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Fellowship Of Friends/Fourth Way School/Living Presence Discussion – Page 153 December 23, 2015

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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 might 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://beingpresent.org/

Comments

1. fofblogmoderator - December 23, 2015

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/Fourth Way School/Living Presence Discussion
Part 34 through the 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 Fellowship of Friends you may find your path to freedom.

2. Linda Jo Sapere - December 23, 2015
3. Just the Facts Ma'am - December 23, 2015

Thank you, fofblogmoderator, for turning the page and for your service here..
Happy New Year! to you and all.
(It is a new year if you follow a solar centric,rather than a calendar centric, time line. Northern hemisphere winter solstice having
passed; from where the daylight gets longer.)
Also, Happy Holidays!

Following on the subject of my last post on the prior page,
Hasnamus,
the following posts are from Maurice Nicoll’s Commentaries on the subject.
(If this is not of interest to you,
just skip it. They are also a bit long.)

Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky,
Maurice Nicoll vol.2
HASNAMUS
description of, P.403-4
“The creation of these three kinds of men is described in progressive order in the first two chapters of Genesis in connection with the 7 days of creation, which divides Man into 7 different categories and does not take him as one and the same or as equal. The first broad distinction is made between Mechanical Man and Conscious ‘Man. The first description of Man in Genesis is of mechanical or dead Man – in verse 2. In the Work mechanical humanity is said to be asleep and sometimes to be dead, as when it is said that many people walking about are long ago dead. Likewise in the New Testament, Christ refers to “the dead burying their dead.” Mechanical Man has no shock at work in him save the mechanical shock of breathing. However, the term breath or breathing is something also applied to the second shock, as we shall see. The point here is that in Genesis, and in this Work, and in the New Testament, the idea of dead Man appears, the dead, living Man. To awaken from the state of being a dead person, a man or a woman must give himself or herself the second shock, at point 6. This person is described in Genesis as following on the “dead” man. Let us consider the “dead” man first. It is impossible to describe him briefly. He is the man of the senses, without an inner life, the man who ascribes his powers to himself, the man of self-esteem, for whom everything real lies in the outer world, the man who has not begun to think or feel beyond himself. This man is called in Genesis “waste and void.” This is the man of darkness in whom there is no light. Shall we each suppose that we are not in this state ourselves? This state of darkness of a man is referred to both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is said in Isaiah: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (IX 2) and in John: “The light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.” (I 5) which means that esoteric teaching represented in Christ came as light to those in darkness of mind and understanding. To take one example – this dead man or man of darkness of mind is the Hasnamus man mentioned in the Work – namely, the man whose well-being depends on the ill-being of thousands and millions of others. Napoleon is a good example. Such a man cannot think in terms beyond himself and what he wants. There is no “love of neighbour” – that is, no emotional development beyond P.403

self-love and self-interest. Or, in Work terms, there is no power of sincere external considering, no ability to put oneself genuinely in the position of another person and to think and feel as he or she thinks and feels, unless it belongs to one’s own self-interest and the personal sphere of one’s own merit. This is the general state of Man. In the Work it is necessary to get beyond this state and it is very difficult to do so for everyone, without exception. However, it is necessary to do so eventually for the step that has to be taken is beyond what one is beyond what one is at present. The first requisite is a shock administered to one’s present state of mind and feeling. One must begin to think differently and then to feel in a new way. But unless one meets with something that makes this possible, it will remain a step not taken. So one will continue to sound the same note all one’s life – as most people do.

Now let us consider the man who begins to give himself the second shock, at the point 6. He is described in Genesis. He is no longer a dead man, waste and void. Look for a moment at the Enneagram at the point 6. Here is the point where esoteric teaching can enter a man and start a new octave in him. Look at the first octave, made possible by the mechanically given and mechanically received shock of physical air, and note where it goes. Now look at the point 6 where the entry of something new is possible. I say that it is possible. It is not necessary for living in ordinary life. But it is a point where something is possible. Here this Work enters into the plan of Man, regarded in the light a self-developing organism by creation. In Genesis the idea that Man is a self-developing organism is contained in the very first line: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” – that is, two levels, a higher and a lower. This refers to the dead Man for it then says: “And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” The man is dead in himself – yet he has been created by God having a heaven as well as an earth in him. That is, although dead, he has the possibility of development, first in relation to “earth” and then to “heaven.” The outer side of a man is his “earth” and the inner is his “heaven.” For a “dead” man to change, his earth must be developed and planted, but first he must be given light. So it goes on to say: “And God said, Let there be light.” This is the first stage of the dead beginning to become alive. This awakening man, this man rising from the dead, this man seeking to come into his own heaven through light that is not darkness – and understand here that the life of the senses and of the intelligence based on them is darkness – I say, this awakening man eventually reaches the state of being an image of God. On the sixth day “God created Man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” All that precedes this refers to Man rising from the “dead” and to the stages leading to his becoming an “image of God.” Let me repeat. Man at his lowest, darkest level is referred to thus: “And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” This is the beginning of awakening.” P.404

4. Just the Facts Ma'am - December 23, 2015

Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky,
Maurice Nicoll vol.3
HASNAMUS
and false personality, P.966-8
“Great Amwell House, November 16, 1946
A NOTE ON FALSE PERSONALITY
It is said in the Work that to be awake is to have no False Personality. The more one is in False Personality and all the consequences resulting from meeting daily life through False Personality, the more one is asleep; while, on the contrary, the less one meets daily life through False Personality, the more one is awake. We understand that False Personality is composed of imagination – of false ideas about oneself. Some people think of False Personality as being something blatant, loud and boasting. But this is wrong. False Personality in one person may sing: “What a fine fellow I am,” and in another person sing: “Poor little me.” But the action on Being is the same in both cases – that is, its power to produce disharmony in Being is the same and the P.966

effort necessary to bring it face to face with facts about oneself equally difficult. The object of uncritical self-observation is to collect facts about oneself. For this reason Observing ‘I’ must not be right in front of oneself in the sphere which False Personality influences but further back. The power of self-observation increases as Observing ‘I’ moves more internally. This partly depends on the deepening of feeling or valuation of the Work when surface enthusiasms are seen through. We spoke recently of this Work forming itself in the Intellectual Centre as some transmitting instrument that Higher Centres can touch eventually, built up gradually until all its parts are in order. This is done by two things – effort of thinking in a new way and valuation. Valuation lies in the emotional part of the Intellectual Centre at first; this, it was said recently, begins to awaken Buried Conscience in the Emotional Centre itself. During this process Observing ‘I’ moves inwards more internally and begins to pass ultimately into Real Conscience. It is like John the Baptist coming before Jesus. First it is necessary to have right Magnetic Centre. This can bring us to the Work but cannot hold us in it. Then comes Observing ‘I,’ and through it the application of the teaching to oneself. Then one observes oneself in the light of the Work, not in the light of the past or social life. Then finally Real Conscience begins to appear as Steward. Now nothing of this can happen as long as False Personality is in the forefront and governs being. So it is necessary to think about what False Personality is in oneself, and not assume one knows what it is. As said, it takes many forms and yet is the same thing. It is false – a lie – that one insists on telling to oneself. One is then governed by a liar – in fact, by a Hasnamous. It is said that the chief cause of giving wrong impressions is False Personality. This hint can help in one’s search for it. But to me it seems that the most terrible things about False Personality are the narrow judgments it makes and the tight fixed attitudes in which it imprisons us. You might think that a
rigid, inflexible life has nothing to do with False Personality. In that case you have not understood enough about False Personality and its different forms in people.

Now only the full power of the Work can redeem us from False Personality. If you feel the Work as truth, apart from thinking it is true, then you let into you the only force that can weaken False Personality. Consider some of the things the Work says – such as “Man cannot do,” “Man is a multiplicity and not a unity,” “Man has no Real ‘I,'” “Man is not conscious” and “Man is asleep.” Such teachings, if deeply felt, surely cannot be acceptable to False Personality? On the contrary, i[f] their meaning is deeply enough felt and realized through one’s own observation of oneself, they make the existence of False Personality impossible. That is, they lead to awakening since, as was said, to be awake is to have no False Personality.

Some of you will remember that recently we began to touch on the meaning of that strange remark in the Gospels: “Judge not”. But is it so strange? How can you judge when you begin to realize your own nothingness? P.967

The Work teaches that a man, through self-observation, must come to the point of realizing that he is nothing – that not only he really knows nothing, but is nothing. This is not acceptable to False Personality. All real work on oneself leads from one sense of nothingness to another and deeper sense of one’s nothingness – not as a sentimental idea coming from the rapid adjustment of False Personality, not a pretence – but, though momentary, an actual, and overwhelming realization. How can nothingness judge anybody? You know, it is also said in the Gospels: “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you.” What does this mean? It means on one side that as you judge so shall you be judged – that is, having spent a life-time in judging others, through your idea of your superiority, through False Personality – then you shall be judged yourself. By whom? By yourself – by your own False Personality. That is at least one haunting reason why it is necessary to see and separate from False Personality as quickly as you can. The Pharisees were full of False Personality. That is why they were attacked by Jesus. It is just the same in this Work. The False Personality is the Pharisee in oneself that judges everyone. Now in this Work – in the Second Line of Work – that is, work with one another – we should not judge. The Work never speaks of judging. It speaks instead of understanding and external considering. In this Work we have to learn how to hold one another, include one another, not murder one another. And is not all murdering due to judging – as if one were superior?” P.968

5. Just the Facts Ma'am - December 23, 2015

O.K., last one on the topic. Thank you for your patience.
(Thanks Linda Jo Sapere for the comic relief.)

Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky,
Maurice Nicoll vol.4
HASNAMUS
definition of, P.1457
has always existed, P.1456-8
“Amwell, 17.3.51
GOOD HOUSEHOLDER
Let us review again how the Work defines Man. As you know, the definition of Man takes various forms in the Work, such as Moving Centre Man, Emotional Man, and Intellectual Man. But to-day we will recall another way of looking at Man from the Work point of view. Man as he is on Earth is divided into Good Householder, Tramp, Lunatic and Hasnamous. You have heard many times that people must be at the level of Good Householder, if they are brought into this Work. I will give you some actual words of Mr. Ouspensky in this respect. He said: “Good Householder really means in the Work sense a man well orientated to life, who does not believe in life but sees the real value of things. Such a Good Householder has Magnetic P.1456

Centre.” We see therefore from these definitions that Good Householder can be of two kinds. There is the Householder who believes in life and can deal with his affairs reasonably and again there is the Householder in the Work sense who is well orientated to life and – knows his job, but who does not believe in life. That is, he does not believe that life will get him anywhere in the direction in which he wishes to go and has the feeling that life is not real although he continues to do his duty – that is, he sees the real value of things. In other words, he sees how false the aims of life are and how, in so many cases, nothing is attained.

Now we will talk about the next definition: Man as being a Tramp. This man is quite different from Good Householder, whether we think of Good Householder as a man who believes in life or as a man who does not believe in life, and yet in both cases does his job. Mr. Ouspensky said: “Amongst Tramps, you will find many artists and poets, etc., who despise Good Householder, but who are really at a much lower level and have no feeling of responsibility towards anything and do not understand what a fool is in themselves. We all have a fool in us.”

Now let us take the third definition – i.e. people who are called, from the Work point of view, Lunatics. “These,” said Mr. Ouspensky, on this particular occasion, “are like politicians, people who think they can do, people who think that they can change life by means of themselves, people who, if they put their theories into practice, create greater disorder because they do not calculate Second Force. This means that they think they can change everyone by some new enactment and do not realize that to change a person is a very difficult thing. These are the Lunatics, and again, they do not see the fool in themselves.” The fool in you is what does not calculate Second Force, or the force of resistance to what you want to attain.

Then lastly we have this strange word Hasnamous. A man who is Hasnamous (which is a word invented by Mr. G. based on some Persian or Turkish language) is a man who is clever enough to see that he can gain power by means of tricks over ordinary people. Mr. Ouspensky said: “Hasnamous men are people whose well-being depends on the non-well-being of other people.” At the time when G. was there he pointed out some dictators who were really Hasnamous people. On the other hand, he said that they have always existed – that is, people whose well-being depends on the ill-being of other people. Someone once said to Mr. Ouspensky: “Was Napoleon a Hasnamous man?” He smiled and said: “I did not know Napoleon personally.” So we have to think of the answer for ourselves. You remember that Voltaire once said that history is a history of crime, and I fancy if some of you read a little more history than you do, you would easily see what Hasnamous means historically. Of course you must understand that Hasnamous is built on a big scale or a small scale. P.1457

And so we have five definitions of Man from this Work point of view: Good Householder with Magnetic Centre, Good Householder without Magnetic Centre, Tramp, Lunatic and Hasnamous.

Now what happens to the Good Householder with Magnetic Centre who is well orientated to his Work in life but does not believe in life? What do you understand yourself by this strange definition and why do you think that such a man has a better being than all the rest mentioned so far? Mr. Ouspensky said in this connection at the time of which I am speaking: “He often disappears after having done his duty.” He said: “Such a man often vanishes. People do not hear of him. He may have gone into a monastery or he might have gone elsewhere to find out something different from life. Such a man, if he does this, may find something that makes it possible for him to develop.” On the other hand, he said in so many words, that we can take it like this – the Way of Good Householder is a very long way. It will take a very long time and many lives for him to separate from himself and develop himself in the way he should by creation. Now let us talk about this Good Householder and again remind ourselves that no one must come into this Work who is not in some degree Good Householder. This Work is not for Tramps or Lunatics. People who are no good at life, people who are mad in their theories about how life should be run and imagine that by rules and laws people can be changed, are not Good Householders and are not suitable for this Work. Lunatics do not come much into the Fourth Way Work because they are perfectly contented with their own ideas and theories, but unfortunately Tramps come in very often imagining that this Work will make everything easier for them. But the quality of such people is not right for the inner discipline of this Work. Immediately[, if] they find any difficulties[,] they are like those people spoken of in the Parable of the Sewer and the Seed who, sown on rocky ground, wither away, because they have no root.

Finally, may I point out to some of you that this place here, this Group that we are gradually forming, has nothing to do with a hospital or a charitable institution. I want people who are some good already and who know something about the difficulty of meeting Second Force and seeing that the fault is in themselves. The fool in us never sees Second Force and lives in phantasies and imagination.” P.1458

6. ton2u - December 23, 2015

Re: false prophets, charlatans, their dupes, ‘marks’ and clones… when your thoughts are not your own:

“…Suppose an individual believes something with a whole heart; suppose further a commitment to this belief, suppose irrevocable actions have been taken because of it; finally, suppose evidence, unequivocal & undeniable evidence, that the belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of such beliefs than ever before….. How & why does such a response to contradictory evidence come about?”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Prophecy_Fails

7. ton2u - December 23, 2015

Linda, enjoyed the comic relief – thanks!

Happy holidays to all…

8. ton2u - December 23, 2015

try it again:

Cheers!

9. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 23, 2015

The world is in reality never so straightforwardly organized that any mind can accurately describe all the operating factors in a book.

10. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 23, 2015

Nicoll studied “psychiatry” under Jung. He also spent a month or two with Gurdjieff. He spent some years with Ouspensky until his competitive spirit got on Ouspensky’s nerves and he was “promoted” away to his own franchise. Dr. Nicoll made his living “treating” clients who came to him in hopes of being relieved of their psychological complaints. It is reported within the Fourth Way circle of misinformed idiots on the subject of reality that Nicoll spoke openly about his dismissive attitude toward the unfortunate people he treated in his practice. He commented on how he simply reinforced their “buffers” and made them feel better. They were just sleeping machines after all.

So, here we have a doctor who has set himself up in business advertising to treat and possibly cure people of their various dysfunctional manifestations and instead they get a sociopath who takes their money by duping them and then brags about it to his group of “enlightened beings”.

Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Nicoll and company were all creationists. They dismissed the idea of evolution and insisted that a God indirectly created all life on earth. The very premise of their belief system was wrong right from the beginning. No God created life on earth or even human life on earth. There was no divinity involved in our evolving existence. Humans came from apelike ancestors and developed big fat brains from the exertions of hunting, tool making, cooking and eating meat. Eating cooked meat shortens the gut by several yards allowing efficiently freed up calories to feed the brain. Then those big fat brains began to spinning fantastic stories around the campfire. These stories evolved. Eventually they evolved into the Gurdjieff fantasy view of reality…which afforded ugly, little brown Mr. George Gurdjieff access to the thighs of lovely pale European women by the scores. Quite the “householder”. That’s the facts.

11. Cristalclear - December 23, 2015

@10

Humans came from apelike ancestors …

And where did apelike ancestors come from?

12. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 23, 2015
13. ryanopoo - December 24, 2015

Our apelike ancestors came from Wikipedia?

14. James Mclemore - December 24, 2015

Yes ryanopoo, ALL things come from Wikipedia.

It is a sacred part of that ancient and lost knowledge that Asaf and Burton are trying to lead us toward, but they don’t know the half-of-it. Wikipedia spelled backwards is the secret name of God. It can never be said out-loud but only written in the sand by a woman who has become a ‘woman number 8.5’ (Burton and Asaf are really going to be quite surprised when they find out that it will be a woman!!).

It is said in the hidden ancient scripture that when the day comes and it will finally be written in the sand as “aidepikiW”, that on the last upward stoke of the letter “W” all of our thoughts, emotions and the body itself will become transformed and go back into THAT from whence it came, and the fuss will finally be over.

15. Cristalclear - December 24, 2015

@13 @14

That’s the answer I was looking for!No more doubts,no more questions,ask Wikipedia!
Thank you guys,you made my day.
There is nothing better than a good laugh to start my holidays.
Happy New Year to all.

16. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 24, 2015

http://www.livescience.com/32950-how-accurate-is-wikipedia.html

Wikipedia is considered a reliable source of information according to most assessments. What is not a good source of reliably intelligent humor is the fofdiscussion blog. Lame. Something kind of off about the joke when you try too hard.

17. ryanopoo - December 24, 2015

Yo Cyanide,

You landed at;
FoF Discussion/4th Way

I think you’re looking for;
Atheists/4th Way/Wikipedia.

Probably should have hung a louie before 4th Way?

18. Cristalclear - December 24, 2015

Blind faith is dangerous,whether it is in science,religion ,burton or Wikipedia.

19. WhaleRider - December 24, 2015
20. Cristalclear - December 24, 2015

“As for me, all I know is that I know nothing”
Socrates

21. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 24, 2015

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16451228

“…and fragile high self-esteem (which is generally associated with poor psychological adjustment and impaired interpersonal relationships).”

Word.

22. ryanopoo - December 24, 2015
23. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 24, 2015
24. ryanopoo - December 24, 2015

Could be a shill, they pop up to distract everyone when we finally focus on something, which is what’s happening with all the spurious links to somewhere else.

I’m pressing the fart button.

Cyanide, Have you read, “The Richard Dawkins Delusion” by God?

http://www.amazon.com/Disney-Mickey-Mouse-Clubhouse-Toodles/dp/145080893X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1450995098&sr=1-3&keywords=mickey+mouse

25. brucelevy - December 24, 2015

24. ryanopoo

Shill? No, it’s just Greg Goodwin doing what he can’t help doing until he gets banned for umpteeth time.

26. brucelevy - December 25, 2015

teenth

27. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 25, 2015

While the mystics receptively wait for the meaning of existence to come into them the scientists actively calculate so that the meaning of existence will come out of them. There was a thousand times more reality in the life of Einstein then there was in the life of Buddha.

28. ton2u - December 26, 2015

@ 25 bruce
re: “Shill? No….”

http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/troll-tactics.html

29. brucelevy - December 26, 2015

The definition of shill that I hold is that they are pitching shit for someone else’s benefit. Greg does it for his own perverse benefit. But definietly a troll nonetheless.

30. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 26, 2015

Ten million children die each year. What is the thinking of a westernized version of a compassionate God who spends his time handing out justice and object lessons for his favorite form of creation when the equivalent of a major city full of children sicken and die each year? What does an innocent child learn from a short existence of life threatening suffering which then ends in death? Is there better understanding in the next life? There is no “next life”. This is it. If you are born in a modern country and your parents have good medical insurance then you live through childhood, in most cases. If not then in many cases you die. What is the spiritual moral of the story for each of the ten million children who die each year? The moral of the story is that life is random. There is no caring God looking out for each of us, hoping to build good character for those who will populate heaven. God is a luxury ideal for people who manage to organize life well enough that their children live and they have free time to make up folk legends about the nature of existence. Even then there is random and horrific trouble that comes around for no particular reason other than that humanity is more or less insane. Just ask the European Jews of WWII. God? Fairness? Compassion? Benevolent protector of those with faith? Supernatural intervention on behalf of the innocent and the good?

It is all fantasy. People who do not believe in such fantasies do not join cults which insist that God particularly watches out for them.

http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/documents/pdfs/lancet_child_survival_10mill_dying.pdf

31. brucelevy - December 26, 2015
32. brucelevy - December 26, 2015

No matter what kind of group it is, all gurus live in splendor, and all are sociopaths and sexual predators…eventually if not initially. It is what it is. Get what you can and then get the fuck out quickly. You don’t need them, they need you. They are narcissists and they are completely blind, intentionally, to the harm that they do. They just have the capacity to mix in a few readily available truths with their bull shit fluff to flesh it out. If you buy this shit, you certainly deserve what you get.

33. aarrgh me buckos - December 27, 2015

From the movie “The Big Kahuna” (Excerpt of monologue of Phil Cooper played by Danny DeVito)

“You preaching Jesus is no different than Larry or anybody else preaching lubricants. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling Jesus or Buddha or Civil Rights or How to Make Money in Real Estate with No Money Down. That doesn’t make you a human being, it makes you a marketing rep.”

“Because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation, to steer it, it’s not a conversation anymore, it’s a pitch, and you’re not a human being, you’re a marketing rep.”

34. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 27, 2015

“You preaching Jesus is no different than Larry or anybody else preaching lubricants.”

Larry preaching lubricants is no different than Bob preaching Leonardo, where lubricants also invariably figure in.

Robert Burton:

“I also soon realized that I was under the guidance of Leonardo. Very early on I wondered who was helping me and they started signaling Leonardo.”

35. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 28, 2015

Can something the size of the human brain really be expected to understand something the size of the universe (46 billion light years to the nearest edges), which constantly increases in size at the minimum rate of 42 miles per second (per 3.3 light years distance)? No wonder the average brain adopts and invents absurd folk legends about why it exists.

36. WhaleRider - December 28, 2015

…not sure how the infinitely increasing universe can have edges, horizons maybe…but when I joined the cult ‘n 1979 at the ripe young age of 21, armed with the absurd expectation of expanding my particular corner, my average brain was completely unaware of the possibility that a certain seemingly benevolent, legendary, revered, soft spoken, and starry-eyed man in a guru disguise was in fact a sexual predator with an unquenchable thirst for literally sucking the life juice out of his ardent followers…there was no internet then, the place where religious cults come to die; at the time adopting the fourth way cosmology of glandular typed humans mechanically dancing to the music of the planetary spheres seemed to provide order to my chaotic world and temporary relief from my existential angst.

If burton were indeed a point of singularity in the universe as his followers believe him to be, absolutely no one could escape his gravitational pull unless he threw them out of his orbit, nor can he be the brightest light to shine in two thousand years as he claims, for as we know, it is his followers who illuminate him…he just provides the screen.

In my case, getting to know the man released me from his myth, allowing me to self-generate enough escape velocity to free myself from his grip.

Life is and always will be a dance on the brink of chaos..until gravity wins and we are pulled into the unknown. I’m ok with that.

37. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 28, 2015
38. Cristalclear - December 28, 2015

You made a very good point Whalerider
Despite the fact that burton believes himself to be
“the brightest light to shine in 2000 years” he is actually very similar to the evil moon he taught us to fear.
“The moon shines because its surface reflects light from the sun. And despite the fact that it sometimes seems
to shine very brightly, the moon reflects only between 3 and 12 percent of the sunlight that hits it.”
His followers are the ones that project this light,they were the ones that attracted many of us to the school with their
sincere attitude,they were the friends we didn’t want to lose.
The closer you get to reb ,the closer you get to find out the truth about him and smell the corrupted air all around.

In the last few months I had to research on different matters and one of them was the meaning of Tarot cards.
It’s a fascinating subject, connected to self knowledge and observation.
One of the major cards is the Moon which perfectly reflects reb’s dysfunctional world :
the dark queen of the night,masterful at the arts of illusion ,the realm beyond the known and comfortable.
It can mean
“fears and anxieties, believing illusions, experiencing distortion and chasing after fantasy, dreams and visions, disorientation.”

39. GoldenVeil - December 29, 2015

38. Cristalclear

I think that your reference to that interpretation of The Moon tarot card is spot on. There is so much fantasy perpetuated in the Fellowship of Friends, and Robert Earl Burton is its bizarrely imaginative source.

Fellowship Work on Presence, an excerpt from beingpresent.org

“The person also learns to recognize results, and to distinguish real results from imaginary ones. In the Fellowship each member learns to be honest with himself or herself. The simplicity and directness of the struggle to awaken precludes maintaining an attitude that is satisfied with anything less than real awakening.”

http://beingpresent.org/index.php?toc=Fellowship-Work-on-Presence&

A psychic web is woven around new members, thread by thread, from the moment one steps into a Prospective Student Meeting, and step by step, is introduced to the work concepts. Those who are particularly earnest in their Search and those who are emotionally vulnerable, tend to leave rationale and logic behind, and buy the mysterious fantasy of The Fellowship of Friends.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!”

Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.

Robert Earl Burton’s “44 Conscious Beings”are all dead great personages from the history of man, and all are famous. Funny how all the enlightened dead people giving direction to the flow of esoteric knowledge to him are famous ones…

40. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 29, 2015

“The mass of the observable Universe is often quoted as 1050 tonnes or 1053 kg.[3] In this context, mass refers to ordinary matter and includes the interstellar medium (ISM) and the intergalactic medium (IGM). However, it excludes dark matter and dark energy. Three calculations substantiate this quoted value for the mass of ordinary matter in the Universe: Estimates based on critical density, extrapolations from number of stars, and estimates based on steady-state. The calculations obviously assume a finite universe.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe#Mass_of_ordinary_matter

The implication here is that rather than living in a mysterious immeasurable metaphysical infinity we actually exist in a materially finite (although seemingly impossibly large) structure. Another odd psychological factor that emerges when a person begins to study the scientific point of view of our existence is that statements such as “…and they started signaling Leonardo…” become perceptibly merely the consequence of some mental dysfunction, rather than a product of some kind of super consciousness.

41. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 29, 2015

Daily testimonial of Nancy Rebecca: “In this moment, there are ‘i’s’ circulating, different kinds…some are ‘work-‘i’s’ trying to ‘understand’, what they ‘observe’, intellectual ‘i’s’ are formulating this comment, others are instinctive, vague cravings for coffee, breakfast, some ‘i’s’ are emotional, irritated, vainly feeling ‘superior’, in relation to another, after disagreeing with some words read. The moving center dances fingers across the key board… all these ‘i’s’, would evoke identification. …Walt Whitman wrote: ‘The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me, The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue.’… and this is ‘aim’, To graft and increase ‘Heaven’ upon my “Self’, by taking in impressions and nurturing my ‘Self’ with those impressions and to translate the pains of ‘Hell’ into a new tongue.” By transforming negative feelings into inner peace, dis-attaching my attention from ‘identification’ with the many ‘i’s’, especially, letting go of judgement ‘i’s’, bringing attention back to ‘Self”… remembering…now… focusing, now, on breathing in silence. ‘Good’…’bad’…what are they? All is well, and beautiful, when ‘I AM’.”

Some detail in writing an elaborate formula for isolating all the native criticism from the unwelcomed world of reality toward their psychological predicament of fantasy-worship zealousness. They then describe how they deviously insulate their fantasy belief system from the constantly contradictory real world that imposes itself from beyond their cocoon of groupthink agreement. Finally they optimistically congratulate themselves on doing ‘fine internal work’.

Safeguarding a state of patent romantic delusion through a petty attitude of gratuitous self-righteousness is likely never a successful path to any rumored possibility of higher consciousness.

42. GoldenVeil - December 29, 2015

“If any man wishes to write in a clear style, let him first be clear in his thoughts.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

43. Cristalclear - December 29, 2015

Thanks GoldenVeil for your feedback
Fantasies and delusions lie at the core of the fellowship and when “propaganda”starts they resort to lying.
Another excerpt from beingpresent that is a blatant lie

“Throughout the years, Robert’s spiritual teaching has never strayed from focusing on the practical moment-by-moment efforts necessary to awaken from sleep.
He has taught the same message at all Fellowship gatherings, and has striven to be personally accessible to each member of the Fellowship.
He has tirelessly sought new inspiration, introducing fresher approaches to each member’s internal efforts, and always providing loving guidance and support.”

As we all know the big man was too busy with boys and cufflinks to be accessible to each member of the Fellowship or provide loving guidance.
All he could provide was lots of pain.

Many never had a chance to get near him and if you did it got even worse.
At a dinner I asked him a question about the role of children in the Fellowship.At the time we were planning to have a baby and the question meant a lot to me.He didn’t like it,became irritated and changed the subject.
It was my first dinner with him , I was new to the school but I could really feel his negativity and never expected that from a conscious teacher.
Probably touched a sensitive spot.

44. nevasayneva - December 30, 2015

re # 31 the NY times article & all gurus being the same. Thanks for posting that link

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/12/26/us/marc-gafni-center-for-integral-wisdom.html?_r=1&referer=https://www.google.com/

I found the following quote from the article amusing:

One Gafni supporter, Sally Kempton, who is a teacher and writer of meditation and Eastern philosophy and a member of his think tank, said he was “a wonderful teacher for mature students” and not someone “young, susceptible women should take as their teacher.”

Seems that she is suggesting that that teacher should come with a warning label!

45. In charge of the cyanide hole - December 30, 2015

Structures of reality:

January 1, New Year’s Day

The word January refers to the Roman myth/god/concept/meme known as Janus. Janus is depicted with two human faces back to back looking in opposite directions, one to the past and one to the future. It might be interpreted that one face personifies experience and the other personifies intention. Based on his experience a human anticipates the course of occurrences and plans his actions accordingly. Another interpretation might be that one face personifies memory and the other personifies intuition. Based on accumulated knowledge a human learns to anticipate what will come. Janus was the god of that halting moment of transition between the past and the future. Janus is the mysterious hairsbreadth of awareness, the conscious pause, between before and after when it is possible to have both in mind simultaneously.

The Roman Emperor Julius Caesar reformed the calendar year in 46 BC and January became the first month of the new year. The Roman senate thereafter deified the murdered Julius as a god on January 1st and celebrated the date. Later, when the Gregorian calendar became the official Christian oriented guide to the year, the Christians celebrated January 1st as the eighth day after the birth of Christ and his circumcision day.

Today our sense of time, our sense of reality of the yearly structure of our very lives, is based on the exclusively Roman myth of a mystical being who is forever conscious of the momentary pause between before and after.

46. fofblogmoderator - December 30, 2015

Anyone interested in following Nigel’s blog can do so here-http://www.aprhysdesignscom.wordpress.com
If you’d like to communicate with him his email is; nhprice44@gmail.com

47. ton2u - January 1, 2016

Re: ‘janus’ – Speaking… or writing of polarities, bifurcations & etc… there’s the ‘forked tongue’ to consider which may be more germane given the context here and the source…. eh g?

And thanks to the whalerider for the recent post… it rings true to me.

48. Ames Gilbert - January 1, 2016

In reference to #153-31 and 32 posted by Bruce,
Last night, one of Gafni’s many ex–wives wrote the following, a gift for us all.

If you are a visitor to this website considering joining the Fellowship of Friends, or one of the offshoots run by Asaf Braverman and his sort, please understand the message. There are NO exceptions, as Bruce points out above. None. Power attracts the corruptible, and absolute power attracts the absolutely corruptible, people like Marc Gafni, Alex Horne, Robert Earl Burton, and the up and coming Asaf Braverman. Study the phenomenon of charisma. Study sociopaths. Study weak people who thought they could be the exception and manage the power and responsibility their needy and immature followers dumped on them. Power changes people—no exceptions. It makes bad people worse, makes good people bad. No one can resist the temptations. Do not expect a Cincinnatus, who gave back power after using it for the common weal; there is a reason his fame has endured over 2500 years!
__________________________________

A voice for Gafni’s victims, from one who was there
January 1, 2016

There are scores of us. Most of us silent. Most of us not wanting our names uttered aloud, thrown around like dice or like darts. Not wanting to reawaken this sleeping giant of a trauma. We have moved on, after all. And what good would it do anyway?

But what if it could? Do good, that is.

Protect some girl.

Protect some woman. Some student. Some unsuspecting soul.

What if writing my story of abuse could save someone else from having to write theirs?

Tonight is New Years Eve, the night we got married nearly two decades ago.
Sharing this chronicle is my anti–anniversary present — to myself. To use, hopefully for the good, something that was so bad.
I share it with a prayer for all the other victims. The silent ones, the screaming ones.

May 1996: (Age 21) Please God, there is this man, a Rabbi, no less. He is quite simply the most dynamic drop–dead kosher sexy rock-star Rabbi I have ever met. He just quoted Nietzsche, Jerry Garcia and Rebbe Nachman in one class. AND he’s single. Okay, he’s been married….Twice. With 3 kids. And he’s 15 years older than me…But….he’s perfect. He’s brilliant. And I like him. I mean, I really like him. God, please, let him like me.

September 1998: Thank you, thank you, thank you, God. It happened. He likes me. In fact, he loves me. He asked me to marry him! And after only 4 months of dating. He says once we’re married then finally he will be accepted in the Orthodox world again. Once we are married his enemies will stop hounding him. Once we are married I can help him become the great man he is destined to be.

December 1998: Please God give me guidance. Just heard from a concerned friend that he slept with one of his old girlfriends while I was out of town. And others have come up to me warning me about him. Saying the most awful things. The most awful things. He insists they are mere spiteful rumors. He’s done teshuva. For me. I can help him be a better man. Please God give me guidance. The wedding is in 3 weeks…

July 1999: Please God give me strength. I am working so hard, but I need to work harder. My holy husband and I are sculpting this glorious vision — of Jewish Renaissance, of reconnecting people to Israel, to their souls. I am swamped with research, book-writing, hosting, cooking, cleaning, flyers, gigs. Giving everything I’ve got to move this mission forward. He says I have a rosh-katan — a small head. I need to see the big picture and work harder. Help me to help him…

June 2001: Dear God, life is thrilling. He has a television show. His book is a best seller. I poured my soul into writing it with him and look what an impact it has had. But the more things grow, the more the work grows. The more his temper grows. He berates me daily. Whenever I neglect to tell people about his accomplishments he accuses me of being unsupportive & selfish. I forget an email and he explodes into a rage. Yelling relentlessly, shoving things. He pulled out a chair from under me. He rants until I crawl up into a small ball on the bed and weep. Please God help me learn how to handle his rages. Help me to be a better wife. Please…

January 2002: Dear God, I’m confused. He has this “teaching partner”. He spends all of his time with her. I don’t like the energy between them. I have pleaded with him to stop working with her. He refuses. Claims I am being jealous, needy. I asked if they are having an affair. He went off into a loud round of denial. Says I am insecure, delusional. Please God, help me stop being so jealous, so sad, so needy.

Oxford, May 2003: Please God, help me. I am sick….often. I am having these migraine headaches. My skull is exploding. I can’t breathe. My chest is sealed shut. I am a shell. When I go outside people come up to me rambling about how my husband is sleeping with this woman who comes to his classes. He promises me it’s all lies. All I know is that I am hurting God. Physically, emotionally, mentally. I am not well. Please God let these headaches end.

March 2004: Please God, give me guidance. He admitted to the Oxford affair. Finally. Promises me it was just this one, it will never happen again. Promises me it will be different now. We have Bayit Chadash – this beautiful spiritual center by the ocean. We have built this precious community of students. I have invested all of myself into nurturing this mission. It would all fall to pieces if I left. Please God give me clarity.

October 2004: Please God, just keep him away from me. I made the cut. Left Israel. Left the Center. Left him. Got a quiet get of divorce. He’s begging me to keep it a secret. There’s another damning article coming out against him. He insists that if I share that we are divorced, then all that we worked so hard to build will be destroyed. Fine, this one last thing. Just please let him stop barraging me with those long pleading emails. Keep him away from me.

October 2005: Please God, keep this going. This feels good, this being on my own. I am loving California. It’s like a therapeutic post-divorce Xanadu. I am breathing again. I am me. My eyes have been opened to the madness of these past seven years. I am no longer keeping his secrets. No longer doubting my own senses. I see my own wounds, my shadow, my poor choices. Dear God, at least let me help other women lest they end up like I did.

May 2006: Thank you God, the truth is finally out. And big. A group of women from Bayit Chadash finally got together. They have gone to the police. Finally speaking out loud and clear about how this charlatan is a predator. A manipulator. A sociopath. A danger. Finally I am getting confirmation of the many, unbelievably many affairs he had while married to me. From the “teaching partner” to the millionaire funder to this student and that student and another. He has fled the country…ousted from the Jewish world. Finally and entirely. Thank you God, he won’t be able to hurt any more women. Never again.

Jan. 2007: Please God help me to prioritize the right things in a partner this time. I don’t want an external “success story” that dissolves into dismal failure. I don’t want fame. I want an honest man, with integrity, with depth. A man who can communicate, who can empathize. A man to raise children with. I think I found him. Please God help me to value the gold, not the glitter.

May 2009: Thank you God for this good man, this mensch I have married. He is grounded. He is a loving father. Our house is stable and THIS is sacred. We talk about our feelings. We work through our challenges. We learn together. We work together. He lets me be myself. I let me be myself. Please God just stop the nightmares. The ones where my ex is back in my bed. With his hands on my neck. Why does he continue to assault me in my dreams?

October 2011: Dear God, a new crop of victims have emerged…again. Same stories, new cities. Abusing power, abusing women. Now in the New Age world. God help them. Please protect those easily–beguiled souls. Like me. The ones “consensually” seduced by his badgering brilliance. Protect the ones who only want to see the light, who deny the darkness until they are its easiest prey. Help them do their due diligence. Let their leaders see through the “brilliance” to the rot beneath.

Dec 25, 2015: Dear God, I have just read this New York Times article. About him and his latest lunge to power. The sick tale retold, again, decades later. How can it be that there is zero condemnation in this spineless article? Just quotes of excuse from high-power supporters. Just the last word given to the abuser. Just another free pass to the genius caught with his pants down. I am furious for the bruised dozens of victims. Furious for my nightmares that still won’t end. Please God protect us from the smiling sociopaths whose hands drip with candy.

Dec 31, 2015: Age 41 – Please God, help Marc Garni undo himself. Let his inner demon loosen his grip. Let it end already. For the sake of his victims, past and future, for the sake of his own broken inner-innocence.
For the sake of that sprite of a child I saw glimpses of way back when, in old family photos. The one with a broken home. The one who inherited the Holocaust in his bones. Before all the mania, the masochism, before the sex addiction set in. Please God help that shivering boy escape all this.

And help the rest of us – his victims, his critics, and even his hoodwinked supporters. We have all failed. We failed by praising his genius while ignoring his demons. We failed by giving him free passes instead of limited access. We were blinded by the lime–lit glitz of his wit, his intelligence. We failed by upholding societal standards of “success” that are simply cancerous. We failed by honoring the powerful while silencing the victims.

It is exactly twenty years since I uttered my first prayer for this man. We were married on New Year’s Eve, the very day I share this.

May the circle be full and finished now.
Putting this two-decade chronicle into print is a risk for me.
Everyone who cares about me is begging me to just “Keep quiet”.
And yet I can’t. So, in honor of them, I leave out my name.
But in honor of the victims I share my story.
Yes, there is a risk to writing this “aloud.” But there is also a risk to staying silent, staying safe. Twenty years and untold numbers of victims later, I have learned that staying safe can also be risky business.

One last prayer
So this final prayer, I type aloud. And may it be all the better heard, heeded and answered because it has been shared:
Dear God, may this man’s access end. May his abuses be made impossible because of the diligent campaigns of protest being launched right now. May the lessons be learned. May the victims know healing. May the nightmares end.

The writer was married to Marc Gafni from 1999 to 2004.

49. In charge of the cyanide hole - January 1, 2016

47. ton2u – January 1, 2016

“…there’s the ‘forked tongue’ to consider which may be more germane given the context here and the source…. eh g?”

???

We have been captivated and brainwashed by a dangerous and shadowy cult known as everyday life. In this cult the captives are indoctrinated with fallacies concerning what is real and what is not. Minds are made up based on collective agreement and a reward system in the form of social acceptance and advancement. In this cult we all belong to it is impossible to truly understand what is real and what is simply a social tradition carried on in the minds of fools and defectives. In this life of mass delusion there are cults within cults and the more cults one belongs to the less sane he becomes. The silence of the vital flow is the only antidote to this pervasive hypnotic mental atmosphere of universal human deception.

50. Tim Campion - January 1, 2016

Cyanide,

“???”

(Really?)

There’s a soapbox with your name on it at Speakers Corner.

Happy New Year, speakers all!

51. In charge of the cyanide hole - January 2, 2016

“Who knows from what dark corner of resentment the critics deliver their enmity? Do not the mutes always naturally envy the orators while merely mumbling among themselves about how secretly outstanding they are than those foolish enough be seen sounding and bounding upon the boards?” ~Shakespeare (fofblog 01-01-2015)

52. Tim Campion - January 2, 2016

Cy,

Old Will sounds a little off his game. Or maybe the solar flare is interfering with transmission.

53. fofblogmoderator - January 2, 2016

Cynanide- please send me your email address (mine is nogurus@yahoo.com). The email address you registered with here kicked back to me.

54. In charge of the cyanide hole - January 2, 2016

53. fofblogmoderator

Check your Facebook account.

55. WhaleRider - January 5, 2016
56. silentpurr - January 5, 2016

There’s a video going around FB of a Christmas Concert at Oregon House. The viewer sees and hears a chorus accompanied by piano. Only the audience’s back is seen, and it doesn’t look like anyone I recognize…but the scene is very familiar. The strained musical notes of Saturday singers move in quick pace with the demands of Bach or maybe it was Handel. No one in the audience shows any movement except one recognizable profile to the lower right of the screen. The gray profiled head, nodding to beat, obviously enjoys the music and even cringes a little at the high notes… Seated bolt upright directly to his left is a young man with perfect posture who doesn’t move at all. The young man turns neither left nor right. I remembering the young men with perfect posture who’d sit to the left of Robert, blushing…

57. aarrgh me buckos - January 6, 2016

“A smart con-man figures out where you want to go and helps guide you there, to his own ends.” – Marlon Brando

58. linda - January 6, 2016

Ames 48. Thanks for sharing that Ames – a good start for the blog for 2016.

59. nevasayneva - January 7, 2016

I think one of the good things the blog does is bring into the open topics that although FOF members may have thought about them, were generally off bounds for discussion/questions. Since we never had the chance/opening to get info about them while in, some of us former (or maybe even current) members naturally have curiosity now.

The “personal life” of the FOF spiritual leader has been gone over quite a bit on these pages. Maybe to the TMI level.

I did not see the issue of Money and how it gets used in FOF discussed so much- or maybe I missed it?

When you are in FOF, Teaching payment guidelines – how much YOU have to PAY is hammered into you. But what happens with that money-is quite vulgar to question. It supports Apollo, one might say, the fine arts etc, & of course the expenses of the Galleria.

So what does happen? Does REB get a salary? when you pay for an event in cash or check, where does all the money go?

Since my time in FOF, I have been involved in one or 2 non profits -on the hobby/helping community/volunteer side- nothing to do with spirituality. Of course the budget is published and every paying up member -if they care to-can go through the spreadsheets and see where every penny goes. They may not agree with where its going- presumably they were out voted, but its absolutely taken for granted, that that info should be available at least by year end. Different rules apply to spiritual organizations?

60. Golden Veil - January 7, 2016

59. nevasayneva

Re: financial accountability

Spreadsheets and accountability to the members are nonexisitent; there is no financial transparency to the members of The Fellowship of Friends.

Teaching payments are most likely directed to the Fellowship of Friends 501(c)(3) nonprofit (and are tax deductible). It is likely that REB has a salary and an expense account for his priestly duties from that entity ~ but that he also has other sources.

However, do you know what a shell game is? The con is to hide a pea under one of three walnut shells. Fees (usually called donations) collected for events like dinners, meetings with REB, art events, are not tax deductible. Over the years, donations have been requested of students for building programs like the Theatron, for exampl, or the winery – but then became marked for the funding necessary for REB’s art and jewelry collecting, along with the luxury clothing, fine dining, drugs, alcohol, and travel benefits enjoyed by him and his male harem. Some donation requests were funneled from the various centers and sometimes described as being a donation for the winery or a building program, but actually called a Fall or Spring donation.

The FoF shell game includes at least 6 registered corporations, The Fellowship of Friends Inc. 501(c)(3) religious) est. 4/21/71, the wholly owned, for profit (but may have never made a profit) Renaissance Vineyard and Winery Inc, est. 3/27/78, and the Friends of the Goethe Academy est. 07/18/76, and most likely under the Goethe Academy corporate umbrella, Apollo Performing Arts (theater, opera, ballet) and The Petrarch Press set. 09/03/02, and The Elysian Society est. 05/22/06, and the Lewis Carroll School Association est. 10/12/83. These are all active entities and are listed here: http://kepler.sos.ca.gov

61. Golden Veil - January 7, 2016

60. GoldenVeil

Addendum

Students paying for Fellowship travel excursions (these trips are no doubt part of an educational corporation, name unknown) will have paid more than the travel and accommodations cost for their trip ~ and these excess funds could then be directed to REB for his use, especially for his own and his boys’ travel expenses.

The FoF has conducted fundraising auctions for decades, one to four a year. Students were encouraged to donate items and services and special REB group meetings were auctioned off, for example a breakfast or afternoon tea in his presence ~ or a visit by him to private homes, or a musical recital or other events with him present were also auctioned off. Millions of dollars were raised, especially due to the bids of wealthy students and then directed to various road and building projects, and of course, REB’s expense account.

There have been speculations by some that money (like teaching payments) was not only smuggled from foreign countries to Apollo in California, but that various funds could have flowed from the US tooff shore accounts around the world, where they could be sheltered. It has been said that Italian authorities were not happy to learn that money collected for a religious organization on their soil was going elsewhere, or used for other purposes (like art collecting by REB during his visits there, and his and his entourage’s travel expenses, or even the procuring of sexual favors for REB while traveling.)

Dvds and cds of REB teachings have been created and then sold through the centers and by individual students to generate funds for the Fellowship and REB’s use. There was always a great expectation for students to purchase these, whether or not they really wanted to…

62. nevasayneva - January 8, 2016

Re 60 and 61 Golden Veil.

Thank you for the insight. Its seems like quite a deal. I was in FOF for more then 20 years and yet had only the vaugest idea of how the finances were managed. Of course I knew FOF was and is a 501(c)(3) non profit and that you were issued a letter one could use for tax deductions. I presumed that the cash and checks collected at auctions, dinners, receptions, special events etc etc went straight to REB’s wallet.

As I mentioned, I have been involved in 2 non spiritual 501(c)3 in these last few years on a volunteer level. One was a total mess financially. The executive director was receiving a salary , but from various government/philantrophic grants. It was in the by laws that any member could look up the books and follow the money at any time, but the executive director was paranoid about it, since they already missed some tax filings so they effectively made it impossible for anyone except themselves to do it, even though there was a treasurer.

The other one was purely a hobbyist club, the budget from members fees was maybe < 5K. I think its books consisted of an excel or quikbooks with a few tabs, but it was in good shape.

Both of these organizations, there was of course absolutely no taboo on speaking or inquiring about the money. For the disorganized one, the exec director was defensive and chaotic, but members almost always brought it up at meetings and constantly told them that this was dysfunctional and bad for the organization. Equally the hobbysist one, forefront and center of each meeting is the treasuer's report.

It is a sign of how warped the thinking of FOF is, that is is frowned upon to question and have the finances in the open. FOF vaunts much of their "good householder" – something to aspire to. But members may not know how far their little boats have gone from mainstream and how far they have gone from "good householder". Well I suppose its more or less the same defense as regards the sexual predatior activities – there are no real rules or guidelines for a conscious being – seems like its Anything Goes…….

63. In charge of the cyanide hole - January 8, 2016

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2220289475/

Scan down the page and note the picture of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, an American president, on a Gurdjieff, Fourth Way discussion group? Then a quote from Hans Christian Andersen. Andersen, a Danish author, on a Gurdjieff Fourth Way discussion group? Remember when we were so privileged to know the esoteric connection between these diverse characters because we were once paying customers in the only conscious school?

The person who posted this, Walter Gary Scott
(https://www.facebook.com/walter.g.scott/friends?pnref=lhc ),
has all the usual suspects on his friends list on Facebook.

What these enthused and inspired people do not know, what they do not understand, is that they are victims of a syndrome of delusional Munchausen by proxy. Their mentor has intentionally infected them with a mental disease in order to bring attention to himself. Bob’s warped mind invents crazy fantasies with which he infects his followers’ minds and then turns them loose in the world to rave about Lincoln, Anderson and most of all Leonardo.

“Leonardo was in the shower with me!”

“I just saw Queen Elizabeth on a license plate!”

“I saw an image of Bach on a tortilla at Chipotles and was sick for week!”

Hey, remember how much fun it was to be infected with Bob’s craziness? Even so, it is most refreshing to be more or less sane again.

I wonder how many current Fellowship of Friends crazies we can spot on Facebook?

64. In charge of the cyanide hole - January 8, 2016

Ever wonder how members of a knob-gobbling cult transform sex energy into consciousness?

65. Linda Jo - January 9, 2016

Among other things, I posted these items today – somewhere in the middle of the Q&A (Part 2)

On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit

Gordon Pennycook, James Allan Cheyne, Nathaniel Barr, Derek J. Koehler, Jonathan A. Fugelsang

Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2015
pp. 549-563 [excerpt]
http://journal.sjdm.org/15/15923a/jdm15923a.html

Although bullshit is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its reception (critical or ingenuous) has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation. Here we focus on pseudo-profound bullshit, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous. We presented participants with bullshit statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., “Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena”). Across multiple studies, the propensity to judge bullshit statements as profound was associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style, supernatural belief). Parallel associations were less evident among profundity judgments for more conventionally profound (e.g., “A wet person does not fear the rain”) or mundane (e.g., “Newborn babies require constant attention”) statements. These results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit and that detecting it is not merely a matter of indiscriminate skepticism but rather a discernment of deceptive vagueness in otherwise impressive sounding claims. Our results also suggest that a bias toward accepting statements as true may be an important component of pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity.

Keywords: bullshit, bullshit detection, dual-process theories, analytic thinking, supernatural beliefs, religiosity, conspiratorial ideation, complementary and alternative medicine.

1 Introduction

“It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.” – Harry Frankfurt

In On Bullshit, the philosopher Frankfurt (2005) defines bullshit as something that is designed to impress but that was constructed absent direct concern for the truth. This distinguishes bullshit from lying, which entails a deliberate manipulation and subversion of truth (as understood by the liar). There is little question that bullshit is a real and consequential phenomenon. Indeed, given the rise of communication technology and the associated increase in the availability of information from a variety of sources, both expert and otherwise, bullshit may be more pervasive than ever before. Despite these seemingly commonplace observations, we know of no psychological research on bullshit. Are people able to detect blatant bullshit? Who is most likely to fall prey to bullshit and why?

2 Pseudo-profound bullshit

The Oxford English Dictionary defines bullshit as, simply, “rubbish” and “nonsense”, which unfortunately does not get to the core of bullshit. Consider the following statement:

“Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty.”

Although this statement may seem to convey some sort of potentially profound meaning, it is merely a collection of buzzwords put together randomly in a sentence that retains syntactic structure…

—————————————-

IMMORTALITY through SELF-REMEMBERING
by Gurdjieff/Ouspensky Fourth Way Author
Robert Earl Burton

“Almost no one realizes the enormity of what can be gained or lost during his lifetime. One gains immortality or suffers oblivion, or worse. Every second you remember yourself you pierce eternity.”

“I do not imagine that there has ever been a way or path to the truth that was not strange, because one is taking a mechanical man at a physical level and transforming him into an astral body. I would not teach or use my energy unless I felt that immortality was probable and that death was an illusion for those who enter the way.”

“Immortality is within our reach. Books educate us, but only self-remembering makes us immortal.”

“Each person who enters the way will become immortal—that is why the way exists. The life of each person who enters the way is an epic, yet how many lives we live in this one lifetime! Sometimes one remembers with relief that higher forces are monitoring the school. We have the great privilege of understanding that higher forces do exist, and that life after death is a reality. Where does the way lead to? Immortality.”

“Rainer Maria Rilke said, “All angels bring terror”—terrible shocks to awaken one. To create an astral body they use unsavory methods. Influence C frequently plays the role of villain in our lives. With them, one just absorbs continually; it is the highest path. One tries to endure without self-pity. It is curious, but Influence C crushes us into immortality.”

“Human nature generally does not see the obvious, which is why esoteric truths have frequently been presented in the form of fairy tales. Fairy tales often begin with the statement, “Once upon a time,” indicating that the stories are unfolding in time, and end with a prince and a princess (World 6 and World 12) living “happily ever after,” that is, in eternity—immortality.”

“Awakening is an emotional process and friction must be emotional. The suffering we experience must be real because the states we create are real. It isn’t pleasant to verify this, and yet it is a blessing. Friction can seem like a curse until we begin to realize the great idea behind it. What is that great idea? Immortality. Can anything compare with that?”

“Remember that you seek immortality, and one can hardly pay enough.”

“My dear friends. You are in a critical situation. We live in a brutal universe where souls are endlessly driven from vessel to vessel. The gods have entered your life to enable you to escape this vicious cycle. Immortality is within your grasp. Firmly grip your aim to awaken and do not be distracted by anything. You are not alone; remember I love you, now and forever.”

Robert Earl Burton
http://immortality-4thway.org/

66. Bryan Reynolds - January 9, 2016

65 Linda Jo

My Extended family were farmers. Dig! A farmer was visiting his neighbor and he noticed that his crops were growing much better than everyone else. So he asked him why his crops were doing so much better and he said instead of using using cow manure for fertilizer he was using bull manure. (Bull shit)

67. Golden Veil - January 9, 2016

64. In charge of the cyanide hole

Yes. One person’s “pathway to presence” may be another person’s pathway to self delusion, repression and even PTSD ~ especially if
a seeker has unwanted sexual liaisons, coerced by “friends” and the “Fourth Way School” teacher.

Who put up that Gurdjieff free-for-all web site, anyway?

68. Golden Veil - January 9, 2016

Sorry, not web site.
I meant the Gurdjieff – Fourth Way FaceBook Group that was linked in post 64. In charge of the cyanide hole!

69. fofblogmoderator - January 11, 2016

the numbering on this page is off by 1 because I deleted post #62 at the author’s request

70. fofblogmoderator - January 11, 2016

#64 is a new post

71. Linda Jo - January 13, 2016

aarrgh me buckos and Bryan Reynolds

Re: “A smart con-man figures out where you want to go and helps guide you there, to his own ends.” – Marlon Brando

Not only did Horn like to think of himself as “a good con man” (as apposed to an evil, bad and nasty one), Horn also liked to think of himself as “a better con man than all the other con men” in the bay area, e.g., his infamous rival: tall, dark and handsome, ruthless and unscrupulous cult competitor, Mr. Erhard…

“I need to see that I am a con man before
I can see my true value.”

“I have a lot of respect for L. Ron Hubbard,
and I consider him to be a genius and perhaps less
acknowledged than he ought to be.”

“I am the source of est… A source creates something from nothing.”

“There are only two things in the world – nothing and semantics.”

“Mind Dynamics is a beautiful and powerful experience.”

“I’m very clear about lies. Lies persist, and the truth doesn’t.”

“None of my associates or I have ever operated in the work with the notion of making money.”

“I take responsibility for ending starvation within twenty years.”

“If you send a hundred people to the grocery store,
a certain percentage of them will have psychotic episodes.
And if you send a hundred people to est, a somewhat lower
percentage will have psychotic episodes.”

“I say that people who are destroyed create their own destruction.”

“I’m sure I will be accused of everything from being the father of someone’s illegitimate child
to being a child molester, to being a tax evader, to being a CIA agent.”

“As you can see, this universe is perfect. Don’t lie about it.”

“The end is the end, or it isn’t. The end justifies the means, or it doesn’t.”

“Obviously the truth is what’s so. Not so obviously, it’s also so what.”

From Outrageous Betrayal: The Dark Journey of Werner Erhard from est to Exile
by Steven Pressman (St. Martin’s Press, NY, 1993)

——————–

My dear friend (whose tyrannical and incestuous “father” was a psychopathic Episcopalian priest, homosexual hustler, predator and rapist, cult leader and “Summer camp director”, sexually assaulting, imprisoning and enslaving healthy young men and heterosexual boys on the East Coast – circa 1960) found the following treasure in a Napa garage sale, years ago.

In fact, this is the very first book Kate and I read written by a cult survivor – who (unknowingly) influenced and encouraged us to create a survivor’s handbook/website where (1) we could publish info on sexual abuse, predators and cult leaders. (2) I could finally expose Horn’s deadly cult, sins and crimes perpetrated in the name of Love, God and Gurdjieff, “the Work” and “Way of Essence”, etc.

In CRAZY FOR GOD: The Nightmare of Cult Life by Ex-Moon Disciple, Christopher Edwards, 1979:

How are young minds twisted in the name of God? What is the truth about modern-day religious cults?

Forward:

This book is about the rapid near-destruction of a human-being – myself. It is the story of the deceit, manipulation and terror which thousands of young Americans experience daily at the hands of modern cults. Although a different group was involved, I believe it is also a story which may help to explain the paranoia and absolute obedience which led to the recent horror of the People’s Temple murders and mass suicide.

My story began innocently enough when I was lured into a “fun” weekend in June of 1975 on a farm owned by a front group for Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church in Berkeley, California. It ended seven and a half months later on a Saturday afternoon in mid-January with a dramatic kidnapping and deprogramming engineered by my father and a team of hired professionals.

In the following pages, I describe the sinister indoctrination process by which I was transformed from an intelligent, independent human being into a completely subservient disciple of my new Messiah — terrified of questioning, dependent on my leaders for my every move, ready and willing to die or even kill to restore the world under the absolute rule of Reverend Moon. I share with you the degradation I experienced as I rose in the ranks of the Moon organization to become an “adopted” son of the two most powerful cult leaders in America. I describe my losing battle to retain my mind and will in a world of structured madness.

This has been a difficult and painful book to write. I have had to relive every nightmare connected with those seven months with the Moonies in order to re-create for you the horrors I experienced. You may be amused at first by the absurdities that Moonies mouth and actually believe, but it will soon become chillingly clear that beneath the smiley faces and baby songs lies a systematic plan for rapid subjugation for the Cause.

Everything in this story is true although it is obviously impossible to reproduce the dialogue and thoughts of characters verbatim. Some personalities and events have been compressed or conjoined for the sake of readability, but everything that I describe happened to me and is typical of a Moonie’s experience, however much the cult leaders may deny this. All the names in this book with the exception of Moon’s have been changed to protect the guilty, among whom are some of the most innocent victims of all.

As a former Moonie, I am aware of Unification Church tactics toward those who dare expose its secrets. But no risk seems too great if CRAZY FOR GOD prevents a few more families from being destroyed and a few more minds from being bent and twisted in the name of love.

——————–

http://brainblogger.com/2014/05/23/the-self-help-industry-helps-itself-to-billions-of-dollars/

72. Drew Kampion - January 13, 2016

Re Alex Horn, I went to a couple of his plays in San Francisco in April-June of 1974. I knew he’d been Robert’s teacher, so I was curious about how “conscious” he was. During an intermission I was out in the lobby, lurking on the perimeter of several knots of theater-goers, including Horn and his wife, the actress Sharon Gans. Even though he was engaged in animated conversations with a series of people, each time I emerged from someone’s shadow to sneak a glance, Horn’s eyes flicked over at me. It was uncanny, and a bit humorous.

Someone also mentioned something about FOF financial secrecy, so: As with many, most or some folks, one of the policies revealed during my 3 perspective student meetings was that the finances of the school were completely above-board. Want to see the books? Just ask.

I had joined in Hawaii, and a couple of months later I was in California, staying at one of the teaching houses in Carmel. One afternoon I found myself alone in this sweet, neat house with no one else around, except for James Chisholm, who happened to be the treasurer of the org. at the time. Nothing was happening, I had some free time, so I asked Jim if I could have a look at the books. I imagined we’d be sitting there at his desk paging through the numbers when he told me, “No.”

“No?” I said. “But I was told I could see the books any time. I’ve told the same thing to prospective students. It was part of the deal.”

“No,” said Jim. “What in you wants to see the books?”

“The part of me that was told I could.”

He wouldn’t show me the books, and that’s all I’ve gotta say about that. Except that that’s when I became a spy.

drew

73. nevasayneva - January 13, 2016

2 things I noticed after I left FOF- not particularly profound, just 2 random things:

– I no longer got well- what I would call compliments or flattery or whatever from people. I think there is a certain amount of back-stroking and mutual “you are a good person” sort of stuff that goes on in FOF.

– I became without any seeming effort much better at making decisions and moving on. Sell/buy a house/car, take this job/or that job, buy/sell this piece of furniture or that piece- just sort of life decisions. I just became better at just making a decision and going with it without any hand wringing. Would seem unconnected to FOF, but I think my final years there was so much on the fence/state of paralysis- sort of spiritual constipation, that leaving just freed up a lot of things and made decision making in other parts of life easier as well. I also became better and making my own decisions without looking for guidance from outside.

74. fofblogmoderator - January 13, 2016

#72 is a newly moderated (1st time) post. Welcome to the discussion Drew.

75. Parson Yorick - January 13, 2016

Hi Drew! (I stayed at the LaSelva Beach house briefly in 1979 – my first California address.) Back around 1980, there was a push to get a financial accounting of some sort, and what came out of it was a one-page, vague overview, that might have had some slight resemblance to reality — or not.

76. nevasayneva - January 14, 2016

in my time of closer involvement mid 90’s-2012, I never ever saw any attempt to account for finances to general membership. Money in could be roughly calculated by anyone with a calculator and headcount. Money out was never available information to general FOF membership. I heard it mentioned by various cognoscenti that the leader of FOF did not own anything in his own name outright. However for someone who did not own anything he certainly got around.

One would not have to be a genius to look around the property and see quite a few wasted efforts, many things that went nowhere. Of course it was the internal effort that counted- but did the external always have to go nowhere? I suspect that one of the reasons that the finances are hidden may not be due to siphoning of funds, but just evidence of mismanagement or complete lack of management of funds.

Those dollars- and I have to say dollars since it is US that likely still bankrolls 90% of enterprise-are hard earned. It is a pity to see them wasted.

77. jomopinata - January 15, 2016
78. jomopinata - January 15, 2016

Also contains material from 1973 and 1974.

79. Bryan Reynolds - January 17, 2016

When I joined in 74 I should have been rejected as a prospective student. I was living on the street in Berkley I was a drug addict and an alcoholic, no social network, limited resources and career opportunities. I do not recall asking someone at the pospective students meeting if I had been accepted. i just started to attend meetings and making payments. The first time I approached the teacher I did not know what I was supposed to say so I said “I thought I should introduce myself. He always forgot my name and seemed think that ws funny. I know I never asked RB if he would accept me as a student.The assumption I made was that the teacher and older students would evaluate my needs and monitor my progress. To my knowledge this did not ever happen. There were some older students and friends who did help me and were very considerate but no one in the FOF verbablly or in writing agreed to anything.

80. jomopinata - January 18, 2016

79/Bryan

Bryan, I urge you to reconsider how your experience has been memorialized in the story you tell yourself (and us). “I should have been rejected as a prospective student.” Your perspective presumes that there was some kind of qualitative assessment of you and individualized concern for your well-being and “evolution.” But consider, instead, the possibility that what you encountered was simply a subtle (or not so subtle), well organized confidence scheme designed to separate you from your assets, and that you were the mark. If you arrived prepared to pay, why would you be turned away? And if you kept paying, and were a reliable cash cow, and made no waves, why would you be turned away?

81. Cristalclear - January 18, 2016

79 Bryan,80 jomopinata

Do you know of any prospective student that was turned away by the fof?
In the late 80s the membership in my center was growing very fast, so I attended many prospective meetings.
Of all the “prospective students”only one was rejected and he was a transsexual man,he looked like a man but dressed like a woman.
He was very interested and seemed like a a nice person,I felt sorry when they rejected him.
The center directors told us from the beginning he would not be accepted but we had the three meetings anyway.
They told us robert didn’t want him to be part of the fellowship(something about wrong work of centers and wrong crystallization)
The “goddess in a man’s body” didn’t want him around.What an hypocrite!
I bet everyone in my center at the time remembers this episode.

82. Bryan Reynolds - January 18, 2016

81 Crystalc!ear I do not know of anyone who was turned away.
80 jomopinata It has taken me a long time to see that no one had the credentials to assess and prescribe what I needed at that time. Thank you both for your response. Bryan

83. aarrgh me buckos - January 24, 2016

“A happy mind gives happiness to others
and a miserable mind inflicts suffering upon others.”

84. In charge of the cyanide hole - January 26, 2016
85. brucelevy - January 28, 2016

84. In charge of the cyanide hole

Asaf…what an incredible wanker.

86. brucelevy - January 28, 2016

My God, he’s even selling fucking ring tones. Pathetic.

87. Bryan Reynolds - January 28, 2016

Bares Reposting

Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Introduced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1980

1.Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).
2.Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4.Requires excessive admiration.
5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance
with his or her expectations.
6. Is inter-personally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

Other symptoms in addition to the ones defined by DSM-IV-TR include: Is inter-personally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends, has trouble keeping healthy relationships with others, easily hurt or rejected, appears unemotional, and exaggerating special achievements and talents, setting unrealistic goals for himself/herself.[5]

Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by an over-inflated sense of self-importance, as well as dramatic, emotional behavior that is in the same category as antisocial and borderline personality disorders.[6]

In addition to these symptoms, the person may display arrogance, show superiority, and seek power.[7] The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence; differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological.

Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others, when in reality they have a fragile self-esteem, cannot handle criticism, and often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. Comments and criticisms about others are vicious from sufferers of NPD, in an attempt to boost their own poor self-esteem.[8]

Another narcissist symptom is a lack of empathy. They are unable to relate, understand, and rationalize the feelings of others. Instead of behaving in a way that shows how they are feeling in the moment, they behave in the way that they feel they are expected to behave or that gives them the most attention.[5]

88. Tim Campion - January 30, 2016

Premiering this week at the Sundance Film Festival was a documentary about the relatively small (in comparison to The Fellowship of Friends) Buddhafield cult. It was filmed and directed by former member Will Allen. Here is an interview with Allen: Holy Hell. (I recommend reading the entire interview.)

This Vanity Fair article reveals a cult of personality, similar to that seen in Robert Burton and the Fellowship (and to which Asaf Braverman appears to aspire.)

(See also Max Taylor’s discussion on Greater Fellowship.)

89. In charge of the cyanide hole - February 1, 2016

90. WhaleRider - February 4, 2016

http://nyti.ms/1Kn06vT

“The motivation and pressure for these dreams is coming from a place of fear and uncertainty,” he said. “The dreamers are literally helping themselves out of a tough spot.”

IMHO, this applies to the living as well as the dying.

91. In charge of the cyanide hole - February 5, 2016

92. Golden Veil - February 11, 2016

Some seekers
will not have the choice
to not get fooled again.
Be careful of what you ask for.

93. In charge of the cyanide hole - February 19, 2016

Nancy Rebecca McCarty:

“The word ‘attention’ comes from the word ‘attend’, in the sense of ‘to be present to’ or ‘present at ‘. Attention is the energy that fuels perception-awareness. Our problem with control of ‘attention’ has to do with the fact that the body is cohabited. On one level is the ‘active’, artificially acquired lower-self, an image or reflection of a ‘true-Self’, which borrows and directs ‘attention’ from the ‘true-Self’ into ‘its’ doings, so as to maintain the ‘illusion’ ‘it’ is ‘real’, and then on another level, is the ‘passive’ ‘true-Self’, usually in a state of near ‘sleep’, almost having forgotten its own existence, it confuses its own ‘real existence’ with the illusory existence of the artificial lower-self, and in this ‘sleepy state’, allows its attention energy to be borrowed by, flow into, and ‘vivify’ the dream illusions manufactured by ‘lower-self’, attending to those ‘dreams’ as if they were ‘real’. The ‘true-Self’ is the rightful owner of attention, yet in a state of ignorance, it lacks understanding of how to exercise control over its own attention. The passive ‘self-forgetting’ state of the ‘true-Self’, can be changed. ‘True-Self’ when it wakes, even a little, and ‘realizes’ the truth of its own existence, its own precarious position, becomes more ‘active’. If ‘True-Self’ is lucky enough to connect with ‘work ideas’ it can learn ‘how’ to make conscious efforts, to find attention, and bring its own attention back into its own sense of ‘being’, this action vivifies ‘Self”. “Self’ strengthens, its ability to control attention grows, simply by attending, as it were, to what is ‘real’.”

***

Why laboriously accumulate all the benefits of ‘attention’ only to spill the miraculously garnered ‘sense of being’ from the outlet of the formatory apparatus onto the medium of the Facebook, one might wonder? Does the ‘True-Self’ get a kick out of impressing the less fortunate ‘lower-selves’ that might happen to pass by?

94. GoldenVeil - February 20, 2016

Welcome to the Fellowship of FaceBook / Fourth Way School / Living Presence Discussion

95. Linda Jo - February 21, 2016

I recently came across. . .

150. The FOFion – December 1, 2009

Burton Asks Members to Give ‘More’

OREGON D’HOUSE, Calif. (ARK) — After recent consultations with angels hovering above the chandeliers in the Academy, Fellowship of Friends Guru Robert Burton is asking his followers to give “more.”

Beginning January 1, 2010, Pathway to Presence followers will be required to “give more money than they actually have” to remain in the school.

“Basically, whatever you’re giving now, that’s not enough,” said Senior Cult Spokeperson Carr D. Ack. “Before you can truly experience the blessings of higher forces, you need to give more than you actually have.”

Ack estimates that eventually Burton will ask people to give at least twice as much as their assets, and later perhaps three and four times as much. He had no answer for how they’ll be able to do that.

“But think about it,” Ack said, while shrugging his shoulders ala Burton. “If you don’t give more money than you actually have, what kind of sacrifice is that? Payment is a principle.”

Burton told his followers in a recent meeting that he’ll also increase the amount of money he spends. “The gods leave me no choice,” Burton said. “That’s how I’ve awakened — by doing the inevitable. Let us toast to my outrageous good fortune — excuse me, I mean our outrageous good fortune — and try not to think about the bad karma associated with my blatant deceit.”

Burton has been taking medication recently to stop sudden outbursts of honesty, but occasionally the medication wears off, Ack said.

———————————-

Dictionary.com

Satire, n. An obsolete kind of literary composition in which the vices and follies of the author’s enemies were expounded with imperfect tenderness. In this country satire never had more than a sickly and uncertain existence, for the soul of it is wit, wherein we are dolefully deficient, the humor that we mistake for it, like all humor, being tolerant and sympathetic. Moreover, although Americans are ‘endowed by their Creator’ with abundant vice and folly, it is not generally known that these are reprehensible qualities, wherefore the satirist is popularly regarded as a sour-spirited knave, and his every victim’s outcry for co-defendants evokes a national assent. [Ambrose Bierce, “Devil’s Dictionary,” 1911]

     Proper satire is distinguished, by the generality of the reflections, from a lampoon which is aimed against a particular person, but they are too frequently confounded. [Johnson]

     In whatever department of human expression, wherever there is objective truth there is satire [Wyndham Lewis, “Rude Assignment,” 1950]

————————————

195. The FOFion – December 6, 2009

New Wind-Up Toy Being Offered at Toys R Us

OREGON HOUSE (ARK) — The Daily Cardiac Wind-Up Doll is now available at stores near you for Christmas. Wind it up, and it walks and talks, says the same things repeatedly, and hears nothing.

The doll does not think, does not reflect, does not feel, does not care, is incapable of learning anything new, and was simply put forth by the larger Wind-Up Toy called Robert Burton — which also walks and talks, says the same things repeatedly, and hears nothing. The Burton Doll also does not think, does not reflect, does not feel, does not care, is incapable of learning anything new, and was put forth by its own Ego — with the sole purpose to protect that Ego from being exposed to the light.

“Think of the Fellowship of Friends and Robert Burton as a toy,” one ex-student said recently. “Someone gave it to us as a kid, and we used it and tossed it around a bit, and quickly discovered it was useless. And we also learned that walking outside into the snow was quite a bit more fun and fulfilling and life-giving — than sitting in that stuffy house playing with a useless toy — The Fellowship of Friends Wind-Up Toy, which keeps spewing out words and words and words and words while the snow falls beautifully outside.”

—————————–

202. The FOFion – December 7, 2009

Official FOF Position: Having Sex with Hundreds of Followers Isn’t ‘Coarse’

OREGON HOUSE, Calif. (ARK) — This just in… Having sex with followers by promising them eternal life in return isn’t “coarse energy.” Hiding that truth is not coarse. Deceiving followers is not coarse. Being a complete asshole while pretending to be very “refined” is not coarse.

Lying is not coarse. Lying most of your adult life is not coarse.

No, this is not some sort of strange nightmare. This is the official position of Robert Burton and his shills on the FOF blog.

So if these things are not “coarse,” then what is?

Well… trying to alert potential and current followers that this is happening — now THAT is “coarse,” so says the most recent FOF shill in an official blog statement.

Bite me, Cardiac.

—————————————

219. Golden Veil – December 8, 2009

211. Daily Cardiac

“For the people involved with RB they are inclined to engage in intimacy for any number of reasons, but basically they are giving something and getting something in return. Human nature being fairly predictable one can pretty much figure out the reasons. I’ve listed them before, but one is that people are attracted to status and power and will do things they normally would not do just to be close to status and power.”

…and also:

“The Robert I know, and I’ve been around him longer than you have, would not say that to someone. He would say, and does say practically on a daily basis, that the only way to advance your evolution is to be present as much as possible.”

Daily Cardiac, don’t you think that the

“only way to advance your evolution is to be present as much as possible.”

and

“people are attracted to status and power and will do things they normally would not do just to be close to status and power.”

are inharmonious in their avowed intention [and necessary inattention]?

What kind of creepy ‘Teacher’ would use that methodology; that is, instill the necessity to SLEEP rather than BE PRESENT in order to bear doing things one wouldn’t normally do?

The bottom line is that this blog is not about excellence in debate techniques, knowledge of the laws of probabilities or the laws of averages; this blog is about educating prospective Pathway to Presence ‘Students’ about who the ‘Teacher’ is; his methodology and his history of introducing homosexual sex to non-homosexual ‘Students’. To inform those investigating the school Pathway to Presence of Robert Burton’s propensity to manipulate ‘Students’ in order to feed his voracious sexual appetite for new (usually young) sexual partners. To inform them of his avid seduction of men that are in committed relationships with women, even married to women. This is not the actions of a ‘Teacher’ endowed with higher consciousness, or for that matter, any conscience at all.

Your use of lame excuses, attempts at various debating techniques, and general hyperbole does nothing to defend the prevailing creepiness of Robert Burton’s actions as a sexual predator. Yes, he preys on vulnerable students who, in some cases, “will do things they normally would not do just to be close to status and power”.

And, yes there are men posting here that succumbed to his seductive ‘Teacher’ spell. But they are the ones who are AWAKE now. Not so the ‘Students’ lying in Robert Burton’s hungry embrace. They are, by necessity, ASLEEP.

“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”

[Thomas Jefferson]

————————————–

226. Dr. Pangloss – December 9, 2009

211. Daily Douche

Re: “But I don’t pretend to know everything about what went on behind the scenes, and you seem to be much more sure you know everyone’s story, and it’s all the same story, RB is always at fault and ex members are always above reproach.”

You don’t know ANYTHING about what went on behind the scenes.

Here’s a true story.
While an employee of the Fellowship of Friends, it was requested by Robert Burton that I fly to Europe to meet up with him and his entourage for an extended trip. I was given a ONE-WAY ticket to London and a small amount cash. For the entire trip, I was pressured to submit to oral sex by the horse-mouthed Burton. For the first 4 weeks, I refused and was “sent to the back of the bus” while Burton worked on another guy (who also apparently resisted). So I was pressured again and again, until I finally gave up and let him swallow a couple of loads. It was not something I enjoyed, or understood. There was no love or respect or free-will involved AT ALL. I found the experience humiliating and repulsive.

After returning to Oregon House, I explained to Burton that I would not submit to his advances again, and I was promptly relieved of my job and assigned a lower paying position.

Any decent employment attorney would jump all over this as a case of sexual harassment by a superior in a position of authority working for a church. But, stupid me, I kept my mouth shut and put my monthly paycheck of $175 in the bank like the rest of the oppressed zombies.

HEY ANYONE thinking of joining Pathways to Presence/Fellowship of Freinds:
Does this sound like the kind of teacher you would give up your will to. Would you even buy a used car from this excuse for a human being??

Re: “Also contrary to your beliefs exists the possibility that some actually enjoyed the encounters or grew from the encounters. I know some who did. I’ve also known a few who were fairly upset he did not include them as partners.”

Well, maybe that’s true now. I guess getting a pretty pastel set of clothes for being fucked is better than having Boris at the gulag shove a broom up your ass.

And sure, you, Michael Goodwin, and a couple of other closeted gay men were upset about not being chosen, but I can assure you it was not the norm when I was around.

By the way, tell your mother I said hello.

————————————————————

240. Ames Gilbert – December 9, 2009

I’ve tried to avoid telling other people’s stories, but since this one was told to me and it had a really big effect on me, I’m going to go ahead.
When I started asking people about their sexual experiences with Burton, something unexpected happened. Somehow the word that I was interested got around, and people started approaching me, unbidden and unexpected.

One night, a man called and asked if I would talk with him. I agreed, and expected the conversation to continue over the phone. Instead, he asked if he could come and talk in person, right away. I said okay, and then, just before [hanging up], he said, “By the way, I want to bring my wife”. I said that was fine, and did he mind if my wife was present; I told him that she was completely trustworthy and would provide balance.

Five minutes later, he was there, with his wife. They were pale and distraught and obviously in turmoil. The next hours were some of the most amazing of my life. This man told me about his relationship with Burton in detail, and it was revolting from every point of view. The relationship had been going on for four years. One of the more surreal aspects of all this is that most of this was new to his wife. She had only learned the fact of the sexual relationship the previous day, without details. She was processing all this right in front of my eyes, and I could see her reaction to all the details as her husband told them. He was confessing to her and us at the same time, and his grief and shame and agony, and hers, was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had in my life.

As all this unfolded, I was also conscious that this was a very rare moment, that the unvarnished truth was being told, and I must remember everything.

When the first wave had finished (about twenty minutes), I was aware of the incredible anger building up in his wife. She was boiling with rage and plainly wanted to be elsewhere. I felt I should say something, so I asked him if he minded if I asked him questions. Obviously, I asked how it started. He told me that Burton asked him to stay on after a ‘Symposium’ where everyone had a great deal to drink. Burton took him to a bedroom and told him to get undressed. The man knew enough about Burton to guess what was about to happen, and protested. Burton told him that his reluctance was due to ingrained mechanical morality, and specifically that working against this would aid his evolution. This convinced the man; he for sure agreed that this would be deeply against his nature, so it would indeed be very strong ‘work on his mechanicality’. After oral sex on the man, Burton then told him to lie on the floor. Burton then masturbated to climax over him.

This was the pattern of the relationship. Every time the man had doubts, Burton told him that he was advancing, that he was on the fast track of evolution, that the angels approved, that he was privileged, that his spiritual future was assured. It was also the sexual pattern. As this unfolded, I was conscious that I was hearing a description of pure, unmitigated evil.

So we found out that all this time, his wife had no idea. She was not a follower when they met, and only joined because he was already a member. She liked the people, but did not particularly empathize with what the FoF claimed. She had had a strong (but not fundamentalist) religious upbringing. But she did know she loved her husband. She started talking, her words were of disbelief and betrayal. “How could you have done this?” she asked over and over again. My wife and I were just spectators for the next hour, and we might just as well have been invisible for most of the time as they thrashed with the issues.

When the second wave was over, we tried to comfort them. I could see that now a period of doubt and regret had started. Why on earth did they come to two strangers and spill all this out? After a while I asked. Because the people that they knew, the regular Fellowship folks, could not be trusted. They had no one to turn to. They had to express and confess. The wife felt so stupid. The man felt such shame, felt such a fool. He should have known better, he should have told his wife immediately, but the longer he avoided it, the harder it became.

Then we started talking about conscience. I buried mine, the man said, I can see that now. I knew at the time that this was wrong for me, but I thought that Burton knew better, and that sacrificing mechanicality was what was needed for awakening. Burton assured me over and over again that I was on the road to awakening, that my understanding hadn’t caught up yet.

We talked for another hour about what this meant. What is the nature of betrayal? What can be learned from it? What is the nature of forgiveness? Is there such a thing as volitional forgiveness, or is all one can do is prepare the ground as best as one can and invite forgiveness in when it is time?

The last fifteen minutes we spent hugging and caring, and then they went back home, with at least a temporary peace.
And they did stay together.

From this, I deeply understood why a man would submit to Burton. As I’ve said before, I don’t know what would have happened if Burton had pressed me, had not taken ‘no’ for an answer. DC is right in one way, anyone could say ‘no’, and most of us were adults in the technical sense. But DC is very wrong in the most important way. Burton uses his authority and power to get his way. The Fourth Way demands that one give up one’s will to a teacher, and Burton certainly demands that. What do you do when it comes to the crunch? Burton either claims outright or by implication (and it’s a damn strong implication, DC, whatever you say) that this is an excellent way to ‘work against mechanicality’. And the idea that once we’ve turned 18 we are all adults, all competent and able to prevail in the world is nonsense. In some very important ways, many people attracted to the FoF are children who want to be told what to do.

96. Oscar - February 29, 2016

http://itsonus.org/

If you’ve experienced sexual assault, please visit: http://www.notalone.gov for resources.

97. Golden Veil - February 29, 2016

Take note, prospective students, wherever you may be in the world –

If you are researching The Fellowship of Friends (The “Teacher” of this group is Robert Earl Burton) BEWARE OF JOINING THIS GROUP !

The below is reprinted (from this blog) yet again – (as there are those who may wish to distract you from this history – I reprint it again.) There are many students in The Fellowship of Friends (heterosexual male students) who have experienced seduction by the “Teacher”. BEWARE !

By the way, the “DC” referred to below, is a Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog poster from the 2009 time period – who was thought to be an apologist for the Fellowship of Friends…

If you want to “play with fire” this may be the esoteric “School” for you.

I mean, YOU – spiritual seeker, idealistic Fourth Way Student – YOU!

Is this what you want?

Thank you, Ames Gilbert, for relating this sequence of strange events.

240. Ames Gilbert – December 9, 2009

I’ve tried to avoid telling other people’s stories, but since this one was told to me and it had a really big effect on me, I’m going to go ahead.
When I started asking people about their sexual experiences with Burton, something unexpected happened. Somehow the word that I was interested got around, and people started approaching me, unbidden and unexpected.

One night, a man called and asked if I would talk with him. I agreed, and expected the conversation to continue over the phone. Instead, he asked if he could come and talk in person, right away. I said okay, and then, just before [hanging up], he said, “By the way, I want to bring my wife”. I said that was fine, and did he mind if my wife was present; I told him that she was completely trustworthy and would provide balance.

Five minutes later, he was there, with his wife. They were pale and distraught and obviously in turmoil. The next hours were some of the most amazing of my life. This man told me about his relationship with Burton in detail, and it was revolting from every point of view. The relationship had been going on for four years. One of the more surreal aspects of all this is that most of this was new to his wife. She had only learned the fact of the sexual relationship the previous day, without details. She was processing all this right in front of my eyes, and I could see her reaction to all the details as her husband told them. He was confessing to her and us at the same time, and his grief and shame and agony, and hers, was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had in my life.

As all this unfolded, I was also conscious that this was a very rare moment, that the unvarnished truth was being told, and I must remember everything.

When the first wave had finished (about twenty minutes), I was aware of the incredible anger building up in his wife. She was boiling with rage and plainly wanted to be elsewhere. I felt I should say something, so I asked him if he minded if I asked him questions. Obviously, I asked how it started. He told me that Burton asked him to stay on after a ‘Symposium’ where everyone had a great deal to drink. Burton took him to a bedroom and told him to get undressed. The man knew enough about Burton to guess what was about to happen, and protested. Burton told him that his reluctance was due to ingrained mechanical morality, and specifically that working against this would aid his evolution. This convinced the man; he for sure agreed that this would be deeply against his nature, so it would indeed be very strong ‘work on his mechanicality’. After oral sex on the man, Burton then told him to lie on the floor. Burton then masturbated to climax over him.

This was the pattern of the relationship. Every time the man had doubts, Burton told him that he was advancing, that he was on the fast track of evolution, that the angels approved, that he was privileged, that his spiritual future was assured. It was also the sexual pattern. As this unfolded, I was conscious that I was hearing a description of pure, unmitigated evil.

So we found out that all this time, his wife had no idea. She was not a follower when they met, and only joined because he was already a member. She liked the people, but did not particularly empathize with what the FoF claimed. She had had a strong (but not fundamentalist) religious upbringing. But she did know she loved her husband. She started talking, her words were of disbelief and betrayal. “How could you have done this?” she asked over and over again. My wife and I were just spectators for the next hour, and we might just as well have been invisible for most of the time as they thrashed with the issues.

When the second wave was over, we tried to comfort them. I could see that now a period of doubt and regret had started. Why on earth did they come to two strangers and spill all this out? After a while I asked. Because the people that they knew, the regular Fellowship folks, could not be trusted. They had no one to turn to. They had to express and confess. The wife felt so stupid. The man felt such shame, felt such a fool. He should have known better, he should have told his wife immediately, but the longer he avoided it, the harder it became.

Then we started talking about conscience. I buried mine, the man said, I can see that now. I knew at the time that this was wrong for me, but I thought that Burton knew better, and that sacrificing mechanicality was what was needed for awakening. Burton assured me over and over again that I was on the road to awakening, that my understanding hadn’t caught up yet.

We talked for another hour about what this meant. What is the nature of betrayal? What can be learned from it? What is the nature of forgiveness? Is there such a thing as volitional forgiveness, or is all one can do is prepare the ground as best as one can and invite forgiveness in when it is time?

The last fifteen minutes we spent hugging and caring, and then they went back home, with at least a temporary peace.
And they did stay together.

From this, I deeply understood why a man would submit to Burton. As I’ve said before, I don’t know what would have happened if Burton had pressed me, had not taken ‘no’ for an answer. DC is right in one way, anyone could say ‘no’, and most of us were adults in the technical sense. But DC is very wrong in the most important way. Burton uses his authority and power to get his way. The Fourth Way demands that one give up one’s will to a teacher, and Burton certainly demands that. What do you do when it comes to the crunch? Burton either claims outright or by implication (and it’s a damn strong implication, DC, whatever you say) that this is an excellent way to ‘work against mechanicality’. And the idea that once we’ve turned 18 we are all adults, all competent and able to prevail in the world is nonsense. In some very important ways, many people attracted to the FoF are children who want to be told what to do.

98. WhaleRider - February 29, 2016

It won’t be real

You won’t know how it feels

Until it happens to you.

~Lady Gaga

Take the pledge to intervene when consent is not or cannot be given.

~VP Joe Biden

These words resonated very deeply with me last night. Moving on doesn’t mean keeping silent or sitting idle while others continue to be abused in the rape factory surrounding Robert E Burton.

Let’s drain the victim pool.

99. nevasayneva - February 29, 2016

The cases of Bill Cosby in the US and Jimmy Saville in UK and the numerous cases in the Catholic church suggests that the best place for an accomplished sexual predator to operate and hide is in a position of great public visibility, power and influence.

I am reminded of those Agatha Christie mysteries, where Miss Marple would demonstrate in the final chapter that the best place to hide -whatever- the murder weapon, or missing diamond – was in front of everyon’es eyes. In modern life these position are ones of power, influence and visibility, TV announcers, politicians, gurus etc….what better place to operate from?

For each Bill Cosby & Jimmy Saville, there must have been 100’s or more if not accomplices at least people who were silent, who knew…who thought well “thats just the way it is, those young girls boys should know better,,,,” “its not really harming anyone….”
etc etc etc.

you will meet people in FOF who will say “oh yes, but i knew someone quite well who was with RB and he was treated very very nicely….” Right. Kind of misses the point though.

100. Oscar - March 1, 2016

http://itsonus.org

“It’s on us:

-To recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.
-To identify situations in which sexual assault may occur.
-To intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.
-To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.”

**********
Tools and tips:

Consent is voluntary and mutual and can be withdrawn at any time.
Past consent does not mean future or current consent.
There is no consent when there is force, coercion, or intimidation.
One cannot always consent when under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Talk to your friends honestly and openly about sexual assault.
Don’t just be a bystander – if you see something, intervene in any way you can.
Trust your gut. If something looks like it might be a bad situation, it probably is.
Be direct. Ask someone who looks like they may need help if they’re okay.
Get someone to help if you see something – enlist a friend.
Keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink.
Understand that if someone does not or cannot consent to sex, it’s rape.
Never blame the victim.
If you are a victim or survivor, or helping someone in that situation, go to notalone dot gov to get the resources and information you need.
You can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE.

101. Linda Jo - March 5, 2016

97. and 101. Oscar

Many thanks for posting notalone.gov and itsonus.org links – very helpful resources!

There is one particular book I would recommend to all former and current cult victims:

PREDATORS, PEDOPHILES, RAPISTS, AND OTHER SEX OFFENDERS: Who They Are, How They Operate, and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children, by Anna C. Salter, PH.D.

The other night I came across this history, revealing how the Fellowship of Friends/Pathway to Presence cult leader, founder and director, false prophet and rogue messiah, pervert and predator operates:

27. Golden Veil – November 22, 2009

* Reading material for prospective students of Pathway to Presence

The following article is from the November 4, 1996 issue of the Los Angeles Times, and was first posted on this blog on March 28, 2007 by ‘more history needed?’.

L.A. Times/November 4, 1996

By Jenifer Warren

Oregon House, Calif. Deep in the Sierra foothills, at the end of a twisting road, lies Apollo – an oasis of high culture in the outback. A mock French chateau houses a museum and library stuffed with rare art and books. A vineyard on terraced hillsides produces award-winning wines.

Apollo is the worldwide headquarters of the Fellowship of Friends, whose 2,000 cerebral members believe that keen self-awareness, a positive outlook and immersion in life’s finest things – from Baccarat crystal to Johann Sebastian Bach – offer a path to higher consciousness.

They have been led on this journey for 25 years by Robert Earl Burton, a former schoolteacher who has guided everything from when his followers bear children to what sort of shoes they wear. Burton tells members he speaks with 44 angels who watch over his flock – among them Abraham Lincoln, Plato and Jesus Christ – believers say. Burton also has predicted that Apollo will be the lone surviving outpost after a global nuclear holocaust in 2006.

Disillusioned former members say the fellowship is more than just another California curiosity. A growing number of them – as well as some academics – call it a cult that entraps its mostly well-educated members with a false promise of spiritual evolution. A recently ended lawsuit and accounts from ex-members echo that claim and add another: Burton, they say, has for years seduced young males in the group.

The suit and similar allegations by other members have spurred dozens to leave the group. It was brought by a Marin County man who claims Burton first demanded sex from him at age 17. Troy Buzbee, who had asked for $5 million in damages, charged that Burton brainwashes members into a state of “absolute submission,” allowing him to feed a “voracious appetite for sexual perversion.”

Fellowship officials and their attorney, Abraham Goldman, did not respond to repeated requests for interviews about the group and Burton. The Buzbee suit was settled late last month. Buzbee’s attorney, Ford Greene, would not comment except to say the case “is over.”

Several former members, including some who held high-level positions, said the details in the suit served to confirm for them what a number of followers had come to suspect about the 57-year-old Burton. “For years I ignored or justified a lot of things, but this I could not ignore,” said Pamella Cavanna, 54, who left the fellowship last year after devoting two decades and more than $250,000 to Burton and his teachings. “A teacher should have moral standards that we aspire to. Instead, Robert has standards we are forced to overlook.”

Former members, as well as court records, fellowship documents and Burton’s prolific writings to the faithful, reveal much about the group and a leader who rose from humble beginnings to command a little-known $26 million empire.

To outsiders, the fellowship can have an entrancing face. Its headquarters sprawl across 1,300 acres in Yuba County about 70 miles north of Sacramento. Its Renaissance winery produces Cabernets and Rieslings that have been poured for American presidents and are respected by wine experts. The Apollo Opera company recently mounted an acclaimed production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” in nearby Grass Valley.

The fellowship also has a reputation in the art and antique world as a serious collector. The group recently liquidated its museum full of antique Chinese furniture, a collection considered among the world’s preeminent holdings. The collection fetched $11.2 million at Christie’s auction house in New York, where Disney chief Michael Ovitz was among the buyers, snagging a pair of elaborately carved cabinets for $607,500.

The winery, opera and antiques – along with the art, gardens, fountains, rare Persian carpets, inlaid Steinway pianos and other valuables sprinkled around the property – reflect the fellowship’s guiding philosophy. A refined social and cultural milieu, writes Burton, helps a believer “awaken his higher centers” and develop an immortal soul.

“Robert always used to say, ‘Beauty creates its likeness in those who pursue it,’ ” recalls one former member from Los Angeles who asked not to be named.

Attracting Followers

Burton commands an annual salary estimated by the group’s former chief financial officer at $250,000 or more. Members serve as his bodyguards and chauffeurs, and one is often assigned to record his observations for the faithful. Rarely seen around Yuba County, Burton travels frequently in Europe, where he meets with followers and shops for collectibles for his stately Louis XVI-style home on the Apollo grounds.

Partial to silk socks, Burton at one time insisted his underwear be pressed, say ex-members. He also enjoys golf, manicures, fresh flowers, fine wine – and food. Standing more than 6 feet tall, he is slender now but at one point weighed close to 300 pounds.

A butcher’s son born in Mineral, Ark., Burton graduated from San Jose State in 1963 and taught elementary school in Contra Costa County. In 1970, while living in a Volkswagen bus in Berkeley, he formed the fellowship, apparently after convincing a circle of followers that he possessed the powers of a superior being.

“He was quite wonderful then, a charming person of great knowledge,” recalled Stella Wirk, who was one of Burton’s first 10 students. Wirk said she and her husband were expelled from the group in the early 1980s after refusing to pay a $3,000 fine imposed by Burton for violating his rule against smoking.

Today, about 500 followers live and work at or near Apollo. Others live, work or study at more than 65 fellowship “teaching centers” worldwide. They hold regular jobs but, according to ex-members, socialize mainly among themselves and fill their off hours with meetings, dinners, concerts and other fellowship events.

Members are encouraged to limit contact with family and other outsiders whom Burton refers to as “dead” and “food for the moon.” “Men do not understand what an affliction it is to be average and to participate with the stagnate masses,” he once wrote.

The fellowship attracts followers who are highly educated and well-heeled. Believers tithe 10% of their income and make other “donations” throughout the year, according to the group’s literature. An average American member gives more than $6,000 annually, the wealthy much more, said Charles Randall, the fellowship’s former chief financial officer. He quit the group in 1994 after sending a letter to a fellowship official expressing disillusionment and advising him that men felt coerced to join Burton’s “harem.” Randall said the fellowship’s annual income exceeded $5 million when he left.

Many members joined after finding fellowship bookmarks planted in volumes at metaphysical bookstores. The bookmarks guide the curious to upcoming “prospective student” meetings, held at lavish homes rented by the fellowship. After attending three such meetings, a recruit is invited to join, according to a lengthy 1993 explanation of the group written by members and published in the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, a Yuba County newspaper.

The group’s roots are in the arcane teachings of two early 20th century Russian philosophers, George Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky, whose ideas are referred to as The Fourth Way. One central premise is that humans are spiritually “asleep” and must strive for constant self-awareness to achieve true consciousness. Disciples must also refrain from expressing negativity, such as complaining, gossiping or using defensive body language. Such behavior is said to drain energy needed for the pursuit of enlightenment.

“It’s all very stimulating stuff in the beginning – the ideas, the caliber of the people you meet, the music, the fancy dinners, Walt Whitman, all the culture,” said Ron Lancaster, a member for nine years who joined while working at Hughes Aircraft Co. in El Segundo and left over Burton’s alleged sexual conduct. “But there’s no doubt it’s a cult. Our lives were totally controlled.”

Over the years, the members’ personal hygiene, pets, hobbies, reading material and diet all have been influenced by Burton, often through written pronouncements.

In a June 1980 issue of the Renaissance Vine, a bulletin for members, they were told “the exercise of not expressing wit . . . has been resumed.” At one point, Burton told members to trade their eyeglasses for contact lenses because “it makes the face a more beautiful impression.” Any “discomfort from wearing the lenses,” Burton said, “is good for voluntary suffering.”

Another time he told married couples to wait five years before bearing children. Premarital sex and adultery were explicitly prohibited, as were homosexual relationships until the early 1990s, ex-members said. For a long period, women were required to wear skirts.

Members were notified in 1979 that “a new exercise begins this month: We are to avoid placing our elbows on flat surfaces such as tables or desks; armchairs are fine. . .  Additionally, we are asked to avoid using the word ‘thing,’ beginning August 1.” To help shock members into spiritual wakefulness, Burton has periodically banned the use of such everyday terms as “I,” “really,” “oh” and “hi.”

“It was strange,” said Lancaster. “Instead of saying, ‘I’ll have a cup of coffee,’ you’d say, ‘It wants a cup of coffee’ or just, ‘Cup of coffee.’ ”

As part of his emphasis on refined living, Burton once sought to turn his flock into a replica of an 18th century English aristocracy. Members took Anglicized names and were told to use their utensils in the European fashion, with the fork in the left hand, tines pointed down. During this period, the common “cookie” became a “biscuit.”

Inside the Fellowship

Burton is also regarded by followers as a prophet. When he forecast a worldwide recession in 1984, believers urgently stockpiled provisions and weapons. He has predicted that a 1998 earthquake will consume the West Coast but spare Apollo. As for the 2006 apocalypse, Burton says Apollo is an “eternal city” that will preserve culture for the ages. Some ex-believers say now that Burton’s rules and pronouncements were a distraction, Wirk said, “to keep us from reflecting on what was really going on.” At the time, however, the members said they followed Burton faithfully, believing that obedience would accelerate their spiritual growth.

“When people join these groups, they don’t go in planning to surrender their critical thinking and personal autonomy to the will of the big kahuna. But that’s exactly what happens,” said Joel Friedlander, a fellowship member for 22 years who was editor of Burton’s 1991 book, “Self-Remembering.”

“The indoctrination is so complete, and the peer pressure so great, that gradually the old you is replaced by a new you who believes all the propaganda, including the line that eternal damnation is the price of getting out.”

Margaret Singer, a professor emeritus of psychology at UC Berkeley and a cult expert, said the fellowship uses techniques common to many cults. Veneration of a single living leader, authoritarian structure and intensive control of members’ lives fit the classic profile, she said.

“They look for people who are a bit lonely or needy and they shower them with love, making them feel special,” said Singer, who has tracked the fellowship and talked with many alumni. “From there, the control and manipulation happen one step at a time.”

With the fellowship, Singer said, “it’s all centered around giving money to Burton . . . his personality sets the tone and controls every little thing the group does.”

Once in the fellowship, members become addicted to the feeling of belonging to a blessed elite, ex-believers say. Leaving that behind – especially after large investments of time and money over a period of many years – takes tremendous will, they say.

“It was terrifying to leave, because you’re trained to view outsiders as this mass of sleeping humanity with no possibility,” said a Bay Area woman who spent 20 years as a traveling teacher in the group. “And when you finally do get out, the fellowship community – 95% of all the people you’ve known for the last 20 years – just drops you. You feel like you’ve wasted your life and have no place in the world.”

Many ex-members said they were not spurred to leave until allegations emerged about Burton’s sexual behavior. For years, they said, the teacher’s alleged conduct was unknown because of strict rules against gossiping or speaking ill of him. Moreover, they said, Burton claimed to be celibate, saving his sexual energy for the good of his flock. Word of the leader’s alleged habits first slipped out in 1984, when Samuel Sanders – a former member of the fellowship board of directors – sued the group, claiming fraud and alleging that Burton used his “god-figure role” to prey sexually upon impressionable young men. The Sanders suit – which was settled in 1988 – led an estimated 100 members to quit.

A similar number left in 1995 after ex-member Richard Buzbee wrote an open letter to the fellowship’s followers, claiming that Burton had demanded sex from him and had a sexual relationship with Buzbee’s son, Troy, for many years.

Troy Buzbee, now 27, sued last April, claiming that Burton first seduced him when Buzbee was 17. Declaring himself “an angel in a man’s body,” Burton allegedly told Buzbee that the gods wished for the two to be close.

“Burton would kiss [Troy Buzbee] on the forehead, which he said represented the seat of the soul and then instruct [Buzbee] to ’separate’ from his body and just ‘let go,’ ” said the suit, which alleged the sexual encounters continued for more than five years and that Burton had sex with other young men. Although Buzbee said he was repulsed and suffered “self-loathing,” his “brain was programmed to believe that there was no place to go,” the lawsuit said.

Troy Buzbee is now married with a young daughter. He declined to be interviewed after the suit was settled, said his lawyer.

Numerous other ex-members have told similar stories in open letters to the membership and to each other, in newspaper accounts and in interviews with The Times.

[John Doe], Burton’s secretary and chauffeur in the mid-1970s, has alleged that Burton forced him to have oral sex on many occasions, assuring [Doe] that surrendering to him would “please the gods and help my soul evolve.”

“To understand how this can happen, you have to realize that this man is considered the height of the human species, the second Christ, the light,” [Doe], a member for 18 years and now an artist in South Lake Tahoe, told The Times. “Your instinct, of course, is to run away and refuse him. But how do you reject the teacher, the person in whom you’ve placed all your faith?”

[Doe] has copies of letters from other ex-members describing sexual relationships with Burton. [Doe] wrote to Goldman seeking an apology from Burton, and in a June 9, 1990, response the fellowship attorney wrote that Burton was willing to apologize if [Doe] agreed not to sue in the future. [Doe’s] charges were reported in 1993 in the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.

Bruce Levy, an ex-member who restores rare books in Grass Valley, also has discussed having a sexual relationship with Burton. “No one held a gun to my head,” said Levy in an interview with The Times, “but in a spiritual sense, he did. Under his teachings, one has to do what one doesn’t want to do in order to evolve spiritually. . . It’s the least you can do for your teacher.”

Goldman, Burton’s attorney, acknowledged in a 1995 article in the San Diego Union that the leader had sex with the senior Buzbee and at least one other male follower. Goldman said it was Burton’s policy not to make public comments, and added that “we don’t think a [sexual] relationship between a leader and a member of the congregation is abusive in and of itself.”

Good Neighbors

Despite the controversy around Burton, the fellowship enjoys a relatively comfortable coexistence with its neighbors in Oregon House, a wisp of a town populated by retirees and urban refugees. In the early years, locals were wary of the newcomers, who poured in with chain saws to clear manzanita and terraced the hills to plant grapevines. The group also raised suspicions by closing a county road that crossed its property and buying up surrounding land when it became available.

Yuba County Assessor David Brown said the fellowship has rankled some people by seeking special tax exemptions to avoid paying property taxes, which totaled $273,000 last year. When one exemption – for the Apollo museum – was denied, the fellowship took the matter to court but ultimately lost. The fellowship is exempt from state and federal income taxes as a religious organization.

“At first . . . there was a lot of anxiety about them,” said former county Supervisor John Mistler. “But they’ve worked hard on their image.”

Some civic leaders now view the fellowship and its Renaissance winery – the county’s third-largest taxpayer – as a source of pride. The group keeps a stretch of road litter-free through the state’s Adopt-a-Highway program and gives generously to the local Lions Club. “This year, they’ve offered $10,000 toward our new community center, and around here, that’s a big deal,” said Ken Eaton, a retired contractor in Oregon House. “We don’t understand them, but we live with them.”

Meanwhile, ex-members say they live with lingering effects of their time at Apollo. One woman, who has been out of the group for two years, cannot listen to Bach without feeling a chill. Another catches herself standing in a daze in the supermarket, unable to make decisions such as which brand of soap to buy.

Janja Lalich, who runs a support group for ex-cult members in Alameda and who has counseled fellowship alumni, said such “mental traumas can be devastating.”

“The real tragedy of groups like the fellowship,” she said, “is they rip off the best and brightest people in society and use them like slaves for years. When these people get out – if they get out – there’s an awful lot of pain to overcome.”

Scott Wilson of The Times library contributed to this story.

written by:
Jenifer Warren
Los Angeles Times, Capitol Bureau
Sacramento, California
jenifer.warren@latimes.com
(916) 445-8860

102. brucelevy - March 5, 2016

. In charge of the cyanide hole

My sincere apologies. I have no business telling anyone what to post.

103. Mick - March 15, 2016

Putz. I thought your business was telling anyone what not to post.

104. brucelevy - March 15, 2016

103

Only if they’re being an asshole to someone. That post wasn’t really like that. It was just uncontollable blabbering and awe at one’s own genius.

105. oh! - March 16, 2016

May we wish our viewers a happy stagnation. In the words of the depressive’s friend – “Snap out of it!”.

106. Mick - March 17, 2016

A woman goes to the Doctor for an examination and comes back home in an joyful, almost giddy mood. Her husband asks: “What makes you so happy?”
“The Doctor told me I have the breasts of a 19-year old!”
“Oh yeah? What did he say about your 40-year old ass?”
“Your name didn’t come up.”
-Jerry Lewis

107. Bares Reposting - March 18, 2016

53 FoF blog pages ago, and 5 years ago, still appropriate:

100/18. Bares Reposting – February 16, 2011

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

“It’s all very stimulating stuff in the beginning . . . ,” said a former member of the Fellowship of Friends in a 1996 Los Angeles Times article. “But there’s no doubt it’s a cult. Our lives were totally controlled.”(1)

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

Hardly. According to reports in several California newspapers, the Fellowship of Friends is a pleasure- and consumer-oriented cult. Founded in 1971 by former [fourth grade elementary] schoolteacher Robert Burton, the Fellowship of Friends believes that true spiritual awakening can only come through experiencing the finest things life has to offer: fine food, fine wine, great art, great writers, great music. In his book Self Remembering, Burton stresses “the education and discipline of the emotions, the importance of living in the present, a love of beauty, and an understanding of its capacity to create higher awareness.”(2)

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

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

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

The leadership of the Fellowship of Friends doesn’t see these constraints as brainwashing, however. “The Fellowship does not engage in brainwashing,” said Girard Haven, a member of the group’s board of directors. “We may have a charismatic leader and strong feelings about higher forces and our own spirituality, but we know what we are doing. We are not doing it blindly.”(3)

Unlike many cults, though, the Fellowship of Friends doesn’t recruit from the masses, but instead recruits mainly from groups of well-educated and well-heeled individuals. New recruits are often located after Fellowship of Friends members go to bookstores and plant Fellowship of Friends’ bookmarks in selected metaphysical books that reflect the beliefs of the cult. Prospective members who respond to the telephone number on the bookmark are invited to attend lavish dinners at expensive homes. Only after being appraised by Fellowship of Friends members can prospective recruits be invited to join the cult, whose membership includes many doctors, lawyers, artists, and musicians.

Recruiting well-heeled members certainly paid off. In the late 1990s, the Fellowship of Friends had 65 centers around the world (in late 2003, their Web site, which is translated into 10 languages, states that they now have only 30 centers) and employed approximately 500 people. The group’s overall worth in the late 1990s was estimated at $26 million, while Burton’s annual salary was at least $250,000. Many of the Fellowship of Friends’ employees work at the cult’s winery, which is located on their property in northern California. According to recent news articles, the Fellowship of Friends produces 25,000 cases of wine a year, which is reported to be of high quality.

Along with the winery, the Fellowship of Friends has its own collections of fine art and rare literature, as well as its own opera company, orchestra, theater troupe, and museum. In addition, Burton has decorated the mansion at Apollo with expensive antiques and paintings. One of Burton’s favorite sayings is, “Beauty creates its likeness in those who pursue it.”(4)

Because of all these expensive possessions, belonging to the Fellowship of Friends is naturally very costly. The cult requires members to tithe 10 percent of their incomes, while wealthy members pay much more, in special assessments, to enable the Fellowship of Friends to purchase sculpture, paintings, rare books, antiques, and other items that will “lift the spirituality” of the cult members. The annual income of the Fellowship of Friends in the mid-1990s exceeded $5 million.

However, all is not rosy for the Fellowship of Friends. In recent years, large numbers of its members have been leaving, causing a serious cash flow problem. The trouble began for the Fellowship of Friends in 1995 when a cult member sent an open letter to the membership accusing Burton of sexually seducing him. He said Burton brainwashes members into a state of “absolute submission,” allowing him to feed a “voracious appetite for sexual perversion.”(5) Following this disclosure, other male members came forward with similar accusations, including the cult’s former financial officer, who said he felt pressured to join Burton’s male harem.

“They don’t see it coming, and when it comes, they don’t know what’s happened,” said Charles Randall about Burton’s aggressive homosexual advances toward Fellowship of Friends members.(6)

Another male member of the cult who also claimed Burton aggressively pressured him into having sex said, ”I had never had a homosexual encounter before this. But he [Burton] told me it was the wish of C-influence (the group’s term for higher forces, or gods) that I have sex with him.”(7) At all-male dinners hosted by Burton, members say he has been known to boast that “one hundred boys would not be enough [for his sexual appetite].”(8)

To these charges, Burton’s attorney has responded, “We don’t think a [sexual] relationship between a leader and a member of the congregation is abusive in and of itself.”(9) However, two lawsuits filed by former Fellowship of Friends members claiming sexual abuse have been settled out of court.

Former Fellowship of Friends officials who have left the cult also aren’t kind in their evaluation of Burton and his organization. “The Fellowship is a dictatorship, a predatory dictatorship,” said Thomas Easley, an artist and former leader who left the cult after a homosexual relationship with Burton. “I should know. I was a leader.”(10)

Former Fellowship of Friends financial officer Charles Randall said, “I thought it was the one true way, but as it turns out, it was just a cult.”(11)

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

This special insight of the cult leader, incidentally, doesn’t have to be only knowledge gained through conversations with spirits, ghosts, or God. Some cults can be formed because followers believe that their leader has a special insight into how to make the world a better place. . .

Chapter 11 Notes:
1. Jenifer Warren, “Trouble Taints a Cerebral Sanctuary,” Los Angeles Times (November 4, 1996), p. A1.
2. Katherine Seligman, “Yuba Church or Cult?” San Francisco Examiner (October 12, 1997), p. 1A.
3. Ibid.
4. Warren, “Trouble Taints a Cerebral Sanctuary.”
5. Ibid.
6. Gordon Smith, “Wave of Resignations and Expulsions Following Open Letter,” San Diego Union-Tribune (March 16, 1995), p. 1.
7. Gordon Smith, “In the Name of Religion,” San Diego Union-Tribune (March 15, 1995), p. 1.
8. Seligman, “Yuba Church or Cult?”
9. Smith, “Wave of Resignations and Expulsions Following Open Letter.”
10. Seligman, “Yuba Church or Cult?”
11. Smith, “In the Name of Religion.”

Deadly Cults: The Crimes of True Believers
Robert L. Snow
Copyright © 2003
Praeger Publishers
ISBN: 0–275–98052–9

* * *

108. Bares Reposting - March 18, 2016

100/19. Bares Reposting – February 16, 2011

More excerpt from:
Deadly Cults: The Crimes of True Believers

While claims such as these may sound outlandish to many readers, a powerful part of human nature is the desire to be a unique and special individual, to be totally unlike the common man. This trait was clearly seen in the case of the cult called the Fellowship of Friends, talked about in chapter 11, in which members saw themselves, rather than spiritually dead like the common man, as an elite group who alone understood and appreciated the beauty of fine things. This desire to be a unique and special individual can often override a person’s ability to properly judge cult claims.

“People lead mediocre lives,” says Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute, talking about the Heaven’s Gate cult, “and so these leaders exploited expectations of joining an elite.”

Staff writer for the Washington Post Joel Achenbach sums up the appeal of cults this way: “Three things, all three of them as old as mankind, draw men to these groups: A shot at life after death. A special role in the universe. Someone to believe in.”
. . .

Actually, while I have talked about the most common methods of cult recruitment, there is really no method cult members won’t use if they believe it will be successful. For example, as I talked about in chapter 11, the cult called the Fellowship of Friends recruited new members by leaving their bookmarks in books that promoted the cult’s view of the world.

“The indoctrination is so complete, and the peer pressure so great,” says Joel Friedlander, a former member of the Fellowship of Friends, talked about in chapter 11, “that gradually the old you is replaced by the new you who believes all the propaganda, including the line that eternal damnation is the price of getting out.”(17)

17. Jenifer Warren, “Trouble Taints a Cerebral Sanctuary,” Los Angeles Times (November 4, 1996), p. A12.

Deadly Cults: The Crimes of True Believers
Robert L. Snow
Copyright © 2003
Praeger Publishers
ISBN: 0–275–98052–9

* * *

109. oh! - March 19, 2016

Some things I learned…
To value hard work for its own sake.
There are no weekends, holidays or retirement from one’s life’s work.

110. ton2u - March 25, 2016

111. Golden Veil - March 26, 2016

“Followers of cults are looking for easy answers.” Well, I wasn’t looking for easy answers, but after being “love bombed” while a bit lonely and in a foreign country ~ I became the member of a cult. Yes, this is a practice of The Fellowship of Friends ~ if you show the slightest interest and are someone that appears to have funds ~ or are a good looking young male ~ let’s just say that you will be highly encouraged…

112. ton2u - March 26, 2016

113. nevasayneva - March 30, 2016

Hate to get political, but when I listen to Donald Trump, there is something of the arrogance and condescension and the way he invites his audience in to a sort of space where they can look down on the rest of the world, which reminds me of how the leader of FOF used to speak to his followers. Is it weird to see that similarity?

114. James Mclemore - March 30, 2016

113. nevasayneva

Perhaps it is not that “weird” at all. Maybe we are just witnessing a different body/mind organism who also has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder and most probably is also a sociopath. What strikes me as weird is that this body/mind organism is running for the President of the United States and is having some success.

p.s. – Thanks ton2u for the Alan Watts

115. WhaleRider - April 2, 2016

Cybernetic Revolt Documented in Northern California

Oregon House, CA– “It was bound to happen sooner or later,” commented one long time follower of the Fellowship of Friends. “You can’t just go around making machines conscious without the machines eventually going off and thinking for themselves. It’s to be expected.”

For years, Robert Burton, the leader of the Fellowship of Friends, has been tirelessly at work refining and perfecting his “enhanced oral-anal spiritual learning techniques” to wake up the sleeping machines in his following, particularly the young males.

But as burton predicted, he is so good at what he does, and the awakened machines become so advanced that they start to become self-aware and self-sufficient, incredible as it may seem, and then begin to ask too many intelligent questions that burton himself is unable to adequately answer…such complex questions as, “do I really need to pay you that much money so you can interpret yak poop?” or “how do you know c-influence wants you to suck my dick?”

A few thick-headed machines still remain under burton’s control, but the vast majority who have passed through his rape factory soon realize they would be far better off without remaining subservient to sex machine who could pull the plug on them at any time.

116. Linda Jo - April 4, 2016

Found this today:

STANDING UP TO SHARON GANS a/k/a SHARON HORN

A Conversation For Former and Future Former Members
1/29/16
Play “What the Fuck Does That Mean?”

Welcome to “What the Fuck Does That Mean?” where we pose this question to certain sayings from the Sharon Gans Cult. Today’s word is “FORMATORY”

The cult would explain that: “The formatory apparatus is Ouspensky’s term for the mechanical aspect of the lower intellectual center. The natural function of this center is storage of information and its associative retrieval. The term formatory thinking Is used when this function replaces the less mechanical aspects of thinking. Formatory thinking is characterized by insensitivity to context, black and white statements or strictly agreeing or disagreeing. Repeating by rote and not taking specific circumstance into account are the main characteristics of formatory thinking.”

Example:
Student: “How do you Remember Yourself?
Gans: “You are a dummy. And you have a formatory mind. You need everything spelled out.”

Funny thing is that when you Google the word “formatory” or phrase “formatory thinking” you only get hits on the Ouspensky definition. No Wikipedia or Merriam Webster entry. Even Urban Dictionary don’t have it.

The winner is the evil genius, Sharon Gans and her diabolical use of a stupid and obscure philosophy to make herself a huge amount of money.

10 comments:

 
Anonymous – January 29, 2016 at 9:28 PM

OOOO! I love this game!!! Will you please tell me what “the NON expression of NEGATIVE emotions” means??? I’ve been dying to know!

 
Love Conquers Hate – January 30, 2016 at 7:21 AM

It means “keep your whining, misery, depression, anger, and all natural human emotions caused and/or exacerbated by being in a cult to yourself.” A close cousin is “don’t complain.”

 
Anonymous – February 2, 2016 at 7:59 AM

O.k., I think I get it now: code for “shut the fuck up”.

 
Anonymous – January 30, 2016 at 2:37 PM

“feminine influence” was always one of my favorites.

 
Tuchas – January 31, 2016 at 7:43 AM

Yo Sharon, Toots: What the fuck are “higher hydrogens”?

I love this one. How many hours did we all spend puzzling our noggins over this brilliant piece of nonsense? Let’s see if I can remember the gory details . . . “Hydrogens” are made of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen (huh? aren’t those, like amino acids?), and they have “numbers” indicating how “high” they are. Well, sure, you have to be pretty high to swallow this claptrap. So anyway a “conscious man” (sexist) or someone “self-remembering” has these higher hydrogens floating around in them somewhere (where?) and when they exhale, you know, this stuff comes out and that’s how you can tell. But can you measure or detect them? No? Um, OK, then *how* can I tell? And then Old Man Nicoll comes along to tell us that consciousness means having a ton of CO2 in your bloodstream. Yeah, well, why don’t we all just get canisters of CO2 and breathe our way to consciousness? Oh right, and if you don’t masturbate your body reabsorbs that energy (or something) and it feeds the growth of higher hydrogens so don’t masturbate. I guess you can masturbate if you’re a gal, though. But why don’t guys just get vasectomies? Then you can jerk it all day long and every last sperm cell will be absorbed into your body regardless.

One of the classic setups: a “truth” that you must accept and that there is no way to verify. But you’re supposed to verify everything for yourself! Oh dear. What’s a little cultee to do?

Here’s what it really means: “You are agreeing to subject yourself to arbitrary, confusing, and abusive humiliations based on the whims of people whose only interest in you is your willingness to be manipulated. And your money, if you got any.”

 
Tuchas – January 31, 2016 at 1:33 PM

This room has terrible vibrations, it’s a very coarse hydrogen, because you jokers aren’t working on yourselves, Bobbie Boy [Klein] would harangue us. In reality, we were sleep-deprived, terrified, and depressed. And really, really bored. After the nth discussion of the infamous Table of Hydrogens, how could we not be? We were always led to believe that we could only sort of generally approach a vague understanding of these supposedly priceless “ideas” because our level of being was too low and after all we were only in a “preparatory school.” Even if you were “in” for 10, 20, 30 years. In other words, your failure to understand eternal truths is your fault, you piece of shit. And how dare you question us, your “teachers,” who are at a higher level. A lower level can’t understand a higher level, so if what the Spider-in-Chief or any of her henchpeople do seems arbitrary, contradictory, or just plain cruel, it’s because you’re a miserable little undeveloped failure of a creature. Subhuman, really. Food for the moon. That was about the worst thing you could be accused of being. And this glorious “teaching” insists that that’s just what the “mass of humanity” is: baby food for a dead rock in space. Mulch. Literally shit.

Dear people still in school: Is this what you really want to believe about the world? Does this sound like a vision for “saving humanity”? Or does it sound more like fascism? We’re not killing humans if we’ve defined these others as something less than human: that’s the justification of ethnic cleansers the world over.

School holds out the carrot of an almost impossible “evolution” while beating its students with the big stick of the “ideas,” including those quizzical “hydrogens.” You are special because you’re in school, but you’re a shit because your level of being is so disgraceful. That’s the hook: you’re special and you’re a disgrace. Only we will tell it like it is. Everything that anybody else says is a lie, is sleep. If you object, it’s simply proof that we’re right about you.

 
Anonymous – February 2, 2016 at 7:57 AM

“Food for the moon” … I’d forgotten about this one. Food for the moon, that was a good one, too. I clearly remember the first time our “teachers” broached the moon food idea; I stood to comment, waited like a good doobie to be called on (God forbid one should speak without the proper permission from a higher being) and said, “I can’t tell you how ridiculous this sounds to me.” The higher beings smiled in that condescending manner: the one that tells you, “You haven’t been doing the work long enough, dear. One day you will understand that you are only food for the moon — or ‘school’ (conveniently).”

 
GSR [Gentle Souls’ Revolution] February 24, 2016

Dear Tuchas – You are hilarious! Would you please add your own blog to the anti-school blogosphere??? Don’t you want to be on team-evil with us??? IT would be so much fun! At least … I’m having fun.😉

 
Love Conquers Hate – January 31, 2016 at 2:15 PM

“In other words, your failure to understand eternal truths is your fault, you piece of shit. And how dare you question us, your “teachers,” who are at a higher level.” I would add, the failure to understand complete bullshit is your fault.

 
Etc.

http://neverfeartohatetheodious.blogspot.com/2016/01/play-what-fuck-does-that-mean.html

117. brucelevy - April 14, 2016
118. Tim Campion - April 16, 2016

Ten years ago, someone posting as the Esoteric Sheik of Inner Confusion wrote this report after attending a Fellowship of Friends introductory meeting in London. Sheik’s post launched the discussion that continues here today.

119. Ron aka Renald - April 25, 2016

Re 115 – Whalerider – I don´t know if this applies to you or not but IF after 20, 25, 30 years or so the mere mention of the name Robert Earl Burton brings up thoughts of anger or hate it might be just as good an idea to rejoin the fof or some such group and give it another shot.
In any event here is a link for an interview with Tom Campbell where he attempts to describe how to deal with fear, beliefs and ego. Yes, it has all been said before hundreds of times but sometimes that is what it takes.

120. WhaleRider - April 25, 2016

@Ron aka Renald

Thank you for your concern for my well being, I appreciate it.

I don’t think you really understand what you are asking of me.

Suggesting that an individual such as myself who identifies themselves as a cult survivor rejoin the FOF cult or another…is the equivalent of asking IF a freed slave who has escaped the bonds of slavery still feels anger or hatred for their master or the institution of slavery-25, 30, or 40 years later, then they should rejoin their master or find another one in order to rid themselves of the feelings…meaning substitute those “bad” feelings for the more “familiar” feelings of subjugation, self hatred and self denial…and thus enable the inhuman institution of slavery to continue and free the slave owner from moral culpability.

No thank you, I’d rather not. I’m ok with having access to all my feelings, including the feelings I have around this subject.

Anyway, the “teaser” to the above link has to do with fear, not the moral outrage I continue to feel about cults and cult leaders. I do not fear burton; I fear that without an emotionally charged counter narrative, he will do more damage to others like myself.

IF your intention in reaching out to me is of genuine altruism..instead of merely seeking validation for your own insecurites, you might rather pose the leading question: Have I learned anything about my experience in the FOF?

What I have learned is this: Treat others as you would have them treat you.

In other words, my friend, be conscious not only of yourself and your own feelings, but also take into account the feelings of others. That did not come from burton; it is the antithesis of burton and all that his cult following represent.

And treating others as I would have them treat me most certainly doesn’t include rejoining a cult or joining any other such group and be treated like an object or megalomaniac’s narcissistic plaything, nor allow myself to be manipulated to treat others in the same unforgivable manner.

BTW, in my humble opinion, the meaning of life is to live, and to live fully, which means that if I value life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness so highly as an ideal, then living by the Golden Rule necessitates that when acting in my own self-interest, I also take into account the self-interest of others…instead of depriving them of what I value…or in the case of a cult, exploiting them by poisoning the well and then selling them water.

121. Mick - April 25, 2016

This is the worst place of all to present the terrible idea of joining or rejoining FoF.

122. nevasayneva - April 28, 2016

well its the end of the month, if you are thinking about rejoining, about now is when FOF members write their checks for membership anyway. LOL, I can’t imagine it for myself, well, I suppose I could imagine it, so that is why I am not doing it. I have a very good friend who stayed in. Not that we discuss this much, but we sort of maintain the polite fiction that I leaned many valuable lessons in the FOF and that it was in some way or other a profitable or growth experience. I really don’t think so, but I have never explicitly told my friend that. I guess I do not want to be too strongly negative about it, it is their religious belief- so I don’t mess with that. Also they are heading into v old-timey now, >20 years, although a lot of Oregon House FOF members are there. I think its hard to leave after 20 years.

123. coulson - April 28, 2016

122. nevasayneva

” I guess I do not want to be too strongly negative about it, it is their religious belief- so I don’t mess with that.”

it sounds like you may not feel very strongly about it, which is a valid attitude and opinion. but many others do feel strongly about it. sometimes a friendship is a bit more meaningful and authentic when you say something – say what you feel. no negativity needed, just the truth, and an expression of your understanding.

“I think its hard to leave after 20 years.”

i don’t know about that. It seems that if something like this is repeated often enough, people begin to believe it. another view is that it’s very easy to leave, or at least somewhat less painful than is usually supposed, and that the experience of leaving will be the best thing that has ever happened to that person.

the late Wayne Dyer described it as the “morning and afternoon of your life.” It may seem like it’s late, but you can get a lot done in the afternoon, even a late afternoon. Join a meetup.com group, or start your own meetup group. we’re programmed to believe that we’re trapped in the FOF, but there are numerous healthy and beneficial possibilities and opportunities.

120. whalerider
beautiful answer

124. fofblogmoderator - May 1, 2016

Post #123 is a new contributor

125. Ames Gilbert - May 2, 2016

Some genuinely new thoughts on the nature of reality, if that kind of thing still interests you. Well worth the read, IMHO!
http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/04/the-illusion-of-reality/479559/

If the link doesn’t work, search using the terms, “Illusion of Reality Atlantic magazine”…

126. ton2u - May 5, 2016

re: the link @ 125

If this were “news” – that is, something I didn’t know (albeit in my own way, without the ‘geek speak’) – I would say after reading this; the good news is I’m not a machine… the bad news is that I need an outside ‘authority’ to tell me so.

Unfortunately for those who live under the spell of burtonism, those who have been told and believe that they are ‘machines’ – the “news” delivered in this link with appropriate ‘scientific authority,’ can’t come too soon…. although I doubt any “true believer” in burtonism will buy it.

127. WhaleRider - May 6, 2016

I came across this in my reading today, about the origins of the meme: Man is a machine…

“One of the original founders of biophysics in Berlin, Ernst von Brücke brought the challenge of this movement to Vienna, where he inaugurated its first physiological laboratory in 1849. He considered all nervous functions, including brain functioning, to be a reflex action whereby incoming excitation traveled along sensory nerves and was discharged by motor nerves. Psychic events were the side-effects of reflex action and never caused biological events in themselves. Brücke’s model had no room for human agency or free will. Man was a reflex-driven, churning machine.

~”Revolution in Mind“, by George Makari, Harper Collins, 2008.

Gurdjieff was born around 1866 or 1877, Ouspensky was born in 1878. As young men, the idea that man is a “stimulus-response machine” would have been around for 50 years already and was a scientific challenge to religious dogma.

It was not their idea, (nor burton’s) and I seriously challenge G’s assertion that the idea originated from some secret society in the boonies. Eastern thought and philosophy regards man not as a machine but as vessel inhabited by unseen spirits and demons or as a “slave” to the senses in need of a “master”, in order to become a master himself. How could a machine be other than a machine?

“Man is a machine” with no will was a contemporary idea which generated fears in superstitious spiritualists of the era that G exploited. (“Ok, so you are a machine, you don’t have a soul, you have no conscious control over yourself, but I can help you get control and grow a soul, for a price. But you must allow me to control you.”)

Also the idea that man operated his life for the most part in a suggestible, “hypnotic state” of sleep was a contemporary (and frightening) idea during their lifetimes as well, since in the middle of the 1800’s and later hypnosis was widely practiced and was the progenitor of the modern study of psychology.

“All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours.”

~Aldous Huxley

128. brucelevy - May 7, 2016
129. Out of Time - May 16, 2016

Who died?

130. Tim Campion - May 16, 2016

129. Out of Time

Most everyone.

(Perhaps you could be more specific.)

131. Out of Time - May 16, 2016

I don’t know why I wrote this. I don’t know why I check this blog. I don’t know anybody here (by their tag names, at least). And yet, I spent almost twenty hellish years of my life in the FOF and am a fairly recent escapee. The posts I do read don’t seem to reflect what I saw–that Dorian is really the air apparent, or that Leonid comes to tea with his dog dressed as a giraffe, for example. I’m struggling into a new life, and I think I look at this blog to see that something has changed–that something has stopped. When I left, it seemed there couldn’t be one more day of the hideousness that passed for a teaching. It was only after leaving that I verified how truly evil that place was. I’m hoping to hear there’s been an end to it, but I guess that is wishful thinking on steroids.

132. Out of Time - May 16, 2016

In the previous post, maybe “air” was freudian for “heir”

133. Mind Out of Rhyme - May 16, 2016

Tell us about Dorian…?

134. Tim Campion - May 16, 2016

Out of Time,

I apologize for my flippant remark above. (Unfortunately, one of many I’ve made on this blog.)

Whatever the current form of the Fellowship (and there are rumors of major changes afoot), it is important to understand that most here “struggled into a new life” after “losing the school.” And many more have never looked back.

135. Out of Time - May 17, 2016

Mind out of Rhyme,

When Asaf was unable to return to the US, Dorian stepped in to fill his Gucci shoes. He was at every single event of R’s, giving fodder for the empty sham called “teaching.” He also made decisions as to how things were run, and who ran them. Asaf was at none of these events (dinners, teas, etc.). For awhile, he and his wife, Ansley, sat front-row center at meetings, then they stood near the back, then they sort of disappeared. Asaf installed himself into several “octaves,” including Apollo Arts, where he basically ran things. Then he seemed to have come up with the on-line school for something to do. At events, R hinted many times that Dorian would be taking over for him. Dorian’s wedding seemed to many to actually be a coronation.

Tim Campion,

I don’t take your comment as flippant at all. I think we all have died, at least a part of us. I hope you’re right that some change is “afoot,” but I won’t hold my breath. And I no longer believe the egoist assessment from R that any of us “lost the school.” The school lost us, thank God, and however difficult it is out here, it isn’t dark and it isn’t dirty.

136. Mind Out of Rhyme - May 17, 2016

Thanks Out of Time for the update. What kind of teaching does this Dorian offer? Is the sequence still the thing? Do people consider Dorian conscious based on his speaking? Is there a radiance? Is there even a pinkish hue?

Can you give us a view into the weird world of make believe? It’s rather boring out here in reality most of the time.

137. Out of Time - May 17, 2016

Dorian’s teaching is accelerated dribble without the charisma. Most people walk out of his meetings without a clue of what he’s talking about, but they “go with the program” anyway. After all, this is the next guy in line, the next guy to steal all they have. And he’s speaking to their “higher centers” who DO know, they’re just not telling. A glow? Puke green would be the closest to describe it.

More on the weird world to come…

138. Mind Out of Rhyme - May 17, 2016

Out of Time, any further insights you have to offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

139. WhaleRider - May 25, 2016

Rare Mental Disease Found In Cult

Oregon House, CA (USA)- An extremely rare form of a psychiatric illness known as Cotard’s Syndrome was recently diagnosed in an undisclosed member of Fellowship of Friends/Pathways to Presence cult.

Cotard’s Syndrome, or Walking Corpse Syndrome, was first described by (and later named after) French Neurologist Jules Cotard in 1880, Psychology Today reported. He described the condition as Le délire des négations (“The Delirium of Negation”).

Cotard had a patient nicknamed Mademoiselle X who claimed she was missing internal organs, including a brain, heart and intestines, was preoccupied with death, and believed she was eternally damned. The syndrome is considered extremely rare, occurring in less than 0.57 percent of the population. Even more rare are those with syndrome who entertain the delusion they are immortal.

The delusion of negation is the central symptom in the syndrome. The patient affected with this mental illness usually denies their existence or the existence of a certain body part, or the existence of a portion of their body. It withdraws the afflicted person from other people, which includes being unable to take care of their own personal hygiene or physical health. The delusion of negation of self prevents the patient from making sense of external reality, producing a distorted view of the external world.

When this constellation of symptoms was compared to a certain individual’s distorted view of reality, along with his claims of immortality, his preoccupation with apocalyptic death, institution of various negation exercises, his unwillingness to do his own laundry, and his admission that he is missing a conscience, the match was perfect.

Since this individual had been using various prescribed drugs for many years to cope with his many delusions, it came as no shock that one study concluded that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is more effective in treating the illness than pharmacotherapy.

140. Golden Veil - May 26, 2016

139. Whalerider

This is clearly a brilliant diagnosis of the “Teacher,” overlord of a diminutive cult, The Fellowship of Friends, aka Pathways of Presence.

I see that Cotard actually existed!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Cotard

141. Jomo Piñata - May 27, 2016

“A considerable percentage of the people we meet on the street are people who are empty inside, that is, they are actually already dead. It is fortunate for us that we do not see and do not know it. If we knew what a number of people are actually dead and what a number of these dead people govern our lives, we should go mad with horror.” — G.I. Gurdjieff

“Cotard’s Syndrome by Proxy”?

142. ton2u - May 27, 2016

this ‘walking corpse’ syndrome reminds me of the zombie craze in ‘pop’ culture – of course there are underlying meanings and implications… in this case “the monster acts as a metaphor… taking material culture with the gospel of narcissism and ‘having it all’ to a ‘logical’ conclusion of cannibalism, entropy, self-consumption….”

and the end can’t come too soon… one has to wonder at this late stage of the charade, how much longer will burton continue to draw breath plaguing the planet ?

143. ton2u - May 27, 2016

re: “…going mad with horror…”

apparently the new O.S. on my computer takes some getting used to… in the previous post, I meant to link here:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/…/Epidemic-of-the-Living-Dead-Zombies-as-Metaphor

Epidemic of the Living Dead: Zombies as Metaphor Richard Bamattre Abstract: Horror films offer monsters as metaphors for. social fears, ranging from external …

144. Renald 1989 - 2002 - May 28, 2016

This is a playlist for the book ´ The Nature of Personal Reality´, a Jane Roberts book read by Tim Hart Hart.

Having returned to it after over four decades of experiences I found the contents to be totally new to me in unimaginable ways. That alone makes it worth checking out.

Moreover what I discovered here were tons of unexpected explanations as to just what the heck happened with the FOF and how and of course that includes the various aspects of it including
its probable evolution.

Here is the link and you will find the entire playlist at the top left corner for easy navigation:

145. fofblogmoderator - May 30, 2016

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