I recently had the privilege of interviewing Elizabeth Smart for the fall issue of LDS Living (click here to read the article). I admit that I was curious how she would be in real life—if she is as impressive and poised as she appears to be on television. I’m here to tell you that she absolutely is.
Elizabeth was surprisingly candid. She openly discussed both the joys and frustrations she experienced as a missionary in France. She shared her feelings about her captor, Brian David Mitchell, including how and why she chose to forgive him. She talked passionately about her work as a children’s advocate, and her determination permeated every word as she expressed her desire to make the world a safer place for children everywhere so no one would have to experience anything like what she was forced to endure. But the thing that struck me most during my time with her was her incredible faith in the gospel.
Despite all Elizabeth has been through, or perhaps because of it, she has learned to trust in God completely. I’ll never forget when she said the following: “For me, the word ‘gospel’ means hope. No matter how bad things get, that’s the one thing you can always hold on to.”
Elizabeth is a great example of resilience, and I thank her for showing us that it is possible to become stronger, better people if we are willing to push beyond our darkest moments and look with hope toward the future.
It was definitely a powerful experience to talk with her about such deeply personal experiences. But while I had Elizabeth to myself, I couldn’t resist trying to learn more about her personality. What makes her smile? What are some of her favorite things? It was fun to watch her light up as she talked about her love for the harp. And did you know she loves to go country dancing?
I am grateful to Elizabeth for her willingness to speak with us at LDS Living. And I hope our readers will enjoy and appreciate her insights as much as I did.
(To find out more of Elizabeth’s favorite things, pick up the September/October 2011 issue of LDS Living.)
Jamie Lawson is managing editor of LDS Living magazine. She loves traveling internationally, meeting fascinating people, and listening to 80s music. She enjoys tasting new foods but does not like to cook. She has two adorable boys who help her stay up to date on the latest technology, fashion trends, and catch phrases.