J. D. Hiestand was ordained a United Methodist elder in 2013. He received a Master of Arts in Music in 1980, and a Master of Divinity in 2011. In between, he worked as a computer programmer and music director in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. His wife Vivian is also an ordained elder. They live in Colorado and have two sons, two grandchildren, and a Bichon-Frise.