Wright Words: The night Elizabeth Smart's experience saved a life

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  • Max Upstate, NY
    Feb. 17, 2016 3:29 p.m.


    Really??? That was your take away from this amazing story?

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    Feb. 16, 2016 5:03 p.m.

    A bunch of us reading the comments are very curious to know that MapleDon wrote, but apparently the censors have removed his post. So now, the comments that mention his comment aren't as understandable.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 16, 2016 4:23 p.m.

    I hope that it is ok to say thanks once more To Sariah for being brave enough to talk about this subject! It is so important. A lot of people may not realize how many young people we lose to suicide. I lost two nephews! Maybe this will reach another young person and help them share what is happening inside of them with someone who can help. Unfortunately, I know about 5 or 6 young men who killed themselves because they couldn't cope with being gay! Wonderful lives gone! It can be tough when you are young, no matter who you are and where you live! Sariah, you may not fully realize how much you may have helped! We all know that these things can be extremely difficult to talk about. If we could save just one family from experiencing this devastating thing called suicide! Of course, we don't need to judge, but there is always the what if? Question in the back of our minds! So much of the stress can be alleviated just by having someone who will listen without judging! That would be my advice! WITHOUT ANY JUDGEMENT. just listen

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 16, 2016 4:06 p.m.

    I personally want to thank Sariah! I think she, also is a hero! I hope she realizes that she is not alone! I am bi polar. At age fifty, it is still hard! Sariah, depression and other mental health issues are looked at differently now, thank heavens! They are real illnesses and nobody needs to be ashamed. I wish I could give you a hug! Being gay has been something that almost did me in along with the bi polar! I lost a great deal of what helped me! I know people care, but It would be easier if I could feel like I belonged. I just mention this mostly to help you realize that there are many things that happen to us! Some things take a lifetime to deal with, like being gay! I was lucky like you, I have a wonderful family and growing up LDS has also gave me so much! I wish people could understand! Don't ever be afraid to turn to your family! We have lost a few family members to suicide! It is devastating! Thank you again for being brave enough to share your experience. It helped me a great deal.

  • Millie5 Providence, UT
    Feb. 16, 2016 3:41 p.m.

    I believe that Mapledon was sharing her experience and empathizing from the things she has seen and lived through. We all face life differently and I heard nothing unkind . . just offering advice from her learning and perspective.
    Elizabeth has moved on but that does not mean that all repercussions are gone for life. I believe she is a fighter and determined . . two things that I highly admire. She is one of my most admired beings. God Bless her and all the good she and her family offer.
    I am glad that talking about realities was able to serve someone else. Life is real, can be tough but listening and being heard are two gifts that we all can offer each other.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 16, 2016 3:11 p.m.

    Healing...oh the sweetness and glory found in HEALING!

  • disowned117 South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 16, 2016 2:22 p.m.

    Way to go Amy! You have a lot of life ahead of you and a lot of things to accomplish!

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 16, 2016 2:06 p.m.

    The examples of other people who have persevered through challenges are often and appropriately inspiring to others. Especially for younger people whose relative lack of experience leave them more vulnerable to mistaking the often confusing influences of raging hormones as confirmation of their inability to cope with life.

    I am long passed my youth, yet even I have recently received tremendous strength during periods of trial by noting how courageous others have been through times of even greater struggle.

    Though the difficulties I have faced are truly minuscule in comparison to so many others I've known, I hope whatever fortitude I've shown in the face of them will someday stand as an example to someone else of what can be overcome.

    Providing such inspiration is a big part, perhaps the biggest part, of being a human being.

  • Angelsings Glendale, AZ
    Feb. 16, 2016 1:36 p.m.

    A few days ago in my city of Glendale, Arizona, two 15 year old girlfriends committed murder-suicide at their school. From all accounts, they were happy & good students. Like with Amy's story, nobody saw any warning signs of what was about to happen. If there had been awareness & open dialog, perhaps, this tragedy would not have taken place. People are emotional beings at all ages; the teen years can be, especially, tumultuous & troubling. Sharing & discussing experiences like Elizabeth Smart's & Amy's brings light to a problem that is becoming epidemic with young people & society in general.

  • Kjirstin Youngberg Mapleton, UT
    Feb. 16, 2016 1:27 p.m.

    Saving a life is apparently not enough for MapleDon.

    Trauma changes you. I still discuss dramatic things in my life in the hope it will help others, as it helped me. I'm also not a coward; I use my real name.

    The truth is, anyone can have psychological challenges. As scientists learn daily, these challenges are more biological than environmental. It doesn't matter how brilliant, rich, or religious you are; if your genes include diabetes, you may become diabetic. If depression is in your family genetics, you could be next. Our job, as humanitarian people, is to LOVE everyone, and help as much as possible.

    Thank you, Jason Wright, for another inspiring story, and especially Jared and Amy VanderVeur, for coming forward with real photos, names and faces to bring it home for us. Truth shines through darkness, bringing light. Jesus Christ himself taught us this principle.

  • Jason Wright Woodstock, VA
    Feb. 16, 2016 1:15 p.m.

    I never comment on my own articles - in fact, I rarely read them for obvious reasons - but I felt it would valuable for readers like @MapleDon to know that the Smarts had zero input on this column. They're reading it for the first time with the rest of you.

    I wrote this because the young man referenced, Elder CJ VanderVeur, is serving in my ward and I've come to know and love his family and their inspiring story.

    I've never met Elizabeth Smart or her parents and they had no role in this piece. Thankfully, it appears that most readers understand and appreciate the real story here. It's humbling to see it connecting with so many folks.

  • I think..... any town, UT
    Feb. 16, 2016 12:45 p.m.

    A wonderful story! Thanks for sharing. MapleDon someday you may be grateful that someone you know or love has that amazing example to learn from. You can always read something else!

  • Jemezblue Albuquerque, NM
    Feb. 16, 2016 12:42 p.m.


    A person and their family never move on after an horrific experience such as sexual abuse and abduction. Every thing a victim does is centered around that abuse. My sister suffered through it and my boyfriend suffered through it. I know. It changes everything. Then, when you think everything is over, even after forgiving everyone and everything, something happens,such as your own children's way of crying, and the experience is remembered once again. Victims of sexual abuse do not forget, ever. That is a fact of Psychology 101. As a family member, I get reminded of it as well and the horror of that day in finding out the truth about what happened to my sister.

    My sister, boyfriend, and Elizabeth Smart were victims of abuse, but are stronger today for being survivors. Please do not judge where you have no experience. And please let those who are suffering find a way to heal.

  • Utexmom Flower Mound, TX
    Feb. 16, 2016 12:08 p.m.

    I believe that Elizabeth's parents and family deserve a lot of the credit for how well Elizabeth was able to overcome her horrific ordeal. When she came home, they celebrated and rejoiced. Elizabeth was their daughter and of great worth. The mother said, "I am the luckiest mother on earth!" They rejoiced in her return, and gave her a positive view of the rest of her life. They did not act as if she were damaged.

  • rehpot Farmington, UT
    Feb. 16, 2016 11:19 a.m.

    What an amazing example Elizabeth Smart is to the world. The poise, dignity, and hope filled attitude she has is a beautiful example of the healing and enabling power that the Savior's atonement provides for all of us. To go through the horrific experience she had and become who she is now, is truly a miracle. Thanks also to her dedicated and faithful parents that taught her correct principles of truth and light.

  • Well.... Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 16, 2016 11:01 a.m.

    MapleDon, did you read the article? Jason Wright only mentioned Elizabeth Smart's experience. The story was about another family altogether. I suspect the Smarts had just as much to do with setting the agenda for Wright's column as they did for my words here--which is to say, nothing. If they were not so determined to turn horror into hope for many victims of senseless crimes, I'm sure they'd love to sit back and retire from the limelight.

    Perhaps you could inform yourself about the very real psychological issues facing young adults these days, and how Smart is an excellent example of surviving several of them and finding hope in spite of the multiple vile acts perpetrated upon her. Discussion of her courage in the face of evil tends to inspire others. Self-education would be far preferable to rushing to hasty and ill-informed judgment, which inspires nobody.

  • JoelB44 idaho falls, ID
    Feb. 16, 2016 11:00 a.m.

    The strength of Amy Smart AND the Smart Family is inspiring to those willing to be inspired. Many Thanks!

  • JRL in AZ Tucson, AZ
    Feb. 16, 2016 10:57 a.m.

    What a great article. It is amazing how God can turn ashes to beauty.

  • Angelsings Glendale, AZ
    Feb. 16, 2016 10:44 a.m.

    Elizabeth Smart epitomizes being a victor not a victim.

  • Dancing Queen West Haven, UT
    Feb. 16, 2016 9:44 a.m.

    To MapleDon. Elizabeth and her family have moved on! Elizabeth served a mission, went to college, and got married. She is the founder of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. You can read all about the wonderful things she is doing to help people on her website like the following: Elizabeth has also helped promote The National AMBER Alert, The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act and other safety legislation to help prevent abductions.

    Elizabeth has chronicled her experiences in the New York Times best-selling book, “My Story.” In addition, she and other abduction survivors worked with the Department of Justice to create a survivors guide, entitled, “You’re Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment.” This guide is meant to encourage children who have gone through similar experiences not to give up but to know that there is hope for a rewarding life.

  • Angelsings Glendale, AZ
    Feb. 16, 2016 9:21 a.m.

    To MapleDon: When something horrific & traumatic happens in your life, it dramatically changes the dynamic forever; whether consciously or unconsciously, it remains in the human psyche 24/7. The experience can be triggered & manifest with something seemingly as benign as a sight, sound or smell. Of course, moving on is the optimum goal but that can be easier said than done & can take a lifetime. Turning a negative situation into a positive one by sharing & learning from experiences creates a win-win for everyone. It takes courage & determination of heroic proportion to share something so personal in an effort to help others. Elizabeth Smart is one of the best examples of, even, being able to do this. She's a truly phenomenal person who has helped countless others by sharing her intensely private story which most people would have swept under the Proverbial rug. She brought it out into the light despite it being a reminder each time she speaks of it. Elizabeth & the Smart Family are to be highly commended.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Feb. 16, 2016 9:06 a.m.


    Why would you pick this story, of all stories, to throw in a BYU vs. Utah jab? Maybe choosing a BYU school would have just made things worse, with all the pressure to conform, get married quickly, and whatnot. Just sayin' and not trying to stir things up.

  • Glenn L Nauvoo, IL
    Feb. 16, 2016 9:01 a.m.

    Having dealt with children suffering from severe mental illness and drug abuse, I find nothing even remotely connected to publicity in this heart warming and inspiring story. That a non-detailed recounting of the way Elizabeth Smart reconstructed, with help from many, her seemingly demolished chance of having a normal life into an influence for good for so many, so often, speaks only to the extra courage it took for her to do so. Bless her, and her family. She could have chosen to disappear off the radar of life, but instead has opened her life and her heart so much that even a telling of her miraculous recovery took this young woman on a path of a similar reconstruction when it could have been demolished, and with it her family. Would that we all could notice tender mercies too often considered coincidences, like her brother's delay and the ensuring conversation that provided a miracle.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 16, 2016 5:26 a.m.

    Interesting, compelling story. Given her spirituality, I would have chosen BYU as a better fit for her circumstances. Just sayin' and not trying to stir things up.