The Christian Religion of Each of the Two A.A. Cofounders, Bill W. and Dr. Bob
The “religion” of A.A. cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob has taken a back seat in the years since the founding of A.A. in 1935, and the death of Dr. Bob at the end of the next decade. No reader or historian is qualified to talk about the religious beliefs, memberships, or activities of the cofounders if he or she has not read and researched the facts unearthed in the last 20 years. In brief: Dr. Bob was born and raised in St. Johnsbury, Vermont just after “The Great Awakening of St. Johnsbury in 1875”. He was trained by his Congregationalist family . All of them attended North Congregational Church in St. Johnsbury, and its Sunday school, sermons, Scripture reading, prayer meetings, and YMCA activities. Bob was very active in Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor. His father was president of the local YMCA. And Bob attended St. Johnsbury Academy where there was Daily Chapel, reading of Scripture, prayer, hymn singing, and sermons, and YMCA activity. Also required was weekly church attendance and Bible study. Bill W.’s Christian upbringing was little different. Bill learned that his grandfather Wilson had been cured of alcoholism by being saved and never drank again. Like the Smiths, the Wilson and Griffith family were active in the nearby East Dorset Congregational church, Sunday school, church administration, sermons, hymns, prayer meetings, and reading of Scripture. Bill himself read the Bible with his grandfather Griffith and friend Mark Whalon. Then Bill attended Burr and Burton Seminary in nearby Manchester, Vermont . There Bill took a four year Bible study course, was president of the YMCA, attended Daily chapel with sermons, Scripture reading, prayers, and hymns; attended services at nearby Manchester Congregational Church, and kept company with his girl friend Bertha Bamford–whose father was the local Episcopalian Rector and who, herself, was president of the YWCA. The foregoing facts are thoroughly documented in Dick B. and Ken B., “Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the Green Mountain Men of Vermont;” “Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous: His Excellent Training in the Good Book as a Youngster in Vermont;” and Dick B., “The Conversion of Bill W.” See www/dickb.com. Dick B. has published 46 titles and over 1500 articles on Alcoholics Anonymous History and the Christian Recovery Movement.