The Process Of Personal Decision Making


Over the years members have come into my office to discuss a problem that was vexing them. They would state the situation, and then ask me what they should do. More often than not, I could only give suggestions, or counsel them from my experience as to a course of action. As their priesthood leader,  I did have the right to receive inspiration to nurture and encourage them,  but that calling didn’t supersede their responsibility to 1) identify the problem 2) Pray for guidance 3) Study the problem 4) Make the decision 5) Pray for confirmation and then 6) Act . That process requires time, effort and accountability. Some of them would have prefered to skip that process.

The process of personal decision making is a primary component in our personal progress towards becoming like God.  However, I think that some of us have the mistaken idea that if we pray to the Lord for guidance on everything, that we are somehow following the Lord’s way, when in fact, that might not be true. The Lord expects for us to study things out in our own mind, using all our faculties in so doing.  Once we have made a decision, then we go to him for confirmation.  In my opinion, sometimes there is more than one answer to a prayer or problem. The old saying that “there is more than one way to skin a cat” is certainly possible in most cases. So, after careful study and pondering we might decide to tackle the problem a certain way. We then pray, and when we feel the confirmation of the spirit we make the determination that the decision we made is the “right” way, when in fact it is “a” way to solve the problem. The Lord might have confirmed several decisions we could have made under the same situation. The important thing, most of the time, is to “make” a decision based on the process that has been revealed through latter-day prophets. I once recall reading that the answers to the all important decisions that we face are found in the scriptures or in the words of modern-day prophets.

It is important to make the Lord a part of the process in our decision making process, but going directly to Him, or His servants, without doing the necessary homework is making an end run around the learning process that the Lord intended for His children. That intent is evident by the fact that a veil was placed upon our minds when we came to this earth. Personal development through decision making is a key part of our agency in this life. We need to take the effort to gain all the blessings and development that the Lord desired for us in this process by following it His way.


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