/hazard/chance].

Back to the point: intelligence is a faculty that blends past experience and future possibilities in the present moment, and tries to find a ‘best answer’, a risk analysis or a route that leads through perceived obstacles to some objective or fulfillment of desire. You may ask, why focus specifically on intelligence? My answer is: this is one of the things that makes humans unique, and not only enables, but justifies (and for the ‘seeker’, demands) self-study. Not that other organisms on the planet do not exhibit intelligence, not even that some of our creations, such as powerful computers, cannot exhibit some very limited aspect of intelligence, but we appear to be unique, or at least rare, regarding the possibility of observing our intelligence, exercising and expanding the purview of our intelligence, and developing the possibilities of becoming more sensitive and thus providing more material for our intelligences to act upon. In other words, perhaps becoming more conscious. The fact that Burton does not know about this is strong grounds, among many others, to suppose that he is not fit to teach anyone much of anything, except as an object lesson of what not to be–or do.

So, I’ve rabbited on at length about the consequences of joining or rejoining the Fellowship of Friends. Can I point to any silver lining in all this? Sure: most people who join the Fellowship of Friends eventually leave, never to return. Their future after leaving is hardly assured, some have ended up on the street, or worse, but at least there are possibilities for positive outcomes, whereas I believe there are far fewer for those that remain, those that have given up their potentials and their possibilities of individuation for the sake of indulging in a collective fantasy. Another way of putting this is to say that there is an alarmingly poor return on investment for those that stay long-term. And most people who rejoin do leave again; that is good news for anyone who cares.

______________________________
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is not safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
Helen Keller

10. nigel - July 29, 2012

9. Ames

Your post (and, yes, I did read it all!) got me fired up to wanting to ‘kick all those self-satisfied fof-fers in the teeth’. Hey, but they are their own reward and dead-end aim/achievement. I have reached the stage in life where I honestly think I could not do a steady job and actually enjoy the thrill of trying to make my little business work (with the TRUE HELP of my students). Also, Ames, you made me google for ‘risk quotes’ and here are a few…..Nigel.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

“Leap and the net will appear.” — Zen Saying

“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you. Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” — William Jennings Bryan

11. Arthur - July 29, 2012

Lots of people setting aside fear leapt into the unknown and were caught in Robert Earl Burton’s net to squrim until cast out by fate.

12. nigel - July 29, 2012

“It is a God to be in the country of the Olympics which is your quest” – Epic Teaser.

The Maximum Angle of Trajectory to produce the Greatest Distance is 45 – and therefore the Maximum Angel is 45.

I will try not to become ‘out of my tree’ during this time, but my brother producing my business website – http://www.exesilver.co.uk – ‘the signs’ – see poem below and Ames prompting being daring in our lives, having survived a cult (Whale Rider) has made me emotionally energetic…..Nigel.

Song of the Answerer
by Walt Whitman
(1819-1892)

1.
Now list to my morning’s romanza, I tell the signs of the Answerer,
To the cities and farms I sing as they spread in the sunshine before me.
A young man comes to me bearing a message from his brother,
How shall the young man know the whether and when of his brother?
Tell him to send me the signs. And I stand before the young man face to face, and take his right hand in my left hand and his left hand in my right hand,
And I answer for his brother and for men, and I answer for him that answers for all, and send these signs.

Him all wait for, him all yield up to, his word is decisive and final,
Him they accept, in him lave, in him perceive themselves as amid light,
Him they immerse and he immerses them.

Beautiful women, the haughtiest nations, laws, the landscape, people, animals,
The profound earth and its attributes and the unquiet ocean, (so tell I my morning’s romanza,)
All enjoyments and properties and money, and whatever money will buy,
The best farms, others toiling and planting and he unavoidably reaps,
The noblest and costliest cities, others grading and building and he domiciles there,
Nothing for any one but what is for him, near and far are for him, the ships in the offing,
The perpetual shows and marches on land are for him if they are for anybody.

He puts things in their attitudes,
He puts to-day out of himself with plasticity and love,
He places his own times, reminiscences, parents, brothers and sisters, associations, employment, politics, so that the rest never shame them afterward, nor assume to command them.

He is the Answerer,
What can be answer’d he answers, and what cannot be answer’d he shows how it cannot be answer’d.

A man is a summons and challenge,
(It is vain to skulk–do you hear that mocking and laughter? do you hear the ironical echoes?)

Books, friendships, philosophers, priests, action, pleasure, pride, beat up and down seeking to give satisfaction,
He indicates the satisfaction, and indicates them that beat up and down also.

Whichever the sex, whatever the season or place, he may go freshly and gently and safely by day or by night,
He has the pass-key of hearts, to him the response of the prying of hands on the knobs.

His welcome is universal, the flow of beauty is not more welcome or universal than he is,
The person he favors by day or sleeps with at night is blessed.

Every existence has its idiom, every thing has an idiom and tongue,
He resolves all tongues into his own and bestows it upon men, and any man translates, and any man translates himself also,
One part does not counteract another part, he is the joiner, he sees how they join.

He says indifferently and alike How are you friend? to the President at his levee,
And he says Good-day my brother, to Cudge that hoes in the sugar-field,
And both understand him and know that his speech is right.

He walks with perfect ease in the capitol,
He walks among the Congress, and one Representative says to another,
Here is our equal appearing and new.

Then the mechanics take him for a mechanic,
And the soldiers suppose him to be a soldier, and the sailors that he has follow’d the sea,
And the authors take him for an author, and the artists for an artist,
And the laborers perceive he could labor with them and love them,
No matter what the work is, that he is the one to follow it or has follow’d it,
No matter what the nation, that he might find his brothers and sisters there.

The English believe he comes of their English stock,
A Jew to the Jew he seems, a Russ to the Russ, usual and near, removed from none.

Whoever he looks at in the traveler’s coffee-house claims him,
The Italian or Frenchman is sure, the German is sure, the Spaniard is sure, and the island Cuban is sure,
The engineer, the deck-hand on the great lakes, or on the Mississippi or St. Lawrence or Sacramento, or Hudson or Paumanok sound, claims him.

The gentleman of perfect blood acknowledges his perfect blood,
The insulter, the prostitute, the angry person, the beggar, see themselves in the ways of him, he strangely transmutes them,
They are not vile any more, they hardly know themselves they are so grown.

2
The indications and tally of time,
Perfect sanity shows the master among philosophs,
Time, always without break, indicates itself in parts,
What always indicates the poet is the crowd of the pleasant company of singers, and their words,
The words of the singers are the hours or minutes of the light or dark, but the words of the maker of poems are the general light and dark,
The maker of poems settles justice, reality, immortality,
His insight and power encircle things and the human race,
He is the glory and extract thus far of things and of the human race.

The singers do not beget, only the Poet begets,
The singers are welcom’d, understood, appear often enough, but rare has the day been, likewise the spot, of the birth of the maker of poems, the Answerer,
(Not every century nor every five centuries has contain’d such a day, for all its names.)

The singers of successive hours of centuries may have ostensible names, but the name of each of them is one of the singers,
The name of each is, eye-singer, ear-singer, head-singer, sweet-singer, night-singer, parlor-singer, love-singer, weird-singer, or something else.

All this time and at all times wait the words of true poems,
The words of true poems do not merely please,
The true poets are not followers of beauty but the august masters of beauty;
The greatness of sons is the exuding of the greatness of mothers and fathers,
The words of true poems are the tuft and final applause of science.

Divine instinct, breadth of vision, the law of reason, health, rudeness of body, withdrawnness,
Gayety, sun-tan, air-sweetness, such are some of the words of poems.

The sailor and traveler underlie the maker of poems, the Answerer,
The builder, geometer, chemist, anatomist, phrenologist, artist, all these underlie the maker of poems, the Answerer.

The words of the true poems give you more than poems,
They give you to form for yourself poems, religions, politics, war, peace, behavior, histories, essays, daily life, and every thing else,
They balance ranks, colors, races, creeds, and the sexes,
They do not seek beauty, they are sought,
Forever touching them or close upon them follows beauty, longing, fain, love-sick.

They prepare for death, yet are they not the finish, but rather the outset,
They bring none to his or her terminus or to be content and full,
Whom they take they take into space to behold the birth of stars, to learn one of the meanings,
To launch off with absolute faith, to sweep through the ceaseless rings and never be quiet again.

13. apostate - July 30, 2012

“…just pray you don’t fool yourself into thinking you”ve got the answer, ’cause that’s bullshit; the trick is living without an answer…
i think… i think.”

14. Toby - July 30, 2012

Ames Gilbert, post 9 or thereabouts.

“The fortunate part of this story is that if people are not too deeply involved with the FoF belief system or do not put all their faith in Burton or his fantasy, they may resolve enough issues as a result of continued existence on the planet and become more mature anyway, thus enabling them to exit stage right. When, for one reason or another, they decide to take the risk and leave the nest, there is no particular guarantee of a happy ending—that is the nature of hazard, after all—but there are certainly new possibilities that did not exist before. And if they are sufficiently mature, they will be able to cope with the vagaries of life on its own terms, will be able to continue to learn and even prosper. There seems to be no end to the process of maturation, and anyone who is observant and has been around the block a bit will have concluded that level of maturity has no relation to how long one has existed on the planet.”

Ames, thank you for sharing such a beautiful and heartfelt analysis. It very much resonates, and is much appreciated.

Some rhetorical questions — directed at myself mostly:
Which of the “44” would encourage (if they could so encourage) the seeking of safety, security, and certainty? Which of them would discourage exploration, stifle new or different ways of thinking, prohibit open discussion, disallow dissent and debate, and condemn departures?

—–
Me imperturbe, standing at ease in Nature,
Master of all or mistress of all, aplomb in the midst of irrational things,
Imbued as they, passive, receptive, silent as they,
Finding my occupation, poverty, notoriety, foibles, crimes, less
important than I thought,
Me toward the Mexican sea, or in the Mannahatta or the Tennessee,
or far north or inland,
A river man, or a man of the woods or of any farm-life of these
States or of the coast, or the lakes or Kanada,
Me wherever my life is lived, O to be self-balanced for contingencies,
To confront night, storms, hunger, ridicule, accidents, rebuffs, as
the trees and animals do.

-W.W.

15. Tim Campion - July 31, 2012

6. Tempus Fugit

Thank you for those kind words.

16. Ames Gilbert - August 1, 2012

Toby (#123-14 or thereabouts),
Thank you, and I’m glad it resonated with you. You asked rhetorically, “Which of the “44″ would encourage (if they could so encourage) the seeking of safety, security, and certainty? Which of them would discourage exploration, stifle new or different ways of thinking, prohibit open discussion, disallow dissent and debate, and condemn departures?”

I agree, I doubt any sensitive thoughtful person who ever lived would condone Burton’s dictatorship over every aspect of his followers’ lives, but it is his fantasy, so he can have anything he wants, including the unqualified, exclusive support of the spirits of a bunch of mostly Western, dead white males. In fact, he can conveniently leave the tedious work of managing his followers’ internal lives 24/7/365 to them, while he humbly ‘does their will’, breaking new records for sexual indulgence and shopping.

And just reflect, when Burton is playing golf, ‘Leonardo’ takes time from his busy schedule of planning the destruction of mankind to jog his elbow and put him off his stroke. The unimaginable suffering of a Man Number 7.9, a.k.a. “the brightest light in 2,000 years”!

17. silentpurr - August 1, 2012

…but of course there are no smiles from the goddesses he managed to insult through the years….

18. Ames Gilbert - August 2, 2012

Silentpurr (#123-17 or thereabouts),
“but of course there are no smiles from the goddesses he managed to offend through the years” . . .
Yes, considering that Burton claims he is “a goddess in a man’s body”, he not very empathic to the Feminine Divine, is he?
Starting with, “Women are a lower cosmos than men” (amazing how he managed to garble the concepts of the Fourth Way, and another example of a thought-terminating cliché). How about, “Women cannot awaken in this lifetime”—they have to go on to another lifetime as a male (!) or play the role of Queen Elizabeth I (!).
Etc.
Not to mention his disdain for women followers who do not provide lots of money, or access to men; examples in previous pages of this blog. Not to mention his unveiled hatred for women who compete sexually for his ‘boys’, married or not; again, examples of his jealousy and ready punishments for such crimes abound.

If you are a female landing on these pages by chance, doing due diligence, know that if you join the Fellowship of Friends, you will be treated by Burton as a second-class citizen for the duration. But you can take comfort in the fact that he will not misuse his power to seduce you—just your husband or boyfriend.

19. silentpurr - August 2, 2012

You are exactly right, Ames. He snatched Aphrodite’s mirror long ago and Fellowship women can only catch a glimpse now and then and gasp.
They are left with grey hair, empty arms,neglected families and debt.

20. Tim Campion - August 2, 2012

“Janna” wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 22, 2007:

Nuthead #9,

About the ball gowns, and Robert’s hatred of women:

I used to work with Nette in 1996, and clearly remember her frustration with those hideous and ugly used gowns that we had to repair and hem before they would be sold for $15-20 to FOF women. Nette thought these gowns were the way the teacher was ridiculing and diminishing women, forcefully making them look exactly as you said:
 

“The women looked like a group of transvestites at a costume party with the theme of 1950s suburban grandmothers.”

Those gowns were so bad, cheap, disgusting, out-of style, unsexy, gross! Covered with cheap glitter and sequins, they were truly horrible. The colors and styles were disgusting. It made women look like tasteless village peacocks.

And almost every woman had to wear this crap in public as a “gift” from her Teacher, even though she had to pay for it.

Once Nette raised her hands in frustration and exclaimed: Why is he doing this? Why does he hate women so much???

I understand why. Because women are his immediate competitors when it comes to men. Because any of his boys would gladly choose a woman over an old gay – he can never ever win against an attractive woman, and he knows this.

Because he is a jealous self-centered old gay man, that’s why.

He hates women and tolerates them in the school only as a bait for young men to join the school.

At first he was not allowing women to get pregnant and have kids, so they would not be stealing men from him to take care of their families.

To make women look unsexy and unattractive he invented infamous “pant” exercise. Women had to mandatory wear skirts on the property, even if they were working on landscaping and it was clearly not practical to wear a skirt while working. Young attractive women looked like a bunch of village grandmas in those stupid long skirts…

To further make ladies look like hags he purchased those ugly gowns and dressed most Apollo women in them AND made them feel obliged and thankful to him! At every formal event women in those idiotic dresses had to thank and thank their Teacher for his kindness…

Then he came up with an exercise of not coloring aging grey hair for women, so to let them “naturally” age and look old and unattractive. All of the “infra-sex” exercises were against women and their natural beauty.
Then finally he came up with anti-serving exercise in 2006, saying that men shouldn’t serve women at the table anymore, because it is feminine dominance.

He always “punished” women much more severely and cruelly than he did men – sending them away to remote centers, excluding them from school, fining them heavily or taking their “octave” away.

It has nothing to do with anyone’s evolution, it’s simple basic hatred and jealousy.

I can’t believe that women in FOF are still putting up with this crap. Don’t you see this?

21. nigel - August 2, 2012

“Her Praise”
William Butler Yeats

SHE is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I have gone about the house, gone up and down
As a man does who has published a new book,
Or a young girl dressed out in her new gown,
And though I have turned the talk by hook or crook
Until her praise should be the uppermost theme,
A woman spoke of some new tale she had read,
A man confusedly in a half dream
As though some other name ran in his head.
She is foremost of those that I would hear praised.
I will talk no more of books or the long war
But walk by the dry thorn until I have found
Some beggar sheltering from the wind, and there
Manage the talk until her name come round.
If there be rags enough he will know her name
And be well pleased remembering it, for in the old days,
Though she had young men’s praise and old men’s blame,
Among the poor both old and young gave her praise.

22. nigel - August 2, 2012

This is Burton’s number – 2 little ‘duckies’ fucky-fucky…..

WB Yeats – “When You Are Old and Grey”

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

23. Someone - August 4, 2012

This is 100% reliable info: 38 FOF members left between January till June 2012 and 117 new members joined including 14 rejoined members who left before 2012. No doubt the FOF has survived the wave of 2007-2010.

Unless there is still a chance to really go for the sex abuse lawsuit, this blog has zero impact.

24. nigel - August 4, 2012

23. Someone

Those 38 have a chance of de-hypnotizing themselves, through help or on their own. The blog still remains the most powerful tool for telling the truth about the Fellowship of Frauds – cheats, liars and power/sex/money hungry maniacs. Judging by your propensity for ‘actual figures’, Someone, we have every chance of presuming that you are, indeed, Girard Haven. Maybe if we hear more from you in defense of the cult, I could be correct…..Nigel.

25. Mick Danger - August 4, 2012

Membership numbers mean nothing. As P.T. Barnum pointed out “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
What’s the cash flow/revenue stream like these days? It would be most interesting to take a look at the uncooked books. How do they account for all that lavish spending? Two words – Tax Evasion.

26. nigel - August 4, 2012

Something pertaining…..

Religious group Fellowship of Friends received a less-than-friendly response Tuesday from the Yuba County Board of Supervisors, which rejected a $572,338 property tax refund.

The board voted 4-1 to dismiss the foothills group’s request for refunds on taxes paid from 2006-09.
County Counsel Angil Morris-Jones said the group took too long to give the board legal justification.
Fellowship of Friends first made the request more than a year ago to amend its tax returns for the four-year period to reflect its status as a tax-exempt religious group.

Kathi Lutton, an attorney working with the Fellowship, told county supervisors the group based near Oregon House/Dobbins had been working with the county Assessor’s Office for the last year to gain an exemption for future property tax bills. The full amount from previous bills has been paid.
But Morris-Jones said the exemption issue was separate from the refund issue, and the Fellowship hadn’t done enough on the latter to justify the refund.
“There are seven possible exemptions, and none of those has been cited,” Morris-Jones said of the refund issue. “It’s been continued for a year. My concern is the ramifications to the county if action isn’t taken.”
Lutton requested the board delay consideration for another two weeks so the Fellowship could correct the situation.
“They thought because they were working with the assessor, they thought they were advancing the ball,” she said.
She added the group also needed more time to review a rejection letter the county sent earlier this week for the Fellowship’s amended claim, filed earlier this week.
Communication issues might have also been a problem, Lutton said, because the Fellowship hasn’t had a regular attorney for some time.
Supervisor Andy Vasquez made a motion in support of the two-week stay, saying he also thought the group shouldn’t be penalized when it was actively working with the assessor.
“It’s a substantive amount of money, and it’s only fair as a matter of justice,” he said.
But the measure died without a second. Supervisor John Nicoletti then made a motion to deny the refund claim.
Vasquez was the lone dissenter.
CONTACT reporter Ben van der Meer at 749-4786.

27. Tim Campion - August 4, 2012

Someone,

Since you have in the past quoted me, I will return the favor:

This message is addressed to those visitors who are now reading this blog while searching for inner work on themselves.

Dear visitor,

The Fellowship of Friends is a school for reaching Divine Presence within one. It is led by Robert Burton, the spiritual teacher and founder of the Fellowship of Friends.

The art of reaching Divine Presence is the highest art on earth. Man in his ordinary state of consciousness cannot even imagine what it is and what is possible for him.

In order to reach Divine Presence and prolong it one would need reaching a much higher place in oneself.

However, one has another part in oneself that dominates one’s life and that is the Lower Self. This part is not interested in the art of reaching Divine Presence and if one attempts to seriously work in order to reach it, the Lower Self would do anything in order to ruin such work.

This blog is presenting posts of many former members of the Fellowship of Friends who left the school and started slandering it. This is a sheer example of how the Lower Self works after it takes over and crowns sleep to rule, sometimes forever.

Our Teacher has asked his students not to enter this blog in order not to give even more space to the Lower Self beyond what it takes anyway.

I am writing these lines in order to create a small spark of opportunity for you if you are interested.

So you are invited to visit the Fellowship of Friends web-site:

(beingpresent.org)

So, Someone, tell us why readers should believe anything you write here. As you know, in Robert Burton’s world (and by extension, your own world) Divine Presence has nothing to do with conscience. As we have indeed witnessed, the pursuit of presence, without respect for basic human decency, leads to all manner of evil. The Fellowship of Friends is a living (or should I say, dying) example of this; people blindly pursuing “presence”, oblivious (or worse) to the crimes that have been committed within their isolated and corrupt organization.

And you seek to draw others into this cult?

28. silentpurr - August 4, 2012

I can see how the level of recidivism may rise due to the ‘programed’ fear of returning to ‘ordinary’ life. Without STRONG support the former student can easily relapse into fearful, uncertain behavior and head directly back to the comfort of the stable.

29. Ames Gilbert - August 4, 2012

Someone (#123-23 or thereabouts),
we already know the Fellowship of Friends ‘survived the wave’. We are familiar with the True Believers, and certainly I don’t expect to change their minds. And most of us don’t expect a lawsuit for sexual abuse, as long as Burton confines himself to heterosexual males above the age of consent.
Tell you what, send me proofs of your assertions (nancyamesATspiralemailDOTcom), and I’ll confirm them on this blog—if true. What I do know, independent of your claims, is that there were 1519 followers as of Jan 1st 2011, and 1457 followers as of June 15th 2012, a total loss of 62 over the last eighteen months. Not as many as someone who cares might hope, true, but everyone of them a living, breathing human being who has regained some freedom. And if I had even the tiniest bit to do with that, then the time I’ve spent on the blog is worthwhile.
Judging solely from my experience of ‘foreign-sounding’ names, there are an awful lot of Eastern European/Russian/Indian first-and-last names on the current list, so at least they probably won’t be contributing much to the bottom line.

One reason I’m sure you’re just a shill without a conscience is that you invariably do not take into account the number of people who are put off joining the Fellowship by coming across this blog. You undoubtedly hope the number is small, I hope the number who come across these pages and are appalled is substantial. Again, if I had even the tiniest bit to do with getting them to think twice, then the time I’ve spent on the blog is worthwhile.

I can’t save anyone from themselves or their fate, but it seems possible I can alert some to the particular spiritual and financial fraud that is the hallmark of Fellowship of Friends, or any of the guises and spinoffs, such as:
“Pathway to Presence” / “Living Presence” / “Beingpresent.org” / “Church of Robert Earl Burton” / “asabovebelow.com” / “mysticisma.com” / “thyselfknow.com” / “gurdjieffouspensky.com” / “www.arkintime.com” / “ggurdjieff.com” / “meetup.com/powerofnowsf”
/ “meetup.com/The-Power-of-Now” —and probably others that haven’t yet come to my attention.

30. WhaleRider - August 4, 2012

The Poisoned Well

A man was returning from a pilgrimage in the mountains when he met a wizard on the path, coming from the direction of his village.

“Beware,” said the wizard, “I have poisoned the village drinking well with a magic potion that makes people go insane. Do not drink from it and you will be spared.”

The pilgrim thanked him and continued on his way, puzzled by the wizard’s warning. When he looked over his shoulder a few steps later, he noticed the wizard had vanished.

Upon returning to his village, he was shocked to find the peaceful villagers arguing and shouting. There was raping, stealing, fighting, and senseless vandalism happening right before his eyes.

He tried to warn the villagers about the poisoned well, but nobody would listen to him, and they began to throw rocks at him. He barely made it out of the village without being grievously harmed.

Back in his peaceful mountain cave he thought that the magic potion must be very strong to cause such a radical change in all the villagers, and felt lucky the wizard had warned him.

Though as the weeks and months went by, the pilgrim started to become lonesome sitting all by himself silent in his cave, speaking to no one.

After one year had passed, overcome with loneliness, he left his mountain sanctuary, and returned to the village, hoping the magic potion had somehow worn off.

But nothing had changed; the villagers were still fighting, yelling, and chasing each other, and many houses were left in shambles.

The pilgrim ran to the well and drank from it anyway, joining in the fray.

It was later said in the village that the pilgrim was a man who had once gone crazy and left the village, returning after he had regained his sanity.

31. brucelevy - August 4, 2012

Someone is a douche bag. I wonder who it is.

32. brucelevy - August 5, 2012

People who “leave” for “whatever reason”, and then continually justify the FOF…they have a name. They’re spiritual parasites, like the remora that’s continually sucking off the host shark,and who, by proxy,
live the “spiritual” life vicariously through those on the inside. There aren’t many of these but I’ve encountered them sporadically over the years. They’re bigger phonies and hypocrites then those who stay.

33. nigel - August 5, 2012

Just thought it might be ‘interesting’ to post this excerpt from having googled ‘Church of Robert Burton’…..Nigel.

Another church bake sale?

[ed. – As has been suggested previously, the Fellowship’s insurance company’s refusal to insure the “church” as long as Robert Burton had access to the “till”, led to a resurgence of fee-based teaching and special events (above and beyond all required membership “donations”), the funds from which were allegedly used to augment the pastor’s meager $250k salary.]

“NG” posted on the Fellowship of Friends – Living Presence Discussion blog:

August 24th, 2011

From the FoF media channel :

September 1st to September 5th Mini Journey Forth
Celebrating our Teacher’s 44th Anniversary of Meeting Influence C.

Dear Friends,

After a beautiful Ballet Festival, Robert would like to announce the revival of the Theatron. The building permit has just been renewed, and a French 18th century carved limestone wall is being reassembled as a new charming entry to the Theatron. It will be dedicated at the opening of the upcoming Mini Journey Forth.

The Teacher suggested the name of this venue be the “Da Vinci Theatron”.

In order to make this extraordinary project come into being, the Teacher is encouraging students to support it. Our donations to the forty-fourth anniversary gift of Meeting Influence C will be directed towards the Theatron revival, as will the proceeds from the upcoming Mini Journey Forth. Please follow the donation instructions bellow.

As this project develops, we will keep you constantly updated.

“As we enter the fifth decade of working with Influence C in our school, the age of miracles is upon us.” – Robert E. Burton

In presence,
Friends from Journey Forth

34. nigel - August 5, 2012

Just to continue (or perhaps should have preceded) from my post above, it seems like the “Higher Self” is promoted by ‘la-di-da-ing’ around, taking in “Higher Impressions”. Gurdjieff used to warn against ‘allurement’, but Burton uses every wile to keep his ‘followers’ trapped in a world of ‘cultural fantasy’…..Nigel.

….from “The Free Dictionary”

al·lure (-lr)
v. al·lured, al·lur·ing, al·lures
v.tr.
To attract with something desirable; entice: Promises of quick profits allure the unwary investor.
v.intr.
To be highly, often subtly attractive: charms that still allure.
n.
The power to attract; enticement.

35. Tempus Fugit - August 5, 2012

Honors to recent posts:

27. Tim Campion – August 4, 2012
Someone,
Since you have in the past quoted me, I will return the favor:

28. silentpurr – August 4, 2012

29. Ames Gilbert – August 4, 2012
Someone (#123-23 or thereabouts),

30. WhaleRider – August 4, 2012
The Poisoned Well

32. brucelevy – August 5, 2012

33. nigel – August 5, 2012

Clearly this blog is having an enormous impact on the FOF and their leaders are rightfully worried. If this blog were not effective, “Someone” would not bother even to acknowledge it’s existence.

Remembering how confused and traumatized I was when I escaped the FOF, and how long it took to even feel human again, I’m not surprised we don’t hear more from people who have left.

Writing on this blog and trying to protect others is doing what is right, and that is reward enough.

Thanks to all of you for your hard work.

36. nigel - August 5, 2012

Some contact details regarding having Burton and the Fellowship of Friends investigated…..

1) General misdemeanors and ‘underhand goings-on’ of local interest, reports on buildings suitability, land tax defaults etc…..

Ryan McCarthy
Appeal-Democrat
PO Box 431
Marysville
California 95901
USA

2) Gross acts of misconduct by Burton and enablers, including sexual assault, trafficking in foreign ‘students’ to become sex-slaves, not declaring income for the Fellowship of Friends, wrongful inurement of funds, bringing cash through national and international borders for the use of Burton and enablers, wrongful procurement of visas and work-permits for foreign ‘students’, marriages-of-convenience, unlawfully prescribing prescription drugs and use of illegal ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ drugs etc…..

Herbert M Brown
Federal Bureau of Investigation
4500 Orange Grove
Sacramento
California 95841

3) Wrongful procurement of visas and work-permits, conveying cash across international borders, smuggling art and precious objects across international borders etc…..

Director John Morton
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
500 12th Street, SW
Washington
DC 20536

4) National wrong-doings by the Fellowship of Friends and Burton himself…..

Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
Washington
DC 20528

5) Similar to (3), but perhaps more ‘acute’…..

Commissioner Alan Bersin
Customs and Border Patrol
1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington
DC 20229

I’m sorry, but that ass-hole, ‘Someone’, has me all riled up. When I was in the FOF, I thought Burton was just a ‘gay gentleman’ and everyone else were what they said they were and appeared to be. Now I know I was brainwashed, like so many others, and everyone who has ‘escaped’, as well as I, has stories to tell. I say, let us batter down the barricades of pretence erected (good word that!) by Burton and all the others who still think that all you need to be is a financial high-roller, being present. And you can bet your asses, I have been present to this post…..Nigel.

37. nigel - August 5, 2012

“Do You Hear the People Sing”
from – ‘Les Miserables’…..

ENJOLRAS
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

COMBEFERRE
Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Courfeyrac:
Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free!

ALL
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

FEUILLY
Will you give all you can give
So that our banner may advance
Some will fall and some will live
Will you stand up and take your chance?
The blood of the martyrs
Will water the meadows of France!

ALL
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

38. nigel - August 5, 2012

….Just as a ‘parting shot’, taken from the “Board Source” site…..

What is private inurement?

“Private inurement is prohibited in all nonprofits. It happens when an insider — an individual who has significant influence over the organization — enters into an arrangement with the nonprofit and receives benefits greater than she or he provides in return.

The most common example is excessive compensation, which the IRS condemns through intermediate sanctions (significant excise taxes). Insiders — referred to in IRS parlance as “disqualified persons” — can be high-level managers, board members, founders, major donors, highest paid employees, family members of any of the above, and a business where the listed persons own more than 35 percent of an interest.

Private inurement is an absolute term. There is no de minimis restriction. If a nonprofit is organized to benefit an individual, even while fulfilling its tax-exempt purpose, it cannot be a tax-exempt organization. Under the state law, an organization may lose its nonprofit status.”

Any ideas on how we can uncover this in the Fellowship of Friends Inc. (church?)…..Nigel.

39. Golden Veil - August 5, 2012

9. Ames Gilbert ~ July 29, 2012

The essay you wrote in the above referenced post ~

“Dedicated to Tatyana H., a former contributor to this blog, who decided to rejoin the Fellowship of Friends a year ago after a couple of years absence because she watched a video of Burton in the interim and “realized that he was conscious” (as she wrote in an e-mail to me).”

~ is exceptionally well thought out and compassionate.

I think that she’s the same Tatyana who wrote that she was formerly a member of the Fellowship of Friends from February 1, 1994 to September 25, 2008. If she is the Tatyana who wrote the below thoughts on her Greater Fellowship page, my heart goes out to her…. she must be in a very confused state…

“When someone leaves FOF those who stay have an explanation why he/she left: she was mad, he did not have valuation for the Work, his wife took him out etc. Before I left I asked many of you what was the real reason of your leaving. In case someone wants to know why I left here it is:

The teaching does not make sense even though I struggled to make sense out of it for the last 3 years. It looks like a brainwashing to me.
I no longer share the values based on fear and exclusivity. Tired of waiting of the end of the world with the most lucky chosen ones.
The ideas of the 4th way are distorted to fit the goals of the cult.
I went back to the books and found the contradictions.
There are many very clear typical features of the cult. I saw documentaries about the other cults and it was amazingly close!
Signs of sickness in FOF which I can’t ignore or buffer anymore even though they are not “related to the sequence”
I came to believe that omens, signs, numbers, communication to
C influence are all symptoms of a mental illness of Robert.
Sexual abuse of friends and suffering of their wives gives me pain and feeling of disgust.
Don’t want to support a mad house and a rape factory anymore.”

40. Ames Gilbert - August 6, 2012

Golden Veil (#123-39 or thereabouts),
yes, it’s the same person. Thanks for posting her previous thoughts as contrast. It is truly amazing how the human mind can twist itself like a pretzel and simultaneously hold entire sets of diametrically opposing thoughts or beliefs at the same time without exploding. Tatyana does it, I do it, and I dare say everyone does it at some time.

ASFAIK, Tatyana fell in love with a handsome follower who was a former Burton ‘boy’, and who remains a True Believer. From my experience, “falling in love” can be dangerously upsetting to one’s established belief systems; sometimes this can be a good thing, sometimes not!

I would place odds that she will eventually leave again. Since she was once willing to sincerely question and analyze her behavior, in terms of both motives and actions, I think the chances are good that she’ll do it again. Anyway, I wish her the best (per her viewpoint, not mine).

41. jomopinata - August 6, 2012

“It is truly amazing how the human mind can twist itself like a pretzel and simultaneously hold entire sets of diametrically opposing thoughts or beliefs at the same time without exploding.” –Ames Gilbert

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” –George Orwell

“The mark of a first-rate intellect is the ability to hold two apparently opposing ideas in mind at the same time and retain the ability to function.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald

Trance Logic: “the alternate thinking process that enables ideas that would be paradoxical to the conscious self to peacefully coexist within the mind while in a state of trance.” –Wayne B. Jonas, in Mosby’s Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (Elsevier, 2005)

42. I in the sky - August 6, 2012

#41 – Jomopinata:

Does a firm persuasion that a thing is so, make it so?
He replied, ‘All poets believe that it does.
And in ages of imagination, this firm persuasion removed mountains;
but many are not capable of a firm persuasion of anything.’
-William Blake

We can only speculate what led Tanya to write what she did in #39 of Golden Veil and then later do an about face and “come back” – although I do not think she ever officially left the FoF, even when she was expressing the views in #39. I don’t think Ames’ supposition is correct though –

“It is truly amazing how the human mind can twist itself like a pretzel and simultaneously hold entire sets of diametrically opposing thoughts or beliefs at the same time without exploding.”

In Tanya’s case some time has gone by and it seems to me she went through a process which led her to her most recent conclusions and away from her former ones.

43. Golden Veil - August 6, 2012

42. I in the Sky

“In Tanya’s case some time has gone by and it seems to me she went through a process which led her to her most recent conclusions and away from her former ones.”

It really would be interesting to know this process ~ if only a fly on the wall of Tatyana’s brain could describe the rationale that led her from making statements like “I came to believe that omens, signs, numbers, communication to C influence are all symptoms of a mental illness of Robert.” and “Don’t want to support a mad house and a rape factory anymore.” to the mind set of, as related by Ames Gilbert in post 9 on this page, “… decided to rejoin the Fellowship of Friends a year ago after a couple of years absence because she watched a video of Burton in the interim and “realized that he was conscious” (as she wrote in an e-mail to me.)” Wait a minute ~ “rationale?” That couldn’t be a rational process, could it? I’m thinking more like real mental chaos… I’ll stay with Ames Gilbert’s “Pretzel” theory.

44. nigel - August 6, 2012

Oops – another ‘cut-and-paste’…..Nigel.

Pretzel Logic
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pretzel Logic

Studio album by Steely Dan
Released March 2, 1974
Recorded October 1973-January 1974 at The Village Recorder, West Los Angeles and

Cherokee Studios, Chatsworth, California
Genre Jazz rock
Length 34:02
Label ABC
Producer Gary Katz
Steely Dan chronology
Countdown to Ecstasy
(1973) Pretzel Logic
(1974) Katy Lied
(1975)

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [1]
Robert Christgau A+[2]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[3]

Pretzel Logic is the third studio album by the American jazz-rock band Steely Dan, originally released in 1974. The album’s opening song, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”, became the band’s biggest hit, reaching #4 on the charts soon after the release of the album.[4] The album itself went gold, and then platinum, reaching #8 on the charts.[5] The album was also highly regarded critically, appearing near the top of several end-of-year polls including the number one slot on NME Album of the Year and the number two spot on the Village Voice end-of-year list compiled by Robert Christgau.[6] In 2003, it was placed at number 385 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[7]

45. Someone - August 6, 2012

24. nigel – August 4, 2012

Like probably most of you, I knew Girard, yet I am quite far from being him…:). He is very different from me in almost every internal and external aspect.

I haven’t seen Girard since I left. Actually I haven’t seen him for quite a while before I finally drove away from OH. Girard was receiving a reasonable FOF salary. I, however, left with empty pockets. I had with me an amount that was about to cover two gasoline tanks, one night in a cheap motel and some groceries.

Being totally broke is still the worst memory of all. Unlike many of you, I was not born in the US and I had no family to back me up during bad times. I did manage to receive a small inheritance from back home, but that was already after I was standing well on my feet.

This blog has failed in its main mission to file a complaint and bring about an official investigation. This course of action has been totally neglected by the members. Now it is merely producing hot air.
.

46. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 7, 2012

45 Someone said
“This blog has failed in its main mission to file a complaint and bring about an official investigation. This course of action has been totally neglected by the members. Now it is merely producing hot air.”

We could wonder if that really was the main mission, or if it really had a main mission as such, but yes it would be really great to see Burton bang to rights. However surely better to phrase it “failed SO FAR in its main mission” he may yet have some curb placed on his rape and mind control games, let’s hope so anyway.

But as regards the blog producing hot air, why “merely”. I come for the hot air personally, I breathe it in, and it ventilates my memory functions and nostalgia organs. yummy hot air I say.

47. Moon Dweller - August 7, 2012

Get your HOT air right here. Fresh off the press!! HOT and READY,
Breathe it in, Fresh hot air. Only here on this Blog!!!

48. Fee fi fo fum - August 7, 2012

45 Someone

Is the main reason you left the FF because you were totally broke and couldn’t make the payments anymore? If you had had a cushy FF salary, or had a well-paid job out there in “life” that would have enabled you to stay in the FF comfortably, would you have stayed in? I ask, because you sound rather bitter about the circumstances of your leaving. No surprise, as many, many FF members left with almost no savings and, having cut themselves off from family and friends for years (if not decades), were left psychologically and materially stranded. I think it’s good that you mention your not having family in America as back-up support, when times got tough for you. Maybe it explains some of the bitterness that you seem to evidence in having had it “extra hard”, in terms of what the FF extracted from you, and why you’re trying to get your jollies from taunting the communications on this blog. b

49. Ames Gilbert - August 7, 2012

Someone (#123-45 or thereabouts),
you say, “This blog has failed in its main mission to file a complaint and bring about an official investigation”. That may have been your idea of its aim, or what you imagine participants think is the aim. The Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion, the guy who actually started the blog, may have had other ideas, some of which he explains on the first page (link at ‘Animam Recro’ first in line in the Blogroll, top of this and every page).

50. Tim Campion - August 7, 2012

Someone,

Thanks for being here. Your story is just as important as any on this blog.

You’re right about the petition, and filing a complaint. As has been discussed here, if there are not credible witnesses with current first-hand information about crimes, who are also willing to risk exposure to our legal system and, likely, the press, there is not much more we can do.

But the Fellowship is paying attention, and members are visiting these blogs. That I know.

51. Willie Maykit - August 7, 2012

Methinks someone has failed to be disinterested in the poor old Blog. Words always come up short. I think the blog is better off without a purpose, then it can’t fail.
-Betty Won’t

52. Toby - August 7, 2012

35. Tempus Fugit

“Clearly this blog is having an enormous impact on the FOF and their leaders are rightfully worried. If this blog were not effective, “Someone” would not bother even to acknowledge it’s existence.”

~~~~~~~~
I agree with you, and with Tim Campion, in his post above.

Yes, it’s a bit like saying that I agree with the obvious, but the obvious is easy to forget or overlook. Sometimes it’s good to acknowledge the obvious, if for no other reason than the fact that some people spend ample amounts of energy trying to obscure it.

I personally believe there are numerous people in the FF who know what they need to do. However, similar to a person who is seeking to leave an unhealthy and abusive relationship and start over, they currently believe they are trapped. It feels to them like they have no one to turn to, and nowhere to go. I felt that way for a long time. Eventually I realized that was an illusion, and that leaving was much less complicated than I believed. For me, hearing the right words helped. It was essential. It helped to reshape my attitudes enough where I could take the final steps toward freedom, and toward the new adventure that I’m currently on — with all of its challenges and uncertainties and potential (a process that many if not all of us go through, as described so articulately by Ames further up the page).

Whatever people may believe about the FF, or about leaving the FF, the issue that I find most pertinent is the need for open discussion — whether it’s this measly blog page, or whether it’s coffee on Sunday morning with a few friends.

Frank dialogue and the sharing of information are valuable beyond description. Is there really a sound argument against it? If the FF is what it pretends to be, open dialogue and discussion would be welcomed, and there would be no fear of criticism and the sharing of information.

But they know that too much information would simply stir reflection and bring people to action — that it would call attention to the obvious.

~~~~~~~~
Tempus Fugit:

“Remembering how confused and traumatized I was when I escaped the FOF, and how long it took to even feel human again, I’m not surprised we don’t hear more from people who have left.

“Writing on this blog and trying to protect others is doing what is right, and that is reward enough.

“Thanks to all of you for your hard work.”

~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you in return. I really appreciate your straightforward commentary, and the clarity that you contribute to this very, very open discussion.

53. WhaleRider - August 7, 2012

I in the Sky:
Re: Tanya

Judging from the radical swing in her belief system, l’d say Tanya is still in the information gathering stage of her life.

As you say, time will tell. Oh, but that’s right, you don’t usually track the passage of time, do you, only the veil of the present.

I say: Tanya, you go girl. Make your Mother and Father proud of you.

54. jomopinata - August 7, 2012

Someone/45 wrote:

“This blog has failed in its main mission to file a complaint and bring about an official investigation.”

Funny, I didn’t know “we” had a “mission.” I’ve just been sitting by the fire here, eating watermelon and listening to the stories.

55. silentpurr - August 7, 2012

Re: Tanya

The experience of being ‘shunned’ can be painful. Just remember the experience when you are expected to ‘look through’ and old friend for ‘their own good’.

56. silentpurr - August 7, 2012

..I meant an old friend.

57. Golden Veil - August 7, 2012

“Do not let her fearful Spirit get you shunned!”

A young woman’s courage to follow her dreams…

58. brucelevy - August 7, 2012

From what I remember I gleaned from Tatyana’s original posts I picked up that her separation from the FOF had a lot to do with her husband’s relationships with RB and Tatyana. I know she didn’t stress that, but I remember picking it up. Her statements about her views of the perceived weaknesses of RB and the FOF seemed more a self-justification and grasp at self-worth then what was really going on…I didn’t buy them. I think a significant number of “re-joining members” re-join for the imaginary “community”, the make believe lack of negativity, the fake exclusivity and superiority, and for their own personal lack of capacity to function in the “real world”. They may see their re-joining as a strength, but personally I see it as a profound weakness, and statement on their lack of “self”

59. nigel - August 7, 2012

Sense of community

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Sense of community (or psychological sense of community) is a concept in community psychology and social psychology, as well as in several other research disciplines, such as urban sociology, which focuses on the experience of community rather than its structure, formation, setting, or other features. Sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, and others have theorized about and carried out empirical research on community, but the psychological approach asks questions about the individual’s perception, understanding, attitudes, feelings, etc. about community and his or her relationship to it and to others’ participation—indeed to the complete, multifaceted community experience.

In his seminal 1974 book, psychologist Seymour B. Sarason proposed that the psychological sense of community becomes the conceptual center for the psychology of community, asserting that it “is one of the major bases for self-definition.” By 1986 it was regarded as a central overarching concept for community psychology (Sarason, 1986; Chavis & Pretty, 1999).”

I remember, in The Forum, there was a question about what role ‘community’ had in ‘personal evolution’ and the ‘growth of the Fellowship’. As usual, Girard Haven took up several pages of the publication with inane drivel that ‘went around in circles’ without critically analysing the concept as it applied to the ‘group’. As Bruce has postulated, that particular sense of community, with emphasis put on non-negativity, is a falsehood. As a mainly Solar type, I did not try to ‘make friends’ in the FOF as a main aim. I pursued my art-form and, when the time came, offered my skills to the group. Tatyana has artistic skills as a professional graphic designer and would do well to develop that talent with her (hopefully) growing group of clients. What is real in us should never be obscured by a ‘false doctrine’ -does the phrase “Do not hide your talents under a bushel” – ‘strike a chord’?…..Nigel.

60. Golden Veil - August 7, 2012

58. Nigel

“What is real in us should never be obscured by a ‘false doctrine’”

Some would say that what is ‘real’ is relative but I agree with you!

Regarding art, Robert Burton is very narrow minded. In the Fellowship of Friends only what the “Teacher” deems ‘High Art,’ leaning towards the Fourth Way concept of ‘Absolute Art’ is acceptable. As such, freedom to develop an artistic style that might be ‘Abstract’ or ‘Expressionism’ is as discouraged in the Fellowship of Friends as it was in Nazi Germany and Communist China.

The girl in the first video above in post 56 is in conflict with the cult she was raised in over her expressing herself through original music. The Amish believe that playing the guitar is an avenue of self expression that brings undue attention to oneself.

Artists, Musicians, Writers, Everyone ~ Free Thy Self!

61. fofblogmoderator - August 8, 2012

#51 is new

62. WhaleRider - August 8, 2012

I in the Sky:

“…although I do not think she ever officially left the FoF…”

You know, this was one of my greatest reoccurring nightmares long after I officially left the FOF…that some part of me had not really left the cult.

I would have anxiety dreams about having to keep a low profile at meetings and various events I was attending, hiding my status in fear of being exposed and publicly humiliated.

It took probably 20 years and this blog for me to finally actually fully disengage myself from the cult and see it for what it really is, a rape factory, IMHO.

How’s that steward of yours doing in your dreams?

Thanks for posting.

63. jomopinata - August 8, 2012

Bruce/58 wrote:

“They may see their re-joining as a strength, but personally I see it as a profound weakness, and statement on their lack of ‘self’”

Changing the word “weakness” to “vulnerability” in this statement casts the circumstance in a whole different light. Believe me, I understand why one would indict these people, I don’t think it’s “wrong” to indict, but I also think that if someone simply indicts these people without trying to understand what’s going on inside them, an important dimension will remain invisible.

I conceive of people who go back after leaving as afflicted with a kind of social or existential vulnerability which the cult palliates. It’s in the nature of palliatives that they don’t cure afflictions, they only offer temporary relief. It’s not such a big leap to surmise that sooner or later the cult’s effectiveness at temporarily relieving the social or existential pain of its members will end.

I read the use of the word “weakness” to suggest a moral character flaw. I don’t think it’s “wrong,” exactly, to cast it in such a light; but I also think that the moralizing “strength/ weakness” construct misses an aspect of what’s going on in the psyches of these people, namely, their vulnerability to a fundamentalist worldview which they were manipulated into adopting and from which they have been unable to disentangle themselves. I can understand how the long, muscular tentacles of the mindfuck could draw fencesitters back into the cult even after an apparently successful escape.

64. nigel - August 8, 2012

Let’s admit it, although the Holy Bible is the world’s most widely read book, there is an awful load of crap but there are also some emotionally stimulating passages. And we can venture to say that Saint Paul was quite the misogynist, but this passage about ‘caritas’, the human element of love, says so much to which we can relate. The fellowship of Friends is supposed to be a ‘school of love’, but what does its founder do and what do his enablers do?????…..Nigel.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2000.

The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the
Corinthians

Chapter 13

Love

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, (Mt. 17.20 ; 21.21 · Mk. 11.23) and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 ¶ Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 ¶ Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

65. Someone - August 8, 2012

48. Fee fi fo fum – August 7, 2012

The simple truth is that for years I was neglecting everything related to my financials. Other members were working, studying, opening businesses etc. I was just ‘floating’ mainly while working for the FOF for free. There was no pressure, I was volunteering.

Somehow I always managed to stay just above the water. I managed to earn the minimal amount for food, bed and gasoline.

Many of those who were on salary were good friends of mine including some of those who used to write in this blog. They knew I had no money and yet, no one has ever approached me and said “You must take care of yourself financially.”

One day I was left with literally no money at all! I was hungry for weeks. At a certain point I realized that I am completely isolated. I was helping others for years and never helped myself. One morning I went to all those who owned me small amounts of money and I asked them to pay me. Some paid me and some declined the debts. I managed to collect a very small amount. I bought lunch at the AD. While being there I felt like a complete stranger. I went “home” packed my belongings, filled up the car and the next morning I drove away.

I was never directly abused by anyone in the FOF. No one has ever put any pressure on me financially. People were kind to me and that includes RB.

It was I who put myself into that situation. Others were declining octaves all the time and took care of their businesses. Many of them are still members.

All those “friends” never took the trouble to “wake me up” and tell me that I need to take better care of myself. Unfortunately I was very naïve and unaware of my real situation.

After leaving I finally took responsibility for my life for the first time and luckily I succeeded beyond my expectations.

66. cristalclear - August 8, 2012

I left the FOF more then twenty years ago, when I had been in for only three and a half years, but today I’m here reading this blog (started two months ago) and now, finally ,writing on it.
Why? Because the FOF had a big impact in my life, in only three years time.
It took me about ten years to be free of all the fear the superstition ,the feeling of emptiness and disillusion.
I came to realise it was a dangerous cult ,but some thougts kept coming back.
I missed my friends, the work done together, the beutiful trips around the world ,the beautiful teaching houses. I believed that Robert was sick and dangerous, but the blog wasn’t there to help me understand the amount of evil and crazyness connected to him and his “inner circle”. When people say this blog has failed his main mission, they are just talking BS .
I strongely believe we should keep on writing more and more about our personal experiences in the FOF to help others escape the brainwashing. If this blog existed twenty years ago ,I dout I would ever have joined .

67. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 8, 2012

65 Someone.

Thanks for sharing that bit of your history, I felt I could feel your world as it unfolded, and there were some bleak moments there.

I can remember the eager wish to take on more octaves, it came from that original hunger to change my state of consciousness. The feeling was that the more I could take on, the better the result for my evolution. There is a particularly pernicious idea given high prominence in the FoF, “to do what the machine does not wish to do”. In retrospect it seems obvious that following that dictum would lead to hell on earth, whereas somehow when I was a member it seemed to make sense.

I never ran out of money, but remember years of never feeling financially safe or comfortable, and it was not being able to pay Teaching Payments that was the principle fear.

Glad to read your last statements, that things have worked out in the end.

68. Toby - August 9, 2012

For me, it was difficult to see that I was involved with a malignant organization. The belief that I was a member of a benign organization — where I was doing no harm by being there or by supporting it, and where no one did me or anyone else any harm — was largely the attitude or belief that prevented me from waking up, taking care of myself, and leaving. After all, it did me no harm, so why leave?

I remember some of the general attitudes circulating in the FF that “basically everyone is the same.” People are mechanical, and share all of the same mechanical traits — some just have more of certain strengths or weaknesses, but overall we’re all the same. In the end, we’re all taking part in the same insanity, and we all demonstrate the same weaknesses. And despite sharing those same weaknesses and making the same mistakes, another premise was that supposedly some people had reached a higher level spiritually.

Think about it, though — how convenient that idea is for a malignant narcissist and sociopath. Think how convenient that idea is for his close enablers who share the same disorders. He’s just the same as all of us. His enablers are just the same as all of us. They mean well. They have our best interests at heart. If you carry that attitude with you, it’s hard to take it to heart when a person says, “Robert is very ill. This is a cult. Wake up, my friend.”

69. Fee Fi Fo Fum - August 9, 2012

65 Someone

Thank you. I remember reading a Mount Carmel Journal in the early 80s where a student, BL (now deceased), said something like, ‘Follow Allah, but tie your camel first.” I only knew BL brieflly, but he seemed to have common sense, was a business man, and seemed to hold something back for himself. Unfortunately, as you noticed, holding something back for oneself was not part of the FF value system.

Along with what Shard said above, it was the fear of not paying the teaching payments that probably led many of us to ignore our financial health and bodily health. It is a curious group of people who do not caution their friends to take better care of themselves.

70. Willie Maykit - August 9, 2012

B[ruce] L[evy]? Deceased? He was just here a minute ago.
– Betty

71. Wouldnt You Like To Know - August 9, 2012

68. Fee Fi Fo Fum:

‘. . .BL (now deceased), said something like, ‘Follow Allah, but tie your camel first.”

I believe the correct statement is:
‘Trust in Allah, but tie your camel first.’

Also, earlier on this page the subject, loosely defined as: cognitive dissonance, as in: ‘discomfort caused by holding conflicting cognitions (e.g., ideas, beliefs, values, emotional reactions) simultaneously,’ reminded me of some FoF canned thought terminating quotations:

From a Daily Card carved in stone:

‘It is the mark of an educated mind
to be able to entertain a thought
without accepting it.’
Aristotle

and

‘Uncertainty is one of the necessary sufferings of awakening.’

The value of these quotations must be determined by your own personal experience.

72. nigel - August 9, 2012

Dear Someone,

As you have been able to elucidate your connection with, and exiting from, the Fellowship of Friends, I feel I owe you an apology, inasmuch as I thought you were an insider trying to detract posters. There will always be ‘smug insiders’ in the cult, but I hope that this blog is able to appeal to the ‘better nature’ of ‘fence-sitters’ and the critical thinking ability of those who have come in contact with it and maybe considering joining the Fellowship…..Nigel.

73. nigel - August 9, 2012

Frondes Agrestes 1.2 by John Ruskin, the Evangelist

“The temper by which right taste is formed is characteristically patient. It dwells upon what is submitted to it. It does not trample upon it, – lest it should be pearls, even though it looks like husks. It is good ground, penetrable, retentive; it does not send up thorns of unkind thoughts, to choke the weak seed; it is hungry and thirsty too, and drinks all the dew that falls on it. It is an honest and good heart, that shows not too ready springing before the sun be up, but fails not afterwards; it is distrustful of itself, so as to be ready to try all things; and yet so trustful of itself, that it will neither quit what it has tried, nor take anything without trying. And the pleasure which it has in things that it finds true and good, is so great, that it cannot possibly be led aside by any tricks of fashion, or diseases of vanity; it cannot be cramped in its conclusions by partialities and hypocrisies; its visions and its delights are too penetrating, – too living, – for any whitewashed object or shallow fountain long to endure or supply. It clasps all that it loves so hard that it crushes it if it be hollow.”

74. Fee fi fo fum - August 9, 2012

70 Wouldn’t You Like To Know

Thanks for clarifying. Below is from a website:

“One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah” (At-Tirmidhi).”

When I saw that quote in the Mt Carmel/Renaissance Journal, it was the “tie your camel first” that struck me. Although the FF emphasized “being in good householder,” it was usually meant in relation to paying your teaching payments and rent on time. There was also the FF catch-all concept of “working on tramp”. But the FF emphasized the timely teaching payments as an indicator of your valuation of awakening. Plus, by “bundling together” itself (the FF) and something personal like awakening and “the Work,” the FF created a false link in our minds that if we left the FF, we lost all hope of “escaping.”. Soon, your priority was to scrape enough money together for payments, rather than looking after your overall well-being and livelihood or health. We were also never encouraged to question the underlying premise of “escaping, awakening” and so on. To question that assumption meant you were losing the Way. There was too much unthinking trust in RB, whom we assumed had our best interests in mind. One reason he’s gone on this long is that the people running the show are loyalists. It’s not like there is an independent board with balanced oversight over the FF and RB.

Someone – there seems to be a slight disconnect between your odyssey out of the FF and your taunting the perceived “failure” of the blog.

75. Someone - August 9, 2012

71. nigel – August 9, 2012
nigel
Thank you. I was not offended in the first place.

I learnt that almost nothing in real life is mere black & white. If some 1600 people chose to be FOF members, it isn’t 100% wrong for them. At least they don’t think it is.

Revenge is a strong place to act from. I have that part in me. I was in total servility while being in the FOF, while most of the others around me were not working that hard. Those in charge could have seen my situation and calm me down, but they enjoyed my 12 a day free labor more than thinking about my welfare.

When the vineyard was active, there were times that I used to work 20 hours continually day after day including weekends. Sometimes the temperature in the slopes was above 110 and I was there manually digging holes in the dry soil.

Is that the FOF fault? Partly, yes, but most of it was my carelessness. It wasn’t all bad. It was kind of nice to live simple life with nice people around. No real job, no financial worries, access to culture, nice women from different cultures and…no shortage of romance. I enjoyed all that. It was freezing during winters and there were much less visitors from mid-January till March, yet the rest of the year was quite rewarding.

Many times in business I get exactly the prices I want just because I am acting in a fair play manner and let others make a living too. This blog deliberately blocks any attempt to share the actual experiences of former members including the good and the bad sided. Each time I was trying to bring up the ‘gray scale’ of the FOF experience I was crashed on the spot.

So be it.

76. nigel - August 9, 2012

74. Someone

It does seem, as you have pointed out, that many ex-members of the FOF have decided to ‘totally disregard’ anything that may have been of benefit to them in the cult – things like recognizing Body Types, Centers of Gravity and Chief Features and being ‘externally considerate’ to others in order to have the best possible relation to them. I was quite pleasantly surprised when one of the nurses in the local asylum said to me – “Nigel, you seem like a Jovial kind of guy.” I had been a Solar-Saturn-Mars in the cult but does a statement like the nurse made mean I have evolved?…..Nigel.

77. Someone - August 9, 2012

75. nigel – August 9, 2012
I assume that as an evolved Saturn-Mars you got extra durgs at the asylum.
Am I wrong oe what?

78. Toby - August 9, 2012

Someone (around 65): “I was never directly abused by anyone in the FOF. No one has ever put any pressure on me financially. People were kind to me and that includes RB.”

This is exactly what holds many people there for so long, including myself. People were sometimes kind to me as well, including RB. It was partly what made the FF confusing, because even in the most abusive relationships, kindness can cause one to think, “Maybe this isn’t so bad.”

Sociopaths use kindness to their advantage. Some of the “kindness” that people experienced in the FF is nothing but a Golden Veil. The ugliness is there, just beneath the surface. Ask a pointed question, or say no to Robert, and the ugliness surfaces with a vengeance.

Also, it’s very possible that a “part” of RB actually was kind and thoughtful like the supposed “king of hearts” that we all were told he was. But sociopaths are able to compartmentalize. To some degree with Burton, I think it’s a form of multiple personality disorder (to go along with all of the other disorders), where he has one personality that is capable of being charming and fun to be around, and another personality that is quietly vicious and unscrupulous and deceptive. Or maybe the supposed kindness is all part of the act to help him gain what he needs from people.

Also, the word “revenge” was used above by the poster named Someone. I can’t know whether they really believe that word or not, but the word is often used as a negative spin on any criticism of Burton and the Fellowship of Friends. Again, I can’t speak for all others, but my reason for posting is to provide some help to those who want it — who may feel trapped and with nowhere to go. I imagine how much this blog would have helped me to leave many years ago had it existed. If a few people are encouraged to think more and to question their reasons for staying in this cult, typing a few words now and then is worth the effort.

I think it’s good not to underestimate how the occasional positive vibes that emanate from the FF can be confusing for people, and how it can delay the process of escaping. Even the most abusive relationship is confusing for the same reasons. Feelings of “love” and a fear of failure often prevent someone from saying, “That’s enough.”

Also, one other thought — no matter how much supposed “kindness” and “joy” that one may experience in the FF, is it enough to stay simply because “no one has hurt me”? A lot of people may read what Ames, and Tim, and Whalerider and others have to say, and simply respond by saying, “Hey, I never had a negative experience with Robert. This is not relevant to me.”

If that’s what they’re thinking, then here’s just another set of obvious and rhetorical questions: What about the many people who were NOT treated with kindness? who were abused and even mentally tortured by the entire experience? Does that even matter? As long as we’re getting what WE want, should we ignore the suffering that Burton causes others?

For me, I think it’s good to look back on the experience and appreciate what I may have received in the way of experience and joy. It’s a part of my past, where I connected with certain people, and learned. This doesn’t mean that it’s not a toxic and malignant environment. In fact, in many ways, those positive experiences were part of the deception, and part of the lie.

79. fofblogmoderator - August 9, 2012

#66 is new

80. WhaleRider - August 9, 2012

Someone:
Thanks for posting your story.

It seems to me that from your viewpoint the Nazis weren’t all bad either. Some where excellent engineers, creating great cars and fast airplanes.

It’s what those in power did with the cars and airplanes that was criminal.

IMHO, the same goes for the FOF.

Sure, it engineered a “nice” environment, with “nice” impressions and attracted “nice” people, “living a simple life” with “no financial worries, access to culture, nice women from different cultures and…no shortage of romance…”

It’s what those in power do with the product of our labor that is criminal…all engineered to feed burton’s insatiable lust and delusions of grandeur…while exploiting nice, well-meaning people like you.

For what? So followers can end up fucking themselves or worse..hanging themselves?

Despite what I may have enjoyed myself doing in the FOF prior to being asked to “snuggle” in his bed, as he put it…all that nicety very quickly became a living abusive nightmare for me when I finally saw what was behind the veil of smiles and hugs…a self-serving succubus…the engine of the rape factory.

Not only are there shades of grey between black and white…there is always more than what meets the eye, my friend.

81. silentpurr - August 9, 2012

Present students need to realize and accept the fact that Robert is addicted to negative sex.

82. nigel - August 9, 2012

77. Someone

Most of my ‘sections’ have been because of hypo-mania. Because someone in this ‘high’ state needs to be ‘brought down’ (because of non-lucid thoughts, agressive behaviour etc.), I was pumped up with ‘downers’ – Olanzapine, Lithium and Valproic Acid. I actually find it better now to be in a ‘quietly creative’ state, rather than ‘out of my tree’. Obviously, elation is a state that seems great at the time but quickly turns to anti-social behaviour and being a ‘danger to oneself or others’. I don’t think that body-type has anything to do with warranting ‘extra drugs’. Does that answer your question, or was your question a trite comment?…..Nigel.

83. nigel - August 9, 2012

81. silentpurr

Robert Earl Burton – the prostate gland that needs to be satisfied – no love or mutual enjoyment. Straight men are used by Burton’s demand that he represents C-Influence and C-Influence are writing ‘the play’. THE MAN IS SICK BEYOND BELIEF. The sooner he is ‘brought to justice’ and made to suffer as he has caused suffering for others, the better…..Nigel.

84. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 9, 2012

82 Nigel
You answered what seemed a rather “off” comment from Someone 77 about body types and your medication with very straight bat, and came out of the exchange with dignity.

85. Someone - August 10, 2012

80. WhaleRider – August 9, 2012

Yes, you and others here are constantly setting the dark tone of this blog.

My positive experiences with the FOF are as legitimate as your childish comparison with the Nazis and the ridiculous impression you are trying to falsely create of members hanging themselves as a result of their membership.

Along the many years I have been there, there was one suicide case in OH of a member who was seriously ill.

There were other two ex-members who committed suicide relatively long time after leaving. One case I know quite closely. This person was into drugs before joining, and returned to an extensive use after leaving. I do not know the details of the second case.

I am almost positive that statistically the FOF has the same suicide rate as the rest of the California population or maybe even less.

There are many aspects of the FOF existence that are positive all the way and they are not serving as a mere cover for dark activities.

That DOES NOT!!! diminish the gravity of the allegations against RB sexual imposed actions. Still, after more than forty years, if there is not one complaint filed (besides the one in the early 80’s that was settled outside the court), that is a real failure – real shame.

Frankly I do not care so much for the FOF reputation and if it pictured in darker colors than it actually is, it’s fine with me.

I am feeling sorry to watch 5-10 ex-members here that are still deep in the FOF captivity not realizing that unless there is a complaint and investigation nothing is going to change no matter what they say or write here.

To them I say ‘leave the “school”’ don’t stay in its captivity.

86. brucelevy - August 10, 2012

This is just fucking silly. Really? Madame, you’re an idiot.

87. nigel - August 10, 2012

To Someone and Whale Rider (and others) alike…..

…..from “Buddhist Quotes”…..

These teachings are like a raft, to be abandoned once you have crossed the flood.
Since you should abandon even good states of mind generated by these teachings,
How much more so should you abandon bad states of mind!

88. Willie Maykit - August 10, 2012

Bruce! You’re alive! There are so many factual errors in someone’s postings that, to me, it’s obvious that she’s fake. Ames pointed this out a while back. There. I hope this insight will enable you putzes to have even more fun. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking “mission accomplished”.
Peace & Love, Betty Wont

89. Ames Gilbert - August 10, 2012

Someone, I have many reasons to believe that you’re a shill, which I’ve pointed out previously. Another example: in your post 123-23 you said, “This is 100% reliable info: 38 FOF members left between January till June 2012 and 117 new members joined including 14 rejoined members who left before 2012. No doubt the FOF has survived the wave of 2007-2010.
Unless there is still a chance to really go for the sex abuse lawsuit, this blog has zero impact.”

So tell us, Someone, how we can reconcile your claims of having left with this detailed inside information, information which is not available to the casual user of the private Fellowship of Friends Propylaia website, even if you had the necessary password to enter. The information you claim “is 100% reliable” can only come from the computer files in the Ouspensky office, and even then only if someone with authority opened them up for you or summarized them for you.

You are so very keen to have the posters here move on, wind down the blog, and stop being a nuisance, I can’t help but be suspicious . . .
And, please, stop whining about how “this blog deliberately blocks any attempt to share the actual experiences of former members” (123-75). That is utter bullshit.

My impression is that you never fully left. You had good times and bad times, mostly good, and the bad times came at the end. You didn’t leave because you developed any conscience, but because you ran out of money. Nothing that has happened since seems to have helped you mature in that direction any more. You’re now a successful businessman (if we can believe your previous postings), but the plight of others doesn’t move you, nor do you think warning people away from the Fellowship of Friends has any value. Really, for all I know, you’re Nik Spaulding, and having a bit of fun making up these stories.

You can take your ‘pity’ for my supposed captivity here on the blog and shove it.

90. cristalclear - August 10, 2012

I ‘m new to the blog and feel a little scared to say anything ,but this talking about the aim and impact of the blog is really getting on my nerves. Who said it must have an aim or a mission? If it is so I’m in the wrong place.Trying to tell the truth about rb and his cult is a matter of conscience, not the aim of my life.
I thought we were here to share something,and if that can help people to leave, or not join ,it’s a good thing for me.
I wonder why so many different people keep pointing out how useless and pathetic this blog is ,,and yet continue to write on it .
I was not abused in the fof ,people were kind or nice or whatever, but that doesn’t mean we were not used.
They used me and everybody else.They used our goodwill ,our trust our youth, and our dreams,and I’m still angry for that.
If others are happy with it, it’s ok for me, but I really don’t understand why they are writing here.

91. Ames Gilbert - August 10, 2012

Cristalclear (#123-66 and #123-90 or thereabouts),
I for one appreciate your thanks and the valuable feedback. Like you, it took me about ten years to regain my equilibrium after I left. And, I’m one of those who had some good times, lots of ‘high states’ and came to no great harm. I had positive experiences, met some unusual folks, I met my wife of 32 years there, was compelled to give up smoking. I’ve acknowledged that before on this blog.
I was approached by Burton, traveled with him, and was able to say ‘no’ when he claimed that “C-Influence wanted us to be friends”. But, some time before I was kicked out for protesting too much around the Troy Buzbee episode (late 1994), it was becoming clear to me that many others did not have my luck, had fared badly and were being harmed by Burton. Few people talked about it, but if one was persistent, one could find people who knew and that were willing to talk about their experiences.

Here’s my point. It became clearer and clearer that I was part of their problems, that by lending my support in so many ways, financial, physical and psychological, I was creating and perpetuating a milieu for Burton and his abuses. Ironically, it took talking to a psychologist in the Fellowship of Friends to clear my head. It was he who explained the dynamics of the unequal psychological power between Burton and the naïve young men he selected, and how apparent consent could be no consent at all, unless between equals, all in terms that even a slow learner like myself could not fail to understand. (Even more ironically, he remains a member to this day). Studying this more deeply, it seemed to me that part of effectively atoning for the harm I caused, however inadvertently, would be to warn others. Which I did immediately from then onwards, and now, years later, by means of this blog. What I mean by ‘effectively atoning’ is the action that must come from remorse of conscience, and which is done because it simply must be done. Nevertheless, feedback like yours is a great encouragement; so again, thanks!

92. Tim Campion - August 10, 2012

At 42 years of age, The Fellowship of Friends has roughly 1,450 members, about 100 more than it had at 10 years of age. This, despite a “worldwide expansion” of centers and the advent of the internet, which should have greatly facilitated recruitment. Nearly 20% of current members joined in the first decade and, if the cult persists, will likely go to their grave as members.

Since the creation of this blog in 2006, Fellowship membership has declined by a third.

We don’t have the data to draw a direct correlation, but it would be foolish to dismiss the blog as irrelevant.

Robert Burton, Girard Haven, Linda Tulisso, Asaf Braverman, Benjamin Yudin and the rest are merely peddling a product, and like those Rolex watches and Louis Vuitton bags sold on street corners, it’s a fraud.

Customer reviews are now on-line for the world to see. And it’s not good news for the con men, and women. Their enterprise is bankrupt.

93. Tempus Fugit - August 10, 2012

90. cristalclear – August 10, 2012
” I wonder why so many different people keep pointing out how useless and pathetic this blog is ,,and yet continue to write on it .”

89. Ames Gilbert – August 10, 2012
“Someone, I have many reasons to believe that you’re a shill, which I’ve pointed out previously.”

One answer to your question, cristalclear, is that not all writers to this blog are honest about their opposition to the FOF, which in my opinion is nothing more than a criminal gang. Others are opposed but their understanding of the depravity of the cult is still half formed.

I wonder why Someone bothers to post here. If she or he truly believes this blog is maintained by a small number of malcontents who are shortsighted in their evaluation of the FOF then why does Someone waste time writing?

I think Someone knows better but is either speaking dishonestly or speaking from ignorance.

Someone – surely you can see the truth. We were fooled and we were used. Any good experiences were real and do not need to be denied, but don’t they pale when we understand the horror of abuse that is the heart of the FOF?

I strongly recommend that everyone go back to the very beginning of the blog, where a lively and heated discussion was started and many FOF members participated. You may even recognize some of the names:

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

The very first post is by a man named Pavel who went to one, that’s one, 1, introductory meeting in London and then wrote, in part:

” 2) You might have gathered on your own that the Fellowship is a bit of a cult….. The leader is quite definitely insane, a paedophile, brainwasher and manipulator. And he’s good. He likes people to dress up nice and smart, he doesn’t like people to joke, he hates smoking and, just for good measure, he dislikes pre-marital sex and homosexuality. That’s coming from a man who has had several lawsuits filed against him for forced homosexual acts. He also believes that he talks with 44 angels – including Jesus, Franklin and Goethe. Rock on Burton!!! Sadly enough this madman has managed to attract around 2000 followers.
3) This is the hard part. I hate to say it but some of the people I met in the Fellowship were incredibly inteligent, well-versed in esoteric studies, knowledgable and possibly quite far on the self-exploration path. They seemed to have that ‘it’ that serious students of alternate states of consciousness, the inner and outer realities, acquire after time. Doesn’t bode well with the cultist reality of the Fellowship but that’s what I was getting from them. After reading some more on these things I have to say that most of it was probably an act. The arrogance felt from the members of the Fellowship towards the listeners can be explained by the belief of these people that whoever is not a member is a worthless robot who deserves nothing from the superior members. This is a belief that is taught as a part of the teachings of the Fellowship of Friends, it always results in alienation from one’s family, friends, partner – you name it.
So be warned –”

I really admire and envy Pavel, what a smart man! He saw the truth after one meeting that took me years to see, but thank God I finally did.

If you are a member of the FOF and struggling to take the action to free yourself, please remember it is never too late. Clearly we didn’t have Pavel’s quick grasp, but we can reclaim our lives at any time.

Some of you will never leave because you share in the sociopathy of the group and feel right at home as part of the gang. Others of you are compromised by money, status, power over others, employment in FOF businesses, force of habit, or other reasons that seem commanding to you.

If you could get your thinking clear you would see that no reason justifies the support of an abusive cult. Your membership makes you an accomplice to all evil done to others, a point just noted by Ames Gilbert in post 91 above.

I have more sympathy for those who have wives, husbands, partners, or children in the group – people you love and are afraid of losing.

But think. How much better to show your love than by demonstrating the reality of escape and the benefits of freedom. Your courage will inspire not only your loved ones but many others.

Once you know you must leave the only question left is when.

Right now would be perfect. It’s a beautiful day to be free.

94. Ames Gilbert - August 10, 2012

Tim (#122-92 or thereabouts),
thanks for the summary. I would add that the 20% True Believers are now probably also the main source of income. There are less than 60 American followers other than those who live at The Farm/Mt Carmel/Renaissance/ Isis/ Apollo¬–again. The majority of these are aging, retired or close to it. Their income and energy must inevitably diminish. The number of members in Western Europe is also dramatically reduced, hence income. Most followers from the rest of the world cannot afford the high payments.
The blog played, and continues to play a part in that, for sure.

Linda Kaplan/Tulisso/Rockwood (and other former names), at times President, Board member, enforcer, editor, collector and inventor of quotations (and many other roles as a chief enabler to Burton), is reliably reported to have said,

The blog is the worst thing that ever happened to the Fellowship.

That is good enough for me!

95. brucelevy - August 10, 2012

I think Linda is up there with the top 5 worst things to happen to the FOF.

96. WhaleRider - August 10, 2012

Someone:
“My positive experiences with the FOF are as legitimate as your childish comparison…. ”

“The simple truth is that for years I was neglecting everything related to my financials.”

“Other members were working, studying, opening businesses etc. I was just ‘floating’ mainly while working for the FOF for free.”

“They knew I had no money and yet, no one has ever approached me and said “You must take care of yourself financially.”

“One day I was left with literally no money at all.”

“I was hungry for weeks.”

“At a certain point I realized that I am completely isolated.”

“I was helping others for years and never helped myself.”

Yes, I would say that your positive experiences floating in the FOF womb are legitimately childish.

But now that you are all grown up, you’d like to preserve the memory of your huge cache of positive childlike FOF experiences, and stay oblivious to the fact that your big daddy burton who loves you dearly was also molesting most of your brothers the whole time behind those closed doors.

I smell a troll.

97. cristalclear - August 11, 2012

91. Ames Gilbert
“consent could be no consent at all, unless between equals”
That ‘s exactly what I thought when some friends in Renaissence told me about rb and the boys. It was the beginning of the end for me.
There were many other things that were hard for me to accept in the fof, things like rb talking to Leonardo ,C influence arranging disasters and people’s death so that We could progress in our evolution ,the fact that we didn’t have a soul and so on,but THAT was to much .
I met some of this boys and I know that what was going on was wrong.
Not a matter of morality ,mostly an abuse of power,an abuse of trust.
This man was a god for most students and he was taking advance of that ,with people that believed in him .
How could he possibly be conscious if he couldn’t even be a decent human beeing?
And what abou us,”the students” ?
I’m quite sure many didn’t know anything (it took me three years to know),but my center directors knew and many others knew and they were trying to hide it or justify it. I felt betrayed ,I felt stupid and manipulated. The “nice” people weren’t that nice after all.
And to complicate things a little further I was not alone in this ,and I
didn’t want to loose the person I loved .
So it took even more efforts, but we both made it.
What I find weird is that ,despite the adversion we developed for the fof ,we both had a hard time after leaving it, and that’s why I believe
it’s so dangerous. You are brainwashed and some ideas that were planted in your brain are difficult to let go.

93 Tempus fugit
When I said I didn’t understand why they kept writing I was trying to sound kind of ironical but, not beeing english speaking,I probably ended up sounding just stupid! I hope that my skills will improve with exercise.
I red enaugh of the blog to know that many people are triyng to bring it down in any possible way ,and if they bother doing this it means that it has an impact.
Thank you all, for sharing that with me and many others that, like myself ,feel the need to go back to that experience, to understand
it better and heal even the last little wound that ‘s left.

98. I in the sky - August 11, 2012

Tim – 92

“Robert Burton, Girard Haven, Linda Tulisso, Asaf Braverman, Benjamin Yudin and the rest are merely peddling a product, and like those Rolex watches and Louis Vuitton bags sold on street corners, it’s a fraud.”

To use your analogy, where are the real teachers and spiritual guides, real schools of enlightenment or higher consciousness? No one here seems in the least interested in the “genuine article.” No one talks about looking for the real, or finding the real, or describes encounters with the real. There can be no charlatan teachers without there being real ones. Just like there can’t be fake Rolex watches without there being real Rolex watches.

Where are the real teachers, and does anyone on the blog need them? Is enlightenment a myth?

99. James Mclemore - August 11, 2012

98. I in the sky

“Where are the real teachers, and does anyone on the blog need them? Is enlightenment a myth?”

I think it is enough to first free oneself from the entanglement of the cage-of-words that the fof presented one with and everything that might entail. And to be a bit hesitant at looking for another cage-of-words to replace it with. It looks to me that one can learn from anything and everything that comes to you from “outside” and anything and everything that arises on the “inside”. ‘Calls’ are coming in all the time. I think it was either Bruce Levy or Alan Watts who said once,
“Just don’t forget to hang up the phone”.

100. Tim Campion - August 11, 2012

I in the Sky,

Forget the analogy. Do you understand the statement “it’s a fraud”?

This blog offers the opportunity to warn others about The Fellowship of Friends cult that I was too naive to avoid. Beyond this, your personal spiritual journey is not my concern. However, if you have been following along, you should by now be able to recognize the hallmarks of a cult, understand better what drives a narcissistic sociopath, and appreciate the damage cults can cause.

This might help you find a “more real” teacher almost anywhere you look, even in the “life person” sitting next to you at the coffee shop.

101. I in the sky - August 11, 2012

Tim – 100

Thanks Tim, but you didn’t really address the questions. I understand that the blog is about warning others. I also understand that one can often learn one of life’s lessons from a coffee shop patron. But that obviously wasn’t my line of thought when asking.

102. I in the sky - August 11, 2012

James M.

“I think it is enough to first free oneself from the entanglement of the cage-of-words that the fof presented one with and everything that might entail. And to be a bit hesitant at looking for another cage-of-words to replace it with.”

I wasn’t implying that one should look for “another cage-of-words.”

Just wondering if anyone is interested in finding something that to them is more real. Most people who joined the FoF were looking for a real teaching I presume. Since they did not find what they were looking for there I wondered if anyone kept up the search. It all comes down to the thought that if there are fakes, charlatans, fraudulent organizations, there must be the opposite, the real equivalent. We wouldn’t even be able to label something a fraud if the real version of it did not exist.

103. Tim Campion - August 11, 2012

I in the sky,

You are correct. Your “line of thought” (and mission here) are not obvious to me, but if you understand that, for some of us, the blog serves primarily to warn about The Fellowship of Friends cult, then you can understand why I hesitate to address your several questions about searching for real schools, real teachers, enlightenment and higher consciousness.

What I will say is that the further we move beyond the influence of Robert Burton and The Fellowship of Friends, the better our chances of encountering the more real, and less fraudulent. We may even enter a domain where conscience is not regarded as a weakness. That’s a start.

104. Someone - August 11, 2012

92. Tim Campion – August 10, 2012

I don’t think that the FOF is making serious efforts to expand. It is more likely that they are comfortable with their current size. Comparing to huge worldwide cults with millions of paying members, the FOF is almost invisible. I don’t see anyone there in OH with the competence and means to even scratch the size of the big players.

It is quit insignificant if the FOF has 1500 or 2500 members. It has never been a large organization anyway. They will probaly stay between 1400-2000.

105. Ames Gilbert - August 11, 2012

I in the sky (#123-98 or thereabouts),
IMHO, the kind of advice you’re looking for would be individual for you. I don’t know you, so any advice I would offer then becomes general, and verging on useless. If I were meeting you face to face, I would certainly start by questioning your assumptions! And you could question mine, and maybe we’d make a start. Maybe you’d even change your questions.
But, that’s not the case, so:

Assuming you joined the FoF, and assuming that the bait for you was the Fourth Way . . .
Like they said, if you’re not at least normal, there is no point in looking further. The work would be to become normal. I think that the kind of person (and remember, I’m just generalizing here) who joined the FoF and got stuck there, like myself, was definitely not the kind of normal I’m thinking of. My experience was that, apart from coming with weaknesses that allowed me to become stuck, those weaknesses were exacerbated, and I became even more asleep. So, a long hard road to become normal, for me.
Similarly from the point of view of a ‘real’ teacher in the Fourth Way sense. Why on earth would such a teacher want someone like me as a student? Their time would be limited and valuable, they would insist on at least starting with normal.
What is the purpose of a Fourth Way ‘school’. I don’t know, but somewhere along the line, it seems to me, one has to become acquainted with one’s conscience. A fake teacher, like Burton, has no idea about that. And of course there has to be graduation.

If you joined the FoF and the bait for you was ‘learning how to maintain and extend presence’, then there is no better advice than James just gave.

If you joined the FoF and the bait for you was prophecies, signs and numerology, you and I are probably too far apart to exchange much useful information.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are precious few teachers with a formal following who haven’t succumbed to the temptations that adoring or fearful followers put in their way. This is particularly true of those who see themselves as perfected, or who think they have nothing to learn from their students. So, if I were looking for a teacher, one of the qualifications would be that they knew how to deal with these temptations.
I’ve said many times on this blog that I think Burton is an object lesson, someone who cannot deal with these temptations. There’s a lot to learn there about ‘teachers’ and ‘followers’. At least you’d know the warning signs.

For myself, I haven’t got beyond trying to learn from the people and situations right around me as I live my life. Everyone I’ve met has something to teach me, if I’m open to it, and this applies on so many levels. At the same time, I haven’t lived my life in vain, and I have experiences to draw on that may be useful to others, one way or another. So, at my level, there is the chance of a fair exchange, the role of student and teacher constantly changing. That’s fun, and I don’t aspire to anything more.

106. WhaleRider - August 11, 2012

I in the Sky:

“Robert Burton, Girard Haven, Linda Tulisso, Asaf Braverman, Benjamin Yudin and the rest are merely peddling a product, and like those Rolex watches and Louis Vuitton bags sold on street corners, it’s a fraud.”

“To use your analogy, where are the real teachers and spiritual guides, real schools of enlightenment or higher consciousness? No one here seems in the least interested in the “genuine article.” No one talks about looking for the real, or finding the real, or describes encounters with the real. There can be no charlatan teachers without there being real ones. Just like there can’t be fake Rolex watches without there being real Rolex watches.

Where are the real teachers, and does anyone on the blog need them? Is enlightenment a myth?

It all comes down to the thought that if there are fakes, charlatans, fraudulent organizations, there must be the opposite, the real equivalent. We wouldn’t even be able to label something a fraud if the real version of it did not exist.”

Awesome reductionist post, I in the Sky! Thank you for that.

You are absolutely right about Tim’s analogy. There can be no fake Rolex watches without the real ones.

I believe the real version does exist.

Your spiritual guide exists inside you already.

That’s how I know people like burton are a fake.

Self-proclaimed “enlightened beings” are fakes. What’s so hard to see about that?

You must have read Lao Tsu, did you understand what he was saying?

You are your own best teacher, and your dreams are your nightly lessons.

But you seem content to look everywhere else but inside you, deriving personal meaning from random license plates, minimizing the importance of your own dreams, and externalizing the “real” onto others willing to delude and balkanize you into submission.

Your dreams are the “genuine article”, for goodness sake!!!

You need not go looking anywhere else for guidance.

Remember how Christ spoke in parables?

By your analogy of a “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”, then when Christ spoke of “man not living on bread alone”, you think he was just advertising the fact that we need to eat fruits and vegetables.

Your dreams speak to you in parables, too! They are imbued with symbolic meaning. That’s why they are difficult to understand by your literal rational mind.

And yes, what if enlightenment were a myth? Good point!

What if the concept of attaining “permanent enlightenment” were simply a viral meme like the concept of “race” promoted by narcissists unconscious of their internal idealized parental figures who are compelled to continually set lofty goals for themselves and others far out of reach in order to enslave them?

What if the idea of a “guru” were simply a mask of authoritarian power worn by those who seek control over others?

If that were so, then FOF hierarchy would crumble, there would be no cults, and you’d be out looking for a real job instead of pimping for burton.

And shame on you for saying that no one here is interested in the truth!!!

That’s the whole point of the blog.

107. brucelevy - August 11, 2012

102. I in the sky

If there are “real” ones, I would imagine them to be virtually invisible to the rest of the populace. They would have no need to be “known”. It’s only the phonies, misanthropes and sociopathic narcissists that have the need to be seen and worshiped and advertise their spirituality and wear it on their sleeve. But what business is it to you what other people are looking for or what they believe? It’s a moot question and a straw man. It’s smells of bull shit and doesn’t mean shit to a tree. You have something in your back pocket that you want to sell?

108. Barbara - August 11, 2012

Dear Ames et al, this blog is fulfilling its aim.
Thanks for holding ~ this story is not forgotten.

109. Tim Campion - August 11, 2012

Someone,

That is an “angle” worthy of our old friend “Daily Cardiac”. Are you suggesting that over the past five years the Fellowship of Friends has intentionally shed a third of its membership, like Robert Burton going on a diet? And that they are now more “comfortable” with their new, slimmer figure?

Are we to consider it somehow more benign, and less insidious, simply because it’s a little cult?

110. Bares Reposting - August 11, 2012

Jiminy Cricket Says:
March 29th, 2007 at 11:12 am

‘Let your Conscience be your guide.’

Jiminy may be small, but he’s far from your average cricket. He can turn an umbrella into a parachute and looks great in a top hat and spats, and he carries a mean tune, as well as a nearly inexhaustible supply of home-brewed common sense. It’s no wonder he is chosen by the Blue Fairy to be Pinocchio’s ‘official’ conscience. Unfortunately for Jiminy, it’s only after he, blushingly, agrees to his appointment as ‘Lord High Keeper of the Knowledge of Right and Wrong, Counselor in Moments of Temptation, and Guide along the Straight and Narrow Path,’ that he realizes what a job he’s gotten himself into. Like any conscience, Jiminy is occasionally late on the job, and frequently ignored even when he is around. Fortunately, Jiminy is nothing if not persistent, and he eventually succeeds in steering Pinocchio back to the right path.
. . .
‘Let your Conscience be your guide.’

Jiminy Cricket

111. Bares Reposting - August 11, 2012

A Rare and Precious Thing:
The Possibilities and Pitfalls
of Working with a Spiritual Teacher
by John Kain

From Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Rare-Precious-Thing-Possibilities-Spiritual/dp/0307335925
‘Book Description
Publication Date: September 5, 2006

‘Never have there been so many spiritual seekers and so much readily available information about paths to self-fulfillment. Yet this book is the first in-depth exploration of how to evaluate spiritual teachers, what to expect from them, and what to be wary of, as well as whether it is necessary to study and practice with a guru or possible to achieve the same thing on your own.

John Kain introduces us to teachers (and their students) from a wide range of traditions:

Murat Yagan, a ninety-year-old Circassian teacher of Sufism and Kebzeh in a rural community in British Columbia; Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the nineteenth-generation keeper of the sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe of the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Nation; Joan Chittister, OSB, a sister at a Benedictine monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania, an ardent advocate for peace and justice, a feminist, and a questioner of institutional thinking; Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement, enthusiastic teacher of Hasidism, and past holder of the World Wisdom chair at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado; Gehlek Rimpoche, a renegade but beloved Tibetan Buddhist teacher whose aim is to dispense with superficial traditions and integrate the essence of Buddhist teaching into Western culture; Sudha Puri, the American-born head of Ananda Ashram north of Los Angeles and the Vedanta Centre in Massachusetts, in the lineage of the Indian sage Ramakrishna; John Daido Loori, the abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery in New York’s Catskill Mountains, who is known for using photography and the arts as bridges to awareness; and Adyashanti, a charismatic American teacher in Los Gatos, California, who has broken away from all established traditions.

Woven throughout Kain’s detailed profiles of the teachers themselves is information on finding a teacher, life in a spiritual community, dealing with problems like disillusionment and abuse of power, and the meeting (or lack thereof) between Western psychology and religion.

A teacher’s job is not actually to give us anything but to take away the unnecessary baggage we accumulate in our minds that obscures the truth. It is a rare and precious thing to work with someone whose purpose is to cajole us into opening our eyes and experiencing a saner reality. Kain offers would-be pilgrims an inside look at this relationship and what extraordinary things can result from it.’

Read more by using Amazon link above.

112. I in the sky - August 11, 2012

Thank You Tim, Ames and WhaleRider for your sincere replies.

Tim – “Your “line of thought” (and mission here) are not obvious to me…”

There was a recent discussion on the blog and the general consensus was that there was no real mission regarding the blog’s existence and there need not be. I also would say the same for my postings. I did notice a lack of mentioning of the “other side of the coin” – there is an ongoing aim to warn others of the existence of and danger of cults but nothing regarding a continued search for something real. Seeing that most people who would find this blog (who have never been in the FoF) are likely to be at the stage of actively searching for a spiritual connection I thought it might be useful to point this out.

By the way Tim, I was satisfied with your first answer to my recent post. I mentioned that you did not address the questions because I was not sure you were aware of it.

Ames – “I’ve come to the conclusion that there are precious few teachers with a formal following who haven’t succumbed to the temptations that adoring or fearful followers put in their way.”

I agree, and that would make those precious few all the more valuable.

Whalerider – “Your spiritual guide exists inside you already… You are your own best teacher…”

This is no doubt true; it is said we are made in God’s likeness. “Ye shall be as God, knowing good from evil.”

But that isn’t the whole story. Man seems to serve several purposes on this earth. There are many, perhaps only because of the unfortunate circumstances of their birth, who are bound to a survivalist existence of gathering food and shelter, procreating, and nothing more.

There are many others who are driven to acquiring as much material wealth as possible. Their existence is consumed by growing their wealth and all the perks that come to them as a result of wealth. There are many other men who are not happy unless they are destroying someone else’s happiness. Then there are those who see this earth as a kind of way station or halfway house, and feel strongly that they need to perfect themselves spiritually in this world in order to be prepared for the real life, the life of the spirit, that they are certain will follow the earthly life.

For them the search for someone who is living that reality and who can help them avoid the pitfalls of the path becomes attractive or even necessary. The promise of a teacher to someone who wants a spiritual guide makes all the sense in the world. After all, we seek out teachers to instruct us in all sorts of earthly specialties, so it makes abundant sense that we would seek out a teacher who is a specialist in matters of the spirit.

WhaleRider – “And yes, what if enlightenment were a myth? Good point!

What if the concept of attaining “permanent enlightenment” were simply a viral meme like the concept of “race” promoted by narcissists…

What if the idea of a “guru” were simply a mask of authoritarian power worn by those who seek control over others?”

Then we’re back at the place of no fake Rolex watches, because there are no real ones.

113. I in the sky - August 11, 2012

Bruce Levy – 107

“You have something in your back pocket that you want to sell?”

I’m just a kiosk in this sprawling mall.

114. WhaleRider - August 12, 2012

I in the Sky:
“Then we’re back at the place of no fake Rolex watches, because there are no real ones.”

Huh? Speak for yourself. You are back where you started. I graduated from your circular thinking long ago.

A snake bites his own tail and rolls spins in circles because he does not know himself.

The real guru is within.

115. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 12, 2012

I and in sky 98: “No one here seems in the least interested in the “genuine article.” No one talks about looking for the real, or finding the real, or describes encounters with the real.”

OK I’ll bite.

It is my subjective reality that it is not possible for anyone to have anything other than a subjective reality. Those who claim to have overcome that obstacle are deluded.

My particular subjective reality is this: We humans are born into an unimaginably large and wondrous universe. The question of why there is something and not nothing, no time, no space, no energy, no matter, no awareness is a puzzle that lies beyond any current human knowledge.

It seems likely that we cease to exist at the moment of death and become as we were before we were born. In the same way I don’t fear the time before I was born, I don’t fear the time after my death, I simply won’t be around.

“Eternity is in love with the productions of time” William Blake

116. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 12, 2012

Jah Wobble describes an encounter with the real
coming on…

117. WhaleRider - August 12, 2012

I in the Sky;
“…feel strongly that they need to perfect themselves spiritually..”

More perfect narcissist bullshit.

Only the god delusion is perfect!

Like I said, narcissists unconsciously set goals and standards that are unattainable because of an idealized parental figure they have internalized.

Mommy or Daddy wasn’t there for them; so instead of a fallible, imperfect, and realistic human internalization of the father or mother image, the idealized internal representation leads to distorted thinking and grandiosity, insuring a familar feeling of not ever being good enough…for if the child felt they were good enough from sufficent empathic mirroring from a more present parent, then the absent mommy or daddy would have paid more attention to them which they did not.

A narcissist will also hold others to an impossibly high standard that they themselves cannot meet either, and a malignant narcissist will delude others into believing they have arrived, creating a captive audience of masochistic echoeing followers willing to collude for recognition by the narcissist, because they too don’t feel good enough either.

And thus no one ever graduates!

All the narcissist has to do is raise the bar higher and higher so others are forced to echo louder; if you develop a voice of your own, i.e. a conscience, and refuse to collude in the delusion, you are exiled to Siberia.

We happen to know that burton’s father was never there for him. His narcissism undoubtedly became malignant when he met the abusive Alex Horn.

You’d like to entertain the delusion that burton has somehow perfected himself, when all he has really perfected is his airtight delusional system.

That just makes me want to puke.

118. Tempus Fugit - August 12, 2012

This post was written, in part, as a friendly response to the question posed by “I in the Sky.”

I believe that deep in the heart of every human being is the spark of God that exists in everything, everywhere. It can be covered over but never destroyed. It pushes forward forever. It will not be denied. It is the source of our conceptions of God and our yearning to find Him (or Her if you prefer).

The teacher that has made the most sense to me is Meher Baba (meaning “compassionate father”). I recommend his book “God Speaks” for his own explanation of his cosmology and human spiritual evolution. This is challenging reading but a patient person will be well rewarded.

See Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_Speaks

Baba’s student C.B. Purdom wrote the classic biography of Baba, “The God Man.” Baba was known as the “Silent Master.” He stopped speaking about age 29 and maintained silence until his death at age 74.

I am not a follower of Meher Baba; I simply respect his message.

Based on his behavior and not just his words, he was a true teacher. By that I mean he not only preached high ideals, he actualized them daily.

Meher Baba lived in poverty and diverted all money from his followers to help others. He traveled throughout India, and in each village would have his aides bring him lepers, the mentally ill, and other outcasts. He bathed them with his own hands and gave them clean clothes.

Meher Baba’s teaching is the ultimate expression of optimism for the human condition and love for others. (Nigel, Whitman and Baba would have greeted each other as brothers instantly, as both looked at every person and simply saw God in a different costume.)

Baba said that in the long span of time every soul, without exception, would eventually awaken to it’s true nature as identical to God himself.

However, Baba also acknowledged human free will, and said that individuals who commit crimes and harm others go down the spiritual ladder, and the greater their crimes the further they fall.

This is why I believe Robert Burton is best understood as just an ordinary human being who is mentally ill and has misused his talents. He deserves pity from a safe distance, because his fate must be truly as grotesque as his behavior.

Even though we will all find Godhood eventually, Meher Baba emphasized the urgency of awakening, if only to minimize the suffering and death that is integral to physical life.

And the fastest way to evolve? Sacrifice of selfish personal desires and focus on service to others, because when we serve others we are serving God in them and awakening God in ourselves. Personally I’m not that good at this, but I do hold it as a personal aspiration.

I believe any sincere spiritual seeker will be astonished and inspired by studying Meher Baba’s life.

If you’re curious, the main Wikipedia article on Meher Baba is a good start:

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

By the way, I guess I’m compulsive about this message, but if you are still in the phony FOF cult one of the benefits of leaving is more free time to study inspirational teachers like Meher Baba🙂

119. Joseph Nachumovitch - August 12, 2012

You are all lying to yourselves about something.

120. Fee fi fo fum - August 12, 2012

119 “Joseph N” – Your sentence reminds me of the one-size-fits-all, catch-all tone of FF-think. You left the FF, but you might want to look at how your seemingly profound general truths about people are a vestige of RB’s/FF’s mind control methods. There is enough truth in your pronouncement for a reader to agree and feel humbled, and just as tellingly, feel badly about oneself. In the FF, RB made us feel deficient, and he spewed out about himself all sorts of unverifiable statements about how lofty and unapproachable his level of being was.

121. brucelevy - August 12, 2012

119. Joseph Nachumovitch

Joseph, you’re presently the blog’s comic relief. No brain needed.

122. Tim Campion - August 12, 2012

Joseph Nachumovitch/Someone:

Who’s lying?

123. WhaleRider - August 12, 2012

Joseph N:
“You are all lying to yourselves about something.”

Yes, to be honest, I surely do lie to myself about something.

Don’t you?

I can accept that about myself.

Are you referring to “something” specific?

124. silentpurr - August 12, 2012

I remember leaving the “lower house general store” one day and Robert summoned me over to where he was having a manicure. He wanted to see the book I had just purchased, it was Meher Baba’s “God Speaks”. He asked me to return it an buy something by Goethe instead which I did. Even though I obediently exchanged the books, the occasion disrupted my emotional resonance, reenforcing Robert’s control over me.

125. brucelevy - August 12, 2012

https://www.facebook.com/joseph.nachumovitch

Pretty much a coward in every way, and not too bright.

126. brucelevy - August 12, 2012

If he’s “someone” he would more aptly be named no one.

127. brucelevy - August 12, 2012
128. brucelevy - August 12, 2012

There’s two different spellings so the image in 127 may or may not be him.

129. jomopinata - August 12, 2012

119/Joseph wrote:

“You are all lying to yourselves about something.”

Perhaps so, but your viewing us through this optic is how you distance yourself from the force of what we have to say. Better not get too close, you might find that you have been affected by it.

130. silentpurr - August 12, 2012

Joseph seems to be addressing the blog from an “elevated” or an opposing perspective with the “you” dictum.

131. nigel - August 12, 2012

118. Tempus Fugit

“And the fastest way to evolve? Sacrifice of selfish personal desires and focus on service to others, because when we serve others we are serving God in them and awakening God in ourselves. Personally I’m not that good at this, but I do hold it as a personal aspiration.”

Dear TF,

Thank you for addressing an “anger” in me that somehow ‘welled-up’ on vacation in Edinburgh with my family this weekend, where the highlight was the
Military Tattoo. I was watching couples from all nations hand-in-hand, obviously vacationing themselves and felt a kind of jealousy – that I had joined the FOF at age 21 and encountered poverty which still lasts to this day (no, I have never gone on vacation with a woman that I might have loved!). But I get a great spiritual warmth from teaching others in my craft form and realize that I could have been a frequent ‘visitor’ to the ‘asylum’ if I had not taken on this life’s task. Financially, I am the poorest person in the group, but spiritually perhaps the richest. Did not Christ say…..

“Take no heed for what you should eat or what you should put on…..first attain the Kingdom of Heaven, then all these things shall be added unto you”.

Thanks for listening, everyone…..Nigel.

132. brucelevy - August 13, 2012

130. silentpurr

Well, as Meher Baba said “Joseph Nachumovitch, you should eat shit and die.”

133. I in the sky - August 13, 2012

118 – Tempus Fugit

Meher Baba has helped me innumerable times over the years. I would certainly recommend his writings to anyone reading these pages. Thanks for mentioning him.

While one could spend a lifetime studying his works I do not think it would be the same as being under the direct influence of someone on this level. When people are left to their own devices to interpret and apply the teachings of someone like Meher Baba I personally don’t think they can give themselves the correct impetus to get over all the obstacles that occur along the journey. I think it’s been proven to be possible, but very difficult. Although it’s also difficult with a teacher, but in a different way. In that regard distorting the teaching is less of a problem with an overseer but there is still the difficult issue of giving up one’s mechanical will in order to break through to what could be called real, or higher, will.

I’m not promoting or suggesting to anyone on the blog that they should go look for a real teacher. I’m only mentioning this to make clear what was behind my initial questions. If I were someone who came to this blog without having ever belonged to any organization or group but who was searching for something real, I think I would feel somewhat unfulfilled in only hearing to stay away from this or that group, but without being given a suggestion on how or where to find a the real thing. It would be a little like reading a Hotel critic’s column mentioning several establishments to avoid without mentioning any of the good places to stay. Anyway, thanks for bringing MB into the discussion.

134. Tim Campion - August 13, 2012

I in the sky,

I’m not promoting or suggesting to anyone on the blog that they should go look for a real teacher. I’m only mentioning this to make clear what was behind my initial questions.

Do tell us what is behind your questions. And why does your voice seem indistinguishable from that of “Howard Carter” and “Daily Cardiac”? Are you truly concerned that seekers have a fulfilling experience here?

135. A Hundred Thousand Angels - August 13, 2012

To have loved one’s soul
is to add its life
to your own.
Meher Baba

136. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 13, 2012

Nigel 131:

Your sharing how you felt jealous of happy vacationing couples touched me, there have been times when I have felt that loneliness and I know it hurts like little else can.

I just remembered a piece on the radio a little while back where listeners were asked what made them happy, and an old lawyer said the greatest pleasure he had was watching the progress of his students as they took what he had taught them, and thrived. This seems very true to me, and from your descriptions of your teaching work you will be blessed to have that pleasure as the years go by.

Unfortunately I know of no reliable advice about how to find true love, we are all equally beginners at that I think.

137. brucelevy - August 13, 2012

My apologies. Please disregard my previous conversation with myself. The elves have set me straight about the non-existent joseph.nachumovitch, and who he, she or it is.

138. WhaleRider - August 13, 2012

I in the Sky:

It is evident that you are the real thing alright,…a current, deeply entrenched FOF follower…a real burton devotee…stuck playing a broken record.

“…but there is still the difficult issue of giving up one’s mechanical will in order to break through to what could be called real, or higher, will.”

Anyone who has dealt with addictions knows that having a will or is anything but mechanical.

SEEKER ADVISORY: The FOF use of the concept “will” actually refers to “self” will, and having a SELF means the ability to set boundaries and take care of oneself, which is the opposite of what is required in the FOF.

To feed burton’s narcissism, selfless followers must only echo back what burton wants to hear or be kicked out.

SEEKER ADVISORY: When FOF followers speak of giving up one’s will to a “higher will” it eventually includes letting burton have sex with you, your husband, boyfriend or son, especially if they are not gay, for if they were gay, then having sex with burton would be too “mechanical.”

The irony is that those who do have sex with burton feel dehumanized and mechanical in the process of servicing his sex addiction over time.

Being “on duty” as his concubines call it, is supposed to create “divine presence”, which in truth is far from divine…it’s spiritually depraving!

“I personally don’t think they can give themselves the correct impetus to get over all the obstacles that occur along the journey.”

I seriously doubt that Meher Baba cared one iota about his followers smiling without showing any teeth as the controlling burton does.

How is smiling fully or laughing without restraint an obstacle to anything? Not doing so is only an obstacle to mental health. It’s like not being allowed to breathe.

“…how or where to find a the real thing.”

You are correct: burton’s illness makes him more like a “thing”, as you say, than a fully empathic human, in that he treats his followers, especially his young good looking male followers as play things, and toys with his female followers all dressed up in barbie doll gowns.

SEEKER ADVISORY: You will certainly find a real thing in the FOF, as the above Freudian slip informs us; for despite all the antiquated rhetoric about the “lower self”, the subconscious doesn’t lie; the ego does.

SEEKER ADVISORY: Beware of anyone claiming to have arrived at enlightenment. That is a sure sign that they have not.

Enlightened people don’t need to recruit followers, nor do they leave a trail of suffering behind them as burton has.

Gee, I wonder if any of Meher Baba’s followers have committed suicide?

“I think I would feel somewhat unfulfilled in only hearing to stay away from this or that group, but without being given a suggestion on how or where to find a the real thing.”

Me, too!

The real, genuine spiritual guide is within each of us, not on license plates nor hovering over the dinner table.

Thank you for posting, dear. All this direct influence means there’s hope for you yet.

139. Tempus Fugit - August 13, 2012

124. silentpurr – August 12, 2012
“I remember leaving the “lower house general store” one day and Robert summoned me over to where he was having a manicure. He wanted to see the book I had just purchased, it was Meher Baba’s “God Speaks”. He asked me to return it an buy something by Goethe instead…..”

Yes, silentpurr, I think we are contemporaries.

You may recall Meher Baba died in 1969, just before Burton started the FOF. Burton thereafter claimed he was the spiritual heir to Meher Baba – how ridiculous.

So why wouldn’t he want you to read “God Speaks?” I suspect Burton knew that attempting to steal the glory of true spiritual teachers and artists came with a great risk; smart people like yourself would make comparisons and Burton would come up short.

Meher Baba was like Mother Teresa – he served others constantly regardless of cost to himself. Burton? Well, we all know who he serves, don’t we?

“131. nigel – August 12, 2012
Dear TF,
Thank you for addressing an “anger” in me that somehow ‘welled-up’ on vacation in Edinburgh with my family this weekend”

Thanks for the appreciation Nigel. Anger is something I work on daily, and I’m sure we are not the only ones.

I have often been inspired by you, and as I said before, in my opinion you are a champion of this effort to tell the TRUTH about the FOF.

Burton has been left in the dust to his fate, may God save him.

Right now I can’t stop laughing, having seen Eric Idle singing “Look on the Bright Side of Life” at the close of the Olympics.

That song will be in my head for days now. Oh well, there are worse things to think about.

If someone reading has never seen “Life of Brian” please treat yourself.

133. I in the sky – August 13, 2012
“118 – Tempus Fugit
Meher Baba has helped me innumerable times over the years. I would certainly recommend his writings to anyone reading these pages. Thanks for mentioning him.”

Well, you’re welcome.

I don’t think we need to worry that anyone would stop their spiritual search with this blog.

If they are looking for a living guru and read this blog, they will just look elsewhere.

In my opinion Burton is spiritually dead, and letting other people know that is a great gift to them.

Personally, I’m not seeking a guru, so I have no recommendations.

140. Tim Campion - August 13, 2012

Sorry, “I”. That link in my previous post didn’t come out right. Here you go: I in the sky

141. Willie Maykit - August 13, 2012

I for one appreciate “I-Sky’s” postings/thoughts regarding the genuine/fake delemma. And kudos for withstanding the onslaught of what I consider unwarranted personnal criticism. This blog can be so cruel to those who grow weary of all the bad mouthing of Burton/FoF that goes on, nothwithstanding that such talk is the stated purpose of this particular blog. At the same time it is useful to let people know what waystations to avoid while it may not be possible to tell them which pathway is the best one for them to take. There are so many goddamn false prophets out there it’s almost impossible to find a real one. This is a job for superman.
“One who calls out sincerely to God never fails to be heard and to receive His help.”
And yes, 2 or 3 of His followers did end their own lives.

142. WhaleRider - August 13, 2012

Willie Maykit:
“There are so many goddamn false prophets out there it’s almost impossible to find a real one.”

Those goddamned false prophets! Gosh, you just can’t trust anyone these days to accurately predict the future.

I guess you’ll just have to start trusting your self, superman.

Or not.

143. Golden Veil - August 13, 2012

45. Someone

“This blog has failed in its main mission to file a complaint and
bring about an official investigation.”

141. Willie Maykit

“This blog can be so cruel to those who grow weary of all the bad mouthing of Burton/FoF that goes on, nothwithstanding that such
talk is the stated purpose of this particular blog.”

“Main mission?” “Stated purpose?” I decided to see what I could find in the way of the blog’s “mission” or “purpose” that you both
refer to. This is what I found”

~ Upon clicking on the “About” tab on the upper left of this page
next to the “Home” tab, a description comes up:

“This blog is the third reincarnation of the discussion that started
on Animam Recro and followed on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog.

The discussion has moved through many stages so to explain
its content here would take many pages and a better memory
than mine. Suffice to say, the whole discussion to this date could
fill about 3 or 4 standard sized books.

So enjoy and digest at your chosen speed and don’t forget to
keep your emotions at bay, you make it what it is.”

So, I next clicked on the Animam Recro link referred to in the
above text, “About,” and found this, just a bit down the page,
under May 22, 2007 The Fellowship of Friends Discussion
Part 10:

“For those of you who got here through coincidence or pure
chance, this discussion is about a group called the Fellowship
of Friends. I would recommend starting reading from page 1,
as what is being said now is quite far removed from what the discussion was about at the beginning. Find out for yourself
whether the Fellowship of Friends is a genuine spiritual school,
or a dangerous cult, as believed by many who have left. Or
simply enjoy interacting with so many interesting and exciting people.”

Sounds like The Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog is an
open forum, more like a campfire to sit around, than having
a stated “main mission” or “stated purpose.”

144. I in the sky - August 13, 2012

143 – Golden Veil

“Sounds like The Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog is an
open forum, more like a campfire to sit around, than having
a stated “main mission” or “stated purpose.””

I guess I’d better stock up on toasted marshmallows in case I’m seated next to WhaleRider.

145. I in the sky - August 13, 2012

134 – Tim Campion

“Do tell us what is behind your questions. Are you truly concerned that seekers have a fulfilling experience here?”

I wouldn’t say I’m concerned. I happen to believe that people ultimately find what they are looking for; as in “Seek and ye shall find.” I was simply pointing out an inconsistency I noticed.

“And why does your voice seem indistinguishable from that of “Howard Carter” and “Daily Cardiac”?”

Can’t answer that, but I’ll take it as a compliment.

146. Tim Campion - August 13, 2012

“I”

And I was pointing out a consistency I noticed. And you’re welcome. It is good to have you around the campfire.

147. WhaleRider - August 13, 2012

I in the Sky:
Thanks for the laugh! You still seem to have your sense of humor. I’m impressed.

At least around the camp fire, we are all on the same level.

148. nigel - August 13, 2012

136. Shard of Oblivion

This beautiful phrase, from “Love Quotes” seems to sum up ‘Agape’ – Universal Love – I found that and hope for a relationship, if only for one year before I die…..Nigel.

“Love is not an equation, it is not a contract, and it is not a happy ending. Love is the slate under the chalk, the ground that buildings rise, and the oxygen in the air. It is the place you come back to, no matter where you’re headed”

― Jodi Picoult –

149. nigel - August 13, 2012

…..from my favourite Irish poet…..

– William Butler Yeats –

“True love is a discipline in which each divines the secret self of the other and refuses to believe in the mere daily self.”

150. cristalclear - August 13, 2012

I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don’t need to see any more
To know that
I can read your mind, I can read your mind

I in the sky
I found your nickname interesting,
Maybe this song reveals your opinion about the blog and the bloggers.
One good thing the Fellowship tought me is to avoid gurus of any kind.
If you are still looking for one I bet you kan find a bunch of them on the internet .
Or ,as Whale Rider says, you ca look in your bathroom mirror.

151. cristalclear - August 14, 2012

Sorry ,I have a problem with my reading glasses and made a lot of mistakes in my previous post.

138.WhaleRider
The real, genuine spiritual guide is within each of us, not on license plates nor hovering over the dinner table.

One of the first things I tried to teach my children, since they where very joung ,is to think with their own head.
Not mommy’s head or daddy’s or teacher’s in school .
Listen to everyone,lean from everyone and everything but trust your own judjment and your common sense.
Try to be honest to yourself and people around you ,try to be a good person. Each one of us has a guide within himself ,if we only want to stop and listen .

152. WhaleRider - August 14, 2012

cristalclear:
Welcome and thank you for your post. It brought tears to my eyes!

As parents we understand the importance of teaching our children to be guided by their own inner compass and to trust themselves.

It reminded me of when I told my daughter who was seven at the time to “love yourself”.

She looked at me perplexed and said, “but Dad, I am myself.”

Thanks Tim, for the Alan Parsons Project song. I had forgotten that one.

Interesting synchronicity with the lyrics…if you make the rules and deal with fools, you can cheat them blind. How true! I was certainly fooled by burton until I got to know him first hand instead of by hearsay.

On the subject of mind reading: this is accomplished by a person who can reasonably anticipate what another might be thinking or about to experience, having been down that same road numerous times beforehand.

Is mind reading an indication of advanced development?

Not necessarily, IMO. In fact, it is a tool in therapy and used by sociopaths to manipulate others into suspending disbelief and believing they have “special powers”, not unlike the Egyptian priests who could predict solar and lunar eclipses, displaying to their followers how much “power” they have over events that are naturally occurring anyway…more like “pie in the sky”.

153. Golden Veil - August 14, 2012

152. WhaleRider

“interesting synchronicity with the lyrics…if you make the rules and deal with fools, you can cheat them blind. How true! I was certainly fooled by burton until I got to know him first hand instead of by hearsay.”

I found myself wondering about these lyrics, too…

I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don’t need to see any more
To know that
I can read your mind, I can read your mind

Yes, and these particular lines quoted by you, WhaleRider, seem to particularly apply to “The Teacher” at the helm of The Fellowship of Friends:

I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind

But I think the rest could apply as well, and more aptly than at first one would think… because “I can read your mind” could be seen as coming from the infinite confidence of the consummate con artist or psychopathic narcissist. “I can read your mind” implies “I know enough about you, all I need to know, to supremely manipulate you…”

154. cristalclear - August 14, 2012

WhaleRider 152 GoldenVeil153
I agree with your analysis of the Alan Parson’s lyrics I posted ,but I also wanted to suggest that the choice of the nick name “I in the sky “ made me wander .
Maybe I in the sky considers himself the one that is “looking at you ,making the rules, dealing with fools”and we are the fools. He/she can read our minds and is playing with us, fooling us around .
Tim Campion 134
I posted the lyrics because I missed your link, maybe we had the same feeling about the nickname.
You write :
“Do tell us what is behind your questions. And why does your voice seem indistinguishable from that of “Howard Carter” and “Daily Cardiac”? Are you truly concerned that seekers have a fulfilling experience here?”
I hope we don’t have an other troll here, they are getting boring,the same fellowship song,over and over again.
One arrives and an other supports him , always trying to divert the issue.
How can anybody possibly ask here ,to suggest a way to find a real teacher?
Wasn’t RB enough for them?! I don’t know about any teacher,but I don’t believe you can suggest another person how to find one.

155. cristalclear - August 14, 2012

152. WhaleRider
Thank you for your kind comment on my post 151
It made me feel accepted and more confident to continue to write here ,despite my difficulties with written english.
This blog is helping me a lot with many unsolved questions I have about myself and my experience with the fellowship

156. Ames Gilbert - August 14, 2012

The blog is always in danger of becoming an institution, which means, IMO, that it can take on a life of its own, start to exist for its own sake. One warning sign of this happening might be, if I (or anyone else) personally perceive some kind of attack on my conception of the blog, then I rush in to defend it, the blog itself. If I form an attachment to the blog, then I’ve done it a disservice, because I’m helping the process of institutionalization. To work against this, I try to deliberately cultivate equanimity about the blog, and a good start is to welcome as many diverse viewpoints as I can, for their own sake. These different viewpoints provide the balance. So, thanks, Someone, I in the sky, Daily Cardiac, and everyone, for keeping things stirred up.

It may seem strange to say this, but if the blog is healthy, then at some time it must die a natural death, like all living things, or organizations that depend on living things. Such can only survive beyond that point if they becomes mummified or fossilized, an institution, a simulacrum of life but essentially lifeless nevertheless. And what purpose would that serve, really?

So, how do we recognize the natural end of its life, and accept that? How do we recognize that its purpose and reason for existence has been fulfilled, and let go gracefully?

157. Ames Gilbert - August 14, 2012

During my journey, like most of you, I’ve come up against the big questions, why are we here, what is our purpose, is there a Plan, and so on. For me, part of the answer is to become more present to where I am now, but also a part, particularly as I enter the last phase of my life, is to review the past, see where I came from, get the context, see things as they actually were, and throw away the edited or idealized versions that have sometimes become part of my narrative.
The fact that I was born and raised in Africa obviously colors every part of my life, even now. Until I returned this last January, I had not been back for forty-seven years, and it was, of course, very interesting (!!), especially because my wife, daughter and elder brother were with me.
One aspect of my past life was the schooling I received; I went to boarding schools from the age of seven. One of those schools, called Soni, in northern Tanzania, fostered a system of abuse that is now becoming public. The BBC did a documentary about it a couple of years ago. Readers might find interesting, because it has direct connections with not only I, but quite a few others who were in the same or worse situations ended up in the Fellowship of Friends, and hence why I am here on this blog:
http://tinyurl.com/9hmo7xq
This link is to the first part. The other two parts are available to the right, in the normal YouTube manner.

I must add that there were three classes of abuse, sexual, psychological, and physical. I did not suffer sexual abuse, but some of my peers (many of whom are featured in these videos) did. I just got beaten with a cane, and certainly the priests watching boys in the communal showers was just part of the background, that is, these experiences were all normalized.

My younger brother must have led a charmed life; he claims that nothing bad happened to him at all, though he knows others were not so lucky.
My youngest brother cannot remember anything at all about Soni; it is a complete blank. He knows intellectually that he went to Soni, but cannot recall anything of the years he spent there, nor a single person, pupil or priest alike . . .

158. WhaleRider - August 14, 2012

Oppressors can be resisted and parasites disarmed, but there is another way to have one’s psychic energy exploited, and that is by individuals who appear to be something they in fact are not.

In many ways this is the most insidious attack on our freedom, because it is often so difficult to unmask.

While we are ready to resist people who act as parasites, we are often eager to cooperate with those who appeal to us under false pretenses, and then take advantage of the relationship to defraud us.

Mimetic exploiters usually take on the coloration of the positive image of a more complex identity…the professor who uses the cover of an academic title to extract sexual favors from his students.

They obtain trust by pretending to be among those who work hard to reduce the chaos of existence.

…whenever a cult develops around a “perfect master” who claims to know a series of steps that must be taken to reach enlightenment, one should expect trouble.

The guru may start out with a genuine interest in helping others, but if he achieves power over his followers, he will find it easy to begin exploiting them.

One of the dangerous mimetic ploys is for the corrupt guru to insist that his followers surrender their selves.

To prove that he is moving to a “higher” self, the disciple hands over his savings to the teacher, or lets himself be beaten and humiliated.

Under the guise of spiritual enlightenment much material harm can be done.

And the psychological effects, when a person realizes he’s been misled, can be devastating.

The Evolving Self, A Psychology for the Third Millennium,1993, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, p.109-111

(Author of Flow)

Talk about synchronicity! This book title jumped out at me from the free book bin at my local bookstore today.

The above passage appears in a chapter entitled, “Predators and Parasites”.

159. Josiane - August 14, 2012

Today, August 14, is my birthday. I am 62. I received a gift and card from my husband. The gift is a mouse pad in the shape of a Persian rug. Very nice. The card, on the outside said, Grow into the Unique Courageous Flower You Are Meant to Be. On the inside my husband had written the customary Wishing You a Happy Birthday, Love, P.
I also received Facebook happy birthday wishes from several of my colleagues. All well intentioned.
When my husband left this morning he asked me if I was planning anything special for myself. I replied that this was just the day “i” was born.
What I meant by that was that the real me was never born, and therefore it will never die, although I don’t know that for sure. I believe my early seeking came from the fear of dying (and also from having experienced so-called higher states of consciousness.) If I could become “conscious”, therefore “immortal”, then the fear would disappear. And that’s probably one of the reasons I found myself in the Fellowship.
Four and a half-year ago I finally found the courage to leave the “promised land” and land on my own feet, fearlessly.
Today, I am celebrating life, in silence. I don’t need a big event with people around celebrating a non-event: the day i was born. I am simply celebrating life.

Love to all of you.

160. Tim Campion - August 14, 2012

cristalclear,

We are thinking along the same lines. There is a benefit to being in the presence of people who appear to have well-developed “bullshit detectors”.

If “I in the sky” is not a member of The Fellowship of Friends Old Guard, I owe them an apology for implying as much. (I have a feeling, however, they will not be offering any personal stories that might clarify their status.)

As Golden Veil said, this forum is open to all. We have seen the value of having a lively dialogue with current Fellowship members. I wish they would join the discussion more often. (Personally, I would prefer to see more of my old friends step out from behind their masks, as only a few have.)

Of course, it helps to have a thick skin here, and “I in the sky” clearly does.

Ames,

I don’t think I share your concerns about the blog’s institutionalization.

In a real sense, we were invited into an institution, The Sheik’s Blog, which predated the Fellowship of Friends Discussion. The form, governance, protocols, content, and even audience, were in place, awaiting our arrival.

As the Fellowship discussion developed, we shuffled in, and many of us shuffled back out again (and then back in again.) Camps formed: the current members and defenders, the ex-members and detractors, the outside observers and seekers, the curious. The Sheik at times had to defend his space from “anarchy”. And he watched in amazement as the blog took on a life of its own.

What are the dangers of this institutionalization? And what does it mean that the blog might exist for its own sake? I don’t think I understand your points. If I “rush in” to defend anything, chances are it’s my own ego I’m defending. With or without the blog, that’s what I’m attached to.

Assuming a loyal moderator, no legal challenges, a continuing host site and interested participants, I don’t think you and I will get to determine when and if the blog has served its purpose or run its course. Based upon its value in our lives, each of us will determine our personal involvement. The form the blog assumes will be based upon the sum of those choices.

Equanimity seems a worthy objective (though in the face of outright deception or other “inappropriate” conduct such a conviction might falter.)

The expectation of equanimity, however, can be just another aspect of institutionalization. Is it necessary that the discussion be “fair and balanced”, or that all perspectives be aired? This can lead to the dilution or even complete neutralization of valid arguments, or in some instances to a “false equivalency”, its own form of tyranny, as all arguments do not have equal merit. (Wikipedia is constrained by this phenomena.)

Life can appear not fair, and not balanced. Do we deceive ourselves when we endeavor to bring “balance”? If we try to define what is fair play and who is welcome (by being all-inclusive, selective, or exclusive) aren’t we simply attempting to reinforce our vision of the institution?

Of course, we all do this. It’s unavoidable. When I welcome “I in the sky” it is implied that there are conditions they have met, which allows me to do so.

You have raised some interesting questions, Ames. To become aware of the inherent pitfalls is wise. But I don’t see any existential threats, and the blog still seems to have vitality (and over 400 hits yesterday!) I say, let everyone play, but bring your boxing gear.

Josiane,

Enjoy your Magic Carpet Ride!

161. nigel - August 14, 2012

159. Josiane

Life, by its very nature, is eternal. No-one can sell you that right. Death and birth are merely doors. All we can do, as you say, is learn – to become more ourselves. That is what we offer up to the Universe – our Eternal Mother – female, because she carries us. We need no Father Figure – Daddy God or Burton, the Commander and chief Manipulator of the FOF. Anything that is male within us is the Spirit – that which strives – and the Soul is feminine because it cradles the Spirit. Wishing you courage and fateful experiences on the celebration of your worldly birth…..Nigel.

162. Tempus Fugit - August 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Josiane.

And now for something completely different.

From Monty Python’s Life of Brian:
“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”

Enjoy!

163. Josiane - August 15, 2012

Thank you Tempus Fugit. Who could ever resist the Monty Python!

164. Ames Gilbert - August 15, 2012

Happy unbirthday, Josianne. Your husband’s wishes are already fulfilled. If he only knew how powerful he is . . .

165. Fee fi fo fum - August 15, 2012

I in the Sky’s comments and probes in 112 about real/fake teachers are, in and of themselves, interesting ones, because people who joined the FF were ostensibly looking for a real teacher/school to give them spiritual direction. Those of us who left were, at best disappointed, and at worst, totally ripped off and abused.

Should the identity of the person who is posting as I in the Sky, or anyone else, affect the validity of their questions? In a blog like this, maybe so, and that is because posting anonymously allows for freer expressions, on the one hand, but dishonorable and dishonest intentions, on the other hand.

If, as is suggested above, I in the Sky is a FF member, and not “just any old FF member” (although probably old in age by now), but a senior member entrenched in the FF’s hierarchy, then we’re talking about someone pretending to be an innocent, disembodied bystander asking interesting spiritual questions of the very group of people who have thought about such subjects. If, by asking the blog posters why they keep discussing the negative aspects of RB and the FF instead of discussing positive alternatives (for ex., like Hotel reviews; how about a Zagat’s Guide for Gurus?), then that would be a way to get people to shut up about the horrible things RB has done, still does, and will continue to do to his students.

This is not to discourage any current member of the FF from posting on this blog. It’s a public blog, with only a couple of rules of etiquette to observe. And, as has been said a few posts above, it’s good to stir the pot. (And by the way, Ames, why are we talking about the demise of this blog, at this point?) But there is something akin to playing dirty when someone posts anonymously with the deliberate intent to dissimulate, leading people to open themselves up, emotionally. It is not a level playing field, because the dissimulator is not responding in kind. Which leads to the question, why don’t current FF members who post on the blog use their real names? If they truly believe in what they are doing, who they are supporting (RB), what they are participants in (the FF), then they should have the courage to defend themselves openly and honestly.

166. Josiane - August 15, 2012

163. Ames Gilbert.
Thank you. I will have many unbirthdays to celebrate. As for P. , like Adyashanti said, You have to give people their freedom. Only then can you be free.

167. jomopinata - August 15, 2012

I think current members should be perfectly welcome to use pseudonyms, just like everyone else.

168. fofblogmoderator - August 15, 2012

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