Comments on the A.A. First Edition Original Printer's Manuscript Article
Probably the main reason for the foregoing article is that most AAs don't have a clue as to the importance of the personal stories in the First Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. And we have done extensive work on this matter--particularly in the 2011 Dover Publications print of the First Edition with an extensive explanatory introduction by me (Dick B.). The fact is that the personal stories were intended to be and are testimonials to the way those pioneers practiced the AKRON program. The simple fact is that there was no Big Book. There were no Twelve Steps. There were no Steps at all about which they could write. Instead, those stories tell us today the program of early A.A.'s Christian Fellowsip founded in 1935 and summarized by Frank Amos for the Rockefellers and published in A.A. General Service Conference-approved DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers at page 131. Moreover, Dr. Bob underlined that early program in his last major address published as Pamphlet P-53 by A.A. World Services (The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks). Dr. Bob said there were no Steps, no Traditions and, of course, no Big Book and no drunkalogs. He said the oldtimers believed the answers to their problems were in the Bible. He said the essential parts were the Book of James, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13. He said he didn't write the 12 Steps. He had, he said, nothing to do with the writing of them. Instead, their basic ideas came from the study and effort of the Bible in the years on and after 1938 and prior to the Big Book. We were asked to write an essay explaining the picture, and we did so. But the essay was canned and ignored when Hazelden published the manuscript. The manuscript is of great importance not only for the reasons stated above, but it shows the last minute changes removing God and replacing mention of Him with "power" and "as we understood him." Wilson said this was to placate the atheists and agnostics. And it changed the flavor of A.A. from that point on. Moreover the manuscript contains the hand-written insertion of the bogus remark attributed to Ebby Thacher, but never before written by Wilson himself. It was "why dont you choose your own conception of [a] "god." In the long run, when people want to know what happened when this manuscript was altered substantially and then changed in tenor just before the Big Book went to the printer, that manuscript provides starter material. See Dick B. and Ken B., "Stick with the Winners" www.ChristianRecoveryRadio.com.
Richard G. Burns holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Stanford University where he was Case Editor of the Stanford Law Review. He was a Phi Beta Kappa in his Junior Year at UC Berkeley. There he received an A.A. degree in economics with Honorable Mention. He was an Information and Education Specialist in the United States Army where he held the rank of Sgt. He attended the information-education school at Washington & Lee University. He practiced law in California from 1951 to 1986. He was president of the Corte Madera Chamber of Commerce, Corte Madera Center Merchants Council, Mill Valley Community Church, Redwoods Retirement Center, and Almonte District Improvemen Club. Also elected Director of the Almonte Sanitary District. He is a writer, historian, retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and active recovered member of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous with continuous sobriety beginning April 21, 1986.
He writes under the pen name Dick B. He has devoted 24 years to researching the history and successes of the early A.A. Christian Fellowship in Akron; and published 46 titles, more than 1450 articles, and materials on Facebook, Twitter, MauiHistorian.Blogspot.com, Alcoholics Anonymous History.com, In the Rooms, Linked-in, Tumbler, MauiHistorian.Word Press.com, Aa Historian WordPress.com, AA History with Dick B. on cyber recovery social, Dick B. YouTube Channel, Articles Base, GoArticles.com, SearchWarp, Self Growth Experts, Social network forums on International Christian Recovery Coalition Forums, Recovery Internet Fellowship, Cyber Recovery, Daily Recovery, Christian Recovery Ministries, radio, TV, and over 70 audio blogs on the history subject. He regularly conducts radio interviews of Christian Recovery Leaders and Workers on www.ChristianRecoveryRadio.com.
He is Executive Director of the International Christian Recovery Coalition and of Freedom Ranch Maui Incorporated. He is an Advisor to God's Way Ministry, a Christian Church and is also a consultant to Wyoming Pacific Oil Company. Listed in Marquis Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Law, Who's Who in Finance, and Gale's Contemporary Authors