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In the discussion thread: Spirituality vs the "God" idea. [View all]

Response to Stuart G (Reply #29)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 01:33 AM

34. Since you asked...

29. Lord's Prayer..????? Why the Lord's Prayer??? some of the Christian stuff??.................why all that stuff?????

Since you asked... Because I encounter the Lord's Prayer at about half the A.A. groups and almost all the Al-Anon groups (actually all of the 8 or so Al-Anon groups that are reasonably close to me at times that I can make it close with the Lord's Prayer. This is quite problematic for me because I am in a phase where I need some of what Al-Anon has to offer.

I posted #25 above about the Lord's Prayer so that anyone interested in their group getting rid of the Lord's Prayer has some talking points to use. I think post #25 has a lot of reasons why anyone who cares about their 12-step program(s) should speak out (as I have, but not as often as I should) against using the Lord's Prayer, even if they are not personally bothered by it.

The truth is simple..they wanted a prayer at the end of a meeting... They (the original groups) chose that one cause ..............are you ready???
it is the one that the most of them knew . ....that is it, that is all......

A.A. is more than 76 years old. That's a reasonable excuse for the first decade or two for using an explicitly Christian prayer from an explicitly Christian book (New Testament Matthew 6, Luke 11) with explicitly Christian themes, called the Lord's Prayer where the Lord is Jesus Christ.

But even 20 years after A.A.'s founding, in 1955, Bill W. defended the use of the Lord's Prayer, and clearly expressed his opinion of objectors as 2nd class at best:

However, around here, the leader of the meeting usually asks those to join him in the Lord's Prayer who feel that they would care to do so. The worst that happens to the objectors is that they have to listen to it. This is doubtless a salutary exercise in tolerance at their stage of progress."

It's clear that the General Service Conference position hasn't evolved much from that, this also from http://www.aa.org/subpage.cfm?page=287 :

{The recitation of the Lord's Prayer} is continually addressed in articles in Box 459 and the AA Grapevine, and has often been asked about at the General Service Conference. For example, at the 1962 Conference, in one of the Ask-It Basket questions, this subject was broached: “Question: What is the procedure for dealing with individuals who refuse to stand during recitation of the Lord's Prayer? Answer: Participation--or non-participation-in recitals of the Lord's Prayer should be considered a matter of personal conscience and decision.”

and they agreed the non believer was allowed in the group...

There is a big difference between merely being allowed in the group and accepted. The "We Agnostics" chapter, calling agnostics vain, fooling ourselves, prejudiced, perverse, obstinate (see post #11 for the long list, or search on "whirling" is just one example in the literature warmly welcoming us to A.A. Or, as I've experienced several times in 12-step programs including A.A., people suggesting I read the "We Agnostics" chapter.

Then.............they had a problem with those child bearing people with breasts .... {Progree paraphrasing: and then people of color, then high bottom drunks, then rich people, then young people, then gay people, then doubly addicted, me ..prescription drugs...well they let me in too. }

This is a very heartening list of A.A.'s evolution. It shows what happens when people speak up. It shows what happens when people agitate and make waves. These things were not accomplished, either in A.A. or in the U.S. as a whole without a lot of agitating. There were many inside A.A. who said people who were trying to change things were nitpicking A.A., were playing God, self-will run riot, on a path of self-destruction and taking A.A. with it, A.A. is just fine as it is, saving millions of lives, yada (you've seen that good stuff in other parts of this thread). But all those victims of discrimination persisted, and good people inside A.A. also persisted in getting their groups to accept all these people.

It is why I agitate. (It's also in my DNA as a Democratic activist). And as a Church - State separation activist (as many Democrats are) who also similarly believe that one should be able to go to a recovery program that claims to be not religious and not get flooded with religious messages. Change is possible. But nobody ever gained anything just by meekly existing and allowing themselves to be discriminated against. (In larger society for women, people of color, gays, and young people to make gains against discrimination, many were imprisoned, lost their jobs, injured and or killed. It was no walk in the park).


Please see my last two paragraphs above. The only way A.A. or at least some intergroups are going to (as a start) gently discourage the use of the Lord's Prayer is if they hear from enough members, GSR representatives, and so on. As I have done in a series of emails back and forth to the local Intergroup office manager. And it helps that these members be informed and able to counter arguments like, for example, that "it is a universal prayer".

I have gotten one A.A. group to drop the Lord's Prayer (they replaced it with the 7th Step Prayer). So as to make A.A. more welcoming to those 26% of Americans who are non-Christian, for starters. 26% is a lot of people.

By the way, after our long email exchange, our Intergroup office manager published this in the Intergroup newsletter:

"It is my opinion (and it’s my opinion only) that as long as AA groups name their meetings after the church they meet in and or close with the Lord’s Prayer, some people will always perceive AA as a Christian movement."

I found it to be a step in the right direction if only a step.

As a side note, to the person in the thread who says he's never encountered the Lord's Prayer at a meeting in San Antonio...interesting... there is this article from "My San Antonio" saying that most meetings in San Antonio do... (but she doesn't say how she arrived at that conclusion) http://www.aacultwatch.co.uk/2012/01/aa-is-it-only-way-alcoholics-can-go.html -

(I think most people here will find the above article to be interesting and positive about A.A. -- it doesn't have anything to do with "cults". As for aacultwatch.co.uk, it is NOT anti-AA, as the practices of some groups that they condemn are also practices that are clearly in violation of A.A.'s Traditions and literature (for example, groups that strongly discourage the prescribed use of medication and strongly discourage seeing therapists, have abusive sponsorship, etc., and thus generate a lot of negative publicity about A.A. ).

In other forums, e.g. the Alcohol forum of dailystrength.org, http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Alcoholism/support-group , quite a number of people said they were in groups that used the Lord's Prayer. So I don't think it is just a Minneapolis phenomenon. (FWIW, dailystrength.org has just about every imaginable kind of support group).

As for sobriety, I'm more than 4 1/2 years sober. Having blown a 11+ year quit before, I know that a relapse is always a very real possibility.

now, I am Jewish,

I wonder if you would be OK if there was a chapter in the Big Book called "We Jews" that called Jews vain, fooling ourselves, prejudiced, perverse, obstinate? And that often when you told someone you were Jewish, he/she would suggest reading "We Jews"? I wouldn't be OK with such a Big Book chapter, even as a non-Jew. I would say something. Well, that's how I feel about the "We Agnostics" chapter too.

Now, I am struggling with a bitch of an addiction..booze and drugs...as well as my food addiction..as well as anxiety and
fear, and depression and upcoming surgery..
..I was stoned on prescription drugs for over 30 years and I am clean for over 5 years...I am clean, sometimes happy, clear headed and living one minute at a time.....I have found some happiness there in those meetings.....and that is all I got for now...need to get to a meeting, or call someone...cause I am upset over my upcoming surgery...lots of pain there.....you know?? maybe I will calm me down with a hot bath..??

I am glad to hear the clean for over 5 years, sometimes happy, clear headed, and that the meetings are sources of happiness and support. I am sorry to hear that some addictions are still bothersome, and that you are in lots of pain. Hopefully the surgery will work the way it is supposed to, and you will be pain free and have all that behind you!

I am truly sorry to you and the other group members about the way I worded some of what were in my posts (favor-dispensing deity, theological version of friends with benefits,....) and in such an impersonal way.

Good luck with the surgery

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Stuart G Jan 2012 OP
NMDemDist2 Jan 2012 #1
Tripod Jan 2012 #2
Old Codger Jan 2012 #3
tavalon Feb 2012 #15
Old Codger Feb 2012 #20
Stuart G Feb 2012 #21
progree Feb 2012 #23
NMDemDist2 Feb 2012 #27
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Old Codger Feb 2012 #31
tavalon Feb 2012 #33
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demosincebirth Feb 2012 #35
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progree Jan 2012 #4
Rhiannon12866 Jan 2012 #5
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Stuart G Jan 2012 #7
tavalon Feb 2012 #16
progree Feb 2012 #24
tavalon Feb 2012 #26
NMDemDist2 Jan 2012 #8
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progree Jan 2012 #11
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Stuart G Jan 2012 #13
tavalon Feb 2012 #18
Tripod Feb 2012 #22
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tavalon Feb 2012 #17
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progree Feb 2012 #25
NMDemDist2 Feb 2012 #28
Stuart G Feb 2012 #29
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2012 #30
LineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply Since you asked...
progree Feb 2012 #34
mrjackshuman Apr 2013 #40
NMDemDist2 Apr 2013 #41
cordelia Apr 2013 #42
Lil Missy Apr 2013 #43
Rhiannon12866 Apr 2013 #44
progree Apr 2013 #45
cordelia Apr 2013 #46
Stuart G Apr 2013 #47
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