The Heresy of the Twelve Steps
by A. Orange


"Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by Thy name, and by Thy name cast out devils, and by Thy name do many mighty works?'
And then will I profess unto them, 'I never knew you; depart from me that work iniquity.'"
Matthew 7:22-23


Christian churches would call the Twelve Steps heretical, if they would bother to read them carefully. Theologically, there are all kinds of things wrong with them.

  1. Idolatry
  2. Any "Higher Power" will restore you to sanity
  3. Selling Your Soul To The Devil
  4. Miracles On Demand
  5. God Will Do Anything For You
  6. God is Santa Claus
  7. Occult Practices
  8. Channelling
  9. The A.A. "Cure"
  10. Guidance
  11. Holy Puppets and Radio-Controlled Cars
  12. Summon a Demon
  13. Who Speaks For God
  14. Miracles Wear Off After 24 Hours
  15. Praying in Public
  16. Doing Nothing
  17. Powerless
  18. The Church of Loserism
  19. No Mistakes, No Accidents
  20. No Salvation
  21. No Salvation, Again
  22. Don't Tell The Truth
  23. Inherited Sin
  24. Abandoning the Bible
  25. Abandoning Jesus
  26. The Worship of False Saints and False Relics
  27. The 12 Steps Are Not Biblical, And Not Christian
  28. Job
  29. Spiritual, Not Religious
  30. Ordained Clergy
  31. Public Confessions
  32. Earned Grace
  33. We Are Not Saints.
  34. Evil and Immoral Prophets
  35. Causation and Control
  36. Afterlife
  37. The A.A. God





  1. Idolatry
  2. Possibly the greatest heresy in the A.A. dogma is this bit of idolatry: In the Alcoholics Anonymous program, you can use anything for your "God" or "Higher Power". A.A. has lots of stories of people using a bedpan, a teacup, a doorknob, a stone, a teddy bear, a mountain, a motorcycle, or "Good Orderly Direction" for their "Higher Power". You can pray to any Golden Calf, stone idol, or Higher-Powered item of Household Hardware that you like. You can even use your local A.A. group itself as your 'God' if you wish. One of the more ridiculous word redefinitions that A.A. offers us is, you can make the word "G.O.D." mean "Group Of Drunks".

    Another 12-Step organization, Cocaine Anonymous, even twists this into "G.O.D. = a Group Of Drug addicts".6
    So of course, in Narcotics Anonymous, "G.O.D." can be a Group Of Dopers.

    A.A. founder Bill Wilson wrote:

    "I must quickly assure you that A.A.'s tread innumerable paths in their quest for faith.   ...   You can, if you wish, make A.A. itself your 'higher power.' Here's a very large group who have solved their alcohol problem. In this respect they are certainly a power greater than you, who have not even come close to a solution. Surely you can have faith in them. Even this minimum of faith will be enough."
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 27.

    Most Christians are more accustomed to the idea of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost. Not very many of them will enjoy praying to a group of drunkards, and Seeking and Doing the Will of Drunkards. And I can't imagine Moslems, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, or Native Americans being too happy with such a "Higher Power", either.

    And "having faith" in a Group Of Drunkards is really stupid. What am I supposed to believe? That they won't relapse and drink some more? That they have a special hotline to God and are really expert on spiritual matters? That I can trust them with my life and my soul?

    In addition, the Twelve Steps talk about "God as we understood Him". Members are allegedly free to define God however they imagine or understand "Him" to be. Bill Wilson told A.A. recruiters to

    Stress the spiritual feature freely. If the man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that he does not have to agree with your conception of God. He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him. The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principles.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 93.

    What is that deceptive double-talk?

    • Atheists, who do not believe in the existence of a God, don't have to agree with the recruiter's conception of God, but they must believe in a spiritual "Higher Power", which, by definition, atheists don't.
    • How could an atheist possibly have a "conception" of a God Who will deliver miracles on demand when by definition he does not believe in the existence of any such thing?
    • And the atheists certainly won't be willing to believe in what they don't believe, so Bill's "main thing" isn't going to work for them.

    And what about,
    "He can choose any conception [of God or 'Higher Power' that] he likes, provided it makes sense to him."
    Oh really?

    • What if the prospective recruit is insane — a wet-brained nutcase who thinks that worshipping Satan as his Higher Power will solve all of his problems? Will the A.A. 12-Step program still work for him?
    • What if the newcomer is a pagan who wants to worship Wotan, Thor, and Loki?
    • What if the prospect is a Neo-Nazi who wants to use Adolf Hitler as his Higher Power?

    Such examples are of course absurd, but so is the statement that you can use any kind of a "God" or "Higher Power" you want, and that He will nevertheless perform a miracle for you — save you from death by alcoholism.

    Bill Wilson emphatically repeated that doctrine in the Big Book:

          Despite the living example of my friend [a sober Ebby Thacher] there remained in me the vestiges of my old prejudice. The word God still aroused a certain antipathy. When the thought was expressed that there might be a God personal to me this feeling was intensified. I didn't like the idea.   ...
          My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?"
          That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last.
          It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point. Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend. Would I have it? Of course I would!
          Thus was I convinced that God is concerned with us humans when we want Him enough. At long last I saw, I felt, I believed. Scales of pride and prejudice fell from my eyes. A new world came into view.
    Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 1, "Bill's Story", Page 12.

    That is obviously insane: "It's only necessary that I believe whatever I wish to believe, to get what I want. My new delusion will care about me."

    By the way, there was no "icy intellectual mountain" in Bill Wilson's life. That was just a phony act he put on to make his religious conversion seem much more miraculous. All of Bill Wilson's stories about being an intellectual, or an atheist, or a scientist, were complete fabrications, and totally untrue — a complete reversal of reality. The truth is, Bill Wilson was actually just a superstitious unintellectual flunk-out who put on airs of having been all kinds of things that he never was, like a stock broker or a scientist or an intellectual or a holy man.

    The A.A. auxiliary for the other family members, "Al-Anon", also teaches that we can choose any "God" we want. Al-Anon propaganda even goes so far as to say that we can hire and fire "Gods" as the mood strikes us:

          The concept of "God as we understood Him" was hard to grasp. My family believed there is only one way to view God. My parents used religion to keep me in line.   ...
          I realized the God of my parents had come in a very small box, not expansive enough for me. I fired that God and hired a new one. My new Higher Power is much bigger than the old one. He doesn't live in a box. He lives in me and around me. He loves me, cares for me, and accepts me just as I am — a work of art in progress.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 297.

    But I an curious. When you "hire" a "God", what do you pay Him with?
    What wages do "gods" find acceptable?
    Gold? Silver? Souls? First-born sons?

    Who says that everybody is qualified to "hire" the God of their choice?
    Who says that everybody's understanding of God is correct?
    Who says that just anybody's crazy beliefs are okay?
    Considering how different various people's opinions of God and religion are, they cannot all be correct. The Golden Calf, the stone idol, the bedpan, Doorknob Almighty, the Higher-Powered motorcycle as God, or "G.O.D. = Group Of Drunks" or "G.O.D. = Group Of Drug addicts" — those "conceptions" of God cannot all be correct.

    That is the heresy that the Catholic Church calls "indifferentism" — the declaration that all religions and Gods are just as good, and it doesn't matter which one you choose.7

    (Yes, Doorknob Almighty, Baal Bedpan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, Satan, or Jesus; it doesn't matter which "Higher Power" you choose, just as long as you believe in one, right?)

    But who decides which versions of God are acceptable to an A.A. 12-Step program? The sponsors? Where did they get their theological training? What seminary did they attend? Do theology lessons come packaged in bottles labeled "Jim Beam" and "Jack Daniels"?

    Bill Wilson's goal was ostensibly to be ecumenical, universal and all-embracing, to avoid religious conflict, but his solution to the problem was hardly sound theology. Something that tries to be everything to everybody ends up being nothing to anybody.

    And that is the error that the Catholic Church calls "syncretism" — uniting conflicting religious beliefs so as to reduce them to a common denominator that is acceptable to all.8

    In addition, Bill soon contradicted himself. Just any old conception of "God" or "Higher Power" will not do at all. The A.A. God cannot be just any spiritual "Power greater than yourself". The Alcoholics Anonymous "God" must be a meddling, micro-managing, order-dictating, prayer-answering, message-sending, wish-granting, miracle-delivering authoritarian power, or else the Twelve Steps will not work.

    If your personal version of "God" or "Higher Power" doesn't meddle and deliver miracles on demand, then

    • You won't get any power over alcohol, and your unmanageable life won't get managed in Step One, and
    • you won't get restored to sanity in Step Two, and
    • God won't take care of your will and your life for you in Step Three, and
    • your many "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings" won't get removed in Step Seven, and
    • "God" or "Higher Power" won't talk to you in Step Eleven, and give you secret messages and work orders and the "sure power" to carry them out...

    I talked to a friend last night who has struggled with the God thing for years and doesn't get it, but can't get out of their spell. Someone suggested that he get a cat and make the cat his higher power. I can't make this stuff up.
    == "sobeyondthat", May 14 2006


    "your 'Higher Power' can be your parakeet if you want it to be."
    http://www.collegemisery.blogspot.com/2010/09/because-drunk-dialing-is-uncool-at-any.html

    Joke

    I went to A.A., and they told me that I could use anything for my "Higher Power", even a doorknob or a bedpan. I decided to have a real higher-powered "Higher Power", so I got on my knees and began praying to Miraculous Microwave.

    All of a sudden, a brilliant light appeared inside it and blazed out through the holes in the front, and the oven began smoking, and a loud deep bass voice inside it growled, "ZOOOOL!"

    Bill Murphy the Ghostbuster walked in and said, "Hmmmm... You don't usually see such behavior in a major household appliance."



  3. Any "Higher Power" will restore you to sanity
  4. The idea that you can surrender to any "Higher Power" and it will be wonderful spirituality is nonsense. What if someone believes that Satan is the Master of This World, and that evil rules this world? How will surrendering to Satan and Evil work out?

    Or, what if someone believes that Reverend Sun Myung Moon really is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ? Or Bagwan Shree Rajneesh is God. Or Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada? Or Lafayette Ronald Hubbard is the Savior of Mankind?

    Will the A.A. sponsors instruct such a believer in "the correct beliefs", and "the correct faith", or will they say that the beginner's strange "Higher Power" is really okay, and will produce great results?

    So, will Satan or Moon or Rajneesh or Prabhupada or Hubbard really get people sober and deliver miracles on demand and correctly guide people in Step Eleven?

    Remember that A.A. claims that any Higher Power is okay, as long as it makes sense to the newcomer:

    Stress the spiritual feature freely. If the man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that he does not have to agree with your conception of God. He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 93.

    But what if the newcomer is insane? Lots of them are, you know. The A.A. Step Two even says:

    "[We] Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

    So what "Higher Power" is restoring that insane person to sanity?
    And how could an insane person choose the correct Higher Power to restore him to sanity before he gets sane?

    Please let me repeat that, it's so important:
    How could an insane person choose the correct Higher Power to restore him to sanity before he gets sane?

    A.A. says that an insane person can wisely chose the correct god to save him.



  5. Selling Your Soul To The Devil
  6. The A.A. story about your relationship with God is also rather curious. The way that Bill Wilson tells the story, you must surrender yourself utterly to your Higher Power (Who is supposed to be God, but Who might be a doorknob or a bedpan, or a Group Of Drunks, or something else), and be His slave, and do His bidding every day forever after. Every day, you must do Step 11, hearing the voice of God to get work orders and the power to carry out those orders . And then you go do what the voices in your head tell you to do.

    In return, He will do some magic tricks for you and take away your desire to drink alcohol, and also grant a few other wishes, starting with restoring you to "sanity" and taking care of your will and your life for you, and then removing all of your "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings".

    We were now at Step Three. Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: "God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!" We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 63.

    Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 100.


    I can't help but notice that the last time I heard about that particular bargain, the Higher Power's name was not spelled "G-O-D", it was spelled "S-A-T-A-N" or "D-E-V-I-L". You were supposed to sell your soul to the Big Horned Creature with the cloven feet in a Faustian trade for getting your list of wishes granted, and then you ended up being a sycophant slave of that Scaly Creature, doing His Will forever after, and living in His "new and wonderful world" that features faulty air conditioning...

    "Yes, Satan, I will surrender myself to you utterly. I will worship you and love you and give you my soul, and be your grovelling servant for all of eternity, in trade for you granting me this list of wishes right now — starting with the wish that you make me quit drinking. ...And then you have to take care of my mind, my will, and my life for me, and restore me to sanity, and remove all of my 'defects of character'..."

    One thing that the preachers told me about that Evil One is that he is very clever and lies a lot. They say that Old Beelzebub, the Lord of the Netherworld, isn't above claiming to be, and appearing to be, God or the Angel of Light or some other Higher Power, while he bargains with you...

    And a church that starts off by instructing you to lie and deceive — "Fake it 'till you make it" — "Act as if" — "Don't tell the newcomers..." — "...lure the reader in..."10 — "Don't raise such issues, no matter what your own convictions are."11 — "Dole out the Buchmanism 'by teaspoons, not buckets'..."12 is highly suspect. Did Jesus tell you to lie to the newcomers, and tell them that the program never fails, to get them to join the church? Was it Jesus or Satan who was called "The Great Deceiver"?

    "Yes Higher Power, I will lie for you, and practice deceptive recruiting for you, and tell the newcomers that God is 'a Group Of Drunks'...

    So I can't help but wonder, if you sell your soul to — "turn your will and your life over to" — Bill Wilson's vague Higher Power, or his "God as we understood Him", who can be anything from a doorknob to a bedpan to a "Group Of Drunks" to a "god", well, just who or what are you really dealing with and giving your soul to?

    "Come on, hurry up. Sign the contract. Abandon yourself to me utterly. And would you quit looking at my feet?"

    Just a thought...

    Come to think of it, if "God" can be a "Group Of Drunks" in Alcoholics Anonymous, and "God" can be a "Group Of Drug addicts" in Cocaine Anonymous, or a "Group Of Dopers" in Narcotics Anonymous, why can't "God" can be a "Group Of Devils"?

    Speaking of dealing, some of the early A.A. members seem to have thought that the "spiritual" program was a business deal, too. A.A. number three, Bill Dotson, is quoted in the Big Book chapter A Vision For You as saying this to Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob:

    "The way you fellows put this spiritual stuff makes sense. I'm ready to do business. I guess the old folks were right after all."
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 11, A Vision For You, page 159.

    "Yes, I'll do business with you, Higher Power. I'll sell you my soul, and surrender to you utterly, and be your grovelling servant for all of Eternity, in trade for you making me quit drinking right now. It makes sense to me..."

    Bill Wilson repeated the "deal" description of the A.A. program again while reminiscing about how he wrote the Big Book and the Twelve Steps:

    Well, we finally got to the point where we really had to say what this book was all about and how this deal works. As I told you this had been a six-step program then.
    ...
    The idea came to me, well, we need a definite statement of concrete principles that these drunks can't wiggle out of. There can't be any wiggling out of this deal at all and this six-step program had two big gaps which people wiggled out of.
    -- Bill Wilson, Transcribed from tape, Fort Worth, 1954.
    Was on http://www.a1aa.com/more%2012steps.htm

    "Yeh, don't you just hate it when they manage to wiggle out of the contract after you've made a deal for their souls? I mean, there you are, you've got a signed contract, you bought the guy's soul fair and square, it's a done deal, and then the damned fool manages to wiggle out of the contract at the last minute, just because of some darned nitpicking little legal technicality. It's really enough to frost your ass, even in Hell. Damn that Daniel Webster anyhow... And damn those Yankees, too, especially that floozy Lola..."


    Faust, 1926

    Faust, 1960

    Faust, 1994

    Faust, 2001

    This is how Bill Wilson described men joining Alcoholics Anonymous:

    Many a man, yet dazed from his hospital experience, has stepped over the threshold of that home into freedom. Many an alcoholic who entered there came away with an answer. He succumbed to that gay crowd inside, who laughed at their own misfortunes and understood his. Impressed by those who visited him at the hospital, he capitulated entirely when, later, in an upper room of this house, he heard the story of some man whose experience closely tallied with his own.
    A.A. Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 11, A Vision For You, page 160.

    Since when do you "succumb" and "capitulate" to a cure for a disease? You don't. What Bill is describing is men surrendering their minds and souls, not men getting cured of a disease.

    If you sell your soul to the Devil, do you have to get a receipt for tax purposes?

    == Mark Russell (Special on PBS, 28 April 2004)


    A.A. resembles Satan-worship much more than it resembles Christianity. A.A. is like selling your soul to the Devil in trade for sobriety. You turn your will and your life over to Satan in Step three, in a Faustian bargain where Satan will make you quit drinking. And then you must Seek and Do the Will of Satan every day in Step 11 for the rest of your life, and Satan will supposedly keep you from drinking. The Steps inbetween, where you list and confess your sins and wrongs and moral shortcomings, and list all of the people whom you have offended, entertain Satan and give Him many good laughs, and also make you believe that you really are low and evil and unworthy. And then you promise to lure newcomers in, and get more followers for Satan, by hiding the truth and not discussing any theological issues: "Don't raise such issues, no matter what your own convictions are." And you tell the newcomers that they can have anything as their "god", it's all okay. And you jabber "We are not saints" as an excuse for any and all misbehavior.

    Honestly, did Jesus Christ teach his followers that they should hide the truth from the newcomers, to lure them in, and only reveal the real nature of the church later? Did Jesus say, "Don't tell the prospects about the God stuff. Save that for later, after we have lured them in. There will be plenty of time to reveal the 'spiritual' nature of our fellowship later on. Dole out the truth by teaspoons, not buckets."?

    Was it Jesus or Satan who was called "The Great Deceiver"?


    Speaking of selling your soul to the Devil, Bill Wilson also wrote this about his hallucinatory belladonna experience in Towns' Hospital in December of 1934:

          At the hospital I was separated from alcohol for the last time. Treatment seemed wise, for I showed signs of delirium tremens.     ...
          My schoolmate [Ebby Thacher] visited me, and I fully acquainted him with my problems and deficiencies. We made a list of people whom I had hurt or toward whom I felt resentment.
    [i.e., Bill confessed his sins to Ebby. Then Ebby told Bill Wilson about the Oxford Group cult religion practices.]
          My friend promised when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems.     ...
          Simple, but not easy; a price has to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Lights who presides over us all.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, Chapter 1, Bill's Story, pages 13-14.

    That sounds okay, and even spiritual, until you remember that the Angel of Light is Lucifer. Jesus told us to have love in our hearts, not shiny lights in our eyes.



    An Al-Anon book of daily meditations even teaches the wives and children of alcoholics how to surrender and live lives that are "truly powerless":

          Steps One, Two and Three opened doors to profound and meaningful changes. The effects of being raised in an alcoholic family seemed as fixed in me as my eye color. Two traits come to mind — turning to emotionally unavailable people for support, and engaging in self-doubt and self-hate. With the help of my sponsor, I now see that these and other traits, not other people, are the source of my anguish.
          That insight, however, was only the beginning. The real freedom came when I finally admitted I couldn't get better on my own, which lifted my denial. My powerlessness filled my lungs, brushed my skin, beat in tandem with my heart. I stood at the edge of acceptance, took a step, and free-fell into Step One. I realized that if only I could remember I was truly powerless over these effects and not try to pretend otherwise, I would be fine. Why? Because of Step Two. A Power greater than myself can help me. What that Power is and how it can help me doesn't matter. It is only important that I can place my restless hope in this Power. In Step Three I then surrender my thoughts, feelings, actions, needs — my whole life — to the care of this Power.   ...
    "The more I feel my smallness and powerlessness, the more I grow in spirituality."
    Having Had A Spiritual Awakening..., p. 159
    quote from Hope for Today, page 233, published by Al-Anon Family Groups.


    Isn't it rather odd how that authoress claims that it doesn't matter who or what your "Higher Power" or "God" is, or how it might help you: "What that Power is and how it can help me doesn't matter."

    Talk about intensely anti-intellectual stupidity —
    "Don't bother your pretty little head with worrying about precisely which entity you just surrendered your mind, your life, and your soul to... It doesn't matter. One "Higher Power" is just as good as another. Just give up your mind and free-fall into Step One."

    Also notice the broken logic:
    "Why? Because of Step Two. A Power greater than myself can help me."
    That is just so much bull droppings. Step Two does not say that a "Higher Power" CAN help you and WILL help you. Step Two says:
    2. [We] Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

    Just because you believe that some unnamed ghost or demon or miscellaneous "Higher Power" spirit could make you sane doesn't guarantee that he really can do it and that he actually will do it. The authoress pulled a quick switch there, and substituted her own beliefs and wishful thinking for facts. She also switched the declared action of Step Two from "restore us to sanity" to "help me".

    Besides, Step Two is just a crazy piece of heretical nonsense that Frank Buchman made up and Bill Wilson copied. It doesn't prove anything, and it certainly doesn't obligate any Holy Spiritual or Evil Satanic being to do anything for anybody.



  7. Miracles On Demand
  8. One of the biggest heresies in the Twelve Steps is the demand for a miracle in Step Seven:

    [We] "Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings."

    No matter how humbly we ask for it, and no matter whether we do it on our knees, like the original version of Step Seven said, it is still a demand for a miracle, not just a polite request. We have made absolutely no preparations for taking care of ourselves and solving our own problems ourselves should God decide not to grant us that miracle. There is no Alcoholics Anonymous "Plan B."

    Bill Wilson became even more demanding in his so-called "Seventh Step Prayer" — Bill wanted every defect removed, and he wanted strength too, and Bill didn't even say please or thank you:

          When ready, we say something like this, "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen." We have then completed Step Seven.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 76.

    Well, Bill might have been done with Step 7, but was God done? Is God going to grant Bill's demands and make Bill into a strong, defect-free slave?

    (Also notice how Bill Wilson actually tried to con God — Bill argued that God should remove all of Bill's defects so that Bill would be a more useful slave for God.)

    God has to do it, or He will blow the whole 12-Step program. Step Seven is the heart of the entire A.A. self-improvement routine: You just wait for God to fix you. Literally. The rest of the steps involve making lists of all of your faults, wrongs, sins, defects of character, and moral shortcomings, and making more lists of all of the people you have harmed, and making amends, and wallowing in guilt, confessing your sins, and admitting that you are powerless and insane, but no other step actually deals with fixing yourself.

    What if God says, "No. You made your bed, now you lie in it..."?
    "Besides, what have you done for Me lately? Go fix yourself."

    If God doesn't fix you, then you are screwed.

    If God won't fulfill Bill Wilson's demands, and work Bill's Steps like Bill Wilson says, then your goose is cooked and you are in trouble.

    'But let's not think about that. Let's all just "come to believe" that God will fix us and make us quit drinking just because we humbly "pray" that He do it.'

    And He will, Bill Wilson says:

    We will seldom be interested in liquor.
    ...
    We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given to us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it.
    ...
    We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, pages 84-85.

    According to Bill Wilson, recovery from alcoholism is effortless. "It just comes." We don't have to do a thing. Our problems are magically solved "without any thought or effort on our part."

    That is obviously completely delusional nonsense.

    (No effort? Don't we have to go to a life-long series of A.A. meetings, and "Work The Steps" constantly, and "Seek And Do God's Will" every day? That's a lot of effort.)

    Remember,

    • we declared in Step One that we were powerless over alcohol,
    • and in Step Two, we declared that we were insane,
    • and in Step Three we gave away our wills,
    • so in Step Seven we demand a miracle — we demand that God actually change us, and take away the desire to drink, or else we will drink ourselves to death.

    That is very much like this temptation of Christ in Matthew 4.5:

    Then the Devil took Jesus to Jerusalem, the Holy City, set him on the highest point of the Temple, and said to him, "If you are God's Son, throw yourself down, for the scripture says,
            'God will give orders to his angels about you;
            they will hold you up with their hands,
            so that not even your feet will be hurt on the stones.'"
    Jesus answered, "But the scripture also says, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
    (Also see Luke 4.9.)

    You do not throw yourself off of a precipice, demanding that God save you before you hit bottom and go "splat!", and you don't demand that God keep you from drinking, or else you will kill yourself on booze.

    But the pro-A.A. literature still insists that we should do that. We find something very similar passed off as a wonderful "leap of faith" in the book Power Recovery, The Twelve Steps for a New Generation, by James Wiley:

    A Leap of Faith
    "I heard a noise in the kitchen, and turned to see my two-year-old son on top of the kitchen counter, teetering at the edge," said Mike G. "My heart almost stopped. 'Daddy!' he called, and stretched out his arms and leaped into space. I lunged forward and caught him in my arms. Later I thought: 'He had no fear of falling. He never doubted for an instant that I would catch him. How wonderful!' I thought, 'A true leap of faith. If only I could make such a leap of faith to my God.'"
          You, like Mike's little boy, may have the courage to go ahead and make that leap of faith. But even if you still have doubts, go ahead and risk it. "If you don't believe it, do it anyway," said Bill T.
    Power Recovery, The Twelve Steps for a New Generation, by James Wiley, page 46.

    What insidious nonsense. The Bible just specifically told us not to play games like that.

    Worse yet, according to the standard A.A. dogma, we can have any God or home-made "god" we wish. Our "Higher Power" can be any "Power greater than ourselves", or any "God as we understood Him". Our new god can even be a bedpan or a doorknob or a Golden Calf or a stone idol or our new "G.O.D." that is a "Group Of Drunks".

    Then, according to Mr. Wiley, we are supposed to faithfully believe that our personal made-up version of God is totally real and correct and all-powerful and able to deliver miracles, and we are supposed to believe it so fervently that we will make a "Leap of Faith" and jump off of a spiritual cliff, betting our lives and our souls that our home-made god will catch us before we hit bottom and die.

    And then they pass off that suicidally stupid behavior as wonderful "faith". Faith in what?

    • Faith in our own imagination?
    • Faith in our superstitions?
    • Faith in a Golden Calf or a doorknob?
    • Faith in our own delusions of grandeur? ("I'm so great that I can create a god.")

    How is any of that compatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ? (Or compatible with the teachings of Mohammed, or Buddha, or Seneca, or Confucius, or Soloman or Moses?)

    Just because we wish something were true doesn't make it true.
    Just because we make ourselves believe that something is true doesn't make it true.


    Note how similar that demand for a "Leap of Faith" is to Bill Wilson's demand that we abandon reason, human intelligence, and logic, and just have faith in his religious proclamations. See Bill Wilson's delusional trip to La-La-Land in the web page on religious faith for more on that subject.

    Also remember the Al-Anon propaganda that teaches wives and children of alcoholics to be "powerless" and "stand at the edge of acceptance, and take a step, and free-fall into Step One", which they claim will be just fine because some vague "Higher Power" might help you: "What that Power is and how it can help me doesn't matter..."


    Speaking of demanding miracles, if we get nit-picking about it, six of the twelve steps actually demand miracles from God:

    • Step One says that we are powerless over alcohol, so God must control our drinking for us, or else we will die. And Step One also says that our lives are unmanageable (meaning: we cannot manage our own lives), so by implication, God must manage our lives for us.
    • Step Two says that we are insane, and that only God can restore us to sanity, so we are demanding that God do that for us, too.
    • Step Three says that we are turning our wills and our lives over to the care of God, so God has to work for us and take care of us from then on, or it blows the whole 12-Step game.
    • Step Seven demands that God remove all of our "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings". And Bill Wilson also wrote in the Big Book that God will also remove our desire for drink "That is the miracle of it.   ... We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us."
    • Then, in Step Eleven, we pray for God to make us understand Him better, and to give us our work orders for the day, and then to give us the power to carry out those orders. One of the fundamental beliefs of both Buchmanism and A.A. is that God will reveal himself to us if we truly seek Him, so He had better do it.
    • And finally, in Step Twelve God is supposed to give us a "spiritual experience" or a "spiritual awakening" as our reward for having done the preceding eleven steps.

    And should God refuse to do any of those tasks for us, then it ruins the whole Twelve-Step program. If God won't play along, and Work The Steps for us, and do what we wish, then how can the Twelve-Step program possibly work?

    The simple undeniable answer is,

    "It can't."

    The whole Alcoholics Anonymous program depends on God micro-managing both our lives and the world around us, and granting our wishes and making everything turn out okay just the way that Frank Buchman and Bill Wilson said that He would if we followed their instructions.

    And we are supposed to believe that we are incapable of doing any of that stuff for ourselves, and God must do all of it for us. We are supposed to believe that we are completely powerless, helpless, insane, and unable to manage our own lives, and that only by having God make good little robots or puppets out of us can we live good lives.

    The A.A. slogan is: "I pray to God every day that I never get the idea that I can run my own life."
    And the other slogan is, "Let Go and Let God."

    It's interesting to see how cleverly both Buchmanism and Alcoholics Anonymous hide their demanding nature. The A.A. true believer will insist that he doesn't make demands of God, that in fact he does just the opposite — that he devotes his whole life seeking and doing the will of God. He says that he wants to be a perfect servant of God. But the entire A.A. program makes constant demands of God, interrupted only by Step Eleven's offer to do some work for God in return. The A.A. program is entirely based on the superstitious idea that God will become our servant and take care of us and give us what we want:

    I have no other explanation for the many good things that have happened to me since I have been in A.A. — they came to me from a Greater Power.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Rum, Radio, and Rebellion, page 367.

    That reminds me of a criticism of Frank Buchman's doctrines before World War II:

    "I count it blasphemy for Dr. Buchman, or anybody else, to pretend to testify to what God has done for him while humanity is at this moment perishing."
    Rev. John Haynes Holmes, quoted in The New York Times, July 16, 1934, page 9.


    In fact, A.A. has it exactly backwards: Many Christian believers will do something like give up drinking alcohol for Lent. They do not say, "God: you must take away my desire to drink or else I will drink myself into a stupor every night of Lent." No, they say, "I can control my actions. I will voluntarily give up the pleasure of drinking alcohol for Lent, to show my devotion to God."

    And to say that ordinary people can control their drinking, and give it up for Lent, but alcoholics cannot, is baloney, and a cop-out. It is just spiritual laziness, demanding that God fix what the alcoholic could fix by himself.

    And the alcoholics most assuredly can fix their problems themselves — there are millions of them doing it, including me, and doing it without the insanity of the A.A. Twelve Steps. (Admittedly, it's hard. Nobody said it would be easy. But there is an infinite difference between "hard" and "impossible.") In fact, more people recover from alcoholism without A.A. and the Twelve Steps than do it with them, several times over. The Harvard Medical School says that 80% of the people who successfully quit drinking for a year or more do it alone, without any therapy program or support group. A.A. won't tell you that; that's one of the biggest dirty little secrets that A.A. has — that A.A. is actually unnecessary. A.A. dogma says, "Nobody can do it alone." The truth is, the vast majority of the people who recover do it that way.

    As a matter of fact, the former President of the United States, George W. Bush, says that he just quit drinking when the consequences of heavy drinking and doping got to be too much. He says he didn't use A.A.. And this time, I believe him. Guess where George B. would be today, if he had had a sponsor who said, "George, don't let anything get in front of your recovery. Just keep coming to the meetings, and doing The Steps, and don't let some outside interest like politics interfere with your recovery." He'd still be sitting in a church basement in Texas, talking to the walls about how unhappy he is.

    Question: Shouldn't the A.A. faithful be calling George W. Bush a "dry drunk"? He quit drinking without doing the Twelve Steps, and that is the A.A. formula for becoming a bitterly unhappy dry drunk who is a seething cauldron of anger, resentments, and uncontrolled aggressiveness. So what do the A.A. enthusiasts have to say about that?


    The Bible has more to say about miracles on demand: Matthew 12.38:

    Then some teachers of the law and some Pharisees spoke up. "Teacher," they said, "we want to see you perform a miracle."
          "How evil and godless are the people of this day!" Jesus exclaimed. "You ask me for a miracle? No!"

    And Matthew 16:1 says:

          The Pharisees and Sadducees came and, to test him, asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He said to them in reply, "In the evening you say, 'Tomorrow will be fair, for the sky is red'; and, in the morning, 'Today will be stormy, for the sky is red and threatening.' You know how to judge the appearance of the sky, but you cannot judge the signs of the times. An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah." Then he left them and went away.

    Jesus just didn't like people demanding miracles and signs, did he?



  9. God Will Do Anything For You
  10. Bill Wilson wrote:

    "God ought to be able to do anything."
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Wilson G. Wilson, Chapter 11, A Vision For You, page 158.

    I have to comment:
    Yes, God can do anything.
    But where, true believers, does it say that God will do anything for you?
    When did God become your slave?
    When did God become like Aladdin's Genie who has to grant you three wishes when you rub his lamp?

    Countless millions of other people on this planet are suffering and dying from all kinds of things, particularly starvation and diseases, and God won't do just any old special favor for them. God lets them die. Sixty thousand people die of starvation every day on this planet, and most of them are children. That's just how it is. Millions of people are dying of AIDS in Africa. It's beyond being an epidemic — entire regions of Africa are being depopulated. Those people are far too poor to be able to afford drugs like AZT; their entire countries are too poor; it's totally out of the question; so they die without medicines. And God just lets them die, in spite of their prayers.

    But somehow, you 12-Steppers think that you are so special that you rate God's favors when they don't? What makes you think you are so special?

    • Drinking and drugging too much?
    • Brain damage?
    • Having white skin?
    • Imagining that only you and your group are doing the Will of God, and everyone else in the world isn't?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

    And mind you, that is not a criticism of God. It is a criticism of the stupidity of people. In the rather hokey movie Oh God! where George Burns played God, he had at least one great line, in which God said simply, "I don't do cheap magic tricks."

    That one simple line answers so much. Isn't it enough that the Lord created the entire physical Universe in a blindingly brilliant flash of light? Must the Lord also hang around this backwater planet and do cheap magic tricks to amuse the local yokels?

    If you can accept the idea that the Lord simply does not do cheap magic tricks, then you can accept the idea that God doesn't play Santa Claus, and God doesn't deliver miracles on demand. You can understand how

    • the Lord did not rescue Job in the Old Testament of the Bible,
    • and God did not save the Jews in Auschwitz, and
    • God did not even save Jesus when he was crucified.
    • God did not save the starving children in Bangladesh or Biafra or Ethiopia, and
    • God did not save the World Trade Center, and
    • God will not save the Africans with AIDS.
    That's a tough one to accept, but that's just the way it is.

    But if you do come to terms with that idea, the idea that God is not Santa Claus and does not grant wishes like a Genie who just popped out of a bottle, then it really blows a big hole in the theology of Alcoholics Anonymous. All of the people in meetings yammering about how their "Higher Power" is giving them a bunch of wonderful things becomes ludicrous. All of this talk about getting the goodies becomes childish nonsense and wishful thinking:

    • "Expect A Miracle"
    • We "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity"     The Big Book, 3rd & 4th editions, William G. Wilson, page 59.
    • "We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings"     The Big Book, 3rd & 4th editions, William G. Wilson, page 59.
    • "Let Go And Let God."
    • "We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves."     The Big Book, 3rd & 4th editions, William G. Wilson, page 84.

    This is also childish nonsense and wishful thinking:

    I have no other explanation for the many good things that have happened to me since I have been in A.A. — they came to me from a Greater Power.
    The Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, page 367.

    And so is this:

    We will seldom be interested in liquor.   ...
    We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given to us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it.   ...
    We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, pages 84-85.

    Sobriety is given to us "without any thought or effort on our part"?
    Not even going to A.A. meetings and doing Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps?

    (That is also one of those grandiose promises that never gets fulfilled. Cults make lots of them.)

    This is more childish nonsense and wishful thinking:

    Of course, the often disputed question of whether God can — and will, under certain conditions — remove defects of character will be answered with a prompt affirmative by almost any A.A. member. To him, this proposition will be no theory at all; it will be just about the largest fact in his life. He will usually offer his proof in a statement like this:
          "Sure, I was beaten, absolutely licked. My own willpower just wouldn't work on alcohol. Change of scene, the best efforts of family, friends, doctors, and clergymen got no place with my alcoholism. I simply couldn't stop drinking, and no human being could seem to do the job for me. But when I became willing to clean house and then asked a Higher Power, God as I understood Him, to give me release, my obsession to drink vanished. It was lifted right out of me..."
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 63.

    Alcohol must be really wonderful stuff for it to make God care about us so much.
    God doesn't seem to care about the starving children in Bengladesh or Biafra or Ethiopia;
    and God doesn't care about people dying in wars in Chechnya, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, or Africa;
    and God doesn't care about people getting sick from AIDS or tuberculosis or Ebola,
    but God sure does seem to care a lot if some white Americans get sick from drinking too much alcohol.

    All praise be to the alcohol that makes God care about us so much.

    People who imagine that God will grant all of their wishes and solve all of their problems and take away all of their difficulties do not understand the story of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane in his last night of freedom. There, Jesus prayed and asked, TWICE, to be spared from the agony of death by crucifixion. The answer was "No." God did not grant that wish.

    Nevertheless, the A.A. true believers imagine that they will get all of their wishes granted by "Higher Power" just because they "work the steps" and pray for stuff. As if they rate getting their wishes granted more than Jesus did.

    It is just like Bill Wilson babbling in his Third Step Prayer,

    "Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life."
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 63.

    And Bill also quoted another A.A. true believer as declaring:

    Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, page 42.

    It sounds like Santa Claus is coming to town.



  11. God is Santa Claus
  12.       "Lemme get this. You're going to church to pray that God will make Frank call you... Right?"
          "Right."
          "I don't believe this. Y'know, you're turning God into a telephone operator."
    — The movie Saturday Night Fever


    And those of us who try to be sane and reasonable in our religious beliefs get really tired of the moronic, superstitious, childish Santa Claus spirituality of the the A.A. true believers who think that they can get whatever they want just by praying for it — "Just incant the name of your favorite Higher Power three times, loudly, and then read your Christmas wish list out loud, and Santa Claus will soon bring you all of the goodies."

    And lest you have any doubts, Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book:

    Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. We shouldn't be shy on this matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly. It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it.
    The Big Book, pages 85-86.

    It works — it really does.
    The Big Book, page 88.

    Bill Wilson wrote on page 87, "We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends", but the giddy believers who are getting the goodies ignore that, and happily brag at meetings about all of the wonderful stuff that God has given them lately, like this...

    I have no other explanation for the many good things that have happened to me since I have been in A.A. — they came to me from a Greater Power.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Rum, Radio, and Rebellion, page 367.

    (Those good things couldn't have been caused by quitting drinking? They couldn't have been caused by no longer constantly shooting yourself in the foot by always being drunk at the wrong times? They couldn't possibly have been caused by being clear-headed, healthy, and able to work and get stuff done — just for a change?)

    And then the enthusiastic believers pray for even more goodies, as if God is their Divine Butler, on call day and night, always eager to solve all of their problems for them.

    Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
    My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
    Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends.
    So oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

    Oh Lord won't you buy me a color TV?
    Dialing for dollars is trying to find me.
    I wait for delivery each day until three.
    So oh Lord won't you buy me a color TV?

    Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town?
    I'm counting on you Lord, please don't let me down.
    Prove that you love me and buy the next round.
    Oh Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town?

    Mercedes Benz, Janis Joplin


    Unbelievable as it may seem, some 12-Step pundits see no problem with the Santa-Claus praying. The following religious advice comes from the sages of Al-Anon, in their official publication:

          Many times at our own, as well as at AA meetings, I have heard people talk of "gimme prayers" as if they were worthless. Speaking only for myself, I believe they could not be more wrong because I cannot think God considers any prayer worthless.
          Just as most children creep before they walk, and walk before they run, so we progress spiritually from "gimme" prayers to selfless ones where we ask only to know God's Will and to follow it. No one says the child is wasting his time creeping — he's just learning, just as we have to learn to pray.
          Furthermore, I cannot see that it is wrong to ask for material help, when the Lord's Prayer itself contains our plea for daily bread. I believe we get beyond the point of asking for purely material things just as some of our members are able to thank God for their having married an alcoholic and thus learning about our program.
    Al-Anon's favorite forum editorials, pages 63-64.

    • Al-Anon actually says that Al-Anon is so wonderful that it was worth it to marry an alcoholic and go through Hell just so that you would be forced to join Bill Wilson's version of Frank Buchman's fascist cult religion. You should be grateful to alcohol for having messed up your family's lives.

    • And greedily praying for all of the things on your wish list is just good practice in praying, they say. You are allegedly just getting used to praying, and learning to be a passive dependent and learning to expect some "Higher Power" to give you everything you want...
      That is some grossly heretical superstitious nonsense, of course.

      It is totally narcissistic for someone to expect Big Daddy, Big God, or "Higher Power" to take care of her and grant all of her wishes, as if she were a little child and God was the stern but loving parent who will bring gifts to His child when she is good.

      • As Dr. Charlotte Kasl pointed out in her book, Many Roads, One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps, that is a descent into infantile narcissism, where people regress to being helpless ("powerless") babies who lay in their beds and wait for their all-powerful ("Higher Power") Mommies and Daddies to grant all of their wishes and satisfy their every demand just because they cry.
      • It is an attempt to return to infancy, where the baby lays helplessly on his backside and waits for Big Mommy and Big Daddy to satisfy all of his desires (and screams if they are slow about it).

        "Let Go and Let God."

      Time to grow up and learn to stand on your own two feet, and not expect Santa Clause to bring the goodies.

      Incidentally, Jesus Christ never taught people to live passive lives of "Let Go and Let God." Jesus never told people to sit on their duffs and wait for God to do things for them. Jesus always talked about people doing things for themselves, and actively doing good.

      "Let Go and Let God" is just another bit of A.A. heresy.

      We are God's eyes in this world; it is our duty to see what needs to be done.
      We are God's hands in this world; it is our duty to do what needs to be done.

      "Let Go and Let God" will guarantee that God's work doesn't get done in this world.


      One of the most extreme examples of that goofy philosophy is taught by Al-Anon, the wives' and families' auxiliary:

      "I will realize that, even in doing nothing about my problems, I am actively practicing the Al-Anon idea."
      One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, page 143.

    • And Al-Anon says: "God never considers any prayer to be worthless."

      Oh really? Not even if it is Adolf Hitler, praying for all of the Jews to die?1

      "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."
      Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler, Ralph Mannheim, ed., New York: Mariner Books, 1999, page 65.

    I find it amusing that the Hazelden Foundation 12-step religious propaganda says that Al-Anon is all wrong and is practicing black magic:

    The wrong kinds of prayer can be a form of black magic, for when we seek to use a supernatural force to help us achieve our goals, it ceases to be supernatural and becomes superhuman. To make God into a servant is to place him under our superhuman power. Yet is this not exactly what we have long been taught to do? To get down on our knees and pray for God to go to work for us?
    The 12 Steps to Happiness, Joe Klaas, The Hazelden Foundation, Center City, MN, 1982, page 140.

    And, as usual, I am left with the question:
    "What does any of this theological argument have to do with quitting drinking?"



  13. Occult Practices
  14. Many churches will object to the occult practices inherent in Alcoholics Anonymous.

    Essentially, Step Eleven demands that the A.A. follower "channel" God. (Yes, channelling, just like Shirley MacLaine taught.) The A.A. member is supposed to just sit quietly, and pray and meditate until he hears God talking to him. Then he assumes that his own internal mental noise, the voices in his head, are The Voice of God, talking to him and giving him religious instruction and marching orders:

    11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

    (Note the contradiction here: The standard A.A. dogma says that you can use anything you wish for your Higher Power — a doorknob, a teddy bear, a bedpan, a motorcycle, or your A.A. group {G.O.D. == "a Group Of Drunks"}. But when you practice Step Eleven, and pray to Doorknob Almighty or Baal Bedpan, "God" answers back... Hmmm....)

    Bill Wilson learned this particular technique from the notorious fascist cult leader Dr. Frank N.D. Buchman, whose Oxford Groups would sit silently during the "Quiet Hour" and listen for God to give them messages. (Apparently, God told Frank that Adolf Hitler and Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler were really wonderful fellows.)


    The whole Buchmanite family participates in the Quiet Time.
    They sit quietly with notebooks in hand, ready to write down the messages that they receive from God.

    Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. We shouldn't be shy on this matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly.   ...
          When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.   ...
          On awakening, let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking...
    ...
    Here we ask God for inspiration...
    ...
    What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely on it.
          We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, pages 86 to 87.

    • So, if we practice the Twelve Steps enough, we will supposedly end up in a state of mind where we are in constant conscious contact with God, and God is just always talking to us and guiding us and telling us what to do, all day long.

    • We may get into trouble by doing all kinds of absurd things and believing all kinds of absurd ideas because we think that God is telling us to do it. We may, in fact, become totally delusional and crazy. Nevertheless, Bill Wilson says that "We come to rely on it" anyway.

      Obviously, the "God" to Whom Bill Wilson is referring here is not a bedpan, a motorcycle, or the "Group Of Drunks" in Whom Bill generously declared that we could believe, if we so chose, just a little earlier.
      It cannot even be a nice, vague "Higher Power" or "God as we understand Him"; It has to be Bill Wilson's fascist, willful Old-Testament dictator Who orders His followers around all day long, because teddy bears, door knobs, motorcycles, bed pans, and vague, foggy entities like "Good Orderly Direction" do not psychically dictate work orders and give power. So much for the freedom of religion that Bill promised us.

      Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world...
      The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 100.

    I saw a T-shirt today that said,
    "I do what the voices in my head tell me to do."
    I laughed.

    And then it occurred to me that if the T-shirt was being worn by a Buchmanite, or a true-believer Alcoholics Anonymous member, that it wasn't a joke.


    The same criticisms of the doctrine of Guidance that theologians and clergy leveled at Frank Buchman's Oxford Groups apply to Alcoholics Anonymous:

    • The person who is under Guidance discards his rational thinking mind and just follows impulses that he receives from he knows not where. He abandons intelligent planning of his life in favor of following sudden impulses that just come from somewhere — hopefully, but not necessarily, from a good source. His life often becomes erratic and impulsive, following now this moment's Guidance, and now that, breaking appointments and commitments on a whim.

    • And of course, there is the unavoidable question of "What is the real source of this 'Guidance'? — God? The subconscious mind? Or one's favorite demon?"

    • There is simply no Biblical support for this psychic practice.

    • Dr. Herbert Hensley Henson, the Bishop of Durham, said in his criticism of the Oxford Groups:

      Groupism discloses in its conception of 'Guidance' precisely the same error as that which infects its conception of 'witness'. It 'seeks a sign'. It insists on something precise, concrete, calculable. Its temper of mind is rather Pharisaic than Christian. It seeks proofs of Divine action in what is abnormal, amazing, even miraculous. Its view of inspiration is mechanical, and its treatment of Scripture literalist. Thus it comes about that, even in the process of exalting the genuinely Christian conception of the 'guided life', it perverts and lowers it.
      The Oxford Groups; The Charge Delivered At The Third Quadrennial Visitation Of His Diocese Together With An Introduction, Herbert Hensley Henson, D.D., 1933, page 70.

      With all of his séances and spook sessions, Bill Wilson was constantly 'seeking a sign'.

    • The people who advocate the practice of Guidance only use it to replace rational thought and intelligent thinking. They never suggest that someone should put on a blindfold and use "Guidance from God" to cross busy freeways, trusting his "vital new sixth sense" to tell him how to dodge cars, trucks and buses.

      I am reminded of a criticism of Frank Buchman's doctrine of Guidance:

      "Guidance is only to be sought in those matters which are usually matters for reason and common sense or for principles and conscience. No suggestion is ever made that we should substitute 'guidance' for our eyesight and walk across a busy street under 'guidance' with our eyes blindfolded. In other words, that in man which he shares with other animals is honored and trusted to do its work. The reason, which most obviously distinguishes him from other animals, is dethroned."
      — Mr. Reginald Lennard
      quoted in The Groups Movement, The Most Rev. John A. Richardson, pages 75-79.
      Morehouse Publishing Co., Milwaukee, Wis., 1935.

      If you really "have faith" and truly believe that God is guiding you in your every activity and inserting thoughts into your head all day long, then you should have no problem with making another "leap of faith" and walking across freeways blindfolded, trusting that the Lord will tell you when to go and where to place your feet... If the Lord is capable of giving you infallible Guidance in all important matters, then surely the Lord can be trusted to tell you how to safely cross busy highways and freeways.

      In Buchmanism, the best of the human mind is thrown into the trash can, while the lower centers of the animal brain are retained. Rational thought and intelligent thinking — the best of what separates us from the lower animals — are distrusted and discarded, while the optical centers, which even toads and snakes have, are still trusted to do their jobs properly. If anything, Frank Buchman got it all backwards. Carried to its logical conclusion, Buchmanism would reduce us to being dumb, stupid, unthinking animals who just mindlessly obey orders, or into brainless robots that are under external control.

      And so will Bill Wilson's version of the Buchmanism, where you spend your life "Seeking and Doing the Will of God".


    Seeking Guidance is a lot like using the I Ching to make every decision.

    The Buchmanite practice of constantly seeking Guidance for every decision reminds me of those people who, in the nineteen-sixties, became obsessed with the I Ching, and used it to make every decision in their lives.

    One consults the I Ching by drawing straws or throwing coins, the outcome of which determines which pages of the book one should read to get guidance, advice, and vague, suggestive platitudes ("Perseverence furthers").

    Some people who are knowledgeable about the I Ching say that you are not supposed to consult it more than a few times in your life — that it was never intended to be a daily guide in all matters.

    It is easy to see that someone who uses the I Ching and the random outcome of coin tosses to determine his whole life is misguided and obsessed with the occult. What is less obvious is that someone who uses mainstream religions (even Christianity and the Bible) in the same manner is making the same error.

    Frank Buchman's Guidance and Bill Wilson's Eleventh Step are also undoubtedly that same error.


    When God wasn't talkative enough, the A.A. founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith turned to the Ouija board to get more messages from the spirits. The official A.A. biography of Bill Wilson and history of Alcoholics Anonymous, PASS IT ON, tells us, on pages 275 to 280, how both Bill and Bob pursued their interest in spiritism during the 1940's. They believed that it demonstrated the existence of the "Higher Power" so central to their A.A. program.

    PASS IT ON says: "One of Bill's persistent fascinations and involvements was with psychic phenomena." It speaks of his "belief in clairvoyance and other extrasensory manifestations" and his belief in his own psychic ability. (Page 275.) "This was not a mere pastime. It was a passion directly related to AA which went on for many years." (Page 280.)

    Likewise, Susan Cheever reported, 'Like Bill, Bob believed in paranormal possibility [sic.] and the two men spent time "spooking," invoking the spirits of the dead.'5


    A 1917 Fuld Ouija board
    Thus, shortly after the Wilsons moved into their Bedford Hills home, Bill and friends began to hold regular "spook sessions", complete with mysterious messages on a Ouija board, spirit rapping, and channelling of spirits. Bill Wilson even set aside one downstairs room as the "spook room" where the séances were held. (It is still there. You can go visit the house "Stepping Stones" and see the spook room, downstairs to the left, complete with book shelves loaded with occult books.)

    UPDATE: Feb. 2012: Alas, the latest news is that the managers of Stepping Stones refurbished and refurnished the room, and got rid of all evidence of spooking.

    Bill Wilson fancied himself an "adept", "gifted" in the psychic sense, and he served as a medium for a variety of discarnate entities who chose to speak through him in séances and "spook sessions." One account published in the official A.A. history book, PASS IT ON, tells of a pre-breakfast conversation that Bill had with a trio of ghosts — whom Bill Wilson claimed were three distinct long-dead Nantucket citizens — during a trip to Nantucket in 1944. (Pages 276-278.)
    (Actually, that conversation with the old ghosts of Nantucket looks suspiciously like a faked psychic stunt.)

    Henrietta Seiberling wrote that Wilson also practiced automatic writing, which is supposed to be a way of receiving the thoughts of a dead person. How it works is, you relax and clear your mind, and then just write down whatever comes into your head. Then you imagine that your writings are messages from departed people or other spirits. Bill imagined that he wrote dictation from a Catholic priest who had lived in the 1600 period in Barcelona, Spain.

    In the official A.A. history book 'PASS IT ON', Bill Wilson described the "spook sessions" this way:

          "The ouija board got moving in earnest. What followed was the fairly usual experience — it was a strange mélange of Aristotle, St. Francis, diverse archangels with odd names, deceased friends — some in purgatory and others doing nicely, thank you! There were malign and mischievous ones of all descriptions, telling of vices quite beyond my ken, even as former alcoholics. Then, the seemingly virtuous entities would elbow them out with messages of comfort, information, advice — and sometimes just sheer nonsense."
          Bill would lie on the couch in the living room, semi-withdrawn, but not in a trance, and "receive" messages, sometimes a word at a time, sometimes a letter at a time. Anne B., neighbor and "spook" circle regular, would write the material on a pad. Lois describes one of the more dramatic of these sessions:
          "Bill would lie down on the couch. He would 'get' these things. He kept doing it every week or so. Each time, certain people would 'come in.' Sometimes, it would be new ones, and they'd carry on some story. There would be long sentences; word by word would come through. This time, instead of word by word, it was letter by letter. Anne put them down letter by letter."
    Bill and Lois Wilson, quoted in
    'PASS IT ON': The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. staff, 1984, pages 278-279.
    See larger quote here.

    Notice how Bill Wilson clearly stated that he received messages from evil spirits, something that he also denied or minimized when it suited him to do so.

    Bill Wilson declared that the A.A. involvement with the occult was extensive and commonplace, not a rare or exceptional thing. In a lengthy letter to Rev. Sam Shoemaker in 1958, Bill wrote:

    Throughout A.A., we find a large amount of psychic phenomena, nearly all of it spontaneous. Alcoholic after alcoholic tells me of such experiences and asks if these denote lunacy — or do they have real meaning? These psychic experiences have run nearly the full gamut of everything we see in the books. In addition to my original mystical experience, I've had a lot of such phenomenalism myself.
    'PASS IT ON'; The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, 'anonymous' (A.A.W.S. staff), page 374.

    Bill enthusiastically wrote to his Catholic Priest friend, Father Ed Dowling, telling about the help and guidance he was receiving from spirits of the dead while writing his second book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (July 17, 1952):

    ...Bill adds, "But I have good help — of that I am certain. Both over here and over there." The "over there" refers to the spirit world. Bill slipped in this voice from the other side like this was an everyday happening. It was, he said, the voice of Boniface, an apostle from England to Germany, Bavaria, and France, who reformed old church structures, and as bishop with powers from Rome, set up new monasteries and bishoprics. Amazing, that Bill with hangups on the hierarchical church was open to receiving help from a dead bishop.

    One turned up the other day calling himself Boniface. Said he was a Benedictine missionary and English. Had been a man of learning, knew missionary work and a lot about structures. I think he said this all the more modestly but that was the gist of it. I'd never heard of this gentleman but he checked out pretty well in the Encyclopedia. If this one is who he says he is — and of course there is no certain way of knowing — would this be licit contact in your book?
    He checked with Dowling to discern the spirit. Bill ended this letter by saying that he is "coming back to earth" (from Boniface) and that Harper was interested in publishing the book.106

    106. Pass It On, Chapter 16, has a wonderful description of the time Bill heard voices who gave him their names in Nantucket. Their exact names checked out both in the graveyard and in the whaling museum.

    The Soul of Sponsorship: The Friendship of Fr. Ed Dowling, S.J. and Bill Wilson in Letters, edited by Robert Fitzgerald, S.J., pages 59 and 116 (footnote).
    Hazelden Pittman Archives Press, Center City, MN, 1995.

    The reason that "their exact names checked out" was probably because it was a faked psychic stunt.

    And so was the stunt with Boniface.

    All that Bill Wilson had to do was go to either the public library in New York City or the library at Columbia University, and find an old manuscript or book of the sermons of Boniface, and memorize a few paragraphs from it (in Latin), and then recite them during a séance. He recited them letter by letter, so he didn't even have to get the pronunciation correct.

    And how was the message verified as coming from Boniface? By a scholar or minister looking it up and finding it in an old book about Boniface.

    And if you think about it for a while, you have to wonder: "If it were really the spirit of Boniface, why would Boniface waste a precious opportunity to communicate with humanity by just repeating one of his old sermons that had already been written down and printed in a book? Why wouldn't Boniface send a new message, something that he had learned from five centuries of dwelling in Heaven?"

    Ah, but if Boniface did that, then Bill Wilson would have a hard time getting it "verified" as coming from Boniface, wouldn't he?


    Father Edward Dowling, S.J.

    Father Dowling's response was far less enthusiastic. He felt that Bill was messing with lying evil spirits from the dark side:

    "Boniface sounds like the Apostle of Germany. I still feel, like Macbeth, that these folks tell us truth in small matters in order to fool us in larger. I suppose that is my lazy orthodoxy."
    Letter from Fr. Ed Dowling to Bill Wilson, July 24, 1952,
    The Soul of Sponsorship: The Friendship of Fr. Ed Dowling, S.J. and Bill Wilson in Letters, edited by Robert Fitzgerald, S.J., page 59.

    Bill wrote back that he felt that the attitude of the Catholic Church towards his psychic contacts was narrow-minded and unreasonable:

    "It doesn't seem reasonable to think that the Devil's agents have such direct and wide open access to us when other well-disposed discarnates including the Saints themselves cannot get through. That is, in any direct way. Since prudent discrimination and good morality is necessary when we deal with people in the flesh, why shouldn't these be the rule with discarnate, too. So motivated, I don't see why the aperture should be so large in the direction of the Devil and so small in the direction of all the good folks who have gone ahead of us. One can't blame the Church for being cautious but I do sometimes wonder if the view isn't rather narrow and even monopolistic. To assume that all communications, not received under Church auspices, are necessarily malign seems going pretty far. I'm not sure the Church says this but that is what the inference always seems to be. I do say this, though, more in the nature of speculation than argument, for the spook business is no longer any burning issue so far as I am concerned. Without inviting it, I still sometimes get an intrusion such as the one I described in the case of the purported Boniface."
    Letter from Bill Wilson to Fr. Ed Dowling, August 8, 1952,
    The Soul of Sponsorship: The Friendship of Fr. Ed Dowling, S.J. and Bill Wilson in Letters, edited by Robert Fitzgerald, S.J., page 61.

    The ghosts were talking to Bill Wilson without him even inviting them? Bill really did have mental problems, didn't he?

    Also notice the mind game that Bill Wilson was playing. Bill first wrote to Father Dowling with a "wowy-zowy look-at-me" attitude, bragging about his psychic contacts, but when Father Dowling expressed disapproval and wouldn't bite on that hook, Bill changed his rap and declared that he had lost interest in "the spook business". But Bill's séances and "spook sessions" still went on for years.

    Many of the early A.A. members were very disturbed by Bill Wilson's occult activities, and they tried to get him to stop it. One, Sumner Campbell, wrote to a man whom they all respected, C. S. Lewis at Cambridge University in England, describing Bill Wilson's spook sessions and asking his opinion. Lewis wrote back with total disapproval, saying, "This is necromancy. Have nothing to do with it." Bill Wilson ignored the criticism and continued conducting his séances and communicating with the dead people each evening anyway.3 (That is the same C. S. Lewis as the author who is famous for the Tales of Narnia books like The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and also The Screwtape Letters.)

    Father Dowling's skepticism and reluctance to endorse Bill's forays into the occult isn't very surprising, considering that the Bible explicitly bans such superstitious nonsense, under penalty of death:

    Don't sacrifice your son or daughter. And don't try to use any kind of magic or witchcraft to tell fortunes or to cast spells or to talk with the spirits of the dead.
          The LORD is disgusted with anyone who does these things, and that's why he will help you destroy the nations that are in the land. Never be guilty of doing any of these disgusting things!
    Deuteronomy 18:10-13

    Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.
    Leviticus 19:31

    I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.
    Leviticus 20:6

    They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His presence ...
    2 Kings 17:17,18

    You shall not allow a woman to live who practices sorcery.
    Exodus 22:18

    A man or woman who is a medium and has a familiar spirit or is a wizard shall surely be put to death, be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.
    Leviticus 20:27


    Unfortunately, the A.A. national headquarters has sealed the records of Bill's "spook sessions" and doesn't allow any scholars, investigators, curious members, or nosy skeptics to see them any longer, so we can't get any more of those interesting details of Bill Wilson's and Doctor Bob's contacts with the spirits from the Great Beyond.4

    But, perhaps, if you practice Step Eleven enough, you too will start hearing voices in your own head... And maybe, if you hold séances and use the Ouija board, automatic writing and spirit rapping, you can contact the spirit of Bill Wilson directly, and ask him about this stuff yourself.

    See "The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A." for more of Bill's supernatural shenanigans.

    Also see what Nell Wing, Bill Wilson's secretary for many years, wrote about Bill's spook sessions.

    Speaking of people trying to hide the truth, the lengths to which some true-believer Alcoholics Anonymous apologists will go to rationalize and explain away Bill Wilson's occult practices are both disgusting and amusing. In her white-washing biography of Bill Wilson, Susan Cheever (also author of Note Found In A Bottle), wrote,

          Perhaps we are right to think that the dead are gone forever, locked away somewhere that makes communication with us impossible. Or perhaps that isn't what has happened. Perhaps what has happened is that our modern world distracts us and distances us so completely that we no longer hear the voices of the dead. Even when we are present at a deathbed, and this is a rare occurrence, the corpse is whisked away by men from the funeral home and reappears in a sanitized version, dressed and made up and laid in an expensive box.
          Usually, though, the coffin is closed, and the grave prepared by strangers and then filled in by them after everyone has gone home. Today we are so removed from the process of dying and burying the dead that it's no wonder that the dead don't seem to be around. Both Bill Wilson and Bob Smith came from a different world, an old-fashioned world where the difference between the living and the dead was not as clear.
          Sometimes the Wilsons used a Ouija board. A flat piece of wood marked with two lines of alphabet and two lines of numbers....
    My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson — His Life And The Creation Of Alcoholics Anonymous, Susan Cheever, page 204.

    What unmitigated bull. I have personally seen a family member die. Then friends and I dug the hole and made the coffin, and conducted the funeral, but that experience did not make me suddenly start conducting séances and playing with Ouija boards, trying to communicate with the spirits of the dead.

    Also notice how Susan Cheever is actually trying to rationalize away Bill Wilson's crazy occult practices with "Sly Suggestions": "Perhaps ... the dead are NOT gone forever, locked away somewhere that makes communication with us impossible..."
    As in, "Maybe we just can't hear the dead people as well as Bill Wilson could..."

    I am curious: Does Susan Cheever personally conduct séances and practice necromancy, or is she just trying to argue that it was perfectly reasonable for Bill Wilson to do it? Did Susan conduct spook sessions and contact the spirit of Bill Wilson during her research for her book, to get more intimate details about Bill's life? If not, why not? Doesn't she really believe in it? Does Susan Cheever really believe that practicing necromancy is crazy?

    Susan Cheever appears to be in denial when it comes to the truth about Bill Wilson, and she will go to extreme lengths to try to make Bill Wilson out to be a great man — even a genuine psychic — rather than a mental case and a fraud. She even ended her chapter about The Spook Room by strongly implying that Bill was right — that he really did talk with dead people. Cheever wrote that each evening, Bill and Lois would conduct a séance, and:

          A quiet would come over them, almost as if they were conducting a group meditation. Lois would calm her beating heart and gaze out at her gardens. Up the hill, in the fading light, she could just make out the outline of Wit's End. Bill would take his place on the long sofa — one of the few pieces of furniture that could accommodate his entire length.
          Outside, they could hear birdsong, the warblers and finches from the garden. Sometimes Bill would unfold his body from the sofa, take down one of his violins, and saw out some sweet country tune. Then he would lie down and there would be silence again in the room, now lit with a few candles.
          There would be a slight, almost imperceptible stir in the silent air, as if someone had come invisibly to keep them company. The curtains rustled in the evening breeze. The smoke rising from the ashtray wavered. The smell of the outdoors, the new-mown grass in the summer or smoke from the piles of burning leaves in the autumn, would fade from their senses. Even the sounds from nature seemed to enter the trance. They could hear a silence beyond silence. Then there would be an almost inaudible tap, or Bill's quiet voice would begin to form a letter.
          Bill and Lois had a rich past together, and on these evenings they were in the presence of the past, in the company of the Yankee householders clustered around their kitchen tables on cold nights before they had electricity. They were in the presence of all their own dead, of Bill's cousin Clarence whose sad violin had been Bill's first fiddle, and the stern Fayette and Ella Griffith, of Lois's beloved mother, and her handsome father who read Swedenborg's teachings to his children in their Clinton Street living room, of all those who had passed on before them.
    My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson — His Life And The Creation Of Alcoholics Anonymous, Susan Cheever, page 204.

    You have to give Susan Cheever credit where credit is due — she has a poetic way with words. You can almost smell the autumn leaves burning. You can almost see the Bedford Hills woods in the fall. But all of that picturesque fluff has absolutely nothing to do with Bill Wilson being a phony psychic and a nut-case who dabbled in the occult. Cheever should learn that there is an immense difference between spirituality and superstition. There is also a big difference between "spirituality" and "spiritism".

    Note that in November of 2004, after Susan Cheever published her book My Name Is Bill, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency — the NCADD — the A.A. front group that was founded by "Mrs." Marty Mann to promote Alcoholics Anonymous. If Cheever helps to write the NCADD promotional literature, then I would guess that there will be even less of a connection between their propaganda and reality.

    Ask yourself, do you really want to get your advice and information about the critical life-or-death issue of alcohol addiction from some wackos and crazies who think that conducting séances and spook sessions and talking to ghosts and spirits of the dead — necromancy — is perfectly normal and acceptable behavior, and even a jolly good thing to do?



  15. Channelling
  16. Some of the friendly spirits who wish to contact you from the other side...

    Ted Bundy

    Hannibal Lector

    Jeffrey Dahmer

    Caligula


    Father Dowling's attitude towards Bill Wilson's "channelling" reveals another problem with the occult: Bill made the mistake that a lot of occultists make — he simply assumed that the spirits with whom he was supposedly making contact were usually good, benevolent spirits who had only the best of intentions towards the living — in spite of his description of a séance where evil souls also came visiting: "There were malign and mischievous ones of all descriptions, telling of vices quite beyond my ken..." Channellers like to assume that because a spirit does not have a physical body, that it can not be selfish. Logically, if people turn into ghosts, then there must be all kinds of evil ghosts around, left over from evil people, of whom there is certainly no shortage in this world. Why couldn't Bill or any other channeller be accidentally channelling the ghost of Adolf Hitler or Caligula or some serial killer who just got executed?

    Why should death transform an evil personality like Adolf Hitler into a kindly, loving spirit who will just always tell us the truth and only pass on the best of cosmic wisdom to us? I see little reason to believe that death would just suddenly make an angel out of Adolf. If we are channelling and opening ourselves up to random spirits, why wouldn't a creep like Hitler occasionally show up and lie to us about who he is, and try to fool us into thinking that he was a good ghost, and then try to poison our hearts and minds with his evil and his hatred? After all, that's pretty much what he did while he was alive.

    And Bill Wilson was assuming a lot when he assumed that he would always be able to tell the difference between the good ghosts and the bad ghosts who came a'visiting. Presumably, the really clever bad ghosts won't tell you that they have evil ulterior motives. They will lie to you. After all, they are evil spirits, aren't they?

    For that matter, why mess around with the small fry? I mean, Bill Wilson and Frank Buchman insisted that we would talk to nothing less than God Almighty Himself when we sought Guidance during our Quiet Time. So why couldn't — wouldn't — the Big Guy for the Other Side show up? And how could we tell for sure which one was talking to us? After all, Lucifer was said to be very beautiful — he was The Angel of Light before his big fall. — And he is now said to be very clever and very convincing.


    In their excellent book, "The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power", the authors Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad talked about channelling. One of the problems with channelling that they brought up was just how many completely unfounded assumptions come along with the idea of channelling, in an unconsciously accepted package deal:

    1. Being disembodied makes the entity a pure (or purer) voice of cosmic wisdom and spirituality.
    2. The entity not only knows more, but can access information otherwise inaccessible, or at least exceedingly difficult to get on one's own.
    3. The entity tells the truth.
    4. People's well-being is the entity's basic interest.
    5. The entity knows what's best for a given human or humans in general.
    6. These entities would not be motivated by power or wrongly manipulate those who come to them. In short, they have no self-interest.
    7. One is better off getting the information than not.
    8. The fact that most channels put forth a similar message and share a similar worldview is sufficient proof that what they say must be for the most part true.
      The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, page 123.

    So, like we were saying, everybody just assumes that they are not channelling the spirit of Hannibal Lecter or Theodore Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer. And, for that matter, nobody ever seems to get Forrest Gump, either. It's always Cleopatra or St. Francis of Assisi or Joan of Arc or some genius like Einstein...

    Worse yet, everybody just happily assumes that "the spirits" know what they are talking about, and tell the truth, and really do have peoples' best interests at heart. We have, of course, no evidence to support such giddy Pollyanna beliefs.


    Kramer and Alstad go on to describe A Course in Miracles, which is described by its promoters as a manual that will teach you how to be a channeller, and which will even put you in contact with the spirit of Jesus Christ, they say.

    In their book Crazy Therapies, Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer and Janja Lalich described A Course In Miracles this way:

    Another remarkable publication, A Course in Miracles, first came forth in 1975. Helen Schucman, a psychologist at Columbia University, claimed that for seven years, starting in 1965, she had been the channel for the voice of none other than Jesus. According to Schucman, "the Voice" began by saying, "This is a course in miracles..." with such force that Schucman felt compelled to take notes. The Voice's dictations resulted in a twelve-hundred-page work, including a teacher's manual, which was published in three volumes by several of Schucman's colleagues. Initially, hundreds of thousands of sets were sold by word of mouth. To date, the current publisher claims that more than a million copies of the three-volume set have been sold.
          The Course, or ACIM (as it is sometimes referred to by its advocates), has been wildly popular and regarded as helpful by many since the 1980s. Yet in discussions or reviews it is rarely mentioned that Schucman was raised in a metaphysical environment, that she professed to receive signs from God as early as age four, and that the Course was little different from much of her own previous writings that weren't "channelled."
    Crazy Therapies; What are They? Do They Work?, Margaret Thaler Singer and Janja Lalich, pages 74-75.

    Much of A Course In Miracles sounds disconcertingly similar to some aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous:

    ...the course more than intimates that through the proper practice (doing its lessons), anyone can become a channel for the spirit of Christ.
          All channelled information, including religions, creates a closed system that is entirely self-referential. Any challenges from outside can be deflected by calling them limited understanding. So there is little to be gained from debating the validity of the Course's worldview. Rather, we want to show that its worldview is renunciate, and contrary to the posture that people must rely on themselves, A Course in Miracles is authoritarian. We single it out because it is a classic example of programming thought to renunciate beliefs.
          Although the Course calls itself essentially Christian, it does away with Christianity's more unpalatable dogmas, such as sin, a judgemental God, and damnation. Instead, like the Eastern Oneness perspective, it calls the world we live in an illusion to be transcended and is specific about calling all separation an illusion. It likewise denigrates the self and self-centeredness with such statements as "Either God or ego is insane." Its central message is that through surrendering to God's will, which is pure love, illusions will evaporate and one will be eternally at one with God. The essential methodology used to achieve this is forgiveness. Instead of being forgiven for sin through Christ, however, the new message is that through forgiving one can transform one's life and become Christ-like.
          Forgiving consists of letting go of all judgements and grievances towards others and towards the circumstances of the world at large. The ideal is to forgive unconditionally.6 The very doing of this is said to loosen the bonds of ego that keep people from their birthright, which is experiencing eternal love without fear. Sin is redefined as lack of love, so forgiveness is not of sin, but instead of error, or rather of one's own and other's illusions. Illusions are presented as the cause of all enmity and suffering, which is similar to certain Hindu and Buddhist perspectives. Letting go of past pains can have psychological benefits; but to turn this into a prescription for salvation ensures doing so becomes an idealized mold that denies and represses vital aspects of being human. This is the real danger of the Course, and of renunciate religion in general.

    6 "Love and Control: The Conditions Underlying Unconditional Love" describes how the ideal of unconditional love is a prescription of a renunciate moral order that insidiously impacts emotions and relationships, distorting the experience and expression of love. Its sections "Forgiving and Letting Go" and "The Religious Freedom of Unconditional Love" show how these ideals mask their underlying authoritarianism and why they are unlivable. Ideals of unconditional forgiveness or unconditional compassion (the Buddhist version) are variations on the same theme that create unlivable standards of emotional purity.

    The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, pages 125-127.

    To start at the top, Alcoholics Anonymous is also a channelled religion. Step Eleven specifically instructs members to practice channelling every day. This is simply a continuation of Frank Buchman's doctrine of The Quiet Time where one makes oneself into a channel to receive Guidance from God:

    11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

    The authors correctly point out that a channelled religion creates a completely self-referential system. One cannot criticize it or find fault with it because any criticism can be deflected by saying, "Well, you just haven't done the practices long enough to know the truth. Try our path for a year, and then you will see."

    A.A. has just that problem. Anyone who questions A.A. dogma gets condescending put-downs that he is "just a newcomer, a baby, and hasn't been a member long enough to know". He is "still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God..." (Big Book, page 87.) It is difficult to counter the claims that if you just practice the Steps long enough, hard enough, "working a strong enough program", that you, too, will eventually receive Divine Guidance and begin to see the truth of the A.A. program and the brilliance of Bill Wilson.

    Then we have several other points of similarity between Alcoholics Anonymous and A Course in Miracles: Both are authoritarian and renunciate, both demand that your "self, self-centeredness, and ego" be crushed, both demand that you "surrender to God's will" [really, surrender to the cult], and both indulge in grandiose babbling about super-human purity and unconditional love.

    Look closely at the A.A. statements that newcomers will receive "complete acceptance" and "unconditional love". Such grandiose claims are ridiculous on the face of it — because they are actually accompanied by veiled demands that the newcomer quit drinking, Keep Coming Back, get a sponsor, Work The Steps, and believe in A.A. — but there is much more to it than just that:

    • First off, the other side of the coin is that the older members must grant all of that "complete acceptance" and "unconditional love" to the newcomers, whether they really wish to or not.
    • Then there is the problem that, as a member, you must suppress your own feelings about other people, and your own moral standards, too. You cannot form your own opinions of other members or their conduct — that would be judgemental and "unloving". They call it "taking someone else's inventory". You are supposed to just keep giving others that "complete acceptance" and "unconditional love", and never criticize their behavior, no matter what...
      (The relevant slogan is: "If you point a finger at someone else, you will find three pointed back at you.")
    • Sometimes, this has been taken to such an extreme that when women A.A. members are raped by other A.A. members, or seduced by their sponsors, or "13th-Stepped", as they call it, the women are supposed to "just accept it", and "find their part in it", and "stuff their feelings." Women have even been told to "make amends" by apologizing to their rapists. (Apologize for what?)

    Kramer and Alstad point out:

    Love and self-sacrifice are joined in all renunciate moralities. When unconditional love is made into a prescription of how to be, it is really an authoritarian mechanism of control. If one gives, or loves, or forgives willingly, it isn't a sacrifice. They become sacrifices when done because of an ideal. Here one is not only controlled by the ideal but wants others to be controlled by it, too.
    The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, page 297.

    So all of the appeals for, and demands for, complete acceptance and unconditional love are really just another mechanism of authoritarian control — especially, of authoritarian mind control:
    "You must feel unconditional love for the other members. You must feel acceptance, and grant it to the others."

    (Never mind that fact that coerced unconditional love isn't really love at all.)

    But the grandiose demands for "complete acceptance" and "unconditional love" are basically impossible to fulfill, because they are too lofty, too angelic, and totally unrealistic. As Kramer and Alstad wrote: "Ideals of unconditional forgiveness or unconditional compassion (the Buddhist version) are variations on the same theme that create unlivable standards of emotional purity." Such high ideals are just some more examples of the standard cult characteristic of "An Impossible, Superhuman Model of Perfection". Such standards are things which are great for making people feel inadequate, inferior, and guilty, because people can't live up to them, but those super-human standards are not much good for anything else.

    No sane person would even want to live by such high-falutin' standards. Imagine that you are in an A.A. meeting, and one of the other members "shares" the confession that he has been kidnapping, raping, and murdering little girls during full moons. Would you really feel obligated to give him "complete acceptance" and "unconditional love"? I sincerely hope that you would feel disgust and anger and call the police on him, fast.

    (And that example is not too much of an exaggeration: The Paul Cox case featured an A.A. member who confessed in and after an A.A. meeting that he had murdered a doctor and his wife while on a drunken binge. Another A.A. member told the police.)

    On a more mundane level, would you wish to give him complete acceptance if he confesses that he throws temper tantrums and beats his wife or kids regularly? Or mugs gays and blacks for the fun of it? Shouldn't you rightly criticize him and tell him to stop behaving in such a despicable manner?
    (But if you do, that's "cross-talk", which is forbidden... And they might silence you with the slogan: "When I point a finger at my neighbor, I find three pointed back at me.")

    On a more practical level, I find that I simply do not like all of the people I meet at A.A. meetings, and I don't even want to be friends with some of them, never mind pretend that I am giving them complete acceptance and unconditional love. And I certainly don't want to look like I am granting complete acceptance, or even approval, when they tell me about some of their bad habits. And I don't feel guilty about that, either — as a functional adult, I claim the right to decide for myself whom I will accept into my life, and to what I will give my approval and acceptance.


    Kramer and Alstad continued describing the Course in Miracles:

    What is not noteworthy about the Course is its worldview, which is not essentially new, but a mixture of Eastern mysticism with Christian love and forgiveness. Of more interest to us is its claim of not being authoritarian. It is overtly stated that it is not necessary to believe any of the Course's assertions to experience the promised transformations:
    You need not believe the ideas... accept them... [nor] even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy.
    All that is required is conscientious daily practice of the lessons.
    The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, pages 127-128.

    The claim that you don't have to believe in the stuff masks the fact that you have to believe in the stuff.
    Why else would you do it every day?
    Why else would you do it at all?
    Why else would you even want to do it?

    And, even if you are a bit skeptical to start with, you will gradually get converted into believing all of it:

    The Course is but another revealed (by an unchallengeable authority) renunciate ideology that separates the spiritual from the mundane, the pure from the impure, the selfless from the self-centered. It says listen to your own voice, but programs what your voice will say by taking away the validity of experience, reason, thoughts, and disapproved of emotions. Like gurus, it then fills the vacuum it creates with its own renunciate worldview offering the same old coin of eternal bliss. Nothing could be more authoritarian, for who could argue against a disembodied spirit with the credentials of a traditional God? If one were to say (as we do) that one's inner voice says something quite different, then what?
          When challenged, adherents often cavalierly reply, "Do the lessons and you'll see for yourself. Besides, you can't know the Course or criticize it until you try it." From our perspective, this confidence merely shows that those willing to be programmed get programmed. To understand why this is so, one must not only examine the exercises, but also the nature of the mind that is willing to do them daily for an extended time.
    The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, page 131.

    That's a standard cult dodge:
    "You can't judge our program until you've tried it. Just do our practices for a year, and you will see that it is all true."
    If you do their program for a year, you will be so brainwashed that you will believe whatever they say.

    Bill Wilson described how the Alcoholics Anonymous practice of channelling also gradually converts the newcomer doubters into true believers:

    The persistent use of meditation and prayer, we found, did open the channel so that where there had been a trickle, there now was a river which led to sure power and safe guidance from God as we were increasingly better able to understand Him.
          So, practicing these Steps, we had a spiritual awakening about which finally there was no question. Looking at those who were only beginning and still doubting themselves, the rest of us were able to see the change setting in. From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn't got the "spiritual angle," and who still considered his well-loved A.A. group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 108-109.


    Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, the authors of The Guru Papers, went on to describe an adherent of this Course in Miracles: He was alienated from the real world — he wanted an ideal world "where non-violence, compassion, selflessness, and love would reign supreme." But the actual world around him wasn't so nice, or so easy. The adherent said, "The more I faced the 'real world,' the less real I felt." So he gravitated towards a worldview where such ideals did reign supreme. He got his ideal world by denying the reality of this world where those ideals do not reign supreme, and insisting on the reality of a higher, more moral, truly spiritual world that was more to his liking:

    • "This is all an illusion."
    • "Nothing here is real."
    • "The spiritual world is the true reality, and that world really is governed by the principles of love, justice, non-violence, compassion, selflessness, etc..."
    • "Nothing I see here means anything."
    • "This can all be transcended."
    • As the Beatles sang (perhaps a bit in spoof) "Nothing is real, nothing to get up tight about." (Strawberry Fields Forever)

    Thus the misguided idealist renounces this world that has disappointed him, and he also denies his own thoughts and feelings which are in and about this world — he can "stuff his feelings" and suppress his anger, disappointment, rage, pain, and sorrow, and just pretend to feel only eternal bliss and joy (or "Serenity and Gratitude") because the "true reality" is just fine. He programs himself to only believe in and accept the reality of his perfect dream world. It's the ultimate escape artist's trick.

    Bill Wilson expressed almost exactly the same sentiments in his second book:

    Perhaps one of the greatest rewards of meditation and prayer is the sense of belonging that comes to us. We no longer live in a completely hostile world. We are no longer lost and frightened and purposeless. The moment we catch even a glimpse of God's will, the moment we begin to see truth, justice, and love as the real and eternal things in life, we are no longer deeply disturbed by all the seeming evidence to the contrary that surrounds us in purely human affairs. We know that God lovingly watches over us. We know that when we turn to Him, all will be well with us, here and hereafter.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, Page 105.

    Also see the bait-and-switch item "First it isn't political, and then it is". The tendency to ignore this world, and only believe in the perfection of "the other world", leads many people to be politically reactionary, quite happily ignoring the plight of the poor and homeless, the down-trodden and unemployed, and the sick and dying, because it is obviously God's Will that they suffer so...


    There are many striking similarities between that Course In Miracles and the Alcoholics Anonymous program:

    1. Both practice channelling. Both teach that you should receive wisdom and instructions from a "Higher Power" or a Spiritual Being who resides on "a higher plane of existence", and who will talk to you in a séance or "Quiet Time" or "meditation session" or "spook session".

    2. Both say that you don't have to believe in the program for it to work:
      "Alcoholics Anonymous requires no beliefs."
      "Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that you believe anything. All of its Twelve Steps are but suggestions."
      Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 26.
      But you really have to believe in it.
      In fact, Bill Wilson went on and on in Chapter Four of the Big Book, raving about how we all had to "abandon Reason and just have Faith." Wilson spent one whole chapter of the Big Book talking about nothing but how all atheists, agnostics, and independent thinkers had to be converted to believing in his Buchmanite religion. (Chapter Four teaches nothing about how to quit drinking — it's all about how you must believe in Bill Wilson's peculiar religious beliefs. And then they still use that deceptive "no beliefs required" slogan. Go figure.)

    3. Both have practices that you must do every day. The Course in Miracles has its "lessons", and A.A. has its Twelve Steps:

      We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 85.

      We just covered how you practice channelling — Step Eleven — during your morning "Quiet Hour"

      Another daily practice is the Twelfth Step — Go Recruiting:

      Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be.
      ...
      Your wife may sometimes say she is neglected.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 97.

      Note that "helping others" is a euphemism — cult-speak — for recruiting new cult members. You "help them" by deceiving them and hiding the religious nature of the Alcoholics Anonymous program, until later.

      Note how Bill Wilson recommended that you spend so much time recruiting that your wife complains that you are neglecting her. Bill did.

    4. A.A. also "separates the spiritual from the mundane, the pure from the impure, the selfless from the self-centered."

      • Selfishness — self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.   ...
        ... the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so.
        The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 62.

      • Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer? Who wants to sacrifice time and energy in trying to carry A.A.'s message to the next sufferer? No, the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn't care for this prospect...
        Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 24.

      • But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life or else.
        The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 44.

    5. Both the Course In Miracles and Alcoholics Anonymous want to destroy your ego. Both demand that you rid yourself of "self, selfishness, self-centeredness, and ego":

      • Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!
        The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, How It Works, Chapter 5, page 62.

      • Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.   ...  
        First, we searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure. Being convinced that self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeated us, we considered its common manifestations.
        The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, pages 64-65.

      • All Twelve Steps of A.A. are designed to kill the old self (deflate the old ego) and build a new, free self.
        The Big Book, 3rd Edition, story "A Five-Time Loser Wins", page 459.

      • And new Hazelden propaganda tells us the same old things:

        We must rid ourselves of this selfishness or it'll kill us. It's that serious. Selfishness usually leads to relapse. And relapse, in our case, is often fatal. Now, we can't rely on ourselves to be rid of our self-centeredness — it would be rather self-centered to think we could, don't you think? There's help. God can deliver us from our self-centeredness.
        Big Book Unplugged; A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous, John R., Hazelden, 2003, page 24.

        [Question: What study, survey, poll, or controlled experiment showed that "selfishness usually leads to relapse"? Did anybody ever do such a study? Or was the author just making things up again?1]

      So, according to Bill Wilson and A.A., self is nothing but bad, and you cannot trust yourself.

      A corollary to these demands for ego-destruction is the implicit belief that your innermost self is essentially dishonest and evil. (That is a Gnostic heresy.) Remember Star Trek, with the Good Kirk versus the Bad Kirk? Well, according to A.A. theology, you also have a good self and a bad self, and the bad self is stronger, and usually wins, unless it is constantly beaten down. (Which your sponsor and the other group elders will be more than happy to do for you.)

    6. Both the Course In Miracles and Alcoholics Anonymous indulge in grandiose talk about "pure love", "unconditional love", "complete acceptance", and other super-human purity which is impossible for members to attain. We already covered that above.

    7. So both also induce feelings of guilt and inadequacy in their members.

    8. Both ACIM and A.A. say that "it isn't a religion", even though they push a self-contained worldview complete with a well-defined God and a prescribed "way of life".

    9. They teach you to deny the reality of your own feelings and your own thoughts:
      • "Stuff your feelings."
      • "Feelings aren't facts!"
      • "You should feel Serenity and Gratitude."
      • "You have a thinking problem, not a drinking problem."
      • "Stop your stinkin' thinkin'"
      • "Your best thinking got you here."
      • If you disagree with A.A. about anything, then "You are in denial."

      You must essentially distrust and renounce your feelings and thoughts about this world, and instead emphasize the reality of the revelations and work orders that supposedly come to you from A Higher Power while you practice Step Eleven.

      — But then they tell you that you can't even trust that. You cannot trust yourself when it comes to either admitting your faults or hearing the voice of God. You must submit all of your received Guidance to your sponsor or the other group elders for their approval, because:

      If all our lives we had more or less fooled ourselves, how could we now be so sure that we weren't still self-deceived?
            ... what comes to us alone may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our minds what that advice is. Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous.   ...   Surely then, a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders in this fashion. While the comment or advice of others may be by no means infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still so inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves.
      Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 59-60.

      So it doesn't even matter what "Guidance" you think you receive from your "Higher Power". Your sponsor will tell you what you should have received. Again, we get the Gnostic heresy that you (and all alcoholics) are inherently corrupt, so dishonest and deceitful that you cannot even be trusted while you pray and meditate and listen to God.

      Note that Frank Buchman claimed that he could tell whether someone's thoughts came from God or not. Buchman never explained how he got that magical power, but when he listened to people reading their pages of received "Guidance", he didn't hesitate to pronounce some thoughts "God-given", and some not.

      But Bill Wilson never claimed that he had any such ability. That creates a big problem. How could Bill's protégés turn to Bill for verification of their received messages from God? Logically, they couldn't, because he wouldn't know what "The True Word of God" was any more than they did. So how could they be sure that the whole A.A. clubhouse wasn't just foolishly deceiving itself, going off on a crazy "spiritual tangent"? Whom could they trust to really know for sure what God's will was? Nobody.

    10. Likewise, A.A. also promotes a "renunciate worldview offering the same old coin of eternal bliss." Except that the wording that A.A. uses is "Serenity and Gratitude".
      "If you work the Steps enough, and Seek and Do the Will of God enough, you too can feel uninterrupted Serenity and Gratitude."

    11. You must accept the idea that the thoughts, motives, reasons, feelings, and logic of Something Else are far superior to your own:
      • "Sanity is living a life that is dictated by 'The Will Of God'. Insanity is living according to your own will."
      • "Stop your stinkin' thinkin'."
      • "You have a thinking problem, not a drinking problem."
      • "Your best thinking got you here."
      • "Trust your sponsor and the other old-timers. They know the routine."

    12. You must "surrender to the Will of God." (The real meaning is that you must surrender to the cult.) You must accept and submit to the absolute authority of others, like your "Higher Power", your sponsor, and the other old-timers, even while you pretend that the A.A. program is not authoritarian —
      "Nobody in A.A. has any power over anybody else"
      and
      "All of its Twelve Steps are but suggestions."
      But when it is God who dictates your orders, the "voluntary" A.A. program becomes the ultimate authoritarian program:

      [Step] 3. [We] Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 59.

      We were now at Step Three. Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: "God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!" We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 63.

      Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [MY required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to [MY] spiritual principles [superstitious practices].
      Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

      "Work The Steps or Die!" That doesn't sound very voluntary to me.

    13. You must believe that there is a better, higher, reality than this one — a reality that is invisible to the average person, but if you just "work a strong program", you will gain access to that higher world. And, of course, both the Course in Miracles and A.A. claim that they have the one-and-only true magical formula that will get you there.

      To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action.
            Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. ...
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 85.

      We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 2, There Is A Solution, page 25.

              We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. ... We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. ... Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
      "The Promises", from The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, pages 83-84.

      We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.
      The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 6, Into Action, page 75.

    14. Thus, you also have to believe that There Is A PanaceaOne Magical Cure-all — that will solve all of your problems:

      Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, page 42.

    Obviously, such a Course in Miracles that ostensibly teaches "how to channel" is a ticket to travel right out of this world. The promoters of the course hint that it is a ticket to Heaven. Others would suggest that it's a trip to Hell.

    And Alcoholics Anonymous has the same problem.



  17. The A.A. "Cure"
  18. Later in their book, Kramer and Alstad specifically talked about Alcoholics Anonymous, and said,

    Although overtly leaderless (actually, old-time members assume leadership roles), A.A. shares many features of authoritarian cults: an unchallengeable written authority ("The Word"); commandments or rules to live by; a conversion experience achieved through inducing surrender to a super-human power; and dependency on the group, which often undermines relationships with those who do not accept the sanctity of the 12 Steps. Disagreement with any of the Steps is labeled denial or resistance. Like other authoritarian groups that manipulate fear and desire, fear of leaving is instilled by the often repeated warning, "You can't make it without us."
          As is true of every authoritarian structure, surrender is the key to making it work. Part One of this book details how the act of surrender itself has potent psychological repercussions. Giving control to something envisioned as more powerful and worthy than oneself not only temporarily eliminates conflict, but often enables one to feel renewed and even reborn. Feeling "reborn" is characteristic of all religious conversion experiences which, when combined with repentance and amends, gives an aura of wiping the moral slate clean. In A.A. what one is actually surrendering to are the 12 Steps and the unchallengeable assertion that if one "works the Steps" properly and long enough, they will perform the miracle of sobriety. But this miracle still requires continual group support because the 12 Steps do not eliminate one's inner split, but rather act to strengthen one side by suppressing the other. The goodself cannot contain the badself all on its own, no matter how lofty an ideology it assumes (or surrenders to). This is why it is important for such programs to have people acknowledge powerlessness for life, and thus be in continual need not only of the 12-Step ideology, but of group support.
          The A.A. model not only programs people not to trust themselves, self-mistrust is essential for it to work. Its litany is, "The 12 Steps work — don't question them." When someone does drop out, sure enough the addiction (the badself) resurfaces — as warned. On returning to A.A., the "We told you so" smug reproof further locks in the belief of being powerless. The group acts like a chorus of goodselves whose refrain is "You'll always lose control on your own." A.A. interprets its ability to predict relapses as a verification of its ideology (rather than of its ineffectiveness), using this to tighten authoritarian control over its members. But the model of a divided self explains far better why even after years of sobriety the siren-song of excess lurks beneath the surface, leaving no choice but to "take it [sobriety] one day at a time."
    ...
          ... there are some, particularly proponents of responsibility models, who seriously challenge the long-term efficacy of A.A. and its success rate. How well A.A. actually works is not our focus. Authoritarian structures of all sorts do indeed work to the degree that those in them obey their precepts. Like most authoritarian belief systems, the 12 Steps provide a powerful, mechanical strategy with fairly predictable results for those who conform.
          A key question is how is "work" defined? We do not doubt that abstinence through A.A. could be far better for some than their previous desperate, dysfunctional lives. These programs can enable divided people to function in a social order whose values promulgate their inner division. Yet leading a manageable life only through believing that one is unalterably sick is a very limited view of recovery. If stability is dependent on continually acknowledging one's basic powerlessness, it is seriously flawed. What remains is the underlying fear that one is untrustworthy at the deepest level.
          "Cures" that do not bring an integration are disabling in their own way. People who fear being taken over at any instant by an element within themselves are crippled, though often less overtly so than before the goodself (with outside help) gained the upper hand. Any framework that does not take the division within people into account can never truly implement a cure, if by cure one means an integrated being who has self-trust, and thus is not susceptible to authoritarian manipulation. To live in fear of oneself is to be psychologically crippled.
    ...
          If addiction is an illness, the disease is authoritarianism. As in so many other areas, the cure society offers for the ills it creates and exacerbates through coercion is more coercion. Not only are 12-Step programs authoritarian, people (teens, employees, drunk drivers, wife-beaters) are being coerced to enter them as an alternative to more severe punishment. The 12 Steps work to the extent they do because they mirror the division within the social and moral order, helping divided people fit into a society that helped divide them.
    ...
          It is not surprising that a society with a polarized morality and a deep fundamentalist strain frames addiction as either bad or sick — "sick" becomes an ambiguous category that is at least not bad. The somber truth is that addicts are neither ill nor evil...
    The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, page 245-247.



  19. Guidance
  20. While we are talking about the problems with the Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous practice of dabbling in the occult, there are very serious theological problems with Frank Buchman's whole doctrine of receiving constant "Guidance" from God, and with Bill Wilson's copy of it in Step Eleven, too:

    Step 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

    Rev. John A. Richardson wrote about such 'Guidance':

    It is difficult to conceive anything more degrading. The theory and practice of 'guidance' is not merely foolish and likely to lead in practice to moral pitfalls. It is in itself fundamentally immoral.... Imagine a world in which everyone lived wholly by 'guidance,' making each day simply the execution of commands received in the morning 'Quiet Time' and noted in the guidance book! All planning and thought, everything permanent in human relationships and human purposes, everything which makes life really human and worth living, would be brushed aside as an irrelevant waste of time if this theory were worked out to its logical conclusion and acted upon to the full" ("Morals and the Group Movement," The Nineteenth Century and After, Nov., 1933, p. 602).

          I leave the subject by merely recording the opinion of the Rev. E. R. Micklem, of Mansfield College, Oxford, one of the contributors to Oxford and the Groups. "To look for daily intimations," he says, "-- subtle promptings — which indicate the tasks God has in mind for us, rather than to look for illumination on the way of grasping the multifarious and obvious opportunities of service which our ordinary daily life presents, is to attempt to live in a world of mechanical responses rather than of personal relationships" (p. 144).
    The Groups Movement, The Most Rev. John A. Richardson, pages 75-79.
    Morehouse Publishing Co., Milwaukee, Wis., 1935.

    If we are supposed to just sit quietly every morning and "channel God" and receive our work orders through "spiritual live wires" (as Frank Buchman called them), then we are reduced to being nothing but mindless little robots that are remotely controlled by God, just like the radio-controlled toy cars that you can buy at Radio Shack. We don't need to think or plan or have a brain at all — we are just radio-controlled toys, objects be moved here and there by the whims of God (or worse, by the whims of some "Higher Power" who is not 'God').

    That is grossly heretical. Nowhere in the Gospels did Jesus ever say that the Christian life consists of being a mindless robot who just follows orders.

    No action which is not voluntary can be called moral. So long as we act like machines, there can be no question of morality. If we want to call an action moral, it should have been done consciously and as a matter of duty. Any action that is dictated by fear or by coercion of any kind ceases to be moral.
    == Mahatma Gandhi, 1930, quoted in All Men Are Brothers, page 158.



  21. Holy Puppets and Radio-Controlled Cars
  22. The very idea that you can give up on your life and become a puppet who is remotely controlled by God and taken care of by God is heretical. There is nothing in standard Christianity or in the Bible that says that you can do that. Nor is there any such doctrine in Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, or any of the world's other great religions.

    If the ideal spiritual life consists of being guided and manipulated by a "Higher Power", then Pinnochio the Puppet is a holy man.

    And the radio-controlled toy cars that you can buy at Radio Shack must be very spiritual too.

    It is also heretical to declare that the ideal Christian life consists of being a mindless slave who is "Guided" by some "Higher Power" in a Step-Eleven séance. I am reminded of a criticism of Frank Buchman's "Oxford Group" doctrine of "Guidance by God" that Marjorie Harrison wrote. This is where the Alcoholics Anonymous theology came from:

            The Bishop of London, speaking on the [Oxford] Group some time ago, said: "God has given us intelligence and reason to be the lamps to guide us."
            The Group by its interpretation of Divine Guidance advocates the dowsing of these lamps.
            To return to the simile of a father and his children. The Group teaches the child to regard his father not as a guide and defence generally and a ready help in time of trouble, but someone to whom the child turns for actual direction in everything he does. Father, shall I play with my train or my bricks? Father, shall I build a house or a bridge? Father, shall I use red bricks or blue? Father, shall I knock it down? Father, shall I build it up? Father this and father that, until a father might well wonder whether his child is a half-wit, instead of a reasonable being.
            Why should we storm the courts of Heaven to know whether we shall buy cigarettes or take the 10.45 or the 11 o'clock train to town, or as a critic has said: "render God responsible for our neckties or whether we choose to eat beef or mutton at luncheon."
            Believe me, these instances are no exaggeration. Dr. Buchman acknowledges that he asks for guidance for the expenditure on postage.
    Saints Run Mad; A Criticism of the "Oxford" Group Movement, Marjorie Harrison (1934), page 55.

    Frank Buchman's and Bill Wilson's teachings directly conflicted with St. Paul's teachings in his letter to the Romans:

    All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery, but you have received the spirit of sonship.
    The Reader's Digest Bible, page 668.
    Also see Romans 8:14-15.



  23. Summon a Demon
  24. Speaking of the occult, the way Bill Wilson tells the story of his "spiritual experience" while detoxing in Towns Hospital, Bill summoned up God the way that a wizard would summon up a demon by name:

    This is part of Robert Thomsen's description of Bill Wilson's "spiritual experience"

    His fingers relaxed a little on the footboard [of the bed], his arms slowly reached out and up. "I want," he said aloud. "I want..."
          Ever since infancy, they said, he'd been reaching out this way, arms up, fingers spread, and as far back as he could remember he'd been saying just that. But always before it had been an unfinished sentence. Now it had its ending. He wanted to live. He would do anything, anything, to be allowed to go on living.
          "Oh, God," he cried, and it was the sound not of a man, but of a trapped and crippled animal. "If there is a God, show me. Show me. Give me some sign."
          As he formed the words, in that very instant he was aware first of a light, a great white light that filled the room, then he suddenly seemed caught up in a kind of joy, an ecstasy such as he would never find words to describe.   ...
    Bill W., Robert Thomsen, pages 222-223.

    In the A.A. book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age (1957) Bill described his experience this way:

    All at once I found myself crying out, "If there is a God, let Him show himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!"
          Suddenly the room lit up with a great white light.   ...   I thought to myself, "So this is the God of the preachers!"

    In the book Bill W.: My First 40 Years, Bill Wilson described his "religious experience" this way:

    The terrifying darkness had become complete. In agony of spirit, I again thought of the cancer of alcoholism which had now consumed me in mind and spirit, and soon the body. But what of the Great Physician? For a moment, I suppose, the last trace of my obstinacy was crushed out as the abyss yawned.
          I remember saying to myself, "I'll do anything, anything at all. If there be a Great Physician, I'll call on him." Then, with neither faith nor hope I cried out, "If there be a God, let him show himself." The effect was instant, electric. Suddenly my room blazed with an indescribably white light. I was seized with an ecstasy beyond description. I have no words for this. Every joy I had known was pale by comparison. The light, the ecstasy. I was conscious of nothing else for a time.
    Bill W.: My First 40 Years, William G. Wilson, pages 145-146.

    Note that Mr. Wilson allegedly had the power to summon up the Spirit of God, just by demanding that God show himself. Ordinary sorcerers and wizards have to settle for summoning up ordinary demons, but not Bill Wilson. Bill Wilson waved his arms in the air and commanded God Almighty Himself to appear (and Bill didn't even say "Please"):
    "If there is a God, show me. Show me. Give me some sign."
    "If there is a God, let Him show himself!"
    "If there be a God, let him show himself!"

    Also note that Bill was arrogantly demanding that God show him a sign. We touched on that before, when Christ condemned the Pharisees for demanding to see a miracle and seeking signs, in Matthew 12.38 and Matthew 16:1.

    And although they seem to never come right out and say it directly, the A.A. true believers often imply that somehow God had to answer Bill Wilson's demand for a sign, or that God did give Bill a spiritual experience because Bill demanded one:

    As usual, Dr. Silkworth gave Bill belladonna and barbiturates, and as the alcohol wore off, Bill sank into a deep depression.   ...   Although he didn't believe in God, although he believed only in the power of his own mind, he found himself begging God for help. "If there be a God, let him show himself!" he cried. The response was amazing. "Suddenly my room blazed with an indescribably white light..."
    My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson — His Life And The Creation Of Alcoholics Anonymous, Susan Cheever, pages 117-118.

    So Bill Wilson demanded that God show Himself, and God had to obey Bill Wilson... "The response was amazing."

    Susan Cheever didn't bother to mention the inconvenient but important fact that belladonna is a very powerful hallucinogenic drug. She just said that the doctor gave Bill belladonna and barbiturates in the hospital, and then, when Bill demanded that God show Himself, the results were "amazing" — Bill started to see things. I would suggest that the "amazing" results were far more due to the hallucinogenic drug cocktail taking effect than due to Bill's ridiculous arrogant demand that God show Himself and give Bill Wilson a sign.

    By the way, Bill Wilson's story about having been an intellectual non-believer was just another one of Bill's phony pretenses, a groundless tale that Bill fabricated to make the story of his so-called "spiritual experience" sound much more dramatic and impressive.

    "Although he didn't believe in God, although he believed only in the power of his own mind, he found himself begging God for help."

    Bill Wilson liked to brag that he had been a conservative atheist and an "icy intellectual" who had received a modern education in science and evolution at a wonderful engineering college, and then Bill was supposedly converted into a faithful true believer by an amazing holy vision and a dramatic religious experience.

    There isn't a word of truth in that malarkey. Not a single word of truth. It is all a lie.

    1. Bill Wilson's high school education was at the Burr & Burton Seminary, and that school did not teach Bill to be an atheist.
    2. And then Bill didn't even pass the entrance exams for the engineering college that his mother chose for him — MIT — the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology. So Bill went to a tiny military academy — Norwich — where he also failed to graduate.
    3. Then, in 1938, Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book that he was not an atheist, and had never been an atheist — that he had always believed in a "Spirit of the Universe" (page 10).
    4. Bill Wilson was just a superstitious college flunk-out who later made up grandiose stories of "intellectual atheism" in order to impress people.



  25. Who Speaks For God
  26. And then there is the question of who is entitled to speak for God. Bill Wilson and Alcoholics Anonymous start off saying that you will hear the voice of God when you practice Step Eleven:

    Step 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

    But then Bill Wilson declared that you weren't qualified to hear God talking to you, and that you had to take your received occult messages to your sponsor or other group elders, and let them interpret the 'words of God' for you, and tell you what God really meant:

    If all our lives we had more or less fooled ourselves, how could we now be so sure that we weren't still self-deceived? How could we be certain we had made a true catalog of our defects and had really admitted them, even to ourselves?
          ... what comes to us alone may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our minds what that advice is. Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well-intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was all too plain that they were sorely mistaken? Lacking both practice and humility, they had deluded themselves and were able to justify the most arrant nonsense on the ground that this was what God had told them.   ...   Surely then, a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders in this fashion. While the comment or advice of others may be by no means infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still so inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 59-60.

    It is grossly heretical for Bill Wilson to imply that the A.A. sponsors get to speak for God.

    • How and when did the sponsors and other group elders become entitled to interpret God's messages, and privileged to speak for God?
    • What seminary or church trained and ordained them as priests and ministers, and made them qualified to interpret the words of God for other people?
    • How do many years of drinking too much alcohol, plus a few years of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, make men into good theologians and wise spiritual advisors?

    How does Alcoholics Anonymous rationalize arrogating the job of priests and ministers?

    The same problem is present in the A.A. "Tradition Two", where God supposedly speaks through the A.A. members:

    For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as he may express Himself in our group conscience.

    But who decides what God is expressing in the group conscience?
    Obviously, it is the leaders, the old-timers who are the most-indoctrinated true believers, and who dominate the "sharing" sessions with their well-practiced raps and their standard sermons.

    So when did they study theology in a seminary, and learn to speak for God?



  27. Miracles Wear Off After 24 Hours
  28. Another problem with Bill Wilson's understanding of miracles is his declarations that God's miracles wear off after 24 hours, and that alcoholics must beg God for another miracle every day:

    We are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our daily activities.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, page 85.

    When Jesus Christ healed people and made the blind see and the cripples walk, Jesus didn't say that the healing would only last for one day and then it would wear off, so all of those people had to "Keep Coming Back!" for another treatment every day...

    Jesus also never said that the healings would be revoked if people didn't "Seek and Do the Will of God" every day.

    Jesus also never said that the healings would be revoked if people didn't go to a meeting at the Temple at least once a week.

    Jesus never told Lazarus that he would go back to being dead if he didn't please God all of the time.

    And Jesus never said that you can't quit drinking unless you "carry the vision of God's will into all of your daily activities."
    (Besides which, just what is "the vision of God's will"? That is just another one of Bill Wilson's grandiose platitudes.)



  29. Praying in Public
  30. While we are talking about people praying for miracles, we shouldn't overlook Christ's admonition of those who pray in public (like at A.A. meetings and A.A. conventions):

          And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
          But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to the Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
    Matthew 6:5 to 6:6



  31. Doing Nothing
  32. Speaking of "Letting go and letting God", and the Al-Anon idea of "doing nothing about my problems", A.A. also does nothing to help anyone else with their problems.

    Jesus Christ repeatedly instructed people to feed the hungry, clothe the naked children, and help the poor. Buddha and Mohammed taught similar things. But Bill Wilson taught the exact opposite. Bill said that we must not be of service to other people, not even to alcoholics:

    The minute we put our work on a service plane, the alcoholic commences to rely upon our assistance rather than upon God.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 98.

    So Bill Wilson taught that we should not help the poor or the alcoholics, and we should not perform any services for them. Bill said that they must learn to rely on God.

    And A.A. lives by those instructions today. Alcoholics Anonymous never engages in any kind of charity work or social work to help the poor or the homeless, even though many of those people are poor and homeless because they are alcoholics.

    The only way that A.A. wants to "help" anyone is to convert them to the 12-Step religion:

    Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be.     ...
    Your wife may sometimes say she is neglected.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 97.

    • "Helping other alcoholics" means recruiting for Alcoholics Anonymous. (A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 9, page 129.)

    • "Acting the Good Samaritan every day" means recruiting for Alcoholics Anonymous. (A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 97.)

    • "Unselfish, constructive action" means recruiting for Alcoholics Anonymous. (A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 93.)

    • "Placing the welfare of others ahead of your own" means recruiting for Alcoholics Anonymous. (A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 94.)

    • "Carrying the message to other alcoholics" — Step Twelve — means recruiting for Alcoholics Anonymous. (A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, Chapter 5, page 60.)

    • "The path of spiritual progress" means doing Alcoholics Anonymous activities, including recruiting for Alcoholics Anonymous. (A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 100.)

    • "Doing 12th-Step work" means recruiting for Alcoholics Anonymous. (A.A. Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, Chapter 5, page 60.)

    That isn't quite what Jesus had in mind when He instructed us to help others.



  33. Powerless
  34. Imagine someone going to confession, and saying to the priest, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been six months since my last confession. I've done all kinds of things since then, but none of them is my fault. I am powerless over everything, and I have no control over my actions. I turned my will and my life over to the care of God quite some time ago, and now God controls everything, and anything I do wrong is God's fault. If I do something good, it is because God makes me do it, so I can't accept any praise. If I do something bad, it is because God makes me do it, so I can't accept any blame."

    The priest isn't going to accept that cop-out for a minute.

    And what if that person continues with his confession, "I have been defeated by sin, and have no power over it. That is why I gave my will and my life to God, so that He can do something about it. God is the only hope I have of not being destroyed by sin. So all I can do is Let Go and Let God."

    The priest isn't going to accept that one either. The priest will tell that person to get off of his lazy ass, and quit feeling sorry for himself, and get to work at fixing himself and battling sin. And the last thing the priest will say is, "Nobody is powerless. You can resist temptation, so do it."

    The priest is right, and he clearly sees what could come of this nonsense: Imagine a horny teenager who says, "I am powerless over my sexual urges. I am driven to have sex all of the time. I can't keep my hands off of the girls. So I joined Sexaholics Anonymous, and turned my will and my life over to the care of God, and humbly asked Him to remove my shortcomings. [Long-comings?] Well, He hasn't gotten around to doing it yet, so I just can't help but gleefully jump on all of the pretty girls, day and night, night and day, until God gets around to fixing me. It isn't my fault. It's all God's fault, because He isn't doing His job."

    Logically, the kid has a point, if we believe in the Twelve-Step bull droppings:

    • Step one says, "We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol." (Or, "powerless over our sexual urges.")
    • Step two says, "We came to believe that only a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
    • Step three says we "turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God".
    • Step seven says, "We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings."
    So there it is: You are powerless and insane, so, like some hopelessly drunk person, you hand over the car keys to a friend and let him drive; you let God take the steering wheel of your life and do the driving. God gets the credit or blame for what happens next.
    Now, your friend is responsible for whether the car crashes or not.
    Now, God is responsible for whether your life crashes or not.
    You don't have to do a thing anymore.
    "Let Go and Let God" is a very popular A.A. slogan.

    All Christian religions emphasize the idea that you are responsible for your own actions. And so do Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism (more properly called Vedantic religions). And so do Native American religions. I just can't think of another religion, anywhere in this world, besides Alcoholics Anonymous (and its parent, Buchmanism, a.k.a. The Oxford Group Movement, a.k.a. Moral Re-Armament), that pushes the idea of you not controlling yourself, of you not controlling your drinking, of you not being responsible for your own actions, of you being powerless over any temptation or vice, and of you not ever being able to change that.

    In truth, even A.A. is confused on this issue:

    • Step one clearly, unequivocally, declares that we are powerless over alcohol.
    • Step two clearly, unequivocally, says that we believe that only "a Power greater than ourselves" (God) can restore us to sanity.
    • Step three clearly, unequivocally, says that we are turning our wills and our lives over to the care of God.
    A.A. members surrender control of their wills and their lives to God, because, they say, they have already tried running their own lives, and have failed, and will die unless God takes over and runs the show. And when a member does something good, the standard line is to say, "But I can't take any credit for that, God gets the credit, because that is Who is running the show now."

    As an insurance against "big-shot-ism", we can often check ourselves by remembering that we are today sober only by the grace of God and that any success we may be having is far more His success than ours.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, Page 92.

    When someone stays sober for a year or more, all of the members celebrate and thank and praise God for performing that Miracle. But when an A.A. member does something bad, like relapse, the member gets the blame. Suddenly everybody forgets about God, and whether He was running the show.

    That is not logically consistent, to put it mildly. I can just see Mr. Spock of Startrek saying, "That is not logical. Whatever the causal agent is, it is responsible for both its meritorious actions and its reprehensible actions. And the most likely causal agent is the A.A. member himself."

    The A.A. theologians try to dodge the inconsistency by declaring that some people have really turned their lives over to God, and some people haven't. Some are holding back a little, and keeping a little of their ego still "inflated". And when those people do their own will, rather than the Will of God, then that is when they get into trouble.

    That is a rather depressing view of the human race. People's wishes are always bad? Anyone who does what he wishes to do will always do evil? Is it evil to wish that your child gets to eat? Is it evil to willfully insist that your family and friends not suffer harm?

    (That is what is called a Gnostic heresy — and it is also Manichaean — the doctrine that all goodness is in Heaven, and this material world and all of the people in it are all evil — matter and flesh are in the realm of darkness — this world, the Earth, is the realm of Satan. Buchmanism is loaded with that particular heresy.)

    Common sense tells us that the vast majority of Americans are not members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Neither have the vast majority of Americans surrendered their wills and their lives to God, in the style of A.A.. Most people still have their own egos, their own wills, and their own desires. Nevertheless, most people do good things every day. Most people do almost nothing but good, every day. Thus, the inherent true nature of people must be mostly good. Certainly not all good, not angelic, but more good than bad. No matter how bad the world looks some days, people are still far more good than bad. Our world would self-destruct if that were not so.

    Undoubtedly, there have to be some A.A. members who have not turned their wills or their lives over to God; lots of them, actually. They may have thought about it, but not quite gotten around to doing it. Or they may have discovered the truth: that it is extremely difficult to do, almost impossible to really do. That the only people who have really shed their egos and their desires and totally surrendered to God are saints, real genuine saints, and those things are as rare as hen's teeth. So rare, in fact, that we are fortunate if there is just one present on this planet at any given time.

    What strikes me as one of the most tragic parts of this whole twelve-step routine is the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are wasting their time pretending that they have turned over their wills and their lives to the care of God, or wasting their time, and going through all kinds of frustration, trying to hand over their wills, and finding out that the darned things won't go away, that they are tied to the owner as if with a rubber band, and just snap back. And that the harder you try to get rid of your will or your desires, the more strongly they just come back to you.

    This stuff is really old hat. Us Hippies were talking about it back in the sixties, and it was thousands of years old then. One of the popular Zen stories tells of a student who had been working for ten years to gradually rid himself of all desires. He went to his Zen master and asked,
    "But Master, how do I get rid of my last desire — the desire to be rid of all desires?"

    And the old Zen master smiled and answered, "Now you really do have a problem, don't you?"

    Alas, neither Frank Buchman nor Bill Wilson knew much about Buddhism or Hinduism, or ego loss, or human psychology, or Zen, or the whole process of really surrendering to God, or infinity, or eternity, or your Higher Power, or whatever you want to call it. And neither Buchman nor Wilson had a clue about the reality that even if you succeed in that surrendering process, that it is just temporary, and you will return to normal reality again all too soon, like in just a few minutes; that only a few rare souls can stay out there for any length of time at all. (Bill Wilson should have known, because his own drug-induced religious experience only lasted for a few minutes, and then Bill returned to normal insanity.)

    The rest of us mere mortals are still stuck with our wills, our lives, our egos, and our desires. Now we might have a moment of inspiration, and do something good while divinely inspired, or we might just have a good moment and do something good without God forcing us to do it... Thus it becomes basically impossible to tell whether the good things an A.A. member does are due to his or her own inner goodness, and good wishes, or due to God's goodness.

    It is just goofy logic then to insist that all of the good actions of A.A. members are done by God, and all of the bad actions are done by the members themselves. But if we dump that brain-damaged logic, then we blow a huge hole in the A.A. theological edifice. The whole game is based on surrendering control of your life to God, and becoming a good little robot, or a good little puppet on a string. And being good, and staying sober, is considered to be evidence that you have surrendered to God, and God is keeping you out of trouble. And the more years of sobriety you have, the closer you are to God. Obviously.

    But alas, that logic breaks down again when old-timers relapse. I have just recently listened to the stories of a guy who had 9 years of sobriety and then relapsed, and a woman who had 18 years off of drugs and then relapsed. Tragic. Sad. But even more tragic was their inability to even understand what happened in their lives.

    The guy only said, "I just got stupid for a while."

    The woman said, "It's so wonderful. Now that I have gone out and used and come back, I know that I don't ever have to relapse again." And everybody cheered and clapped.

    I couldn't help but wonder, "Did you know that you had to relapse before the last time? Were you saying to yourself, 'Even though I have 18 years of success, I know that I will have to relapse at least once more, just for the Hell of it.' Huh? I don't think so."

    They just didn't have a clue about what had really happened, or wouldn't admit to having a clue. If that is true, then they are sitting ducks for another relapse, because they won't know how to prevent the next one any more than they did the last one.

    A.A. and N.A. dogma says that you just cannot stay clean and sober for that long without working the Twelve Steps and getting God's help. (If you could, then who needs the Twelve Steps or N.A. or A.A.?) Anyone with 9 or 18 years of sobriety has obviously long since "worked the Steps", many, many times over, and has turned his or her will and life over to the care of God. Obviously, long ago, according to standard dogma. So where did the will to relapse suddenly come from? How can someone without a will of his own suddenly get the will to relapse? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Our friend Spock would say, "That is not logical. Something without any will cannot wish to get a will. If we assume that a rock is an inanimate object without a will of its own, then we can see that a rock cannot suddenly wish to learn calculus, or wish to take a drink, or wish to get a free will of its own. On the other hand, when a human suddenly wishes to take a drink, and does so, after 9 years of not drinking, then we must assume that the human has a will of his own, and had one even before the desire to drink came along."

    Apparently, some of the A.A. faithful are capable of thinking along these same lines, but they seem to burn out a few critical brain cells at just the moment when they almost hit on the truth. This text is from a pro-A.A. web site that wishes to teach us to do the 12 steps:

    STEP 3: We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. To turn my will and our life over?? This sounded like some kind of brainwashing to me. Was A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) some kind of cult? It turned out that A.A. is not a cult. I have the right to take my will back any time I want.
    http://www.healthyplace.com/Communities/Addictions/rawpsych/recovery/chapter_8.htm

    This guy just doesn't seem to be able to understand what "will" means. You can't willfully take your will back if you have no will. And you can't "want" to take your will back if you have no will. In this context, "want" and "will" are the same thing. And to say that you have the "right" to take your will back is some kind of a joke. It is like saying that you have the "right" to defy gravity. If you don't have the physical ability to levitate, then the right to do it is useless.
    (And yes, of course it's a cult, and they do brainwashing. Your first impression was correct.)

    [One can only wonder whether the oldtimers were playing mind games with the newcomer. The new guy worries about whether he has joined a cult, so the oldtimers tell him, "Don't worry. You have the right to take back your will and your mind any time you want."]

    In truth, your will is a part of your mind, and you cannot just give your will away as if it was a coin or a token. And you really can't be giving it away, and then taking it back, repeatedly, in some kind of a neurotic dance.

    Perhaps you saw the beautiful movie Awakenings, starring Robin Williams. There, Robin Williams played the role of a doctor who worked in a mental hospital with chronic post-encephalitic patients who looked and acted like total zombies who had no will of their own. They were basically catatonic, and sat motionless all day long, unless the doctor stimulated them and got them to do something. They would do whatever the doctor made them do, or urged them to do, but they had little or no will of their own. That part of their mind was almost a total blank. I have never seen anyone at an A.A. meeting who looked like that, and I doubt if anyone else has, either. The people at A.A. meetings all have a will of their own. There isn't a mindless zombie in the bunch.
    (I know, I know, it's a perfect setup for a horrible joke, but I'm going to resist the temptation.
    See? I'm not powerless over jokes.)

    Even if you decide that you have no will of your own, even if you decide that you have been defeated, and surrender to someone else, and swear that you have no will of your own left, and have no desire except to do the dictates of your master, then that is still your will. Your will is now to be a sycophant, or a slave, or a passive dependent, and to just get ordered around.

    But, just for the sake of argument, let's continue with the crazy idea that you can give your will away.

    Logically, to take it one step further, if the man with 9 years of sobriety had really turned his will over to God, then God must have given it back. And the same is true of the woman with 18 years off of drugs. So you give your will to God, and He turns around and gives it right back to you, and also sticks you with all of your usual problems again? That isn't how the A.A. true believers like to tell the story...

    Then, to really flog this dead horse one more time, we can ask, "Why did God choose to give that guy his will back, after 9 years of taking care of him? Of course God knew what would happen. As soon as God decided to give that guy his will back, his fate was sealed. His relapse was as inevitable as the rising and setting of the sun. So that was a really mean thing to do, giving the guy his will back... Why would God do that? It couldn't be because God was unhappy with something he had done, because he had not done anything. God had his will, and ran his life for him, and made him do whatever he did. Until, suddenly, God didn't feel like controlling him any more. Why not?" Inquiring minds want to know.

    The really bad thing about those old-timers who relapse is that they threaten to bring the whole logical structure down; they threaten to collapse the whole house of cards. They are living proof that the Twelve Steps don't really work. I mean, if the Twelve Steps won't even save people who have done them for 9 or 18 years, then what hope is there for the rest of us?



  35. The Church of Loserism
  36. The Church of Loserism is the church where you proudly brag about what a helpless loser you are. The Church of Loserism teaches that God will love you extra special because you are a worthless sinful weak piece of garbage. God doesn't like competent virtuous people who do things right — God loves the losers, and answers their prayers and grants their wishes.

    The Beatles' song I'm a Loser is the standard church music. Competence, strength, intelligence, self-reliance, and self-confidence are terrible vices and sins, immoral mistakes to be avoided at all costs, while incompetence, stupidity, ignorance, irrationalty, superstition, blind faith, dependency, weakness, powerlessness, and insanity are virtues to be proudly "admitted" at church get-togethers.

    "You are powerless over everything,"
    "You can't do it without your support group,"
    and
    "You can't handle life without having keepers to tell you what to do",
    are the sacred teachings of the church.

    Obviously, the teachings of the Church of Loserism contradict the teachings of every major religion in the world. All of the mainstream religions teach people to get a grip and live good lives and do things right.

    In addition, spending years moaning and groaning and confessing what a sinful loser you are is very harmful psychologically. You will turn into what you keep on saying you are.



  37. No Mistakes, No Accidents
  38. The A.A. Big Book gives us the following religious teaching:

    And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake.
    The A.A. Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict, page 449.

    If nothing happens in this world by mistake, if everything is just "exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment", then we have no free will and no individual responsibility for our actions. We are just robots or puppets, being manipulated by God and being made to do His Will. We have to be, because everything that happens, including what we do, is just the Will of God. So we cannot possibly have any choice in the matter, or else something that we do could be a "mistake".

    If we do something good, it was just what God wanted to happen.
    If we do something that is low and vile and evil, it was just what God wanted to happen.
    It's all just part of God's Great Plan.

    You and I cannot possible do something wrong, because if we did, then that would invalidate the above statement — it would be something that God did not want to happen, and there would be something in this world that was not "exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment."

    But the logical conclusion of such a doctrine is absurd:
    If someone chooses to go rape and murder a pretty girl, hey! — that was not a mistake — that was just the will of God. We might as well just accept it and be serene and grateful about it because "Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake."

    Such a doctrine is obviously grossly heretical. Most all of the major religions of the world teach the concepts of free will and individual responsibility. They tell you to get a grip and manage your own life and do good works. They don't let you just bliss out and mindlessly proclaim that everything that happens is just what God wishes.


    Incidentally, the statement that nothing happens by mistake — it's all God's Will — also invalidates A.A. Steps Four and Five. We cannot possibly be guilty of "moral shortcomings", "defects of character", and "sins" if everything was happening just as God wished it to. We haven't done anything wrong — we were just doing whatever God wished us to do. It was all just part of God's Great Plan.

    So there is no point in us listing all of our "sins" in Step Four, and confessing them to someone in Step Five, because we haven't committed any. It's a contradiction in terms. Likewise, we don't need God to remove our flaws and shortcomings in Steps Six and Seven, because we don't have any. We are exactly what God made us to be, and who are we to choose to change God's Great Plan?

    The logical conclusion is that we should simply throw away A.A. Steps Four through Seven, and stop wallowing in guilt.


    The statement that nothing happens by mistake — it's all God's Will — also makes God into a heartless monster:

    • The Holocaust, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Treblinka, and all of World War Two — that all happened because God wanted it to happen, and God wanted all of those people to suffer and die?
    • The Church murdered millions of girls as witches throughout the Middle Ages because God wanted it to happen?
    • The recent tsunami that killed more than 160,000 people from Malaysia to Sri Lanka was also not an accident — it was God's will? God wanted all of those poor brown-skinned people to die?
    • And Hurricane Katrina was just God punishing the South for improper religious beliefs and for voting for George W. Bush?
      No, "Repent America" director Michael Markovitch said (31 Aug 2005) that God destroyed New Orleans because of a gay festival that was scheduled to be held there a week later.
      Wow. That's just like Jerry Falwell's declaration that God allowed 9-11 to happen, and God allowed the World Trade Center to be destroyed, and God allowed thousands of innocent people to be killed, because of "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians".

    With a God like that, who needs a Devil?

    (Well fortunately for me, I don't believe that God is like that. It's just some heartless religious nut-cases who are like that.)



  39. No Salvation
  40. Another heretical part of the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve-Step religion is the dogma that says, "Once an addict, always an addict. Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. Quitting isn't an option for addicts like us."

    Christian religions believe that people can be saved, that they can be salvaged or redeemed, that they can always be made into something better. And one way or another, the other major religions of the world also say essentially the same thing. They all agree that you can work on yourself, and resist temptation, and make yourself into a better person. Only A.A. says that there is no hope for you, ever, that you are powerless over your sin — alcoholism — and cannot manage your own life, and that you cannot ever recover, and that the only thing you can do is essentially give up on yourself, and hope that God takes over and does something useful with you, and maybe makes you into something good. So, in total despair, you turn over — surrender — control of your will and your life to God in Step 3.

    It is a standard Alcoholics Anonymous heresy to teach that no one can resist temptation by himself. A.A. says that you must always continue to attend meetings, and practice the Twelve Steps, for the rest of your life, because you are only "in recovery," and can't ever finish it, and actually get recovered, and learn to stand on your own two feet: "Nobody ever graduates from this program, not ever", the A.A. faithful brag:

    In conclusion, I can only say that whatever growth or understanding has come to me, I have no wish to graduate. Very rarely do I miss the meetings of my neighborhood A.A. group, and my average has never been less than two meetings a week.
    ... our one desire is to stay in A.A. ...
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, Jim Burwell, The Vicious Cycle, pages 249-250.

    A.A. doesn't seem able to distinguish between an unchangeable condition, like the genes someone inherits, and a changeable condition, like one's behavior. I will agree that, unless genetic engineering makes some fantastic advances real soon, I am pretty much stuck with all of the genes that I inherited. And at least one of them does seem to be a gene for alcoholism. But after that, all bets are off. The gene does not force me to drink. The gene changes how my brain and body react to alcohol, and changes how I feel when I drink it, but the gene doesn't force me to drink. I don't have to do it. I can quit, and I have quit. And I can recover from the effects of having drunk too much, and live a different life. As the Christians would say, "I can do good. I can choose good over evil. I have free will."

    Those who believe that wallowing in powerlessness forever is a good thing to do might consider this Biblical passage, John 10.33:

    They answered, "We do not want to stone you because of any good deeds, but because of your blasphemy! You are only a man, but you are trying to make yourself a God!"
          Jesus answered, "It is written in your own Law that God said, 'You are gods.' We know that what the scripture says is true forever; and God called these people gods, the people to whom the message was given."

    Somehow, I get the impression that "knowing your place", and staying in your place, isn't quite what Jesus believed in. How do you read that? Jesus also used the phrase "children of God" more than once, as in, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be known as the children of God." What do children of God grow up to be? I don't think that "Bigger children of God" is the entire answer.

    Here, we might also consider this statement by St. Paul in his letter to the Romans:

    All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery, but you have received the spirit of sonship.
    The Reader's Digest Bible, page 668.
    Also see Romans 8:14-15.



  41. No Salvation, Again
  42. Bill Wilson was inconsistent on the issue of "Once an addict, always an addict." The Alcoholics Anonymous theology is very confused and contradictory there, because Bill Wilson and his Big Book also teach us the doctrine of instant perfection, just like Frank Buchman's cult did. So you get both "you never recover" and "you are suddenly transformed" in Bill Wilson's religious teachings:

    If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.   ...   We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.   ...   Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.   ...   We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 6, Into Action, pages 83-84.

    We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 6, Into Action, page 75.

    Assume on the other hand that father has, at the outset, a stirring spiritual experience. Overnight, as it were, he is a different man. He becomes a religious enthusiast. He is unable to focus on anything else.   ...   There is talk about spiritual matters morning, noon and night.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 9, The Family Afterward, page 127.

    As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 4, We Agnostics, Page 46.

    We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 2, There Is A Solution, page 25.

    Don't Leave Five Minutes Before The Miracle!
    A.A. slogan

    The idea of sudden, dramatic attainment of perfection is tempting, but heretical (as well as impossible). Christianity and all of the other major religions of the world teach us that love takes a lifetime — that spiritual attainment is a slow, life-long process of "Progress, not instant perfection" — and you don't just suddenly attain Heaven on Earth, or get instantly rocketed into the fourth dimension. Life just isn't that easy.

    Like Tom Driberg wrote about Buchmanism (a.k.a. "the Oxford Groups", a.k.a. Moral Re-Armament, MRA), which Bill Wilson adopted as the theology of Alcoholics Anonymous:

    For — to sum up the main criticisms — MRA is irrational in its mystique and authoritarian in its methods; it rejects free discussion; it practises with insufficient discrimination the dangerous, and often deadly, doctrine that the end justifies the means; and, by seeming to proclaim the possibility of instant perfection, it raises hopes that cannot be fulfilled. In short, it is essentially non-Christian and anti-democratic.
    The Mystery of Moral Re-Armament; A Study of Frank Buchman and His Movement, Tom Driberg, 1965, pages 304-305.

    And just to confuse the issue further, "Progress, Not Perfection" is also a common A.A. slogan. But that slogan of course contradicts all of Bill Wilson's writings that were quoted above that talked about instant transformation.



  43. Don't Tell The Truth
  44. Speaking of "the end justifies the means", "Don't Tell The Truth" is another of Bill Wilson's heresies that he felt was justified by the end goal.

    Bill Wilson taught the A.A. recruiters to hide the true nature of Alcoholics Anonymous — to be deceptive and downright dishonest about the details of the A.A. program when speaking to prospective new members — "It's okay because it will get more recruits into Alcoholics Anonymous."

    To some people we need not, and probably should not emphasize the spiritual feature on our first approach. We might prejudice them.
    The Big Book, 3rd and 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, pages 76-77.

    It is seldom wise to approach an individual, who still smarts from our injustice to him, and announce that we have gone religious. In the prize ring, this would be called leading with the chin. Why lay ourselves open to being branded fanatics or religious bores? We may kill a future opportunity to carry a beneficial message.
    The Big Book, 3rd and 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 77.

    "A future opportunity to carry a beneficial message" is code language for "a future opportunity to recruit someone else into the A.A. cult".

    And Bill instructed the recruiters not to be very explicit about A.A. theology when talking to doubters:

    When dealing with such a person [an agnostic or atheist], you had better use everyday language to describe spiritual principles. There is no use arousing any prejudice he may have against certain theological terms and conceptions about which he may already be confused. Don't raise such issues, no matter what your own convictions are.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 93.

    (Notice how Bill Wilson declared that anyone who disagreed with his Oxford Group religion was "prejudiced", and "confused about what the words mean". Such arrogance.)

    They wanted a psychological book which would lure the reader in; when he finally arrived among us, there would then be enough time to tip him off about the spiritual character of our society."
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age (1957), William G. Wilson, page 17.

    Lure the reader in? A.A. was supposed to be a cure for "the disease of alcoholism". Since when do you "lure the reader in" to good medical treatment? You don't. In fact, that is illegal. "Informed consent" is the law of the land. The doctor must tell you the truth about suggested treatments and medications, and how well they work.

    In his history of Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, Bill Wilson described how he practiced deceptive recruiting for his cult religion, rationalizing that he had to do it because alcoholics are so bad:

    When first contacted, most alcoholics just wanted to find sobriety, nothing else. They clung to their other defects, letting go only little by little. They simply did not want to get "too good too soon." The Oxford Groups' absolute concepts — absolute purity, absolute honesty, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love — were frequently too much for the drunks. These ideas had to be fed with teaspoons rather than by buckets.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 74-75.

    Real Christians do not dole out the truth about their churches and their beliefs by "teaspoons, rather than by buckets".
    Real Christians do not hide the truth about just what is expected of new members.

    Fake it 'till you make it.
    Act As If.
    — A.A. slogans



  45. Inherited Sin
  46. Yet another heresy in the Alcoholics Anonymous dogma is the concept of inherited sin. That is an old idea, one that the ancient Jews believed in. Jesus Christ was asked whether a man who was born blind was blind due to his own sin, or the sin of his parents. Essentially, Jesus said, "Neither. We aren't playing that game any more. Paradigm shift time. He is blind for the greater glory of God." And then Jesus healed the blind guy. (John 9:1)

    But A.A. still believes in inherited sin. An alcoholic is born with the gene for alcoholism, so he is born with the spiritual disease (read: "sin") of alcoholism. He is guilty and damned and condemned to Hell the instant the sperm hits the egg. And the only salvation available to him is to accept A.A. and the Twelve-Step program with its Higher Power as his savior.

    This effectively makes Alcoholics Anonymous one of the strangest deviant sects of Calvinism around: They believe in predestination with a nasty genetic twist.

    Occasionally, at some meeting, one of the faithful will entertain you with stories of how he was an alcoholic and dysfunctional, even as a child, even before he took his first drink. (I wish I were making this stuff up, but I'm not.) And he wasn't talking about codependency, or being an ACOA — adult child of alcoholics. He wasn't talking about having been made maladjusted or neurotic by an out-of-control alcoholic parent (although he might well have been). He was talking about being a dysfunctional person, an alcoholic, because he was born one. He was talking about having been born with a hereditary "spiritual disease" and having acted wrong since birth.

    One story in the Big Book begins:

    My alcoholic problem began long before I drank. My personality, from the time I can remember anything, was the perfect set-up for an alcoholic career. I was always at odds with the entire world, not to say the universe. I was out of step with life, with my family, with people in general.
      ...
    There was no material or external reason for this.
    The A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, Stars Don't Fall, page 400.

    In the Big Book, Doctor Bob, the co-founder of A.A., described his alcoholism this way:


    Young Dr. Robert Smith
    Unfortunately for me I was the only child, which perhaps engendered the selfishness which played such an important part in bringing on my alcoholism.     ...
    After high school came four years in one of the best colleges in the country where drinking seemed to be a major extra-curricular activity. Almost everyone seemed to do it. I did it more and more, and had lots of fun without much grief, either physical or financial. I seemed to be able to snap back the next morning better than most of my fellow drinkers, who were cursed (or perhaps blessed) with a great deal of morning-after nausea. Never once in my life have I had a headache, which fact leads me to believe that I was an alcoholic almost from the start. My whole life seemed to be centered around doing what I wanted to do, without regard for the rights, wishes, or privileges of anyone else; a state of mind which became more and more predominant as the years passed. I was graduated "summa cum laude" in the eyes of the drinking fraternity, but not in the eyes of the Dean.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Dr. Robert Smith, page 172.

    So, he was a born alcoholic, and his alcoholism was caused by in-born selfishness.

    The idea of that some people are "born the wrong way" is repeated at the start of every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. The A.A. members begin every meeting by reading out loud Bill Wilson's declarations in the Big Book that the people for whom the A.A. program did not work were "constitutionally dishonest with themselves" and "born that way":

    RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 58.

    (Notice the double-talk: It isn't their fault, but it is their fault because they are defective. It sure isn't the fault of Bill's program, Bill says.)

    Many other people report the same kind of nonsense:

    Now, a person who has never had a drink, or never drank problematically, would never be called "alcohol dependent" — but you frequently find such people in AA meetings, saying that they "identify as 'alcoholics'", because they "have the character defects of alcoholics" or some such. There have even been reports of people calling their PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN "alcoholics", because they display "self-centeredness"! This rubbish is only possible in a world where "alcoholism" has a mystical, "spiritual" meaning that has nothing to do with alcohol. And it also explains why many people are suggesting that EVERYONE should be in a 12-Step program, whether or not they have any substance abuse problem.

    "Alcoholism" = gambling = "sex addiction" = messiness = being married to someone who has any problem, etc. They are all the same "spiritual disease", all must be "arrested" by steppism.
    — Rita

    And more:

    Many of the people in the program who were parents would accuse their young children or teenagers of acting "alcoholically" when they were disobedient or acted selfishly. Some of the members' young kids actually believed that they were alkies or addicts even though they had never even nipped off of someone's beer or smoked a joint. It was sad to see children brainwashed by this nonsense. One boy would come up for chips and yearly medallions stating his "clean time" even though he had never used drugs. This mother's middle daughter did the same thing at the AA meeting and this kid never drank. The boy ended up being a problem in his young adult years and the NA/AA father banned the kid from the home. The youngster was once a good boy. Could it be that years of hearing this bull$hit of how he was an "addict" during his formative years led him to believe that he was worthless and would never amount to much unless he continued to go to these meetings with his dad?
    — A.H.

    Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

    Matthew 18:6



  47. Abandoning the Bible
  48. One problem that any Christian will have with Alcoholics Anonymous is the organization's abandoning of the Bible. The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, is their new Bible. Some members claim to still use the Bible; I sometimes hear a bit of lip service to the Bible like, "Keep the Big Book next to the Good Book," but you won't see a Bible at a meeting, and you won't hear it quoted. Everybody is carrying the Big Book, and all readings come from it, or from a similar book of daily meditations, also written by Bill Wilson and other members of A.A..

    In fact, reading aloud from the Bible at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings is usually forbidden. The Bible is considered "outside literature". Reading aloud at meetings from anything but A.A. "Council Approved" (and A.A.-published) literature is forbidden.

    UPDATE: Also see this letter where the correspondent objects to an A.A. member claiming that his crazy A.A. beliefs are in the Bible when they are not:
    http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters260.html#Alice_V



  49. Abandoning Jesus
  50. A.A. has essentially abandoned Jesus Christ. The A.A. faithful believe that Bill Wilson is superior to Jesus Christ when it comes to dealing with alcoholism, and you will hear Bill Wilson quoted a hundred times more often than Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, I can't really remember the last time I heard Jesus Christ quoted in an A.A. or N.A. meeting... Again, the Christian Bible is not "council-approved literature".

    The third edition of the A.A. Big Book does not contain the word "Jesus" anywhere, not even once. Bill Wilson raved constantly about "God", but didn't talk about Jesus Christ at all. There is one and only one mention of "Christ" in the entire book, and it is Bill Wilson's statement that before his hallucinatory experience on belladonna, his so-called "spiritual experience," he didn't have much use for Christ:

    With ministers, and the world's religions, I parted right there. When they talked of a God personal to me, who was love, superhuman strength and direction, I became irritated and my mind snapped shut against such a theory. To Christ I conceded the certainty of a great man, not too closely followed by those who claimed Him. His moral teaching — most excellent. For myself, I had adopted those parts which seemed convenient and not too difficult; the rest I disregarded.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 1, Bill's Story, pages 10-11.

    Apparently, Bill continued to disregard a lot of that stuff even after he "saw the light," or saw "the God of the preachers", because Bill never mentioned Jesus or Christ again, not anywhere in the Big Book, not ever.

    The first edition of the Big Book contained one story, "My Wife and I," that contained a line mentioning Jesus Christ:

    Here were these men who visited me and they, like myself, had tried everything else and although it was plain to be seen none of them were perfect, they were living proof that the sincere attempt to follow the cardinal teaching of Jesus Christ was keeping them sober.

    That story was dropped from the second, third, and fourth editions.

    • The word "God" appears in the first 164 pages of the Big Book (which William G. Wilson either wrote, co-authored, or edited) 106 times,
    • the word "Power", as in "Higher Power" or "that Power, which is God" appears 22 times,
    • the divine "Him" appears 26 times,
    • and the divine "His" is used 15 times,
    • but there is no mention of "Jesus Christ", not one single mention.

    William Playfair observed,

    In fact, the most striking evidence of the non-Christian nature of AA is in the testimonials of its members. In Came to Believe, which we are told is a record of "the spiritual adventure of AA as experienced by individual members," not one single testimonial out of the several hundreds could clearly and unquestionably be considered Christian. Not one single reference to the God and Father of Jesus Christ or Jesus Christ, as the one and only Savior, can be found. This is especially interesting when one realizes that every other kind of testimony is recorded. Out of the millions of AA members, surely AA could have included one Christian testimony in a book filled with testimonies! If anything, this book shows an anti-Christian bias.
          Members acknowledge Allah, the Life Force, any power greater than a drunk, the AA group as a whole, etc., but never the Lord God of the Scriptures. Either the number of Christians in AA is so small as to be negligible, or AA editors have chosen to exclude Christian testimonies. I will leave it to the reader to decide for himself which explanation is the correct one.
    The Useful Lie, William L. Playfair, M.D. with George Bryson, page 95.

    Alcoholics Anonymous is not a Christian religion, no matter what some members like to say. It is a religion all right, in spite of the denials of the members who claim that it is only a "spiritual program." Alcoholics Anonymous is a Buchmanite religion. Alcoholics Anonymous is just Frank Buchman's crazy "Oxford Group / Moral Re-Armament" religion, only slightly edited by William G. Wilson and Dr. Robert H. Smith.

    Basically, Alcoholics Anonymous believes in and practices the teachings of Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, another man who had little use for Jesus Christ, because he preferred his own beliefs and teachings to those of Jesus. Bill Wilson did not invent the theology of A.A. — he merely copied it from Frank Buchman.

    In spite of that fact that Bill Wilson tried to hide the strong connections between Frank Buchman and A.A., Buchman's Oxford Group got three mentions in the third edition of the Big Book, while Christ got only one. (The first two mentions of the Oxford Group are in the Foreword to the Second Edition, and the third is on page 218 of the third edition, in the story "He Thought He Could Drink Like A Gentleman".)

    For that matter, when you consider the fact that Jesus' first miracle was changing water into wine at a wedding party, there might be a real problem with Jesus being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous... (John 2:1 to 2:11.)

    I am reminded of a contemporary critic of Frank Buchman's Oxford Group, Pastor H. A. Ironside, who criticized Buchmanism by saying that it was not a Christian religion, in spite of Buchman's claims that it was, because everything in Buchmanism would still be possible even if Jesus Christ had never been born. The same thing is true of Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. would not have to change one word of the official church dogma even if Jesus Christ had never been born. The sacred Twelve Steps of Bill Wilson do not mention Jesus Christ, and do not require Jesus Christ in order to work, and the Twelve Steps don't even require Jesus Christ to have ever existed.

    Neither are the Twelve Steps based on any of the teachings of Jesus Christ. (They are based on the teachings of Dr. Frank Buchman.)

    Alcoholics Anonymous simply has no need for, and no use for, Jesus Christ. A.A. worships Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob, not Jesus Christ.

    An A.A. true believer "shared" this story:

    Friday, January 20th 2006

    WOW* Carrying The Message. I went to my regular Wednesday night meeting yesterday. Since I got to this city a year ago, the meeting has always been run by newcomers, Salvation Army dudes and people trying to recover in rehabs and "other programs." Before the meeting started, I had been sharing my dismay at the fact that we never get to hear any AA in that meeting. When it came time for the leader to lead the meeting and open up with a topic...he called on me instead. YIKES! I was already fired up, having been thinking about "things" all week long. I opened up with both barrels! I got really passionate about what I was saying and my voice got louder and faster, BUT...even though there was anger in my voice...it was ALL out of our Big Book. I shared that I was tired of hearing everything BUT AA in this meeting, that I didn't care WHAT OTHER PROGRAM you got here, WHAT your Higher Power's first name is, or HOW MANY TRUE & FALSE or MULTIPLE CHOICE questions your "sponsor" made you FILL OUT on your 4th Step! I also shared that IF YOU DO WHAT WE DO...YOU JUST MIGHT GET A LITTLE SOBER TIME AROUND HERE! A few of the guys from the Salvation Army were laughing at me and I suggested to them that they could laugh all they wanted. They could also go out and try to stay sober using just the Salvation Army and Jesus Christ and that we would save them a seat in AA IF they make it back!! After all, WHY do they think those "other programs" send them to AA anyway? THIS is the easier softer way people! If it could have been any easier to do...Bill W. would have incorporated it into our book! Gratefully...a few people with quite a bit of sober time, shared after I did. They said the same things I did, only perhaps a little more gently...lol.
    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.recovery.aa/browse_thread/thread/c059d807ffbbd1d0/f8747c55c3d0745b?q=Jesus+Christ&rnum=1

    Notice the criticism of faith in Jesus Christ there. This A.A. true believer says that a program based on Jesus won't work, and you will be lucky to survive it. But he will save a seat for you at the A.A. meeting, if you live long enough to make it back to a meeting. So much for the hypocritical A.A. claims that "There is no friction among us over such matters". (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 2, There Is A Solution, page 28.)

    Another correspondent who went to A.A. reported:

    As soon as I divulged that "The God of my understanding" is God Almighty (God The Father, God The Son, God The Holy Spirit) — I noticed a HUGE change. I experienced being ostrasized, I was keenly made aware that I was the "joke in the room".... people laughed when I "shared" anything. I saw people in the room nodding their head, rolling their eyes at the ceiling, snickering, putting their finger up to their nose and looking in my direction.

    In fact, Christians have often found it necessary to even start their own recovery groups, separate from the A.A. mainstream, just to have an emphasis on Jesus Christ:

            Saddleback's 12-Step program began when [John] Baker, a recovering alcoholic and increasingly devoted Christian, grew frustrated with the taboo of mentioning his higher power — Jesus Christ — at traditional Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. In the secular world, the concept of a higher power — the cornerstone of 12-Step programs — can be anything from God to a doorknob, depending on the spiritual comfort level of the person in recovery.
            "At an AA meeting, you can talk about anything else, but not Jesus Christ," Baker says. "I'd be mocked when I talked about my higher power."
    12 Steps, Christian Style, Los Angeles Times, April 24, 1999.
    http://www.apologeticsindex.org/an990430.html#47

    And just recently (August 2003), the following exchanges occurred in the Internet newsgroup "alt.recovery.addiction.alcoholism" between some A.A. true believers and me:

    Mias:
    I thank God for A.A., and A.A. for God!

    Orange:
    Which God is it that A.A. gave you, Jesus Christ, or some other god?


    Mias:
    On your inquiry about my God I will only say that 'God, as I understand Him' will suffice. I will also say that that God instructs me not to judge so that I be not judged. I better take that advice.


    Orange:
    In other words, you refuse to answer the simple, honest question about which god Alcoholics Anonymous gave you. And it apparently is not Jesus Christ, or you would be happy to say so.

    One of the criticisms that a theologian had of Frank Buchman's Oxford Group Movement was that it was not Christian at all, in spite of Buchman's claims that it was. The proof: that none of Buchmanism would have to be changed in the slightest even if Jesus Christ had never been born.

    And Alcoholics Anonymous, which Bill Wilson derived from the Oxford Group, is just the same. A.A. has no need of Jesus Christ.


    Mias:
    you ought to study the manual of whatever religion you prescribe to and see if your actions fit in at all. It is so sad that so many 'money-makers' these days proclaim a belief system that they have not studied at all just to obtain a following.
    I did not put a 'hex' on you. You are doing it on yourself and will know that one day.
    God bless you.


    Orange:
    Hey, I'm just trying to get at the truth, which you don't want to tell. I have maintained for a while now that Alcoholics Anonymous is not a Christian religion, even though it puts on airs of being Christian.

    A.A. doesn't have the honesty or the guts to tell the pastors or priests of the churches in whose basements A.A. meets that A.A. is really non-Christian and has no use for Jesus Christ. Bill Wilson has replaced Jesus in the A.A. religion.

    So I'm still asking, "What God or god did A.A. give you? What is so terrible about that simple honest question?" Why won't you answer it?

    Doesn't your God tell you to tell the truth? To be rigorously honest? (Big Book, page 58.) So let's see some of that rigorous honesty.


    Robert:
    You are in the wrong group if you are looking for Jesus. I make no claim about healing the blind. Relative to these facts, you are one blind fuckwit.


    Gail:
    WEEEEEELLLLLLLL, I introduced myself and said that I did not have a problem with the language being used in the rooms of AA. MY problem was when someone talked about Jesus and quoted scripture from the bible in an AA meeting. But, that was my problem. If I wanted to hear the gospel, I would go to church. If I want to hear from people like me and what we share, I come to AA.


    Rosie:
    way to be gail! :)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))



    A letter that I received declared,

    "I don't know what meetings you have observed, but the meetings we took note of pushed attendeding [sic.] college, taking prescribed medications, and sure as hell never mentioned Jesus."

    And another A.A. correspondent declared,

    "Radically departs from Christianity." I don't think many addicts (or anyone else) really care if this is true or not. Maybe some zealot Christians or dry drunks, etc but that is their problem.



  51. The Worship of False Saints and False Relics
  52. Another feature of the worship of Bill Wilson is something that I would call the worship of false saints and false relics. Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob were not saints, and their former possessions are not holy relics.

    Way back in 1963, Dr. Arthur H. Cain criticized the growing cultishness of Alcoholics Anonymous, saying:

    A.A. as a group must recognize its real function: to serve as a bridge from the hospital or the jail to the church — or to a sustaining personal belief that life is worthwhile. It must not pose as a spiritual movement that provides everything the alcoholic needs to fulfill his destiny. It must not teach its young (as it does in Alateen, its Sunday School for the children of alcoholics) such catechisms as: "We will always be grateful to Alateen for giving us a way of life and a wonderful healthy program to live by and enjoy." It must realize that "the actual coffee pot Anne used to make the first A.A. coffee (shown in "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age," Harper 1957, a commentary on the A.A. bible, Alcoholics Anonymous, Works Publishing Company, 1946) is not the Holy Grail. The cake and coffee served after meetings are just refreshments, not the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
    Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure?, by Arthur H. Cain, Harper's Magazine, February 1963

    Dr. Arthur Cain might have added: "And the Big Book, 'Alcoholics Anonymous', is not the Word of God, either. Bill Wilson was not "divinely inspired" when he wrote the opening chapters of the Big Book. (He was just repeating the beliefs and practices of the Oxford Group cult religion.) And an old-timer who is selling a copy of the Big Book to a newcomer is not grandly passing on the Holy Wisdom to the younger generation, but you wouldn't know that from the proud look on the old-timer's face."



  53. The 12 Steps Are Not Biblical, And Not Christian
  54. Speaking of abandoning the Bible, some A.A. apologists claim that the Twelve Steps are based on the Bible. Several books and articles have made such a claim — the authors simply browsed the Bible and picked out some quotes that sounded sort of like some of the Twelve Steps, and then claimed that the Steps were based on Biblical teachings. (It's the same process as seeing things in Rorschach ink blots — things that aren't really there.) They simply ignore the obvious fact that Bill Wilson's 12 steps are unquestionably just the occult practices of the fascist cult leader Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, a man who preferred his own teachings to those of Jesus Christ, and who claimed that any contemporary Oxford Group member's Guidance and revelations were just as authoritative as those in the Bible.

    The more faithful Christians have found it necessary to "adapt" Bill Wilson's 12 steps for Christian use. For example, Step Three:

    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
    becomes:
    3. Made a decision to turn our lives over to God through Jesus Christ.

    If the Twelve Steps were really based on the Bible, then it should not be necessary to change them and "adapt" them to make them acceptable to a Christian recovery program.2

    The irony of a Twelve Step program customized for Christians is that many who use it believe it is not only effective but Biblical. The author of Rapha's program explains that:
    Rapha's Twelve Step Program for Overcoming Chemical Dependency is designed ... to complement the original Biblically based Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.8
    If the original Twelve Step program needs to be "adapted" for Christians, it seems odd to say that it is "Biblically based." What kind of double talk is going on here? Unfortunately, this kind of confusion is characteristic of the literature of "Christianized" recovery programs.
          After all is said and done, Christians do not seem to be making the recovery industry approach more compatible with Biblical Christianity. On the contrary, the recovery industry seems to be influencing the Christian approach.

    8. Robert S. McGee, Pat Springle, and Susan Joiner, Rapha's Twelve-Step Program for Overcoming Chemical Dependency (Houston, Dallas: Rapha Publishing/Word, 1990), cover.
    The Useful Lie, William L. Playfair, M.D. with George Bryson, pages 84-85, and 185-186 (footnote).

    In the final analysis, any religion that tells you that you can worship a bedpan or a doorknob or a Group Of Drunks as your "god" is more heretical and totemic than Christian. And to insist that you will get a miracle by praying to such a "Higher Power" is more superstitious than spiritual. It is the worst sort of idolatry.

    Some A.A. members are even more blatant about the huge gulf of incompatibility between Christianity and the 12-Step religion. In a recent radio interview, the country singer and short-lived TV star Steve Earl declared, "I'm not a Christian, and I'm not a Moslem, and not ... a Buddhist." He went on to declare that he practiced "the 12-Step spirituality." (Here and Now, by Robin Young, NPR, 2 Jan 2012, 10:50 AM)



  55. Job
  56. Speaking of ignoring Jesus Christ and the New Testament of the Bible, Alcoholics Anonymous actually also ignores the second half of the Old Testament. A.A. is based on rather primitive ideas of God rewarding people for being good and believing in Him. In the earliest books of the Bible, the Israeli sheep herders and goat herders had essentially very childish ideas of religion — "just be good and believe in God and God will take care of you and make you win wars and give you lots of sons and make everything else okay too."

    But then the Book of Job came along and refuted such simple-minded ideas. In the Book of Job we learned that bad things happen to good people. The Lord our God will not necessarily reward goodness in this lifetime.

    Job was a good man who suffered immensely, and the Lord did nothing to stop it. Job's friends taunted Job and asked him why he still believed in his God when the Lord had obviously abandoned Job. The Book of Job answered that question with another question: "Who are you to question the motives of God?"

    The philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous is still stuck at a pre-Jobian stage of development. A.A. members act like infantile narcissistic children who expect God to take care of them and grant all of their wishes if they are good. It is essentially just Santa Claus Spirituality — Santa will bring the children a bunch of goodies if the children behave themselves. The Alcoholics Anonymous Third Step specifically declares that God will take care of you if you surrender your will and your life to God:
    "3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."

    Well, there is nothing in the Bible that says that God will take care of your will and your life for you if you surrender like that. The Book of Job says just the opposite — that God won't.


    "Waiting for God to provide is a good way to become very spiritual and very gone from this worldly scene."

    == John Phipps



  57. Spiritual, Not Religious
  58. Let us not forget the "It's spiritual, not religious" conceit. A.A. members like to claim that "Religion is for people who are afraid of going to Hell, and spirituality is for people who have been there." Which leaves the A.A. members feeling superior to the people who own the churches in whose basements A.A. meets, because the A.A. members think that they aren't afraid of going to Hell any more, and the other people are.

    That is really just an ego game of spiritual one-upmanship.

    Likewise, A.A. members imagine that A.A. is superior to the other religions because Alcoholics Anonymous is supposedly more open-minded and liberal about religious and spiritual matters. (Actually, it isn't. The "great spiritual freedom" is just a bait-and-switch trick to mollify the newcomers. You really have to believe in the A.A. version of God — a tyrannical order-dictating wishing-granting micro-managing patriarch — for the 12 Steps to actually work.)

    Which in turn is another point of conceit: A.A. members feel that A.A. is superior to a religion, because a religion is just a bunch of people who meet in a church, while "spirituality is everywhere..." (The A.A. members somehow overlook the small detail that they meet in the very same building as the church members.)

    "My sponsor told me this was a spiritual program so I tried est and yoga and Zen; I tried Catholicism and incense sticks and meditation. The only place I ever found God was here — in your faces, and the way you talked."
    — Sally B., at an A.A. meeting
    Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, Nan Robertson, page 138.



  59. Ordained Clergy
  60. And then there is the issue of ordained clergy. Both Alcoholics Anonymous and its theological predecessor, Frank Buchman's "Oxford Groups" (a.k.a. "Moral Re-Armament"), had a bad habit of arrogantly declaring that their own members were better theologians and better counselors than ordained priests and ministers.

    The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book printed one story where a newcomer who had read the previous edition of the Big Book enthusiastically declared that he was better at curing alcoholism than anybody else:

    Here was a book that said that I could do something that all these doctors and priests and ministers and psychiatrists that I'd been going to for years couldn't do!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 473.

    Likewise, well before that, Oxford Group members were declaring that experienced old sinners and degenerates from the back alleys were better spiritual advisors than ordained ministers and priests. Rev. Geoffrey Allen was a leader and a true believer in the Oxford Group Movement who attempted to explain and rationalize all of the practices of the Oxford Groups, like receiving Guidance from God in séances and "sharing" sins with others who are not ordained priests or ministers. First, Rev. Allen explained how all members had to openly confess their sins in Group meetings, and then he declared that the Oxford Group cult members were better qualified to hear the confessions than ordained clergy:

    Sooner or later, when we are ready to receive it, the Spirit will lead us to a deeper sharing of all that has been weighing on us from the past. It is a healthy practice for everyone, when they are led by God to do so, to share to the depths whatever in the past has most burdened their memory with thoughts of guilt. Such deep sharing may often be of things of which it is a shame to speak in public, and it will be right to accept the guidance of the Spirit, and to share with some older individual. Such an individual will then stand to us as ambassador of the forgiveness of Christ. In a Church which was fully Christian the natural person to whom to take such confession would be the priest. Whether in the actual Church the priest is always the right person is questionable. He might be shocked; and that might be good neither for him nor for us. The person who receives such confession must be someone who has learnt from his own experience, both under the Cross and in the Christian fellowship, that the forgiveness of Christ outreaches the furthest sin of man. He will therefore never be shocked; before the utmost evil he will say without blame, as Christ would say: 'Thy sins are forgiven; go and sin no more.'
    He That Cometh; A Sequel to 'Tell John,' being further essays on the Message of Jesus and Present Day Religion, Geoffrey Allen, Fellow and Chaplain of Lincoln College, Oxford, 1933, pages 131-132.

    • Notice how Rev. Geoffrey Allen implied that non-clergy (i.e., Oxford Group members) were more qualified, or at least better equipped, than ordained clergy to hear confessions, because they wouldn't be shocked by what they heard. Allen declared that the poor innocent cloistered feeble-minded old priests might be harmed by shocking confessions, but some worldly, experienced old degenerates from the back alleys could handle the job with ease.

      (Also notice how Rev. Allen used the propaganda techniques of "Sly Suggestions" and "Argue From Adverse Consequences" to suggest that priests might be shocked by sensational confessions, and that wouldn't be good for either of us, and then Rev. Allen simply assumed that his conjecture was true, and he proceeded to "fix the problem" by having Oxford Group members "who will never be shocked" hear the confessions.)

      And A.A. still does that today:

      • "Only another alcoholic understands."
      • "Alcoholics have a special ability to reach another alcoholic."
      • And again, Bill Wilson wrote that alcoholics are better counselors than ministers or doctors:
        Ministers and doctors are competent and you can learn much from them if you wish, but it happens that because of your own drinking experience you can be uniquely useful to other alcoholics.
        The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 89.

      • The more nutty and arrogant A.A. members even go so far as to declare that they were chosen by God to cure the alcoholics. They have God saying to A.A. members:

        'Unto your weak and feeble hands I have entrusted power beyond estimate. To you has been given that which has been denied the most learned of your fellows. Not to scientists or statesmen, not to wives or mothers, not even to my priests or ministers have I given this gift of helping other alcoholics which I entrust to you.'
        Judge John T., Speech given at the 4th Anniversary of the Chicago A.A. Group, October 5, 1943.

    • Rev. Allen also claimed that the spiritual counselors who heard the confessions must be experienced sinners who have learned about the sin from their own experience.

      So let's see... Logically, Catholic priests can't hear confessions about wild sexual affairs unless they have had a few dozen themselves... Right? And murderers can only confess their sins to another experienced murderer... Right?

      (Oh really? Since when? Where did Rev. Allen get that? That isn't in the Bible or any other religion's scriptures... That isn't part of the doctrines of the Catholic Church or any other church that practices confession. Rev. Allen seems to have gotten a lot of his theology out of thin air, or from Frank Buchman, who just made it up out of thin air.)

      And likewise, it takes an experienced old alcoholic to hear confessions ("sharing") about alcoholism, right?

    • Rev. Allen also claimed that unordained non-clergy (like Oxford Group members) had the power to forgive and absolve sins in the name of Jesus Christ — that they could "stand to us as ambassador of the forgiveness of Christ" — "Thy sins are forgiven; go and sin no more." — which is a new religious doctrine that will certainly start some interesting theological debates: "Who needs seminaries or trained clergy? Who needs ordained ministers and priests? Some college dropouts with a couple of months of indoctrination in cult religion should be good enough..."

      That shows typical cultish arrogance. Cult members like to claim that they are special, and somehow more qualified than ordinary people — even more qualified than the experts or the professionals.

      And A.A. still does that. A.A. members are forever bragging that they are better drug and alcohol counselors than the professionals or the doctors, and they also routinely claim that their flavor of "spirituality" is so much better than the established churches.

      Professor George E. Vaillant, who is a member of the Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc. Board of Trustees, put forth a similar argument while praising Alcoholics Anonymous and the religious method of treating addiction:

      ...religion, in ways that we appreciate but do not understand, provides forgiveness of sins and relief from guilt. Unlike many intractable habits that others find merely annoying, alcoholism inflicts enormous pain and injury on those around the alcoholic. As a result, the alcoholic, already demoralized by his inability to stop drinking, experiences almost insurmountable guilt from the torture he has inflicted on others. In such an instance, absolution becomes an important part of the healing process.
      The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited, George Vaillant, page 243.

      But "religion" does not forgive or absolve sins, not any more than the local Ladies Home Garden Club does. And a religion that declares that you can worship just any old Higher Power — anything like a bedpan or a doorknob or a Golden Calf — cannot claim that such idols will grant absolution and forgiveness.

      Now an ordained Priest might hear confessions and grant absolution, but Alcoholics Anonymous cannot make that claim while it simultaneously insists that it is not a religion and it has no ordained priests.

      Oh, and the alcoholic is not "demoralized by his inability to stop drinking". Alcoholics are not powerless over alcohol. Drinking alcohol is a choice.

    • And of course Rev. Allen would have us believe that all of the Oxford Groupers were constantly receiving Guidance from God, Who was even telling them whether they should confess something and to whom they should confess it. Rev. Geoffrey Allen's theology was a radical departure from mainstream Christianity.

      And A.A. still does that, too. Such occult "channelling" of God was discussed earlier.

    • The mention of using laymen, rather than ordained clergy, to hear confessions brings up another problem with the Oxford Groups. The Group members who hear confessions are supposed to keep such confessions confidential, but what about the people who leave the groups? How long will they remain silent?9 And what about the Group members who are less than Absolutely Pure, and tend to be gossips and blabber-mouths? The Oxford Groups had just that problem — gossips who could not keep secrets. More on that here.

      And of course Alcoholics Anonymous has the same problem today. Anything you say in an A.A. meeting can become common knowledge all over town as the local gossips have a hey-day. And your "sharing" can even be used against you in a court of law.



  61. Public Confessions
  62. The A.A. "sharing" of public confessions in A.A. meetings is another heretical practice. Bill Wilson got that idea from Frank Buchman and his Oxford Groups cult. Frank Buchman seized on a fraction of one verse in the Bible, and claimed that it warranted the practice:

    "Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
    == James 5:16

    As you can see, that verse emphasized people sick praying for each other so that they may be healed, not people constantly confessing everything to everyone forever.

    Also, that line said "confess your faults one to another", not one to a crowd. That line does not justify public confessions.

    The very early Christian church did practice public confession, but they learned the hard way that the practice of public confessions in church services created all kinds of horrible problems, including corrupting the children, and offending the older people, and people taking pride in their sins, so they banned the practice of public confessions. (And that is still the official policy of the Roman Catholic church today.)

    • When the children hear the adults confessing all of their sinful indulgences, some of the children think that maybe they would like to try that themselves.

    • The children will also start to think that such behavior is normal — obviously, everybody's doing it.

    • And then some people will take pride in their sins, and brag about them, rather than confess — declaring that their infidelities were bigger and longer than anybody else's, and their drunken binges were bigger and longer and more outrageous and more adventurous than anybody else's....

    • And then people will take some more pride in their salvation: "My miraculous conversion was much bigger than yours — I overcame far greater sins than you did — I was really miraculously pulled up from the depths (so God must really care about me)."

    • In addition, people will grow jaded and desensitized to the sins confessed when they hear too much of sin. Something about which people talk every day, and admit every day, becomes commonplace and loses its power to shock or shame. The unthinkable becomes thinkable. Grave sins become mundane and ordinary.

    • And then both the Oxford Groups and Alcoholics Anonymous even took confession a step further and turned it into a stand-up comedy routine. The featured guest speaker at A.A. meetings often recites a well-practiced humorous story of his life that keeps the audience laughing and makes alcoholism and a life of sickness and crime and sin sound hilariously funny.

    It is a great stretch to go from that one fragment of a line that St. James wrote to making a circus and a public spectacle out of confessions. This is old hat — a 2000-year-old mistake.

    The Oxford Group cult, from which Bill Wilson derived the practices of Alcoholics Anonymous, had the same problems. Frank Buchman just resurrected a very old mistake, and then Bill Wilson copied it from Frank.

    Notice that the Catholic Church has people confess to an ordained Priest in private, in sworn confidence, in a confessional, not in public. There are a number of good reasons why the Catholic Church has a ban on public confessions. Over the centuries, they learned the hard way what not to do.

    Unfortunately, neither the Oxford Group nor Alcoholics Anonymous learned anything from the experiences of the early Christian Church. They arrogantly assumed that the Church had nothing to teach them, and that they knew better than the Church. The Bishop of Durhan noticed that problem with the Oxford Group back in 1933:

    The Groupist ignores the history of Christianity, and regards the system of the Church as too apparently ineffective to command acceptance. He moves at a stride from the Age of Apostles to the present time, and assumes that the centuries of Christian experience have nothing to teach him. Surely this is a position which cannot seriously be defended.
    The Oxford Groups; The Charge Delivered At The Third Quadrennial Visitation Of His Diocese Together With An Introduction, Herbert Hensley Henson, D.D. (the Bishop of Durham), 1933, page 28.

    Also read more about Oxford Group confessions and hilarious confessions and unwholesome confessional practices for more about the problems with the Oxford Group practice of confessions in group meetings.



  63. Earned Grace
  64. Another item of Bill Wilson's heresy is this: Christianity teaches that you receive grace from God as a gift, and that you are not saved by good works. Bill says just the opposite: that you get in God's good graces by doing all twelve of Bill Wilson's Steps:

    We are sober and happy in our A.A. work. Things go well at home and office. We naturally congratulate ourselves on what later proves to be a far too easy and superficial point of view. We temporarily cease to grow because we feel satisfied that there is no need for all of A.A.'s Twelve Steps for us. We are doing fine with just a few of them. Maybe we are doing fine with only two of them, the First Step and that part of the Twelfth where we "carry the message." In A.A. slang, that blissful state is known as "two-stepping." And it can go on for years.
            The best-intentioned of us can fall for the "two-step" illusion. Sooner or later the pink cloud stage wears off and things go disappointingly dull. We begin to think that A.A. doesn't pay off after all. We become puzzled and discouraged.
            Then perhaps life, as it has a way of doing, suddenly hands us a great big lump that we can't begin to swallow, let alone digest. We fail to get a worked-for promotion. We lose that good job. Maybe there are serious domestic or romantic difficulties, or perhaps that boy we thought God was looking after becomes a military casualty.
            What then? Have we alcoholics in A.A. got, or can we get, the resources to meet these calamities which come to so many?     ...     Well, we surely have a chance if we switch from "two-stepping" to "twelve-stepping," if we are willing to receive that grace of God which can sustain and strengthen us in any catastrophe.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 112-113.

    Notice how Bill Wilson equates the following of his dictates with "spiritual growth":
    "We temporarily cease to grow because we feel satisfied that there is no need for all of A.A.'s [Bill's] Twelve Steps for us."

    Bill actually has the arrogance to declare that people will not "grow" spiritually unless they do what he says. (And yes, Bill is hiding behind other people again, by saying "A.A.'s Twelve Steps", rather than "my twelve steps, which I wrote and shoved on everybody else".)

    Bill says that something bad will eventually happen in your life. I agree. It's Murphy's Law. Something bad will always happen, eventually, sooner or later. Somebody will get sick, or somebody will die, or somebody will suffer a major misfortune. Bill says that you won't be able to handle it unless you do the Twelve Steps. I disagree. There is absolutely no evidence that the Twelve Steps make you better able to handle those nasty blows and hard knocks that life can deliver, and Bill offers us no evidence of that, either.

    Then, in another verbal shell game, more slick double-talk, Bill arbitrarily declares that we surely have a chance if we switch to doing all twelve of Bill's "suggested" steps, and if we also receive the grace of God. Yeh, and I surely have a chance of winning the lottery, too, if I buy a ticket. But how much of a chance?

    There is not necessarily any connection between doing Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps, and receiving grace from God, but Bill deceptively links them together in one sentence, as if he has a special exclusive wholesale grace distribution arrangement with God, as if God will give you His grace only if you are willing to do all twelve of Bill Wilson's Steps. (That is more evidence of Bill's insane delusions of grandeur.)

    The Bible specifically teaches us that Grace is a gift from God, and that it cannot be bought with good works, but Bill Wilson says that you must earn Grace from God by working Bill's program and doing all twelve of his Steps. That is heresy.



  65. We Are Not Saints.
  66. One of the more disgusting aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous is their attitude towards wrong-doing by other A.A. members. If you criticize A.A. for things like allowing the sexual exploitation of young women who come to A.A. seeking help with drug or alcohol problems, the A.A. members whine and rationalize: "We Are Not Saints!" Bill Wilson's line on page 60 of the Big Book is used as an excuse for tolerating all kinds of sins and crimes. And then they recite the slogans,

    • "Don't take someone else's inventory."
    • "When you point a finger at someone else, there are three pointed back at you."

    After listing the 12 Steps in the Big Book, and calling them "principles", rather than the cult religion practices that they really are, Bill Wilson declared:

          Many of us exclaimed, "What an order! I can't go through with it." Do not be discouraged . No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
    William G. Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 60.

    So, because most A.A. members do not perform the 12 Steps correctly, they claim that it is okay to sexually exploit underage girls in Alcoholics Anonymous and shrug it off by declaring that "We are not saints."

    The same goes for financial dishonesty and any other kind of exploitation of newcomers.

    And the line, "Progress, Not Perfection" is also used as an excuse for wrong-doing. As if we can't expect Harry K. to behave properly this year; maybe he'll stop the child molesting next year after more he makes some more "spiritual progress".

    Alcoholics Anonymous uses the "We are not saints" excuse to explain away everything from dealing drugs to other A.A. members, to helping oneself to the collection basket, to sexually exploiting the attractive young women who come to A.A. seeking help with a drug or alcohol problem.

    One A.A. apologist actually argued that it was wrong to demand moral behavior from rapist A.A. Midtown Group members — to demand that the sexual predators in A.A. stop raping the young female newcomers — because that would be setting expectations too high:

    The problem with what you are doing is that A.A. is a place for sick people to get well. For alcoholics to come recover. It is not a place for nice kind folk to become saints.

    If you start making behavior rules, which is in essence exactly what you are trying to do, where does it end? Do you really think people are trying to condone illicit behavior?

    No, that is not what people are saying. What they are saying is that "no matter how far down the scale" you have gone, you are welcome in A.A. If you don't change, well, you won't stick around. You are welcome to come, but why would you? A.A. is for the sick trying to get well, and if you aren't interested in getting well, you won't be around long. That is why the traditions state 'there is no A.A. police'. Get it? That is why A.A. members — and I live in PA — have a hard time listening to you.

    If you start trying to make a list of unacceptable behavior, you are essentially making a list of rules for membership, of which there aren't any and hopefully never will be. I fail to see how you can not comprehend this. Our fellowship can not deny even the most unsavory of individuals. Even in the midst of their lowest points, they are welcome.

    Posted by: "inventory" — September 13, 2007 07:12 AM, to a Washington Post readers' comments section, in response to a story about the sexual exploitation going on in the Washington DC "Midtown Group of A.A.".

    The writer argues that "If you don't change, you won't be around long." That isn't true at all. The thieves and rapists in the Midtown Group have been around for 20 years, and they show no signs of going away. Why would they quit A.A. when they get money, power, and sex from running a cult?

    This A.A. apologist is actually trying to argue that there are no rules in Alcoholics Anonymous, and that it is against "The Traditions" to demand that people behave in a moral manner. Well, the A.A. "Third Tradition" says,

    The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.

    The "A.A. 12 Traditions" do not say that the only RULE that A.A. members must follow is "a desire to quit drinking". There are still other rules that are expected of all people: don't rape, don't rob, don't murder... A.A. does not get to suspend those rules because "We are not saints".

    You know, it takes an incredible amount of arrogance and gall for A.A. members to declare that we cannot impose any rules on them — rules like "don't rape" — because they are busy recovering from drinking too much alcohol.



  67. Evil and Immoral Prophets
  68. Imagine that you visit a new church, and during the service, the speaker stands at the podium, in front of the congregation, and laughs and boasts: "Yes, ha-ha, first, our Founder and Prophet got drunk and stole all of the money, then he screwed all of the women, then he took drugs and made up a new religion and declared himself the New Messiah, here to finish the work that Jesus didn't complete. Ha-ha! Hail the Messiah!"

    And the whole congregation laughs and cheers, and hails their savior.

    What church do you imagine you are in?



  69. Causation and Control
  70. Both the Big Book and members sharing in meetings say things like:

    I have no other explanation for the many good things that have happened to me since I have been in A.A. — they came to me from a Greater Power.
    The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, page 367.

    The A.A. members don't seem to realize it, but every time one of them "shares" the sentiment that they are feeling so grateful because their Higher Power rigged events to make things turn out so good for them, they open up an incredibly nasty can of worms.

    When I hear one of them yammering mindlessly like that, I always want to ask,

    "Since your Higher Power is controlling every little detail of this world, and making things so good for you, I have to ask, why did your Higher Power start the War in Vietnam? Two million innocent people were killed over there, besides making all of the guys of my generation very unhappy. And then the war spread to Cambodia, and another two million people got killed there.

    And then there was that nasty slaughter in Rwanda, with the Hutus killing the Tutsis by the hundreds of thousands, usually by hacking them to pieces with machetes.

    And those are just the first couple of items that come to mind, right off the top of my head, from my own memory.

    And then there was Auschwitz, Treblinka, Buchenwald, and the whole Holocaust...

    And then there were Stalin's purges...

    And that's just a small part of what has gone on in this century alone. I could go on and on with the slaughter of Tibetans by the Chinese, the Armenians by the Turks, the Guatemalan Indians (native peoples) by the Spanish landlords, the slaughter of Chinese and Koreans and Philippinos and everybody else by the Japanese in World War II...

    And to really bring things up to date, about sixty thousand people starved to death today, here on this planet Earth, and more than half of them were children. That's who starves. The children. And 60,000 people starve to death every day here. There were 60,000 today, and 60,000 yesterday, and 60,000 the day before that. And there will be 60,000 tomorrow, and the next day, and the next...

    And then, just to put the frosting on the cake, Africa is being decimated by a plague of AIDS, where poor people are dying by the millions, without any hope of getting medicines, no hope whatsoever, because the medicines are simply impossibly expensive.

    I'd really like to know why your Higher Power did all of that to other people, while He was busy making you so happy with your new car, and your job, and your house..."

    This is nothing new. Theologians have been debating this question for thousands of years. And Bill Wilson mentioned it himself in the Big Book, in explaining why he didn't like religions:

    The wars which had been fought, the burnings and chicanery that religious dispute had facilitated, made me sick. I honestly doubted whether, on balance, the religions of mankind had done any good. Judging from what I had seen in Europe and since, the power of God in human affairs was negligible, the Brotherhood of Man a grim jest. If there was a Devil, he seemed the Boss Universal, and he certainly had me.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 1, Bill's Story, page 11.

    Unfortunately, Bill never returned to this issue. After he flipped out on Charles Towns' quack "belladonna cure" and saw "The God of the Preachers", Bill just declared that having a special relationship with God was wonderful, and the only way to live, and that everybody ought to do it. Bill just blissed out, and mindlessly ignored this issue forevermore, and never answered his own question.

    Other theologians have not been so blind, or so giddy. They have debated the question endlessly. And they keep coming up with the same problem: If you believe in a God who can and does control every little detail of this world, then God is responsible for all of the bad stuff that happens, as well as all of the good stuff.

    Some religions can deal with this. Hinduism has many gods, and some of them are evil or demonic. Kali and Shiva come to mind as two of the Destroyers. Buddhism, on the other hand, has no deities, per sé. Rather, Buddhism recognizes that there is duality in all things, so creation and destruction, or good and evil, or love and hate, or light and dark, or positive and negative, are two sides of the same coin, and you can't have one without the other. Judaism sees God as observing the world from above, usually with some bemusement, and not interfering with human affairs down here much at all. Christianity mostly takes that approach, but many sects are very mixed up on the subject. Some sects see life on Earth as a chess match between God and Satan, with us as the pawns. Others see it as a football game, with God and Satan as opposing coaches, and we are stuck in the middle of the field, as players, and have to win the game for God. (Well, assuming that you decided to play for God's team, that is...) In neither of those cases is God all-powerful. There wouldn't be much point to it if God could always just cheat and fix the game whenever He started to lose...

    An incomplete religion like Buchmanism, or the A.A. religion, has a problem when the believers want to declare that God has complete control of the world when he is doing favors for A.A. members, but does not have control of the world when bad things are happening to non-members...

    I call those religions incomplete because they are not thoroughly thought out. They are not philosophically or logically self-consistent. They are little more than collections of unconnected superstitions. It is ridiculously Pollyannaish to say that God is controlling the world and doing favors for me, but God is ignoring the rest of the world, so God isn't responsible for any of the bad stuff that happens elsewhere.

    The A.A. or Buchmanite believer is likely to answer, "That bad stuff is caused by people who are doing their own will, rather than obeying the Will of God."

    Nope, that is just dodging the issue. If God has control over this world, then God has to relinquish control to allow some little fool to cause trouble.

    Imagine this scenario: I see a child carrying a gun into his school, to shoot up the place. Imagine that I can easily take the gun away from the kid, and keep him from hurting anyone. But instead of doing that, I say, "That youngster has free will. I shall let him exercise his free will."

    If I were to really do that, then I would be criminally responsible for some kids getting shot.

    It's called "Criminally Negligent Homicide," and it's a real crime. You can be charged with killing people when you never lifted a finger to hurt them, when you just negligently failed to do what would keep them from getting killed.

    It's also called "Depraved Indifference". That's what the Christian Scientist parents get charged with after they let their children die by refusing to take them to a doctor and get them some competent medical care.

    I can't get off of the hook by saying that I simply chose to not control the situation, that I gave the child free will, and that I allowed the kid to do whatever he wished just because he was being rebellious and self-seeking, and did not wish to do my will.

    No, I wouldn't get off of the hook that easily. And the Higher Power who micro-manages the world doesn't get off of the hook that easily either. He ends up getting the blame for everything. Allowing bad people to do bad things to this world is controlling the world just as much as not allowing them to do it.

    Even if you decide not to choose,
    You still have made a choice.

    == A song by Rush

    The answers that most religions have come up with are:

    • One: To say that God does micro-manage the world, or is intimately involved in everything, down to the individual atoms, and is responsible for everything. That's Hinduism and Buddhism. But note that, in those religions, there is no "Will of God" like the Fundamentalist Christians describe. Such a will is a very human thing.

      In Hinduism or Buddhism, the only "Will of God" that exists is exactly what is happening right now, everywhere in the universe. God's Will is that the atoms exist, and the electrons keep orbitting the nuclei, and the force of gravity holds everything together. God definitely does not sit up on Cloud Nine and grumble about, "I wish Joe Blow would quit screwing his secretary", or "I wish the Egyptians would quit enslaving the Israelites."

      In Hinduism, it's like God made the entire physical universe out of Himself, so He's now busy being everything down here, and there is nobody upstairs to call on and ask Him to change things.

    • Two: To say that God does not micro-manage every little detail of this world, so He really isn't responsible for all of the bad stuff that happens. That's Judaism, Islam, and most sects of Christianity. There, the believers claim that God does have a Will, but is incapable of doing it Himself, so He needs us to do it on the physical plane for Him.

      (I know, I know, a lot of people will start screaming about "God is Omnipotent and can do anything." But that shoves God and His abilities back up to category One above, where God does micro-manage the world after all. And to claim that God can micro-manage the world, but refrains from doing so because He gave us free will, just gets us back to God being guilty of Criminally Negligent Homicide, and makes God an irresponsible micromanager.)

    But A.A. members don't have the benefit of either of those two religious doctrines. A.A. theology tries to be half and half. A.A. members claim that God is running their lives, and is keeping them from drinking, but God isn't responsible for any of the bad stuff. So they have opened up that nasty can of worms, and bought into the whole puzzle. They end up with a religion that is illogical, and is not self-consistent — a religion that contradicts itself:

    • God is running my life and is responsible for all of the good stuff that I do,
    • but God is not running my life, and is not responsible for all of the bad stuff that I do.

    And likewise:

    • God is running the world and is responsible for all of the good stuff that happens,
    • but God is not running the world, and is not responsible for all of the bad stuff that happens.

    Some A.A. members claim to have the answer: God gives Free Will to all people, and lets them do whatever they wish. And it's usually evil. God only interferes in this world to help a few people, those who are seeking and doing God's Will.

    That leaves A.A. members with an even more callous and cruel God than any other religion around here is describing. God is so mean and unloving that He will allow children to be beaten and raped, old ladies to be murdered, and whole populations of Jews, Russians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Tutsis, Tibetans, Native Americans, or Bosnians to be slaughtered in genocidal wars, and God doesn't give a damn about those people because they aren't grovelling before him, confessing all of their sins, and begging for knowledge of God's Will and the power to carry it out?

    God only loves the Buchmanites and the Twelve-Steppers, and everyone else in the world can just drop dead? A.A. just gets weirder and weirder.



  71. Afterlife
  72. Another aspect of the incompleteness of the 12-Step religion is the question of an afterlife. A.A. basically has nothing to say on the subject. All that Bill Wilson offered people was a sober "Heaven on Earth" in the present.

    Some 12-Step believers will now claim that this shows that A.A. is not really a religion; it is just an add-on to other religions. They wish to leave such theological questions to the other religions. But that doesn't wash when the Hazelden Foundation is telling us to set our religion aside and just practice the A.A. 12-Step program to get A.A.-style "spirituality". A.A. most assuredly is a religion — it's just an incomplete one that fails to address such issues.



  73. The A.A. God:
    • The A.A. God is the generic brand that comes in a plain white box at the supermarket.

    • The A.A. God has a lot of will. He has a Will for everything and everybody, and everybody is supposed to do something to please God. Apparently, the A.A. God did not succeed in making the world the way that He wanted it to be, so both He and his followers have to be constantly changing things, trying to get it right.

    • The A.A. God is an authoritarian male figure Who closely resembles an Old-Testament patriarch, like Charlton Heston playing Moses.

    • The A.A. God is a dictator.

    • The A.A. God wants you to be a slave forever.

    • The A.A. God loves you the most when you are grovelling on your knees, confessing what a worthless sinner you are. Only then will the A.A. God do favors for you.

    • The A.A. God is highly illogical, if not outright insane. First, the A.A. God will stick you with the genes for alcoholism and make you a born alcoholic, then He will wish you weren't an alcoholic and an excessive drinker. Go figure.

    • The A.A. God has a grand plan for you: First, incurable alcoholism, and then, more incurable alcoholism.

    • The A.A. God is so harsh that He will condemn you to a horrible painful death by alcohol unless you properly perform your sycophant duties every day. The A.A. God routinely kills alcoholics who don't Work the Steps thoroughly.

    • When the A.A. God heals alcoholics, He only fixes them for one day at a time. For some unknown reason, God's magic wears off after 24 hours.

    • The A.A. God micromanages the world. He is constantly tweaking everything, pulling millions and billions of puppet strings to make things happen differently, to make things turn out exactly the way He wants, and to convenience some of his followers.

    • The A.A. God cheats at solitaire.



Footnotes:

1) The Big Book Unplugged; A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous has a credibility problem. Page 44 declares that the DSM-IV describes "the symptoms of alcoholism". It doesn't. The American Psychiatric Association never used the word "alcoholism" in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. They described two related conditions: Alcohol Dependency, and Alcohol Abuse, but they carefully avoided endorsing the idea of any such "spiritual disease" as "alcoholism". Nevertheless, the author deceptively wrote:

To demonstrate that addiction is now officially considered a disease, mention that medical doctors look for specific symptoms in diagnosing alcoholism and chemical dependency. They are outlined in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), published by the American Psychiatric Association. This is a physician's bible.

As is usual for steppers, this author once again repeats the mistake of Bill Wilson and Marty Mann — confusing the symptoms of a disease with the signs of a disease. The DSM lists signs of mental disorders, not symptoms. The symptoms of a disease are what the patient complains about. The signs of a disease are what the doctor observes and measures.
(If the DSM-IV listed all of the symptoms — complaints — of mentally ill people, it would really be a strange book.)
(But guess what the DSM-IV really does list? Delusions of Grandeur, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the signs of which Bill Wilson prominently displayed.)

Also, the DSM-IV is the "bible" of psychiatrists, not "medical doctors" or "physicians".

Likewise, page 51 of BB Unplugged tells us that:

Chapter 8 is written by wives, but you don't need to be a wife to benefit from the authors' advice.

That is totally untrue, and everybody who knows the history of the Big Book knows it. Bill Wilson wouldn't let his wife write the To Wives chapter even though she very much wanted to do it. Bill Wilson didn't trust his wife Lois to "get the style right", he said, so he wrote it himself, while saying that the wives of the alcoholics wrote it.
So why does the author of Big Book Unplugged insist on repeating Bill Wilson's old lies to the youthful newcomers?


2) The Useful Lie, William L. Playfair, M.D. with George Bryson. "The real truth from the Bible and science about addictions and codependence — and how you can be free of them!" See pages 81 to 85 for a description of the process of "Christianizing" the A.A. program.


3) Susan Cheever, My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson — His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 207.


4) See Ernest Kurtz, Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Hazelden Educational Foundation, Center City, MN, 1979, page 136 and pages 416-417, "Closed Sources and Their Status To Scholars".


5) Susan Cheever, My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson — His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 197.


6) Cocaine Anonymous World Services, Inc., Hope, Faith, and Courage; Stories from the Fellowship of Cocaine Anonymous, page 13.


7) Thomas L. Noa, D.D., Bishop of Marquette, MORAL RE-ARMAMENT and the CATHOLIC LAY APOSTOLATE, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, Indiana, USA, 1961?.


8) Thomas L. Noa, D.D., Bishop of Marquette, MORAL RE-ARMAMENT and the CATHOLIC LAY APOSTOLATE, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, Indiana, USA, 1961?.

9) L. P. Jacks, writing in Oxford and the Groups, by Allen, Rev. G. F., Crosman, R. H. S., et al., 1934, pages 129-130.

10) William G. Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age (1957), page 17:

Fitz wanted a powerfully religious document; Henry and Jimmy would have none of it. They wanted a psychological book which would lure the reader in; when he finally arrived among us, there would then be enough time to tip him off about the spiritual character of our society.   ...   As umpire of these disputes, I was obliged to go pretty much down the middle, writing in spiritual rather than religious or entirely psychological terms.
More on that here.

11) William G. Wilson, The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 93.

When dealing with such a person [an agnostic or atheist], you had better use everyday language to describe spiritual principles. There is no use arousing any prejudice he may have against certain theological terms and conceptions about which he may already be confused. Don't raise such issues, no matter what your own convictions are.
More on that here.

12) William G. Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, pages 74-75.

When first contacted, most alcoholics just wanted to find sobriety, nothing else. They clung to their other defects, letting go only little by little. They simply did not want to get "too good too soon." The Oxford Groups' absolute concepts — absolute purity, absolute honesty, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love — were frequently too much for the drunks. These ideas had to be fed with teaspoons rather than by buckets.

More on that here.



Bibliography:


The Christian Bible, any version.


"The Big Book", really:
Alcoholics Anonymous, Third Edition.
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY.
ISBN 0-916856-00-3
Dewey: 362.29 A347 1976


Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
(written by William G. Wilson, published as 'anonymous'.)
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 1952, 1953, 1984.
ISBN 0-916856-01-1 (larger hard cover edition, 1984)
LCCN: 53-5454
also see:
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 2000.
ISBN 0-916856-06-2 (smaller hard cover edition, 2000)
Dewey: 362.2928 T969 1965


Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age     published as "anonymous", but really written by William G. Wilson
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1957, 1986.
Harper, New York, 1957.
ISBN 0-91-685602-X
LC: HV5278 .A78A4
Dewey: 178.1 A1c
This is Bill's history of Alcoholics Anonymous. It suspiciously differs from known history here and there.


'PASS IT ON'; The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world     'anonymous'
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1984.
ISBN 0-916856-12-7
LC: HV5032 .W19P37x 1984
LCCN: 84-072766
Dewey: 362.29/286/O92
This is the official, council-approved version of the history of A.A.. Strangely enough, there is actually some very interesting stuff in here, including chapter 16, which describes Bill's spook sessions and séances, talking with the spirits of the dead, and communicating with spirits through spirit rapping and the Ouija board. See pages 275 to 285.


Language Of The Heart     William G. Wilson
A.A. Grapevine, New York, 1988.
ISBN 0-933-68516-5
LC: HV5278 .W15 1988
LCCN: 88-71930
This is a collection of Bill's writings, speeches, and letters, assembled after his death.


Bill W. and Mr. Wilson — The Legend and Life of A.A.'s Cofounder     Matthew J. Raphael
University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, Mass., 2000.
ISBN 1-55849-245-3
Dewey: B W11r 2000
This book was written by another stepper — the name 'Matthew Raphael' is a pen name — and it generally praises Bill Wilson and recites the party line about most things, but it also contains a bunch of surprises, like detailing Bill's sexual infidelities, his and Bob's spook sessions — talking to the 'spirits' in séances through the use of Ouija boards, spirit rapping, and channeling, LSD use, and publicity-hound megalomania.


Bill W. Robert Thomsen
Harper & Rowe, New York, 1975.
ISBN 0-06-014267-7
Dewey: 362.29 W112t
This is a good biography of William G. Wilson, even if it is very positively slanted towards Mr. Wilson, because the author knew Mr. Wilson and worked beside him for the last 12 years of Mr. Wilson's life. This book will still tell you about some of Bill Wilson's warts, his fat ego, his publicity-hound behavior, and his years-long "dry drunks"...


Bill W. My First 40 Years     'An Autobiography By The Cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous'
(This is Bill Wilson's autobiography, supposedly published anonymously.)
Hazelden, Center City, Minnesota 55012-0176, 2000.
ISBN 1-56838-373-8
Dewey: B W11w 2000
This book was reputedly assembled by ghost writers at Hazelden from the same autobiographical tapes of Bill Wilson that Robert Thomsen used for his book.


Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson     Francis Hartigan
Thomas Dunne Books, An imprint of St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, 2000.
ISBN 0-312-20056-0
Dewey: B W11h 2000
Francis Hartigan was the secretary of and confidant to Bill Wilson's wife Lois. This book is pretty much a white-wash and tells the whole story from Bill's point of view. But it does contain a few surprises, like the chapter "The Other Woman" which details Bill's love affair with Helen Wynn, and hints at all of his other affairs where he cheated on Lois, both before and after sobriety, all of his married life.


Not God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous     Ernest Kurtz
Hazelden Educational Foundation, Center City, MN, 1979.
ISBN 0-899-486065-8
LC: HV5278
LCCN: 79-88264
Dewey: 362.2/9286
This is a very pro-A.A., toe-the-party-line history of Alcoholics Anonymous.


The Soul of Sponsorship: The Friendship of Fr. Ed Dowling, S.J. and Bill Wilson in Letters     Robert Fitzgerald, S.J.
Hazelden Pittman Archives Press, Center City, MN, 1995.
ISBN: 1-56838-084-4
Dewey: 362.29286 FITZGERA 1995
This book includes Bill's letters to Father Dowling where he describes his psychic contact with spirits from the "other side", including "Boniface", who was supposedly a medieval Benedictine missionary and English. Father Dowling answered that he felt that Bill was making contact with evil spirits who were deceiving him. See page 59. It also contains letters describing Bill's LSD usage — that is the subject of all of chapter 13.


Hope, Faith, and Courage; Stories from the Fellowship of Cocaine Anonymous     Cocaine Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Cocaine Anonymous World Services, Inc., Los Angeles, CA, 1993.
ISBN 0-9638193-0-5 (hardcvr) ; ISBN 0-9638193-1-3 (softcvr) ; ISBN 0-9638193-9-9 (H&I edition)
A book of testimonials (proof by anecdote) from the headquarters of Cocaine Anonymous. Among other things, it teaches us the heresies that "Today I know that I am powerless over the outcome of everything and that my life is still unmanageable by me" (page 38), and GOD = "the Group Of Drug addicts at the meetings" (page 13). Most of the book is devoted to telling us that the story writers were miserable until they joined Cocaine Anonymous, and they were made just so happy by doing the Twelve Steps.


The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power     Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad
North Atlantic Books/Frog Ltd., Berkeley, California, 1993.
ISBN 1-883319-00-5
LC: BF698.35 .A87 K73 1993
LCCN: 93-18494
Dewey: 303.3'3--dc20
A great book. Definitely makes the Top 10 list. Discusses the hidden, underlying authoritarianism in many religious cults and some other religions, too.


Crazy Therapies; What are They? Do They Work?     Margaret Thaler Singer and Janja Lalich
Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1996
ISBN: 0-7879-0278-0 (alk. paper)
LC: RC480.515.S56 1996
LCCN: 96-16107
Dewey: 616.89'14--dc20 or 616.8914 S6175c
Quite good. Describes and criticizes various fad therapies which were popular from the nineteen-sixties through the -eighties.


Big Book Unplugged; A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous     John R.
Hazelden, Center City, MN, 2003.
ISBN 1-59285-038-3
Dewey: 362.292 R111b
This is largely extracts from the Big Book, rewritten with the goal of enticing young people into the organization. Rather insidious stuff, besides being incorrect. See the footnote above for criticisms.


My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson — His Life And The Creation Of Alcoholics Anonymous     Susan Cheever
Simon & Schuster, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, 2004.
LC: HV5032.W19C44 2004
Dewey: 362.292092--dc22 or B W11c 2004
ISBN: 0-7432-0154-X
Another biography of Bill Wilson written by a stepper with a bad case of hero worship. She glosses over and rationalizes all of Bill Wilson's faults. She even claims that Bill Wilson was right when he was conducting séances — that he really was talking to the spirits of the dead. See quotes here.


MORAL RE-ARMAMENT and the CATHOLIC LAY APOSTOLATE     Thomas L. Noa, D.D., Bishop of Marquette
Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, Indiana, USA, 1961?.
LC: BJ10.M6N6
This is a small pamphlet where Bishop Noa explains that Moral Re-Armament is incompatible with the Roman Catholic faith.
Quote: here.





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