Special news about Dr. Bob and Evangelist Ethel Willitts
Healing in Jesus Name
Copyright 2012. Anonymous. All rights reserved.
Dear Melodye: That was and is a delightful treat and surprise to get your letter.
Let me give you some background; (1) After 23 years of research and writing, my son and I gathered together a major work on the various Christian elements that influenced early A.A., the Christian upbringing of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Vermont, and the actual content of the original A.A. Christian Fellowship program in Akron (founded in 1935). (2) As perhaps the first to see, study, and write about the books of Dr. Robert H. Smith in Akron, I discovered a number of his books on healing; and I could see that this cofounder had an intense interest in divine healing. (3) Two Christian books that particularly caught my eye were James Moore Hickson, Heal The Sick (London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1924) and Ethel R. Willitts, Evangelist, 2d ed. Healing in Jesus Name: Fifteen Sermons and Addresses on Salvation and Healing (Crawfordsville, IN: Ethel R. Willitts, Evangelist, 1931).
As with so much of A.A.’s history, a great cloud of omission has existed for years. Some because, until I came along, nobody was really researching or writing on the Christian roots of Alcoholics Anonymous or the Christian upbringing of Bill W. and Dr. Bob. Sometimes because of inept research. Sometimes because of anti-Christian bias. Sometimes because of Roman Catholic or atheist bias. Sometimes because of the intrusion of secularism into Alcoholics Anonymous rooms, meetings, publications, and chatter. Sometimes because a few Christian writers have been determined to criticize and obfuscate the very clear Christian origins, history, founder upbringing, founding, and successes of the early A.A. Christian Fellowship. And sometimes because of financial concerns that A.A. might lose a book customer or two if word got out about its very clear Christian origins and original program.
I have written in lots of my books about the early A.A. focus on Christian healing (www.dickb.com/titles.shtml). I have written on a number of the healing books they read and Dr. Bob studied and circulated.
But the Willitts material has always been of special interest because of her focus on Scripture, the power of God, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and healing in Jesus’ name. My son Ken found some material that indicated that Ethel Willitts did a series of evangelistic meetings in Akron shortly after A.A. was founded. The time slot, I believe, was 1938. And there were, I believe, some 15 revival meetings held. And because Dr. Bob was such an intense reader of Christian literature, had so many healing books, and also had the Hickson and Willitts books, I have been much in desire for information as to whether he might have attended the Akron revivals of Willitts, whether they were reported in any church or Christian literature or the local newspaper such as Akron Beacon-Journal, whether Dr. Bob was there, and when and why he acquired this important book. Also whether there are other records or papers or notes on Willitts, Akron, Robert Smith, and the revivals in Akron.
I deem the information of great importance to the present, growing, International Christian Recovery Coalition (www.ChristianRecoveryCoalition.com) of which I am Executive Director and to the growing number of Christian recovery fellowships in the U.S. and around the world that are springing up in what we believe in a Christian Recovery Movement awakening.
Any information you can convey about Ethel, about your family, about evangelist healings, about contact with people like Robert Smith, William Wilson, William Dotson, Henrietta Seiberling, T. Henry Williams and his wife Clarace, Rev. Wright of Akron, Dr. Walter Tunks of Akron, the Firestone family, James D. Newton, Congressman John Seiberling and his two sisters, Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr., Oswald Chambers, Glenn Clark, E. Stanley Jones, Nora Smith Holm, and others in this field could mark the beginning of a new era and awakening in this entire field.
I am a born again Christian, a devoted Bible student, a long recovered AA member; and my son Ken is an ordained Christian minister, my closest advisor and research-companion, and president of our publishing company.
I expect he will be writing you as soon as he gets a copy of this letter. And I welcome any and every response you are willing to send along to him and to me.
In His Service,
Richard Gordon Burns, J.D., CDAAC (Writer, historian, retired attorney, Bible student, and active recovered member of A.A.)
(pen name Dick B.)
Author, 46 titles & over 1,200 articles on A.A. History and the Christian Recovery Movement
Exec. Dir., International Christian Recovery Coalition
Christian Recovery Resource Centers - Worldwide
Christian Recovery Radio
PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837
Ps 118:17 (NJB):
I shall not die, I shall live to recount the great deeds of Yahweh.
From: Melodye Sent: Sunday, December 16, 2012 2:54 PM
Subject: Ethel Willitts
Hi "Dick" (I understand that's your pen name, which is why I'm using quotation marks),
I came aross your website in a search for information about Ethel Willitts, a contemporary to my father, who was also an evangelist. I'm wondering if you might have any research materials available to share, and maybe also some firsthand knowledge of her/her ministry? If so, I'd be very grateful for your help!