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Elizabeth Smart tells USU crowd of her ordeal

April 18th, 2013 Posted in Arts and Life

LOGAN — Over ten years have passed since the young Elizabeth Smart was rescued from a nine-month kidnapping, but a crowded Taggart Student Center quieted respectfully Wednesday to hear her story.“‘I have a knife to your neck. Don’t make a sound or I’ll kill you,’” Smart quoted her kidnapper, who she knew as Emmanuel, from the night she was taken from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Smart shared some riveting details of her abduction with the largest crowd ASUSU has seen at its midweek Common Hour presentations.“I wasn’t expecting her to talk about her abduction so much, just because if it were me, I’d hate to relive that over and over again when speaking to people,” USU student Katherine DeBry said. “However, I am glad she did, because listening to her speak about it in person really made me see how poised and strong she is.”Journalism student Dani Hayes reflected on the lecture as well: “She was so beautiful and confident when she spoke and she has such a cute, quirky personality too. It was nice to see her just the way she is. She’s a normal person who went through a terrible experience.”

Brian David Mitchell, the man charged and convicted for Smart’s kidnapping, led the 14-year-old girl up a mountainside trail and through brush until they reached a campsite that had already been set up. It was here that she met his accomplice, Wanda Eileen Barzee. She described the first day of her experience, as she was “wedded” to the troubled man, raped, and bolted to a cable attached to a tree.

While some were impressed by how much of her terrifying experience Smart shared with such a vast audience, others were waiting for even more details.

“I think a lot of people expected for Elizabeth to share every bit of her terrible captivity, but she didn’t,” said Hayes. “I have heard from a lot of people that they wanted more from the presentation, but that just tells me that she isn’t quite over what happened, which is completely understandable.”

After nine months of captivity, torture, and travel, Smart outwitted her oppressor by pushing the idea of returning to Salt Lake City, as a feeling sent to her from God. According to Smart, after Mitchell had spoken with God about it, “he agreed, and said we’d hitchhike back.”

While walking along a street in Sandy on March 12, 2003, Smart, Mitchell and Barzee were spotted and “suddenly surrounded by cop cars and sirens.” She was saved.

Smart described her reunion with her mother Lois Smart after nine months: “In that moment, my mom was, to this day, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She was like my Heaven.”

“Her quote from Mother Theresa was great too,” DeBry said. “I think what impressed me most is that she is obviously a normal person who has good days and bad days, but she chooses to be mostly positive about her life.”

Smart ended her speech with Mother Teresa’s words, “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”


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