We are only capable of comprehending that certain things exist, which we may acquire by certain fixed principles. If men would acquire salvation, they have got to be subject, before they leave this world, to certain rules and principles, which were fixed by an unalterable decree before the world was.(6)
A principle is an enduring truth, a law, a rule you can adopt to help you in making decisions. Generally principles are not spelled out in detail. That leaves you free to adapt and to find your way with an enduring truth, a principle, as an anchor.(9)
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 challenging circumstances. It is worth great effort to organize the truth we gather to simple statements of principle.(10)
It is the nature of general principles that their application to particular cases differ with circumstances. Specific requirements of justice or duty may be dramatically different in different cultures, just as Newton’s general statement of the Law of gravity (still sound for objects in space neither too small nor too large) must be applied differently as variables in equations are given specific values. Although the application of fundamental ethical principles differs depending on contingencies, the principles themselves are universal.(11)
Some people confuse principles with rules. A principle is something inside one; a rule is an outward restriction.To obey a principle you have to use your mental and moral powers; to obey a rule you have only to do what the rule says. Dr. Frank Crane pointed out the difference neatly: "A rule supports us by the arm-pits over life's mountain passes; a principle makes us surefooted."(12)
Without principles, a man is like a ship without rudder or compass, left to drift hither and thither with every wind that blows.He is as one without law, or rule, or order, or government. “Moral principles,” says Hume, “are social and universal. They form, in a manner, the party of humankind against vice and disorder, its common enemy.”(14)
Therefore neither you nor your parents can be too careful to see that your young and fruitful minds are fed and stored with good principles. You want to learn that which is true–when you learn anything about God, Jesus Christ, the angels, the Holy Ghost, the gospel, the way to be saved, your duty to your parents, brethren, sisters, or to any of your fellow men, or any history, art or science...
I say when you learn any of those things you want to learn that which is true, so that when you get those things riveted in your mind and planted in your heart, and you trust to it in future life and lean upon it for support, that it may not fail you like a broken reed.(15)
not [as] a system of precise legislation, marking out with literal exactness everything to be done, and everything to be avoided; but an inculcation of broad principles, which it intrusts to individuals and to society to be applied according to their best discretion. It is through this generous peculiarity, that Christianity is fitted to be a universal religion.(16)
Not influenced by popular opinion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches principles. The difference is profound. Trends, fashion, and pop ideology are fleeting and ephemeral. Principles serve as anchors of security, direction, and truth. If we fix our ideals and direction on doctrine and principles, such as faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and following the prophet, we will have a totally reliable, unchanging guide for our life’s decisions.(17)
...two principles ... are fundamental in Mormon thinking. First, that there are certain changeless principles upon which the whole structure of Mormonism is built and second, that the application of these principles in human life change as human needs change. That is, the Gospel, as understood by the Church, is an unchanging system of truths ever changing in its application to the ever changing conditions of life.
Young college students frequently fail to make the discrimination between foundation principles and their application; between primary principles and derivative functions.
You draw some illustrations from the field of science. There we have the same distinction: facts of observation, correct as far as human powers go and inferences or the explanation of these facts changing with the increasing knowledge.(18)
Principles are anchors of safety. They are like the steel anchors a mountaineer uses to conquer otherwise impossible cliffs. They help you have confidence in new and unfamiliar circumstances. They will provide you protection in life’s storms of adversity.
... While easy to find, true principles are not easy to live until they become an established pattern of life. They will require you to dislodge false ideas. They can cause you wrenching battles within the secret chambers of your heart and decisive encounters to overcome temptation, peer pressure, and false allure of the “easy way out.” Yet, as you resolutely follow correct principles, you will forge strength of character available to you in time of urgent need. Your consistent adherence to principle overcomes the alluring yet false lifestyles that surround you.(19)
In answering these questions a man will find principles of far more value to him than a library of books, or a den decorated with diplomas. The principles contribute to his maturity by enlarging his thinking, by helping him to avoid confusion, by rescuing him from prolonged debate. They give him a base for decision and action. They are like the north star, the compass and the lighthouse to a sailor: they keep him on his course despite winds and current and weather.(20)
In our personal choices we should be conscious of the important difference between choices that should be governed by principles (including the commandments of the Lord) and choices that can be based on personal preferences. How to recognize and apply this difference is something we learn by experience. The result of this learning is wisdom, which the scriptures teach us to learn and seek (Alma 32:12; D&C 6:7).
We rarely succumb to temptation in one overpowering moment. The strength of living by a principle is built line upon line, time upon time, of facing a moment of challenge and responding appropriately. Every important choice is the inevitable result of a hundred earlier choices.(23)
The guiding principles to the realization of the higher life are not many or complex. Indeed, they are few and simple, and can be applied by everyone in any phase of life:
1. Recognition of the Reality of Spiritual Values
2. Sense of Obligation to the Social Group
3. Resultant Self-Mastery
4. A Consciousness that the ultimate purpose of life is the perfecting of the individual(25)