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 Eric Huntsman talks about his new book ‘Becoming the Beloved Disciple: Coming unto Christ through the Gospel of John’ and his August 2017 BYU devotional ‘Hard Sayings and Safe Spaces: Making Room for Struggle as Well as Faith’, his love of Jesus, and our members. Many of my BYU Friends have mentioned how Brother Huntsman is bringing them closer to Christ and finding hope as they navigate complicated topics. I think you will enjoy the podcast
Episode 69: My Stake Conference Talk About Helping Our Dear Members in a Faith Crisis by Richard Ostler
My friend Stanley Alvey, my youngest guest yet, bravely shares his journey coming out to his parents Duke and Jessica Alvey at age 16. Their wonderful support. How coming out to his parents has strengthened their relationship and brought the whole family closer. Stanley shares his deep testimony of our Heavenly Father, the Savior and our Church. He also talks about the difficult road he faces trying to reconcile his love for the church and desire to stay a member in good standing and his sexual orientation. You are a strong and courageous man Stanley with a spiritual maturity well beyond your years. You have a great life ahead of you. Thanks for the courage to share some of your journey.
My dear friends Ricardo and Elizabeth Rosas share their journey in a mixed-orientation marriage. They first shared their story in late 2016 on the Church’s ‘Mormon and Gay Website’ at https://mormonandgay.lds.org/articles/ricardos-story and https://mormonandgay.lds.org/articles/elizabeths-story It’s a beautiful story that can help all marriages grow stronger with principals of honestly, vulnerability, trust, common goals with a foundation in the Savior. This podcast is particularly helpful for those in a mixed-orientation marriage with the goal of making those marriages be successful and for those looking to help those walking this road. Thank you Ricardo and Elizabeth for sharing your story. You two are awesome!
My friend Sam Skidmore shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint coming to terms with his sexual orientation as a teenager, coming out to his Mission President, teaching at the MTC, coming out to others while at BYU, graduating in Psychology, desire to get a PHD in Counseling Psychology so he can teach at a University and also have a private practice for LGBTQ+ people. Sam also shares how he is at a crossroads as a gay Latter-day Saint and is having a hard time seeing how he can stay a single man his whole life. Thank you Sam for sharing your journey. Sam’s blog can be found at: samskidmore.blogspot.com
My friend Spencer Fluhman talks about the Maxwell Institute, how seeing good in other faiths helps us appreciate the restored truths in our Church, ministering to those in a faith crisis and helping thoughts for our LGBTQ Saints. Many of my BYU friends have mentioned to me the personal ministry of Brother Fluhman and how he is helping them navigate complicated topics. I think you will enjoy the podcast.
My friend Harper (along with her dear friend Sophie Huff) tell the story of her mission (successfully competed) having PTSD because of traumatic and difficult experiences on her mission. Harper bravely shares what happened, how she coped, the isolation and difficult feelings she felt, and how she managed to complete her mission. She also shares how she is coping with PTSD today and remaining a faithful member even with this difficult mission experience which was outside of her control. You are strong and courageous Harper. One of the bravest persons I’ve ever met. You story will help so many others address, deal with, and solve difficult church situations that are difficult through no fault of their own and how our Savior can heal us.
My dear friend Susan Hinckley shares her lifelong wrestle with our church and why she stays an active member. It’s a remarkable story. I believe Susan’s multi-decade journey to stay will help others (especially our younger members) know there are others on this path that have processed complicated issues and have found a way to authentically stay. Susan also talks about teaching Relief Society for the past 5 years, and her efforts to create a culture to process complicated topics in a faithful way. Thank you, Susan for sharing your story. You are awesome and helping many to Christ.
My friend Todd Sylvester shares his story overcoming addictions and plans for suicide following a successful basketball career (including taking State at Brighton High). He talks about how a great friend and Bishop who gave him hope and path to find Christ through our restored church. Todd, now married with 4 children and one grandchild, has spent his life helping other overcome addictions. If you want to feel hope and inspired, please listen to this podcast. Thank you Todd. You are a great man and friend. You are bringing hope and healing so many!
My friend Kim Pearson share his journey as a married father of three children one of which is his gay 18 year old son. Kim shares the journey of his son coming out at age 13, finding safe places for him (such as joining the Bridging Voices, The Portland GSA Youth Choir), and supporting him in his decision to not be an active Latter-day Saint. Kim is doing a great job keeping his family together and navigating this complex space in our Church. Thank you my friend Kim for sharing your story!
My long-time friend Jake Watts (married father of two young children) discusses his own faith journey following his mission and how he stays a believing and committed Latter-day Saint. Jake has wonderful insights into how to help our members in a faith crisis/journey in a positive and thoughtful way. His thoughts will also help those who are trying to help others in a faith journey. Jake also shares insights into how he and his wife are teaching the more complicated issues to their children. Thank you, Jake for sharing your story. Its great families like you and Chelsie that give me hope for the future!
Chuck shares the story of how he initiated and led the first ever community float project (that included people of all backgrounds) for the Days of ’47 Parade. Regina shares her perspective on how the float project gave the community a chance to build something beautiful together. After the Days of 47 Parade, both Chuck and Regina spoke in their local Ward about this community effort. They share their Christlike talks in our podcast. Thank you Chuck and Regina. You two are awesome!
Colin Hanson shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint coming out to friends following his successful mission in Brazil including his close friends from the 7th grade Travis and MacKenzie Tiner (married three years ago, active Latter-day Saints). The three of them share this journey together. Very helpful insights on how a friendship can be strengthened and how Travis and MacKenzie are providing much needed support to Colin and how Colin is now in a much healthier places as trusted friends know about his sexual orientation. Did Travis and MacKenzie always suspect that Colin was gay? Well, listen and find out! Thanks Colin for sharing your journey. You are a great man with a wonderful life ahead of you. Thank you Travis and MacKenzie for you love and support of Colin. You all give me hope on how we are learning to do a better job as Latter-day Saints supporting all of God’s children.
My good friend Dallin shares his journey coming out to family, friends and a FB post (April 2018 https://www.facebook.com/Pheonix123/posts/10215909544042280). He talks about staying close to Heavenly Father and getting personal revelation. He talks about the helpful things friends, family and two Bishops have done for him. He also gives us insights into our transgender friends. Thank you Dallin for sharing your story. You are a great man! Dallin’s blog can be found here:
Erika Munson, a straight married Latter-day Saint, shares her journey of marching in a Utah Pride parade in 2012 which led to founding of Mormons Building Bridges. Erika has great Christlike principals for active Latter-day Saints to step into this space of supporting God’s LGBTQ children. She also shares helpful insights about our LGBTQ friends. Thank you Erika for sharing your story. You are awesome!