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How can I learn to make my own decisions?

An important part of being self-reliant is learning how to make decisions for ourselves. Heavenly Father is willing to guide us, but He does not always tell us exactly what to do. He has given us agency and expects us to use our knowledge, experience, and faith to guide our own decisions. We can then ask Him to confirm to us whether our decision is correct.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and other resources. What will help the youth learn gospel principles related to making decisions?

Alma 37:37 (Counsel with the Lord)

D&C 9:7–9 (Heavenly Father guides us in our decisions after we have studied them in our own minds)

D&C 58:26–29 (We do not need to be commanded in all things; we should be anxiously engaged in good)

Dallin H. Oaks, “Good, Better, Best,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 104–8

Robert D. Hales, “To the Aaronic Priesthood: Preparing for the Decade of Decision,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 48–51

Richard G. Scott, “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 8–11

Video: “Wrong Roads”

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between what they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help:

  • Invite the youth to think of current world events that have illustrated the importance of spiritual or temporal self-reliance.
  • Read together Doctrine and Covenants 58:26–29. Why does the Lord not want to “command [us] in all things”? Ask the youth to list on the board the important decisions that they might make over the next 10 years. Invite them to think about how the things they learn during this lesson can help them make these decisions.

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the youth understand how to make their own decisions. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Invite the youth to read Doctrine and Covenants 9:7–9 and Alma 37:37, and ask them to ponder how they can apply the Lord’s counsel in these verses to the important decisions they will make over the next few years. What does it mean to “counsel with the Lord” about these decisions? What does it mean to “study it out in [our] mind”? Invite the youth to share their thoughts and any experiences they have had counseling with the Lord to make decisions. Also share your own experiences and testimony.
  • Ask the class to consider what they learn about decision-making as they read Elder Robert D. Hales’s story about the pilot who would not attend simulator training (in his talk “To the Aaronic Priesthood: Preparing for the Decade of Decision”). Ask them to share what they find. Invite each youth to read one of the paragraphs that begin with “Now is the time” in Elder Hales’s talk, and ask them to share with the class what Elder Hales is counseling them to do and how the choices they make now will affect the choices they can make later in life.
  • Invite the youth to read section I in Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s talk “Good, Better, Best” and share what it teaches them about making decisions. What criteria can the youth use to distinguish among things that are good, better, and best? (You could refer them to the following statement from Elder Oaks: “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”) Write on the board the headings Good, Better, and Best, and invite the youth to write choices that would fit under these headings (if they need examples, refer them to section IV of Elder Oaks’s talk). How will the youth apply what they learn from this activity to decisions they have to make?
  • Divide the class into two groups. Invite one group to read the section titled “How Should You Pray?” from Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” and invite the other group to read the section titled “How Are Prayers Answered?” Ask the youth to find answers to the questions in the titles of the sections they are reading and discuss what they find with their groups. Then invite each group to teach the other group what they learned about seeking the Lord’s guidance as they make decisions. They could also watch the video “Wrong Roads” and share what this story adds to their understanding of how the Lord can guide us. Ask them to share what they will do to apply this counsel to their own decision-making.

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to make their own decisions? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite to act

Ask the youth what they feel inspired to do based on what they learned today. Encourage them to act on these feelings. Consider ways you can follow up.