Sunday, October 4, 2009

Elizabeth Smart, Family and Miracles

Elizabeth Smart's testimony against her kidnapper this week was nothing short of powerful and inspiring. She demonstrated strength that proved even harder to comprehend as she unfolded the details of the account. Most people assumed that horrible things happened to her, but there was some sort of odd protection in leaving them unspoken.

I love her story for what it represents: that miracles still happen and that a family's love can be unadulterated (think back to the days when Salt Lake Tribune reporters
were literally peddling the story that Ed Smart was involved in the crime).

I couldn't help but think about the events that led to Elizabeth's being found. For those of you who don't remember, it is an amazing story that is worth remembering:
Four months after Smart was kidnapped, her nine-year-old sister, Mary Katherine, told her dad that she knew who had taken Elizabeth. Mary Katherine had been reading in her room that night when she saw an unrelated picture and suddenly matched the voice of her sister's kidnapper to that of a man and she had met for just moments nearly a year earlier. Not only this, she remembered his name, Emmanuel.

I don't know about you, but I can't remember half the names of people I've known for years, let alone someone I met for a few minutes nearly a year ago. I think of all the people I've met for a few seconds at work or at school and the chances of me remembering their name and voice? Not good.

That's what makes the story all the more amazing to me.

The Smarts pushed the police to consider the man, but the investigation's unit was reluctant to put much trust in the lead. The Smarts pushed some more, this time exploring other avenues. Eventually America's Most Wanted aired the story and Emmanuel's family called in with his real name, Brian David Mitchell. Even more importantly, one couple watched the story on TV and saw Elizabeth and her kidnapper the next day walking on State Street in Sandy.

Is it all a remarkable coincidence? I don't see how that's possible.

Maybe I'm simplistic, but I can't explain how a nine-year-old remembers such specific details in terms that don't flatly include God's putting it into her mind. I think of the bond the two sisters share today, and I'm sure it is indescribable -- a bond only deeper because of the divine influence that undoubtedly helped reunite them.

This story tells me that God looks out for His children, and He still works miracles among us. I'm at a loss for another way to see it.

Photo Credit: Deseret Morning News


  1. I read about her testimony yesterday and had some of the same thoughts. My concern for her now is that life after a tragedy like this, especially when all the details go public, will be extremely difficult.

    As for the miracle surrounding her rescue, obviously God had his hand in this. What we also need to learn, however, is that He will not always rescue us from the suffering and trials that this world brings our way. Some parents never find their children, for some families it's just not in the cards.

    Have miracles ceased? I say unto nay. Miracles will cease only when faith ceases. Could there be much more pure faith than that of a nine year old little sister? I think not. One day I'll get to see the miracles that I was blessed with because of my little sister and her faith filled prayers. Until that day I will marvel at the miracle that is the Elizabeth Smart story.

  2. And don't forget, when you're doing the right things...Magic Happens!

  3. So true Brandon. I don't think you could see it any other way. God definitely has his hand in our lives and knows us individually. I was so amazed to read her story and how she has truly accepted the Atonement in her life.

  4. Beautifully put! I had no idea the terrible things she had been through, she basically lived through every female's worst nightmare. And yet, did you see her bear her testimony between sessions of conference? God loves His children and has surely helped in her recovery from her horrible trial! She is a great strength to me and my faith is abundantly stronger in Heavenly Father's awareness and care for his children.

  5. Austin, I think it's time to repost the "Magic Happens" editorial from the DU days. That conversation seems to have some bearing for the direction you are indicating.

    Lindsay, I didn't see her testimony, but I've been impressed with her several times (have you seen her get after Nancy Grace? -- google for fun). It's also not surprising that she goes to BYU (holla). She's a strong person and that becomes all the more evident in reading the testimony.