Big Book Study Post #14
- Good morning all!<br><br>***Here's a good
exercise for Chapter 4. Read through and count how many
times the word "prejudice" in it's various forms
appears. Also count synonyms such as "preconceived ideas"
etc. You'll be surprised to see how often we are asked
to lay aside prejudice against spiritual concepts in
this chapter.***<br><br>We are at page 46 - The first
full paragraph here speaks of openmindedness: "Yes, we
of agnostic temperament have had these thoughts and
experiences. Let us make haste to reassure you. We found that
as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and
express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater
than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even
though it was impossible for any of us to fully define
or comprehend that Power, which is God". Reading
through to the top of page 47 we see the important idea
expressed again - "When, therefore, we speak to you of God,
we mean your own conception of God. This applies,
too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in
this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have
against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking
yourself what they mean to you. At the start, this was all
we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect
our first conscious relation with God as we
understood Him. Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many
things which then seemed entirely out of reach. That was
growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin
somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it
was".<br><br>Skipping down to paragraph 2 we find another reference to
the spiritual structure we are building: "It has been
repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone
a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be
built". The cornerstone is belief, on page 12 we found
that "complete willingness" was our foundation. All
that is important will rest on the foundation and the
entire structure is squared up from this cornerstone.
More parts of this spiritual structure will be
revealed throughout the text.<br><br>In the following
paragraph we see that belief comes before faith: "That was
great news to us, for we had assumed we could not make
use of spiritual principles unless we accepted many
things on faith (indicating knowledge) which seemed
difficult to believe". So we begin with a belief and it is
through the knowledge that buttresses this belief that we
begin to have faith.<br><br>More to come
tomorrow-<br><br>[How about them Yanks!]<br><br>Jim
We can gain some insight into the writing of the book through an examination of the original text (pre-publication "Multilith") in conjunction with the text as printed in the first edition.
Keep in mind, there were more or less two camps within AA at the time Bill wrote the book. The Akron/Cleveland camp was Bible based and religious in nature; the New York bunch was more psychological using a mental approach to gain the confidence of the newcomer and then hitting him with the spiritual angle. Sounds like a difficult task to write a book that would satisfy both trains of thought.
Most of the changes involved inserting "we" for "you" and making the text more inclusive and less like a sermon. Other changes involved key words that were inserted to change the basic meaning of the phrases.
Today and in our next post, we will go through the first three pages of Chapter 5 to illustrate how the book was transformed by these changes. The words that were replaced will appear in [brackets] following the words or phrases by which they were replaced.
Paragraph 1 - "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path [directions]."
"They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living [way of life] which demands rigorous honesty."
Paragraph 2 - "If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps [follow directions]."
Paragraph 3 -"At some of these we balked [you may balk]. We thought [You may think] we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not [We doubt you can]."
Paragraph 4 - "Remember we deal [you are dealing] with alcohol - cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us [you]. But there is One who has all power - that One is God. May you [You must] find Him now!"
We'll continue with paragraph 1 on page 59 and into the original written text of the 12 Steps with our next post.
Have a great day!
Jim K. - The Into Action Group of Manhattan
6:30pm Wednesdays at St. Francis De Sales Church
135 East 96th Street (Near Lexington Avenue)
On Manhattan's Upper East Side
Weekend retreats with Jim: http://www.spiritualawakeningsretreats.comIt is better to be loved for what you have giventhan to be admired for what you have gained