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
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!
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.