Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question
by David B. Ostler
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“A deeply Christian book that calls upon us all to seek understanding and minister to the wounded.” —Terryl Givens
“One of the most important books I have read in the past decade.” —Robert A. Rees
“Honest, compassionate, and inspiring. . . . [Latter-day Saints] would be well-served to have a dog-eared copy of Bridges in every ward and stake council member's home.” —Patrick Q. Mason
“Ostler not only identifies the dimensions of the disconnect but also gives sensible and helpful suggestions for bridging it.” —Gregory A. Prince
Download a free sample preview.
Book Description:With the advancement of the internet, changing worldviews, and the rising generation of millennials, Latter-day Saints today face unique challenges to faith on an unprecedented scale. Unlike most books written to help those struggling with their testimonies, Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question is geared at helping local leaders and family members better understand the sources of these challenges and how to minister to those affected by them. This ministering is done through building bridges of love, empathy, and trust regardless of whether or not someone retains their belief or continues to participate. Author David B. Ostler, a former mission president, utilizes surveys with local leaders and disaffected members, research from social science and religious studies, and teachings from Church leaders to show how Latter-day Saints can work to better support those who have questions and create church environments where all can feel welcome.
Praise for Bridges:
“Even in a culture of the religiously disaffected, the toll on Latter-day Saint faithful is alarming. David Ostler’s book does not aim to stem the tide, but to lessen the pain of those on both sides of the faith divide. It is a deeply Christian book that calls upon us all to seek understanding and minister to the wounded.” —Terryl Givens, co-author of The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith
“David Ostler’s Bridges: Ministering to Those Who Question is one of the most important books I have read in the past decade. Unlike other good books written primarily to those experiencing a crisis of faith, Bridges is written to those who have been called as leaders, fellow saints, and family members to minister to those who once were included in our circle of fellowship and love but who no longer are. It should be required reading for every general and local authority of the Church and every Latter-day Saint parent or other adult who interfaces with those experiencing what is called the ‘Mormon faith crisis.’” —Robert A. Rees, Co-founder and Vice-President, Bountiful Children's Foundation
“Leaders, parents, and friends often feel at a loss when someone they love experiences a faith crisis and leaves the church. How did this happen? What can I do? How can I help? Their sincere love and concern is now perfectly matched by the information and advice in this honest, compassionate, and inspiring book by David Ostler. The church—meaning both the people and the institution—would be well-served to have a dog-eared copy of Bridges in every ward and stake council member's home.” —Patrick Q. Mason, author of Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt
“All denominations struggle to keep younger generations engaged, but the Latter-day Saint tradition is particularly challenged by the ‘faith crisis’ that occurs when Church members are suddenly confronted with inconvenient truths about its history and doctrine. While other authors have described the phenomenon generally, David Ostler gives us unprecedented access to one of its core elements: the disconnect between what members in crisis are experiencing and how Church leaders are responding. Using data from his own surveys, he not only identifies the dimensions of the disconnect but also gives sensible and helpful suggestions for bridging it. Brutally candid at times, it is nonetheless lovingly written in an attempt to stem the outflow of Church members.” —Gregory A. Prince, author of David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism and Gay Rights and the Mormon Church: Intended Actions, Unintended Consequences
“Every Mormon leader (and teacher, and parent) should read this book.” —Jana Riess, Religion News Service
“The most important book on Latter-day Saint faith crises yet.” —Wheat and Tares
“A good step in the direction of teaching the rank and file how to avoid judgmental behavior and seek to be understanding of those outside our often culturally constructed norms and those who struggle with dissonance over history or doctrine or practice. I recommend it for every bishop’s bookshelf.” —By Common Consent
“Bridges is a book that every Church leader and parent should read. While the solutions offered do not guarantee our family and friends will remain with the Church, it will guarantee that there is an open bridge for them available, if they ever choose to cross back over.” —The Millennial Star
About the Author:David B. Ostler has experience serving Latter-day Saint members and leaders as a bishop, stake president, and mission president. He has a BUS from the University of Utah and an MBA from Dartmouth College and is now retired from a thirty-year career as a business executive managing domestic and international businesses focused on improving health care. With his wife, they have six wonderful children—some of whom no longer hold basic Latter-day Saint beliefs.
ISBN: 978-1-58958-726-7 (paperback); 978-1-58958-719-9 (hardcover)