John C. Hamer

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John Hamer
Born1970 (age 48–49)
ReligionChristian Restorationist and non-denominational[1][2][3]
NationalityAmerican Canadian
Home townAurora, Illinois
SpouseMike Karpowicz
DenominationCommunity of Christ
(committed gay-lesbian-trans couples affirming[4])
Alma materBrigham Young University (B.A.)
University of Michigan (M.A., 1995)[5]
ProfessionHistorian, mapmaker
ChurchToronto Congregation at Centre Place[6]
(founded in 1891)
Senior posting
Based inToronto, Ontario, Canada
ProfessionHistorian, mapmaker
Post(Senior) pastor

John C. Hamer is an American-Canadian historian and mapmaker. His research has focused primarily on the history of the Latter Day Saint movement, authoring several books on the topic. Hamer is a leading expert on various schisms within especially non- far-Western (U.S.) portions of the Latter Day Saint "Restoration" movement. Raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), Hamer left the religion before joining Community of Christ in 2010 and now serves as Pastor of its Toronto Congregation.[7]

Hamer was a contributor to By Common Consent, the Restoration Studies Coordinator at Sunstone Education Foundation, and the Executive Director of the John Whitmer Historical Association.[8]


Hamer's mother's ancestry goes back seven generations to the early Latter Day Saint church in 1833.[9] His family history is connected to many variations of the (Latter Day Saint) Restoration (including Brighamites, Josephites, Rigdonites, Whitmerites, and Strangites).[8]

Hamer was born in the suburbs of Chicago, and grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis.[9] He was raised LDS — and very active as a Deacons Quorum President, Seminary Quorum President, Eagle Scout at 13 — but became a "closet doubter" as a teenager, and left organized religion altogether as an adult. Uninterested in Mormonism, at age 26 he read No Man Knows My History, and commented that — ironically — Fawn Brodie rehabilitated Joseph Smith for him.[10]

Hamer received a B.A. degree from Brigham Young University, and a master's from the University of Michigan.


The view that the Reorganization was the only true continuation of the original church was also a theological claim, held by early members of the Reorganization. Community of Christ abandoned this claim decades ago when it came to understand that the very act of making the claim to be 'the one and only true church,' is a sign that you aren't it (i.e., because there isn't just one).

Theologically early Mormons believed that they were the Restoration of the New Testament church in every sense, including recovering all the actual historical practices and institutional authority. This was a faith position that was zealously believed, but which cannot be shown to be possible in an actual historical sense. This is no shame on them; people regularly have these notions — the people of the Renaissance actually believed they had given birth anew to the Classical era. Of course they hadn't. They created something new, because you can never go home again. Likewise the 1830 organization was something new. And the 1860 reorganization, although possessed of vast continuity of membership, belief, and practice with the 1830 organization, was (in fact) a new foundation in an institutional historical sense.

—John Hamer, Wheat & Tares, December 4, 2010[11]

Historical iteration of Community of Christ's kingdom-of-peace[12] heraldry (from Isaiah 11:6-7)

John Hamer was executive director of the John Whitmer Historical Association 2005–2009 and the Association's president 2010–2011.[13] In 2007 Hamer was founding editor of the Association's imprint, John Whitmer Books.[citation needed] He also has produced maps for university presses and museums, including the University of Michigan Press, Columbia University Press, the Smithsonian Institution Press, the Strategic Air and Space Museum, and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. In Mormon studies, he has made maps for the LDS Church's Joseph Smith Papers Project, Herald Publishing House, Greg Kofford Books, the Journal of Mormon History, Mormon Historic Studies, the JWHA Journal, and Restoration Studies, among others.[14]

On 6 April 2010, Hamer joined Community of Christ. He presently serves as pastor of its congregation in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and as a Historian for its Canada East Mission. He is President of the Sionito Group of Charities. Hamer is a founding editor at the group blog Saints Herald.[15] Hamer helped found the Community of Christ ministry Latter-day Seekers[16] as well as the on-line, inclusive pastoral gathering, Beyond the Walls.[17][6] Semiweekly on weekdays Hamer teaches sitting meditation from the Zen tradition.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Hamer is married to Mike Karpowicz. They live in Toronto, Ontario.[8][19]



  • Donia, Robert J.; Fine, John V. A., Jr. (1994). Bosnia and Hercegovina: A Tradition Betrayed. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10160-0. With maps by John C. Hamer
  • Bringhurst, Newell G.; Hamer, John C., eds. (10 September 2007). Scattering Of The Saints: Schism Within Mormonism. Independence, Missouri: John Whitmer Books. ISBN 1-934-90102-4.
  • Walden, Barbara; Lachlan, MacKay (2008). House of the Lord: The Story of Kirtland Temple. United States: John Whitmer Books. ISBN 1-934-90106-7. With photographs by Val Brinkerhoff, and illustrations by John Hamer
  • Hamer, John C. (12 September 2008). 1844-1859: A Time Of Transition. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 1-440-42207-9. Souvenir book of the 36th Annual Meeting of the John Whitmer Historical Association, held in Old Voree (Burlington), Wisconsin, in 2008. Includes maps, photos, association information, and the complete program of the conference.
  • Hamer, Ginger, ed. (8 May 2009). Fitly Framed Together: The Life and Testimony of Bob and Louise Erekson. BookSurge Publishing. ISBN 1439229120. Cover design by John C. Hamer
  • Howlett, David J.; Walden, Barbara B.; Hamer, John C. (January 2010). Community of Christ: An Illustrated History. Independence, Mo.: Herald Publishing House. ISBN 0-830-91490-0.
  • Hamer, John C. (12 September 2011). Northeast of Eden: Atlas of Mormon Settlement in Caldwell County, Missouri, 1834-39. John Whitmer Books. ISBN 1-934-90107-5.


Podcast appearances[edit]

Hamer has been a guest on many podcasts including Mormon Stories, Gay Mormon Stories, Mormon Sunday School, Project Zion Podcast, Feminist Mormon Housewives, Mormon Expression, Infants on Thrones, Mormon Expositor, Sunstone, Radio West, Back Story with the American History Guys, Interesting Canadian Mormons, Naked Mormonism, Rational Faiths, and Mormon Matters.[20]


  1. ^ Hamer, John. "John Hamer « Saints Herald « Page 2". Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  2. ^ "Community of Christ - Who Are We". Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  3. ^ Hansen, Lindsay (2013-09-03). "SLC 2013 Symposium/ Session 111: Neither Protestant Nor LDS, Community of Christ's Unique Understanding of Scripture – Sunstone Magazine". Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  4. ^ Brown, Rich (2014-04-13). "Thirty Years of Lessons: Women and Gays in the Community of Christ « Saints Herald". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  5. ^ Evelyn Edson (2011). The World Map, 1300–1492: The Persistence of Tradition and Transformation. Johns Hopkins University Press.
  6. ^ a b "Toronto Congregation at Centre Place". 2017-05-11. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  7. ^ "John Hamer on Community of Christ for Transitioning Mormons". Mormon Stories. 2015-03-19. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  8. ^ a b c "John Hamer". By Common Consent. 6 April 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b Dehlin, John (14 June 2013). "422-423: John Hamer on Returning to Mormonism via the Community of Christ". Mormon Stories. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  10. ^ Parkinson, Daniel (14 June 2013). "040: John Hamer Pt.1 on growing up Mormon and being a gay agnostic at BYU". Gay Mormon Stories Podcast. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  11. ^ FireTag (2010-11-27). "Community of Christ Sets Conditions for Membership and Joins NCC – Wheat & Tares". Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  12. ^ Hamer, John. ""How Blessed the Day when the Lamb and the Lion ..." « Saints Herald". Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  13. ^ "Past Presidents" (PDF). The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal. 32 (1): vi. 2012.
  14. ^ "1844–1859: A Time Of Transition—'About the Author'". Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Columnists « Saints Herald". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  16. ^ Hamer, John. "Beyond the Literal Curtain « Saints Herald". Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  17. ^ Hamer, John. "Latter-day Seekers « Saints Herald". Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  18. ^ "Toronto Congregation at Centre Place: After Work Meditation". Retrieved 2017-08-30.
  19. ^ "Toronto Congregation at Centre Place". Blogger. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  20. ^ Hamer, John (14 September 2013). "John Hamer in Mormon Podcasts". Saints Herald. Retrieved 8 August 2017.

External links[edit]