Modesto, California

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Modesto is a city in California, within its famed Central Valley, the center of California's agricultural production.

Modesto holds a key place in the ministry of Billy Graham: during a 1946 Crusade Graham (along with his key associates Grady Wilson, Cliff Barrows, and George Beverly Shea) developed what is commonly (and sometimes pejoratively) known as the Billy Graham Rule (officially called the Modesto Manifesto). The rule itself is actually a series of four principles the men developed, to counter the perceived and actual image of mass evangelists. The four principles are:[1]

  1. Instead of depending on "love offerings" given by attendees (due to the temptation to pressure the attendees into giving), the team would depend as much as possible on funds raised by local committees prior to the meetings.
  2. The men would "avoid any situation that would have even the appearance of compromise and suspicion". As a corollary, Graham himself would not travel, meet, or eat alone with a woman other than Ruth. (This is what is commonly called the Billy Graham Rule, and is often the subject of criticism by liberals as being "demeaning to women". Former Vice President Mike Pence also followed this rule in his personal life.)
  3. The team agreed to cooperate with any and all churches who would cooperate with the team in the public proclamation of the Gospel (as opposed to the common practice of conducting meetings apart from, and sometimes in competition with, local churches). (This would lead to most fundamentalists, who oppose working with other denominations, breaking ties with Graham.)
  4. The team would use truthful figures in describing audience attendance and conversions (as opposed to the practice of exaggerating figures to make the speaker look good).