Joe J. Christensen

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Mormon General Authority Joe J Christensen
Joe Junior Christensen was an emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was the president of Ricks College from 1985 to 1989 and was president of the San Diego California Temple from 1999 to 2002.

Christensen was born on July 21, 1929, in Banida, Idaho, where he grew up. He attended two years of college at Utah State University. He served as full-time missionary in Mexico and Central America where he met his future bride, Barbara Kohler, who was also serving as a missionary. They married in 1952 and had six children.

He served as an officer in the United States Air Force[1] during the Korean War, from 1953 to 1955.[2] He received a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University and a PhD from Washington State University. He then worked for several years as a Seminary and Institute instructor and supervisor. From 1962 to 1970, Christensen was the head of the Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah.

For a few months in 1970 Christensen served as president of the Church mission headquartered in Mexico City. He was, however, appointed to work under Neal A. Maxwell in administering seminaries and institutes throughout the Church, and therefore was released as mission president.[3] “At that time, the seminaries and institutes of religion were just beginning in non-English-speaking countries,” explained Elder Christensen. “So for the next nine years, I traveled to 66 countries around the world as the seminaries and institutes were being established. Those were exciting years.”[1]

He was associate commissioner of the Church Educational System from 1970 to 1985, interrupted by a four-year term as president of the Church's Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. In 1985, Christensen became president of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho.

Christensen also served as a member of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA and Young Men general boards, counselor in the Sunday School general presidency (under Russell M. Nelson), and regional representative.

In 1989, Christensen was called as a general authority of the Church, where he served in the First Quorum of the Seventy and the Presidency of the Seventy.[4] He was given general authority emeritus status in 1999.

He served in various assignments from the First Presidency and was a stake patriarch. He is the author of several Ensign articles and a few books, including One Step at a Time: Building a Better Marriage, Family, and You, To Grow in Spirit: A Ten-Point Plan for Becoming More Spiritual, Welcome Home! Advice for the Returned Missionary, and Making Your Home a Missionary Training Center (with his wife, Barbara Christensen).

Christensen died on May 18, 2021. His wife, Barbara, died on June 14, 2022.

General Conference Talks



  • One Step at a Time: Building a Better Marriage, Family, and You
  • Making Your Home a Missionary Training Center (with Barbara K. Christensen)
  • To Grow in Spirit: A Ten-Point Plan for Becoming More Spiritual
  • Welcome Home! Advice for the Returned Missionary


  1. Template:Cite web
  2. Freeman, Robert C. and Wright, Dennis A. Saints at War: Korea and Vietnam. Covenant Communications, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2003.
  3. talk by Christensen on the expansion of the seminaries and institutes outside of the United States and Canada
  4. Grampa Bill's G.A. Pages: Joe J. (Junior) Christensen

External links