The Billy Graham Rule

Someone has written – This is how to find your wife, even in the busiest of supermarkets.  Follow these four simple instructions.  The technique never fails.

#1 – Have a look around at all of the shoppers, then walk up to the prettiest gal in the entire store.

#2 – Say to her, “Excuse me, can you help me?  I cannot seem to find my wife, and I know that she’s here in the supermarket somewhere.  Can you just talk with me for a couple of minutes?”

#3 – The pretty lady will ask: “Why?”

#4 – And your reply: “Because every time I talk to a beautiful woman, my wife suddenly materializes out of thin air!”

In 1948, 31-year-old Billy Graham was coming off a very successful stint as a Youth For Christ evangelist.  He then made the decision to launch out on his own; entering a period of independent ministry that would, over the next six decades, make his name a household word.  The revival team consisted of four men: Billy Graham (evangelist), Bev Shea (soloist), Grady Wilson (instrumentalist) and Cliff Barrows (song leader).  They were all young in age and charismatic in personality,  so temptations loomed.  And to guard against any allegations of impropriety that had felled previous evangelistic organizations (money and sex), the team decided to take concrete steps to avoid even the slightest whiff of controversy.  They gathered in a motel room in the town of Modesto, California, and came up with a compact that became known as the Modesto Manifesto.   On the money side, policies were developed for low-key fund-rasing that would help them avoid charges of financial exploitation and hucksterism.  But nothing loomed larger than sex.  Billy Graham was a handsome man and coverage of the famous 1949 Los Angeles crusade included reporters writing of his “blue eyes” and “curly hair” and “broad shoulders”.  And more than one journalist mentioned that Graham’s “good looks” had led the preacher to repeatedly turn down offers to go into the movies.  And so came the most famous provision of the manifesto – that each team member would never be alone with a woman (dine, travel, elevator, room, walk) other than his wife, unless other people were present. It eventually became known as “The Billy Graham Rule” and ensured his moral probity and enabled him to dodge the sexual temptation that had waylaid more than one evangelist before and since.  It was especially critical as Graham would spend so much time on the road away from his wife, Ruth, who was home caring for the children.  (Of which she once commented, “I would rather have a little of Bill than a lot of any other man.”)  This moral wholesomeness undoubtedly played no small part in Billy Graham appearing on the Gallop Poll’s “Ten Most Admired List” for 57 straight years.
The bottom line.  In a recent interview, born-again U.S. Vice President, Mike Pence, mentioned he follows “The Billy Graham Rule” in his own marriage.  Thus when you see Donald Trump you think money, but when you see Mike Pence, you can think morality.