It had never occurred to Elder H. Verlan Andersen that
he might be considered for a position in one of the Church’s governing
quorums, so he pondered a bit about the abilities he brought to his new calling
as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
He could, Elder Andersen reflected, offer a well-developed
capacity for work. This capacity was coupled with a “very strong testimony
of the gospel, and faith in and love for Jesus Christ.”
“I’ve often thought my mother taught me faith, and
my father taught me works,” he said.
Hans Verlan Andersen was born 6 November 1914 in
Logan, Utah, to Hans and Mynoa Richardson Andersen. His first two years
of schooling were provided by his “angelic” mother at home on their farm
near the Idaho border, he says. “The text that she used was the Book of
Mormon, and that’s where I learned to love that volume.”
Elder Andersen’s father, who set an example of hard
work on the farm and devoted service in the Church, moved his family to
Virden, New Mexico, while Verlan was a boy. After graduation from high
school, Verlan served a mission to the North Central States. He attended
Gila Junior College in Arizona, then BYU, where he graduated with a bachelor’s
degree in accounting.
He was working as an accountant in Phoenix, Arizona,
living with his then-widowed mother, when he met Shirley Hoyt, also a returned
missionary. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1943.
Brother Andersen went on to graduate from Stanford
University Law School, then worked for a time as an accountant before being
hired to teach business law at BYU. After one year, he enrolled at Harvard
University Law School in 1947 to study for a master’s degree; he finished
in six months. Then he practiced law in Phoenix for four years, but was
invited back to BYU in 1953 to teach accounting. Accepting meant a drastic
cut in income, but he loved teaching and felt the move would be good for
his young family.
Except for a four-year stint (1961-65) in an Arizona
business that afforded the opportunity to work more closely with his teenaged
sons, he taught at BYU until his retirement in 1980.
“Every move we made during those years, we made for
the benefit of our children,” Elder Andersen explains. Sometimes there
was an economic loss, but in the more comprehensive family accounting,
there was always some spiritual or educational gain.
During those years, he also served in a variety of
Church positions, including bishop, high councilor, and counselor in a
stake presidency. After his retirement, he and his wife served missions
to Argentina and Peru. He was serving as patriarch in the Orem Utah Lakeview
Stake when called as a General Authority.
He has also served in the Utah State Legislature.
The Andersens were the parents of eleven children—five
sons, and six daughters. “His greatest joy is in our
children,” Sister Andersen said.
As family patriarch, he exuded love for his children
and grandchildren, and took opportunities to instruct them in their spiritual
His children recognized the blessings his spiritual
strength brought into their lives. In a 1965 tribute to their parents—a
Christmas present—they wrote of him: “Your example has taught us how to
obtain true happiness through love, honesty, and, as the scriptures say,
working with an eye single to the glory of God and without guile.”
Elder Andersen served but three years of his five year
call to the First Quorum of the Seventy before being transferred to the
Second Quorum of the Seventy on April 1, 1989 where he finished the remainder
of his call. Having filled the measure of his calling with faith and integrity,
Elder Andersen was honorably released from the Second Quorum on October
Elder Hans Verlan Andersen died July 16, 1992 at
"News of the Church: Elder H. Verlan Andersen," The Ensign; May 1986
"First Quorum of the Seventy," 2005 Church Almanac; p. 83