Local woman, 70, says God helped her overcome homosexuality

  • Follow Metro

Elsie Odom has a stranger in her closet. But the two are well-acquainted.

Elsie Odom says her lifestyle included drugs and alcohol. She turned to church, and now wants to help others struggling as she did.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Elsie Odom says her lifestyle included drugs and alcohol. She turned to church, and now wants to help others struggling as she did.

Odom, now 70, was a lesbian for many years before she learned what she calls “the truth.” These days, Odom uses that stranger’s experiences to help others who are unhappy in the homosexual lifestyle.

“(From the age of 14 to 47) I struggled with it. And in 1988, God set me free. I’ve had no desires since then – none whatsoever. And it has nothing to do with my age,” she said. “I don’t even know who that person was anymore.”

Dressed in a pretty green dress with lavender floral print, matching lavender beaded necklace and dainty white sandals, Odom looks like a traditional Southern grandmother who sits on the third row of church every Sunday and hosts the garden club on Monday.

But the women of her childhood had a vastly different influence.

“I lived in a very dysfunctional family,” she said. “My parents didn’t show love because they didn’t know how. They were alcoholics.”

Because of the alcoholism, Odom said she was isolated from her peers, ashamed and bashful. Her childhood also included several traumatic experiences of molestation from extended family members, both male and female. Odom said she feels the childhood experiences caused her to reject her femininity.

Dr. Lionel Solursh, a professor of psychiatry and health behavior at Georgia Health Sciences University, said that is one reaction to childhood sexual abuse.

“If you’re afraid of sexual experiences, or mistrustful, the one thing you do is back off from intimacy because it feels dangerous,” Solursh said.

Solursh said a therapist in a case similar to Odom’s would work with the patient to cope with their trauma history so they would be able to have relationships. However, he cautioned that each individual is different, and Odom’s situation cannot be applied to all homosexuals.

“We look at individual factors,” he said. “Each person deserves the respect of being seen and treated as an individual.”

But Odom knew nothing of therapy when she was young.

Puberty came along, and Odom said she was sexually attracted to other girls, which confused her.

“Eventually, I went with them,” she said. “I was dating guys, but also acted out those feelings with girls.”

One day, she went on a blind date with a young man, and he proposed.

“So, I thought I could get married, and that’d fix things,” Odom said, saying that she told her fiancé about her homosexuality before they married. “I tried very hard to make the marriage work.”

Several years later, going through divorce and losing a child custody battle was more than Odom could bear.

“In order to cover the pain, I lived a hellish life,” she said. “I tried to heal my pain with alcohol and drugs, and I actually became an alcoholic. And I was looking for love in all the wrong places.”

She found it in a relationship with another woman. The two ended up living together for 14 years, first posing as roommates, then in an openly lesbian relationship.

“We started going to gay bars and parties, and were accepted into the gay community,” she said. “We felt fulfilled with this new family we’d found.”

When Odom’s partner gave the ultimatum that she needed to deal with her alcoholism, Odom started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

At the meetings, she found deliverance from her alcoholism. Because some steps of the AA program suggest looking to a higher power, Odom’s partner bought her a Bible.

When she read the Bible, Odom said she learned that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin.

That was something Odom had never heard before, and as a result, Odom and her partner began looking for a church. After several failed attempts, they found one.

“When we walked in the door, we felt the love of God, and we both needed that,” Odom said. “From that day on, every time the doors opened, we were there.”

In church, Odom heard other new things she’d never known.

“I began to hear that God is not mad. He will take the rubbish of your life and make stepping stones to His destiny,” Odom said.

Claiming that the Holy Spirit separated her and her partner both emotionally and physically, Odom said she took up a celibate lifestyle, which she has kept for 23 years.

“But if God wants to bring me a husband, I will accept him,” she said with a smile.

Solursh said it’s possible that someone who is not happy with homosexuality, or who left the lifestyle, was never actually gay.

“We are not talking about a disease or a disorder. We are talking about behavior,” he said. “I know a lot of happy gay folks.”

For patients who are not happy, Solursh said a therapist works with them to help them manage their feelings and make them comfortable.

“But, if somebody is gay and happy, then he’s happy,” he said.

Odom said she wants to help people who are unhappy like she was. In April 2010, she founded a ministry called Straight Forward, which is a satellite office of Truth Ministry – a nondenominational faith-based organization whose mission is to help people who want to be free of same-sex attractions.

“I have a burden in my heart,” Odom said. “I want others who are struggling to know there is hope for them.”

Comments (71)

Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
soldout
1280
Points
soldout 09/05/11 - 08:36 am
0
0

awesome comments by this

awesome comments by this lady. She makes it clear it is a choice and Christ has set her free. There is hope for all who are a slave to sin. God is not a respector of persons and if He can do that for one He can do that for all. Satan is seeking whom he can destroy and his destruction of her is over. GLORY

howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 09/05/11 - 08:47 am
0
0

Can't wait to see all the

Can't wait to see all the homosexuality apologists come on here and try to demean and discount this lady's story. It's coming. Elsie is proof positive that while there may be a genetic tendency for homosexual tendencies, these can be overcome. People do have a choice.

InChristLove
21848
Points
InChristLove 09/05/11 - 08:47 am
0
0

What an awesome testimony Ms.

What an awesome testimony Ms. Odom has. The truth is, no matter what your sin is, whether it's homosexuality, alcoholism, cheating, stealing, gluttony, Christ loves you and wants to make you whole. All we need to do is seek Him. He will do the rest.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/05/11 - 08:53 am
0
0

bisexual

bisexual

seenitB4
72837
Points
seenitB4 09/05/11 - 09:06 am
0
0

Why is it that animals have a

Why is it that animals have a sex life without the complications....& why is it our business about the sex life of another human?

Sentinel
1
Points
Sentinel 09/05/11 - 09:28 am
0
0

@seenitB4.....very good

@seenitB4.....very good question.

scoopdedoop64
2235
Points
scoopdedoop64 09/05/11 - 09:35 am
0
0

What a tremendous story! Her

What a tremendous story! Her testimony reveals the power of God and His great love for all people.

Joe Deddo
0
Points
Joe Deddo 09/05/11 - 10:05 am
0
0

It is so sad that people do

It is so sad that people do not believe their God created all people in his image. What I heard was love one another. This is hating and second guessing the words they read in a bible. God does not require anyone on earth to do his job. Stop hating in the name of God. That is the real sin in this story.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/05/11 - 10:18 am
0
0

Amazing that with all the

Amazing that with all the people killed in holy wars, economic wars, wars of pure greed, with human trafficking of children and women for heterosexual sex, with all the domestic violence in this world, God is supposedly so worried about the consensual sex of people who aren't bothering anyone. Any guilt this woman felt was due to the pressures of a sexually oppressive society, not because of any flaw in her. She's happier because these same narrow minded bigots who are now rejoicing her being "saved" are no longer persecuting her. When you submit to the slave master, he quits beating you....

InChristLove
21848
Points
InChristLove 09/05/11 - 10:24 am
0
0

God isn't worried about about

God isn't worried about about consenual sex of people of the same gender. He's disappointed because it is not what He made and said was good that day in the garden of Eden. Ms. Odom is happier because she is in a loving relationship with God. Funny, it was the people of the church who loved her and listened to her. God's people who cared enough about her eternal soul to show her that living for the one and only Master, is what can make you truly happy. There is only one slave master and that is the devil, father of lies. So sad, so many listen to him and think they know the truth.

InChristLove
21848
Points
InChristLove 09/05/11 - 10:26 am
0
0

Joe Deddo, who's hating. I

Joe Deddo, who's hating. I believe Ms. Odom stated it was God's people of the church that showed her love and showed her how to make God master of her life. She seems happy according to this article.

142
Points
Dan White 09/05/11 - 10:36 am
0
0

Are Joe and Cassandra reading

Are Joe and Cassandra reading the same story that I read here? I read the testimony of a person liberated from her addictions - addictions which came about over time as they all do and were used to kill her pain from a very dysfunctional, unable to give and receive love nuclear family. But like all addictions that are used to kill our emotional pain, the pain-killer becomes the pain producer. Her addictions killed the pain temporarily but in the end produced more pain. Now, she is free from pain-producing addictions. Liberated! Made whole and complete through the love and grace of Christ.

InChristLove
21848
Points
InChristLove 09/05/11 - 10:52 am
0
0

"Why is it that animals have

"Why is it that animals have a sex life without the complications....& why is it our business about the sex life of another human?"

You are right, it's not our business about the sex life of another human, but it is our right to proclaim the name of Jesus and what it means to be a follower of Him. What His character is and what is sin does to Him. Animals have sex life without complications because they do not have soul which can spend eternity in hell away from the presense of God. They do not know right from wrong, or commit sin. We are not animals therfore we should not act like animals. If someone wishes to live a gay or bisexual lifestyle, that is their right. It is also my right to say it is wrong according to God's Word. That is not hate, that is love. I do not wish anyone to spend eternity in any other place but in the presense of God Almighty.

seenitB4
72837
Points
seenitB4 09/05/11 - 10:52 am
0
0

ICL....I think you are a

ICL....I think you are a little bit wrong about animals...

For instance...
Whenever I walked into the room & asked my dogs which one made the mess...the guilty one would hang his head & walk away from me...*
When a fiend of mine aked his dog if he wanted to be a yankee or a dead dog...the dog would fall over as though dead..
That proves they knowright from wrong & they have a soul!!
:O)

annw
15
Points
annw 09/05/11 - 10:52 am
0
0

What this article did not say

What this article did not say is that God made everyone the way that they are, gay or straight. There are many religious congregations that accept everyone for who they are and don't load them up with guilt or preach hate. I'm sorry that she didn't find one where she could have experienced God's love in a non-judgmental environment. I'm sorry that her life experiences have been so harsh, but her innate sexual orientation, whatever it is, was certainly not changed in this church. Being gay is not a lifestyle but rather a part of a person's identity, which she apparently has never actually found. This is a sad article but it also angers me that this paper is using it to promote their bigoted anti-gay position.

InChristLove
21848
Points
InChristLove 09/05/11 - 11:03 am
0
0

annw, I'm sorry but your are

annw, I'm sorry but your are wrong. God is perfect and does not make mistakes. If according to His Word, he says homosexuality is a sin, why would he make someone that goes directly against His teachings. I believe Ms. Odom found the perfect church. They loving showed her according to God's Word that her lifestyle was sinful and through the grace and forgivenss of Jesus Christ, she could live in a wonderful relationship with Christ. They accepted her and her gay partner into their church. I believe her words were "When we walked in the door, we felt the love of God, and we both needed that,” Odom said.

InChristLove
21848
Points
InChristLove 09/05/11 - 11:06 am
0
0

annw, you are correct in

annw, you are correct in saying "her innate sexual orientation, whatever it is, was certainly not changed in this church"

The church can't change anyone, only God Almighty can change a person's heart, which in turn changes their whole being. When we accept Him and turn our lives over to Him, He and He alone makes us new. Thank you Jesus!

iLove
626
Points
iLove 09/05/11 - 11:07 am
0
0

How much more important are

Unpublished

How much more important are we than animals?

Praise God for this woman's testimony! Only God can do what has been done!

You can't reach everyone. . . this is her testimony, yet some people STILL feel she is lying and try to throw in ALL KINDS OF TOPICS that are not relevant to Ms. E's deliverance.

144,000....only 144,000.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 09/05/11 - 11:12 am
0
0

I pray that this story helps

Unpublished

I pray that this story helps the next homosexual get free. In Jesus' name!

We all need to repent and turn from our wicked ways, while we still have the time.

Praise God!

Dito ICL!

Ms. Odom - I pray for protection from the attacks that will come your way now, for standing up for God. In Jesus' name!

Jah Bless!

seenitB4
72837
Points
seenitB4 09/05/11 - 11:13 am
0
0

ilove.... Just likeyou I have

ilove....
Just likeyou I have a right to post MY thoughts...
My last thought on here...
If people cared about "others" having a J-O-B as much as they cared about what kind of sex they are having.....everyone would have a J-O-B & maybe 2 ..

iLove
626
Points
iLove 09/05/11 - 11:20 am
0
0

@ Cassandra you said "She's

Unpublished

@ Cassandra

you said "She's happier because these same narrow minded bigots who are now rejoicing her being "saved" are no longer persecuting her. When you submit to the slave master, he quits beating you...."

So, what side of this statement do YOU now fall on???

Accept it for what it is, and stop trying to prove that God does not exist, or that He is not all powerful. What do you have against God? What has He done to you? He loves you more than you will ever know/have been taught...

Yet, I pray for your deliverence, just as Ms. Odom has been delivered, you can to. . . .if it is in your heart. In Jesus' name.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 09/05/11 - 11:25 am
0
0

@seenit - huh? ok, you

Unpublished

@seenit - huh? ok, you win...but DON'T run away...we all know that you post regularly thoughout the day on AC.com...DON'T RUN FROM IT. (truth)

If people LOVED the next man like God loves them, this world would be a better place....not having jobs is a REACTION to a bigger problem that has been brewing for decades.

Try Jesus, He's alright!

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 09/05/11 - 12:37 pm
0
0

All those comments aside, how

All those comments aside, how the heck is this newsworthy?

Joe Deddo
0
Points
Joe Deddo 09/05/11 - 01:01 pm
0
0

Hey In Cristian Love, You

Hey In Cristian Love,

You know think you have the power to tell me what God is worried about! Exactly what I am talking about! You better be careful. He told me you are going to burn in hell for misrepresenting him.
Oh yea. He is worried about you now.

Joe Deddo
0
Points
Joe Deddo 09/05/11 - 01:02 pm
0
0

Sorry Now think you have.

Sorry Now think you have.

drivenslow
0
Points
drivenslow 09/05/11 - 01:12 pm
0
0

hmmm sounds like severe

Unpublished

hmmm sounds like severe mental problems to me all the way around

drivenslow
0
Points
drivenslow 09/05/11 - 01:14 pm
0
0

seenitb4 its because these

Unpublished

seenitb4 its because these people CHOOSE to put the population in their bedrooms......thats why....they like it to saturate the airwaves to prove an agenda...so ask yourself why DO THEY PUT US IN THEIR BEDROOM

drivenslow
0
Points
drivenslow 09/05/11 - 01:16 pm
0
0

well in christlove if you

Unpublished

well in christlove if you ever shaved your beard or have not killed any of your kids whne they sassed you or wore cotton you are gonna be in hell right beside all the homosexuals so whats the difference

InChristLove
21848
Points
InChristLove 09/05/11 - 01:16 pm
0
0

Joe, I don't think I told you

Joe, I don't think I told you anything. I believe I ask who you were referring to about people hating Ms. Odom. God told you I was going to burn in hell? Now I know you are lying. I have this promise from God.

Who Shall Separate Us from the Love of Christ? (Us refers to those who believe in Him and have been saved by His grace)

Romans 8:28-39

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among any brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My life belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ and nothing can separate me from His love. Death and Hell does not worry me a bit. My salvation is in Jesus Christ. Sorry you feel the need to be so angry though and lie. Maybe you think it's cute but actually it's pretty sad.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 09/05/11 - 01:19 pm
0
0

ILove - you seem to not

ILove - you seem to not understand metaphor. The "master" refers back to the narrow minded bigots referred to in the prior sentence. I never give into bigots, so I guess the side I fall on would be to stand up against oppressives who feel they have the right to dictate how others live their lives and who attempt to shame, bully, ostracize, and in many cases even physically attack those who do not conform.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Meth use on rise in Richmond County

Production of meth, a highly addictive drug made from household cold medicine, batteries, drain cleaner, brake fluid and other harmful chemicals, increased in recent years when the shake-and-bake ...
Loading...