Anna Nadasdi: Preserving Her Pedigree
When Anna Nadasdi participates in temple work, she is so alert and attentive it is almost a distraction. She fairly glows with enthusiasm. Her sincere involvement is entirely appropriate, but it is unusual for a temple worker to maintain such a constant high level of alertness.
So I was curious to know why. Sister Nadasdi was born in Hungary and raised in the Greek Catholic faith. Her father had worked in America as a young man, but had returned to Hungary. As Anna grew up, he taught her that America truly was a land of promise.
When Anna was a young woman, World War II enveloped Europe in conflict, and Germany took possession of Hungary. During these perilous times, Sister Nadasdi always carried with her a hundred years of her family genealogy to prove to the Nazi police that she was not of Jewish extraction. She carried her genealogy in a handbag made from braided cornstalk leaves.
After the war was over, she married. Disenchanted with the way of life in Hungary, she and her husband decided to leave, but their only route to escape lay through a mine field that was covered with barbed wire and guarded by soldiers in gun towers. In desperation, they began to crawl through the mine field, expecting at any moment to be blown up, caught in the barbs, or shot. “The Lord must have been guiding us by the hand,” she recalls, “because we crossed safely into Austria. All I had with me was the clothes I wore—and my genealogy.”
Unable to find an American sponsor, they went to Australia, where Anna found employment as a milliner. Still, she thought of America.
One night, Sister Nadasdi had an unusual dream; it was of a beautiful, many-towered building that was surrounded by carefully groomed lawns and trees. She saw happy people entering and leaving the building. When she awoke, the memory of this building remained fresh in her mind, but she had no idea what or where the building was. She would often recall her dream and wonder about its significance.
Anna and her husband separated in 1954. As the years passed, she moved to better employment—a clerical position with the government. Although she was successful in her work, she felt something important was missing in her life. As this feeling grew stronger, she decided to discuss her life with God. In desperation and loneliness, she went into the laundry room in her apartment building where she began to plead with the Lord. After recounting the many difficulties in her life, she asked him, “If there is another way, why don’t you show it to me?”
As she came out of the laundry room, two elders had just reached the bottom of the stairs leading to her apartment. After they introduced themselves and explained their errand, Sister Nadasdi thought, “As I was talking with the Lord, these two young men were already on my footpath. Surely they must have an answer for me.” As the elders shared the message of the Restoration with her, her heart was touched. Her deepest conviction was stirred as they showed her a picture of the Salt Lake Temple, which she recognized as the beautiful building in her dream. “If I hadn’t been sitting in a chair with arms on it,” she exclaims, “I would have fallen on the floor!” In response to her keen interest, the elders explained the doctrine of temple work for both the living and the dead.
Finally she realized why she had brought her hundred years of genealogy with her when she left Hungary. She also knew that she would join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and one day go to Salt Lake City to do the temple work for herself and for her family.
After Sister Nadasdi was baptized, she traveled to Salt Lake City. With considerable anticipation, she went to the Salt Lake Temple, the house of her dream, where she did her family’s temple work. She then returned to her employment in Australia.
Then in 1983, after first returning to the land of her birth, she moved to Salt Lake City to retire. Her greatest desire was to serve in the “house of her dream.” Those who serve with Sister Nadasdi in the temple understand how she is able to participate so fully and remain so alert each day.
Carlos Miller: Keeping Rhythm, Keeping Faith
Over the years, in various wards in and around Provo, Utah, what most people remember about Carlos Dutton Miller is the way he conducted the music.
Now ninety, Brother Miller has led the singing in his wards and quorums for more than sixty years. “Even now, people will come up to me,” smiles the silver-haired conductor, “and they will tell me that they remember my teaching them about the circumstances under which this hymn or that hymn was written, and it makes me feel good.” They may not comment on his years of service in the Young Men’s Mutual, or his being elders quorum president, or the four times he served in bishoprics, or his other priesthood service—but they do remember his music service with clarity and fondness.
Brother Miller remembers leading song practice in Sunday School. After the practice hymn had been worked over thoroughly, there would occasionally be time for the congregation to sing another. So Brother Miller would call for requests. “Thank you for that suggestion,” he would quickly respond. “That hymn is number such and such in your books.” And he would invariably be right. His total familiarity with the hymns, his sense of selecting just the right hymn for the occasion, and his warm and instructive nature blended with an absolute punctuality made him the ideal chorister.
“I had no professional training,” he says, “so I don’t know why I was called upon to do it. But I did have a very good senior companion in the Northern States Mission many years ago who helped prepare me.” With the wisdom of age, Carlos is eager to teach and offers sage advice to any who would be chorister. “You must arrive early”—and to him that means at least fifteen minutes before the meeting—to post the hymn, locate the music stand, and take a seat “near the front so as not to distract from the meeting in any way.”
Like all people who do one thing well, there’s more to Carlos Miller than his dutiful sense of rhythm. Besides keeping the beat of the music, he has kept the faith. Most of his life has been spent as a grocer and butcher known for reliable, friendly service. Among his many customers were elderly folks who, upon buying groceries at his Ferguson’s Market on University Avenue, were often offered a ride home in Brother Miller’s car.
Brother Miller has four children. After his first wife died, he married Elva, who has been his companion for over thirty years. Sentimental about favorite pieces of music, he loves to sing as Elva accompanies him on the piano.