“Spiritual Not Religious” ???

“Spiritual Not Religious” ???
by Ken Ragge

The steps are presented as a "spiritual, not religious" way of recovery from, at last count, over 500 different "diseases." Group members, who now number between 10 and 15 million, often claim the steps are responsible for saving their lives.

The first three of the twelve steps are:

1. We admitted we were powerless over (insert any one of over 500 "spiritual diseases") and our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

These first steps serve the purpose of breaking down the new recruit's autonomy. In the first step, the "pigeon" or "baby" must admit that he has no resources within himself to change his own behavior and, although rarely stated directly, that he can't make his own decisions in life. Someone else must do that for him.

In the second step, he generally must first confess insanity; that he can not trust his own thoughts. He now must choose a "higher power." While much pretense is given to a freedom of choice on what one choooses for a higher power, the main point is that the indoctrinee looks to the group elders and doctrine, rather than his own conscience and religious beliefs, for a definition of that God. Although he can't trust his own thoughts, he can trust the elders and doctrine.

For example, if someone, as the A.A. story goes, should choose a doorknob as his higher power, he will be constantly confronted on how to relate to it. In the third step, he must turn his will and life over to the doorknob, and in later steps pray to it in a specific fashion. Whatever his prior religious beliefs, piece by piece, he will be pressured to accept A.A. doctrinal beliefs about God.

Much of the language of the steps was carefully chosen to avoid "confusing" potential recruits. They might reject "the program" as a religious sect. The word "sin" was changed to "defects of character," "confess" to "admit," "wretched sinner" to "powerless," "God" to "higher power," "confession" to "fifth step sharing," "bearing witness" to twelfth step sharing" and "conversion" or "recruitment" to "carrying the message."

Early A.A. members knew that if they were seen as just another religious sect they would have to follow the rules other religious groups happily abide by in this country. They changed their language and changed the sacred text from the Bible to "The Big Book." They changed their self-description from their pro-Nazi forerunner group's "more spiritual than religious" to "spiritual not religious." This enabled a religious mind-control cult to better deceive not only potential recruits, but to great success in infiltrating all our national institutions.