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
My friend Charlie Bird gives an in-depth interview following coming out as gay in his Deseret News Op-ed (link below). He answers many questions such as why did he come out, why is coming out important, when did he know he was gay, how did his wonderful family react, LGBTQ resources at BYU, life as Cosmo, how can LDS members show support, and how does he balance being gay and being LDS. I encourage all Latter-day Saints to listen to Charlie’s story to know how to better support our LDS LGBTQ members. Thank you Charlie for sharing your story. You are a great man with a depth of spiritual maturity and insights that is helpful for all of us to become better disciples of Christ. You have blessed 1000s and will continue to bless 1000s more. You a great life ahead of you! https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900057600/guest-opinion-everyone-loved-me-as-cosmo-the-cougar-but-would-they-love-who-i-was-behind-the-mask-byu-lgbt-gay.html
My friend Julie Lee, host of the podcast ‘I See You’, bravely tells her story of growing up in a family with mental illness, how this became part of her life, and how she has bravely confronted it. Julie is strong, courageous and remarkable. Her story (and the outreach she is doing) is helping so many others and giving them more hope, realistic expectations, and healing. Thank you Julie for sharing your story. It will help so many!
My friend Jenny Mathews shares the story of her father coming out as gay when she was 16 (and the oldest of 5), her parents’ marriage ending, seeing pain in both parents, staying close to both her wonderful mother and father. In particular, Jenny talks about how she navigated her relationship with her father (who is now out of the church), how their relationship is now strong and stable, how her father is involved with her siblings and a wonderful grandfather to her children. It’s a wonderful story of a family doing the best they can to keep the family circle together and see the good in everyone. Thank you Jenny for sharing this story. It will help so many!
Jackson, Connor and Zeke Richards (children of Royal and Elissa Richards/Episode 54) grew up in our Ward and are three outstanding men who have all served missions and doing great things in their lives. Jackson (age 29/med school) and Zeke (age 23/future med school) talk about how the family navigated their brother Connor (age 28/working toward Law School) coming out as gay, dating men and his same-sex marriage in Feb 2019 to Jan (finishing an undergraduate degree in psychology). Jackson and Zeke share both their strong testimonies of the Church and their support of their brother Conner as he made his way forward in his life. It’s a beautiful story of using the Gospel as a framework for navigating this complicated space. We’ve been in the same Ward for 20 years and our family (and so many others) are indebted to the Richards family for their example of service, goodness and lifting others. I think you will enjoy the podcast.
My friends Sarah and Jeff Case share their beautiful, healthy and wonderful marriage with our listeners. It is a beautiful love story. This podcast has foundational principals that will help all marriages. Thank you Sarah and Jeff for sharing your journey. You two are wonderful. For Jeff’s insights into better understanding suicide, please listen to episode 86.
My friend Gaven (a key member of our local High School baseball team) bravely shares the story of his wonderful mother Kathy’s passing and speaking at her funeral. His talk is remarkable. He honors Kathy, her good heart, her legacy and their family. He also talks directly to those with darkness ‘that feels our head’. He invites people to stay and shares how our ‘house is so, so cold’. He gives hope and perspective to those that are suicidal. Please stay one more day. Gaven also shares how we are all just people and we need to see the potential of everyone. How we should not compare ourselves with others. How we need to learn to be vulnerable and confront pain so we can overcome it How we can overcome loneliness, anxiety and low self-worth. Thank you Gaven for sharing your insights, thoughts and perspective. You are wise beyond your years. You words lifted me and will do the same for our listeners. Thanks for being on the podcast.
Becky and Bennett Borden share their story of being active LDS, stepping away from the church and being in same-sex relationships, their lifelong friendship, having their respective same-sex relationships end, falling in love, being rebaptized on the same day and getting married. Becky and Bennett have a wonderful marriage and are dear friends. The Bordens share helpful insights on the things they learned while away from the Church, how their LDS families helped and hindered during this time, why they decided to come back, how they fell in love, and helpful local leaders in those initial conversations as they considered returning. It’s a helpful podcast for our LGBTQ members, for others looking for betting insights on how to better minister, and the love of Heavenly Father for all His children. Becky and Bennett also talk about North Star which is a wonderful organization helping our Latter-day Saint LGBTQ members, including dispelling myths about North Star. We encourage you to check out its upcoming conference on March 15-16 in SLC. See www.northstarlds.org/conference Thank you Becky and Bennett. You two are awesome!
My friend Michael Birkeland (actor from Singles Ward, RM, Hometeachers), bravely shares his story into alcohol and drugs following his mission, feeling God’s love helping him come out of that dark world, a dear friend Nate Keller bringing Michael back to church and being rebaptized. Michael knows the ‘desert’ of drugs/alcohol and now that he is out of that desert, he has helpful and hopeful insights to lead others out of that desert. I deeply admire Michael’s willingness, vulnerability and courage to share his story as it will help so many. You are a great man Michael. Glad to call you friend.
My friend Kwaku, joined by his friend and fellow BYU student Sarah Wright, shares his remarkable journey to join the church in Houston, make his way to BYU, being involved with 3 Mormons (now called Saints Unscripted at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2LBmYIOq6Eu_ZC14i_YkIg), kind insights for our LGBTQ members, and hopes for the future. You are a great man Kwaku. You are helping many come unto Christ through our Restored Church.
My friend, Sunny, in her 40s, shares her journey to come out to her family as a gay/queer Latter-day Saint. As part of this process, Sunny has been working closely with her Stake Leadership in Idaho to develop a better and more inclusive culture for LDS LGBTQ members. What is happening is wonderful. Sunny also shares coming out to her children. Adam, age 18 and preparing for a mission, shares his thoughts on having a gay/queer mother and how their relationship is now stronger than ever. It’s a beautiful story of vulnerability, honesty, and coming closer together. I also believe these experiences will help Adam be an unusually effective missionary and help many come unto Christ. Thank you Sunny and Adam for bravely sharing your journey. You two are pioneers and your story will help many other families navigate this road.
My friend Jeff Case (married father of three) shares insights into why some people are suicidal and how to help them. Jeff talks about the three components of the Joiner model and how those apply to our LDS LGBTQ members. Jeff draws on his academic and clinical expertise (practicing full-time for the past 12 years) for very helpful and lifesaving insights. I encourage parents and local leaders to listen to this podcast. Thank your Jeff for sharing your expertise and insights.
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.