The phrase, “moderation in all things” is a euphemism usually (but not exclusively) associated (by Mormons at least)with the Word of Wisdom. It usually means that we should not go too far, one way or the other, in abstaining to the point of becoming an ascetic or in indulging to the point of becoming an addict. Of course, that leaves lots of room for interpretation and individual opinion, as well as plenty of opportunity for members to judge one another uncharitably.
The phrase “Moderation in all things” is attributed to Terence, a Roman comic dramatist who lived from 185-159 B.C. (or alternately to Plautus, same profession, who lived from 250-184 B.C.) However, suffice it to say, the philosophy of living moderately (avoiding excesses) was common in ancient Greece and Rome.
First, a few quotes from church leaders about this concept of “moderation in all things”:
Joseph F. Smith: “The saints should not be unwise, but rather understand what the will of the Lord is, and practice moderation in all things.”
Ezra Taft Benson: “A priesthood holder should actively seek for things that are virtuous and lovely and not that which is debasing or sordid. He does things in moderation and is not given to overindulgence.”
James Faust: “Part of the spirit of the Word of Wisdom is moderation in all things, except those things specifically forbidden by the Lord.”
Dallin Oaks: “Moderation in all things is not a virtue, because it would seem to justify moderation in commitment.”
It would seem there are some differences of opinion about whether moderation is good or not. This seems like a question of personal philosophy rather than a matter of doctrine.
So, where do you fall on the path between abstinence and indulgence? Do you tend to push the envelope, believing that the restrictions are already strict without making them more stringent, or do you define things as narrowly as possible, believing that even the very appearance of evil can lead to a weak person’s downfall? Is it situational? Personal? Here’s a poll to see where you fall on some of these possible Word of Wisdom indulgences: coffee, tea, alcohol, and meat.
[poll id=”61″] [poll id=”62″] [poll id=”63″] [poll id=”64″]