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PROVO, Utah Brothers by birth and by membership in the household of God, Karl Ricks Anderson and Richard Lloyd Anderson have been two pillars in preserving and interpreting the history of the Church. On Nov. 10, the two were honored by the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation as the 2006 recipients of separate Junius F. Wells Awards at a banquet on the BYU campus.
Named for a past figure in Church history who edited The Contributor magazine and designed the Joseph Smith Memorial in Vermont, the award was first presented last year to President Gordon B. Hinckley.
Karl Ricks Anderson, an author and expert on Kirtland, Ohio, and its place in Church history, is widely known as "Mr. Kirtland" for his efforts in restoring Church historic sites in the city. Richard Lloyd Anderson, an emeritus professor of Church history and doctrine at BYU, is widely recognized as an expert on the Book of Mormon witnesses, whose book Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses is regarded as definitive.
In honoring the Anderson brothers, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve thanked them on behalf of the posterity of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith, of which he is one, being descended through Hyrum Smith.
He commended Richard Anderson for his contribution to missionary work in 1946 in putting together "the Anderson Plan," a compilation of essential concepts early missionary discussions to be taught to investigators. Elder Ballard called it the "forerunner to Preach My Gospel," the comprehensive missionary guide currently in use in the Church.
Regarding Karl Anderson," Elder Ballard said. "Kirtland is not the same place when you're there without him. With him, you see the vision of that marvelous community and the Pentecostal outpouring of the power of the Spirit of God."
Richard Anderson, who received the Junius F. Wells Lifetime Achievement Award, used his acceptance remarks to recall some statements of Oliver Cowdery, who was remembered earlier in the day at a symposium co-sponsored by the foundation. Concluding, he told of the occasion in 1849 at Kanesville, Iowa, when Oliver, having sought and received rebaptism into the Church, was on his way to Richmond, Mo., to visit in-laws. Seeking shelter from a snowstorm, he ended up sharing a cabin for two weeks with Samuel Richards, who recalled: "It was so marvelous for me to hear him describe the personalities and countenances of the angels and place my hand on the head of the man who had received those ordinations."
Brother Richards asked Oliver for a statement, which he provided, and which was published in the Deseret News in 1884. The statement, reportedly in Oliver's own handwriting, read: "Moroni the mighty angel came. Peter James and John came after John the Baptist and gave the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood." The statement closed with the words: "Please accept the assurances, dear brother, of him who with the Prophet Joseph Smith, received these experiences."
Karl Anderson, who received the second annual Junius F. Wells Award, spoke of his role as a local Church leader in the Kirtland area and a civic leader in helping prepare the way for the restoration of Church historic sites. Citing Doctrine and Covenants 124:83 relative to a scourge that had been placed over Kirtland, he alluded to a prophecy of Hyrum Smith that the Lord would "send forth and build up Kirtland."
"My part has been of one who has been sent forth; the one who has done it has been the Lord," he said.
He spoke of being with Elder Ezra Taft Benson, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, during Elder Benson's visit to Kirtland in 1979. On that occasion, Elder Benson told Brother Anderson and other local Church leaders he had been pondering the matter and felt the time had come when the scourge should be lifted. Then, addressing a meeting of Church members, the apostle lifted the scourge.