Listen, Learn & Love Hosted by Richard Ostler show

Listen, Learn & Love Hosted by Richard Ostler

Summary: Welcome to our podcast! My name is Richard Ostler (twitter:; FB:; IG: and am a native of Salt Lake City. I am the author of "Listen Learn and Love: Embracing LGBTQ Latter-day Saints at Amazon ( and Deseret Book ( 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) and ‘7 Tips for Overcoming Pornography Use’ (October, page 72) 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 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 ❤ *I will respond to your e-mails*

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 Episode 109: Zach Bloxham, RM, Active LDS, Married with Two Children | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:21:31

My friend Zach Bloxham shares his journey coming home from a successful mission and then dealing with significant curveballs (divorce, not being accepted into Utah law schools, moving out of state to attend law school and being separated from his daughter). Zach later returned to Utah, remarried a wonderful woman and has another child, passed the bar and remains an active Latter-day Saint. Zach has great emotional and spiritual maturity wrestling with complex life events that is helpful or others navigating complex situations. He also has no shame for these difficult life events. I encourage everyone to follow Zach on Twitter (@zblox ) where he strikes a wonderful balance of standing for the teachings of our Restored Church and creating more understanding for those who are struggling to stay or have stepped away. I believe it is members like Zach that are helping more of our members find their spiritual home in our Church and reduce tensions both within the Church and with those who leave. Thanks Zach for sharing your journey. Respect. Appreciate your courage to be honest and vulnerable. I encourage everyone to listen to Zach’s podcast.

 Episode 108: Dennis Schleicher, Gay LDS Convert, Author, National Personality | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:10:18

My friend Dennis shares his life story including life as a gay man (including appearances of Larry King Live and Sally Jessy Raphel), joining the Church in 2017, and now serving as the Ward Mission Leader and helping missionaries church wide on LGBTQ issues. Dennis’ book ‘Is He Nuts, Why a Gay Man Would Become a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ’ is being released by church book publisher Cedar Fort in August 2019. I encourage everyone to read his book (for more information go to Thank you Dennis for sharing your story. You are one of the most courageous persons I know. Thanks for blessing 1000s

 Episode 107: Bryan Young, Married & LDS, Daughter Holland died of Brain Cancer at age 4. | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:30:28

My friend Bryan Young shares his journey losing a daughter to brain cancer after medical outcomes and priesthood blessings indicating she would survive. It is a faith promoting journey to wrestle with complicated circumstances to understand God’s plan and using the Temple and prayer to understand. Bryan is a frequent fireside speaker and author of ‘Meant for Heaven, A Little Girl’s Journey to Paradise Bryan’s story is very helpful when the hoped for outcome doesn’t occur which is part of our journey in mortality. Bryan also shares helpful insights about our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Thank you, Bryan for being on the podcast. You story brought many tears to my eyes and increased understanding of the importance of coming unto Christ.

 Episode 106: Lance & Tiffany Sweeten (active LDS), Gwen Sweeten (23-year-old transgender daughter). | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:35:30

Lance and Tiffany Sweeten share their journey having their oldest child come out as transgender at age 16, navigating this road (new name, pronouns, seeing her leave the church and find a husband who they love as part of the family). Gwen talks about her gender dysphoria, difficult years and how much better she is emotionally now that she has come out and living her ‘truth’. Lance and Tiffany share how church attendance increasingly become difficult and how they ‘had one step out the door’ until a critical conversation with their Bishop where he ‘just listened’. That was followed up with another meeting with their Bishop and Stake President where they ‘just listened’. The Stake President felt inspiration to have the Sweeten help the Stake with better tools to minister to its LGBTQ members. Lance and Tiffany were asked to share their experience and testimony in the Stake Bishops Training. They were also asked to do the same in the Stake Leadership training for High Counselors and Auxiliary Presidents. Lance & Tiffany were asked by their Bishop to lead and conduct the September 2018 5th Sunday lesson of Loving and Accepting God’s LGBTQ children (which included several other guest speakers including their Bishop and Stake President). It was an amazing 2-hour experience. Finally, Lance & Tiffany were also asked to speak in the Adult session of Stake Conference and share their experiences. Thanks to their loving Bishop and Stake President who “just listened”, they are no longer ‘one step out the door’ and stay fully committed members. Lance & Tiffany continue to work with their Bishop & Stake President with finding ways to help LGBTQ members and families in their Ward and Stake.

 Episode 105: Craig Newsome, Calling in from New Zealand, Convert, Gay, Age 55, Active LDS | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:23:32

My friend Craig Newsome shares a remarkable story growing up in New Zealand, gay, being part of several different religions, leaving all religion, dealing with drugs, alcohol, porn and sex partly as a way to escape and deal with all the pain, and then finding his way into our Restored Church. It is a remarkable story of God’s love for all his children and the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its ability to heal and give hope. Craig is joined by Elder Alan Thacker who, along with his wife, served as senior missionaries and came to know and love Craig (who is out as gay to everyone in his Ward and Stake as is a needed and valued member). Thank you for sharing your story Craig. It gives all of us more hope and better understanding. You are a great man.

 Episode 104: Mikel (Dad) and Joe (21 Year Old Gay RM son) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:21:49

Mikel tells the story of waking up one night and discovered his 16 year old son watching gay porn. If you are a parent, what would you do in that moment? If you were Joe, how would you feel knowing your Dad just found out this about you? Well, it is beautiful parental moment as Mikel and Wendy handled this situation with love which led to more family unity and understanding. Mikel and Joe share that experience as well as their family journey to come to terms with Joe being gay. Joe later come out to his entire early morning seminary class, served a mission and remains an active Latter-day Saint. Joe shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint, his strong relationship with Heavenly Father, feels no shame for being gay, and his hopes for the future. Joe is one of the most spiritually mature and gifted men I have met. I often feel that the LGBTQ people I meet are some of Heavenly Father’s most valiant pre-mortal spirits and Joe is one of those spirits. Please listen to the podcast to learn gain wonderful parental insights and how a family grew and became closer by having a gay son.

 Episode 103: Tiffany Fletcher, Active LDS, Author | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:05:22

My friend Tiffany shares the story of growing up in a home with a mother with mental illness (Dissociative identity disorder), bravely sharing this with her Mission President and his inspired response, writing a book called ‘Mother Had a Secret ( and now working on a shortfilm to bring more understanding to this topic (you can donate to the shortfilm at @SaltDance via Venmo). Tiffany, a frequent speaker on the Ward/Stake level and Women’s Conferences, has wonderful insights into the Atonement of Jesus Christ to heal and bring hope. Thank you for sharing some of your journey. You are awesome and your voice is helping so many.

 Episode 103: Tiffany Fletcher, Active LDS, Author | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:05:22

My friend Tiffany shares the story of growing up in a home with a mother with mental illness (Dissociative identity disorder), bravely sharing this with her Mission President and his inspired response, writing a book called ‘Mother Had a Secret ( and now working on a shortfilm to bring more understanding to this topic (you can donate to the shortfilm at @SaltDance via Venmo). Tiffany, a frequent speaker on the Ward/Stake level and Women’s Conferences, has wonderful insights into the Atonement of Jesus Christ to heal and bring hope. Thank you for sharing some of your journey. You are awesome and your voice is helping so many.

 Episode 102: Ben Schilaty, Gay Latter-Day Saint, Leadership Training | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:22:19

I attended a LDS Family Service leadership training meeting about ministering to our LGBTQ members where Ben Schilaty was the speaker. I wish everyone in the Church could have attended this meeting. Ben joins us on the podcast (not in an official Church capacity) to share what he taught at this meeting and to answer the questions that were asked. I encourage all my LDS friends to listen to the podcast and encourage you to share it with your local leaders. You are a great man Ben. Thanks for your helpful insights for all of us to become better disciples of Christ.

 Episode 101: Williamson Sintyl, Survivor of Haiti Earthquake, RM, Married, Founder of Arise | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:54:33

My friend Williamson Sintyl shares his story of being trapped and freed in the Haiti earthquake, becoming a Latter-day Saint, serving a mission, getting married (Sharla and Williamson are expecting their second son), and dedicating his life to bringing hope and vision to the people of Haiti. To accomplish this, Williamson started Arise, Project for Humanity (see Thank you for sharing your story, Williamson. You are a man of great courage and vision. It is someone like you that gives me hope for the future. You are making a huge difference for good in the lives of many and are a wonderful disciple of Christ.

 Episode 100: Jane Clayson Johnson, Journalist, Latter-day Saint, Author of ‘Silent Souls Weeping’ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:20:19

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’ ( 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!

 Episode 99: Kayden Carlos, RM, Temple Marriage, Former Drug Dealer, Disciple of Christ | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:20:41

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!

 Episode 98: Arianna Rees, Active LDS, Mid-Twenties, Writer, Great Insights into the Gospel | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:54:59

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.

 Episode 97: Ryan Reese, Age 26, RM, Active LDS, Dealing with Curveballs | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:19:46

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.

 Episode 96: Charlie Bird, Former BYU Cosmo, RM, Gay Latter-day-Saint | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:07:56

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!


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