When I go to the initial compile screen and pick the Section Layout I want I am getting gibberish instead of seeing my work in the center section.
Welcome! What you’re seeing is expected: the centre section of the compile window previews the layout appearance using filler text that it can render quickly, not your document text. Some elements will include their name as an identifier (such as “notes” or “synopsis” or “section title”, i.e. the document title you’d see in the binder) Words that are added as part of the layout, such as “Chapter 1” or “Part I” will also appear in the preview. The rest will be along the lines of “Frimba anu cree nalista” to show how the text will appear—font, spacing, alignment, etc.
You’ll need to run the compile process to see all of it applied to your project text (mainly because there’s no way to create a preview other than to do the complete the compile anyway). All your settings will be saved, so it’s easy to run the compile and then view that and even keep it open while going back to Scrivener’s compile window to tweak settings as needed.