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*
Episode 310: Sam Skidmore, Gay, Working on PhD at Utah State by Richard Ostler
My friend Pam Lyman, active LDS and married mother of 4 boys, talks about raising a family with a son with Angelman Syndrome (https://www.angelman.org/) Pam and Matt's son Conrad who is 18 was diagnosed at 15 months with this family changing illness. Pam, who has been on this road for 16+ years, has wonderful insights for other families raising a child with a life-changing illness and what we can do better to support and sustain families walking this road. Thank you for being on the podcast Pam. You and your family are awesome and I deeply admire and respect you all. Your story will help so many. Note: Angelman Syndrome was discovered in 1965, not in 1985 as is mentioned in the podcast.
My friend Kurt Francom joins us to talk about Leader Saints’ upcoming virtual summit for local LDS leaders be better prepared to minister to LGBT Latter-day Saints. The summit starts on September with the over 20 pre-recorded seminars released (about two per day). Some of the presenters are Spencer Thompson, Travis Steward, Ganel-Lyn Condie, Ty Mansfield, Jeff Case, Becky Borden, Blake Fisher, Ben Schilaty, Chelsea Chipman, and Becky and Scott Mackintosh. I encourage everyone to sign up for the summit. For free registration and for more details, please see https://leadingsaints.org/lgbt Thank you Kurt for all your needed work at Leaders Saints and on the Board at NorthStar.
My friend Miles Selman, age 23 who served a mission in Portugal, shares his journey with long-term gender dysphoria. That dysphoria (or incongruence) led to a failed suicide attempt about a year after his mission and led to needing to transition to deal with/manage the gender dysphoria. In December 2019, Miles identified as a transgender man and took on he/him pronouns. Miles has both a deep testimony of our restored Church and a conformation from his Heavenly Parents that he is male. He doesn’t want to live without either of those truths and is moving forward the best way he knows how as a transgender Latter-day Saint. Miles also identifies as a homoromantic asexual and explains that for our listeners. Thanks for being on the podcast Miles. You are strong and courageous. Thanks for your service in Portugal and your future contributions help others to Christ through our restored Church. You have a great life ahead of you!
My friend Jeff Derricott joins us to share his story. Jeff, who came out to his parents before his mission, shares trying everything to fall in love and marry a woman. In late 2018, Jeff’s world came crashing down as he realized that path was not within his control. Facing feelings of lost hope and some thoughts of suicide, Jeff shares his story to find hope and a path forward. For Jeff, that path of hope and healing includes a deep relationship with his Heavenly Parents, relying on the Atonement, a network of family and friends, and working towards a monogamous same-sex marriage. I encourage everyone to listen to Jeff’s story to develop better empathy for our LGBTQ members. He is a great man doing his best to walk a complicated road. Jeff reports his family, friends and Church leaders are excellent. Jeff (and our LBTQ members) deserve our love and support.
My friend Julie Lee, host of the I See You podcast, joins us to talk about her new book I See You: How Compassion and Connection Save Lives. Julie is married with two kids and active LDS. She shares insights about black and white thinking, how to "see" others with compassion and connection, and finding healing through Jesus, therapy and medication. Her mission is to bring us together as a human family. I encourage everyone to read her book published by our friends at Cedar Fort. Please go to julieleespeaks.com to order her book and listen to her podcast series. Thank you Julie for being on the podcast. Your healing voice is so needed.
Lou Jarvis, my long-time friend from our missions in England, joins us to talk about his business career. Lou, a business owner in Arizona, experienced financial success until 2008. Lou then bravely shares his story of making several major financial errors that led to Lou losing just about everything and total despair in an empty condo in Irvine, California in 2010. Lou talks about the cycle of looking back, ruminating, and wishing he could re-do several decisions and how he still gets triggered about these decisions even though he is very blessed. If you are living in a cycle of regret for decisions you’ve made that really can’t get undone, please listen to Lou’s podcast. He is honest and vulnerable and has insights to help all us of look forward. Thanks for being on the podcast, Lou. You are a great man, friend and someone I deeply admire and respect.
My friend Chris D’Arcy, age 42, joins me from England to share his story. Chris, who has known he is gay from age 10-11, talks about his decision to join the Church in October of 2016 and the wonderful missionaries (Elders Cade Cloward and Spencer Dennis) who research and the shared with him the Church’s teachings on being gay. Those honest and thoughtful missionaries helped Chris gain a firm testimony of our restored Church. Chris was active in the Church for about for about three years. During that time Chris received his endowments (and did 147 baptisms in one day) and served faithfully in many callings. However, Chris had some painful experiences in his local ward family that resulted in him setting away from the Church. Hearing these experiences can help us to not make the same mistakes and ensure that all members feel welcome and needed in our congregations. Chris, who has a good relationship with his Stake President, still believes in the Church and is open to the possibility that he will return to the Church down the road. Thank you for being on the podcast Chris. You are a good man. I do hope one day you are able to return to our Church. We need you!
My friend Chad Ford, active LDS, joins us to talk about his new book “Dangerous Love: Transforming Fear and Conflict at Home, at Work and the World" (see https://dangerouslovebook.com/). Chad, an expert in conflict resolution, talks in his book and the podcast about Christ-based principals to reduce the divisiveness and conflict in our families and communities through love. Chad’s gives us insights and tools to bring better unity and understanding. Chad is the Director of the McKay Center at BYU-Hawaii and is a sports journalist with ESPN. Thank you for being on the podcast Chad and your much needed work to bring us together as the Body of Christ and help heal families and our communities. I encourage everyone to check out this podcast and Chad’s book. You can follow Chad on Twitter at https://twitter.com/chadmichaelford and https://twitter.com/chadfordinsider; Facebook at @chadmichaelford; and Instagram @dangerouslovebook
My friend Devin Bourne shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Devin, age 32 and an RM who served in San Jose CA, shares finding his path which includes ruling out a life of celibacy, marrying a woman, suicide and leaving the Church. Devin has both a deep testimony of our restored Church and that being gay is part of his divine essence---and it not willing to give up either. Devin is not inviting others to follow his path, but is asking for others to respect/support his decision as we walks a road only our LGBTQ members fully understand. Devin reports supportive Bishops that have created space for Devin to feel welcome and needed in his ward family. Thank you for being on the podcast Devin. You are a great man with a wonderful future serving others in our Church and community as an Emergency Room doctor.
My friend Charlie Bird, former BYU Cosmo, joins us to talk about his new book published by Deseret Book called “Without the Mask” which can be ordered at: https://deseretbook.com/p/without-the-mask-coming-out-and-coming-into-gods-light-ppr?variant_id=186572-paperback. I encourage everyone to read and share his book. His book helps all of us better see/use the contributions of LGBTQ Latter-day Saints in at Church, in our families and society. Charlie is back at BYU working on a master in social work. I encourage everyone to listen to this podcast (and if interested Charlie’s easier podcast which is episode 96). Charlie has great insights for all of us. I also encourage everyone to listen to the great podcast that Charlie and Ben Schilaty started called “Questions from the Closet” https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/questions-from-the-closet/id1504990147. Thank you for being on the podcast Charlie. You are a great man with a unique and beautiful life mission.
My friend Daniel Carter joins us to share his story as a gay Latter-day Saint. Daniel served a mission to England in the late 70’s and then worked for the Church in its Music Department for 27 years until his retirement in 2016. In that assignment, Daniel blessed many lives managing the Church’s worldwide production of sheet music. Daniel, a gifted composer, contributed a song in our Hymn Book (As Now We Take the Sacrament, p.169) and two songs in the Children’s Hymn Book. Daniel shares about his failed suicide attempt in 2005 which led to a deep period of helpful reflection, rebuilding and reconnected with the Beloved. Daniel has very helpful and hopeful insights for others who are suicidal and want to find a path to healing and hope. Daniel shares about this path to find his husband Gale Frandsen … and their marriage in late 2016. Daniel and Gale have a combined 6 children and 16 grandchildren. Daniel, who has stepped away from the Church, honors everyone’s path and is not asking others to leave the Church. He shares insights and principles that can keep us together as families and communities even with differences --- something I believe our Heavenly Parents want us to learn to do. You can read more about Daniel on his blog at https://www.danielcartermusic.com/blog. Thanks for being on the podcast Daniel. Much love, respect and admiration for you as you walk a unique road and thanks for your contributions to make this world a better place.
My dear friends Jill and Esther Brown join us to talk about their dear son/brother Luke who died by suicide in January 2020 at age 31. Both active LDS, they are living their worst nightmare and the void of Luke being gone. They talk about Luke. The great man that he is and all the good he did for others. They give wonderful tribute to Luke and insights into his kindness, love for others and core goodness. They also talk about their brutal and difficult road and how things will never be the same. The also talk directly to the “people like Luke” out there who are silently suffering and not opening up for family and/or friends and the foundation they started called The Lucas Terrill Kitchen Foundation (see Instagram at live4yourluke) If you have lost a family member to suicide, want to help someone on this road, or are suicidal please listen to this podcast. Jill and Esther (two brave and courageous women) will give you hope, perspective and a desire to better connect with our Savior. Thanks for being on the podcast Jill and Esther and your courage to share your story. You two are awesome.
My friend Patrick Risk, who was on episode 172, joins us to update our listeners on his life story. As always, Patrick is honest and vulnerable with his life story with includes a sexual abuse, anorexia, a divorce and being gay. Patrick feels (and I agree) that we heal and help each other when we are vulnerable, open and honest with our stories. Because Patrick is open, hundreds have reached out to Patrick feeling safe which allows Patrick to help them. Patrick started a Facebook Group called https://www.facebook.com/groups/BrightnessOfHope/ Which I encourage everyone to join. Thank you for being on the podcast Patrick. You have so many insights to help everyone feel welcome, loved and accepted in our congregations. You are an incredible human being with a unique life mission to bring hope and healing to others.
My friend Tyler Lefevor joins us to share his story as a queer Latter-day Saint. Tyler, who is no longer a Church member but is supportive of those who stay in the Church, shares his journey which includes serving a mission, dating women and serving as an EQ President. Tyler, in his late 20s, ultimately felt his ‘best life path’ was to be with a man and is engaged to be married. Tyler got a psychology degree at BYU and then his doctorate from the University of Miami. Tyler completed a year-long internship at the counseling center at BYU, a year-long post-doc at Stanford, and three years as an assistant professor at Rhodes College. Tyler also is a practicing counseling physiologist where he maintains a teletherapy practice in Utah. Tyler has teamed with Ty Mansfield, Lee Beckstead, Ron Schow, Christopher Rosik, and Marybeth Raynes on a 10-year study of current/former LDS LGBTQ/SSA members. If you are LGBTQ/SSA, I encourage you to enroll in the study (can be anonymous) at 4optionssurvey.com Tyler is a bridge builder. He is not trying to lead others out of the Church but to help find common ground in the intersection of LDS and LGBTQ/SSA. I encourage everyone to listen to Tyler’s podcast and how we can find more common ground and less divisiveness as we are all members of the same human family. Thanks for being on the podcast Tyler. You are a great man with a wonderful life mission.