A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don’t receive it. For example, this is likely to occur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or either choice is acceptable.
We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment. Persons who persist in seeking revelatory guidance on subjects on which the Lord has not chosen to direct us may concoct an answer out of their own fantasy or bias, or they may even receive an answer through the medium of false revelation. Revelation from God is a sacred reality, but like other sacred things, it must be cherished and used properly so that a great strength does not become a disabling weakness. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” BYU Fireside, June 7, 1992; Ensign, Oct. 1994, pp. 13-14
The decisions we make, individually and personally, become the fabric of our lives. That fabric will be beautiful or ugly according to the threads of which it is woven. I wish to say particularly to the young men who are here that you cannot indulge in any unbecoming behavior without injury to the beauty of the fabric of your lives. Immoral acts of any kind will introduce an ugly thread. Dishonesty of any kind will create a blemish. Foul and profane language will rob the pattern of its beauty. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “This Work Is Concerned with People,” Ensign, May 1995, p. 53
It is not so much the major events as the small day-to-day decisions that map the course of our living. . . . Our lives are, in reality, the sum total of our seemingly unimportant decisions and of our capacity to live by those decisions.
By what standards shall we make those decisions? By the standards of CAESAR, meaning the standards of the state as politicians have established those standards? By the standards of the CIRCUS, meaning the standards of the self-seeking masses? . . .
Or shall we make our decisions by the standards of CHRIST, the Son of God, who came in the meridian of time, as the one true lawgiver?
What are the standards by which you will govern your life? . . .
I should like to suggest three standards by which to judge each of the decisions that determine the behavior patterns of your lives. These standards are so simple as to appear elementary, but I believe their faithful observance will provide a set of moral imperatives by which to govern without argument or equivocation each of our actions and which will bring unmatched rewards. They are:
Does it enrich the mind?
Does it discipline and strengthen the body?
Does it nourish the spirit?
— President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Caesar, Circus, or Christ?” BYU Devotional, October 26, 1965
All of our decisions will not be perfect. We will feel hopefully only temporarily, regret. But let us never wait for perfect clarity. It will be a rare decision indeed when all of the data in perfect clarity is apparent before the decision is made. Some of our greatest growth comes from the mind stretching exercise of filling in where information is not available and weighing that which is incomplete. Sometimes there must simply be a leap of faith. — Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, “Decisions Determine Our Destiny,” February 06, 1981
Salvation is an eternal goal we gain by a process of constant upward change. Doubt is spiritual poison that stunts eternal growth. We must first feel our way before we can see it with any clarity. We prove ourselves by making numerous correct decisions without being absolutely sure; then comes a greater knowledge and assurance, not before. Happiness is created. Love is its center. Its principal ingredients are sincere faith, true repentance, full obedience, and selfless service. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Happiness Now and Forever,” Ensign, November 1979, p. 70
When we seek inspiration to help make decisions, the Lord gives gentle promptings. These require us to think, to exercise faith, to work, to struggle at times and to act. Seldom does the whole answer to a decisively important matter or complex problem come all at once. More often, it comes a piece at a time, without the end in sight. — Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, November 1989, p. 32
I know that God loves us. He allows us to exercise our moral agency even when we misuse it. He permits us to make our own decisions. Christ cannot help us if we do not trust Him; He cannot teach us if we do not serve Him. He will not force us to do what’s right, but He will show us the way only when we decide to serve Him. Certainly, for us to serve in His kingdom, Christ requires that we experience a change of thought and attitude. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Looking Back and Moving Forward,” Ensign, May 2008, pp. 87-90
I can’t stress too strongly that decisions determine destiny. You can’t make eternal decisions without eternal consequences.
May I provide a simple formula by which you can measure the choices which confront you. It’s easy to remember, sometimes difficult to apply: You can’t be right by doing wrong; you can’t be wrong by doing right. Your personal conscience always warns you as a friend before it punishes you as a judge. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Decisions Determine Destiny,” BYU Devotional, November 6, 2005
Clearly, one primary purpose of our existence upon the earth is to obtain bodies of flesh and bones. We are here to gain experience that could come only through separation from our heavenly parents. In a thousand ways, we are privileged to choose for ourselves. Here we learn from the hard taskmaster of experience. We discern between good and evil. We differentiate as to the bitter and the sweet. We learn that decisions determine destiny. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign, June 1993