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LDS group tries to bridge gap between Church, LGBTQ

(Photo courtesy of Listen, Learn and Love)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new Mormon LGBTQ support organization is trying to create open dialogue and create a space for active LDS Church members to interact with a community they may not be familiar with.

Listen, Learn and Love was founded by Richard Ostler, an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who had the opportunity to get to know LGBTQ people while on assignment with his Young Single Adults (YSA) group. Ostler says supports the church’s stance on LGBTQ issues, but believes there’s more members can do.

“Maybe we can do better to honor people and create more community and understanding, instead of an ‘us versus them’ mentality,” says Ostler.

Listen, Learn and Love provides support resources on its website for LGBTQ people and LDS church members alike. It lists counselors, therapists, support groups, and numbers for crisis lines. The organization also generates a podcast to expand on conversations between the two communities.

“Many don’t know LGBTQ people or don’t have a situation to sit down and hear their story,” says Ostler. “So, that’s a great vehicle for members of the church to better understand the cross LGBTQ people are carrying.”

Listen, Learn and Love is not affiliated with the LDS Church, but Ostler keeps in touch with church officials to notify them of information and resources he provides.

The organization has held multiple events across the state, and plans to hold another at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center Wednesday at 7:00. Ostler says members and non-members, as well as members of the LGBTQ community, are invited to attend.