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*
Episode 232: Max Terry, BYU Student, Helping BYU Students in Faith Crisis by Richard Ostler
My friends Dr. Debra McClendon and Dr. Richard McClendon (both with PHD’s, active LDS, authors, church speakers) talk about their marriage book called “Commitment to the Covenant: Strengthening the Me, We, and Thee of Marriage.” Their book and this podcast have excellent insights into strengthening all marriages. I encourage all our readers (single/married, or in roles to help others) to read this book as it will help improve relationships. “In recent decades, prophets have repeatedly emphasized how a strong marriage and family is the basis of a robust society; they have counseled and warned of the many modern obstacles that can erode a healthy family life. This book draws on inspiring personal stories, research from sociology and psychology, and teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ to present key principles that, when applied, will help a marriage thrive. The authors use three broad content areas the things we each need to do personally to improve our marriage (me), the things we need to do together as a couple to strengthen our marital relationship (we), and ways we can more fully involve God in our marriage relationship (Thee). This three-part approach is both theoretical and practical and will help guide readers to a successful and happy marriage.” The book can be picked up at Deseret Book, Seagull Book, Barnes and Noble, or at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Commitment-Covenant-Strengthening-Thee-Marriage/dp/1944394311/. They also maintain a Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/DebraRichardMcClendon/ Thank you for being on the podcast. It gave me fresh and helpful insights. I encourage everyone to check out their book and this podcast.
My friends James, Monica and Landon Phillips (all active LDS) join me to share the story of Landon's journey as a transgender Latter-day Saint. Landon shares his experience with gender-dysphoria and coming out to his parents before his mission, serving a mission (including coming out to a wonderful mission president), and transitioning. Landon continues to be active in his Ward, is accepted and has an excellent relationship with Ward leadership. James and Monica share navigating this road as Landon’s parents, receiving personal revelation, advice for other parents and their testimonies of our restored Church.
My friends Travis and Brenda Sibley (active LDS, Travis is the Bishop in his Ward) bravely share the story of their son Jake’s passing last summer. They talk about Jake’s amazing life and ability to helping others. They share the mental mindset that led him down this road. They talk about the his beautiful funeral where they both spoke. They share how they are moving forward and beginning to heal and messages of hope for others that are considering suicide. Please learn more about Jake at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtnFoPIaKIyVnTegAvpwYGA which has Jake’s music videos, a slide show from his funeral and other memories of Jake. Also check out Jake’s tweet sharing more about his story and reconnecting with God at https://twitter.com/Paper_Parachute/status/1035404473970188288. Thank you Travis and Brenda for sharing your story and honoring to your good son Jake. May you all continue to feel Heavenly Father’s love and the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to heal and bring hope.
My friend and neighbor Luke Davenport shares his journey with long-term and debilitating OCD. Luke, who is age 19, has been battling this mental illness—a plague in his life—since age 3. Luke bravely explains this illness, how it can be solved, the life session learns and how he is helping others. He shares the positive roll of his parents and therapists. While Luke would love to follow many of his friends and serve a teaching mission, he realizes this is not a possible at this time. So Luke, one of the first in our area, has decided to serve a service mission (call opened on Jan 28th) as he understands this is equal and needed service in the sight of Heavenly Father and our Savior. Luke wants to help others who are not able to service teaching missions, to serve a service mission and to help normalize this type of service as needed and equal to help people come unto Christ. Thanks for being on the podcast, Luke. You are one of my heroes. And a hero to many others.
My friend Brayden McFadden (active LDS, EFY Counselor, BYU Student) shares his journey coming home from his mission in Alaska after 6 weeks because of his emotional health. Brayden pre-mission life including successfully doing hard things (Texas high school football, early morning seminary). But that firm foundation and spiritual preparation (including a year playing football at BYU) couldn’t prevent what happened on his mission from occurring and he needed to return home. Brayden talks about what happened, great family support, why church became difficult and why he almost left, why/how he stayed in the church, and how he ultimately healed. Brayden is sharing his story (including his EFY students) to help and support others. I became aware of Brayden’s story because of the IG account 2humansofbyu. Thanks for being on the podcast Brayden. You are a strong, faithful and brave man. You will give home and heal many.
My friend Patrick Patterson joins us from Waycross Georgia to update our listeners (see episode 39 for his first podcast) on his journey as a gay Latter-Say Saint. Patrick talks about reconciling his sexuality and his faith and how coming out in his Ward and helped his relationship with others and better come unto Christ. He also shares why he chose to stay in member of the Church when he recently considering stepping away. Thanks for being on the podcast Patrick. You have a great spirit and life mission.
My friends Alex and Thomas (both RMs, BYU Grads and gay Latter-day Saints) share their journey coming out, serving missions, dating women and eventually finding each other. They are getting married in June 2020. They talk about their good family support, strong testimonies of the Church, staying close to God and attending their local Ward where their Bishop is helping them feel welcome. Great podcast about honoring each other's decisions, finding common group, a loving Bishop and good family support. Thanks for being on the podcast Alex and Thomas. You are doing good things and have a great life together.
My friends Jeff and Holly Fowler (active LDS, parents of 4, former Bishop) join me with their gay son Alec and his husband Blake. Alec and Blake were married in June of 2019. Jeff and Holly talk about supporting Alec and Blake, the wedding, keeping the family circle together, and open and honest communication. Alec and Blake share coming out to friends and family and the excellent relationship they have with both families. Thanks to all of you for being on the podcast. This is a beautiful family love story. Thanks for all your example of goodness, kindness, communication, grace and keeping family relationships strong and healthy.
My friends David and Kathleen Cook, who presided over the Chile Santiago South Mission from 2013-2016, join me to talk about Service Missions. The Cooks are currently serving as Service Mission Leaders in the upstate NY area. David’s prior service includes Area 70 and Stake President. Kathleen’s prior service included Relief Society President, Young Women President and Public Affairs Director for New York. They are the parents of 4 children and 6 grandchildren. They have wonderful insights on how to help parents, local leaders, and future missionaries understand Service Missions and Teaching Missions. They share the importance and equality of both types of missions. How both types of service bring people to the Savior and follow His example. They have suggestions how to overcome some of the cultural hurdles to help everyone see both types of missions as needed, equal and serving like the Savior served. Thanks for being on the podcast Brother and Sister Cook and all you do to serve and lift others. I am very excited about the new Service Mission opportunities (for more information, see https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/callings/missionary/church-service-missionary).
My friend B Winward shares her journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. B is from Utah County, served a mission in Guatemala, is graduating from UVU with a degree in Leadership, and as made humanitarian trips all over the world. B talks about coming out to herself as gay, overcoming self-harm, coming out to others including her family and current YSA Ward, and her strong testimony of the gospel. B is strong and courageous. You will enjoy listening to her story. Thanks for being on the podcast B. You are awesome. Thanks for bravely sharing some of your journey. You have a great life ahead of you!
My friends LaShawn Williams and James Jones join me to share their lives as Black Latter-day Saints. LaShawn has a Doctorate in Education, is an Assistant Professor at Utah Valley University, has a clinical practice (https://drlashawn.com/), and is a mother of three James served a mission in South Africa, has a degree in Psychology, lives in Boston with a career in music and acting, is a Temple worker and co-host with Derek Knox of the podcast Beyond the Block (https://beyondtheblockpodcast.com/). They share their journey as Black Latter-day Saints, how they process the complicated issues in our church, how we can do better ministering to our Black members and help more Blacks join our church, the doctrine to Christ to minister to those on the margins, and why they stay committed members. Thank you LaShawn and James. I learned so much listening to your insights and perspectives. You two are awesome. Thank you for your discipleship to help more come unto Christ through our restored Church.
Our friend, our children’s doctor and ward member, bravely shares his own journey with plans for his suicide. Joe talks about what led up to his plan, why he ultimately choose to live, and his advice to help others not die by suicide. We may think that someone with a wonderful career (Residency at Duke, 30+ years at a successful Pediatrician, President of the Utah Medical Association) and great family (wonderful wife, five children and 13 grandchildren) would consider suicide. But this was part of Joe’s life and the reality for many of our friends and neighbors. Please listen to Joe’s story. It will help you if you are suicidal to give you more tools and hope. It will help you help others. Thank you my dear friend for having the courage to share your story. You continue to be someone I deeply admire. If you’d like to contact Joe, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
My friends, the Marcroft family, share their journey with Quinn their transgender daughter. We start with Quinn sharing her story of coming out, working through difficult emotional issues, stepping away from the church and now living in Portland with her partner. Quinn is a CNA and wants to become a nurse because she wants to help others. Quinn’s story gives so much hope, understand and perspective to anyone who is willing to learn about our transgender friends. We then hear from Rob and Kyndel, Quinn’s parents who are active Latter-day Saints. They have great insights into raising a transgender daughter and how they are keeping the family circle together in love and support. This family is strong and supportive of each other. It’s a beautiful family love story. Thanks to all three of you for being on the podcast. You are all awesome.
Our family friend Dr Aaron Wilson, Doctorate of Education BYU and Principal of Granite Park Junior High, joins us to talk about his new podcast. It is called America’s Principal (see http://www.americasprincipal.org/) and is resource for parents with the goal to provide information and resources that will make it easier for parents to navigate the public education system and raise their children. Two of his episodes to date talk about LGBTQ (episode 7 and 15). Thank you for your great work Aaron wo to make schools safer and more productive … especially for our marginalized populations. I encourage everyone to listen to your podcast.