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 ❤ email@example.com *I will respond to your e-mails*
My friend Deborah Schone shares her story of raising her gay son Hunter. Deborah is joined by her mother (and Hunter’s grandmother) Catherine Pedersen. Hunter, who came out to Deborah in the 9th grade, and Deborah and her husband Steve have been walking this road for the last nine years. It is a beautiful story as Hunter is close with his family. Deborah and Catherine have great insights and advice for others. Hunter, who has stepped away from the church, is a great man doing wonderful things in his life including getting a PHD in neuroscience at University College London. Check out his ted talk on Alzheimer’s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARd2cpdZpjI). Deborah recently posted a pride flag at her home and shares her thoughts on why she did this as an active LDS parent. Great insights. You can read her IG post @gr8fulmom9 Thanks for being on the podcast, Deborah and Catherine. You are great examples of family, service and discipleship. Thanks for your insights on keeping the family together as you support your good son and grandson Hunter.
My friend Rebekah Westover (active LDS, married mother of 3) shares her journey to become a LGBTQ Ally. It started by doing a photo shoot of a same-sex couple (her cousin Marc Galbraith and Nick Burton) in 2013 at the Salt Flats. Spending a day with these two good men changed Rebekah’s heart. That shoot became the focus of an article at the Park City Magazine (see https://www.parkcitymag.com/weddings/2013/09/men-in-black-marc-galbraith-nick-burton-grooms-portraits-at-the-salt-flats). Since that time, Rebekah has done work for Encircle and other same-sex couples. Rebekah shares her thoughts on our LGBTQ friends, their gift and contributions. She also talks about her role as an ally including wearing a rainbow bracelet to Church. Thanks for being on the podcast Rebekah and your insights to love and support all of God’s children. Your insights helps us to better come together as the same human family.
My friends Skyler and Amanda share their story. The first part of the podcast is Skyler coming out as gay to Amanda while they were dating. That brought them closer together and they were married in the Provo City Center Temple in March 2018. They have a beautiful, authentic and wonderful marriage. The second part of the podcast is the birth of their beautiful son Milo at 24.5 weeks. They share having Milo for 24 days until his sudden death on Aug 25, 2019. Skyler and Amanda bravely share the story of losing their beautiful son, how they are grieving and what helpful things we can do/say to those grieving. I felt Milo with us.” Thank you for being on the podcast. I learned so much from you and your story will give hope, healing and better understanding to our listeners. The three of you are awesome.
My friends Grace Soleberg (Black Latter-day Saint) and Faith Williams (Grace’s friend and ally) talk about being black at BYU. I became aware of Grace following her tweet after painful experience at the Black Immigration Panel at BYU in early February where racist questions were submitted (https://twitter.com/SoelbergGrace/status/1225607906092974081). This experience helped me to realize how much more work we have to do as the Body of Christ to help Black Latter-day Saints feel welcome and that racism exists today. Faith (a RM from Argentina) shares wonderful insights into the problem and what we need to do better. Thank you Grace and Faith for being on the podcast. You two are awesome. You have a unique and beautiful life mission to help us to better.
My friend Seth Cannon joins us to bravely share his story. Seth, who grew up in Medford Oregon and has a great family, shares his journey with difficult emotional health issues which led to a suicide attempt during his junior year in high school. At the time, Seth falsely believe his suicide who end the burden he was creating for others. Seth talks about how his OCD/Scrupulosity led to a feeling of not measuring up and the need to engage in self harm to ‘even the judgement bar’. Seth also shares his desire to service a mission, being voice for the voiceless, helping us better understand those with emotional challenges, and how BYU can be tough place if you are not a returned missionary. Thank you Seth for your courage to share your story on the podcast. You are brave, strong and full of goodness. Your story will help so many!
My friend Noah Kelsch joins us to share his journey with OCD, Anxiety, and Scrupulosity. Noah, who is getting a degree in Marriage and Family Studies with plans to be a therapist, talks about how scrupulosity was first manifested while getting ready for his mission, then on his mission, and more recently while a student at BYU-I. Noah did not know this was scrupulosity until his therapist diagnosed him in 2019. Please listen as Noah bravely shares his journey. His insights, perspectives, and experiences will help you if you have scrupulosity or simply want to help others. Also, check out Noah’s podcast, "Survive and Thrive: From Courtship to Marriage," at: https://surviveandthrive.buzzsprout.com/. It can also be found on most podcast streaming platforms.
My friend Kris Irvin (who identifies as transmasculine non-binary and asexual) shares their journey as a queer Latter-day Saint. It’s beautiful story. I love the story Kris shared when speaking in Church, the Bishopric member introduced Kris using they/them pronouns. We are all the same human family and I’m grateful for amazing people like Kris who are doing so much good in their family, church circle, for other queer Latter-day Saints, and in society. I’m a better person for knowing Kris. Thank you for being on the podcast Kris. You are awesome. You can follow Kris on Twitter at @krisis86
My friend Jenny Hahn (active LDS) shares her unlikely journey to homeschool her children. As I listened to Jenny, I realized many of the myths and biases I held about homeschooling were wrong. I realized this is the right decision for the Hahn family and many other wonderful families. I realize I need to set aside my past assumptions to bring us together as the same human family. Jenny shares the personal revelation she received as a mother to homeschool her kids, how her kids are thriving, how she honors and support families in the public school system and how she hopes this no longer divides families in our wards and communities. Thank you Jenny for being on the podcast.
My friend Preston Jenkins, who is the missionary Elder Holland spoke about in his conference talk ‘Behold Thy Mother’ (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2015/10/behold-thy-mother) shares his story with our listeners. In 2010, Preston came home from his mission because of the emotional and sexual abuse that he endured at the hands of another missionary. Church-generated trauma can be one of the most difficult types of trauma to overcome because it originates from a place that should be safe and healing. Preston shares how, over the following five years, he overcame the PTSD that resulted from his mission. He talks about his visit with Elder Holland that was key to his moving forward as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints－a ministering home-run by Elder Holland. Preston also shares how wonderful a job his parents, Cheri and Trent, siblings, and other family and friends did to help him navigate this complicated road and ultimately heal, putting his trauma behind him by coming to know Jesus Christ and His ability to heal his broken heart. In 2015, acting on a spiritual prompting, Preston left to finish his mission, assigned to Atlanta, Georgia. Then as "Elder Jenkins," Preston watched the October General Conference in the chapel of his assigned area when Elder Holland spoke about him and his mother. Elder Holland’s talk opened the door for Elder Jenkins to share his experiences with many others, helping them to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ and learn of His Atonement so they, too, could heal. After completing his mission in Atlanta, Preston taught at the MTC for just shy of 3 years and remains an active member of the Church. Preston also shared his story through a North Star - Voices of Hope video (https://www.northstarlds.org/voh-preston). There is also a book manuscript currently being considered by a publisher that details his journey. If you have a wounded heart or want to help others heal their hearts, please listen to this podcast. Preston's story helped me. I think it will help you. Thank you for being on the podcast, Preston. You are a great man with a beautiful and unique life mission to give hope to and heal others.
My friend Curtis Anderson (active LDS, married father of two, former YSA Bishop) shares his journey to better understand and support LGBTQ Latter-day Saints. It’s a powerful story. Curtis has great perspectives on how to faithfully deal with the complex historical and current issues of our Church. Curtis also updated our listeners on Encircle, a LGBTQ+ family and youth resource center (https://encircletogether.org/) Thanks for being on the podcast Curtis. You and your wife Margie are awesome!
My friend Jill (married mother of 6 children and 4 grandchildren) shares about her son Hunter coming out as gay at age 17 (about 8 years ago). Jill talks about supporting Hunter, getting involved in Mama Dragons, and being an admin for a Facebook group for LDS parents with LGBTQ children (https://www.facebook.com/groups/840081769339272/). Jill has wonderful insights LDS parents with LGBTQ children and for those who want to better support those walking this road. Jill is host of a new podcast called Human Stories where LGBTQ people share their stories. Please check out that podcast at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/human-stories-with-jill-hazard-rowe/id1468623842 Thanks for being on the podcast Jill. Thanks for your example of family, Christlike service, amplifying other’s voices, and saving lives.
My friends Todd Barney (Bishop), Cathryn Tucker (RS President) and Jeralee Renshaw (RS Teacher) of the Alpine 12th Ward talk about Bishop Barney’s question to the Ward Counsel "Is our Ward a safe place for everyone?" That opened up a series of events around inward reflection, individual ministry and classroom discussions to help more members feel like they belong. Hearing this question my brother David Ostler said: "Is this ward a safe place for everyone", is a profound understanding of what it means to become like Jesus. I wonder if all of us could find ways to introduce this question in any of our comments in class, in a prayer, in a talk, in a lesson. I think that because of its profound simplicity, it could change a culture. Might require multiple times, but it feels true. It feels right. It is right." Thanks for being on the podcast and sharing your efforts to create an accepting and loving Ward so more can come unto Christ through our restored Church. You are all doing a great work!
Episode 233: Cory and Lynette Braddock, Active LDS, Parents of a Transgender Daughter by Richard Ostler
Episode 232: Max Terry, BYU Student, Helping BYU Students in Faith Crisis by Richard Ostler
My friends Dr. Debra McClendon and Dr. Richard McClendon (both with PHD’s, active LDS, authors, church speakers) talk about their marriage book called “Commitment to the Covenant: Strengthening the Me, We, and Thee of Marriage.” Their book and this podcast have excellent insights into strengthening all marriages. I encourage all our readers (single/married, or in roles to help others) to read this book as it will help improve relationships. “In recent decades, prophets have repeatedly emphasized how a strong marriage and family is the basis of a robust society; they have counseled and warned of the many modern obstacles that can erode a healthy family life. This book draws on inspiring personal stories, research from sociology and psychology, and teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ to present key principles that, when applied, will help a marriage thrive. The authors use three broad content areas the things we each need to do personally to improve our marriage (me), the things we need to do together as a couple to strengthen our marital relationship (we), and ways we can more fully involve God in our marriage relationship (Thee). This three-part approach is both theoretical and practical and will help guide readers to a successful and happy marriage.” The book can be picked up at Deseret Book, Seagull Book, Barnes and Noble, or at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Commitment-Covenant-Strengthening-Thee-Marriage/dp/1944394311/. They also maintain a Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/DebraRichardMcClendon/ Thank you for being on the podcast. It gave me fresh and helpful insights. I encourage everyone to check out their book and this podcast.