Christian Organizations and People that Shaped A.A.

Christian organizations and people that shaped the recovery ideas of A.A. before it began.

Influences of the seven pre-A.A. Christian organizations and people:

    (1) Evangelists and Revivalists (1846, beginning perhaps with John B. Gough—“an apostle of Temperance”)

    (2) The Young Men’s Christian Association (1851, when the first YMCA was established in America in Boston)

    (3) The Salvation Army (1865, founded by William Booth as the Christian Revival Association, later rechristened the Salvation Army)

    (4) Gospel Rescue Missions (1872 when Jerry McAuley founded the Helping Hand for Men, soon to become the Water Street Mission)

    (5) The Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor (1881, formed by Rev. Francis Clark, pastor of the Williston Congregational Church in Maine)

    (6) The Oxford Group and Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman (1919, “A First Century Christian Fellowship” founded by Frank Buchman, later called the Oxford Group, and later still Moral Re-Armament)

    (7) The Rev. Dr. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. (1925, Shoemaker, an associate of Frank Buchman since 1919, was called to be rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in New York)

The training in the Bible received by A.A. Number One, Cofounder William Griffith Wilson (“Bill W.”), as a youngster in East Dorset and Manchester, Vermont

    (1) The conversion and cure of alcoholism received in East Dorset, Vermont, by Bill W.’s paternal grandfather “Willie” Wilson on Mount Aeolus, adjacent to the East Dorset Congregational Church

    (2) The Christian family training Bill W. received from his maternal grandfather Fayette Griffith, and from his parents, Gilman and Emily Wilson

    (3) The participation of the Wilson and Griffith people with Bill in the East Congregational Church and Sunday school in East Dorset, Vermont

    (4) Independent Bible study by Bill W., with his grandfather Griffith and with his friend Mark Whalon

    (5) Temperance, conversion, and revival meetings Bill W. attended

    (6) Burr and Burton Academy requirements of daily chapel, weekly church attendance, and a four-year Bible study course

    (7) Bill W.’s participation in, and presidency of, the Burr and Burton YMCA

The training in the Bible received by A.A. Number Two, Cofounder Robert Holbrook Smith (“Dr. Bob”), as a youngster in St. Johnsbury, Vermont

    (1) The impact of, and outpourings from, The Great Awakening of 1875 in St. Johnsbury

    (2) The Christian family training Bob received from his parents—Judge Walter Perrin Smith and the Judge’s wife Susan Holbrook Smith

    (3) The entire Smith family’s participation in North Congregational Church of St. Johnsbury and its Sunday school and prayer meetings

    (4) The Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor of North Congregational Church

    (5) St. Johnsbury Academy where daily chapel, weekly church attendance, and weekly Bible study were required

    (6) The influence of the YMCA on the Great Awakening, on Judge Smith who was its president in St. Johnsbury, and by YMCA activities at North Church and St. Johnsbury Academy


    See Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 2d ed. (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., 2009)

    Suggested additional reading:
    Dick B., The Conversion of Bill W.: More on the Creator’s Role in Alcoholics Anonymous (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc.,…….)

    Dick B. and Ken B., Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Bible as a Youngster in Vermont (Kihei, HI: Paradise Research Publications, Inc., …)