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.com/dp/1462135773 and seagullbook.com/Listen-Learn-and-Love-Richard-Ostler.html 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 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.
My friend Lark Galley bravely shares the story of her 19 year old son who died by suicide. She is now living her worst nightmare. Lark, like others, is openly and passionately talking about this subject to help solve this tragic problem in our community and help heal the hearts of those impacted. Here is a link to Christian’s obituary: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/saltlaketribune/obituary.aspx?n=christian-galley&pid=191899632&fhid=4550 Thank you Lark for having the courage to share your story. You have powerful and helpful insights. Thanks for being on the podcast.
My friend Caleb Jones share wonderful insights into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, faith transitions, serving others, and why he stays a committed Latter-day Saint. Caleb also talks about the LGBT FHE that has started in his Stake. Great podcast for those who are in a faith transition and want to remain LDS and for those looking for added insights into Christ teachings. Caleb also discusses Elder Uchtdorf’s powerful 2015 talk about ministering https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/president-uchtdorf-transcript-salt-lake-inner-city-mission. We encourage everyone to read this talk. Thanks for being on the podcast Caleb. I wish all of us could be in your Sunday School class. Thanks for your insights and discipleship.
My friends Xian Mackintosh and Karson Phippen share they journey as gay Latter-day Saints. Both served missions (Detroit and Philippines, respectively) and are moving forward in their lives. Xian has a Master in Social Work and Karson is looking forward to Medical School. They share staying close to Heavenly Father and the great support they are receiving from family and friends especially for their wedding in August 2019. Xian and his parents Scott and Becky Mackintosh joined me on Episode 173 to share the family story and Becky’s new book called ‘Love Boldly: Embracing your LGBTQ Loved Ones and Your Faith’. I encourage everyone to read this book (available of Deseret Book, Seagull Book and Amazon). Yes, their path is outside the doctrine of our church that I sustain and support. But these good men are still worthy of friendship and support as they use their agency to choose their path. I hope and believe their marriage succeeds. I love these words from Becky Mackintosh from their Church video realizing her son was stepping way: ‘I should be curled up in a ball, crying and thinking, “What’s happened to my eternal family?” Once you let it go, I’m laying this on the Savior’s feet, it feels like this big load is lifted, and you do have a peace (https://mormonandgay.churchofjesuschrist.org/videos?id=11549365994538963301). Thank you Xian and Karson for sharing some of your story. You two have great lives ahead of you.
My friend Mikal Bitter, age 21 working on a Master’s at Utah State in HR, shares his life story. He talks about coming to terms with being gay, excellent family support, moving forward in his life, respect for the LDS church and hopes/dreams for the future. Thanks for sharing your story, Mikal. Great podcast for helping to keep the family together. Thanks for being on the podcast Mikal. You are a good man and have a great life ahead of you.
My friend Travis and Margaret Steward, active LDS, parents of 6 children, Mission President in Houston from 2005-2008, share their story with Travis coming out as gay to his wife in 2014 and then more broadly to trusted friends and family members. Travis bravely shares the 40+ years of shame and self-loathing being in the closet as a gay Latter-day Saint and how this shame is now gone. Travis shares how he now has a much deeper relationship with Christ and sees himself worthy of God’s love. They both share how they are navigating this road. Their marriage is real, authentic and a beautiful love story. Travis and Margaret have wonderful insights on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how we can better minister to all of God’s children. As I recorded this podcast, I felt I was on sacred ground as this great couple shared their journey and insights. Often with tears in all our eyes. I encourage everyone to listen to this podcast as you will gain valuable insights to be better disciples of Christ and the road our LGBTQ members walk. Thank you Travis and Margaret for sharing your story. You two are awesome. Thanks for blessing 1000s. We love both of you!
My friend Leanne Tressler (mother of 7 children) joins us to talk about her journey ‘living her worst nightmare’ with her husband Spencer (age 39, died Oct 2015) and her old son Kaden (age 16, died April 2019) both completing suicide. Leanne has been sharing valuable lessons and insights on her Facebook page. Check out these posts: https://www.facebook.com/leanne.paynetressler/posts/10157779753572022 https://www.facebook.com/leanne.paynetressler/posts/10157659894277022 Please listen to his podcast. Leanne has remarkable things to say. It will give you more hope to stay. It will give you more tools to help others. It will help all of us talk openly about suicide so we can better solve this tragedy in our community. I’m grateful for Brother Reed Blackburn (Seminary Teacher at Cottonwood High and a cousin to Leanne) for facilitating this podcast. Leanne: We love you and your family. Thank you for the courage to share your story
My friend Ray shares her journey as bisexual Latter-day Saint. She served a mission in Florida (came out to her Bishop and Stake President before serving). Ray also came out to her Mission President and companions. It’s a wonderful story and Ray has excellent insights for queer Latter-day Saints … especially those who are considering serving missions. Ray is at BYU with a strong testimony of our Restored Church and a unique life mission to reach and help others to Christ through our Restored Church. Thanks for being on the podcast, Ray. You are awesome.