Last week my wife's brother got engaged. I celebrated this moment as it marked the end of numerous phone calls and e-mails from him asking me how I "knew" my wife was the one for me. Aside from being grateful that I don't have to pepper myself with that question anymore, this experience got me to thinking about my decision-making process and how it compares to others, especially those in the LDS church. All too often I feel that members of the church rely too heavily upon a spiritual confirmation and become paralyzed from action and almost obsessive in their frantic quest to "do what Jesus would do." (This is obviously not unique to the LDS church, but this is where I personally see it the most). To be quite honest, I just don’t understand this line of reasoning. I have always believed that God judges us by the decisions that we make, NOT by the decisions that he makes for us.
I realize that the Book of Mormon admonishes us to “counsel with the Lord in all thy doings” and to “let all thy doings be unto the Lord” (Alma 37:37,36), not to mention praying over everything from our families to our sheep. This school of thought is often championed by general authorities who teach that the Spirit is involved in the intricacies of our lives.
However, I’ve always subscribed to the scripture which says "it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is slothful and not a wise servant" (D&C 58:26). As a result, I approach the aforementioned scriptures from Alma as metaphorical references to the omniscience of God and the insignificance of man. Consequently, I find myself discounting (often unfairly) those who accept a more literal reading of these verses and hesitate to act sans divine approval. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to reconcile these schools of thought more evenhandedly.
Obviously, this is not the only subject that requires reconciliation. I find a similar tension between the constant counsel to get out/stay out of debt and the encouragement to get the best education possible. There is often friction between the focus on personal revelation and the command to unquestionably follow the directives of our church leaders. I’m sure there are numerous other examples, but I think you get the point.
What are your methods for reconciling these (and other) teachings? Is there anything to learn from the experience of Adam and Eve?