Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Salt Lake Tribune And KSL Channel 5 Interview Elizabeth Smart After Return From LDS Mission; Smart Plans To Resume Studies At BYU

Elizabeth Smart, whose kidnapping ordeal at the hands of Brian David Mitchell preoccupied Utahns, has returned from a successful full-time mission with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Paris, France, and decided to grant an interview to the Salt Lake Tribune. Smart did not expound at length about her mission, except to say "...It was an incredible experience. And I met so many wonderful people. And one of the most amazing things about it was seeing how a person’s life could be completely changed for the better — for the best. And so while I was there, that was my main focus and anything else that happened, that just was on the sidelines". She also noted that not too many people in France were familiar with her in advance. The entire interview is available on the video embedded below:

The Tribune provides a complete written transcript of the interview HERE.

Additional stories published by the Deseret News, KTVX Channel 4 (with video), KSTU Channel 13 (two videos), and KSL Channel 5. Elizabeth Smart also granted a separate interview to KSL; she spoke a bit more about her mission, saying that it was one of the greatest choices of her life. "I would never change my decision, serving a mission," Smart said. "It was incredible watching, being able to be a part of a bigger picture, seeing people change their lives." Otherwise, it was quite similar to the Tribune interview; video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of

Summary: Elizabeth Smart plans to resume her studies at Brigham Young University, majoring in music. She expects to graduate next April, and is weighing the possibility of attending law school. But first, she will be attending the sentencing hearing for her former kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, on May 25th. The date was specifically set so that Smart would be home from her mission in order to attend. Already, Mitchell's defense team is trying to minimize Smart's ordeal and downplay the psychological damage inflicted upon her in an attempt to persuade the judge against giving their client a life sentence; they want the judge to sentence Mitchell to serve his time in a mental health facility. The prosecution and the Smart Family want him sentenced to a Federal prison for life.

Elizabeth Smart also wants to renew her activity with the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which she says will focus on a few different issues. "One of them that I'm very excited about is the RAD Kids program," Smart said. "I don't know how much people know about it, but it stands for Resist Aggression Defensively, and it doesn't just teach children what to do, it doesn't just talk about it. It gets them up. It teaches them what moves they can do to break away — how to defend themselves".

While Elizabeth Smart appears to have made a remarkable recovery from her ordeal, don't think it was effortless. One does not just switch off the memories like a light switch. She was aided by both an extremely supportive family and religious community, advantages not enjoyed by many victims. It will be interesting to see how she handles those memories when she finally gets married -- that will be a stern test.

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