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 ❤
Our family friend Jake Lee, a bridge builder, talks about respect for those in a different political party, empathy of our LGBTQ friends, his own emotional health and how that is helping him touch the cross of others, and concludes with his strong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thanks Jake for sharing your journey. You are a great man. Sister Ostler and I love you and your wonderful family.
Our dear family friends, Royal and Elissa Richards, share their family story of raising three great sons who all served missions and who are all married. Their middle son Conner is gay and was married earlier this year to his husband Jan. Royal and Elissa will talk about how are navigating this road, supporting and loving their dear son Conner, keeping the family circle together and helpful Ward support (including some vulnerable and helpful Elder Quorum discussions, and a shower hosted by the RS President). Their story helps all of us show Christlike principals to better love, support and respect others.
My friend, Jodie Palmer, is a mother, educator, coach, and bridge builder. She is also gay and in a mixed orientation marriage (MOM). Her passion is spreading empathy and dialogue as the universal guides to navigating conflict without losing connection. Thank you, Jodie, for sharing your journey, as well as helpful insights in navigating complex and difficult issues. You are wonderful and a beloved daughter of Heavenly Parents, and I’m glad to call you friend!
After 15 years of marriage, Briget and Ann Pack share their story of Ann transitioning from male to female and why they have stayed married over the past 5 years since that transition. They have helpful insights for us to better understand, support and love God’s transgender children. Briget is the Chair of the Board of North Star and Ann is involved in Affirmation. They introduce these organizations to help us understand how each organization helps our Latter-day Saint LGBTQ members.
My friend Austin Hodges share his story of knowing he was gay around age 12, coming out to friends, family and church leaders, being suicidal, serving a mission, being diagnosed with MS and coming home after a year, dating men including going through and finishing church discipline, holding a temple recommend, being suicidal including having a plan but being saved, having a new boyfriend where they are keeping the law of chastity so Austin can stay in full fellowship. Thank you Austin for sharing your story. You are a remarkable and courageous man.
My friend Brian Tipton share his story of knowing he was gay at age 11, coming out his sister, Bishop and family. Brian then shares stepping away from the church, dating men including two serious relationships, feeling impressed to return to the Church, the difficulty of ending a relationship, role of the Savior and the Book of Mormon, a loving Bishop, a loving family and now serving in the Temple. Thank you Brian for sharing your story. You are a remarkable and courageous man.
My friend John Gustav-Wrathall shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint who served a mission, resigned from the church, staying close to God, finding his husband, returning to church and staying in his same-sex marriage. Thank you John for sharing your story. You are a great man and honored to call you friend.
My friends Grayson and Neca (both Latter-day Saints) share their journey to comes to term with Grayson’s gender identity being male, affirming that gender and the road they shared together with Grayson’s social, legal and medical transition. Great podcast to learn more about our transgender friends and how to understand, respect and support them. Thank you Grayson and Neca for sharing your journey. You two are awesome.
My dear friend Vickie Walker tells the story of her husband Jeffrey being killed and 16 year old son injured in the Trolley Square 2007 shooting, starting Circle the Wagons (circle-the-wagons.org) for survivors to heal, having two gays RM sons who have both stepped away and have partners, supporting and serving God’s LGBTQ children and doing all this as a Latter-day Saint. Vickie is one of the bravest, most loving and Christlike people that I know. Thanks for sharing your story!
My friend Tarik LaCour shares his journey to join the restored Church of Jesus Christ and serve a mission in Alabama. Tarik shares how he processes the messy and complicated history of our church, imperfections of our inspired leaders, and how he maintains a strong testimony. He shares some of his favorite doctrines and why he is a committed member. It is people like Tarik that give me hope in the future of the Church and the world. Thank you, Tarik for sharing your story. You are a great man.
My friend Patrick Risk bravely shares his story as a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, confronting his perpetrator, healing and now helping so many others. Patrick gives hope and healing to other survivors and also has insights for everyone on how to support, understand and help victims of sexual abuse. You are a brave man, Patrick. Respect. You and your wife have a great life together! Patrick: You are a great man. You inspire me and inspire many others!
My friend Bryan Mortensen shares his journey leaving the MTC after 5 days, returning to serve a service mission, and then finishing his mission in the Texas Lubbock mission. Bryan has great insights for our early release missionaries, for family and local leaders to best support them and for all of us to better support those on the margins of our Church. Thank you Bryan for sharing your story as it is helping so many. You are a great man and are helping our Restored Church work for more of our members.
My dear friend Chad Curtis bravely shares his story of being an victim on a sexual assault before his mission, coming to terms with his sexual orientation after his mission, concluding his sexual orientation is not a result of the sexual assault, a loving and helpful Bishop, dating his future wife and jointly walking into a mixed-orientation marriage. Thank you Chad for sharing your story. I hope our listeners feel your courage, vulnerability and pure spirit. Your story helps all of us better understand.
My dear friend John Martinez shared his journey to join the Mormon church, processing Prop 8 as a new convert, falling in love, being inactive, almost resigning, receiving his Endowment and doing Temple work for relatives, and his hopes for the future. Thank you John for sharing your story. You are a great man.
My friend Jerry Chong shares his conversation story, coming out as gay, and the LGBTQ sensitivity training he does for the Stakes in Calgary, Canada. Thank you Jerry for sharing your journey so we can all better understand. You are awesome.