H. Verlan Andersen
Brother Andersen was born in Logan, Utah, to Mynoa Richardson and her husband Hans Anderson. When he was still a boy, his family moved to Virden, New Mexico. After graduating from high school, Brother Anderson served as a missionary in the North Central States Mission.
Elder Andersen then moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where he lived with his mother, who was a widow by this time. It was while living in Phoenix that he met Shirley Hoyt. Verlan and Shirley were married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1943.
Brother Andersen studied law at Stanford University. He then became a professor of business law at BYU. A short time later he pursued advanced studies in law at Harvard University. He then worked for about four years as a lawyer in Phoenix. He then worked for many years as an accounting professor at Brigham Young University, from which position he retired in 1980.
Early Church Callings
At the time he was called as a general authority, Brother Anderson was serving as the patriarch of the Orem Utah Lakeview Stake.
Elder Andersen was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS Church in April 1986. On April 1, 1989, he was transferred to the newly-created Second Quorum of the Seventy. On October 5, 1991, he was released from his service as a General Authority. He died of cancer on July 16, 1992.
Andersen is probably well-known to most Latter-day Saints by the following, often-told story that speaks of Andersen's strict devotion to keeping all of the commandments.
At the funeral service of a noble General Authority, H. Verlan Andersen, a tribute was expressed by a son. He related that, years earlier, he had a special school date on a Saturday night. He borrowed from his father the family car. As he obtained the car keys and headed for the door, his father said, “Remember, tomorrow is Sunday. The car will need more gas before then. Be sure to fill the tank before coming home.”
Elder Andersen’s son then related that the evening activity was wonderful. Friends met, refreshments were served, and all had a good time. In his exuberance, however, he failed to follow his father’s instruction and add fuel to the car’s tank before returning home. He simply forgot.
Sunday morning dawned. Elder Andersen discovered the gas gauge showed empty. The son saw his father put the car keys on the table. In the Andersen family the Sabbath day was a day for worship and thanksgiving, and not for purchases.
As the funeral message continued, Elder Andersen’s son declared, “I saw my father put on his coat, bid us good-bye, and walk the long distance to the chapel, that he might attend an early meeting.” Duty called. Truth was not held hostage to expedience.
In concluding his funeral message, Elder Andersen’s son said, “No son ever was taught more effectively by his father than I was on that occasion. My father not only knew the truth, but he also taught the truth and lived the truth.”
After his retirement but before his call as a general authority, Andersen and his wife served as Missionaries in Argentina and Peru.
- The Book of Mormon and the Constitution
- The Moral Basis of a Free Society
- The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil