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*
My friend Tom Muench, married father of three, bravely shares his nearly two decade journey with pornography and his journey with same-sex attraction. Tom reached out to me with the impression that more people need to hear stories of those still trying to solve this challenge to give them hope and perspective. Here is part of his e-mail: “My object for reaching out is not to say that recovery isn't possible but to share in the pain of those who are still struggling despite their efforts. I've listened to your podcast hoping to hear from someone that is still struggling. At times in my pain I've felt frustrated that the only people we seem to hear from are those who have had a story to tell of healing. It's amazing to hear of other's stories of healing and I need that but I also need to hear from someone who is willing to go into the pain I'm feeling right now. Then it hit me. Maybe I will have to be that person. When prompted to reach out I kept thinking that maybe one day when I'm "clean" again or "sober" for so long then I will contact Richard, THEN I will have a story to tell. I have a story to share now.” Tom’s pornography has cost him jobs, temple attendance and nearly his marriage. He has been close to suicide. Yet, Tom bravely moved forward trying his best to solve his addiction – which is an ongoing battle. Tom talks about feeling God’s love, hope and influence now. How support groups, a wonderful wife and others are helping him. If you are in the ‘middle of the battle’ and need to hear hope from someone else on the same road, please listen to Tom’s podcast. He has a very tender and good heart, a love of God, a deep commitment to his marriage and the Church and a desire to help others. Since he knows this road, he has great insights to help others. You are a great man Tom. Honored to meet you. You are going to put this behind you. And you are helping a lot of others along the way.
My friend Brooke Brady joins me to share her multi-year journey with brutal emotional health challenges. These challenges started during her mission in Bolivia and have continued during the three years since her successful mission. Brooke shares, because of her emotional health, feeling God’s love and the Spirit---but also a few powerful experience to help her know God is there, is aware of her difficult road, and loves her. Brooke shares getting genetic testing in Nov 2019 and how the results have helped get her the right medication to help her feel better and have more hope. Brooke also shares about her wonderful YSA Bishop, Brian Stauffer, and how a short tithing settlement interview turned into a transforming ministering visit. I’m glad for the service of men like Bishop Stauffer. Thanks for being on the podcast Brooke. Your story will help thousands. You are awesome. I encourage everyone looking for more hope to listen and share Brooke’s podcast.
My friend Paul Reeve (active LDS, Professor of Mormon Studies at the University of Utah, expert on Race and Latter-day Saint History) shares his insights into racism within LDS history, stories of Black Latter-day Saints, and what we can do to eliminate racism in our own lives and better support Black Latter-day Saints. Paul’s insights were recently covered by the Daily Universe at BYU: https://universe.byu.edu/2020/06/03/lisis-384-final/. Paul mentions the Church’s Race and the Priesthood Essay which is approved by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve and can be found here: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/race-and-the-priesthood He is Project Manager and General Editor of a digital database, Century of Black Mormons, designed to name and identify all known Black Mormons baptized into the faith between 1830 and 1930. The database is now live at CenturyofBlackMormons.org. I encourage all Latter-day Saints who want to better help and support Black Latter-day Saints to read Paul’s book (https://www.amazon.com/Religion-Different-Color-Struggle-Whiteness/dp/019067413X/) and listen to this podcast. Thank you Paul for your discipleship to help us better honor our doctrine of “All Alike Unto God” and help us see, support and embrace Black Latter-day Saints.
My friend James McGraw (married father of two, RM) shares his journey to become an LGBTQ ally. It started at UVU as a psychology student where he got to know many LGBTQ students and included serving with the Special Assistant to the President for Inclusion on a number of diversity related projects. Later James younger brother came out as gay and James says “I love my brother, It’s just that simple.” James is a Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student at Bowling Green in Ohio and would like to eventually return to Utah as Professor of Psychology. As part of his research, he has started a project for current/former LGBTQ individuals examining the experiences of faith, family, and mental health. To participate please go to: https://bgsu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_ex5QujR3ilSSM8B?fbclid=IwAR1Pp2OrkHoSuGSMTbXEaQ2EUTve-rk48aOZ5b2RVnXRWlSwZyq_SlQaee8 James also recently spoke in his Stake about how to better meet the needs of LGBTQ Latter-day Saints and shares those thoughts on the podcast. Thank you James for being on the podcast and your efforts to embrace, understand, support and amplify LGBTQ voices. You are a great man with a unique and needed life ministry. I encourage everyone to listen to the podcast and if you are LGBTQ enroll in James’ study.
My friend Drew Young (active LDS, age 24, married) shares his story as an early release missionary in his new book called “The Meaning of Your Mission: Lessons and Principals to Know You Are Enough.” Drew talks about the anxiety and depression that led to ending his mission after 62 days and the dark 18 months that followed. Drew eventually found hope and healing and is releasing a book to share his story. Drew’s book, with a forward from Hank Smith and published by Cedar Fort, is now available for preorder from drewbyoung.com If emotional health challenges are part of your journey or you want to help someone walking this road, please listen to this podcast and read Drew’s book. I learned so much listening to Drew’s insights and perspectives—some that brought tears to my eyes as I realize Drew’s unique life mission to help others.
My friend Eric shares his story as a gay Latter-day Saint. Eric, who is active in the Church and in college working towards a career in social work, shares his nearly three decade journey on this road. In addition to great insights into life as a LGBTQ Latter-day Saint, Eric shares how he worked to forgive his abusive father (who has died) and their reconciliation from each side of the veil. Thank you for being on the podcast Eric. You have a kind and gentle heart and insights into how to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ to forgive others and heal so we can move forward. You are a great man and have a wonderful life ahead of you. This world is a better place with you here!
My friend Tim Ringgold shares his life mission and profession to solve addictions, bring hope and healing through music. Tim, who is not a member of the LDS Church, also shares his thoughts on supporting his bisexual daughter and deeply spiritual experiences about his daughter who passed away. If you have an addiction or want to help someone solve an addiction, please listen to this podcast. Tim has new insights and tools that I wish I knew before my YSA assignment. You can learn more about Tim at www.timringgold.com and receive a free gift at this web site.
Kayla, Emily and Charlotte are the co-founders of Seeking Heavenly Mother (https://seekingheavenlymother.com/). These three women, all LDS Returned Missionaries who are attending or have graduated from BYU, have great insights about our Heavenly Mother. They answer these questions: What is the Church’s position on Heavenly Mother? Why does Heavenly Mother matter? Why did they start the Seeking Heavenly Mother project? What is the positive impact of more discussion about Heavenly Mother? What can we do as individuals? This was a transformative podcast for me. I learned so much with several light bulb experiences. I encourage all our listeners to listen to and share this podcast. It will help you have a better relationship with our Heavenly Parents, find more hope and healing, and help others come unto Christ. Thank you Kayla, Emily and Charlotte for you beautiful and unique life mission. You are three of my new heroes.
My friend Dalton Bradford joins us to share his love and support for our LGBTQ friends. Dalton, who is graduating in Middle East Studies and Arabic, is serious about LGBTQ issues as he plans to live in the Middle East working to improve rights for LGBTQ people living in that region. Dalton, who has lived in 8 different countries, also shares how he is navigating his LDS faith and also shares about his emotional health. Dalton is joined by his girlfriend Shelby Huey, RM and MTC Teacher. Shelby, who wasn’t planning on being on the podcast, offers wonderful insights during podcast on our LGBTQ friends, faith and managing emotional health issues. If you want to have hope for the future, gain new insights into our LGBTQ friends, navigate LDS faith issues or better understand mental health, please listen to these two graduating BYU students. Thanks to both of you for being on the podcast. You are two of my new heroes. You stories, goodness, and service have and will help so many.
My friend Cassidy Jensen shares her brutally painful journey following being raped while a student at BYU Law School in 2019. Cassidy, who is now married and practicing Family Law in California, shares shattered dreams, shame, trauma, losing trust in God and the road to healing. Cassidy shares some of her experience at her blog: https://weallhavelight.com/ including her powerful victim impact statement at https://weallhavelight.com/blog-1/alettertomyrapist If you need to heal from trauma/crushed dreams or want to help someone heal, please listen to Cassidy’s story. Cassidy is strong, brave, powerful and full of insights to help others. Thank you for the courage to be on the podcast Cassidy. You are one of our heroes.
My friend Jeffrey Alldredge joins us to share his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint, Jeffrey, who grew up in Saint George Utah, came out to his parents at age 12. He served an mission and returned home and married his long-time girlfriend Cassandra. It is a beautiful love story. Jeffrey has been and continues to be completely open to Cassie about everything. Jeffrey has wonderful insights into life as a gay Latter-day Saint, the role of helpful family and Church leaders. He has great insights dealing with shame, painful comments, difficult situations, dark days, and the role of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to heal and give hope. Thanks for having the courage to share your story on the podcast my friend Jeffrey. Our world and Church are better off with you here. Thanks for your goodness and your insights that will help others. You and Cassie (and your two sons) are a beautiful family.
My friend Davis Amis joins us to share his testimony and mission experiences from his service in Benin, West Africa. Davis also shares his decision to wait a year after High School graduation to serve a mission and why that was the right decision for him. Davis, who attends Westminster College where he is a member of the golf team, has great insights into the good people in Benin and Togo and the beautiful doctrine in our Restored Church. Thank you Davis for being on the podcast, your goodness, testimony and faithful service.
My friend Emma Mecham bravely shares her 5 year journey with depression. It all started with a voice at the conclusion of a church assignment that said ‘You know Emma, maybe you're not as good as you thought you were.” That voice, which is not how Heavenly Father feels about Emma, led to self-harm and deep depression. Emma takes about how she fought and is overcoming depression with the help of family, therapists, church leaders and friends. She also talks about how the Atonement of Jesus Christ provides her hope and healing. Thanks for being on the podcast Emma. You are a hero to all of us for your courageous work to manage and solve depression. You have a great life ahead of you!
My friend Cody Swensen shares his remarkable journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Cody, who works in HR for a Utah County company, recently came out publicly on Facebook and IG receiving hundreds of loving and supportive comments. Cody talks about his two decade journey to come to terms with his sexual orientation. Many people have helped Cody along the way including a wonderful BYU therapists, family and friends. Cody talks about overcoming depression, self-loathing, shame, his excellent relationship with Heavenly Father, and why he stays a committed member of the Church. If you are LDS and LGBTQ and are looking for hope and healing, please listen to this podcast. If you want to better understand the journey of a LGBTQ Latter-day Saint, please listen to Cody’s story. Cody is one of my new heroes. This world is a better place with people like Cody in it. Thanks for being on the podcast Cody—I learned so much from you
My friend Brandon Kellogg (age 26, RM, married) joins us to talk about his parent’s divorce during his teenage years. Brandon talks about the pain of the divorce, anger, frustration and lost dreams. Brandon then talks about forgiveness, recovery and the wonderful relationship he has with both parents. If you are looking to overcome a grudge or broken relationship, Brandon’s podcast may be helpful. Thank you for being on the podcast Brandon. You are a great man and friend