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New member of Quorum of Twelve: Elder Neil L. Andersen

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Elder Neil Linden Andersen, 57, is the newest member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Twelve, having been presented and sustained in Saturday morning's opening session of the church's 179th Annual General Conference.

Sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy on April 3, 1993, at age 41, Elder Andersen had been serving as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy and was the most tenured member of the seven presidents, having been called to the presidency in August 2005 and sustained the following October.

He fills the vacancy created by the December passing of Elder Joseph B. Wirtlin.

With the call of the new church apostle anticipated in one of Saturday's two general sessions, President Thomas S. Monson presented Elder Andersen's name for sustaining by church members in the first few minutes of his conference-opening address at the Conference Center.

Called to serve in lifetime leadership positions, the 15 men who comprise the three-member First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve are sustained by church membership as prophets, seers and revelators.

Born Aug. 9, 1951, in Logan, as the third of five children of Lyle P. and Kathryn Andersen, Elder Andersen lived briefly there and in Colorado until his father became a dairy farmer in Pocatello. Elder Andersen recalled his youth as revolving around "typical Idaho farm work, from morning to night."

While a student at Brigham Young University, Elder Andersen met and later married Kathy Sue Williams in the Salt Lake Temple on March 20, 1975; they are the parents of four children — Camey, Brandt, Kristen and Derek. 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.

Prior to his call to full-time church service, his business interests included advertising, real estate development and health care, all based in Florida.

At the time of his call to the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Andersen was president of the Brazil South Area, having served previously as executive director in the church's audiovisual department and counselor in several Sunday School general presidencies.

Also during his time in the First Quorum of the Seventy, he served in area presidencies in the Utah North, Utah South, North American Southwest, North American Northeast and Europe West areas. He also presided over the France Bordeaux Mission from 1989 to 1992, having served in France as a young missionary from 1970 to 1972.

Other previous church service included serving as a stake president and counselor in Tampa, Fla. He speaks French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Shortly after his call as a general authority in 1993, Elder Andersen told the Church News: "I was taught early to really love the modern-day prophets and apostles. And throughout our married life, we have really worked hard at listening to their counsel and putting it into practice."

As of April 4, 2009, Elder Neil Linden Andersen is now one of those modern-day prophets and apostles.

EMAIL: taylor@desnews.com