Elder Andersen turns 69 today — here are 15 facts about his life

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles turns 69 years old on Sunday, Aug. 9. In recognition of his birthday, the Church News has collected 15 facts about the Apostle’s life.

1. Neil Linden Andersen was born on Aug. 9, 1951, in Logan, Utah, as the third of five children of Lyle P. and Kathryn Andersen. 

A photo of Elder Neil L. Andersen as a young boy.
A photo of Elder Neil L. Andersen as a young boy. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

2. When he was 5 years old, Elder Andersen’s family moved to Pocatello, Idaho, when his father became a dairy farmer. On the farm he learned the principle of hard work. “I milked a lot of cows and moved a lot of irrigation pipe,” he said. “I can remember that on Christmas morning before we opened our presents, we had cows to milk. Looking back, I realize how valuable it was to learn that part of life is just hard work.”

Elder Neil L. Andersen as a young boy rides a horse on his family's dairy farm. Elder Andersen shared this photo on his Facebook page on July 23, 2020.
Elder Neil L. Andersen as a young boy rides a horse on his family’s dairy farm. Elder Andersen shared this photo on his Facebook page on July 23, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

3. Elder Andersen met his wife, Sister Kathy Sue Williams, while attending school at BYU. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on March 20, 1975. They are the parents of four children.

Elder Neil L. Andersen and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, were married in the Salt Lake Temple on March 20, 1975.
Elder Neil L. Andersen and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, were married in the Salt Lake Temple on March 20, 1975. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

4. He received a bachelor’s degree from BYU in 1975 and a master’s degree in business from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1977.

Elder Neil L. Andersen and his wife, Sister Andersen.
Elder Neil L. Andersen and his wife, Sister Andersen. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred

5. After graduating from Harvard, the Andersens moved to Tampa, Florida — Sister Andersen’s hometown — where Elder Andersen worked in advertising, real estate development and healthcare.

Elder Neil L. Andersen asks questions of several of his grandchildren during a Thanksgiving Day devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center on Nov. 28, 2019, in Provo, Utah.
Elder Neil L. Andersen asks questions of several of his grandchildren during a Thanksgiving Day devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center on Nov. 28, 2019, in Provo, Utah. Credit: Scott Taylor

6. Elder Andersen is multilingual. In addition to English, he speaks French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Elder Neil L. Andersen and his family pose for a photo in 1990 while Elder Andersen was serving as president of the France Bordeaux Mission. Elder Andersen shared this photo on his Facebook page on Dec. 24, 2016.
Elder Neil L. Andersen and his family pose for a photo in 1990 while Elder Andersen was serving as president of the France Bordeaux Mission. Elder Andersen shared this photo on his Facebook page on Dec. 24, 2016. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

7. Elder Andersen served a mission in France from 1970-1972, presided over the France Bordeaux Mission from 1989-1992, and accompanied President Henry B. Eyring as he dedicated the Paris France Temple on May 21, 2017.

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, right, with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on the grounds of the Paris France Temple.
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, right, with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on the grounds of the Paris France Temple. Credit: Sarah Jane Weaver

8. Elder Andersen has served as an Apostle for over a decade. He was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 4, 2009.

Elder Neil L. Andersen, the newest member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, is hugged by Elder D. Todd Christofferson after the Saturday morning session of the 179th Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 4, 2009.
Elder Neil L. Andersen, the newest member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, is hugged by Elder D. Todd Christofferson after the Saturday morning session of the 179th Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 4, 2009. Credit: Jason Olson, Deseret News, Deseret News

9. Elder Andersen dedicated the Lisbon Portugal Temple on Sept. 15, 2019. 

Posing for a photo outside the Lisbon Portugal Temple on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, are (from left to right): Elder Kevin R. Duncan, Sister Nancy Duncan, Elder Gary B. Sabin, Sister Valerie Sabin, Sister Kathy Andersen, Elder Neil L. Andersen, Sister Filomena Teixeira and Elder José A. Teixeira.
Posing for a photo outside the Lisbon Portugal Temple on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, are (from left to right): Elder Kevin R. Duncan, Sister Nancy Duncan, Elder Gary B. Sabin, Sister Valerie Sabin, Sister Kathy Andersen, Elder Neil L. Andersen, Sister Filomena Teixeira and Elder José A. Teixeira. Credit: Scott Taylor

10. Elder Andersen has thrown the first pitch at Dodger Stadium twice.

Elder Neil L. Andersen and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, greet Sister Cheryl Wilde and Elder Gary Wilde, an Area Seventy, after Elder Andersen threw the first pitch at Dodger Stadium on July 19, 2019.
Elder Neil L. Andersen and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, greet Sister Cheryl Wilde and Elder Gary Wilde, an Area Seventy, after Elder Andersen threw the first pitch at Dodger Stadium on July 19, 2019. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

11. He was called as a General Authority Seventy in 1993; his Church assignments gave him responsibilities in Brazil, Western Europe, Mexico and Central America.

Elder Neil L. Andersen, president of the Brazil South Area, was presented with the Gold Medalion, during a solemn session at the Labor Court of Appeals. Nominated by Judge Antônio Mazzuca, the judge in charge of giving out the commendation, who has respected the Church’s humanitarian and community service work through the years. As a special honor of respect, the award was presented by Flávio Cooper, an Area Authority Seventy, and a judge of the court. Church's Neonatal resuscitation program was noted. It was the first time that the award has been given to a religious leader, and the first time given a citizen from outside of Brazil.
Elder Neil L. Andersen, president of the Brazil South Area, was presented with the Gold Medalion, during a solemn session at the Labor Court of Appeals. Nominated by Judge Antônio Mazzuca, the judge in charge of giving out the commendation, who has respected the Church’s humanitarian and community service work through the years. As a special honor of respect, the award was presented by Flávio Cooper, an Area Authority Seventy, and a judge of the court. Church’s Neonatal resuscitation program was noted. It was the first time that the award has been given to a religious leader, and the first time given a citizen from outside of Brazil.

12. As executive director of the Church’s audiovisual department while serving as a General Authority Seventy, he managed development of “The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd” and supervised the initial launch of Mormon.org — now ComeUntoChrist.org.

Elder Neil L. Andersen greets members in Salvador. At right is Salvador Brazil Stake President Lourival Feitosa Pita.
Elder Neil L. Andersen greets members in Salvador. At right is Salvador Brazil Stake President Lourival Feitosa Pita. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

13. Elder Andersen’s mother learned about his calls to the Seventy and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by watching general conference on television.

Elder Neil L. Andersen greets members attending the groundbreaking for the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple on Friday, February 12, 2016.
Elder Neil L. Andersen greets members attending the groundbreaking for the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple on Friday, February 12, 2016. Credit: IRI

14. Elder Andersen served in various Sunday School general presidency from 1997 to 2001.

Sunday School general presidency. (l to r) Elder Glenn Pace, first counselor, Elder Harold G. Hillam, president, and Elder Neil L. Andersen, second counselor.
Sunday School general presidency. (l to r) Elder Glenn Pace, first counselor, Elder Harold G. Hillam, president, and Elder Neil L. Andersen, second counselor. Credit: Deseret News archive

15. He served in the Presidency of the Seventy from 2005 until his call as an Apostle in 2009.

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Presidency of the Seventy speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Gila Valley Arizona Temple Feb. 14, 2009.
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Presidency of the Seventy speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Gila Valley Arizona Temple Feb. 14, 2009. Credit: Photo by Jill Adair