From the foreword to the Big Book, page xviii
[i have replaced all references to ‘alcoholics’ or ‘A.A.’ with references to ‘worshippers’ and ‘alt.worship’.
i think i would prefer to use ‘sinners’ and ‘church’, but for the sake of this narrow context i’m leaving it this way]
Our Society then entered a fearsome and exciting adolescent period. The test that it faced was this: Could these large numbers of erstwhile erratic worshippers successfully meet and work together? Would there be quarrels over membership, leadership, and money? Would there be strivings for power and prestige? Would there be schisms which would split Alt.Worship apart? Soon Alt.Worship was beset by these very problems on every side and in every group. But out of this frightening and at first disrupting experience the conviction grew that Alt.Worshippers had to hang together or die separately. We had to unify our Fellowship or pass off the scene.
As we discovered the principles by which the individual worshipper could live, so we had to evolve principles by which the Alt.Worship groups and Alt.Worship as a whole could survive and function effectively. It was thought that no worshipper man or woman could be excluded from our Society; that our leaders might serve but never govern; that each group was to be autonomous and there was to be no professional class of therapy. There were to be no fees or dues; our expenses were to be met by our own voluntary contributions. There was to be the least possible organization, even in our service centers. Our public relations were to be based upon attraction rather than promotion. It was decided that all members ought to be anonymous at the level of press, radio, TV and films. And in no circumstances should we give endorsements, make alliances, or enter public controversies.