Answers to the Clarence Snyder Myth

Putting the Plug in the Jug Pouring Out Myths and Erroneous Stories

The Nonsense about Alleged Payments to Clarence H. Snyder

Dick B.
© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved

I couldn’t believe it when someone pointed out to me that a censored, moderated forum was loaded with questions, answers, and intimations that Clarence Snyder had been paid for his story in the Big Book. Almost uniformly, the myth was championed by people who couldn’t possibly have a clue or know the truth. Many said so. But they repeated the suggested myth again and again—several pages worth..

So, like Dragnet, I just went out looking for “Just the facts please, ma’m.” I contacted three long-time sponsees of Clarence H. Snyder who originally gathered all of Clarence’s papers and began putting them in such publications as “Going Through the Steps,” “My Higher Power the Light Bulb,” and “Our Faith Legacy.” Which are now widely known and frequently used or quoted by AAs and others. I simply asked these folks if the writers were in error, and/or were circulating mythical questions and answers, and had misstated the facts.

Here are some facts—that constitute evidence not unlike that which I myself had with Clarence Snyder’s widow in the week-long interview I had with her in Florida.

Item One: Aloha to you, Steve, from Maui, Hawaii! This my son Ken wrote to Steve

Thank you for setting–and keeping–the record straight! Hope to see you and Sue and Jack (and others from the “Came to Believe Retreats” family) at “The First International Alcoholics Anonymous History Conference,” September 6-7, 2013, in Portland, Maine. Perhaps you folks could even join us on our research tour to St. Johnsbury, Vermont (about three hours from Portland) on Sept. 8-10.
http://www.dickb.com/First-International-Alcoholics-Anonymous-History-Conference-2013.shtml
In GOD’s love,

Dick B.’s son, Ken

Item Two: Steve’s Plain, Simple, and Factual Answer to the Myth:

On Thu, May 16, 2013 at 9:56 AM, Steve Foreman wrote:
Dick and Ken:

Any thoughts or rumors that Clarence Snyder received any money for being a part of the Big Book or sales of any other AA material is pure “Baloney” (I cleaned that up).

Clarence was livid with Bill for the money Bill made from each copy sold of the Big Book and “12 Steps and 12 Traditions” plus all of the Al-Anon material Lois wrote. He would not even take fees for speaking at engagements throughout the US. He would ask for his expenses to be paid, and that was it.

AA was a “Labor of Love” as described by Clarence and, as he said, was “his avocation”, not a money-making venture. These people are “making this stuff up” (misinformed, or lying, in other words), and I can be quoted as so saying.

Love those B. . . . Boys. Keep the pot stirred and all of us mushrooms informed with “Just the facts”.

God Bless,

Steve Foreman
2211 Lee Road, Suite 100
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407)862-5900 – Fax (407)869-7560

Item Three: The Actual, Confirming Truth as Conveyed to us (Dick B. and Ken B.) at the home of Clarence Snyder’s widow—Grace Moore Snyder—and her son Duke Moore and Duke’s wife and father-in-law at the dinner table at Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

The group was seated at the dinner table, discussing the book which I had come to write—That Amazing Grace: The Role of Clarence and Grace S. in Alcoholics Anonymous (San Rafael, CA: Paradise Research Publications, 1996).

Duke’s father in law turned to Grace and asked her how much she was being paid by me for the biography I was writing and going to publish. She looked the gentleman straight in the eye. She said: “Not one cent.”

With that, Duke got up from the table and left the dining room. Grace followed him. And Grace said her son told her: “Mom, I’m proud of you for what you said about the being “paid” remark. That’s exactly what Clarence said of himself so often. And that’s the way he would have answered.”

As soon as I saw the myths proposed in the censored and moderated “history” forum, I contacted Clarence’s own sponsees in Florida and elsewhere. I asked for their comments on the question whether Clarence had been paid for his story. My son and I received the answer above, and it certainly shows how far people who dislike others in A.A. may start a false question or false rumor or request for false information. And then try to destroy the person mentioned.

Item Four: The Forty-Five Feathers: Ed Andy, a good friend of Clarence’s, and the owner of the “First A.A. Museum” in Lorain, Ohio, put out a videotaped interview about the “45 feathers.” A man had told a bald-faced lie about another person and caused lots of harm. The man went to a priest to confess. The priest told him to get 45 feathers and place one in the lawn at each home where he had spread the damaging lie. This he did. And he returned to the priest. The priest told him to return and bring the feathers back to the church. The man went to all forty-five places; and there was not one feather to be found. He returned to the priest and reported the missing forty-five feathers. And the priest told him to remember the 45 feathers story. The priest said to the man that the feathers had blown away to some other location, not even known to either of them. He told the man: “That is what happens when you tell a damaging lie or false rumor about someone and harm them. The lie—whether one or forty-five—doesn’t stop with a listener. It gets spread and spread and spread. You don’t know how far it will travel and harm and perhaps not ever stop. The lie blows on to the next listener just like each feather blew away to do many endless, unknown harms in your case.

So too the false stories that circulate and circulate and circulate in the “rooms” and in such “history forums.” They should never be told in the first place—whether by insinuation or question or bald-faced lie. If these false legends, rumors, stories, and insinuations are floated out today on the internet, who knows how many read, talk, repeat, and alter the canard. Clarence is dead. His wife is dead. And the truth could have died with them. And this one about Clarence deserved to be investigated. And I trust this article will show the harm that has already been done.

In fact, there is a well-known saying: “A lie travels half way around the world before the truth even gets its shirt on.” ‘Nuff said!”

dickb@dickb.com

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About mauihistorian

Uses pen name Dick B.: Writer, Historian, Retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and active and recovered A.A. member with over 25 years of continuous sobriety. Published 42 titles and over 650 articles on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Christian Recovery Movement. www.dickb.com
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