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Fellowship Of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway To Presence Discussion – Page 124 August 15, 2012

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

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

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

To visit the official site of The  Fellowship Of Friends;

http://www.livingpresence.com/

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Comments

1. Ames Gilbert - August 15, 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 St. Michael’s 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 it interesting, because it has direct connections with not only why 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 three 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 the cane/whip mentioned, and certainly the priests watching boys in the communal showers were merely part of the background. So for me, 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 can remember nothing about Soni; it is a complete blank. He knows intellectually that he went to that school, but cannot recall anything of the years he spent there, nor can he remember a single person, whether priest or pupil . . .

2. Tempus Fugit - August 15, 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 124 (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.

3. Tempus Fugit - August 15, 2012

And now for something completely different – again.

(Sorry, I’m not done laughing, and I don’t want to be the only one trying to get this song out of his head!)

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

Enjoy one more time!

4. Tim Campion - August 15, 2012

Tempus,

I’ll laugh with you! Just like when I’m standing in awe before the Great Pyramid of Giza, I find myself asking “how did they do that?”

5. Tempus Fugit - August 15, 2012

fofblogmoderator

I reposted the “guide to the blog” but it’s not visible yet. Is it possible you could make this guide a recurrent first post on new pages?

Or perhaps incorporate it into the introductory paragraph?

If you and other bloggers approve of course.

I think it’s helpful and if you can automate it that would be great.

Thanks!

6. fofblogmoderator - August 15, 2012

#5- regarding “index to the blog” as recurrent first post…
sure.

7. Tempus Fugit - August 15, 2012

“6. fofblogmoderator – August 15, 2012

#5- regarding “index to the blog” as recurrent first post…
sure.”

Thanks.

So we should change one section from the posted version, which now reads:

Fellowship Of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway To Presence Discussion
Part 34 through Part 124 (current page)

https://fofdiscussion.wordpress.com/

To a generic wording that will link to the latest current page:

Fellowship Of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway To Presence Discussion
Part 34 through the current page.

https://fofdiscussion.wordpress.com/

8. Willie Maykit - August 15, 2012

Q. Should those who post under pseudonyms be taken less seriously than those who do not?
A.(1) Yes, of course.
A.(2) I’m kinda embarassed and ashamed and don’t want anyone outside the cult to know I’m a member of the FoF. They might judge me like I judge them for goodness sake.
– Betty Wont

9. WhaleRider - August 15, 2012

Ames:
Thanks for posting your story again.

I feel for you. To have suffered as a child being beaten by those entrusted to care for you is criminal. No child deserves that.

And it is to your credit that you did not become an abuser yourself, as is often the case, AND had the courage in the FOF to speak truth to power. It is understandable why you stayed as long as you did in the cult.

Hearing about someone else’s private pain isn’t easy.

The BBC documentary on Soni Illustrates how we need each other to uncover the truth and help each other to heal. It takes a village!

The truth is some people possibly like your youngest brother manage to learn very quickly how to operate under the radar in situations like that where verbal, physical, and sexual abuse are used as a means of control. Only a few are made examples to control the rest. Fear itself is a strong motivator.

Others bury the trauma.

Probably the same is true in the FOF for the person posting as Someone. Some people even learn how to thrive in circumstances like that, especially when they come from even harsher environments. Some make a career of it.

I knew a counselor once in a half way house who had been in prison for armed robbery and claimed it was the best time of his life! He was a musician and treated very well.

There were some house slaves in the American South who did not want to be freed either. That doesn’t mean the institution of slavery was ok just because not everyone was abused and a minority of people had it good.

This also reminds me of how every year at Renaissance there would be a purge of people on salary. It caused us all to work a little harder, both out of fear of being kicked out of the womb and the fact that there were less people to do the work after the purge.

The same is true in big corporations. I feel lucky in that regard to be self employed, as I believe you are.

I am glad you are here.

10. Man Number Zero - August 15, 2012

A few days ago, I-in-the-sky told us that, since there were fake gurus, there must be real gurus.

There are fake ghosts — we see them trick-or-treating every Halloween — but this doesn’t prove there are real ghosts.

There are fake perpetual-motion machines — we can find ads for them on the Web — but there are no real perpetual-motion machines.

So I-in-the-sky’s argument is fallacious. In fact, it’s so evidently fallacious that in order to take it seriously, one would need to have a powerful ulterior motive for believing that real gurus exist. Or for wanting others to believe that real gurus exist.

I suppose a real guru would be a person to whom spiritual truths are self-evident, and hence a person whose pronouncements on spiritual matters could be taken as gospel. If such people exist, we could describe them as `enlightened’.

We don’t believe in the existence of such people in other realms of knowledge. In physics, for example, there is general agreement that Einstein was pretty smart, but no-one supposes him to have been infallible. And if we were to take him as infallible, progress in physics would come to a stop.

So I don’t think we should ever take anyone as a real guru.

11. Ames Gilbert - August 15, 2012

Hi Whalerider (#124-9 or thereabouts),
I posted links to the story because it clearly shows all the elements necessary to allow, condone, and perpetuate abuse. I thought it was a well-produced documentary, and it ended realistically, without resolution, except maybe for the guy who forgave (though perhaps not unconditionally). I mentioned my part in it to help explain why I have strong feelings, but hopefully that was not necessary to empathize with the story of the kids who were betrayed at every turn. BTW, there are dozens upon dozens of stories on the (private) Soni support website. The ones in the documentary were by those few who felt strong enough to endure the publicity.

Even though the FoF circumstances largely involve (apparently consenting) adults, I believe the documentary especially points to how powerless the victims feel. The same physical helplessness the Soni victims felt (kids hundreds of miles from home, all local adults ‘in’ on the conspiracy either actively or passively, the imposed secrecy) applies to Burton’s victims, especially for the first twenty years of the Fellowship of Friends. So similar in that each victim felt alone, there was little or no communication between them.

Fast forward to later . . .
Now it’s true that it seems a lot of this is more out in the open in the FoF nowadays, but as far as I can tell, this is only at headquarters, at Renaissance/Apollo/Isis whatever. The naïve young men that are recruited in other centers, in other countries, are not informed about matters when they join. Instead, they go through the first stage of grooming at the center, and a more intensive course after they arrive. Again, to be fair, I am told that since I left, there may be a bit more knowledge about what it means to be invited to Apollo on the organization’s dime, that some of these young men ‘have heard through the grapevine’ and do have an idea of what the payment might be, and have persuaded themselves that the price is worth paying to get ‘closer to the teacher, and also out of their present situation in Eastern Europe or Russia or wherever. I admit, I don’t know, I haven’t interviewed any of ‘Burton’s boys’ since I left in 1994.

However, even if this is true, it doesn’t make the situation any better, IMO. In fact, normalizing Burton’s predation in many ways makes it worse. Now there is literally no-one to turn to. The recruits new ‘friends’, the Apollo Spiritual Council, the Apollo center directors, the ‘older students’ everyone is on what amounts to a conspiracy, a conspiracy to make the situation normal, expected, and even privileged. That’s some 600 people, all the people you encounter every day. Every one of them with the same message, spoken and unspoken; it’s all right, it’s just your instinctive center, it’s just ‘life’ morality, you’re so lucky to get Beloved Teacher’s attention, it is all for your evolution, the teacher works so hard for you, it’s the least you could do to ‘externally consider’ him, etc., etc. Plus crap like, “It’s impossible for an angel/god/’conscious being’ to get or transmit a disease”.

Not to mention, you owe for your ticket, and if you leave you have to find your own way home, you only have a temporary religious visa, it is invalid if you leave, you can’t find a legal job, your qualifications don’t translate anyway, you don’t speak English too well. Maybe even, the passport you got through us is forged.

Not much pressure there!

12. I in the sky - August 15, 2012

#10 – MNZ

“There are fake ghosts — we see them trick-or-treating every Halloween — but this doesn’t prove there are real ghosts.”

No, but it doesn’t disprove it either. The key word is “see.” If we can see a fake ghost I would say it’s a poor rendition of a ghost.

“There are fake perpetual-motion machines — we can find ads for them on the Web — but there are no real perpetual-motion machines.”

Here you are confusing fantasy with reality. There are many things created in people’s fantasies that have no equivalent or counterpart in the world of reality.

“I suppose a real guru would be a person to whom spiritual truths are self-evident, and hence a person whose pronouncements on spiritual matters could be taken as gospel. If such people exist, we could describe them as `enlightened’.”

I agree.

“Einstein was pretty smart, but no-one supposes him to have been infallible. And if we were to take him as infallible, progress in physics would come to a stop.

So I don’t think we should ever take anyone as a real guru.”

Who said anything about being infallible? I think anyone with an earthly life, in a human body, cannot be infallible. Infallible is reserved for another order of creation above that of man. Many believe enlightened men, when they die, move on to a realm where infallibility is possible.

Maybe the notion that an enlightened man can be infallible is contributing to your misconception regarding my real vs. fake comments.

Unless by infallible you mean a man or woman can “do the right thing” as it regards their own actions in a given moment. Then we’re getting into semantics.

13. James Mclemore - August 15, 2012

I in the sky

I am going to guess that you have spent a lot of time in your mind thinking about, and seeing how you can justify, all sorts of different things; you know, just in case somebody should ask.
Have another marshmallow.

14. Tim Campion - August 15, 2012

Like the “Howard Carter” and “Daily Cardiac” characters before them, “I in the sky” is just the latest disguise for the officially-designated Fellowship of Friends spokesperson. Heaven (read, Robert) forbid that any “unofficial” Fellowship voices enter the conversation. (My opinion, obviously.)

They came here to lecture on a subject in which they are practiced: Burtonian mysticism. The questions they initially pose serve simply to introduce their topic for this session. Their goal here is to obfuscate and hopefully distract from the more existential threats the Fellowship increasingly faces. They don’t realize that their pedantic (and, to use a term they’ll recognize, “formatory”) nature is apparent from the outset.

They suffer the illusion that they hold the moral high ground. After all, they, along with all paying members of the Fellowship, are pursuing the most important objective possible, divine presence, while we “life people” are sleeping machines, wasting our lives. We shall serve as food for the moon.

Their leader, Robert Burton, is a conscious being (the only one living, apparently) and is “above” human laws and morality.

The Fellowship of Friends is on a mission from the Gods, “C Influence”, under whose guidance they are constructing an “ark” to preserve not only themselves, but the sacred tradition of “Conscious School” on earth. The rest of civilization (including all us non-believers) shall be destroyed by a soon-to-be-rescheduled nuclear holocaust.

By these beliefs, the members of this cult are emboldened, if not completely benighted.

Because The Fellowship of Friends maintains this exalted position in the Universe, HCDCIS (for short) will not, in a meaningful way, address any specific allegations concerning their “school” or “teacher” but will equivocate, distract with extraneous theoretical arguments (i.e. how can we help seekers find “real teachers” and “real schools”), provide excuses (Robert Burton’s private life is not our concern. No one is forced to participate. Members can simply say “no” to him. See Ames’ post which shows the true dilemma many face.) They are here to say “look at me being present, while I offer my humble perspective, suffused with ‘relativity’, of course.” As HCDCIS knows, and Robert Burton would attest, when your eye is on the prize, a little bit of collateral damage is of no consequence.

(“I in the sky”: if you’re not here representing the Fellowship leadership, please disregard the preceding comments and accept my apology.)

15. Man Number Zero - August 15, 2012

#12 – I-in-the-Sky wrote:

” Infallible is reserved for another order of creation above that of man”

And you know this… how?

16. cristalclear - August 16, 2012

Dialogue with current members is surely of great value ,when they are open to confront with non members opinions , openly presenting themselves as actual members and, possibly, not trying to indoctrinate me again.
I do not appreciate cowards in disguise and if I notice a strange coincidence ,I believe I can point it out for others to see.
If my assumption is wrong the person has plenty of space here to tell us about this amazing syncronicity ,it could be an interesting subject.
They could also tell us something about their story as others did, using a nick name (they surely have the right to do, it if they want to , as many here do)
Maybe they also have positive and interesting stories to tell.
In fact they choose to ignore the issue.
If I’m wrong I truly apologize.
The attempt to “keep a balance” on the blog (which can be right “per se”) can result in having the opposite effect , in my opinion,
because the concept of balance and equanimity is subjective.
There is a “fellowshiping”attitude in many of us, to judge everything that shows even a little hint of “negativity”or “identification” .
This , at times , reflects on the blog and can have the side effect of bringing out the habit of “acting the good student” taking away spontaneity and making it difficult to be ourselves.
The non expression of negative emotions in the fof was very useful to silence everybody , but it can have a very negative effect on your body and brain. Sometimes I wish I had expressed my negatives emotions more when I was in the fof, it would have been a blessing.

17. Fee fi fo fum - August 16, 2012

It would, indeed, be interesting if a current FF member – especially a long-time “lifer” FF member – were to be open about their thoughts and personal story. But it will probably never happen on a blog like this, whose participants are predominantly ex-members. That’s because FF members see “former students” as having fallen away, as being in the outer circle, as having returned to lowly “life.” We are only worthy of being spoken to with “intentional insincerity.” We are viewed as even less than life, because we had a chance to wake up, but we turned our backs on it. We were just too attracted by A influence, or God (C influence) forbid, we mixed up C influence with B influence, and have settled for “magnetic center” interests. As one person said, former students are now “tainted goods.” Pretty discouraging and damning, isn’t it. Well, be glad we’re out of the FF and that mind trap.

As for pseudonyms, of course, all participants are entitled to use them. The question is not the using of them, but what the user’s intentions are. On this particular blog, one of whose aims is to discuss and expose the unsavory details of the FF and RB, the reasons for using a fake name are obvious. In the corporate world, whistleblowers often get into trouble, such as retaliation. You read about that all the time in the news.

I think the issue is having a level playing field. It is not that important what name you’re posting as, real or fake, cute or esoteric sounding, or even a real-sounding fake name. It’s the sincerity behind the posting that is important. This blog has a lot of people spilling out their FF stories, some of which were painful and traumatic, whether because of their family life being undermined by RB’s directives, or because the incessant demands for high teaching payments and special donations made us chronically broke, or because RB mind-fucked the cute hetero males and had sex with them (and told their girlfriends or wives to take a hike).

If you are sharing and processing and healing, you need to feel you can trust the people who are listening and responding. We’ve already felt the betrayal by RB and the FF. Who wants to feel that here on the blog by someone manipulating a false identity?

18. I in the sky - August 16, 2012

14 – Tim Campion

“Like the “Howard Carter” and “Daily Cardiac” characters before them, “I in the sky” is just the latest disguise for the officially-designated Fellowship of Friends spokesperson.”

I’m curious to know why you think I’m here on official business for the FOF? What kind of business would that be? What would they accomplish by sending someone that couldn’t be accomplished by someone representing themselves? What would the FoF gain by me debating WhaleRider on the nature of dreams, or you about your fake Rolex analogy? Will those or future points made by me effectively diminish the 123 pages of critical testimony? If you think so you pay me the highest compliment.

Comments you express in #14 remind me of Ames’ recent and insightful post regarding the dangers of the blog becoming institutionalized. In this case, institutionalized in paranoia.

I’m here as I presume others are; as an individual expressing my own views. I think some here have a tendency to overestimate the blog’s scope and / or effectiveness if they believe the FoF would feel the need to send an agent to infiltrate these pages.

If the FoF is what it claims to be it need not fear a blog of public opinion. And if it’s not what it claims to be it should fear a lot more than this blog.

If you read my posts I don’t mention the FoF (except here to reference your comments.) Nothing I’ve said strictly pertains to the FoF, but are fitting responses to the remarks of others. In my earlier comments to you I was speaking of laws in general. The same as in the answer to Man Number Zero. No one who answers my comments is taken “off point” if that’s what they surmise is my mission because my points can be as broad as anyone can entertain or if others want to make it about the FoF they can do that also. But that’s for them to direct. I’m content to speak in generalities.

19. WhaleRider - August 16, 2012

I in the Sky:
Thanks for posting. I can appreciate the predicament you are in, stuck in the double bind of distorted circular thinking.

I was there once, too.

You made the argument, based on Tim C’s assertion, that if there are fake Rolex watches, it is because there are real ones. Which is true.

There must be real tangible Rolex watches first in order to make fake ones.

By your reasoning, if there are fake gurus claiming to be enlightened, it is because they are imitating real ones, probably for some personal gain, since historically just about anything can be justified in the name of enlightenment.

But what if enlightenment were a myth to begin with, a psychogical ploy that has been successfully promoted for millenia by those seeking control over others…a mask of authoritarian power?

If you firmly believe that the myth of enlightenment is possible to attain, as apparently you do, then any logical debate about the subject is fruitless.

If, by the same token, you believe in ghosts, and by doing so suspend critical thinking, how could I convince you otherwise with reason?

You may very well be able to understand that people with sheets over their heads pretending to be ghosts on Halloween are not really ghosts, nor are they attempting to convince others that they are real ghosts, but enacting a fantasy for fun, and not necessarily convincing evidence that ghosts exist just because people are out there imitating them.

I doubt you still believe in Santa Claus either, even though every year people dress up like him and there may have actually been a historical St Nicolas who had a habit of secret gift giving.

However, if you were under the delusion that you experienced what you thought, felt and believed was a real ghost, then most anyone would have a hard time convincing you that what you experienced was a hallucination.

You could make the argument that nobody can prove that ghosts don’t exist, and you could make the argument that even though you have no hard evidence that what you perceive actually exists outside your own mind-you experienced or felt the ghost’s presence and that was convincing enough for you, despite what other people believe or say to the contrary.

You may even point out there are ample references to ghosts throughout history in folklore, art, and literature.

Such is the nature of delusion; it distorts reason in the service of the ego.

Bear in mind that it is a known fact that even large groups of people can share the same delusion.

And what if the practice of the non-expression of negative emotions kept you from knowing the painful truth?

20. I in the sky - August 16, 2012

Man Number Zero – 15

#12 – I-in-the-Sky wrote:
” Infallible is reserved for another order of creation
above that of man”

And you know this… how?

“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”

“The questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.”

How did Wm. Blake come to those words?
It is a personal knowledge but I believe
we were put in this world to know the answer
to the question you asked, but not necessarily
to convey the answer to another.

“God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.”

21. Tim Campion - August 16, 2012

“I in the sky”,

I’m curious to know why you think I’m here on official business for the FOF?

I thought I explained. “It’s obvious…” Like that emperor and his clothes thing. But we could easily clear this up.

Are you currently a member of The Fellowship of Friends?

(I won’t ask about official business, as I understand you would be required to state that you’re here “as an individual expressing my own views, and any views expressed are not those of The Fellowship of Friends…”)

Ames comes up with some great posts, including this one, which suggests why Fellowship officials might take an interest:

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.

You may not be aware that Fellowship agents actually have appeared on the blog. They advised members to avoid reading the blog, they threatened legal action, and they ordered material removed. I could be wrong, but it seems they were functioning in an official capacity. However, that was long ago and I think they finally recognized the futility.

22. nigel - August 16, 2012

I care little whether ‘I in the sky’ is from inside the FOF or not but I do care that people fulfil their potential without having to resort to spending almost their whole life in a cult that will try to sell you enlightenment. I consider my self lucky that I have arrived at the age of almost 56, having survived the FOF and a near-successful suicide, mental health turmoil and housing problems, at a point where I have a little permanent instinctive space of my own, a supportive father and brothers, a good regime of medication (being fat and tired is a small price to pay for ‘inner balance’) and trusted, loyal friends (plus a little West Highland Terrier to keep me company). I would like others to ‘share the joy’ but do not know how to give it. Thus I think the payment of ‘trusting one’s own inner guru’ makes sense in the passage through life – to all of you!!!!! I made a little statement to myself that I did not want to be an element of decoration in anyone elses life (and that included Burton, at the time – it also holds true for my ‘true’ father, even though he is head of the family).

I think it entirely possible to see the ‘magic of the eternal behind the curtain of earthly life’ without trusting a charlatan like Burton who will actually take it away from you. Here’s to the life’s journey of all true pilgrims…..Nigel.

23. nigel - August 16, 2012

…..from ‘Song of Myself’ , by Walt Whitman…..

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

24. Willie Maykit - August 16, 2012

Oh my God, Tim, I just had a horrible vision of Linda Kaplan naked!
Thanks a lot – Bettshe Wont

25. Wouldnt You Like To Know - August 16, 2012

Ode to (or, is that: owed to?):
I in the sky
(or, is that: Eye in the sky?
or, possibly, Sky in the Eye?):

‘He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne’er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They’d immediately go out.’
Auguries of Innocence
William Blake

‘This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the Heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.’
The Everlasting Gospel
William Blake

26. nigel - August 16, 2012

JAMES BLUNT
“Out Of My Mind”

Judging by the look on the organ-grinder,
He’ll judge me by the fact that my face don’t fit.
It’s touching that the monkey sits on my shoulder.
He’s waiting for the day when he gets me,
But I don’t need no alibi – I’m a puppet on a string.
I just need this stage to be seen.
We all need a pantomime to remind us what is real.
Hold my eye and know what it means.

I’m out of my mind.

Judging by the look on the organ-grinder,
He’ll judge me by the fact that my face don’t fit.
It’s touching that the monkey sits on my shoulder.
He’s waiting for the day when he gets me,
But I won’t be your concubine – I’m a puppet not a whore.
I just need this stage to be seen.
Will you be a friend of mine to remind me what is real?
Hold my heart and see that it bleeds.

I’m out of my mind.

…..for ‘organ grinder’ (good likeness!!!!!) read REB; for ‘pantomime’ read FOF; for ‘stage’ read life-in-general; the rest is up to individual interpretation…..Nigel.

27. Ames Gilbert - August 16, 2012

I in the sky (#124-12 or thereabouts),
you said,

Here you are confusing fantasy with reality. There are many things created in people’s fantasies that have no equivalent or counterpart in the world of reality.

IMHO, these words of yours are particularly applicable when someone is looking for a guru or teacher, and help answer your original question. Wouldn’t it be true that the image or ideal or mental picture the average seeker holds as they begin their quest must be imaginary? Wouldn’t the basis of each search just be the process of finding the best match to that imaginary picture?
I tried out Burton, hundreds of thousands of other seekers have tried out hundreds of available gurus/spiritual advisors, and as a result, I think I can say that most of us who were able to extricate ourselves have a good idea of what a teacher is not, which is at least a beginning.

On a larger scale, maybe the very concept of a guru able to teach ‘enlightenment’ may be a fantasy of our culture, or at least a gross misunderstanding.

Looking over the accounts of people’s experiences in many organizations, I’d say most people came to recognize the critical difference between a guru’s words and his/her actions. That despite the claims of the guru that followers were unqualified to understand his or her lofty level (itself a warning sign), one could and should indeed judge much by their actions, the actual, practical results of their philosophies and journeys amongst us. And that there can be no good when a guru harms someone or taking advantage of someone’s trust or imbalance of power for some theoretical future spiritual benefit. That there can be no good if the guru binds followers using fear or infatuation.
Finally, some people may have even found and learned to trust a much more reliable, internal, guide, their conscience.
_______________________________

Willie Maykit, (#124-24 or thereabouts),
be fair! Many a tired, sexually frustrated vineyard worker was happy to find solace in her bounteous charms by night. Though during the day, as she played her role of policeman and hunted down rumors of those not adhering to the ‘no sex outside marriage exercise’, she was an outstanding example of hypocrisy. And have pity! It must have been very confusing for her when Burton arbitrarily lifted said ‘exercise’ after the non-fall of California in 1996 in a successful attempt to distract his followers from his failure.

28. Tim Campion - August 16, 2012

Willie and Ames,

While I favor transparency, you guys have gone way too far.

WYLTK,

Are you currently a member of The Fellowship of Friends? (Your use of profound quotations is too good for a non-member.)

29. Golden Veil - August 16, 2012

28. Tim Campion

I think thee art mistaken. The Fellowship of Friends holds no monopoly over erudition…

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

William Shakespeare

30. Tim Campion - August 16, 2012

Golden Veil,

Thanks. I think it’s time for my exit.

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. – Will Rogers

31. Joseph Nachumovitch - August 16, 2012

The School was a stepping-stone to where we are now. Why complain?

32. Tim Campion - August 16, 2012

Joseph,

That serial rapist taught me a valuable lesson: to be less trusting. Thank you, Mr. Rapist! Have a nice day.

33. WhaleRider - August 16, 2012

Joesph:
So this is the big lie I have been telling myself, then? I could not be where I am today without the cult.

Instead of warning others, I should be grateful, is what you are implying, and encourage others to fall into the same trap.

On the other hand, had I stayed in the cult I would not be where I am today either.

Your reasoning goes nowhere.

Try this out: had I not believed in myself I would not be where I am today, regardless of the circumstances in which I found myself…In other words, I have only myself to thank.

The cult would have led me further away from myself and more dependent until it was almost impossible to leave.

34. Ames Gilbert - August 16, 2012

Joseph Nachumovitch (#124-31, 122-7, etc.),
http://tinyurl.com/cdnh8vy
etc.
In summary, there are still lessons to be learned, still lessons to be passed on. How about you?

35. Just the Facts Ma'am - August 16, 2012

124/17. Fee fi fo fum
‘whistleblowers often get into trouble, such as retaliation.’

Grapevine has it that there may be an high level investigation taking place into the disappearance (and presumed death) of Richard M. (man who knew too much); an FoF former? member who went missing last year – as having been some foul play.

36. Just the Facts Ma'am - August 16, 2012

27. Ames Gilbert
‘when Burton arbitrarily lifted said ‘exercise’ after the non-fall of California in 1996′

That would be 1998, not 1996, for predicted fall of California that did not happen.

37. Opus111 - August 16, 2012

The School was a stepping-stone to where we are now. Why complain?

A stepping-stone alright, but for too many it was all downhill.

38. nigel - August 16, 2012

My God!!!!! This blog is becoming exciting…..Nigel.

39. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 17, 2012

In the discussion of finding a true teacher Tempus Fugit nominated Meher Baba as a possible candidate. So I have been thinking about Meher Baba and reading up on some of his actions and statements.

It does seem to be the case that he avoided the most egregious examples of exploitation of their students that many gurus go in for. However he still falls victim to the fundamental flaw as far as I can see. He is totally convinced that he knows more than the rest of humanity, and he is unable to see that he is deluding himself.

Here is what happened: when he was young he lived a normal life, until one day he met a mystic who kissed him on the forehead. This action propelled him into an unusual state of consciousness, so overpowering that he had to beat his head against a stone to maintain contact with the physical world. After some years he felt that he was very very special indeed. He claimed that he was a manifestation of the supreme godhead. This claim is clearly absurd. He has mistaken the oceanic experience for a sign of his own wonderfulness. But we all contain that amazing special thing, and many of us have experienced it without then inflating our self image in the way that Meher Baba did. It is dull and childish to think you are always right and know everything.

I came across a particular set of statements that encapsulate the error of his ways. From 1925 until his death in 1969 he remained silent. Not as a discipline, no no, he was silent because the nasty horrible world had ignored his advice in previous incarnations, in his own words “Because man has been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this present Avataric form, I observe silence.”

He kept promising to break his silence, and had grandiose delusions about what would happen when he did. Again here are his own words “When I break My Silence, the impact of My Love will be universal and all life in creation will know, feel and receive of it. It will help every individual to break himself free from his own bondage in his own way. I am the Divine Beloved who loves you more than you can ever love yourself. The breaking of My Silence will help you to help yourself in knowing your real Self”

But he never spoke. He never said a word.

He was by all accounts a nice guy, but so mistaken about reality.

Burton shares the same grandiosity and narcissism, but in addition he is a greedy manipulative sex pervert who shamelessly preys on his followers.

40. Fee fi fo fum - August 17, 2012

31 Joseph

Who’s complaining? What to you is complaining, is, for others, critical thinking.

“Loaded language” is a tool used by thought control leaders and organizations. Certain words and expressions are vested, or “loaded,” with special meaning, such that the user and listener are trained to associate something specific with those words. After awhile, we are like Pavlov’s dogs, and respond unthinkingly to whatever was drilled into us from our first prospective student meeting.

Thus, complaining is, in FF language, an expression of negativity. Negativity is bad. Therefore, complaining is bad. Bad student, go to the back of the line. You’ve been “photographed.”

“Photographing” students was a favorite FF sport. The best part was, you weren’t supposed to respond. If you did, you “buffered” it, and buffering was mechanical. Mechanical is the opposite of, duh, waking up. And of course, we ALL want to wake up, right? Did everyone raise their hand and say, yes, we want to wake up? What, exactly, does that mean? Say it without prefabricated “work language,” and see how long you last in a FF meeting.

Another loaded expression is “The School.” It has to have a capital S to be effective, because after all, what’s a School? Is it any old school, just a school like any other of its kind? What is the difference between a School and The School? Think about it. In grammar, when we use “the”, as in The School, it means it is the only one, or one that we all know which one we are talking about. And of course, there is (drum roll here) The Teacher.

Do yourself a favor and try to use neutral words for the exact same thing or person, and see if your mind can start to free itself from RB’s and the FF’s grip. The FF is a [group] [cult] of [people] [suckers] who [fill in your favorite phrase here] [pay exorbitant sums each month] [believe anything RB and the FF hierarchy tells them]. It is led by a [male figure] who […. it staggers the mind to think of how many examples of depravity and greed we can list in this bracket].

Words are a powerful, controlling tool. Don’t think RB and influential FF members aren’t aware of that.

41. WhaleRider - August 17, 2012

Presupposition

“In the branch of linguistics known as pragmatics, a presupposition is an implicit assumption about the world or background belief relating to an utterance whose truth is taken for granted in discourse. Examples of presuppositions include:

Jane no longer writes fiction.
Presupposition: Jane once wrote fiction.

Have you stopped eating meat?
Presupposition: you had once eaten meat.

Have you talked to Hans?
Presupposition: Hans exists.

A presupposition must be mutually known or assumed by the speaker and addressee for the utterance to be considered appropriate in context.

It will generally remain a necessary assumption whether the utterance is placed in the form of an assertion, denial, or question, and can be associated with a specific lexical item or grammatical feature (presupposition trigger) in the utterance.

Crucially, negation of an expression does not change its presuppositions.

Have you stopped beating your wife?
Presupposition: you once beat your wife, even if you say you don’t.

~Wikipedia

I in the Sky:
“There can be no charlatan teachers without there being real ones.”

Presupposition: real teachers exist.

“The lower cannot see the higher.”

Presupposition: the higher exists.

“Have you verified c-influence, yet?”

Presupposition: c-influence exists.

“If it weren’t for the school, you would not be where you are today.”
Presupposition: the cult is a school.

Presupposition is the equivalent of a post hypnotic suggestion. It is the “foot in the door” of your mind, so to speak, that paves the way for trance induction, trance logic and cult indoctrination, often accomplished indirectly without your conscious awareness.

Sound familiar?

42. I in the sky - August 17, 2012

Whalerider – 41

So and so is a charlatan teacher.
Presupposition: Real teachers exist.

“There can be no charlatan teachers without there being real ones.”
This is not a presupposition. This statement dispenses with supposition.

Tomorrow is Tuesday.
Presupposition: Today is Monday.

Tuesday is one of the 7 days of the week.
This statement dispenses with supposition.

43. nigel - August 17, 2012

…..one for Ames…..

“A good conscience fears no witness, but a guilty conscience is solicitous even in solitude. If we do nothing but what is honest, let all the world know it. But if otherwise, what does it signify to have nobody else know it, so long as I know it myself? Miserable is he who slights that witness.”
– Seneca –

44. nigel - August 17, 2012

…..on Meher Baba and, perhaps, for the rest of us sods…..

“One that does not think too highly of himself is more than he thinks.” – Goethe – Humility

45. Joseph Nachumovitch - August 17, 2012

Yes, words are powerful, and putting someone down for using a ‘wrong’ word is an aspect of loaded language, even if you don’t use the word ‘wrong’.

46. jomopinata - August 17, 2012

41/WR

Good one!

47. nigel - August 17, 2012

Just after my suicide attempt in June 1989, my business friend, Bob Stokes, and his wife had me and my family to dinner. We then went out to the movie theatre and saw Robin Williams (a brilliant comic and dramatic actor – I recommend him in “Awakenings” with Robert de Niro) in “Dead Poets Society”. Bob’s wife was uncertain how I would take the suicide of the young aspiring actor/student – I don’t remember how I felt – I was so drugged up on anti-depressants. But this passage I remember…..Nigel.

from….. DEAD POET’s SOCIETY

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless–of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here–that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

Tom Schulman
from “Dead Poets Society”

48. nigel - August 17, 2012

And I am disgusted that Robert Earl Burton contributes nothing to others or humanity – a self serving, self enfatuated, sexually depraved, greedy bastard. If he wanted to follow the teaching of one whom he proclaims to be the greatest embodiment before he came along…..

“He who would be greatest among you must be your servant”

49. Willie Maykit - August 17, 2012

When questioned as to who he was, Meher Baba on occasion responded something like –
‘I am not a saint, sadhu, yogi, wali or such others who are on the via media. Either I am an ordinary man or the highest of the high. I can assure you I am nothing in between.’

In May 1913, while bicycling to college, Meher Baba was contacted by Hazrat Babajan, an ancient “holy” woman who had been staying under a particular neem tree in Poona (now Pune), India for years. Thereafter he lost interest in his studies (dropped out, man) and visited the Muslim “Perfect Master” every evening, sometimes until late at night until January 1914, when she kissed him on the forehead.
The head-bashing occurred several years later during the “coming down” period.

50. nigel - August 17, 2012

“Show people how to succeed and they will be indebted to you; set up obstacles to their success and you will incur hatred.”

– Abraham Zaleznik, business psychologist –

51. nigel - August 17, 2012

Meher Baba

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Meher Baba
Born 25 February 1894
Poona (now Pune), India
Died 31 January 1969
Meherazad, India
Era 20th century
Region India
School Sufism, Vedanta, Mysticism
Main interests Religion, Metaphysics, Aesthetics, Ethics
Influenced by Hazrat Babajan, Sai Baba of Shirdi, Upasni Maharaj, Hazrat Tajuddin Baba, Narayan Maharaj

Meher Baba, born Merwan Sheriar Irani, was an Indian mystic and spiritual master who declared publicly in 1954 that he was the Avatar of the age.

Merwan Sheriar Irani was born in 1894 and led a normal childhood, showing no particularly strong inclination toward spiritual matters. At the age of 19, a brief contact with the Muslim holy woman Hazrat Babajan began his seven-year process of spiritual transformation. Over the next months, he contacted four additional spiritual figures whom, along with Babajan, he called “the five Perfect Masters.” He spent seven years with Upasni Maharaj, one of the masters, before beginning his public work. The name Meher Baba means “Compassionate Father” in Persian and was given to him by his first followers.

From 10 July 1925 to the end of his life, Meher Baba maintained silence, communicating by means of an alphabet board or by unique hand gestures. With his mandali (circle of disciples), he spent long periods in seclusion, during which time he often fasted. He also traveled widely, held public gatherings, and engaged in works of charity with lepers, the poor, and the mentally ill.

In 1931, Meher Baba made the first of many visits to the West, where he attracted many followers. Throughout most of the 1940s, Meher Baba worked with a category of spiritual aspirant called masts, whom he said are entranced or spellbound by internal spiritual experiences. Starting in 1949, along with selected mandali, he traveled incognito about India in what he called “The New Life”. On 10 February 1954, Meher Baba declared that he was the Avatar (an incarnation of God).

After being injured as a passenger in two automobile accidents, one in the United States in 1952 and one in India in 1956, his ability to walk became severely limited. In 1962, he invited his Western followers to India for a mass darshan called “The East-West Gathering.” Concerned by an increasing use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs, in 1966 Baba stated that they did not convey real benefits. Despite deteriorating health, he continued what he called his “Universal Work,” which included fasting and seclusion, until his death on 31 January 1969. His samadhi (tomb-shrine) in Meherabad, India has become a place of international pilgrimage.

52. WhaleRider - August 17, 2012

I in the Sky:
I am impressed! Good job! You are correct.

Your statement, “There can be no charlatan teachers without there being real ones.” is not a presupposition as I claimed, it goes straight to the supposition that because there are charlatan teachers there must be real ones.

It is the equivalent to the statement that if there are fake prophets there must be real ones, the supposition being that it is possible to predict the future.

Now we have to be clear that we are talking about gurus who claim to be teachers of enlightenment, who also claim to be enlightened themsleves, the supposition being that the myth of enlightenment is possible to attain.

It is true that teachers do exist, just as school teachers and college professors exist, but the supposition here is that gurus are also teachers.

The difference between the two is that a real school teacher or real professor teaches you how to think independently for yourself, which fosters self-esteem; a fake teacher or guru does the opposite, teaching you how to suspend critical thought and mistrust yourself, creating emotional dependence.

A real teacher can admit when they are wrong when presented with compelling evidence or in the face of new discoveries. They teach the truth in order to dispel delusion.

A fake teacher will continue to teach falsity and delusion no matter what, creating delusion in their students because they are deluded themselves.

IMHO, this makes gurus fake teachers, like burton is, suffering from the delusion that he is enlightened and can enlighten others, despite all the compelling evidence to the contrary.

So yes, gurus or fake teachers exist because there are real teachers…you can find real, genuine teachers in schools, colleges and universities.

53. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 17, 2012

42: I in the sky

There is a fault in your logic, which Whalerider has already explained very clearly. See if this makes sense to you.

For the analogy to work, I need to find something that you agree is not possible, which is a bit of a guess. Let’s take levitation, the ability to rise up off the ground defying gravity. There have been a number of people over the years who have claimed this as a real talent, rather than just stage magicians such as David Copperfield et al who admit the effect is achieved by trickery. Take for example Daniel Dunglas Home. I would call him a charlatan levitator, which using your logic

“There can be no charlatan teachers without there being real ones.”

would mean that there are real levitators.

Can you see that this conclusion doesn’t follow, that the existence of charlatan levitators does not in and of itself imply that somewhere there are real levitators? That all levitators might well be charlatans?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levitation_(paranormal)

All we need in order to say someone is a charlatan levitator is to be clear what it would MEAN to be a true levitator, the meaning of the word. It says nothing about whether or not there actually ARE any existing in the world.

If by some chance you believe in levitation, choose something even more improbable.

Note that this logical analysis does NOT show that there aren’t any true teachers. There may well be true teachers, but the point is that their existence is not required by the existence of charlatan teachers. It is a logical rather than empirical point that I am making here.

54. Tim Campion - August 17, 2012

It’s no surprise that we’ve have become part of “I in the sky’s” dream. The blog is their nightmare.

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

You don’t need me as a foil to promote the points of view you have promoted many times before, and for me engaging you would only make sense if I have an urge to defend my beliefs, which would surely come under a barrage of dismissals. Luckily for you and myself I have no interest in defending my beliefs.

Having difficulty maintaining control, commanding respect? Maybe you can imagine a few more pebbles, “I”.

55. WhaleRider - August 17, 2012

Luckily Tim we can wake up from our nightmares,

56. I in the sky - August 17, 2012

Shard_ of_ Oblivion – 39

Regarding the merits of Meher Baba as a real teacher:

“It does seem to be the case that he avoided the most egregious examples of exploitation of their students that many gurus go in for. However he still falls victim to the fundamental flaw as far as I can see. He is totally convinced that he knows more than the rest of humanity, and he is unable to see that he is deluding himself.”

Real teachers are supposed to know more than humanity (if you take humanity to mean the masses.) Who would want a spiritual guide who did not know more than the masses knew? Where of value could he lead you? I’m also curious to know how you could know whether he was deluding himself? Is it because you are skeptical that anyone can know more than you know, which is the approach of all non-believers? Or are you saying you really know he was deluding himself?

I personally cannot know with certainty if he was deluding himself. If you can wouldn’t it suggest that you know more than he knew – as you know he was deluding himself while he did not know that. This seems to be a contradiction as you chide him for knowing too much, yet speak as if you know more than he did.

“Here is what happened: when he was young he lived a normal life, until one day he met a mystic who kissed him on the forehead. This action propelled him into an unusual state of consciousness, so overpowering that he had to beat his head against a stone to maintain contact with the physical world.”

The continuation of this story is that the woman who kissed him was considered to be a perfect Master (one of 5 in India at the time.) She sent Baba to another of the 5 perfect masters. When Baba walked into the door the man threw a rock and hit Baba right between the eyes, bringing him out of his years long swoon.

“After some years he felt that he was very very special indeed. He claimed that he was a manifestation of the supreme godhead. This claim is clearly absurd.”

Why is it absurd? Are you saying no one can experience a oneness with God? Or no one has the right to say they are a manifestation of the supreme godhead, even if they may be that? Christ claimed to be the son of God. What think you regarding that? If you are saying you are a non-believer that is one thing. If you are saying you know Meher Baba did not experience what he says he did or could not be who he claimed to be, through your own superior powers of knowing, that is an entirely different thing.

“I came across a particular set of statements that encapsulate the error of his ways. From 1925 until his death in 1969 he remained silent. Not as a discipline, no no, he was silent because the nasty horrible world had ignored his advice in previous incarnations, in his own words “Because man has been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this present Avataric form, I observe silence.”

He kept promising to break his silence, and had grandiose delusions about what would happen when he did. Again here are his own words “When I break My Silence, the impact of My Love will be universal and all life in creation will know, feel and receive of it. It will help every individual to break himself free from his own bondage in his own way. I am the Divine Beloved who loves you more than you can ever love yourself. The breaking of My Silence will help you to help yourself in knowing your real Self”

But he never spoke. He never said a word.”

I’m not sure what you’re trying to conclude here. But I do know that many people would look on 44 years of silence as a remarkable feat, while you look on the fact that he did not break his silence as he claimed he would as some sort of dis qualifier.

Also, teachers of Meher Baba’s high level (not only my opinion, as he had tens of thousands of followers in his own lifetime) often speak metaphorically while ordinary people might read their words and take them literally. I believe Christ said he would return and many people are still waiting for him to appear. And Meher Baba said he was another coming of a Christ-like figure.

“He was by all accounts a nice guy, but so mistaken about reality.”

Again, a seeming contradiction, as you chide him for his lofty claims yet dismiss him with a single broad stroke as though you know more than he did.

57. I in the sky - August 17, 2012

Tim: “And you’re welcome. It is good to have you around the campfire.”

Thanks Tim; at the same time, could you please pass another blanket. It’s getting awfully chilly around the old camp(ion)fire.

58. Tim Campion - August 17, 2012

“I”,

As I said, you have a thick skin. (Teflon!) Who needs a blanket?

But I am pleased that you’re here.

59. nigel - August 17, 2012

“In particular, if he [Robert Earl Burton] knows what he is doing and we don’t, we have no basis for judging or doubting him. Instead, we simply have to trust him, as a child trusts his parents, or a dog trusts its master. If he asks us to do things which seem to have no connection to awakening–or even to be ‘wrong’–we have no choice but to do them anyway.” Girard Haven, Creating a Soul, page 576

Oh God!!!!! Another inane commentary about REB, The Antichrist.

60. nigel - August 17, 2012

Quotations by Robert Burton, from “Thoughts from the Teacher”

Jan 12, 2003
I feel our good fortune quite deeply this morning. We are at the dawn of another year of working with the Gods. We have been chosen out of six billion people to consciously evolve.
Jan 26, 2003:
It is a long wait with Influence C. I am into my best period as a teacher. When I turned sixty, my higher centers matured in a certain way. I can now see what is in front of me. I can see the obvious in everything. For example, if I read a thought by Peter Ouspensky, I can see whether it is right, and appreciate it, or whether it is not, and correct it.

(Someone else thinks he is God-Come-Down-To-Earth)

61. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 17, 2012

56: I in the sky, makes some points concerning my post about Meher Baba, which I will enjoy responding to.

Shard_ of_ Oblivion – 39

Regarding the merits of Meher Baba as a real teacher:

“It does seem to be the case that he avoided the most egregious examples of exploitation of their students that many gurus go in for. However he still falls victim to the fundamental flaw as far as I can see. He is totally convinced that he knows more than the rest of humanity, and he is unable to see that he is deluding himself.”

“”Real teachers are supposed to know more than humanity (if you take humanity to mean the masses.) Who would want a spiritual guide who did not know more than the masses knew?””
I agree.
“”Where of value could he lead you?””
he could lead me nowhere – I do agree on this point.
“”I’m also curious to know how you could know whether he was deluding himself? Is it because you are skeptical that anyone can know more than you know, which is the approach of all non-believers? Or are you saying you really know he was deluding himself?”
OK – that is a good point. I have to agree that I cannot be sure about those statements, it is possible I am wrong. However I don’t think I am, and I will explain why.
I found it helpful to study Epistemology while I was leaving the FoF and also in the years afterwards. Something quite extraordinary has been happening since the scientific revolution. Science has shown itself to be the most powerful modus operandus to discover truth about the world that we humans have so far developed. I find Karl Popper’s formulation of the scientific method crisp, clear and convincing. When Popper was a young academic living in Vienna in the 1920s there were three theories that attracted much comment and excitement. Marx’s dialectical materialism, Freud’s theories of the subconscious and Einstein’s theory of relativity. Popper noticed that there was a fundamental difference between them. With Marxists and Freudians there was nothing that could happen in the real world that would convince them that they had got their theories wrong. Whether the proletariat triumphed or not Marx would explain it, whatever action a person took, Freud would be able to explain why, but neither could make predictions that were falsifiable. However Einstein’s theory did make a prediction, that differed from the main rival Newton’s theory, and in 1919 Eddington went to observe a solar eclipse, to test the prediction that light would be bent by gravitational fields. Popper concluded that the power of science is that its theories can be falsified, and that an unfalsifiable theory is not scientific.
So that ramble leads to me admitting that it is my personal and subjective opinion that the best approximation of an accurate model of the world is the one provided by science. It is not complete, scientists continue to refine it, so I don’t “believe” the latest scientific theories. But I personally look to science as providing the best we can get. Science contrasts with the appeal to authority that God-realised gurus make. They have an experience, this experience leads them to feel very strongly that they have found the answer, and an understandable wish to pass this on to any others who may be looking for it. In as much as they give advice about how to live and ways to get into interesting states of consciousness, all well and good from my viewpoint. I’ll listen and try to learn what I can. When they make statements that are in direct contradiction to established scientific theories, they need for me to do more than just say I must trust them because they are so much higher than me, and that I couldn’t possibly understand how they know what they know.
So I do think I know more than he does, but only because I take advantage of the collective enterprise that is science, not because I am in some way superior in intelligence or something.

“”I personally cannot know with certainty if he was deluding himself. If you can wouldn’t it suggest that you know more than he knew – as you know he was deluding himself while he did not know that. This seems to be a contradiction as you chide him for knowing too much, yet speak as if you know more than he did.””
I think he was deluding himself, I’ll grant you I don’t know for sure.

“Here is what happened: when he was young he lived a normal life, until one day he met a mystic who kissed him on the forehead. This action propelled him into an unusual state of consciousness, so overpowering that he had to beat his head against a stone to maintain contact with the physical world.”

“”The continuation of this story is that the woman who kissed him was considered to be a perfect Master (one of 5 in India at the time.) She sent Baba to another of the 5 perfect masters. When Baba walked into the door the man threw a rock and hit Baba right between the eyes, bringing him out of his years long swoon.””

“After some years he felt that he was very very special indeed. He claimed that he was a manifestation of the supreme godhead. This claim is clearly absurd.”

“”Why is it absurd? Are you saying no one can experience a oneness with God?””

No. I am saying his claim that he actually WAS God, in a way that differed fundamentally from any oneness experience you or I might have, is absurd. He made very large claims on that point. We can all feel at one with the universe from time to time – that wasn’t what he claimed and I think you know this.

“”Or no one has the right to say they are a manifestation of the supreme godhead, even if they may be that? Christ claimed to be the son of God. What think you regarding that?””
I think that Christ was an ordinary man like you or me, who became mistakenly convinced that his dad was God. I think he was a high functioning paranoid schizophrenic with a classic case of the christ complex. Basically a nice guy, I have nothing against him, his teachings regarding forgiveness are wonderful, but I cannot believe that ‘whatever it is that has resulted in there being something rather than nothing’ (let’s call the answer to that God) had anything more to do with his birth than that principle, whatever it is, has to do with your birth or my birth. Christ was a standard human model 1.0, but with a touch too much serotonin and dopamine in his brain for him to be grounded in everyday reality
“”If you are saying you are a non-believer that is one thing.””
I am saying I am a non-believer.
“”If you are saying you know Meher Baba did not experience what he says he did””
I am not saying that, I happen to believe he was honest in all the descriptions he gave of what it felt like to be in his state of god realisation, though I can’t know for sure.
“”or could not be who he claimed to be””
Yes I am saying he could not be who he claimed to be, inasmuch as he claimed to be God
“”through your own superior powers of knowing,””
see above, I am science’s bitch, I don’t claim superior powers of knowing, I just have the nonce to recognise that science is the best we have, and have attached my little canoe to that big oceanic steamer as it cruises forward into the unknown.
“”that is an entirely different thing.””

“I came across a particular set of statements that encapsulate the error of his ways. From 1925 until his death in 1969 he remained silent. Not as a discipline, no no, he was silent because the nasty horrible world had ignored his advice in previous incarnations, in his own words “Because man has been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this present Avataric form, I observe silence.”

He kept promising to break his silence, and had grandiose delusions about what would happen when he did. Again here are his own words “When I break My Silence, the impact of My Love will be universal and all life in creation will know, feel and receive of it. It will help every individual to break himself free from his own bondage in his own way. I am the Divine Beloved who loves you more than you can ever love yourself. The breaking of My Silence will help you to help yourself in knowing your real Self”

But he never spoke. He never said a word.”

“”I’m not sure what you’re trying to conclude here. But I do know that many people would look on 44 years of silence as a remarkable feat, while you look on the fact that he did not break his silence as he claimed he would as some sort of dis qualifier.””

I am citing an example of where he COULD have put his beliefs to the test, but he didn’t. He didn’t say The Word, and see if his predictions that every creature in the universe would notice it came to be. He never produced the miracle he claimed he could. Sure I agree it is in itself a remarkable feat to not say a word for 44 years, I probably couldn’t do it, but I can easily understand what it would involve if I did. His claim for a miracle when he finally spoke was crying out to be tested. I bet all his followers were itching for him to do it, and would have a little tingle while he was still alive that today could be the day when Baba says the word and the world is changed in a twinkling of an eye. And I bet he knew that. So why didn’t he say the word? I can’t know the answer, but the question begs to be asked doesn’t it?

“”Also, teachers of Meher Baba’s high level (not only my opinion, as he had tens of thousands of followers in his own lifetime) often speak metaphorically while ordinary people might read their words and take them literally. I believe Christ said he would return and many people are still waiting for him to appear. And Meher Baba said he was another coming of a Christ-like figure.””
Yes, I agree Christ and Baba are very similar. Both humans who thought they were God, and were wrong.

“He was by all accounts a nice guy, but so mistaken about reality.”

“”Again, a seeming contradiction, as you chide him for his lofty claims yet dismiss him with a single broad stroke as though you know more than he did.””

Yep, in as much as he ignored science, I do know more than he did, I am sitting perched here on the shoulders of giants.

62. Ames Gilbert - August 17, 2012

I in the sky (#124-56 or thereabouts),
sure, maintaining silence for 44 years is quite a feat. So? Many humans through history have accomplished many notable feats, each for a particular reason. Of course, you only said that to distract us from the point. Which is: Meher Baba claimed two things: that he would break his silence, and that a rather consequential such and such would follow. Both were lies. That says something about him, just as when Burton also made prophecies which were completely wrong, that says something about him. Both maintained authoritarian structures (more warning signs), and put that authority on the line.

Look, Meher Baba having ten thousand followers who believed his self-reported high level of being doesn’t mean diddly. 15k followers have been through the Fellowship of Friends, ten percent remain. Rev. Moon claims a self-reported high level of being and 7m followers. I’m sure they were/are all sincere, those that left, those that stayed. Being sincere doesn’t mean diddly, apart from being sincere; one can be sincere yet deluded. In your terms, the millions who heard and rejected the messages of both far outweigh those that accepted them—a fallacy. And you using these kind of fallacies in your argument doesn’t bode well if your aim is to open my mind to seriously consider your point of view.

BTW, another warning sign about both: they lived/live off the generosity of their followers. They did/do not earn their living, like the rest of us lesser beings. Not an absolute, but a warning sign.

63. I in the sky - August 17, 2012

WhaleRider – 52

“It is the equivalent to the statement that if there are fake prophets there must be real ones, the supposition being that it is possible to predict the future.”

That’s a tricky one, as all prophets are in a precarious position; because as I understand it they are seeing what is shown to them through dreams, visions, etc. But what are they seeing? What will indeed happen or what a higher order wants them to see? The prophet could be doing his or her job perfectly but still coming off as a failure. You probably think I’m referring to RB, but this logic holds up is all cases, whether the prophet predicts correctly or not. That’s my take on it. I don’t know of any prophet batting 1.000.

Regarding the rest of your post, I think it’s extremely difficult for you to write “real guru” in the same sentence. I somewhat agree but for me it’s semantics more than anything. Guru is a relatively modern term, gaining much popularity in new age lingo, coined at a time when most of those referring to themselves as such are fakes.

But to take the term at face value, it’s no different than “Spiritual Teacher.” I don’t think there is such a thing as “teacher of enlightenment” for that “presupposes” the pupil also has the ability or desire to be enlightened.

I agree the term guru has become loaded. In the same vein the swastika was an ancient Sanskrit symbol meaning “to be good” before being appropriated by the Nazis.

64. Ames Gilbert - August 17, 2012

Shard_of_Oblivion (#124-61 or thereabouts),
yay for the scientific method! Or are post like yours and those from Fi fi fo fum and Whalrider above (thank you all!) pertaining to the art of reasoning just examples of ‘confirmation bias’?
http://tinyurl.com/bsohv3n

65. I in the sky - August 17, 2012

Shard_ of_Oblivion – 61

Thanks for the reply. The only thing I would add is I’m pretty sure MB was speaking metaphorically when he said, if he said, I am God.

I would have to see the context for one thing. On the other hand if God wanted to inhabit a human’s body, mind, spirit it seems he/she/it could easily do that, making that person, technically speaking, God.

Ames – 62, You are correct, number of followers do not in and of itself mean much, but it does count for something. If he had “no” followers that would also count for something. MB probably had a lot less than Rev. Moon which, if true, would make me feel good.

It was calculated that more people saw “Star Wars” in the first week of its original run than would see the Mona Lisa in a year. Now you could probably add “Pirates of the Caribbean” to those figures.

66. I in the sky - August 17, 2012

Shard_ of_ Oblivion – 62

“Yep, in as much as he ignored science, I do know more than he did, I am sitting perched here on the shoulders of giants.”

On more thought – When did science become the proper lens through which we see spiritual things? It seems to me they serve completely different functions. Has science ever seen or explained the life force? Know where it came from or where is goes when a living organism perishes?

67. WhaleRider - August 17, 2012

I in the Sky:

“I’m also curious to know how you could know whether he was deluding himself?…If you can, wouldn’t it suggest that you know more than he knew – as you know he was deluding himself while he did not know that.”

Delusion

“Although non-specific concepts of madness have been around for several thousand years, the psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers was the first to define the three main criteria for a belief to be considered delusional in his 1913 book General Psychopathology.

These criteria are:
-certainty (held with absolute conviction)
-incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary)
-impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre or patently untrue)”

~Wikipedia

Now MB was certain he was an avatar, a belief he held with absolute conviction, despite the fact that the rest of the planet didn’t feel his absolute love when he came out of silence, and it is certainly both bizarre and implausible that a mere kiss on the forehead would make him a god…although beating your head against a stone wall could indeed cause some brain damage, which could lead to further delusions and possibly even hallucinations.

So I am fairly certain MB was deluded, meeting the above criteria, just like RB is.

As far as knowing more than MB did, well, crazy people don’t know they are crazy, do they? That’s what makes them crazy.

“When did science become the proper lens through which we see spiritual things?”

Are you implying that only through a non-scientific lens can a person properly “see spiritual “things”, whatever “things” mean…ghosts, perhaps?

Seems to me like you are referring to superstition, not spirituality.

Probably around the time science separated itself from the practice of alchemy and away from religious fear-based dogma…in other words, when science became focused on the pursuit of truth that is verifiable through experimentation which can be duplicated and corroborated by other sources, it became a form of spirituality, which continues to inspire the spirit of people to reach out to the unknown, places like Mars and the subatomic world, even to this day…instead of being mentally shackled by the endless repetition of hearsay, delusion, and supposition.

“Know where it (life force) came from or where is goes when a living organism perishes?”

I am at peace with that mystery and continue to live a moral life to the best of my ability regardless.

As far as we (the masses) know, energy is constant in the Universe. It never came from any where nor is it going anywhere, it just is.

That might be a mystery that is difficult for you to grasp if you believe you are “going” to heaven after you die.

So as far as we (the masses) are concerned, when a living organism dies, its life force is dissipated and the energy stored in its organic components is absorbed into the environment and recycled into other living forms…unless you are cremated, in which your energy is released as heat and light.

FYI, we (the masses) are beginning to understand the origin of animated life on Earth in the new discoveries on the bottom of the ocean, in case you have been cloistered for a while.

IMHO, our human spirit lives on through our offspring and art.

68. Golden Veil - August 17, 2012

To all… I am not interested in “Spirituality.” I am interested in “Moral Psychology.” As far as these “spiritual” or “esoteric” “teachers” that have 1 or a million followers, remember that old assertion made popular by P.T. Barnum ~ “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

For me, the best parts of the so-called “Fourth Way” studies all related to psychology. I do think that the study of “Archetypes” in dreams and myths can be useful; the written work of psychologist James Hillman especially interests me.

But what is really useful, in a practical sense, is to learn what is ethical and moral. Many of the spiritual movement teachers fail here, especially in how they conduct their own personal lives.

Social connection has such an important bearing on human happiness. All these “spiritual movements” have offered that, with or without the “teacher.” But although the social interaction amongst members offers the most benefit, it also may unfortunately allow great opportunity for abuse.

69. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 17, 2012

66: I in the sky said:

“On more thought – When did science become the proper lens through which we see spiritual things?”

I was careful to admit that those who have had spiritual experiences are qualified to speak from experience about those topics, and I am interested in what they have to say. I like a mystical experience as much as the next guy. It is when one of these people who have had a mystical experience then mistakenly concludes that they can pronounce on those topics that are the natural province of scientific enquiry that I call them to book.

Or makes statements that are obviously untrue, like “When I speak that Word, I shall lay the foundation for that which is to take place during the next seven hundred years”

And to answer more directly your question: I believe we can and probably should use all available cultural means to “see spiritual things”. Poetry, music, movies, our own lives, science, philosophy, science fiction, a flotation tank, reading this blog, walking the dog, having sex, smoking Salvia Divinorum, watching the night sky and seeing the perseids meteor shower, watching the evening news, greeting a stranger on the sunny woodland path, feeding a robin and holding your breath under water at the swimming pool. So for me science is in there as a lens, but it’s not the only one.

70. Ill Never Tell - August 18, 2012

Let’s face the truth, people: likely no one posting or reading here knows for sure whether or not Meher Baba spoke during those 44 years before he dropped the body.

You would have to had been there. It is like the question: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it crash, does it make a sound?

71. brucelevy - August 18, 2012

What I want to know is how many angels can dance on the head of a fucking pin. All else is just intellectual masturbation.

72. Tim Campion - August 18, 2012

Silly me! I thought this was the “Fellowship of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway to Presence Discussion”.

It seems our friend “Pie in the sky” would like it to be a “Discussion About Nothing”, or at least about anything but The Fellowship of Friends.

Call me paranoid, but “I’s” timing was impeccable, arriving on the blog the same day the investigation of Fellowship of Friends doctor Thomas Neuschatz was announced in the press. Damage control? Now why would I think that?

You probably think I’m referring to RB…

When you are here to talk about anything but RB, of course you’re not referring to him. Your talent for obfuscation is to be commended.

So, tell us “I”, what’s the scuttlebutt at Apollo about the Thomas Neuschatz investigation? Do you think it will have any impact on Robert Burton’s pharmaceutical supply chain?

73. cristalclear - August 18, 2012

If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don’t have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing. If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don’t have love, it profits me nothing.

74. cristalclear - August 18, 2012

I dout rb knows the meaning of the word.

75. I in the sky - August 18, 2012

SoO –

“So for me science is in there as a lens, but it’s not the only one.”

Someone should probably inform science; they may not be aware of this. When was the last time a scientist did a study on the characteristics of a soul?

76. cristalclear - August 18, 2012

I in the sky
you sould use a pair of lenses.
payn in my “I”s

77. Man Number Zero - August 18, 2012

I in the Sky wrote, in post 63: “Guru is a relatively modern term, gaining much popularity in new age lingo, coined at a time when most of those referring to themselves as such are fakes.”

`Guru’ appears in the Advayataraka Upanishad 14—18, verse 5, composed before 600 BC.

But why bother checking the facts when you get your scoop direct from Influence C?

78. WhaleRider - August 18, 2012

I in the Sky;
“Someone should probably inform science; they may not be aware of this. When was the last time a scientist did a study on the characteristics of a soul?”

You are so funny!

Psychology psyche-ology, study and science of the soul.

You need to get out more.

79. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 18, 2012

75: I in the sky asked:

“When was the last time a scientist did a study on the characteristics of a soul?”

Well the word soul is something more from the world of poetry than science, and is therefore poorly defined, but whatever it refers to, it would probably help if we knew more about how consciousness is generated within our brains. Susan Greenfield along with many others are doing research into this very area. I don’t really see why there are any topics of knowledge where it would not be possible to try to apply the scientific method. But you may recall that I did list a lot of other things, along with science, that we can use to try to understand the big questions of existence.

I can recommend the following talk, I particularly liked the idea of consciousness as a time delimited wave, and I will be watching as further results of these studies are published. She talks fast as it is a debate with set timeslots for each speaker, pay attention at the back there!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2012/jun/22/consciousness-susan-greenfield

Ames Gilbert (#124-64 or thereabouts) – “yay for the scientific method” indeed! I am probably as subject to confirmation bias as anyone else, but I can honestly say that for me it is more important to discover the truth than to confirm some comforting nonsense, however bleak the truth may turn out to be.

80. Tempus Fugit - August 18, 2012

Well, I’m glad my comments about Meher Baba stimulated so much discussion. Certainly this is not the only active theme in the blog mix currently, but I think the various thoughts and reactions people have had lead me directly back to the main reason I post here.

After my experience in the Fellowship of Friends I realized how naive I had been to turn my will over to the control of another human being. I stopped looking for a “guru” and started on a serious path of self guidance and self development.

So why do I admire Meher Baba? I already mentioned I am not a follower.

I admire him for what he did with his life in the outer world, how he treated other people, especially those who were sick, poor, and mentally ill. In my opinion, you can tell a lot about a person and a society by how they treat the helpless and the weak.

In fact, it’s very hard if not impossible to know for certain what’s in another person’s mind or heart, but their behavior is visible.

That of course is how the world evaluates us – our friends, our employers, or people we meet day to day. How do we behave, and what does that tell others about who we are?

And so how do we evaluate Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends? What does their behavior tell us about who they are?

I am not a Christian, but these quotes from the Bible are relevant.

From the American Standard Version of the New Testament, Book of Matthew, Chapter 7, Verses 15-17:
15) Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.
16) By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

In my opinion ANY mature adult with decent values who knows the truth about the behavior of Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends will be filled with disgust and revulsion, and they will know the tree is corrupt.

81. I in the sky - August 18, 2012

MNZ – 77

“`Guru’ appears in the Advayataraka Upanishad 14—18, verse 5, composed before 600 BC.”

Maybe you should mention it to WhaleRider, he’s the one who has issues with the term. By the way, in the Upanishads did they make distinctions between real and fake gurus?

82. Willie Maykit - August 18, 2012

The number depends on the dance step, Bruce. There’s more room for a slow waltz than the bugaloo. How many angels does it take for a circle jerk?

83. Fee fi fo fum - August 18, 2012

64 Ames

Similar to what Shard said at the end of #79 or thereabouts, I probably am as subject to ‘confirmation bias’ as anyone else, especially when I get worked up about something. This may not be answering your question, but my point in #40 where I reacted to expressions like “the School” comes partly from my having tried very hard to free my mind from Fellowship-think, after I left the FF, and partly from hearing students and ex-students talk about Robert and the Fellowship and listening to their emotional tone.

The vocabulary we use to refer to people or institutions may reflect respect, reverence, admiration, affection; or not. Take a non-esoteric example. Most of us call our parents Mom and Dad, or some variation. What do you think about families where the parents encourage their children to call them by their first names, as though they were peers? Most people have an opinion about that, and often, it’s not entirely favorable, because it suggests a possible lack of respect for the parent. So what’s in a label?

For “loaded language” in the context of brainwashing and thought terminating cliches, words may be assigned special meanings that enforce your allegiance to the group and its doctrines. How many ex-members still react to the number “44” on a receipt or highway sign, long after leaving the FF? We were so engrained in the special meaning of “44 conscious beings” that we probably had a visceral reaction when we saw the number. Will it ever be “just another number”? In a way, all I’m saying is that we are susceptible to being manipulated through language.

I am not a particular fan of Lenny Bruce, but when I was still in the FF, someone brought up the subject of how prudish (read, artificially dainty) our FF language was. They were not advocating that one pepper one’s language with profanity, but was pointing out that we ourselves gave profanity a weight that caused us to almost fear such words. From one point of view, a word is just a word. But from another, they are not: they are rich in texture and associations. If those associations encourage us to lapse into mind control, then it’s time to detonate those words.

“It’s the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness.”
“I want to help you if you have a dirty word problem. There are none.”
– Lenny Bruce

84. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 18, 2012

71. brucelevy quoth
“What I want to know is how many angels can dance on the head of a fucking pin. All else is just intellectual masturbation.”

In Kinsey, Pomeroy and Martin: Sexual behaviour in the human male 1948 (the seminal scientific text on sexual matters), the data clearly shows that the more intelligent, the better educated, the more prosperous you are, the more you masturbate. Those who masturbate least are the dull working class macho guys who feel the practice in some way demeans their manhood.

What’s wrong with intellectual masturbation!

The answer’s obviously 42.

85. WhaleRider - August 18, 2012

“`Guru’ appears in the Advayataraka Upanishad 14—18, verse 5, composed before 600 BC.”

“The syllable gu means shadows
The syllable ru, he who disperses them,
Because of the power to disperse darkness
the guru is thus named.
— Advayataraka Upanishad 14—18, verse 5”

“The Upanishadic philosophers regarded the Self as the ultimate existence and subordinated the world and God to the Self. The Self to them, is more real than either the world or God. It is only ultimately that they identify the Self with God, and thus bridge over the gulf that exists between the theological and psychological approaches to reality.”

~Wikipedia

Interesting reading, the Upanishads.

Like I said real teachers do exist and education had evolved since 600 BC.

I’d say that anyone who dispels darkness, ignorance, and delusion through the dissemination of knowledge qualifies as a guru or teacher in the Vedic sense which is an oral tradition, and IMO, the most qualified teachers these days would be a professor of Theology at a university, who is subject to peer review, and not a self-professed fake teacher with an agenda of self-interest as burton or meher baba are, who encourages you to be isolated and dependent upon them because they are financially dependent upon you.

(I am sure there were fake teachers back then too, in need of a retirement plan.)

The difference is that with a real teacher, in a real university of learning, you get to graduate, with an intact Self, and not with a conflicted, Balkanized one with violated boundaries, as when you leave or are kicked out of a cult.

For having a Self, according to the Upanishads is empowering…a necessary part of the conjunction of the Brahman or universal spirit and the Atman or individual self.

For isn’t the goal inner peace and not inner discord?

The fake teacher demands his followers be self less and places himself at the center of their world, with his delusions of grandeur, thus disempowering them, weakening their spirit, and keeping them ignorant of their selves and their own power to dispel their own darkness.

A Vedic guru teaches self empowerment in his or her students. The verses contain knowledge for seeking and validating the truth within through various forms of yoga and meditation, and not outside oneself on license plates.

86. nigel - August 18, 2012

85. Whale Rider

…..”regarded the Self as the ultimate existence and subordinated the world and God to the Self. The Self to them, is more real than either the world or God. It is only ultimately that they identify the Self with God”…..

– Upanishads –

…..”and no-one, not God, is dearer to one than one’s Self is”…..

– Walt Whitman –

These are two brilliant passages for anyone thinking in circles about the need to belong to a group to find ‘The Ultimate Reality – The Self”.

I believe, at times, that I, myself, can experience Nirvana, postulated as the dissolution of The Self into ‘What Is’. I also stated at a meeting (funnily enough, chaired by Benjamin Yudin) that I thought I was on my 9th lifetime, since my journey in and through developing my Essence Talents was so ‘frigging hard’. My failed suicide attempt was STOP on the grand scale of my life – I just about ‘kicked myself out’ of the Fellowship of Friends. I then suffered years of mental instability before ‘gaining’ my own council apartment and embarking on a Certificate of Education (Post-Compulsory Education and Training) using my skills learnt as a precious metal craftsman to enhance the lives of my adult students. I do not care how many of you on this blog refute this – I am not going to try to prove it to any of you – for me it is a simple truth. I am calmer now than when I first came on this blog – remember the Warrior/Price/Wallace ‘non-useful’ stuff I was spouting? – and only find the need to return here in an effort to help those who wish it, to leave the cult – and, hopefully, bring down Burton…..Nigel.

87. nigel - August 18, 2012

…..the ‘Divine Comedy’…..

Inferno (Hell)…..life in the Fellowship of Friends
Purgatorio(Puratory)…..post-FOF meltdown of personality
Paradiso (Heaven)…..the Finding of One’s Self in Service to Others

88. brucelevy - August 18, 2012

84. Shard_of_Oblivion

Masturbation can serve one on several levels, but “Intellectual” masturbation doesn’t resolve itself or serve one. It an ego addiction that just feeds one’s own grandiosity and pathology. In the FOF, as long as it’s along the party line, it’s a treasured virtue. e.g….Pie in the Eye.

89. Willie Maykit - August 18, 2012

Don’t believe in ghosts? Holy Science Rules?
Obviously you’ve never spent the whole night awake – from dusk till dawn in a cemetery or Parsi tower of silence, where the bodies are left for the vultures to pick clean. I dare ya.
The answer is not 42, but you’re close. It’s a trick question.
– Betty Wont

90. I in the sky - August 18, 2012

Tim Campion – 72

“It seems our friend “Pie in the sky” would like it to be a “Discussion About Nothing”, or at least about anything but The Fellowship of Friends.

Call me paranoid, but “I’s” timing was impeccable, arriving on the blog the same day the investigation of Fellowship of Friends doctor Thomas Neuschatz was announced in the press. Damage control? Now why would I think that?”

I first posted on July 20th, a few posts on the 20th and 21st.
You posted the story about TN on the 22nd. That topic appeared to peter out around the 25th. I did not comment about TN and I did not post again until August 6th.

Have you considered there may be some paranoia circulating on your end? Whenever there is an anxiety in someone about wishing for a certain outcome or when our involvement in an endeavor comes close to an obsession paranoia is not far behind.

91. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 18, 2012

So will Dr T.N. write me out a scrip for some MDMA and LSD, I think it might help settle my tummy upset?

92. WhaleRider - August 18, 2012

Willie Maykit:

“Don’t believe in ghosts? Holy Science Rules?
Obviously you’ve never spent the whole night awake – from dusk till dawn in a cemetery or Parsi tower of silence, where the bodies are left for the vultures to pick clean. I dare ya.”

I bet even a full scale replica of the Parsi Tower of Silence or a movie about it would do the trick.

Such is the power of the mind.

93. Tim Campion - August 18, 2012

I in the sky,

Your timeline conveniently omits my primary observation: you appeared on the blog the same day the article appeared in the press. That it took a couple days for it to be cited on the blog is irrelevant.

Also irrelevant is the fact that you didn’t comment about Fellowship doctor Thomas Neuschatz. (Just as you do not comment about Robert Burton and The Fellowship of Friends, except to refer to them in a theoretical sense.) On the other hand, paranoia may be a relevant point. You sound knowledgeable in the area. Would you like to share your experience with us?

Just curious, “I”, are you currently a member of The Fellowship of Friends?

94. WhaleRider - August 18, 2012

Thanks to you Tim, I don’t think the Dr Feel Good story is going to go away any time soon. Please keep us informed.

I do have to concur with you, Tim, the tone, demeanor and thought process of I in the Sky reminds me of Daily Cardiac and Howard Carter. I don’t think you are being paranoid. But there is no need to unmask them, they are just regurgitating what most everyone else in the cult believes…it’s just status quo group think…great stuff.

It doesn’t really matter to me if these are the same people posting, the underlying suppositions and delusions speak for themselves when aired in the light of day, and are a welcome addition to the healthy debate occurring on the blog.

Maybe I in the Sky is a fence sitter, too, doing some extracurricular reality testing on the sly, and wants to stay under the cult radar.

Maybe they are not incorrigible.

Even if I in the Sky is a fellowship troll, I can appreciate how they are giving new meaning to the idea of “playing the Devil’s Advocate” here.

95. Tim Campion - August 18, 2012

WhaleRider,

As always, thanks for your sincere comments. Unless they choose to do so, there will be no public unmasking of “I in the sky”. My question about their membership status is rhetorical, and I anticipated no reply.

However, self-revelation begins as soon as we start to post on the blog. I have no doubt “I in the sky” understands I was trying to provoke them to reveal another layer.

96. Bares Reposting - August 19, 2012

124/80. Tempus Fugit:
‘I admire him [Meher Baba] for what he did with his life in the outer world, how he treated other people, especially those who were sick, poor, and mentally ill. In my opinion, you can tell a lot about a person and a society by how they treat the helpless and the weak.

In fact, it’s very hard if not impossible to know for certain what’s in another person’s mind or heart, but their behavior is visible.

. . .

And so how do we evaluate Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends? What does their behavior tell us about who they are?’

Yes, witness the way FoF/REB treated those types of people:
Loosely alphabetically:
endless number of children put up for adoption or fostered.
endless number of children aborted.
endless number of rape victims.
endless number of women, spouses, shunned.
abraham g., fof lawyer, profoundly deaf, suicide.
anna t., spousal abuse.
barbara b. l., in her own words:
‘Students were not free to seek help from mental [health] professionals; many were becoming alcoholics, and we were, generally, living in a state of fear. I was told that these problems were my imagination and the fear was only in me. I snapped! I left the group – after 12 years. I felt helpless. I had no friends and was deeply in debt. I couldn’t explain the lost years. To the outside world a cult experience itself indicates a flawed mentality.’
bengt l., apparent suicide.
brian s., suicide.
dorothy b., alzheimer’s, elder abuse.
doris e., cripple, heart disease, elder abuse.
dorota s., just plain abuse.
elena h., gerda a., steven m., blind, shunned.
eric e., suicide.
eric n., shunned.
gloria c., elder abuse, shunned.
harold w., shunned.
james b., shunned.
john w., unexplained death in foreign land.
john e., parkinson’s, estate in question.
joseph m., alcohol abuse.
kevin k., quadriplegic, suicide.
forced to give up job and home for 1998 fall of California prediction.
kimo b., possible suicide?
kiran s., severe car accident in foreign land but survived.
had near death demand by fof lawyer to sign over estate.
cassandra s., severe car accident in foreign land but died.
daniella v., severe car accident in foreign land but died.
kristina n., shunned.
lori f-s., possible suicide?
nigel p., attempted suicide.
nette o., tortured by reb’s tastes.
raymond k., psychiatrist, death by drowning, suspicious circumstances.
renato c., suspicious death, possibly aids.
rourke m., alcohol abuse.
richard f., aids, died.
richard m., deaf, missing, presumed dead, suspicious circumstances.
sharole m. (a.k.a. sheila c.), during ill from injury,
demand for teaching payments (donations); ‘hell letter.’
died 2 years later from cancer.
shelley m., spousal abuse.
stella w., shunned.
thomas n., shunned.
troy b., under age sex w/reb, rape, shunned.
see story below.

These are just examples one person knows about.

“‘Bares Reposting’ wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, September 8, 2011
‘111/184. S. . . y – September 7, 2011

‘. . .We didn’t have much compassion in the FF. Kindness, yes, but I don’t think there was true compassion.’
Here is limited example of the kindness and compassion of the Fellowship of Friends (FoF), Pathway to Presence, Living Presence, BeingPresent.org, Church of Robert Earl Burton (REB):

For more than 10 years I worked hard, earned good money ‘in life,’ and supported FoF with my $$$’s donations and knew little of the behind the scenes activities, so to speak, but heard a little. Then my life changed and the next more than 10 years were spent living up close and personal (in other words: intimately), with how FoF operates behind the scenes. I witnessed the unbelievable. But, as long as I was not directly being abused, it was someone else’s play. Here is an example:

My friend, call them JG, was a near and dear friend. You might say I knew them intimately, without being in a sexual relationship; it was an emotional and spiritual relationship. JG had history of substance abuse, in particular, alcohol – not life threatening. In the early days of FoF, they were a pioneer and supporter of what was happening with FoF in Oregon House. They were also independent and had friends and family not in FoF. In short, they were somewhat of a rogue element. Their partner died at an early age. After that, there were times when they would, as the saying would go, get into the harem of REB by having interests in one of his young men. This represented competition. Often alcohol was of significance in these ‘dalliances.’ So, alcohol abuse became the target, since it would be difficult to make it about something else, i.e.: raiding the harem, and bring unwanted attention to this secret society that REB maintained.

Flash forward by about 30 years. JG is on a permanent task of no alcohol under any circumstances – not even to be seen with a glass, with or without alcohol in it – maybe empty would be OK, but no guarantee – might give the appearance that the glass was emptied by drinking the contents. If it appeared that it could be alcohol, someone would be reporting it. It did not require a condition of compromised behaviour due to alcohol; nor dalliance with the harem, nor DUI. Really hard to comply with this when so much of the FoF culture involved wine and toasting glasses, etc. Gradually, over the years, more and more justified, and mostly unjustified, constraints of the task were applied to my friend that eventually lead to a leave-of-absence (LOA) that I personally witnessed.

There was a time, more than once, that serious alcohol abuse developed in the FoF/O.H. community. This was a recurrent problem. There was around 1998, or so, a serious effort to address this – especially with a prediction looming – fall of California. One BE, a council member, was assigned, or adopted, the effort to convene a group that would try to ‘work’ on this problem with people. My friend decided to go since they had so much experience in this area that they thought they could help. Besides being an elder in the community, they also had some professional standing. They did not go because they needed help, nor were they under the influence, nor did they drink or appear to drink, at these meetings. Nevertheless, it was reported to REB that they were there. Boom, task violated; leave-of-absence (LOA) imposed. Over the years, ever more stringent punishment was applied to these leaves-of-absence and ever lengthening leaves-of-absence imposed and difficulty of task required. I was confided in these activities.

On this particular offense, it was 6 months LOA, as I remember it, in 1998. (The next time would be a promised permanent outing.) The requirement was, that if they were on LOA, then they could have no contact with any FoF members and that meant that any members living on their property had to move out – even though they lived in a private separate quarters by themselves and could have someone else carry on any contact with the tenants.

Several of the tenants were elderly and disabled: one was an FoF elder who was crippled and with heart condition. Another was in their 80′s or possibly 90′s and somewhat infirm. There were others of various health and wellness conditions. They all had to find new homes. This was likely the beginning of the end for one of them – they would die shortly after this episode. But, first, my friend tried to compromise or negotiate. They proposed to leave their own home and save these other people from having to leave. Some trusted person would be left in charge of the property. This was accepted. They tried to do that. They went off somewhere (and, that is another whole story), but suffice it to say, they could not manage it and came back in a couple of weeks. It was rapidly reported to the minions of flying monkeys. If they did not leave, it was curtains for all. Everyone moved out in 48 hours, as required.

That was one of the more egregious examples of things I witnessed.

It is possible that there are other sides to this story, as there almost always are other sides.”

97. Fee fi fo fum - August 19, 2012

97 Bares Reposting

Thank you for posting. It’s good to take a break from what was referred to above as intellectual masturbation and look at your list of examples and recognize many of the individuals. It’s sobering to see the sad legacy that RB has left, and is still leaving.

Can you say more about Bengt’s possible suicide? I knew he had died, but not the circumstances. I knew him a bit in the late 70s, early 80s.

98. Bares Reposting - August 19, 2012

97. Fee fi fo fum
‘Can you say more about Bengt’s possible suicide? I knew he had died, but not the circumstances.’

From the GF site, In Memoriam:
Bengt L.
Died: Summer of 1984.
Cause of death: Gunshot, suicide.
Posted by J. M. G., September 2, 2009:
‘Bengt was a wonderful friend in the brief time I knew him. We met at Renaissance and hit it off immediately in conversation. Later we both had left the Fellowship and he and his wife had moved to SF and joined the G. Foundation, working with Jacob Neddleman as group leader at the old meeting place, St Elmo. I moved to SF to join the Foundation and just before I left Seattle (Summer of 1984) I got a call that Bengt had shot himself with a revolver in his home. This death still shocks me because he had so much I wanted to know more about. Bengt, thank you for your kindness to me and the encouragment to my soul. I hope you have peace.’

99. Willie Maykit - August 19, 2012

I often wonder why people kill themselves. Is it from guilt, depression, relief from suffering, on to a better world? My talented, artistic brother & his friend used carbon monoxide. The note taped to the dashboard said “Death is Life”. The police report said they had some alcohol (beer) in their blood and a bag of weed was found in the car though they had no testing for THC at the time..
Does anyone know the contents of Abraham Goldman’s last written words?

100. Joseph Nachumovitch - August 19, 2012

People kill themselves because they want help but feel that there is no help available to them in this world.

101. nigel - August 19, 2012

99/100

My take on this – from someone who has attempted it – I am not sure the person is ‘thinking straight’ – PSYCHOSIS is the word. Actually, I was ‘rapid cycling’ at the time, which means going from low to high over-and-over-again in brief periods – I was proud to be exhibiting my art-work at a local (Sausalito) gallery yet knowing I was ‘at the end of my tether’ with teaching payments and feeling guilty with all my inability to control myself (alcohol, life aquaintances etc.). Perhaps those who have ‘thought themselves’ to a point where they are ready to leave a cult are luckier and less ‘explosive’ at the time…..Nigel.

102. I in the sky - August 19, 2012

Joseph – 100

“People kill themselves because they want help but feel that there is no help available to them in this world.”

There are several reasons why people commit suicide; the one you mentioned is a common one. Also common is that they do it to get back at someone who has “hurt” them, such as a spouse who wants a divorce, or someone who fired them, given them a bad grade, etc. They understand their act will succeed in laying guilt on the person who inflicted the pain. In that case it’s a very selfish act.

Then there are the odd cases of people intentionally getting into shootouts with the Police (Suicide by cop.)
I often wonder with them, if they have prejudged themselves as a bad person and they are carrying out the death sentence they have imposed on themselves. In those cases there is a certain swashbuckling quality that evokes feelings that verge on admiration. See the movie Breathless and it’s re-make.

In most cases there is the feeling that they have run out of options, which is almost always not the case.

103. Golden Veil - August 19, 2012

I think that suicide may be the result of the inability to further bear excruciating physical and or emotional pain more often than retaliation of any kind. That and self hatred could cause one to impose a terrible suicide-by-cop death sentence. These sorts of circumstances combined with being shunned by your social peers after either departing by choice or being excommunicated from the Fellowship of Friends, along with feeling untethered from any support and lacking financial resources to meet basic needs could bring someone to the edge of despair and over to committing suicide. I highly respect those brave souls, some posting here, that have been through hell to leave the Fellowship of Friends and made it through to start Life anew.

104. Golden Veil - August 19, 2012

Having said the above, what is the status of shunning these days by the Fellowship of Friends “students?” Do they still shun ex-members? Tatyana, are you consorting with former members as others students once did with you? It brought you back into the fold, it appears…

105. nigel - August 19, 2012

A bit lengthy, this copy-and-paste, but I think gives good insight, from a qualified psychologist, on the subject of suicide…..Nigel.

“Happiness in this World ”

Reflections of a Buddhist physician.

by Alex Lickerman, M.D.

“The Six Reasons People Attempt Suicide”

“Suicide is far more understandable than people think. ”

Published on April 29, 2010 by Alex Lickerman, M.D. in Happiness in this World

Though I’ve never lost a friend or family member to suicide, I have lost a patient (who I wrote about in a previous post, The True Cause Of Depression). I have known a number of people left behind by the suicide of people close to them, however. Given how much losing my patient affected me, I’ve only been able to guess at the devastation these people have experienced. Pain mixed with guilt, anger, and regret makes for a bitter drink, the taste of which I’ve seen take many months or even years to wash out of some mouths.

The one question everyone has asked without exception, that they ache to have answered more than any other, is simply: why? Why did their friend, child, parent, spouse, or sibling take their own life? Even when a note explaining the reasons is found, lingering questions usually remain: yes, they felt enough despair to want to die, but why did they feel that? A person’s suicide often takes the people it leaves behind by surprise (only accentuating survivor’s guilt for failing to see it coming). People who’ve survived suicide attempts have reported wanting not so much to die as to stop living, a strange dichotomy but a valid one nevertheless. If some in-between state existed, some other alternative to death, I suspect many suicidal people would take it. For the sake of all those reading this who might have been left behind by someone’s suicide, I wanted to describe how I was trained to think about the reasons people kill themselves. They’re not as intuitive as most think.

In general, people try to kill themselves for six reasons:

1.They’re depressed. This is without question the most common reason people commit suicide. Severe depression is always accompanied by a pervasive sense of suffering as well as the belief that escape from it is hopeless. The pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear. The state of depression warps their thinking, allowing ideas like “Everyone would all be better off without me” to make rational sense. They shouldn’t be blamed for falling prey to such distorted thoughts any more than a heart patient should be blamed for experiencing chest pain: it’s simply the nature of their disease. Because depression, as we all know, is almost always treatable, we should all seek to recognize its presence in our close friends and loved ones. Often people suffer with it silently, planning suicide without anyone ever knowing. Despite making both parties uncomfortable, inquiring directly about suicidal thoughts in my experience almost always yields an honest response. If you suspect someone might be depressed, don’t allow your tendency to deny the possibility of suicidal ideation prevent you from asking about it.

2.They’re psychotic. Malevolent inner voices often command self-destruction for unintelligible reasons. Psychosis is much harder to mask than depression, and is arguably even more tragic. The worldwide incidence of schizophrenia is 1% and often strikes otherwise healthy, high-performing individuals, whose lives, though manageable with medication, never fulfill their original promise. Schizophrenics are just as likely to talk freely about the voices commanding them to kill themselves as not, and also, in my experience, give honest answers about thoughts of suicide when asked directly. Psychosis, too, is treatable, and usually must be treated for a schizophrenic to be able to function at all. Untreated or poorly treated psychosis almost always requires hospital admission to a locked ward until the voices lose their commanding power.

3.They’re impulsive. Often related to drugs and alcohol, some people become maudlin and impulsively attempt to end their own lives. Once sobered and calmed, these people usually feel emphatically ashamed. The remorse is often genuine, but whether or not they’ll ever attempt suicide again is unpredictable. They may try it again the very next time they become drunk or high, or never again in their lifetime. Hospital admission is therefore not usually indicated. Substance abuse and the underlying reasons for it are generally a greater concern in these people and should be addressed as aggressively as possible.

4.They’re crying out for help, and don’t know how else to get it. These people don’t usually want to die but do want to alert those around them that something is seriously wrong. They often don’t believe they will die, frequently choosing methods they don’t think can kill them in order to strike out at someone who’s hurt them, but they are sometimes tragically misinformed. The prototypical example of this is a young teenage girl suffering genuine angst because of a relationship, either with a friend, boyfriend, or parent, who swallows a bottle of Tylenol, not realizing that in high enough doses Tylenol causes irreversible liver damage. I’ve watched more than one teenager die a horrible death in an ICU days after such an ingestion when remorse has already cured them of their desire to die and their true goal of alerting those close to them of their distress has been achieved.

5.They have a philosophical desire to die. The decision to commit suicide for some is based on a reasoned decision, often motivated by the presence of a painful terminal illness from which little to no hope of reprieve exists. These people aren’t depressed, psychotic, maudlin, or crying out for help. They’re trying to take control of their destiny and alleviate their own suffering, which usually can only be done in death. They often look at their choice to commit suicide as a way to shorten a dying that will happen regardless. In my personal view, if such people are evaluated by a qualified professional who can reliably exclude the other possibilities for why suicide is desired, these people should be allowed to die at their own hands.

6.They’ve made a mistake. This is a recent, tragic phenomenon in which typically young people flirt with oxygen deprivation for the high it brings and simply go too far. The only defense against this, it seems to me, is education.

The wounds suicide leaves in the lives of those left behind by it are often deep and long lasting. The apparent senselessness of suicide often fuels the most significant pain. Thinking we all deal better with tragedy when we understand its underpinnings, I’ve offered the preceding paragraphs in hopes that anyone reading this who’s been left behind by a suicide might be able to more easily find a way to move on, to relinquish their guilt and anger, and find closure. Despite the abrupt way you may have been left, guilt and anger don’t have to be the only two emotions you’re doomed to feel about the one who left you.

(I am a little confused about the description of psychosis in this article…..n.)

106. Bares Reposting - August 19, 2012

P. S.: My posting above, 124/96, is likely only the tip of the iceberg, so

to speak, where possibly 90% is out of sight. It also could be more complete and/or accurate, but the aim was to illustrate the wreckage in the wake of the Fellowship of Friends (FoF), Pathway to Presence, Living Presence, BeingPresent.org, Church of Robert Earl Burton (REB). Of course, there are good stories to tell as well.

I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And after many days my Soul return’d
And said, “Behold, Myself am Heav’n and Hell.”
Omar Khayyam

107. Fee fi fo fum - August 19, 2012

98 Bares Reposting – Thank you for supplying that information. I remember him as being more worldly than many of the FF students, because he was older than most and more experienced in the world, and had interesting insights. I also remember him as not quite conforming to the “inner circle” way of behaving, because he didn’t entirely buy the FF’s party line. If you did not conform to that pattern, then you were viewed as lacking in some way, or not being serious about “the Work.” His leaving the FF for the G. Foundation probably confirmed some people’s attitude that he might not have been a “serious FF student,” someone who clearly was “not on the Way.” I remember meetings where RB would talk about so-and-so student “being on the Way.” We were like eager children, wanting to be the person RB named as “being on the Way.” He knew we wanted his approval, and encouraged that dependent behavior.

Along those lines, the FF attitude of gauging other students’ apparent commitment to the FF’s many demands is another aspect of behavior control. When you joined, you were encouraged to live in teaching houses. If possible, you had a job where another FF member was employed, the better to enforce your work on yourself. You went to meetings many nights of the week, went up to the property on weekends (or better yet, lived up there). In other words, you surrounded yourself with FF people and attitudes, 24/7. If you resisted such a lifestyle, such as living alone in a studio apartment or attended meetings only sporadically, then you weren’t part of the inner core of the family.

99 Willie Maykit – My understanding is that Abe’s widow is still a FF member, so whatever he wrote in his final notes may not come to light for non-FF members to read. Plus, why she let her underage son join the FF, remains baffling, considering RB’s predilections. Someone suggested that the son’s joining might have been a way to honor his father’s memory. That is something we can all understand, but in this case, isn’t it like throwing yourself in the wolf’s lair?

108. Ames Gilbert - August 19, 2012

Re: Bengt . . .
There is no Bengt Lungren on the computer printout of members (past, and to that date) of October 1985.
However, a Jerrold Lundgren joined the FoF in January 1978, left in March 1980.
Is this the same person?
Silentpurr, help us out, please! My wife (then Nancy P.) and her friend Lauren visited Boston in late summer 1976, met you guys, invited you in turn to come out kayaking with you and your husband and the rest of the center on the Waterbury Reservoir in Little River State Park, VT. She has a vague memory of someone who might have been Bengt . . .
Anyway, a magical experience for her.
Sigh! Her first few years, my first few years, so many people’s first few years in the Fellowship of Friends seemed magical (except for any young men who caught Burton’s eye and learned about his novel interpretation of ‘the Massa’s prerogative’— possibly absorbed from his Arkansas background).

109. Fee fi fo fum - August 19, 2012

108 Ames

The 1978 year of joining sounds about right. The spelling of the last name on GF might have been a good guess, so Lundgren might have been the correct spelling. I have no comment on the Jerrold discrepancy.

110. Willie Maykit - August 20, 2012

Dear Mr. Fo Fum (or is it Ms. Fee Fi?)
I think it is a fair assumption that if the suicide note put a favorable or even neutral light on Abe or the Fellowship the contents would have been released. Did the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department investigate the death and the scene? What happened to the body?

111. Tim Campion - August 20, 2012

Bares Reposting,

Thanks for this sobering account. And for the bit of humor. Like poor tortured Nette, many suffered in silence REB’s eccentric tastes.

It’s ancient history now, but early on Robert Burton demonstrated a certain recklessness regarding the well-being of his followers. Invincible as we felt, we trusted his judgment and failed to recognize his irresponsibility and our own, and were game for his many “lunatic” projects. These often placed extreme physical demands on followers, and this took its toll. He seemed to especially enjoy testing his followers’ endurance, inciting workers to at times go two or three days without sleep. Of course, this resulted in accidents, injuries, illness and, likely, deaths.

It was not uncommon for members to fall asleep while driving. (There is the “humorous” story of Bernard G. falling asleep and tumbling off the motorcycle he was riding.) After Guinevere R., James M. were seriously injured in such an accident, Burton had to introduce an “exercise” for keeping drivers awake. But the exercise didn’t help those driving alone. For me, staying awake was a common struggle while driving shopping trips for the Fellowship. And Elan B., while on an errand to retrieve tractor parts, likely fell asleep at the wheel and was killed in a collision.

112. Fee fi fo fum - August 20, 2012

111 Tim – Wasn’t Gary J. the first FF student to die in a car accident, in the mid-late 1970s? I heard he had fallen asleep while driving. Joel came to our center as a T.T. immediately afterwards. I don’t remember if his T.T. trip was intended to have him go around some of the centers and talk about the death, but that’s what he did at our meeting.

110 That would make me a hermaphrodite.

113. Tim Campion - August 20, 2012

FFFF,

Yes, I think Gary was the first, though I never heard the circumstances of his 1976 accident. I seem to recall that afterward, Robert instructed us to avoid sports cars. Gary drove a Datsun 240Z (if I recall correctly.)

114. I in the sky - August 20, 2012

Tim Campion – 93

“Your timeline conveniently omits my primary observation: you appeared on the blog the same day the article appeared in the press. That it took a couple days for it to be cited on the blog is irrelevant.

Also irrelevant is the fact that you didn’t comment about Fellowship doctor Thomas Neuschatz. (Just as you do not comment about Robert Burton and The Fellowship of Friends, except to refer to them in a theoretical sense.) On the other hand, paranoia may be a relevant point. You sound knowledgeable in the area. Would you like to share your experience with us?”

If I may address your last comment about paranoia first:

Without googling the term I would say symptoms of paranoia exist when someone develops an overriding suspicion regarding the actions or intents of a person or group of people. This would manifest by believing others are plotting directly against them with the intent to undermine some aspect of their life, well being, or interests. They arrive at this belief by reading into certain facts and drawing conclusions based on the thinnest or flimsiest of corroborating evidence.

Example:

A) I in the sky first appeared on the blog on July 20th.

B) An investigative news article concerning FoF member Dr. TN also appeared in print on the same day.

C) Therefore “I in the sky” must have been sent by the FoF to do “damage control” on the blog.

If a supporter of the FoF would use this type of logic to make a point favorable to the FoF WhaleRider and others would be front and center admonishing them for engaging in circular thinking or some sort of “double bind”, or some other malady of the mind.

First of all there was no damage to control on the 20th or 21st when I posted a few comments because you did not post the article until the 22nd. The topic actually caused very little interest on the blog (so I was far from the only person to not comment on it) and after two or three comments by others it disappeared from sight on the 23rd. How could my comments about dreams addressed to WhaleRider possibly have impacted the not yet posted article? If my aim was to do preemptive damage control, before the fact, I would have had to read your mind and know you were about to post something related to the article.

One sign of paranoia is when the affected person attaches a weightiness or importance to a set of circumstances that no one else seems to notice or consider important. But it’s already implanted in your mind that anyone who posts here, who appears to be writing something supportive, or just not disparaging of the FoF, must be an agent of the FoF here to take the blog off topic or somehow disrupt the blog from it’s appointed task or mission (even though several posters have recently indicated the blog does not have a stated task or mission.)

I’m curious to know how you came upon the article so quickly, less than 48 hours after its publishing. Maybe you have a formula of using key words to hunt for news on the FoF or its members. I guess if you google every day “What’s the latest news from Oregon House/ FoF?” you might get a hit like TN’s article. I did not know about it until I read the link you supplied and I’m quite sure I never would have found it since I have zero interest in medical related articles.

The biggest tip off of someone in the grip of paranoia is that they seldom think things through by asking – why would someone do what I’m thinking, take this trouble? I think if you would have thought things through you would come to the conclusion that even if I did visit the blog to do damage control, as you put it, how could that have actually worked? What kind of comments could I have posted to alter anyone’s thoughts or feelings about the story? If I wrote something to defend TN on an anti – FoF blog that probably would have done the opposite of damage control. Think about it.

“Just curious, “I”, are you currently a member of The Fellowship of Friends?”

Implied but not stated: Please tell us so if you are a current member we can put a big scarlet letter next to your moniker and deal with your subsequent comments accordingly. The only thing you should be basing your replies on regarding mine or anyone else’s comments is the content, not the affiliation.

115. Golden Veil - August 20, 2012

Another “know-it-all” professorial type…

116. TARDIS - August 20, 2012

What a page. Lots of noise. distraction, obfuscation, changing the subject. must have some serious concerns these days (a sudden drop in membership numbers? Or some other fear?)

Be sure to scroll up and down, though. Some beautiful, articulate commentary about burton and the fellowship.

117. TARDIS - August 20, 2012

I really appreciate Tim Campion’s efforts. Some of the attempts to argue with him are nothing more than nonsense. And many people, including Tim, have responded valiantly to the relentless circular arguments. Congrats to all of you for fighting so hard. Please continue to believe that you are helping someone, and that people can and do heal from the harm caused by this cult leader. The blog is helping. Thank you, each of you.

118. Tim Campion - August 20, 2012

I in the sky,

If Googling “paranoia” would have augmented your understanding of the subject, then I think it’s safe to say you don’t really know what you are talking about.

You disappoint me “I”. When it comes to dreams, the spiritual realm, suicide and paranoia, you demonstrate such a vivid imagination, yet when it comes to my little scenario about “damage control” you lose all imaginative capacity! Surely a movie buff such as you has seen Wag the Dog.

So bear with me as we imagine (or, as you say, “think this through”) together: there is a scandal involving Fellowship of Friends doctor Thomas Neuschatz and the deaths of numerous patients. An investigative reporter is writing an article on the Medical Board’s investigation of Neuschatz and publication is imminent.

The Fellowship leadership is concerned that yet another unfavorable story will adversely affect relations with its members and the community. How to minimize the impact? They know one place where such stories always get blown way out of proportion, and that is on this blog. So, once again, they assign some poor schmuck (as Bruce would say) to go underground and infiltrate. After all, the only way to impact the blog is from within.

“But what do I talk about?”

“Anything. Nothing. It doesn’t matter. Just talk until this all blows over. Just don’t let anyone know you’re connected with the Fellowship.”

No one has a clue how long this assignment might last.

Undaunted, you parachute in ahead of the anticipated assault, and join the conversation.

(I know, it’s totally absurd. But they have made movies about this kind of stuff!)

The funny thing is, from a regular blogger’s perspective, we have a mysterious (and unusually opaque) character show up and soon they are leading the discussion in circles (around the fake Rolexes), talking about anything or nothing in particular, acting evasive (of course, they’re taking some heat), being obstinate. Just as in the days of “Howard Carter” and “Daily Cardiac”, we have intentional obfuscation and distraction.

“I”, if you’re not a Fellowship agent, you should be!

But, if you were such an agent, your job would now be done. It appears to have been a false alarm. As you say, the story blew over quickly. (Though it might be back.) There was really nothing for you to do. If you stick around, I guess I’ll have to invent a new scenario. If you depart, maybe, just maybe, the hunch was correct.

Would it be absurd for The Fellowship to undertake such a covert action? Well, you can ignore the fact that they’ve done it before on numerous occasions. Still, there’s one thing I’d never accuse the Fellowship of Friends of being, and that’s rational.

To dispel a few of your speculations, someone (who shall remain unnamed) actually sent me the link to the California Watch story at 3:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) on Saturday, July 21st. After that, the News 10, ChicoER and Appeal-Democrat stories were not difficult to find. (How is that for answering a question directly? You might take a lesson.)

The only thing you should be basing your replies on regarding mine or anyone else’s comments is the content, not the affiliation.

This statement is just plain silly. The affiliation is in the content. As is much, much more about the writer. You don’t need another symbol next to your avatar.

Out of curiosity, “I”, you are clearly familiar with the blog and have followed it. What made you drop in and comment on the 20th? Was it WhaleRider’s irresistible discussion about the steward and dreams?

119. Willie Maykit - August 20, 2012

In Re: Real v. false
I also think it is fair to say that by all accounts Burton is a very crooked man. At least I have not come across anyone who is extolling his virtues. So, why do some people continue to work for him? Somehow he went from an ordinary mid-school teacher to mixed-up & super-gay and a bit full of himself. Take heart, he will be gone & forgotten soon enough.
Sic semper tyrannis (or is it ur-anus?)
As always, yours truly, Betty Wont

120. brucelevy - August 20, 2012

“Would it be absurd for The Fellowship to undertake such a covert action?”

To my way of thinking it needn’t be a FOF coordinated action. Any one of many blowhard narcissists in the FOF, who is a legend in their own mind and sees themselves as the penultimate spiritual intellectual (read as…doesn’t have a fucking life) would be pathologically compelled to, on occasion, take on the blog themselves.

121. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 20, 2012

Come and see the PARANOIA bout between

in the blue corner

boxing in a mask, mystery man — “I in the Sky”

and in the red corner, defender of the blog — “Tim Campion”

After the first 2 rounds “I” is ahead on points, Tim hasn’t connected with a knockout punch yet, but he doesn’t give up easily!

The gorgeous pouting hermaphrodite is holding up the number of the next round, but the crowd are strangely subdued.

122. TARDIS - August 20, 2012

Not sure why anyone would conclude that Tim (or anyone else) is “paranoid” to suggest that there’s an effort by the cult to divert everyone’s attention and try to subvert things a bit. It wouldnt be hard, and it just requires one person. Now much of the attention is going to that person. Mission accomplished with minimal effort.

Shard, there’s no blog to “defend”, as though it’s some sort of unified entity. The fellowship can’t survive light being shined upon it, so when the commentary here becomes a little too damaging or embarrassing, just bang some pots and pans for a while and hope that the flow of the conversation goes in another direction. Which by the way, it has.

123. Tim Campion - August 20, 2012

Come on ref, are you blind??? What? Is everyone against me?

124. WhaleRider - August 20, 2012

I in the Sky:
It seemed clear to me that Tim’s posts were targeted to get under your skin, not justify a delusional belief.

You may or not be an “agent” sent here, but expressing pro-FOF ideas here will certainly provoke us to treat you as one.

Some here are fighting for their sanity.

And you may understandably feel persecuted for expressing your beliefs here in this particular forum, did you expect otherwise?

If you’d rather not disclose your affiliation, it’s fine to say you’d rather not, we cannot attach anything to you that you are not willing to wear.

Like I said, maybe you are on the fence, and just need to exercise your freedom, expressing your views to reality test them. I’d admire that.

Maybe you want to distance yourself from your affiliation with the cult, but not your closely held beliefs; that is understandable too, especially for the newly or soon to be departed.

I remember once going to a middle school in town to answer questions by the classmates of a follower’s child. I actually did some “missionary” work for the cult, about six months prior to beginning my concubine career with big daddy burton.

In retrospect, that cognitive dissonance of lying to the school kids and then witnessing firsthand the engine of the rape factory led to the awakening of my conscience and my eventual departure.

My hope is you and others on the side lines don’t have to go through what I went through to see the truth.

Now, it is certainly plausible that your entry into this forum just happen to coincide with Dr Feel Good’s story breaking on the blog. Frankly, that doesn’t matter to me.

Afterall, in the past we on the blog don’t tend to hear from y’all unless the shit hits the fan on the farm.

It’s also plausible, as Bruce suggests, that it is your conscious or unconscious intent to show up here to express your views in support of the cult just because of your strong, undying convictions alone.

On the other hand, there’s nothing unhealthy or inherently wrong with expressing fears, even at the risk of being called paranoid.

If we don’t talk about our fears openly, then those deep seated fears can lead to pathological delusions. That’s what peer review is all about. It takes a village.

I will say that Tim’s strategy to provoke you to open up more about your intention here is creating more defensiveness than openness, but I credit you for continuing to show up and speak your truth.

We here are a little more cautious of well meaning people these days.

It begs the question, what are you defending…?

I don’t think you are suggesting that Tim is suffering from a mental illness, right?

IMHO, Tim’s ideation lacks the bizarreness and implausibility associated with full blown paranoid delusions.

I mean, he’s not claiming you are from the 12th dimension sent here to sabotage the blog in its youth to mitigate the effect it has on the future demise of the cult, right? Otherwise, you’re right, I’d be all over his case if he was.

And aren’t we all obessed with wanting to know the truth thought? Aren’t we truth loving beings? We ought to be. I know I am. Tim seems to be too.

You might feel we are doing all the psychological labeling here and would like to give us a taste of our own medicine. That’s understandable. I don’t mind. Medicine is good, if you need it and the shoe fits.

Please understand that many here regard the views and beliefs of the cult to be virus-like, provoking an immune response of critical thinking to contain these toxic ideas and suppositions, like developing a mental allergy to slavery or racism, for example,

I am impressed that my scintillating statements from left field about dreams and what may or may not be established in our inner makeup provoked your critical mind to respond. I’d admire that too.

I’d love to hear more about your dreams.

Do you really think that dreaming about burton is his spirit in your head or could it be a guru-object of your mind?

But you seem to want to stay and comment about other stuff like why people might commit suicide than talk about yourself and how you arrived at your beliefs. Why?

Usually it is against something we don’t want to see about ourselves, like a closely held belief that makes us uneasy.

It is also plausible that the virus in your mind Is testing our immunity in order to adapt and find a way to exploit our weaknesses. That’s how viruses operate.

Bear in mind that viruses want to self replicate, not individuate, which may be why your tone is strikingly similar to Howard Carter and Daily Cardiac’s, provoking our defenses.

Anyway, thanks for posting…even as we continue to air the FOF’s dirty laundry.

It really stinks, though.

125. James Mclemore - August 20, 2012

“and in the red corner, defender of the blog….”

I don’t think the blog needs defense nor is that what Tim is doing. The open truth needs no defense, it is simply as it is. For 124 pages the blog is an expose and a warning of a very ugly organization and the very ugly actions of their leader Robert Burton.

The “Daily Cardiacs” and the “‘I’s in the sky” usually come by when the blog is especially potent or when something is brewing within the FoF that they wish to contain or obfuscate. They will converse about anything and everything except the ugliness in the same easily recognizable voice. A voice that pretends to be both innocent yet intelligent and logical, but that reeks of the condescension that they feel in their imagined “spiritual speciallness”. Some of the older Daily Cardiac posts are the best examples that the blog has to offer in order to demonstrate just a what a brainwashed mind that has become immersed in a pseudo-spiritual ideology sounds like when it tries to play the role of an apologist.

126. WhaleRider - August 20, 2012

I in the Sky:

Tim: “Come on ref, are you blind??? What? Is everyone against me?”

In my experience, people usually don’t maintain a sense of humor when defending their delusional beliefs and have a very low pain threshold around being confronted about them.

Nor do they appeal to a neutral party like a ref, even in jest. You are either with them or against them; there is no middle ground for debate.

Just ask Salman Rushdie. Although if I were him and wanted to continue confronting the delusional beliefs of fundamentalist Muslims, I’d probably change my last name.

Can you imagine what would happen if at one of burton’s freak show dinners someone (not you Someone) starting giggling when hearing about rhino shit in cave paintings signifying anything more than a rhino was there?

Would burton join in and break out into a big hardy belly laugh about the absurdity of his claims? I don’t think so; despite how bizarre and implausible his delusional claims might be, he holds them with certainty. That’s what make his claims suspect, even if he were talking about ghosts or UFOs.

Do you feel Tim really thinks or feels “everyone is against him” or might he be playing upon one of your fears? (BTW, your fear might be more well founded than his in that regard, and it’s not considered paranoia if someone (not you Someone) is really out to get under your skin…or has issued a Fatwā against you…)

127. nigel - August 20, 2012

…..just to bolster up Whale Rider’s eloquent medical descriptions and to support the fact that Tim Campion is not coming from a ‘negative space’ (I have my own experiences of and thoughts about the subject of paranoia)…..Nigel.

Paranoia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Paranoia [ˌpærəˈnɔɪ.ə] (adjective: paranoid [ˈpærə.nɔɪd]) is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. (e.g. “Everyone is out to get me.”) Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view as an accident or coincidence, a paranoid person might believe was intentional. However, just because an individual is paranoid does not necessarily mean his or her suspicions are false, as noted in Catch-22: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

Historically, this characterization was used to describe any delusional state.[citation needed] In modern colloquial use, the term “paranoia” is sometimes misused to describe a phobia.[citation needed] The general lack of blame in phobia disorders sharply differentiates the two.[citation needed] In other words, fearing that something bad or harmful might happen does not in itself imply paranoia. Rather, with paranoia there is an irrational fear of malice by others (excepting rare cases of schizophrenia).

128. I in the sky - August 20, 2012

Tim Campion – 116

“You disappoint me “I”.”

When I posted here on the July 20th I had no knowledge of the TN related article or investigation.

When I have been as sincere and truthful as possible with someone and they are disappointed with that, it actually does not burden me at all. I would think the doubter would end up more burdened as they passed up the opportunity to gain insight into another’s reality, not a supposed reality, but an actual reality.

I am obviously the only one in the position to know for certain why I appeared on the blog when I did. You are left to assume, guess, deduce, conclude, why I appeared when I did. And you may conclude, assume, etc. correctly or incorrectly. For my part I can tell you truthfully, or lie to you, either intentionally ( to deceive) or unintentionally (through self-delusion, or denial.)

I can only present the truth to support my question of – What would be the point?

“Anything. Nothing. It doesn’t matter. Just talk until this all blows over. Just don’t let anyone know you’re connected with the Fellowship.”

It blew over at the speed of light, during which time I did not post anything.

The truth is you want me to be an agent, as that would support your biases. If I’m an agent it means the FoF is scrambling around adjusting for the blog, accounting for the blog, concerning itself with the blog, which is what you would like to be the case.

““I”, if you’re not a Fellowship agent, you should be!”

If the FoF is what it claims to be it needs no agents on the blog. If it’s not what it claims to be it needs a much better agent than I.

“Would it be absurd for The Fellowship to undertake such a covert action? Well, you can ignore the fact that they’ve done it before on numerous occasions.”

I know you’re wrong about this occasion; not sure which other ones you refer to.

“Out of curiosity, “I”, you are clearly familiar with the blog and have followed it.”

I’ve followed it off an on. Sometimes “following it” can be a misnomer as it can go at glacier speeds from time to time.

“What made you drop in and comment on the 20th? Was it WhaleRider’s irresistible discussion about the steward and dreams?”

Yes, then as a follow up your comments about the fake Rolex watches was equally irresistible.

129. brucelevy - August 20, 2012

125. I in the sky

Just for myself, I don’t give a flying fuck who you are, where you’ve been, where you’re going or what you have to say. I think you’re biggest audience is you, and I think you are the most impressed by yourself. Look in the mirror and give yourself a kiss.

130. Toby - August 20, 2012

James Mclemore, a few posts above. . .

“I don’t think the blog needs defense nor is that what Tim is doing. The open truth needs no defense, it is simply as it is. For 124 pages the blog is an expose and a warning of a very ugly organization and the very ugly actions of their leader Robert Burton.

“The “Daily Cardiacs” and the “‘I’s in the sky” usually come by when the blog is especially potent or when something is brewing within the FoF that they wish to contain or obfuscate. They will converse about anything and everything except the ugliness in the same easily recognizable voice. . .”

Beautifully written commentary.

And what Bruce wrote is right on as well. I doubt any sort of conversation with this person will yield anything useful, other than revealing some insights into how fully indoctrinated cult followers and leaders think. The first rule is to not talk about the pertinent issues, to change the subject as soon as those issues do arise, and to avoid answering directly any direct questions about those issues.

131. Fee fi fo fum - August 21, 2012

The above discussion of whether blog posts should be based solely on content rather than affiliation with the FF is interesting. Should we take all posts at face value? Why should our affiliation with the FF (if any) be a factor in what we say on this blog? Why shouldn’t our words stand alone on the page? Why should we care whether someone was, or is in the FF, for 5 years or 15 years or 35 years? If the subject is about RB’s luring heterosexual men for gay sex, then does it matter whether the person posting is male or female? Is direct experience with RB, sexually, a qualification in “knowing what one is talking about” on that particular subject? In other words, does our personal perspective and experience in, and of, the FF and direct experience of RB (if any), have any bearing on our comments on this blog? (Sorry Ames, if you think this is an example of “confirmation bias”, talking.)

My general feeling is that when it comes to discussing a group of which almost all of us were/are members, where the blog began with a much-needed open discussion of the more secretive aspects of the FF, and in particular RB’s seedier behavior, then it is naive, or even disingenuous, to expect all comments to be taken only at their intellectual value. And with anonymity being accepted on this blog, there is always the possibility of dishonest behavior when the identity is opaque.

132. Opus111 - August 21, 2012

Can anyone say anything positive about the Fellowship of Friends if they have never been a member or at least in indirect contact with the organization and if so, why would we care?

If one had only very partial knowledge of the Fellowship of Friends, what positive could possibly be left to say after reading the narrative contents of this blog?

That leaves those who are still in the Fellowship of Friends, who either deny the veracity of the innumerable testimonies posted on this blog, or could care less because they have found the place for their physical and/or emotional comfort. I would now have very little to say to such people. They obviously have little regard for themselves.

I don’t know where the “I in the sky” would fall in such categories.

133. Tim Campion - August 21, 2012

“I in the sky”,

Thank you for the direct answers to several questions that were raised.

You refer to missing an opportunity to gain insight into your reality. From my perspective, part of the problem is, since you arrived in July, you revealed virtually nothing about your reality.

Regarding the assertion you make, I don’t want you to be an “agent”, unless it’s representing yourself.

For The Fellowship of Friends, I trust the blog is more an annoyance than an existential threat. They seem to accept that it’s not going away, and mostly ignore it, except when there’s some real excitement.

Individuals from the Fellowship of Friends and Goldman & Associates who periodically visit this blog also visit the Robert Earl Burton blog. Websites routinely log such statistics, and that’s what I eventually see. It’s not necessarily paranoia to challenge “anonymous” visitors’ credibility.

134. I in the sky - August 21, 2012

Tim Campion – 130

“You refer to missing an opportunity to gain insight into your reality. From my perspective, part of the problem is, since you arrived in July, you revealed virtually nothing about your reality.”

Part of the reality I’ve been trying to reveal is that I’m not here representing anyone but myself.

One interesting connection I just made is that by starting the dialog about me appearing on the same day as the TN article you’ve succeeded in getting a good bit of “air time” to reference an article that on first mentioning barely registered a pulse. I’m tempted to give you credit for calculating this outcome. Kind of a reverse obfuscation you could say.

135. Joseph Nachumovitch - August 21, 2012

Words like ‘obfuscation’ are intented to cause obfuscation, especially when it’s obvious that English is not the first language of many people here.

136. Fee fi fo fum - August 21, 2012

Joseph, I’m not sure if you are American, but many Americans have the notion that if two words say the same thing, and one of those words has many syllables, then the multi-syllabic word “sounds” more intelligent, or as you may be implying, is harder to understand by the average person for whom English is not their first language.

In fact, it may simply mean that the multi-syllabic word has a Latin origin, and the single- or double-syllable words has a different linguistic origin. (Not to be coarse here, but words to do with sex are a good example. Profanity is usually expressed in one-syllable words, whereas their clinical equivalent often has 3 or 4 syllables. See my reference, above, to Lenny Bruce’s attitude to “dirty words.”)

English has many words with Greek and Latin roots. “Obfuscate” comes from Latin. Several languages have Latin as their base, such as Spanish, French, Italian, maybe Portuguese. For ex-members who speak Russian, etc., I don’t know if the Greek root helps. I don’t know if it linguistically helps our Israeli friends. However, there may be enough cognates floating around that the English-as-a first-or-only-language speakers don’t need to overly dumb down their rhetoric, here.

However, your well-meant concern may be that infrequently/rarely words like “obfuscate” leave some of our readers in the dark. Perhaps such rarely/infrequently used words puzzle even our native English speakers.

I don’t think I in the Sky’s vocabulary choices obfuscate so much as they are trying so hard to keep their posts so identity-free that their posts’ content lose some potency. As someone once said, “I think you’re trying’ too hard.”

137. WhaleRider - August 21, 2012

I in the Sky:

“Part of the reality I’ve been trying to reveal is that I’m not here representing anyone but myself.”

Bruce is right. No need to try. We get it.

You are here only for yourself.

138. Toby - August 21, 2012

Obfuscate is an outstanding word in this context. The meaning of the word is one click away, for both English speaking readers, and those with English as a second language: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obfuscate

“to make obscure ”

“confuse ”
“to be evasive, unclear, or confusing”

“Examples of OBFUSCATE
Politicians keep obfuscating the issues.
Their explanations only serve to obfuscate and confuse.”

The word is often used in political contexts, since politicians often don’t want people to know their true intentions with regard to certain issues. Good candidates are skillful at changing the subject when interviewers ask difficult questions that may lead to embarrassing revelations about their viewpoints or their agendas.

A good synonym might be to “obscure,” but obfuscation comes closest to describing what is actually occurring. It’s a type of “bullshit.”

Many contributors to the blog are trying to shed light on the ugliness of a cult and its leader. Some others are trying to “obscure”, and add some confusion to the conversation, or to downplay it. That’s obfuscation. It helps to shift the focus away from the embarrassing issues. It’s part of damage control.

139. Tim Campion - August 21, 2012

I in the sky,

Are you referring to the article about Fellowship of Friends doctor Thomas Neuschatz?

The topic was intentionally reintroduced, which I hoped readers would recognize. I’ll give you credit for considering giving me credit for something that should have been obvious. (When you refer to “TN” are you attempting to obfuscate Thomas’ identity?)

You are a sport, “I”.

140. Man Number Zero - August 21, 2012

In post 94, WhaleRider wrote, “the tone, demeanor and thought process of I in the Sky reminds me of Daily Cardiac and Howard Carter.”

One of the similarities between I in the Sky and his earlier avatars is a failure to check easily verifiable facts before posting. WhaleRider has pointed out the absurdity of IITS’s claim that `guru’ is of recent origin; a previous troll told us that 10% of the US population is in prison. It’s as if they came from a culture in which statements gain credence based on the status of the person making them and the confidence with which they’re asserted, rather than their correspondence with the facts.

141. Golden Veil - August 21, 2012

Tim Campion, thanks for reposting the link to the article about the Fellowship of Friends doctor Thomas Neuchatz, and especially the link within the article to the official Accusation of the Medical Board of California Department of Consumer Affairs, a 60 page report. Wow, I had previously missed the report… The prevalent prescription drug culture is obviously not working for the cult. So sad that these people lost their lives. It looks like the doctor may have more than his license revoked over his overprescribing prescription drugs; maybe his freedom…

Regarding the b.s… someone (not you, Someone) recently referred to here on the blog, my understanding is that b.s. just stands for belief system.

142. Ames Gilbert - August 21, 2012

Well, if ‘I in the sky’ is an agent whose purpose was to misdirect attention, he or she certainly succeeded! But, if there were an agent with such a purpose, that agenda couldn’t have worked without the enthusiastic cooperation of other bloggers.
Speaking just for myself, I try to take anonymous contributors at their word, and try to engage them as if they were honest. I can’t think of any reason not to, it’s not as if they have gained any power over me if the aim is to deceive. And all I have to go by are their words, the rest is speculation. Let their messages resonate, or not, based on their own merits.

To paraphrase advice Machiavelli once rendered to his boss in Chapter 18 of “The Prince”: Those who want to deceive will always find those willing to be deceived.
Burton gets this, and has chosen to make his way in life on this basis, and has attracted helpers who operate the same way.
However, what neither Machiavelli or Burton (or those who model themselves on Burton) ever understood, as far as I can tell, is this: one willing to deceive, at the moment he makes the decision to deceive in order to achieve some purpose, has also deceived himself. He has not understood something fundamental, that the ends never justify the means because the means changes the ends.

So, if ‘I in the sky’ is here to speak his or her best truth, welcome! And if not, the wound to his/her integrity is self–inflicted.

143. Tim Campion - August 21, 2012

Make no mistake. The Fellowship of Friends is a faith-based system, covered in a thin veneer of pseudo-science (a prescribed system of experimentation and observation through which followers shall “verify” their leader’s pronouncements.) In this system, “inconvenient” facts and truths are discarded or ignored.

This is one reason why we have difficulty conversing with “true believers”. Generally speaking, most here have “lost faith” (at least in Robert Earl Burton’s system) and have moved on to something more real (which is really not difficult to find!)

144. James Mclemore - August 22, 2012

Tim said,
“Make no mistake. The Fellowship of Friends is a faith-based system,..”

I think for many the idea of “self-remembering” was chiefly what brought our attention to the Fourth Way system, in that it somehow resonated with something we already felt. The second thing that brought many of us was the idea that you did not have to ‘believe’ in anything to approach this system. It said you had to verify everything for yourself.
In a post not long ago, Bruce stated that to study cults you needed to study not only cults and cult leaders but you had to study what part you played in all of that. Just where did our mind fail us? Just how many places did we fall for the “bait and switch” that went from a scientific type of investigation to a full-blown belief system? A belief system I might add that has some very strange elements in it. Did you ever verify anything that was not neatly tied in the labels, descriptions, and divisions that were supposedly handed out as theories, but had already taken on a life as their own in the FoF as a belief?

Anyway, if you haven’t already done so, and obviously many here have, what Tim is pointing towards seems like a pretty good place to start unraveling the strange phenomenon of the Fellowship of Friends and also of that ‘seeker’ inside of us.

145. fofblogmoderator - August 22, 2012

116, 117 & 122 are new- sorry for the delay in getting them through.

146. I in the sky - August 22, 2012

Tim – 140

“Make no mistake. The Fellowship of Friends is a faith-based system…”

All religious/spiritual endeavors are faith-based, and for good reason; there is a wide gap between physical and spiritual phenomena; a gap that our senses can rarely transverse.

I think where faith gets a bad rap is that people fail to make distinctions between “blind faith” which is a faith “inherited” or mimicked from someone else and faith based on direct observation of what one sees independent of what may have been suggested or taught to, or imposed on one. By saying “what one sees” I don’t necessarily mean sees physically, but psychologically, intuitively, or symbolically.

147. Tempus Fugit - August 22, 2012

I was thinking about who reads here and who posts here and what they get out of reading or posting.

Well, me, for one. I read, I post, and I get:

1) the wonderful knowledge that maybe others will be saved from sexual, financial, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse (and even if only one other is spared, it’s worth all the effort)

2) deeper healing of the trauma I experienced

3) the joy of knowing the monster is only a shriveled little man behind a screen pulling levers and producing illusions to hide his impotence

I’m not too concerned the blog sometimes wanders off into intellectual sparring, speculations about matters far removed from the FOF, etc.

I think the curious FOF member who’s brave enough to access the blog will likely read a number of posts and thereby discover the real story of Robert Burton and the FOF.

Then they will feel sick, then they will feel angry, then they will get free.

148. Fee fi fo fum - August 22, 2012

Tim’s post (was 140, now 143) was specific to the FF. I in the Sky’s response (now 146) is a generality. This is a persistent pattern on pages 123 and 124.

What it does is remove the very specific observations and arguments made against RB and the FF into a realm of abstraction, where it becomes the trading of lofty ideas instead of discussing actual examples that many of us have experienced. Before you know it, someone says that the argument is just a matter of semantics, so the discussion slows to a halt.

149. James Mclemore - August 22, 2012

Fee fi fo fum
I agree, and it is worse than simply generality or abstraction.

146. I in the sky –
“All religious/spiritual endeavors are faith-based, and for good reason; there is a wide gap between physical and spiritual phenomena; a gap that our senses can rarely transverse.”

I think this is what happens when you spend most all your time just talking with other sheep. Sheep who, for all I know, might even find you ‘quite profound’. This campfire however and the people sitting around it are quite different than the sheep you are used to talking with.

What you said is a fine example of something that may sound almost sensible and logical at first sight, I mean the words all seem to go together and all that, but it means absolutely nothing. There is not one shred of anything of substance, just kind of a wild guessing based on your unusual belief system. I especially liked the term “faith-based” and “for good reason” thrown together. And could you please educate us poor mortals on just what “spiritual phenomena ” are. It sounds fascinating.

150. WhaleRider - August 22, 2012

I in the Sky:
“All religious/spiritual endeavors are faith-based, and for good reason; there is a wide gap between physical and spiritual phenomena; a gap that our senses can rarely transverse.”

Hold on minute. What I hear Tim saying is that Religions are faith-based in that one places one’s faith in a religious leader for guidance, and that faith doesn’t trump the truth.

Over the years, the catholic church has had to make updates in its program when people like Galileo come along.

Spirituality, on the other hand, allows for one to place more faith in oneself and trust one’s inner guide. That’s what makes the FOF Robert E. Burton’s religion and anti-spirituality.

So to lump the two together is misleading.

Seeker Beware: anyone who claims spiritual phenomenon cannot be perceived by the senses is taking you on a Nantucket Sleigh Ride.

What about common sense? What about basing one’s belief system on truth? Cannot the truth be perceived by the senses?

The “wide gap” between between the “physical and the spiritual” smells to me like cult reductionist dogma that leads to Balkanization and a split self. It is a mask of authoritarian control.

Spirituality and “spiritual phenomenon”, whatever that means, is not just a mental exercise devoid of sensation, unless you happen to be numb from the neck down, which I in the Sky appears to be.

So the idea that the senses rarely traverse the “gap” is bullshit.

“I think where faith gets a bad rap is that people fail to make distinctions between “blind faith” which is a faith “inherited” or mimicked from someone else and faith based on direct observation of what one sees independent of what may have been suggested or taught to, or imposed on one.”

The ironic part of that statement is how much mimicking goes on in the cult. What were those brown casual shoes everyone used to wear that Robert E. Burton wore all the time?

I also heard the story that Robert E. Burton got confirmation from the 44 dead guys that Miles was the next man number 5 because he was wearing a V-neck sweater, and then V-neck sweaters were the rage!

We all put our faith in mimicking the “good student act” even when we weren’t feeling the love, with the belief that “acting” conscious, repeating the 30 canine commands, keeping our hands neatly folded on our crotch when we were standing, speaking in subdued tones, etc. would keep on on the right track toward becoming men number 7, unless you happen to be a lowly woman, that is.

“By saying “what one sees” I don’t necessarily mean sees physically, but psychologically, intuitively, or symbolically.”

Yes, we perceive symbolically, in the way we can perceive themes, motifs, and archetypes in our psychology…like the christ complex, for instance.

And just ask any intuitive, they feel through their senses just like anyone else can, only more acutely.

One Jungian therapist I read spoke of “leaning into” the session with full body awareness, using his sensations, natural movements of his body, and even his creative imagination as a stage for his client’s unconscious to act upon.

It is the meaning attached to the symbols we perceive that is at issue on the blog.

BTW, how’s the weather in there with your head so far up your ass?

151. Fee fi fo fum - August 22, 2012

147 Tempus Fugit – I feel similarly, where you say, “I’m not too concerned the blog sometimes wanders off into intellectual sparring, speculations about matters far removed from the FOF, etc.” In fact, I initially enjoyed one of the forays on page 123. However, I sensed something like manipulation through clever avoidance, and some of the discussions became weird, because of the mix of insincerity with sincerity.

146 In in the Sky – you risk becoming a parody of yourself.

Here is what I mean by responding to a specific point with persistent generalities. Suppose someone wants to confirm the rumors about RB’s addiction to having gay sex with young, hetero men. Instead of addressing this very specific issue, one which was denied and skirted around for many years, a general response might be, “well, no one said a spiritual teacher is infallible.” Suddenly, the discussion moves into debating what a spiritual teacher is and is not, and whether it is fair to expect such a person to be infallible. Arguments ensue about what exactly is meant by “spiritual”, and the attempt to confirm a rumor about RB’s disturbing behavior gets shelved. Truth be said, I used to hear, and I still hear, that “it’s RB’s personal business,” (read, that means it’s private) and from some current but marginal students, “I just try not to think about it.”

152. Tim Campion - August 22, 2012

Wow. TARDIS arrives on the scene like The Lone Ranger to my Tonto. Thanks, Masked Person. (We can discuss the reward off-line.)

153. Golden Veil - August 22, 2012

The following true story that relates one woman’s 12 year odyssey into, through, and out of The Fellowship of Friends has been posted previously on several internet sites. As far as I can tell, the original source is the published book Cults and Consequences: The Definitive Handbook, 1988, Rachel Andres and James R. Lane, editors.

Barbara Bruno Lancaster, Former Cult Member

In 1972, I joined a study group. In 1984, I woke up to find that I had willingly given away my life for 12 years – under an illusion that I was making myself a better person and the world a better place to live in. This wasn’t a dream, I was in a cult.

That sounds pretty drastic. How could anyone let themselves get hooked into such a situation? I was then 27 (hardly a child). Now I must take responsibility for not having taken responsibility. I was a thinker, an artist, a reader who envied the people in history who were lucky enough to live in times where there were opportunities to become part of a movement that made a contribution to humanity. I wanted to understand “what makes us tick,” but found no answers in modern psychology. Perhaps there was an elusive ancient knowledge that I might discover today. I feared a wasted life, and doubted my ability to live self-directedly.

In 1972, I wished to study a psychology called The 4th Way, which is based on the early 20th century writings of George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky. This philosophy proposes an esoteric system of achieving a permanent higher level of consciousness and stresses the need to find a “real” 4th Way school led by a consciously-developed teacher. After finding a bookmark from a group (I will call it the “SOS” [FoF]), I attended a series of prospective student meetings and came into contact with people who certainly acted esoteric. They were speaking knowledgeably on a subject of great interest to me. I was asked to try a few of the school exercises in behavior modification, and felt awkward and stupid around the students. I couldn’t believe that they wanted me to join! I made the first in a series of monthly donations, and then was directed to a silent, seemingly ineffectual man in the corner, whom they referred to as “The Teacher.”

Within a few weeks, I had moved from my home in Hawaii and was living with other students in a house in Carmel, California. For six months I had little contact with anyone outside of the group. The Teacher and his inner circle of leaders took over the house to work on a book and hold meetings. My activities centered on a constant exposure to his words and to carrying out the directions of his leaders. There were mental exercises to be followed in all waking hours, i.e., words that we were to eliminate from our speech; not using contractions; not crossing our legs and physically moving in a manner that indicated intentionality (we looked like robots). When one could begin to adjust to an exercise, it would be changed. I now spoke only in the special “work language” of the school. For five years I followed a word exercise that forbade the use of the word “I.” One was to refer to themselves only in the 3rd person. (Try ordering a meal without using “I.”) We were used to hearing each other speak, but our special language added to the discomfort of outside communication.

The aim was a heightened state of awareness in which one could regard oneself objectively as a machine-like being. Man existed in a state of walking sleep and needed constant shocks in order to awaken to his real potential. My words, reactions, physical appearance, and basic character were always open for discussion by the others. My behavior and attitudes were constantly observed and classified as indications of a “good” student or a “bad” student. This was always done as suggestions for my own good. I was not supposed to express negativity.

This environment was not all unpleasant. There was a strong feeling of community, a sense of purpose, of spiritual fulfillment, and a new state of awareness of the world that was exhilarating. There were times when I felt that I was losing control of my mind. This was taken care of by taking me for a walk where another student would softly remind me that this was simply a stage in my development, and that confusion itself was really a high state. There was a kindness and humility among the lower ranks of students that made me feel accepted. I was approaching all of this as a one-year experiment in self-knowledge.

Three months after joining this “study group”, a special meeting was called and it was announced that a woman who had left the school had committed suicide. This was seen as an example of what happens when students do not value the knowledge they have been exposed to. The school had become a lifetime endeavor! (Only for those who were strong enough to succeed.)

We were now told that there were invisible higher level beings, called “C Influence” that were around us constantly and would provide shocks to remind us of their presence. When something pleasant, or unpleasant, occurred it was said to be C Influence, providing shocks to awaken me from my lowly state. C Influence spoke directly through the Teacher, and to question this was considered a manifestation of a low level of being. We had been chosen to become the enlightened people who would found a new civilization after a soon-to-come nuclear holocaust. Please remember, this was said in an insulated environment. I began to think that I was constantly being watched and that even my thoughts were subject to judgement by these “higher forces.” Lifton refers to this as the “psychology of the pawn.”

When my savings ran out, I began working again in ordinary life and found that there was a profound distance between myself and my co-workers who were not part of the school. I was quiet and just did my work. My “real” life was elsewhere, and I was thoroughly committed to it.

Although the school control never succeeded in becoming absolute, my ability to measure reality and to maintain personal a[u]tonomy was greatly diminished. In George Orwell’s 1984, he saw this regulating restraint as being accomplished by means of the 2-way telescreen. But a mechanical device is not necessary when one is sufficiently surrounded by “human” apparatus.

The world became divided into black & white. Ideas, feelings, and actions consistent with school policy were praised. Inconsistencies were explained as a waste of my precious time and an incorrect valuation of the opportunities that had been extended to me. Policy was changed over the years, but an unwavering demand was placed upon me to strive permanently for a perfection which did not exist. I became guilty and depressed. I was no longer working for something – I was fighting against myself. Guilt always followed a self-observation, and my repressed negativity could be expressed through complaints about my attitudes. I wanted to “confess” my awareness of a personal failing before someone else could point [out] it out. The more I admit[t]ed to weakness, the easier it was to judge others.

I was the enemy! I began to think that I just wasn’t capable of knowing myself. Other people’s opinion of me was “real.” The school became a living being and I was just a cell in it. The group was more important than me.

I became a “master of justification.” Former cult members all say that they had doubts throughout their involvement. My misgivings became a closely guarded secret, unbearable to admit, even to myself. I developed subtle ways of rebelling, but outwardly I towed the party line. This core of doubt looked for an open door, and I lived in fear of finding it. It was Catch-22. [in FoF speak: Catch-44.]

I sided with the liberal-wing of the school, who felt that they could bring about a more humanizing element, and perhaps ensure their own survival. Yet, too often, I took no action against injustice, deceit, and outright bullying by the Teacher’s appointed leaders, whose power he supported. I watched children being given away when the Teacher decided they were unecessary distractions. Relationships and marriages were broken at his suggestion. The rich were courted and fleeced. The 10% of gross salary for monthly donations rose with an ever-rising list of required special donations. It was almost impossible (both financially, and as proof of commitment) to live outside of a communal situation. Within a “teaching house” there was little or no room for deviation or personal expression. We were an intellectual and cultural group, but the form this took was always at the whim of the Teacher’s taste. He wanted us to become an 18th century culture (imagine a woman’s place in such a society), and a large part of funds went to his antique purchases (the finest works went to his home).

Eventually the group had centers in most major cities in the U.S., Europe, and Mexico. The Teacher got the school a State Charter as a Church. He established a winery on the school property in Northern California as a non-profit corporation. We were expected to spend weekends and vacations working at the headquarters. Those with especially high levels of “valuation for the work” lived and worked there full-time. There was no housing provided. People lived crowded together in houses outside the grounds, or in trailers, or slept under a table and kept their belongings in their car trunk. But on Saturday night, they wore tuxedos and gowns to the concert hall, where prestigious musicians would play to an audience who would overwhelm them with applause at the appropriate moments.

In the “SOS” [FoF] an attitude of them-versus-us prevailed. The outside world was dead. Apparently, people who knew too much about the secret activities of the Teacher had been given direct tasks not to tell the others. You were asked to leave if you broke a task. If you left the school you were ostracized.

I was happily married to another student, whom I trusted with some of my doubts. We had a little mixed-breed dog who was very precious to us. I came close to a nervous breakdown in 1980 when the Teacher declared that we could only have pedigreed animals. I began to realize how much control the Teacher had over anything I cared about. I saw only two choices: become quietly insane (as others had), or commit suicide. I could not imagine having the strength to leave the school. My husband Ronald suffered greatly in his fear that I was losing my commitment. He began defending me to people who were offering him advice about changing my behavior. We became part of a developing underground of discontent where small confidences were shared. In time, an ethical member of the Board of Directors [Samuel Sanders] discovered criminal actions and called for public censure of the Teacher. This information was strong enough to penetrate through to what was left of my self-respect, and I could not offer a single justification. Even then, I thought that things could now change for the better. A meeting was called, by a representative of the Teacher, to discuss the situation. I brought up my concerns: Students were not free to seek help from mental professionals; many were becoming alcoholics, and we were, generally, living in a state of fear. I was told that these problems were my imagination and the fear was only within me. I snapped!

I left the group – after 12 years. l felt helpless. I had no friends and was deeply in debt. I couldn’t explain the lost years. To the outside world a cult experience itself indicates a flawed mentality. I grieved for those left behind, imprisoned by their learned ability to accept the unacceptable. Ronald, myself, and a few others felt marooned on a strange shore, cringing, clinging, and finally, setting out to discover our new world.

Within a few months, we became part of a former cult members group at the Cult Clinic in Los Angeles. The Clinic was a flame burning in my dark night. I will always be grateful for their understanding. What has been most helpful is hearing that ex-members share the same experience even though the form of each group is different. What cults believe is not important (it may be truth or nonsense). The key indication of danger lies in an insulated organization that lacks a system of checks and balances.

l choose to believe that the positive things I retain from my experience are a credit to the sincere relationships I once shared, to my abiding faith in the goodness of God and nature, and to my own intelligence and self-respect.

However, I did not gain this from the “SOS,” [FoF] but rather, in spite of it.

Most ex-cult members do not speak out. Many never realize they were in a cult. They just leave one day, and eventually look for something else to replace it. My activities in cult awareness – reading, writing, lecturing, and creating publications – are looked upon as extreme by some of the people who left the school with me.

The most common reaction to my story is: “Well, that could never happen to me!” I’ve met with a lot of former members and they are not stupid. Most are highly intelligent. The newer groups are especially appealing to the well-educated. Recruitment is directed to the best, the brightest, and the most idealistic of persons. Every cult member is a recruiter whose sincerity is infectious. Please note: Because cult members can only associate with people inside the group, they will see outsiders purely as potential recruits or losers. I did not feel I “recruited” my mother and my life-long friend when they joined the “SOS” [FoF] at my encouragement – I wanted to “help” them down the one true path.

Mind control exists – – it produces an inability to act from one‘s own integrity. Brainwashing is spiritual rape. Remember: No one ever thinks they are joining a cult.
Barbara Bruno Lancaster

154. Shard_of_Oblivion - August 22, 2012

Hi there “I in the Sky”

I feel an urge to lead you to the place of true knowledge. I used to think like you, and know that it is not impossible for you to come to see the truth. You display a lively verbal intelligence in your posts.

I invite you to ponder this question.

How can I know that something really is the case?

To digress a moment, it seems to me that it is because we humans posses language that we get in a tangle over this. When I observe my cats and dog, it seems they are untroubled by these matters precisely because they lack language, so their “reality” is direct and simple. They trust those who have been kind in the past, and distrust pretty much everything else, and it serves them well as a strategy.

We humans have language, and what am amazing tool that is. It holds within it an implied world picture, and like the fish in the sea analogy, we hardly notice all the many assumptions that are embedded in the way we speak. For everyday purposes this is no problem at all. But it falls down when we ask the bigger philosophical questions such as why am I here, what if any is the purpose of life on earth.

It is my contention that the truth on this is that we do not know, and as far as I can see we cannot know for sure. We each construct a picture of the world, we start quite young and get attitudes from our parents, the community we grew up in, and other sources we come across. For most of us there will be a time when we question the assumptions, I can remember when about 5 years old asking my mum “what if I had been born in India, I would believe in Hinduism?” which I didn’t feel she answered to my satisfaction. Mostly people grapple briefly, then get on with life holding whatever beliefs seem to fit their reality.

But if you are one of those who keeps on looking and questioning (which from your posts I believe you are) then the uncomfortable truth is that we are faced with a larger mystery in the bare existence of the world and our awareness of it, than the human race has so far been able to understand. Those who claim to know for sure, are in my opinion the most deluded.

In the end that is what led me to reject Burton as a teacher, he thinks he knows – but he doesn’t. This would apply whether or not he was also a perverted sex maniac (which he is), and applies to all religions that I have yet studied.

This ‘not knowing’ is not a sad or distressing mind space to inhabit, as you as a current believer may fear, it is in fact liberating and invigorating.

Come on it the water’s lovely!

155. Willie Maykit - August 22, 2012

“Holy Mackerel, Tonto! Look at all the stinking indians! We’re surrounded!”
“What you mean “we”, white man?”

156. WhaleRider - August 22, 2012

Golden Veil:
Thank you for posting Barbara’s insightful story. It is a testimony to how effective the cult’s “divide and conquer” Balkanization strategies are at splitting the self and captivating the minds of followers.

IMO, Barbara’s eventual “feeling of being watched all the time” is due in part to the cancerous growth of an inner homunculus, or “observing I”, or “higher self”, or “steward”, which is a controlling, idealized, sadistic, and judgemental version of oneself who is never satisfied, leading to unhappiness and distorted thinking…especially regarding “valuation” and most importantly, lacking in compassion both for oneself and others.

157. I in the sky - August 22, 2012

WhaleRider – 150

“Seeker Beware: anyone who claims spiritual phenomenon cannot be perceived by the senses is taking you on a Nantucket Sleigh Ride.”

When was the last time you saw, heard, touched, tasted or sniffed a spirit from the spirit world?

And you say “Seeker Beware.” What kind of seeker are you addressing? Just a few dozen posts ago you were strongly suggesting to me that Enlightenment was a myth, perpetrated on humanity from ancient times.

If any true seekers are landing on these pages I think they would be somewhat reticent to take advice from you.

158. WhaleRider - August 22, 2012

I in the Sky:
Don’t you and your ilk sense a cold wind when visited by ghosts?

159. Golden Veil - August 22, 2012

Hello, I just saw a great ghost movie. I recommend it if you’d like a good ghost story. In theatres now or coming to your local art house soon.

160. Golden Veil - August 22, 2012

I think there is value in re-posting the below commentary
yet again… a former student muses upon “The Teacher,”
Robert Burton.

Having read the below, I find myself wondering HOW it is that any student reading about the dark side of the Fellowship of Friends, especially the emotional, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse of the very students themselves, is able to repress their conscience and continue to take part in the organization? There must exist a serious disconnect from all “non-Fellowship” ideas and a very firm belief in the Fellowship “Authority” ~ a very intense “brainwash” or “mind control.”

Any thoughts about this, I in the Sky?

8. Des – March 12, 2012

Worth re-posting this re-posting.

15. Ames Gilbert – September 8, 2011


“I was reading through some of the rest of page 16 of the blog (lots of good stuff there!) and I came across this, from “Life Person”. IMHO it’s a perfect summary, so I’m going to post the whole darn thing instead of just the link.”

-
“After months of periodically reading and contributing to the blog, what most amazes me is the enormity of the disconnect between what is observed and what some people choose to believe.
 Once the emotional charge created by the resurgence of memories that had drifted around for decades dissipated somewhat, and I had for some weeks left off reading the blog, which seemed to perpetuate that charge, and then came back to it, I find myself stunned and incredulous.
 Taking away those things that he has said about himself, and those things that others have said about him, and looking only at the evidence before us, we see a man who, before he announced himself as a Teacher, was most easily described as a loser. Fired from his modest teaching position, kicked out of his brief stint in an abusive cult for the most pedestrian reason–being unable to keep his hands off the other guys–living with his mommy or in his van long past the age when we’d expect a man to have a halfway decent job. A man with modest formal education from a white trash background, with the middle name of Earl. Had never accomplished anything of note. Cannot write, paint, dance, or sing. Oh yes–he could play tennis, at the level of the average high school varsity player.
 A man who has since lived an entirely parasitic existence, having declined to lift a finger on his own behalf since he was thirty, beyond walking, sitting, lifting fork and glass, talking, and having sex; a man whose muscles have atrophied from disuse. A man who cannot be bothered to pay his own bills, or drive his own car, or fix his own faucet. Can you imagine your father, or your neighbor, let alone Socrates, telling people to do manual labor, including labor that benefits only himself, year after year, decade after decade, while he simply shuffles around in thousand-dollar slacks and five hundred-dollar shoes, without ever contributing anything? Jesus was a carpenter. Dante wrote fantastic works of literature. Leonardo painted masterpieces. Others make shoes, grow food. Here’s a man who jots down notes and sayings at the level of a precocious junior high schooler, and gives others instructions in between efforts to satisfy his physical urges. We find the model for this in, say, Henry VIII, or more accurately, a pinheaded, inbred pharaoh.


Here is a man who has not, in at least 37 years, and most likely in his entire life, had an intimate emotional relationship with another man, woman, cat or turtle that would be recognized by anyone as normal, let alone mature.
 Whose “teachings” are almost entirely unoriginal, having been cobbled together, first from the works of Gurdjieff and his disciples, a little later from quotes copied like a lazy freshman from the Harvard Classics, and now from a hodgepodge of sources that does not rise to the level of solid “B Influence” – stuff that, thirty years ago, you wouldn’t have picked out of the trash, like Chariots of the Gods and Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs. He even tried his hand at National Enquirer-style prophecy, and was so spectacularly unsuccessful that he now claims he never meant any of it.


A man who fancies himself an aesthete, of impeccable taste, yet whose taste is classic nouveau riche, reflecting once again the lack of any originality, let alone artistic flair. Everything is copied, taken from others, like the pile of statues in the basement of Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu. Who considers a Greek temple plopped down in the Sierra foothills very classy, and cannot see that it is pathetic kitsch, like Las Vegas casinos featuring recreations of pyramids and Venice.


In any other circumstance, this man would be considered ridiculous. A buffoon. Laughed at.
 And this, of course, does not address a level of greed and financial manipulation that would seem eye-rollingly incredible in a made-for-TV-movie about a New Age Guru. Who would believe a character who did all the running after cufflinks, the wine-guzzling, the pouring of rich food down his gullet, the endless supply of suits, shirts, shoes, Rolls Royces and Mercedes, watches, paintings, furniture, and on and on and on, while continually demanding more money from his followers, some of whom make extraordinary sacrifices, destroy themselves financially, to keep the man in silk, cashmere, and the umpteenth performance of Giselle. We’d turn it off in disgust, exclaiming that the movie showed an obvious intent to slander all nontraditional religious organizations and make their adherents seem imbecilic. 


And then theres the fellow’s peculiar sexual habits, which also are no laughing matter. His need to have his various orifices continually filled, not by people with whom he shares a deep emotional bond, but by desperate or naive people he has cajoled with pathetic fairy tales, who hide their faces in shame as he grunts and pants before showing them the door and calling in the next one. People who carry the diseases he has passed on to them, and perhaps their partners, for the rest of their lives, along with the burning resentment and humiliation of having allowed themselves to be so callously and pitifully used by someone they trusted.

This sort of behavior is generally accepted everywhere as demonstrating a profound emotional disturbance.
 And none of this even touches on the man’s treatment of others when they’re not coming in his mouth, his disregard of what would be considered decent, principled behavior in any culture, under any ethical or religious creed. His complete lack of genuine interest in the well-being of anyone who does not give him, or procure for him, money or sex, his willingness to act, without regret, as though a person he has known for twenty years or more, a person who has given him everything they have, has never existed the moment the individual stops giving him money or sex.


But, I suppose, none of this precludes his being the Light of the World, the Greatest Being Since Christ, and worthy of the highest lifelong devotion. And why? Because he says he is “conscious.” So that’s what being “conscious” means, does it? How could I have missed it. But some say they have “verified” that he is “conscious.” Oh, that changes everything.
For quite a while everyone on earth was convinced the world was flat.
“But he teaches people to be present.” Indeed. Being present to eating too much, drinking too much, having sex with people who don’t want to have sex with you. Present to enjoying the fruits of others’ labors. Present to the sycophantic bowing and scraping of people without any self-respect or discernment. He teaches, by example, how to be present to treating others like shit.
 How to account for his success? If a person without any useful abilities of his own sat down and decided to develop a way to allow himself to have all the money, sex, food, travel, power, fancy clothes, adulation, and sheer self-indulgent luxury an adolescent could possibly imagine – if a man embarrassed by his own sexuality and humble social status wanted to be treated like a god – what might he come up with?


And why is it that so many people whose wisdom is so much more easily observed, who are truly kind and compassionate, who genuinely value others simply for their inherent humanity, who find delight in simple pleasures and do not need to be continually praised, obeyed, fucked, fed, entertained, clothed, and carted about, who enjoy being useful, who serve others instead of claiming to serve disembodied spirits while leaving a trail of pain in their wake – why is it that such people do not have as many people trying to learn from them? 
Might it be that some people actually want what they see this man has, rather than true wisdom, true compassion?
 Might it be that some people cannot bear the thought that what is so obvious might actually be the simple truth, which would make them gullible fools?”

161. Joseph Nachumovitch - August 22, 2012


”In any other circumstance, this man would be considered ridiculous.”

So?

162. Golden Veil - August 22, 2012

So, how it is that any student reading about the dark side of the Fellowship of Friends, especially the emotional, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse of the very students themselves, is able to repress their conscience and continue to take part in the organization?

163. Ames Gilbert - August 22, 2012

Joseph Nachumovitch (#124-161 or thereabouts),
you quoted, “In any other circumstances, this would be considered ridiculous” and responded, “So?”

So if you are thinking of joining the Fellowship of Friends—beware, you will have to make yourself accept all these things if you want to be included in Robert Burton’s fantasy. Do you want to twist your mind and body in such a way, and if so, why? What makes you think that there are not less dangerous alternatives?
Feel free to ask any questions you like on this blog!

So if you have already joined, is this what you came for? Look back, as honestly as you can, to the moments just before you went to the first introductory meeting. Is this truly what you came for? To support the astonishing corruption behind the fancy fru-fru? You may say, you have some ‘higher states’ or you are ‘present’. Very nice. Are you sure you cannot get the same somewhere else, without you and others paying such an incredible price to the gatekeeper? You are quite certain that burying your conscience is worth what is offered? And what prevents you exploring alternatives? (You can always return if the alternatives prove disappointing, after all).

So, very far from the Fourth Way’s leading principle for the aspiring individual, “Verify verify, verify”, we have the situation where, under Burton’s guidance (and intellectually supported by Girard Haven—for example, see http://tinyurl.com/bv2prbu ), the average follower’s work consists of a constant affirmation of received beliefs, which becomes, for the average follower, the equivalent of ‘faith’.

Joseph, my question for you is, is there a single thing you can refute in the summary “Life Person” wrote above of Beloved Teacher and his works?

164. Tempus Fugit - August 22, 2012

In response to the post by:

151. Fee fi fo fum – August 22, 2012

“147 Tempus Fugit – I feel similarly, where you say, “I’m not too concerned the blog sometimes wanders off into intellectual sparring, speculations about matters far removed from the FOF, etc.” In fact, I initially enjoyed one of the forays on page 123. However, I sensed something like manipulation through clever avoidance, and some of the discussions became weird, because of the mix of insincerity with sincerity.”

Thanks, this is perceptive and I appreciate your point of view and the opportunity to clarify my remarks further.

Yes, I’m not TOO concerned when the physical space of the blog is filled with lengthy intellectual debates but I AM sometimes concerned that critical truths about the FOF cult may get lost in the fog.

I like the thought that anyone in the world accessing this blog will only have to read a few posts before they say to themselves “Hey, this must be about one of those abusive cults I’ve heard about.”

That said, this is an open forum and I like it that way. Some bloggers who are clear on their anti-FOF stance enjoy sharing matters of psychological or spiritual interest and I think that’s great.

I’m definitely curious about bloggers who NEVER say anything against the FOF, which makes me wonder if they are FOF members. But if they are, I welcome them. Maybe they’re on the fence and need more time and information to make the decision to leave.

To active, questioning FOF members I say: Please stay, read, think, and even participate until you get what you need.

And for those who are FOF members and are here to indirectly support the cult or weaken the blog, I say welcome to you as well. But why not engage us in a real discussion?

Why not just come straight out and say you are a member and put on a solid defense against the many claims of wrongdoing found here?

You can still be anonymous if that’s important to you, but why not defend your beliefs? I’m sure you have the intellectual skills to do so – but do you have the facts, and do you have the courage?

165. WhaleRider - August 22, 2012

I in the Sky:
“When was the last time you saw, heard, touched, tasted or sniffed a spirit from the spirit world?”

Last night during a dream.

It was my spirit, though, not somebody else’s phantom supposedly floating above the dinner table.

That ought to be enlightening to you…but your advice is to believe in ghosts, which I don’t, or put my complete trust in the creepy guy with his hand down my pants who says there are spirits hovering above the dinner table and speaking to him through license plates, which I don’t buy either.

Enlightenment, as it pertains to arriving at a permanent state of “bliss”, “perfection” or “cosmic consciousness” and whatever imaginary “powers” that go along with it, is an unattainable narcissistic myth, IMHO…a pipe dream…distorted thinking from the homunculus of the idealized self.

Teaching enlightenment, in the Vedic sense, as it pertains to the process of dispelling of delusions, superstitions, and ignorance through education is very real.

I am certainly more enlightened about truths than I was when I was in my 20’s, which I credit with having graduated from college soon after I left the Fellowship, which I’d also advise anyone to do if they can.

The difference is that learning and understanding truth is an ongoing process that never ends and is not a final place at which one “arrives”.

One could reasonably expect that the process of becoming more enlightened about truths has something to do with honesty and integrity.

IMO, an honest person with integrity can admit when they are wrong and doesn’t make false claims about something they cannot possibly know anything about, like what happens after death.

Robert E. Burton and his enablers are far from honest and lack integrity, IMO.

How about you, I in the Sky? Are you being honest about your intent here?

Shall we now debate about the difference between a “seeker” landing on these pages and a “true seeker”?…golly gee, if there are “true” seekers, then there must be “fake” ones…which are you?

To whom are you referring?

Seems like more narcissistic bullshit perfectionism to me….raise that bar up a little higher…so in order for a seeker to be a “true” seeker and not a “fake” seeker, they have to strive to be at your level of grandiosity…they have to prove themselves, jump though a few hoops…but they won’t ever be your equal at your level, will they?

There doesn’t seem to be any limit to how far a narcissist can stick their head up their ass. There is always someone (hopefully not you, Someone) who can stick it up there even further.

166. Fee fi fo fum - August 23, 2012

161 Joseph

Joseph, your saying “So?” made me look again at “Life Person”‘s entire post from the blog’s page 16, which 160-Golden Veil reposted, above.

The pont is not to take the sentence that you quoted in isolation. First, “Life Person” was trying to make a point about RB’s pretensions to a life of high culture and good breeding, resembling that of a non-toiling, well-educated European aristocrat surrounded by ill-paid servants. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with such aspirations, but that is not the point of the criticism. In fact, many of us who joined the FF may have been attracted by that very veneer of refinement, even when it was superficial and spotty. However, RB didn’t seem to recognize what a dilettante he was and is, and FF students imitate that standard. (To be fair, RB tapped on several “older ladies” who did, in fact, have culture or good taste in their background, and whom he treated as “consultants. I guess we have SG and AG to thank for that. And no, by AG, I don’t mean Abe.)

A reverse example: There was a student in the early-ish days who had a PhD in Philosophy, I want to say it was in Classical Philosophy. He probably knew more about Socrates, Plato and Aristotle than almost any other FF student, but he went largely unrecognized and untapped. Why? Because the FF’s standards are to settle for only smatterings of knowledge and gloss, like a fake Renaissance man or woman.

Second, the point is that it does not stop there. No. There is more: There is greed and financial manipulation. There is his peculiar sexual habits. Below is an excerpt of that post:

“In any other circumstance, this man would be considered ridiculous. A buffoon. Laughed at.
 And this, of course, does not address a level of greed and financial manipulation….

“And then theres the fellow’s peculiar sexual habits, which also are no laughing matter. His need to have his various orifices continually filled, not by people with whom he shares a deep emotional bond, but by desperate or naive people he has cajoled with pathetic fairy tales….”

167. Prospective Student - August 23, 2012

is it steamy in here, or is this just a bunch of hot air.
I in the sky – say whatever you want.
From a complete outsiders viewpoint, there’s a lynching going on here.
(you can cast doubt about the FOF –
but we’ll flame you if you doubt us doubters)
oh and by the way, Please, PLEASE _P_L_E_A_S_E_
Stop writing entire short stories as posts.I skip right over them.
Look, i know there’s a lot of pain here,
but this is the second time i have seen this here.
This Blog turns into some sort of catty high school BS.
Grow Up. You lot, are already better and more and informed, than the more ignorant previous poster. (sarcasm goes to all of you)

(and at this point your asking yourself,
should we accuse this new post as being a FOF insider.
and how best can we deconstruct his comment, with douche mastery,
to make a post like this stymied and irrelevant) sheesh

168. Wouldnt You Like To Know - August 23, 2012

‘And why is it that so many people whose wisdom is so much more easily observed, who are truly kind and compassionate, who genuinely value others simply for their inherent humanity, who find delight in simple pleasures and do not need to be continually praised, obeyed, fucked, fed, entertained, clothed, and carted about, who enjoy being useful, who serve others instead of claiming to serve disembodied spirits while leaving a trail of pain in their wake – why is it that such people do not have as many people trying to learn from them? Might it be that some people actually want what they see this man has, rather than true wisdom, true compassion? Might it be that some people cannot bear the thought that what is so obvious might actually be the simple truth, which would make them gullible fools?’

A favorite quote used by Robert Earl Burton (REB),
and appearing on at least one of the
Fellowship of Friends (FoF) websites:
[It is] ‘Wisdom’s everlasting law
that truth is only learnt by suffering it.’

But, this is what follows the above,
conveniently edited out by REB/FoF,
from the Greek play: Agamemnon,
by Aeschylus (ca. 525-456 b.c.):

‘Ah, in sleep the pain distills,
Bleeding on the memory,
And makes us wise against our wills:
God’s grace by solemn force.’

This latter part was quoted
by another Robert in recent times:
Robert F. Kennedy in his speech
announcing the assassination of
Martin Luther King, Jr. on 4 April 1968.
His version:
‘Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair, against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.’

‘Acknowledging the audience’s emotions, Kennedy referred to his own grief at the murder of his brother, President John F. Kennedy and, quoting a passage from the play Agamemnon, said: “My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: ‘Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.’ What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country. . . Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.” The speech is considered to be [one of] Kennedy’s finest. The quotation from Aeschylus was later inscribed on a memorial at the gravesite of Robert Kennedy, following his own assassination.’

‘[L]earning and understanding truth is an ongoing process that never ends and is not a final place at which one “arrives”.

One could reasonably expect that the process of becoming more enlightened about truths has something to do with honesty and integrity.’
WhaleRider, FoF Blog page 124/#165.

‘FF’s standards are to settle for only smatterings of knowledge and gloss. . .’
Fee fi fo fum, FoF Blog page 124/#166.

169. I in the sky - August 23, 2012

Fee fi fo fum – 148

“Tim’s post (was 140, now 143) was specific to the FF. I in the Sky’s response (now 146) is a generality. This is a persistent pattern on pages 123 and 124.”

You are correct, I am speaking in generalities, which I said I would do in one of the first posts. The general often encompasses the specific.

This calls attention to an interesting point. Several people here make a habit of speaking of the FoF as if it exists in a vacuum, devoid of any larger context.

The FoF has a context. It claims to be a conscious school. Most, if not all here, say it is a cult. But by calling it a cult you place it into a context like it or not, as WhaleRider has recently illustrated. Calling it a cult presupposes the existence of a real counterpart. This was my point when I questioned Tim’s analogy likening it to a fake Rolex. If you call something a fake you must know something about the real version. You must have examined both and distinguished between the two. So, I was interested in knowing what Tim knew about the real version.

The same thing occurred with the comment describing the FoF as being faith-based. This is true but only in the context that all spiritual organizations are faith-based. It’s like saying all white fences are white. What’s the point? Tim, knowingly or unknowingly, had placed the FoF in a context created by himself, where it’s somehow dubious to be faith-based, not understanding that to be what it is it has to be faith-based, as all such organizations are who lay claim to the spiritual.

To say that all spiritual organizations are faith-based is indisputable. But a few posters have begun to do backward somersaults trying to dispute that truth. When someone succeeds in proving to the world the existence of God, angels, The Deity, Paradise, The Afterlife, then organizations of the spirit will cease being faith-based. Until that day they will remain exclusively faith-based.

Shard_of_Oblivion – 154

“we hardly notice all the many assumptions that are embedded in the way we speak. For everyday purposes this is no problem at all. But it falls down when we ask the bigger philosophical questions such as why am I here, what if any is the purpose of life on earth.”

You are entirely correct. And my logic told me long ago that an individual can come to know the answers to those questions for themselves. Many can believe or disbelieve what they hear but some can come to know. Why would man be given the ability to know all he knows, how to split the atom and so much more, and be withheld the truths you allude to above, which should count as the most valuable kind of knowledge on earth? It would make for one cruel God.

170. Golden Veil - August 23, 2012

168. I in the Sky

“my logic told me long ago that an individual can come to know the answers to those questions for themselves. Many can believe or disbelieve what they hear but some can come to know.”

What you describe here is not logic… this is magical thinking based upon self-deception.

171. Ames Gilbert - August 23, 2012

I in the sky (#124-168 or thereabouts),
you’re exploring the Path of Silliness again, IMO.
I and others call the Fellowship of Friends a cult in the pejorative sense because it shows most of the signs and symptoms of a manipulative mind-bending abusive cult (see http://tinyurl.com/622x9g for one list, there are lots of others). I guess you could also call it a nascent religion, with Burton being the aspiring god. It certainly has little to do with the Fourth Way or with Eckhart Tolle, but just uses some of the key words as bait for the unwary.

You say the existence of cults presupposes the existence of ‘conscious schools’. But when you say ‘conscious school’, you are asking us to accept your premise that there is such a thing as a ‘conscious school’, which also happens to be what Burton describes as a ‘conscious school’, which conveniently happens to exactly match the visible and invisible organization he has built around him. In truth, you have no idea of what a ‘conscious school’ is, and neither do I. You have just attached that label to what you are experiencing, because it is one of the tenets of your received wisdom. Back in the real world, there are some vague references to theoretical ‘conscious schools’, in passing, in Ouspensky’s books, and that’s it. Burton built his whole imaginary (and shallow) intellectual picture based on those references. Ditto with theoretical ‘conscious men’. And why the hell should we believe Ouspensky (or anyone else for that matter)? Unless we also accept Burton’s claim that Ouspensky was ‘conscious’ (which, BTW, he never made himself) and that his spirit is one of those guiding Burton’s ‘conscious school’, and there we are again, spinning around in another self-referential circle of unverifiable bullshit.

I in the sky, you have a perfect right to your experiences, including your inner ones, and of course they are true for you. I don’t think anyone here disputes that. My message is: I used to have a worldview similar to yours, I examined it and found major flaws in the foundations, my premises, which led to the exploration of how this had come about. So my experiences were still valid, but the context changed, and I could see that I had made some big mistakes. Now I’m warning others about those common mistakes, because they can lead to very dangerous results. If you honestly examine how you came to your worldview, and reach different conclusions, more power to you.

172. WhaleRider - August 23, 2012

I in the Sky:

“Several people here make a habit of speaking of the FoF as if it exists in a vacuum, devoid of any larger context. Most, if not all here, say it is a cult. But by calling it a cult you place it into a context like it or not, as WhaleRider has recently illustrated. The FoF has a context. It claims to be a conscious school.”

Goodness, dear! Let’s talk context.

Shall we yet again go over the lurid details of the larger context of how Robert E. Burton’s rape factory known as the Fellowship of Friends first began, starting with the rape of his first student, Bonita, who first met Burton when her judgement was impaired because she was tripping on Mescaline?

Or the larger context of Alex Horn and Sharon Gans’ violent and abusive cult in which Robert E. Burton failed at the task of keeping his paws off the young boys and where his narcissism undoubtedly became malignant?

Or the larger context in which Robert E. Burton was found to be inappropriately hugging his young students as an elementary school teacher and was fired for his behavior?

Apparently you have not read the blog from its inception.

If anyone is existing in a mental vacuum here, it is you.

“Calling it a cult presupposes the existence of a real counterpart.”

Let’s take Nietzsche’s claim that “God is dead.”

Presupposition: God was once alive.

The Fellowship of Friends is, and always has been, a cult.

Presupposition: cults exist. That’s all.

As I pointed out before, you make the supposition that if cults exist, then so must the opposite of a cult.

And I’ll point out again: that yes, the opposite of a cult is a university from which one can graduate and where the professors are not allowed to exploit their positions of power over their students for personal gain, and if they do they get fired.

FYI, schools of higher learning have evolved since last you let your brain out of its cage.

A cult is a corrupt organization that mimics a school of higher learning or a church, in which the predatory leader uses his authoritarian power over his followers as a context in which to exploit them for his own self-interest, placing himself above scrutiny, and leaving a wake of human suffering.

A follower does not graduate from a cult, he or she leaves or is kicked out.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the difference.

“Why would man be given the ability to know all he knows…”

Here is a presupposition that intelligence is a function or trait that can be “given” to someone (not you, Someone), which is a false assumption. Even the Wizard of Oz admitted that, once he stepped out from behind the curtain.

Now by claiming the Fellowship cult is a so-called, “conscious school”, there is the embedded presupposition that consciousness is a quality that can be taught.

IMHO, consciousness and self-awareness are inherent in humans. Rocks are neither conscious nor self-aware.

Consciousness and awareness can, however, be directed…toward truth or away from truth toward delusion and superstition.

If anyone really wants to learn more in depth about the truths of human consciousness and unconsciousness, make the effort to attend an accredited, state licensed school of psychology.

If you want to become more superstitious and deluded, join a cult.

“It would make for one cruel God.”

Man also has the ability to delude himself.

How cruel is that?

It seems even more cruel and downright sadistic to delude others for personal gain, as do Robert E. Burton and his enablers…and as you are doing now, Mr or Ms I in the Sky.

I do not wish more power to you…for you use your power to inflate your narcissistic bubble at the expense of others in my community.

The FOF cult has proven to be very cruel in dealing with dissenters…another hallmark of a cult…as opposed to a school of higher learning.

173. fofblogmoderator - August 23, 2012

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