False Prophets




False prophets, teachers, and gurus




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 >>


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Helping people affected by cults in the UK – Established 1987


How Do I Help a Cult Member? – The Dos and Donts



The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of NEW AGE RELIGIONS © 2004

Edited by James R. Lewis



 Since the 1960s, there has been a burgeoning not of governments but of independent entrepreneurial groups that go into the mind-manipulation and personality-change business. Myriads of false messiahs, quacks, and leaders of cults and thought-reform groups have emerged who use Orwellian mind-manipulation techniques. They recruit the curious, the unaffiliated, the trusting, and the altruistic. They promise intellectual, spiritual, political, social, and self-actualization utopias. These modern-day pied pipers offer, among other things, pathways to God, salvation, revolution, personal development, enlightenment, perfect health, psychological growth, egalitarianism, channels to speak with 35,000-year-old “entities,” life in ecospheres, and contact with extraterrestrial beings.
    There is truly a smorgasbord of spiritual, psychological, political, and other types of cults and cultic groups seeking adherents and devotees. Contrary to the myth that those who join cults are seekers, it is the cults that go out and actively and aggressively find followers. Eventually, these groups subject their followers to mind-numbing treatments that block critical and evaluative thinking and subjugate independent choice in a context of a strictly enforced hierarchy.
    The wisdom of the ages is that most manipulation is subtle and covert. When Orwell drew on this wisdom, he envisioned the evolution of an insidious but successful mind and opinion manipulator. He would appear as a smiling, seemingly beneficent Big Brother. But instead of one Big Brother, we see hordes of Big Brothers in the world today. Many of them are cult leaders.
    In the following pages, Janja Lalich and I hope to convey an understanding of the cult phenomenon in our society, so that you and those around you may take heed and be warned. It is not a pretty picture, but I believe it is one that desperately needs to be looked at.


*  *  *


Readers should know that a number of cults are highly litigious and use their wealth and power to harass and curb critics. Defending himself or herself against the false accusations made by some of these cults can break the ordinary person. It appears that winning is not the most important goal for cults. Their motivation appears rather to be to harass, financially destroy, and silence criticism.
    Last year alone, one large cult was involved in approximately two hundred suits with government entities, critics, and ex-members who spoke out about their time in the group. The tactics employed by cults and other groups to influence public perception and debate are considerable. . .
    In fact, and with much regret, this edition of the book contains a rather glaring omission in my historical account of a certain movement. Despite the profound impact of one particular person and his organization on the spread of certain types of training, I have not mentioned this well-known leader and his international organization. I have taken this step due to the pendancy of a meritless lawsuit against me and Janja Lalich arising from the publication of the hardcover edition of this book. . .


    Without the citizenry being aware of the power and control certain cults are wielding, democracy and freedom can be curbed one step at a time. Cults by their very structure and nature are not democratic, do not promote freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and are the antithesis of structures in which full human growth can develop.
    There are cults in our midst, more than the average citizen realizes. And these powerful groups infiltrate many areas of our lives.


Margaret Singer, from her Introduction to the First Edition of Cults in Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace © 1995






By Elizabeth Allen | Jan 27, 2017





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.


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



Captive Minds: Hypnosis and Beyond – 1983


by National Film Board of Canada


“Groups which have all-powerful leaders who control the environment, control all information and eventually control the way their followers think, have one basic thing in common: They have found people who are willing to take that essential first step of surrendering to an authority figure they hope has all the answers. Throughout history, many people have taken that first step. Sometimes joining a small group, sometimes a large group. And sometimes a group that engulfs an entire nation.”



THE RAPE OF THE MIND: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing, by Joost A. M. Meerloo, M.D., Instructor in Psychiatry, Columbia University; Lecturer in Social Psychology, New School for Social Research, Former Chief, Psychological Department, Netherlands Forces, published in 1956, World Publishing Company. (Out of Print)


From Chapter Six – Totalitaria and its Dictatorship


There actually exists such a thing as a technique of mass brainwashing. This technique can take root in a country if an inquisitor is strong and shrewd enough. He can make most of us his victims, albeit temporarily.


What in the structure of society has made man so vulnerable to these mass manipulations of the mind? This is a problem with tremendous implications, just as brainwashing is. In recent years we have grown more and more aware of human interdependence with all its difficulties and complications.


I am aware of the fact that investigation of the subject of mental coercion and thought control becomes less pleasant as time goes on. This is so because it may become more of a threat to us here and now, and our concern for China and Korea must yield to the more immediate needs at our own door. Can totalitarian tendencies take over here, and what social symptoms may lead to such phenomena? Stern reality confronts us with the universal mental battle between thought control (and its corollaries) and our standards of decency, personal strength, personal ideas, and a personal conscience with autonomy and dignity.


Future social scientists will be better able to describe the causes of the advent of totalitarian thinking and acting in man. We know that after wars and revolutions this mental deterioration more easily finds an opportunity to develop, helped by special psychopathic personalities who flourish on man’s misery and confusion. It is also true that the next generation spontaneously begins to correct the misdeeds of the previous one because the ruthless system has become too threatening to them.


My task, however, is to describe some symptoms of the totalitarian process (which implies deterioration of thinking and acting) as I have observed them in our own epoch, keeping in mind that the system is one of the most violent distortions of man’s consistent mental growth. No brainwashing is possible without totalitarian thinking.






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. ton2uFellowship of Friends Discussion blog – November 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



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. Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Matthew 7:15-16



36. InsiderFebruary 14, 2018


“44 personal stories of Robert Earl Burton’s abuses”


A new posting at robertearlburton.blogspot.com



168. Perpetua Says:


For those who might like to know more about what kind of teacher Alex Horn is/was and what kind of “School” he has/had, I am posting this article I found in a website. It seems that Robert learned the art of “teaching” from Alex Horn, though [from] what I read, Alex kicked Robert out because he said that homosexuals didn’t have a chance in this work and also because he was chasing many of the boys in his group. How did Robert start teaching? How did he gather students? I would like to know. Those students must have been very naive and persuasive to accept him as a “real teacher”, but I wasn’t there. I joined some twenty years ago and the school was already very established with about 2,000 students that didn’t question much about Robert being a conscious teacher or not. When I think back on those days, the reason I joined the school was because of the community, not because of Robert. You didn’t see much of him in those days and the community seemed healthy and real…and beautiful. It seems such a contradiction. But I guess it is hard to keep things pure. The school had its golden age and now is on a descending octave. It is awful to see the process of something that once felt real and good and now to see how it is being corrupted by power, greed, and perversion….But life is always changing and nothing lasts forever. So time for me to leave.


Here it is: [previously posted on Rick Ross CEI by cber7, Mar 11, 2005]


“If you are a student stuck in a group led by Alex Horn or Sharon Gans-Horn, then the fact you are reading this is already great news. It means that you are smart enough and intuitive enough and courageous enough to have begun to distinguish between the ideas of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky and the people teaching them. Whether or not what Gurdjieff or Ouspensky taught is valuable and valid does not matter here. If you are someone who has a friend or companion who you know is involved with these groups and you don’t know what to do, try to show them this.


You are being preyed upon by phonies – very clever, manipulative, and charming (when they need to be) frauds. They crave three things – money, power, and a sense of self-importance – to excess. Any shred of self-doubt about their motives and behavior disappeared long ago – they have convinced themselves that they are superior to you and others, further justifying their need for power, money, and self-importance. They manipulate, abuse, and misuse the ideas of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Nicoll, and Collin to suit their agenda. I repeat – they do not serve the ideas, the ideas serve them. They are not conduits for higher influences – they are self-deluded and power-mad with a long trail of exploitation and destruction of lives and families. They will dangle the carrot of “meaning,” “consciousness,” and “freedom” before you but at the same time undermine your self-esteem by showing you how mechanical and helpless you are.


Over the course of many years they have surrounded themselves with weak-spirited and wretched lackeys whose real motivation is also the lust for power, money and the need to feel important. The way to get away from them requires both a strong mental effort followed by action. Both will be addressed here.


First of all, you must believe in your suspicions enough to look further into what type of person Alex Horn and Sharon Gans really are. Do some research on your own and study the traits of “malignant narcissism” or “malignant narcissists.” This should help to ground your suspicions in what you have observed about your “teachers.” Your “teachers” are, according to the traits of “malignant narcissism,” fully functioning sociopaths/psychopaths. That’s right – they are insane, but very dangerous so long as you think they have power over you because you continue to believe they are sane. The sad thing about the Work and these wretches is that the “Ideas” you have been studying – when manipulated by them – dovetail perfectly with the agenda of maintaining the state of Grandiosity that characterizes them as sociopaths.


How do they succeed? How do they get away with all of this? How do they fool so many people so much of the time? You might as well ask how did Hitler and Stalin get away with their agenda. It is the exact same chilling phenomenon, just a different scale. Hitler and Stalin liquidated people who got in their way or threatened them. Stalin, when he did not make people “disappear” sent them to the Gulags. With Sharon Gans or Alex Horn, when you are sent away you too become a non-person. You are in fact treated as a disease by the diseased!


Look at the following websites: http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/psychopath.html and http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/dsm-iv.html  Ask others in this forum on this website about the substance abuse they have witnessed too: food, tobacco, alcohol, mood-altering medications. Talk about “habit” and slavery!


The way to escape, once you have been convinced enough of what you read here and elsewhere, is simple. But the final obstacle to leaving is being aware of and being able to cope with the loss of all the friends you have made during your stay in the group. This will feel like a big and painful sacrifice. But ultimately they must take responsibility for their beliefs and their lives, too. Those beliefs that you once shared that brought you and your fellows closer to each other will now be the source of a divide. And the ideas that helped create that bond must now at this point not outweigh the evidence that is in front of your eyes – that Sharon Gans or Alex Horn and their respective inner circles are not really for you. They are parasites and vampires who have successfully exploited you, and you must rid yourself of them even when it means losing many friends, misguided though they may be. Which is worse, remaining in a prison – in a punitive and demoralizing environment with your companions – or being out of prison without them? You must make an intentional decision to maintain that they are wrong and you are right. Can you do that? Yes, you can. Have the courage to get out of group-think.


What about “consciousness”? Are you frightened of losing “everything”? Consider this: Is it possible that the phenomenon called “self-remembering” is actually a form of auto-hypnosis? Is it a coincidence that Gurdjieff was a professional hypnotist before “discovering” the Ideas? Is it possible that the power that Sharon Gans or Alex Horn or the other ones have over you and so many others is based on your capacity to reach a semi-hypnotic state that they “teach” you in the first place? By considering these alternative explanations you may strengthen your resolve to get out as fast as you can.


What about the lure of Higher Sex, eroticism, and “sex energy” connected with “self-remembering”? Think about it: if it is possible that self-remembering is simply a way to hypnotize yourself, then it is also possible that the urges you repress that belong to your libido are freed a little bit. Unrepressed libido and “sex energy” are equatable – yes, it could be that simple. Be courageous enough to think about it.


Again, after you have gotten past this obstacle of leaving your friends behind, the way out is simple: With either Sharon or Alex’s group, the only thing that these people understand is force, threats, intimidation, power, and the possibility of exposure. After your last “class” or “meeting,” leave pretending that all is normal. Say nothing of your intention and be resolved to never return. Then, when you are contacted by a partner for missing your next meeting…remain vague and inform them that you have decided to leave – you do not need to give an explanation no matter how coercive they may be. No, you do not owe them an explanation! Whatever you do, do not be talked into announcing your departure in class! You do not owe your jailers anything! Tell them that you want no further calls and you are not open to any persuasion. If they persist, remain vague but allude to either an investigative reporter acquaintance at a local newspaper, an acquaintance at the local police department, or a friend at the FBI. Any threat of an authority or potential menace that can expose Alex Horn or Sharon Gans will scare them away for good. Be prepared for a lot of idle threats and violent language though – that’s the last-ditch effort of a so-called Higher Being having a tantrum. In the end, though, it is all bark. Alex Horn and Sharon Gans may be psychopaths but they are also cowards interested only in self-preservation. They will continue to “do” nothing but talk, as they have been “doing” for many many years. If there were such a thing as Sleep, Mechanicality, buffers, and real Conscience in the sense they speak of it, those two and their crowd are much worse off than you – and incurably so.”


Does this look familiar?


Thank you so much Sheik for creating this forum. It was really needed.



The Beginning. . .


More information about Burton in 1970



112. Don Juan Says:


Someone asked about how one might “diagnose” the possible personality disorders on display in the person of Robert Burton.

Back in 1994, a couple of books on cults were making the rounds in the Fellowship (‘The Guru Papers’ by Kramer and Alstad, and ‘Captive Hearts, Captive Minds’ by Tobias and Lalich) (OK, the rounds of some in the Fellowship). The writers of the latter book suggested that many cult leaders could properly be described as “psychopaths,” and provided a fifteen-point profile of a psychopath.

I remember being shocked at how closely the description of the psychopath fit; everything from self-serving manipulation based upon charm, to a grandiose sense of self and feelings of entitlement, to a complete lack of remorse, shame or guilt, to an incapacity for true love or empathy, to indifference to the harm they inflict on others . . . and on and on. If you haven’t seen it, check it out for yourself; it’s quite remarkable. I’ve quoted it below (parts of the book are available on the web).

What I’ve always found fascinating is that the qualities of seeming “strength” that many people are attracted to in a leader, whether of a cult or a nation, may merely be the pathological absence of normal human capacities for love, empathy, remorse, and concern for others. It is easy to manipulate someone who seeks relief from his own insecurities and uncertainties in the leader’s absolute lack of doubt in himself or his actions.

Anyway, here goes.


From ‘Captive Hearts, Captive Minds,’ by Madeline Landau Tobias and Janja Lalich, pp. 67-79


The Cult Leader as Psychopath

Cultic groups and relationships are formed primarily to meet specific emotional needs of the leader, many of whom suffer from one or another emotional or character disorder. Few, if any, cult leaders subject themselves to the psychological tests or prolonged clinical interviews that allow for an accurate diagnosis. However, researchers and clinicians who have observed these individuals describe them variously as neurotic, psychotic, on a spectrum exhibiting neurotic, sociopathic, and psychotic characteristics, or suffering from a diagnosed personality disorder.

It is not our intent here to make an overarching diagnosis, nor do we intend to imply that all cult leaders or the leaders of any of the groups mentioned here are psychopaths. In reviewing the data, however, we can surmise that there is significant psychological dysfunctioning in some cult leaders and that their behavior demonstrates features rather consistent with the disorder known as psychopathy.

Dr. Robert Hare, one of the world’s foremost experts in the field, estimates that there are at least two million psychopaths in North America. He writes, “Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret.”


. . . . . . . . . . . . . .


The Profile of a Psychopath

In reading the profile, bear in mind the three characteristics that Robert Lifton sees as common to a cultic situation:

    1. A charismatic leader who…increasingly becomes the object of worship

    2. A series of processes that can be associated with “coercive persuasion” or “thought reform”

    3. The tendency toward manipulation from above … with exploitation — economic, sexual, or other — of often genuine seekers who bring idealism from below

Based on the psychopathy checklists of Hervey Cleckley and Robert Hare, we now explore certain traits that are particularly pertinent to cult leaders. The fifteen characteristics outlined below list features commonly found in those who become perpetrators of psychological and physical abuse. In the discussion we use the nomenclature “psychopath” and “cult leader” interchangeably. . . .

We are not suggesting that all cult leaders are psychopaths but rather that they may exhibit many of the behavioral characteristics of one. We are also not proposing that you use this checklist to make a diagnosis, which is something only a trained professional can do. We present the checklist as a tool to help you label and demystify traits you may have noticed in your leader.


1. Glibness/Superficial charm

Glibness is a hallmark of psychopaths. They are able to use language effortlessly to beguile, confuse, and convince. They are captivating storytellers. They exude self-confidence and are able to spin a web that intrigues others and pulls them into the psychopath’s life. Most of all, they are persuasive. Frequently they have the capacity to destroy their critics verbally or disarm them emotionally.


2. Manipulative and Conning

Cult leaders do not recognize the individuality or rights of others, which makes all self-serving behaviors permissible. The hallmark of the psychopath is the psychopathic maneuver; which is essentially interpersonal manipulation “based on charm. The manipulator appears to be helpful, charming, even ingratiating or seductive, but is covertly hostile, domineering….[The victim] is perceived as an aggressor, competitor, or merely as an instrument to be used….The manipulation inevitably becomes the end-all and is no longer qualified by the reality principle.” In other words, there are no checks on the psychopath’s behavior – anything goes. The Psychopath divides the world into suckers, sinners, and himself. He discharges powerful feelings of terror and rage by dominating and humiliating his victims. He is particularly successful when, through an overlay of charm, he makes an ally of his victim – a process sometimes described as emotional vampirism or emotional terrorism. Examples of this type of manipulation are plentiful in the literature of Jonestown and other cultic groups. It is especially prevalent in the one-on-one cultic relationship, where there is direct involvement with the manipulator.


3. Grandiose Sense of Self

The cult leader enjoys tremendous feelings of entitlement. He believes everything is owed to him as a right. Preoccupied with his own fantasies, he must always be the center of attention. He presents himself as the “Ultimate One” enlightened, a vehicle of God, a genius, the leader of humankind, and sometimes even the most humble of humble. He has an insatiable need for adulation and attendance. His grandiosity may also be a defense against inner emptiness, depression, and a sense of insignificance. Paranoia often accompanies the grandiosity, reinforcing the isolation of the group and the need for protection against a perceived hostile environment. In this way, he creates an us-versus-them mentality.


4. Pathological Lying

Psychopaths lie coolly and easily, even when it is obvious they are being untruthful. It is almost impossible for them to be consistently truthful about either a major or minor issue. They lie for no apparent reason, even when it would seem easier and safer to tell the truth. This is sometimes called “crazy lying.” Confronting their lies may provoke an unpredictably intense rage or simply a Buddha-like smile.

Another form of lying common among cult leaders is known as pseudologica fantastica, an extension of pathological lying. Leaders tend to create a complex belief system, often about their own powers and abilities, in which they themselves sometimes get caught up. “It is often difficult to determine whether the lies are an actual delusional distortion of reality or are expressed with the conscious or unconscious intent to deceive. These manipulators are rarely original thinkers. Plagiarists and thieves, they seldom credit the true originators of ideas, often co-opting authorship. They are extremely convincing, forceful in the expression of their views, and talented at passing lie detector tests. For them, objective truth does not exist. The only “truth” is whatever will best achieve the outcome that meets their needs. This type of opportunism is very difficult to understand for those who are not psychopaths. For this reason, followers are more apt to invent or go along with all kinds of explanations and rationales for apparent inconsistencies in behavior: “I know my guru must have had a good reason for doing this.” “He did it because he loves me even though it hurts.”


5. Lack of Remorse, Shame, or Guilt

At the core of the psychopath is a deep-seated rage which is split off (i.e, psychologically separated from the rest of the self) and repressed. Some researchers theorize that this is caused by feeling abandoned in infancy or early childhood. Whatever the emotional or psychological source, psychopaths see those around them as objects, targets, or opportunities, not as people. They do not have friends, they have victims and accomplices — and the latter frequently end as victims. For psychopaths, the ends always justify the means. Thus there is no place for feelings of remorse, shame, or guilt. Cult leaders feel justified in all their actions since they consider themselves the ultimate moral arbiter. Nothing gets in their way.


6. Shallow Emotions

While they may display outbursts of emotion, more often than not they are putting on a calculated response to obtain a certain result. They rarely reveal a range of emotions, and what is seen is superficial at best, pretended at worst. Positive feelings of warmth, joy, love, and compassion are more feigned than experienced. They are unmoved by things that would upset the normal person, while outraged by insignificant matters. They are bystanders to the emotional life of others, perhaps envious and scornful of feelings they cannot have or understand. In the end, psychopaths are cold, with shallow emotions, living in a dark world of their own.

Hiding behind the “mask of sanity,” the cult leader exposes feelings only insofar as they serve an ulterior motive. He can witness or order acts of utter brutality without experiencing a shred of emotion. He casts himself in a role of total control, which he plays to the hilt. What is most promised in cults – peace, joy, enlightenment, love, and security are goals that are forever out of reach of the leader, and thus also the followers. Since the leader is not genuine, neither are his promises.


7. Incapacity for Love

As the “living embodiment of God’s love,” the leader is tragically flawed in being unable to either give or receive love. Love substitutes are given instead. A typical example might be the guru’s claim that his illness or misfortune (otherwise inconsistent with his enlightened state) is caused by the depth of his compassion for his followers, whereby he takes on their negative karma. Not only are devotees supposed to accept this as proof of his love but also are expected to feel guilt for their failings! It becomes impossible for members to disprove this claim once they have accepted the beliefs of the group.

The leader’s tremendous need to be loved is accompanied by an equally strong disbelief in the love offered him by his followers; hence, the often unspeakably cruel and harsh testing of his devotees. Unconditional surrender is an absolute requirement. In one cult, for example, the mother of two small children was made to tell them nightly that she loved her leader more than them. Later, as a test of her devotion, she was asked to give up custody of her children in order to be allowed to stay with her leader. The guru’s love is never tested; it must be accepted at face value.


8. Need for Stimulation

Thrill-seeking behaviors, often skirting the letter or spirit of the law, are common among psychopaths. Such behavior is sometimes justified as preparation for martyrdom “I know I don’t have long to live; therefore my time on this earth must be lived to the fullest.” “Surely even I am entitled to have fun or sin a little.” This type of behavior becomes more frequent as the leader deteriorates emotionally and psychologically–a common occurrence.

Cult leaders live on the edge, constantly testing the beliefs of their followers, often with increasingly bizarre behaviors, punishments, and rules. Other mechanisms of stimulation come in the form of unexpected, seemingly spontaneous outbursts, which usually take the form of verbal abuse and sometimes physical punishment. The psychopath has a cool indifference to things around him, yet his icy coldness can quicky turn into rage, vented on those around him.


9. Callousness/lack of empathy

Psychopaths readily take advantage of others, expressing utter contempt for anyone else’s feelings. Someone in distress is not important to them. Although intelligent, perceptive, and quite good at sizing people up, they make no real connections with others. They use their “people skills” to exploit, abuse, and wield power.

Psychopaths are unable to empathize with the pain of their victims. Meanwhile, part of the victims’ denial system is the inability to believe that someone they love so much could consciously and callously hurt them. It therefore becomes easier to rationalize the leader’s behavior as necessary for the general or individual “good.” The alternative for the devotee would be to face the sudden and overwhelming awareness of being victimized, deceived, used. Such a realization would wound the person’s deepest sense of self, so as a means of self-protection the person denies the abuse. When and if the devotee becomes aware of the exploitation, it feels as though a tremendous evil has been done, a spiritual rape.


10. Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature

Like small children, many psychopaths have difficulty regulating their emotions. Adults who have temper tantrums are frightening to be around. Rage and abuse, alternating with token expressions of love and approval, produce an addictive cycle for both abuser and abused, as well as create a sense of hopelessness in the latter. This dynamic has also been recognized in relation to domestic abuse and the battering of women. The cult leader acts out with some regularity – often privately, sometimes publicly – usually to the embarrassment and dismay of his followers and other observers. He may act out sexually, aggressively, or criminally, frequently with rage. Who could possibly control someone who believes himself to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and entitled to every wish, someone who has no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for the impact on those around him? Generally this aberrant behavior is a well-kept secret, known only to a few disciples. The others only see perfection. These tendencies are related to the psychopath’s need for stimulation and inability to tolerate frustration, anxiety, and depression. Often a leader’s inconsistent behavior needs to be rationalized by either the leader or the follower in order to maintain internal consistency. It is often regarded as divinely inspired and further separates the empowered from the powerless.


11. Early Behavior Problems/juvenile delinquency

Psychopaths frequently have a history of behavioral and academic difficulties. They often “get by” academically, conning other students and teachers. Encounters with juvenile authorities are frequent. Equally prevalent are difficulties in peer relationships and developing and keeping friends, marked control problems, and other aberrant behaviors such as stealing, fire setting, and cruelty to others.


12. Irresponsibility/Unreliability

Not concerned about the consequences of their behavior, psychopaths leave behind them the wreckage of others’ lives and dreams. They may be totally oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they inflict on others, something which they regard as neither their problem nor their responsibility.

Psychopaths rarely accept blame for their failures or mistakes. Scape goating is common, blaming followers, those outside the group, a member’s family, the government, Satan – anyone and everyone but the leader. The blaming may follow a ritualized procedure such as a trial, “hot seat” denunciation, or public confession (either one-on-one or in front of the group). Blame is a powerful reinforcer of passivity and obedience, producing guilt, shame, terror, and conformity in the followers.


13. Promiscuous Sexual behavior/infidelity

Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, polygamy, rape, and sexual acting out of all sorts are frequently practiced by cult leaders. Conversely, there is often stringent sexual control of the followers through such tactics as enforced celibacy, arranged marriages, forced breakups and divorces, removal of children from their parents, forced abortions or mandated births. For psychopaths, sex is primarily a control and power issue.

Along with this behavior comes vast irresponsibility not only for the followers’ emotions but also for their lives. In one cult, for example, multiple sexual relations were encouraged even while one of the top leaders was known to be HIV positive. This kind of negligence toward others is not uncommon in the psychopath’s world.

Marital fidelity is rare in the psychopath’s life. There are usually countless reports of extramarital affairs and sexual predation upon adult and child members of both sexes. The sexual behavior of the leader may be kept hidden from all but the inner circle or may be part of accepted group sexual practices. In any case, due to the power imbalance between leader and followers, sexual contact is never truly consensual and is likely to have damaging consequences for the follower.


14. Lack of realistic life plan/parasitic lifestyle

The psychopath tends to move around a lot, making countless efforts at “starting over while seeking out Fertile new ground to exploit. One day he may appear as a rock musician, the next a messiah; one day a used car salesman, the next the founder of a mass self-transformation program; one day a college professor, the next the new “Lenin” bringing revolution to America.

The flip side of this erratic life planning is the all-encompassing promise for the future that the cult leader makes to his followers. Many groups claim as their goal world domination or salvation at the Apocalypse. The leader is the first to proclaim the utopian nature of the group, which is usually simply another justification for irrational behavior and stringent controls.

The leader’s sense of entitlement is often demonstrated by the contrast between his luxurious lifestyle and the impoverishment of his followers. Most cult leaders arc supported by gifts and donations from their followers, who may be pressured to turn over much of their income and worldly possessions to the group. Slavery, enforced prostitution, and a variety of illegal acts for the benefit of the leader are common in a cult milieu. This type of exploitation aptly demonstrates Lifton’s third point of idealization from below and exploitation from above.

Psychopaths also tend to be preoccupied with their own health while remaining totally indifferent to the suffering of others. They may complain of being “burned out” due to the burden of “caring for” their followers, sometimes stating they do not have long to live, instilling fear and guilt in their devotees and encouraging further servitude. they are highly sensitive to their own pain and tend to be hypochondriacs, which often conflicts with their public image of superhuman self-control and healing abilities.

According to them, the illnesses they don’t get are due to their powers, while the ones they do get are caused by their “compassion” in taking on their disciples’ karma or solving the group’s problems. This of course is another guru trick.


15. Criminal or entrepreneurial versatility

Cult leaders change their image and that of the group as needed to avoid prosecution and litigation, to increase income, and to recruit a range of members. Cult leaders have an innate ability to attract followers who have the skills and connections that the leaders lack. The longevity of the group is dependent on the willingness of leadership to adapt as needed and preserve the group. Frequently, when illegal or immoral activities are exposed to the public, the cult leader will relocate, sometimes taking followers with him. He will keep a low profile, only to resurface later with a new name, a new front group, and perhaps a new twist on the scam.



230. ton May 17, 2009


“When abuses are publicly exposed, the leader either denies or justifies the behaviors by saying that ‘enemies of the truth’ or ‘the forces of evil’ are trying to subvert his true message. Core members of the group have a huge vested interest in believing him, as their identity is wrapped up in believing in his righteousness. Those who begin to doubt him at first become confused and depressed, and later feel betrayed and angry. The ways people deny and justify are similar: Since supposedly no one who is not enlightened can truly understand the motives of one who is, any criticism can be discounted as a limited perspective. Also, any behavior on the part of the guru, no matter how base, can be imputed to be some secret teaching or message that needs deciphering.


By holding gurus as perfect and thus beyond ordinary explanations, their presumed specialness can be used to justify anything. Some deeper, occult reason can always be ascribed to anything a guru does: The guru is said to take on the karma of others, and that is why his body has whatever problems it has. The guru is obese or unhealthy because he is too kind to turn down offerings: besides, he gives so much that a little excess is understandable. He punishes those who disobey him not out of anger but out of necessity, as a good father would. He uses sex to teach about energy and detachment. He lives an opulent life to break people’s simplistic preconceptions of what ego-loss should look like; it also shows how detached and unconcerned he is about what others think. For after all, ‘Once enlightened, one can do anything.’ Believing this dictum makes any action justifiable.


People justify and rationalize in gurus what in others would be considered unacceptable because they have a huge emotional investment in believing their guru is both pure and right.”
(Guru Papers p. 52)



FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2000


Dr. Robert J. Lifton on Destructive Cults



ganscult (excerpt)


Posted on March 29, 2011


Gans is a Psychopath.


A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.


She lives in a world where everything revolves around her.  She treats people with great disdain (“teachers” and “students” included) and horrible abusiveness.


She learned a lot of her bullying techniques and mind control from her psychopathic husband Alex Horn […] knowing little to nothing about the work but just enough to control people and separate them from their money and seduce and abuse women with his “knowledge”.  Uncared for and beaten children, physical punishment and sexual deviancy were all par for the course in the original group.


The soul thief also has students tripping over themselves to perform for her, whether it is regular class or “Christmas class,” like trained animals begging for a morsel of approval, and most students are SO desperate to make a “good impression” on her that it is embarrassing. Talk about forgetting yourself! Then she gives her critique like she is THE diva of the theater.  (It seems she skipped acting school like she skipped the other school.)  She NEVER contributes ANYTHING, not a dime ever leaves her ostentatious pocketbooks. She has at least 4 different homes. The latest, an $8 million apartment at the Plaza Hotel, which was refurbished … you guessed it … by students … and no, they were not paid. She has the nerve to ask “students” to pay into her “retirement fund.”


She insists that everyone who is in her fake school work [and] yet she hasn’t had a job herself in over 30 years.


She did however direct a play written by her husband Alex Horn, called “The Legend of Sharon Shashanova.” Directed by Gans. About Gans. Imagine, she thinks of herself as a “legend”… Serious Delusion. Behavior that goes hand in hand with a true psychopath.


The review from New York Magazine (October 17, 1988) for this mess of a play starts out


When it comes to pretentiousness nobody beats The Legend of Sharon Shashanova.”


Of course it’s pretentious. What else could it be? Both of them have been living pretend lives … DEGENERATE miscreants, imagining themselves as some highly developed beings able to teach a system they have never studied.


They are two-bit Thugs. CRIMINALS in the biggest sense of the word, preying on the real wishes of innocent people. Using up people’s lives to improve their own lives and level of comfort. Manipulating people to no end, stealing their time, money and families.


Alex Horn died in 2007, yet his evil continues on through Gans and her sickos. A quote from a former student:


“Yes, he was an evil man.


He seduced and slept with MANY of his students – with and without his wife Sharon’s consent. He was a sexual predator. The worst.


I know that we should not speak ill of the dead but he was so ill himself. Ill as in a sick psycho.


Dust to Dust”



Rick Ross CEI


Alex Horn today


Posted by: Marie27
Date: July 21, 2005 11:24PM


To some extent I can understand your feeling that Alex and Sharon had a positive impact on your life. I certainly feel that I learned and experienced some positive, eye-opening things, mainly because of the ideas in the books that I read in one of Alex’s groups, with which I had an on-off relationship for some ten years.


But for me the bottom line with regard to Alex is this: his relationship with his “students” is manipulative and deceitful. He told us we must give up our will to his for many, many years because this is how a student learns from a teacher. But he never told us who his teacher was, or whether this is the kind of relationship he ever had as a student. He said contradictory things about who he’d studied with, and it’s possible he really never studied with anyone for very long.


He told us when and how to break off relationships, to get married, to have children. We spent hours and hours in class each week, and hours recruiting people and working on Alex’s projects. We were not supposed to tell even spouses what we were doing when we were on Alex’s work.


It was impossible to disagree with Alex, because you were always cast as revealing your own hideous flaws when you disagreed. I saw him excoriate one student in public to the point of verbal murder — the student never returned. When I questioned him about it, Alex said mildly, “He’s a new student and I was just giving him some help.”


I think you might need to separate the ideas of Gurdjieff, Nicoll, Ouspensky, Collin, from the class that was run by Alex, and I suspect Sharon as well. To me, Alex’s class was a milder version of a Communist re-education camp, where you are forced to recant if you show any signs of independence, and where you must utterly submit in order to advance in the Party. Alex may have been sincere at one time, but I believe he is driven by ego now.


Interestingly, Ouspensky talks about the ideal student (a paraphrase) as someone who has already experienced and been disillusioned by life. Someone who’s had a full life, and is now looking beyond. By contrast, the vast majority of students I saw in Alex’s class were young or struggling. He takes advantage of people’s vulnerabilities and plays them right back at them.



Horn/Gans/Klein Cult


Posted by: sar

Date: May 30, 2007 06:56AM


I was a member of [the SF] Theatre of All Possibilities and the Boston Group.

App. 1977-80.



I read with great interest most of the posts associated with this group (including OSG and the New York incarnations.


Found them interesting and informative (and a little triggering) — most valuable to me were Cber7, moishe3rd (who I know and remember quite well) and wasthere. They all covered a lot of ground in providing an accurate picture (in very different ways) of what the group (and a destructive cult) are like. Would like to explore that in more detail in future posts.


I’m still struggling to come to terms with my years there.





Alex Horn today


Posted by: Marie27 

Date: July 24, 2005 11:58PM




I’m not sorry to hear that you had a different experience with Alex when you knew him. I struggled with conflicting emotions about him for several years after I left the group for good six years ago. Unfortunately, I think that the path Alex is on now is one that was set a good many years ago, back to the 1970s at least, when he and Sharon left San Francisco in the middle of the night to avoid charges of physical abuse and child neglect.


Funny how he never mentioned that, or who his teacher was (was it John Bennett, very briefly, as others say, or was it Rodney Collin, as he told us once, but only once, and very much in passing?). Who knows. Like everything else, so much about Alex is secret from his students and comes out in little, weird, jarring incidents.


This group is perhaps more subtle than some other cults — you aren’t, for example, taken into a room for three days and brainwashed. But it’s true that while you are not physically trapped inside that classroom having Alex and your “friends” tell you what a piece of garbage you are, you are psychologically trapped. And you may be trapped in that room for many, many years inside your head.


I was in that place for several years after leaving. It was only when I was able to bring myself to do some research about Alex (like the SF Chronicle article) and see a therapist who specializes in cults, that I began to see the reality of it all. Even then it took a long time for me to accept what had really happened. I was just a mark. There was no great good and evil drama about my being in the class, or my leaving it. Alex simply saw me, saw my vulnerabilities, my ability to pay, and my usefulness. I was a business proposition, nothing more or less.


At this point I view my years with the class as a somewhat harsh lesson in human nature. I saw that people like Alex exist, in all their charm and destructiveness. I saw my “friends” eager to gain power and hurt me in the process. I saw myself join in the mob to drive other students out.


For those who stay in the class, I have no comment — I don’t know what their experience is. For those who leave, I hope that they find help and are able to accept it.



Re: Alex Horn today


Posted by: sar
Date: October 25, 2007  5:00AM


“No one was ever told when and how to break off relationships or to get married – certainly not by Alex. Sharon did often suggest these sorts of things. Some students who had been there many years took her suggestions. Some students who had been there many years did not. The same with newer students.”



When I was in the group, these were often not “take it or leave it” suggestions.


At least twice in my experience, Horn told women that they had two weeks to find and marry a man or leave the “school”.


Gans not only suggested these things, but when I was in the group (’77 – ’79) a short time before you, she demanded that at least one couple in the “younger student” group get married or leave the “school” (admittedly unusual for the “younger student” group — but it happened, and I witnessed it).


In the “older student” group, a huge percentage of “students” were in arranged marriages by Gans – people you and I both knew — whether it was “get married or leave” I don’t know, but judging from my experience it’s possible it was her way or the highway — and a lot of those couples were absolutely miserable. Between Gans’ cute philosophy (“hate n’ mate”) and Horn’s “If a woman gets in the way of your evolution, kick her in the teeth and move on” (love that “kick her in the teeth” — Horn’s psychopathy and misogyny always added that extra oomph to his teachings), they probably created enough unhappy families to populate San Francisco.



Narcissists Hate Seeing You Happy


By Darius CikanaviciusPsychCentral | Nov 2017


People with strong narcissistic tendencies hate seeing others do well. There are several reasons for this, and we will explore some of them in this article.



Sadism is an extremely complicated psychiatric disorder of essentially unknown origin. Part of its complexity is that it varies greatly in its intensity. The sadism of some people is so mild, subtle, and sporadic that it is barely diagnosable as such.  Such people may constitute 10 percent of the population. The sadism of others – less than 1 percent – may consistently be almost murderous. Whatever the percentage, approximately as many sadists enter the medical profession as any other profession. What I am saying is that roughly 1 to 10 percent of doctors, nurses, and medical aides are sadists to a greater or lesser degree. They are extremely difficult to weed out because they can so facilely exercise their sadism under the guise of practicing “good medicine.”


Most people think of sadism solely as the enjoyment of inflicting pain upon others, without realizing that such enjoyment is, as often as not, unconscious. They also don’t realize it’s only half the problem. Sadists love to exercise control – domination – over others. What better way to dominate someone than to have almost total control over whether to give a patient pain relief or withhold it!


Dr. M. Scott Peck,

Denial of the Soul



Anna Mikulak
Association for Psychological Science


Everyday Sadists Take Pleasure in Others’ Pain | Sept 12, 2013


Most of the time, we try to avoid inflicting pain on others — when we do hurt someone, we typically experience guilt, remorse, or other feelings of distress. But for some, cruelty can be pleasurable, even exciting. New research suggests that this kind of everyday sadism is real and more common than we might think.


Two studies led by psychological scientist Erin Buckels of the University of British Columbia revealed that people who score high on a measure of sadism seem to derive pleasure from behaviors that hurt others, and are even willing to expend extra effort to make someone else suffer.


The new findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.


“Some find it hard to reconcile sadism with the concept of ‘normal’ psychological functioning, but our findings show that sadistic tendencies among otherwise well-adjusted people must be acknowledged,” says Buckels. “These people aren’t necessarily serial killers or sexual deviants but they gain some emotional benefit in causing or simply observing others’ suffering.”


Based on their previous work on the “Dark Triad” of personality, Buckels and colleagues Delroy Paulhus of the University of British Columbia and Daniel Jones of the University of Texas El Paso surmised that sadism is a distinct aspect of personality that joins with three others – psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism – to form a “Dark Tetrad” of personality traits.



Brad says on The Gentle Souls Revolution blog

March 19, 2014 at 5:50 pm


George Moshe said:


   “What you and others have described is an absolute nightmare compared to the relatively benign insanity that we participated in way back when…”
   “I understand it is hard to imagine but, as many were the negatives back in the day, there were far more positives.”
   “It just makes me sad to see people like Bob, who really were sincerely trying to become better, “more conscious” human beings, to fall so far down their “evolutionary ladder.”



I’m not sure how one can ascertain what Bob’s sincere intentions were.


Bob did not have far to go in order to fall down that ‘evolutionary ladder’.  He was practicing and perfecting his form of psychic abuse and malevolence, along with many other ‘older students’, thirty five years ago – using cult of confession techniques to confuse and solidify an individual’s bond to the group; with that quietly rolling voice and gentle lisp, Bob could pour out some of the most ridiculous to horrid nonsense you’d ever want to hear; or in a fury during one of the gang beating rituals, threaten to cut someone’s throat. I would not characterize this particular insanity as benign or just over-heated rhetorical flourishes. I think the mind-numbing idiocies were always pretty apparent, camouflaged by frenetic activity, group hysteria and suppression of critical thinking (as well as the sincere aspirations and excitement of some of the ideas).


GSR, you mentioned something that Bob once said (I’m paraphrasing): ‘The stronger side always wins’ – not the truth, not the right or ethical, but the stronger side – and the stronger side can impose any truth that it wants. One doesn’t have to pick up an Orwell novel to see the implications of this – it’s immediately apparent from history, or the front page of today’s newspaper, or the Horn/Gans group of the ’70s-early ’80s, or any malignant cult.


And Alex was not just a ‘violent jackass sometimes’. He imparted an ethos of violence to the group which led to the institutional use of physical force. Even the women’s groups would attack various female members at different times. And given Gans’ pathologically narcissistic insecurities, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine her encouraging physical attacks on someone she felt was being ‘hateful’ or a threat to her.


What I’m saying is that the narrative of the group as relatively benign, until a certain jaded attitude set in, is manifestly false: violence, constant fear and intimidation were deeply ingrained from the onset (intensifying during “3rd line of work” – i.e. ticket sales, book promotions, open meeting recruitment).


Perhaps in the post SF Examiner story period, it was felt that the violence produced diminishing returns. I believe it was a change of tactics rather than a change of heart.


I remember one meeting where a couple was talking about the husband’s sister, who had been raped in a laundromat. Gans and Horn deconstructed the story, and by the end concluded that she had not really been raped (their rationale? She knew her attacker and shared a joint with him before the crime).


“She was a little raped,” I remember Horn saying genially, and Gans repeating the phrase, nodding. (The couple left the group not long after – I’m pretty sure this was their epiphanic moment.)


Sharon’s attitude toward many of the attractive female members in the group often ranged from bizarre to abusive. A first-time attendee, a young attractive woman, was asked out of the blue by Gans: “Do you have any desire to come between my husband and me?” The woman’s jaw dropped slightly and she shook her head no. That was the last time I ever saw her, which maybe was Gans’ purpose in the first place. She obviously felt threatened by young women in the group, which might have been due to Horn’s predilections.


That, and other “discussions” and impartments regarding gender and sex, attitudes expressed and mimicked, Gans/Horn’s fucked-up need to play out their intimate psychodramas through the group, along with everything I’ve read about people’s experiences and the psycho dynamics of cult leaders, leaves very little doubt in my mind that there was a strong predator vibe going on.



Pearl says on GSR

March 21, 2014 at 11:40 pm


In the mid 1970s, on the West Coast: Sharon left to go out of town and told some of us women to expect a call from Alex. We could accept his offer to come to our homes for a sexual call. Which he did. He was like a cold fish. It’s abuse of power, which I don’t think I recognized at the time. Also, at one point, mothers were told to put their kids in a daycare run by one of the mothers, who had no clue about taking care of children. This was short term. It was replaced by a day care arrangement which was rather good, but run by a friend of Sharon’s and thus ultimately a form of control. The money pressure even then was fierce. Dues to pay. Huge pressure to sell tickets to the plays, which was the gateway to new recruits. Lack of sleep was a big part of life. Humiliation and ridicule were instruments of control as well, but we probably did not understand it as such. We did know about and read all the work books, many of which I enjoyed. We often talked about G and O and Collin and Nicoll and Orage. Sharon had poetry written by Collin’s wife – which I think I still have. There was pressure on unwed mothers to give their children up for adoption to fellow students; many marriages were arranged and broken. This was all **before** the ’80s, **before** the older group migrated to the East Coast. It only got worse on the East Coast. Many children of the older students of the ’70s and ’80s are still not recovered from the trauma of growing up in this atmosphere.



PearlApril 5, 2014 at 6:46 pm


When I said “It only got worse on the East Coast,” I was speaking generally. Perhaps it got worse because I was in such a long time. I am also now a long time out, and grateful to the now defunct Esoteric Freedom blog which was an eye opener for me, in the same way this blog may be for others. It is very difficult, however, to mend the large chunks of time in which I was not present to my children’s lives. We keep working on it. My message to anyone still in would be, how much time are you spending in quality time with your kids?



The Sharon Gans Cult News Blog



Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Sharon’s Work on Herself


It is my humble opinion that the only work Sharon has ever done is to work over the members of the cult. Not clear what her knowledge is of the 4th Way system. Current and former members will attest that Sharon only occasionally mentions so-called “work ideas.” On her pedestal and easy chair in full recline position (it’s a crazy sight), Ms. Gans primarily discusses three things during her “classes”: (a) her favorite topic, herself; (b) her second favorite topic, sex, in extremely vulgar and gross terms which would make a sailor blush and causes considerable unease in the room; and (c) how much her followers are to blame for all the problems she has caused them. 
She has not once described her personal experiences in applying so called “work ideas” to her life. I’ve never heard her mention how she “remembered herself” or practiced “non-identification.” If she has worked on herself, then I would contend that the work most certainly “does not” work.


Yet, I’ll wager that most followers, when they first meet Sharon, can sense that there is something about her that is unusual, that she is intelligent and very charming. She has her own alternate perception of “reality” which she insists that you follow in order for her to agree to relate to you. And somehow this is very compelling. She is also extremely self-confident and she exudes an air of boldness (e.g., “I am a Conscious Being.”) This turns out to be very alluring and attractive. Her emphatic belief that she is so “great” causes people to believe it.


But it is my humble opinion, based on my observations and conversations with people who know her personally, that Sharon is suffering from Narcissistic personality disorder “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.”


I was thinking of giving examples of how her behavior fits in with these symptoms. However, I think it would be more interesting to hear your examples. I’ll start with one: “Taking advantage of others to get what you want“: Endless projects of forced labor to build cult and Gans properties in dangerous conditions; a crew of about a dozen members who prepare, purchase, and cater all of her meals; gaslighting members to make them submit to her will, etc.





Anonymous  January 6, 2016 at 6:01 PM


I love the term “gaslighting”. I have seen the movie but never realized it was a clinical term.


I also like the word “Hornswoggle” which has a nice old fashioned sound to it and is defined as: to trick or deceive, to swindle, cheat, hoodwink, or hoax.


Some synonyms are: bamboozle, beguile, bluff, buffalo, burn, catch, con, cozen, delude, dupe, fake out, fool, gaff, gammon, gull, have, have on [chiefly British], deceive, humbug, juggle, misguide, misinform, mislead, snooker, snow, spoof, string along, sucker, suck in, take in, trick.


It also has a very nice allusion to the infamous Alex Horn.



Meshuganah  January 8, 2016 at 8:38 AM


You are going soft, dear altacaca. It would be nice if she were just NPD, but truth to tell, she’s a full blown socio-psychopath (the term means the same thing), as well as NPD with a Machiavellian personality. These are the big three of the dark personality disorders, and she’s got them all. Why a psychopath? Because she has no conscience — the only “right” is what she says, and the only “wrong”, same thing. Read ‘The Psychopath Next Door’ by Dr Martha Stout – great list in there which is a dead ringer. How to prove? Imagine Sharon told a student to kill someone for the work – because it was right action – don’t you think there are students who would do it? The moral order is Sharon’s.



You’re right. She has no conscience. I agree she has the trifecta. Here’s a classic. She once told a follower, whose wife was infertile, to impregnate the wife’s teenage daughter and the offspring would then be raised by the member and his wife. (This suggestion was declined.) Only a twisted and demented mind comes up with such a disgusting concept. A sure fire way to damage a whole bunch of lives. Which is her hobby.



Meshuganah  January 21, 2016 at 8:30 AM


That is truly disgusting – Law and Order SVU could use that for a plot, it’s that disgusting! My own sister had in vitro and had four viable fetuses (fetii?). She was 45 and they had to “reduce” the pregnancy by two for her safety. Sharon told me, “have her keep three, and then she can give one to you!” OK, did she not hear that carrying more than 2 was an unacceptable risk? And I didn’t want my sister and her husband’s off spring! At the time if I’d wanted a child, I could have managed on my own, thanks.



Anonymous  January 25, 2016 at 7:38 AM


I am speechless … except to say WTF?


“Sharon told me, ‘have her keep three, and then she can give one to you!'”


Where do I begin??? “… have her keep three.” How were you expected to dictate this decision to your sister? “Look, I know you could die, but Sharon Gans says you should give birth to three of your four viable fetusus (fetii?) and give one to me.”?


This goes beyond Sarah Palin crazy. I guess those of us who were Boston-branch, outer circle cogs (i.e. “younger class”) were somewhat buffered from this level of cult crazy.


Congrats on your current “school”-free, Gans-free existence.



Pupik  January 8, 2016 at 11:21 AM


I got pulled out in the first wave of evil doers in 2000. I am eternally grateful to a couple of people for letting me know that they thought the group was off, and that I wasn’t being well treated. But I think my ‘a-ha’ moment started about four months prior to that, when I [was] assigned to “wake-up” on a CR weekend and I had to go wake up my ex-boyfriend and his wife. Although I had finally gotten past it all, and was friendly with the two of them, it was really f’d up to send me down there to wake them in their bed! Then, of course, I saw the rough cut of the documentary Artists and Orphans and how much of it was a paean to Sharon, particularly the scene where it is announced to the little children that Sharon had a gift for them, and their eyes lit up, and the gift is all wrapped up, and…..wait for it…. The gift is a big framed photo of ….. SHARON!!!! To be hung in their dining room, no less, so they can see her and thank her and look at her all the time! The disappointment on those poor little faces was heart-rending. My process had a few more parts, especially as there was no info from evil doer blogs and things at that time, but knowing there were people out there pulling for me and there to support me helped so much. They are there for you, too! GET OUT NOW!!!



For all her talk of essence, and how children could sense someone else “in essence” – meaning that children really love her – I never saw a child not scared shitless of the old bitch.



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



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



Rape is perhaps the most misunderstood crime of all. It is also the ultimate violation, short of homicide. Yet too many people tend to blame the victim, saying she was asking for it. As a result, survivors are often reluctant to speak about their ordeals.


Dr. Leslie Hartley-Gise



“If I have to slap you around, girl, it’s for your own fuckin’ good so you can start to wake up!


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.”


Alex Horn



In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens. To this end, he marshals an impressive array of arguments, from the most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After every atrocity, one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies, or it never happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it upon herself; in any case it is time to forget the past and move on. The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater is his prerogative to name and define reality, and the more completely his arguments prevail.


Dr. Judith Herman,

Trauma and Recovery: The aftermath of violence – from domestic abuse to politacal terror



“Cut the crap and take your clothes off — I don’t have much time.”


“DON’T mention this to anybody — do you hear me? ANYBODY!!”


Alex Horn



Most rapes occur along with other crimes — robbery, burglary, assault, kidnap, attempted murder, or even murder. We must realize that rape is always a crime of violence, even if the woman is not beaten. Rape is not seduction and we are never going to understand rape if we view it as sexual behavior— rape is a hostile and cruel act of violence which threatens the life of the victim.


Andrea Rechtin – Advocate for rape victims



From an interview with Dr. Lee Sannella by Jack Brooks in The San Francisco Progress, Feb 25, 1979, A Psychiatrist’s Appraisal of Alex Horn


“The violence,” said Sannella, “was employed to prove to himself that others shared the same weaknesses that he had. Some of your witnesses said that they never saw any violence toward women. I saw plenty. Horn hates women. His sexual use of them was a punishment, not a reward. I saw him strike one woman so hard, she hit a concrete floor and bloodied her head.”



Psychopathic Violence – Cold-blooded and “Casual”


Even more troubling than their heavy involvement in crime is the evidence that both male and female psychopaths are much more likely to be violent and aggressive than are other individuals. Of course, violence is not uncommon in most offender populations, but psychopaths still manage to stand out. They commit more than twice as many violent and aggressive acts, both in and out of prison, as do other criminals.

Troubling yes, but not surprising. While most of us have strong inhibitions about physically injuring others, psychopaths typically do not. For them, violence and threats are handy tools to be used when they are angered, defied, or frustrated, and they give little thought to the pain and humiliation experienced by the victims. Their violence is callous and instrumental – used to satisfy a simple need, such as sex, or to obtain something he or she wants – and the psychopath’s reactions to the event are much more likely to be indifference, a sense of power, pleasure or smug satisfaction than regret at the damage done. Certainly nothing to lose any sleep over.


Psychopaths often come across as arrogant, shameless braggarts – self-assured, opinionated, domineering, and cocky. They love to have power and control over others and seem unable to believe that other people have valid opinions different from theirs. They appear charismatic or “electrifying” to some people.


Psychopaths have a narcissistic and grossly inflated view of their self-worth and importance, a truly astounding egocentricity and sense of entitlement, and see themselves as the center of the universe, as superior beings who are justified in living according to their own rules.


Psychopaths are seldom embarrassed about their legal, financial, or personal problems. Rather, they see them as temporary setbacks, the results of bad luck, unfaithful friends, or an unfair and incompetent system.


Psychopaths feel that their abilities will enable them to become anything they want to be. Given the right circumstances – opportunity, luck, willing victims – their grandiosity can pay off spectacularly. For example, the psychopathic entrepreneur “thinks big,” but it’s usually with someone else’s money.


. . . the psychopath carries out his evaluation of a situation – what he will get out of it and at what cost – without the usual anxieties, doubts, and concerns about being humiliated, causing pain, sabotaging future plans, in short, the infinite possibilities that people of conscience consider when deliberating possible actions. 



Sexual Violence


   Rape provides a good example of the callous, selfish, and instrumental use of violence by psychopaths.


   Perhaps half of the repeat or serial rapists are psychopaths. Their acts are the result of a potent mixture, uninhibited expression of sexual drives and fantasies, desire for power and control, and a perception of the victims as objects of pleasure or satisfaction.



Dr. Robert D. Hare,

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us



The Gray Rock Method of Dealing With Psychopaths





What is sexual addiction?


By Christian Nordqvist | Last updated Wed 20 Dececember 2017


Reviewed by


  1. What is sexual addiction?
  2. Symptoms
  3. Causes
  4. Diagnosis
  5. Treatment


Sexual addiction is a condition in which an individual cannot manage their sexual behavior. Persistent sexual thoughts affect their ability to work, maintain relationships, and fulfill their daily activities.


Other terms for sexual addiction are sexual dependency, hypersexuality, and compulsive sexual behavior. It is also known as nymphomania in females and satyriasis in men.


While sexual addiction shares some features with substance addiction, the person is addicted to an activity, not a substance. Treatment may help, but without treatment, it may get worse.


An estimated 12 to 30 million people in the United States (U.S.) experience sexual addiction. It affects both men and women.


Studies have demonstrated a strong link between alleged sexual addiction and risk-taking. Sexual addiction may cause a person to persist in taking risks even if there may be health consequences, such as sexually transmitted infection (STI), physical injury, or emotional consequences . . .



Considering Sex Offenders: A Model of Addiction


By Judith Herman



From The Mask of Sanity – An Attempt to Clarify Some Issues About The So-Called Psychopathic Personality, by Dr. Hervey Cleckley


THE PRESENT VOLUME grew out of an old conviction which increased during several years while I sat at staff meetings in a large neuropsychiatric hospital. Many hundreds of such cases as those presented here were studied and discussed. The diversity of opinion among different psychiatrists concerning the status of these patients never grew less. Little agreement was found as to what was actually the matter with them. No satisfactory means of dealing with them was presented by any psychiatric authority, and meanwhile their status in the eyes of the law usually made it impossible to treat them at all. They continued, however, to constitute a most grave and a constant problem to the hospital and to the community.


    The [psychopath] is unfamiliar with the primary facts or data of what might be called personal values and is altogether incapable of understanding such matters. It is impossible for him to take even a slight interest in the tragedy or joy or the striving of humanity as presented in serious literature or art. He is also indifferent to all these matters in life itself. Beauty and ugliness, except in a very superficial sense, goodness, evil, love, horror, and humour have no actual meaning, no power to move him.

He is, furthermore, lacking in the ability to see that others are moved. It is as though he were colour-blind, despite his sharp intelligence, to this aspect of human existence. It cannot be explained to him because there is nothing in his orbit of awareness that can bridge the gap with comparison. He can repeat the words and say glibly that he understands, and there is no way for him to realize that he does not understand.


. . .Whatever these people may be called, they are not normal.





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.



Robert Hare


More recently in his book Without Conscience Robert Hare adds more ideas on the nature of the sexual psychopath.


He points out that rape is a good example of the callous, selfish use of violence by psychopaths.


He thinks that maybe half of serial rapists are psychopaths and that it results from a potent combination of:

  • Uninhibited expression of their sexual desires and fantasies
  • A desire for power and control
  • and perception of the victims as objects of pleasure and satisfaction

This idea of control is very important. When a person is involved in a sexual relationship, you could say they are revealing themselves, they are giving of the most intimate aspect of themselves.


And many psychopaths realize this and make use of it. When a relationship becomes sexual, psychopaths understand that they have the potential for complete control. In fact, sexual submission is often the final step in the objectification of the victim.


Remember too, that psychopaths use the tools and techniques of mind control to influence others. A sexual relationship in this situation means that there is neither informed consent on the part of the victim, nor a relationship of equals because the power is with the deceiver. This makes it a situation of sexual abuse.


A psychopath will often create an intimate relationship which in turn leads to a sexual relationship. The psychological abuse makes the sexual abuse possible and the sexual abuse amplifies the effects of the psychological abuse.



Margaret Singer


Clinical psychologist Margaret Singer suggests that this type of abuse is very different from sexual abuse without mind control. The latter, she says is more random, furtive, and associated with guilt, whereas when mind control is involved (either in one-to-one relationships, or in cults) the sexual abuse has been integrated with the belief system of the victim and the interplay of these two things has a huge effect on the recovery process.


Janja Lalich in a paper entitled “Domination and Submission: Psychosexual Exploitation of Women in Cults” published in Cultic Studies Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1, (click here for a pdf copy) also points out that the cult doctrine is a reflection of the cult leader and his preferences. As we have seen, the sexual preferences of sexual psychopaths can be many and varied.


So in some cults, there is abstinence from sex, and sometimes even castration of males to ensure this. It is often the case that where the members are to abstain from sex, the leader is sexually abusing a lot of them.


In other situations, cults will insist on ‘sexual liberty’ and there may be group sex, marriages of lots of women to the leader, partner swapping, child abuse and so on. One idea behind proposing sexual liberty is that the members are sexually available for the leader. (Another is to push the members beyond their personal boundaries in order to manipulate them.) Some groups even dictate when and how the members have sex.


Cult leaders, who are often (male) psychopaths, may deceive women into thinking it is a matter of honor to have sex with him, that it’s necessary for his spirituality, or for her spirituality, or personal growth or whatever. Or sexual relationships may be expected as a test of loyalty to the leader. In some cults women are drawn in and then simply enslaved.


The victims of sexual abuse talk about how initially the sex may seem to be loving and caring but after a while it changes to something cold, without emotion, very dominating, sometimes aggressive and is usually solely about the physical pleasure of the abuser.


Female cult leaders may actually offer freedom from sex as a way to entice women to join.


Psychopathic therapists also dupe their clients into sexual abuse situations in a variety of ways. One particularly insidious way is for the therapist to massage near the groin and then invite the client to do the same to the therapist, ‘to practice’. The client is then deceived into initiating sexual contact. This is particularly destructive as the client believes they have initiated the sexual intimacy.





34. WhaleRider – February 9, 2017 




“Delusions are beliefs that are not open for discussion.”


~ George Atwood, Ph.D

Folie à deux-
Shared psychosis is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from one individual to another…


When the love bombing ends and the devaluation and gaslighting begins, that’s when the “real school” will start to feel like a cult to those with eyes that see and ears that listen.


A narcissistic cult leader will usually have flying monkeys at his side to do his dirty work for him.



11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting


Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power. And it works too well.


By Stephanie Sarkis Ph.D.

psychologytoday.com – Jan 22, 2017


Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.


People who gaslight typically use the following techniques:


1. They tell blatant lies.


You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.





Business Insider
Lindsay Dodgson – Feb 27, 2018 (excerpt)


Narcissists often recruit people called ‘apaths’ to help with their games – here’s why they’re dangerous:

People with Dark Tetrad personality traits — sadism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism — play games with their partners to break down their self esteem. To succeed, they sometimes recruit helpers to help control and manipulate their partners. Apaths fit this role very well.


Shannon Thomas, author of Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse,” told Business Insider an apath is someone who is apathetic to the harm in their social circle, particularly if someone is being manipulative, hurtful, or abusive. Their role, she said, is critical to the narcissist’s game.


“An apath is the wing-person to a narcissist and plays a key role in normalising the toxic individual and their harmful behaviors towards others,” she said. “A narcissist must have apaths in their life to keep the facade of social normalcy going. Apaths create the illusion that a narcissist has friends, is well-liked and can get along with everyone, except the target of abuse.”


Rather than standing up for the victim, or giving them support in the fact they are being mistreated, the apath will instead be completely indifferent to their suffering. When challenged, they come up with excuses and say things like “It’s not my battle,” or “well, they don’t treat me that way.”


By minding their own business, they are effectively being a pawn on the narcissist’s gameboard, making the victim believe they must be going crazy.


In some online forums, apaths are known as “flying monkeys,” like the Wicked Witch’s helpers in “The Wizard of Oz.” They do all the narcissist’s dirty work behind the scenes while the narcissist can sit back and watch.


“Many apaths are also hidden abusers themselves and they will cluster together in family and friend groups to keep each other’s secrets,” Thomas said. “Another type of apath believes it is better to join the abuser in their games than ever run the risk of becoming a future target of the narcissist.”



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



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.





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:  https://1in6.org/



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.”





84. ton2uApril 9, 2019


Re: ‘sex slaves’


The morning newspaper had a short article about a court case involving Allison Mack who recruited human “fodder” for yet another “garden variety” cult…





58. WhaleRiderApril 24, 2019


Interesting NY Times article relative to burton’s fraudulent use of “c-influence” and rape of his followers.


“…there is a clear distinction between consent and assent. “Consent means ‘freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement.’ Assent means ‘agreement on the face of it.’ So, when someone tells you a lie, you can be agreeing on the face of it but you’re not knowledgeable or informed. You can assent and agree, but that doesn’t mean you’re consenting.”





According to His Highness A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness: “A woman likes a man who is very expert at rape. Rape means without consent.”


The Colin McEnroe Show – 2017
wnpr All Cults Are Not Created Equal



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.



Life Person on July 28, 2007 at 6:44 am 


After months of periodically reading and contributing to the blog, what most amazes me is the enormity of the disconnect between what is observed and what some people choose to believe.


Once the emotional charge created by the resurgence of memories that had drifted around for decades dissipated somewhat, and I had for some weeks left off reading the blog, which seemed to perpetuate that charge, and then came back to it, I find myself stunned and incredulous.


Taking away those things that he has said about himself, and those things that others have said about him, and looking only at the evidence before us, we see a man who, before he announced himself as a Teacher, was most easily described as a loser. Fired from his modest teaching position, kicked out of his brief stint in an abusive cult for the most pedestrian reason – being unable to keep his hands off the other guys – living with his mommy or in his van long past the age when we’d expect a man to have a halfway decent job. A man with modest formal education from a white trash background, with the middle name of Earl. Had never accomplished anything of note. Cannot write, paint, dance, or sing. Oh yes – he could play tennis, at the level of the average high school varsity player.


A man who has since lived an entirely parasitic existence, having declined to lift a finger on his own behalf since he was thirty, beyond walking, sitting, lifting fork and glass, talking, and having sex; a man whose muscles have atrophied from disuse. A man who cannot be bothered to pay his own bills, or drive his own car, or fix his own faucet. Can you imagine your father, or your neighbor, let alone Socrates, telling people to do manual labor, including labor that benefits only himself, year after year, decade after decade, while he simply shuffles around in thousand-dollar slacks and five hundred-dollar shoes, without ever contributing anything? Jesus was a carpenter. Dante wrote fantastic works of literature. Leonardo painted masterpieces. Others make shoes, grow food. Here’s a man who jots down notes and sayings at the level of a precocious junior high schooler, and gives others instructions in between efforts to satisfy his physical urges. We find the model for this in, say, Henry VIII, or more accurately, a pinheaded, inbred pharaoh.


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


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


In any other circumstance, this man would be considered ridiculous. A buffoon. Laughed at.


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


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


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


But, I suppose, none of this precludes his being the Light of the World, the Greatest Being Since Christ, and worthy of the highest lifelong devotion. And why? Because he says he is “conscious.” So that’s what being “conscious” means, does it? How could I have missed it. But some say they have “verified” that he is “conscious.” Oh, that changes everything.


For quite a while everyone on earth was convinced the world was flat.


“But he teaches people to be present.” Indeed. Being present to eating too much, drinking too much, having sex with people who don’t want to have sex with you. Present to enjoying the fruits of others’ labors. Present to the sycophantic bowing and scraping of people without any self-respect or discernment. He teaches, by example, how to be present to treating others like shit.


How to account for his success? If a person without any useful abilities of his own sat down and decided to develop a way to allow himself to have all the money, sex, food, travel, power, fancy clothes, adulation, and sheer self-indulgent luxury an adolescent could possibly imagine – if a man embarrassed by his own sexuality and humble social status wanted to be treated like a god – what might he come up with?


And why is it that so many people whose wisdom is so much more easily observed, who are truly kind and compassionate, who genuinely value others simply for their inherent humanity, who find delight in simple pleasures and do not need to be continually praised, obeyed, fucked, fed, entertained, clothed, and carted about, who enjoy being useful, who serve others instead of claiming to serve disembodied spirits while leaving a trail of pain in their wake–why is it that such people do not have as many people trying to learn from them?


Might it be that some people actually want what they see this man has, rather than true wisdom, true compassion?


Might it be that some people cannot bear the thought that what is so obvious might actually be the simple truth, which would make them gullible fools?



Ryan O’Poo on July 28, 2007 at 7:18 am

Life Person, (546)
Fuckin brilliant!




Old FOF on October 1, 2007 at 12:12 am


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.



Vena on October 1, 2007 at 12:48 am


“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.



Janna on October 1, 2007 at 1:33 am (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!



Observer on October 1, 2007 at 3:56 am


21/585 More History Needed
and to Unoanino/Res Ipsa Loquitor


I know I am not part of your community, so I hesitate always about making any comments. But sometimes the things you say strike so powerfully at my heart that I cannot help but speak up and get involved.


Your story was so unbelievably powerful to me, More History Needed. The calm, matter-of-fact description of your rape at the hands (mouth?) of Robert Burton made me want to reach through this computer screen and hold your hand to my heart for a second and acknowledge how terrible your loss of innocence was – and how vile was the man who did that to you. And, unfortunately, has done it to so many men.


And, Unoanimo, your careful work on Res Ipsa Loquitor is unbelievable. I have not read it all – mostly because the anger builds up inside me to such a huge extent, and I have no one to share it with – that I just read for a half hour. That is all my soul can take on any given day. But, thank you, thank you for all the long hours such dedication to a project that casts light on the disgrace at Oregon House has cost you. If others have not read your hard work, I hope they take the time to do so.


I have a suggestion for you as a group. When Whalerider and More History Needed shared in such stunning detail the stories of their emotional, sexual, spiritual abuse in such quiet, heartwrenching detail – it makes it clear to all why the FoF must end, why Robert Burton must be stopped, and how hundreds of you have been horribly abused. Could one of you set up a webpage like Res Ipsa Loquitor where these simple stories of being abused are assembled all in one place? If each one of the men who endured Robert’s predatory attacks shared their stories it would help others to speak up, and others to stop denying the reality of the abuse. Also, I think very much that the women who have had to watch and worry about their men and suffered their own tragic losses of marriages, relationships, unborn children should also be shared on that same page. Let them tell the story of what they suffered, and how it felt. And, those children, who want to share their stories about what has happened to them growing up within the Fellowship also need to be heard.


By telling them in story form, like More History Needed, will make clear to anyone reading what the true evil going on within the community is, and it may be one more step that will finally bring this all to an end.


Again, I apologize for interfering with my comments, but you have all become very real to me as I look in at this blog. I feel as if I know many of you, and it wounds my heart that such an evil has been committed. Speak up please so that it ends this year!



unoanimo on October 1, 2007 at 4:17 pm


Those ‘Yabba Dabba Doo’ Cuff Links Again!



“Darnit Barney, I thought I told you to tell Betty to tell Wilma to boil my Terradactyl egg for 3 minutes, not an hour!”




I was under a happy spell for many years, until this big Robert Burton event at our house…This is when I suddenly got the first glimpse of an uncomfortable feeling that may be we all are being dooped. Strangely, but before this event I saw nothing wrong, heard nothing wrong and would defend the school like it was my own home – just like you do now.


Our center had to prepare for big Tea.


Our center didn’t have money to rent a large space in the city so we were asked if our house could be used. At that time it was a total construction zone, but we agreed – and gladly so! And we went nuts, preparing for this event and spent thousands of dollars just to make it nice doing temporary improvements just for this event. We even built a temporary wooden fence to disguise the dumpster in front of the house… Of course we never even asked for reimbursement – there wasn’t even a thought about it!


All was done from our heart, sincerely, and we didn’t care how much it costs us… We were good students. And Robert Burton arrived, and briefly gave his usual keys performance with Asaf, and everyone stared in silence with smiles and glossy eyes. No one even touched the fine French pastries or tea… I was seated on the couch next to my Teacher and I was in total heaven, listening to his voice so close to me, smelling his fine cologne and feeling the flavor of pastries in my mouth…


Yes, I was actually eating the whole time. Love those pastries, can’t help it! It was caught on camera, and later quite a few of my friends called me to tell how shocked they were to see me eat and drink at Teaching Tea.


The event was over, and Robert rushed to the door. And then the ugly “cuff link scene” occurred. Robert Burton was rushing his boys to run get the car, to get to the city quickly, before the jeweler closes… One of them asked: “Robert, do you really want these cuff links?” – “Yes, yes! I told you. I want them! Hurry up, get the car, let’s go. Now. Quickly. Call him, now, make sure he is still open…” His face was tense, he sounded… just like an identified angry guy. Yes, he was very identified. I have never seen my teacher like that, although I heard stories before.


My boyfriend and I were allowed to stand nearby and so we heard every word. Suddenly he turned to us and gave us one of those peaceful loving smiles… The smile we know and love so much… That makes you feel OK…


But I felt so bad. I felt deception. I felt like this was all fake and we were just taken, used by this powerful man… He just used us, our friends and our house to make good money on his brief performance and now is done with us and rushing to get what he wants. And doesn’t give a damn about this huge crowd of devoted students, who love him and made huge efforts to travel to our place from all over just to spend time with him… A stupid piece of jewelry was – obviously – so much more important to him than all of us.


I had mixed thoughts in my head, I couldn’t understand, justify, explain all this. And it only got worse, when I returned to the kitchen. I saw that all these polite good students, who were just nobly “preferring presence over food” in front of the Teacher (Robert Burton), were now devouring pastries right from the plates by the sink, using their hands, stuffing their mouths like hungry beasts! This was just hysterical. The falseness and hypocrisy of the whole thing was unbearable.


I suddenly saw things in a different light. This event was a first wake-up call for me. I still needed a few more like this, and I had them soon after that. I guess everybody has to have theirs to pry open their shell.


Question to Siddiq and Howard Carter (or anyone who wishes to answer) – do you ever see any hypocrisy and falseness in Robert, in Council actions, students behavior, in teaching events? Ever?
If yes – what do you say to yourself about it? I am really curious.


395/9/No Person



RobertC on October 1, 2007 at 6:14 pm


A note to current FoF members,


If you have been reading the blog for long you will have seen a lot written about the shocking and abhorrent excesses in the areas of sex and money. For me, when I left so many years ago, these were issues – but they were definitely not my entire reason for leaving. If I had really understood the depth of the depravity and the degree of harm being inflicted, perhaps they would have been. But for me there was an even larger issue – namely that the Fellowship had become crippled as a fourth way school.


What do I mean by that? Well, I don’t mean that there were not many sincere and intelligent seekers in the Fellowship. Certainly there were, and that for me was a big plus. But it had always seemed to me that a true school, and in particular a conscious school, would be a place where the teacher, because of his greater insight into the work and his far more subtle understanding than my own could provide practical guidance by showing us how ideas were being misunderstood, so as to create a deeper understanding. In other words, the school would transmit ‘C Influence’.


In the Fellowship, of course, the term ‘C Influence’ has devolved over time to become simply a synonym for ‘God’ or ‘the gods’. When used in this way it is slowly leached of any deeper meaning. But it is clear that as it was described by Ouspensky it referred to something that originated in higher mind and that could not be transmitted properly in writing, and which was therefore transmitted in and by schools. So it seemed to me that if the Fellowship were a Conscious school, this process would be occurring. And yet there were so many ways in which it seemed it was not. And this was visible in how work ideas were understood, or perhaps more correctly, not understood in the school, and in how we students worked and worked together.


Most people who have spent a significant amount of time studying the fourth way will realize that there is a certain subtlety to the ideas there. You can take them in a simple dull sort of way and they are lifeless, or you can appreciate the nuance they contain and see a more significant meaning behind the obvious. Surely this would be the true value of C Influence – to guide us to the deeper truths hinted at by the words, and to free those truths so that they illuminate us. Would C Influence not be the breath that brings the ideas to life, so that they are dynamic rather than static?


But unfortunately this was not happening. Over and over again I saw central ideas of the work seem to collapse into formatory thinking in a way that was amazingly hard to resist. ‘C Influence’ became simply a synonym for ‘the gods’. Not expressing negative emotions became a tool for suppressing inquiry and dissent, to the point that asking an honest question could be very dangerous. Exercises introduced by the teacher, which seemed to be perfectly good tools when introduced, became moral imperatives with which students judged each other (thereby utilizing one of the few acceptable forms of expressing negativity). Alchemy became the class/status mechanism for the Fellowship, once again used to judge people. The instinctive center became ‘bad’ and the emotional center ‘good’, independent of context. In short, all these ideas were being taken in a static formatory way most of the time. And unfortunately there was no sign that the teacher even noticed.


I struggled for a long time with this. I certainly have my own style of arrogance, but I am not the sort of person who would easily assume that I was the only person seeing this correctly and that the other 2,000 obviously intelligent people in the school were simply wrong. Of course, now I know that many others were thinking about these same issues, but at that time it was simply not acceptable to speak about certain things, so I didn’t realize that I was not alone in thinking these things. This was, of course, yet another sign that the school was not functioning properly as a conscious school. How could a conscious school be a place where certain questions are impermissible?


So what about you, current FoF student? Does the Fellowship operate as a conscious school for you in some way that it did not for me? I haven’t been there for a long time and certainly things have changed – but I am not hearing anything that makes me think these issues have improved over the years. Do you find yourself needing to make excuses about certain aspects of the school because you don’t want to lose other things, or lose your friends? Perhaps that could be sensible – but to my mind, only if it were really a conscious school. So is it for you? It is not being negative to think deeply and honestly about that question. If you want to awaken there can be no subject that is off-limits.


Leaving the Fellowship is a scary thing, particularly if you have believed. Despite my thinking, as outlined above, I certainly hesitated to leave. But I can say that I have never regretted it, with the sole exception of missing the company of some of you who remain.


Best to you all,



sharon on October 1, 2007 at 7:43 pm


RobertC said:
“Over and over again I saw central ideas of the work seem to collapse into formatory thinking in a way that was amazingly hard to resist. ‘C Influence’ became simply a synonym for ‘the gods’. Not expressing negative emotions became a tool for suppressing inquiry and dissent, to the point that asking an honest question could be very dangerous. Exercises introduced by the teacher, which seemed to be perfectly good tools when introduced, became moral imperatives with which students judged each other (thereby utilizing one of the few acceptable forms of expressing negativity). Alchemy became the class/status mechanism for the Fellowship, once again used to judge people. The instinctive center became ‘bad’ and the emotional center ‘good’, independent of context. In short, all these ideas were being taken in a static formatory way most of the time. And unfortunately there was no sign that the teacher even noticed.”




“If you want to awaken there can be no subject that is off-limits.”


This entire post is very important to me, and the above quoted sentence is the kernel of the truth of why the Fellowship of Friends was not a conscious school for me. Absolutely spot on.



Ames Gilbert on October 1, 2007 at 9:39 pm


Dear Old FOF,
You are quite right, I took out the house painting brush to do a portrait, and so my message lacked precision and nuance.


I was coming from the point of view of learning, a few weeks after I got the boot, that the center director when I joined in London, Peter B_sh_p., had been ‘insincere’ when I asked about Burton’s celibacy at that time. He sold me the line that Burton was celibate and ‘used this energy to maintain higher centers and states’; in fact, according to what he personally admitted to me in 1994, Burton and he had had a prior sexual relationship, and it was ongoing (from time to time) when I asked the question in 1978.


I agree with your point generally. I had several long conversations with Stella after I left, and she described her journey of discovery; in the essentials, the same as yours, including disbelieving accounts from those who, in hindsight, surely knew the truth. She disbelieved for over five years, and actually stepped up her efforts to protect Burton in response to the stories; a strong part of this was probably to defend her own worldview and investment in her belief system. I did the same, so it is safe to assume the possibility for everyone else.


Thanks for pointing out that surprisingly few members and directors knew much for many years, and for sharing the details of your personal story.


And thanks, David, for setting me right about Milton as the source of my quote. Hopefully, that error didn’t distract from the message.


Thank you, Sheik, for ‘keeping at it’, despite your present difficulties, and thanks to all the contributors to this fascinating conversation. I’m learning a lot.


With love to you all,




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.





Look at the phenomenon of lying in its relationship to fools.

Fools lie to explain or conceal their foolishness. It is not a remedy, but they use it.

Liars, again, are fools because a lie may be found out, and gambling fools are not different from the ordinary kind.

The liar fools himself that he will not be found out, and the fool fools himself that his lie will cover his folly.

It is not easy to avoid being a fool. It is possible to realise that one has been one. The remedy is not lying.

Again, it is possible to realise that one has lied, and to avoid it. Foolishness and lying being so much of a continuum, being truthful can help towards being less foolish.

It is for this reason, because it is con­structively useful, that traditional teachings have stressed the need to tell the truth and be as truthful as possible. Truthfulness means being efficient, effective. Lying is an attempt to make inefficiency into its opposite.

This is why all forms of self-deception are ‘lying’, and the person who foolishly cannot see the truth can approach it by practice in avoiding at least, for a start, some forms of lying.

Many durable ‘moralistic’ teachings are specific and effective exercises gone wrong.


~ Idries Shah, Reflections



Quotations from Robert Earl Burton – 2003



124. nigelSeptember 26, 2011


…..just clicked on Blue Logic site. and found this…..


The Art of Presence: Perspectives from a Fourth Way School Girard Haven (July 2010). A collection of six essays, whose opening paragraph reveals the extraordinary power of metaphor. “In order for a key to be of any value,” Mr. Haven reminds us, “One has to know what lock it fits and how to use it to open that lock. One then has to open the door, and finally, one has pass through the door to reach what was inaccessible before.” 130 pages later the essays reach their coda: “The advantage of the sequence is that mechanical responses only have to be controlled for thirty seconds at a time; the advantage of passing through death on the larger scale to a state of presence … is that one need not seek the rather special circumstances of the sequence to experience the state. But our biggest advantage is that by working simultaneously on both scales, each will grow much more rapidly. At death, the scales will merge, and ‘now’ will become ‘forever’ a remarkable vision of consciousness transcending functions worthy of quiet reflection. 156 pages illustrated, and in full color. A Glossary of such terms as sequence and functions included.





121. The FOFionSeptember 26, 2011


Haven kicked out of the school after criticizing new policy to allow criticism of the school


OREGON HOUSE, Calif. (ARK) — Sources have confirmed that Girard Haven was kicked out of the school Sunday after criticizing Robert Burton for implementing a new policy that allows criticism of the school.


Haven was summarily tossed when he criticized Robert Burton’s new Criticize Openly Policy (COP).


“Not a good idea,” Haven said. “Open criticism will open up a can of worms. I strongly advise against this.”


Within minutes, Haven was shown the door.


“This was indicated to me by Influence C,” Burton said. “COP is such a lovely acronym for this new direction of the school, is it not? COP gives my beloved students the authority to protect themselves from criminal behavior, and from any damaging or unhealthy experiences they may experience in the school. Fortunately, there will be no need to enforce this new policy, as I have the best interests of my students at heart.”


Editor’s note: The FOFion apologies to readers who are now experiencing a wave of nausea. We don’t create the news — we just report it.



127. I’ll Never TellSeptember 26, 2011


@121. The FOFion:


Very funny.


Here is part of a Sufi story:


A certain man caught a bird in a trap.
The bird says, “Sir, you have eaten many cows and sheep
in your lifetime, and you’re still hungry.
The little bit of meat on my bones won’t satisfy you either.
If you let me go, I’ll give you three pieces of wisdom.
One I’ll say standing on your hand. One on your roof.
And one I’ll speak from the limb of that tree.”


The man was interested.
He freed the bird and let it stand on his hand.
“Number One:
Do not believe an absurdity,
no matter who says it.”


The bird flew and lit on the man’s roof.
“Number Two:
Do not grieve over what is past. It’s over.
Never regret what has happened.”


“By the way,” the bird continued,
“in my body there’s a huge pearl
weighing as much as ten copper coins.
It was meant to be the inheritance of you

and your children, but now you’ve lost it.
You could have owned the largest pearl in existence,
but evidently it was not meant to be.”


The man started wailing like a woman in childbirth.
The bird: “Didn’t I just say, ‘Don’t grieve
for what’s in the past’? And also, ‘Don’t believe
an absurdity, no matter who says it’?
My entire body doesn’t weigh as much as ten copper coins.
How could I have a pearl that heavy inside me?”


The man came to his senses.
“All right. Tell me Number Three.”


“Yes. You’ve made such good use of the first two!
Don’t give advice to someone who’s groggy and falling asleep.
Don’t throw seeds on the sand.
Some torn places cannot be patched.”


Do not believe an absurdity,
no matter who says it.


* * * * * *


124. nigel:
The Art of Presence: Perspectives from a Fourth Way School Girard Haven:
“In order for a key to be of any value,” Mr. Haven reminds us, “One has to know what lock it fits and how to use it to open that lock. One then has to open the door, and finally, one has pass through the door to reach what was inaccessible before.”


Here is part of a Houdini story:


‘Looking to capitalize on Houdini’s immense popularity and fame, a London bank challenged him to break out of their vault with its new, state-of-the-art locking system. They were CERTAIN that even the great Houdini would finally meet his match.


Houdini accepted, and on the appointed date, the press turned out in droves to see if the master could get out in the three and a half minutes allotted.


This time he got to keep his clothes on. But he had another trick up his sleeve!


His contracts always specified that before he disappeared into the trunk or cell or behind a small curtain (when performing on a stage), he could kiss his wife. After all, many of his feats were seriously dangerous, so who could refuse the couple what might turn out to be their last goodbye?


But what no one knew was that he was getting more than a kiss! As their lips met, his wife would secretly pass a small piece of wire from her mouth to his. Then, once he was alone or hidden behind the curtain, he’d use the wire to pick the locks.


This time out, though, the wire didn’t seem to be doing the trick. Here’s what Houdini wrote about that experience …


“After one solid minute, I didn’t hear any of the familiar clicking sounds. I thought, my gosh, this could ruin my career, I’m at the pinnacle of fame, and the press is all here.


“After two minutes, I was beginning to sweat profusely because I was not getting this lock picked.


“After three minutes of failure, with thirty seconds left, I inadvertently reached into my pocket to get a handkerchief and dry my hands and forehead, and when I did, I leaned against the vault door and it creaked open.”


And there you have it, my friend. The door was never locked! But because Harry BELIEVED it to be locked, it might as well have been. Only the “accident” of leaning on the door changed that belief and saved his career.


It’s the same way with all of us. The things we believe to be insurpassable barriers, obstacles, and problems are just like the bank vault door. The only lock is in our minds, and as long as we simply believe that we CAN’T, well, we can’t.’



The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.


You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.


People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.


The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.


~ Jalaluddin Rumi
13th century mystic poet



129. OllieSeptember 26, 2011

57. WhaleRider
58. We Were There
61. Arthur
62. Red Hat
66. nigel

WhaleRider wrote, “My guess is that the cult is currently preoccupied with the next doomsday prediction in 2012.” Indeed, Robert Burton is, when there is some spare time and he is not detecting “the message” in yet another circle or square, a number six or four. I came across some recent material:


Robert Burton on 6/22/2011:


“We received wonderful information on our visit to Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth, and had four very nice dinners with two students in Dallas, GC and CE. As we were leaving, I mentioned to them that I felt the end was quite near for humanity. Just then there was a flash of lighting in the sky, and that night a tornado appeared in the region. I have been in many earthquakes with Influence C, but this was my first tornado! Related to the ‘circling centuries’ [this refers to a few lines by Virgil: ‘Now the last age by Cumae’s Sibyl sung/Has come and gone, and the majestic roll/Of circling centuries begins anew’], a group in Oakland predicted that the earth would come to an end on May 21st – the day we were leaving Texas. As soon as we drove away and waved goodbye to the two students, within thirty meters we saw this license plate in front of us saying ‘ALL DUN.’ Unbeknownst to us, when we left G and C, it was six o’clock at Apollo – the time at which the prophecy claimed that the world would end. There is a video we made of L pushing a globe. We call it ‘turning the world.’ After the globe began turning, he stopped it, and it weighed five thousand pounds! Then he started turning it again, pushing it four times. What this means is that Leonardo will see us though the Last Judgment. I believe that the Last Judgment will be the work of the angel Paul. Then Leonardo will begin a new civilization here at Apollo, with the new seed people from around the world. Only when we walked away did S realize that it was six o’clock Apollo time.”


Robert Burton on 9/14/2011:


“We have been working with Influence C for forty-four years, and are still waiting for them to realize their plans. But we are much closer – everything is in place now for the Last Judgment. It is becoming much more probable.”


“Next month, on October 4th, there will 444 days to the Mayan prediction of the end the cycle on December 21, 2012. The messages I am receiving indicate that they will not enact the Last Judgment in 2012, but more likely in 2018. It is based upon several signals they have given. In fact, as I was speaking about this with Dorian today an email arrived and my iPad chimed just as I said ‘2018.’”



131. WhaleRiderSeptember 26, 2011

Priceless! Thank you so much for your invaluable report.

“as I was speaking about this with Dorian today an email arrived and my iPad chimed just as I said ’2018.’”

“As we were leaving, I mentioned to them that I felt the end was quite near for humanity. Just then there was a flash of lighting in the sky, and that night a tornado appeared in the region.”

“As soon as we drove away and waved goodbye to the two students, within thirty meters we saw this license plate in front of us saying ‘ALL DUN.’ ”

~Robert E. Burton


Ideas of reference and delusions of reference involve people having a belief or perception that irrelevant, unrelated or innocuous phenomena in the world refer to them directly or have special personal significance: ‘the notion that everything one perceives in the world relates to one’s own destiny’.

In psychiatry, delusions of reference form part of the diagnostic criteria for psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, delusional disorder, or bipolar disorder during the elevated stages of mania.”


YOU ARE BRILLIANT! Keep up the good work!

One laugh out of a follower would be enough to break their delusion and start them on the road to recovery.



132. & 133. brucelevySeptember 26, 2011


129. Ollie


Unfuckingbelievable. If people don’t pick up and leave after that horse shit then they’re clowns who deserve what they get.

“One laugh out of a follower would be enough to break their delusion and start them on the road to recovery.”


I think it’s more likely that one laugh would be enough to have the student removed immediately.



134. Jomo PiñataSeptember 26, 2011


Let’s not forget Burton told us that Dixon Hill Road was named after Jeane Dixon. (Anybody out there remember her?)



135. OllieSeptember 26, 2011


Just got some more recent material. Apologies, it’s very long, but I thought it might be worthwhile…


Robert Burton on 9/21/2011:


“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.


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 an ‘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.”


Robert Burton on 9/21/2011:

“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.”)


We are expecting to see several conscious beings produced here in our lifetime. This [referring to a photo] is my crystallization celebration at the Lincoln Lodge in 1976; it was quite sweet. … Influence C gave me the date of March 15, 1976 for my crystallization. I went to Phoenix and stayed at the Arizona Biltmore in the desert waiting for it to happen. The astral body was breathing, but the crystallization did not occur. So I returned to Apollo a few days later and my last thought before I went to sleep was ‘Well, it’s not going to happen tonight.’ That was about at 11 pm; then I woke up at 4 am and it was upon me. It was March 19th and world six immediately rose to handle it. I was facing Mount Apollo at the time with my back turned to California.


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. . .





147. Tim CompionSeptember 26, 2011


135. Ollie


Truth is indeed stranger, and more entertaining, than fiction! Though he’s in large part addressing a new audience, the script is right out of the 70s. (Though I must admit it’s even more candid and detailed than anything I heard at the time. Perhaps we are approaching the final chapter, and he feels the need to tell his personal story, colorfully embellished as it may be, filling in the blanks.)


Returning to that “hallowed” September 5, 1967 date assures the maximum number of 44th anniversaries to be celebrated in the coming years (along with their attendant fundraising campaigns. Some clever marketing there.) And the newly-repackaged loving relationship with Alex Horn is “sweet”.


And those ALL DUN license plates have a habit of showing up at the wackiest times! (This is at least the third occasion that one’s been trotted out.)


But does it really matter that he makes this stuff up? Perhaps those around him are content to just watch and occasionally participate in the show, to humor the man in his twilight years, heedless of the personal cost and the fact they harbor a criminal.



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!



2. Tim CampionSeptember 23, 2016


This year’s Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded


With the help of selected tweets from Deepak Chopra’s Twitter account, researchers from the University of Waterloo and Sheridan College identified certain traits that made people more susceptible to B.S. They included religious or paranormal beliefs, an embrace of alternative medicine, an interest in conspiracy theories and lower “cognitive ability”.


See: On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit



3. ryanopooSeptember 24, 2016


So, Bob claims the Absolute visited him, washed his feet and told him to, “Get ready.”?


Nice of him to pop out of Bob’s chimney like Santa in summer. Presumably was in the neighborhood making mercy calls on morons.”Get ready your ambulance is coming, can’t have you going to the asylum with smelly feet” is most likely what he meant.


To my recollection Bob has claimed to have been visited in the shower by Leonardo Da Vinci. Visited by Peter Ouspensky in the Nut Tree, (I kid you not), where he telepathically communicated to Bob that, “Yuba’s not so bad if you come straight down”. Then the oldest conscious being in the universe visited one xmas time, can’t remember what he said, but then I suspect Bob doesn’t either. Now the Absolute’s come to ingratiate himself like a fawning toady.


Bob likes to tell whoppers to render his superior specialness apparent and impress the potential sperm donor. Told me once that the 76 garage on Hwy 20 was put there by C influence to celebrate the year of his crystalization. It’s a Chevron now.


What’s next one wonders? Who could possibly beat the Absolute for universal appeal when he needs to manipulate the sorry assed sheep who swallow this poop.


The Absolute’s Mom and Dad perhaps, they pop out of Bob’s chimney at thanksgiving say, “Surprise, Surprise”, reveal, little Ab has an evil twin brother named Lex who does all the bad stuff. They change Bob’s diaper and beam up.


Bob’s desperate, his claim is an obvious absurdity. It reveals many things, including the fact that he never awakened for one and doesn’t really understand what self remembering might be for two.


The sheep are getting restless, having spent 50 years building an Ark rotting in dry dock, a failed winery, bankrolling several failed prophecies, a failed teaching, including the last ten years being milked dry by the last big whopper – The Sequence.


So Bob’s going for the end of the world again to scare the bejabers out of the flock and keep them corralled in the Fellowship compound, funding his obscene, lamentable existence, poor taste in art and clothing, viagra and giant dildos.


The other big threat he’s currently trying to neutralize is non-duality, which he obviously doesn’t understand but which increasing numbers within the compound seem to. Just like when the 44 conscious beings gave way to the plethora of sorely misinterpreted beings served up morning, noon, and night by Asaf and Bob, remember the Greeks, the Egyptians etc., the Bible? Now it’s non-duality with Dorian, Spider in Chief, as teacher.


It’s a scam to give the kids what they want in hopes they don’t finally get off their lazy, apathetic, brainwashed asses and look elsewhere for something more real or at least less insane. Truth is if non-duality were to replace the current dogs dinner of a teaching with any depth, truth or sincerity, then Bob, his cronies and delusions would be in the trash can along with the matching hideous suits.


“The most significant event in the history of the school”, is apparently how the crazies in the compound with the shared delusion are responding to Bob’s proclamation. It’s possibly the biggest lie in the history, how much more “molestuall influence” can people take?



5. Mad Cult memberSeptember 26, 2016


I don’t know how to attach an image here. This is what came today by email to all students:


This photo was taken on September 5, 2016 at the dinner to celebrate entering our 50th year of meeting Influence C. Guinevere Mueller, Linda Kaplan and Jan Allen with Robert – symbolizing the Three Graces and the steward. They were all present on the first weekend we acquired the property in 1971, now called Apollo.


6. Mad Cult Member 


Again, the Absolute didn’t kiss or wash Robert’s feet. Robert kneeled to kiss his feet. Apparently the Absolute has feet! What surprises me [is] that nobody seems to have a problem with such event. We all heard about Leonardo or the oldest conscious being visiting Robert; that didn’t bother me as much as the Absolute. Mainly because it’s somehow imaginable. Even if Jesus visited him it would be ok. Absolute is different. Absolute can’t visit. Period. Was it ever recorded in the history? Any other visitation of the Absolute?


7. Mad Cult Member 


Robert said something like he was visited by the world 1 and 3, “which is the higher centers…and then we have world 12 and 6.” So, now we have to switch quickly from the idea that our higher centers are 12 and 6 to a whole new system.. I thought that worlds 1 and 3 are out of reach. Nobody wants to discuss this with me.



8. ton2u September 26, 2016


MCM @ 7 are you for real?


“…Nobody wants to discuss this with me.”


Why? Because it’s absolute nonsensical bullshit!


It seems you’re having trouble understanding “the system” so I’ll explain – the sole purpose is to manipulate suckers like you… you’re hypnotized. That’s the riddle you have to figure out before you can even think about escaping the cult.



9. Insider September 26, 2016


The entire stunt with the “Absolute” was planned a long time ago. Dorian “predicted” it at a meeting he led back in April/May. He proclaimed a “new phase” was about to begin. It would shake the FF tree and some people would fall off. But there would be no returning to the old ways. Then the “visitation” happened on Sept 2 (the 2nd time in 800 days), and all the talk (from RB) is how the “school” has changed forever. Then Dorian led another meeting, on Sept 18 and repeated many of the same things he said back in April/May. “There is no going back.” “It will be deadly to go back.” And so on. Dorian knew about the up-coming “visit by the Absolute” at least 4-5 months ago. So did Robert. It’s all a manipulative script.



10. ryanopooSeptember 26, 2016


Mad Cult Member,


Thanks for the clarification and insights, good to get the….. er, um,…..”facts” straight….!?**.


You are absolutely right about the Absolute not having feet. Doesn’t even have a pair of slippers or a teddy bear he can call his own.


Try and stick with your perceptions and understanding and buy yourself a life-person jacket. The Fellowship’s not an Ark, it’s a rubber dinghy with a puncture.


“Free your mind, your ass will follow” – Bootsy Collins



11. Insider September 26, 2016


Warning: If you are subject to extreme reactions, or overly sensitive to smells, you might want to skip to the next posting.


From a meeting Robert Burton led on 9-5-16 (3 days after the latest “visitation”):


One reason that He is visiting us is because the first angel visited us and we are at the end of the sequence of civilizations. We are the thirty-third expression of schools in different galaxies. Each civilization lasts about 800,000 years, from the prehistoric to the present. In our case, the machine age and the space age overlap. The reason that He comes here is because we are the last of the thirty-three expressions of school. That is why we have this honor.



12. ryanopooSeptember 26, 2016




Thanks for your posts,


Hopefully a lot of people will get shaken from the Nut Tree, I wish them well, they’ll be the lucky ones. Post tree shake, the Fellowship will be smaller, poorer, more secretive, insular, paranoid than before. Then the lies, rationalizations and justifications will pale in comparison to a house call from the Absolute.


Should hasten the visitation of an inevitable absolute implosion.


Twisted that Dorian uses Bob’s old ways of outright lies, strategic pre-planned manipulation and fear mongering in a speech claiming there’d be no return to the old ways. Nothing surprises any more though, “Going back would be deadly” gives a little chilling insight into the workings of Dorian’s infected mind.



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.


Dr. 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.







Phone call from Robert Burton to James Battaglia



Star Tribune | August 13, 2014


Caught In A Cult’s Dark Embrace


By Jenna Ross, Pam Louwagie and Jennifer Brooks


Victor Barnard played the shepherd, wearing linen clothes and sometimes wielding a shepherd’s crook.


The minister kept his flock close, urging members of the River Road Fellowship to move to four clusters of properties in this rural area, and discouraging the girls from traveling to town. As he grew more controlling, he warned his followers against those who might turn against him – calling them wolves in sheep’s clothing.


“That always gets to me now,” former congregant Micah Vail said. “He used that analogy over and over.  …It turned out he was the one who was playing everybody.”


Barnard, 52, is now the center of a nationwide manhunt after Pine County prosecutors charged him with using his status within the sect to coerce girls into having sex with him. Two women told investigators that Barnard raped them after they were chosen, at ages 12 and 13, to live near him as part of an honored and cloistered group of “maidens.” He faces 59 counts of first-and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.




Inside the Sex Cult of ‘Christ’
By M. L. Nestel – Mar 5, 2015


Steve Blackwell was the deputy police chief of Pine County last year before he retired. He told The Daily Beast that Victor Barnard never left the compound before the allegations and kept his followers, whom he used as “shields,” living in fear.


“The guy is a predator,” Blackwell said. “He became ordained as a minister so he could have an avenue to feed his hunger. So he could dedicate his life as a disguise and be a predator and feed the beast. He’s an animal.”



PREDATORS: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders


Who They Are, How They Operate, and How We Can Protect Ourselves and Our Children


By Anna C. Salter, Ph.D.



From Chapter 2 – Deception – pp. 25-29


    Recently I interviewed a psychopath. This is always a humbling experience because it teaches me over and over how much of human motivation and experience is outside my narrow range. Despite the psychopath’s lack of conscience and lack of empathy for others, he is inevitably better at fooling people than any other type of offender. I suppose a conscience just slows people down. A convicted child molester, this particular one made friends with a correctional officer who invited him to live in his home after he was released – invited him despite the fact that the officer had a nine-year-old daughter.


    The officer and his wife were so taken with the offender that, after the offender lived with them for a few months, they initiated adoption proceedings – adoption for a man almost their age. Of course, he was a child molester living in the same house as a child. Not surprisingly, he molested the daughter the entire time he lived there. Later, when this was disclosed and the offender was reincarcerated, the guard and his wife continued to try to visit him in prison. They wanted to understand how he could do this. They wanted to see him. They were still attached to him. Even the offender was astonished by their behavior. He told his psychologist, “I feel like saying, ‘What the fuck is wrong with you, lady, I molested your fucking daughter.'”


    The saddest part of this story is that if this offender wasn’t tired of toying with the guard and his wife, he could easily do it again. All he would have to do is cry and feign regret, and in all likelihood the guard and his wife would shortly be advocating for the inmate’s release with the parole board.


    What these experiences have taught me is that even when people are warned by a previously founded case or even a conviction, they will routinely underestimate the pathology with which they are dealing. Niceness and likability will override a track record of child molestation any day of the week.


    Likability is such a potent weapon that it protects predators for long periods of time and through almost incomprehensible numbers of victims. Mr. Saylor, an athletic director in an elementary school, operated undisturbed for almost twenty years. He tells me there is almost no limit to the number of molestations that one can get away with.


I created my first victim when I was thirteen, a female victim.  . . . Sally was six and I was thirteen, and I raped and molested Sally by forcing my hands and fingers on her vulva and in her vagina and forcing objects into her vagina. Sally is my only female victim, my one female victim. I created my first male victim when I was fifteen, and I have been victimizing male children virtually nonstop until my incarceration.


Q: How old are you now?
A. I’m thirty-three now, and I have been incarcerated for three years.


Q. How many total victims did you have?
A. I have eleven male rape victims, one female rape victim, and I have approximately 1,250 male molest victims, and I say approximately because I really don’t know.


    I am stunned by this number and fumble around for a few minutes. Finally I find my voice.


Q. How many kids were you molesting a week to have a rate like that?
A. There were times when I went a whole week, two weeks, three weeks without ever molesting anybody. And there were other times that I molested daily. Two and three times a day. On average I would say I molested five children a week over that twenty year period. 


Q. And you mean five different kids?
A. Yes.


    There were several outcries by children over the years, but it was not easy for parents to accept that a man with Mr. Saylor’s impeccable credentials and otherwise responsible behavior might be molesting children.
    One child’s family, by no means atypical, simply said to their son, “John loves you. John wouldn’t do anything to hurt you. There must be some mistake.” Mr. Saylor told me the child made no mistake at all. It took almost twenty years and well over a thousand child victims before a single allegation stuck.
    Such a long period of molesting without consequences changed Mr. Saylor.


After so many years of raping and molesting, I finally reached a point to where it was like I felt invincible. The children love me. They care about me. They’re not going to tell regardless of what I do. And my thinking was also, even if they do tell, based on past conditions which parents did not believe the children, my thinking was they’re not going to believe the child anyway, and I got very bold with my molest. . . .
    There is no . . . Let me rephrase that. There were no boundaries for me. No place was off limits. No time was off limits. And no set of circumstances was off limits. At any time that I saw an opportunity to get what I wanted, which was to rape or molest, I took advantage of it.
    There were other times that I molested and raped while at work. Or I simply manipulated the child into coming into my office, and I just simply locked the door and proceeded to do what I wanted to do, which was to rape the child.
    My nephew, I raped him for a period of nine years. Raped and molested him for a period of nine years. And very few cases did I rape him in which no one was in the house.


    I sit silent for a moment, thinking. How many mothers over the years have I heard testify that he couldn’t have molested their child? They were always present.
    Did they ever sleep? I would ask. They would always look at me incredulously. How could anyone get up in the night and molest a child without the other parent knowing? After all, they always assure me, they are very light sleepers. But I have had victims and offenders both tell me of offenders who molested children while the wife was sleeping in the same bed. That Mr. Saylor would molest a child in an office adjacent to a gym full of people does not surprise me. I have seen an interview with an offender who talked about leaving the door open and molesting a child with his wife in the next room. The possibility of getting caught just added to the thrill.
    But still, Mr. Salyor does manage to surprise me, for he has done something I have never seen before.


There were times that I raped in a car with the parents in the front seat, me in the backseat with the children. The child would feel such a bond of trust that the child would decide okay, I’d like to go to sleep, and I’d manipulate the child and lay him across the seat and molest the child with my hand on his penis. By forcing my hands on his penis while the parents were in the front seat.


    Why would a child not tell? Because, for reasons we do not clearly understand, children freeze when confronted with something they cannot make sense of. A child in the back seat with an adult’s hand on his penis is not going to know how to understand or explain that. He will think that an adult whom he loves and respects can’t be doing anything wrong. Besides, this is an adult his parents respect. He will likely wonder if his parents even know and approve. After all, they’re in the front seat. Or he’ll be embarrassed and wonder if he will be blamed.

    Regardless of the reason, the fact seems undeniable. It is only a minority of children who disclose abuse at the time.  No study I can find on this topic has ever found otherwise.
    If children can be silenced and the average person is easy to fool, many offenders report that religious people are even easier to fool than most people. One molester, who was himself a minister, said:


I considered church people easy to fool . . . they have a trust that comes from being Christians.  . . . They tend to be better folks all around. And they seem to want to believe in the good that exists in all people.  . . . I think they want to believe in people. And because of that, you can easily convince, with or without convincing words.


    In interviewing victims in the growing number of cases involving priests, I have been surprised – although I should not have been – by how deeply religious many of the victims’ families who were thrilled to have a priest take an interest in their children, who wanted their children to be altar boys, who could not believe that a priest would do anything wrong.

    The growing crisis in the Catholic Church just underlines the fact that offenders can recognize ideal settings for child molesters even if the rest of us can’t. In truth, a deeply religious and trusting group of people, plus the requirement of celibacy (an ideal cover for any man who has no sexual interest in adults), plus a hierarchy that doesn’t report complaints to the police and simply moves the offender on to new and fresh territory with new potential victims, is the ideal setting for pedophiles. Even without such extreme conditions, however, interviews with offenders had convinced me that people in general are just plain easy to fool. What makes fooling us so easy is not the worst in us, it is often the best. As one rapist said,


Because people want to believe in something. They want to hope. And they want to believe. They want to, there’s something inside of people that makes them want to believe the best in things and the best in others. Because the alternative is not very nice.


    True enough. The alternative is not very nice.



From Chapter 9 – Rose-Colored Glasses and Traumapp. 157-160


A neighbor sits in my kitchen. “I choose to believe there is good in everyone,” she tells me, “because of the unintended consequences to my life if I do not. I feel an openness to others that wouldn’t be there if I didn’t believe that there’s good in everybody.”


    I like this woman a great deal, and I worry for her. What she is saying sounds naive to me, and worse, dangerous. But this woman is neither naive nor foolish. She is, in fact, one of these people of whom the world needs more. She goes to medical school half-time so that she can be more present for her family. She is an outstanding parent, a gentle and responsible person, an altogether constructive force in the world. She does not think salvation lies in a bigger VCR or a new DVD. As a result, her children have grown up without the mall-hunger that eats into the souls of so many. Instead, they are responsible and self-assured. Each spring her family goes to Haiti so she and her husband can volunteer in the health clinics. She wants her children to see the larger world and all that must be done before everyone has a roof over his or her head.


    What do I say to this woman? Nothing I can say will change her outlook and, actually, it’s working pretty well. If her beliefs allow her to function this well, shouldn’t I be saying, as the woman did in the When Harry Met Sally restaurant scene, “I’ll have what she’s having?” I’m silent for a moment, thinking that anything I say will make me sound like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.


    Finally, I decide I respect this woman too much to be evasive. Shutting up means closing up, and I would like to expand my dialogue with her, not strangle it by not being present. And then again, it is also true she peels back the skin on cadavers and dissects the muscles. As if anything I could say would shake her.


    So I answer honestly, the backlog of interviews with rapists, child molesters, sadists, and psychopaths jangling like discordant bells in my head. “You’d be lunch,” I say, “in a prison environment. The psychopaths would see you coming. And they would very quickly figure out what you want to see and give it to you. Before you know it, they’d be talking about spiritual values and poverty around the world.” The problem is, of course – and we both know it – the types of people who exist in prison also exist outside of prison. People run into psychopaths every day, and I am thinking that sooner or later, she may also.


    “To me,” I say, “you sound like a minnow arguing there aren’t any bass in the world. You believe what you want to be true. What you’re really doing is projecting who you are out there.  But there are people out there who are very different from you.


    “Not to mention it’s a moot point,” I go on, “as to whether there is good deep down in everybody because there are some folks where you and I are never going to find it.”


    She laughs. The fading sun lays ribbons of light across the blue table top in my kitchen. Vapor rises from her tea. What I’m saying sounds surreal here, belied by the murmur of children’s voices in the play room, the sound of jazz, the smell of wood burning in the fire place. In this easy moment, the joy that is never far from the surface of her face lies open and exposed. The wariness that is never far from the surface of mine is banked. I think the world I’ve built in this small, comfortable home is a bubble that I will protect with tooth and claw. She feels the world she has created in her own loving home is a mirror of the larger world. She would reason with an intruder. I would shoot him.


    Do we live in the same world? Yes and no. What world each of us lives in has as much to do with our beliefs as it does with the facts in front of us. The facts are always swept up in theory, in our beliefs about the meaning of what we see. My neighbor and I both see assault and suffering in the world. We just don’t draw the same conclusions from it. I will argue here that one’s worldview is a complex and paradoxical issue. The most optimistic viewpoints on the world can be shown to make us healthier and happier, but also can – unchecked – make us vulnerable to predators as well. But how and where and when to scan those around us for predators as opposed to looking for the good in everyone are not easy questions to answer.


    People want to make the world have meaning, but the randomness of trauma defies meaning. Malevolence defeats it. When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a book that tries to make sense of the fact that dreadful things happen for no good reason. It was a best-seller when it was published twenty years ago, and it is still in print today. Why is this book so successful? Because it tries to make sense of something that most people find senseless and unnerving, the randomness of trauma.


    It is a curious phenomenon, this need to find meaning, even justice and purpose, in the random events that afflict humankind. After all, logic would question the notion that there is any meaning to be found. Why shouldn’t bad things happen to good people? What reason is there to think that smallpox or brain tumors select on the basis of virtue or vice?


    What the success of When Bad Things Happen and countless other books on the same topic demonstrates is that the meaning that seems most comforting to people has a distinct rose-colored look to it. I would argue – and the research would concur – that almost everyone lives with illusions that make the world less frightening. Most often, these illusions imply that diseases, hurricanes, faulty brakes, and nuclear bombs are moral entities that are sensitive to issues of justice. Alternatively some believe that such disasters are tools in the hands of a higher power, which uses them selectively and with discretion. But what kind of a higher power would use smallpox? Nobody you’d want to meet, that’s for sure.


    These illusions have their pros and cons. Once I was hiking in the Sierras and came across a giant sign at the entrance to a trail. The sign said, “The Mountains Don’t Care.” The rangers, it seemed, had had enough of hikers who ventured up to commune with Mother Nature without ice axes, warm coats, or water. Lost in the glory of the mountains, they would trust the Great Spirit to take care of them. But the Sierras obey their own gods, ones that have to do with wind and temperature and altitude. The temperature can slide like a bobsledder on a record run, and spring days that begin with sweat and suntan lotion can end with whiteouts and frostbite. Too many people have died in T-shirts, curled up in snow banks, with no idea even which way leads home. What concern is it to the mountains whether these two-legged ants live or die?


    Why do bad things happen to good people? Because the mountains don’t care. But we so badly want them to.


    The great gift of consciousness, of course, is that you don’t have to live with what’s “out there” in the “real world.” The mountains may not care, but we are free to believe they do. In the “real world” we live in – the one inside our heads – the dialogue goes on endlessly between what’s out there and what we want to be out there. All truces in this endless war are transient, all settlements subject to later interpretation. “Things as they are/Are changed upon the blue guitar,” Wallace Stevens wrote. And then he warned us, “I cannot bring a world quite round/Although I patch it as I can.”1


    Of course, he lies. Stevens brings the world round quite nicely, as all the great poets do, but then again, if it’s a question of just taking the rough edges off reality, you and I are as gifted as he. A vast body of research confirms my suspicion that my friend’s rose-colored point of view is more common than my more cynical one.2  In fact, as early as 1978, there were more than one thousand articles on what are termed “positive illusions,” the tendency of people to soften the world, ignoring and minimizing its bad aspects and overgeneralizing its good ones – and the research has only picked up speed since then. In general, people hold positive illusions about themselves, about the amount of control they have over their fates, and about the benevolence of the world. I will look at each of these in turn. As will be seen, these positive illusions have an impact on our functioning (mostly pro) and on our susceptibility to predators (mostly con). Finally, these illusions are themselves susceptible to the impact of trauma, which sometimes shatters them, leaving a bleak world in its wake.



From The Invisible War: Military Sexual Predators Revealed – award winning documentary by Kirby Dick


“This is not an issue of sexual orientation; this is an issue of power and violence. Male sexual predators have targeted whoever is there to prey upon…” 


“A great wall of silence has gone up to protect the guilty.”


“…rapists prey on other human beings and stalk them. They wait until the victim is at the most vulnerable point in time to perpetrate their crimes.”


“Most sex offenders have this hidden persona that nobody ever sees but the victim. Therefore, when they’re caught, or if somebody reports, people don’t tend to believe that [report or victim] because they don’t see the ‘typical’ sex offender.”


“Most sex offenders are hunters. Just like any hunter, they study their prey – study their movements – study their behaviors – study the environment.”


“Particularly for a savvy perpetrator, to work within a relatively closed system, like the military, it becomes a prime sort of target-rich environment for a predator.” 


“If he does it once and gets away with it, he thinks: ‘Wow, this was pretty easy. I’m gonna try it again.'”



57. brucelevyJuly 17, 2019


They’re ALL the same…thedailybeast.com/inside-tibetan-buddhisms-rape-and-abuse-scandal?ref=home



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



20. ton2u February 7, 2018




when prophecy fails:


slate.com/articles/health and science/science/2011/05/prophecy fail.html



26. Golden VeilFebruary 9, 2018


The Fine Art of Baloney Detection by Carl Sagan


Useful for anyone with an intellectual bent, whose life is steered at all by Robert Burton and his crew – rather than be self-determined.





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)



From Chapter 7 – The Demon-Haunted World – pp. 130-31


In the early 1960s, I argued that the UFO stories were crafted chiefly to satisfy religious longings. At a time when science has complicated uncritical adherence to the old-time religions, an alternative is proffered to the God hypothesis: Dressed in scientific jargon, their immense powers “explained” by superficially scientific terminology, the gods and demons of old come down from heaven to haunt us, to offer prophetic visions, and to tantalize us with visions of a more hopeful future: a space-age mystery religion aborning.


The folklorist Thomas E. Bullard wrote in 1989 that


abduction reports sound like rewrites of older supernatural encounter traditions with aliens serving the functional roles of divine beings.


He concludes:


Science may have evicted ghosts and witches from our beliefs, but it just as quickly filled the vacancy with aliens having the same functions. Only the extraterrestrial outer trappings are new. All the fear and the psychological dramas for dealing with it seem simply to have found their way home again, where it is business as usual in the legend realm where things go bump in the night.


Is it possible that people in all times and places occasionally experience vivid, realistic hallucinations, often with sexual content, about abduction by strange, telepathic, aerial creatures who ooze through walls – with the details filled in by the prevailing cultural idioms, sucked out of the Zeitgeist? Others, who have not personally had the experience, find it stirring and in a way familiar. They pass the story on. Soon it takes on a life of its own, inspires others trying to understand their own visions and hallucinations, and enters the realm of folklore, myth, and legend. The connection between the content of spontaneous temporal lobe hallucinations and the alien abduction paradigm is consistent with such a hypothesis.


Perhaps when everyone knows that gods come down to Earth, we hallucinate gods; when all of us are familiar with demons, it’s incubi and succubi; when fairies are widely accepted, we see fairies; in an age of spiritualism, we encounter spirits; and when the old myths fade and we begin thinking that extraterrestrial beings are plausible, then that’s where our hypnogogic imagery tends.


Snatches of song or foreign languages, images, events that we witnessed, stories that we overheard in childhood can be accurately recalled decades later without any conscious memory of how they got into our heads. “[I]n violent fevers, men, all ignorance, have talked in ancient tongues,” says Herman Melville in Moby-Dick; “and . . . when the mystery is probed, it turns out always that in their wholly forgotten childhood those ancient tongues had been really spoken in their hearing.” In our everyday life, we effortlessly and unconsciously incorporate cultural norms and make them our own.


A similar inhaling of motifs is present in schizophrenic “command hallucinations.” Here people feel they are being told what to do by an imposing or mythic figure. They are ordered to assassinate a political leader or a folk hero, or defeat the British invaders, or harm themselves, because it is the wish of God, or Jesus, or the Devil, or demons or angels, or – lately – aliens. The schizophrenic is transfixed by a clear and powerful command from a voice that no one else can hear, and that the subject must somehow identify. Who would issue such a command? Who could speak inside our heads? The culture in which we’ve been raised offers up an answer.


Think of the power of repetitive imagery in advertising, especially to suggestible viewers and readers. It can make us believe almost anything — even that smoking cigarettes is cool. In our time putative aliens are the subject of innumerable science fiction stories, novels, TV dramas, and films. UFOs are a regular feature of the weekly tabloids devoted to falsification and mystification. One of the highest-grossing motion pictures of all time is about aliens very like those described by abductees. Alien abduction accounts were comparatively rare until 1975, when a credulous television dramatization of the Hill case was aired; another leap into public prominence occurred after 1987, when Strieber’s purported first-hand account with a haunting cover painting of a large-eyed “alien” became a best-seller. In contrast, we hear very little lately about incubi, elves, and fairies. Where have they all gone?



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.



From Chapter 10 – The Dragon in My Garage – pp. 173-77


Magic requires tacit cooperation of the audience with the magician – an abandonment of skepticism, or what is sometimes described as the willing suspension of disbelief. It immediately follows that to penetrate the magic, to expose the trick, we must cease collaborating.


    How can further progress be made in this emotionally laden, controversial, and vexing subject? Patients might excercise caution about therapists quick to deduce or confirm alien abductions. Those treating abductees might explain to their patients that hallucinations are normal, and that childhood sexual abuse is disconcertingly common. They might bear in mind that no client can be wholly uncontaminated by the aliens in popular culture. They might take scrupulous care to not subtly lead the witness. They might teach their clients skepticism. They might recharge their own dwindling reserves of the same commodity.


    Purported alien abductions trouble many people and in more ways than one. The subject is a window into the internal lives of our fellows. If many falsely report being abducted, this is cause for worry. But much more worrisome is that so many therapists accept these reports at face value – with inadequate attention given to the suggestibility of clients and to unconscious cuing by their interlocutors.


    I’m surprised that there are psychiatrists and others with at least some scientific training, who know the imperfections of the human mind, but who dismiss the idea that these accounts might be some species of hallucination, or some kind of screen memory. I’m even more surprised by claims that the alien abduction story represents true magic, that it is a challenge to our grip on reality, or that it constitutes support for a mystical view of the world. Or, as the matter is put by John Mack, “There are phenomena important enough to warrant serious research, and the metaphysics of the dominant Western scientific paradigm may be inadequate fully to support this research.” In an interview with Time magazine, he goes on to say:


I don’t know why there’s such a zeal to find a conventional physical explanation. I don’t know why people have such trouble simply accepting the fact that something unusual is going on here . . . We’ve lost all that ability to know a world beyond the physical.*


    But we know that hallucinations arise from sensory deprivation, drugs, illness and high fever, a lack of REM sleep, changes in brain chemistry, and so on.  And even if, with Mack, we took the cases at face value, their remarkable aspects (slithering through walls and so on) are more readily attributable to something well within the realm of “the physical” – advanced alien technology – than to witchcraft.


  * And then, in a sentence that reminds us how close the alien abduction paradigm is to messianic and chiliastic religion, Mack concludes, “I am a bridge between those two worlds.”


    A friend of mine claims that the only interesting question in the alien abduction paradigm is “Who’s conning who?” Is the client deceiving the therapist, or vice versa? I disagree. For one thing, there are many other interesting questions about claims of alien abduction. For another, those two alternatives aren’t mutually exclusive:


    Something about the alien abduction cases tugged at my memory for years. Finally, I remembered. It was a 1954 book I had read in college, The Fifty-Minute Hour. The author, a psychoanalyst named Robert Lindner, had been called by the Los Alamos National Laboratory to treat a brilliant young nuclear physicist whose delusional system was beginning to interfere with his secret government research. The physicist (given the pseudonym Kirk Allen) had, it turned out, another life besides making nuclear weapons: In the far future, he confided, he piloted (or will pilot – the tenses get a little addled) interstellar spacecraft. He enjoyed rousing, swashbuckling adventures on planets of other stars. He was “lord” of many worlds. Perhaps they called him Captain Kirk. Not only could he “remember” this other life, he could also enter into it whenever he chose. By thinking in the right way, by wishing, he could transport himself across the light-years and the centuries.


In some way I could not comprehend, by merely desiring it to be so, I had crossed the immensities of space, broken out of time, and merged with – literally became – that distant and future self. . . Don’t ask me to explain. I can’t, although God knows I’ve tried.


    Lindner found him intelligent, sensitive, pleasant, polite, and perfectly able to deal with everyday human affairs. But – in reflecting on the excitement of his life among the stars – Allen had found himself a little bored with his life on Earth, even if it did involve building weapons of mass destruction. When admonished by his laboratory supervisors for distraction and dreaminess, he apologized; he would try, he assured them, to spend more time on this planet. That’s when they contacted Lindner.


    Allen had written 12,000 pages on his experiences in the future, and dozens of technical treatises on the geography, politics, architecture, astronomy, geology, life-forms, genealogy, and ecology of the planets of other stars. A flavor of the material is given by these monograph titles: “The Unique Brain Development of the Chrystopeds of Srom Norba X,” “Fire Worship and Sacrifice on Srom Sodrat II,” “The History of Intergalactic Scientific Institute,” and “The Application of Unified Field Theory and the Mechanics of the Stardrive to Space Travel.” (That last is the one I’d like to see; after all, Allen was said to have been a first-rate physicist.) Fascinated, Lindner pored over the material.


    Allen was not in the least shy about presenting his writings to Lindner or discussing them in detail. Unflappable and intellectually formidable, he seemed not to be yielding an inch to Lindner’s psychiatric ministrations. When everything else failed, the psychiatrist attempted something different:


I tried . . . to avoid giving in any way the impression that I was entering the lists with him to prove that he was psychotic, that this was to be a tug of war over the question of his sanity. Instead, because it was obvious that both his temperament and training were scientific, I set myself to capitalize on the one quality he had demonstrated throughout his life . . . the quality that urged him toward a scientific career: his curiosity. . . This meant . . . that at least for the time being I “accepted” the validity of his experiences. . . In a sudden flash of inspiration it came to me that in order to separate Kirk from his madness it was necessary for me to enter his fantasy and, from that position, to pry him loose from the psychosis.


    Lindner highlighted certain apparent contradictions in the documents and asked Allen to resolve them. This required the physicist to re-enter the future to find the answers. Dutifully, Allen would arrive at the next session with a clarifying document written in his neat hand. Lindner found himself eagerly awaiting each interview, so he could be once more captivated by the vision of abundant life and intelligence in the Galaxy. Between them, they were able to resolve many problems of consistency.


    Then a strange thing happened: “The materials of Kirk’s psychosis and the Achilles heel of my personality met and meshed like the gears of a clock.” The psychoanalyst became a co-conspirator in his patient’s delusion. He began to reject psychological explanations of Allen’s story. How sure are we that it couldn’t really be true? He found himself defending the notion that another life, that of a spacefarer in the far future, could be entered into by a simple effort of the will.


At a startlingly rapid rate . . . larger and larger areas of my mind were being taken over by the fantasy. . . With Kirk’s puzzled assistance I was taking part in cosmic adventures, sharing the exhilaration of the sweeping extravaganza he had plotted.


    But eventually, an even stranger thing happened: Concerned for the well-being of his therapist, and mustering admirable reserves of integrity and courage, Kirk Allen confessed: He had made the whole thing up. It had roots in his lonely childhood and his unsuccessful relationships with women. He had shaded, and then forgotten, the boundary between reality and imagination. Filling in plausible details and weaving a rich tapestry about other worlds was challenging and exhilarating. He was sorry he had led Lindner down this primrose path.


    “Why,” the psychiatrist asked, why did you pretend? Why did you keep on telling me. . . ?”


    “Because I felt I had to,” the physicist replied. “Because I felt you wanted me to.”


    “Kirk and I reversed roles,” Lindner explained,


and, in one of those startling denouements that make my work the unpredictable, wonderful and rewarding pursuit it is, the folly we shared collapsed. . . I employed the rationalization of clinical altruism for personal ends and thus fell into a trap that awaits all unwary therapists of the mind. . . Until Kirk Allen came into my life, I had never doubted my own stability. The aberrations of mind, so I had always thought, were for others. . . I am shamed by this smugness. But now, as I listen from my chair behind the couch, I know better. I know that my chair and the couch are separated only by a thin line. I know that it is, after all, but a happier combination of accidents that determines, finally, who shall lie on the couch, and who shall sit behind it.


    I’m not sure from this account that Kirk Allen was truly delusional. Maybe he was just suffering from some character disorder which delighted in inventing charades at the expense of others. I don’t know to what extent Lindner may have embellished or invented part of the story. While he wrote of “sharing” and of “entering” Allen’s fantasy, there is nothing to suggest that the psychiatrist imagined he himself voyaged to the far future and partook of interstellar high adventure. Likewise, John Mack and the other alien abduction therapists do not suggest that they have been abducted, only their patients.


    What if the physicist hadn’t confessed? Might Lindner have convinced himself, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it really was possible to slip into a more romantic era? Would he have said he started out as a skeptic, but was convinced by the sheer weight of the evidence? Might he have advertised himself as an expert who assists space travelers from the future who are stranded in the twentieth century? Would the existence of such a psychiatric specialty encourage others to take fantasies or delusions of this sort seriously? After a few similar cases, would Lindner have impatiently resisted all arguments of the “Be reasonable, Bob” variety, and deduced he was penetrating some new level of reality?


    His scientific training helped to save Kirk Allen from his madness. There was a moment when therapist and patient had exchanged roles. I like to think of it as the patient saving the therapist. Perhaps John Mack was not so lucky.




CARL SAGAN served as the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo spacecraft expeditions to the planets for which he received the NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and (twice) for Distinguished Public Service.

     His Emmy and Peabody Award-winning television series, Cosmos, became the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. The accompanying book, also called Cosmos, is one of the bestselling science books ever published in the English language.

     Dr. Sagan died on December 20, 1996




Carl Sagan on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson | 1977 & 1978



From The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow © 2010



               Skoll the wolf who shall scare the Moon

               Till he flies to the Wood-of-Woe:

               Hati the wolf, Hridvitnir’s kin,

               Who shall pursue the sun.


                                       – “GRIMNISMAL,” The Elder Edda



In Viking mythology, Skoll and Hati chase the sun and the moon. When the wolves catch either one, there is an eclipse. When this happens, the people on earth rush to rescue the sun or moon by making as much noise as they can in hopes of scaring off the wolves. There are similar myths in other cultures. But after a time people must have noticed that the sun and moon soon emerged from the eclipse regardless of whether they ran around screaming and banging on things. After a time they must also have noticed that the eclipses didn’t just happen at random: They occurred in regular patterns that repeated themselves. These patterns were most obvious for eclipses of the moon and enabled the ancient Babylonians to predict lunar eclipses fairly accurately even though they didn’t realize that they were caused by the earth blocking the light of the sun. Eclipses of the sun were more difficult to predict because they are visible only in a corridor on the earth about 30 miles wide. Still, once grasped, the patterns made it clear the eclipses were not dependent on the arbitrary whims of supernatural beings, but rather governed by laws.


    Despite some early success predicting the motion of celestial bodies, most events in nature appeared to our ancestors to be impossible to predict. Volcanoes, earthquakes, storms, pestilences, and ingrown toenails all seemed to occur without obvious cause or pattern. In ancient times it was natural to ascribe the violent acts of nature to a pantheon of mischievous or malevolent deities. Calamities were often taken as a sign that we had somehow offended the gods. For example, in about 5600 BC the Mount Mazama volcano in Oregon erupted, raining rock and burning ash for years, and leading to the many years of rainfall that eventually filled the volcanic crater today called Crater Lake. The Klamath Indians of Oregon have a legend that faithfully matches every geologic detail of the event but adds a bit of drama by portraying a human as the cause of the catastrophe. The human capacity for guilt is such that people can always find ways to blame themselves. As the legend goes Llao, the chief of the Below World, falls in love with the beautiful human daughter of a Klamath chief. She spurns him, and in revenge Llao tries to destroy the Klamath with fire. Luckily, according to the legend, Skell, the chief of the Above World, pities the humans and does battle with his underworld counterpart. Eventually Llao, injured, falls back inside Mount Mazama, leaving a huge hole, the crater that eventually filled with water.


    Ignorance of nature’s ways led people in ancient times to invent gods to lord it over every aspect of human life. There were gods of love and war; of the sun, earth, and sky; of the oceans and rivers; of rain and thunderstorms; even of earthquakes and volcanoes. When the gods were pleased, mankind was treated to good weather, peace, and freedom from natural disaster and disease. When they were displeased, there came drought, war, pestilence and epidemics. Since the connection of cause and effect in nature was invisible to their eyes, these gods appeared inscrutable, and people at their mercy.  (pp. 15-17)



    The Chinese tell of a time during the Hsia dynasty (ca. 2205 – ca. 1782 BC) when our cosmic environment suddenly changed. Ten suns appeared in the sky. The people on earth suffered greatly from the heat, so the emperor ordered a famous archer to shoot down the extra suns. The archer was rewarded with a pill that had the power to make him immortal, but his wife stole it. For that offense she was banished to the moon.  (p. 149)



. . . Our universe and its laws appear to have a design that both is tailor-made to support us and, if we are to exist, leaves little room for alteration. That is not easily explained, and raises the natural question of why it is that way.
    Many people would like us to use these coincidences as evidence of the work of God. The idea that the universe was designed to accommodate mankind appears in theologies and mythologies dating from thousands of years ago right up to the present. In the Mayan Popol Vuh mythohistorical narratives the gods proclaim, “We shall receive neither glory nor honor from all that we have created and formed until human beings exist, endowed with sentience.” A typical Egyptian text dated 2000 BC states, “Men, the cattle of God, have been well provided for. He [the sun god] made the sky and earth for their benefit.” In China the Taoist philosopher Lieh Yu-K’ou (c. 400 BC) expressed the idea through a character in a tale who says, “Heaven makes the five kinds of grain to grow, and brings forth the finny and the feathered tribes, especially for our benefit.”


    In Western culture the Old Testament contains the idea of providential design in its story of creation, but the traditional Christian viewpoint was also greatly influenced by Aristotle, who believed “in an intelligent natural world that functions according to some deliberate design.” The medieval Christian theologian Thomas Aquinas employed Aristotle’s ideas about the order in nature to argue for the existence of God. In the eighteenth century another Christian theologian went so far as to say that rabbits have white tails in order that it be easy for us to shoot them. A more modern illustration of the Christian view was given a few years ago when Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna, wrote, “Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, faced with scientific claims like neo-Darwinism and the multiverse [many universes] hypothesis in cosmology invented to avoid the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design found in modern science, the Catholic Church will again defend human nature by proclaiming that the immanent design in nature is real.” In cosmology the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design to which the cardinal was referring is the fine-tuning of physical law we described above.


The turning point in the scientific rejection of a human-centered universe was the Copernican model of the solar system, in which the earth no longer held a central position. Ironically, Copernicus’s own worldview was anthropomorphic, even to the extent that he comforts us by pointing out that, despite his helio-centric model, the earth is almost at the universe’s center: “Although [the earth] is not at the center of the world, nevertheless the distance [to the center] is as nothing in particular when compared to that of the fixed stars.” With the invention of the telescope, observations in the seventeenth century, such as the fact that ours is not the only planet orbited by a moon, lent weight to the principle that we hold no privileged position in the universe. In the ensuing centuries the more we discovered about the universe, the more it seemed ours was probably just a garden-variety planet. But the discovery relatively recently of the extreme fine-tuning of so many of the laws of nature could lead at least some of us back to the old idea that this grand design is the work of some grand designer. In the United States, because the Constitution prohibits the teaching of religion in schools, that type of idea is called intelligent design, with the unstated but implied understanding that the designer is God. 


That is not the answer of modern science.  (pp. 162-64)



Feb 18, 2011


Richard Feynman on Scientific Method



Aaron Scher
May 19, 2008


Feynman: Take the world from another point of view Part 1/4



skeptic.com/reading room


The Inevitability of Intelligent Life?


By Nathan H. Lents


Thus far, 2018 has been a terrific year for popular science books and two stand out in particular for confronting head-on some of the biggest and most difficult questions scientists confront. In his new masterpiece, The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution, biophysicist Charles S. Cockell wades with admirable fortitude into the waters of how the laws of physics and mathematics place constraints—and find solutions—to the great challenges of survival.



Apr 15, 2008


Michael Shermer: Why people believe weird things



Junior Skeptic



The Great Cardif Giant


By Daniel Loxton



Mar 27, 2008


Secrets of The Psychics Part 1/6



The Atlantic – Sept 2018 Issue


The Cognitive Biases Tricking Your Brain


By Ben Yagoda



A General Theory of Love © 2000


By Drs. Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon


















Oct 16, 2013


Daniel Amen: The most important lesson from 83,000 brain scans



Insight SBS
Jun 3, 2014


What Makes a Psychopath?


Jim Fallon is a US-based neuroscientist. In a weird coincidence at work several years ago, Jim says he accidentally discovered that his own brain scans showed identical activity to that of a psychopath. This week, Jim faces questions from world experts to discuss his self-diagnosis and to broadly discuss empathy (or lack of it).



Real Stories
Apr 14, 2017


The Dangerous Few  (Psychopath Documentary)


Could the most effective method of crime prevention be a brain scan? This suggestion, the result of recent ground-breaking research, is investigated in the two films that comprise A Mind To Crime. The Dangerous Few examines the surprising claim from the USA that it is possible to identify children as young as four year’s old as potential criminals.


Sept 27, 2017


In The Shadow of Feeling



POCKET WORTHYStories to fuel your mind.


Yes, You Can Catch Insanity


A controversial disease revives the debate about the immune system and mental illness.


By Andrew Curry | July 26, 2018



Religion and schizophrenia  Wikipedia


List of people claimed to be Jesus


The Three Christs of Ypsilanti (1964) is a book-length psychiatric case study by Milton Rokeach, concerning his experiment on a group of three patients with paranoid schizophrenia at Ypsilanti State Hospital[1] in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The book details the interactions of the three patients, Clyde Benson, Joseph Cassel, and Leon Gabor, who each believed himself to be Jesus Christ.



Reaction formation


Dissociative disorders Medscape


OCD Psychotherapy Networker


Cognitive dissonance.SimplyPsychology


Dunning-Kruger Effect/SyndromeRationalWiki



81. Nancy GilbertJuly 21, 2019




This article summarizes research on the phenomena of group-feel and group-think, which are shown to be part and parcel of human and other animals’ inherent neurological wiring. Very interesting in view of how friends, cults and other groups affect and convert our thoughts, feelings, POV, etc. A bit like the discovery that trees and other plants in an ecosystem are all interconnected by complex pathways with mycorrhizae in the soil.



95. WhaleRiderJuly 22, 2019


Nancy Gilbert:
Thanks for the link. Here’s another aspect of FOF group-think that can cause a follower to remain a loyal follower, waste years of their lives serving burton’s narcissism and continue to recruit others to join the cult despite burton’s history of collateral damage and failed predictions: the Dunning-Kruger effect.


“In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, people cannot objectively evaluate their competence or incompetence.


People perceive confident individuals as competent and, as a result, promote individuals with higher self-confidence.” ~Wikipedia


“We argue that when people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. Instead…they are left with the mistaken impression that they are doing just fine.”




Direct lineage to Gurdjieff is neither a measure of intelligence nor competence.


Narcissistic, overconfident individuals who claim to be more “conscious” than others continue promoting the delusional ideas of the fourth way due to their own incompetence in the field of psychology and to compensate for their own lack of self-awareness, IMO.



Book review:


Jan 27, 2019


INFLUENCE: The Psychology of Persuasion 


In 1984 Dr. Robert Cialdini published this ground-breaking book, which has been in print ever since (and revised four times). What makes it so relevant today is that many of the lessons he gives (having first extracted them from such unlikely places as con-men investigators of the bunco squad, door-to-door encyclopaedia salesmen, and pollsters) are still only known to professionals in the influence game – for example, marketeers – and not the people who should really know, namely, the public at large.


Is it using you, or are you using it? Never have these words been better applied than in the field of influence, or as Cialdini shows, covert influence. Often people are influenced without being aware of the fact. This is less about things such as subliminal advertising, than the result of careful manipulation using six key triggers uncovered in ‘influence situations’. These six, or combinations of them, in the right setting can operate upon you unconsciously. In one experiment, voters were asked to put a large and unsightly billboard up in their garden advertising a political cause. Not surprisingly most people said no. But, in a similar sample, when people had already agreed the week before to putting up a poster in the window, more of them said yes. But most interestingly, almost the same percentage agreed even if they had simply signed a petition a few weeks before – an act that many could not even remember doing. So, we can do things that later cause us to be influenced and yet we have no awareness of the process.


This particular influence trigger is termed by Cialdini commitment and consistency. We act to remove cognitive dissonance – contradiction between beliefs – in our lives. If someone uses this to advance their own agenda, as in the billboard case, we may not notice. The influence avalanche starts with small nudges that refine and expose us as a certain kind of person. For example, if someone considers themselves a good chef, they will be acting consistently if they then buy a top chef’s knife. False questionnaires are just such a consistency trap. You answer the questions, but the answers are worth far less to the company (often the questionnaires are thrown away) than the new perception they have engineered in you – which is one of ‘caring’ about that company – and, of course, favouring their products . . .





Energetics Institute


Narcissism as Prophecy


By Richard Boyd





The topic of Narcissism is gaining wide circulation in society. Examples of narcissistic excess in our societal leaders, sports stars and society figures is increasing if the number of media reports is anything to go by. Any number of authors, commentators and books are now observing, recording and documenting the destructive advent of narcissistic lifestyles and narcissism in men and women today.


Narcissism essentially involves the affected person creating a false self which is rooted in superficial, materialistic images, and which has a distorted and unearned sense of entitlement and grandiosity. Life is all about the Narcissist, and while they learn to “feign” or act emotions, they are essentially cut off from their own authentic feelings, and so are unable or unwilling to moderate their selfish behaviours. . . They seek to dominate and control others as a primary way of navigating life.


The narcissistic trend in society is certainly not a healthy one and if it continues as the evolutionary path of man then I am pessimistic for the state of our future. Whilst history has always had its share of narcissistic leaders and individuals, never before have we confronted this emotional plague on such a scale within a global reach society. Narcissism appears to now be jumping natural cultural “firewalls” where the old societal values once precluded narcissistic traits becoming normalised and established en masse as healthy or an esteemed value of some sort within itself.


Some writers such as Wilhelm Reich (1976) and Christopher Lasch (1984) see such forces as Fascism and Nazism as being at least one historical root of a culture of rigid perfectionistic superiority that partly defines the Narcissistic view of life. Other writers such as Andrew Harvey (2009) and Scott Peck (1984) see the advent of the New Age spiritual movement as being a Narcissistic philosophy masked in self-absorbed spiritualism.


Mankind has always historically dabbled in prophecy. Every culture has had its prophets and its tools of prophecy, whether they were based on the reading of the entrails of slaughtered animals, seers who read astrological charts and astronomical signs from the heavens, fortune tellers who read lines in hands, tea leaves, and significant birth numbers, etc.


Some of these prophets relied on divine or supernatural forces by which they channelled the future. Nostradamus for instance used a tripod which held a container in which was filled with some liquid. He gazed intently until images appeared and he wrote down cryptic quatrains or verses of 4 sentences to describe the event he had seen. Still others such as Buddhist Tulkus were channellers who allowed spirits to enter their bodies and warn of events or make prophecy.


The biblical times were full of prophets, spiritualists, and all sorts of diviners and seekers of hidden knowledge and future events . . .



The Prophecies of Joseph Smith, by James Walker – 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 – 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, Jr.





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 particularly 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 too 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 better 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 . . .



Published on July 14, 2011


FLDS: Inside the Secret Sect


Interview with Arnold Richter – Part 1 of 3



Atheists of Utah

Apr 23, 2014


Personal story by Chris Jeffs, former member of the FLDS


This video was created as part of Atheists of Utah’s Freedom from Religion Project, which is a series of individual stories from people leaving religion as part of their journey to a better life.



July 7, 2015


PROPHET’S PREY – Sizzle reel


True Crime | D Amy Berg | USA, 2015


“A skin-crawling chronicle of one of America’s biggest criminals and the community that allowed him to flourish.” – The Playlist



100. ton2u May 2, 2019


If you watch the full documentary you’ll recognize the mentalities at play throughout the narrative – the process of programming, indoctrination, brainwashing, the role of belief… etc.


People being people, seem to need something / someone to believe in. One might argue that without the fallacies involved in faith – the need to believe – the world would be a better place… maybe less ‘human’ but maybe more humane.


Prophet’s Prey | Official Trailer | SHOWTIME Documentary



Judy Fuwell
May 8, 2016


If this is Heaven, Then Give Me Hell


One woman’s story of bravery and determination to keep her family together after leaving the FLDS religion, the only way of life she had ever known.



Sacred Groves

Dec 2, 2016


Lifting the Veil of Polygamy


A revised and updated version of the 2007 documentary



  In God’s Name


Religious cult leader has previously been charged with sexual abuse, is again leading the flock. Part 1 of 2.





In the past 20 years, a disturbing number of Southern Baptists with formal church roles have engaged in sexual misconduct, a new investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News reveals. They were pastors. Deacons. Youth pastors. They left behind more than 700 victims. Read and hear the stories of those victims, and learn the depths of the crimes and misconduct of the church leaders they trusted.



Oakland Tribune

Sunday, June 17, 2012


By Tracey Kaplan






As an adult: “I’ve always wanted the opportunity to bring the truth into the light,” says Lynch, now 44.



The Atlantic

A Secret Database of Child Abuse


By Douglas Quenqua | Mar 22, 2019


In recent decades, much of the world’s attention to allegations of abuse has focused on the Catholic Church and other religious groups. Less notice has been paid to the abuse among the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian sect with more than 8.5 million members. Yet all this time, Watchtower has refused to comply with multiple court orders to release the information contained in its database and has paid millions of dollars over the years to keep it secret, even from the survivors whose stories are contained within.



BBC 2013 Documentary


How To Get To Heaven With The Hutterites



The New Yorker




How not to negotiate with believers.


By Malcolm Gladwell | March 24, 2014


When Clive Doyle was a teen-ager, in the nineteen-fifties, he and his mother met an itinerant preacher outside their church, in Melbourne, Australia. He was a big, gruff Scotsman named Daniel Smith. The Doyles were devout Seventh-Day Adventists. But Smith was the follower of a self-proclaimed prophet named Victor Houteff, who became an Adventist just after the First World War and parted ways with the Church a decade later. The Doyles listened to Smith’s account of the Houteff teachings until the small hours of the morning and were impressed. “We were taught that if someone comes with a message based on the Bible, instead of trying to fight it, instead of trying to put it down or trying to prove it wrong, we should study the Bible to perceive whether the message is true,” Doyle writes in his autobiography. “Study to see if it’s so.”



6 Lesser-Known Cults

That Will Give You More Nightmares

Than American Horror Story


By Beth Elderkin – Nov 11, 2017





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



26. Golden Veil May 6, 2019


What could these charismatic amoral people with savior complexes and a penchant for apocalyptic predictions – who attract cult followers – all share? I think their particular beliefs and abilities could be an expression of brain malfunction or brain damage. And a brain function issue would mean that rather than pulling an overtly criminal con job on their followers, leaders like David Koresh, Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, Bagwhan Shree Rajneesh and Robert Burton are mentally ill. Mentally ill in a way that manifests peculiarly in a cult leader role. As some here have expressed, Robert Burton may be delusional but sincere.


Here, a new article written by a former cult member of the long-time Lyman Family. Still in existence and self-sustaining through their Los Angeles-based construction business, the cult has already been written about extensively. But Guinevere Turner reveals its dark underbelly like no one has before. She is also an actress and filmmaker with a new film opening Friday, “Charlie Says,” about the Manson girls who were convicted of murder. See that trailer.





L.A. Times | NOVEMBER 4, 1996


Trouble Taints A Cerebral Sanctuary





A Yuba Sutter girl exploring the strange and macabre history of the area and beyond…


Posted by Anna Hill on January 7, 2019


California Cults – Yuba County’s “Fellowship of Friends”


Oregon House


When we think of cults, we think of Jonestown, Waco, drinking cyanide-laced kool-aid, or waiting for the Hale-Bopp comet.


What we don’t think of, is the fact that these types of organizations happening in a place not far from us. They’re living amongst us, in our own county . . .



17. lauralupa July 27, 2008

Pavel 8
Dear Sheik,
I went to Animam Recro to see what the Monochromatic Knight was up to, and found this video on Scientology’s recruiting and mind control techniques which may be of interest to former and present members of our much less successful little cult. What vulnerable beings we humans are!


From reports by recent departees, it’s quite evident that Robert has been upgrading his own brainwashing toolkit in many ways, from the introduction of the sequence to the new very rigid form of meetings and dinners, and all the new limitations on bodily expression.


All this is designed to turn flexible, autonomous, lively human beings into highly controllable, unfeeling, reliable and dependent automatons that may be financially milked, sexually exploited, and if needed discarded with ease. I would define this as a subtle form of crime against humanity, surely not as blatant as torture and genocide, but nevertheless…


“The Rome Statute Explanatory Memorandum states that crimes against humanity “are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of one or more human beings. They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority.”



23. elena July 27, 2008 (excerpt)


Thanks for your post Laura.


It is a subtle form of crime but a crime nevertheless. Definitely not as blatant as torture and genocide but a more psycho-spiritual kind of crime in which physical force is not even necessary. So glad you’re seeing. The amazing aspect of it all is in finally understanding the power of the community over the individual. In our case, the Cult overrode our principles using our principles. Even more interesting it overrode our connections with the “human” convincing us that they were not worthy of the divine and with it brought us down to an infra-human condition, which is where we find the crime against humanity an accurate appreciation.


All of Mr. Haven’s writings are about this separation from the human which he labeled the machine and made a machine of it, totally deforming and misinterpreting the System. It is all upside down and backwards to consciousness. In a conscious process it would have connected the divine to the human and dignified life. Instead of separating from it we would have found meaning and purpose in it, which we can continue to do where ever we are. In a conscious life the physical is spiritualized and the spiritual materialized practically. It is very easy to observe this in the amount of care, tenderness, love any one person can invoke from within himself or herself while dealing with the rest of the world. Tenderness or care with children is an expression of spirituality manifesting in the physical world, whether an individual is conscious of it or not. Respect amongst adults is an aspect of love.


In our time, respect is subject to class, nationality or race and other separating instinctive conditions within groups of people who are still identified with belonging to a group rather than to the human community. Care for things and the physical world at large is another form of spiritualization of the physical. We are doing so much damage to Nature because we are so disconnected from everything including our own bodies.


It is not surprising that the things missing in the Fellowship of Friends are precisely: love, tenderness, respect, dignity, pride, joy, compassion, care, communication, humility or any other positive emotion because nothing spiritual has been materializing in that Cult for over twenty five years at least. On the contrary, coldness, despitefulness, deception, betrayal, abandonment, abuse of power, privileges and all forms of negative emotions creeping out of uncontrolled greed are what manifest so blatantly in each of its members no matter how silky they think they look. Just the clothing reveals their greed. I was there, just as identified as the rest with it all, and fortunately it made me sick. How much longer are you going to take to realize how sick you all are?


The phenomenon within the Fellowship in which a uniform of refined clothing separates people from the rest of the world and the Fellowship from the rest of nature as much as Fellowship members from each other and their friends, families and other human beings is the buffer that is covering the suffering that these people are enduring. It is both a buffer and a reproductive mechanism of the same process just as excessive eating is a buffer to experiencing the world more vividly. They are desperately trying to look perfect and be perfect to cover the inability they have to deal with the world on its own terms and although this is simply an illusion, an imagination, the longer they are inside, the weaker they become and the illusion becomes their reality. This does not mean that they cannot hold jobs and behave as regular people behave; it means that although they may live their lives like other people in regular society, they no longer do it for their own well-being but against it, like a cancer, it just reverses the process. As they say, the Fellowship is indeed not a Community. It is a Cult. The argument that it is a School and member’s behavior is expected to be like those in any School, does not work when confronted with the fact that in any regular school if the Teacher went after such a huge number of students sexually, he would be put in jail. Why do the analogies work in some areas for the members but not in so many others? Those others finally represent the great buffer in which they claim that they “ARE NOT WILLING TO GO THERE”?


The vineyard is dying because it has no life in it.


Here is another aspect of that same thing that you posted Laura. Those inside have come to think that because it is dressed in silk and gold it is legal and legitimate but it is equally corrupt. Maybe they’ll get a few years less in jail for dressing the boys in expensive underwear but I doubt it’ll take a substantial amount of time off a serious sentence. Also I doubt the inner circle people can say they were obeying orders in a state of war. They’ll just have to admit they got as corrupt and greedy as Mr. Burton himself.


This is from Interpol.


Trafficking in human beings
INTERPOL aims to end the abuse and exploitation of human beings for financial gain. Women from developing countries and young children all over the world are especially vulnerable to trafficking, smuggling or sexual exploitation.


Trafficking in women for sexual exploitation is a multi-billion-dollar business which involves citizens of most countries and helps sustain organized crime. A violation of human rights, it destroys the lives of its victims.


Human trafficking is distinct from people smuggling in that it involves the exploitation of the migrant, often for purposes of forced labor and prostitution.


People smuggling implies the procurement, for financial or material gain, of the illegal entry into a state of which that person is neither a citizen nor a permanent resident. Criminal networks which smuggle and traffic in human beings for financial gain increasingly control the flow of migrants across borders.


Child sexual exploitation on the Internet ranges from posed photos to visual recordings of brutal sexual crimes. One of INTERPOL’s main tools for helping police fight this type of crime is the INTERPOL Child Abuse Image Database (ICAID).


Created in 2001, it contains hundreds of thousands of images of child sexual abuse submitted by member countries, thereby facilitating the sharing of images and information to assist law enforcement agencies with the identification of new victims.



24. elenaJuly 28, 2008


Went picketing with Ames who wore tuxedo with bow and the nice waist apparel! He looked gorgeous and the effect was obviously beyond the expectations. Bravo Ames! Thank you for coming!


Lots of cars and people.


A friend mentioned that many people came to journey forth on the fence and were sucked in by the place again because prices and demands had been lowered. Truly amazing and quite scary but it is a wonderful thing to know that at least people are not being killed, well, at least physically. I guess the fact that the only thing that counts about them being their money or their body, is perceived as if they were being truly valued…. but when people don’t value themselves more than that, what could we expect? We too were there blindly valuing Robert and the Fellowship as if we owed it our lives…. only because it had stripped us of our lives and we were so naked. “More silk please, more silk, so that we can cover our shame!”


It really is an amazing phenomenon, is it not dears?



38. Ames Gilbert July 29, 2008

Here is a great PBS (Public Broadcasting Service in the U.S.A.) interview in 2004 with a person who has been in advertising for his entire adult career. He talks about the similarities between brands and cults, the good and the bad, and how marketers use this knowledge of human psychology. There is a brief mention of the Fellowship of Friends and Robert Earl Burton as an example.





47. Associated PressJuly 29, 2008


Private inurement.


According to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service:


‘Churches and religious organizations, like all exempt organizations under IRC [Internal Revenue Code] section 501(c)(3), are prohibited from engaging in activities that result in inurement of the church’s or organization’s income or assets to insiders (i.e., persons having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization). Insiders could include the minister, church board members, officers, and in certain circumstances, employees. Examples of prohibited inurement include the payment of dividends, the payment of unreasonable compensation to insiders, and transferring property to insiders for less than fair market value. The prohibition against inurement to insiders is absolute; therefore, any amount of inurement is, potentially, grounds for loss of tax-exempt status.’


‘An IRC section 501(c)(3) organization’s activities must be directed exclusively toward charitable, educational, religious, or other exempt purposes. Such an organization’s activities may not serve the private interests of any individual or organization. Rather, beneficiaries of an organization’s activities must be recognized objects of charity (such as the poor or the distressed) or the community at large (for example, through the conduct of religious services or the promotion of religion). Private benefit is different from inurement to insiders. Private benefit may occur even if the persons benefited are not insiders. Also, private benefit must be substantial in order to jeopardize tax-exempt status.’


You know all those palm trees and olive trees and other agricultural or material assets (furnishings, cars, clothing, jewelry, art, antiques, services, etc., etc., etc.) that may have appeared outside of the Fellowship of Friends property, possibly on private property, as example, or in private possession, may fall under ‘private inurement’ or ‘private benefit.’ If they are gifts from FoF, or ‘fair market value’ is not paid for them, or distribution of these assets are disproportionate to special parties, or do not serve the above 501(c)(3) organization exempt purposes, they could be, ‘potentially, grounds for loss of tax-exempt status.’


But, perhaps, those disenfranchised boys (in the private entourage (read: harem/sex slaves)) from the gutters of the underdeveloped world ‘must be recognized objects of charity.’


‘There must be feeling amongst the membership that the people who run the cult feel as committed to them as they are committed to the cult. If there’s any inequality in that sense of responsibility, the cult will break apart, often violently. For example, in one cult I investigated called the Fellowship of Friends in California, a classic cult based on the teachings of [Peter] Ouspensky, people gave up their whole lives and lived in a commune to follow [Robert Earl] Burton. Burton was then accused of molesting some of his followers and embezzling money. The moment that was discovered, that lack of trust was revealed, that lack of commitment was exposed, the cult began to disintegrate.’ Interview Douglas Atkin, Feb. 2, 2004, posted Nov. 9, 2004, on pbs.org Frontline pages. (Link appeared above.)


– – – – – –


‘Sooner or later, the collective will come into conflict with other collectives, because it unconsciously seeks conflict and it needs opposition to define its boundary and thus its identity. Its members will then experience the suffering that inevitably comes in the wake of any ego-motivated action. At that point, they may wake up and realize that their collective has a strong element of insanity.’ (Eckhardt Tolle) One reason FoF could not sustain its position, legally, against the picketing. [Makes you wonder who has the feature of lunatic, doesn’t it?]



48. Rear View Mirror July 29, 2008


Across the River 46: “It seems cult branding occurs in politics, too.”


Yes, it does. If Obama is actually elected, which is still very iffy at this point even though he’s leading in most polls, then the comparison might be more interesting. Right now, the current administration is a far better comparison in my opinion.


The control of the information being released to the media — and by the media — is the most pertinent comparison to what happens in a cult. For example, today there are several open criticisms of America’s decision to invade Iraq 5 years ago. However, at the time, there was a widespread acceptance of going to war, and anyone who offered dissent was labeled as unpatriotic, and so on, so very few people in the media offered dissent.


Of course, anyone within the FOF who questions Burton’s motives obviously “lacks valuation” and is probably “losing the school” and is “not working hard enough on themselves,” and so on. It’s the party line.


In some posts here on the blog, I sense an unquestioned premise that people within the FOF “just wouldn’t hear it” if information were presented to them. I disagree. The information is very cleverly obstructed or distorted or downplayed. And I personally believe that a majority of the people in the FOF still haven’t tuned into the blog for more than a few minutes. Were someone within the FOF to step forward and talk to people at length about what is happening, and present things in very formal way — i.e., hold several meetings in very public locations with many “students” around — it would have a profound effect on the opinions and attitudes of those in the FOF. Of course, that person would be “removed.” And they’d be removed from the FOF precisely because they’d have a profound effect on the opinions and attitudes of those in the FOF.


If you’re going to start a cult, the first thing you do is control the information.



53. lauralupaJuly 29, 2008


Many thanks for the article, Ames. That info, in addition to the Scientology video and a documentary I saw last night about the GDR doping program, stimulated a series of ruminations about the pervasiveness and mechanisms of the cultish mentality that I hope to delve into in future postings.


I wanted to start with a few considerations on the recent “teachings” of Robert and company. I do agree with what has been said here about the craziness of recent FoF interpretations of every possible artifact in history as symbolic of the “Sequence”. Still, there seems to be a method to this madness.


Possibly because he has always been somewhat aware of his lacking credentials, experience and knowledge as a fourth way teacher, since the beginning Robert has linked the uniqueness of the FoF brand to the very elusive and alluring idea of having a special connection to “C influence”. He probably realized very early on that most people were willing to close a critical eye to the incompleteness and dubious effectivity of his practical teachings once they were hooked onto the hope that they were actually personally working with “the gods”. To bring this idea more down to earth he gave us a list of beings that were working with us, and possibly the fact that he was so specific about it was taken as proof by many followers that he was indeed part of some grand celestial scheme. Not every guru has the nerve to enroll on his team Marcus Aurelius, Bach, Leonardo da Vinci, Abraham Lincoln, Jesus and Shakespeare. Never mind that they are dead, they are the cream of the crop. On the basis of his presupposed special connection to these and other angels, he went on to elevate himself higher and higher, and with the help of his blind followers developed the personality cult that we are all familiar with. 


But what the FoF lacked for many years was a unique, easily marketable awakening tool, like the special mantras of Hare Krishnas, TM and Soka Gakkai, the psychological techniques of Scientology or the physical exercises of Tensegrity and Falun Gong. Since Robert is not the creative type, he enlisted the help of his mini-me Asaf to come up with something, and out came the somewhat obscure and obtuse “Sequence”. Since then, at least from what I have gathered on these pages, what passes for teaching inside the Fellowship is basically a constant, repetitive, shameless marketing of this one product sold as a solution to all evils of the mind and the Best Ever Gods-Approved Divine Tool to reach Paradise, Divine Presence, Enlightenment, Eternity and Whatnot. The marketing strategy is centered around two core themes:


– the uniqueness of the sequence
– the universal value of the sequence


IMO it’s quite a feat to be able to pull together these two very different marketing ideas. Usually, people are drawn to something either because everyone else is using it (the drink for a new generation) or because only a select few are (custom made especially for you). The great ploy was to find traces of the Sequence in every time and every place, conveniently validating its essential importance and universality, but NEVER IN THE PRESENT. Cave painters knew it, minor Renaissance artists knew it, humble Greek potters knew it, but lo and behold, nowadays only Robert Burton and his select circle of friends hold the keys to the all-powerful Sequence. Marvellous, isn’t it?


Of course, with a very tiny effort of the god-given faculty of critical thought one could say, hey wait a minute, didn’t you just come up with this shit? How come it keeps popping up in the past if it hadn’t yet been invented?


But as we well know faith moves mountains and immobilizes intelligence…


BTW, isn’t the following something that could be said just as appropriately about the Fellowship cult?


‘Scientology promotes selfish attitudes and appeals heavily to the innate ego. As human beings we are naturally self absorbed and our basic instincts are centralized around survival. The Church of Scientology takes advantage of this ancient characteristic to lure potential followers. The official website of Scientology portrays a heightened image of man; that “his capabilities are unlimited and those capabilities can be realized.” This is a deliberate device to convince people that they are somehow destined for a higher plain of enlightenment, and that this religion is their ultimate path. The website proceeds to boast an extensive knowledge of our “unlimited” capabilities, as not only is one “able to solve his own problems, accomplish his goals and gain lasting happiness,” but we can “achieve new, higher states of awareness and ability.” Scientologists seek power over their “capabilities” so that they can gain control over matter, energy, space, time, thoughts, form, and life. This extensive list of incentives is merely jargon that creates a heightened sense of oneself. It conveys the view that Scientologists are in contact with untapped powers only available because of their faith; that they posses new ethereal abilities exclusive to their religion.


Scientology is an organization with the pervasive purpose to proliferate capital and avenues for its hastened acquisition. This is implicated by various well obtained feats. The single greatest achievement for the Church of Scientology was the acquisition of tax exempt status in 1993. After a strenuous legal battle, in which all energy was funneled towards wealth rather than Scientollogical wisdom, the “church” emerged as victors. All funds are exclusively their own and can thus proliferate neglect of unwanted influences. This is a trait of many well established religions; however others do not arouse such suspicion simply because they prospered before tax exempt status was implicated, whereas Scientology only came to concrete fruition once its financial bases were covered. The profile for the Church of Scientology can thus be attributed to being more like an opportunistic enterprise rather than a guild for self enlightenment.


The perfection of this corporation is its ability to veil its true purposes. The invention of a pseudo-religious group provides the perfect guise for the proliferation of funds and simultaneously contributes to the cause directly. This is hidden securely by the development of Scientology the religion. The ingrained appeals to our ego that are interwoven into essential ideals, remove the focus from the implications of their actions. The official website of the Church of Scientology states that, “other efforts of man have been surpassed’, that the “combined truths of fifty thousand years of thinking men…have made for this success.” This statement is a device to contextualize the significance of Scientology and thus amplify its importance to the individual. The site also portrays “The Aims of Scientology” from Hubbard himself. It states that Scientologists desire, “a civilization…where man is free to reach greater heights,” and to “seek evolution to higher states of being for the individual and for society.” This is a terrible irony, as they pretend to encourage a connection with surreal phenomenon, such as eternal spirits, and yet they secretly seek gain in the most material way available to man.


Scientology is a pseudo-religious organization that has an astute understanding of the flaws and futilities of human nature. Its principles are masterfully woven to entrap the individual’s innate emotions and desires, such as a justification for their inadequacies or a reason for their inability to reach the ever-elusive full potential. Its ideals are sewn with the seed of irony, and the bizarre revelations that envelop its historic truths mock the trust followers express. Its hypocrisy and nature of moral degradation also diminish social perception of all religions, especially those that are innocent of repugnant motives. Thus it is a maligned presence in our society; the rotting fruit at the core of our collective desire for progression. Scientology should not be accepted, nor tolerated, if we wish to pursue positive development.’





The Secret World of Scientology by Lana Adler – Dec 23, 2014


Updated on February 1, 2019


The term Scientology is taken from the Latin word “scio” (meaning: full knowledge, complete knowing) and the Greek word “logos” (word, divine reason, message). So the term can be interpreted as “the message of full knowledge“. The official definition is “the study of truth”.


When it comes to Scientology, there are more questions than answers.


Is it a cult or a religion (or as followers claim, a “technology”)?


Do Scientologists worship aliens?


Is it really dangerous or is it deliberately demonized by the media to keep the people in ignorance?


Finally, what’s so special about Scientology that attracts celebrities and people with power? This article gives you a tantalizing glimpse of the secret world of Scientology.





56. Rear View Mirror July 29, 2008




People sometimes don’t ‘hear’ information because they receive a preponderance of disinformation. Of course, none of the following will happen, but think of this example: What if the above posts by Ames and Associated Press were printed and hung in huge posters at several locations at “Apollo” and at “teaching houses” around the globe? And left there for weeks? What if talks were given by cult experts every few days? People’s thinking would begin to change.


It’s stimulus-response thinking. And when there’s no stimulus, there’s no response. That’s one reason, as you say, it’s not “fashionable” to hear dissent in the FOF… mainly because dissent doesn’t last very long, is not very persistent, and therefore it doesn’t leave much of an impression.


You wrote: “do I wish for them to think for themselves and decide independently,…”


Of course. But do we? Does anyone? Those are two other questions.


It’s very difficult for us stimulus-response humans to think independently when everyone and everything is telling us, “We must go to war. We must go to war. We must invade Iraq. We must invade Poland. We must stay in the FOF. We must not question. We must obey.”


And by the way, “obey” is a very prominent word in Ouspensky’s “Notes on the Decision to Work.” Whatever we may think about the man, he certainly had us primed and ready for the FOF experience…


“Think very seriously,” he wrote. “Are you really ready and willing to obey, and do you fully understand the necessity for it? There is no going back… Understanding of the necessity for obeying rules and direct instructions must be based on the realization of your mechanicalness and your helplessness… You can see, if you are sincere with yourself, all the blunders and the mistakes which you made when you tried to act by yourself. You cannot think rightly. You cannot feel rightly. You need constant help. And you can have it. But you must pay for it–at least, by not arguing.”



57. Traveler July 29, 2008


OMG. This is from the Notes on the Decision to Work. To think how highly I esteemed that particular passage, how essential it was to my Work, how I would look down on those who did not take it seriously enough and with sufficient valuation, and how much I WANTED to follow. Mind-blowing.



58. Opus111 July 29, 2008


I found the interview of Atkin quite interesting and revealing of the FOF cult phenomenon, at least for me.


REB may have innate qualities that made him a natural at manufacturing a cult brand. There were many aspects, features to that brand – intentionality and refinement come to mind – but REB’s own narcissistic, obsessive nature provided the necessary reinforcements for its proliferation and relative success. The creation of centers for instance, while not original in itself, created the tools for diffusion and marketing of the brand. The excruciating attention to details in preparing events, mostly dining events, provided that dazzle and buzz, albeit ephemeral, that keep people going. You package the whole thing in a rather complex and sophisticated system of ideas (rather irrelevant to REB, or so it seems), et voila, you have got yourself a pretty good scam, with plenty of access to money, luxuries and sex, along with the fantasies it provides.


A lot of current members do acknowledge in some ways the brand (as in refinement and intentionality for instance), and in fact are very attached to that lifestyle, to the concept of “FOF family” or “Fellowship of Friends”, but in the process unknowingly have pushed further and further in the recess of their conscience the reality of coercion, corruption, fabrications, etc… let alone the dismissal of 4th way ideas that brought them here. They have replaced the enlightened ideals and ideas of their youth with the cold comfort and grim reality of a self-serving religion.


In a way, much like the supposedly cultivated and self-aware clientele of a Mac cafe (in Atkin interview) who know they are only using a box of electronics, still frown at the PC intruders, so do FOF members scowl at critics of their cult who dare question its validity and show its rot, not because it is not true, but because it is their brand, their family.



60. brucelevyJuly 29, 2008


58. Opus111


For me the “brand” was already there before I met the FOF and RB. Many people were attracted to the “4th way” as a brand through the series of books, and it only took the existence of an apparent channel that reflected the brand to attract people to something they were innately drawn to aside from RB and his delusions.


As far as I’m concerned RB bastardized the brand beyond recognition, where it is now simply the cult of utter stupidity, greed and obliviousness.



65. Rear View Mirror July 29, 2008


57. Traveler: “OMG. This is from the Notes on the Decision to Work. To think how highly I esteemed that particular passage, how essential it was to my Work, how I would look down on those who did not take it seriously enough and with sufficient valuation, and how much I WANTED to follow. Mind-blowing.”


Yes, my sentiments as well. I hadn’t read the passage for years. Apparently, I was vulnerable to such unchallenged premises — that we are weak and helpless, that we need to obey, and so forth.


“You cannot think rightly. You cannot feel rightly. You need constant help.” We were bombarded by these ideas in the FOF.


Reminding ourselves that sometimes we do need help — or even that we often need help — is wise for all of us. But there’s very little sound reasoning or “understanding” in Ouspensky’s unchallenged premise that “you cannot think rightly” and that “you cannot feel rightly”. Cannot is a strong word. And if I cannot, the hidden premise is that there is someone out there for me who can think rightly, and who can feel rightly.


Although….. since I cannot think rightly and feel rightly, it’s a little scary isn’t it? How am I to truly recognize someone who does if I don’t have the same in myself?


Yes, very mind-blowing that I bought into these ideas.



70. Joe Average July 29, 2008


57. Traveler
65. Rear View Mirror


I remember at the end of a FOF center (it is deprogramming just to spell it the US way) dinner long ago someone read the “Notes on the Decision to Work”. As it was being read, Michael S-vick started, in a very low voice at first but building to a crescendo, to imitate the sound of a large plane flying low overhead. Initially people seemed to shrug off this markedly unFOFish behavior as just an idiosyncrasy, but eventually someone had the courage to ask him why he did that. He laughed and said “a B-52 loaded with Feminine Dominance dropping a load on us.”


I was able then to understand the remark and find it hilarious and simultaneously to totally accept Ouspensky’s bullshit.


From Orwell’s ‘1984’ (roughly from memory)
“It goes without saying that the members of the Inner Party were the most artful and subtle practitioners of Doublethink.”


My ability to occasionally recognize the absurdities and manipulation in “The System” and Burton’s psychotic chicken gumbo sauce overlying it and yet still be certain of its higher purpose was classic doublethink and put me in the inner circus. Movement within the hierarchy usually depended on the amount of absurdity/criminality one could recognize or even actively create while still maintaining the delusion.



71. somebody July 29, 2008


More brainwashing


– “You will see them all in yourself – Moses, Jesus, Abraham, Noah, Adam, Eve, Satan, Gabriel, Elijah. You will see them within yourself” (Shams of Tabriz). Here Shams names eight conscious beings, and Satan. You will see the eight conscious beings within yourself in the four wordless breaths, and you will also see Satan – the lower self – trying to block presence.


– This unforgettable image portrays Christ with a square halo. It also shows the moon reflected in his left eye, and a six-pointed star shining in his right eye, signifying the steward supporting the four wordless breaths.


– Shakespeare said, “But wherefore do not a mightier way/Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time?” – why do you not make a sequential war upon this bloody tyrant – the lower self? “Call Christ to mind” – intone the sequence.


– “Everyone has a Jesus within him, waiting to be born.” (Jalaluddin Rumi) Everyone has a sequence within him, waiting for Be to be called upon and to act.


– A fifteen-century Persian miniature depicts Jonah emerging from the mouth of the whale. The archangel Gabriel is bringing Jonah the garment of virtues – the sequence – to free him from the intestinal lower self. Gabriel, with six feathers in his right wing, represents short Be. He touches the spine of the whale with his four toes.


– A gold and silver Chimu bowl from Moche, Peru, represents the nine of hearts, with a large opening to support the four wordless breaths. The silver side of the bowl represents the sequence in the second state of consciousness, while the gold side represents the four wordless breaths of presence. It is a unique object in schools.



75. Joe AverageJuly 30, 2008


59. jack Thanks for the link. It is very appropriate. Seeing the extreme methods used by the groups portrayed there in a warped way almost makes me admire the relatively subtle methods RB and his inheritors used. Almost. They are old-school cults. Scientology was perhaps the genesis of new-school cults. Carlos Castaneda (Tensegrity), Werner Erhardt (EST), and Alex Horn all learned on L. Ron Hubbard’s knee before going off a-culting on their own. Even compared to them, the FOF was fairly restrained. The kind of direct physical violence and threats of violence against members, former members and other detractors that was a feature of the other cults was rarely, if ever, a facet of the FOF experience.



76. Rear View Mirror July 30, 2008


Joe Average, thanks for sharing that great story, and for your comments: “Movement within the hierarchy usually depended on the amount of absurdity/criminality one could recognize or even actively create while still maintaining the delusion.”


There’s a type of machismo related to this… The attitude is that I see what RB is doing and what he’s up to, but I am not one of the weak ones. I am strong and undeterred and honorable and loyal to what I believe to be a higher calling. If I see something unsavory, I don’t get queasy like a girl. If someone is hurt along the way, I can’t speak to that. It is out of my hands. I have no choice. I am strong.


But that person does have a choice. I always thought there was more strength and honor in learning to recognize the truth, and trying to live by it, and in following conscience despite the odds being difficult. To me, that is strength. Taking the viewpoint that people are hopelessly doomed and weak and “asleep.” — that is weakness, and just plain stupidity on my part when I believed it.


The six steps of the “sequence” — shocking news break — are not something new after all. The six steps were cleverly crafted by Burton from Day 1, or maybe Day 2 or 3.


Obey. Obey. Obey. Obey. Obey. Obey.


(See Notes on the Decision to Work — 56.)



84. Richard M.July 30, 2008


77. veronicapoe – July 30, 2008


“We note with pride that one man remains beyond all criticism, and that is the Fuhrer. This is because everyone senses and knows: he is always right, and he will always be right. The National Socialism of all of us is anchored in uncritical loyalty, in a surrender to the Fuhrer that does not ask about the why in individual cases, in the silent execution of his orders. We believe that the Fuhrer is obeying a higher call to shape German history. There can be no criticism of this belief.”


Rudolf Hess


For those not up on their WWII history:
This quote is from the same Herr Hess, Hitler’s personal secretary and No. 3 in the Nazi Inner circle, who, apparently came to his senses and literally bailed-out on his dear Fuhrer, parachuting from an airplane and landing in England, where he sat out the end of WWII in prison. Hitler’s explanation to his followers was that Hess had gone insane. Sounds familiar….



91. ton July 30, 2008


74 elena “Communication or sharing are aspects of love….”
76 rvm ‘Obey. Obey. Obey. Obey. Obey. Obey.’


this reminded me of something i heard on the radio a while back…. one of the interviewees stated:


“listening is an act of love…”


there is no real listening going on in the followship…. the dictatorial nature (no pun intended) and existing power structure does not allow for listening and any claim that it is a “school of love” is completely fraudulent… how can anyone confuse robert burton’s form of satyriasis with love? it’s a school of selfishness, “profound” only in how deeply misguided are its adherents. that people are still buying into it is astonishing.


democracynow.org/2007/12/3/listening is an act of love



96. lauralupa July 30, 2008


RVM 56


“Think very seriously,” he wrote. “Are you really ready and willing to obey, and do you fully understand the necessity for it? There is no going back… Understanding of the necessity for obeying rules and direct instructions must be based on the realization of your mechanicalness and your helplessness… You can see, if you are sincere with yourself, all the blunders and the mistakes which you made when you tried to act by yourself. You cannot think rightly. You cannot feel rightly. You need constant help. And you can have it. But you must pay for it – at least, by not arguing.”


Now that’s what I would call a series of dangerous memes! It would be interesting to do a serious study of Fourth Way books by various authors, and explore all the ideas that can be easily employed by ill-willing individuals to create coercive and cultish environments. Also, how these ideas were passed on and in different ways modified and corrupted as they moved from Gurdjieff to his various followers and on to their followers. In the meanwhile, still playing with the memes idea (meme?), I found this on religion and faith:


Memes – the skeptic’s dissection of religion


Among many anthropologists, sociologists and philosophers, it has recently become fashionable to dismiss all religions as memes – parasitic mental processes which propagate in the same manner as chain letters [Dawkins 1989, Dennett 1995]. In this view, religious belief is a self-perpetuating delusion. A meme (rhymes with ‘dream’) may be defined as any self-referential belief system which contains within itself the instructions for its own propagation. Memes are often described as the cultural equivalents of computer viruses.


A meme carries exactly the same fear-driven psychological motivation as a chain letter – “If you propagate me then something nice will happen, if not then something horrible will happen”. In order to justify themselves against attack by reason, memes place absolute reliance on faith, which is seen as being superior to reason. They also contain self-referential or circular claims to the truth such as “This meme says it is the divine truth. Since it is the divine truth whatever it says must be true. Therefore it must be divine truth because it says so and all competing memes must be the work of the Devil”.


These two types of self-referential statements: “propagate me” and “I am the only truth” provide the driving force for memes to invade the minds of their hosts. In addition, many memes contain the instructions: “Help people who believe in this meme, attack people who do not”. These commands being the ultimate cause of all religious hatred, wars, pogroms and persecutions throughout the centuries.


The general defining features of all memes can thus be seen to be self-referential ‘closed-loop’ type of circular statements, and a strong tendency towards hatred and intolerance.


The science of the study of memes, their internal structures and modes of propagation is known as memetics (by analogy to genetics – how biological entities propagate themselves).


More detailed analysis will usually show the following features:
Like a virus – such as rabies – a successful meme must perform two actions:


– Overpower the resistance of its host.
– Bring about the conditions for its spread.


To establish itself in the mind of its host it will use some or all of the following mechanisms:


[1] Promise heaven for belief. This may involve frustrating the host’s normal sexual urges and redirecting them into sexual fantasies of the hereafter.


[2] Threaten eternal punishment in hell for disbelief.


[3] Boost the believers’ egos by telling them they are ‘chosen’ or superior to believers in false memes.


[4] Disable the faculties of disbelief (‘immune response’) by claiming that faith is superior to reason.


[5] Establish itself as the One True Meme, usually by some sort of holy book containing a circular self-referential argument such as:


X is the one true meme. We know X is the one true meme because The Source of Universal Truth has approved X. We know The Source of Universal Truth has approved X, because X contains statements which say so. We know what X says is true because X is the one true meme.


Once it has parasitised the mind of its host, a meme needs to propagate itself. A successful meme will contain instructions for some or all of the following:


[6] Holy war – convert or kill all unbelievers.


[7] Intimidation and terrorism – threaten and discriminate against unbelievers.


[8] Enforced social isolation or even death to apostates. (An apostate is a host which has cured itself of a meme-infection. It is especially dangerous to the meme because it might pass on meme-resistance to others).


[9] Fecundism – encourage true believers to breed faster than believers in false memes.


[10] Censorship – prevent rival memes from reaching potential hosts (a theological doctrine known as ‘Error has no rights’) and forbid rational analysis of the meme itself.


[11] Disinformation – spread lies about rival memes.





161. Ellen August 1, 2008


#143 & 151 Lost and Found


It is a mystery, I agree. It is possible to experience some very fine higher states within the context of the Fellowship of Friends. And in my time, I’ve experienced a few nervous breakdowns over these very same questions, so I don’t respond lightly about it now.


If you were a Martian and were given a piece of fool’s gold and told that it was real gold. Well, what would you think? Most likely you would take it on face value, wouldn’t you? You might read up on the characteristics of gold, compare it with what you had in your hand and consider yourself to be pretty lucky. That is until one day, seemingly by chance, you encounter an expert jeweler who shows you the real stuff. Amazing…but I thought…


#146 Daily Cardiac


You say, “This is what I’ve come to: Men lie all the time. Not too long ago the school talked about false personality a lot. It is called “false” because it is based on a lie. Now that entity is referred to as the lower self. Some here may feel more comfortable with the word “ego.” Call it what you will, it is real and it is one of the chief obstacles to spiritual growth.”


Agreed. Let’s call it ego. Let’s agree that this ego-personality is formed in say the first year and one half to two years of life. Can we do that? Because it is created within this lifetime, at least theoretically, it also can be dissolved, and in this lifetime, too. The conditions for that dissolution may be described as the various esoteric pathways of all religions. Still agreed?


Those pathways when composed of two or more people may inevitably become an even more crystallized egoic entity, we can call it School, or we can call it collective ego. Both may be true. OK?


But a teacher’s job on any one of those pathways is guiding any particular individual towards releasing the powerful control of the egoic personality over their own energetic life. That’s it. And if a collective entity is formed, the central aim remains, now compounded by two levels of ego both individual and collective. Within the collective however, certain psychologically expanding experiences are now available that to the lone individual were not possible. Still agreed?


Nevertheless, a teacher’s only true validating credentials, in this most difficult and noble of travel-guidance-towards-liberation profession, is to be fully liberated himself/herself. A teacher, whose impurity of motive is now so fully documented in these 42 pages greatly reflects the schism of Robert Burton, the man. He may be able to create higher states, and inspire others to experience previously unknown worlds in themselves, but if the guidance does not lead to a total release of the constrictions of the individual ego cramp, what can you say? Who’s to blame? The student? The teacher? The path? Still with me?


If you were to take a journey over dangerous territory and had a deep and sincere wish to reach the other shore, wouldn’t you choose your guide carefully? Many guides can take you into the woods and show you many marvelous things. They may ask, and you may give them your money, time, talents, sex and power in exchange for such guidance, but can you find a trustworthy guide whose purity of motive shows itself in action, through his (unprofessed) love and careful attention equally to your own as well as that of others’ progress? If these pages and your own experience cannot show you the dark, untrustworthy side of Robert Burton, then it is your fate to remain in the Fellowship of Friends until by luck or by chance some day you encounter some real gold.


And you must know that I wish you well.



A Former Believer Takes On The Leader


By Ryan McCarthy/Appeal-Democrat – Aug 24, 2008



   PART   I    II    III