Dick B. Copyright 2005. All Rights Reserve
1943 Remarks of Bill W. with Dr. Bob on A.A.'s Need for God, Religion, and the Bible
If you know your early A.A. history, it will not surprise you to learn what A.A. co-founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith said on the platform at talks they gave to 4,500 alcoholics, their relatives, and friends at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in March, 1943. The speeches were reported on page 17, Friday, March 23, 1943, issue of the Roman Catholic newspaper The Tidings. I got my copy from an A.A. old-timer who had the remarks framed. Here are some excerpts from the paper on Bill's remarks. (Dr. Bob's remarks will follow in another posting.) Bill W.: "An alcoholic is a fellow who is 'trying to get his religion out of a bottle,' when what he really wants is unity within himself, unity with God. . . ." Alcoholics Anonymous recommends a return to religion, resumption of Church attendance, the news report said of Bill's remarks. "There is a definite religious element here," Bill said. "I pray and I feel released." He emphasized, said the newspaper, "Divine Aid was A.A.'s greatest asset...."
After quoting Bill Wilson's statements, the paper detailed some of Dr. Bob's remarks. The newspaper said the audience rose to its feet in tribute to Dr. Bob. It continued that Dr. Bob spoke "in soft, confident and unhurried words [where] he too reiterated the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous." According to The Tidings, Dr. Bob said: "Read religious literature. Resume church attendance, cultivate the habit of prayer, and transmit the desires and principles of Alcoholics Anonymous to others." The paper added: "He particularly recommended reading the Bible."
[Please note that the dates given above from the Roman Catholic newspaper The Tidings, is incorrect. The correct date is page 17, Friday, March 26, 1948.]