Moderation. Moderation in everything is good. By the way, a lot of these came from George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. These are the things they looked at. This list like this they looked at every single day. Moderation. Benjamin Franklin said I'm not going to eat too much and I'm not going to drink too much. But really it's bigger than that. It's moderating our passions. You know, just moderate your passions. That's okay to do a little of everything. I'm an alcoholic. I can't do a little of things. So I don't do any of them. But moderate your passions. It's good to prepare for things. It would be bad for you to be living in a fallout shelter right now. But prepare. You do little things. You just stay aware.—Glenn Beck
I have thought that with certain limitations that attribute might consistently be applied to and accepted by Latter-day Saints. It is our excesses which give us our chief concern and trouble. Moderation begets tolerance, and tolerance lies at the foundation of sympathy and charity. These qualities underlie love, which is the crowning attribute of both men and God. I wish it were possible for all of us to enjoy in moderation the splendid things which God has given to us. Nearly every good thing can be carried to excess. Good practices often become bad practice by too frequent indulgence, just as has been pointed out here this afternoon.—Word of Wisdom: A Modern Interpretation.
This value, like all the other values of Beck's, is good on the surface, but once again, because of the Mormon worldview, it quickly devolves into the very thing that Widtsoe is speaking of: frequent indulgence. Why? Because moderation becomes subjective when the standard for truth is relative in nature. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find within Mormon history one subjective justification of tawdry or immoral behavior after another, starting with none of than the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith.
For example, in the 1830s Smith managed to swindle thousands of dollars from his followers under the fraudulent erection of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company. When it was found out that Smith was printing and passing bogus bills, rather than honestly (remember Beck's allusion to honesty and how it is relative in Mormonism?) face trial in the State of Ohio, he suddenly received a revelation from the Lord and skipped town in the middle of the night. So much for moderation in that regard.
As already noted above, Joseph Smith loved women: just not in moderation. Therefore, just prior to his death he allegedly received another revelation from God telling him that it was okay to cheat on his wife Emma, and take additional wives. It was one command that Joseph was hoping for, since he already had his eye on one Fanny Alger. But his lack of moderation did not stop with her, and it was not long before Smith started targeting married women as well. He would end up taking at least a dozen women who were already married to men in his church, as his wives before all was said and done. Perhaps Smith's most immoderate conquests were a couple of fourteen year-olds by the names of Helen Mar Kimball and Nancy Winchester. By the time Smith's life ended, and after he issued a divine threat against his first wife Emma for being non-compliant in his philandering ways, Joseph Smith had taken 33 wives unto himself. Later on Brigham Young would take over 50, and subsequent LDS leaders followed suit, engaging in the practice well into the 20th century, debunking the modern-day Mormon lie that Mormonism ceased the practice with the pronouncement of Wilford Woodruff in 1890. In fact, several years (1897) after Woodruff announced the decree to cease polygamous marriages, he took his sixth wife, Lydia Mountford.
Last, but certainly not least, Brigham Young and the Mormon Church were instrumental in the immoderate execution of a westbound wagon-train headed for California. Brigham Young had been at odds for some time with the US Government, basically over Young's non-compliance to cease his polygamous exploits. Young also knew that the Government was intent on forceful compliance, and Young proceeded to make preparations for a head-on confrontation. Unfortunately, the innocent wagon train of Arkansas travelers received the blunt end of Young's wrath. On September 13, 1857, a band of Ute Indians along with a group of Mormon soldiers dressed as Indians had finished shooting, hacking, and butchering 120 of the wagon-train in what is infamously now known as The Mountain Meadows Massacre. And while some in the modern-day Mormon Church say that Brigham Young had nothing to do with it, others, like Mormon writer Juanita Brooks conclude otherwise by stating, "While he did not order the massacre, and would have prevented it if he could, Brigham Young was accessory after the fact, in that he knew what had happened, and how and why it happened" (The Mountain Meadows Massacre, 219). The point is Mormon moderation is measured by subjective convenience, or to put it in the vernacular: If it feels good, do it! And when it came to killing most of the men, women, and children in that wagon-train, moderation meant if felt good to save some of the babies, and murder all the rest.
From a biblical perspective, there is no such thing as moderation as a way to live, much less is it a divine law. Instead there is common sense or godly wisdom as predicated on an objective standard that God has given, and that standard is His Book. What separates Beck's "moderation" from biblical sense and wisdom is the aspect of objectivity. Due to the subjective nature of the belief, coupled with a relative worldview, Mormon moderation could be viewed as being anything to anyone, and that in itself, as already pointed out elsewhere, ultimately devolves into a gradual digression where the person possessing the most brute force in the end eventually sets the rules, and that in the most narcissistic way. Therefore, Beck's offer of moderation as something to be beheld and cherished is as meaningless and vacuous as all the rest of his values and principles, and will certainly offer nothing of substance or lasting effect when it comes to the many moral and ethical woes that are destroying a society.
Next Hard Work