Local woman, 70, says God helped her overcome homosexuality

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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.”

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InChristLove
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InChristLove 09/05/11 - 07:37 pm
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lawyerdude.... what a crock?

lawyerdude.... what a crock? Don't normally hear of women 47 going through menopause that early (not saying it can't happen) but sorry to burst your bubble, most women do not loose interest in sex when they go through menopause. Surprise it took that long for someone to make that ridiculous comment.....looks like you win the prize.

142
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Dan White 09/05/11 - 07:51 pm
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Taytlor B - Sexuality is

Taytlor B - Sexuality is personal? I think of all of the laws and policies governing human sexuality like laws against rape, child pornography, child molestation, human sexual trafficking, prostitution, sexual harrassment, gender discrimination, incest, and bigamy. There are laws on sexual misconduct for public school teachers and other professionals. There are regulatory policies and/or laws concerning abortion, sex ed in public schools, and the age of sexual consent. There are laws that define and regulate marriage, and on and on. Sex is one of the most regulated human behaviors in our codes as it should be. Thus, human sexuality seems to be a very public matter and hardly personal.

142
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Dan White 09/05/11 - 08:00 pm
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lawyer dude - Try doing some

lawyer dude - Try doing some research before you post about women over the age of 45 losing interest in sex. Check this out. "A gynecologist at The Villages retirement community near Orlando, Fla., said she treats more cases of herpes and the human papilloma virus in the retirement community than she did in the city of Miami." Found this FACT with one or two clicks on this website: http://www.clickorlando.com/news/9283707/detail.html

Taylor B
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Taylor B 09/05/11 - 08:22 pm
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Dan, SEXUAL PREFERENCE is

Dan, SEXUAL PREFERENCE is personal. Learned that from all the Christians complaining about the Pride Day in Augusta, and I actually agree. Nice try with the worst case scenario though.

Bruno
780
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Bruno 09/05/11 - 08:25 pm
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Who really cares? Who you are

Who really cares? Who you are attracted to or who you choose to have sex with as long as they are consenting adults really isn't anyone's business. This was a waste of a staff writer's time and effort.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 09/05/11 - 08:29 pm
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Bruno, you might think it was

Bruno, you might think it was a waste of staff writer's time and effort but I (and I'm sure there are others) actually enjoyed reading this article. I found it very uplifting spiritually and that there is a ministry that this woman has started to help others who are unhappy and seeking help. Not a waste of time in my opinion.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 09/05/11 - 08:31 pm
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"Who you are attracted to or

"Who you are attracted to or who you choose to have sex with as long as they are consenting adults really isn't anyone's business"

This has nothing to do with the article. The article is about a woman who needed help and found it in Christ. Her experience changed her life and now has dedicated her life to Christ work helping others. That is the purpose of the article.

Willow Bailey
20579
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Willow Bailey 09/05/11 - 09:26 pm
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Dan, if they only realized

Dan, if they only realized what they are telling us by their own remarks, they would Mirandize themselves frequently. Sadly, this has been very telling on many today.

soldout
1280
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soldout 09/05/11 - 09:31 pm
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Those with a weak argument

Those with a weak argument will always attack and call others names. It is so easy to find truth in comments if you just use that as your guide. When you know the truth you see no reason to attack others because there is satisfaction and peace in the Spirit of Christ that lives within you. You also know the Word of God has stood the test of time and man's view has to change all the time.

iLove
626
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iLove 09/05/11 - 10:01 pm
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@souldout Amen!
Unpublished

@souldout

Amen!

agapenfish
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agapenfish 09/05/11 - 11:22 pm
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What did Jesus say

What did Jesus say exactly?

And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?

17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries ,fornication , thefts, false witness, blasphemies:20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Note: The translated word for fornication is porneia and it covers a multitude of sexual sins. This would include sex before marriage and any sexual act that is outside of marriage. We also know that Jesus defines marriage . Also if someone takes notice Jesus mentions adulteries and fornication as to separate the two sins. If you are asking yourself if adultery is fornication; why the separation? Well think about it;adultery is fornication inside of marriage.

And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Note: Jesus in fact does speak against fornication which yes does cover homosexual acts-gays and if sex before marriage is a sin and that marriage is between male and female then I would have to say either way a homosexual is living in sin

Some seem to believe if Jesus did not say or was not more detailed about a certain sin; that it must be okay; It seems the disciples are more broader when discussing certain sin, but who gave them authority; who taught the disciples what they should say?

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them .17 And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted.18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Note: As far as obeying what the Old Testament and the New Testament laws given to us through Moses; Jesus did not say we should not listen to these laws that were given to us by the scribes and Pharisees ( teachers of the laws )

Jesus said: 2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Note: So through scripture given to us as believers we know that Jesus speaks of all sexual sins and that he lets us know by what authority he gave his disciples and that we should observe the laws of both Testaments.

Jesus also says: 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments

Note: Does scripture view sexual Immorality ( fornication ) different from other sins? Some would say all sin is the same that no sin is greater than another. We know this not to be true; when we read what the word of God has to say about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Now lets read what God's word says about fornication.

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's

Note: I will continue with this note with additional information; but I leave you now with this one prayer; that if you are reading this and have been living a homosexual lifestyle or any other sinful lifestyle for that matter; that you will repent; confess as a sinner; put you faith and trust in God,His son Jesus Christ, and let the Holy Spirit have control over your life. Also if you are someone who knows someone who is living a sinful lifestyle please feel free to send this to them.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 09/06/11 - 08:34 am
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Get a grip people... Are we

Get a grip people...

Are we going to burn folks on the stake now....just because "some" have a different opinion..We will NEVER think the same way on EVERYTHING....does that mean the other person doesn't have strong beliefs ...no .....the religious threads on here have always brought out the emotions....maybe that's why the editors print so many...It works for them....
Religion has a place for humans & has helped many in sooomany ways...but also remember theWarren Jeffs-Jonestown-Haggards-Jimmy Swaggart--thepreacher in Atlanta with the many young men admirers--the preacher in California who thought people should kill themselves to ride the comet when it came through....
sigh.......we don't have "perfect" people.....& never will.
Show me your good deeds in theway you live your life everyday...

142
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Dan White 09/06/11 - 10:19 am
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Taylor B - agreed - sexual

Taylor B - agreed - sexual preference is personal but you said that sexuality is personal. Thanks for clearing up what you meant.

But, here's a couple of questions for you. If sexual preference is personal and not public, why are there parades flaunting sexual preference and making sexual preference public? Why do they interview on TV shows and brag publicly about their sexual preference?

It seems that sexual preference is far from personal and has become a matter of discussion in the public forums.

Personally, I like the time period of the 1950's when sexual preference was not discussed publicly or anywhere for that matter. But, those innocent days are gone forever. Back then it was a private matter never to be flaunted or brought out in public forums.

InChristLove
22407
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InChristLove 09/06/11 - 09:13 am
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seenitb4, I will agree that

seenitb4, I will agree that there will always be a difference of opinion especially where religion is concerned. What I find, and this is only my view point, is that when an article of ANY religious nature is written and those who have strong religious beliefs make ANY kind of comment there are those who wait anxiously and post with glee any kind of derogatory and demeaning comment towards those individuals who hold a strong religious belief. If people would extend the same courtesy and respect they expect others to give them and their comments, we'd all get along better.

142
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Dan White 09/06/11 - 09:18 am
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senit - and don't forget the

senit - and don't forget the nut California preacher who predicted the end of the world on May 21st (I think that is the date if my memory is correct). Anyway - he made millions off of gullible people like they all do.

But we all digress off the point of Ms. Odom's testimony which is this: “When we walked in the door, we felt the love of God, and we both needed that...I began to hear that God is not mad. He will take the rubbish of your life and make stepping stones to His destiny.”

142
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Dan White 09/06/11 - 09:22 am
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Bruno - if this article was a

Bruno - if this article was a waste of time and effort, then why do you read and comment on it? Why do you care? The very time that you took to read and comment on Ms. Odom's testimony is an indictment of your very own comments about the article being a "waste of time."

seenitB4
79140
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seenitB4 09/06/11 - 09:33 am
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Thanks preacher Dan.......If

Thanks preacher Dan.......If I remember correctly the preacher in California also died with his flock..

I'll always be grateful to you for all the help & love you gave my sweet Aunt....you made her last years full of grace & filled with loving kindness...thankyou again.......she really loved you.

142
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Dan White 09/06/11 - 10:09 am
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seenit - thanks for the kind

seenit - thanks for the kind words - no that preacher didn't die with his flock. He is now predicting the end of the world for sometime in October. He says to send money to him so he can get the word out about the end of time and make him richer when the end doesn't come!

Cassandra Harris
-3
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Cassandra Harris 09/06/11 - 11:32 am
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Why do members of the

Why do members of the heterosexual community flaunt their sexuality by holding hands, walking arm and arm, kissing in public, putting up pictures of their significant other on their desks at work and other such behaviors? Oh, because it's their normal expression of affection for their loved one. Heterosexual personal preference has always been expressed publicly. The 50's? Are you talking about the times when homosexuals were arrested under suspicion of sodomy? When people like my sister in laws parents married each other's partners and remained best friends to keep up the appearance of being straight so they could live their lives with the ones they loved without being prosecuted, losing their jobs, being violently attacked, having their property destroyed? Yep, good ol' 50's, the racial climate was pretty fair then too.

142
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Dan White 09/06/11 - 12:46 pm
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Cassandra - you have put

Cassandra - you have put words in my post that are not there. Holding hands, walking arm in arm, putting up pictures of their significant other on their desks at work is not flaunting behavior and is not what I posted. It is a normal expression of affection as you have rightly said. I'm a little old fashioned about Public Displays of Affection (PDA), and wouldn't attempt it with my wife. She might slap me LOL!

What I am referring to is the post by Taylor B that sexuality is personal not public. By your skewed rebuttle of my post to Taylor B, I'm assuming (without putting words in your comments) that you too are agreeing with my argument that sexuality is public. I add that sexuality is often flaunted on TV talk shows and in parades which therefore takes it out of the personal domain and into the public domain.

Therefore, I support Ms. Odom's public testimony concerning her sexuality and her healing from alcoholism, drugs, and co-dependency. Taylor B believed she should have kept quiet about her sexuality. That is the argument between he and I - whether sexuality is public or private. I argue that it is indeed public and he argues that it is private.

142
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Dan White 09/06/11 - 01:40 pm
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Cassandra - you also put

Cassandra - you also put words and meaning in my comments about the 50's that are not there. I was merely making a point that during the 50's, sexual preference was not flaunted on TV or in parades. Yes, there was a lot wrong in the 50's. But, I was not debating what was right or wrong in the 50's. I only used one illustration to say that sexuality of any kind was not flaunted on TV or in parades. It was private then, but it is very public today. I again was making my argument with Taylor B about how sexuality has gone beyond personal (the 50's) to public today and to defend Ms. Odom's public testimony from his comments about her going public with her sexuality and healing from alcoholism, drugs, and co-dependency. I think it's quite a miracle and testimony that she has lived 23 years complete and whole without the need of alcohol, drugs, or a significant other.

I do not consider it flaunting one's sexuality by holding hands, walking arm and arm, or putting up pictures of their significant other on their desks at work. Those are indeed normal expressions of affection. But, kissing or 'making out' in public isn't for me. I think my wife would slap me if I tried that stunt on her!(LOL) I guess I'm old fashioned when it comes to that.

But, there is a difference, it seems to me, in normal expressions of behavior as you cited. Such expressions are not flaunting sexual preference. What is flaunting sexual preference is the TV talk shows and parades.

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 09/06/11 - 01:26 pm
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Cassandra is back. Good. Hey

Cassandra is back. Good. Hey Cassandra, do you still claim to have more authority to speak for God than the Apostle Paul?

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