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Friday, August 9, 2019

A Tribute to Elder Neil L. Andersen on His 68th Birthday

Hello again, everyone! With midnight having passed moments ago here in Utah, it is now August 9, and Elder Neil L. Andersen is celebrating his 68th birthday today. So I wanted to post and share some highlights of his life and ministry in the Church. Let's get right into all of that. Neil Linden Andersen was born on this day in 1951 to Lyle and Kathryn Andersen in Logan, Utah. His family relocated to Pocatello when he was five to run a dairy farm. He served a full-time mission in France, then obtained a bachelor's degree in economics, eventually earning his MBA from Harvard, also in economics. During his time at BYU, he met and married his wife, Kathy Sue Anderson, and together they raised four children.

He spent his professional career working various jobs. At the pinnacle of his career, he was Vice President of the Morton Plant Health System. He has served in the Church as a stake president’s counselor, stake president and mission president, assigned to the France Bordeaux Mission from 1989-1992. Less than a year after his return, he was called to be a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Interestingly, his call as a General Authority occurred in the same conference as that of his future apostolic seatmate, Elder D. Todd Christofferson.

During the time Elder Andersen served as a General Authority Seventy, he filled a wide variety of Church assignments, including executive director of the church's Audiovisual Department, assistant executive director of the Priesthood Department, and in the presidencies of the following areas: Europe West Utah North, Utah South, North America Southwest, North America Northeast, and the Brazil South Area (during which time he served as the area president). In August of 2005, Elder Andersen was called to the Presidency of the Seventy. His call coincided with that of his other future apostolic seatmate, Elder Rasband.

While serving in the Presidency of the Seventy, he had oversight for the Idaho Area (from 2005-2007) and for the North America Southwest Area (from 2007-2009). In 2005, as a result of his call and that of Elder Rasband as members of that Presidency, he was the second most-junior member thereof. By the time his assignment changed, he had become the third-most-senior member, with only Elders Earl C. Tingey and  D. Todd Christofferson senior to him. The latter was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in April 2008, and Elder Tingey was released the following August, in preparation for his being granted emeritus status in the October General Conference. As a result, Elder Andersen thus became the new Senior President of the Seventy.

He would only serve in that capacity for 8 months. In view of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin’s death in December 2008, Elder Andersen was subsequently called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the April 2009 General Conference.  Interestingly enough, three future apostles (Elders Christofferson, Andersen, and Rasband) were seatmates in the Presidency of the Seventy between August 2007 and April 2008, and they would each go on to be called to the apostleship in that same order (in April 2008, April 2009, and October 2015, respectively.

Quick sidenote here which may be of interest to some of you: 8 of our 15 current apostles were serving in the Presidency of the Seventy at the time they received their apostolic calls (President M. Russell Ballard and Elders Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Quentin L. Cook, D. Todd Christofferson, Neil L. Andersen, Ronald A. Rasband, Gerrit W. Gong, and Ulisses Soares). This suggests to me that, whenever future apostolic vacancies exist, the current members of the Presidency of the Seventy at that time may be top candidates to fill them. Of course, the Lord knows who He needs to be called to the apostleship and when, but that is an important note, all the same.

Gettingh back to Elder Andersen, he has given a total of 26 addresses in General Conference. Among those are 2 which were given as a General Authority Seventy, 3 others given as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, and the remaining 21 since his call to the apostleship. I am grateful for Elder Andersen's ministry, and I joyfully and wholeheartedly sustain him and each and every one of his 14 fellow apostles as prophets, seers and revelators. I appreciate every opportunity I have had to learn more about each of these Brethren through their spoken words and worldwide ministry efforts as special witnesses of Jesus Christ.

That does it for now. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.