About the Collection
Christen N. Christensen
by Jeffrey S. Hardy
Christen N. Christensen was born on 9 December 1874 in Copenhagen, Denmark, to Axel Christensen and Anne Marie Nielsen. Two years after his birth the family crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the ship Idaho and emigrated to Utah to join the main body of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints (LDS). They settled in Brigham City, Box Elder County, Utah, where Christen was baptized into the LDS Church on 24 June 1883. On 11 July 1894 he married Anna C. Jorgensen in Logan, Utah, and in 1899 their first and only child was born.
On 11 January 1900 Christen left home to serve a Church mission to Scandinavia. After arriving in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 8 February 1900 he was assigned to the Aalborg Conference in Denmark. Christen’s spirituality is evident in his journal: on one rainy day when he decided to stay home he remarked, “Am alone with my bible and have never felt better spiritually in me whole life.”1 He also displayed a propensity for poetry, penning an original verse to commemorate his sixth wedding anniversary.2
Christen spent much of his mission dispensing tracts and engaging in gospel conversations whenever possible. His endeavors were blessed with success, as several people requested baptism after meeting with him. After one meeting where Christen preached, he recorded, “a man who had bin [sic] coming to our meetings for six years…came up and said ‘now I am ready to be baptized,’ so we baptized him the same evening.”3 Christen also preached to his relatives and succeeded in converting an uncle, aunt, and two cousins, who thereafter moved to Utah. After two years in Denmark Christen received his release, and began his journey home at the end of March 1902.
Sometime after returning home for his mission, Christian moved to Salt Lake City. Tragedy struck on 18 May 1903, however, when Christen’s wife Anna unexpectedly died. The following year, on 16 November 1904, he married Edith Lenora Rushton in Salt Lake City; they enjoyed a long life together and were blessed with six children. On 22 April 1907 Christen became bishop of the Salt Lake 26th Ward of the Church, a position that he held until he moved his family back to Brigham City three years later.
In Brigham City Christen served in the Church organization as superintendent of the Sunday School and a stake board member of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA). In 1918 he again relocated to Salt Lake City, this time permanently. There he remained involved in the YMMIA and also served as a home missionary in the Liberty Stake of Salt Lake City. Apparently he enjoyed the theater, for in 1924 he played the part of Brigham Young in a Stake pageant performed in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. In 1930 Christen was working as a carpenter. A chance to use his mission experience came in 1936 when he was appointed president over the local LDS Danish organization. Christen N. Christensen died of natural causes on 31 March 1965 and was buried in the Brigham City Cemetery
Ancestry World Tree Project. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com Inc., 2003. 22 March 2004 available from http://www.ancestry.com/trees/awt/main.htm.
Christensen, Christen N. “Diaries, 1900–1902.” MSS SC 2166, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Jenson, Andrew. History of the Scandinavian Mission. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1927.
________. Latter-Day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Vol. 4. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson Historical Co., 1901–1936.
Salt Lake Tribune. Obituary of C. N. Christensen. 2 April 1965.
United States Federal Census, 1930. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com Inc., 2003. 22 March 2004 available from http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/census/usfedcen/main.htm.