In a 1993 General Conference address, Elder Richard G. Scott encouraged us to search for principles in our pursuit of spiritual knowledge. "Principles are concentrated truth," he taught, "packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances. A true principle makes decisions clear even under the most confusing and compelling circumstances."
The scriptures are full of true principles, some implied and some explicit, many of which outline what we must do to receive a certain blessing. A few examples from 1 Nephi include:
The tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance (1:20).
Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper (2:20).
For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them (10:19).
All men must come unto [Christ], or they cannot be saved (13:40).
There cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God (15:34).
I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning (19:23).
These principles teach me what I must do, what I must become, and how I can obtain the specific blessings that I need or want in my life. As we learn from Elder Scott, each of these principles are true in a wide variety of circumstances. All people everywhere may profit and learn from the application of scripture to their lives, regardless of whether they are Canadian, Indian, Russian, Nigerian, Australian, Romanian or Brazilian. All of us can be made mighty and experience the tender mercies of the Lord, regardless of income or social status. Each of us must become clean if we want to enter into the kingdom of God.
The Lord taught Joseph Smith:
There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated-- And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
Principles, in the gospel sense, are the enduring truths, laws, rules and guidelines that provide structure to the universe. They are unalterable, eternal, universal, self-evident, and each true principle is in harmony with every other principle. When we understand them, we may use them to guide our lives and change how we interact with the world around us-- just as understanding the laws of physics change how soon we push the brake pedal to avoid hitting the car in front of us, how far we can throw a baseball or whether we let the baby sit on the kitchen counter unattended (don't do that!).
The challenge for each of us is to lead a principle-centered life. As we seek for principles in our study, as Elder Scott has directed, and apply them in our lives, the Lord will grant us the things that we need and want according to our obedience to His eternal principles. Knowing that all of us have something that weighs on our soul, I challenge you to seek out the principle that will bring the desired blessing and apply it in your life. I know that as you do so, the Lord will confirm to your mind and heart that He is mindful of you, that He keeps His promises, and that all things are possible to those who believe in Christ.