In late October, Steve Christiansen announced he was resigning from the Utah Legislature and his job with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the time, he said he stepped down because of attacks against his family by critics of his claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent. He reiterated that claim in November when The Tribune spoke with him at the special election to pick his replacement in the Utah House.
That’s not the whole story.
On a recent episode of his “Restoring Liberty” podcast, Christiansen said he left the Legislature after he and his wife decided it was prudent to “hit the pause button” on his legislative career. The more curious move was his decision to retire from his job simultaneously.
On the podcast, Christiansen admitted what many had suspected about leaving his employment.
”I occupied a fairly senior-level position at The Church, and as I became more outspoken on issues that were extremely important to me. Unfortunately, as coverage of my involvement in those issues came out in the media, oftentimes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was part of the coverage unnecessarily,” Christiansen explained.
Christiansen had become involved in more high-profile news coverage over the summer, pushing falsehoods about election fraud and calling for an audit of the 2020 election in Utah. He also planned to sponsor legislation banning the teaching of “divisive subjects” in Utah’s classrooms had he not given up his seat in the Legislature. Christiansen also used an LDS Church PowerPoint template for a committee presentation alleging election fraud.
”The Church became implicated far too often in things that I would say and things that I would do. The Church needed to have the ability to speak when it felt like it was time to speak on their own time, not on my time. And so that was the primary driver in choosing to retire from my employment with The Church,” Christiansen said.
As previously reported, Christiansen tried to leverage his position as an elected official to obtain private information on every voter in Utah. It appeared he intended to turn that information over to a secretive group going door-to-door in Utah looking for voter fraud.
Christiansen is part of a group pushing a ballot initiative to get rid of vote-by-mail in Utah in favor of in-person paper ballots.