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 *I respond to your e-mails. Check your spam folder*
My friend Cassidy Jensen shares her brutally painful journey following being raped while a student at BYU Law School in 2019. Cassidy, who is now married and practicing Family Law in California, shares shattered dreams, shame, trauma, losing trust in God and the road to healing. Cassidy shares some of her experience at her blog: https://weallhavelight.com/ including her powerful victim impact statement at https://weallhavelight.com/blog-1/alettertomyrapist If you need to heal from trauma/crushed dreams or want to help someone heal, please listen to Cassidy’s story. Cassidy is strong, brave, powerful and full of insights to help others. Thank you for the courage to be on the podcast Cassidy. You are one of our heroes.
My friend Jeffrey Alldredge joins us to share his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint, Jeffrey, who grew up in Saint George Utah, came out to his parents at age 12. He served an mission and returned home and married his long-time girlfriend Cassandra. It is a beautiful love story. Jeffrey has been and continues to be completely open to Cassie about everything. Jeffrey has wonderful insights into life as a gay Latter-day Saint, the role of helpful family and Church leaders. He has great insights dealing with shame, painful comments, difficult situations, dark days, and the role of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to heal and give hope. Thanks for having the courage to share your story on the podcast my friend Jeffrey. Our world and Church are better off with you here. Thanks for your goodness and your insights that will help others. You and Cassie (and your two sons) are a beautiful family.
My friend Davis Amis joins us to share his testimony and mission experiences from his service in Benin, West Africa. Davis also shares his decision to wait a year after High School graduation to serve a mission and why that was the right decision for him. Davis, who attends Westminster College where he is a member of the golf team, has great insights into the good people in Benin and Togo and the beautiful doctrine in our Restored Church. Thank you Davis for being on the podcast, your goodness, testimony and faithful service.
My friend Emma Mecham bravely shares her 5 year journey with depression. It all started with a voice at the conclusion of a church assignment that said ‘You know Emma, maybe you're not as good as you thought you were.” That voice, which is not how Heavenly Father feels about Emma, led to self-harm and deep depression. Emma takes about how she fought and is overcoming depression with the help of family, therapists, church leaders and friends. She also talks about how the Atonement of Jesus Christ provides her hope and healing. Thanks for being on the podcast Emma. You are a hero to all of us for your courageous work to manage and solve depression. You have a great life ahead of you!
My friend Cody Swensen shares his remarkable journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Cody, who works in HR for a Utah County company, recently came out publicly on Facebook and IG receiving hundreds of loving and supportive comments. Cody talks about his two decade journey to come to terms with his sexual orientation. Many people have helped Cody along the way including a wonderful BYU therapists, family and friends. Cody talks about overcoming depression, self-loathing, shame, his excellent relationship with Heavenly Father, and why he stays a committed member of the Church. If you are LDS and LGBTQ and are looking for hope and healing, please listen to this podcast. If you want to better understand the journey of a LGBTQ Latter-day Saint, please listen to Cody’s story. Cody is one of my new heroes. This world is a better place with people like Cody in it. Thanks for being on the podcast Cody—I learned so much from you
My friend Brandon Kellogg (age 26, RM, married) joins us to talk about his parent’s divorce during his teenage years. Brandon talks about the pain of the divorce, anger, frustration and lost dreams. Brandon then talks about forgiveness, recovery and the wonderful relationship he has with both parents. If you are looking to overcome a grudge or broken relationship, Brandon’s podcast may be helpful. Thank you for being on the podcast Brandon. You are a great man and friend
My friend Kevin Kloosterman joins us to share his story as an LGBTQ Ally for the past 9 years. Kevin, who is a married father of three, former Bishop, and current mental health therapist, has great insights on how to be an effective ally and active Latter-day Saint. Kevin also has wonderful insights and helpful thoughts for our LGBTQ members as they walk a difficult road. Thank for being on the podcast my friend. You are a wonderful mentor to me, example of a Christlike disciple, and bring hope and healing to many.
My friend Colby, age 29 and a soon-to-be Resident Physician in Neurology, shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Colby discusses coming to terms with his sexual orientation and his OCD and to separate these two aspects of his life. Colby, who served a mission in Calgary Canada, talks about his efforts to stay engaged in the Church, close with God, date men and his excellent family support. Colby attends his YSA Ward where he came out (and received great support) during a recent testimony on fast Sunday. Thank you for being on the podcast Colby. You are doing a great job navigating a complex road as a gay Latter-day Saint. Thanks for the courage to share your story and all the good you are doing in society. You have a great life ahead of you and will continue to help so many.
My friend Linnette, in the 50’s and mother of a teenage son, shares her journey. Linnette served a mission, then spent about 20 years outside of the church, including 8 years in same-sex committed relationship. Linnette shares her journey to return to the church—and the people who helped her including a wonderful sister and priesthood leaders. Linnette shares her love of the Temple, our Savior and serving others. You can read more of Linnette’s remarkable journey here bluedolphinlight.com. Thank you for being on the podcast Linnette. You are awesome. Thanks for the courage to share your remarkable story.
My nephew and friend Richie Ostler joins me to talk about dealing with life challenges and changing expectations. One area of changing expectations is his mission where he was assigned to Quito, Ecuador but then served in Minneapolis, Minnesota (for 6 months) before eventually serving in Quito Ecuador. Because of COVID-19, Richie returned home after about a year in Ecuador. Richie had many experiences helping people come to Christ through our restored Church. Richie’s faithful mission was much different than his original expectations—but he served diligently and has great insights for others with changed mission expectations. Another area of life challenges is his mother Ann’s death 6 years ago when Richie was 13 year old. Richie talks about Ann’s example and continue role for good in his life. Richie also shares being a missionary and receiving the devastating news in Feb 2020 that his five-year-old nephew Sammy Glauser died in an tragic accident. Richie has great insights in the role of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to heal from difficult earthly experiences. Thanks for being on the podcast Richie. You are wise beyond your years and your insights will help many.
My friend Paul Hoybjerg, active LDS/BYU Law School graduate, joins us to talk about protecting our children from sexaul abuse. Paul is an attorney in California and advocates for victims of abuse and negligence. From his legal work and life experiences, he has wonderful insights for parents and those who have experienced abuse. Paul talks about how abusers will groom and isolate their victims, groups that are at risk, warning signs, available resources, and how to heal from abuse. If you are a parent, this podcast will give you better tools and insights to protect your children and have better communication skills so children will open up if they if they are in unhealthy situations. Thanks for being on the podcast Paul and your great work to help protect our children. This podcast will help so many. If you have any additional questions for Paul, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My friend Matt, in his 30’s and a financial planner, share his story as a gay Latter-day Saints. Matt, who grew up in New Jersey and served a mission in Houston Texas, shares his journey going from shame around his sexual orientation to being at peace this is who his is—and what makes his needed life mission possible. Matt doesn’t look in the mirror and see someone who is broken—but a beloved son of God. Matt talks about choosing to live the Gospel, focusing on God and not Church culture, temple attendance, accepting other’s paths, behavior versus heart, and how being gay isn’t a trial. A frequent theme of this podcast is eliminating shame around sexual orientation. Thanks for being on the podcast Matt. I learned so much listening to your story. You are a great man, with a pure heart and an ability to love and help others. Thanks for sharing your story—it will help so many. You can also listen to Matt’s story on this North Star video: https://www.northstarlds.org/voh-profile-matt
My friend Jared Halverson, finishing up a PHD in American Religious History from Vanderbilt University Divinity School, joins me to talk about how to help Latter-day Saints with honest questions. I became aware of Jared from these excellent LDS Living Videos: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=518222565797021 and https://www.facebook.com/LDSLiving/videos/222190582197378/ If you have questions about the Church or want better tools to help those with questions, please listen and share this podcast. Brother Halverson helps us understand that questions are positive steps in developing our faith and testimony. Thank you for being on the podcast, Jared. I was personally deeply touched by the things you shared and your insights into our restored Church. You have a beautiful and unique ministry to help in improve our culture to normalize asking questions and help more of our wonderful members have better tools to stay in our Church.
My friend Jessica joins us to talk about her journey with Scrupulosity and Relationship OCD. While serving in the Albuquerque, New Mexico mission, Jessica worked through several difficult episodes with Scrupulosity. She has great insights to help others. Jessica also has Relationship OCD and give us helpful insights to better understand and manage it. You can learn more about this at https://ocdla.com/ Thanks for being on the podcast Jessica. You are brave, faithful and courageous. You story and insights will help so many!
My friend Hannah Larson (active LDS, RM, Graduating from BYU in June 2020) joins us to talk about spiritual impressions to start the Humans of BYU Instagram account (@humansofbyu). This account brings voice to BYU students who walk a difficult and unique road. It is part of Hannah’s vision of helping us learn to be vulnerable and authentic so we can better love each other. The stories on this account are awesome and I encourage everyone to follow this account. Thank you for being on the podcast Hannah. You are helping us come together as Latter-day Saints to better love and support each other.