There is much misunderstanding about what “Conference approved” means. Many groups and individual members believe that no literature should be displayed at AA meetings or read by AA members unless it is “Conference Approved”. As stated below “Conference Approved” literature is simply material “approved” for publication by the General Services Conference and does not imply ANYTHING else.
Long before the existence of AA World Services, The General Service Conference or The General Service Office, AA groups and AA members read whatever inspirational literature they found useful. Dr. Bob and Bill were inspired by Emmet Fox’s Sermon On The Mount and many other books, including The Bible, were read at AA meetings.
Keep in mind that the Grapevine is not conference approved yet it is sold at many AA meetings as it should be. There are even “Grapevine” meetings.
Any two or more alcoholics meeting in support of their sobriety is an AA meeting whose sole authority is a loving God expressing itself through the Group’s conscience. What reading material that individuals or groups may find useful has no bearing on whether their meeting is a genuine AA meeting.
The General Service Conference’s role is not to approve or disapprove individual AA members reading material and does not determine what reading material may be used or sold at meetings.
(The following is from the General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous)
Conference-approved” — What It Means to You
“The term “Conference-approved” describes written or audiovisual material approved by the (General Service) Conference for publication by G.S.O. This process assures that everything in such literature is in accord with A.A. principles. Conference-approved material always deals with the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous or with information about the A.A. Fellowship.
“The term has no relation to material not published by G.S.O. It does not imply Conference disapproval of other material about A.A. A great deal of literature helpful to alcoholics is published by others, and A.A. does not try to tell any individual member what he or she may or may not read.
“Conference approval assures us that a piece of literature represents solid A.A. experience. Any Conference-approved booklet or pamphlet goes through a lengthy and painstaking process, during which a variety of A.A.s from all over the United States and Canada read and express opinions at every stage of production.
“Central offices and intergroups do write and distribute pamphlets or booklets that are not Conference-approved. If such pieces meet the needs of the local membership, they may be legitimately classified as “A.A. literature.” There is no conflict between A.A. World Services, Inc. (A.A.W.S. — publishers of Conference-approved literature), and central offices or intergroups — rather they complement each other. The Conference does not disapprove of such material.
“G.S.O. does develop some literature that does not have to be approved by the Conference, such as service material, Guidelines and bulletins.”
Reprinted with Permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.