Listen, Learn & Love Hosted by Richard Ostler
Summary: Welcome to our podcast! My name is Richard Ostler (twitter: @papaostler) 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 'Mormon leaders, along with the rank and file, need to listen to and understand what LGBT members are feeling and experiencing (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. 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 ❤ email@example.com
My friend Karl Malchut joins us to tell his story. Karl talks about growing up gay in a religious family, leaving that faith and joining the LDS Church and now being Jewish. Karl talks about being grateful for his time in the Church. Karl talks about his life being gay, insights learned and hopes for the future. Karl also shares his role as President of the Affirmation Chicago and his goals to bring more understanding between our LGBTQ member and the LDS Church. Affirmation Chicago has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AffimationChicagoChapter/. At that page you can check out their next event on October 26th. Thanks for being on the podcast Karl. You are a good man and friend.
My friend Sarah Bowers shares her journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Sarah, who lives in California and is in her late 20s, earned a degree in International Studies and wants to get a Masters in Social Work. Sarah shares her thoughts about her future, strong relationship with Heavenly Parents, coming out to her parents and her relationship with her YSA Bishop. Sarah shares how she would like to share her life with a woman. While I wouldn’t invite anyone down a road outside the doctrine of our Church that I sustain and support, I think it is important to hear stories of how to keep the family circle together and the good work Sarah and her YSA Bishop are doing to stay connected. Thanks for being on the podcast, Sarah. You have a great life ahead of you.
My friend Trevor Searle shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. He talks about always wanting to do the right thing (including serving a mission, marrying a woman and having a family). Trevor talks about how his sexual orientation never changed, which led him to conclude he is a 'monster' and should die. Trevor talks about his near suicide and Heavenly Father answering his prayer that he shared in this moving post: https://www.facebook.com/trevor.searle.33/posts/%2010219274388241319 Yes, I’m sad when a marriage ends. Yes, there is so much pain for all involved. Yes, I’m sad when someone steps away from our Church. But that is the reality of some situations and we can all agree that suicide is the worst outcome. I’ve learned to not pass judgement when a marriage ends as I can never fully understand the complexities of each situation. Neither Trevor or me believe/hope other mixed-orientation marriages will fail. This is only Trevor's story. I've done many podcasts of thriving and successful mixed-orientation marriages (http://www.listenlearnandlove.org/mixed-orientation-marriage-podcasts). They are beautiful love stories. I feel confident Trevor will continue to be a great Dad to his two children, will continue to bless many people through his nursing career, and give hope to others who are considering suicide. I’m glad Trevor chose to stay. Be like Trevor. Please stay.
My friend Lark Galley bravely shares the story of her 19 year old son who died by suicide. She is now living her worst nightmare. Lark, like others, is openly and passionately talking about this subject to help solve this tragic problem in our community and help heal the hearts of those impacted. Here is a link to Christian’s obituary: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/saltlaketribune/obituary.aspx?n=christian-galley&pid=191899632&fhid=4550 Thank you Lark for having the courage to share your story. You have powerful and helpful insights. Thanks for being on the podcast.
My friend Caleb Jones share wonderful insights into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, faith transitions, serving others, and why he stays a committed Latter-day Saint. Caleb also talks about the LGBT FHE that has started in his Stake. Great podcast for those who are in a faith transition and want to remain LDS and for those looking for added insights into Christ teachings. Caleb also discusses Elder Uchtdorf’s powerful 2015 talk about ministering https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/president-uchtdorf-transcript-salt-lake-inner-city-mission. We encourage everyone to read this talk. Thanks for being on the podcast Caleb. I wish all of us could be in your Sunday School class. Thanks for your insights and discipleship.
My friends Xian Mackintosh and Karson Phippen share they journey as gay Latter-day Saints. Both served missions (Detroit and Philippines, respectively) and are moving forward in their lives. Xian has a Master in Social Work and Karson is looking forward to Medical School. They share staying close to Heavenly Father and the great support they are receiving from family and friends especially for their wedding in August 2019. Xian and his parents Scott and Becky Mackintosh joined me on Episode 173 to share the family story and Becky’s new book called ‘Love Boldly: Embracing your LGBTQ Loved Ones and Your Faith’. I encourage everyone to read this book (available of Deseret Book, Seagull Book and Amazon). Yes, their path is outside the doctrine of our church that I sustain and support. But these good men are still worthy of friendship and support as they use their agency to choose their path. I hope and believe their marriage succeeds. I love these words from Becky Mackintosh from their Church video realizing her son was stepping way: ‘I should be curled up in a ball, crying and thinking, “What’s happened to my eternal family?” Once you let it go, I’m laying this on the Savior’s feet, it feels like this big load is lifted, and you do have a peace (https://mormonandgay.churchofjesuschrist.org/videos?id=11549365994538963301). Thank you Xian and Karson for sharing some of your story. You two have great lives ahead of you.
My friend Mikal Bitter, age 21 working on a Master’s at Utah State in HR, shares his life story. He talks about coming to terms with being gay, excellent family support, moving forward in his life, respect for the LDS church and hopes/dreams for the future. Thanks for sharing your story, Mikal. Great podcast for helping to keep the family together. Thanks for being on the podcast Mikal. You are a good man and have a great life ahead of you.
My friend Travis and Margaret Steward, active LDS, parents of 6 children, Mission President in Houston from 2005-2008, share their story with Travis coming out as gay to his wife in 2014 and then more broadly to trusted friends and family members. Travis bravely shares the 40+ years of shame and self-loathing being in the closet as a gay Latter-day Saint and how this shame is now gone. Travis shares how he now has a much deeper relationship with Christ and sees himself worthy of God’s love. They both share how they are navigating this road. Their marriage is real, authentic and a beautiful love story. Travis and Margaret have wonderful insights on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how we can better minister to all of God’s children. As I recorded this podcast, I felt I was on sacred ground as this great couple shared their journey and insights. Often with tears in all our eyes. I encourage everyone to listen to this podcast as you will gain valuable insights to be better disciples of Christ and the road our LGBTQ members walk. Thank you Travis and Margaret for sharing your story. You two are awesome. Thanks for blessing 1000s. We love both of you!
My friend Leanne Tressler (mother of 7 children) joins us to talk about her journey ‘living her worst nightmare’ with her husband Spencer (age 39, died Oct 2015) and her old son Kaden (age 16, died April 2019) both completing suicide. Leanne has been sharing valuable lessons and insights on her Facebook page. Check out these posts: https://www.facebook.com/leanne.paynetressler/posts/10157779753572022 https://www.facebook.com/leanne.paynetressler/posts/10157659894277022 Please listen to his podcast. Leanne has remarkable things to say. It will give you more hope to stay. It will give you more tools to help others. It will help all of us talk openly about suicide so we can better solve this tragedy in our community. I’m grateful for Brother Reed Blackburn (Seminary Teacher at Cottonwood High and a cousin to Leanne) for facilitating this podcast. Leanne: We love you and your family. Thank you for the courage to share your story
My friend Ray shares her journey as bisexual Latter-day Saint. She served a mission in Florida (came out to her Bishop and Stake President before serving). Ray also came out to her Mission President and companions. It’s a wonderful story and Ray has excellent insights for queer Latter-day Saints … especially those who are considering serving missions. Ray is at BYU with a strong testimony of our Restored Church and a unique life mission to reach and help others to Christ through our Restored Church. Thanks for being on the podcast, Ray. You are awesome.
My friends Paul and Shannon share their journey with Paul being an extrovert and Shannon being an introvert. Shannon, mother of four and professional coach, shares how being an introvert can make her experience with the church culture difficult. She shares brave and thoughtful insights. She is now at peace being an introvert and shares her unique ability to reach and lift others in ways that are different that typical Latter-day Saints. Paul, who serves as EQ President in his Heber City Ward, shares the strength of their marriage and how these differences bring them together, help better serve others, and help them raise their four children. Paul is on IG at @ltldrmmrboy and Shannon is on IG at @sci_tri. To learn more about our introvert brothers and sisters, please read: QUIET: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking Thank you for sharing your journey. You two are awesome. I learned so much from both of you and now better understand the unique road our introverted members of our Church walk and their unique contributions.
My dear friends Becky and Scott Mackintosh (active LDS, Recent YSA Bishop) join me on the podcast with their wonderful son Xian (recently married to his husband Karson). Xian offered a wonderful prayer before we recorded and I hope you feel the spirit of love and understanding. The Mackintosh family is featured on this church produced video from 2017 https://mormonandgay.churchofjesuschrist.org/videos?id=11549365994538963301&lang=eng This good family talks about Christ’s doctrine and principals to keep the family circle together even when one member chooses a path outside our doctrine. This story is part of Becky’s Mackintosh’s new book (release date Sept 10th) called ‘Love Boldly: Embracing Your LGBTQ Loved Ones and Your Faith.” Available at available at Deseret Book. Seagull Book, Barnes & Noble and Amazon Here is the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Boldly-Embracing-LGBTQ-Loved/dp/1462135943/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1VUB1O66X9WW1&keywords=becky+mackintosh&qid=1566589126 I encourage everyone to buy this book and share it with your family, friends and local ward leaders. Thanks for being on the podcast Becky, Scott and Xian. You are all awesome.
My friend Patrick Risk joins me to update us on his journey (earlier podcast is episode 45). Patrick, who is a survivor of sexual abuse (age 6-12) from male cousin, bravely shares his journey of his marriage (fall of 2018) being annulled, coming to terms with his same-sex attraction and moving forward in this life. Patrick talks about trying to end the ‘what if’ cycle on how his life would be different without the sexual abuse and moving forward with a ‘what now’ framework. Patrick works for the Church (meetinghouse facilities), volunteers with suicide crisis text line, and is working with elected official to get more funding for global poverty initiatives. Patrick is a hero to me for having the courage to share his story. He is strong, vulnerable, and courageous. Patrick knows the ‘desert’ of pain that comes from the trauma that occurs in our life, often outside of our control (and 100% not our fault), and how to use the Atonement and doctrine of Jesus Christ to heal and move forward. Patrick now has a unique life mission to lead others out of their ‘deserts’ with his ability to give hope and point them to Christ. Thanks for having the guts and courage to be on the podcast, Patrick. It was deeply spiritual experience for me and will be for our listeners. You are a great man, one of my heroes and have a wonderful future.
My friend Amber Richardson, BYU graduate in theater, bravely shares her journey as a survivor of childhood sexual assault. Amber started a podcast called ‘On Sovereign Wings,’ so that other women could share their stories of reclaiming their power after sexual assault. Amber has great insights into the difficulty our members on this road encounter, and how to help them heal and have more hope. Amber knows this desert and hopes to help others find their way out as she makes her own journey into wholeness. Amber is working on a book called ‘Woman, Crowned’ (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1000901601/woman-crowned) dedicated to the queens in our scriptures. Amber talks about one of these queens, Bathsheba, with thoughtful and remarkable insights in this episode.
My friends Kirk Richard and Allison Dayton (both active LDS) join me to talk about Kirk’s painting and its message for our LGBTQ members. Allison gave this painting to her gay son Jake for Christmas in 2018 and shares how their family is navigating this road. It’s a beautiful family love story. Allison also talks about her new organization called Lift and Love (check it out on IG at @liftandloveorg). Kirk talks about why he did this painting including the 7 perfect sides. Kirk also shares the doctrine of Christ behind this painting and helpful insights about our LGBTQ members as Kirk has friends on this road. We also talk about the ‘signal’ the painting sends to our LGBTQ members that you are safe person. Sister Alyssa Edwards, a High School Seminary Teacher, has this painting hanging in her seminary office (see Episode 165). Thanks for being on the podcast. The two of you are awesome.