I was Changed – by Ken Hardman

High school graduation day was emotional. I had finally grown out of much of my shyness and had a number of good friends. On the last day after most of the kids left, I walked down those familiar halls; it brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t want to leave. “Wait! Come Back.” Throughout my teens, I engaged in a number of fun and development activities like, bowling, guitar, singing lessons, and skiing, but I lacked courage to reach out to strangers at school and take a little more social lead. I was more comfortable with kids in my own neighborhood. The move from grade school to junior high was intimidating. Once a school bully singled me out and accused me of making some degrading gestures at him. After class he chased me into the restroom and hit me in the mouth. It hurt my pride more than my face. And I felt sorrier for him; and for the type of life he would live if he didn’t change. A couple years later, during a youth campout another boy seeking attention threw my camping gear down the outhouse. I felt the embarrassing laughter of the guys that I wanted to be friends with, but again felt sorrier for the bully. In high school I decided to break out of my shyness and be the person I wanted to be and do it in God’s way, lifting, not putting down. I pushed myself to walk with a smile and to greet others. I tried-out for some extra-curricular activities. I was on the school swimming and diving team for a year. I didn’t win any competitions but I did add a few points to the team score. I even took a hang-gliding class, and taught skiing one year. I led-out in church activities and served in the community. With apprehension I unsuccessfully tried-out for acapella; that was scary. But I did get into a great class called Unified Studies which combined English, art, science, and recreation; resulting in great learning and confidence building activities at school and in the mountains. I even dated and went to every stake dance I could with the goal to ask every girl I could, in part because it was fun, but I was also motivated to help those who may have been forgotten. At our stake post-graduation youth conference it happened again, I didn’t want it to end. At the closing awards ceremony I won the, “Yellow Candle Award,” for letting my light shine. Throughout the event, my close friends and I sought to meet everyone. I went away a lot better person knowing that I had succeeded making people happy. I was changed.

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Light in the Wilderness – Joan Losee Hardman

Joan spent part of her 1977 summer working at Flaming Gorge, and the Uintah’s. “One evening I was happy to receive the assignment to take mail and supplies to trail workers a few miles up the mountain. After I made the delivery, the sun began to set. I walked quickly to get down the mountain, but soon the skies began to dim and the shadows darkened. At times I could hear wildlife noises in the mountain forest and it became very difficult to see the trail. My flashlight helped significantly, but as full darkness came on, it became difficult to distinguish what was the path and what were small clearings leading off into thick forest. Fortunately the trail had been blazed. Every few hundred feet there would be a pine tree with hatchet markings, the outer bark had been removed exposing a section of inner tree. These round white signs on the trees let me know that I was on the right trail. At one point I turned off my flashlight, I was surrounded in darkness, impossible to continue on. I looked straight up above the tall pines and gazed at the thick Milky Way galaxy. At that moment a scripture entered my mind, ‘And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you…’ I was filled with happiness as I received this personal message from God! The task of getting down the mountain became joyous as I thought on the similarities of this experience to my life and my own mission on earth. Staying on the trail was like keeping the commandments, my steps took faith and effort, but I was determined to not get lost. I felt the Savior’s love as I considered that he walked this path before me. The flashlight was like the gift of the Holy Ghost. The hatchet markings were like personal revelations. I was confident that whatever way I was caused to turn, it would eventually lead home. There was an added joy when I approached the lights of my home camp. I had returned successfully as I hope to return successfully from my mortal mission. Before I went to bed, I opened the Book of Mormon to find the scripture I had heard up on the mountain. With it came this echoing confirmation, ‘Wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.’ (1 Nephi 17:30)”


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Handcart Trek, and why you should go

In Wyoming, with sweat down our backs and dirt under our fingernails, we contemplated in Martin’s Cove, pushed and pulled up Rocky Ridge, were pelted by hail at Rock Creek Hollow, and felt the aid of angels. Every year more groups don the time-period clothing, learn about an ancestor, and walk in their steps. If you ever have the opportunity, don’t hesitate, embrace the call and join the trek. It won’t be easy, but with determination you can come to know yourself, your ancestors, and God, better.
Dear friends, Joan and I have participated in many ‘handcart treks.’ In 1997, our stake called us to be a ‘ma’ and ‘pa’ on our first trek, and to assemble a trek band. Joan researched music, we wrote a few songs, and we enlisted family members to play and sing. On that first trek, we rolled into camp each night, performed family duties, then assembled with band members and performed music for the camp fireside and square-dance. It was delightful to watch hundreds of youth with ‘real’ smiles stir-up the dust and pound down the sage while dancing the Virginia Real.
In the years that followed, we were invited to other ward and stake treks. We’ve performed in mud, wind, rain, and snow. With gratitude, we also performed on calm nights when the painted sunset slowly yielded to the stars exposing God’s eternal creations. We met wonderful people who came because of faith in God, who stood before the company in remote meadows bearing testimony of their love of Jesus Christ, their companions, and those who had gone before.
God has a reason for inspiring our leaders to conduct such experiences. We love our ancestors and feel their closeness as promised by prophets. We fervently ask you to share our message with your friends and all who might someday go on a trek. To help, here is a story (link) and song about one of our ancestors, written by Joan Hardman called, “Before the Wind.” Come with us to Denmark and Sweden, their homeland. (Illustration by Ken Hardman)

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Ballad of John Griffin

Dear friends, 
I’d like your vote. I wrote a song for the Rootstech 2021 Song Contest (Amateur category) about my ancestor, John Griffin. Since I love family history, and music, this was an opportunity to combine both, and share what I’ve gained from this great man. 
Please click the rootstech link below, listen to “Ballad of John Griffin,” click, Vote For This Song, then share this link with friends and family. Thanks for the favor. https://rootstechsongcontest.org/ballad-of-john-griffin/
Thanks sincerely,Ken Hardman

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James Joseph Keep – God’s Promises Held Strong

James Joseph Keep 3The fog settled over the immigrant ship American Congress off the shores of Newfoundland. The sun did not shine, nor provide navigational reference for the crew. James Keep and his wife Ann, three daughters, and one grand-baby were sailing for Zion with 350 Saints. While on deck, James looked forward for a time, then aft, reflecting on the hopeful journey yet ahead, and then on his life back in England. He was five years old when his father died, was raised a few more years by family members, but mostly, with little schooling, made his own way keeping sheep, cows, horses, or any work he could find. The heavy fog bore down a second day on the ship. James thought back on his apprenticeship as a brick layer and his nine years with his first wife Elizabeth. Sometime after her death, James married Ann Miller, and he began to seek religion. He attended the Wesleyan’s, and later the Baptist’s, and then the Independent’s, each for a number of years, but still felt alone. “I could never tell what the Kingdom of God was,” he wrote. The thick fog prevailed a third day; their location and direction, unknown. James recalled the two young men who brought the restored gospel to his home. Encouraged by his wife, he listened. “I never knew what God was until I came into this church.” He and his family were baptized and accepted callings. He traveled extensively to preach the gospel for twenty years. Now at age 60, on a ship in the Atlantic, Johns faith in God’s promises held strong. “Captain,” a man yelled, “what is that?” The man on the quarter deck pointed anxiously forward. The fog [had] lifted from the surface of the sea, as if a veil or scroll had been raised. The tall powerful captain looked, then sprang to the wheelhouse like a tiger, knocked the helmsman down, grabbed the wheel, and with full presence of mind and moment, turned it about. Sailors sprang to their posts at his commands, as the ship swayed and turned avoiding rocks, breakers, and a watery grave. Many thanks were given to God for lifting the fog, and protecting the saints.

(by Kenneth R. Hardman, based on accounts in Hardman Biographies – Ancestors of Sidney Glenn Hardman and Dorothy Mae Griffin, personal writings of James Joseph Keep, writings of Sarah Keep Buttars, and account Saved by Providence by J. Nicholson) #AncestorClips

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Glenn Hardman – Taking Care of our Brothers

1952 GlennwithtwoBuddiesinCampGlenn performed his military duties and was absolutely determined to be an example and a Christian. He never served as a formal missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but he took every opportunity to act like one. “There is a fellow in the company that is a member of the church, but not very active. He has promised me that he will go to church, but as yet, he hasn’t. He got quite drunk and started to lose his money, so what does old dad do? I stepped in. He was gambling, so I took his money and his wallet away from him, and… finally got him in bed, but he wouldn’t stay there, so we took him down and put him in the ice-cold shower. Believe me, that really straightened him out in a hurry. I hate to get mixed up with anything like that, but we do have to take care of our brothers, don’t we?” While in the service, he held a number of things close to his heart including letters from home, church magazines, a portrait of Dorothy, and a little photo of his parents and sister. To his wife back home he spoke of blessings on Earth and in Heaven, “If we only live our religion as we have been taught, we shall have these things and also reach eternal life…It will really be a wonderful day when we can both stand together and thank our Father in Heaven for all His blessings.” This is who they were and who they are. This is who I want to be.

(by Kenneth R. Hardman with excerpts from, “Sidney Glenn Hardman and Dorothy Mae Griffin – Their story and their life,” Volume 1, 1928 – 1952) #AncestorClips

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Glenn & Dorothy Hardman – Youthful Legacy of Goodness, Work, and Happiness

1948 07 24 GlennDotonHorsesAdjustedGlenn Hardman and Dorothy Griffin; did they become good independent of outside factors? Certainly, not. Did any of this goodness come from their parents and ancestry? Certainly, yes. Dorothy spoke of her childhood. “I am truly grateful that my parents were always active and that they taught us by their example that church was the place we were to go, that activity in the church would bring joy and satisfaction to our lives. Though I have no memory of a burning testimony in those days, I know the seeds were planted then for my love of the church as I have grown older.” Similarly, Dorothy wrote of Glenn, “He went to Primary and learned about courage and being pure in heart, to be a cheerful helper to his father and mother every day, to say thank you, to obey, to be courteous at home, school and Primary, to pray and to appreciate the beautiful world.” As Glenn and Dorothy continued to grow in their youth, they made choices that brought them in contact with additional sources of help and divine instruction. While a young adult, Dorothy received an assignment she thought miraculous that gave her opportunity to serve in new ways, making her realize the source of her talents, and how she could use them for much good. “I began to see,” she wrote, “what the patriarch had meant when he told me I had talents that would manifest themselves in the positions of responsibility which I would have…” Glenn demonstrated his integrity when on his own in California, surrounded by a world of opportunities for good and bad. In a letter to his parents back home, some trusted friends wrote, “He never misses a day without coming in and reporting in. He is only going with church boys and girls and taking in the church activities. Dorothy Griffin, the girl he takes most, is a swell Mormon girl.” I can see how my life was and is influenced by their lives… I can see their influence in my life, in the lives of all their children, and their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren.

(Excerpts from Forward of, “Sidney Glenn Hardman and Dorothy Mae Griffin – Their story and their life,” Volume 1, 1928 – 1952, by Dorothy Hardman. Forward by Kenneth R. Hardman in 2015 compilation) #AncestorClips

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Margaret Holden Hardman – Ever Onward

Margaret Holden Hardman PictureAs the smoke of the industrial revolution continuously settled on residents of Manchester England, in 1834, death persistently came to rest on the small home of Margaret and Richard Hardman. Likely with broken heart wondering if she would ever have children, she laid her fifth lifeless baby to rest in an early tiny grave. Margaret was a weaver, Richard was a rope-maker, but another 9 hopeful months passed with no daughters for mom to dress, and no sons to enter dad’s trade. With prayer, work, endurance, and love, another 10 years passed and 6 more pregnancies. Three would die, but three lived on; Alice Eliza, Lehi Nephi, and George Richard. Alice received the middle name of her grandmother, Elizabeth; George bore the middle name of his father, Richard; and Lehi Nephi carried the names given him by a prophet a year before he was born. Poor health restored under Priesthood hands by the Gospel of the Restoration, Margaret and Richard carried on, gathered with the Latter-day Saints, moved from their home with many of their family, ever onward, following the prophets from Manchester to Nauvoo. Living only blocks from the Nauvoo temple, they built Nauvoo, the Temple, and their posterity. After their eternal marriage and sealing in the Temple of God, Margaret lost Richard, missing on the Mississippi while working and escorting family members to Zion. Widowed, cast out through trails of sorrow, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and the loss of her second husband William Presley to cholera, she pressed onward, eventually to a place where her children including Jane Amanda Presley met their companions, raised righteous families, and gave Margaret posterity beyond all that she could have imagined. We too, can press onward, ever onward. #AncestorClips

Author Notes: My heart is broken for Margaret and Richard, broken along the extremes of the emotional spectrum, alternating between depths of anguish and heights of admiration. Margaret came from a large family where she helped raise many of her younger siblings. Imagine the heart break as each of five, 9-month pregnancies ended in death. Did they wonder if life was worth it? Did they get angry with God? Did she want to give up when other children died, or when she lost her health or her husband? When I pass through the veil of death some day, I expect to meet her and ask these questions. But when I do, it won’t be to confirm her pain for I’m certain it was bitter. No, my desire to meet her and talk to her will be because of the great honor I hold for her. She certainly would have had her days of trial, but her life in totality reveals faith, prayer, spiritual sensitivity, and determination, ever onward. She raised good children, had faith to be healed, listened to her heart, united with her husband, followed prophets, had vision to see past mortality to eternity with a large posterity, with the blessings she frequently desired. Thank you Margaret and Richard for never giving up. Thank you for believing; believing in yourselves, believing in God, and believing in me and the multitudes whose veins carry your blood and your blessings.

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To the Children of Halvor Halvorsen

GeirangerFyordHalvor Halvorsen was a ship captain sailing in and out of the fjords, up and down the beautiful Norway western seaboard. [His wife and children lived in the north in Namsos] As his family grew [to 8 children], he longed to be with them, acquired a telegraph station in northern Norway, where he could work on land, and have his family with him, but he took seriously ill in the north, and died. Before his death, in a touching letter to his family he wrote his memories about his parents and siblings, and then these heart felt words to his children.

“And now, I am leaving you all to God. May He put his protecting hand around us, and guide us to the place that He has set aside for us. Let no one ever threaten or persuade you to go against your conscience, for this will sooner or later come back to you with added interest. Think of your father, and remember, that if any of you should commit any kind of a crime, I will be watching you, and so will our Heavenly Father who had everything recorded that you have done in this world. Be kind and helpful to each other and to your mother, for all your happiness in this world will depend on this. Let the bigger ones help the smaller ones, and do not forget that you are all your father’s children, and it would hurt me deeply on the other side of the grave, if any of my children should leave their God, and start going in the wrong road. Be aware of these things, dear children, and protect the memory of your father, who never was able to commit anything real bad or evil, But I am deeply sorry to say that I have all to often sinned against my God and His commandments. This I must, in all humility, ask God to forgive me in His unending grace, Amen. This is my will to you, I have no money to leave you. I received little or nothing myself. But if you will do what is right, you will have riches enough, believe you me. All happiness and joy in this world does not depend on money, and even much less after death. Do not be hypocrites, give your opinion honest and frankly to everyone. This will not make you rich. But I have always felt a contempt for these creeping beings, and they are to be looked down upon, as far as I have any knowledge of the world.”

(by Kenneth Hardman, 2018, based on “Our Gulbrandsen Ancestry,” by Jana Greenhalgh, and the ‘Will’ of Halvor Halvorsen in, “The Hansen and Gulbrandsen Family History – Ancestors & Descendants of Edna Violet Gulbrandsen & Harvey Ralph Hansen,” compiled by: Jana Greenhalgh, Dona Losee, Ray Hansen) #AncestorClips

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Hans Sorensen – Modest in Heart and ‘Sole’

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 6.42.33 PMIn 1847, on the north shore of Zealand, as Danish citizens fought for “freedom of press, and religion,”1 fourteen-year old Hans Sorensen finished school and entered apprenticeship. That same year his mother and grandmother died. In 1849 the monarch gave in and the people won their desired freedoms.2 With a feeling of opportunity, Hans studied with a demanding shoemaker, and using local materials he became skilled at constructing shoes and saddles with maple pegs and strong flax thread.1 He was among the “industrious, peaceable, and skillful,”3 of his people. At age 20 his brother and father died4 but he continued his trade and service to his community. Nine years later, he married Maren Kristine Hansdatter also of his Parish and opened a shoe-shop in the nearby town of Tisvilde.1 The 1864 conflict with Prussia and Austria pulled him away from his work and bride as he was drafted in the 2nd battle of Schleswig-Holstein.1 He survived the painful war but Denmark lost significant portions of the country.2 Religious freedom was crossing the country as were the Mormon missionaries. As predicted by a Latter-day Saint leader, the war served to, “awaken the indifferent and the careless to a sense of their situation, and thus [brought] many into the Church…”3 Hans attended a Latter-day Saint meeting, “was impressed with their message… investigated…the doctrine, and was satisfied he had found the Pearl of Great Price.”1 #Ancestorclips

(1) Sorensen, George H, Hans Sorensen, as compiled in Hardman Biographies, Ancestors of Sidney Glenn Hardman and Dorothy Mae Griffin, Dec. 2009
(2) Wikipedia.org
(3) Christensen, Marius A. History of the Danish Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints, A Thesis, BYU, March 1966
(4) FamilySearch.org (photo of Hans Sorensen, and other information)
(5) Painting from Vejby in Nordsjaelland by Johan Thomas Lundbye, 1843, commons.wikimedia.org

Author Note:
Hans Sorensen is my great-great grandfather. I sense from him a patient, day-by-day determined character who followed his heart even in the face of loss. In his youth, he lost his grand-parents, parents, and a brother. As a new groom, he was taken from his wife for war. As a seeker of truth, he lost his friends and extended family. Yet, the choices later in life demonstrate that he built upon the strong character of his youth. He followed his heart. He worked hard, built a family, and became a blessing to his posterity and his ancestry by his faithfulness to God. Truly he lived the commandment to ‘honor thy father and thy mother’ (Exodus 20:12) including ancestors by the life he lived. As one in his family tree, I can draw from the seeds of patient character and diligence inherited from Hans Sorensen.

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