Elder Neil Linden Andersen
Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The LDS Church.
April 4, 2009
Salt Lake City -- Elder Neil Linden Andersen was sustained as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, the governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, during the morning session of the 179th Annual General Conference. His calling as an apostle fills the vacancy left by the death of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin in December 2008.
"This is an overwhelming experience," said Elder Andersen to the press following his sustaining. "It is far more daunting [than any other call I received]. You feel a heaviness, a weightiness and a humbleness as you contemplate what you're expected to be."
Elder Andersen was notified of his new calling by Thomas S. Monson, President of The LDS Church, 3 days before the announcement in General Conference. He said he and his wife spent several sleepless nights discussing the new calling.
When asked about his thoughts on what it means to be an Apostle and Prophet, Seer and Revelator, Andersen said:
"First of all it means to know that Jesus is the Christ with a sure and certain witness. I can say I do fulfill that part. I know He lives, I know He's resurrected. It [the Apostleship] also means much more. That we must live in such a way that He [Jesus] and His Father can communicate with us. That we know their will. That we are able to speak their will to the people who seek to listen to them. That we see beyond what is seen. That we understand what is not understood. I'm hopeful that by way of ordination certain gifts will come to me, but to a certain extent an apostle must gain these things in the very same way that anyone in the church does. Through prayer, through supplications, through studying in the scriptures, through deep pondering and through obedience and living a life that makes it such that the lord can communicate with him. So I take it as a very heavy responsibility to live up to what those words mean, more so than I have every thought of it before."
Elder Neil Andersen had been serving as a member of the Seventy since 1993, and had recently been serving as the senior president of the Presidency of the Seventy since August 1, 2008.
"Challenges, difficulties, questions, doubts — these are part of our mortality. But we are not alone," said Elder Andersen as a Seventy President in the November 2008 General Conference. "As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have enormous spiritual reservoirs of light and truth available to us. Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time. In our days of difficulty, we choose the road of faith. Jesus said, 'Be not afraid, only believe.'"
Spending ten years serving the church overseas has given Elder Andersen a deep appreciation for the devotion of church members in every country. His previous church leadership callings have included serving four years as president of the Brazil South Area; and oversaw church affairs as a member of the Utah North, Utah South, North America Southwest, North America Northeast, and Europe West Area Presidency.
He was also executive director of the church's Audiovisual Department and helped produce church films such as "The Testaments" and "Witnesses of Christ".
Elder Andersen was born in Logan, Utah, on August 9, 1951, while his father attended Utah State University. After graduating with a degree in agriculture his father moved the family to a dairy farm in Pocatello, Idaho. Elder Andersen spent his childhood and teenage years working on his father's dairy farm. Anderson mused, "The first half of my life was spent figuring out how to get off the farm, ... and now I'm spending the other half trying to get back on the farm."
He served his two year mission in France. Ironically he would later be called as the mission president of the Bordeaux, France Mission from 1989 to 1992.
In 1975, Neil Andersen married Kathy Sue Williams in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the proud parents of four children and twelve grandchildren. Elder Andersen earned his Bachelor's Degree from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. His professional career has included working in the advertising and real estate development industries. While living in Florida he worked as vice president of the Mortan Plant Health System.
Elder Andersen is fluent in several languages, including French, Spanish and Portuguese.