“If there is anything that qualifies me for this calling it is the testimony that I gained at age 18 while I prepared for a mission,” says Elder James Joseph Hamula. “I had a most remarkable experience where I received a strong witness of the divinity of the Lord and of His Church.”

Born on November 20, 1957, in Long Beach, California, USA, to Joseph and Joyce Hamula, Elder Hamula remembers reading the account of the First Vision. He read of how the young Joseph Smith wanted to know what was right, and felt that he too needed to go to the Lord in prayer. “So I knelt at my bedside and earnestly prayed to the heavens. And in response I got an answer that was as clear and as unmistakable as anything that I’ve experienced in life. I got up off my knees knowing that the Church was true.”

After serving in the Germany Munich Mission, Elder Hamula graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in political science and philosophy. He then earned a master of arts in political philosophy and a juris doctorate, also from BYU. At the time of his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy, he worked as an attorney in Mesa, Arizona, USA.

It was in Arizona that Elder Hamula met his wife, Joyce Anderson. They were married in the Mesa Arizona Temple on April 27, 1984, and are now parents of six children. Their two youngest sons, twins, were born while Elder Hamula was serving as president of the Washington D.C. South Mission.

Elder Hamula has also served as a bishop, stake president, and Area Seventy. “All my experiences in the Church have been refinements of that singular experience as a young man of 18 preparing for my mission,” he says. “That was the foundation of it all.”