Identifying Principles

Topic: I Wish I Had Known This 10 Years Ago: Identifying Principles
Date: August 21, 2008
Time: 12:30-1:25pm
Location: MARB, Room 445
Lecturer: Mark E. Beecher

1. Tell me about the tortoise and the hare. What’s the moral of the story?
a. You could say the principle is “slow and steady wins the race”. But is this principle true all across the board? Probably not. It needs some refining.


2. Quote: Richard G. Scott, “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” Ensign, Nov 1993, 86

a. “As you seek spiritual knowledge, search for principles. Carefully separate them from the detail used to explain them. Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances. A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and compelling circumstances. It is worth great effort to organize the truth we gather to simple statements of principle. I have tried to do that with gaining spiritual knowledge. The result is now shared in hope that it will be a beginning place for your study”

3. Quote: Boyd K. Packer, “Principles,” Tambuli, Oct 1985, 37

a. “There are principles of the gospel underlying every phase of Church administration. These are not explained in the handbooks. They are found in the scriptures. They are the substance of and the purpose for the revelations.”

4. Quote: Marion G. Romney, “‘Records of Great Worth’,” Ensign, Sep 1980, 3

a. In the great revelation known as the law of the Church, it is written: “Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my church; And he that doeth according to these things shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned if he so continue” (D&C 42:59-60). One cannot honestly study the scriptures without learning gospel principles because the scriptures have been written to preserve principles for our benefit.”

5. Quote: Richard G. Scott, “Truth: The Foundation of Correct Decisions,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 90-92

a. There are two ways to find truth-both useful, provided we follow the laws upon which they are predicated. The first is the scientific method. It can require analysis of data to confirm a theory or, alternatively, establish a valid principle through experimentation. The scientific method is a valuable way of seeking truth. However, it has two limitations. First, we never can be sure we have identified absolute truth, though we often draw nearer and nearer to it. Second, sometimes, no matter how earnestly we apply the method, we can get the wrong answer.

b.The best way of finding truth is simply to go to the origin of all truth and ask or respond to inspiration. 1 For success, two ingredients are essential: first, unwavering faith in the source of all truth; second, a willingness to keep God’s commandments to keep open spiritual communication with Him. Elder Robert D. Hales has just spoken to us about that personal revelation and how to obtain it.

6.Quote: Preach My Gospel, Page 182

a. B. H. Roberts wrote, ‘To be known, the truth must be stated and the clearer and more complete the statement is, the better the opportunity will the Holy Spirit have for testifying to the souls of men that the work is true.’ [New Witnesses for God, 3 vols. (1909), 2:vii].

Doctrines & Principles of Jesus Christ bridge the gap between God and man:


7. Practice summarizing the scriptures to a couple statement, and then refine it from there:

a. 1 Nephi 10:21
b. 2 Kings 6: 16-17
c. Mosiah 1:17
d. Alma 56:29—
i. Principle: Satan doesn’t want me to increase my forces dail, but if I do I will put fear into him.
e. 2 Nephi 2:1-2
f. 1 Nephi 8: 37-38

8. When refining scripture to statements of principle stay as close to the wording of the scripture as you can. This applies for principles you can clearly identify within the scripture.

a. Ask yourself as you read: what is the moral of the scripture, the intent, why do you think the scripture was put in there to begin with, what’s the main message. Doing this will bridge the gap of understanding.

9. There are “implied” principles as well; reading between the lines. These principles many times come to you as personal revelation. Make sure that they are a true principle. Compare them to the scripture(s) and assure they match the definition of what a principle is.

10. Strongly recommend keeping a “Revelation Journal”. Carry it around with you each day, especially when studying the scriptures. Write down your personal revelation according to day, along with the principles you identify.

11. The #1 most cited scripture: 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17

16. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

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