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 friends Jeff and Camille McConnell share the tragic story of their son Wesley dying in a choking accident on Memorial Day in 2018. Jeff and Camille, active LDS and parents of 5 children ages 1-11, share how their worst nightmare because reality. Now 2 years from that horrible day, Jeff and Camille share their insights to overcome anger, grief, pain, and feelings of what they might have done differently to find hope, peace and healing. If you have lost of loved one or want to help others walking this road, please listen to Jeff and Camille’s insights. I was deeply moved by the things they shared and insights into the Atonement of Jesus Christ to find hope and healing. I was also deeply moved by their thoughts to keep Wesley integrated into their families lives. Please check out Camille’s blog at sweetwesleyswarriors.com for more of her story. Thanks for being on the podcast Jeff and Camille. You are bringing hope and healing to so many!
My friends, Evan and Cheryl Smith, join us to share their journey supporting their gay son, Weston. Evan and Cheryl, who live near Plymouth, Massachusetts and have given decades of service to the Church, share their story, which includes a new navigable e-book that Evan wrote available at gayldscrossroads.org. Their story includes their journey to love and support LGBTQ Latter-day Saints and their support for Weston who feels his path is to marry a man---a decision that came during his LDS mission. Included in the podcast is a difficult experience they had with a General Authority, which gives us all insights into pitfalls to avoid when ministering to LDS parents with LGBTQ children. The Smith family is one of the finest families I know. I encourage everyone to listen to their podcast and read their book at gayldscrossroads.org. It will help you better support families with LGBTQ Latter-day Saints, give hope for the future, and help keep the family circle together.
My friend Hyrum Edwards, who recently graduated from Clearfield High where we was a Senior Class Officer, shares his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. Hyrum came out to his wonderful parents Mike and Becky Edwards two years ago and publicly at the end of his junior year. Hyrum and talks about excellent support from his parents and everyone's efforts to keep the family circle together. Hyrum talks about difficult Church experiences and how we can do better to meet the needs of LGBTQ Latter-day Saints and reduce/eliminate homophobia. Hyrum shares personal feelings on why his loving Heavenly Parents made him gay and how this makes possible his beautiful and unique life mission possible. Hyrum also gives us insights about the pain of being part of a marginalized group. Hyrum also shares why he would not push, if possible, ‘the imaginary button’ to be straight. Hyrum shares insights into the life of Jesus and how following His teachings causes us to reach out and help others—especially those marginalized by society. Hyrum also shares personal revelation he received to attend UC Berkeley and his visit with some of the LDS students at the Berkeley YSA Ward who helped him feel love and acceptance. Thanks for being on the podcast Hyrum. You are a great man with a wonderful future. Sending my love and support to the entire Edwards family.
My friend Jenie Hunter joins us to share their family experience over the last 8 years with their wonderful gay son Nicholas. The podcast is an expanded discussion of this outstanding blog post by Jenie in June 2020: https://www-jeniehuntercoaching-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.jeniehuntercoaching.com/amp/unconditional-love If you are a parent or someone who wants to know better how to support LGBTQ Latter-day Saints, please listen to Jenie’s podcast and read her blog post. She has remarkable insights on how to navigate this ‘long curvy road’. If you are LDS and LGBTQ, this podcast may give you hope and insights to better see/navigate your future. Jenie is a certified life coach and can help you ‘stop feeling pain about your child’s choices’. Please see her web site at https://www.jeniehuntercoaching.com/. Or e-mail her at email@example.com Thank you for being on the podcast Jenie. You and your husband John are doing such a great job supporting Nicholas and using these life lessons to help and support others. Thank you Nicholas for the good man you are and your contributions to society.
My lifelong friend Mark Matheson joins us to share life lessons learned and insights from the Book of Mormon. Mark, who has been divorced and also lost a wife/son in a car accident, knows much about adversity and has great insights into how to overcome life’s challenges. Mark, now in his early 60’s, life has turned out far different than he anticipated. Yet Mark’s commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and serving others has allowed him to work through and overcome these adversities, have joy in his life, and increased tools to help others. Mark posts frequently about the Book of Mormon on Facebook at facebook.com/ScriptureAnalyst-218544918795870/ and facebook.com/ConferenceAnalyst-293462621248276/ and Instagram at instagram.com/scriptureanalyst/ and instagram.com/conferenceanalyst/ Please follow these pages of Mark’s helpful insights. You can see the video of a talk he gave at BYU Hawaii entitled: "Make God your Business Partner." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZED4UgyRXD4 Thank you Mark for being on the podcast. You are a great man and friend and continue to help so many.
My friend Tré Smith joins us to share his story as a Black Latter-day Saint. Tré talks about his decision to become fully active in the Church and the role of his wonderful YSA Bishop (now Stake President Kevin Gifford). Tré talks about learning to forgive the drunk driver that killed his younger brother and broke the heart of his good father. Tré talks about his wonderful wife Rachel and her love and support since their high school days. Tré talks about his support of Black Lives Matter and shares helpful insights into life as a black man. Tré, who married a white woman, talks about the goodness and strength of their marriage and the excellent support and love from both families as they were married and started their lives together. Yea, they are an interracial couple, but they just see themselves as two of God’s equal children who fell in love with each other and are building their lives and family together. Tré also talks about the values his is teaching his players at Cyprus High and his lifelong dream to be the head basketball coach at Cyprus High. Thank you for being on the podcast my friend Tré. Much love and respect for you. The great man that you are and the exemplary life you are living and your contributions back to society.
My friend Matt Smith joins me to share his journey as a gay Latter-day Saint. I became aware of Matt with his coming out post titled ‘If you are gay, don’t throw it all way” that talked about his journey and overcoming suicide thoughts. The post is filled with hundreds of kind comments. https://www.facebook.com/matthew.smith.1293/posts/2992903347429656 Matt shares his path to be the very best gay Latter-day Saint he can be. For Matt, that includes his desire marry a man and participate in the Church as much as he can. Matt has helpful insights into the unique and difficult road LGBTQ Latter-day Saints walk, their near impossible choices and what we can do to provide hope and healing. I encourage everyone to listen to Matt’s story. Each story is unique, valid and worthy of love and support. Thanks for being on the podcast Matt. You have a great life ahead of you!
My friend Diahan joins us to talk about her work to understand the DNA industry and interpret DNA results. Diahan, a noted author and national speaker, is a leading expert in her field addresses key questions that result from DNA results such as new family relationships. Diahan also talks about DNA and LGBTQ families. Please check out Diahan’s company web site at https://www.yourdnaguide.com or FB page at https://www.facebook.com/YourDNAGuide You can reach Diahan at guide@yourDNAguide.com Thanks for being on the podcast Diahan and all your great work!
My friend Dr. Taylor Petrey, who as a doctorate in New Testament and early Christianity from Harvard Divinity School and is a tenured professor at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, joins me to talk about his new book. Taylor’s book talks about the Church’s history with marriage (interracial marriages, role of woman, etc) and how that has evolved over the decades as part of the on-going restoration. Taylor’s academic work is helpful to me as a committed Latter-day Saint to understand our history and see patterns of continuing revelation that give me hope that we will continue to find more ways to better meet the needs of LGBTQ Latter-day Saints who walk a difficult road. I encourage everyone to listen to the podcast and read Taylor’s book (https://uncpress.org/book/9781469656229/tabernacles-of-clay/). Thank you Taylor for being on the podcast and all your great work to help us come together better as the Body of Christ.
My friend Bryan Baggaley, married father of 8, shares about his recently released book on the Brother of Jared. Bryan, an engineer by trade, shares his decision to write the book and then key insights from the ministry of the Brother of Jared and how those apply to our lives. I encourage everyone to listen to the podcast and buy Brother Baggaley’s book (https://www.amazon.com/Building-Faith-Like-Brother-Jared/dp/1462137563 or https://www.cedarfort.com/collections/book-of-mormon/products/building-faith-like-the-brother-of-jared). It will give you insights for your life and to help others. Thanks for being on the podcast Bryan and your great efforts to help us understand the mission and live of the Brother of Jared.
My friend Rebekah Hatch (BYU Psychology student, RM, married) joins us to talk about her initiative called the Abnormal Family Project, which uses art to bring a voice to families that don’t fit the traditional family stereotype that is strongly endorsed in the LDS culture. These families can include those who experience racial diversity, adoption, divorce, death, LGBTQ, immigration, poverty, etc. Rebekah has experienced the stigmatization directed towards nontraditional families as her parents divorced when she was seven years old. Rebekah’s project can be found here https://www.facebook.com/theabnormfamproject/. The central idea of this project is to utilize art as a nonthreatening form of communication to illustrate and better understand these family experiences by both reducing stigma and increasing empathy towards these families. These pieces will be edited together into a published book of art that shares stories of all marginalized family types. Submissions are due by December 31, 2020, and can be done through this link: https://forms.gle/kHVKd1FwReEqKq5d6. Thank you Rebekah for your needed work to help all LDS families feel welcome in our congregations and society. Honored to have you on the podcast. You are doing needed work!
My friend Steve and Jamie Smith (active LDS and parents of 5 kids), share their journey with Steve’s drug addiction. Steve talks about why he is an addict, how he got on this road, how he finally found recovery and how he is moving forward. Jamie shares powerful insights about her road to recovery as the wife of an addict. Steve and Jamie are open with their story in their Ward, families and other circles. They both share insights into the role of shame to keep us from talking the necessary steps to be honest, vulnerable which are key steps to recovery. If you are an addict or working to help someone solve an addiction, please listen to this podcast. If you want to improve your marriage, have a better relationship with the Savior, or feel more peace in your life, please listen to this podcast. It was transforming for me and I think it will be for you. You can follow Jamie on IG at @fromtheheartofrecovery Thank you Steve and Jamie. You are two of my new heroes. Thank you for continuing to share your story!
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.