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For the first time, ten years after her abduction from her Salt Lake City bedroom, Elizabeth Smart reveals how she survived and the secret to forging a new life in the wake of a brutal crime
On June 5, 2002, fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by religious fanatic, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. After her rescue on March 12, 2003, she rejoined her family and worked to pick up the pieces of her life.
Now for the first time, in her memoir, MY STORY, she tells of the constant fear she endured every hour, her courageous determination to maintain hope, and how she devised a plan to manipulate her captors and convinced them to return to Utah, where she was rescued minutes after arriving. Smart explains how her faith helped her stay sane in the midst of a nightmare and how she found the strength to confront her captors at their trial and see that justice was served.
In the nine years after her rescue, Smart transformed from victim to advocate, traveling the country and working to educate, inspire and foster change. She has created a foundation to help prevent crimes against children and is a frequent public speaker. In 2012, she married Matthew Gilmour, whom she met doing mission work in Paris for her church, in a fairy tale wedding that made the cover of People magazine.
safety of my family was my responsibility. Then I had the worst thought of all: What if she was hurt, or even murdered, while Mitchell was trying to kidnap her? The fact that I had planted the idea in Mitchell’s mind was almost more than I could bear. But I have to admit that there was a tiny bit of me—a very tiny bit—that wanted her there with me. Together, we could find a way to escape! We would have each other. It wouldn’t be so bad. But whenever I thought of this, I felt guilty. I knew my
thing Mitchell did was cable me up again. Then he started telling me—again—how each of us had a cross that we must bear, but how much God must have loved me to give me the opportunity to be his wife. While he was talking, we heard someone walking through the trees. Both of us turned to see Barzee emerge from the brush. Though she didn’t seem as angry as she had been before, there was a definite chill in the air. She and Mitchell talked. He reminded her once again that she was the chosen Mother
trail many times now, I know that Brian David Mitchell must have moved very quickly down the mountain, which is surprising, given the fact that it was a very dark night. I remember even now how the heavy trees that lined the narrow path sucked up most of the moonlight. The mountains are full of coyotes—I heard them almost every night once we were in the upper camp—and it is likely that some of them watched him from the ridge as he made his way toward the city. The maples and oaks along the trail
signs of lying and deception. Yet he believed everything I told him. He looked into my eyes and I convinced him that you were not who they were looking for. I convinced him of that while you were sitting there. God has provided another miracle! And why did he do it? Because no one else will ever see my Esther’s face until the Lord has called Hephzibah and my seven wives to testify unto a wicked world. Then I will call them to repentance! And that day is very near!” Then he suddenly fell silent.
move. She hardly dared to breathe. She was in a deep state of shock, completely numb with fear. An agonizing amount of time passed. She didn’t sleep. The grandfather clock chimed downstairs. Still, she didn’t move. More time passed. How long, she didn’t know. The shadows traced the movement of the moon across her bedroom wall. The clock chimed again. She poked her head out from the covers. Starlight and moonlight filtered into the room. Yellow. Dull. She reached across the blankets to the left