Famous Latter-day Saints

The Night Elizabeth Smart Unwittingly Saved a Life


Two years ago on a cold blue night in Park City, Utah, Elizabeth Smart (Gilmour) saved a teen’s life. But the real miracle? Smart wasn’t even there.

She didn’t need to be. The spirit of her struggles and story were heard loud and clear.

In the home of Jared and Amy VanderVeur, questions were flying like flakes in a Wasatch snowstorm. Nineteen-year-old CJ VanderVeur was waiting to return to his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was frustrated that permission had been delayed. He had all the necessary approvals, but a surprise letter invited him to wait a bit longer than expected.

“Why is this happening?” he wondered both privately and aloud.

Meanwhile, CJ’s mother, a leader in the young women’s group at church, was hard at work trying to schedule Elizabeth Smart, also of Park City, for a speaking engagement.

Lead image from Jason F. Wright.

Learn more about Elizabeth Smart's incredible story of abduction, recovery, resiliency, and hope in her incredible biography, My Story: Elizabeth Smart.


Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content