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 Sister Ganel-Lyn Condie (author of 7 books and over 800 speaking engagements) joins us to talk about her ‘Come Follow Me’ YouTube series (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa4odUWX7xWihiuGD4OujAQ), ‘Why I Stay’ (in the Church, Marriage and Body), her new podcast call ‘The Reconnect Podcast’ (https://www.facebook.com/thereconnectpodcast/) and insights in our millennial members. Thanks for being on the podcast Ganel-Lyn and all your great work to bring hope to some many through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
My friend Annette Tidball joins us to talk about her new book ‘Fly Again’ (on Amazon) about the tragic death of her husband Brian in their mid-30’s following 10 years of marriage with 4 kids at home. Check out her book at: https://www.amazon.ca/FLY-AGAIN-Want-You-Live-ebook/dp/B07ZPSWPMT/ Annette has wonderful insights to help others dealing with a tragic death and what we can do to minister to those on this road. Annette also talks about why she decided to write this book which I encourage our listeners to read. Thanks for being on the podcast Annette for bravely sharing your journey. We appreciate your courage, faith, and example.
My friend Jimmy Rex (business owner, life coach, mentor, friend to many) shares his life story. Jimmy shares his church story including his mission in Mexico, staying active in the church, dating in and out of the church, but then gradually stepping away. He talks about what we could have done better to perhaps help him stay. Jimmy is supportive of the Church and is pleased that it is working for others. Yea, I’m sad when someone steps away but I also want to keep them in my circle and see their contributions to society. Jimmy is moving forward in his life in remarkable ways and shares some of his hope-filled and non-shaming thoughts to help others. Thanks for being on the podcast Jimmy. You a great man doing remarkable things.
My friend Scott Braithwaite discusses stages of faith (Fowler model) and suicide (Joyner model). Scott presented both at BYU Education Week. Great podcast to help minister for those in a faith crisis/transition to help those who are suicidal. Also a great podcast if you are in a faith crisis or are suicidal. I wish I had known some of the things Scott shares before my YSA service. Scott has a unique perspective/voice on both topics from his clinical training (PhD is Clinical Psychology), pastoral ministry (recently served as a Bishop) and clinical practice. You can read more at: https://fhssfaculty.byu.edu/FacultyPage/srb37 Thank you for being on the podcast Scott and your service to help so many work through complicated topics and bring people to Christ.
My friend Brother Emmett Claren calls in from California to share his journey as a transgender man. Emmett shares the long-term gender dysphoria he felt from a young age and the accompanied feelings of depressions leading to suicide attempts. Emmett shares serving as a sister missionary (Salt Lake City) and then starting to transition after the mission while at BYU-Idaho. Emmett shares his experience with supportive priesthood leaders as he went through the social, legal and medical stages of transition. Emmett shares how he is in a much better plan emotionally and spiritually, has a great relationship with his family, and his Heavenly Parents. Great podcast to learn about our transgender Latter-day Saints. Thank you my friend and brother Emmett for being on the podcast and sharing your journey.
My friend Dr. McClendon, licensed psychologist and frequent speaker at Education Week, joins us to talk about two articles she has written for the Ensign on anxiety and scrupulosity. Anxiety: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2019/04/young-adults/discerning-your-feelings-anxiety-or-the-spirit Scrupulosity: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2019/09/young-adults/understanding-scrupulosity-religious-ocd Scrupulosity, or religious OCD, is something every LDS parent and local leader should understand. Instead of OCD that manifests itself in something like hand washing, it is spiritual OCD that manifests itself in toxic/tormenting guilt, continued confessions, feelings of never being worthy, loss of the spirit, and such. Like other mental illnesses, it needs to be treated by someone with expertise in this area. It can’t be solved with increased religious behaviors because it is not a spiritual weakness. I wish I understood scrupulosity before my YSA assignment. It would have helped me better meet the needs of some of my YSAs. I encourage parents, local leaders and those of you that feel anxiety interferes with your ability to feel the Spirit or feel you are always unworthy to listen to this podcast. Thank you, Dr. McClendon, for your great work and being on the podcast. I’m glad the Ensign published your articles. If you’d like to contact Dr. McClendon to speak on anxiety or scrupulosity (which I encourage), you can contact her at: email@example.com. You can also check out www.debramcclendon.com for more information. Also, Debra and her husband Richard have written the book: ‘Commitment to the Covenant: Strengthening the Me, We, and Thee of Marriage.’ It is available at Deseret Book: https://deseretbook.com/p/rsc-commitment-to-the-covenant?variant_id=157152-hardcover. It is also available on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites. Please check out their book. They give presentations on marriage at Education Week and may also be available to speak for your group.
My dear friends Joe and Amy Pierson (married 27 years, parents of 6 children and 1 grandchild) bravely share the story of Joe’s 20+ year addiction to pornography. Yes, it almost ended their marriage. And pornography ends some marriages. Through hard work, the Savior’s help and a deeply spiritual experience feeling God’s love, Joe has been free of pornography for nearly three years. It’s a brutal road of shame and dishonesty resulting in significant emotional pain (betrayal trauma) for Amy. It is also a beautiful love story of Joe and Amy struggling, but determined to keep their marriage together, with 12-step programs, learning to surrender, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. When I served as a YSA Bishop, many of the wonderful YSA’s were working to solve this problem. I wish I had heard Joe and Amy’s story back then. It would have given me additional tools to help others overcome pornography. I encourage everyone to listen to this podcast. It will help you help others. If you are working to overcome pornography, this podcast will give you more tools and hope. Here are a couple of lines of wisdom from Amy and Joe: My worth is set. Everything else is experience Repentance from sin is not the same of recovery from addiction The 12-steps are the Atonement of Jesus Christ in action Forgiveness and trust are two different things. Amy and Joe are heroes to me (and my others) for bravely sharing their story. Stories like these are so needed. They are available to speak in Ward/Stake events. We have plenty of messages of ‘stay away from pornography’. I agree with this message. But we need more stories of people actually walking this road as they authentically help others. Thanks for being on the podcast Joe and Amy. You two are awesome.
My friend Thomas Richins shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint growing up in Joplin Missouri, serving a mission in Brazil, battling depression, coming out as gay to his family and a few close friends and then more broadly on this Facebook post https://www.facebook.com/thomas.richins.9/posts/1085974584945350 Thomas talks about great family support and his strong relationship with Heavenly Father and our Savior. Thanks for sharing your story, Thomas. You are a great man with a wonderful future.
My friend Andrea Sorensen, a convert to the LDS Church, shares her journey with her parents addictions (Dad with Alcohol and Mother with Opioids). Andrea’s mother Debbie died from her addictions in June 2018. Andrea is on a mission to eliminate the shame around addictions so people be more likely to solve this challenge. She has so many helpful and thoughtful insights. I wish I had heard someone like Andrea before my YSA service. If you are working to solve an addiction (drugs, porn, etc) or are trying to help others, please listen (and share) this podcast. Thank you Andrea for your great work. To have Andrea speak at your Stake, Ward or event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow along on her journey to share hope on Instagram @andreajeansorensen or on her blog at www.andreajeansorensen.com You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/andreajeansorensen. Thanks for being on the podcast Andrea. You are giving hope and healing to so many!
My friend Tyler Barber shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Tyler talks about being less active but then returning to full activity and served a mission in Paris France. Tyler talks about knowing he is gay since age 12 and how he is navigating this road. Tyler came out to friends and family about 2 years ago. Tyler no longer participates in the Church but is respectful of those who love the Church and want to stay. Tyler is part of a peer mentor ship program entitled the ACES at SUU which is a campus group helping all students feel welcome. He talks about the good work that Eric Kirby is doing at SUU (Assistant Vice President, SUU and guest on episode 38). Tyler shares insights and principles that keep us together even in our differences. Tyler talks to those who are considering suicide and has helpful insights to help them stay. Tyler has started a blog at mytaboolife.worldpress.com. Thanks for being on the podcast Tyler. You are doing great things and have a wonderful life ahead of you!
My friend Jeralee Renshaw, married mother of four and nine grandchildren, shares her journey of a life of Church service. All was going well until about eight years, when their oldest son came to them and described his deconstruction of belief in the LDS Church. A journey which eventually took his family out of the Church. That kind of rocked her world. Jeralee shares how she navigating this road which led her to better understand the facts of our church history and the need to share those openly and honestly in a faithful way. Jeralee and her husband continue to be active in the Church and have a great relationship with all their children. There are no empty seats around their table. Jeralee talks about how her Ward leadership is making sure their ward is a safe place for everyone. She shares valuable and important insights to make this happen including her recent RS lesson and the positive impact all these efforts are having on their Ward. Jeralee and my older brother David started a support group for LDS parents who have adult children that have stepped away. This group can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/BridgesLDSParents/ Thanks for being on the podcast, Jeralee. You voice, perspective and insight into the Gospel of Jesus Christ are so need to help more stay and keep families close if one steps away.
My friend Kathryn and Tyler McDonald, parents of two girls, join us to share Kathryn’s journey with her eating disorder. Kathryn bravely shares her story bulimia and anorexia with inpatient treatment and a relapse after some big life changes. She is able to connect the dots that this isn’t really about foot but about more complex ‘bottom of the iceberg’ issues. Kathryn takes the shame out of an eating disorder which increases the ability to solve this. She talks about the beautiful people she has met along the way and her ability to have more empathy and understanding for others on a difficult road. She shares opening up while dating to her future husband Tyler (now an oral surgeon in Wenatchee, WA) about her eating disorder and his ‘home-run’ response. This section is one of the highlights of the podcast. Please listen to this podcast if you have an eating disorder or want to help someone on this road. Thank you Kathryn and Tyler for being on the podcast. You two are awesome and will continue to help and heal a lot of people.
My friend Karl Malchut joins us to tell his story. Karl talks about growing up gay in a religious family, leaving that faith and joining the LDS Church and now being Jewish. Karl talks about being grateful for his time in the Church. Karl talks about his life being gay, insights learned and hopes for the future. Karl also shares his role as President of the Affirmation Chicago and his goals to bring more understanding between our LGBTQ member and the LDS Church. Affirmation Chicago has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AffimationChicagoChapter/. At that page you can check out their next event on October 26th. Thanks for being on the podcast Karl. You are a good man and friend.
My friend Sarah Bowers shares her journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Sarah, who lives in California and is in her late 20s, earned a degree in International Studies and wants to get a Masters in Social Work. Sarah shares her thoughts about her future, strong relationship with Heavenly Parents, coming out to her parents and her relationship with her YSA Bishop. Sarah shares how she would like to share her life with a woman. While I wouldn’t invite anyone down a road outside the doctrine of our Church that I sustain and support, I think it is important to hear stories of how to keep the family circle together and the good work Sarah and her YSA Bishop are doing to stay connected. Thanks for being on the podcast, Sarah. You have a great life ahead of you.
My friend Trevor Searle shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. He talks about always wanting to do the right thing (including serving a mission, marrying a woman and having a family). Trevor talks about how his sexual orientation never changed, which led him to conclude he is a 'monster' and should die. Trevor talks about his near suicide and Heavenly Father answering his prayer that he shared in this moving post: https://www.facebook.com/trevor.searle.33/posts/%2010219274388241319 Yes, I’m sad when a marriage ends. Yes, there is so much pain for all involved. Yes, I’m sad when someone steps away from our Church. But that is the reality of some situations and we can all agree that suicide is the worst outcome. I’ve learned to not pass judgement when a marriage ends as I can never fully understand the complexities of each situation. Neither Trevor or me believe/hope other mixed-orientation marriages will fail. This is only Trevor's story. I've done many podcasts of thriving and successful mixed-orientation marriages (http://www.listenlearnandlove.org/mixed-orientation-marriage-podcasts). They are beautiful love stories. I feel confident Trevor will continue to be a great Dad to his two children, will continue to bless many people through his nursing career, and give hope to others who are considering suicide. I’m glad Trevor chose to stay. Be like Trevor. Please stay.