I have been thinking about this for a while. Obviously, we don’t believe in fate because that would take away our agency. But we do believe we were intentionally born at a certain time into certain circumstances to experience certain things. Isn’t that fate to a degree? When I live righteously -isn’t everything that happens to me meant to happen? Is there chance, for example with little things like who I meet? How can I discern? Or does it even matter?
Your study of the gospel has led you to the discovery of an important doctrine. One that some have called distinct to the restored Gospel. This doctrine is called “Foreordination.” Foreordination is different than fate, as you described it,because foreordination preserves free agency.
The process of foreordination is best described in Abraham 3:23:
[God] stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou was born.
Foreordination is very much like receiving a church calling, but in the premortal existence. Church callings can tell us where to go while we’re at church. And if we magnify our calling, it can determine a lot about how we use our time, and what lessons we learn. But even the most faithful person has to make individual decisions about how they fulfill their calling. And of course, no matter what calling you receive, members are free to reject their call, or not do the work their calling requires.
Similary foreordination is a calling from God before we were born. It may determine our circumstances, but many of the details remain up to us. Brigham Young is reported to have said:
Do you not think that the Lord has his eye upon a great many? There is a passage of Scripture that reads thus—“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren,” I do not think there is anybody now on the earth, or that has lived before us, or that will come after us, but what he knew. He knew who would be his anointed; he has had his eye upon them all the time.
You can make the best of whatever situation you find yourself in by following the gospel.
If you desire to know more about the things to which you have been foreordained. Let me recommend two paths. The first is to pray for knowledge on the matter. If you ask in faith and with good intent, God may grant you knowledge to help you on your path. The second is to receive a patriarchal blessing. Patriarchal blessings often will list blessings or roles to which you have been foreordained.
Best wishes in your continued studies.