Alcoholics Anonymous and The Sermon on The Mount

How much do you know about Recovery and The Twelve Steps?  Did you know this?

imageThe Sermon on the Mount had a different history in early A.A. Both Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob, founders of Alcoholics Anonymous said several times that Jesus’ sermon on the mount contained the underlying philosophy of A.A. As A.A.’s own literature reports: “He [Dr. Bob] cited the Sermon on the Mount as containing the underlying spiritual philosophy of A.A.” (DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers. NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980, p. 228). Dr. Bob had no hesitancy about reading from the Bible and reading from it this sermon at meetings. An A.A. Grapevine article states that at a meeting led by Dr. Bob, Dr. Bob “put his foot on the rung of a dining-room chair, identified himself as an alcoholic, and began reading the Sermon on the Mount” (DR. BOB, supra, p. 218). Dr. Bob pointed out that there were no twelve steps at the beginning, that “our stories didn’t amount to anything to speak of,” and that they [A.A.’s “older ones”] were “convinced that the answer to their problems was in the Good Book” (DR. BOB, supra, p. 96). Clarence Snyder pointed out as to Dr. Bob: “If someone asked him a question about the program, his usual response was: ‘What does it say in the Good Book?’” (DR. BOB, supra, p. 144). Bob said quite clearly: “I didn’t write the Twelve Steps. I had nothing to do with the writing of them” but that “We already had the basic ideas, though not in terse and tangible form. We got them as a result of our study of the Good Book” (DR. BOB, supra, pp. 96-97). He also said the older members were convinced that the answer to their problems was in the Good Good.” Dr. Bob stressed over and over that the “the parts we found absolutely essential were” the Book of James, the Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13 (e.g. DR. BOB, supra, p. 96). In the Foreword he wrote to Dick B., The Good Book and The Big Book, Dr. Bob’s son “Smitty” pointed to the importance of James, the Sermon, and Corinthians; and I heard Smitty repeat his statement at several large A.A. history meetings, including one at A.A.’s San Diego International Convetion in 1995. Dr. Bob’s sponsee Clarence Snyder, got sober in February of 1938 and later became the AA with the greatest amount of sobriety. Clarence often echoed Dr. Bob’s words about the Bible and the three essential parts. Also, in a talk given to AAs in Glenarden, Maryland, on August 8, 1981, Clarence said: “This program emanates from the Sermon on the Mount and the Book of James. If you want to know where this program came from, read the fifth, sixth, seventh chapter of Matthew. Study it over and over, and you’ll see the whole program in there” (Glen Cove, NY: Glenn K. Audio Tape #2451).


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