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 ❤ firstname.lastname@example.org *I will respond to your e-mails*
My friend Marian Bergin, age 84 in December, shares her insights of being a parent of two gay sons and a grandmother of a gay grandchild. Marian (who was a social worker) has great insights into how being LGBTQ is not a choice and what LDS parents can do to ensure healthy choices for their LGBTQ children. Marian expresses her wish for an event that she believes could improve the culture of our Church for our LGBTQ members and what we can do to improve the culture of the Church for our LGBTQ members. Thanks for being on the podcast, Marian. It was an honor to hear your story and your multiple decade perspective on this topic. Thanks for all the ways you service to help our Church and society do better. You are one of my new heroes.
My friends Brett and Becky Barney, who drove from Nebraska, share their experiences related to Brett's same-sex attraction. Both in their 50’s and married for 32 years, Brett shares why he decided to come out to Becky about 3.5 years ago and how their marriage is stronger than ever. It is a beautiful love story. Brett (EQ President) and Becky (RS Presidency) talk about why they publicly share their story in their Stake and with friends and their deep commitment to our restored Church. You will enjoy this podcast as Brett and Becky have great insights into successful marriages, role of loving Heavenly Parents and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and talking about sensitive subjects in a faithful way. Thanks for being on the podcast. You two are awesome. Brett can be reached at email@example.com and Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org
My friend Kyle Friant bravely shares his story growing up in central Utah, serving a mission in Bulgaria (coming home after 8 months), being home, going back out and serving in Pittsburg (coming home after 3 months), confronting being gay, and almost leaving the church. Kyle, who wrote 20 resignation letters but never sent them in, takes about why he decided to come back to Church and is now a committed member. It’s a remarkable story. Thanks for being on the podcast Kyle. You are one of my new heroes. You have a great life ahead of you and will do so much good in our church and society to help others.
My friends Tim and Aubrey Chaves (parents of 4 children) talk about their faith crisis/transition and why they stay active LDS. It’s a beautiful story. They also share creating a feeling of belonging at church, their role with Faith Matters (check out https://faithmatters.org/), wonderful gifts of a faith crisis and conclude with Tim’s journey with scrupulosity. If you are in a faith crisis and want to stay in the Church (or are helping others stay), please listen to this podcast. Tim and Aubrey have incredible insights and a wonderful testimony of our beautiful restored doctrine. You can read from Tim at https://timchaves.com/. Thanks for being on the podcast, Tim and Aubrey. You two are awesome and give me hope for the future of our Church and society. Thanks for all you are doing to bless and help others.
My friend, Dillan Conrad, active LDS, straight LGBTQ ally, and married father of two boys, bravely shares his personal story of being a man who has never enjoyed "typical male things" and who has spent many years coming to terms with his negative self body image. Dillan also shares about serving as a full time missionary in Houston, TX. He tells of “rescuing the one” with Catharine who he stayed in contact with after his mission and spoke at her funeral. Thanks for being on the podcast Dillan. Our church is better off with you as a member. Best wishes to you, your wife and your family.
My friend Mike Ramsey, married father of 4, joins us to talk about his new book published by Cedar Fort called ‘My Dad’s a Muslim, My Mom’s a Lesbian, and I’m a Latter-day Saint’. You can purchase the book at: https://mikeramsey.org/book-my-dads-a-muslim-my-moms-a-lesbian-and-im-a-latter-day-saint/. It will also be purchased as Deseret Book, Seagull Book or Amazon. Mike shares growing up without a father in his life and a lesbian mother. Mike became active in the Church, served a mission, and along with his life Hilary, are raising a family. Mike shares staying close to his mother Janet and her life partner Tina. It’s a beautiful love story of navigating complicated family dynamics to keep the family circle together. If you have LGBTQ people in your life, would like to minister to them, or are LGBTQ, I encourage you to read Mike’s book. Wonderful insights and gospel principals.
My friend Sister Ganel-Lyn Condie (author of 7 books and over 800 speaking engagements) joins us to talk about her ‘Come Follow Me’ YouTube series (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa4odUWX7xWihiuGD4OujAQ), ‘Why I Stay’ (in the Church, Marriage and Body), her new podcast call ‘The Reconnect Podcast’ (https://www.facebook.com/thereconnectpodcast/) and insights in our millennial members. Thanks for being on the podcast Ganel-Lyn and all your great work to bring hope to some many through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
My friend Annette Tidball joins us to talk about her new book ‘Fly Again’ (on Amazon) about the tragic death of her husband Brian in their mid-30’s following 10 years of marriage with 4 kids at home. Check out her book at: https://www.amazon.ca/FLY-AGAIN-Want-You-Live-ebook/dp/B07ZPSWPMT/ Annette has wonderful insights to help others dealing with a tragic death and what we can do to minister to those on this road. Annette also talks about why she decided to write this book which I encourage our listeners to read. Thanks for being on the podcast Annette for bravely sharing your journey. We appreciate your courage, faith, and example.
My friend Jimmy Rex (business owner, life coach, mentor, friend to many) shares his life story. Jimmy shares his church story including his mission in Mexico, staying active in the church, dating in and out of the church, but then gradually stepping away. He talks about what we could have done better to perhaps help him stay. Jimmy is supportive of the Church and is pleased that it is working for others. Yea, I’m sad when someone steps away but I also want to keep them in my circle and see their contributions to society. Jimmy is moving forward in his life in remarkable ways and shares some of his hope-filled and non-shaming thoughts to help others. Thanks for being on the podcast Jimmy. You a great man doing remarkable things.
My friend Scott Braithwaite discusses stages of faith (Fowler model) and suicide (Joyner model). Scott presented both at BYU Education Week. Great podcast to help minister for those in a faith crisis/transition to help those who are suicidal. Also a great podcast if you are in a faith crisis or are suicidal. I wish I had known some of the things Scott shares before my YSA service. Scott has a unique perspective/voice on both topics from his clinical training (PhD is Clinical Psychology), pastoral ministry (recently served as a Bishop) and clinical practice. You can read more at: https://fhssfaculty.byu.edu/FacultyPage/srb37 Thank you for being on the podcast Scott and your service to help so many work through complicated topics and bring people to Christ.
My friend Brother Emmett Claren calls in from California to share his journey as a transgender man. Emmett shares the long-term gender dysphoria he felt from a young age and the accompanied feelings of depressions leading to suicide attempts. Emmett shares serving as a sister missionary (Salt Lake City) and then starting to transition after the mission while at BYU-Idaho. Emmett shares his experience with supportive priesthood leaders as he went through the social, legal and medical stages of transition. Emmett shares how he is in a much better plan emotionally and spiritually, has a great relationship with his family, and his Heavenly Parents. Great podcast to learn about our transgender Latter-day Saints. Thank you my friend and brother Emmett for being on the podcast and sharing your journey.
My friend Dr. McClendon, licensed psychologist and frequent speaker at Education Week, joins us to talk about two articles she has written for the Ensign on anxiety and scrupulosity. Anxiety: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2019/04/young-adults/discerning-your-feelings-anxiety-or-the-spirit Scrupulosity: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2019/09/young-adults/understanding-scrupulosity-religious-ocd Scrupulosity, or religious OCD, is something every LDS parent and local leader should understand. Instead of OCD that manifests itself in something like hand washing, it is spiritual OCD that manifests itself in toxic/tormenting guilt, continued confessions, feelings of never being worthy, loss of the spirit, and such. Like other mental illnesses, it needs to be treated by someone with expertise in this area. It can’t be solved with increased religious behaviors because it is not a spiritual weakness. I wish I understood scrupulosity before my YSA assignment. It would have helped me better meet the needs of some of my YSAs. I encourage parents, local leaders and those of you that feel anxiety interferes with your ability to feel the Spirit or feel you are always unworthy to listen to this podcast. Thank you, Dr. McClendon, for your great work and being on the podcast. I’m glad the Ensign published your articles. If you’d like to contact Dr. McClendon to speak on anxiety or scrupulosity (which I encourage), you can contact her at: email@example.com. You can also check out www.debramcclendon.com for more information. Also, Debra and her husband Richard have written the book: ‘Commitment to the Covenant: Strengthening the Me, We, and Thee of Marriage.’ It is available at Deseret Book: https://deseretbook.com/p/rsc-commitment-to-the-covenant?variant_id=157152-hardcover. It is also available on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites. Please check out their book. They give presentations on marriage at Education Week and may also be available to speak for your group.
My dear friends Joe and Amy Pierson (married 27 years, parents of 6 children and 1 grandchild) bravely share the story of Joe’s 20+ year addiction to pornography. Yes, it almost ended their marriage. And pornography ends some marriages. Through hard work, the Savior’s help and a deeply spiritual experience feeling God’s love, Joe has been free of pornography for nearly three years. It’s a brutal road of shame and dishonesty resulting in significant emotional pain (betrayal trauma) for Amy. It is also a beautiful love story of Joe and Amy struggling, but determined to keep their marriage together, with 12-step programs, learning to surrender, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. When I served as a YSA Bishop, many of the wonderful YSA’s were working to solve this problem. I wish I had heard Joe and Amy’s story back then. It would have given me additional tools to help others overcome pornography. I encourage everyone to listen to this podcast. It will help you help others. If you are working to overcome pornography, this podcast will give you more tools and hope. Here are a couple of lines of wisdom from Amy and Joe: My worth is set. Everything else is experience Repentance from sin is not the same of recovery from addiction The 12-steps are the Atonement of Jesus Christ in action Forgiveness and trust are two different things. Amy and Joe are heroes to me (and my others) for bravely sharing their story. Stories like these are so needed. They are available to speak in Ward/Stake events. We have plenty of messages of ‘stay away from pornography’. I agree with this message. But we need more stories of people actually walking this road as they authentically help others. Thanks for being on the podcast Joe and Amy. You two are awesome.
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!