Friend to Friend


Neil L. Andersen
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)

Many peaceful events that happened before I was twelve years old were influenced by those sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators. When I was about seven years old, I attended stake conference with my family. Afterward, we waited in a long line down the side of the chapel to shake hands with Elder Spencer W. Kimball, who was then an Apostle of the Lord. As I listened to him speak, and later, when I shook his hand, I felt something special and I knew that he was one of the Lord’s appointed.

When I was nine years old, I attended general conference in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah. My family and I couldn’t get into the Tabernacle and had to listen outside the building. After the conference, when the General Authorities left the Tabernacle, I was able to stand close to many of them. I felt the same way I had when I shook Elder Kimball’s hand, and I knew that these men had been “called of God, by prophesy, and by the laying on of hands,” as it says in Articles of Faith 1:5.

When I was between the ages of six and twelve, President Hunter, President Hinckley, President Monson, and President Packer all became General Authorities. When I heard them speak, I knew of their power, and I can feel it even more strongly today as I meet with them. I get a special feeling, a wonderful feeling of peace, from knowing that the Lord speaks to prophets, seers, and revelators.

I received an answer to a prayer when I was very young and living in Pocatello, Idaho. 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.

My grandmother was also a big influence in my life. She loved her grandchildren and was always happy to see me and make me feel important. When I was nine 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.

My parents also taught me the importance of sacrifice. Sacrifice helps us understand how important something is. When I was three years old, my family lived in Wray, Colorado. We had to drive ninety miles to church. At an early age I understood that the Church was important, important enough to drive a long way.

[photo] One year old

[photo] At age three with sister, Sheri, and brother, Alan

[photo] Ten years old

[photo] The Neil L. Andersen family: front (left to right)—Camey, Sister Andersen, Kristen; back (left to right)—Brandt, Elder Andersen, Derek

[photo] Elder Andersen’s grandmother, Mary Keller