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*
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
My friend TJ Thomas (age 29, RM, Active LDS, BYU and USC Grad, Therapist) shares his journey as a bisexual Latter-day Saint. TJ shares the peace he has felt since accepting his sexual orientation and sharing this part of him with trusted friends and family. Further, TJ shares how his relationship with Heavenly Father and personal revelation has improved since coming out. You can connect with TJ on Instagram @tjcounseling. Thank you TJ for being on the podcast and your courage to share your story. Each story is unique and different and you are helping us to better understand the road bisexual Latter-day Saints walk. You are a great man with a wonderful life ahead of you! ** 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 Madison Scholes Belnap (active LDS, married mother of two, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor) shares her journey to relearn Intuitive Eating, reject diet culture expectations, and heal her relationship with food and her body. Her story is deeply transformative and inspiring. Madison’s insights will help you (and help others) have better tools for making peace with food. You can learn more about and connect with Madison at https://www.intuitiveeating.org/author/madisonbelnap/ Thank you for being on the podcast Madison. You are courageous, strong, brave, insightful—and your story will help so many.
My friend Jordan Jasmer joins us to share his story as a gay Latter-day Saint. Jordan shares coming out to his Mission President (positive experience) and his parents (positive experience). Jordan shares getting engaged to a woman (Jordan told her he was gay early in the relationship) and how that engagement eventually ended. They remain friends. That experience took Jordan into the most difficult emotional space of his life, filled with self-harm and thoughts of suicide, wondering how he was going find hope and stay an active Latter-day Saint. Jordan shares dating men and how that has brought him more peace and emotional stability. Jordan talks about his hope to marry a man (who also wants to attend the LDS Church). You can watch Jordan’s videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4wcZ4L0mpkrCiVkrgbbNcg. His goal with these videos are to help form bridges between the LGBTQ community and the LDS church, raise suicide awareness and to bring more perspective to those wanting to understand those who stand in these shoes a little more. Thanks for being on the podcast Jordan. You have a great life ahead of you. ** 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 Warren Osborn (married father of six and award-winning Utah entrepreneur) bravely shares his 4 year journey with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Warren, who has been open with his story on Facebook and Instagram, shares all he and his wife Tricia have done to treat this disease. It’s a remarkable story. Warren has shares insights on how to deal with the realities of a potentially fatal disease and advice for others who are on the same road. Thank you Warren for being on the podcast. You are a hero to me and so many. You are walking this road with courage, grace, determination and honestly. You continue to be an inspiration to many.
My friend Brian bravely shares his journey with pornography which started at age 11 and is now largely solved. Brian shares all he has learned in his journey and the role of Dr. Cameron Staley (Episode 345) and the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach as part of the Life After Pornography Program (check out their website https://www.lifeafterpornography.com/ or their Instagram/Facebook @thelifeafterseries) to finally be in a much better place. If you want to better understand why you use pornography and have more mindful and compassionate tools to resolve it, please listen to this podcast. Also, please listen if you want to help others. You can also check out my October 2020 Ensign article https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2020/10/young-adults/7-tips-for-overcoming-pornography-use Thank you Brian for bravely sharing your story. It takes the shame out of the equation and allows more to find hope and healing. You are one of my new heroes.
My friend Aly Grunander (active LDS, Married, Age 21) shares her journey starting her mission in New Zealand full of hope and determination and having those dreams crushed with serious emotional health challenges leading to her coming home. Aly, who had no history of emotional health challenges before her mission, talks about that dark time in her life and the shame around her mental health and coming home. Aly shares her road to healing and Heavenly Father carefully guiding her life. Aly is bravely sharing her story to bring hope to others. Aly is joined by her husband Keaton. Keaton shares why he feel in love with Aly and is glad he is married to her—and why Keaton sees these difficult chapters in Aly’s life in a positive way that has brought them closer together as a couple with unique tools to help others. Thank you Aly and Keaton for being on the podcast and your courage to talk about your journey. You are a great couple with a wonderful future!
My friend Bob Rees joins us to share principles and insights to bring our families and congregations together. Bob, who holds a PhD and is the Visiting Professor and Director of Mormon Studies at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley (see his Wikipedia page for more info https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_A._Rees), was a Bishop in a Los Angeles singles ward from 1986-1992 and created a safe place for LGBTQ Latter-day Saints. Bob has been an LGBTQ ally for four decades with a “long-view” perspective that his helpful, hopeful, and insightful for other Latter-day Saints. Bob is co-author of the “Family Acceptance Project “(article #7 at https://www.listenlearnandlove.org/articles) an important document to keep Latter-day Saint families with LGBTQ children united, together and strong. Bob shares deeply moving stories of his work with his LGBTQ friends and asks this question when confronted with a situation “what is the most loving thing I can do”?. Bob also talks about Matthew 25 and the doctrine behind this chapter to reach out and love everyone. I encourage everyone to listen to Bob’s podcast—you will be moved and have more principals to help and support others—and better love like our Savior. Thank you Bob for being on the podcast and your six decades of service to bring others to Christ, feel His love, and bring us 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 Gretchen Seamons (active LDS, RM, married mother of 4 and one grandchild) is working on her PhD in Clinical Psychology and as part of her dissertation wants to interview early release missionaries who came home because of anxiety related issues. If are an early release missionary (under the age of 30) for anxiety related issues and want to explore being part of her needed research, please contact Gretchen at email@example.com Thank you Gretchen for this important work and for your efforts to better understand/solve anxiety and help our missionaries. It was great to have you and your husband Brett on the podcast.