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 Chris D’Arcy, age 42, joins me from England to share his story. Chris, who has known he is gay from age 10-11, talks about his decision to join the Church in October of 2016 and the wonderful missionaries (Elders Cade Cloward and Spencer Dennis) who research and the shared with him the Church’s teachings on being gay. Those honest and thoughtful missionaries helped Chris gain a firm testimony of our restored Church. Chris was active in the Church for about for about three years. During that time Chris received his endowments (and did 147 baptisms in one day) and served faithfully in many callings. However, Chris had some painful experiences in his local ward family that resulted in him setting away from the Church. Hearing these experiences can help us to not make the same mistakes and ensure that all members feel welcome and needed in our congregations. Chris, who has a good relationship with his Stake President, still believes in the Church and is open to the possibility that he will return to the Church down the road. Thank you for being on the podcast Chris. You are a good man. I do hope one day you are able to return to our Church. We need you!
My friend Chad Ford, active LDS, joins us to talk about his new book “Dangerous Love: Transforming Fear and Conflict at Home, at Work and the World" (see https://dangerouslovebook.com/). Chad, an expert in conflict resolution, talks in his book and the podcast about Christ-based principals to reduce the divisiveness and conflict in our families and communities through love. Chad’s gives us insights and tools to bring better unity and understanding. Chad is the Director of the McKay Center at BYU-Hawaii and is a sports journalist with ESPN. Thank you for being on the podcast Chad and your much needed work to bring us together as the Body of Christ and help heal families and our communities. I encourage everyone to check out this podcast and Chad’s book. You can follow Chad on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chadmichaelford and https://twitter.com/chadfordinsider; Facebook at @chadmichaelford; and Instagram @dangerouslovebook
My friend Devin Bourne shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Devin, age 32 and an RM who served in San Jose CA, shares finding his path which includes ruling out a life of celibacy, marrying a woman, suicide and leaving the Church. Devin has both a deep testimony of our restored Church and that being gay is part of his divine essence---and it not willing to give up either. Devin is not inviting others to follow his path, but is asking for others to respect/support his decision as we walks a road only our LGBTQ members fully understand. Devin reports supportive Bishops that have created space for Devin to feel welcome and needed in his ward family. Thank you for being on the podcast Devin. You are a great man with a wonderful future serving others in our Church and community as an Emergency Room doctor.
My friend Charlie Bird, former BYU Cosmo, joins us to talk about his new book published by Deseret Book called “Without the Mask” which can be ordered at: https://deseretbook.com/p/without-the-mask-coming-out-and-coming-into-gods-light-ppr?variant_id=186572-paperback. I encourage everyone to read and share his book. His book helps all of us better see/use the contributions of LGBTQ Latter-day Saints in at Church, in our families and society. Charlie is back at BYU working on a master in social work. I encourage everyone to listen to this podcast (and if interested Charlie’s easier podcast which is episode 96). Charlie has great insights for all of us. I also encourage everyone to listen to the great podcast that Charlie and Ben Schilaty started called “Questions from the Closet” https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/questions-from-the-closet/id1504990147. Thank you for being on the podcast Charlie. You are a great man with a unique and beautiful life mission.
My friend Daniel Carter joins us to share his story as a gay Latter-day Saint. Daniel served a mission to England in the late 70’s and then worked for the Church in its Music Department for 27 years until his retirement in 2016. In that assignment, Daniel blessed many lives managing the Church’s worldwide production of sheet music. Daniel, a gifted composer, contributed a song in our Hymn Book (As Now We Take the Sacrament, p.169) and two songs in the Children’s Hymn Book. Daniel shares about his failed suicide attempt in 2005 which led to a deep period of helpful reflection, rebuilding and reconnected with the Beloved. Daniel has very helpful and hopeful insights for others who are suicidal and want to find a path to healing and hope. Daniel shares about this path to find his husband Gale Frandsen … and their marriage in late 2016. Daniel and Gale have a combined 6 children and 16 grandchildren. Daniel, who has stepped away from the Church, honors everyone’s path and is not asking others to leave the Church. He shares insights and principles that can keep us together as families and communities even with differences --- something I believe our Heavenly Parents want us to learn to do. You can read more about Daniel on his blog at https://www.danielcartermusic.com/blog. Thanks for being on the podcast Daniel. Much love, respect and admiration for you as you walk a unique road and thanks for your contributions to make this world a better place.
My dear friends Jill and Esther Brown join us to talk about their dear son/brother Luke who died by suicide in January 2020 at age 31. Both active LDS, they are living their worst nightmare and the void of Luke being gone. They talk about Luke. The great man that he is and all the good he did for others. They give wonderful tribute to Luke and insights into his kindness, love for others and core goodness. They also talk about their brutal and difficult road and how things will never be the same. The also talk directly to the “people like Luke” out there who are silently suffering and not opening up for family and/or friends and the foundation they started called The Lucas Terrill Kitchen Foundation (see Instagram at live4yourluke) If you have lost a family member to suicide, want to help someone on this road, or are suicidal please listen to this podcast. Jill and Esther (two brave and courageous women) will give you hope, perspective and a desire to better connect with our Savior. Thanks for being on the podcast Jill and Esther and your courage to share your story. You two are awesome.
My friend Patrick Risk, who was on episode 172, joins us to update our listeners on his life story. As always, Patrick is honest and vulnerable with his life story with includes a sexual abuse, anorexia, a divorce and being gay. Patrick feels (and I agree) that we heal and help each other when we are vulnerable, open and honest with our stories. Because Patrick is open, hundreds have reached out to Patrick feeling safe which allows Patrick to help them. Patrick started a Facebook Group called https://www.facebook.com/groups/BrightnessOfHope/ Which I encourage everyone to join. Thank you for being on the podcast Patrick. You have so many insights to help everyone feel welcome, loved and accepted in our congregations. You are an incredible human being with a unique life mission to bring hope and healing to others.
My friend Tyler Lefevor joins us to share his story as a queer Latter-day Saint. Tyler, who is no longer a Church member but is supportive of those who stay in the Church, shares his journey which includes serving a mission, dating women and serving as an EQ President. Tyler, in his late 20s, ultimately felt his ‘best life path’ was to be with a man and is engaged to be married. Tyler got a psychology degree at BYU and then his doctorate from the University of Miami. Tyler completed a year-long internship at the counseling center at BYU, a year-long post-doc at Stanford, and three years as an assistant professor at Rhodes College. Tyler also is a practicing counseling physiologist where he maintains a teletherapy practice in Utah. Tyler has teamed with Ty Mansfield, Lee Beckstead, Ron Schow, Christopher Rosik, and Marybeth Raynes on a 10-year study of current/former LDS LGBTQ/SSA members. If you are LGBTQ/SSA, I encourage you to enroll in the study (can be anonymous) at 4optionssurvey.com Tyler is a bridge builder. He is not trying to lead others out of the Church but to help find common ground in the intersection of LDS and LGBTQ/SSA. I encourage everyone to listen to Tyler’s podcast and how we can find more common ground and less divisiveness as we are all members of the same human family. Thanks for being on the podcast Tyler. You are a great man with a wonderful life mission.
My friend Mishelle Kehoe, in her last year at BYU, shares the trauma from her sexual assault in 2016.This trauma ultimately postponed her mission, something she had been eagerly looking forward to. Mishelle talks about her anger toward God for having something out of her control cause her to postpone her mission. Mishelle shares the road to healing from the trauma of this experience and resolving her anger through what she calls the “trifecta of the Savior, therapy and family/friends.” Mishelle also shares her journey with her eating disorder (binge eating disorder) and how this almost postponed her mission again. However, Mishelle felt impressed to serve and was able to overcome her eating disorder during her mission in New Zealand. Mishelle helps us to understand the pain, frustration and the difficult road those with eating disorders walk and the trifecta role of the Savior, therapy and family/friends to overcome her eating disorder. Thank you Mishelle for your courage to be on the podcast and share your story which will help so many to find hope and healing through the insights you provide. You are a strong, brave and courageous human being with a unique life mission to help others. Thanks for being on the podcast!
My friend Mallory Tingey (married mother of three, active LDS, in her early 30s) joins us to talk about being a victim of child sex abuse from three step-brothers. Mallory, age 12 at the time, had no tools or framework to process the abuse and felt it was her fault. Mallory talks about her 20 year road to healing (which is not fully complete) as she had unprocessed trauma for many years. She started an Instagram account @worthmorethanshame to share her story. If you are a victim/survivor of sexual abuse or want better tools to help others heal, please listen to the insights Mallory shares. I learned so much listening to her story. She is walking a brutal road and often our innocent comments and church culture adds to the burdens of sexual abuse victims. The education that Mallory provides helps us to better. You are one of my new heroes Mallory. Thanks for being one the podcast. Thanks for having the courage to share your story and the many insights you offer to help others.
My friends Krista Mortensen (mother of 6) and Kyra Dunshee (mother of 10), both active LDS with decades of Church service, talk about how to keep the family circle together and strong when a child leaves the Church. I become aware of Krista from her July 2020 Ensign Article called “You Love, He Saves” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2020/07/you-love-he-saves. Krista shares more of the story behind this excellent article and her efforts to be honest about their family situation instead of putting up the ‘perfect family’ image. Kyra also has adult children who have left the Church and shares valuable insights into the role of an LDS parent in this situation and the need to make our wards and families safer for having real and honest conversations. Kyra has found my brother David Ostler’s book called Bridges: Ministering To Those Who Question extremely helpful and has placed dozens of copies (available at Deseret Book and Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bridges-Ministering-Those-Who-Question/dp/158958726X). If you are active LDS and have children who have left the Church or want to be better prepared for this possibility, please listen to these insightful women. They share principals and thoughts into the Atonement of Jesus Christ that bring hope, peace, more understanding. The help us replace fear and heartache with love and peace. Thank you Krista and Kyra for being on the podcast. You two are two of my new heroes. Your message is so needed. Your Ensign article and this podcast will help thousands.
My friends Jeff and Camille McConnell share the tragic story of their son Wesley dying in a choking accident on Memorial Day in 2018. Jeff and Camille, active LDS and parents of 5 children ages 1-11, share how their worst nightmare because reality. Now 2 years from that horrible day, Jeff and Camille share their insights to overcome anger, grief, pain, and feelings of what they might have done differently to find hope, peace and healing. If you have lost of loved one or want to help others walking this road, please listen to Jeff and Camille’s insights. I was deeply moved by the things they shared and insights into the Atonement of Jesus Christ to find hope and healing. I was also deeply moved by their thoughts to keep Wesley integrated into their families lives. Please check out Camille’s blog at sweetwesleyswarriors.com for more of her story. Thanks for being on the podcast Jeff and Camille. You are bringing hope and healing to so many!
My friends, Evan and Cheryl Smith, join us to share their journey supporting their gay son, Weston. Evan and Cheryl, who live near Plymouth, Massachusetts and have given decades of service to the Church, share their story, which includes a new navigable e-book that Evan wrote available at gayldscrossroads.org. Their story includes their journey to love and support LGBTQ Latter-day Saints and their support for Weston who feels his path is to marry a man---a decision that came during his LDS mission. Included in the podcast is a difficult experience they had with a General Authority, which gives us all insights into pitfalls to avoid when ministering to LDS parents with LGBTQ children. The Smith family is one of the finest families I know. I encourage everyone to listen to their podcast and read their book at gayldscrossroads.org. It will help you better support families with LGBTQ Latter-day Saints, give hope for the future, and help keep the family circle together.
My friend Hyrum Edwards, who recently graduated from Clearfield High where we was a Senior Class Officer, shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Hyrum came out to his wonderful parents Mike and Becky Edwards two years ago and publicly at the end of his junior year. Hyrum and talks about excellent support from his parents and everyone's efforts to keep the family circle together. Hyrum talks about difficult Church experiences and how we can do better to meet the needs of LGBTQ Latter-day Saints and reduce/eliminate homophobia. Hyrum shares personal feelings on why his loving Heavenly Parents made him gay and how this makes possible his beautiful and unique life mission possible. Hyrum also gives us insights about the pain of being part of a marginalized group. Hyrum also shares why he would not push, if possible, ‘the imaginary button’ to be straight. Hyrum shares insights into the life of Jesus and how following His teachings causes us to reach out and help others—especially those marginalized by society. Hyrum also shares personal revelation he received to attend UC Berkeley and his visit with some of the LDS students at the Berkeley YSA Ward who helped him feel love and acceptance. Thanks for being on the podcast Hyrum. You are a great man with a wonderful future. Sending my love and support to the entire Edwards family.
My friend Jenie Hunter joins us to share their family experience over the last 8 years with their wonderful gay son Nicholas. The podcast is an expanded discussion of this outstanding blog post by Jenie in June 2020: https://www-jeniehuntercoaching-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.jeniehuntercoaching.com/amp/unconditional-love If you are a parent or someone who wants to know better how to support LGBTQ Latter-day Saints, please listen to Jenie’s podcast and read her blog post. She has remarkable insights on how to navigate this ‘long curvy road’. If you are LDS and LGBTQ, this podcast may give you hope and insights to better see/navigate your future. Jenie is a certified life coach and can help you ‘stop feeling pain about your child’s choices’. Please see her web site at https://www.jeniehuntercoaching.com/. Or e-mail her at email@example.com Thank you for being on the podcast Jenie. You and your husband John are doing such a great job supporting Nicholas and using these life lessons to help and support others. Thank you Nicholas for the good man you are and your contributions to society.