Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Early AAs Had Daily Meetings - NOT Oxford Group meetings!

One of the problems for those writing about history without doing their homework is that they make hurtful, erroneous statements that detract from the thrust and success of early A.A.

Here is an example of such an erroneous statement:

The original members of AA, between 1935 and 1939 went to only one meeting per week, and
that meeting wasn't an AA meeting - they were Oxford Group ...

That statement is false! Not only did the early A.A. pioneers fellowship together daily, meet together daily, attend Anne Smith's morning quiet times at the Smith home every single day, and often lived in early A.A. homes such as those of the Smiths, Wally G., and Tom Lucas.

The meeting to which the writer referred was a Wednesday meeting at the home of T. Henry and Clarace Williams. It was called a "clandestine lodge" of the Oxford Group--primarily because it was NOT an Oxford Group meeting. It was called an "old fashioned prayer meeting." Dr. Bob's son characterized it as an old fashioned "revival meeting." It was a Christian Fellowship meeting--once weekly that was attended by AAs, their families, their children, and a few Oxford Group people. But the focus was on helping drunks get sober. And that was not an Oxford Group mission. It was the mission of compassionate people like Henrietta Seiberling, T. Henry Williams, and Clarace Williams who had seen the results of belief in Jesus Christ, daily Bible study, Quiet Time, and witnessing after the miraculous cure of Russell Firestone by turning to Jesus Christ with the help of Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. on a train ride back from Denver, Colorado.

Let's look at two Alcoholics Anonymous General Service Conference-approved pieces of literature and put the misstatement in the trash heap where it belongs.

(1) DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980) states on pagea 131, 136, 142, 71:

"He must have devotions every morning--a 'quiet time' of prayer and some reading from the Bible and other religious literature."

"The A.A. members of that time did not consider meetings necessary to maintain sobriety. They were simply 'desirable.' Morning devotion and 'quiet time,' however, were musts."

"There were only half a dozen in the Oxford Group. . . We [the alcoholics] had more than that. Sometimes we'd go downstairs and have our meeting, and the Oxford Group would have theirs in the sitting room."

"Sue [Dr. Bob's daughter] also remembered the quiet time in the mornings--how they sat around reading the Bible. Later, they also used The Upper Room, a Methodist publication that provided a daily inspirational message, interdenominational in its approach."

(2) The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.1972, 1975) states on page 13:

"In the early days. . . our stories didn't amount to anything to speak of. . . . But we were convinced that the answer to our problems was in the Good Book. To some of us older ones, the parts that we found absolutely essential were the Sermon on the Mount, the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the Book of James. We used to have daily meetings at a friend's house."

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