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The Self-Proclaimed “Bad Dad” Whose First Testimony Goes Viral

The Self-Proclaimed “Bad Dad” Whose First Testimony Goes Viral

Like many dads, I’m sure, Brother Hardman was bugged by his son to go up and bear his testimony for a while. He had never done so in the past because he felt his testimony was so precious and personal but decided to do it for the first time in church.

He then proceeded to post his testimony in a Facebook group called “Worldwide Unified” and it has struck a chord with many, garnering over 3,500 responses.

Brother Hardman’s words are shared below with his permission.

“I am a life-time member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I served a mission for the church way back in 1975. 

I’m a Navy vet with a huge family, have traveled all over the world, and worked with a heart surgery team for many, many years. 

Now that I’m old and a widower (my angel wife and I use the same FB page) … I find that this (the church and my testimony) is what’s really important in life to me. 

My son Joey had been bugging me to go up and bear my testimony, even though he knows how difficult that is for me. I asked him why and I’m ashamed to say that he said because he had never heard it. Which I guess makes me a pretty bad dad. 

So, against my wants, I finally went up and bore it on a Fast Sunday. That will probably never happen again because it is so precious to me (and kinda long) so I’ll post it here. And it’s the only way I know how to reach over 500,000 people all at once.

The church leaders have told us that we should bear our testimonies and to bear them often to strengthen each other, but also to testify as to WHY we believe and know what we do. 

So, Joey, and the rest of my kids (Sarah, Jeremy, Josh, Lauren, Aaron, Amber, Maggie, Bethany, Stephen, Lucas, Nikki, Jordan, Isaac, Spencer, and Katie) – I think that’s all of them – I want you all to know that I know with everything that I am, that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the Lord’s church. 

The things that He wants us to know, His gospel, are contained in the Bible and the Book of Mormon and is true doctrine. Those teachings come from Him. 

book of mormon

I testify that Joseph Smith was chosen to be His prophet to begin the restoration of this church and that we are privileged to be led and taught by the Lord’s current prophet, Russell M. Nelson.

Heavenly Father’s Son, Jesus Christ, honored His Father, suffered, and gave His life to atone for our weaknesses and mistakes. 

I also testify that I know the doctrines of tithing, the Word of Wisdom, the Law of Chastity, and temple work are also true and that you can get closer to knowing and understanding your Father in Heaven by praying always and keeping His commandments. 

Again, it is my testimony that I know these things to be true because when I have lived them, the promises attached to them have always proven to be true, but especially, I KNOW that Jesus lives. 

He is Our Savior and our Redeemer. He lives and He loves us. And I know that this is true because:

  • When I am hopelessly lost, He answers my prayers and guides me with His scriptures 
  • When I am sick or hurt, He heals me with His priesthood
  • When I am lazy and selfish or need scolding, He lets me serve
  • When I am in danger or just being careless, He protects me and saves me 
  • When I needed to learn patience and how to love others, He gave me you and the other children. Which is probably why I didn’t have any patience in the first place anyway. 
  • When I needed to protect our family and needed a safe new home for them that was far away from the danger and from those who would do them harm, He brought me here 
  • When I was alone, He gave me kind, loyal friends who defend me and help me. 

Credit: Liz Lemon Swindle

They accept me as I am, faults and all … old and cranky, beat up, rough, crude, and very socially awkward. 

And so often, much, much too often, when I am unworthy and I disappoint Him because I make so many mistakes because I’m not thinking or because of things I don’t know or I just don’t care, He doesn’t give up on me or punish me or throw me away like I think He should because I failed Him again. 

Instead, He forgives me and loves me anyway, He teaches me and listens to me and then patiently waits while He lets me try again and again and again … until I finally get it right. 

When I felt worthless and unloved by anybody, not even by Him, He brought to me my Rachel, your Mother. The one who completes me, the one person my soul needs and loves. 

And when I was weak and my spirit was finally broken and I wanted to give up and just go home – because I was just tired of hurting because of so many losses – He gave me great strength and reminded me of all that I have … my precious angel wife, my children and Him and all that is yet to come. 

There is not enough pain, there is not enough cost, there is not enough difficulty that could tear my heart away from those that I love, my Savior or my conviction that this is God’s church. 

Because He lives, because of His atonement and because of a precious little thing that He gave us called love, there is no quit. There is no give up – not on you, not on Him, not even on somebody like me. We are all worth fighting for. 

jesus crowds

Regardless of the cost, we are privileged to pay. Brothers and Sisters, it is my testimony that Jesus, our Savior lives. We are so blessed that Heavenly Father is good, He is kind and so very patient with us as He tries to teach us to be like Him. 

He is always there. He will always love and want us, He will always help us as we strive to be better than we are so that we can all come home to Him. 

We have but to try and never, ever give up. I share this, my testimony, with you, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

Sally Hancock

Tuesday 7th of February 2023

Just curious if you have a son in the Las Vegas mission.

Stephen Hardman

Friday 24th of May 2024

@Sally Hancock, No ma’am, I’m afraid that I don’t. My sons went to Oregon and Utah on their missions. I apologize for not answering earlier. Didn’t see your question until this morning.

Kind regards,

Linda Fife

Thursday 27th of October 2022

Brother Hardman thank you so much for sharing your very personal testimony. I was baptized when I was 17 which is 42 years ago. I too am not perfect and I make many mistakes but I love my Heavenly Father and my savior so much and I am so grateful for their love and patience for me. I have been so extremely blessed in my life and it sounds like you and your wife have been extremely blessed as well and all of your children are so lucky to have such loving parents. Thank you for your willingness to share your testimony with your son that day and then share it with so many others. It is these kind of things that brings hope to many who may be struggling and wondering where exactly do I go from here. I too don’t bear my testimony near enough but I do absolutely have one and I try really hard to live up to my testimony. Enjoy that wonderful family you have and continue to share your inner personal feelings with them. They will be so grateful for that and will treasure it. My mom converted in her mid sixties and she bore her testimony often. I miss her everyday and I hold tight to her thoughts and feelings and I’m so grateful I have them. All the best. Linda

Delphina jimmy

Friday 1st of October 2021

Hello bro hardman.i was on fb n came across ur testimony.and for lots of reason I love it.and also help me to know n continue to believe this church is true.thank you for sharing .

Nami-Ann Corpuz

Monday 9th of November 2020

HI Brother Hardman, I have been a member for over 50 years and have been inactive many of those years. The things I have learned from church have carried me long way through life. Fast Sunday was always my favorite Sunday to listen to everybody's testimony. Your testimony is one of my best testimonies I have heard. So easy to understand what Heavenly father is willing to do for us. This helps motivate me to go back to church.

Marion Pearson

Sunday 18th of October 2020

Thank you Brother Hardman I actually needed to hear what you said and it picks me up and helps me continue on along the path.