I can agree with the points you make in 1) above. Listening to people - even some Spiritualists - rather than to teachers and guides can be misleading or confusing because their words may be misconstrued. I don't hold personal opinions on matters spiritual (and hence couldn't give them) and I rarely heed the opinions of others.
You make good points in 2) but I'm not persuaded it's the only way to reach a state of understanding. And researching the wrong material, with apparent but questionable 'evidence', may not lead one to correct conclusions.