How Bill W.’s A.A. Story Really Began
Dick B. Presents Part Three of His A.A. History Audio Series
© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved
There are five audio talks by Dick B. in this series. They tell you the real Bill Wilson Story in terms of his childhood, Bible study, Christian upbringing, church and Sunday school attendance, and years at Burr and Burton Seminary in Manchester, Vermont.
Ultimately, they amplify the material in Dick’s The Conversion of Bill W. http://www.dickb.com/conversion.shtml.
But these five talks will tell you things about Bill Wilson’s Christian upbringing in the State of Vermont that fly in the face of years of distortion about Bill, his church, his Sunday school, the East Dorset Congregational Church to which Bill, his parents, and his grandparents (both the Griffiths and the Wilsons) belonged. The talks will tell you how he studied the Bible as a youngster. They will tell you about the church’s confession and creeds. They will tell you about the Wilson family’s founding and holding office in the little church. They will tell of the Scripture reading, sermons, prayers, and hymns he heard in the little East Dorset Christian church and its Sunday school. How do we know? We know because we were given the special privilege of going inside the church, seeing Pew 15 which the Wilsons owned, and reviewing the church records with its archivist and treasurer—whose family had long been connected with the church. The little church—seldom if ever visited by AAs—lies on the green between the Griffith House (home of Bill’s maternal grandparents) on one side, and the Wilson House (home of Bill’s paternal grandparents) on the other side.
Onward and upward. Bill was enrolled in the Burr and Burton Seminary a few miles away and located in Manchester, Vermont. There he took a four year Bible study course. He attended daily chapel where he heard sermons, Scripture reading, hymns, and prayers. Like all the scholars at Burr and Burton, Bill attended many services and events at the nearby Manchester Congregational Church—which had close ties to the Congregational influenced academy. Bill also became president of the school Young Men’s Christian Association; and his girl-friend Bertha Bamford became president of the school Young Women’s Christian Association. The two of them attended many “Y” activities hand-in-hand.
There is much more about Bill’s Christian upbringing. He remembered conversion meetings, temperance meetings, and revivals. His friend Ebby Thacher attended Burr and Burton at the same time Bill was there; and Ebby lived with the pastor of the Manchester Congregational Church and also remembered the Christian upbringing he had had in a family which had five generations of clergy in its lineage.
Surprise. Surprise. Bill and Ebby then went on to attend the military academy at Northfield, Vermont. And there too, chapel was held, church attendance was required. And the Christian training continued until Bill entered the Army in World War I.
The interesting thing about Bill’s Christian upbringing is that it was really quite similar to that received by Dr. Bob in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. There, Dr. Bob and his entire family belonged to and attended the North Congregational Church of St. Johnsbury; and we have established the Dr. Bob Core Library there which contains thousands of books and papers about the Smith family’s connection with the church, with prayer meetings, with the YMCA, with St. Johnsbury Academy, and with the Christian training his highly educated parents gave him in that village.
Also, Dr. Bob was active in the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor which had a program for young people that featured many of the Christian elements that found their way into early A.A. in Akron. The Dr. Bob story can be found in Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous, www/dickb.com/drbobofaa.shtml.
Be sure to listen to Dick B.’s presentation of the real Bill Wilson story which includes material about Wilson’s religious background and Christian training that most historians, authors, and AAs have probably never heard and certainly have not recounted.
Listen to Dick B. tell the details on http://dickb.com/audio-talks3.shtml