Joe Junior Christensen was the president of Rick's College (now BYU–Idaho) from 1985 to 1989 and was called as a General Authority in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1989. He was also president of the San Diego California Temple from 1999 to 2002. Christensen served as an officer in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, from 1953 to 1955. He received a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University and a PhD from Washington State University.
For a few months in 1970, Christensen served as president of the LDS Church mission headquartered in Mexico City. He was, however, soon afterward appointed to work under Neal A. Maxwell in running seminaries and institutes in the church and was replaced as mission president. Christensen was associate commissioner of the Church Educational System from 1970 to 1985, interrupted by a four-year term as president of the LDS Church's Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. In 1985, Christensen became president of Rick's College in Rexburg, Idaho. In 1989, Christensen was called as a General Authority where he served in the Presidency of the Seventy. He was given General Authority Emeritus status in 1999.