Conversion Experience

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A Conversation Experience (a.k.a. Religious Conversion, Spiritual Conversion, or simply conversion) is a type of Connection Experience. It is a term commonly used by Western Christians to describe a sudden "turning away" from a "prideful self" and the turning towards, and even union with, a powerful, perceived presence, typically conceptualized as God or Christ[1], despite previous, intractable and even hostile resistance to the idea.

List of Connection Experience Types

Connection Experience Types > Activation Experience, Aesthetic Experience, Birth Experience, Clearing Experience, Completion Experience, Death Experience, Deep Flow, Diminutive Experience, Dream Experience, Flow Experience, Forced Connection, Healing Experience, Nadir Experience, Peak Experience, Plateau Experience, Push Experience, Rebirth Experience, Restorative Experience, Union Experience, Unity Experience, Zenith Experience


The original meaning of "conversion" revolved around the rootconvertere, which means "to turn around." "The spatial image is one of revolving, reversing, or changing direction, though from the beginning the word was used in a religious sense."[2] In this sense, the term "conversion" is a syncretic term for Alignment

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, despite being an avowed atheist, had a powerful Conversion Experience which instantly cured him of an alcohol addiction so bad that his doctor was predicting permanent brain damage and death if he did not achieve total abstention.[3] His connection experience activated him and led him to co-create Alcoholics Anonymous. 

R. M. Offord provides several examples of alcoholics who had conversion experiences.[4]

Early iterations of AA seem to have focussed quite explicitly on the elicitation of conversion experience as a powerful cure for the alcoholic's addiction, though later this was largely pushed aside.[5]

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous acknowledges the significance and importance of "Spiritual Experience," but notes that powerful conversion experiences are not necessary for cure, and that transformations may be gradual and occur over time[6] in spiritual experiences that psychologist William James calls the "educational variety," but that on the LP we would call a Glimpse or Intuitive Glimmering.

A conversion experience may also include elements of Awakening (Awakening Experience), Activation (Activation Experience), and Ascension (Unity Experience).


  1. Mahoney, Annette, and Kenneth I. Pargament. “Sacred Changes: Spiritual Conversion and Transformation.” Journal of Clinical Psychology, no. 5 (2004): 481-2.
  2. Hewitt, Glenn A. Regeneration and Morality: A Study of Charles Finney, Charles Hodge, John W. Nevin, and Horace Bushnell. New York: Carlson Publishing, 1991. p. 4.
  3. Alcoholics Anonymous. ‘PASS IT ON’ The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World. Kindle. New York: AA World Services, 1984.
  4. Offord, R.M. Jerry McAuley: An Apostle to the Lost. New York: Forgotten Books, 2012.
  5. Dick, B. The Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous. Kihei, Maui: Paradise Research Publications, 2011.
  6. Wilson, Bill, and Bob Smith. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Kindle. New York: Renegade Press, ND.