Elder Joseph Anderson, an emeritus member of the First Quorum
of the Seventy, died March 13, 1992 at age 102. Born the year Wilford
Woodruff was sustained as President of the Church and three years before
the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple, Elder Joseph Anderson spent a century
in quiet service to the Lord and others.
He served with seven of the thirteen
Presidents of the Church and “was an example to all of us. ‘Behold an Israelite
… in whom [there] is no guile.’ (John 1:47.) I so look upon Joseph Anderson,”
observed President Gordon B. Hinckley, then
First Counselor in the First Presidency and speaker at the funeral. “He
was worthy of the total confidence of the prophets of God.”
Other funeral speakers included Elder Boyd
K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Marion
D. Hanks of the Presidency of the Seventy, and J. Robert Anderson,
Elder Anderson’s son. President Thomas
S. Monson, then Second Counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the
March 17 funeral services, which were held in the Salt Lake Bonneville
Elder Anderson served as secretary to President Heber
J. Grant and the First Presidency from 1922 to 1945. He then served
as secretary to the First Presidency, working with Presidents George
Albert Smith, David O. McKay, and
Fielding Smith. He was called as an Assistant to the Twelve on 6 April
1970 and sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy on 1 October 1976.
He received General Authority emeritus status 30 September 1978.
“I think Joseph Anderson knew more and said less
than any man I have ever known,” said President Hinckley, who first met
Elder Anderson fifty-seven years ago. “He kept the trust that was imposed
“He served always in faith and confidence and trust
and always in his own quiet way,” he continued. “He was a man who was trusted,
and it was President David O. McKay who said it is a greater thing to be
trusted than to be loved.”
Calling Elder Anderson a friend and a teacher, Elder
Packer observed that “we will not, in our lifetime, meet another who has
known the Brethren as Joseph Anderson did. Five years short of two-thirds
of the history of the Church, Joseph Anderson was there. For more than
a third of it he was recording the events as they occurred. For half a
century, he attended the meetings of the First Presidency and the temple
meetings of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
“He was a man whose mind and experience stretches
back to the past,” Elder Packer continued, noting some of the historical
facts occurring during Elder Anderson’s life.
Born on 20 November 1889, Elder Anderson was three
years old when the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated and was six when Utah
became a state. The automobile was invented the year he turned four, and
the Spanish American War started the year he was baptized. He saw the law
of tithing reemphasized by President Lorenzo
Snow. Elder Anderson had been married for two years when the United
States entered World War I.
Elder Anderson was married to Norma Ettie Peterson
on Novemeber 11, 1915 in the Salt Lake Temple. The couple had five children.
Calling Elder Anderson a “glorious example of absolute
unselfishness,” Elder Hanks talked of the example the centenarian left
behind. “Like his Savior, Brother Anderson continued to grow in wisdom
and in stature and in favor with God and man. He began in his youth and
continued on for all of his years.
“The Lord has said, ‘Them that honour me I will honour.’
(1 Sam. 2:30.) Joseph Anderson honored God and is and will be forever honored
Elder Anderson’s son, J. Robert Anderson, spoke of
the “great reunion” in which his father was participating on the other
side of the veil. “And if it is necessary over there to take minutes, I’m
sure Dad is there with book and pencil in hand,” he observed.
Brother Anderson talked of his father’s quiet example
of service and love to the Brethren, the Lord, and his family.