Relief Society Second Counselor Linda S. Reeves spoke about the roles and influence of the Holy Ghost at a 2 p.m. session of Women’s Conference in the Marriott Center on Friday.
Sister Reeves recounted some of her life’s most profound experiences with the Spirit and explained the lessons she learned from these events that could also bless the life of any member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“A sure witness from the Holy Ghost carries far more certainty than a witness from any other source,” she said, cautioning members of the audience to never delay responding to the Spirit’s influence.
Sister Reeves recalled a time when she and her husband had put off acting on the prompting to share the gospel with the Finley family, who were their neighbors and friends.
When she later learned of serious trials the Finleys were experiencing, Sister Reeves realized that by delaying follow the Spirit, she had unknowingly denied the Finleys the comfort and perspective that the gospel brings at a time when they needed it most.
In time, the Reeves shared the gospel message with their neighbors. Brother Finley eventually became the Bishop of their ward, and 24 years after the initial experience, one of the Finley sons married Sister Reeves’ daughter.
Sister Reeves was joined by Melinda Ashton, the wife of Brian K. Ashton, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency. Ashton spoke on the tendencies that women often have that inhibit the influence and direction of the Holy Ghost.
Speaking of her hesitance during her five-and-a-half year courtship of her now-husband, Ashton recalled that although she felt that the two were a good match, she wanted the Lord to irrefutably confirm her feelings that marriage was the correct path.
“I was seeking a confirmation, and I was afraid to move forward without it.”
In time, Ashton came to understand through reading 2 Nephi 31:3 that the Lord was trying to speak to her in her own language rather than through the language of grand, divine manifestation as she was seeking.
“Once I realized that I was seeking for the Spirit to speak to me in a language that was not my own, I changed my course and moved forward,” said Sister Ashton, who did eventually receive a confirmation from the Holy Ghost that was “in harmony” with her spiritual language.
“When you are paralyzed by fear, it is difficult if not impossible for the Spirit to lead you,” she said. “As you exercise your faith in your loving Heavenly Father and Savior, they will direct your steps, but they cannot direct your steps if you are not stepping.”
Although learning to hear and heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost is a lifelong and difficult process, she said, “Your Father and your Savior will be with every step of the way, even when you don’t realize it. They love you; they know you; they will guide you.”