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 Ashely, age 19 and headed on her mission in December to Poland, shares about improving Latter-day Saint culture. To do this, Ashley bravely started @certain.woman on Instagram (please follow this excellent account). Ashley talks about how to improve our culture around better valuing women, better approaches to resolving sexual sin, improved insights into pornography use, kind insights into our LGBTQ members, and creating a loving framework for those working through questions. Ashely is brave for creating a platform for these much needed discussions. Thank you Ashley for being on the podcast and all your great work to help us better come unto Christ and meet these needs of Latter-day Saints walking a more difficult road. You will be a great missionary!
My friends Parker and Alex (RMs from Nova Scotia and SLC/Fiji, respectively) share their journey as gay Latter-Day Saints. Alex and Parker shares coming to terms with their sexual orientation, working through dark chapters, and finding hope through their relationship with Heavenly Parents and the Savior. Alex and Parker found each other about 5 years ago and were married on July 11th, 2020 in Alex’s backyard with Parker’s father Jack officiating (Jack who is active LDS shared his story in Episode 313). Alex and Parker are two great men doing the best they can in their lives. They are committed to each other, deeply spiritual and giving back to the community. They are leaders in Peculiar and its mission to 'inspire and empower parents and families to unconditionally love and embrace their LGBTQ+ children.” You can learn more about Peculiar at https://thepeculiar.org and https://www.facebook.com/groups/293513151325005. You can connect with Parker and Alex on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/guaconmysock_/ (Parker) — https://www.instagram.com/alex.v.hone/ (Alex) — https://www.instagram.com/hadley.hone/ (couples account)
Luke and Andrew were members of the Corner Canyon State Championship basketball team (2019) during the time that Luke came out as gay (Luke was also the Student Body President). Andrew (who is leaving on his LDS mission in October to Belgium) and Luke (who is dating men and attending the University of Utah) talk about how they continue to be best friends. Nothing change. How they honor and support each other --- even with different feelings on some issues. I talk about Luke and Andrew on page 270 in my book (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1462135773) and how, when I was in high school, I withdrew from the gay people and wish I could go back and be like Andrew. I believe these two men are using Christ teachings and His example to show love and support to each other and come together as the same human family. And how to reduce division and divisiveness that I don’t believe are part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Luke and Andrew are two outstanding men who have great lives ahead of them. Thanks for being on the podcast. Your example will help many.
My friend Mike Gregson bravely shares his life story. Mike, who turns 40 in late 2020, is married and has three kids. Mike shares difficult chapters starting with High School in Salt Lake where Mike went from a key member of the basketball team with good grades, to leaving the basketball team, poor grades, depression, alcohol and marijuana. Mike talks about how reading the Book of Mormon and then prayer changed his life and opened the door to serving a successful mission in Indiana. Mike returned from his mission on cloud 9 but after a divorce found himself outside the Church living the club screen leading to significant challenges including jail time. Mike shares, while finishing plans for his suicide hating himself, feeling God’s love for him. He talks about realizing his worth and value --- even in the middle of overwhelming issues. Feeling God’s love transformed Mike and led him out of this darkness and in a great spot in a wonderful marriage, active LDS and using his story to help others. Mike started a podcast call “Come Towards Delight” (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/come-towards-delight/id1514528066). Please check out his podcast. If you’d like to reach Mike, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mike concludes this episode with an apology to LGBTQ people. His apology (starts at 1 hour 24 minutes) is deeply moving and I encourage everyone to listen to this podcast and his heartfelt apology. If you want to know you are still worthy of God’s love or want others to understating this, please listen to Mike’s story. It is deeply moving and compelling. One of the most powerful stories I’ve ever heard. You are one of my heroes Mike. Thanks for being on the podcast. You bring hope and healing to others.
My friend Lynsie calls in from BYU-Idaho (Lynsie is studying vocal performance at BYU-Idaho and hopes to be in the Tabernacle Choir someday) to share her journey. Lynsie has great insights on her sexual orientation, gender identity and hopes for the future. Lynise, who is also autistic and has a service dog, share insights of her love for our Church. Here is a link to Lynsie’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO8UE1J9dtxFCtdUxQ_7RHA Thanks for being on the podcast Lynsie. You are brave, courageous and wonderful. You have a great life ahead of you!
My friend David Morgan, PhD from BYU, shares helping people understand and cope with mental health issues through the lens of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. David has written four books, written dozens of articles for LDS Living and part of virtual fireside with Onward Productions. If you want better tools to manage/solve your own mental health issues or to better help others, please listen to this podcast. David brings his academic experience, 20 years of private practice, and his understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to give us better tools/understanding. You can learn more about David (books, articles) at https://ldspsychologist.com/. You can also follow David on Facebook at facebook.com/davidtmorganphd and Instagram @ldspsychologist Thank you for being on the podcast David and your life mission to bring hope and healing.
My friend Emily Tomkinson joins us from the Seattle area to share her story. Emily grew up active LDS in Provo, served a mission, and was active until about age 30. Since that time, Emily has stepped away from the Church and is now married to her wife Jess and is the stepmom of boy/girl twins. Emily and Jess hold Family Night every Monday. Emily bravely shares her journey surviving a suicide attempt and coming to terms with her sexual orientation. Emily is in a great place emotionally and also close with her LDS family. This is a great podcast for finding common ground in our differences, keeping the family circle together, honoring personal agency and seeing good in others. Thank you for being on the podcast Emily. You are a wonderful and needed member of the human family.
My friend Jenny Richards (married mother of 4, classically trained pianist and composer with an undergraduate and master’s degree from Juilliard in New York) joins us to share and honor the life of her dear younger sister Emilee who died in January 2019. Emilee identified as a nonbinary lesbian. Emilee held a degree in psychology from Westminster and a master’s in neuropsychology from the University of Oregon and is a beautiful person. Jenny shares insights into Emiliee’s journey to help us better meet the needs of our LGBTQ friends. Jenny also brings to life Emiliee’s gifts, contributions and work to help us improve as a society. Jenny is passionate about both our Church and doing better to meet the needs of LGBTQ Latter-day Saints. I encourage everyone to listen to her story to hear her ‘tender heart insights’ on how we can do better. At the end of the podcast is a primary song that Jenny wrote to honor Emilee. The sheet music to the song can be download free at https://www.dropbox.com/s/i9rpmymbwzp0kqm/He%20Knows%20Me%20Jenny%20Richards%20Podcast.pdf?dl=0. You can also learn more about Jenny at www.jennyrichardsmusic.com and her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTVo_m6JthrqG_V8FpsfZCQ and connect with Jenny on Instagram at @jennylovesnate Thanks for being on the podcast Jenny and all you are doing to help our LGBTQ friends feel needed, valued and included.
My friend Andy Proctor, author of “Live Your Mission” for RM’s (amazon.com//dp/B018HLL5VQ), shares his own faith crisis/transition which ended with him staying a committed member of the Church. Because of Andy’s life experiences including his wife’s experience with mental illness, his education, and his professional work in positive psychology, he is uniquely qualified to help others who feel they “are alone and don’t know what to do.” Andy believes in building heaven starting now and helps others experience the “good life regardless of uncertainty” using research-based tools and your spiritual heritage to help you build a good life. You can find Andy and his work at morehappylife.co and on IG at https://www.instagram.com/morehappylife/ and on FB at https://www.facebook.com/MoreHappyLifeCo. If you are going through hard times or want to help others, please listen to Andy’s podcast, "More Happy Life" and connect with his work. Andy brings hope, healing and peace. Thanks for being on the podcast Andy. You are a great man and friend.
My friend Meggan Chappell joins us to share her story. Meggan, in her early 30’s, shares her story of coming to terms with her sexual orientation around age 30 which led to dark thoughts of suicide. Meggan worked through those dark times and felt her path forward is a same-sex relationship. Meggan and her girlfriend Janise have been together for three years. Meggan, who was an active Latter-day Saint and is respectful to the Church, shares staying close to her Heavenly Parents and the Savior. Thanks for being on the podcast Meggan. We are the same human family. You have a great life ahead of you. Thanks for doing your best to navigate a complicated road.
My friend Leland Wilson shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Leland left the Church (and Southern Utah) around 1983 (in his late teens). Leland lived a successful life as a floral designer and had a same-sex partner for 15+ years. Leland returned to Southern Utah in 2017 and ultimately returned to full activity in the Church. Thank you my friend Leland for being on podcast. Glad you are alive. Thank you for sharing your journey. Your story will help others. You are a good man
My friend Jack Hadley (Entrepreneur, Adjunct Professor at BYU) shares his journey with his gay son Parker. Jack and Betina are the parents of five children and eight grandchildren. Parker, age 27 and a RM from Nova Scotia, was married in July of 2020 to his husband Alex with Jack officiating. Jack talks about how he is happy for Parker and is supportive of his decision. Jack wrote the following essay which I encourage our listeners to read. It reflect the honest feelings and good heart of a committed Latter-day Saint doing his best maintain a strong family. You can read the essay here: https://www.jackhadley.com/faith-hope-charity-and-my-sons-marriage/ Thanks for being on the podcast Jack and helping us better understand who we can support family members in same-sex marriages, our church and how to keep the family circle strong and together.
Episode 312: Josianne Petit, Founder Mama & Papa Panthers by Richard Ostler
My friend Alexander Baxter, RM, BYU Graduate and Grad Student at UC Davis, joins us to share his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. I became aware of Alexander via his Twitter profile (@pionqueer47) with the words “Gay and Elder Quorum President – I guess its possible”. Alexander’s Bishop and Stake President knew he was gay before extending the call to serve as the Elders Quorum President. Alexander shares his journey, including how he realized he way probably gay during his mission (Tacoma, Washington) and how he came to accept this part of himself at BYU. Alexander has a unique family situation (which he talks about on the podcast) and reports supportive parents. I encourage everyone to listen to Alexander’s story on the podcast and his blog at alexanderbaxterblog.blogspot.com. Thanks for being on the podcast Alexander. You are a great man with a wonderful future
Episode 310: Sam Skidmore, Gay, Working on PhD at Utah State by Richard Ostler