The heartwarming story of Elder Bednar baptizing his father

Elder David A. Bednar and his father on the day his father was baptized. (Photo from LDS Living, originally Life Colloquy.)

Elder David A. Bednar and his father on the day his father was baptized. (Photo from LDS Living, originally Life Colloquy.)

This Father’s Day, many families in the LDS Church and around the world are sharing stories of their fathers. Many will tell about fathers who taught their children the gospel, baptized them, and led them along the gospel path.

But in one heartwarming Father’s Day story the roles are reversed. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the youngest son of his parents, was the one who baptized his father. Here’s the story in his own words from a conference address:

“For much of his married life, my father attended meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with our family. In fact, many of the people in our ward had no idea that my dad was not a member of the Church. He played on and coached our ward softball team, helped with Scout activities, and supported my mother in her various callings and responsibilities. …

“As a boy I asked my dad many times each week when he was going to be baptized. He responded lovingly but firmly each time I pestered him: ‘David, I am not going to join the Church for your mother, for you, or for anyone else. I will join the Church when I know it is the right thing to do.’ …

“A number of years later, my father was baptized. And at the appropriate times, I had the opportunity to confer upon him the Aaronic and the Melchizedek Priesthoods. One of the great experiences of my life was observing my dad receive the authority and, ultimately, the power of the priesthood.”

Elder Bednar omitted some details from his first-hand account. In an interview with the “Church News,” Elder Bednar also mentioned that he ended every letter home from his mission with the question, “Dad, I love you. When are you going to be baptized?”

But it wasn’t until several years passed and Elder Bednar returned from his mission, married and had a family that the time came. Four years after Elder Bednar’s temple marriage, while he was studying at Purdue University, Elder Bednar received a phone call from his dad. It was Wednesday, and his father asked if David could come home and baptize him that Saturday.


Breanna Olaveson worked in the magazine industry before taking her writing from full-time to nap time with the birth of her first daughter. Her work has appeared in the Ensign, Liahona and New Era magazines, as well as Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley BusinessQ, Utah Valley Bride and the Provo Daily Herald. She lives in Utah county with her husband and three children. She blogs at

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