She really had an impact on the town of Manti and reflected the principals and values that I try to emulate in my own life. I am honored to share my favorite of her personal experiences below:
|(Anna's adobe house on Main St. in Manti - since has been remodeled)|
Anna R. Keller had a thrilling experience a little more than a year after they moved into their own home. One day when the first child was but a few months old and while father was away at work, three big Indian bucks unceremoniously entered the cellar. It had been the custom of the Indians to camp on the adjoining lot where every night they held war dances and contests around a great camp fire purposely kindling the spirit of hate for the white man who had come into their territory. After carefully looking everything over they asked for a pair of father’s boots and for a blanket. Mother shook her head saying “No” they then pretended to want the baby. Again inwardly frozen with terror she calmly shook her head and with a prayer in her heart waited motionless while they sat on the floor and held a consultation occasionally pointing with arrows at her indicating that they might use them. After some minutes of fear and suspense they rose and walked out without a word. They never molested her again although they continued to hold their war like ceremonies only a block away.
Anna R Keller also served her Relief Society as secretary for 12 years. During these years she made every effort to change the routine testimony meetings, they were never anything else. She advocated the preparation of a subject to be presented by someone in order to add interest to the meetings. And to prove her point she would prepare subjects and confine herself to them when speaking instead of merely giving her testimony as was customary. She lived to see her ideals fulfilled in the splendid outlines of study now in use.
Anna R Keller was peculiarly gifted in the case of the sick and was usually called by neighbors and friends when there was sickness in their homes. Many a sick child was restored to health under her wise ministrations.
She was a woman of great sympathy and charity especially for the poor and obscure and to make them feel welcome and at ease. This characteristic is best exemplified by the fact that although she had a large family of her own, she took into her home and cared for two poor older persons whose death had left them friendless and alone as well as a 15 month old abandoned negro child, George, who was reared as her own. In these acts of kindness and sympathy she had the whole hearted cooperation of her husband and children. One of her favorite expressions was “In as much as ye do it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me.”
Mother in her religious zeal frequently begged father to embrace and practice the doctrine of polygamy. He quietly told her that he would not be able to endure it and that he was willing to take the consequences for the omission. Once when the ward teacher called and began to discuss polygamy, telling him he was falling in his duty as he was well able to afford it. One of his daughters took them on in a debate. He listened with a merry twinkle in his eye as she defended his position but he did not participate in the discussion.
When the Manti temple was dedicated in May 1888, Anna R Keller was called as a missionary with the first company of workers to officiate in the Manti temple ordinances. For 26 years thereafter she gladly gave her services to the church she loved and was an untiring, devout temple worker. At the time of the dedication of the Manti temple she bears testimony that it was her wonderful experience to hear heavenly music, a privilege not granted to many.
On December 15, 1897 when five of the temple sisters or ordinance workers were conversing upon spiritual and temporal blessings, one of the ladies arose and addressed Anna R Keller in tongues. Of course she could not understand the words. But another sister arose and gave the interpretation which was that her work and integrity were accepted by the Lord and that her departed husband was watching her with great interest as well as pleased with her and that all her affairs should turn to her spiritual and temporal welfare.
These were indeed uplifting words to her. This manifestation certainly came to pass. For although she spent a great deal of money to obtain her genealogy, her farm produced well and her sheep brought her a nice income so that she lived on the interest of her holdings.
During 1914 when failing health forced her to retire from her temple work she often remarked that since there was nothing more that she could do here she was anxious to pass on to a new experience and to new activities and to join her loved ones who had gone before.
About this time she became blind and remained so very for several months. However it was her firm belief that she would again see. Through faith, prayer, and the administrations by the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints she again received her sight and was able to read and write until the time of her death on May 17th at the age of 79 and was laid to rest in the Manti cemetery.
Her great, granddaughter (my grandmother) also became blind toward the end of her life. When discovering this story about Anna Regina Keller I pointed it out to my grandmother and asked her if she had ever asked for a priesthood blessing in regards to her blindness. She told me no and said she just figured that the Lord probably wanted her to be blind for a reason and there was no point in asking Him about it. She also said she didn't have the faith required for a blessing of healing.
I was amazed at her response. I think sometimes we forget that the amazing experiences and miracles that our ancestors had were bestowed by the same priesthood we have today. We are every bit as deserving - but has our faith decreased? Now is the time to increase our faith because we will rely on many miracles in the near future.
I testify that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.