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Bruce L. Olsen

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Bruce L. Olsen (born 1939) served as the managing director of Public Affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1989[1] to 2008.

Olsen was born in Orangeville, Utah. He received bachelor's and master's degrees from Brigham Young University (BYU).

From 1982 to 1985, Olsen served as president of the church's Massachusetts Boston Mission. He later served as a stake president in Orem, Utah. He also served twice as a bishop and as a member of the Young Men General Board.

Olsen was the registrar at BYU, as well as manager for performing groups and as Assistant to the President for University Relations (essentially head of BYU's Public Relations). He was also a professor of communications part of his time at BYU. After working at BYU for 20 years, Olsen went to work in corporate communications for Geneva Steel.

Olsen was hired to lead the LDS Church public relations department with the intent to make it proactive. He was chosen by a committee lead by David B. Haight which had piced him out as the person with the skills to make the department more proactive.[2] He shifted the department to proactively working to build and nourish contacts with opinion makers. Olsen was key in pushing his superiors the general authorities and general officers of the Church on the Church Public Relations committee to do interviews with news makers.[3] Olsen lead a shift of public affairs from focusing on preparing people to receive missionaries to actively working to dispel misinformation about the Mormon Church.[4]

During his time as Communications Director for the LDS Church, Olsen sought to combat misleading statements about the church's finances. Among the ways he did this included sending a letter in response to Time Magazine's "Mormons, Inc." article.[citation needed] He also worked closely in coordinating a news conference introducing Gordon B. Hinckley as the LDS Church's new president in 1995. This event initiated a time of more openness by the church in communication with the media.[5] He was also involved in the various behind the scenes manouvers that lead to Hinckley's apparance on 60 Minutes.[6]. In 2006, BYU award Olsen with the Franklin S. Harris award.[7]

Olsen later served as president of the BYU Alumni Association. From 2008 to 2011, he was president of the San Diego California Temple.

Olsen is married to Christine Payne; they are the parents of five children. She has been a member of the Young Women General Board.


  1. J. B. Haws. The Mormon Image in the American Mind: Fifty Years of Public Perception. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  2. J. B. Hawa. The Mormon Image in the American Mind p. 163
  3. J. B. Haws, The Mormon Image in the American Mind, p. 164
  4. J. B. Hawa, p. 164
  5. J. B. Haws. The Mormon Image in the American Mind, p. 158]
  6. J. B. Haws, The Mormon Image in the American Mind, p. 166-167
  7. "BRUCE L. OLSEN TO RECEIVE BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY FRANKLIN S. HARRIS AWARD". US Fed News Service. US Fed News Service. Retrieved 30 July 2018.


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