A multimedia presentation of “I Stand By The Door” by Sam Shoemaker shown at The Table Community Church (BIC) in Lancaster, PA
Bill Wilson obtained lots of A.A. ideas directly from Sam Shoemaker.
Some he got indirectly. But there was one message which came to Bill loud and clear and which he repeated in one way or another in every edition of the Big Book.
“One argument in religion is about as good as another, but an experience beats any argument.”
In the Big Book, Bill speaks of the visit to him by his old friend, Ebby Thacher. Ebby had said to Bill, “I’ve got religion.” Bill was musing about his own beliefs and about the futility of the religions of mankind.
Then he commented, “But my friend [Ebby Thacher] sat before me, and he made the point blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself.”
A few sentences later, Bill said, “That floored me. It began looking as though religious people were right after all.”
Shortly thereafter, Bill went to the Calvary Church Rescue Mission. Then he staggered into Towns Hospital drunk. And the rest is history, “hot flash” and all.
Ebby Thacher and Rev. Sam Shoemaker, rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, were Bill’s doorkeepers.