Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Former Utah Kidnap Victim Elizabeth Smart Prepares To Deploy On An LDS Mission To Paris, France

Update November 9th, 2010: Elizabeth Smart gives testimony at the trial of Brian David Mitchell; updated post HERE.

Remember Elizabeth Smart? She's that young lady from Utah who got kidnapped by Brian David Mitchell who wanted to make her his "plural wife". Read about that ordeal in Wikipedia.

Well, apparently the Lord wanted to make up for that horrific experience. So the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called her to fulfill a full-time 18-month proselyting mission. And they're not sending her just anywhere; she's going to Paris. That's Paris, France, by the way.

Cake duty.

Well, not exactly. She's not going there to sightsee, although she'll undoubtedly have some opportunities when P-day comes up. She's going there to preach the Gospel, although with an imaginative and innovative mission president in charge, she could easily preach the Gospel outside the Louvre, the Tuileries, or even the Palace of Versailles. Watch this extended report from KSL Channel 5; you can toggle between the Main Story Video and several interviews with her:

Video Courtesy of

Elizabeth Smart is not exactly flying blind into this adventure. She has visited France several times as a tourist, but recognizes it will be very different as a missionary. Along with the work, Elizabeth says she has a powerful message to share. She says it was her faith in God that helped her navigate through the unexpected twists and turns in her own life. She is scheduled to report to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo on November 10th.

But before she goes to France, she's got some unfinished business. Elizabeth Smart will be testifying at the competency hearing of Brian David Mitchell, being held to determine is Mitchell is mentally and psychological capable to stand trial. Smart is expected to testify that Mitchell was motivated in his crime by sex rather than religion. Mitchell was found incompetent to stand trial on state charges. This is his first federal competency hearing. Elizabeth Smart will testify on October 1st. Update: Elizabeth Smart did testify; more details available HERE.

As of the end of 2008, the LDS Church officially reports 34,906 members in France, organized into 113 congregations. But alas, there is no LDS temple in France, although nearly all surrounding European countries have one, some within easy driving distance. Sacre bleu!

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