Prayer sustained her in childhood, now as youth leader

Margaret Dyreng Nadauld vividly remembers her seventh birthday. She was recovering from polio.

Just a few weeks before, little Margaret was diagnosed with one of the most dreaded of childhood diseases. She had been limping, couldn't swallow and had a severe headache. "I remember lying in bed and crossing my fingers and thinking, `If I lie here and cross my fingers and pray really hard, maybe this pain will go away."Soon, the little girl went from her family home in Manti, Utah, to the Salt Lake County hospital. "They isolated polio victims," she recalled. "They weren't allowed to have visitors. I was taken into this ward, just kind of out of the arms of my parents. There I was all alone and no one to comfort me."

But she remembered what her parents had taught her - to pray. "I turned to Heavenly Father because He was the only source of comfort or strength available to me. I remember kneeling in that hospital bed, and I remembered that before we left home, my father and grandfather had administered to me. I knew that my parents and all the extended family would be praying and that they would put my name on the prayer rolls of the temple. That sustained me and got me through a hard childhood experience."

Prayer, indeed, sustained her. She completely recovered and went on to rear seven sons and become the wife of a college president, who later become a General Authority. Today, she has some 500,000 "daughters." On Oct. 4 during general conference, Margaret Nadauld was sustained as Young Women general president.

"The Lord heard my prayers when I asked for just one little girl," she said, laughing.

The Church News met with Pres. Nadauld and her husband, Elder Stephen D. Nadauld, formerly of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, to discuss her calling. Speaking of her new role, she said: "My desire is to live close enough to the Spirit that Heavenly Father can inspire me to know what He wants for the young women of the Church. I just hope I can be an instrument in His hands to continue to make this program what He needs it to be for this day and time."

Elder Nadauld expressed delight at having his "turn" in supporting his wife. "I'm just excited as I can be to be able to do for her what she's done for me.

"Margaret has always been enthusiastic about things, and she's never been afraid to go and do. She has the ability to handle these new responsibilities," he said.

Pres. Nadauld learned faith and service from her parents, R. Morgan and Helen Bailey Dyreng, who reared three children and a foster son. Through all of her youth, Pres. Nadauld watched her father serve as a bishop in Manti. Her mother was also a loved leader in ward and stake auxiliaries.

In addition, her parents were instrumental in starting the "Mormon Miracle" pageant in Manti.

Recalling her childhood and her illness, Pres. Nadauld speaks with tenderness. After being released from the hospital and after weeks of out-patient treatments, she returned to Manti and gradually regained her health. She recalls happy summer days spent practicing the piano in the mornings and swimming or learning to sew in the afternoons. In addition, "We'd help our mom with the canning of the garden vegetables and the fruits."

Pres. Nadauld said her parents provided and encouraged opportunities for growth. She remembers the "sweet experience" of visiting the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, N.Y., during a family trip in her youth. "I remember feeling the reality of Joseph Smith's First Vision as my parents recounted that story."

After graduating from high school and spending a year at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, a young Margaret enrolled at BYU. Soon, she took notice of a certain student body officer, Stephen D. Nadauld, who was also an elders quorum president.

But they didn't start dating until their senior year when they were involved in a singing group that later become BYU's Young Ambassadors. Through a stroke of luck, they were invited to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was while on the plane to and from New York City that the relationship deepened. They were married July 19, 1968, in the Manti Temple.

Today, the Nadaulds' seven sons include a set of twins. They also have three grandsons.

The first two years of their marriage were spent in Massachusetts and New York, where Elder Nadauld studied at Harvard and later worked on Wall Street. From there, the growing family moved back to Utah, and from there to California, where Elder Nadauld studied for his doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley.

It was during this time that the young couple purchased a used $200 piano and refinished it together. The piano became an "investment" as Pres. Nadauld taught piano lessons to supplement the family income so she could stay home with the children. She also canned fruit and sewed the children's clothes.

Elder Nadauld recalled, laughing: "One of my favorite memories was when we packed all the Christmas presents in our little Volkswagen station wagon and drove them and our three children to Manti and put the presents under the tree, so the little kids could open them with cousins. Then we put them all back in the car and drove them back to California! Sometimes we did hard things for the sake of strengthening family ties."

Eventually, the family settled in Utah, where Elder Nadauld taught at BYU and later become president of Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

Through these years, Pres. Nadauld sought to pass her love of music to her sons, seeing to it that they learned to play one or two instruments, usually the piano and/or the violin. And it wasn't always easy for active boys. Pres. Nadauld often moved aside athletic gear as she sat beside them during practice sessions. "We all remember it well," she said, laughing.

The work paid off, however. The boys have been able to accompany hymns while serving their missions. In addition, the Nadauld family formed a blue grass band when the boys were younger.

In June 1991, Elder Nadauld was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Speaking of traveling with him on assignments, Pres. Nadauld explained, "I've hugged a lot of young women, and one thing I've noticed is how loving they are and how much they want to do what's right. They just love Heavenly Father and want to express their faith by the way they live and in the decisions they make."

She expressed her hope that young women will stay close to the Young Women program. "Through Personal Progress girls can learn to set and reach goals, draw close to their Heavenly Father and become young women who bless and strengthen families."


Pres. Margaret D. Nadauld

Family: Born Nov. 21, 1944, in Manti, Utah, to R. Morgan and Helen Bailey Dyreng. Married Stephen D. Nadauld July 19, 1968, in the Manti Temple. Parents of seven sons: Stephen (Stacy), Justen (Susan), James, Lincoln, Taylor, Adam and Aaron; three grandchildren.

Education: Studied at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah; bachelor's degree in secondary education in speech and English from BYU, 1967.

Community service/profession: Taught English and speech in high schools in the Salt Lake Valley and in the Boston, Mass., area; served as president of Utah Chapter of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, as vice president of the Utah Chapter of American Mothers, Inc.; was founding president of Management Women of Marriott School of Management at BYU, active in PTA, and created "Finishing Touches," a personal development course taught through national department store chain.

Church Service: Served on Relief Society General Board, as ward Young Women president and counselor, ward Relief Society president and counselor, ward and stake Primary counselor, and teacher in the auxiliaries.

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