First Quorum of the Seventy Verlan Andersen and his wife, Shirley Hoyt Andersen are the parents of 12 children and grandparents of 104 grandchildren. Brother Andersen served a mission to the North Central States. He attended Gila Junior College in Arizona, then BYU. Brother Andersen went on to graduate from Stanford University Law School, and was later 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. Accepting meant a drastic cut in income, but he loved teaching and felt the move would be good for his young family. “Every move we made during those years, we made for the benefit of our children,” explained brother Andersen. 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. He was famous at BYU for debating, very successfully, other professors with the scriptures. Brother Andersen was a strong proponent of applying Gospel principles to all areas of life. When the BYU Training School closed in 1968, Dr. H. Verlan Andersen met with a group of other BYU professors and parents with the intent of establishing a private school. They desired to have their children’s academic learning enhanced and enlightened by principles of morality, religion, liberty and patriotism. The founders purchased an L.D.S. chapel in Pleasant Grove, Utah, and opened American Heritage School (Utah) in 1970. Brother Andersen was one of the pioneering spokesmen of LDS home and private education. Brother Andersen is considered by many to be one of the great Latter-day Patriots. Brother Andersen is the author of several books including, The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, Many are Called but Few are Chosen, Moral Basis of a Free Society and The Book of Mormon and the Constitution. Also a short work entitled, “The Improper Role of Government“. Brother Andersen was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1986 by President Ezra Taft Benson. He died of cancer on July 16, 1992.
Ancient American Magazine, Lecturer, Author Wayne N. May was born and raised in Wisconsin. His wife Kristine is active with Wayne in the archaeological discoveries of the Midwest. Together they publish the quarterly magazine Ancient American which has been in continuous print for 25 years and covers the pre-Columbian Americas. Wayne and Kristine are the parents of seven children, and grandparents to twenty-two. Wayne is author of four books on the subject of Book of Mormon Archaeology in North America. They are entitled; This Land: Zarahemla and the Nephite Nation; This Land: Only One Cumorah; This Land: They Came from the EAST; This Land: America 2,000 B.C. to 500 A.D and This Land: Willards Cumorah Land. Wayne gives firesides to members and non-members alike, wherever he is invited to present. He has been presenting information on the topic of North America’s archaeological data since 1994 which demonstrates how it applies to the Book of Mormon timeline.
13th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Ezra Taft Benson (August 4, 1899 – May 30, 1994) was the thirteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1985 until his death and was United States Secretary of Agriculture for both terms of the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Born on a farm in Whitney, Idaho, President Benson was the oldest of eleven children. He was the great-grandson of Ezra T. Benson. Beginning his academic career at Utah State University, he was a 1926 graduate of Brigham Young University (after serving a church mission in Britain from 1921 to 1923). He received his masters degree from Iowa State University and did preliminary work on a doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley. President Benson pursued a career in agriculture and later served in many church leadership positions. Just after receiving his masters he returned to Whitney to run the family farm, but later became the county agriculture extension agent. In 1926 he married Flora Smith Amussen; they had six children. In 1939, when he was president of the Boise, Idaho, stake and working for the University of Idaho Extension Service, he moved to Washington, D.C. to become Executive Secretary of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and became the first president of a new stake there. On October 7, 1943, he was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, filling two vacancies created by the deaths of apostles that summer. In 1953, President Benson was appointed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by President Eisenhower. President Benson opposed the system of government price supports and aid to farmers which he was entrusted by Eisenhower to administer, arguing that it amounted to unacceptable socialism. President Benson was an outspoken opponent of communism and socialism, and supporter, but not a member, of the John Birch Society, which he praised as “the most effective non-church organization in our fight against creeping socialism and Godless Communism.” He published a 1966 pamphlet entitled Civil Rights, Tool of Communist Deception. President Benson succeeded President Spencer W. Kimball as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1973, and as President of the Church in 1985. During his early years as Church President, President Benson brought a renewed emphasis to the distribution and reading of the Book of Mormon, reaffirming this LDS scripture’s importance as “the keystone of [the LDS] religion.” In August 1989, he received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President George H. W. Bush.