Introduction


Presented in reverse chronology, this history stretches from the present back to the Fellowship's 1970 founding, and beyond.
(See "Blog Archive" in the sidebar below.) It draws from many sources, including The Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the former Fellowship of Friends wiki project, cult education and awareness sites, news archives, and from the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

The portrait that emerges stands in stark contrast to sanitized versions presented on the Fellowship's array of
alluring websites, and on derivative sites created by Burton's now-estranged
disciple, Asaf Braverman.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Should I stay or should I go? Why breaking with the Fellowship is hard to do.


In the 1970s, "Wachet auf" (literally "wake up") was used as a form of reveille at the Fellowship's "Lincoln Lodge."

"Insider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, May 5, 2017:
I have also been interested in...why so many people remain in the Fellowship when they freely admit they get nothing from Robert’s “teaching” or from being around him. Here’s what I came up with (in no particular order):
Some are employed by the Fellowship and are not ready, or are too old, to replace that income.

Some are not ready to risk losing some or all of their friends. Even if they keep a few, they will probably be excluded from larger gatherings, like at Christmas or Thanksgiving.

Some (quite a few, really) now have their own children in the Fellowship.

Some can’t live with having people think about them (ex-members who have lost all “spiritual” possibilities) the way they used to, or currently, think about members who left.

Some have businesses (housekeeping, outdoor work, carpentry) that might suffer if they lose member support.

Some are 60+ years old and pay so little (compared to their earlier years), that it can be thought of, not as a “teaching payment,” but a modest membership fee to the local country club.

Some want to stick around to see what finally happens to Robert and the Fellowship.

Some imagine that they would have to sell their home and move away from OH, since OH is “Fellowship territory.”

Some (especially the “kids”) find Apollo a fun place to hang out when they come home on vacation. (And they only have to pay $40/mo for the first 2 years, maybe longer if they are friends with Rowena, Dorian or Sasha.)

Some are afraid of the unknown, including what they might come to see once removed from Robert and the FoF.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Living presence, dying conscience

[ed. - With the expulsion of Asaf Braverman (creator of the "Ark in Time" network) the Fellowship has resumed publishing "Living Presence Monthly," suspended two years ago when Braverman's "experiment" began.

While Ms. Taylor's post quoting Jesus and Al Ghazali speaks of expanding the heart, her behaviors reported elsewhere suggest an hypocrisy that has been common in Fellowship of Friends leadership since its inception. Rowena's more clay-footed pursuits have allegedly included the personal procurement of young Russian men for Burton's harem, and ambitious efforts (along with Stephen Dambeck) to wrest control of the organization.]

Fellowship of Friends cult newsletter Living Presence Monthly

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Fellowship of Friends (alone) teaches "the greatest miracle in the universe"

[ed. - The Fellowship of Friends once again assumes a disguise ("Fourth Way School - Northern California") to recruit unsuspecting spiritual seekers. The Fellowship is well-known in Northern California, and not necessarily in a good way. Historically, Robert Burton's name would not be shared with prospective members, but the Introductory Meeting actors (and they are indeed actors) would simply state "we have a conscious teacher."

Claims that the Fellowship is the present-day manifestation of a sacred "esoteric tradition" is fantasy, an imagined mantle of legitimacy for Burton's endlessly "evolving" and increasingly bizarre "teaching." The Fellowship long ago severed the (at best) tenuous link it had to the Fourth Way lineage of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.]


Fellowship of Friends-Fourth Way cult, Robert Earl Burton, R. E. Burton, recruiting

You are invited to join us on Saturday March 25, at 10:30 for a 1 hour introduction to the Fourth Way, a system of inner development based on the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and Peter Ouspensky. We will discuss the practice of being present and the possibility of Man’s Psychological Evolution. This meeting is open to the public but you must call to reserve a space (530) 701-8842.

“To reach divine presence is the greatest miracle in the universe; every esoteric tradition offers its unique expression of this ultimate truth.”

Fellowship of Friends - Fourth Way School Northern California Facebook recruiting site
Fellowship of Friends-designated "conscious beings": G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, Rodney Collin, and Alex Horn

Fourth Way School - Northern California

Community

We are students of the Fourth Way living in Northern California. Our school is practical in nature and designed to produce consciousness in its members.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The dominant Fellowship of Friends myth


Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton)
Robert Earl Burton in the early 1970s
"jomopinata" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, February 6, 2017:
[ed. - Responding to "Crossroads". Links added.]

The dominant myth is that the Fellowship was something true and beautiful but became corrupted. I understand the appeal of that myth and bought into it myself at one time. My experience is that a more thorough and searching look yields a huge trove of historical data that just doesn’t square with that account, even though that account seems at least initially to be true. The appeal to idealism and aesthetics is what helped to hook us into something which looked glorious and appealed to our narcissism, reflected back to us something we wanted to believe about ourselves. I think this is true of Burton also: a successful elementary school teacher who was forced to resign from his job because, according to him, there were claims that he “hugged the kids too much.” He had the misfortune to be picked up hitchhiking by Alexander Horn [ed. - or, in another account, "a doctor"], who abused virtually everyone with whom he came into contact, and then to have an auto accident in Modesto in 1968 in which he apparently suffered brain damage that led to “acquired sociopathy.” On New Year’s Eve 1969-70 he met Bonita, who was tripping on mescaline while alcohol further loosened his inhibitions, and he manipulated her relentlessly into believing that he was a deeply mysterious higher being. Soon he monopolized her time, even though she was married and a mother with young children, all the while extracting money from her. Think about it. It’s dishonorable by any moral standard. Within about eighteen months he seduced her and immediately thereafter told lies about it (claiming celibacy) which were published in the Via Del Sol newsletter Meg Gwynne (later called Stella Wirk) had taken to publish regularly. Once a small core group was established, deliberate efforts were undertaken to recruit new members who were friends and acquaintances of current members. (“How would you like to change your life?” recruits such as Doris Mack were asked.) Contemporaneous documents from 1971 indicate that the group could only be reached “by invitation.” A concerted effort was made to recruit wealthy professionals, such as physicians, because the group needed them to provide a veneer of respectability, as a means to obtain money. Burton himself was buying gold coins. He pronounced himself “The Avatar of the Age” and announced that young men could avoid the draft (during the Vietnam War) by becoming ministers in his church. Pretty sweet deal, eh? During this time a family of four had become involved with the group and then left. Shortly thereafter the mother of the family committed suicide, leaving a suicide note which talked about Burton and the school. Burton cautioned members not to help anyone who was suicidal, because “they will drag you down and they will strangle you just as some drowning people drown someone who tries to help them.” He remarked, on a piece of paper used to communicate during his “period of silence,” that “it is good when weak students leave as they are weight; it used to bother me but now it’s like a useless object being gone.” Think about it. Don’t help suicidal people. People who are weak students are like useless objects. You can’t manipulate them as effectively. Good, true, and noble. Deeply spiritual. 1971. Another person who left in 1971 told me that during the “period of silence” Burton used to blow kisses to people. He indicated that Burton was apparently envious of this person’s influence within the group, and when Burton blew him kisses “they were contemptuous.” Good, true, and noble. 1971. The person further reflected that his take on Burton was that he was sociopathic. After this person left, Meg Gwynne’s Via Del Sol Journal included a question posed to Burton about why this person left. Burton’s answer was, “He cannot take responsibility.” Knowing what you now know about Burton, reflect on that explanation and let me know how that sits with you. Later the gold coin octave yielded to the purchase, not only of the land in Oregon House, but of a Cessna aircraft. Understand, Burton went, in the span of less than two years, from a part-time tennis instructor and substitute teacher in Emeryville , who lived at home with his mom and didn’t have decent wheels, to a guy who lived in a new Volkswagen bus and who was being flown between LA and Northern California to “teach.” A young male student had the job of flying him back and forth. At least one student walked in on Burton and caught him in flagrante delicto with the pilot. This is 1972, the same year that Burton offered an account, at a meeting either in Oakland or Los Angeles, of how he slit the throat of a goat and the sound the goat made. Good, true, and noble. Many people don’t know that Burton renewed his California public elementary teaching credential in 1975. If you are the Avatar of the Age, the torch having been passed to you upon Meher Baba’s death, what do you need with a license to teach elementary school? The natural explanation is, he thought the scam might fall apart, and he might have to go back to teaching elementary school. I could go on and on but I’m not sure for my purposes it’s necessary. Many people take the dominant myth as a given. But a little digging shows that it’s just bullshit. It’s what people want to believe. But it’s false.

"jomopinata" added:
Most of us here did choose The 4th Way in our Search for The Miraculous, The Mystery School. We “found Robert’s School” which was based on the Teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. Many of us shared the same sense of miracle when we “found the School.” Here’s the difficulty with this piece of the account: it states that we chose, but it leaves out the context of the choice. First, many people found a bookmark. Those bookmarks illicitly harvested the reader’s engagement with a book; engagement with a book can be a very powerful thing. The bookmarks strongly implied a connection with the book’s authors when there was no such connection. Most of us assumed the connection. I remember asking, “when do we learn the movements?” And that sense of miracle? It was engineered. Did you know that the FOF registered a copyright on the prospective student meetings as a dramatic work? That’s right. You thought they were meetings, but in fact it was a performance with you as the audience. The target. The mark. That “studied indifference” about whether or not you joined? It was part of the act and it was designed to intensify your desire for acceptance. You too could become a member of the elite, through your own efforts and the payment of regular “donations” (how do you like that oxymoron, “compulsory donations”). Those weird coincidences? That’s proof the angels are working with the School and that you are on the way. If you lose the School, better for you if you had not been born. Would you like a Milano biscuit?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Fellowship of Friends/Living Presence/Fourth Way/Gurdjieff-Ouspensky/Ancient Wisdom/Esoteric/(Whatever) School on the internet

Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends cult logo
[ed. - To lure seekers from other spiritual traditions, and to mitigate the effects of negative publicity, the Fellowship of Friends continually re-brands itself. Recruiting sites proliferate under a myriad of titles and themes. The websites below are generally grouped according to their primary target market.

Listed at the bottom are sites critical of Robert Burton and the Fellowship. Updated May, 2017.]



ARGENTINA
Recuerdo de sí (Unofficial) (Spanish)
Fellowship of Friends - Centro de Buenos Aires (Facebook) (Spanish)
Mystery and Civilizations (Unofficial) (Inactive)
BRAZIL
PRESENÇA DIVINA (Portuguese) (Inactive)
Centro Sao Paolo on Google + (Portuguese) (Inactive)
Living Presence (Portuguese)
CANADA
Fourth Way School - Toronto (Facebook) (English)
CHILE
Living Presence Santiago (Facebook) (Spanish)
CHINA
[ed. - The following Fellowship sites are managed by Walther Sell.]
The Fourth Way and Esoteric Traditions (Chinese)
The Fourth Way and Esoteric Traditions (English and Chinese)
The Great Way: Journey to the West (English and Chinese)
Journey to the West (Facebook) (English)
The Secret of the Golden Flower (English)
The Taoist I Ching
FRANCE
Rappel de Soi - Paris (Facebook) (French) (Inactive)
Living Presence (French)
GERMANY
Der Vierte Weg Deutschland (Facebook) (German)
Living Presence (German)
GREECE
Fourth Way School - Athens (Facebook) (Greek)
The Art of Divine Presence (Greek)
HUNGARY
A JELENLÉT MŰVÉSZETE (Hungarian) (Inactive)
Robert Earl Burton: Önemlékezés Út az öröklétbe (Hungarian) (Inactive)
INDIA
Fourth Way School - India (Facebook) (English)
Fourth Way School - Surat (Facebook) (Gujarati and English)
ISRAEL
BeingPresent.org (Hebrew)
Fellowship of Friends (Facebook) | בית ספר של (English and Hebrew)
Jerusalem of the soul (Facebook) (English and Hebrew) (Inactive)
ITALY
Living Presence (Italian)
Scuola di Quarta Via - Gurdjieff Ouspensky (Facebook) (Italian)
JAPAN
Self Remembering | 自己想起 Japan (Facebook) (Japanese)
Symbols of Presence in the Japanese Culture (English and Japanese)
The Fourth Way and Esoteric Traditions | グルジェフ「第四の道」と「秘教的な伝統」 (Facebook) (Japanese)
MEXICO
Escuela del Cuarto Camino - Monterrey (Facebook) (Spanish)
Fellowship of Friends Tijuana-San Diego (Facebook) (Spanish) (Inactive)
Fraternidad de Amigos Monterrey (Facebook) (Spanish)
Living Presence (Spanish)
Mesoarte Data Base for Prehispanic Art (Facebook) (also on Ning) (English and Spanish)
Recordandonos (Spanish) (Inactive)
THE NETHERLANDS
Amsterdam Being Present Meetup (English)
Living Presence - Amsterdam (Dutch) (Inactive)
PORTUGAL
Living Presence (Portuguese)
ROMANIA
Fourth Way School - Bucharest (Facebook) (Romanian)

Living Presence (Romanian)
RUSSIA
Esoteric School (Russian)

Fourth Way School | Школа Четвертого пути (Facebook) (Russian)

IKIRU a theater of awakening (Facebook) (Russian) (Inactive?)

Living Presence (Russian)

Онлайн школа четвертого пути: четвертый путь - система, теория, практика (Russian)

Pathway to Presence (Russian)
SPAIN
Fellowship of Friends - Centro de España (Facebook) (Spanish)
Living Presence (Spanish)
TURKEY
Dördüncü Yol Okulu - Fourth Way School (Facebook) (Turkish)

Dördüncü Yol Okulu Türkiye (Instagram) (Turkish)

Dördüncü Yol Türkiye (Twitter) (Turkish)
UKRAINE
Школа Четвёртого Пути, Киев - Fourth Way School Kiev (Facebook) (Russian)
UNITED KINGDOM
Living Presence London (Facebook) (English)
Living Presence (Twitter) (English)
UNITED STATES
Fellowship of Friends (Google +) (English)

Fourth Way School - Northern California (Facebook) (English)

4th Way Tweets (Twitter) (English)

Living Presence (English)

Living Presence Monthly (English)

Living Presence (Facebook) (English)
livingpresence44 (Instagram) (English)
Propylaia (Inner Circle Squared) (The Fellowship of Friends member portal)

Robert's TweetHearts (Twitter) (Robert Earl Burton's Twitter page) (English)

The Art of Divine Presence (English)

The Fellowship of Friends Apollo University (English) (Inactive?)

The Fourth Way (Pinterest) (Julian Branston's site) (English) (Inactive)

The Fourth Way (Google +) (William Page's site) (English)

The 4th Way - Gurdjieff - Ouspensky (Facebook) (English) (Public discussion, exploited by Fellowship recruiters)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Former Yuba County Supervisor Hal Stocker issues "report card" on successor Randy Fletcher

Yuba County Supervisor Randy Fletcher with Fellowship of Friends President Greg Holman and Charles Sharp

[ed. - Former long-time Yuba County 5th District Supervisor Hal Stocker was defeated in 2014 by Randy Fletcher. Fellowship of Friends members organized a vigorous campaign against Stocker, including a pro-Fletcher get-out-the-vote effort that was reportedly encouraged by Fellowship leader Robert Burton. At the time, this blog raised questions of improper use of church facilities and resources for political campaigning, including Robert Burton using official church gatherings to endorse a political candidate, a violation of the IRS tax code.]
Hal Stocker's Letter to the Editor of the Territorial Dispatch, January 20, 2017:
Report Card

Well, it's been a couple of years since Randy Fletcher was elected Yuba County supervisor to serve the fifth district (mainly foothills), so it's about time for an evaluation to see if we are getting our money's worth. Let's start by looking at his campaign promises, to see how well he is fulfilling them:

1 . Build a dam on New York Flat Road

2 "Eliminate all county building and planning fees."

3. Increase "interest income". (The county has no idea what this means.)

4. "I will bring back the use of non-violent inmates to clear fire lines, to clear road-sides..." (This was already being done by the Yuba Fire Safe Council)

5 "Expand ambulance service to foothills" (After a study, a supervisor recommended "no change.").

So, how well did Randy fulfill this ambitious agenda???

It looks like he struck out...completely....according to the record, as I make it out. I haven't seen any sign of action on any of those items...and, just as well, since it was a weird list, in my opinion.

So, if Randy has not been working on "his list," what has he been doing?

My main concern is how hard he is working for the people who mainly financed his campaign, i.e. the large land-owner- developer, and would-be-developer (inside and outside of Yuba County). It is clear he has been bought off by people who expect to make money by favorable supervisors' decisions

In this regard, Randy's main effort so far has been the attempt to ramrod the "cluster housing" project in the upper foothills, with virtually no public notice or input. At a supervisor's meeting on July 21, 2015, Fletcher put his blessing on the cluster idea and let the staff know he wanted it done his way and SOON, and he thanked certain Fellowshippers ---(from the Fellowship of Friends) for their help in the process.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog humor

"J.D." posted on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 26, 2016:
Fellowship of Friends founder Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton) models "Self Rembering" vest
"John Harmer" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, December 28, 2016:
[Robert Burton] Marketing the SR ™ range of casual wear. Once you don this stylish vest,
you will find yourself SelfRemembering with no effort at all. 🙂

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Alex Horn emerges from the shadows

Alex Horn, abusive cult leader, Robert Earl Burton's teacher, Fellowship of Friends lineage
Alex Horn, Robert Earl Burton's mentor

[ed. - On the Greater Fellowship site, Jim E. points out the new Fourth Way School - Northern California Facebook page. Jim notes that Alex Horn has emerged from the shadows to take his place in the masthead alongside George Gurdjieff, Peter Ouspensky, and Rodney Collin, an apparent promotion for Mr. Horn.

Within this blog are many discussions of Alex Horn, the controversial "45th of 44" angels guiding The Fellowship of Friends.

The first Facebook post on December 1st states, "An esoteric school is an ark in time." This might be a subtle attempt to reclaim the Ark in Time title from Asaf Braverman's collection of websites. Then again, it may be an endorsement of Asaf's new "school"!]

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A 21st century facelift for the tired old Fourth Way

Former Robert Burton disciple, now Fourth Way cult leader Asaf Braverman be period sales pitch
Above, detail from Asaf Braverman's Gurdjieff - Becoming Conscious Facebook page, showing Braverman on the threshold!

[ed. - As of November 2016, Robert Burton has personally excommunicated Asaf Braverman from The Fellowship of Friends. While he boldly adopts the mantle of Fourth Way teacher, Braverman's  autobiography acknowledges the important role of his predecessors, Alexander Francis Horn and (Braverman's own spiritual guide) Robert Earl Burton, both arguably sociopaths. Having joined the Fellowship at a young age, and followed Burton for twenty years, Braverman is clearly incapable of recognizing the taint of this corrupt lineage, and the unscrupulous and oppressive indoctrination system that has governed his life. Borrowing Burton's well-worn metaphor, Braverman is launching his own "ark."  Below are several websites that are serving to draw unsuspecting "marks" to this new Fourth Way School.]
Ark in Time Network (arkintime.com)

Ark in Time (Twitter)

asafbraverman.com

Asaf Braverman (Flickr)

Asaf Braverman (YouTube)

Be. 4th Way Tweets (Twitter)

Be Period Italia (Google +) (Inactive)

Fourth Way School/Be Community (beperiod.com)

Gurdjieff (ggurdjieff.com)

Gurdjieff - Becoming Conscious (Facebook)

Quarta Via Oggi (Inactive)

Fellowship of Friends cult leader Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton), Asaf Braverman's teacher
Portrait of Robert Earl Burton from Braverman's Be.

Archived copies of some of Braverman's now-defunct "Pillar" websites:
Awakening

Consciousness

Know Thyself

Mysticism

Ouspensky

Spirituality

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Actually, Let’s Not Be Present

WTF??? Robert Earl Burton's Fellowship of Friends be present living presence cult

[ed. - Below, WhaleRider quotes and comments upon Ruth Whippman's New York Times article "Actually, Let's Not Be Present."  Whippman writes,
Americans now spend an estimated $4 billion each year on “mindfulness products.” “Living in the Moment” has monetized its folksy charm into a multibillion-dollar spiritual industrial complex."

"WhaleRider" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 29, 2016:
Actually, Let’s Not Be Present [excerpts]
“What differentiates humans from animals is exactly this ability to step mentally outside of whatever is happening to us right now, and to assign it context and significance.
(For if one does not in such a cult as the FOF, the cult leader assigns context, significance and most importantly, meaning to events for the follower.)
"Our happiness does not come so much from our experiences themselves, but from the stories we tell ourselves that make them matter.
"But still, the advice to be more mindful often contains a hefty scoop of moralizing smugness, a kind of “moment-shaming” for the distractible, like a stern teacher scolding us for failing to concentrate in class.
(“Moment-shaming”, AKA photographing.)
"The implication is that by neglecting to live in the moment we are ungrateful and unspontaneous, we are wasting our lives, and therefore if we are unhappy, we really have only ourselves to blame.”
(The tendency of children to unconsciously blame themselves rather than confront abusive caregivers upon whom they are dependent is inherant in the father/children framework often used to describe the dependent guru/follower relationship, thus enabling the exploitive and sadistic guru to abuse his followers without scrutiny.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/26/opinion/sunday/actually-lets-not-be-in-the-moment.html

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Due diligence before making a leap of faith

Beware of false prophets...
[ed. - Ames poses questions that likely many of us wished we had asked prior to joining The Fellowship of Friends. "The Fellowship of Friends 'come-on' " to which Ames refers is appended at the end of his post.]

"Ames Gilbert" wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 15, 2016:
I posted this list of questions in 2007. In view of Asaf’s continuing efforts to establish himself as a teacher, not to mention the dozens of new Esoteric Startups™ that spring up every year, I think that such questions are still relevant!

=====================================

Dear all,

The Fellowship of Friends “come–on” (#23-144, or thereabouts) stimulates me to offer a list of questions that a prospective student should ask, in one form or another, before joining. I started this list because a friend who has been through the Fellowship experience joined another 4th Way group (started by an ex–FoF student!) and had some second thoughts, and asked for input.

I’d say that any prospective student owes it to his or her self to not only get answers (and write them down, in detail, for future reference), but to have someone less partial go over the answers with them. Ideally, some one who joined would also have a “buddy” to check in with after agreed periods of time to see if pre–stated aims and directions were being adhered to, and in general provide a ‘reality check’ and grounding. Ideally!

This list can surely be improved, so I put it out there as a group project…
__________________________________________

Some questions to ask before making a commitment to a ‘spiritual teacher’ or ‘teaching’—

QUESTIONS TO THE TEACHER

Mechanics and set–up of group/school:

  • When and what was your last paying job?
  • Do you rely completely or partially on the contributions of your students to pay your personal expenses?
  • How are payments structured?
  • Is the group organized legally as a non–profit or church for IRS purposes?
  • How transparent is the accounting?
  • What power does any board hold?
  • Do you serve at the pleasure of the board?
  • Exactly what degree of independence does the board have?
  • Please give examples of when the board effectively countered your decisions?
  • Are board meetings open to students, or do students have access to minutes of board meetings?
  • If there is no board, what steps have you taken so students can hold you accountable for your actions, including financial decisions?

Relationship with teacher:
  • How do you measure students’ abilities beforehand to undertake difficult work?
  • What methods, in detail, do you use to prevent students entering a dependent role?
  • How do you prevent infatuation?
  • How do you deal with fear?
  • How do you prevent ‘spiritual materialism’ developing in ‘your’ students?
  • Do you feel invested in the success or failure of your students?
  • What do you do with failures?
  • What value do you place on the idea and practice of personal verification?
  • Are your students required to give up their will to you, as their teacher? If so, is this permanent or for a set or limited period of time?

Sex energy:
  • Are you married?
  • Do you claim celibacy?
  • Do you undertake to never have sexual relations with your students?
  • Please give examples of tasks concerning sex energy.
  • Describe how you presently channel/use sex energy, and will you describe your history in that regard?

Exercises:
  • Do you give out generalized/group exercises?
  • Are any exercises individualized?
  • What are the criteria for making such exercise ‘individual’?
  • Do you fully explain the purpose of the exercises beforehand?
  • Do you have helpers, and if so, what are their qualifications, and are they permitted to set exercises themselves?
  • Are there rules or codes of behavior that must be followed by school members? If so, what are they and how are ‘infractions’ handled?
  • Is there any appeal from your decisions, and if so, how is this handled?
  • Do you and your students work with the Fourth Way idea of Good Householder, and if so, what forms does this work take?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fellowship congregation prohibited from following President Trump

Donald Trump will defile your higher centers.

[ed. - The following, just one of countless examples of Robert Burton's authoritarian rule, appears a clear violation of basic freedoms guaranteed Americans. Perhaps, in Trump, Burton sees a very uncomfortable mirror. While the Trump movement is not a cult, The Fellowship of Friends most certainly is. See: The Trump Cult?]

Robert Burton ("The Teacher") sent the following message to all Fellowship of Friends members, November 14, 2016 at 6:45 PM:
The Teacher asks students NOT to read, watch or listen to any news or broadcasts regarding Donald Trump. 

He is an abrasive, agitating influence that we want to avoid, so as not to defile our higher centers.

Thank you, Love Robert
Hindu Texts, Avadhut Gita: Take the Truth and ignore the rest.

Fellowship of Friends membership sees decline


[ed. - According to numbers provided by the ever-resourceful "Ollie," The Fellowship of Friends has 1,554 members worldwide. (Below, "Ollie" breaks it down by center.) This represents a slight decline from the last census I saw, which counted 1,597 members in November 2014.

The membership numbers do not tell the whole story, of course. Over the years, Burton and his officers have reduced membership fees for many, while making participation (in meetings and other events) more costly. This suggests the importance of maintaining the appearance of strong membership numbers, even if (as anecdotes suggest) member participation is suffering.]

Friday, November 4, 2016

Asaf Braverman departs and Robert Burton reveals his petty dictator persona

Robert Earl Burton (R. E. Burton), founder of Fellowship of Friends cult, with Asaf Braverman
Asaf Braverman and Robert Burton in happier times

[ed. - Robert Burton's reaction to Asaf Braverman's departure has been swift and vindictive.]

E-mail submitted by an ex-member living in Oregon House, November 4, 2016:
Details are sketchy, but a picture is emerging that Robert is quite upset with Asaf’s taking leave of Robert and the Fellowship, and is doing all he can to vilify, even destroy, Asaf.

First, and immediately upon Asaf leaving, a message went out for members no longer to visit Asaf’s website. Looking at the site just now, Asaf’s 3 top supporters and commentators [and Fellowship members] ( John Walz, Thomas Neuschatz, Charles Rodkoff) are missing from the list of members of Asaf’s community/school. Only Mario Fantoni (the IT person) remains.

Normally on Wednesdays, someone gives a presentation on some subject or person or where they have travelled. But the past 2 Wednesdays, Robert wanted there to be a “real” meeting to talk about Asaf. The first was led by Dorian [Matei]; the second (2 days ago), by Girard [Haven]. (Note: Girard himself has until now been banned from leading meetings for the past few years, likely because he refused to accept the “sequence” until, literally, forced to do so. He even tried to stop going to meetings back around 2006 to 2008 or so. Then Robert made him an offer he could not refuse, and he began coming again.)

Dorian apparently referred directly to Asaf, but I don’t have more details at this time. The subject of Girard’s meeting was, predictably, the process of crime.

At Robert’s meeting this past Sunday, he showed an image from some cemetery of a cracked headstone with the name of Pierce. It was one of those all-too-convenient “shocks” (more likely, drummed up by one of Robert’s “researchers”) to support the idea that Asaf and the Pierces are broken and finished. Of course, Ansley [Braverman's] maiden name is Pierce, and both Ansley and [her mother] have formally left the Fellowship. [Ansley's father] is still a member for now.

Asaf is being compared with Miles in that both were criminal in their actions towards Robert and the Fellowship. [ed. - see "Damage control following Miles' departure"] Of course, this is the ultimate act of vilification. Becoming “criminal” is as low as a person can sink, and anyone who associates with such a person is equally criminal.

One member suggested it a month or two ago, and now it is perhaps happening, that it would be best for the Fellowship to have a “witch-hunt” and expel all the non-believers. She is correct: There is absolutely no space for anyone who questions or doubts.

To be clear, I am not interested in what Asaf is trying to create with his online “community,” and I don’t think it will survive for long without the monetary and personnel support he was getting from Fellowship. I also reject the “lineage” myth that Asaf perpetuates (or at least did until now), as he tries to legitimize his role as a teacher.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Did Asaf Braverman's "Online School" threaten Robert Burton's and The Fellowship of Friends Board of Directors' spiritual authority?


[ed. - There are rumors this weekend that Asaf Braverman, once considered Robert Burton's heir apparent, has been ordered to take a leave of absence from The Fellowship of Friends, and to dismantle his "Ark in Time" and "Be" websites. This apparently comes directly from the top, Robert Burton himself. The image above is from Asaf's Webinar page.]

Asaf Braverman wrote on his Facebook page, October 23, 2016:

20 years in the Fellowship of Friends.
You all know I did my best to make it better.
Onwards...