By Mitchell K. © 1991, 1997
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Index of Chapter 8

8.1 - Back to the Basics 8.3 - New York and Mid-West A.A. - Coming of Age
8.2 - Henrietta Seiberling Speaks Her Mind Chapter 9: A Prophet in His Own Town - Clarence's Life After the 60's

Chapter 8


My God, this is nothing like the Alcoholics Anonymous I once knew - this is more like A.A. light.

Anonymous Long-Term Member

Chapter 8.1


Back to the Basics

We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done and there is no health in us.

Book of Common Prayer

After Dr. Bob died, many changes took place in A.A. which were disturbing to the early members in Cleveland and Akron. Ideas and concepts to which Dr. Bob was opposed began to come to pass. Ideas which were believed to have been regulated before Dr. Bob died were suddenly resurrected from dusty shelves.

As Clarence saw it, the calming and sane of Doc was no longer there. Bill and the Board of Trustees in New York had free reign to do with A.A. as they pleased.

The Orthodox Movement was comprised of a small group of staunch, old time A.A. members and friends. Among them were Henrietta Seiberling, Bill Van H., Bert T., and Royal S. Clarence, though associated with this movement, was on its periphery. But Clarence did correspond with and make telephone calls to and receive thanks from members.

Royal S. - an attorney - wrote several letters to the Board of Trustees. Royal had been instrumental in helping drawing up the incorporation of the Grapevine and in helping with other legal matters concerning A.A. The A.A. General Service Archives appeared to contain no responses to the Royal S. inquiries. In fact, though required, none of the original letters from Royal or the other orthodox group people were made available to this writer. Copies, however, were given to the author by Clarence, as part of a collection of archival material saved by Clarence over the years.

After the Statement of 1948 was replaced by the Statement of 1950 and all references to the 1948 statement of policy, which was endorsed by Dr. Bob, were seemingly removed from the New York office.

The Orthodox Movement's goals were to keep the A.A. movement true to its original intent and purpose. Orthodox members felt that the new direction which A.A. was beginning to take would water down or dilute the effectiveness and success which the movement to that date had achieved.

The members of the Orthodox Movement printed up copies of the Statement of 1948 to disseminate to the A.A. membership along with their correspondence to the Board of Trustees. They campaigned at meetings, asking other members to query the Board as to what was happening.

Henrietta Seiberling was attending meetings with Bill van H. and Bill D. (A.A. #3) and relating developments to the A.A. members. King School Group - A.A. Group #1 - Dr. Bob's group - was one of the places that they went. However, except for the correspondence and copies (which are in Appendix G), little is known about the efforts of this short lived movement. All that is known is that it did not succeed in its attempts to keep the movement to what it believed was A.A.'s original purpose.

Bill Van H. wrote Clarence on January 8, 1951:

Don't get too exercised about the big promotion [by Bill Wilson and the Board of Trustees against the movement] - Like the saying "There will always be an England," there will always be a few of us old steady heads.

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