Listen, Learn & Love Hosted by Richard Ostler
Summary: Welcome to our podcast! My name is Richard Ostler (twitter: twitter.com/Papa_Ostler; FB: facebook.com/richard.ostler.5; IG: instagram.com/papa_ostler/) and am a native of Salt Lake City. I have degrees from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University (business). I married my best friend and eternal companion Sheila Juergens of Houston, Texas in 1990 and we are the parents of six children and two grandchildren and live near Cottonwood High School in Salt Lake City. I believe in and am deeply committed to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and want it to work for a wider group. The name ‘Papa Ostler’ resulting from being introduced to Twitter by my High School age son Matt in 2010. I wanted the high school age youth to know I wasn’t their age as I interacted with them … hence the name Papa Ostler. I served as a YSA Bishop in the West Valley City/Magna area of Salt Lake (released in 2016) and met some of the finest people I will ever know. In addition to meeting with wonderful active members of my Ward, I reached out and connected via social media (mostly via the private messaging features of FB and Twitter) with many of our inactive members and their non-member friends. Over time, many felt comfortable meeting with me and sharing their stories. Through hundreds of interviews and ‘listening to understand’, I was able to ‘see’ the church from the eyes of those on the outside. Many feel the church is their ‘spiritual home’ but feel uncomfortable attending for a variety of reasons such as work-in-progress testimonies, concerns about church history, feeling unworthy because of past or current sin, don't fit the cultural mold, role of women, are LGBTQ and/or feel God's LGBTQ childen should be more welcomed in our congregations, etc. This podcast is designed to 'Have a Conversation' about some of the more complicated issues in our church to help all of us 'listen, learn and love' so we can minister in a more effective way to all of Heavenly Father’s children. Most podcasts will be from our LDS LGBTQ friends to give them voice so we can better understand their road, touch their cross, learn from them, and minister to them as directed by President M. Russell Ballard when he said "We need to listen to and understand what our LGBT brothers and sisters are feeling and experiencing. Certainly, we must do better than we have done in the past so that all members feel they have a spiritual home where their brothers and sisters love them and where they have a place to worship and serve the Lord(Nov 2017 BYU Devotional)." Some podcasts will be from LGBTQ allies sharing their experiences and how to be helpful. Other podcasts will be from guests talking about other complicated topics such as mental health, returning from a mission early, overcoming sin, and faith challenges. Are podcast are indexed by category at listenlearnandlove.org/podcasts Thank you for joining us. You can't donate to this podcast. There are no sponsors. But you can leave a review/rate the podcast on the platform you are listening. With love, Richard 'Papa' Ostler ❤ firstname.lastname@example.org *I will respond to your e-mails*
My friend Emily Tomkinson joins us from the Seattle area to share her story. Emily grew up active LDS in Provo, served a mission, and was active until about age 30. Since that time, Emily has stepped away from the Church and is now married to her wife Jess and is the stepmom of boy/girl twins. Emily and Jess hold Family Night every Monday. Emily bravely shares her journey surviving a suicide attempt and coming to terms with her sexual orientation. Emily is in a great place emotionally and also close with her LDS family. This is a great podcast for finding common ground in our differences, keeping the family circle together, honoring personal agency and seeing good in others. Thank you for being on the podcast Emily. You are a wonderful and needed member of the human family.
My friend Jenny Richards (married mother of 4, classically trained pianist and composer with an undergraduate and master’s degree from Juilliard in New York) joins us to share and honor the life of her dear younger sister Emilee who died in January 2019. Emilee identified as a nonbinary lesbian. Emilee held a degree in psychology from Westminster and a master’s in neuropsychology from the University of Oregon and is a beautiful person. Jenny shares insights into Emiliee’s journey to help us better meet the needs of our LGBTQ friends. Jenny also brings to life Emiliee’s gifts, contributions and work to help us improve as a society. Jenny is passionate about both our Church and doing better to meet the needs of LGBTQ Latter-day Saints. I encourage everyone to listen to her story to hear her ‘tender heart insights’ on how we can do better. At the end of the podcast is a primary song that Jenny wrote to honor Emilee. The sheet music to the song can be download free at https://www.dropbox.com/s/i9rpmymbwzp0kqm/He%20Knows%20Me%20Jenny%20Richards%20Podcast.pdf?dl=0. You can also learn more about Jenny at www.jennyrichardsmusic.com and her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTVo_m6JthrqG_V8FpsfZCQ and connect with Jenny on Instagram at @jennylovesnate Thanks for being on the podcast Jenny and all you are doing to help our LGBTQ friends feel needed, valued and included.
My friend Andy Proctor, author of “Live Your Mission” for RM’s (amazon.com//dp/B018HLL5VQ), shares his own faith crisis/transition which ended with him staying a committed member of the Church. Because of Andy’s life experiences including his wife’s experience with mental illness, his education, and his professional work in positive psychology, he is uniquely qualified to help others who feel they “are alone and don’t know what to do.” Andy believes in building heaven starting now and helps others experience the “good life regardless of uncertainty” using research-based tools and your spiritual heritage to help you build a good life. You can find Andy and his work at morehappylife.co and on IG at https://www.instagram.com/morehappylife/ and on FB at https://www.facebook.com/MoreHappyLifeCo. If you are going through hard times or want to help others, please listen to Andy’s podcast, "More Happy Life" and connect with his work. Andy brings hope, healing and peace. Thanks for being on the podcast Andy. You are a great man and friend.
My friend Meggan Chappell joins us to share her story. Meggan, in her early 30’s, shares her story of coming to terms with her sexual orientation around age 30 which led to dark thoughts of suicide. Meggan worked through those dark times and felt her path forward is a same-sex relationship. Meggan and her girlfriend Janise have been together for three years. Meggan, who was an active Latter-day Saint and is respectful to the Church, shares staying close to her Heavenly Parents and the Savior. Thanks for being on the podcast Meggan. We are the same human family. You have a great life ahead of you. Thanks for doing your best to navigate a complicated road.
My friend Leland Wilson shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Leland left the Church (and Southern Utah) around 1983 (in his late teens). Leland lived a successful life as a floral designer and had a same-sex partner for 15+ years. Leland returned to Southern Utah in 2017 and ultimately returned to full activity in the Church. Thank you my friend Leland for being on podcast. Glad you are alive. Thank you for sharing your journey. Your story will help others. You are a good man
My friend Jack Hadley (Entrepreneur, Adjunct Professor at BYU) shares his journey with his gay son Parker. Jack and Betina are the parents of five children and eight grandchildren. Parker, age 27 and a RM from Nova Scotia, was married in July of 2020 to his husband Alex with Jack officiating. Jack talks about how he is happy for Parker and is supportive of his decision. Jack wrote the following essay which I encourage our listeners to read. It reflect the honest feelings and good heart of a committed Latter-day Saint doing his best maintain a strong family. You can read the essay here: https://www.jackhadley.com/faith-hope-charity-and-my-sons-marriage/ Thanks for being on the podcast Jack and helping us better understand who we can support family members in same-sex marriages, our church and how to keep the family circle strong and together.
Episode 312: Josianne Petit, Founder Mama & Papa Panthers by Richard Ostler
My friend Alexander Baxter, RM, BYU Graduate and Grad Student at UC Davis, joins us to share his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. I became aware of Alexander via his Twitter profile (@pionqueer47) with the words “Gay and Elder Quorum President – I guess its possible”. Alexander’s Bishop and Stake President knew he was gay before extending the call to serve as the Elders Quorum President. Alexander shares his journey, including how he realized he way probably gay during his mission (Tacoma, Washington) and how he came to accept this part of himself at BYU. Alexander has a unique family situation (which he talks about on the podcast) and reports supportive parents. I encourage everyone to listen to Alexander’s story on the podcast and his blog at alexanderbaxterblog.blogspot.com. Thanks for being on the podcast Alexander. You are a great man with a wonderful future
Episode 310: Sam Skidmore, Gay, Working on PhD at Utah State by Richard Ostler
My friend Pam Lyman, active LDS and married mother of 4 boys, talks about raising a family with a son with Angelman Syndrome (https://www.angelman.org/) Pam and Matt's son Conrad who is 18 was diagnosed at 15 months with this family changing illness. Pam, who has been on this road for 16+ years, has wonderful insights for other families raising a child with a life-changing illness and what we can do better to support and sustain families walking this road. Thank you for being on the podcast Pam. You and your family are awesome and I deeply admire and respect you all. Your story will help so many. Note: Angelman Syndrome was discovered in 1965, not in 1985 as is mentioned in the podcast.
My friend Kurt Francom joins us to talk about Leader Saints’ upcoming virtual summit for local LDS leaders be better prepared to minister to LGBT Latter-day Saints. The summit starts on September with the over 20 pre-recorded seminars released (about two per day). Some of the presenters are Spencer Thompson, Travis Steward, Ganel-Lyn Condie, Ty Mansfield, Jeff Case, Becky Borden, Blake Fisher, Ben Schilaty, Chelsea Chipman, and Becky and Scott Mackintosh. I encourage everyone to sign up for the summit. For free registration and for more details, please see https://leadingsaints.org/lgbt Thank you Kurt for all your needed work at Leaders Saints and on the Board at NorthStar.
My friend Miles Selman, age 23 who served a mission in Portugal, shares his journey with long-term gender dysphoria. That dysphoria (or incongruence) led to a failed suicide attempt about a year after his mission and led to needing to transition to deal with/manage the gender dysphoria. In December 2019, Miles identified as a transgender man and took on he/him pronouns. Miles has both a deep testimony of our restored Church and a conformation from his Heavenly Parents that he is male. He doesn’t want to live without either of those truths and is moving forward the best way he knows how as a transgender Latter-day Saint. Miles also identifies as a homoromantic asexual and explains that for our listeners. Thanks for being on the podcast Miles. You are strong and courageous. Thanks for your service in Portugal and your future contributions help others to Christ through our restored Church. You have a great life ahead of you!
My friend Jeff Derricott joins us to share his story. Jeff, who came out to his parents before his mission, shares trying everything to fall in love and marry a woman. In late 2018, Jeff’s world came crashing down as he realized that path was not within his control. Facing feelings of lost hope and some thoughts of suicide, Jeff shares his story to find hope and a path forward. For Jeff, that path of hope and healing includes a deep relationship with his Heavenly Parents, relying on the Atonement, a network of family and friends, and working towards a monogamous same-sex marriage. I encourage everyone to listen to Jeff’s story to develop better empathy for our LGBTQ members. He is a great man doing his best to walk a complicated road. Jeff reports his family, friends and Church leaders are excellent. Jeff (and our LBTQ members) deserve our love and support.
My friend Julie Lee, host of the I See You podcast, joins us to talk about her new book I See You: How Compassion and Connection Save Lives. Julie is married with two kids and active LDS. She shares insights about black and white thinking, how to "see" others with compassion and connection, and finding healing through Jesus, therapy and medication. Her mission is to bring us together as a human family. I encourage everyone to read her book published by our friends at Cedar Fort. Please go to julieleespeaks.com to order her book and listen to her podcast series. Thank you Julie for being on the podcast. Your healing voice is so needed.
Lou Jarvis, my long-time friend from our missions in England, joins us to talk about his business career. Lou, a business owner in Arizona, experienced financial success until 2008. Lou then bravely shares his story of making several major financial errors that led to Lou losing just about everything and total despair in an empty condo in Irvine, California in 2010. Lou talks about the cycle of looking back, ruminating, and wishing he could re-do several decisions and how he still gets triggered about these decisions even though he is very blessed. If you are living in a cycle of regret for decisions you’ve made that really can’t get undone, please listen to Lou’s podcast. He is honest and vulnerable and has insights to help all us of look forward. Thanks for being on the podcast, Lou. You are a great man, friend and someone I deeply admire and respect.