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 am the author of "Listen Learn and Love: Embracing LGBTQ Latter-day Saints at Amazon (amazon.com/dp/1462135773) and Deseret Book (deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints) I am the author of two recent Ensign articles on ‘How the Savior’s Healing Power Applies to Repenting from Sexual Sin’ (August 2020/YSA Digital Only) www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2020/08/young-adults/how-the-saviors-healing-power-applies-to-repenting-from-sexual-sin and ‘7 Tips for Overcoming Pornography Use’ (October, page 72) www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2020/10/young-adults/7-tips-for-overcoming-pornography-use 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 several 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 Tanner Robinson joins us to share his story. Tanner (age 24, active LDS, and working on a Doctor of Audiology) starts with his mission in Taiwan and returning home early because of fibromyalgia. Tanner then shares his journey to understand and be at peace with his sexual orientation as a bisexual Latter-day Saint. I have made many incorrect assumptions about those who are bisexual—so I’m grateful that Tanner (and others who have been on the podcast) are willing to step forward and share their story to help us better understand so we can better support. Tanner also has great insights into the love of our Heavenly Parents, personal revelation, and reducing shame. Tanner is in a great place and has a wonderful life ahead of him. ** Please Check Out My New Book At: ** Deseret Book: www.deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773
My friend Emerson Fersch, recently released as Stake President in the California Long Beach East Stake, talks about ‘creating Zion’ in his stake where everyone felt welcome, loved and needed. That included a significant outreach to LGBTQ Latter-day Saints in his stake—as well as working to make sure other groups who often feel on the margins feel a sense of belonging. Emerson also talks about his conversion story to the Church and falling in love with his dear wife Darcy (they now live in Cedar City, Utah) and their joint efforts to connect more with the blessings of the Gospel. If you are a local leader looking for real-life experiences to honor President Ballard’s challenge in April 2021 conference to create a greater feeling of belonging, please listen to this podcast. It will inspire you. Our prayer is that ideas will come into your mind/heart to better ‘create Zion’ in your area of stewardship. You can reach Emerson at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you Emerson for being on the podcast and your great work. You are a hero to me and 100s of others. ** Please Check Out My New Book At: ** Deseret Book: www.deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773
My friend David Woods (early 60’s) and his niece Bekah Clements (married mother of three, HR Director) share their story. David (who served a mission in Switzerland) talks about being gay in Utah, moving away from Utah and leaving the Church, developing a successful multi-faceted career, returning to the Church after being out for several decades, moving back to Utah (where he is currently serving as a temple worker and ward clerk). It’s a moving and remarkable story. David talks about the difficult road of being gay and LDS and how he did his best to move forward. Bekah talks about her uncle David and how we can better support and love family members regardless of their church activity. This podcast is a beautiful love story. David and I learn—in real time during the podcast—that we crossed paths over 30 years ago. Bekah, who is a Relief Society teacher in her ward, shares this powerful statement about the need for everyone in our congregations. "For our boat to swing in unison we need you if you have gay or straight children. We need working women and full-time homemakers. We need women with children, those coping with the pain of infertility, and those that will not have children in this life. We need you if you are married, single, divorced, or widowed. We need those who are depressed, those who deal with crippling anxiety as well as those who can lift the burden of those in the pit of despair. We want those who have a temple recommend, those that have never had a recommend, and those who are working to get to a place where they can renew their recommend. We need introverts just as much as we need extroverts in this boat. Those with strong testimonies, wavering testimonies, and those who have never gained a testimony belong in our boat. There is a seat in the boat for converts, investigators, and those who come from pioneer stock. We need those dealing with crippling illnesses as much as we need those in perfect health. We need women of all colors, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and political affiliations. If you can fight the fight we need you as much as those who can make peace. We need those whose husbands struggle with pornography addiction. We need you if you are overweight or stick thin. If you are suffering with substance abuse or can be the support system for someone who is, we need you on our team. We need those that cook and bake as well as those who support Door Dash. We need you if your husband is a righteous active priesthood holder, an inactive priesthood holder, or does not hold the priesthood at all. We need those with a million dollars in the bank and those who are living paycheck to paycheck. We need those who want to be in the boat as well as those who don’t. (from her FB post: https://www.facebook.com/rebekah.w.clements/posts/10158824393103810) Thank you David and Bekah for being on the podcast. You are two of my heroes! Your insights bring us healing and together as the same human family. ** Please Check Out My New Book At: ** Deseret Book: www.deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773
My friend Kristen Reber (active LDS, married mother of three) joins us to talk about her early release from her mission 10 years ago. Kristen talks about the myriad of feelings that accompanied that experience including anger, pain, relief, and feelings of failure and frustrations with that experience. Several years after her early return, Kristen, realizing others are walking the same road, wrote a book and started a podcast on this subject (both are called Early Homecoming). Kristen has great insights to help others walking this road find hope for the future and belonging in our congregations. Her book is available in paperback, ebook, or audiobook on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Early-Homecoming-Resource-Early-Returned-Missionaries/dp/B08NWHZP36/ You can also buy it in paperback at Deseret Book: https://deseretbook.com/p/early-homecoming-a-resource-for-early-returned-missionaries-their-church-leaders-and-family You can listen to her podcast anywhere you like to listen to podcasts, or by visiting her website at: kristenreber.com/podcast You can also contact her via her website or on her social media sites: Facebook: facebook.com/kristenreber or facebook.com/earlyhomecoming Instagram: @author_kristenreber Thank you Kristen for your great work to help love, show compassion for, and give support for early release missionaries.
My friend Sharla Goettl joins us to talk about her outstanding new book called “Spiritual Resilience: Leading Our Youth to Go and Do”. This wonderful book is for LDS parents and will give you added tools, learned from Nephi's teenage years, to help guide your own children. The book is available at Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08T8L88TV or from Sharla’s web site at www.sharlagoettl.com. Thanks for being on the podcast Sharla. You are awesome. Thanks for your work to help our youth build a strong foundation.
My long-time friend Michael Broadhead joins us to share his journey being gay and raised LDS. Michael is joined by his husband Michael Massoni (they have been together for 25 years and married for 7 years). They both work for Southwest Airlines and live in Phoenix. Michael shares doing his best to navigate being gay, trying to find his way in the LDS Church, working through tough situations and finding a way forward. Michael, who is no longer in the LDS Church, has great insights on how to bring us together as the same human family, find common ground and reduce divisiveness, and principles to keep families together. In this podcast we discovered that in an event whereby we ran into each other decades ago, we were both affected by our fears of each other. Thank you Michael for being on the podcast. This world is a better place because of the contributions of you and your husband Michael. ** Please Check Out My New Book At: ** Deseret Book: www.deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773
My friend Jeanie Edwards (active LDS, married mother of three, teacher in Princeton NJ) and Sean Edwards (RM, Married to Matt, School Administrator in Utah) share their family story. Sean and Jeanie share Sean’s coming out at age 17, serving a mission, trying to date women, dating men and eventually getting married to Matt (also a RM) 2 years ago. Sean shares his deep love for his Heavenly Father and the Savior and the support he is receiving from his family, friends, and school community. Jeanie, who has been on this road for 15 years, shares insights as a deeply committed Latter-day Saint and mother on raising a LGBTQ child including how we can do better. Thank you Jeanie and Sean for being on the podcast. Your family story is a beautiful family love story and will help many. ** Please Check Out My New Book At: ** Deseret Book: www.deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773
My friend Jeffrey Scott Parsons (late 30’s, RM, talented signer, dancer and actor) shares his story as a gay Latter-day Saint. Jeff shares positive and difficult Church experiences, why he stays in the Church and attends his Ward, his hopes for the future, and how congregations can work with LGBTQ Latter-day Saints to be stronger and enjoy a better sense of belonging. Jeff also has wonderful insights for other LGBTQ Latter-day Saints. Thank you for being on the podcast Jeff. You are a great man—a true warrior—using your many God given talents to bring light and hope into the world. ** Please Check Out My New Book At: ** Deseret Book: www.deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773
Alec and Irene Barrow’s (episode 397) children join us to talk about their love for their gay father (who is a seminary teacher in Utah) and their parents wonderful marriage. Their children are Amalia and her husband TJ, Ben and his wife McKaela, Clark and his finance Tegan, Caroline and Elizabeth. The Barrow kids love their gay father Alec and straight mother Irene and are proud to be their children—their family story is a beautiful love story. They are not embarrassed to have a gay father—but rather see their father as one of their heroes—They are proud of their parents marriage and are glad their story is being heard in a broader way. They share how having parents in a mixed orientation marriage has helped them to understand and teach the Gospel and Jesus Christ. They are glad their parents are sharing their story to help better support LGBTQ Latter-day Saints and bring us together as the same human family. The Barrow kids have powerful and needed insights on how to love, value and support LGBTQ Latter-day Saints. I encourage everyone to listen to this podcast (and episode 397 with Alec and Irene). It will help all of us better support LGBTQ members of our families and congregations. Thank you Barrow family for all your great work to teach and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. ** For More Stories, Please Check Out My New Book At: ** Deseret Book: www.deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773
My friends Alec and Irene Barrow (married 30 years, 5 kids) talk about Alec being a gay Latter-day Saint. Alec, who has done everything he knows to not be gay, eventually came to accept this part of himself and is now being given space in his Stake and his Church employment to share his story as a gay Latter-day Saint—which is deeply healing for Alec and helps us have better tools to support LGBTQ Latter-day Saints. Alec talks about how both his testimony of our Church and being gay are part of his core identity. Both Irene and Alec talk about how “hiding” and “shame” disconnect us and the need to be real, open and honest—and how that creates connection which better helps us help and heal each other. Their marriage is a beautiful love story. This is a deeply moving podcast to help better support LGBTQ Latter-day Saints and bring us together as the same human family. Thank you Alec and Irene for being on the podcast. You are two of my heroes and you sharing your story will help thousands. Please note that their children/spouses are the next episode (398) to share their love and support for their parents. ** For More Stories, Please Check Out My New Book At: ** Deseret Book: www.deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773
My friend Blaire (married mother of three) is a philosopher specialized in queer studies. She joins us on the podcast to teach about intersex variances and her own intersex journey. Blaire (no relation) does a great job of teaching the facts while also sharing her story. For me, learning more about intersex variances helps me better understand the road that some walk and how to better support them. You can check out Blaire’s other podcast episodes on this platform at 335 and 24. Thanks for being on the podcast Blaire and all your work to bring us together as the same human family. You can connect with Blaire at BlaireOstler.com ** Please Check Out My New Book At: ** Deseret Book: www.deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773
My friend Liz Macdonald (UVU psychology graduate, married mother of three, lives in SLC) shares research from her capstone project on “Exploring the Impact of Parents’ Religious Rigidity on Young Adults Disaffiliating from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’. Liz (who does not attend Church) is not trying to pull people out of the Church—but rather shares principals and concepts that can bring LDS families together where there are different levels of belief. I believe our Heavenly Parents are pleased when families stay strong, there in open communication and we see and value the contributions of everyone. Liz can be reached at email@example.com or parentfromtheinsideout.com. Thanks for being on the podcast Liz. You are doing needed work!
My friend Kate Mower (PhD candidate, University of California Riverside) brings together all the different aspects of their life into a deeply moving and spiritual podcast. Kate talks about stepping away from the Church at age 17, their suicide attempt at age 19, their path to healing, their education pursuits (including three degrees from the University of Utah), their insights in Eastern Europe History and a deeply spiritual experience resulting in their return to the LDS Church. They also share their experience with bipolar II disorder, PTSD and anxiety. Kate has learned not to feel shame for any of their experiences or attributes—instead they see a wonderful child of Heavenly Parents. If you don’t feel you belong, are suicidal, or feel shame, please listen to Kate’s story. They will inspire you and give you more hope. Thanks for being on the podcast Kate. You are awesome and bringing much light and goodness into the world. ** Please Check Out My New Book At: ** Deseret Book: www.deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773
My friend Rachel Grant (Spain RM, BYU Philosophy Major, Digital Media Manager at Saints Unscripted) shares how we can improve Church culture around asking and answering questions. She teaches how questions need to be normalized in our families and church settings and are part of our journey to understand our religion—and how we should not fear if we or others have sincere questions. Rachel shares about her own faith crises processing complicated Church topics and why she stays a committed Latter-day Saint. She looks at this a ‘step forward’ versus a ‘step backward’. If you are working to stay in the Church or help others stay in the Church, please listen to Rachel’s insights. And you can check out Rachel (and the team she works with) good work with Saints Unscripted at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2LBmYIOq6Eu_ZC14i_YkIg Thanks for being on the podcast Rachel. You are awesome.
Warren Bittner joins us to share his experiences of living as a gay Latter-day Saint through more than 60 years. In 1976, as a teenager, he found himself in the office of the Presiding Bishop of the Church to get help for being gay, where he was put in contact with a list created by President Spencer W Kimball, which if followed would make him no longer gay. The list changed the direction of his life in surprising ways. Recently, Warren started Sons of Sacrifice. The Sons of Sacrifice training program is for men with same-sex attraction who want to keep their covenants with God, especially of a sexual nature, and remain active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (see: http://sonsofsacrifice.org) Warren shares one of the most honest and vulnerable stories ever shared on the podcast. One behalf of all of our listeners, thank you Warren for the courage to share your story. It helps all of know better know how to come together as the same human family. ** Please Check Out My New Book At: ** Deseret Book: www.deseretbook.com/p/listen-learn-and-love-embracing-lgbtq-latter-day-saints Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773