The First Nationwide Alcoholics Anonymous History Conferenceby Dick B.
For the first time in decades, a leading scholar on early A.A. history addressed a nationwide A.A. And Writer, Bible student, Retired attorney, and Historian Dick B. told it like it was. His seven lectures covered the theme and purpose of the conference; A.A., its founders, and belief in Almighty God; the spiritual beginnings of A.A.; the real program of early A.A.; the Bible roots of A.A. - particularly the sermon on the mount, Book of James, and 1 Corinthians 13; the special spiritual contributions of Rev. Sam Shoemaker - whom Bill W. called an A.A. "co-founder;" and remarks as to what the Creator did and can do for the A.A. fellowship today. An extensive, relevant, bibliography is included in the printed comments in this book.
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Rarely have AAs heard any of their many good speakers tell them about their own history and spiritual roots. But this conference held in Phoenix was the first nationwide effort. It has continued. Dick B., the leading A.A. historian, was the principal speaker. He was joined by Dr. Bob's son Robert Smith and by Ray G., archivist at Dr. Bob's Home. This book contains the important observations at that conference.
Dick has become an old hand at the A.A. subject he loves and reports best--the complete and almost lost history of the early A.A. fellowship and all its many contributing elements. Way back in early sobriety, in Marin County, California, where Dick got sober, his little Steps to the Solution Group put on two never-before A.A. history conferences with books, exhibits, and knowledgeable speakers. They were (in the first year) Bill Wilson and Bob theselves (on video), A.A. Archivist from New York Frank Mauser, and Dick on the Oxford Group. 800 attended. Nest year, about 800 attended again. And this time the speakers were Mel B., Oxford Group activist Willard Hunter, Dr. Bob's son Smitty, and Dick on the Bible. Quite a few years went by until Dick organized the first nationwide A.A. history conference which is the subject of this book. Ray G. was there in Phoenix with all the Dr. Bob's Home archives. Smitty was there--shortly before his death--to tell the wonderful story of his father's founding days. Dick spoke for several hours on the entire history picture. And there was a panel of Ray, Smitty, and Dick. This conference has continued with other fine speakers. Then Dick organized the second nationwide A.A. history conference in Delaware--this time with a new time of historians: Veronica R. of Woodland, Karen P. of Pittsburgh, Ray G. from Dr. Bob's Home, Richard K. from Mass., and Dick. And out of this venture came the history cruises now beginning their third year under the organization and sponsorship of Veronica and Val R. with Ray, Mel B., Dick, and the R. couple as speakers. The point of reading this First Nationwide account is that it deals with the history of healing, the real history of early A.A., and the nonsense gods that have peopled the A.A. scene in recent years--higher powers that are light bulbs, spirituality that is 'not-god-ness,' half-baked prayers that have no biblical foundation or soundness. If you want to see what AAs can still do to serve thousands and thousands of present-day newcomers and to bring before them the real history of A.A. and its Biblical roots, then this is the book to start with. I'm all for it.