Nephi Anderson

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Nephi Anderson
Born (1865-01-22)January 22, 1865
Christiania, Norway
Died January 6, 1923(1923-01-06) (aged 57)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Occupation Educator, author, genealogist
Nationality Norwegian
Period 1889 - 1923
Literary movement LDS fiction, Home Literature
Notable works Added Upon, Dorian

Christian Nephi Anderson (January 22, 1865 – January 6, 1923) was a prolific LDS author and the most well-known from the "Home Literature" period of LDS fiction. His most successful work was his first novel, Added Upon (1898), but his writing career also included short stories, poetry, and non-fiction. He published a total of ten novels.

Family and Church Life

Christian Nephi Anderson was born in Christiania (modern Oslo), Norway on 22 January 1865. His parents, Christian and Petronella Nielson, had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints only a few years before his birth and in 1871 they emigrated to Utah, United States. They settled first in Coalville, Utah and later in Ogden, Utah.

In 1886, Anderson married Asenath Tillotson and began a teaching career in Ogden and Brigham City, Utah. From 1891 to 1893 he served a mission for the LDS Church in his birth country of Norway and upon returning, resumed teaching. He served as Superintendent of Schools in Box Elder County, Utah from 1900-1903. Asenath died in January, 1904, after having three children with Nephi.

Just two months after his wife's death, Anderson left on his second mission for the Church, this time to Great Britain where he became assistant editor of the LDS periodical, the Millennial Star, under the direction of Heber J. Grant. Returning to Utah in 1906, Anderson moved his family to Salt Lake City and secured a position as instructor of English and Missionary Studies at LDS High School. In 1908, he married Maud Rebecca Symons, with whom he would have six more children.

After a short mission which involved his whole family moving to Independence, Missouri and an assignment there as editor of another LDS periodical, The Liahona, Anderson was asked to come back to Utah and begin working as an editor and librarian with the Genealogical Society of Utah, replacing Joseph Fielding Smith, who had been called to the Church's general leadership. In January, 1923, Anderson developed appendicitis and died on January 6 after an operation for the malady when he developed peritonitis. Speakers at his funeral included Heber J. Grant (LDS Church president at the time, and with whom Anderson had always remained close[1]), George Albert Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, John A. Widtsoe, Anthony W. Ivins, Rudger Clawson, Grant, and several other prominent LDS leaders of the period.[2]

Literary career

In a piece in The Improvement Era entitled A Plea for Fiction (1898), Anderson wrote of the Mormon experience- "What a field is here for the pen of the novelist." Although he is well known for his particular style of early LDS fiction, his first published book was the non-fiction title, A Young Folk's History of the Church (1889). In the early 1890s, Anderson began submitting short works to The Contributor. He published his most recognized work, the novel Added Upon, in 1898, to wide acclaim and popularity. At his death, a local newspaper, The Box Elder News, exclaimed that Added Upon had "been read by almost every person in [Utah]." During the last three decades of his life, Anderson would write ten novels and numerous short stories, all involving LDS characters and storyline.



  • Added Upon (1898), is the first and most popular novel written by Anderson. Originally published in 1898 and significantly enlarged and expanded the 1912 fifth edition, the book was in continuous publication until 2005. The story concerns several spirit children of God who move from the pre-existence, to mortal life, to their eternal reward, interacting with each other at each step. The novel influenced many subsequent Mormon works of literature, notably Saturday's Warrior.
  • Marcus King, Mormon (1900)
  • The Castle Builder (1902)
  • Piney Ridge Cottage (1912)
  • Story of Chester Lawrence (1913)
  • A Daughter of the North (1915)
  • John St. John (1917)
  • Romance of a Missionary (1919)
  • The Boys of Springtown (1920)
  • Dorian (1921)


  • Almina (1891–92)
  • Fisherman Knute's Christmas Gift (1903)
  • Beyond Arsareth (1919)


  • A Young Folks' History of the Church (1898)
  • "A Plea for Fiction" (1898)
  • "Purpose in Fiction" (1898)
  • "Seeing the Midnight Sun" (1898)
  • "Are We Americans?" (1900)
  • "The Larger Nationality" (1906)
  • "The Place of Genealogy in the Plan of Salvation" (1911)
  • "A Day With Carry Nation" (1911)

Short Stories

  • "Grandmother's Rocking Chair" (1890)
  • "Lester Amsden's Love" (1890)
  • "Mary, A Story of Sagebrush Bench" (1891)
  • "Conscience from Carthage" (1894)
  • "The Finding of the Pearl" (1894)
  • "Tallie, Bill White's Girl" (1894)
  • "A Visit of the King" (1895)
  • "Salvation of Souls" (1900)
  • "Finding of Olga: A Pioneer Story" (1901)
  • "Christmas Story on Faith, Hope, and Charity" (1904)
  • "Missionary's Release" (1905)
  • "Freedom of Donald Gray" (1906)
  • "The Inevitable" (1907)
  • "When the Stove Smoked" (1907)
  • "How the Lord Was Good to Aunt Johanna" (1909)
  • "End of the Rainbow" -(1910)
  • "Little Child Shall Lead Them" (1910)
  • "Out of the Abundance of the Heart" (1910)
  • "The Home Guard" (1911)
  • "John Engleman and the Spirit of Christmas" (1911–12)
  • "The Home Field" (1915)
  • "Unbidden Guests" (1915)
  • "Mother's Day" (1916)
  • "Testing of Gilda" (1916)
  • "At St. Peter's Gate" (1917)
  • "Tendrilla" (1917)
  • "Forfeits" (1918)
  • "The Girl" (1921)
  • "Distance Lends Enchantment" (1922)
  • "The Straw" (1922)
  • "Exceptions" (1923)


  • "Consolation" (1900)
  • "A Vision" (1901)
  • "Died in the Field" (1901)
  • "Love's First Conquest" (1904)
  • "The Home Call" (1906)


  1. "President Heber J. Grant: Nephi Anderson's #1 Fan" by Scott Hales. Low-Tech World. September 5, 2012. Accessed September 5, 2012.
  2. [1]

External links