…When those promises about what he would accomplish in law school didn’t come to pass, Christiansen started to doubt. “It was really devastating and it caused a huge amount of cognitive dissonance,” he said. At the same time, a number of prominent members of the LDS church resigned their memberships due to historical and doctrinal issues with Mormon history. So, for the first time, Christiansen decided to research the life of founder Joseph Smith.

Learning more about Smith’s participation in folk magic and treasure digging as well as his extreme polygamous lifestyle deeply concerned Christiansen. But overall, it was knowing that the scholarly biographies he read painted a more believable picture of the founding of Mormonism than he ever had received growing up.

“You’re taught a particular narrative in the LDS church and there are maybe a few things here and there that don’t quite make sense, but you don’t think about them a whole lot,” he said. “After doing all the reading, (I was) presented with a coherent narrative that explained things better.”

In 2015, he told his wife that he no longer believed. He continued to take his children to church with her, but it was hard. “It’s a really unpleasant time to think about because my entire universe was just ripped out from under me,” he said. “You feel lied to, you feel silly for having believed. On top of that, I’m married to a devout woman and she’s raising our children in the LDS church. It became increasingly difficult as my children were growing and I would hear them being taught things that I knew were not even arguably true.”

Though he no longer considered himself Mormon, he still thought of himself as Christian, and one day he picked up a book of the writings of the early Church Fathers. “I thought it would be interesting to see what early Christians believed and that I (could) pick and choose a few things they believed and build my own beliefs,” he said. “I was shocked to find that all these people were Catholic, or seemed like something really close to Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy. That really bothered me because it was not what I was expecting to find. One issue that touched me was the Real Presence. It seemed really obvious to me that whether I believed it or not, these people did.”

That discovery led to a year of intense research into Catholicism. At that point, the family had moved to Northern Virginia for Christiansen’s job and he decided to go to St. Rita Church in Alexandria for his first Mass. “It was so powerful and moving to me. It was really like being transported to another universe,” he said. “And in a way it was very different from the kind of emotionalism of Mormonism. There was something so rooted and ancient about Catholic liturgy.”

In 2018, Christiansen resigned his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized at St. Rita. His family was there to witness it. “In (my wife’s) mind, it was not ideal but she has said, ‘It felt like I got my husband back.’ She sensed that this was a good thing for me,” said Christiansen….

The above comes from a Nov. 30 story in the Catholic Herald.