Budapest, Hungary's capital and largest city, with 2 million people, is a place where music is loved and appreciated. For the duration of their stay here, June 15-16, the Tabernacle Choir members were treated with celebrity status.
Concert halls and opera houses dot the city with almost the same prevalence as movie theaters on American streets. Hungary's musical heritage includes Franz Liszt, a composer and pianist of the 1800s. Another Hungarian, Bela Bartok, is known in the music world as one of the great composers in the 19th century. Zoltan Kodaly is another name recognized in music circles as a composer whose work reflects Hungary's rich folk heritage.The choir's performance in Hungary increased the visibility of the Church here.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Council of the Twelve, who is traveling with the choir with his wife, Dantzel, dedicated the land of Hungary for the preaching of the gospel on Easter Sunday, April 19, 1987. In June 1988 the government granted official recognition to the Church, which permitted members "to meet openly and with dignity," said Elder Nelson. The Hungary Budapest Mission opened in July 1990.
On Sunday, June 16, Elder Nelson addressed a sacrament meeting attended by choir members, those traveling with the choir, and missionaries.
The sacrament meeting was held in a hotel ballroom, from which was a view of the Danube River. Elder Nelson pointed across the Danube River toward the peak where he pronounced the prayer of dedication. He said that he and Europe Area president Elder Hans B. Ringger of the Seventy and three others, including the only Latter-day Saint to then live in Budapest, "found a sacred grove of trees," in which to offer the prayer. Elder Nelson said he later learned that the monument on that peak honors a Christian martyr who was thrown to his death because of his faith.