Although Elder Bruce Allen Carlson of the Seventy wasn’t able to participate in the Church until he was 16 years old, his growing spirituality afterward was strengthened as his mother taught him and his two siblings through reading the scriptures and singing gospel hymns. This initial religious instruction gave him a spiritual foundation that has carried him throughout his life.
Elder Carlson was born on October 3, 1949, in Hibbing, Minnesota, USA, to Clifford and Helen Carlson. He spent most of his childhood moving throughout the northern half of the state as his father was promoted within the Minnesota Forestry Department. When the family moved to Brainerd, Minnesota, Helen Carlson (who had been baptized in her youth) was finally able to take her children to a small branch of the Church that met nearby.
After his conversion Elder Carlson received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, in 1971, graduated from U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, USA, in 1979, and earned a distinguished graduate master of arts degree from U.S. Naval War College in 1989.
A member of the United States Air Force, Elder Carlson flew fighter aircraft for a large portion of his 37-year career. Other assignments included several senior staff positions at the Pentagon and in Washington, D.C. With his wife, Vicki Lynn Martens, whom he married on August 8, 1972, in the Salt Lake Temple, and their three children, Elder Carlson has dedicated his life to serving those he loves and loving those he serves.
Elder Carlson has served as elders quorum president, bishop, high councilor, and as an adviser to the Church’s Military Advisory Committee. He was serving as a Sunday School teacher in his home ward in San Antonio, Texas, USA, when he received the call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.