The Fellowship of Friends Investigation.
all appropriate regulating agencies and elected officials of the State of California and the United States of America. World news media, and all world citizens concerned with abuses of religious power.
Ex Members of the Fellowship of Friends and their families and friends.
More Info at:
"We are past members of the Fellowship of Friends, an organization operating as a ТchurchУ in the rural Sierra Nevada foothills of California. It is dominated and controlled by a man named Robert Earl Burton. Our petition asks for an official investigation into the practices and character of his organization. The charges are documented by personal accounts declared pursuant to California law and under penalty of perjury.
We estimate there are about 15,000 former members worldwide, with current membership estimated at 1600. The long-term influence of this organization can result in the exploitation of its members, the consequences of which are often poor physical and/or mental health, financial ruin and moral devastation. These damaging results are documented.
Robert Burton calls himself a spiritual teacher and compares himself to Jesus, Buddha and Moses. He uses charisma, persuasion, psychological manipulation and coercion to drive large ТdonationsУ of labor, money and assets to support the ТchurchУ. It is documented that these donations are used largely to fund his extravagant lifestyle, outlandish projects and for sexual predation of his ТstudentsУ.
Most all ТdonationsУ are mandatory and Mr. Burton enjoys the protection of the organizationХs tax-exempt status under the laws of California.
Over the last 37 years, the property belonging to the Fellowship of Friends, including the vineyard and commercial winery producing Renaissance wines, has in large part been developed and maintained by the unpaid labor of foreign nationals in this country working on the basis of religious visas. This fact has been intentionally hidden from authorities. Workers are required to donate back to the church the largest portion of their salary, leaving an average monthly living wage of about $460.00. These facts are documented.
Fellowship centers around the world also fund the church through mandatory donations. It is documented that these monies have been routinely smuggled into this country under the direction of Robert Burton and his minions.
Mr. Burton has abused his role as a spiritual teacher to prey upon young men for sex. His methods are documented. There have been several lawsuits on record against Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends. A 1996 lawsuit alleging the rape of a minor child by the groupХs leader was settled out of court for an undisclosed but significant amount of money in order to avoid future scrutiny and litigation. (See Yuba County Superior Court Case No. 060209, 04/29/96). Most of the lawsuits on record have been settled financially, out of court.
These offenses have been largely concealed from current followers and the methods of concealment are documented.
There is a website being developed by former members to provide an organized overview of the organization: http://fellowshipoffriends.wikispaces.com. For on-going discussion among mostly former members, see http://fofdiscussion.wordpress.com.
We ask all who share concern for these conditions to sign this petition and ask for an official investigation into these affairs."
The following are selected letters from previous members of the Fellowship of Friends, which are pertinent to some of the points covered in the petition and which are used with the full permission of the authors whose names have been withheld in order to avoid harassment for those still living near the organization.
RE: "Allegedly Mr. Burton is a sexual predator who has abused his role as a spitritual teacher to prey upon young men for sex."
"I joined the Fellowship of Friends in San Francisco, in 1974 at the age of 24. In 1975 I was asked to give up my photography business and move to Mt. Carmel Monastery (Rennaisance, "the Ranch" etc) as Robert was collecting "talented young artists" for our community. I was in a relationship with another female member, and we joined together. I was eventually living in a tent on the property. Over the first year at the ranch Robert would spend more and more time around me. I can only see it now as being groomed for receptivity. I was often given little insignificant "artistic" tasks to keep me busy and pliant.
Eventually Robert started having me travel with him. It was during one of these trips (I think it was to Palm Springs. Temecula etc) that I was asked to stay in his hotel room with him and Pe*er Bis*op. I was told to sleep on the floor next to his bed.
Robert's general inaccessibility to members made being around him appear as a great gift of "higher forces". We were told, usually by members of his entourage that it was an extreme privilege. In the morning upon awakening I noticed that he was in bed with Pe*er (there were two beds). He asked Pe*er to go and do something. Robert then asked me to come into bed with him. At the time he just hugged me. This alone put me into a profound state of confusion. I was in a relationship with a woman and had no desire for what was happening. At one point he reached down and moved my penis as if he was shifting it's position as if it was uncomfortable for him. I tried to shrug it off. He did this several more times. At this point I got out of bed and resumed the day.
I don't remember the time space of all the occurrences, but at some point it was "suggested" that I spend some time staying at the Blake Cottage (RB's home when he was there). Of course, we were guided by RB and the entourage to believe that proximity was everything in this school. Those who were offered proximity were the "inner circle".
One of the fundamental principles that was stressed in the FOF was that to awaken, one must relinquish one's will to that of the teacher, as he represented higher forces, or C Influence, and that he knew far more then ourselves what was needed for us to awaken.
During this time in the Blake Cottage, while I was being "courted" there were quite a few other young men staying there. While walking around in a daze because of the "proximity, and the shock of slowly becoming aware of what was coming, I was oblivious that the same thing was happening to several others who were staying there. The residents of the Blake Cottage, as it appears to me now, comprised two groups...those being groomed for sex, and those who did RB's bidding, including helping facilitate the manipulation of the young men slated for this disaster.
During this time I was given several "special tasks" such as hand washing RB's cashmere socks, "blocking" them, and sliding them under his bed to dry on a towel. Another "resident" who was more trusted washed his under shorts.
Around this time the residents would sleep on the floor in the livingroom. One morning while we were sleeping RB came out of his room and tapped me with his foot and made a "come here" gesture with his finger. He led me into his bedroom and closed the door. He indicate to me that he wanted me to be in bed with him. I figured he wanted to hug again so I acquiesced.
At this point he started to fondle my penis. I remember feeling red in the face and confused. He then proceeded to perform oral sex on me. He told me to tap his head three times when I was going to ejaculate so he would know. This type of scenario occurred several times over the next few weeks. It included oral sex (giving and receiving) and some anal sex. I remember basically being numb for a few weeks. I wandered around in a daze thinking "Why is this happening to me"? I was so shocked that I was completely unaware that this was happening to several of the residents at the same time. I have to conclude that they were also in a state of shock. No one discussed it, especially with each other. I was far too ashamed to even discuss it with my girlfriend. At this time in the FOF RB was supposed to be celibate, and homosexual contact was forbidden.
I remember "trying" to tell my girlfriend without saying it. She didn't understand what I was trying to convey, and I was too afraid to elaborate. I was convinced that I had information that could bring down the FOF..
I remember feigning sleep in the mornings, thinking "no, not me, please" when he would come out in the mornings. It was at this time that I realized that he was choosing boys from a "harem" on most mornings. I felt guilty and miserable about hoping it would be someone else today.
After a few of the events I told him I was in great turmoil and that I didn't want to do this anymore. He used several arguments to dissuade me, among them: "Higher Forces wished you to do this". "The turmoil I was feeling was necessary for me to awaken, and it was a great gift from the angels, of which he was one", "It's the least you can do for your teacher", "You are not the only one. I am voracious. I have many students that I share this with" etc. These are close to accurate statements that he made. Some of the other lines that were used for "grooming" was "When I die (meaning him- RB), I will be a higher man than Jesus was when he was crucified". "Higher forces wishes you to allow me to drink from your cup". (one of his favorite expressions).
I was disgusted with myself for allowing it to happen. I felt shame that I couldn't describe or share with anyone. A few of the victims tried telling the hierarchy about what was occurring but they were either told it was not true, or they didn't want to hear it, or that we couldn't understand the ways of the angels. I continued to stay at the Blake Cottage for a bit more, but when RB was at the ranch I would stay up at "the lodge" so as to not be a sexual possibility for him. At one point Col*n Lam*ert came to me and said "If you're going to stay at the Blake Cottage you owe it to Robert to be there when he was". Col*n was one of RB's primary enablers and pimps, and to my knowledge, this was his way of not having to have sex with RB.
Eventually I moved up to the lodge on a full time basis and slept under the dinner tables along with the more normal, unexploited members.
At some point RB came to me and asked again for me to be with him, and I told him no. He said he knew what the problem was...that I didn't want to "receive" him. He thought I would have no objection if it was only him "receiving" me. I remember being incredulous that he arrogantly thought that was the problem...that I didn't want to "blow" him. I told him that had nothing to do with it. The problem was that it was going on at all. At this point I was grateful to not be around him at all.
This all occurred when no one really knew what was going on, and no one wanted to speak about it, so there were quite a few damaged people walking round including the women that were in relationships with "the boys" that RB selected.
Even just relating this brings back what I felt while it was occurring.
Pursuant to the laws of the State of California and under penalty of perjury I hereby declare the foregoing is true and correct and that this declaration is executed on March 8th, 2008 at xxxxx, xxxxx. "
STATEMENT OF FACT
To Whom It May Concern,
"This is the account of my experiences in the church known as the Fellowship of Friends.
I was member of the Fellowship of Friends from March 1990 until March 2007. From 1998-2002, I functioned in the role of Тcenter directorУ for a satellite branch of the church located in Bogota, Colombia. From early 2002 until March 2007, I lived in Oregon House, California the location of both the churchХs headquarters and church leaderХs primary residence. In 2003, I married Mr. Girard Haven, the second in command of the church. During my marriage, I accompanied my husband on ministerial trips to at least ten different satellite centers of the church across the globe.
In course of my 17 year participation in the organization of the church and direct contact with the churchХs leader, Mr. Robert Earl Burton, I became aware that Mr. Burton was suffering from a condition known as satyriasis, which manifested as an uncontrollable sexual predation of young men in the church. In conversation with former members and victims of the leaderХs sexual behavior, it became clear to me that the leader was not expressing his sexuality in a healthy, open manner, with equanimity, but exploiting his position of authority, misusing his power and influence, and covertly sexually abusing these young men. Many have left the church. To my knowledge, not one man ever initiated sex with Mr. Burton. Mr. Burton always initiated the sexual contact, and exclusively with young male church members, often 30-40 years younger than he.
This behavior was sanctioned and supported by the leading figures of the church and longtime members through preaching and promoting the churchХs doctrine of unquestionable support for the leader, who maintains divine status within the church.
I also witnessed what I believe to be emotional and physical abuse by church members, in the neglectful treatment of an 86 year old member, named Mrs. Dorothy F. Mrs. F suffered from AlzheimerХs and died in March, 2007. I volunteered to assist in her care in 2002 and then to my horror discovered that she had not been bathed for over a year, her fingernails had not been trimmed for equally as long, and she had a foul body odor. She also appeared underweight, and I witnessed that she had been fed mostly bread sandwiches for her meals.
When I became aware of Mrs. FХs deteriorating condition, I offered to care for her in my own home, and was dissuaded for three months from doing so by the church members responsible for her care.
When Mrs. FХs legal guardian finally agreed to let her stay with me, she was brought to me weak, on the verge of death, appearing overmedicated, unable to stand or walk and having seizures. This neglectful treatment was sanctioned by the church membersХ assertion that Mrs. F was an Тempty shellУ and would soon be dead. Under my care Mrs. F continued to live for another three years.
To the detriment of the community, I witnessed another elderly member being shunned from participating in teaching events involving Mr. Burton because she ate too much at a dinner. Also, I believe that Mr. BurtonХs homosexual lifestyle was reflected in the church as misogyny particularly toward the wives of the heterosexual men that he seduced and in general to the rest of the women in the community. He attributes any protest from the wives, husbands or any member to Тfeminine dominanceУ, a key church concept he developed. It is a doctrine that imposes a dangerous and destructive behavior on members to self-censor and work against their own self-interest, dignity and moral integrity.
Around 1999 much influenced by The Fellowship's indoctrinating ideas that our "life families" were nothing but biological connections without real meaning in our lives, I left my younger daughter with her father. This has proved the greatest mistake I have ever made and has created terrible suffering for both my daughter and myself. Although other factors involved my leaving her with her father I would have never taken that option had the idea of biological families not been introduced to me by the Fellowship of Friends.
During my marriage to Mr. Girard Haven I witnessed the horrendous psychological effect that the Fellowship of Friends has had over Mr. Haven who has fallen into blind idolatry for Mr. Burton at the cost of his family and himself in exchange for a position of power in the Cult. He hit me various times over disagreements about the Fellowship and refused to pay for my medications on a traveling teaching trip although I had to work as hard as he did. I will never understand this from my husband or a person I worked with or an institution I was there to help.
I have witnessed peopleХs freedom of speech totally controlled within the Cult. For over three years I have seen Robert Burton allow only two or three members speak at events in a community of over six hundred people in Oregon House. I have seen how people stop to communicate after such long periods of such conditioning. Connected to this, I have seen how the exercises given by Mr. Burton are designed to control peopleХs intellectual activity in specific directions so that they lose the ability to question the real conditions of their lives. These are facts, not opinions. A close study of the techniques used in the Fellowship of Friends will reveal the systematic indoctrination of peopleХs emotional, intellectual and physical existence. Such a long study is not pertinent here but all that is being said here can be proven.
I have witnessed that people are valued in the Fellowship of Friends only in as much as they provide the Cult with money. Cheap labor, easy talents, peopleХs good will is succinctly exploited without the Cult giving anything but more economic demands in return and depriving people from real participation in what is really happening inside. Mr. BurtonХs control is total and totally dangerous to the well being of the community.
I have witnessed the indoctrination given by the Fellowship of Friends referring to the rest of humanity as Уhe six billion dead people on the planetУ or Тsleeping massesУ. When Mr. Burton predicted that California would collapse after an earthquake, thousands of dollars were taken out on loans by students thinking they would never have to pay for them. This is the kind of mentality that is promoted towards the rest of humanity in the Fellowship of Friends.
Sometime around 1998, when I posed a question to Mr. Burton during a church meeting and refused to yield the floor to him (who tried to stop me) until I had finished my question, I was required by Mr. Burton to maintain silence at meetings for a period of two years or I would be ex-communicated from the church. The humiliation that I felt from this censorship contributed to feelings of inferiority and subjugation. It had a lasting effect by compromising my social interactions with members and non-members from then on. I became very insecure, withdrawn, and depressed. I formally left the church and separated from my husband in late March 2007. I was physically exhausted, spiritually depleted, angry, depressed, and sad.
I have witnessed the silent suffering of hundreds of students who have forgotten themselves for over twenty years. People who no longer know who they are or if they ever were anything else. People walk disguised in silk clothes in the Fellowship of Friends, but have had to leave their soul at the entrance.
Now that I am in the process of healing the emotional, physical and spiritual damage brought about through my involvement in this Cult, I am openly supporting every investigation of the practices and character of this corrupt organization and its leader.
Pursuant to the laws of the State of California and under penalty of perjury I hereby declare the foregoing is true and correct and that this declaration is executed on March 8, 2008 at the city and county of San Francisco, California.У
Mrs. Clara Helena Haven
ТThe influence of this church is documented to have had damaging results on the lives of many members, allegedly leaving them in a state of poor physical and/or mental health., financial ruin and moral devastation.У
ТHere are the facts concerning myself, XXXXX, and the Fellowship of Friends which gives an implementation of part of the petition described above:
I have been a member of the school for 23 years.
In 1986, after getting my degree as an architect, I went to live at ТRenaissanceУ during 9 months. I met there one student who would later become my husband. At that time, he was living with the teacher Robert Burton and had a sexual relationship with him.
After 9 months there, I went back to my country, France, to finally work with my new profession. My future husband decided to leave the teacherХs residence and to come to Paris to live with me. The teacher, Robert Burton, through the director of the ParisХs center, asked me to get married with XXXXX or to leave the school.
R. Burton gave me two weeks to make a decision and said that if things did not change, my future husband will have to come back to the United States with him.
We finally got married and stayed two years in Paris. Then Robert Burton asked us to come back to settle definitively to ТRenaissanceУ.
In 1990, we came back to live there, both on salary for the school, with only 300 dollars each by month to live. Robert Burton asked us to apply to get a green card so we could stay there close to him, so, we did through my diploma of Architecture. I took us around one year and some months to get it.
All these facts happened and all these decisions were taken, always with the background that we should contribute to the proper functioning of the school and that we should surrender to the will of our teacher, who saw better than us what we should do.
I did not know at that time that the teacher Robert Burton had never stopped to have sex with my husband, (even when I was just married, R. Burton was travelling to France every year). At that time, I was just trusting my husband and my teacher.
Then the teacher began to travel 2 or 3 days a week (1992) with my husband. As I was asking questions and not receiving alarming answers, I was still trusting my husband and my teacher. I understood later that the teacher asked my husband to hide these facts to me.
Until the day, when my husband told me abruptly after five years of marriage, that he wanted to get divorced, definitely and without any hope of change. The same day, he went back to live at the residence of the teacher. This happened without any explanation, and left me in a state of complete despair. I could not free myself from this relation until I knew the complete truth. I implored my husband to give the reasons of his departure, and he did after some months: he told me he never stopped having sexual relation with Robert Burton, during all our marriage, even though he never liked it. That were his own words.
During the following five years, I had nightmares because of that. It could have ruined my health and life; fortunately I was not alone. I could have left the school at that time, but I took this pressure coming from the teacher as my work. I was convinced that all these facts had created a specific relation between the teacher and myself. The teacher did everything to make me feel that way: little attentions, invitation to dinner, Й.
After 1992, I went back to France, divorced, and married again with another student who he is still my husband now after sixteen years. I and my present husband XXXXX can testimony that Robert Burton tried also to seduce him, tried to have sex with him using his position as a spiritual master. My husband always refused his propositions.
We decided to take distance, little by little, more and more from him until the moment we finally left the school of R. Burton in 2007.
Pursuant to the laws of the State of California and under penalty of perjury, I hereby declare the foregoing is true and correct and that this declaration is executed on 20, 7, 2008 at xxxxx, xxxxx.У
"From approximately 1989 until approximately 1994, I was the treasurer of the ТFellowship of Friends VereinУ, which is the legal form the Fellowship of Friends religion takes in Germany. In this capacity I performed bookkeeping for all funds collected as ТdonationsУ in the various groups of Fellowship of Friends members in different German cities. The tern ТdonationsУ is fraudulent, as they are in no way voluntary. Failure to promptly pay the required sums almost inevitably resulted in expulsion from the organization. During that period, on request of the chief financial officer at the FellowshipХs world headquarters in Oregon House, California and others there, I made numerous regular transfers from the bank account of the ТFellowship of Friends VereinУ to the main Fellowship of Friends bank account in California. It was made clear to me that these must be designated on the transfer forms as ТstipendsУ for German members of the Fellowship of Friends who were ТstudyingУ at the religionХs primary retreat in Oregon House, California. It was also made clear to me that the reason for this was that these German members of the organization were in the US on tourist visas and no clear ТpaymentУ to them from the US account for their work for the Fellowship while in the US could legally be made. These members were not ТstudyingУ in any usual sense of that word. Most of them were engaged in various kinds of manual labor such as gardening, landscaping, working in the vineyard or in the winery of Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, working in the orchards, serving and/or cleaning at meals, etc.
Although it was normally not possible for a non-US citizen in the US on a tourist visa to open a bank account in a US bank, the Fellowship had an arrangement with the Bank of America which allowed such foreigners working for the Fellowship in Oregon House while there on tourist visas, to obtain their salaries. I was not privy to the details of how this was done.
Pursuant to the laws of the State of California and under penalty of perjury I hereby declare the foregoing is true and correct and that this declaration is executed on March 19, 2008, at XXXX, XXXX."
To whom it may concern,
I am one of many Fellowship students who left the organization after becoming disillusioned by the way it handled Tr-y Buz-e-Фs case in 1994. One day in October 1994, as I was leaving after having lunch at the Lincoln lodge, I ran into Mich-el G-odw-n, one of Robert BurtonХs most trusted helpers, going through all the studentsХ mailboxes and removing the letters that Rich-rd Buz-e- had sent out to inform them of what had happened to him and his son. [EDIT NOTE: When he was a minor, Rich-rd Buz-e-Фs son Tr-y was sexually molested by Robert Burton, resulting in a lawsuit settled out of court.]
I found this interference with the delivery of U.S. mail outrageous. So, for the first and only time during eight years at Renaissance/Apollo, I phoned the center director, Gira-d Hav-n, eager to hear what he had to say about it. I donХt remember the entire conversation, and I wish I had written it all down, but his attitude really struck me and had no small impact on my subsequent leaving. He completely justified the stealing of the letters, at one point comparing the school to a healthy body and Rich-rd and his accomplices to Тbad virusesУ who, if allowed to come in touch with it, would infect said body like a dangerous and potentially destructive disease. Of course, I knew Rich-rd and the other persons involved, and I was aware that they were just suffering people trying to get some answers. So, when I became a little upset while telling him how I felt about the situation, he threatened to cut short the conversation if I didnХt keep my ТnegativityУ in check. I regained my composure as best as I could, but when I finally hung up I was very frustrated, since I hadnХt received one single humane and reasonable answer as to why the issue at hand was being handled in this manner.
Pursuant to the laws of the State of California and under penalty of perjury I hereby declare the foregoing is true and correct and that this declaration is executed on March 31, 2009 in XXXX, XXXX.
A boy (young man) gets a call from Dorian: Dorian says ТRobert would like to get to know you better. Would you like to meet with the Teacher tomorrow after the meeting?У
The boy says- ТSure, thank you for the invitation.У
(Thinking that Тget to know you betterУ somehow refers to knowledge and the partaking thereof, maybe some hug, hug, coffee table talk, casual stuff, you knowЙnothing graphic, nothing nude.)
So, Sunday meeting is over, boy is shown to the study where he is seated by Dorian, (similar to how a detective on duty might seat a man wondering where his kidnapped wife was to be found); the boy is wondering a little, Фbeing presentХЙ
Robert Burton walks through the library/study, passes the boy, saying nothing as he makes fleeting eye contact with him as heХs walking and darts (Bee line) straight into his bedroom and disappears from sight, so far as the library couch-view from the left is concerned.
The boy sits, stays right where he was seated by Dorian, waits for the ТGet to know you betterУ to startЙ
Maybe some shared reading, a little walk in the garden, perhaps a good (one) glass of wine together discussing this or that casual student-teacher thingy, whatever that is or is to beЙ
Robert Burton appears in the bedroom doorway and says- ТDearЙ(blah, blah, something about a recollection he had of the boy, yet, the boy, has not a chance to say anything to this, when right after the blah, blah, Фthe TEACHERХ says to the boy-
ТCome in here, dear.У
So the boy shyly walks into the bedroom and the TEACHER immediately closes the door, locks the door with a key, puts the key in his left pocket and (as cold and routine as a pair of surgical Фscrotum scissorsХ) says to the shy, a bit confused boy-
ТDear, take off all your clothes and hang them there on the back of the door, on those hangers.У
The boy is dumbfounded, so quick, so little words, yet plenty of presence, right? (No, not right, though presence, yes.)
Robert Burton quickly proceeds to his bathroom and begins to wash his hands.
The boy is standing stunned, cold, nervous, mind is racing about 117 mph, heart somewhere near the tonsils he never had taken out as a child.
Then something snaps, all the being of a fairytale demi-god raises us inside him and he looks at THE TEACHER, looks with a sort of knowing clarity that precludes the marriage of the Sperm and the EggЙsees where the winterly clamminess atmosphere is getting its fuelЙ
He goes to the teacher, takes him by the hand and looks him straight into the eyes and says-
ТI cannot do this Robert; I do not want to hurt your feelings, but, I did not know it would be THIS, like this, involving getting naked with you, etc., etc.У
Robert starts to say things like-
ТYou donХt have to do me.У
ТYou donХt have to do anything for me.У
ТI just want to lay with you.У
The boy says to Robert- ТRobert, this is much more than just getting to know meЙУ
The boy is interrupted, Robert says ТYou know my lifestyle, etc., etc.У
The boy begins to walk to the locked door, Robert moves in front of the door and says-
ТWhat is it?У
The boy says Р ТRobert, but I am in a relationshipЙУ
He gets interrupted again, Robert says Р ТWhat? Is it a woman? (with a very negative, spiteful stress on the word ФwomanХ).
The boy admits (and is made to feel like itХs a religious confession in a Catholic confession box) Тyes, it is a woman.У
Robert swirls his eyes and starts pontificating and saying things likeР
"ThereХs six billion sleeping heterosexuals on the planet, these are mechanical relationships, they are not conscious, not conscious love, these are asleep, I am a conscious being, I am your teacher.У
The boy is still with his state of being so sure of the connection between consciousness and conscience he senses that he is truly slicing time with a butter knife, so easy, so smooth, as Robert BurtonХs impression simply begins to peel off, like a billboard sign during an oncoming hurricaneЙ
The boy says Р ТRobert, I am not going to play the justification game with you, but what about my feelings, the feeling of ФherХ?У
He interrupted again
(the door is still locked and THE TEACHER is less than thirteen inches away the whole time)Р
Robert Burton says Р ТYou said ФButХ, (But) is inner consideringЙFeelings? Hafiz said ФGet out of the way Hafiz, youХre standing in my wayХ.У
This the boy takes as meaning that ФfeelingsХ are mechanical, worthless, an obstacle to awakening;
yet, everything is crystal clear that Robert is speaking to himself, a reflection in the mirror, not the one, the boy now standing behind the reflection;
the boy starts to feel a bit odd, in that heХs being seen as a mirror, a thing, and not his standing behind the mirror-ness. After all, this guy is supposed to be an angel in a manХs body and he canХt see another swan (?)
The boy repeats, ТRobert, I cannot do thisЙУ
He is interrupted again, yet this time THE TEACHER is a bit more desperate, irritable, slightly panicky in his tone of voice, Robert Burton saysР
ТYou do not know what you are saying, you are missing an opportunity to have a relationship with a conscious being, this may be your one and only chance to have this opportunity.У
The boy feels for a duration of time in the moment, smallness, threat, a sort of ФyouХre going to be out if you donХtХ implication, a sort of ФI donХt want Dorian to see my failure in this, I donХt want to fail at having had youХ sort of moody static in his tone of voice, his body language, etc.
The boy says Р ТRobert, would things be different if we got together?У (The boy says this because heХs wondering what all this is really about, whereХs it leading, if his answer will reflect some consequence in his saying ФNoХ?)
Robert says Р ТMore meetings, going places with me, more times like this, etc., etc.У
The boy replies, ТRobert, No, I cannot.У
Robert gives the Фpretty pissed off behind the scenesХ look and saysР
ТThatХs alright, dear, IХll transform itЙmaybe weХll get together in some more spontaneous way later. DonХt worry, IХll transform it. You may go now.У
Robert unlocks the door and says Р Тalright dear, you can go.У
The boy walks through the library and goes to sit down in the Galleria main room. The door to the library is closed, 1 minute passes and the door to the library opens, itХs Robert, he asks the boy to go downstairs and get Dorian (the responsible party?)
So the boy does Фfetch DorianХЙ
As the downstairs bedroom door opens Dorian looks a bit stunned to see the boy he had not so long ago lead into the library (back before the usual time?)
Dorian does not follow the boy upstairs right away, but closes the door and begins talking to Mihai.
The boy goes back upstairs and sits back where he was prior to the Фgo fetch orderХ.
Dorian appears, then disappears into the library alongside/with the TEACHER and the door closesЙend of story (in more ways than one).
The ФroleХ the boy had for nearly two years abruptly ended in a very ФsubtleХ way; certain people simply stopped calling him for Фregular third line dutyХ and he was ostracized, not exiled by just the TEACHER, ostracized with the fullest meaning and depth of the word from the Fellowship of Friends, nothing would ever be the same, for on this day BELIEF was annihilated by love and LOVE replaced Фmind-gamesХ.
This is a record of my experience, signed 06-01-2008.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
The following items give a rough overview of the money required of members of the Fellowship of Friends.
Money in the Fellowship:
- - - Teaching payments: 10\% of gross salary, or minimum amount, which depends on the country and situation. In the U.S. about $125.
- - - Monthly donations according to situation, i.e. reductions fro unemployed, students, mothers at home with children, etc. The standard donation would be about $250 in the U.S.
- - - Seasonal donations, spring, fall, and Christmas. Spring and fall donations are $750 each in the U.S., less in depressed economies.
The above payments are obligatory; any member not able to make these three payments will be removed from membership. In addition to the required payments there are constant pressures to participate in the following money-making activities and events:
- - - Auctions are held several times a year at holidays when the maximum number of students are visiting the property in Oregon House. Before each auction, members are pressured to donate items of value such as jewelry, art objects, silver and porcelain, etc. to be auctioned. In addition various services, such as lectures on subjects of general interest, home and garden care, musical performances, etc. are donated. The large-ticket items are events in which the Teacher, Burton, comes to individual homes for teaching events such as lunches, dinners, teas. These are sold for thousands of dollars, as much as eight to ten thousand for large events. Auctions usually bring in $100,000 or more.
- - - Meetings with the teacher (or, again, a designated subordinate) go on non-stop, sometimes two or three each day, more on weekends when there are visitors. Considerable invention and creativity goes into these events, which are held on mountain tops, in various gardens (of which there are many on the property), or on islands in the lakes Р with guests ferried to the tables in boats. Prices for these dining events vary according to many factors such as the number of participants (as many as 70 at a table for large seatings), the nature of the occasion (New YearХs Eve dinner is $1000 per plate) and so forth. The least expensive dining event would be a weekday breakfast for about $125.
- - - Frequent solicitations are made for special gifts for the teacher. Sometimes the money (suggested amounts) is simply to be placed in a Тlovely cardУ and ssent to him as a gift for birthdays or holidays. Other times an expensive item, for example of jewelry or art objects, will have been selected and the members asked to pay for it. Also the purpose of the money to be sent may be for various building projects (most of these are never in fact completed).
- - - Performances of ballet and classical music are presented frequently. The ticket prices are comparable to professional performances in major cultural centers of the world. The quality of the performances is not.
- - - Very elaborate and expensive events are arranged about three times a year, with lavish preparations. In the spring and fall of recent years these have included trips to various locations in Europe and Middle East and include Nile Cruises, 5 star hotels, luxurious restaurants, and so forth. The package prices of these tours are in considerable excess of what an individual independent traveler would pay. In the summers the big blow out has been held at Isis where students have been asked to donate space to visitors arriving from other countries or elsewhere in the U.S. The visitors are then charged for their accommodations.
- - - In all of the above instances, probably the greatest dollar value donation is in the form of labor. For each breakfast, lunch, tea, reception, or dinner, a small army of workers volunteers to cook, wash dishes, scrub pots, set up and serve and then clear tables. In recent years it has been necessary to ТpayУ these volunteers with vouchers that can then be used to attend specially designated events. In addition, the landscaping and building projects, the basic food services and maintenance work are done by workers earning about $400 per month for working very long hours each week.
This is, I am sure, only a partial list. The methods of extracting money from the membership of the Fellowship are truly a marvel of inventiveness and variety. Some other parts of this mosaic are being volunteered currently on the Wordpress blog. Where does the money go? What accounting of it is made? I suspect there is little available in the way of anything that could be obtained without a court order, and I also suspect that not much would show up even with one. The money simply goes to Burton and he spends it. He is a compulsive shopper with appallingly bad but very expensive tastes. I don't know how these things could be "documented" other than with the testimony of present and former members, all of whom are, or have been for many years, participants in the process---and many of whom would be willing, indeed eager, to be quoted.
I would only add that the financial abuses, quite astonishing as they are, are the least of the abuses.
Pursuant to the laws of the State of California and under penalty of perjury I hereby declare the foregoing is true and correct and that this declaration is executed on June 9th, 2008 at XXXXX, XXXXX.
"My name is xxxxx xxxxx. While a member of the Fellowship of Friends under the ТtutelageУ of Robert Earl Burton I was asked to carry a large amount of money from Europe to the organizationХs headquarters in California. I was instructed to buy travelerХs cheques and then upon arrival I had to sign them over to the cashier there. I am sure that this took place regularly over the years with many of the people coming from other countries as a means of by-passing U.S. authorities accounting.
It represents a huge unaccounted income over the years. Thousands of people paying 10\% of their earnings plus quarterly extra payments.
I can also attest to the leader Robert Earl BurtonХs sexual harassment personally.
Pursuant to the laws of the State of California and under penalty of perjury I hereby declare the foregoing is true and correct and that this declaration is executed on February the second 02-02-2008 at xxxxx, xxxxx."
To whom it may concern:
ТAround 1971 I began reading material about a system of psychology brought to the West by George Ivanovich Gurdjieff.
After several years of reading this literature and other references connected to this work, I realized for myself that the system sounded true and was true.
One of the primary suggestions of this system was that oneХs psychology is ingrained, and in order to change or enhance oneХs psychological attributes it could not be done by oneself. One needed a school of like-minded individuals who were guided by a REAL TEACHER.
I became determined about 1975 to find such a school and teacher. In July of 1976, I found an advertisement of a group in Pennsylvania and struck out in that direction.
While traveling through Houston, Texas I found by happenstance two people from the Fellowship of Friends placing bookmarks in books related to the Fourth Way.
I introduced myself and they in turn invited me to a prospective student meeting. Because of my zeal, I thought I had been blessed by good fortune.
Eventually I joined this school and later moved into a teaching house or center. It seemed to be a requirement for my progress.
About a year later the teaching center was shut down and the whole group moved to different locations in California.
I myself arrived broke and bewildered. I was given suggestions by fellow students but the Fellowship of Friends as an entity did not offer help of any kind. I was left basically alone.
Not long afterward I became entangled with a married woman who was physically separated from her husband because she also had a boyfriend. The school had a no sex rule between unmarried people.
Although the flirting between us became intimate the result did not end in sexual intercourse. Although she initiated the encounter, she eventually called a center director who called me in for a conference. I was told what I was being accused of and to tell my side of the story. I refused.
The school director Gira*rd Ha*ven then said I had 24 hours to leave the school and if I wanted to return an opportunity would be given and that I would have to pay a fine of $2500.00.
I was stunned and buffered the shock by taking it as a personal task to gather $2500.00.
The school had a rule about not speaking to former students. So, the next day I managed to leave San Francisco with the intent of returning. However, I could not overcome the shocking experience of being rejected by a real and true Fourth Way school.
So, for the first 10 years, I endured mental health problems of low self-esteem, self-loathing and self-destruction. I was a homeless person incapacitated by fear and anger. Every attempt to raise out of the gutter was delayed by self-inflicted hatred of being kicked out of a REAL FOURTH WAY SCHOOL GUIDED BY A CONSCIOUS TEACHER.
The second ten years the psychological pain subsided to a dull background memory. Yet, when a memory of that experience rose to the forefront tears would well up in my eyes. Eventually, I would avoid the welling up of tears by simply saying ТdonХt go thereУ.
Eventually I developed C.O.P.D. (chronic obstructive lung disease) and because of this lost all hope about the future. I had moved forty-five (45) times and several jobs for basic subsistence. Until I retired to Social Security.
I had never owned or operated a computer until late 2006. In early 2007 I found a website dedicated to the Fellowship of Friends and Robert Earl Burton the alleged Conscious Teacher. They call it a blog and most if not all who go there are former students.
When I found this blog I was shocked at what I was reading. That a lawsuit had been settled against Robert Earl Burton, that he was accused of having sex with young males at the same time I was expelled, that he quit any connection with the Fourth Way. The primary reason for my joining.
I did go through some residue trauma from the past over all this alleged misbehavior by Robert Earl Burton and the Fellowship of Friends.
The most valued thing in my whole life was a sham from the very beginning. All the suffering and mental anguish for 27 years was for nothing.
Pursuant to the laws of the State of California and under penalty of perjury I hereby declare the foregoing is true and correct and that this declaration is executed on April 3, 2008 at XXXXX, XXXXX.У