This biographical sketch is adapted from the "News of the Church: Elder
Andrew W. Peterson of the Seventy" published in the Ensign for November
1994 on the occasion of Elder Peterson's call to the First Quorum of the
Elder Andrew W. Peterson fondly remembers his service
as a stake mission president while attending dental school in San Francisco.
Evenings of teaching the gospel often followed full days of studying.
Despite his busy missionary schedule, Elder Peterson
graduated with honors. “I gained a testimony that the Lord can truly help
us in our studies,” he recalls.
Elder Peterson’s calling as a stake missionary helped
prepare him for his call to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy. He
served a mission to northern Argentina and southern Bolivia from 1966 to
1968; as president of the Mexico Mérida Mission from 1981 to 1984;
as a counselor in the Salt Lake University Third Stake presidency from
1984 to 1988; then as stake president from 1988 to 1992; and as a regional
representative. Elder Peterson also enjoyed serving as a Primary teacher
upon being released as stake president. “The children taught me many valuable
lessons,” he says.
Andrew Peterson was born 8 June 1947 in San Francisco.
Three years later, his family moved to Utah, where his father set up dental
practice—first in Payson and then in Salt Lake City, where Andrew spent
the remainder of his childhood and where he began practicing dentistry
following his graduation from dental school in 1974.
Elder Peterson’s love for the Church and its leaders
began when he was a child. His grandfather, a stake president in the Salt
Lake Hillside Stake, often introduced him to visiting General Authorities
following stake conference. When he was sixteen, Andrew was greatly influenced
by participating in the Hill Cumorah Pageant in New York and by attending
a testimony meeting in the Sacred Grove.
On 20 June 1969, he married Christine Ann Swensen
in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of eight children, with whom
they enjoy spending as much time as possible.
The Petersons have been active in local and international
community service. Through their involvement with the Partners of the Americas—a
national people-to-people program—they were able to assist Bolivian school
Elder Peterson, who believes that Heavenly Father
exercises a guiding hand in our lives, looks forward to giving full-time
service to the Church. “I feel very blessed,” he says. “I have a firm testimony
of the importance of this work.”
Elder Peterson was serving as president of the Mexico
North Area in September 1997. While on vacation at the family cabin in Parley's Canyon near Salt Lake City, he suffered severe injuries when he lost control of a trail bike and went over an embankment. His injuries were extensive and required resuscitation efforts by the family to keep him alive until the arrival of medical help. He was transported by helicopter to the University of Utah Medical Center, where he remained in critical condition for days. His injuries proved paralyzing and in the October 1999 General Conference he was granted Emeritus status from his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Peterson died on December 31, 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah.