Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
301:  Ministering to those who Question:  David Ostler

301: Ministering to those who Question: David Ostler

David Ostler is a former LDS Bishop, a Stake President and a Mission President.  David has been kept awake at night by questions of what good pastoral care or ministry to the those who question might look like.

But, rather than guess (as is often the case), he went to those in faith crisis as well as to those in leadership and he collected data.  From that data his book ‘Bridges; Ministering to those who Question’ emerged and the results are fascinating.

This episode is co-hosted with Nathan McCluskey.

Link to purchase “Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question


  1. Loren

    This is so wonderful! I have experienced a faith crisis recently and my husband is in the bishopric. No one seems to know how to handle things and we have experienced a lot of pain. I wish that everyone in the church and out would listen to this and read the book. Thank you, Mr. McCluskey for taking the time to listen and share what you have found.

  2. Loren

    Also, I just wanted to say that I really love how Mr. McCluskey frequently pauses to validate what Gina is saying and expresses his gratitude at her ability to help him see new thing or look at it in a new way. That takes a lot of kindness, compassion, humility, and a desire to learn and understand. Thank you.

    1. Gina Colvin

      Glad you appreciated it Loren. Just a wee correction, Mr McCluskey is my husband and David Ostler is the author and my guest! I really hope everyone can read it as well. It would save a lot of heart break if they did.

    2. Mark

      This interview was great. The book is necessary because Mormon culture makes it acceptable if not encouraged to shun, punish, divorce and demonize family members, friends and others who start to believe differently. BYU campuses by policy will expel any student who loses their faith.

      We need the church leaders themselves to address this part of our culture officially if it is to ameliorate.

      1. Craig Spjute

        Mark – I think your assumption that “mormon culture’ makes it acceptable to shun, punish, divorce, demonize etc is mistaken with human behavior. Unless taught otherwise, when does human behavior NOT act in this manner. Think of how Jews, Blacks, Mormons were treated for their differences. We tend to all behave in a way that ‘protects’ our own unless we learn for ourselves that this behavior is incorrect.
        Can you identify one time when Church leaders were NOT teaching Christlike behavior?

  3. MJ

    I always love listening to Gina but really really appreciate hearing Nathan and his view as well, especially since he still very much a believer in the LDS faith. I have always enjoyed the podcasts with the both of you, showing you can have differences and remain married. This podcast was wonderful and to hear David Ostler’s thoughts on trying to bridge the gap that we / I find myself in, is so refreshing. Sadly there are many on the fringes or outside the church that want desperately to see happen, but the reality is that for a church that will not be transparent on their finances, “don’t give apologies “ , and excommunicate members for trying to elicit changes to protect children- it is a farce to think that they will ever try to reach out or talk to the people who are now outside the church. It will never happen. But the books, podcasts, conferences, articles, studies, workshops do help those who have and are still suffering in their family relationships helps a little, and I enjoy the validation from those “outside”sources. Having recently gone through a heartbreaking interaction with my spouse and his anger at our grown son with accusations of not reading scriptures enough to maintain literal belief etc was beyond my comprehension when someone should love their child unconditionally. I am heartbroken for this child, but have been accused of the same things for quite a while now. That trust is gone, and yet it’s wonderful but still bittersweet to hear how Gina and Nathan have navigated this paradigm shift so well thus far, and the wonderful grace-filled perspective that David’s work will help others with his book. I just don’t have any hope the church and it’s entrenched members will change anytime soon. Of that I am 100% sure.
    Wonderful podcast 😀

  4. Grant Kimball

    Well, if he can help stop the lie that people leave because they get their feelings hurt then more power to him. People leave because it simply doesn’t add up to them.

  5. As I listened to this interview, I was thinking that perhaps the church could create a new calling: a sort of faith navigation pastor to listen to (and truly hear) individuals on a private and confidential basis. But for a church that relies on a volunteer lay ministry, it would be so difficult to implement such a program across the board. It shouldn’t be difficult, but it *would* be difficult. Much easier would be to implement the number one objective of those who wish to follow the teachings of Jesus: love one another. If we’re doing that, without demanding an all-in, all-or-nothing, this-way-or-the-highway commitment, then building the bridges David Ostler envisions shouldn’t be difficult at all. Thank you, Gina, Nathan, and David, for this interview, for opening up the conversation.

  6. Pingback: Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question – ThinkAgain | FaithAgain

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