A.A. and Twelve Steps: Demonically Inspired

By John Lanagan

 

“Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:31).

This article is written to correct claims that A.A. and the Twelve Steps are  not of Christian. It is an important issue since many Christians enter Alcoholics Anonymous because they have been assured the co-founders were Christians.

According to A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson himself, “In some ways I feel very close to conservative Christianity. In other respects—important ones to Christians—no particular convictions seem to come. Maybe down deep I don’t want to be convinced. I just don't know.” [1]

Bill Wilson wasn’t a Christian. But Bill had the ability to compartmentalize his beliefs to the point of being able to sincerely espouse (when necessary) what needed to be heard or said, or read.

We see this in Bill’s flirtatious period with Catholicism. According to his official A.A. biography:

Because he was able to see so many facets of any given issue, conflicting as well as harmonious, he may have spoken one day as if he was intending to convert, and the next as though his religious instruction was undertaken only in the service of his spiritual growth. It is probable that despite the contradictory thoughts being expressed, he was entirely sincere in what he said each time. He didn't change his mind easily, particularly on so serious an issue; rather, he saw things differently on different occasions. That may have been bewildering for those around him, but it appeared to make total sense to him.” [2]

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?” (Matthew 7:15-16).

Although Bill rejected the Virgin Birth [3], and experimented with LSD for ego-reduction to supposedly allow the “influx of God’s grace,” [4] this has not deterred pro-AA author Dick B. and others from claiming Bill was a Christian. And the stakes are high over this erroneous assertion. Until we understand where the Twelve Steps came from, and the spirituality of both Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, nothing will change.

Francis Hartigan was the secretary for Lois Wilson, Bill’s wife, for thirteen years. He had many conversations with Lois about Bill. He writes, “[A.A. co-founder Bill Wilson’s] belief in God might have become unshakeable, but he could never embrace any theology or even the divinity of Jesus, and he went to his grave unable to give his own personal idea of God much definition. In this sense, he was never very far removed from the unbelievers.” [5]

What did Wilson worship? His “higher power” may well have been, ultimately, spiritualism itself.

AA historian Ernest Kurtz notes, “So profound was Bill’s immersion in this area [spiritualism] that he at times confused the terms ‘spiritualism’ and ‘spirituality.’” [6]

Writer Matthew J. Raphael, who is an A.A. member himself, observes, “it might be said for the cofounders at least, A.A. was entangled with spiritualism from the very beginning.” [7]  

Raphael explains, “Wilson himself seems to have been an ‘adept,’ that is, ‘gifted’ in the psychic sense; and he served as a medium for a variety of ‘controls,’ some of them recurrent. ‘Controls,’ in the lingo of spiritualism, are the discarnate entities who seem to usurp a medium’s identity and literally speak through him or (far more usually) her. Sometimes a control answers questions; sometimes a spirit seems to materialize.” [8]  

According to the official A.A. biography of Bill Wilson, "Because Bill was such a sensitive person in this world, it should come as no surprise that he believed himself able to pick up energy from another. He thought of himself as having some psychic ability; to him, spiritistic matters were no mere parlor game.

It’s not clear when he first became interested in extrasensory phenomena; the field was something that [AA co-founder Dr. Bob Smith and his wife, Anne] were also deeply involved with. Whether or not Bill became initially interested through them, there are references to seances and other psychic events in the letters Bill wrote to Lois during that first Akron summer with the Smiths, in 1935." [9]

Wilson’s demonic interactions via spiritualism served as a major factor in both origin and development of A.A. and the Twelve Steps, as did the anti-biblical meditation learned via the Oxford Group. In terms of communication with the spirit world, movies and television shows and nationally renowned psychics do not change what the Lord declares.

If you are a Christian, perhaps you can take time to consider this. A holy God does not want us participating in--or amusing ourselves with--these things He hates.

“As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and cut him off from among his people. You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 20:6-7).

In many ways, Alcoholics Anonymous serves as a decoy. Relatively few come to Christ there, but Christians are given the impression that this is a frequent thing. The Twelve Steps were given to Bill Wilson for the purpose of keeping unbelievers from Christ, and for watering down the beliefs of those who do know Him.

In these terms, Alcoholics Anonymous has been an astounding success. In The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, author Christine Wicker credits Alcoholics Anonymous with “hastening the fall of the evangelical church.” The author notes how A.A.  “slowly exposed people to the notion they could get [a god] without the dogma, the doctrine, and the outdated rules. Without the church, in fact.” [10]

In other words, people could worship whatever form of “god” they imagine. The A.A. deity, the “higher power” is a lot like a salad bar-people choose a little of this, a little of that. What is on the plate can always be added to, subtracted, or rearranged. But when “god” is so malleable, so is morality.

Since the Twelve Steps have nothing to do with Christ, neither sin nor biblical repentance is addressed. This, of course, is very appealing to the flesh. The Steps address “wrongs,” “making amends,” and “moral inventory” but one inserts one’s own moral code within the context of these Steps.

A.A. often serves to instill fear and/or contempt for alternative sobriety methods. This certainly includes Christianity. Could our churches do more for addicts? Yes. Yet, help is available within the Body of Christ. Christ will make a way. Pastors give lip service to this, but don’t necessarily believe it, which is why we have a demonically inspired Twelve Step system in the heart of the Church today.

 If we look at 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, we see alcoholics, homosexuals, and other sinners repenting and serving Christ. This is a key passage for those who struggle.

Now, about those addicts, some in suits, and others on the street: Their bondage may be foreign to you, and it is a weird, weird thing, but please, have compassion. Will you, and your church fellowship, serve them as Christ served others? This does not mean telling them about Celebrate Recovery or the local A.A. meeting. 

I have to say, many who have effectively ministered to me have never been addicted, never been on the street, never had a needle in their arm. The Holy Spirit will use those He chooses; we perhaps have not been all that cooperative in this.

According to the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book (the A.A. “bible”), “We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of the Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men. When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God.” [11]

“Broad, roomy, all inclusive” spirituality, this is what the Alcoholics Anonymous textbook teaches.

But not Jesus. The Lord specifically warns against the broad way. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is BROAD that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13)

If the Lord warns against the broad way of spirituality, why do we think we know better? Why would we even want to participate in such a thing, or give it credibility by approving of it? 

The A.A. Big Book again makes a direct reference to this spiritual Broad Highway: “If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then, if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway. With this attitude you cannot fail. The consciousness of your belief is sure to come to you.” [12]

If you struggle, please realize that A.A. is by no means the only path to sobriety. Don't let the A.A. folks convince you otherwise.

If you are an addict, please consider eternity. Through Jesus you can live forever. Reject Him, and your worst day as a drunk or heroin addict cannot compare to the pain of hell. I am not trying to scare you. Christ saved me, and I pray He saves you. My friend, all this stuff about a "higher power" is a lie. I tell you this not to make you angry, but so that you may be spared.

“...and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

Simply tell God that you recognize that you are a sinner who cannot save yourself. Ask forgiveness for your sins, and tell the Lord you now place your trust in Christ alone to be your Lord and your Savior.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Pray with me: “Lord, I have sinned against you, and I cannot save myself. Please forgive my sins. Jesus, I believe you died and rose three days later, that you atoned for my sins, and I trust you as my Lord and Savior. I will follow and obey you, Lord. Thank you for saving me. Amen.”

Surely the God who can grant eternal life can grant His child sobriety, amen?

Endnotes

1. June 2, 1959 letter from Bill Wilson to Father Ed Dowling. This letter quoted from Robert Fitzgerald, S.J., in his book, The Soul of Sponsorship, p. 92

2. PASS IT ON, p. 282

3. Robert Fitzgerald, S.J., The Soul of Sponsorship, pg. 51

4. PASS IT ON, p. 370-371

5. Frances Hartigan, Bill W., pg. 123

6. Ernest Kurtz, Not-God, pg. 136

7. Matthew J. Raphael, Bill W. and Mr. Wilson, pg. 159

8. Ibid., p. 159

9. PASS IT ON, p. 275

10. Christine Wicker, The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, p. 134-138

11. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS (“Big Book”), p. 46-47

12. Ibid., p. 55

(All emphasis is added by the author.)