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 ❤ email@example.com
My friend Will Edgel shares his journey being in a same-sex relationship, ending that relationship, returning to the Church, wonderful Priesthood leaders, serving a Mission, doing a voices of hope video (ldsvoicesofhope.org/voices/will/), having a strong relationship with our Savior, and eventually hopes to marry a woman and have a family. These experiences have organically led him to empower other people to explore and share their stories through his business called ELIX-Life stories (www.elixlifestories.com). Thank you Will for sharing your story as it will help so many. You are a great man with a wonderful future.
My friend Stacey Harkey shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Stacey came out in December 2018 with this FB post https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10104722886604359&id=17829724 that went viral and was followed up by an LDS Living Article. In the podcast Stacey shares his journey, personal revelation from God, coming out to close friends and family, helpful insights for our younger LDS LGBTQ members and hopes for the future. Stacey is strong and courageous. I am inspired by listening to his story. Thank you Stacey. You are a great man with a wonderful future.
My friend Coco Berthmann bravely shares her story as a survivor of child trafficking/human trafficking while living in Germany, her brave escape at age 15, following her dreams to New York, finding herself in Salt Lake City and joining the Church, and how sharing her story to help bring an end to trafficking. It’s a remarkable story of courage, healing, forgiveness, hope and following dreams. Thank you Coco for sharing your story. You are strong, courageous and awesome!
My friend Rebecca Moore shares her career aspirations at NASA, a wonderful talk she gave about Fasting, insights into Rebekah from the Old Testament, and life as a bi-sexual Latter-day Saint. Rebecca is strong, faithful, unique, courageous with wonderful insights about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is people like Rebecca that give me hope in the future of our Church and world. I think you will enjoy her podcast.
My friend Alex Boye shares his story of joining the Church while living in England, significant hardship, serving a mission, building a foundation on Christ, using his God-given musical gifts to bless others, his latest song and video called ‘Bend Not Break (https://youtu.be/0o1T_y81_DU) to give hope to those who are suicidal, and inspiring thoughts for our dear LGBTQ friends. Thanks Alex for your efforts to lift, give hope and heal others. May God continue to sustain you in your unique and wonderful ministry. We all love you!
My friend Matthew Wilkinson shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint coming to terms with his sexual orientation as a teenager growing up in England, serving a mission, his kind and loving Mission Presidents (Robert and Pat Preston), coming out to his wonderful parents and family members, graduating from BYU in Geospatial Intelligence, and his desire to be a University Professor. While Matthew has deep admiration for the Church and isn’t trying to pull people out of the Church, he shares why he is stepping away. I believe hearing Matthew’s story helps us come together to better love, support and minster to all of God’s children. Thanks for sharing your story, Matthew. You are a great man with a wonderful future.
My friend Daniele D’Apuzzo shares his journey of his girlfriend calling off their engagement leading to heartbreaking pain and deep reflection. Daniel wrote a book about this experience to share how he healed with gives hope to others (including our friends who are suicidal). I’ve read his book and it has great insights to heal from pain thru the love of God and the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Daniel’s book can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/Rising-Broken-Wings-Secure-Uncertainties-ebook/dp/B07JJZH7XT/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1546213364&sr=1-1 Daniel has a level of maturity and depth of insights well beyond his years. I believe you will enjoy this podcast and encourage you to read his book.
My friend John Gustav-Wrathall introduces us to Affirmation, a support organization of our LDS LGBTQ friends. I’m personally supportive of Affirmation and its mission to help our LDS LGBTQ friends. You can learn more about affirmation at https://affirmation.org/. You can also listen to John’s personal journey as a gay Latter-day Saint in Episode 49.
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.