It has becoming an almost overwhelming guiding principle in Mormondom that we are to practice “moderation in all things.” Many times this is referred to in reference to the Word of Wisdom, so much so that you might be surprised to find out that the word “moderation” appears nowhere in section 89.
What does it mean to have “moderation in all things?” It is to maintain a mean, an average between two extremes. Think just a moment about what that means.
Should we seek for the mean, the “in-between” state in all things? Do we really value the middle ground between sin and righteousness as the ultimate goal? Moderation in the law of chastity?
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
In fact, the phrase “moderation in all things” is not found anywhere in the standard works. It comes from the philosophies of Aristotle and his Doctrine of the Mean, which seeks for a middle ground between excess and deficiency. But even in that regard, “all things” distorts his ideas.
What do the scriptures actually say about “all things?”
And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care.
Aah, temperance might be mistaken for moderation, but the two are not synonymous. Temperance is self mastery, self control, self discipline. Temperance in training for a competition or a race may well involve some “unbalanced” focus on health, exercise, diet, etc. This is not moderation in all things, but it is self-discipline in obtaining a goal.
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
1 Corinthians 9:25 (NKJV Translation)
Finding a balance, a moderation between excess and deficiency is a worthy goal in most cases, but not in all things.