Eternal Principles of Truth

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“Eternal Principles of Truth,” Ensign, Dec. 1978, 3

First Presidency Message

Eternal Principles of Truth

By revelation the Lord has set forth for our guidance eternal principles of truth. These revelations are found in the Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Mormon, Bible, and Pearl of Great Price.

In his preface to the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord said:

“Knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, [I] called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;

“And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world.” (D&C 1:17–18)

Contained in the said commandments, and other scriptures, are principles of eternal truth which, if adhered to, will guide men safely through mortality and into life eternal.

“I the Lord am willing to make these things known unto all flesh;

“For I am no respecter of persons.” (D&C 1:34–35)

Among his reasons for revealing the eternal principles of truth, the Lord specified the following: That man should learn not to rely upon the counsels of his fellowman, neither trust in the arm of flesh, but trust in God, that faith might increase in the earth; that inasmuch as men erred, it might be made known unto them; that inasmuch as they sought wisdom, they might be instructed; that inasmuch as they sinned, they might be chastened, that they might repent; and that inasmuch as they were humble, they might be made strong and blessed from on high and receive knowledge from time to time. (See D&C 1)

The world at large has not accepted these revealed principles as guides for their living, but we, the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have so accepted them. It therefore seems to me that everything we do should be done in light of our understanding and testimony of these eternal principles. My experience teaches me that we have a continuing need to repeatedly rededicate ourselves to this course of action.

The world about us is surfeited with practices and attitudes which constantly tend to lower our standards of conduct, deprive us of the spirit of the gospel, and encourage us to ignore the revealed principles of truth. We can successfully resist these evils only by constantly reviewing and thinking about what the Lord has said about them.

During the First World War, President Joseph F. Smith emphasized this truth when he said:

“We hear about living in perilous times. We are in perilous times, but I do not feel the pangs of that terror. It is not upon me. I propose to live so that it will not rest upon me. I propose to live so that I shall be immune from the perils of the world, if it be possible for me to so live, by obedience to the commandments of God and his laws revealed for my guidance. No matter what may come to me, if I am only in the line of my duty, if I am in fellowship with God, if I am worthy of the fellowship of my brethren, if I can stand spotless before the world, without blemish, without transgression of the laws of God, what does it matter to me what may happen to me? I am always ready, if I am in this frame of understanding, mind, and conduct. It does not matter at all. Therefore, I borrow no trouble nor feel the pangs of fear.” (Improvement Era, July 1917, p. 827)

You see how secure he felt, lashed as he was by righteous living to the mast of eternal principles of truth.

My hope is that through study, faith, and prayer we will keep ourselves mindful of these principles, and our testimonies of them increasing so that we will always act in the light of them. If we do so, we shall live at peace with ourselves, notwithstanding the strife in the world about us.

Illustrated by Jerry Thompson