Listen, Learn & Love Hosted by Richard Ostler
Summary: 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 by best friend and eternal companion Sheila Juergens of Houston, Texas in 1990 and we are the parents of six great children and two grandchildren and live near Cottonwood High School in Salt Lake City. I believe deeply in 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 kids 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 outside of active Latter-day Saints. 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, from a deeply believing/committed Latter-day Saint, 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. Some podcasts will me 'going solo' and other podcasts will be guests helping us to better understand God's LGBTQ children as taught by President M. Russell Ballard '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).' With love, Richard 'Papa' Ostler ❤
My friend Jillyan Adams bravely shares her story coming out as gay at BYU, trying to date men, considering a road of celibacy, and eventually into a same-sex marriage. Neither Jillyan or I are inviting others down a path outside of the teaching of our Church, but I believe it is helpful to hear her story. Brigham Young taught: “I wish to urge upon the Saints … to understand men and women as they are, and not understand them as you are.’ Jillyan talks about her Latter-day Saint family navigated this road and attended the marriage. Yes Jillyan understands she can’t fully participate in the Church, but still attends family events and is supportive of her friends in the church. Thank you Jillyan for sharing your story. You have a good life ahead of you!
My friend Landon Larsen shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint growing up in Idaho, serving a mission, earning a degree from Boise State in construction management, going less active, recently returning to full activity concurrently with coming out more broadly to family and friends. Landon talks about how he is doing much better since coming out and have much more meaningful and healthier relationships with his family and friends. Thank you, Landon for sharing your journey. You are a great man, loved by many, and with a wonderful future. Respect.
My friend Devin Rios shares his journey as a queer Latter-day Saint. Devin talks about his decision to serve a mission, coming home after six months because of a belated confession, active in his ward, breaking the law of chastity resulting in being excommunicated, the love and support he felt during his disciplinary council, his continued love of the Church and close relationship to his family. Devin is keeping the door open to being re-baptized and having a temple marriage. Thanks for sharing story Devin. You are a very good man staying close to God who loves you.
My friend Brittney Collado shares her journey with chronic depression, her wonderful family and working to be at peace with this road. Brittney shares how some of the things said at church can be painful and add to her burden. Brittney loves our Church and shares helpful insights to lift the burden of those who are chronically depressed. More of Brittney’s story can be found at http://www.muchmorepreciousthangold.com/. Thank for your having the courage to share your story, Brittney. You are awesome and helping so many others. Respect.
Tanner shares his journey to want to understand the difficult road of our LGBTQ members, turning to FB to connect with our LGBTQ members, meeting Dallin Steele to learn from a gay Latter-day Saint. They share their great friendship and how Tanner has learned and gain so much respect from our LGBTQ members. Tanner (with Dallin’s help) produced a video from the Outcasted channel where Tanner talks about his road to better understand and our LGBTQ friends. Check out the video at: https://www.facebook.com/UsOutcasted/videos/370500233747718/. These good men are showing us the future. Instead of separating ourselves from those that are different, we can find common ground following the example Jesus. And we learn that having people in our lives that are different helps us become a better disciple of Christ. Respect to both of you!
My friends Tina and Brandon Jenson share their journey with Brandon coming out 5 years ago as transgender after 14 years of marriage and how they are navigating that road, keeping their family together and staying active in the Church. It’s a brave and courageous story where they have both stretched to rely on personal revelation, clinic experts and each other. You can read more here: http://mytransmormonlife.blogspot.com/, https://northstarlds.org/journeys-of-faith/essays/faith-over-fear/, https://northstarlds.org/journeys-of-faith/essays/faith-to-cross-my-oceans/. Thank you for sharing your story. You two are awesome!
My friend Brian Spittler shares his journey growing up as a bisexual Latter-day Saint of overcoming shame and coming out to his dear wife Ali, which strengthened their marriage. Brian is bravely sharing his story so others can understand the difficult road of our bisexual Latter-day Saint friends and be a voice of hope and healing for closeted bisexual members. Thank you Brian for sharing your story. I learned so much. You have my admiration love and respect. You and your wife are awesome. This is a beautiful love story.
My friend Will Edgel shares his journey being in a same-sex relationship, ending that relationship, returning to the Church, wonderful Priesthood leaders, serving a Mission, doing a voices of hope video (ldsvoicesofhope.org/voices/will/), having a strong relationship with our Savior, and eventually hopes to marry a woman and have a family. These experiences have organically led him to empower other people to explore and share their stories through his business called ELIX-Life stories (www.elixlifestories.com). Thank you Will for sharing your story as it will help so many. You are a great man with a wonderful future.
My friend Stacey Harkey shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Stacey came out in December 2018 with this FB post https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10104722886604359&id=17829724 that went viral and was followed up by an LDS Living Article. In the podcast Stacey shares his journey, personal revelation from God, coming out to close friends and family, helpful insights for our younger LDS LGBTQ members and hopes for the future. Stacey is strong and courageous. I am inspired by listening to his story. Thank you Stacey. You are a great man with a wonderful future.
My friend Coco Berthmann bravely shares her story as a survivor of child trafficking/human trafficking while living in Germany, her brave escape at age 15, following her dreams to New York, finding herself in Salt Lake City and joining the Church, and how sharing her story to help bring an end to trafficking. It’s a remarkable story of courage, healing, forgiveness, hope and following dreams. Thank you Coco for sharing your story. You are strong, courageous and awesome!
My friend Rebecca Moore shares her career aspirations at NASA, a wonderful talk she gave about Fasting, insights into Rebekah from the Old Testament, and life as a bi-sexual Latter-day Saint. Rebecca is strong, faithful, unique, courageous with wonderful insights about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is people like Rebecca that give me hope in the future of our Church and world. I think you will enjoy her podcast.
My friend Alex Boye shares his story of joining the Church while living in England, significant hardship, serving a mission, building a foundation on Christ, using his God-given musical gifts to bless others, his latest song and video called ‘Bend Not Break (https://youtu.be/0o1T_y81_DU) to give hope to those who are suicidal, and inspiring thoughts for our dear LGBTQ friends. Thanks Alex for your efforts to lift, give hope and heal others. May God continue to sustain you in your unique and wonderful ministry. We all love you!
My friend Matthew Wilkinson shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint coming to terms with his sexual orientation as a teenager growing up in England, serving a mission, his kind and loving Mission Presidents (Robert and Pat Preston), coming out to his wonderful parents and family members, graduating from BYU in Geospatial Intelligence, and his desire to be a University Professor. While Matthew has deep admiration for the Church and isn’t trying to pull people out of the Church, he shares why he is stepping away. I believe hearing Matthew’s story helps us come together to better love, support and minster to all of God’s children. Thanks for sharing your story, Matthew. You are a great man with a wonderful future.
My friend Daniele D’Apuzzo shares his journey of his girlfriend calling off their engagement leading to heartbreaking pain and deep reflection. Daniel wrote a book about this experience to share how he healed with gives hope to others (including our friends who are suicidal). I’ve read his book and it has great insights to heal from pain thru the love of God and the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Daniel’s book can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/Rising-Broken-Wings-Secure-Uncertainties-ebook/dp/B07JJZH7XT/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1546213364&sr=1-1 Daniel has a level of maturity and depth of insights well beyond his years. I believe you will enjoy this podcast and encourage you to read his book.
My friend John Gustav-Wrathall introduces us to Affirmation, a support organization of our LDS LGBTQ friends. I’m personally supportive of Affirmation and its mission to help our LDS LGBTQ friends. You can learn more about affirmation at https://affirmation.org/. You can also listen to John’s personal journey as a gay Latter-day Saint in Episode 49.