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 ❤ firstname.lastname@example.org *I will respond to your e-mails*
My friend Jane Clayson Johnson shares her journey with clinical depression following a successful career as an American journalist at KSL-TV, ABC News, CBS News and now on the nationally syndicated NPR program On Point. Hers is a remarkable and brave story and is part of her new book published by Deseret Book called ‘Silent Souls Weeping’ (https://deseretbook.com/p/silent-souls-weeping-depression-sharing-stories-finding-hope?variant_id=168585-hardcover). Jane shares the story behind writing the book and her goals to bring voice to others on this road, eliminate stigma around mental illness, overcome toxic perfectionism and bring hope to those who are suicidal. Jane offers guidance for families and local church congregations about how to talk about this mental illness so we can better help others. I encourage everyone to listen to Jane’s story and insights and to read her book, Silent Souls Weeping so that we can better ‘mourn, bear and comfort’ our dear friends dealing with depression. Thank you Jane for sharing your journey and bringing voice to this important topic and hope to those living with depression. You are awesome!
My friend Kayden Carlos bravely shares his story of using/dealing drugs from age 12-18, feelings God’s hand and mercy in his life, finally ending this road because of a desire to serve a mission which happened with his call in 2014 to Baltimore, MD. Kayden shares about the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to save us and heal us. He bears testimony of a loving and merciful Heavenly Father. Kayden is joined by his wife Alexis who talks about why she married someone with such a difficult past and blessings, gifts and perspectives that are part of Kayden’s life that blesses their marriage and future family. I first became aware of Kayden with this story from November 2016. Look at the joy in Kayden’s mom Julie with the return of her son. Thank you Kayden for sharing your story. You bring healing, hope and perspective to our listeners. You and Alexis have great lives ahead of you! https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865668341/Meet-a-former-heroin-addict-dealer-who-is-now-a-returned-LDS-missionary.html
My friend Arianna (Utah State University Graduate in degree in English) joins me to share her insights into the life of Christ and how to apply His teachings in our lives. I became aware of Arianna in January of 2018 with some of her insightful and thoughtful tweets (@AriWRees) about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you Arianna for joining us. It is people like you that give me hope in the future. You are remarkable and I’m glad you are a member of our Church. I think you will enjoy the podcast.
My friend Ryan Reese shares his journey to remain active LDS in spite of significant curveballs (near death sickness, a difficult mission experience, several difficult girlfriend breakups, and not really enjoying the culture of YSA Wards). Ryan is focusing on the things he can control such as his career, education (finishing up a MBA), fitness and his relationship with Heavenly Father. He is trying to leave the rest at the Savior feet with trust things will work out and believes one day he will walk hand-in-hand with his fiancée to his Temple marriage. You are a good friend Ryan. Glad to have you on the podcast. You story will help many others.
My friend Charlie Bird gives an in-depth interview following coming out as gay in his Deseret News Op-ed (link below). He answers many questions such as why did he come out, why is coming out important, when did he know he was gay, how did his wonderful family react, LGBTQ resources at BYU, life as Cosmo, how can LDS members show support, and how does he balance being gay and being LDS. I encourage all Latter-day Saints to listen to Charlie’s story to know how to better support our LDS LGBTQ members. Thank you Charlie for sharing your story. You are a great man with a depth of spiritual maturity and insights that is helpful for all of us to become better disciples of Christ. You have blessed 1000s and will continue to bless 1000s more. You a great life ahead of you! https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900057600/guest-opinion-everyone-loved-me-as-cosmo-the-cougar-but-would-they-love-who-i-was-behind-the-mask-byu-lgbt-gay.html
My friend Julie Lee, host of the podcast ‘I See You’, bravely tells her story of growing up in a family with mental illness, how this became part of her life, and how she has bravely confronted it. Julie is strong, courageous and remarkable. Her story (and the outreach she is doing) is helping so many others and giving them more hope, realistic expectations, and healing. Thank you Julie for sharing your story. It will help so many!
My friend Jenny Mathews shares the story of her father coming out as gay when she was 16 (and the oldest of 5), her parents’ marriage ending, seeing pain in both parents, staying close to both her wonderful mother and father. In particular, Jenny talks about how she navigated her relationship with her father (who is now out of the church), how their relationship is now strong and stable, how her father is involved with her siblings and a wonderful grandfather to her children. It’s a wonderful story of a family doing the best they can to keep the family circle together and see the good in everyone. Thank you Jenny for sharing this story. It will help so many!
Jackson, Connor and Zeke Richards (children of Royal and Elissa Richards/Episode 54) grew up in our Ward and are three outstanding men who have all served missions and doing great things in their lives. Jackson (age 29/med school) and Zeke (age 23/future med school) talk about how the family navigated their brother Connor (age 28/working toward Law School) coming out as gay, dating men and his same-sex marriage in Feb 2019 to Jan (finishing an undergraduate degree in psychology). Jackson and Zeke share both their strong testimonies of the Church and their support of their brother Conner as he made his way forward in his life. It’s a beautiful story of using the Gospel as a framework for navigating this complicated space. We’ve been in the same Ward for 20 years and our family (and so many others) are indebted to the Richards family for their example of service, goodness and lifting others. I think you will enjoy the podcast.
My friends Sarah and Jeff Case share their beautiful, healthy and wonderful marriage with our listeners. It is a beautiful love story. This podcast has foundational principals that will help all marriages. Thank you Sarah and Jeff for sharing your journey. You two are wonderful. For Jeff’s insights into better understanding suicide, please listen to episode 86.
My friend Gaven (a key member of our local High School baseball team) bravely shares the story of his wonderful mother Kathy’s passing and speaking at her funeral. His talk is remarkable. He honors Kathy, her good heart, her legacy and their family. He also talks directly to those with darkness ‘that feels our head’. He invites people to stay and shares how our ‘house is so, so cold’. He gives hope and perspective to those that are suicidal. Please stay one more day. Gaven also shares how we are all just people and we need to see the potential of everyone. How we should not compare ourselves with others. How we need to learn to be vulnerable and confront pain so we can overcome it How we can overcome loneliness, anxiety and low self-worth. Thank you Gaven for sharing your insights, thoughts and perspective. You are wise beyond your years. You words lifted me and will do the same for our listeners. Thanks for being on the podcast.
Becky and Bennett Borden share their story of being active LDS, stepping away from the church and being in same-sex relationships, their lifelong friendship, having their respective same-sex relationships end, falling in love, being rebaptized on the same day and getting married. Becky and Bennett have a wonderful marriage and are dear friends. The Bordens share helpful insights on the things they learned while away from the Church, how their LDS families helped and hindered during this time, why they decided to come back, how they fell in love, and helpful local leaders in those initial conversations as they considered returning. It’s a helpful podcast for our LGBTQ members, for others looking for betting insights on how to better minister, and the love of Heavenly Father for all His children. Becky and Bennett also talk about North Star which is a wonderful organization helping our Latter-day Saint LGBTQ members, including dispelling myths about North Star. We encourage you to check out its upcoming conference on March 15-16 in SLC. See www.northstarlds.org/conference Thank you Becky and Bennett. You two are awesome!
My friend Michael Birkeland (actor from Singles Ward, RM, Hometeachers), bravely shares his story into alcohol and drugs following his mission, feeling God’s love helping him come out of that dark world, a dear friend Nate Keller bringing Michael back to church and being rebaptized. Michael knows the ‘desert’ of drugs/alcohol and now that he is out of that desert, he has helpful and hopeful insights to lead others out of that desert. I deeply admire Michael’s willingness, vulnerability and courage to share his story as it will help so many. You are a great man Michael. Glad to call you friend.
My friend Kwaku, joined by his friend and fellow BYU student Sarah Wright, shares his remarkable journey to join the church in Houston, make his way to BYU, being involved with 3 Mormons (now called Saints Unscripted at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2LBmYIOq6Eu_ZC14i_YkIg), kind insights for our LGBTQ members, and hopes for the future. You are a great man Kwaku. You are helping many come unto Christ through our Restored Church.
My friend, Sunny, in her 40s, shares her journey to come out to her family as a gay/queer Latter-day Saint. As part of this process, Sunny has been working closely with her Stake Leadership in Idaho to develop a better and more inclusive culture for LDS LGBTQ members. What is happening is wonderful. Sunny also shares coming out to her children. Adam, age 18 and preparing for a mission, shares his thoughts on having a gay/queer mother and how their relationship is now stronger than ever. It’s a beautiful story of vulnerability, honesty, and coming closer together. I also believe these experiences will help Adam be an unusually effective missionary and help many come unto Christ. Thank you Sunny and Adam for bravely sharing your journey. You two are pioneers and your story will help many other families navigate this road.
My friend Jeff Case (married father of three) shares insights into why some people are suicidal and how to help them. Jeff talks about the three components of the Joiner model and how those apply to our LDS LGBTQ members. Jeff draws on his academic and clinical expertise (practicing full-time for the past 12 years) for very helpful and lifesaving insights. I encourage parents and local leaders to listen to this podcast. Thank your Jeff for sharing your expertise and insights.