In part 1, John Hamer discusses the LDS Succession Crisis after Joseph Smith’s death, and the ground that it laid for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or Community of Christ).

In part 2, we discuss the transformation of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (RLDS) towards a more Christ-centered church, including the decision to build a temple in Independence, Missouri, and change its name to “The Community of Christ.”

We also discuss its transition away from prophetic succession based on blood line, and its decision to ordain women to the priesthood.

(Music provided courtesy of Clayton Pixton and Skype Pixton.  If you can, please email them and thank them for the music…better yet…email them and then buy an album!!!!)

Part 1

Download MP3

Part 2

Download MP3


  1. Mike Reed January 25, 2010 at 2:05 am - Reply

    Great job John and John. I very much enjoyed this podcast. Thank you.

  2. Bored in Vernal January 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    “Skype Pixton”…LOL!
    Love this pic of John.

  3. John Nichols January 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Hi John!

    do you happen to have a transcript or notes?


  4. John Dehlin January 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    I don’t. Sorry, John.

  5. Digital Mayhem January 25, 2010 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    Great interview, I liked how it interwove several rich points of history. I hadn’t known the origin of the affidavits affirming Nauvoo polygamy. I had grown up thinking ill if the RLDS faith without much knowledge of their origins and tenants… they were kinda like the “other white meat” for me within my LDS bubble.

    Very good podcast, can’t wait for part 2.

  6. George Windes January 25, 2010 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    To the two John’s (both of which I’ve had limited contact with), I loved the podcast. You are talking of things which I studied for a half a century. I may be the only LDS missionary in history who was receiving half a dozen newsletters from small Book of Mormon believing churches, even while living amongst the Navajos.

    It was during my mission that certain events happened in France which would shock the LDS church. Eventually the Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times would make an appearance. I was very involved. If you would like the inside story of those amazing days, of polygamy, new prophets, and cities of refuge… I would be happy to tell the tale.

    Thanks Gentlemen. Shalom.

  7. danithew January 26, 2010 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    I imagine that providing transcripts of these podcasts would be a HUGE amount of work.

    If they were available, I’d want to print them up to read on subway rides.

  8. TheFaithfulDissident January 27, 2010 at 7:46 am - Reply

    Wonderful podcast, John and John! It comes at an appropriate time as one of my friends is converting to CofC and I’m interested to learn more. I’m hoping to attend a CofC meeting this weekend, in fact.

    Looking forward to Part 2!

  9. Richard January 29, 2010 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Great Podcast from both Johns

    I knew some about the RLDS and CoC and it was great to be able to understand their position better and learn more about their history.

    Also great music from Clayton Pixton and Skye Pixton. I went to their site and bought the album!

  10. a random John February 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    John Dehlin,

    I think you mischaracterize popular LDS understanding of the succession crisis. In my experience it is well known that Hyrum would have taken over had he been alive, that Joseph III was expected to be able to take over eventually, and that there was a showdown between Brigham and Sydney. Thus the whole “mantle of Joseph” story.

    I’m enjoying the podcast so far. Keep up the good work.

  11. John Dehlin February 3, 2010 at 12:15 pm - Reply


    You could totally be right. Sorry if I mis-characterized things. It wasn’t my intent.

    I’ll try to be more careful.

  12. a random John February 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm - Reply


    No worries. I listened to both episodes and I found the whole thing fascinating. I learned a lot both about the succession and the Community of Christ. John Hamer certainly filled in a lot of details about the succession, my point was just that I think the general outline (and not much more) is, in my experience, common knowledge among LDS.

    I do wonder how well informed the general membership of both churches is concerning some of the historical issues raised in the interview. While touring Nauvoo and Kirtland several CoC tour guides made statements to me concerning polygamy that were both factually incorrect and disparaging. Similarly, I’m sure that LDS guides say things all the time that would frustrate visitors from a CoC or other Mormon background, as we have our own issues with church history.

    I’m glad to see the return of Mormon Stories. I’ll be consuming your bandwidth regularly.

  13. John Dehlin February 4, 2010 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Thanks, John!!! Please keep the feedback coming!

  14. John Hamer February 11, 2010 at 10:19 am - Reply

    ARJ: You’re right that there are members of the Community of Christ, including some of the volunteers at the historic sites, who retain beliefs about polygamy that have been discredited by historical evidence. The church’s policy is that everyone should read the sources and the best available history work and come to their own decisions. People like Richard Price, who split with the RLDS in the 1980s to form the conservative Restorationist movement, have created a large amount of apologetic literature whose tone and techniques will be familiar to anyone who has read conservative LDS apologetic literature. Although discounted by all disinterested historians, this kind of apologetics continues to enjoy a wide influence, even among Community of Christ members.

  15. Justin February 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    John –

    You are the freaking man!!
    I have listened to all of your podcasts and I was coming back to re-listen to a few and to my suprise you have new material.
    You rock! If there is anything I can do to help let me know.
    I enjoy these more than you know!

    Take care and god be with you!

  16. […] in 2010, John Dehlin interviewed John Hamer on Mormon Stories.  It was a fascinating interview, discussing LDS and RLDS church history.  One of the interesting […]

  17. […] January 2010, John Dehlin Interviewed John Hamer on the Succession Crisis following Joseph Smith’s death.  I posted part of this a few days […]

  18. A. Anderson July 25, 2022 at 8:35 am - Reply

    John and John, I enjoyed this podcast! Especially when J.D. reiterates “you might not always be in the place you are now” because things have changed so much in 12 years… Understanding the historical truth is so empowering.

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