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 ❤ firstname.lastname@example.org *I respond to your e-mails. Check your spam folder*
My friend Patrick Patterson joins us from Waycross Georgia to update our listeners (see episode 39 for his first podcast) on his journey as a gay Latter-Say Saint. Patrick talks about reconciling his sexuality and his faith and how coming out in his Ward and helped his relationship with others and better come unto Christ. He also shares why he chose to stay in member of the Church when he recently considering stepping away. Thanks for being on the podcast Patrick. You have a great spirit and life mission.
My friends Alex and Thomas (both RMs, BYU Grads and gay Latter-day Saints) share their journey coming out, serving missions, dating women and eventually finding each other. They are getting married in June 2020. They talk about their good family support, strong testimonies of the Church, staying close to God and attending their local Ward where their Bishop is helping them feel welcome. Great podcast about honoring each other's decisions, finding common group, a loving Bishop and good family support. Thanks for being on the podcast Alex and Thomas. You are doing good things and have a great life together.
My friends Jeff and Holly Fowler (active LDS, parents of 4, former Bishop) join me with their gay son Alec and his husband Blake. Alec and Blake were married in June of 2019. Jeff and Holly talk about supporting Alec and Blake, the wedding, keeping the family circle together, and open and honest communication. Alec and Blake share coming out to friends and family and the excellent relationship they have with both families. Thanks to all of you for being on the podcast. This is a beautiful family love story. Thanks for all your example of goodness, kindness, communication, grace and keeping family relationships strong and healthy.
My friends David and Kathleen Cook, who presided over the Chile Santiago South Mission from 2013-2016, join me to talk about Service Missions. The Cooks are currently serving as Service Mission Leaders in the upstate NY area. David’s prior service includes Area 70 and Stake President. Kathleen’s prior service included Relief Society President, Young Women President and Public Affairs Director for New York. They are the parents of 4 children and 6 grandchildren. They have wonderful insights on how to help parents, local leaders, and future missionaries understand Service Missions and Teaching Missions. They share the importance and equality of both types of missions. How both types of service bring people to the Savior and follow His example. They have suggestions how to overcome some of the cultural hurdles to help everyone see both types of missions as needed, equal and serving like the Savior served. Thanks for being on the podcast Brother and Sister Cook and all you do to serve and lift others. I am very excited about the new Service Mission opportunities (for more information, see https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/callings/missionary/church-service-missionary).
My friend B Winward shares her journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. B is from Utah County, served a mission in Guatemala, is graduating from UVU with a degree in Leadership, and as made humanitarian trips all over the world. B talks about coming out to herself as gay, overcoming self-harm, coming out to others including her family and current YSA Ward, and her strong testimony of the gospel. B is strong and courageous. You will enjoy listening to her story. Thanks for being on the podcast B. You are awesome. Thanks for bravely sharing some of your journey. You have a great life ahead of you!
My friends LaShawn Williams and James Jones join me to share their lives as Black Latter-day Saints. LaShawn has a Doctorate in Education, is an Assistant Professor at Utah Valley University, has a clinical practice (https://drlashawn.com/), and is a mother of three James served a mission in South Africa, has a degree in Psychology, lives in Boston with a career in music and acting, is a Temple worker and co-host with Derek Knox of the podcast Beyond the Block (https://beyondtheblockpodcast.com/). They share their journey as Black Latter-day Saints, how they process the complicated issues in our church, how we can do better ministering to our Black members and help more Blacks join our church, the doctrine to Christ to minister to those on the margins, and why they stay committed members. Thank you LaShawn and James. I learned so much listening to your insights and perspectives. You two are awesome. Thank you for your discipleship to help more come unto Christ through our restored Church.
Our friend, our children’s doctor and ward member, bravely shares his own journey with plans for his suicide. Joe talks about what led up to his plan, why he ultimately choose to live, and his advice to help others not die by suicide. We may think that someone with a wonderful career (Residency at Duke, 30+ years at a successful Pediatrician, President of the Utah Medical Association) and great family (wonderful wife, five children and 13 grandchildren) would consider suicide. But this was part of Joe’s life and the reality for many of our friends and neighbors. Please listen to Joe’s story. It will help you if you are suicidal to give you more tools and hope. It will help you help others. Thank you my dear friend for having the courage to share your story. You continue to be someone I deeply admire. If you’d like to contact Joe, please e-mail him at email@example.com
My friends, the Marcroft family, share their journey with Quinn their transgender daughter. We start with Quinn sharing her story of coming out, working through difficult emotional issues, stepping away from the church and now living in Portland with her partner. Quinn is a CNA and wants to become a nurse because she wants to help others. Quinn’s story gives so much hope, understand and perspective to anyone who is willing to learn about our transgender friends. We then hear from Rob and Kyndel, Quinn’s parents who are active Latter-day Saints. They have great insights into raising a transgender daughter and how they are keeping the family circle together in love and support. This family is strong and supportive of each other. It’s a beautiful family love story. Thanks to all three of you for being on the podcast. You are all awesome.
Our family friend Dr Aaron Wilson, Doctorate of Education BYU and Principal of Granite Park Junior High, joins us to talk about his new podcast. It is called America’s Principal (see http://www.americasprincipal.org/) and is resource for parents with the goal to provide information and resources that will make it easier for parents to navigate the public education system and raise their children. Two of his episodes to date talk about LGBTQ (episode 7 and 15). Thank you for your great work Aaron wo to make schools safer and more productive … especially for our marginalized populations. I encourage everyone to listen to your podcast.
Episode 217: Jessica and Matt Frew (Active LDS) and Steve Stoddard (Jessica’s gay former husband). by Richard Ostler
I wanted to give you, our listeners, an update on a few topics. I will talk about my LGBTQ POV, upcoming book (fall 2020), podcast history and future, my testimony, church service and additional thoughts. Thank you for joining me and your efforts to make this podcast possible.
My friend Daniela Mera-Pray, age 24 and living in Mexico, shares her journey with her faith crisis. Daniela faith crisis ended with her still believing in our restored Church and staying a committed member. Daniela has great insights to help others in a faith crisis and those ministering to them. Daniela found community in the Facebook Group Called Uplift Community of Faith (https://www.facebook.com/groups/UpliftCOF/). I encourage anyone in a faith crisis who wants to find a way to stay in our Church to check out this group. Daniela and my friend Leo Winegar are moderators in this group. Thanks for being on the podcast Daniela. You are awesome. It is wonderful members like you that give me hope for the future.
My friends (and ward members) Mike and Tamie Snarr join me to give the talks they shared in our Ward about ‘sharing the light of Christ’, thoughts on guilt free missionary work, and keeping the family circle together when a child steps away. Thanks for being on the podcast Mike and Tamie. You two are awesome. Thanks for helping us be better disciples of Christ.
My friend Doug Richens joins me talk about impact of crime and incarceration of individuals, families and communities. Doug, who works for the Church as Sr. Manager in the Priesthood of Family Department, share important work being done in the Church in this area. While this podcast focuses on incarceration, Doug shares wonderful principals of ministering and insights into the excellent work being done at the Church do meeting the needs of marginalized groups. Thanks for being on the podcast Doug and all your great work. I was deeply touched and educated by the things your shared.
My friend Darren Bush, a Bishop in Madison Wisconsin, talks about making his ward safe for everyone, helping his ward members focus on Christ, creating an atmosphere that's safe and unconditional loving, so when Ward members need spiritual guidance, they'll feel comfortable knowing he will "judge without being judgmental." Thanks for being on the podcast my friend Darren and all you are doing to help people truly understand the Atonement and come unto Christ through our restored Church.