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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 wrote 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, Nephi 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 home 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, Nephi 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, Nephi 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, Nephi 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, Nephi 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), George Albert Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, John A. Widtsoe, and several other prominent LDS leaders of the period.
In a piece in The Improvement Era entitled A Plea for Fiction (1898), Nephi 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 work was the non-fiction title, A Young Folk's History of the Church (1889). In the early 1890s, Nephi 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, Nephi would write ten novels and numerous short stories, all involving LDS characters and storyline.
Novels & Other Selected Works
- Added Upon (1898), was in continuous publication until 2005
- Marcus King, Mormon (1900)
- The Castle Builder (1902)
- Piney Ridge Cottage (1912)
- The 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)
- A Young Folk's History of the Church (1889)
- A Plea for Fiction (1898)
- Purpose in Fiction (1898)
- The Place of Genealogy in the Plan of Salvation (1911)
- Almina (1891)
- A Visit of the King (1895)
- At St. Peter's Gate (1917)
- Cracroft, Richard H. (1981) Seeking "the Good, the Pure, the Elevating": A Short History of Mormon Fiction, Part 1. Ensign. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Cracroft, Richard H. (1985) Nephi, Seer of Modern Times: The Home Literature Novels of Nephi Anderson. BYU Studies.
- Jensen, Andrew (1919) Nephi Anderson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia.
- Podhorny, Ole (1980) Christian Nephi Anderson: Popular "Mormon" Author of Norwegian Origin. University of Oslo.