Getting Input from Others

This quotation from the AA book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, was contributed by Dave Sable. He says, "Bill W and Dr. Bob of AA wrote of the danger of going about a walk with God alone. In the fifth step (“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs”), they spoke out against those who lacked the humility and sense to listen to other people because they felt they received direction and guidance directly from God. In reading the following statement, I couldn’t help think of a certain self-appointed 'apostle' who felt he was beyond counsel and accountability because God spoke to directly to his heart."

Dave is referring to George Geftakys, but his comments apply equally to leaders of other authoritarian and/or cultic faith-based groups. If you see that it applies to your situation, you might want to evaluate your group more closely. Elements of Spiritual Abuse is a good place to start. Here is another article on AA.

“What comes to us alone may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comments and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our mind what that advice is. Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well-intentioned people claim the guidance of God when it was all too plain that they were sorely mistaken? Lacking both practice and humility, they had deluded themselves and were able to justify the most arrant nonsense on the ground that this was what God had told them.

"It is worth noting that people of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they have received from God. Surely, then, a novice ought not lay himself open to the chance of making foolish, perhaps tragic, blunders in this fashion. While the comment or advice of others may be by no means infallible, it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still so inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater than ourselves.”

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

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