False Prophets Part 3



False Prophets and Messiahs, Teachers and Gurus,

Cons and Cult Leaders





Psychology Today

October 25, 2023


Why Do Psychopaths Crave Power?


Hyper-disconnected people desire

power because of their sense of lack.


By Steve Taylor Ph.D.

Out of the Darkness


Key points

  • People with psychopathic traits are “hyper-disconnected” with no emotional or empathic connection to others. 
  •  Hyper-disconnected people usually feel a strong desire for power and wealth, which is never satiated.
  •  The need to accumulate is rooted in their profound disconnection from the world and other human beings.


The first major investigator of the “psychopathicpersonality was the psychologist Hervey Cleckley, who published The Mask of Sanity in 1941.


Cleckley’s findings are still valid now. They became the basis of the well-known “Psychopath Test” by Canadian psychologist Robert Hare.


Cleckley described psychopaths as efficient, emotionless machines who can’t form intimate relationships and cannot love anyone (apart from themselves).


Their relationships are usually based on manipulation and exploitation rather than healthy human emotions like respect, trust, or love. Despite their deep abnormality, psychopaths generally masquerade as normal people, adopting conventional behavior and manipulating others with their charm and charisma.


However, my preferred approach is to set aside labels like psychopathy (and other related conditions such as narcissistic personality disorder) and refer more generally to “hyper-disconnected” people. This is the approach I use in my book DisConnected, which suggests that connection is an essential human trait and examines the chaos that hyper-disconnected people produce.1


Their extreme disconnection is the primary characteristic—and the essential pathology—of both psychopaths and narcissists. This gives rise to secondary characteristics such as a lack of empathy and emotion, self-centredness, and inability to form authentic relationships.



The Need for Power and Wealth


One major characteristic of hyper-disconnected people—or psychopaths, if you prefer—is their compulsive need for power, wealth, and success. This is also a major reason why they are so dangerous and destructive. Once they attain positions of power, either in business or politics, they use their power in a malevolent way, inflicting massive amounts of suffering on ordinary people.


Hyper-disconnected people’s lives are dominated by their need to accumulate. They feel a constant need to add more to their lives. On the most basic level, this might mean more material possessions: more money, jewelry, cars, or clothes. It might mean more achievements, success, fame, higher social or professional status, or romantic conquests.


On a more everyday level, it might mean a constant demand for attention and deference from colleagues and peers, alongside a need always to be the center of attention. For hyper-disconnected business tycoons or CEOs, the need to accumulate might mean acquiring more companies or properties. For hyper-disconnected political leaders, it might mean more national prestige and territory or more personal power, leading to a fascist dictatorship.


The struggle to accumulate never ceases; it is never satiated. This is another of the hallmarks of hyper-disconnected people: They are never satisfied. No matter how much power or wealth they gain, it is never enough.


Even if they were on the front page of every newspaper worldwide, it wouldn’t be enough attention. It wouldn’t be enough property even if they owned every building or company on the planet’s surface.


But none of their achievement or accumulation brings them any contentment. The only happiness they ever experience is a short-term pleasure. It is often the egotistical thrill of defeating, humiliating, or hurting others. Otherwise, they live in a perpetual state of restless discontent.



Hyper-Disconnected People’s Strong Impulse to Accumulate


Because they are so disconnected from the world and other human beings, hyper-disconnected people experience a powerful sense of lack. Subconsciously, even if they project an image of confidence and self-sufficiency, they feel incomplete, like fragments broken from the whole. As a result, they hanker after power, status, and wealth to complete themselves and compensate for their restless discontent.


The strength of our need to accumulate correlates with our degree of disconnection. This means that, at least to some extent, you can judge how disconnected a person is in terms of their impulse to accumulate.


When a person devotes their whole life to accumulating more property, possessions, and wealth and becoming more dominant, respected, or famous, it is a sure sign that they live in an extreme state of disconnection.


Conversely, people who feel strongly connected to others and the world generally have little desire for power and wealth.


In a way, this is unfortunate because it would be fantastic if connected people were in positions of power. Related people make ideal leaders with their sense of empathy and responsibility and strong moral principles.


However, since they often don’t put themselves forward for positions of power, this leaves positions free for hyper-disconnected people. This helps to explain why the world is so full of corruption, injustice, and oppression.





1. Taylor. S. (2023). DisConnected: The Roots of Human Cruelty and How Connection Can Heal the World.


Steve Taylor, Ph.D. is senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University and the author of several books, including The Leap and Spiritual Science.



Mind Out of Rhyme September 2, 2016Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog


Imagine the hideous twist of fate required for life to turn you into something like this:




ton2u September 2, 2016


FOF = Fellowship of Fops ? 


Why this ninny is so excessively concerned with appearances, clothing, luxuries, minor details, refined language, leisurely hobbies – seems all too obvious: the narcissist lacks empathy, compassion, and in general the qualities which contribute to emotional maturity reflecting a depth of soul. This malignant narcissist is overly concerned with appearances and superficialities (see photo), because he’s dead on the inside, there is no depth, there is no soul – so to him it’s all about surface.


It’s truly ironic, absurd, that an individual so afflicted is able to pass himself off as some type of “spiritual” leader – it says something tragic about the sycophants who continue to follow and support the fool….the joke’s on you.



invictus maneo  October 5, 2015 


REB once told me his chief feature is greed. (He probably told other people other things at other times in his never-ending attempt to take money or sex from them.) I don’t think anybody is born a remorseless, vile predator, like him; I think this is learned behavior. But greed is an understandable starting tendency for developing an uncontrollable thirst for endless amounts of money, objects and sexual stimulation.



DW Documentary

January 13, 2017



Part 2


From Buddhists and bankers to Eskimos and psychologists, we explore the phenomenon of greed with people from all walks of life. How can it be defined? What makes us greedy? And what are the repercussions?



jomopinataOctober 5, 2015


invictus maneo wrote:

I don’t think anybody is born a remorseless, vile predator, like him; I think this is learned behavior.


When I interviewed various people in the 1990s who knew Burton prior to 1970, what most surprised me was the absence of any indication of what came later, in terms of remorseless exploitative behavior. I expected reports of something “weird” or “off,” but that was not what people said; I was told (for example) that he was a capable, well liked fourth-grade teacher. So much for a theory that his psychopathy was “developmental.”


But later I read that damage to a region of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex can produce something called “acquired sociopathy.”


See: scientificamerican.com/article/can-you-make-sociopath-through-brain-injury-trauma (which doesn’t actually mention the orbitofrontal cortex, but talks about how TBI can turn someone into a sociopath). It is commonly known that Burton was in an auto accident in Modesto in 1968 in which he sustained a serious head trauma. The notion of sociopathy acquired as a result of orbitofrontal cortex damage explains a lot. Maybe an autopsy report will tell us more (although I have every reason to believe Burton would sit up screaming on the end of the gurney if they tried to do one now).



Ames Gilbert October 5, 2015



I’ve heard a reference to this Modesto car accident once before on the blog (maybe from you?) It’s been so long ago (‘78–‘94), but I can’t recall ever hearing about it while in the FoF. I was hardly in the center of things, but I would have thought that I would have heard at least as much fuss about it as the “tennis shoulder injury” which required so much massage and Darvon—and which was the prelude to a number of seductions by Burton—and I heard about that quite a bit, both directly from Burton himself and others.


Anyone else recall this rumor or have evidence for it?



jomopinata October 5, 2015



I heard about it in the early 1980s from people who had been around since the early 1970s. Apparently, Alex Horn made remarks about the head stitches which were a part of the story, although I do not remember what the remarks supposedly were.


The Scientific American article is simply a general interest piece on the subject of acquired sociopathy. I first read about acquired sociopathy several years ago in the book to which I link here. Start with the last two lines on p. 71, and proceed thereafter as long as you like:




There are some pages missing, but you will get a feel for the argument.



James Mclemore October 5, 2015


I can only recall that Burton, while in meetings in the mid 70’s, spoke about the car accident on a couple of occasions. If my memory is correct it was always in the context of “C Influence” and how they arranged friction for us. Once again, if my memory is correct, he did make it sound as if something significant had taken place that day, but then you have to remember that he also thought that license plates and mail boxes could be quite significant.



jomopinata October 6, 2015


Ames, this is a better article about acquired sociopathy, a case study: brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/brain/123/6/1122.full.pdf



Tim Campion October 6, 2015



I too recall Burton speaking about the accident at large meetings in the mid-70s and, as James stated, always in the context of Higher Forces/C Influence providing friction for our awakening.


This post [135.] by Ollie provides a modern retelling. The details seem consistent with what I heard back then.



129. Ollie September 26, 2011


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 [be] 444 days to the Mayan prediction of the end [of] 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.’”



WhaleRider September 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.”





Tim CampionSeptember 26, 2011



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.



Cult Survivor April 6, 2020


25. WhaleRider


IMHO, it’s easy to blame oneself for involvement in a cult and equally easy to blame burton. Simply put, he’s a “sociopath” and we were “morons”.


In my opinion Burton is a narcissistic sociopath. I also believe he has satyriasis (sex addiction) and pathological OCD (thus his obsession with the number 44, license plates, the “sequence”, predictions, palm trees, camels, etc.). That being said, I don’t think we are “morons” — we are victims.


A discussion of why one would voluntarily stay in a cult for decades is complicated, involving issues such as social ties, marriage, livelihood, owning property, refugee status, ambition, dependency, social status, and religious beliefs.




It was a soul crushing experience, to say the least, and I would not wish that upon anyone. That’s why I left. Some may call it “vanity”; I call it a healthy self-respect.




    N  E  T  W  O  R  K  E  R


July/August 2016


OCD and Children


It’s a Family Affair


Lynn Lyons


OCD in children can operate like a kind of cult leader, demanding acceptance of an extreme view of a perilous reality and offering solutions that can’t be resisted, no matter how absurd they may sound. Given the overwhelming fear and worry the condition generates, falling in line with the cult leader can seem like the best strategy – except that it doesn’t work. Read More



Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman, Bantam Books, 1995


From Chapter 14: Temperament Is Not Destiny (p. 225)


Psychotherapy—that is, systematic emotional relearning—stands as a case in point for the way experience can both change emotional patterns and shape the brain. The most dramatic demonstration comes from a study of people being treated for obsessive-compulsive disorder.12  One of the more common compulsions is hand-washing, which can be done so often, even hundreds of times in a day, that the person’s skin cracks. PET scan studies show that obsessive-compulsives have greater than normal activity in the prefontal lobes.13


Half of the patients in the study received the standard drug treatment, flouxetine (better known by the brand name Prozac), and half got behavior therapy. During the therapy they were systematically exposed to the object of their obsession or compulsion without performing it; patients with hand-washing compulsions were put at a sink, but not allowed to wash. At the same time they learned to question the fears and dreads that spurred them on—for example, that failure to wash would mean they would get a disease and die. Gradually, through months of such sessions, the compulsions faded, just as they did with the medication.


The remarkable finding, though, was a PET scan test showing that the behavior therapy patients had as significant a decrease in the activity of a key part of the emotional brain, the caudate nucleus, as did the patients successfully treated with the drug flouxetine. Their experience had changed brain function—and relieved symptoms—as effectively as the medication!





15 Signs of Pathological Lying and

How To Handle


Changing narratives, becoming defensive, and adding dramatic details could be signs of a pathological liar. But not always.


Pathological lying — also known as pseudologia fantastica, mythomania, and morbid lying — is a compulsive pattern of telling people things you know aren’t true.


Persistently lying can be an urge so strong that it’s difficult to overcome, similar to how compulsions can become difficult to stop for someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).



Golden VeilDecember 14, 2017


What if all the former members who had experienced Robert Earl Burton’s demands to satisfy his sexual appetites chose to break their silence ~ as a few former members have, for the most part anonymously, on this very blog?


Just imagine the cacophony of “Me toos!”, the absolute avalanche of male members (and by their association with their sexually abused boyfriends and husbands, female members, too) if the many victims of the leader of the Fellowship of Friends were to speak out…


Descriptions of the Teacher’s aggressive sexual use of his followers would make the actions of the many men of power accused today pale in comparison. Here, a few excerpts of one former member’s written memory of sexual assault and harassment by Robert Earl Burton ~ in the member’s own words ~ from a May 5, 2007 post here.


“… this terrible angel who would rouse me and lead me secretly, stealthily into the dark of his gilded bed-chamber to service his need for the good of us all, in this school of “shut up and be present”, this silk-lined labyrinth of luxury complete with the matching salt and pepper shakers, where I puke out his semen in the imported porcelain toilet along with the fine wine and pepper steak from the teaching dinner earlier that night and wipe my face on the Egyptian cotton towel just before I’d retire until dawn cracks open another day and he slumbers peacefully until lunch dreaming of sugar plums because they remind him of testicles… while the rest of us toiled in the searing hot sun the next day still weary from our lunatic efforts the day and night before…”


“And can you even FATHOM the nauseating, soul imploding disgust I felt the night he did “rimming” on me, without my consent, and then brought his fecal coated lips to mine and kissed me? Try separating from that. The Darvons he used to hand out were not enough to quench the pain, for this pain is exquisite and it leaves no visible marks! Think of me the next time he kisses your forehead…once those lips had been planted firmly on my asshole and probably countless others from all corners of the planet. And that’s the ultimate of all ironies; he kisses your third eye with those lips, coating the seat of your very soul with fecal matter from the seat of his inner circle.”


“…to excrete myself one year later, quietly leaving in a gentleman-like fashion, not making a splash, barely a ripple, so as not to disturb anyone else who might be sleeping…to remain alive, and carry out my prophesized soul death sentence as a life-person – oh yeah, that’s right, there was no gun to my head…but thankfully his predictions don’t come true either, do they?”



Ames Gilbert February 18, 2019


I was reading through page 16 of the blog (lots of good stuff there from back in 2007!) and I came across this classic, from “Life Person”.




IMHO it’s a perfect summary, so I’m going to post the whole darn thing as well as the link above.


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 pin-headed, 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 cuff links, 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?



Cult SurvivorFebruary 18, 2019


I just found this review of the FOF on Yelp:


Charles S., San Francisco, CA, 4/14/2018


I was a member of this organization 36 years ago for six years. I’ve been aware of its “esoteric” (hidden or hiding) activities ever since I left. That the leader of this organization is an individual you don’t want your male children around is a given. That you don’t want your boyfriend or husband to be around him also is a given. If you’re a good-looking heterosexual male, and you don’t want to be “converted,” stay away. If you’re an average-looking homosexual male, there’s nothing here for you except what, below, I say you’ll find: enslavement / conformity. The “Teacher” has a prohibition against homosexuality (except whereas his own homosexual needs are concerned). Whoever you are, do your due diligence and research the hell out of this organization and its leader on the Internet and in old and recent newspapers before you do any serious decision-making in trying to join and taking your orders from a sociopathic homosexual man who refers to himself as a goddess.


This organization is a pseudo-spiritual group of pseudo-psychological self-development but one of the most expensive cults in the world to join. I worked three jobs to afford the fees and paid $5,000 a year back in the day. It has an alluring surface-front but a slavish, nefarious underbelly, not unlike most cults if you’re objective. This cult and its leader have hurt and destroyed countless lives. Joining the group is a risk that has the potential for scarring you for life. That being said, there are many individuals in this organization who have been members for decades and are even grandparents now. That they remain inside a homo-pedophilic operation and don’t even try to leave is a major symptom of their mental and moral enslavement to the material seductions this cult and its leader offer: wine, theater, and music, with all the pretensions of owning or having “culture.” Instead of finding truth like a true seeker and a true sense of belonging, should you join, you shall find perversion, group-think, domination, corruption, and vanity. Hypocrisy, however, runs through every level of this group like an air-borne infection.


Source: yelp.com/biz/fellowship-of-friends-oregon-house



Hypocrisy: quackery, affectation, bad faith, hollowness, lip service, bigotry, pretense of virtue or piety, empty ceremony, sanctimony… The feigning of qualities and beliefs that one does not actually possess or hold, esp. a pretense of virtue, piety or moral superiority


Hypocritical: deceptive, double-dealing, insincere, dishonest


Hypocrite: liar, pretender, fraud, deceiver, charlatan, bigot, quack, Pharisee, sham, actor, cheat, trickster, malingerer, swindler, traitor, wolf in sheep’s clothing, masquerader, fake, two-face


From Webster’s New World Dictionary & Thesaurus



The false teacher represents the ultimate hypocrite

in the field of human development. ~ Idries Shah





Hypocrisy is a deceitful tactic used most often by those in power, who say “you must do this” or “you cannot do that” or “this is wrong,” while purporting that they themselves do not do said thing when, in fact, they do.


A hypocrite (from the Greek, “actor”) is someone who espouses a view, perspective, or philosophy without adhering in any meaningful way to it themselves, especially if they claim that their philosophy applies to all people. The ultimate snarkology of the hypocrite is “do as I say, not as I do.” Generally, “hypocrite” is a pejorative term; there are practically no cases where hypocrisy is considered a good thing unless you’re a politician like Donald Trump.


Deceit is a term denoting the misrepresentation of the truth.


Some forms of deceit may be unintentional or the result of a logical fallacy, and don’t necessarily mean the speaker intends to deceive (also see Hanlon’s razor).


Deceit can take many forms:


Affinity fraud — abuse of the trust of others because you are (or pretend to be) a member of the same socio-economic, religious or ethnic group.


Censorship — silencing all dissenting viewpoints.


Equivocation — using wordplay in a way that you’re not technically lying, but you are trying to give an incorrect impression.


Red herring — besides being a type of pickled fish, is a fallacious argument style in which an irrelevant or false topic is presented in an attempt to divert attention from the original issue, with the intention of “winning” an argument by leading attention away from the original argument and on to another, often unrelated topic.


Quote mining — presenting a real (but “hairdressed”) quote, deliberately placed out of context and presented in a new or different context, so as to make it seem like it meant something else than was originally intended. This differs from making a “misquotation”, as those are simply mistakenly attributed or phrased wrongly.


Lying by omission — failing to report something that wasn’t specifically asked for (yet perhaps cannot be asked for as it is an unknown, unknown to other people), with the express intent to deceive others via manipulating their perception of the truth.


Burning the evidence — attempting to secure plausible deniability by destroying possible trails of evidence that could, if left intact, allow potential investigators to correctly identify the true culprit.


One single proof — claiming that without a specific key proof, the whole argument is invalid.


Propaganda — affect or control the perceptions and behavior of a population.


Historical revisionism — revising history to something it wasn’t.


Willful ignorance — metaphorically (or literally…) sticking your fingers in your ears and going “Lalalala! I can’t hear you!”.


Statistics — sometimes statistics are used as a drunken man uses lampposts for support rather than illumination.


Bullshit — nonsensical claptrap, or words without any particular connection to reality.



InsiderJune 27, 2020


No doubt, everyone is aware of the significance of today’s date. Six years ago on June 27, 2014, The Absolute paid His first noticeable visit to Apollo and Robert Burton. The following is a transcript from a meeting Burton led 800 days later, when She (having changed its gender) came a 2nd time, and when details of the visit were finally made public, including a never-before-seen photograph of Burton spontaneously taking a knee (actually 2 knees).


‘This is a photograph of me kneeling and bowing, kissing the ground during the first visit of the Absolute. It occurred right in the front of the Gallery at the beginning of the rose arbor, after you walk through the four cypress trees and turn left. Petrarch said, “I bless the place, the time, and the hour of the day/that my eyes aimed their sight at such a height.” Here we see that. Then we walked straight ahead, beyond the path on the right, and our dog Apollo was doing his business – number two – on the lawn. It was the third state. Nicky [J*hns*n] was with Him. Nicky is now in drug rehab.


Afterwards Sasha and I went into the house. (Dorian came later.) He then did an act of humility for me. All I could think of was to get down and kiss Sasha’s feet as an act of humility too. Who are we that He should do an act of humility for us? But that was the only response I could think of. We are in the same Pavilion with Him right now. Even in your ninth life, you will probably not receive this exceedingly special experience. All I can do is speak for our school. 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.’



InsiderJuly 9, 2021


The following is from robertearlburton.org, a Fellowship-sponsored website and recruiting tool (and hotbed of misinformation and outright lies):


“Year after year, Robert Burton’s students have come to him with their questions. Year after year, with unfaltering patience, he has taught that the only true solutions to any perceived ‘problem’ lie in our efforts to self-remember and to transform our suffering.”


Actually, no one comes to Burton with questions. He has disallowed this kind of interaction for 30-40 years. He cannot be approached in person, by phone, or by texting. Fact is, Burton simply does not have a Teacher-Student relationship with anyone in the Fellowship, not even with his “inner circle” or “entourage,” as was made clear on this forum by “knoti” in 2018 (page 162, #111). Any trace of such relationships back in the early days degraded and crystallized into a King-Subject relationship, or Emperor-Serf, or Dictator-Slave.


Robert Burton does not give a damn about anyone’s “evolution” or any aspect of their “spiritual work.”


Yet Burton is still universally referred to as “The Teacher” (though he teaches nothing, save how to manipulate people for one’s own selfish ends), and he refers to the Fellowsheepers as “my Students who will follow me to Paradise.” And the illusion will certainly persist right through to Burton’s physical demise, and likely long beyond.



diegoJuly 10, 2021


More exquisite bollocks from the propaganda dept. They’ll do and say anything to attract fresh meat for Bob or money for Bob to buy kitsch antiques with.


The fellowship has an absurd imaginary picture of itself. The miraculous conscious school guided by angels and the quintessence of sublime wonderfulness, Robert Burton. Truth is it’s a hideous cult run by a deluded and increasingly demented predator and serial abuser and a dozen or so enablers. Burton hasn’t answered a personal question in years, possibly close to two decades. Last one was at a meeting in St. Petersburg when the fiance of Gay Hussar basically asked him why he was having sex with her lover. He stumbled to answer, told her she was poison and had her booted.


He can’t empathize, he’s a malignant narcissist, he doesn’t know how, it’s an impossibility for him. The attempt to empathize would challenge his wildly whacky notion of himself as someone the Absolute visits to give a blow job to, as an act of humility. To empathize would require him to enter into the place of a sub-species, a human being.


Relationship with him is conditional on the other person or sub-species simultaneously recognizing and accepting his absolute magnificence and their imperfect wretchedness. If you have a problem, remember yourself and transform your suffering even if Burton is the primary cause of your suffering, e.g. if you have a problem, being fucked up the ass by him and his little cocktail sausage of a dick, separate dear and transform your suffering, after all you’re being punked by a Goddess in the body of a man and shouldn’t act like an ingrate unaware of his incalculable good luck.


After said meeting, cards with sanitized pithy quotes were read out by the flock at meetings, and he would wiseacre with a previously rehearsed cosmic response. No more embarrassing questions, total control re-established, Angel feathers no longer in danger of being ruffled, blow jobs after the meeting.



InsiderJuly 11, 2021


Fellowship gatherings, no matter how large or small, formal or casual, remind me of “improv,” or improvisational theater. It’s like each person arrives and is secretly told to play a certain role. They can do or say anything, interact with each other as they wish, but they have to stay in the role assigned to them. Unbeknownst to each person, each other person is given the same role to play.


And the role that each person is given?


That of a “conscious being.” Each person is to pretend they are “conscious,” and to be as convincing as possible.


The challenge, of course, is that no one has any idea what this means. [They] have a more or less definite image of how to act like they just fell in love, or their preferred team just lost in the World Cup final match, or they just inherited a million dollars. But since there is no actual, inner experience of what “consciousness” feels like, or indeed who or what is able to experience “consciousness,” or whether “consciousness” is even an experience at all, each person trying to act “conscious” has little to go on, other than imitating someone else who claims to be “conscious,” or at least more “conscious” than they are.


And so, off they all go to the stage of Burton’s “galleria,” or a “meeting,” or a dinner or breakfast with Burton, or just with each other, dressed as a “conscious being” would dress, walking the “conscious” walk, talking “conscious,” putting on all the “conscious” facial expressions and smiles, acting “consciously” happy, “consciously” and conspicuously eating and digesting all the supposed “higher-hydrogen impressions.”


And then they all go back home, smug and content that they are, indeed, one step closer to permanent “consciousness” and a free pass to Paradise.



Brought Up in ApolloOctober 23, 2021


Does anyone have recommendations for therapists for the children brought up in the FOF?



Associated PressOctober 25, 2021


Check out these resources:


Dr. Janja Lalich, Ph.D., (Chico):
International Authority on Cults and Coercion:


About Dr. Janja Lalich, Ph.D.:
wikipedia.org/wiki/Janja Lalich


Dr. Margaret Singer, Ph.D., now deceased, for historic perspective:
wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret Singer
Books authored and/or co-authored with Lalich.


Here is something to read immediately:
Margaret T. Singer Collection:


I hope this helps.



Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends


An Unauthorized Blogography of “The Teacher” and His Cult



      SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2011


    Children’s stories


[ed. – Like his mentor Alex Horn, Robert Burton (often through intermediaries) controlled most family planning decisions. From a distance, it appears part of a strategy to utterly disempower his followers. See also: “ton’s” Story and Kids Say the Darndest Things.]



From Stella Wirk’s website:


In the first year or so the group gained a reputation for wrecking marriages. Of the first batch of couples who joined 37 of them split up within a few months!


Rules about children caused a lot of emotional trouble. Burton’s suggestion was to wait 5 years after marriage to have children, and sometimes that’s a nice idea that doesn’t work. Burton told the hierarchy of the group to tell these people to have abortions if the “timing” was wrong! They did, and women had abortions!


Linda [Linda Tulisso/Kaplan] who worked closely with the teacher told us in Amsterdam in 1980 that she was “only following orders” when she told women members to have abortions! (She was a member since the early 1970s, and still is as far as we know.) Burton wanted children to be a certain age at Armageddon, for which he claimed, “I will bridge the gap for humanity at Armageddon.” Ack! People were believing this! If one *believes* this, one MUST obey. Fear of “higher forces” was instilled in members, and most easily introduced into people who did not actualize the Work ideas within themselves by personal observation so they could see what was going on and avoid the pitfalls.


Children were frequently spoken of as being a considerable waste of “higher energies,” and some women were convinced to give their children away!



diego October 29, 2021


S.F. Gate article on the FOF from 27 Oct 21





WhaleRider October 31, 2021

A BIG THANK YOU to all who participated.

I really enjoyed how Jennings portrayed his observations with the foreknowledge of what he was getting into, unlike the rest of us, that is, before the blinding cognitive dissonance sets in.



InsiderNovember 1, 2021


I would guess that the Fellowship let Jennings into the compound in order to preempt any negative interviews and information that he was sure to encounter, or had already encountered, from the blogs, ex-members, etc. So, as he mentions, they love-bombed him, took him to a Shakespeare play at the Theatron, invited him to an evening reception somewhere in the Galleria gardens, even arranged a flight over Apollo with Peter Morrow. Who wouldn’t be impressed, and speak only in glowing terms, after such a welcome?


But, from the Fellowship point of view, Jennings turned out to be a Trojan Horse. He was on a mission which some suspected, but chose to ignore, and, due to a combination of naivety and vanity, the Fellowship gave him just what he was looking for.


There must be quite a number of really pissed off people right now, not the least of whom is Robert Burton. I don’t think Jennings will be invited to another reception anytime soon!



diego November 2, 2021


Jennings Brown creator of the 6 part Revelations podcast on Spotify copied and pasted here from his twitter account @tjenningsbrown.


Oct 4
5/I’ve seen and heard strange and harrowing things while reporting this. I was there for the final black-tie dinner before the “end of the world.” I watched them perform Shakespeare (one of the angels), interviewed members who participated in sex rituals. It’s all in this series.


6/I was asked to join the Fellowship multiple times. Often I couldn’t help but be entranced by the bizarre, extraordinary, intoxicating world they built. But ultimately it became clear all their extravagance is a veil for exploitation and cruelty. No telling how many were harmed.


Well done Jennings and thanks, “a veil for exploitation and cruelty” is exactly what it is.



Ames GilbertNovember 2, 2021


I’m one of the ones that keeps repeating Burton’s quote about conscience, because I feel it is central to the debate.

“Conscience is just a collection of I’s. Anyone accumulating too much should leave the school.”

I posted about how this phrase first came to my attention, in 1994, here:
(page 50, post #59)







The Fellowship of Friends is an elite and secretive spiritual organization. Ex-members say it’s a doomsday cult and that its leader, Robert Earl Burton, preys on his followers. On October 20, 2018, journalist Jennings Brown was at the Fellowship’s extravagant compound, observing the final black-tie dinner before the end of the world. Robert had predicted the apocalypse was going to begin the next morning and Jennings wanted to report on the community as it prepared for a global catastrophe. But Jennings soon realized the end-times prophecy was just the beginning of the story, he’d spend the next three years investigating the Fellowship and its dark secrets.





JenningsNovember 2, 2021


Hi, Jennings here. I’ve been thinking about Insider’s comment about people in the Fellowship seeing me as a Trojan Horse. I wanted to address this, for anyone who helped me report this story and now feels disappointed with how it turned out. When I initially reached out to the Fellowship, I was interested in profiling a unique spiritual community with a rich and complicated history. There had not been much reporting on the organization aside from coverage about the winery and abuse allegations. I knew there had to be more to the story, but I had no idea how that story was going to turn out. I wanted to see what the Fellowship is like in its current form and understand the perspective of students who are still involved. I tried to give members the space to share what the Fellowship means to them. I met many wonderful and kind members while reporting this. Many of them gave me a lot of their time, and welcomed me into their homes and to Apollo events—and for that I am grateful. Thanks to them I was able to get a more complete portrait of the Fellowship, and showcase some of its beauty, in addition to the darker aspect. As one of the members told me in an interview: “The Fellowship, it’s a hologram. You look at it this way and it looks miraculous. You look at it this way and it’s a horror…let’s say a Fellini movie.” I became fascinated by that duality. And the more time I spent exploring that duality, the more it became clear that many people were hurt and exploited. As a journalist, I had an obligation to report on that harm and speak truth to power.


If any current or former members would ever like to connect, you’re welcome to email me at jenningsbrown@protonmail.com. I’d love to hear your perspective or talk about anything you think I missed.



Jomo PiñataNovember 10, 2021





diegoNovember 21, 2021


I somehow missed these podcasts back in 2019. They seem to have no connection with Jennings’s [podcasts] and contain a wealth of historical information, detail and psychological insight. There are two parts, links are below. I found them to be a chilling and good companion and introduction to Jennings’s series.


Hard to believe I was involved in this horror show. Burton is a truly sick, perverted fuck. Many of the gory details are out there now for people to find and yet and still, only the surface has been scratched.


Largely the crimes of the early years are documented now and available here and there in the public domain for anyone with a mind to find them and piece them together, but Burton refined his strategies of abuse and got better and better at it; he also perfected ways of isolating himself from prosecution and litigation whilst the predation escalated. He continues today largely unimpeded, financially supported by the naive and needy, and enabled by the knowing and willingly complicit.


Fifty years of lies, abuse, manipulation and madness, predation, greed, addiction, coercion and intimidation…….


“I am the brightest light since Jesus Christ.” – Burton


Buyer beware.







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.







BBC Reel

April 26, 2022 | Psychology


The psychological tricks that make cults so dangerous


Thousands of groups known as cults have arisen over history. But most cults claim not to be cults, and many people involved might not even be aware they are in one. So how do cults lure people in?


Tui McLean explores the secret world of cults through a psychological lens, examining what a cult actually is, and how some cults have been able to make ordinary people do unthinkable things.


Video by Tui McLean
Animation by Michal Bialozej



April 21, 2012


Subject: This is how it works…


Linda and Sam,


I recently read ‘Trauma & Recovery’ by Judith Herman — a powerful book. Here’s a passage that speaks to many of our common experiences:


“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.”


Except, of course, that Gans & Co. never apologize, ever.




December 16, 2019


My Life in a Cult


For 23 years, Spencer L. Schneider says he was trapped in an ultra-shadowy group that stole from him his dignity, his youth, and his psychological freedom. Here, for the first time, he writes frankly about his secret life in the School of Sharon Gans.




New York City, NY


Plaza Denizen Ran ‘Secret Cult’ Masquerading

As Study Group: Suit


Kathleen Culliton, Patch Contributing Writer

Posted Wed. September 22, 2021



NEW YORK CITY — An alleged “ultra-secret cult” masquerading as a philosophic study group squeezed millions of dollars out of followers who funded their leaders’ lavish lifestyle at the Plaza Hotel, a new lawsuit contends.


Two former members of the Odyssey Study Group say they paid $400 a month for the privilege of serving the late founders Sharon Gans and her husband Alex Horn, both of whom fled San Francisco amid allegations of violence, child neglect and “brainwashing,” according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Manhattan’s supreme court.


“Through methods traditionally utilized by cults to groom, intimidate, weaken, gaslight, and exploit their victims, OSG coerced and tricked its members,” the suit contends.


“The members of the cult made Defendants Sharon Gans and others very rich.”



Esther Friedman


Gentle Souls Revolution


Welcome to GSR Healing Arts. Have you had a strange experience in a group? Did you find this site researching cults? I understand. In 2006, a “new friend” invited me to a “philosophy group”. In 2011, I left a cult.


Daniel Shaw, author of Traumatic Narcissism, offers this formula: bad luck plus timing = recruitment. No one “joins” a cult. Cults lie to potential members in vulnerable moments. They recruit through deception.



The Clinician
Spring 2018


Books Written by NYSSCSW Members
Reviewed by Debra Kuppersmith, LCSW




Traumatic Narcissism:

Relational Systems of Subjugation


By Daniel Shaw
(Routledge 2014)



The trauma referred to in Daniel Shaw’s title is not experienced by narcissists, but by those who find themselves in relationships with them. In this powerful and highly readable book, Shaw describes in detail his understanding of what it means to be entrenched in a relationship in which an authority figure aims to subjugate another.


His work on this subject is informed by his personal history of living in an ashram in upstate New York for 10 years. While there, he was repeatedly denigrated by his guru and finally, after enduring this for years, was able to walk away. This experience inspired him to try to understand what drove his guru to interact with him and others in this manner and why the guru’s followers participated in their own humiliation . . .



    Jomo PiñataApril 1, 2022 Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog


    Coming this summer, a book about the Alex Horn/Sharon Gans cult:


    “We were invisible. We had to be. We took an oath of absolute secrecy. We never even told our immediate families who we were. We went about our lives in New York City. Just like you. We were your accountants, money managers, lawyers, executive recruiters, doctors. We owned your child’s private school and sold you your brownstone. But you’d never guess our secret lives, how we lived in a kind of silent terror and fervor. There were hundreds of us.”


    Right under the noses of neighbors, clients, spouses, children, and friends, a secret society, simply called School—a cult of snared Manhattan professionals—has been led by the charismatic, sociopathic and dangerous leader Sharon Gans for decades. Spencer Schneider was recruited in the eighties and he stayed for more than twenty-three years as his life disintegrated, his self-esteem eroded, and he lined the pockets of Gans and her cult.


    Cult members met twice weekly, though they never acknowledged one another outside of meetings or gatherings. In the name of inner development, they endured the horrors of mental, sexual, and physical abuse, forced labor, arranged marriages, swindled inheritances and savings, and systematic terrorizing. Some of them broke the law. All for Gans.


    “During those years,” Schneider writes, “my world was School. That’s what it’s like when you’re in a cult, even one that preys on and caters to New York’s educated elite. This is my story of how I got entangled in School and how I got out.”


    At its core, Manhattan Cult Story is a cautionary tale of how hundreds of well-educated, savvy, and prosperous New Yorkers became fervent followers of a brilliant but demented cult leader who posed as a teacher of ancient knowledge. It’s about double-lives, the power of group psychology, and how easy it is to be radicalized—all too relevant in today’s atmosphere of conspiracy and ideologue worship.




    Gans died in 2021. More about the Horn/Gans group here: nypost.com/2019/11/11/inside-the-alleged-cult-that-has-been-quietly-operating-in-ny-for-decades





    Trust Me: Cults, Extreme Belief, and Manipulation




    Spencer Schneider: Sharon Gans, School, &

    a Manhattan Cult Story



    Jomo PiñataApril 9, 2022


    More fun with Alex Horn and Sharon Gans: cultvaultpodcast.com/podcast/episode/320a879e/161-author-esther-friedman-part-1-sharon-gans-esoteric-school-odyssey-study-group



    DOTJ Drinking On The Job


    Season 1 – Episode 93: David Kulko


    February 21, 2021


    David Kulko was being groomed to take over a cult but instead of drinking the Kool Aid he drank mezcal and found his true light.



    Choosing Therapy


    What Is a Malignant Narcissist?

    Signs, Causes, & How to Deal With One



    Written by Hailey Shafir LPCS, LCAS, CCS


    Published – July 16, 2021 | Updated – January 1, 2022


    Malignant narcissism is not a formal diagnosis, but instead a common term used to describe a person with traits and symptoms of both narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Also called pathological narcissists, malignant narcissists tend to have more impairments, worse relationships, and worse responses to treatment than people with classic NPD.2,4


    People with narcissistic personality disorder tend to exhibit grandiose attitudes, feel superior to others, need excessive praise and validation, and respond very poorly to even the slightest criticism. People with antisocial personality disorder lack empathy, disregard the feelings and needs of others, and use and exploit others to meet their needs.5  Malignant narcissists tend to display a mix of these traits and behaviors, which keep them from forming healthy relationships.2,3,6



    Psychology Today

    July 26, 2020


    7 Signs of An Over-Emotional

    Histrionic Narcissist


    Preston NI, M.S.B.A.


    The Mayo Clinic research group defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) as “a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”


    WebMD identifies Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) as one of the “‘Cluster B’ or ‘dramatic’ personality disorders. People with these disorders have intense, unstable emotions and distorted self-images. For people with HPD, their self-esteem depends on the approval of others and does not arise from a true feeling of self-worth. They have an overwhelming desire to be noticed, and often behave dramatically or inappropriately to get attention.”


    Reasons for both NPD and HPD are complex and deep-seated, and often involve childhood or early adulthood injuries and traumas. In serious cases, professional mental health counseling may be needed (and is recommended) to diagnose and treat the disorders.


    There are certain overlaps in symptoms between NPD and HPD, below are seven signs of an over-emotional histrionic narcissist, with references from my books How to Successfully Handle Narcissists and A Practical Guide for Narcissists to Change Towards the Higher Self. While some people may occasionally show the traits below, which might not be a major issue, a histrionic narcissist will routinely display one or more of the following pathologies (dysfunctions), while causing substantial distress and harm to others and oneself.


    1. Dramatic Negative Emotions (High Dramas & Melt-Downs)


    Histrionic narcissists often have the tendency to exhibit overly dramatic negative emotions when they don’t receive the attention, appreciation, or entitlement they believe they deserve. This may range from not getting quick customer service, to momentary lack of attentiveness from a spouse, to being told “no” when seeking an “exception to the rule”, or other instances when their self-imagined privileges are not being catered.


    Histrionic narcissists are frequently unreasonable in their demands, inequitable in the way they treat people, insensitive to the difficulties of others, and disproportional in their emotional response. Whether it’s intense anger (narcissistic rage) or manic outbursts (histrionic drama), they often perceive a lack of attentiveness and deference as a threat to their self-esteem, and respond with hostility and even aggression. They overwhelm their victims with intense negative drama (“going nuclear”), browbeating their victims with the hope of getting what they want.




    December 2019


    Malignant Narcissism and Power:

    A Psychodynamic Exploration of Madness and Leadership


    By Charles Zeiders and Peter Devlin



    INTRODUCTION [excerpt]


    Across the world, individuals and societies are impacted by unprecedented disruptive influences – globalization, neoliberalism, climate change, war, rumors of war, economic uncertainty, cultural breakdown, and mass migration. Ours is a trepidatious time when anxious people seek certainties in all manner of saviors and would-be messiahs, whose mad interiors are not at first outwardly evident but whose narcissism and criminality pose an existential threat.


    Prior to our graduate work, Peter Devlin and I were earnest young men when we met on Philadelphia’s famous South Street in the late 1980s. At some dramatic point amidst our always-animated early discussions, Devlin pulled from his backpack a copy of Erich Fromm’s The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (1977) and brandished the tome at me. He declared that Fromm’s work would stand the test of time; he described it as a prophetic, poly-display masterpiece. Devlin thus introduced me to an expansive form of psychodynamic, psychosocial criticism that, to varying degrees, has subsequently informed both of our clinical and scholarly pursuits. We stand firm in the Frommian conviction that psychodynamic theory is instrumental to establishing healthful interpretations, not only for the single analysand, but also for the larger society. Like Fromm, we find in the psychoanalytic tradition a body of thought that is comprehensive enough to be a critical theory of the human condition – one applicable to the mental phenomena of an individual, a group, or a world.


    Operating out of this mindset throughout our clinical lifetimes, we have witnessed an eruption of patients with signs and symptoms immediately emergent from institutional betrayals – antisocial policy, the security state, corporate surveilance, predatory lending, downsizing, cancelled health plans, religious rip-offs, mass fraud, and the extraction economy. They may have dashed hopes from a parade of ingenious, charismatic leaders whose tenure culminated in personal miseries and community calamities. Like Fromm, Devlin and I hold fast to the notion that informed, self-possessed people and professionals have a great deal to offer social elements seeking genuine safety from both disruption and tyranny.



    Psychology Today

    June 21, 2021


    The Personality Disorder We

    Don’t Hear Enough About


    The sadistic personality may be mistaken

    for antisocial personality disorder.


    Anthony D. Smith, LMHC 


    Key Points


    • Sadistic personality disorder is no longer in the DSM, but it’s still recognized by personality aficionados.


    • The chief component of sadistic personality is taking pleasure in cruel, demeaning, and aggressive behaviors as a means of control.


    • It is differentiated from antisocial personality disorder in that, for the sadistic personality, cruelty and aggression is an end unto itself.





    How Does Conformity Influence Behavior?



    By Kendra Cherry | Updated on March 26, 2020


    Conformity involves changing your behaviors in order to “fit in” or “go along” with the people around you. In some cases, this social influence might involve agreeing with or acting like the majority of people in a specific group, or it might involve behaving in a particular way in order to be perceived as “normal” by the group.



    The University of Texas at Austin

    McCombs School of Business


    Ethics Unwrapped 



    Obedience to Authority


    Obedience to authority describes our tendency to please authority figures. We may place too much emphasis on that goal and, consciously or subconsciously, subordinate the goal of acting ethically.



    From Teaching Notes


    The pleasure centers of our brains light up when we please authority. We are trained from childhood to please authority figures, —parents, teachers, and police officers.


    Law and order are generally good things, so some level of obedience to authority is definitely a good thing. But if people go too far and suspect their own independent ethical judgment, either consciously or unconsciously, they are dropping the ball.


    Employers, we argue, pay employees for their brains, their education and training, and their judgment. Employers are short-changed if employees do not use their best strategic judgment, their best operational judgment, and their best moral judgment, because errors in any of the three areas can be quite costly.


    To learn about related behavioral ethics concepts, watch Conformity Bias and Role Morality.


    The case study on this page, “Stangl & the Holocaust,” explores an extreme example of obedience to authority, in which Nazi officer Franz Stangl, who was responsible for the killing of nearly one million Jews, claimed he was simply following orders. For a related case study that examines the dangers of conformity bias during the Holocaust, read “Reserve Police Battalion 101.”


    Behavioral ethics draws upon behavioral psychology, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and related disciplines to determine how and why people make the ethical and unethical decisions that they do. Much behavioral ethics research addresses the question of why good people do bad things. Many behavioral ethics concepts are explored in detail in Concepts Unwrapped, as well as in the video case study In It to Win: The Jack Abramoff Story. Anyone who watches all (or even a good part) of these videos will have a solid introduction to behavioral ethics.





    News  //  Bay Area & State


    PSYCH SLEUTH / Margaret Singer has made history delving into the psychology of brainwashing


    By Kevin Fagan

    May 26, 2002


    2002-05-26 04:00:00 PDT BerkeleyThe boots of the cult thug clunking on her porch practically every night for a week about 2 a.m., the silence hanging thick and menacing as he hunkered in her doorway, the cryptic notes in her mailbox – it all finally got to her.


    So Margaret Singer leaned out her second-floor window the next time she heard the guy at her doorstep, and she yelled with all the bluster she could muster in her quavery, 80-year-old voice: “I’ve got a 12-gauge shotgun up here with a spray pattern that’ll put a three-foot hole in you, sonny, and you’d better get off my porch or you’ll be sorry! And tell your handlers not to send you back!”


    Months later, as she sits at the kitchen table of her rambling old house in the East Bay hills, Singer still chuckles at the memory of the man skittering to the sidewalk, never to return. “If that shotgun hadn’t worked, I have a World War II machine gun that can do the trick,” she says, pounding a thin, bony hand on the Formica top.


    Name any major cult or near-cult in America in the last half of the 20th century, and this teacher and author of Cults in Our Midst has probably researched it, debriefed its victims, or helped the cops nail its leaders.



    You find it again and again – any time there is great upheaval, a big change in a society and people feel vulnerable, there are always sharpies around who want to hornswoggle people. ~ Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer (1921–2003)



    Bryan ReynoldsJuly 20, 2018


    Article on the term “brainwashing”





    [This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.]



    University of California Television (UCTV)

    October 30, 2021


    Dark Persuasion – The History of Brainwashing


    Joel Dimsdale discusses his latest book, Dark Persuasion: A History of Brainwashing from Pavlov to Social Media, which traces the evolution of brainwashing from its beginnings in torture and religious conversion into the age of neuroscience and social media. Dimsdale is distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego.



    diegoDecember 1, 2021


    Revealed: ex-members of Amy Coney Barrett faith group tell of trauma and sexual abuse




    “The basic premise of everything at the People of Praise was that the devil controlled everything outside of the community, and you were ‘walking out from under the umbrella of protection’ if you ever left,” said one former member who called herself Esther, who had to join the group as a child but then left the organization. “I was OK with it being in a tiny little corner of Indiana, because a lot of weird stuff happens in tiny little corners in this country. But it’s just unfathomable to me – I can’t even explain just how unfathomable it is – that you would have a supreme court justice who is a card-carrying member of this community.”



    Rich December 4, 2021







    Associated PressMarch 3, 2022


    Heaven’s Gate Survivors to Share New Details in 20/20 Special


    Diane Sayer unravels mysteries behind cult with interviews with survivors who share stories for the first time.


    March 3, 2022

    By Rolling Stone reporter, Althea Legaspi


    In 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult were found dead by suicide in their Rancho Santa Fe, California, home, which they dubbed “The Monastery.” Central to the group’s belief was that they would go to heaven on a UFO. On March 11, a two-hour 20/20 special looks to unravel the mysteries surrounding the chilling, ritualistic mass suicide and what would lead people to follow its bizarre principles.


    During The Cult Next Door: The Mystery and Madness of Heaven’s Gate special, Diane Sawyer interviews two survivors who share their stories for the first time. She also speaks with Rio DiAngelo, a member who left the group before the tragedy to serve as a messenger. She first spoke with DiAngelo in an exclusive interview in 1997. Family members who were left behind also share their stories.


    In a trailer for the special, interviewees discuss some of the rules of the cult, which included how members were to dress, brush their teeth, and even use the toilet. “They didn’t have any free will,” one person says. They also practiced celibacy, and castration was employed.


    The members who died in the largest mass suicide in America came from all walks of life and ranged in age from 26 to 72. They were drawn in by Marshall Applewhite, the compelling leader who co-founded the group with Bonnie Nettles (Nettles died of cancer in 1985). Known as Do and Ti, the two bonded over religious beliefs which soon morphed into a belief that they were of a higher level than others and that they could reach the “Next Level” by rejecting their human forms and becoming extraterrestrial beings who would ascend to heaven via UFO, and they recruited followers.


    The Cult Next Door: The Mystery and Madness of Heaven’s Gate features never-before-seen footage including home movies, as well as newly released audiotapes. It airs on 20/20 March 11 from 9:01–11:00 p.m. ET on ABC and will stream the next day via Hulu.


    More at:






    Opus 111June 16, 2022


    Today NYT relating a story about FOF members and Google company:



    Tim Campion June 16, 2022


    “The Cult in Google” by Kevin Lloyd appears on medium.com.



    diego June 22, 2022


    At Axios today:



    “The Fellowship is a tiny California sect based in the Sierra Nevada foothills that has run a winery, invested in antiques and espouses spiritual awakening through exposure to the fine arts. Its founder has also faced allegations of sexual abuse.”


    It’s a tawdry, pretentious, failed doomsday cult.



    Insider June 23, 2022


    Another podcast about the Fellowship. Jennings Brown, producer of “Revelations” last year, is being interviewed by “Ross and Carrie.”




    If you can’t get to the Spotify version, Ross and Carrie have their own website: ohnopodcast.com The Jennings interview is there.



    diegoJuly 10, 2022


    Mihai explains Burton’s sick seduction routine. Burton is a Douchebag number 8 who has been refining and perfecting his game of molestation and rape for 50 years. He gets a lot of help from his enablers, procurers and proceresses.






    Magdalena October 14, 2022


    Mihai was deep in the FOF culture of crime. He was one of the first rank enablers who took their slice of the pie. He abused the trust of the general membership just as Burton did. He enjoyed the power, life style, money and sex that came with the position he carved out for himself. I don’t think it is OK and that because he moved on he is absolved. He has committed terrible crimes against that part of members that was genuine and seeking for wholeness. So now he is some woke guy in Grass Valley using his charisma to make a living as a therapist. There are plenty of others who fall into that category – the vainglorious and greedy, the corrupt and the opportunistic. Burton could never have done what he did without their complicity. To a significant extent Burton is the product of these people’s connivance. They are criminals.



    Associated PressJuly 27, 2022


     The Fellowship of Friends: A Cult of Gentlemen

    Dangerous Ideas S01E01

    12,127 views Aug 4, 2017 




    diegoJuly 30, 2022


    Sun newspaper today from the U.K., a Murdoch Tabloid





    44thWayJanuary 10, 2023


    This article about another cult sums up very succinctly how some of us ended up in it and how we came to leave:


    Heidi Thompson

    Dec 30, 2022


    I Was In A Sex Cult For 10 Years Here’s My Story



    GoldenVeilJanuary 17, 2023


    92. 44thWay


    I see that Robert Baker, known as Silver Ra, the Spiritual Activities Director of the Rudra Center for Enlightened Awareness in Denton, Texas and referenced often in the podcast by Heidi Thompson is described as “Embraces & shares the transformative life teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff.”




    In the podcast, Thompson relates (at 27:40) that even though she initially researched the Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society and found criticism online that it was a “sex cult” – she still felt compelled to become involved with the group. She not only became a practitioner, she became an assistant instructor, going so far as to bring her own mother into the group’s secret weird Quodoushka sexual workshops.


    A classic story of a vulnerability and cognitive dissonance.



    InsiderApril 12, 2023


    There are innocent, naïve, faithful followers, and then there is another layer between these followers and the leader. These are the people who may have once been blind followers, but in any case are now knowing and willing accomplices to the leader’s lies, manipulation and brain-washing. This group benefits directly from supporting the leader, primarily materially/financially, but also by being allowed a measure of power and importance. These people are heavily invested in keeping the leader in power, and defending him from any and all attacks, as their own hard-fought lifestyle, and imaginary picture of themselves, depends on it.


    In the Fellowship, such people, themselves virtual candidates for Hasnamuss status, are everywhere. They have names like Dorian Matei, Rowena Taylor, Edith Minne, Ethan Harris, Alan Schwartzberg, Wayne Mott, Linda Kaplan, Girard Haven, Mark Laskin, Helga Mueller, plus nearly the whole of Burton’s innermost circle of Galleria gophers and harem boys. They know Robert Burton is a fraud, that his behavior and relationship towards his “students” is entirely incompatible with a “real teacher,” whatever that might mean. But they keep silent in order to keep the fraud going for as long as possible, while they continue to reap the benefits. Taken as a whole, they are as despicable as Burton himself.



    UNDER THE INFLUENCE: The Destructive Effects of Group Dynamics by John D. Goldhammer, 1996


    From Chapter 6: The Collective Machine (pp. 180-81)


    Rationalizing Evil


    When one has once given Evil a lodging, it no longer demands that one believes it.  Franz Kafka 41


    The numinous quality of a group and its leadership is a seductive influence that results in individuals becoming adept at rationalizing anything the group does, no matter how cruel or unethical it may actually be, and no matter how abhorrent it may be to one’s individual conscience. Learned rationalizing into-the-collective is an insidious process that kills individual critical thinking. Anything a group does is accepted and defended because it is for “the big picture,” “the company mission,” “a higher purpose,” “saving souls,” or “for Jesus.” Thus propaganda, manipulation, lying, violence, and even murder become defenses of a just cause. War comes from people who are polarized inwardly and outwardly into good and evil camps – people who are unconscious of their inner evil camp. Sam Keen, in Faces of the Enemy, calls warfare “applied theology,” explaining that outside enemies make groups feel solidarity and purpose. Keen concludes, “We create surplus evil because we need to belong.”42


    Greed becomes “God’s blessing of prosperity for the group’s leaders,” or necessary compensation for the Godlike person who founded the firm. Human slavery translates into “giving oneself to a higher purpose – to something bigger than the individual.” “Something bigger” in any type of group-embodied ideal or cause is ultimately destructive for individuals and consequently for society as well.


    Leon Festinger, a social psychologist, theorized that “cognitive dissonance”43 provides an explanation of how persons rationalize different types of behavior. According to Festinger, cognitive dissonance occurs when a person is caught by two conflicting ideas, and tries to hold both as true. For example, a group I belong to tells me that Jesus is the only way to God. But, I happen to read the life of Krishna, Buddha, or Lao Tzu, and realize that they also seem to be quite Godlike. This contradiction creates tension (dissonance). Becoming terribly uncomfortable, and to eliminate the tension, I change one of my cognitions so that everything fits together in a manner that does not threaten my group’s viewpoint.


    For example, in the religious group I belonged to, we explained this problem of multiple world saviors by assigning a totalistic hierarchy, a spiritual rank to each individual. Jesus was number one – a four-star general; Buddha was close, but ranked as number two in the spiritual pecking order. Other mystics and saints of various religions were well thought of, but were in differing states of evolvement. Of course, the most spiritually advanced souls were those who most closely emulated the life of Jesus. Many New Age groups obliterate this dichotomy by claiming that former world saviors were actually past incarnations of the same evolving savior.


    In the end, such rationalizing simply stops legitimate inquiry dead in its tracks. We miss exploring the inevitable mystery of existence, grouping different approaches to life into one amorphous mass of collective non-thought. Anthony Pratkanis, in his book Age of Propaganda, wrote, “In these circumstances [cognitive dissonance], individuals will go to great lengths of distortion, denial, and self-persuasion in order to justify their past behavior. When our self-esteem has been threatened by our own past behavior, we all have a powerful tendency to become rationalizing animals.”44  Tragedy strikes us all when this rationalizing involves cruelty and violence to others, either psychological or physical. Destructive groups depend heavily upon rationalizing-out-of-existence all conflicting ideologies and viewpoints. Right to Life groups, who justify violence and the murder of doctors who perform abortions, are excellent examples of the destructive side of rationalizing. Murder, paradoxically becomes the “Christian” thing to do, when, in fact, Christianity teaches “thou shalt not kill.”


    Totalistically organized groups always assume they have the right to control individual freedom of choice and autonomy. The Inquisition made the same assumptions that religious and political groups make in modern times.



    From Chapter 7: Going Backward: Developmental Regression in Groups (pp. 189-191)


    Westerners bring so much baggage into the ashram. The spiritual search coexists with the inner child’s search for belonging.   Jean Callahan 1


    And the word “courage” should be reserved to characterize the man or woman who leaves the infantile sanctuary of the mass mind.   Sam Keen 2


    Groups behave at a much lower emotional level than do individuals so that group behavior is less psychologically mature. Thus, in group situations, affect emerges as an expression of group-induced regression.   Jerrold Atlas and Laura Porzio 3



    Survival Mode


    The situation [in groups] is not unlike that observed in children and undifferentiated adults where the lack of a distinct individuality leaves the mind without guards against the intrusion of influences from without.   Eric Hoffer 4


    Adult developmental regression in groups, a state of self-helplessness, results from the individual’s attempt to survive and adapt to the group ideology. An outside authority keeps one in a dependent state, whether the FDA, a religious leader, a politician, some deity, or an advertising campaign. Joseph Campbell described this dependent state:


    Now if there’s a way or a path, it’s someone else’s way; and the guru has a path for you. He knows where you are on it. He knows where he is on it, namely, way ahead. And all you can do is get to be as great as he is. This is a continuation of the dependency of childhood; maturity consists in outgrowing that and becoming your own authority in life.5


        In destructive groups, leaders become abusive parental figures while the members become ever more dependent and incapable of independent decision-making. The propensity toward developmental regression within such groups is so powerful that most people find it nearly impossible to not modify their behavior in some fashion in order to be accepted by the group’s leader(s) and by their peers.


        The dark side of groups initiates a process of developmental regression, which takes place on two primary levels: cognitive and emotional. Emotionally, one is drawn into a supportive group of friends and associates who become a replacement family. A social codependence quickly develops that is extremely difficult to walk away from. Cognitively, the group dynamic slowly changes one’s thinking and thought processes with the subsequent behavioral changes. As the group message, agenda, belief system, and rules gradually take over, all outside and inner events are interpreted through the group mind-set. One’s viewpoint becomes a collective viewpoint. One alters reality to suit newly acquired concepts and ideology. Anything that challenges that new reality is rationalized away, suppressed, or transformed into an enemy of the group’s purpose. The actual reversal of the individual’s normal growth and development is a distinctive feature of destructive groups.


    The Cult Awareness Network’s extensive research has shown that destructive groups cause these specific harmful effects in adults:


    1. Development of dependency and return to childlike behavior.

    2. Loss of free will and control over one’s life.

    3. Loss of spontaneity or sense of humor.

    4. Psychological deterioration (including hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, disorientation, and dissociation).

    5. Inability to form intimate friendships outside the group or enjoy flexible relationships.

    6. Physical deterioration and abuse.

    7. Involuntary, de facto servitude or exploitation.6


    In addition, according to Cult Awareness Network, destructive groups generally have some or all of these characteristics:


    1. Mind control (undue influence): The group manipulates by the use of coercive persuasion or behavior modification techniques without the informed consent of the individual.


    2. Charismatic leadership: A leader or small core of leaders with power and special privileges demand unquestioning obedience.


    3. Alienation: The group encourages and sometimes enforces separation from family, friends, and society, a change in values and substitution of the group as the new family — there is evidence of subtle or abrupt personality changes as members conform to the group’s social and belief system.


    4. A totalitarian worldview: The group has a we/they outlook: reinforcing dependence, promoting goals of the group over the individual and approving unethical behavior while claiming moral superiority, goodness, righteousness, or enlightenment.


    5. Exploitation: This can be financial, physical, and psychological – pressure to give money, work long hours, to buy courses, to give excessive time to special projects, and in some cases, to engage in inappropriate sexual activities.7


        Peer pressure in such a group is a formidable psychological weapon. When one first enters the group, one is commonly fawned over and made to feel very special and loved – a process often referred to as “love bombing.” This threshold experience of being accepted and loved feeds a deep, instinctual, childlike longing in human nature. Most persons want to belong, feel accepted, be needed, and be loved by others. However, this apparent acceptance and love from a group is conditional, which the new member quickly learns. In order to continue to receive this familial-style nourishment, new members must conform to and accept the group ideology. In fact, one soon discovers that increasing dedication to the group’s belief system results in proportionate increases of loving acceptance from the group.


        The group takes on a monolithic, parental, authoritarian role while the individual must play a childlike role in order to survive. As a reward, people receive love, acceptance, the illusion of belonging to something special, and the illusion of being special because of identification with the group’s mission or cause. Hence, one no longer functions as an adult but regresses to an infantile state of survival-adaptation.



    NevasaynevaApril 22, 2023


    Heaven’s Gate documentary on CNN “The Cult of Cults” is a story about an organization that has more similarities to FOF than I thought it would. I thought it was just a story about a crazy cult with a loony charismatic leader who separates people from their friends and families, and has a set of beliefs a kindergartner would laugh at.



    Associated PressMay 15, 2023


    Just in time for mother’s day:
    Cult news. How far can a cult take you?:


    Doomsday plot: Idaho jury convicts woman in murders of 2 children, romantic rival




    In news on this story:

    “Several family members and friends interviewed by detectives described them as having a strange doomsday-focused belief system, and some of the friends acknowledged adopting the beliefs as well. At times as many as 10 people were part of the loose religious group that met to pray, drive out evil spirits and seek revelations from ‘beyond the spiritual veil.’”


    “Lori Daybell’s close friend Melanie Gibbs told investigators Chad and Lori Daybell drew people into their circle of believers by giving them bits of information and flattered followers by telling them they were part of the select few who were supposed to carry out a special spiritual mission.


    Those who questioned the beliefs were pushed out of the group, investigators said.


    The Daybells used a special scoring system to determine whether people were good or evil, Gibbs said. Each person was assigned a number to indicate how many times they had lived before, as well as a ‘light’ or ‘dark’ rating to indicate if they had made a contract with God or Satan. People were also given ‘vibration’ scores and trustworthiness ratings, and those with high-enough ‘vibrations’ were deemed to be ‘translated,’ holding special powers.”


    “The group also believed that once a person became ‘exalted,’ they couldn’t be held responsible for their actions on Earth.”


    “Defense attorney Jim Archibald countered that there was no evidence tying his client to the killings, but plenty showing she was a loving, protective mother whose life took a sharp turn when she met her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, and fell for the ‘weird’ apocalyptic religious claims of a cult leader.”


    “Daybell [said] they had been married in several previous lives and she was a ‘sexual goddess’ who was supposed to help him save the world by gathering 144,000 followers so Jesus could return, Archibald said.”


    The rest is too gruesome to quote here.



    Associated PressMay 15, 2023


    Cult news. How far can a cult take you?:


    Kenya Doomsday [Cult] Death Toll Hits 200, With More Than 600 Reported Missing


    huffpost.com/entry/kenya-doomsday-cult-bodies-exhumed-mass graves…_


    “The victims were allegedly told to starve themselves to meet Jesus. Their bodies are being exhumed from mass graves in the coastal county of Kilifi.”



    Java Discover 

    Free Global Documentaries & Clips

    September 15, 2022


    America’s Extreme Cults: The End of the World That Never Happened | USA Cult Documentary


    Through the eyes of a group of people convinced that they knew the date of the end of the world, ‘Right Between Your Ears’ explores how people believe, and how we turn beliefs into certainties and then mistake them for the truth. 


    Many people have a strong sense that their views are right and couldn’t possibly be wrong. So how do we come to hold an unshakable conviction and why is it hard to consider that we could be mistaken? 


    A stock trader with a young family, a philosophy student about to graduate and a retail manager who became so convinced she quit her job of 18 years. As they face the consequences of their conviction, neuroscience and social psychology offer insight into how we can become convinced that we’re right, even when we’re wrong. 


    “A fun and warmhearted look at a community of doomsayers as they face the day of judgment, it ends up saying a great deal about how we all think.” — Louis Theroux 


    This documentary was first released in 2016.



    Tim CampionMay 28, 2023


    It has been brought to my attention that Google has taken down “Robert Earl Burton and The Fellowship of Friends: An Unauthorized Blogography of ‘The Teacher’ and His Cult” (see blogroll above.) Google was responding to a DMCA Complaint filed by the Fellowship of Friends on May 16th.



    InsiderMay 30, 2023


    By any chance, is that the same Google that hired Fellowship of Friends follower Peter Lubbers to run its Google Developer Studio, and allowed Lubbers to stack the department with Fellowship members, until a lawsuit and resulting negative attention became a detriment?


    And did not Google allow the inappropriate promotion of Fellowship follower and Robert Burton “love interest,” G*b* Pannell (son of Burton gopher, G*r*ld Pannell), more likely than not the result of a “friendly suggestion” from Burton to Lubbers?


    And now Google is protecting the Fellowship by shutting down the “REB” blog? Or are they protecting themselves?



    Joey Virgo May 30, 2023


    Although it’s true Google has taken down the Robert Earl Burton blogspot website, it still can be downloaded on the Wayback machine:





    InsiderJune 24, 2023


    The following quotation from Gurdjieff appeared in a recent communication from Asaf Braverman to his followers:


    “In distant times there existed a real knowledge, but owing to all kinds of life circumstances, political and economic, it was lost and only fragments of it remain.”


    And there are still many people, probably tens of thousands, who believe that there was/is a complete system, often known today as “The Fourth Way.”


    How in the world can “only fragments” of “real knowledge” be construed to be a complete system and method for spiritual growth and the attainment of “objective reason”?


    Robert Burton, Asaf Braverman, Dorian Matei, and the thousands of other so-called “Fourth Way” groups, are basically cons and frauds, unless they clearly disclose up front, and continually thereafter, that they are only sharing bits and pieces of “ancient knowledge,” with no guaranty of any particular result.



    “School” Stories



    PART  I   II   III   IV