False Prophets







How Cults Work

By Julia Layton


When most of us hear the wor­d “cult,” we see a bunch of brainwashed zombies feeding their children ­cyanide-laced fruit drink, mass murders, a burning compound in Waco, Texas — it’s not a pretty picture. But is it a true picture? What exactly is a “cult,” and how is it different from a “religion”? Are all cults dangerous? Are people who join destructive cults mentally disturbed, or are all of us equally susceptible?


In this article, we’ll ­separate fact from propaganda and ­­­learn what a cult actually is, what practices characterize a destructive cult and look at some of the more notable cult incidents in recent history. ­





Monograph Series No 27 *

Cults in 19th Century Britain


Robert Cecil


paperback, 20 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-15-6


We tend to think of cults as late 20th century phenomena associated with current interest in Eastern philosophies and religions, but Robert Cecil’s essay reveals a rich brew of cult activity throughout the 19th century.


Robert Cecil, CMG, MA was Chairman of the Graduate School of Contemporary European Studies, University of Reading (1976-8), and Chairman of the Institute for Cultural Research, for which he edited an anthology, The King’s Son (Octagon Press,1980). His other published works include Life in Edwardian England (1969), The Myth of the Master Race: Rosenberg and Nazi Ideology (1972), Hitler’s Decision to Invade Russia (1975), A Divided Life: a biography of Donald Maclean (1988), and The Masks of Death: Changing Attitudes in the Nineteenth Century (1991).
back to the list of monographs >>


Download Size: 94.47 Kb



From Malignant Pied Pipers of Our Time: A Psychological Study of Destructive Cult Leaders from Reverend Jim Jones to Osama bin Laden by Peter A. Olsson, M.D. © 2005


Chapter Six – The Siren Song of Destructive Cults: Recognizing the Music of the Malignant Pied Piper – pp. 106-107


In my early years of cult study, I assumed that a person lured into a cult must have severe personality weaknesses, problems, or mental illness. I found that this assumption was inaccurate. As we have seen from the biographical accounts . . . cult followers come from the full spectrum of humanity — young to old, poor to rich, educated to illiterate, conservative to liberal, religious to uncommitted. Anyone can be vulnerable to cult recruitment in certain life circumstances.
    If we think of common human needs as a pyramid, the base of the pyramid is built up from the essentials — oxygen, water, food; then clothing, shelter, and protection; and so on in a gradual ascent through community and culture. The fundamental human need to affiliate with small and/or large groups is near the top, just below the domain of spirituality.  Spiritual needs are experienced (or denied) individually, and are intensely private and personal. Yet they are also learned, mediated, amplified, and rewarded within a community. All human beings have deep and normal needs to find spiritual meaning in their lives and to affiliate with a group and a community as part of their quest. These aspirations have both rational and irrational elements. (Abraham Maslow, Maturation and Personality.)
    As we encourage our young people to be spiritually connected with other people, we must remember that there are risks. A wise and mature nurse at our local hospital made the following comment when we were discussing this book: “Dr. Olsson, we raise our kids to be kind, curious, and open to the world and the diversity of people’s beliefs. The paradox is that this can leave them a little too naive and trusting, and therefore, vulnerable to clever predators — your MPPs.”
 . . . Any small or large group forms collective goals, core values, rules, and norms of behavior. Even as the individual is nurtured and supported by the group, he or she often subordinates or compromises individuality in deference to the identity of the group.
    Groups require leaders for their formation, administration, and day-to-day operation. Natural leaders generally possess charisma and charm in some degree. Members of the group, in return for investing their own individual power and authority in the charismatic leader, vicariously participate in the leader’s power and authority. This idea is critical to understanding the lure of the Malignant Pied Piper. Cult members are not just passive victims of a cult leader’s charisma. The relationship involves a powerful co-dependency that resembles a dysfunctional marriage.
    Leader-follower relationships in destructive cults are the epitome of co-dependency, dysfunctionality, and abuse. Membership in a destructive cult is devastating to the individual in terms of his or her creativity, intellectual maturation, and individuation. Destructive and exploitive cult leaders victimize their followers because of their own narcissistic personality problems.



Chapter Eight – Why We Study the Minds of Malignant Pied Pipers & Their Followers – p. 157


MPPs can be very winsome and appealing at early encounters. It can be valuable to be able to spot subtle patterns of a potential MPP or the recruitment techniques that they or their cult group use.
    All people to varying degrees have a basic need to be a part of a community. It is healthy and essential to maturation and personality development to affiliate with and have meaningful experiences with small and large groups. Groups provide healthy avenues to create meaning in our lives. Patriotism and religious loyalty, for example, are normal. Even atheistic faith can be respectful and dignified. Thankfulness and respect for the wonderfulness of America is not incompatible with vigorous criticism of its policies or leaders. MPPs do not tolerate vigorous criticism or intelligent questioning of their teachings for very long. They may feign tolerance for a while, but down deep, they think they know all the answers. It is their way or the highway. This is a key area to be mindful and watchful about with leaders of groups. MPPs can exploit and manipulate our inherent need to affiliate with groups.



International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) provides information on cults, cultic groups, psychological manipulation, psychological abuse, spiritual abuse, brainwashing, mind control, thought reform, abusive churches, high-demand groups, new religious movements, exit counseling, and practical suggestions for those needing assistance.


icsa.com book review/malignant pied pipers of our time





Rick Ross Cult Education Institute forum


Re: Fellowship of Friends, Oregon House California

Posted by: corboy 
Date: August 10, 2013 10:44PM

Fellowship of Friends (aka people of the bookmark) have also gone by various names: ‘Ark’ ‘Oregon House’, ‘Renaissance’ ‘Apollo’.


This website, apparently set up by persons who do follow Gurdjieff work, lists problems that students can fall into. And in passing, mentions Fellowship of Friends.





Rosie, Sharon, Alex, Robert & The Work


Burton: A “Budding Man Number Five”


One of Horn’s students in the [late 1960s] was a tall, handsome young man with an Arkansas accent, Robert Earl Burton. . .


Understanding the idealism that perpetuates many seekers’ search, Burton refocused the teaching’s challenge to self-love and vanity to a stress on living like a person of the Renaissance, cultivating impressions of beauty, the arts, music, poetry and fine living. Apparently influenced by Warren Miller’s best-selling book of the time, A Canticle for Leibowitz, depicting a ravaged world after the world catastrophe, Burton made a number of prophecies, one of which was that California would fall into the sea on April 12, 1998 at 11 A.M. Those with him, being the elect of Christianity, would not perish. Like Leibowitz in the book, eight years after starting his school and now known as “The Teacher,” Burton stopped teaching to travel the globe to amass – he would no doubt say “salvage” – a large collection of art work as a kind of cultural ark in the coming Armageddon. (A recent auction of Burton’s collection of rare antique Chinese furniture at Christie’s in New York City brought in $11.2 million.) When the day passed for California to fall into the sea, Burton explained it with, “The Higher Powers [he claims to speak to 44 discarnate beings] have humiliated me.”



83. ton2uNovember 8, 2018


Greedy Bob…? part and parcel of the job of a charlatan…


Remembering the days of my youth, a song titled Spiritual Fantasy by Steppenwolf…


Humanity grew weary
Of its doubtful state of mind
So it summoned from far and near
All the wise men thought to be sincere
To heal its wounds and make it whole
And lead the way back to the soul
The charlatans they stayed behind
To count their bags of gold
And some stayed away as if to say
I know that my way’s the only way
Afraid to learn they may be wrong
They preach their nothingness at home
But the wise men came together with the hope to free mankind
Of the rubbish that had gathered in god’s name
To embrace and trust each other in the search for the supreme
And they found that all their teachings were the same
And when at last the word went round
That all were one and all
Many returned to seek the light
Nobody claimed that he was right
It’s sad to know it’s just a song
To dream and hope still can’t be wrong



Robert Earl Burton, born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son of a butcher, now 6′ 4″ tall, over 200 pounds, former grade school teacher, former tennis coach, former member of Alex Horn’s “Theater of All Possibilities,” is now homeless, alternating between living in a van and house sitting. Psychologically a broken machine after being beaten, stabbed and forced to have sex with a woman, Burton is convinced he is “conscious” and is receiving “shocks,” omens, from “higher powers,” from C Influence. Like a Hitler homeless in Vienna and fixated on the greatness of Germany and a hatred of the wealthy Jews he sees as he wanders the streets, Burton as well fixates and crystallizes in an unalterable belief in three popular ‘urban legends’ of the 1970s:


1. There will be another Great Depression (1984),


2. The state of California will fall into the Pacific Ocean (1998),


3. There will be World War Three, a nuclear holocaust (2006).


Burton is convinced that he is a “prophet” and begins to seek “students.”


Though probably delusional, Burton is not stupid, he begins to read everything written on the subject of the Fourth Way. From the literature Burton begins to devise “angles”, phrases of ‘teaching’, that he uses to project at his students through an external demeanor that he calls “intentionality.” He soon discovers that this is a very effective method of persuasion. Later Burton even employs professional writers to formulate his “angles.” However, in the very beginning Burton can’t help from exposing his delusional mental condition, witness this ‘angle’:


Burton: This group will produce three angels, and they will be burned on the cross and will survive.


Q. The others are the chaff?


Burton: They move to another role, if we take Jesus’ words, “Every hair is counted.” Remember, those three I spoke of will be literally and worse burned on the cross.


Convinced that his “conscious role” is to create an “ark for humanity” in order to survive Armageddon, Burton begins his campaign to create a Fourth Way school.


More information about Burton in: 1970




greg-goodwins-geocities website



160. Thot Plickens May 14, 2010


Was reading some of the previous pages, taking my own advice…




What You Should Know About Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends – January 18, 2010


• It’s a doomsday cult.

• The predicted doomsday never came.

• Burton predicted major catastrophes for 1984 and 1998, and then nuclear war for 2006. For decades, he predicted the Fellowship of Friends would become the beginning of a new civilization in 2006.  Burton said, “Our task is to establish a new civilization.”

• Through cognitive dissonance, followers try to forget the above predictions, or downplay them.

• Like other cults, followers object to the word “cult.” But there’s no better one-word description for this organization in the English language.

• Burton has coerced and seduced several hundred young followers — and perhaps thousands — into having sex with him, using promises of spiritual salvation, expensive gifts, vacations abroad, as well as playing on their fears of being outcast from their circle of friends. As a result, many former and current followers have suffered lasting psychological scars and emotional trauma, and a few have committed suicide. (Read the numerous personal accounts within this blog.)

• In doing the above, Burton has violated the trust of thousands of his followers who were unaware of the extent of his sexual activities within the cult, and unaware of the extent of his deception.

• Burton is a sociopath and malignant narcissist who shows no concern for the welfare of his followers unless they are useful to him in some way. When they cease to be useful to him, he discards them.

• Burton’s “public” persona is one of a gentle guru who speaks with a soft voice. This personality helps him deceive his followers into believing they have found the one true path to enlightenment, salvation, and heaven.

• Burton tells his followers that 44 angels, or gods, guide the Fellowship of Friends — and that they guide only the Fellowship of Friends. Angels, he says, do not guide anyone else on earth.

• Burton advances a world view that Hell exists, and that there’s only one way to avoid going to Hell when one dies: Join the Fellowship of Friends, and stay in the Fellowship of Friends until your death. All people on earth who do not join the Fellowship of Friends will go to Hell when they die. Likewise, followers are warned that they will go to Hell if they leave the cult.

• Followers are discouraged or forbidden from communicating with former members. Those who leave the cult will lose contact with their closest friends within the cult.

• Followers are forbidden to discuss any of the above. If they do discuss these facts with their friends, or question anyone about these facts, they will be expelled. This in turn fosters secrecy and lack of transparency within the cult.

• Burton charges exorbitant membership fees – anywhere from 20% to 40% of income, depending on a person’s salary. The full amount of these fees is never discussed when representatives try to sell people on joining the cult.

• The fees have helped pay for Burton’s extravagant lifestyle, which includes expensive clothing, frequent expensive vacations, and a lavish home at the cult’s compound in Oregon House, California (between Grass Valley and Yuba City).

• Burton and the Fellowship of Friends have been sued by former members on multiple occasions. Most of these suits have been settled out of court, with insurance companies paying the settlement on behalf of the Fellowship of Friends.

• Burton founded the cult in 1970. For more than three decades, he characterized the cult as a so-called “Fourth Way school.” In recent years, the cult has virtually abandoned any discussions about the Fourth Way.

• Because the Fellowship of Friends (also referred to as Pathway to Presence) has been granted religious status, American taxpayers help pay for this cult.


• In the last four years, several hundred followers have left the Fellowship of Friends, and many followers continue to leave. It’s believed that slightly over 1,000 members remain worldwide, but reliable statistics are not publicly available.



120. ton2uAugust 9, 2015


Though difficult to recognize when you’re in the cult, after you step outside of cult programming, its use of mind-control techniques becomes all too obvious.


For example the “eternal damnation” meme is already deeply embedded in the collective psyche of “western” (judeo-christian and including muslim) cultures. This idea is a control mechanism that’s been used by religions for hundreds of years – along with belief that the only way to avoid damnation is to adhere to the religion and to follow its dictates. Burton adopts and uses this idea with the threat of one’s soul “going to the moon” should you “lose” the school – it’s the “4th way” equivalent of “eternal damnation.”


Another mind-control technique has to do with the nature of Burton’s numerous false prophecies, there’s always a prediction of some cataclysmic event hanging in the air, threatening all those who are not part of his “school.”


Whether the “prophecies” are true or false isn’t the point, nor the effect…. these “prophecies” are simply designed to scare those who are fooled into believing.


Psychological fear tactics act as part of the invisible fence which keeps the “flock” in their pen.





“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves…”  Matthew 7:15



See 44 personal stories of Robert Earl Burton’s abuses


Dave Archer’s memoirs, Supping with Alex and A Fourth Way Standup


Thomas Farber’s chapter, Getting Religion



[ed. – The following excerpt is from a letter sent to The Gurdjieff Club by an unknown author.]


Dear Mr. Rovner,


I found your website, Gurdjieff Club, quite interesting.


I noted with interest your comments about the People of Gurdjieff’s Influence where you talk about Robert Earl Burton who founded the fellowship of friends. You also say that Burton “spent eighteen months in a Gurdjieff group of the Fourth Way led by the spiritual teacher Alexander Francis Horn.”


I feel like you are doing a great disservice to anyone who reads your website without stating the whole truth of these matters.


Robert Earl Burton’s Fellowship of Friends was and is a cult that has harmed many people.


Personally, I was a victim of Alexander Francis Horn who was NOT a spiritual teacher and who had no connection to Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.


Alex Horn was a psychopath, a narcissist, a manipulator, a rapist and a black magician. Yes, he taught Burton and in that way further perpetrated his evil.


Please, if you are interested in the truth, tell the whole story about these people.


Not all of Gurdjieff’s followers were unscrupulous but some of them were and people should know about this.


Thank you for considering the above.


Best wishes


[No signature/name]



Horn: “I don’t really want to rape you, but you leave me with no choice – you’re such a stupid girl, poor fuck and tight-ass.”



What are Rape and Sexual Assault?


Sexual assault is a general term that includes any forced or unwanted sexual activity, including rape, incest, sexual abuse, and molestation. Sexual assault includes any forced or unwanted touching of an intimate part of the body, such as breasts, buttocks, or genitals.


Rape, a specific type of sexual assault, involves any forced, manipulated, or coerced penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth, by a penis or other object. Sexual assault/rape is not a crime of passion but a crime of violence, using sex as a weapon to overpower and to degrade the victim. A rapist can be a stranger or someone the victim knows. . .



Coercion in Rape and Sexual Assault


    Coercion is being pressured or forced to do something sexual

 you did not want to do.
    Any sexual activity that involves coercion is sexual assault.



Some forms of coercion are:


    Use of threats (i.e., if you don’t do this, I’ll get you in trouble)
    Intimidation (with looks, gestures, or body language)
    Encouraging or forcing you to drink or do drugs
    Use of a weapon
    Underlying threat of violence if you don’t submit
    Not respecting someone saying “no” or “stop”
    Making you feel like you owe the person sex


Safe Horizon



Can Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Psychopaths Feel Empathy, Sadness, or Remorse?


Darius Cikanavicius – Aug 2017 – psychcentral/psychopathy and feelings


People often speculate whether persons with strong narcissistic, sociopathic, or psychopathic tendencies feel normal human emotions such as sadness, joy, love, remorse, and empathy. It is definitely interesting to look at such people’s emotional life, or lack thereof.


It is worth noting that, oftentimes, there is no clear distinction between all three terms—narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy. The classification depends on the people who use these terms. Sometimes they even contradict each other. It is widely agreed, however, that all three share many similarities, and can even be used interchangeably (especially sociopathy and psychopathy).


If we agree that there are some differences among all three, then a suggested model could be the following. People with strong narcissistic, sociopathic, and psychopathic tendencies can be seen as being on a spectrum, based on the severity of their dysfunctional behavior and emotional incapability: narcissism <—> sociopathy  <—> psychopathy.


   * Lying and deceiving


   * A lack of care and concern for others (and/or self)


   * A severely limited emotional intelligence


   * A lack of remorse or guilt


   * Aggressiveness (active or passive)


   * Narcissistic tendencies: charm, grandiosity, exaggeration of one’s own good qualities and achievements, seeing others as objects, a sense of entitlement and feeling special, exploiting and hurting others, black and white thinking, heavy projection, and a few others . . .



5 Ways Narcissists Project and Attack You


Darius Cikanavicius – Sept 2017 – psychcentral/narcissistic projection


Most narcissists generally lack self-awareness. Indeed, their sense of self-esteem and self-worth depends on how others perceive them, and they tend to deny flaws in themselves and blame others for their own shortcomings, mistakes, and misfortunes. This is called projection, and people with narcissistic tendencies are projection-heavy individuals.


Here we will explore five different but related ways people with strong narcissistic, sociopathic and psychopathic tendencies deny, project, blame, confuse, and hurt others.



The Cult of the Narcissist (excerpt)


By Dr. Sam Vaknin


The narcissist is the guru at the centre of a cult. Like other gurus, he demands complete obedience from his flock: his spouse, his offspring, other family members, friends, and colleagues. He feels entitled to adulation and special treatment by his followers. He punishes the wayward and the straying lambs. He enforces discipline, adherence to his teachings, and common goals. The less accomplished he is in reality – the more stringent his mastery and the more pervasive the brainwashing.


The – often involuntary – members of the narcissist’s mini-cult inhabit a twilight zone of his own construction. He imposes on them a shared psychosis, replete with persecutory delusions, “enemies”, mythical narratives, and apocalyptic scenarios if he is flouted.


The narcissist’s control is based on ambiguity, unpredictability, fuzziness, and ambient abuse. His ever-shifting whims exclusively define right versus wrong, desirable and unwanted, what is to be pursued and what to be avoided. He alone determines the rights and obligations of his disciples and alters them at will.


The narcissist is a micro-manager. He exerts control over the minutest details and behaviours. He punishes severely and abuses withholders of information and those who fail to conform to his wishes and goals.


The narcissist does not respect the boundaries and privacy of his reluctant adherents. He ignores their wishes and treats them as objects or instruments of gratification. He seeks to control both situations and people compulsively.


He strongly disapproves of others’ personal autonomy and independence. Even innocuous activities, such as meeting a friend or visiting one’s family require his permission. Gradually, he isolates his nearest and dearest until they are fully dependent on him emotionally, sexually, financially, and socially.


He acts in a patronising and condescending manner and criticises often. He alternates between emphasising the minutest faults (devalues) and exaggerating the talents, traits, and skills (idealises) of the members of his cult. He is wildly unrealistic in his expectations – which legitimises his subsequent abusive conduct.


The narcissist claims to be infallible, superior, talented, skillful, omnipotent, and omniscient. He often lies and confabulates to support these unfounded claims. Within his cult, he expects awe, admiration, adulation, and constant attention commensurate with his outlandish stories and assertions. He reinterprets reality to fit his fantasies.


His thinking is dogmatic, rigid, and doctrinaire. He does not countenance free thought, pluralism, or free speech and doesn’t brook criticism and disagreement. He demands – and often gets – complete trust and the relegation to his capable hands of all decision-making.


He forces the participants in his cult to be hostile to critics, the authorities, institutions, his personal enemies, or the media – if they try to uncover his actions and reveal the truth. He closely monitors and censors information from the outside, exposing his captive audience only to selective data and analyses.


The narcissist’s cult is “missionary” and “imperialistic”. He is always on the lookout for new recruits – his spouse’s friends, his daughter’s girlfriends, his neighbours, new colleagues at work. He immediately attempts to “convert” them to his “creed” – to convince them how wonderful and admirable he is. In other words, he tries to render them Sources of Narcissistic Supply.


Often, his behaviour on these “recruiting missions” is different to his conduct within the “cult”. In the first phases of wooing new admirers and proselytising to potential “conscripts” – the narcissist is attentive, compassionate, empathic, flexible, self-effacing, and helpful. At home, among the “veterans” he is tyrannical, demanding, willful, opinionated, aggressive, and exploitative.


As the leader of his congregation, the narcissist feels entitled to special amenities and benefits not accorded the “rank and file”. He expects to be waited on hand and foot, to make free use of everyone’s money and dispose of their assets liberally, and to be cynically exempt from the rules that he himself established (if such violation is pleasurable or gainful).


In extreme cases, the narcissist feels above the law – any kind of law. This grandiose and haughty conviction leads to criminal acts, incestuous or polygamous relationships, and recurrent friction with the authorities.


Hence the narcissist’s panicky and sometimes violent reactions to “dropouts” from his cult. There’s a lot going on that the narcissist wants kept under wraps. Moreover, the narcissist stabilises his fluctuating sense of self-worth by deriving Narcissistic Supply from his victims. Abandonment threatens the narcissist’s precariously balanced personality.


Add to that the narcissist’s paranoid and schizoid tendencies, his lack of introspective self-awareness, and his stunted sense of humour (lack of self-deprecation) and the risks to the grudging members of his cult are clear.


The narcissist sees enemies and conspiracies everywhere. He often casts himself as the heroic victim (martyr) of dark and stupendous forces. In every deviation from his tenets he espies malevolent and ominous subversion. He, therefore, is bent on disempowering his devotees. By any and all means.


The narcissist is dangerous.



Debate About Causes and Types of Narcissists


Abuse in Relationships: gaslighting (ambient), overt, covert, by proxy



Sexual Psychopaths


Hervey Cleckley in his 1941 book “The Mask of Sanity” says that the psychopath’s sex life invariably shows peculiarities. This makes sense when you consider that

  • they are incapable of love
  • they don’t experience guilt or remorse
  • and they can be very impulsive without much consideration of the consequences of their actions.

Their inability to love means that their sex life is trivial and impersonal. The pleasure of the sex act seems to be limited to local sensations only. While there are physiological changes that may give rise to emotions that are labeled sexual, psychopaths have no shared emotional experience with their partners, nor any emotion that would lead to a sense of commitment or loyalty.


Cleckley says that for psychopaths there are none of the “emotional concomitants and the complex potentialities that make adult love relations an experience so thrilling and indescribable”.


He also points out that sexual psychopaths

  • will often act on the slightest of their urges
  • they are typically not put off by things that normal people would find repulsive or repugnant
  • and they often engage in a whole range of unsatisfactory behaviors in every field. (For example, they don’t specialize in just one type of crime, they are often involved in all sorts of illegal things.)

This leads them to try out deviant sexual behaviors, sometimes just for the hell of it! They may be involved in homosexual relationships, they will abuse children, pay prostitutes, seduce friends’ spouses, and, of course, rape and sexually abuse others.





53. Golden Veil July 10, 2018


Can a man be a member of the #MeToo movement?


You betcha!


Below, a personal history from Fellowship of Friends former student John, who posted about his experience being placed in the Blake Cottage and serving as Robert Burton’s “attaché” on the Miles Barth In Memoriam page, Greater Fellowship, on July 6, 2017.


“Reflecting on my time in the Fellowship still provides an opportunity for work.


It is not my wish to speak ill of the dead – only to relay my memories as best I can. Who knows the truth?


My first visit to Renaissance was in the summer of ’78. Even back then, it was like walking into Rivendell (Lord of the Rings) or Hogwarts – for you younger escapees…


I was quite literally spell bound by the elegance of the Meissen Room, the beauty and scope of the vineyard, the excellence of the antique octave, the concerts, the intellectual and emotional depth of the students, their sophistication, refinement, their level of commitment, and the efforts they made …


And many if not most of them were spell bound like me. Naïve, innocent, dreaming – imagining a perfect world created and directed by a deity.


I should have “smelled the coffee burning”.


If I remember right, I was helping Brian paint Dorothy’s cottage on my weekend visits to Renaissance. I did not know Brian well but came to understand that he was being sent away for “spreading rumors” about RB and that I would be taking his place at the Blake Cottage. Dorothy turned to me and said something to the effect of “…such a sweet young man – how could he say such terrible things about Robert?” This I remember very clearly.


Of course discussing rumors about the teacher was strictly verboten – so I did not ask. I wish I had.


If Dorothy – who was not even on the fringes of the inner circle – suspected something was (as the saying goes) “rotten in Denmark”, does anyone think the older students were unaware? Again I emphasize – I was not the first “9 month wonder”. My suspicion is that most of them (if not all) at first refused to believe (like me), then justified the behavior (like me), and then went into denial – a luxury I could not afford.


I cannot imagine many experiences that would equal or surpass visiting this magical place for months – hearing the words “crown prince”, “conscious role”, “Lord North”, and then… the first night in the Blake Cottage… having the curtain pulled back and the dark side exposed.


At first, I tried to rationalize RB’s behavior as a test but that didn’t last long. I found myself looking up references to double/incorrect crystallization, hasnamuss, and so on… I still don’t know what went wrong.


In any case – the “wine, dine & travel” octave had begun… “The Magic Flute” in L.A., Baryshnikov in San Francisco, Tavern on the Green in New York, two trips to Europe – Amsterdam (to bid on a roll top desk), London, Munich, Paris… (I don’t remember the exact order). I was Robert’s “attaché” on the first trip and the “motor” for Kevin’s wheelchair on the second. (Sadly, Kevin became ill in Paris and we spent most of the trip there).


I found the opportunity to observe myself was profound. I did my best to recall Gurdjieff’s advice – “The worse the conditions of life, the more productive the work, always provided you remember the work”.


I cannot express how productive those difficult days were. I had a very new and different perspective on “The Teacher” and the ideas. Imagination, identification, considering, expressing negative emotions, lying…


It was confusing and enlightening at the same time. I verified the usefulness and validity of The Work in ways that would have taken years by any other route. In a way I suppose I should be thankful. Many have labored and suffered for decades under his spell. My eyes were opened and I began to look for an exit.


It was not easy. No money. No car. In addition, Louis told me that I was considered a “flight risk” and would be watched quite carefully.


Late at night on the Ides of March in 1979, I gathered what was left of my worldly possessions into a back pack and tip-toed out of the Blake Cottage and on to the road. Fortunately, a newer student was driving the first car that came along. I told him Robert had granted me a three day vacation. He had no idea I was running. I was so thankful. Who knows what might have happened if I had been caught trying to escape. Probably transferred to the London Center for reprogramming. Ha!


Unfortunately, I did not escape undamaged. I have not and do not think I will ever fully trust another teacher, school or human being. That’s had an impact on every relationship I’ve had since leaving the Fellowship.


And as many here probably know – working alone is only so productive.”

~ ~ ~


If there is someone out there that was or is a former or current “boy” of Robert Burton, there are agencies for help – and reporting.


“You are not alone.


It was not your fault.


It is possible to heal.


It is not too late.”


From: https://www.malesurvivor.org/index.php


See also:





Considering Sex Offenders: A Model of Addiction


By Judith Herman



51. WhaleRiderJune 2, 2018


“Even today, the overall shame of being identified not only as a member of a cult but as a “sex slave” — of having their control and choice, and, essentially, humanity, stripped from them — has kept many silent.”





6. Rita Penfold Says




Dear All,


Yesterday I received a message from my close friend Kosta Dmitriev from St. Petersburg, which he sent to the students in Russia.


I thought that it was quite funny (if it wasn’t sad), and asked Kosta if I could translate it and post it on the blog, to which he agreed. If you have any questions, you’re free to ask Kosta directly, his email address is: shantiway@yahoo.com


To those who don’t know Kosta personally, I am pleased to tell that he is one of those handsome young Russian men who rejected Robert’s advances.


Dear friends,


Thank you very much for the time we spent together, it was wonderful.


As many before me, I decided to leave the school when I discovered the details of sexual ‘adventures’ of the teacher.


Of course, as everybody else in the school, I knew that Robert is a homosexual. So what? So many great people and even our friends were and are homosexuals, bi-sexuals, transvestites – nobody is shocked by this nowadays. Especially among the different kinds of ‘spiritual seekers’, where there are always many, let’s say, exotically oriented people . . . 


Back to business, here are the results of my observations and investigations.


The school as organisation and its exercises are intended to:


1. Attract sponsorship for the very expensive and exquisite erotic games of Robert and Co. Teaching payments are spent on expensive clothes, often made to order for the boys and the entourage; original Viagra pills which cost $50 per tablet (completely identical ones in India cost $0.5). Air tickets and 5-star hotels for the harem; fake passports which are bought from Italian mafia, for the especially treasured lovers from Russia, and of course, for the new centres in developing countries, where new ‘members’ (‘member’ in Russian is the same word for penis – Rita) are so cheap. Also, 5-figure sums for the lawyers and parents of some of the ‘woken up’ underage victims of the teacher’s ‘mischievous’ activities.


2. Cover up the very fact that those orgies are taken place just before and after the meetings and are the main interest of the teacher in his school and the reason for its existence.


The cover-up is necessary in order to prevent students from thinking about how the teacher was using his mouth just before he kisses their foreheads. Many wouldn’t like to think about it at all. Of course, there will always be those who will work with acceptance and continue to be present to any sort of madness. But most students would leave the school to be present elsewhere.


Robert is interested only in young men, only straight (otherwise it’s not such fun to ‘get’ them), usually in financial need, preferably spiritually unripe and, what’s called in Russia, ‘without a King in the head’, and with high level of conformity of behaviour. That’s it.


Yes, my friends, it’s all about ‘members, members and more members’. Preferably big in size and several at the time. But if only that was all…


The stories of the participants are beyond even the most perverse sexual imagination.


One student has almost chocked on the teacher’s penis while giving him a blowjob. He had to be rescued by his fellow orgy-participants from the unstoppable in his sexual urge teacher.


The ‘height’ of those stories is the ‘Fountain of Eternal Youth’. What do you think that would mean? Very simple. Students are pissing in the teacher’s mouth. One at the time, or all together. I asked about the next, you know, logical step… They said – yes! That step has been taken. Sometimes all would get smeared. And why? You won’t believe… Gurdjieff ordered from the astral plane!!! In order to be more present!


It’s understandable that such moments of presence will never be forgotten. You’ll be in the third state without any effort, and maybe even beyond third state, as many afterwards live their lives, wearing ‘horse faces’ forever.


You will ask me, what makes these people do this?
It’s very simple, really: everybody does it, they say. It’s accepted behaviour. You know about ‘norms of group behaviour in the totalitarian sects’.


Strangely, but many continue to interpret what happened to them in terms of the enlightenment. As a special, mystical experience of presence, which they would not get anywhere else. And, at the same time, they hate Robert for what he’s done to them and cherish plans for revenge (usually blackmail of some kind). It’s understandable, because otherwise you’d have to admit that you’ve been simply ….. .


Some invested too much in the school, suffered, paid; some simply have nowhere else to go. Most students simply don’t know many things, despite the fact that all information is published on the Internet. And, except for the ‘special’ details, it’s known to the ‘old’ students. I didn’t know the details myself, so I was hoping that Robert’s ‘antics’ were simply ‘free love’ with a bit of tantra. But, according to the participants, the whole thing is completely rotten and Robert is a typical ‘post-traumatic psychopath’. Of course, you can continue as if it wasn’t true, but then you’ll have to pay him, and that is a question of moral standards which, as any case where one is trading one’s conscience, is deeply personal. For me, it’s simply too much. It’s your business now, think for yourselves.


I wish you with all my heart to wake up before, and not during, the time when you are asked to piss someone in the mouth, given the reason of working on the 3rd line of work.


Thank you. You are welcomed any time to call or to write me.





86. SandraC on June 14, 2007


Here is another story on the Man #5 question (12/5):
The first time I met RB was in Hawaii in January 1973. My first impression of him — head bowed, hands-folded, wearing a loose fitting, short-sleeved, large print shirt, khaki pants and those funny brown soft-leathered tie shoes he used to wear, and carrying a brown brief case by the handle – confounded me.


Here was ‘the great teacher’ whom Bonita (his first student and leader of new HI center) revered, and he looked to me like a door-to-door insurance salesman. An oddly apt metaphor, I think now, considering what he does.


Anyway, at the break of the meeting he came over to me and said he wanted to show me something private. In a hushed, conspiratorial voice, he showed me his driver’s license. He told me that he only weighed 140 (or something like that) pounds in the picture, that it was taken shortly after he had been in a car accident, requiring 144 stitches. The picture was rather grim.


He did not mind the terrible suffering though, he said, because the accident had awakened him to becoming a Man #5. He went on, in that gravely serious way he sometimes adopted about how C influence uses difficult methods to awaken us, and so forth…


He proceeded to rub ‘the third eye’ spot on my forehead, and I recall him telling me I would soon enough learn about “their methods” because I was “definitely on the way.” I had been in the FoF only about one month at the time. I left that night (at the ripe old age of 24) both flattered and weirded out by the entire episode.


TRAVELER: Please add ‘on the way’ to your hilarious 11/555 devil’s dictionary post. Reading it was the best laugh I have had in a long time.


I especially liked: King of Clubs = Common Sense



89. WhaleRider on June 14, 2007 (excerpt)


BTW, this is the story I was told on how ‘c-influence’ indicated to Robert that Miles was going to become a man number five. When Robert first saw him, Miles was wearing a V-neck sweater, with the V in gold trim, signifying the number 5 as the Roman numeral V. Later the prediction was correlated I believe in Shakespeare’s sonnet #44 with the line … “miles when thou are gone”. This is another good example of Robert’s ‘ideas of reference’, like ‘Union 76’. Also the high tech spy plane ‘SR-71’ which flew from an airforce base near Renaissance was ‘self-remembering 1971’ or when self-remembering came to the area in 1971.



13. Old FOF on October 1, 2007


Ames (21 / 603)


I almost always agree with your posts, Ames. And fully respect your take.


But in my view one of your recent posts needs an addition to be more fully true. It is probably true that most students in a position of responsibility for the past 10-12 years were as you described – in on “it.” Though even until recently – perhaps even now? – I doubt if most students, even those in positions of responsibility, understood the shockingly large scale of Robert Burton’s sexual impropriety.


I write to correct this as inadvertently the idea that everyone knew – may even now further wound those who were wounded. Also, to bear witness as accurately as possible. The proposition that “everyone knew” was decidedly NOT the case in the earlier days of the Fellowship of Friends.


For example, when I found out in the very late 70s, it was because Robert Burton had sent a troublesome student (read: one who knew the truth – and had to be sent away because of it) from The Property to an outlying center where I was in a position of responsibility. The memory is still clear – being in the dining room with this poor student as he explained patiently to me (again and again) the ridiculous idea that The Teacher was a homosexual who had relations with students.


By the way, this student was a homosexual and had not had relations with Robert Burton. But he indicated that he had a sense about people who were as he was – and had gotten a story from another young non-homosexual man who had had reluctant relations with Robert Burton.


The homosexual student indicated that his “research” had confirmed his suspicion that Robert Burton tended to a passive (receptive) role in sexual activities, and further indicated that like a certain subset of homosexuals Robert Burton preferred to have sex with heterosexuals. He told me that Robert Burton had found out about his “research” and this was the reason that he had been sent away from The Property.


In my innocence (the depth of which is a measure of how deeply Robert’s behaviors were hidden), I thought that this student was quite LITERALLY crazy – and I was humoring him along for the better part of an evening trying to figure out what to do about him. Well into the evening it suddenly came in a flash and penetrated that he might be telling the truth. This was a jolt that shook me to the quick. It would be hard to overstate this effect.


Later that night I called Robert Burton on the phone and asked him about this. He said (verbatim) about himself, “you have to play the hand you’re dealt.” Then he asked me to “release” the student from the Fellowship of Friends. I told Robert Burton that I could not do this – as the person had confided this information to me in sincerity and as a part my effort of trying to figure out why he was sent here. Robert got very angry and then calmed down and indicated that it was a weakness of my body type – that later I would learn to be more ruthless. And that for now he would honor my decision.


I spent the next few weeks trying to find out what was going on – and who knew what. I found that, with one exception, all of the “older students” queried (in a non-revealing manner) did not know. This highly focused effort on my part included Joel F and Sandra C and many others. Inevitably they gave the accepted wisdom: that Robert Burton had indicated and seemed to be fully celibate – and saved his sex energies for higher states.


Finally, one meeting-night at the Skyline Community Church in Oakland, California (where the big weekly meetings were held) I spoke privately with Miles B. He said yes Robert Burton was having homosexual relations with students. That he did not know what to think of it – but that he (Miles) had been reading up on homosexuality and generally trying to study on it and think about it. Miles then told me in a straight forward manner that he really didn’t understand it, but it did NOT seem right or good; it seemed very wrong for a teacher to engage in such activity with his students.


It took me a little while, but as soon as possible I removed myself from any and all positions of responsibility or prominence in the Fellowship of Friends. It took longer to leave. By the way, on next seeing Robert Burton he gave me a big wet sloppy kiss on the mouth — I was privately disgusted. And from that time on, when looking around I could see the signs and encouragements to homosexuality (a funnel directed toward Robert Burton) in many aspects of the physical school and teaching. It had always been there but I did not have the non-naïve eyes to see until then.


It was a terrible thing to no longer be able to indulge the luxury of being naïve. During the years long process of processing – which was one of deep loss – really of grieving (what, innocence lost, amputation of a spiritual limb?) – I was better able to understand things somewhat more clearly. Though it wasn’t until actually leaving the Fellowship of Friends and time gone by that the understanding grew more certain – and surprisingly now the blog …


Robert Burton had designed a form whereby largely the people in responsibility did NOT know his crimes. They (read: we) welcomed vulnerable students into the fold. The blowback that you sometimes heard from people returning from The Property to your center – did not compute. We didn’t know. And the vulnerable students, in retrospect, based on our dull responses must have assumed that we knew and were in on it, or that we didn’t know and wouldn’t believe them. So they were very effectively isolated.


It is ludicrous to think that Robert Burton “believes” or understands the idea of C-Influence that he promotes. If he did, it would be impossible for him to act in these ways. My present understanding is that Robert Burton is a spiritual criminal. His enablers have terrible karma. And Robert Burton’s karma is far worse – with the final payment having not yet been fully rendered.


“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”


The form of the Fellowship of Friends was a thoughtful systematic construction of great cunning and wickedness – designed and controlled by Robert Burton. The “older” students, leaders, good students and regular students all – were beards for Robert Burton. Our role, my role, was one of naïve attraction and naïve concealment. And the activity which involved great shame for the violated and isolated went hidden or unbelieved for years if not decades (and for some will likely never be revealed).


Of course, there were students who knew back then. But it is my belief and educated sense that the great majority did not. I would like to note here in passing and acknowledge with respect that of the reputed “conscious beings” that I personally knew in the Fellowship of Friends, Miles B had the most integrity and Donald McD, not short on integrity either, easily had the most panache.


14. unoanimo on October 1, 2007

“It was a terrible thing to no longer be able to indulge the luxury of being naïve.” ‘Old FOF’



Yes, and this, the beginnings of the birth pains of your ‘soul’.


Beautifully stated one line… thank you for this, thank you. :-)



15. Vena on October 1, 2007


“My present understanding is that Robert Burton is a spiritual criminal. His enablers have terrible karma. And Robert Burton’s karma is far worse – with the final payment having not yet been fully rendered.”


“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”


Thanks Old FOF #13 – This is the cold, hard truth of the matter.
Robert Burton and his enablers (there are many and we know who they are) are in a very, very bad place. If they could acknowledge this they might have the possibility to redeem themselves. Working to expose this sick situation is an obligation of all who now know and understand.



16. Janna on October 1, 2007 (excerpt)


Hello friends,


Four of us just returned from a great European vacation, and let me tell you – the Network that GF has to offer really works!


Many people haven’t yet left FOF for fear that the global network of like-minded people would be lost with their departure.


The Greater Fellowship Network not only beautifully fills this need, but it allows one to spend wonderful time with friends without the heavy unnecessary baggage we have all experienced while in FOF. It wasn’t necessary to have your “best student” act (or false personality) on while traveling. It was a great pleasure to meet friends unconditionally, without judgment, expectations, certain learned behaviors, dress codes and silly exercises. Our essences truly seemed to flourish when unrestricted by limiting rules and open to free expression. We haven’t missed stuffy FOF meetings one bit!



108. Insider September 2, 2017


September 5, 1967. Fifty years ago, this coming Tuesday.


In case anyone misplaced their scorecard, that’s the day Robert Burton met Alex Horn. At least according to the version of their meeting as told by Burton. Well actually, he has rarely made it clear that he met Horn on that day. What he says is that’s when he met “Influence C.” But a very sharp “student” figured out some years ago that that date of meeting “Influence C” and Alex Horn coincided, and that Alex Horn must be “Influence C.”


In any case, he has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Meeting Influence C” for a year now. And right now is the big weekend, not only the culmination of another “Journey Forth” gathering (and a large one), but the pinnacle of a year-long build-up of excitement. Endless meetings (4 in 5 days, 3 days in a row, through Tuesday), dinners, “fund-raising” activities, a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. And I’m willing to bet that “The Absolute” will make his Fourth appearance sometime this weekend, probably on Tuesday, Sept 5. Perfect.


And the 2 nearby fires are also perfect, the smell of smoke, the extreme heat warning this weekend.


Pity the money-counters having to work all that overtime (without pay). Pity, too, the chefs working in 100+ temps to feed the masses visiting from around the world.


But especially pity the 1500 or so lost souls who still believe that Robert Burton holds their ticket to Paradise, and who have given all their will and power and personal responsibility to a fake guru.



40. Fee fi fo fumOctober 16, 2017


“…such a secret society rarely allows those who are being wooed to join to see its shadier sides from the outset…Once they make a commitment to a group, they are less quick to criticize it, especially as still further mysteries are held before them as inducements to joining. And gradually, when novices are deemed ready to absorb more information without criticism and in complete secrecy, they are exposed to tasks and methods they would earlier have questioned.”


From “Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation” by Sissela Bok. From the chapter, “Secret Societies / Groups Sworn to Secrecy,” pp 49-50.


This book followed her earlier book called “Lying,” which I read after leaving the FoF to help me understand the FoF’s unrelenting mind-f-k.



Robert K. Fullinwider explores and amplifies Sissela Bok’s seminal work: Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life © 1978 – infed.org


Johnson & Whales University


Bok makes a point in the book that within her life, she has dealt with the problems and difficulty of drawing the line between when to lie and when to tell the truth depending on the circumstances. She states, “This book is a personal exploration rather than an effort to dictate conclusions. It aims to narrow the gap between the worlds of the moral philosopher and those confronting urgent practical moral choices.”



I am grateful to have been able to take this expanded, often deepened, contemporary discussion of truthfulness and deceit into account in my own writings over the past decades. My conclusions remain those expressed in Lying‘s last sentences: “Trust and integrity are precious resources, easily squandered, hard to regain. They can thrive only on a foundation of respect for veracity.”


    Were I writing the book today, I would nevertheless wish to take up a number of topics that help shed light on human motivation when it comes to lying, as on familiar arguments and definitions. The first of these topics is that of “confabulation” – a psychiatric term that has come into common parlance so recently that it has not been recorded as such in some major dictionaries. The term once carried the meaning of people coming together to talk or chat, but is now used to refer to the stories told by brain-damaged persons suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and a variety of other psychiatric and neurological conditions. These persons may spin false tales about their lives with great aplomb and in utter confidence that they are correct. They cannot, therefore, be thought of as engaging in lying or any form of deceit; at the same time, because their statements so clearly depart from the truth, it is equally difficult to speak of truthfulness in characterizing their stories. Such cases show that the moral dimensions of choices concerning truthfulness and deceit are not exhausted by referring to the intentions of those who make statements. There is a large category of statements where deceit is not intended but where truthful communication is far from being achieved. In considering this category, it is important to take into account all that can help to distort communication quite apart from an intention to deceive. When people convey false information in the belief that it is true, they may be tired, mistaken, uninformed, inarticulate, intoxicated, or duped by others; but so long as they do not intend to mislead anyone, they are not acting in a manner that is in any way deceitful. Their statements may be false, but they have not knowingly uttered falsehoods. If the information is conveyed through intermediaries, as through gossip or via the media, further distortion from such causes is likely to ensue. At the receiving end of such information, likewise, similar factors and others such as deafness may operate so that people end up deceiving through no fault on the part of the person who originated the message or those who passed it along.

    A second concept is that of pathological or compulsive lying [which] is to all the rest of lying what kleptomania is to stealing. The most extreme form of such pathological lying has been called Pseudologia fantastica, “in which the pseudologue (the liar) tells involved stories about life circumstances, both present and past.” Any consideration of moral choice regarding whether or not to lie has to take into account cases involving such compulsions and ways in which they can take over a person’s life. For this purpose, I would now wish to expand my earlier discussion of how one lie often leads to more lying and of the quip that the first lie “must be thatched with another or it will rain through” (p. 25).


    A third concept, “duping delight,” sheds needed light on a range of pleasurable motives for deceit. It evokes the excitement, allure, challenge that lying can involve. For psychologist Paul Ekman, the term refers to any or all of the positive feelings that lying can bring, ranging from the pleasure in misleading a gullible friend to taking what to outsiders seem unaccountably reckless risks of discovery: “The liar may feel excitement, either when anticipating the challenge or during the very moment of lying, when success is not yet certain. Afterwards, there may be the pleasure that comes with relief, pride in the achievement, or feelings of smug contempt towards the target.”


    A fourth concept helps counter simplistic reasoning about truthfulness and lying: it is that of “truth-dumping.” Coined by psychiatrist Will Gaylin, it conveys the harm that brutal, needless or uncaring truth-telling can wreak. Parents who bombard their children with criticisms, spouses who gloomily dwell on each other’s dreariest traits, curt health professionals who shock unprepared patients with grim news – all may be telling the truth even as they violate fundamental standards of respect and concern. Advocates of greater tolerance for lying sometimes ask what the world would be like if we told nothing but the truth without cease. Surely, they ask, judicious lying has to be seen as preferable? To pose the question thus is to assume that we operate, in this world, with only two alternatives: lying or constant, no-holds-barred truth-telling. Yet there is something peculiarly wizened and humorless in such a supposition. It leaves no room for discretion, for the ability to discern what is and is not intrusive and injurious while navigating in and between the worlds of personal and shared experience. Part of learning to deal respectfully with children as with adults is to become aware of all the ways of doing so honestly yet without “truth-dumping.”


~ Sissela Bok, in her Preface to the 1999 edition of Lying



From Pathological Lying Revisited

Charles C. Dike, Madelon Baranoski and Ezra E. H. Griffith
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online September 2005


While no consensus definition for pathological lying currently exists in the literature, the identified functional elements of the phenomenon are: the repeated utterance of untruths; the lies are often repeated over a period of years, with the lies eventually becoming a lifestyle; material reward or social advantage does not appear to be the primary motivating force but the lying is an end in itself; an inner dynamic rather than an external reason drives the lies, but when an external reason is suspected, the lies are far in excess of the suspected external reason; the lies are often woven into complex narratives.


We shall define pathological lying as Healy and Healy8 did, but without the quagmire of etiology. Pathological lying is falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime.



On September 21, 2011, Robert Burton claimed:


“On September 5, 1967, I met Alex Horn. This date marks the moment when angels from Paradise descended upon us and our quest for divine presence began. We could say that on this day: ‘It has begun.’ Here [referring to a photo] we see a photograph of Alex Horn, showing four fingers on each hand. This [referring to a photo] is the Claremont Hotel and the Berkeley Tennis Club, where I played tennis. I met Influence C hitchhiking because it was just fashionable in the sixties; one would hitchhike from Berkeley to Carmel, and such things. I met Influence C in Berkeley on the crossing of Ashby and Domingo Avenues, like Placido Domingo, the singer. He was born in Spain and raised in Mexico, so it is an omen of my bringing the sequence – the Song of Solomon – to our school. Incidentally, the sequence is a ‘Song of the Self.’ It is four words. This is where our journey began. A doctor picked me up and gave me a ride. He would later turn out to be payment for Dr. Ethan Ha_s. So we did very well! The doctor was on his way to a prospective student meeting on Page Street (like William Page) in San Francisco. This [referring to a photo] is the house at 350 Page Street where I had my prospective student meeting. It is eight – three plus five. This [referring to a photo] is the interior. The owner was quite gracious about inviting us in. Here [referring to a photo] I am before the gated entrance. …I am looking up in gratitude to Influence C. I was just like you, one of many, one of seven billion. There was no particular reason on the surface they would give any of us this gift but we are exactly the ones they wanted. And now we are all present and we can see why they wanted us.”


So: A doctor on his way to a prospective student meeting (to be conducted by Alex Horn) on Page Street pulled over and picked up a random hitchhiker before driving to the house. . .?


Soon after I met Influence C on September 5th, forty-four years ago, one of my first observations was that life after death was not a theory. In a sense, this was our school’s first verification. Because before meeting Influence C we had all read literature about life after death, but our faith is a result of our verifications. We have the privilege of verifying that life after death does exist. … This [referring to a photo] is a road sign for Modesto, where I had a car accident. About three months after I met Influence C, I had approximately a hundred stitches in my head. It is curious that a small group of students gave me a Miata as a gift last night. This is exactly the same as the car that I crashed in – a tan Volkswagen bug. I made a left-hand turn. The driver behind me stopped, but the driver behind him decided to pass, and I was hit broadside and shoved under a parked truck. I heard a horn (like Alex Horn), and ‘I’ said, ‘Well, it’s not for me.’ That is the most wrong about anything I have ever been in my life! I woke up and the nurse was saying, ‘Doctor, you did a beautiful job with those stitches.’ They rolled me out of the operating room and I just stood up and walked out. I took a taxi and then a Greyhound bus to my little one-room apartment. It was then that I realized how serious Influence C are about helping us. Of course, we have students who have experienced much worse than that. The Miata is a nice little gift, coming almost forty-four years after the Volkswagen. 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. Leonardo and I are very different, but also very similar from the point of view of presence. Later I will say a few things about why we are so different. If we survive the Last Judgment then many things will become self-evident.”


(A quote by Dave Archer – once a member of Alex Horn’s group – is read: “Alex used to say we were not in the ‘work,’ meaning the Gurdjieff Work. Repeatedly he described our endeavor as a small ‘preparatory school’ at best, saying that if we worked exceedingly hard on ‘growing being,’ one of us MIGHT join the ‘Real Work’ … someday.”)


“Patricia Ch_r, who read the angle, studied with Alex Horn for a little while. I studied with him briefly also, for eighteen months. Then he closed the group, leaving ten of us there, and Influence C removed me – they would not give me employment. Finally, I found employment cleaning a woman’s house – and she died unexpectedly. At that point they briefly made me a homeless person. Alex once came up to me with a tiny little Christmas bell about two centimeters tall. His little higher emotional center was working and he rang the bell in front of my third eye, meaning that we have a little school here – he and I. Of course, we have four large bells from a French foundry above Apollo d’Oro now. Inscribed on one of them are the words: ‘And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ We put it there without knowing what we know now. Anyway, even today we are a school in our infancy. During my time with Alex, he openly spoke about my role and his role as being conscious roles. Also Influence C did not reveal themselves to anyone else in his group, but in our school everyone verifies Influence C to enter the Way. The inner meaning of ‘entering the way’ is reaching long BE and completing the sequence – entering the way to presence. …This [referring to a photo] is a view of the ranch that Alex owned for a few years. Patricia, would you like to speak about this? Yes, it is a functioning vineyard now. Sharon and Alex owned the property, and they brought students up there on the weekends to work. You went, did you not?”


Patricia: “Yes, I did. I was in charge of the refuse. I remember that Alex once drove by in a red Jaguar that he enjoyed, which had a big dent in the hood. He was watching me in a very sweet way as I worked with the refuse. It was a touching moment in our play.”

Burton: “In 1967, someone saw something no one else did, a celestial influence coming to make men immortal. Once again, in 1971, the same miracle occurred and the school (Apollo) was started by the grace of Influence C.”


“Here is a photo of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Rodney Collin, and Alex Horn. Of all of them, we learned the most from Ouspensky. Before the sequence Ouspensky was the most quoted figure by far, but now we rarely mention his name. Why? At the end of his life he said, ‘If man was made to remember himself there must be some simple method. I’ve been looking all of my life but it was never given to me’ – by Influence C.”


“As a young person, I did not have a desire to teach, but I did it because Influence C asked it of me. Others had a strong desire to become teachers, and that was their downfall.” 


“From the beginning, I knew I was following the directive of angels. …This [referring to a photo] is a Meissen urn decorated with ascending cherubim. It is now in Anthony and Patricia Ch_r’s collection. We used this image on our bookmark. Did any of you meet the school through this bookmark? (Many students raise their hands.) Very nice! Maybe we should bring it back.” 


(A quote, supposedly by Alex Horn, is read: “If ever a conscious being is produced from one of my students, then my role as a teacher is complete.”) 


“I came from so far back to go so far forward. Robert Ma_c used to work with my life sister, Betty Burton, at a restaurant called Saluto in San Francisco. Robert was a waiter, and he was carrying a dessert called The Great American Disaster. He and my sister encountered each other in a swinging door, and he spilled the dessert all over her. Subsequently, her lover, who owned the restaurant, died, leaving her fifteen million dollars. Curtis said that the Ming screen we once owned was recently sold at auction for a record high and was the only piece of Chinese furniture to ever sell for more than a million dollars. He said that it is now worth fifteen million dollars, so we have fifteen and fifteen – incomparable wealth:  presence. My sister is leaving her inheritance to the ASPCA – the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Ouspensky said something like, ‘Cats eat rats and rats eat cats.’”


“We are destined for immortality – eternal life – and this is what makes Paradise so sweet: it is a deathless place. Also, everyone is conscious and immortal there. Here everyone is mortal and unconscious, except for us.” 


“Our press is the temple of literature for Apollo and civilization. Our presses do not require electricity. We know how to make paper and vellum as well. …Here [referring to a photo] we are planning the new press building…this temple of literature. Here [referring to a photo] is our Petrarch Press this year.” 


“Apollo’s cemetery could be called ‘conscious passage’. We can also call it a ‘paymentorium’ – a place of payment.” 


“Apollo is Mecca for ascending souls in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It is here that Influence C will take their stand against the Last Judgment. This is the only safe haven.”


“For forty years our school kept going forward, until we finally arrived at the greatest ally of presence – the sequence. Never could I detect the nature of the lower self until the sequence came – I could only speak about it philosophically. But now with the sequence, we know exactly what we are facing and precisely where this intestinal figure is located.” 


(A quote by a Fellowship member is read: “Our school is truly a golden chain of love that began when Robert was most graciously accepted into the ranks of the angels.”)


“Who wrote this, dear? (Thomas F_n.) It is very sweet. This [referring to a photo] is Asaf giving the toast at the Crystallization celebration in 2010.  Here [referring to a photo] are the four of us at the Getty Villa in the order of appearance: myself, Asaf, Dorian, and then Sasha. It is quite a beautiful sight.” 


“It is possible that the survival of humanity may depend upon Apollo. This is what having Influence C in one’s life may mean. This [referring to a photo] is our Bactrian camel Rembrandt and his mother… This [referring to a photo] was our animal parade during Journey Forth… A few ibexes will be arriving at Apollo later this month… It was a major step when Influence C began bringing the animals.” 


“We have a beautiful conscious society at Apollo and our inner circle around the globe. The centers are points of light in humanity. …Here [referring to a photo] I am teaching in [our] Grand Pavilion with a statue of Shiva behind me. We are truly becoming immortal here.”


“The [live] broadcasts of the meetings are one [of] the most important events in our school’s history. Influence C accelerated everyone’s evolution.”



Historical Evolution of Pathological Lying

Pathological lying has been compared with the “pseudolying” observed in children. Despite their obvious comparability, it is important to draw a distinction between the “fantasy” lying observed in children and pathological lying. Children’s use of fantasy to deny reality is said to be an important aspect of self-development and self-protection, but when this persists into adulthood, it becomes pathological. It has been proposed that the pathological liar’s ego is fixated at the childhood level.10


Eminent psychiatrists, such as Schneider,11 Bleuler,12 Jaspers,13 and Fish14 have all wondered if the pathological liar recognizes his or her story as false or believes it is real. Essential notions in much of the literature are the basis of the lying and the extent to which the pathological lying reflects impairment in reality testing. A brief review of past characterizations of pathological lying—published by Healy and Healy,8 who translated the early work that was originally published in German and summarized it in their landmark text published in 1926—shows a split between those who believe possible impairment in reality testing is an important consideration and those who believe pathological lying is a willful act.


Supporters of possible impaired reality testing observe that in the final evolution of the pathological lie, it cannot be differentiated from a delusion because, to the liar, it has the worth of a real experience.15 The lie ultimately wins power over the pathological liar, so that mastery of his or her own lies is lost. The new “I” supposedly overwhelms the normal “I” who now appears only at intervals, a condition that has been referred to as systematized delirium.16 Consciousness of the real situation was said to be clouded in the mind of the pathological liar, and the lies were described as impulsive and unplanned, “seizing” the liar suddenly.17 Pseudologues (pathological liars) were therefore not seen as liars in the true sense, despite the falsehood of their statements, because the verbalizations were not believed to be consciously engendered, nor the goal consciously recognized.


Further support for possible impaired reality testing in pathological lying was the observation that the lies were more elaborate than ordinary lies and left the grounds of reality more readily. The proposal that pathological lying is a “wish psychosis” was based on the observation that pathological liars saw their lies as reality and believed them.18


Opponents of impaired reality testing in pathological lying noted that when the pathological liar’s attention was energetically drawn to his lies, he could be brought to at least a partial recognition of their falseness, but when left to himself, he did not exert his attention in that direction.19 This observation suggested a degree of willfulness. Pseudologia fantastica was therefore described as a fantasy lie, a daydream communicated as reality, in which the lie can be a gratification in itself, for pleasure only and not for any other obvious gain.20 It was described as an intermediary phase between psychic health and neurosis.20 The notion of “double consciousness,” in which two forms of life run side by side, the actual and the desired, and the desired becomes preponderant and decisive, has been proposed as the mechanism underlying pathological lying.21 It has also been suggested that the mental processes similar to those forming the basis of the impulse to literary creation in normal people is the foundation of the morbid romances and fantasies of those with pseudologia fantastica.22 The impulse that forces the fabrication of stories is supposedly bound up with the desire to play the role of the person depicted; fiction and real life are not separated. Further support for intact reality testing in pseudologia fantastica is the proposition that pseudologues usually have sound judgment in other matters, an observation that makes it difficult to prove that the pseudologue does not know that what he or she is doing is wrong.


In their work involving pathological liars, Healy and Healy8 observed that utterance of lies comes just as quickly and naturally as speaking truth comes to other people. They noted that even really insane individuals are not immune to pathological lying; some may tell tales that they recognize to be untrue. This observation further highlights the controversy about whether the pathological liar maintains contact with reality. In the opinion of Healy and Healy, pathological lying is very rarely a symptom by itself, as there is a tendency for the lying to be embedded in other forms of misrepresentation. The pathological liar gets himself/herself in a tight spot by lying and then tells more lies to extricate himself/herself. After a while, the only way out may be to run away to a different location.


In summary, the historical review provides some elements that may be said to characterize the pathological liar or at least create a general impression of what constitutes pathological lying. . .





20. OscarJune 23, 2016


From the 2015 documentary, (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies


“Once you lie, you’re more likely to lie again, and probably the second lie will be bigger than the first. What we find in the brain is that, at the beginning, if you lie a little bit, there’s a huge response in regions involved with emotion such as the amygdala and the insula. The 10th time you lie, the response is not that high. After a while, the negative feeling is not there as much. You lie more and more and more.”



What makes psychopaths different from all others is the remarkable ease with which they lie, the pervasiveness of their deception, and the callousness with which they carry it out. Lying, deceiving, and manipulation are natural talents for psychopaths.


~ Robert D. Hare, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us



189. WhaleRider October 18, 2016


Studies show psychopaths really do make some people feel queasy. Why? The researchers suspect it might be an evolutionary response to an “intraspecies predator”.


This is another one [method] all the sources agreed on. Don’t listen to the excuses, rationalizations or outright lies. Don’t listen to what they say they will do. Pay attention to what they do.





 SUNDAY, OCTOBER, 23, 1994


Phone call from Robert Burton to James Battaglia



A uniformly valid and binding designation is invented for things, and this legislation of language likewise establishes the first laws of truth. For the contrast between truth and lie arises here for the first time. The liar is a person who uses the valid designations, the words, in order to make something which is unreal appear to be real. He says, for example, “I am rich,” when the proper designation for his condition would be “poor.” He misuses fixed conventions by means of arbitrary substitutions or even reversals of names.


~ Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense”





Fifty Years with Angels
Sept 5, 1967 – Sept 5, 2017


© 2017 Fellowship of Friends.


Part One (pp. 1-3)


Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. – John 8:32


I remember forming my magnetic center. I had a nice apartment with a pool outside, a new car, money in the bank, and all of that. But I sat down and said, “This is nothing.” So I began looking for something, although I did not know what to look for. I had to relinquish my tenure position as a fourth-grade teacher. I did not know what the truth was, but I knew that I had not found it. The truth certainly was not where I was, but then we found the truth or, rather, the truth – Influence C – found us and infused the truth within us. Rilke said, “When I, coming down from the beasts, longed to be instructed in mankind, behold the next phase, the angelic, was infused into me” – divine presence.


From a little spark may burst a mighty flame. – Dante Alighieri


    I formed my magnetic center at Big Sur on the Monterey Peninsula in Northern California. Here we see a little girl sitting in the same spot in the Nepenthe Restaurant where I once stood, even before I met Alex Horn. I was there by myself on Christmas Day when I was twenty-four. Never imagine wisdom to be more than the presence of the child within you. The first time my higher centers appeared, I was gazing at a fireplace.
    My first B-influence book was The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. I read it by the ocean in an Oregon state park called Humbug. Once I was in my back yard when a butterfly landed on my finger and stayed there for a while. Soon after, I met Alex Horn on Page Street. What a wonderful page began of our school’s history!


On September 5, 1967, I met Alex Horn. This date marks the moment when angels from Paradise descended upon us and our quest for divine presence began.


    I used to play tennis and, when I was about twenty, I actually defeated the California state singles tennis champion in San Francisco. I met Influence C after I left the tennis club in the Claremont Hotel on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” I can still see myself meeting the Jewish professor who picked me up hitchhiking and invited me to Alex Horn’s open meeting. The miraculous began for all of us at that moment.
    This is the house at 350 Page Street in San Francisco where I had my prospective student meeting, implying the turning of the final page before our school was to begin.
    Ouspensky said that schools are the most undemocratic of all things. There is nothing you can do if you are not chosen by Influence C. I met Influence C on September 5th, 1967. Later my higher centers began to appear. The first time this occurred I was looking into a fireplace. An ‘I’ said sarcastically, “Who is that?” And another ‘I’ said, “What right does it have to be there?” These ‘I’s were Cinderella’s stepsisters – the nine of clubs.


I knew that beyond the thin film of false reality there existed another reality, from which for some reason we were separate. – Peter Ouspensky


    Alex’s apartment was up the stairs and to the left. You walk up twelve steps, go forward two paces, and walk up another stair. Then you step through the door and into divine presence – the thirteenth step. I only remember one meeting there, although there may have been more. When I met Alex, I knew that I had I met something I had never met before, but I did not know what to call it. I had never seen anything like it. As it turned out, it was a conscious being – Influence C.  In a way, our meeting was the first page of our school. Alex Horn was the first person I ever met who used the phrase “self-remembering,” so he brought us a great deal. The inner meaning of life on earth, and in the entire universe, is to use what time one has for presence.


I am eternally grateful for having met Alex Horn. It was our biggest breakthrough – and quite probably the breakthrough that life needed to bridge the interval of civilizations.


    When I met Alex Horn, I could not quite believe that someone else had to teach me to be present to my life. I was the only one in his group, other than Alex, who was able to see the starry world in him after he crystallized, and for that I am very grateful.
    When I saw his higher centers after he crystallized, I was developed enough to say, “Congratulations.” After he completed his task and visited me for the first time, I said, “Congratulations” once again. Apparently, Alex Horn did not have any lines on his palm, an omen that he did not need good fortune because he already had it.
    Alex asked me to read In Search of the Miraculous, so I went to Fields Bookshop on Polk Street in San Francisco to look for a copy. I remembered the author as Spensky, but, of course, it was Ouspensky!



The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts (and gods, angels, demons, and aliens…) skeptic.com/reading room




As a skeptic I am often asked about my position on one of the most extraordinary claims ever made: immortality. “I’m for it, of course,” is my wiseacre reply.

. . . I’m skeptical whenever people argue that the Big Thing is going to happen in their lifetime. Evangelicals never claim that the Second Coming is going to happen in the next generation (or that they will be “left behind” while others are saved). Likewise, secular doomsayers typically predict the demise of civilization within their allotted time (but that they will be part of the small surviving enclave). Prognosticators of both religious and secular utopias always include themselves as members of the chosen few, and paradise is always within reach.
    Hope springs eternal.


Update: I highly recommend the documentary film Transcendent Man, about Ray Kurzweil and his efforts to achieve immortality: transcendentman.com



Michael Shermer,
SKEPTIC: Viewing The World With A Rational Eye
© 2016
Chapter 43 – pp. 153 & 155



116. Insider October 6, 2018


An apocalypse update:


Only 2 weeks to go before yet another “fall of California.” The big day is Sunday, Oct 21, early in the morning. Burton is predicting that the ocean will rise 800-900 feet, to about the level of nearby Loma Rica. Everything above that level will survive.


150 FF members from distant centers (especially Russia, Mexico and The Netherlands) will be visiting Apollo at that time, joining the 500+ already living in Oregon House.


Burton is taking full financial advantage of the fear he himself has created by having 4 meetings per week (but soon to be 6 or 7), plus another 8 “teaching” events. If nothing else, the flock will be thoroughly fleeced by the time they return home on Oct 22.



11. WhaleRiderOctober 14, 2018




Only One Week Left Until Cult’s Major Buffering of Another Failed Prediction


Obscure Northern California group making plans for apocalypse of reason.


Gorgon House, CA-Seasoned followers of Robert E Burton have already been stocking up on fresh supplies of excuses, rationalizations, and jokes about the impending doom of yet another of his failed predictions in order to lavish upon the newly recruited, unsuspecting neophyte followers who are currently descending from all over the globe to Apollo for next weekend’s “Bufferfest 2018”, a celebration marking the end of critical thought.


Long term, self-serving followers who over the years have been able to stomach Burton’s bizarre and delusional ideas of reference and magical thinking about hydrogen warfare, stock market crash, and most of California sliding into the sea are well-versed and prepared to gaslight newer members into exempting their leader from any responsibility with such tried and true thought reform aphorisms as: “Aren’t you glad so many millions of innocent men, women and children didn’t have to die in order to feed our teacher’s palatial ego?”…”Higher Forces are showing us how to be compassionate and caring of others less fortunate than us!”…”If you leave now, then you will miss out on the next failed prediction!”….and the all time favorite, “Maybe the gods are trying to tell us something!”


Insider sources who wish to remain anonymous have indicated that Burton and his inner jerk circle have secretly been stashing cash, caviar, and KY Jelly in the cult’s winter palace in Mexico to make a quick exit should the whole criminal enterprise go belly up when enough followers wise up to his charade and finally listen to their own inner gurus.



12. Ames GilbertOctober 14, 2018


So here we are, headed towards the date of another prediction of catastrophe by the God–Emperor of Oregon House™.


I’ve been re-reading Leon Festinger’s book, “When Prophecy Fails”, co-written with Riecken and Schachte, and sub-titled, “A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World”.


In 1954, the author and his students studied a UFO cult, starting a few months before the prediction of their version of ‘end times’ was due to occur, during those times, and then afterwards. This included actually joining the cult to make first-hand observations. These studies led to the publication of papers and eventually this book, and popularized the idea of ‘cognitive dissonance’, the ability to hold two or more contradictory thoughts in one’s mind without them clashing or causing discomfort. The group’s leader claimed she had been given special knowledge that the world would end in a great flood before dawn on December 21, 1954. True believers, however, would be rescued beforehand and taken up by a flying saucer…


From Wikipedia:


“In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a belief of a person clashes with new evidence perceived by that person. When confronted with facts that contradict personal beliefs, ideals, and values, people will find a way to resolve the contradiction in order to reduce their discomfort.


In A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance (1957), Leon Festinger proposed that human beings strive for internal psychological consistency in order to mentally function in the real world. A person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and so is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance, by making changes to justify the stressful behavior, either by adding new parts to the cognition causing the psychological dissonance, or by actively avoiding social situations and contradictory information likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance.”


Sounds familiar? We all do it to some degree, but some group leaders and their followers do it wholesale.





Robert Burton warns followers: California is about to fall



19. Ames Gilbert October 16, 2018


There must be quite a bit of turmoil going on beneath the tranquil waters over there at Intergalactic Headquarters™. When I say ‘tranquil’, I mean medicated (Thorazine, Valium, Xanax, etc.) or else enthralled/infatuated.


In 2016 there were 1565 members, so let’s take a stab at the numbers, which have been in a very slow decline for a number of years. How about a nice round 1500 right now? The newsletter I refer to above claims that a mere 150 visitors have arrived to partake in the circus. If the 2015 population has remained constant, there are approximately 600 members of the Fellowship of Friends who live in and around Oregon House. The inference is that there are about 750 followers, that is, half the membership who did not obey orders and roll up to celebrate the end of times under the guidance of Burton and Dorian Mattei and the rest of the management. Why not? And what will happen to them? What is their spiritual status now that they have defied orders? Will they join the rest of us in the circle of the damned—imminent food for the moon?


Also: where is the Absolute©? Is ‘he’ hob-knobbing with Burton as they go over the plans for the drowning of tens of millions of Californians and the following extinction of the rest of mankind? What about the ‘45 angels’™? Is their job over now that the Absolute© has taken a personal interest? Did they not do a good enough job? Have they been fired for not delivering clearer messages about the future than arranging mailbox numbers, ‘T’ shirts, and license plates in front of Burton? What about their 100% record of constant humiliations of Burton? Are they going to be punished? And what if the Absolute© ‘himself’ gets it wrong on October 21st? Is ‘he’ going to resign and let Burton take over?


Enquiring minds want to know.


“If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been “taken”. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”


Carl Sagan
(from his book, “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark”)



20.  brucelevyOctober 17, 2018


Are we under water yet?



21. Tim Campion October 17, 2018


Jeez, Bruce. You always were impatient. Just over four days to go.



The Prophecies of Joseph Smith, by James Walker

youtube – May 2010


“One false prophesy equals a false prophet.”



When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. Deuteronomy 18:22



Q&A With Former Mormon Bishop, Lee B. Baker
youtube – July 2012


“You’re speaking to a man and a woman who, three years ago, came out of … truly, a cult. We do not have rational answers for a lot of what we did.” 



I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.  — Joseph Smith





A Story of Violent Faith


By Jon Krakauer



The Psychology of Prophetic Charisma: New Approaches to Understanding Joseph Smith and the Development of Charismatic Leadership


Lawrence Foster



THE ISSUE OF CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP—whether in religious, political, or other types of groups—has been the focus of widespread popular and scholarly attention. The word “charismatic” derives from the name of the Greek goddess Charis and suggests that the person perceived as charismatic possesses very special, quasi-divine “gifts” or qualities. In the early twentieth century, German social theorist Max Weber provided a paricularly insightful assessment of some of the larger issues associated with such leadership, an assessment which continues to influence scholarly thought. In popular parlance, however, the word “charismatic” suggests that someone has, for whatever reasons, been able to attract a substantial personal following.1


Despite the interest that the phenomenon of charisma has generated over the years, surprisingly few serious efforts have been made to reconstruct and analyze systematically the psycholgical dynamics and social interactions of charismatic individuals. Psycholgical analyses of specific charismatic individuals are legion, of course (witness the fascination with Hitler),but few studies have convincingly combined qualitative and quantitative assessments of significant numbers of individuals at a particular time and place.


One notable exception to the generally impressionistic studies of particular charismatic individuals is the path-breaking study, Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities by psychologist Len Oakes. The book uses both qualitative and quantitative measures to analyze the psychological characteristics of the leaders of twenty contemporary New Zealand religious/communal groups and their followers. Oakes conducted in-depth interviews with the leaders of these groups and with two or three key associates from their top leadership cadre. These interviews lasted many hours–or days, in some cases, In addition, both leaders and followers in the groups completed a standard psychological inventory known as the Adjective Checklist, which provided a quantitative sense of how they compared psycholgically with a standard population.3


Len Oakes has special strengths which allow him to combine participant-observer involvement with and detachment from his subject. For eleven years from 1980 until 1991, while doing the orginal research and writing for this study for his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, Oakes was both a member of and the historian for an extraordinary New Zealand communal experiment, the Centrepoint Community, which might be characterized as a cross between the Esalen Institute, the Rajneeshees, and the Oneida Community.The leader of the Centrepoint community, Bert Potter, was viewed by many group members—in a kind of New Age sense—as “God.” When I visited the group in 1986, members told me openly in the presence of Potter himself that if Potter were gone, the group would disband. Eventually, after Potter was arrested one time to many for illegal drug possession in 1990 (and then later for engaging in sexual relations with underage girls), the community did largely disband. During this troubled time, Oakes, like many other thoughtful members of the group, felt profoundly let down by Potter, and he left.5


Based on his intensive research, personal experience, and wide reading on similar groups, Oakes has developed in Prophetic Charisma a typology of the psychology of charismatic leaders and the stages in their vocation for leadership. Much as Erik Erikson posited a set of developmental stages through which normal individuals may pass during their lives,6 Oakes suggests a set of interrelated sequential stages through which prophetic leaders may progress, laying out the complexities and ambiguities of each stage.7


This article will review some key points in Oakes’s analysis of the dynamics of prophetic leadership, then briefly evaluate the extent to which the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, Jr.’s charisma and sense of mission may be illuminated by, or bear on the validity of, Oakes’s theoretical framework. . .





Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities by Len Oakes, NY 1997



Introduction (excerpt)


When a superior intellect and a psychopathic temperament coalesce – as in the endless permutations and combinations of human faculty they are bound to coalesce often enough – in the same individual, we have the best possible condition for the kind of effective genius that gets into the biographical dictionaries. Such men do not remain mere critics and understanders with their intellect. Their ideas possess them, they inflict them, for bettor or for worse, upon their companions or their age.


 –William James,

                         Varieties of Religious Experience



All cultures have their heroes, and no hero is more mysterious, or more extraordinary, than God’s messenger—the prophet. Whether called messiahs or saviors, gurus or avatars, such figures continue to fascinate us, whether for their truths or their absurdities, for the adulation of their followers or the hatred of their enemies. Hardly a week goes by without some bizarre or sensational item appearing in the media about a wild-eyed preacher or an exotic cult coming into conflict with the authorities; the public appetite for such stories is endless.
    It is strange, therefore, that we know so little about such figures. While there are biographies of individual leaders, there are few studies of revolutionary religious leaders as a group or as a personality type. Prophets appear suddenly, as if from nowhere, and take the world by surprise; we seem unable to pigeonhole them, to ignore them, or even to describe them other than in superficial ways.

This seems especially peculiar given that Western culture—nominally Christian and still rooted in Christian values—has as its central myth the story of Jesus of Nazareth. One might think that the comparative study of revolutionary religious leaders would be a priority for scholars wishing to shed light on the person of Jesus, or for anyone trying to understand the psychology of religion. But such studies are seldom undertaken, and rarely from a psychological perspective. Perhaps it is time to look more closely at these figures and what they are trying to tell us . . .



The End of The World Cult (2007 Documentary) Real Stories



“If you wanted to create a sort of archetype of the ultimate early ’70s Southern California spiritual cult, you could do no better than The Source Family.


~ Erik Davis

Writer, Social Historian



Joni MitchellWoodstock (Live In-Studio) Oct 9, 1970


Frank Zappa – Cosmik Debris


The Be Good TanyasWaitin’ Around To Die


Bob Dylan It’s Alright, Ma


Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) in religious comedy sketches


JP Sears – How to be Ultra Spiritual


Maria Bamford – Comedy Central Presents Cults


Richard DawkinsEnemies of Reason & Slaves to Superstition 


Vikram Gandhi – The True Story of a False Prophet – INKtalks


Sam Harris on the dangers of gurus and cults


Bertrand RussellFace to Face Interview (BBC, 1959)


Noam ChomskyThe Crimes of U.S. Presidents


Buckley, Kerouac, Sanders and Yablonsky discuss Hippies



Beatniks and Boomers, Hippies, Yippies and Yuppies, et al.



   What is a “Beatnik”?


Beatnik was a media stereotype prevalent throughout the 1950s to mid-1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s. Elements of the beatnik trope included pseudo-intellectualism, drug use, and a cartoonish depiction of real-life people along with the spiritual quest of Jack Kerouac‘s autobiographical fiction.


In 1948, Kerouac introduced the phrase “Beat Generation”, generalizing from his social circle to characterize the underground, anti-conformist youth gathering in New York at that time. The name came up in conversation with John Clellon Holmes, who published an early Beat Generation novel titled Go (1952), along with the manifesto This Is the Beat Generation in The New York Times Magazine. In 1954, Nolan Miller published his third novel Why I Am So Beat (Putnam), detailing the weekend parties of four students.


The adjective “beat” was introduced to the group by Herbert Huncke, though Kerouac expanded the meaning of the term. “Beat” came from underworld slang—the world of hustlers, drug addicts and petty thieves, where Allen Ginsberg and Kerouac sought inspiration. “Beat” was slang for “beaten down” or downtrodden, but to Kerouac and Ginsberg, it also had a spiritual connotation as in “beatitude.” Other adjectives discussed by Holmes and Kerouac were “found” and “furtive.” Kerouac felt he had identified (and was the embodiment of) a new trend analogous to the influential Lost Generation.





   What is a “Baby Boomer”?


Baby boomer is a descriptive term for a person who was born between 1946 and 1964. The baby boomer generation makes up a substantial portion of the world’s population, especially in developed nations: it represents nearly 20% of the American public. As the largest generational group in U.S. history (until the millennial generation slightly surpassed them), baby boomers have had, and continue to have a significant impact on the economy. As a result, they are often the focus of marketing campaigns and business plans.





   What’s a “Hippie”?


1. (especially in the 1960s) a person of unconventional appearance, typically having long hair and wearing beads, associated with a subculture involving a rejection of conventional values and the taking of hallucinogenic drugs.


synonyms: flower child, Bohemian, beatnik, long-hair, free spirit, nonconformist, dropout 


“yesterday’s hippies are today’s ad execs”





    “Hippies” redirects here. For the British comedy series, see Hippies (TV series). For the garage rock album, see Hippies (album). Not to be confused with Yippie or Yuppie.





   . . . “Yippie”?


A member of the Youth International Party. This party began as an antiwar movement during the Vietnam era, but then developed a sort of a libertarian socialist outlook, becoming focused during the 1970s and into the early 1980s on legalization of marijuana and other drugs and protesting against capitalism and corporations.


Term created by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin in the mid-1960s to refer to “members” of the Youth International Party (YIP!). The YIP! was dedicated to merging New Left activism and the hippie counterculture to create a revolution that would be both personal and political–as well as fun. Yippies tended to gather in large cities, particularly in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where Rubin and Hoffman both lived during the 1960s. Yippies rejected all -isms, including socialism and anarchism, in favor of the motto of “Do your own thing”–i.e., don’t conform to a specific system of belief but rather be an individual. At the same time, collective action was at the root of Yippie activism, and Yippies participated in “be-ins” (normally associated with hippies) and other collective gatherings. And although the YIP! did not promote any one -ism (and, despite Hoffman and Rubin’s involvement, was a self-proclaimed “leaderless” movement), the “party” was extremely leftist, advocating social justice for all and arguing that all property–including housing, clothing, and food–should be FREE. The Yippies’ most famous actions include the attack on the New York Stock Exchange (when Yippies threw money to the floor and watched as those below fought for it) and their involvement at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, at which they nominated a pig for president. Much of the Yippies’ activism consisted of guerrilla street theater and symbolic acts (such as that at the NYSE) to make a point; Yippies understood the power of the media and sought press to disseminate their revolutionary messages with a pointed disinterest in the accuracy of the stories told about them. Since the term is rooted in a particular historical moment, calling anyone a “Yippie” today would probably be inaccurate.


Abbie Hoffman’s Revolution for the Hell of It! is an excellent source for more information on the Yippies.





   . . . “Yuppie”?


Yuppie” (short for “young urban professional” or “young, upwardly-mobile professional“) is a term coined in the early 1980s for a young professional person working in a city.


History (excerpt)


Joseph Epstein was credited for coining the term in 1982, although this is contested. The first printed appearance of the word was in a May 1980 Chicago magazine article by Dan Rottenberg. The term gained currency in the United States in 1983 when syndicated newspaper columnist Bob Greene published a story about a business networking group founded in 1982 by the former radical leader Jerry Rubin, formerly of the Youth International Party (whose members were called “yippies“); Greene said he had heard people at the networking group (which met at Studio 54 to soft classical music) joke that Rubin had “gone from being a yippie to being a yuppie”. The headline of Greene’s story was “From Yippie to Yuppie”. East Bay Express humorist Alice Kahn claimed to have coined the word in a 1983 column. This claim is disputed.The proliferation of the word was affected by the publication of The Yuppie Handbook in January 1983 (a tongue-in-cheek take on The Official Preppy Handbook, followed by Senator Gary Hart‘s 1984 candidacy as a “yuppie candidate” for President of the United States.The term was then used to describe a political demographic group of socially liberal but fiscally conservative voters favoring his candidacy. Newsweek magazine declared 1984 “The Year of the Yuppie”, characterizing the salary range, occupations, and politics of “yuppies” as “demographically hazy”. The alternative acronym yumpie, for young upwardly mobile professional, was also current in the 1980s but failed to catch on.


In a 1985 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Theressa Kersten at SRI International described a “yuppie backlash” by people who fit the demographic profile yet express resentment of the label: “You’re talking about a class of people who put off having families so they can make payments on the SAABs … To be a Yuppie is to be a loathsome undesirable creature”. Leo Shapiro, a market researcher in Chicago, responded, “Stereotyping always winds up being derogatory. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to advertise to farmers, Hispanics or Yuppies, no one likes to be neatly lumped into some group.”











Generation X: America’s Neglected ‘Middle Child‘ – Pew Research Center – June 5, 2014


Activism in the Social Media Age – July 11, 2018



Published on Apr 28, 2016


HOLY HELL: Documentary Goes Inside Los Angeles Buddhafield Cult


“Holy Hell,” a documentary directed by Will Allen, tells of the filmmaker’s time with the Buddhafield, a Los Angeles–based “spiritual group” he joined in the 1980s. Director Will Allen shares clips from the documentary as well as the trailer, and recalls his personal relationship with Michel, the name used at the time by the group’s leader. Allen also discusses what life was like inside the cult, why he started filming and how it all came crashing down in this episode of BYOD hosted by Ondi Timoner.



Dec 12, 2018


This is Be Scofield, the journalist exposing cults and abuse in the tantra world on Medium.com.

I’ve just released a new story about a sex cult in Europe called “The New Tantra.” It was censored by Medium.com two days ago causing outrage amongst many. So, I launched my own platform to host my work from now on. Please read and share to help this go viral.

The Mad Hatter: Inside Alex Vartman’s “The New Tantra”

Thank you!

And as always there are several ways to donate to support my work here: DONATE



Be Scofield

 Be Scofield | 1070 Tunnel Road, Asheville
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‘. . . Alex Vartman (real name Sandford Perrett) used to be a top level assistant of sex and relationship guru David Deida, author of “The Way of the Superior Man.” From 1998–2002 Vartman held Satsangs around the world and gained a following by offering non-dual spiritual teachings. At the NoMind festival he apparently had hundreds of students listening to him. He even taught alongside popular spiritual teacher Gangaji for a brief time. In 2004 he taught with Ken Wilber at the Integral center and then visited a series of Ashrams in India before starting TNT in 2010.


An ex-TNT senior staff member guesstimates that Vartman has made a cool million dollars from The New Tantra — all tax free . . .’



   PART  I    II    III