Joe J. Christensen
Joe J. Christensen excels at teaching and was fortunate enough to be provided with many opportunities to teach both inside and outside of the Church. He was born in the summer of 1929 and grew up in Banida, Idaho. He went to Utah State University for two years and then served a full-time mission in Mexico and Central America. Upon his return, he finished his bachelor’s degree at BYU. He also received his PhD from Washington State University. After graduation, Elder Christensen joined the US Air Force. He was then a seminary teacher and eventually, became an institute director. He directed institute programs at Washington State University, the University of Idaho, and the University of Utah. He loved these opportunities and planned to use his skills to strengthen the spirituality of the students.
He was deeply involved with the Church before he received the call to the First Quorum of the Seventy. He has served as a bishop and a regional representative. He was called to be a mission president in Mexico and then was later called to be president of the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah for four years. During his time serving there, he influenced the training of over 55,000 missionaries, preparing them to teach people of Christ. His love for teaching strongly impacted his love for these callings, and led to his eventual appointment as President of Ricks College in 1985.
It was from this position that he was called to be a General Authority in 1989. He accepted the call, serving righteously before being granted emeritus status in 1999. He then served as the president of the San Diego Temple. Elder Christensen and his wife Barbara have six children. When he has come to speak at BYU, he has always offered a powerful testimony of the gospel and encouraged students to strengthen their testimony of our Heavenly Father.