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 Nic Quilter joins us to share his thoughts and insights about our LGBTQ+ members. I became aware of Nic from his excellent essay which I encourage everyone to read: https://medium.com/@quiknilter/climbing-trees-and-other-things-youre-not-supposed-to-do-bd720255a49a Thanks for being on the podcast Nic. It is members like you that give me so much hope for the future of our Church and society. Keep using you awesome gifts to help and bless others. Glad and honored to count you as a friend.
My friend Cory Wolfenbarger (married father of six, former Bishop) shares his journey being an early release missionary from Russia because of his emotional health. Cory ended up finishing his mission in Seattle. Cory is joined on the podcast by his two sons. Holden, age 21, was serving in Nicaragua when political unrest forces out all the missionaries. Holden finished in Long Beach, California. Elder Mac Wolfenbarger just returned from Vietnam because the coronavirus pandemic. Still a set-apart missionary, Elder Wolfenbarger shares insights and gospel principals that keeps him grounded in this middle of many unknown. Great podcast for any missionary, local leader, or family dealing with changing missionary expectations with the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks you for being on the podcast and your great insights to help others walking this road.
My friend David Smurthwaite, in his early 40’s and active LDS, joins us to share is multiple-decade journey with gender dysphoria. David helps us understand that gender dysphoria is real and shares his journey working closely with Heavenly Father, his good wife Marisa, and therapists to understand and manage it. David is no longer living with the shame allowing him to have better relationships with everyone, better emotional health and a better relationship with Heavenly Father. David shared his story on this blog post to help others: : https://medium.com/one-truth/we-are-all-queer-disciples-of-christ-6257e07a3da9?source=friends_link&sk=acb1c7c7d60835e50058362722484083 Thank you my friend David for being on the podcast and sharing your story. You are a great man helping us all better understand Latter-day Saints with gender dysphoria. Your story will heal and give hope to many.
Episode 253: Quiana Chase Gines, Active LDS, Married, Gender Dysphoria and Bisexual by Richard Ostler
My friend Alex Versey joins us to share his story. Alex talks about his father’s Brian’s death in a car accident when he was 3 years old and his mother’s Jana remarriage and her strong testimony of the Church. Alex, a returned missionary from Fresno California and a former EQ President, talks about being a gay Latter-day Saint. Alex has great insights into other all of us as he walks this road. Thanks for being on the podcast, Alex. You are a great man and a wonderful disciple of Christ.
My friend Megan Goates joins us to share the joys and challenges of raising three sons on the autism spectrum. Her oldest son is ‘typically developing’ and preparing for a mission. The focus of the podcast is on her second son, Jack age 15, who is non-verbal and in a group home. Megan shares the personal revelation that led to that decision and the spiritual goodness of Jack. If you are raising a child like Jack or want to better support someone, please listen to the insights, experiences, personal revelation, and role of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that Megan and her husband Jeff are receiving.
My friend Brittney Herman bravely shares her story surviving multiple sexual assaults. Brittney, who did nothing wrong, has great insights to help others walking this road to heal, and hope and move forward. Brittney started a nonprofit called “We Will” (wewillorg.com) to help sexual assault survivors. You can also following Brittney’s work on Instagram @we.will.organization and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/we.will.organization/ Brittney has great insights working through trauma, being angry at Heavenly Father and connecting with Heavenly Mother, role of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, solving shame, and realizing she didn’t do anything wrong. Brittney also the importance of parents teaching their kids consent, coercion and refusal skills. Thanks for being on the podcast Brittney. You are one of my new heroes. You bravely sharing your story is giving hope and healing to so many.
My friend Bob Burggraff joins us to share his story. Bob and his dear wife Inma are the parents of 4 children and one grandchild. Bob has experience gender dysphoria his whole life and it has been a painful and difficult road. Bob talks about what he is doing to cope with his dysphoria and why he now considers himself detrains. Bob honored all the paths those who are transgender walk and ask that people honor his path. I’ve learned that gender dysphoria is real. These good people are not being deceived or making this up. I’ve also learned that each story is unique and I’m so grateful for Bob’s courage to share his story. Bob also has a podcast called “Faith and Gender” at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/faith-and-gender/id1498053947. Thanks for being on the podcast Bob. You and Inma are awesome!
My friend Dennis Schleicher joins me to update our listeners on his service, journey and work. Dennis (who joined us on Episode 108) is now a LDS literary agent, talks about his firesides, his work in his EQ Presidency and North Star. Dennis also shares answers he get to common question from other Latter-day Saints. You can buy Dennis’ book at: https://www.amazon.com/He-Nuts-Become-Member-Church/dp/1462135714 Thanks for being on the podcast my friend Dennis. You have a beautiful and unique life mission to help many unto Christ.
My friend Kerri Scott bravely shares the story of her 2-month affair that resulted in a child. Kerri shares telling her husband Troy, going through Church discipline, how her marriage ultimately survived, and how Troy accepted this child as his own. This is a story about pain, redemption, forgiveness, communication, friends and family, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ to forgive and heal broken hearts. Thank you Kerri for sharing your story. It gives us all hope and better insights into the Atonement. You are Troy are two of my new heroes. Thanks for being on the podcast.
My friend Jordan shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Jordan shares growing up, doing his best to stay in the Church, and helping other LGBTQ people. Jordan is on the executive committee at The Utah Hearth (https://www.facebook.com/groups/320445228673183/) and is launching (end of 2020) lgbtqut.com as a central place for Utah resources. Thanks for being on the podcast Jordan. You are a great man, helping many, and with a wonderful future.
My friend Deborah Schone shares her story of raising her gay son Hunter. Deborah is joined by her mother (and Hunter’s grandmother) Catherine Pedersen. Hunter, who came out to Deborah in the 9th grade, and Deborah and her husband Steve have been walking this road for the last nine years. It is a beautiful story as Hunter is close with his family. Deborah and Catherine have great insights and advice for others. Hunter, who has stepped away from the church, is a great man doing wonderful things in his life including getting a PHD in neuroscience at University College London. Check out his ted talk on Alzheimer’s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARd2cpdZpjI). Deborah recently posted a pride flag at her home and shares her thoughts on why she did this as an active LDS parent. Great insights. You can read her IG post @gr8fulmom9 Thanks for being on the podcast, Deborah and Catherine. You are great examples of family, service and discipleship. Thanks for your insights on keeping the family together as you support your good son and grandson Hunter.
My friend Rebekah Westover (active LDS, married mother of 3) shares her journey to become a LGBTQ Ally. It started by doing a photo shoot of a same-sex couple (her cousin Marc Galbraith and Nick Burton) in 2013 at the Salt Flats. Spending a day with these two good men changed Rebekah’s heart. That shoot became the focus of an article at the Park City Magazine (see https://www.parkcitymag.com/weddings/2013/09/men-in-black-marc-galbraith-nick-burton-grooms-portraits-at-the-salt-flats). Since that time, Rebekah has done work for Encircle and other same-sex couples. Rebekah shares her thoughts on our LGBTQ friends, their gift and contributions. She also talks about her role as an ally including wearing a rainbow bracelet to Church. Thanks for being on the podcast Rebekah and your insights to love and support all of God’s children. Your insights helps us to better come together as the same human family.
My friends Skyler and Amanda share their story. The first part of the podcast is Skyler coming out as gay to Amanda while they were dating. That brought them closer together and they were married in the Provo City Center Temple in March 2018. They have a beautiful, authentic and wonderful marriage. The second part of the podcast is the birth of their beautiful son Milo at 24.5 weeks. They share having Milo for 24 days until his sudden death on Aug 25, 2019. Skyler and Amanda bravely share the story of losing their beautiful son, how they are grieving and what helpful things we can do/say to those grieving. I felt Milo with us.” Thank you for being on the podcast. I learned so much from you and your story will give hope, healing and better understanding to our listeners. The three of you are awesome.
My friends Grace Soleberg (Black Latter-day Saint) and Faith Williams (Grace’s friend and ally) talk about being black at BYU. I became aware of Grace following her tweet after painful experience at the Black Immigration Panel at BYU in early February where racist questions were submitted (https://twitter.com/SoelbergGrace/status/1225607906092974081). This experience helped me to realize how much more work we have to do as the Body of Christ to help Black Latter-day Saints feel welcome and that racism exists today. Faith (a RM from Argentina) shares wonderful insights into the problem and what we need to do better. Thank you Grace and Faith for being on the podcast. You two are awesome. You have a unique and beautiful life mission to help us to better.