In her remarks to women gathered in the Marriott Center on April 29 as part of BYU Women’s Conference, Sister Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, gave seven lessons she has learned throughout her life while seeking revelation.
During a breakout session of the two-day conference — co-sponsored by the Relief Society and BYU — Sister Reeves and Melinda Ashton, wife of Brother Brian K. Ashton of the Sunday School general presidency, shared insights and perspective on the topic “The Holy Ghost: Direction, Correction and Warning.” (See report of Sister Melinda Ashton’s remarks here.)
Lesson 1: Don’t delay a prompting.
Sister Reeves related the prompting she and her husband, Mel, received to share the gospel with their friends, Margaret and Brad Finlay. Initially, Brother and Sister Reeves focused on offering friendship and support to the Finlays, but over time they were able to share more about the gospel with them.
The path that led the Finlays to testimony was marked by “ups and downs and even halts,” Sister Reeves recalled. Over many years, however, the Finlays’ faith grew and they were baptized.
“Mel and I could not have known when we first met the Finlays how important their conversion would be to us personally,” Sister Reeves said. “Twenty-four years later, the Finlays’ youngest son, Evan, married our youngest daughter, Valerie, in the Los Angeles California Temple.”
Lesson 2: Through the Holy Ghost, we can come to know we are on the path Heavenly Father wants us to be on.
Sister Reeves shared a portion of a Mother’s Day talk by her friend, Renee Magnusson, who wrote of the example of her mother who taught her that with Heavenly Father’s help she could do anything.
This lesson was emphasized when Sister Magnusson graduated from college with a degree in English teaching but was convinced she should never be a classroom teacher. “I knew that if I were going to accomplish anything at this point, it would be with [Heavenly Father’s] help,” Sister Magnusson wrote.
Eventually, she followed a prompting to get her master’s degree, during which time she took classes that taught her how to become a better teacher and she continued her career as an English instructor.
“This English-teaching saga is only one step in Heavenly Father’s plan for me,” Sister Magnusson wrote. “It was an experience to build my faith, the kind of faith that my mother has when she tells me I can do anything with Heavenly Father’s help. She knows it’s true because she knows Him.”
Sister Reeves then added her testimony, “Dear sisters, I also know that like Renee, this is true for each one of us. We can do anything with Heavenly Father’s help.”
Lesson 3: Being clean and virtuous helps us feel the promptings and guidance from the Holy Ghost.
Sister Reeves shared an analogy given by President Harold B. Lee in which he explained that static will prevent listeners from hearing messages clearly on a radio if any of the interior tubes quit working. He called one tube a “keep-the-Word-of-Wisdom” tube and another a “read-the-scriptures” tube and so on.
“I have come to know that if we want to be able to hear the promptings of the Holy Ghost and have confidence before the Lord, our ‘keep-yourselves-morally-clean’ tube must be in working order,” Sister Reeves said. “We cannot be obsessed with our bodies and show them off and allow our spirits to suffer, and we cannot watch, read, think about, or do anything that drives the Spirit away if we want to receive His guidance and recognize it.”
Lesson 4: The Holy Ghost will help us value ourselves.
To explain lesson 4, Sister Reeves quoted Sister Jutta Busche, wife of Elder F. Enzio Busche of the Seventy, who in a women’s conference talk many years ago said, “I have tried to be like someone else. I have failed each time. When I tried to conform, it blocked me [from] being transformed by the Spirit’s renewing of my mind. When I got on my knees to ask for help, I learned to depend on the Spirit to guide me, secure in the knowledge that I am a daughter of God [and] that I did not need to compete with others to be loved and accepted by my Heavenly Father.”
Lesson 5: The Holy Ghost will urge us to repent.
This lesson was taught to Sister Reeves many years ago when one of her young sons was encouraged to enter a coloring contest with the newspaper in their area. When she rushed to mail her son’s entry before the deadline, she realized he had only colored 90 percent of the picture. Since he was at school and she had a baby and toddlers at home, she quickly colored the final part of the picture and dropped it in the mail.
To her surprise, her son’s entry won first place. “When he received news, my heart sank,” Sister Reeves recalled. “The Holy Ghost began to work upon me hourly — I felt like He hounded me.”
Still, Sister Reeves said she rationalized that her son had colored most of the picture and could imagine her son’s disappointment if his prize were revoked.
After two days, Sister Reeves could stand it no longer and heeded the prompting to call the newspaper and tell them what she had done.
Looking back on the experience decades later, “I realize that it was a very decisive moment of truth in my life. Being able to stand with confidence before my Savior became far more important to me than anything else.”
Lesson 6: Pray always.
As a young mother, Sister Reeves said she found it difficult to find time to “pray always” (Luke 21:36). Because she spent a lot of time in the laundry room she had the thought that every time she opened the dryer door, she would say a prayer. Soon it became a habit.
For Sister Reeves, “pray always” has meant learning to have a conversation with Heavenly Father, she noted. “Some of my sweetest moments with my Heavenly Father are when I kneel down, even for quick little moment, just to thank Him for any little blessing I have noticed. I have come to know how much He appreciates every ‘thank you.’”
Lesson 7: The scriptures bring revelation.
Sister Reeves said she received an email from a friend, Sister Taylor, who is serving with her husband as he presides over a mission. Sister Taylor recently received a phone call from one of her missionaries asking for some marriage advice for a couple he and his companion were teaching who were frequently arguing.
Sister Taylor told the young elder, “There has been only one thing that has come over and over to my mind as I’ve been listening to you. Have this couple read the Book of Mormon together.”
Later Sister Taylor got a follow-up phone call from the elder who told her, “Sister Taylor, it worked!”
After Sister Taylor hung up the phone, she got on her knees and thanked her Heavenly Father for “this precious book” — The Book of Mormon.
In closing, Sister Reeves testified, “I know that as we study the Book of Mormon, daily pray, repent of our sins, keep out lives clean and worthy to be in the temple, and strive to keep our covenants, we will feel the guidance of the Holy Ghost Who will help us to be worthy to live with our Father and Savior eternally.”