Courtesy of the Andersen family

Elder Neil L. Andersen was called to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 4, 2009 at the age of 57. On August 9, Elder Andersen celebrated his 65th birthday. Elder Andersen was born in Logan, Utah and raised in Pocatello, Idaho. He met his wife Kathy while studying at Brigham Young University. They were married and are the parents of four children. Prior to his call as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Andersen served as the senior member of the Presidency of the Seventy. He has served in Church callings around the world, including his time in Brazil and as an area presidency in western Europe. The information in this quiz has been compiled from biographical articles written about Elder Andersen, as well as talks he has given.

Question #1
Courtesy of the Andersen family

How would Elder Andersen’s grandmother teach him gospel principles?

a. By writing poems
b. By telling scripture stories
c. By painting pictures of Christ

Answer
Courtesy of the Andersen family

a. By writing poems

“My grandmother was also a big influence in my life," he said in a Friend article. "She loved her grandchildren and was always happy to see me and make me feel important. When I was 9 years old, she came to live with my family. She lived with us for two years while her youngest son served a mission. She wrote poems and read them to my brother, sisters and me. She talked to us about choosing the right and about eternal life. I learned that life is more than this life. There is life before and after our mortal lives. She wrote this poem called 'Recompense' that helps me to see through my spiritual eyes:

Have you ever planned on something,
With all your heart and soul,
Planned and worked and waited
Till you thought you’d reached your goal?
Then with a stroke swift and cruel,
Your dreams are shattered and lost.
The things you had worked for and builded
Are wrecked, and at oh, such a cost.
Have you sat at the bedside
Of some loved one, your best friend?
Hoping, praying, watching, waiting,
Then been told, “It is the end.”
if you have, then don’t feel bitter.
Learn to say “Thy will be done.
Help me, Father, in my sorrow,
Help me till new faith I’ve won.”
Then you’ll feel the soothing influence
Of His Spirit from above,
Know that He is watching o’er you,
Know His heart is filled with love.

Question #2
Courtesy of the Andersen family

When Elder Andersen was young, how did he gain a testimony of prayer?

a. He didn’t know how to get home
b. He lost his pet rabbit
c. He was scared of a thunderstorm

Answer
Courtesy of the Andersen family

b. He lost his pet rabbit

“I received an answer to a prayer when I was very young and living in Pocatello, Idaho,” Elder Andersen said in a Friend magazine article. “I had a pet rabbit that was very important to me. One day it got out of its cage and could not be found. I was worried that the neighborhood dogs and cats might hurt my rabbit. I looked everywhere, then decided to go behind our wooden shed and pray. As my prayer ended, I instantly knew where to find my rabbit. I looked under a pile of boards and found it. Our prayers can be answered by the Holy Ghost putting thoughts into our minds.

Question #3
Courtesy of the Andersen family

What concern did Elder Andersen face while preparing to serve a mission?

a. Leaving his family
b. Not knowing enough about the gospel
c. He wouldn’t be able to learn the language fast enough

Answer
Courtesy of the Andersen family

b. Not knowing enough about the gospel

“Nearly 40 years ago as I contemplated the challenge of a mission, I felt very inadequate and unprepared. I remember praying, ‘Heavenly Father, how can I serve a mission when I know so little?’ I believed in the church, but I felt my spiritual knowledge was very limited. As I prayed, the feeling came: ‘You don’t know everything, but you know enough!’ That reassurance gave me the courage to take the next step into the mission field,” he said in a conference address.

Question #4
Courtesy of the Andersen family

Upon returning home from his mission, what statement given by a general authority has continually helped Elder Andersen in his life?

a. President Gordon B. Hinckley shared a story stating: “It’s true, isn’t it? Then what else matters?”
b. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said: "The most important single thing that any Latter-day Saint ever does in this world is to marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority."
c. President Harold B. Lee said: “The most important of the Lord's work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.”

Answer
Courtesy of the Andersen family

a. President Gordon B. Hinckley shared a story stating: “It’s true, isn’t it? Then what else matters?”

“I take as my subject today something President Hinckley said in general conference in April of 1973.
I had just returned home from my mission. So much seemed ahead of me. Would I be able to consistently make the right choices throughout my life?

"Then-Elder Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of meeting a young naval officer from Asia. The officer had not been a Christian, but during training in the United States, he had learned about the church and was baptized. He was now preparing to return to his native land.

"President Hinckley asked the officer: ‘Your people are not Christians. What will happen when you return home a Christian, and, more particularly, a Mormon Christian?’

"The officer’s face clouded, and he replied: ‘My family will be disappointed. … As for my future and my career, all opportunity may be foreclosed against me.’

"President Hinckley asked, ‘Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?’
With his dark eyes moistened by tears, he answered with a question: ‘It’s true, isn’t it?’

"President Hinckley responded, ‘Yes, it is true.’

"To which the officer replied, ‘Then what else matters?’

"Through the years, I have reflected on these words: ‘It’s true, isn’t it? Then what else matters?’ These questions have helped me put difficult issues in proper perspective.”

Question #5
Courtesy of the Andersen family

After marrying Kathy, what did Elder Andersen say changed in his daily life?

a. His daily scripture study and daily prayer
b. The quality of his daily meals
c. His attention to detail in his school work

Answer
Courtesy of the Andersen family

a. His daily scripture study and daily prayer

“Once I married her,” Elder Andersen is quoted as saying by Elder Christofferson, “the standards in my life went way up — being totally consistent in prayer and scripture study, keeping the commandments with precision. Her influence upon me and our children is phenomenal. She has a pure and disciplined faith.”

He has also said, “My wife, Kathy, is my light and example, a precious daughter of God, full of purity and innocence. I would be nothing without her. For much of my life, I have been trying to become what she thought I already was.”

Question #6
Courtesy of the Andersen family

How many of the 20 years prior to being called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles did Elder Andersen live outside of the United States?

a. 7 years
b. 10 years
c. 3 years

Answer
Courtesy of the Andersen family

b. 10 years

“During the past 20 years, we have lived 10 years outside of the United States on church assignments,” Elder Andersen said during his April 2009 conference address.

Moving eight times during the 10 years abroad, Elder Andersen credits his wife for keeping his family grounded. “You can see the challenges our children faced moving nearly every year: new friends and in most cases a new country. Kathy was the strength that held them together and kept them realizing that this would be a positive experience for them," read an Ensign article.

Question #7
Courtesy of the Andersen family

Which current general auxiliary leader did Elder Andersen and his wife serve with while in Brazil?

a. Sister Oscarson
b. Sister Marriott
c. Sister Stephens
d. Brother Owen

Answer
Courtesy of the Andersen family

b. Sister Marriott

Elder Andersen was in Brazil with the Marriotts when their 21-year-old daughter Georgia was killed in the United States. Elder Andersen attended a memorial for Georgia 10 years after the accident.

“I began with the story of the Marriott family. Last week Kathy and I joined them at Georgia’s grave. Ten years have passed. Family and friends spoke of the love and memories they have of Georgia. There were white helium balloons to celebrate her life. Amid tears, Georgia’s mother tenderly spoke of the increased faith and understanding she has received, and Georgia’s father quietly told me of the promised witness that has come to him," he said in a general conference address.

Question #8
Deseret News archive

What advice did Elder Andersen wish he had listened to from a neighbor while living in Florida?

a. To take care of his fire ant mound in the backyard before it got too big
b. To spray his lawn again after seeing a mole cricket walk on his sidewalk.
c. To put a net around his porch to keep the mosquitos out.

Answer
Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

b. To spray his lawn again after seeing a mole cricket walk on his sidewalk

Elder Andersen told the story of the mole cricket during his October 1999 general conference address.

“One evening as my neighbor and I stood on the front steps, he noticed a little bug crossing my sidewalk. ‘You better spray your lawn,’ he warned. ‘There goes a mole cricket.’ I had sprayed the lawn with insecticide not too many weeks previously, and I hardly felt that I had the time or money to do it again so soon.

"In the light of the next morning, I examined my lawn closely. It was lush and beautifully green. I looked down into the grass to see if I could see any of the little bugs. I could see none. I remember thinking, ‘Well, maybe that little mole cricket was just passing through my yard on the way to my neighbor’s yard.’

"I watched my lawn for more than a week, looking for signs of invaders, but none was evident. I congratulated myself that I had not overreacted to my neighbor’s warning.

"The story, however, has a sad ending. I came out the front door one morning, about 10 days after the conversation with my neighbor. Shockingly, as if it had happened overnight, brown spots covered my lawn. I ran to the garden store, bought the insecticide and sprayed immediately, but it was too late. The lawn was ruined, and to return it to its former state required a new crop of sod, long hours of work, and large expense.

"My neighbor’s warning was central to my lawn’s welfare. He saw things I could not see. He knew something I did not know. He knew that mole crickets live underground and are active only at night, making my daytime examinations ineffective. He knew that mole crickets did not eat the leaves of the grass but rather found nourishment in the roots. He knew that these little inch-long creatures could eat a lot of roots before I would ever see the effect above the ground. I paid a dear price for my smug independence.”

Question #9
Courtesy of the Andersen family

What tradition did Elder Andersen have with each of his four children while they were growing up?

a. Go out to breakfast once a month
b. Go to a drive-in movie once a month
c. Go to every one of their sporting events
d. Take them on drives every weekend

Answer
Courtesy of the Andersen family

a. Go out to breakfast once a month

Elder Andersen would take each child individually to breakfast with him once a month. “He let us pick the place for breakfast and the topics we would talk about. We looked so forward to having his undivided attention,” daughter Camey Hadlock said.

Son Derek also remembered his dad making time to play sports with him.

“Growing up, we loved playing basketball as a family. He’d come home from work, and we’d team up against my older brother and play basketball together," Derek Andersen said in an Ensign article.

Question #11
Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

How long did Elder Andersen serve as the stake president of the Tampa Florida Stake?

a. 10 years
b. 5 years
c. 4 years
d. 1 year

Answer
Erik Isakson

c. 1 year

From 1992-1993. In 1993, Elder Andersen was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy at age 41. He had previously served in Brazil as a member of the area presidency. He had also assisted in supervising the work of the church in Mexico and Central America.

As the executive director of the Church Audiovisual Department, Elder Andersen supervised the production of many films, including "The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd."

He speaks French, Portuguese and Spanish in addition to his native English.

Question #10
Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

What did President Monson do after Elder Andersen accepted the call to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles?

a. He shook his hand and told him he was the right man for the calling
b. He wrapped his arms around him and hugged him
c. He quoted a poem

Answer
Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

b. He wrapped his arms around him and hugged him

Elder Andersen described his interview with President Monson during his October 2009 general conference address.

“At the conclusion of our interview, he opened his arms to embrace me. President Monson is a tall man. As he wrapped his long arms around me and pulled me close, I felt like a little boy being held in the protective arms of a loving father. In the months since that experience, I have thought of the Lord’s invitation to come unto Him and to spiritually be wrapped in His arms.”