I was a neophyte during the fall semester of my junior year in college. In those days I had just three pieces of Catholic equipment--my New American Bible, my rosary, and my red vinyl cover St. Joseph Sunday Missal--and I needed nothing more. For Sunday Mass on campus we had a Saturday vigil at 5pm with a wonderful priest who was a very good influence on me.
I soon developed a Saturday routine. After brunch in the late morning or early midday--that's when weekend days start for college students, or at least as it did for me and my buddies--I would take my missal and start to prepare for Mass. I would pray through the readings, sometimes using my Bible to look them up in context. I would review the proper prayers for the day and set up my ribbons for Mass. (Without ribbons Catholic life would cease to be possible, I'm sure of it.) After this I would take the walk to the local parish church for confession. I would examine my conscience, make my confession, pray my penance, and walk back to campus in time to retrieve my missal and go to Mass. It was a blessed and zealous time.
However, as I used my little missal to follow through the Mass, I would notice discrepancies from time to time. One of them was that we didn't pray the Creed. It was the style of the priest to blend his homily right into the intercessory prayers without the Creed coming between these two moments in the Mass. So once I asked him about it, just because I was confused. How come this Creed was in my missal but was not included in the Mass? Father responded that the Creed was optional, and being a neophyte without any knowledge of rubrics or general instructions, I believed him.
Of course this is false, but it was the beginning of a pattern. Over the years many priests and teachers of the faith who were otherwise very solicitous and kind in their care of my soul, have told me that all kinds of things were 'optional' when they weren't: Parts of the Mass, such as the lavabo, the Gloria on Sundays, feasts and solemnities, the second reading on Sundays, etc., the Hours apart from Morning and Evening Prayer (for clerics), etc. To be fair, there were other times when I have disbelieved someone who told me something was optional that turned out to be true upon closer inspection, such as the invitatory psalm with its antiphon if the invitatory precedes Morning Prayer.
All this is to say that being misinformed and confused has been a gift in my Catholic life, because this is the experience that has driven me over the years to read the actual teaching of the Church and not simply absorb someone else's idea of it. There are religious who have never read the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours. There are priests who have not studied the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and even some who deride the very idea of doing so. There are lots of folks, cleric and lay, religious and secular who could not tell you the ordinary rights and obligations of their state in life from the Code of Canon Law, mostly because they don't know there is such a thing or never bothered to find out. Luckily for me, and this has been genuine Providence in my Catholic life, I never knew who to believe, so I looked it all up myself, and continue to do so.
I recommend this practice to everyone. How many times has someone called me or come into the parish office confused because one priest told them something and then another told them the opposite! One pastor has one policy and the next pastor has the opposite policy. One teacher of the faith says one thing and another gives a different doctrine. My answer is always the same: don't be a victim, or put yourself at the mercy of people who, though they might be charitable and pastoral to a fault, don't know what they are talking about. The Catechism, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and the Code of Canon Law are all available online and easily obtainable in print. Use them, read them, and be empowered.