The Man Nobody Knew When A.A. “Came of Age” at St. Louis in 1955
A.A.’s Spiritual Homecoming, November, 2005, St. Louis – It’s Time for Sam Shoemaker
© 2005 by Dick B.
● Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., the man nobody knew when A.A. “Came of Age” at St. Louis in 1955
“There came to next to the lecturn a figure that not many A.A.’s had seen before, the Episcopal clergyman Sam Shoemaker. It was from him that Dr. Bob and I in the beginning had absorbed most of the principles that were afterward embodied in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, steps that express the heart of A.A.’s way of life.” Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age. (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1957), pp. 38-39.
● Significant comments from A.A. and Al-Anon literature about Bill Wilson, A.A., and Rev. Sam Shoemaker
[Bill himself said:] “The early A.A. got its ideas of self-examination, acknowledgment of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their former leader in America, and from nowhere else.” A.A. Comes of Age, p. 39.
“The Rev. Samuel Shoemaker helped lead early members toward the spiritual principles embodied in the Twelve Steps.” Pass It On (NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1984), p. 128.
“While Bill was always generous in recognizing A.A.’s debt to the Oxford Group, he would always tie the Oxford Group connection to Dr. Shoemaker.” Pass It On, p. 174.
“Bill’s first three steps were culled from his reading of [William] James, the teachings of Sam Shoemaker, and those of the Oxford Group.” Pass It On, p. 199.
[Bill himself said:] “Where did the early AAs find the material for the remaining ten Steps? Where did we learn about moral inventory, amends for harm done, turning wills and lives over to God? We did we learn about meditation and prayer and all the rest of it? The spiritual substance of our remaining ten Steps came straight from Dr. Bob’s and my own earlier association with the Oxford Groups, as they were then led in America by that Episcopal rector, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.” The Language of the Heart (NY: The AA Grapevine, Inc., 1989), p. 298.
[Lois Wilson said:] “Bill and Sam Shoemaker of the Oxford Group were very good friends. . . . For reasons of his own Sam became disenchanted with the Oxford Group and resigned. Later, in 1955 and 1960, he made grand talks before thousands of AAs at the two International Conventions celebrating the twentieth and twenty-fifth anniversaries of their Fellowship. Sam was a great man, an understanding, tolerant, inspiring human being, with a personality that drew people to him.” Lois Remembers (NY: Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 1987) , p. 103.
● The definitive and detailed history of the immense role and relationship of Shoemaker to Bill Wilson and A.A. is Dick B., New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A. New. Rev. ed., Kihei HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 1999.
● Appendix One contains a complete list of the Sam Shoemaker Collection assembled by Dick B. in over 15 years of research.
● Appendix Two tells the story of how the Shoemaker collection is “on tour” and presently being made available free of charge to viewers at conferences and conventions throughout America.
● Appendix Three details the immense contributions of Sam Shoemaker to A.A., Bill Wilson, & the Steps
● For additional information, contact Dick B., email@example.com
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