@BYUALUMReally??? That was your take away from this amazing story?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Healing...oh the sweetness and glory found in HEALING!
Way to go Amy! You have a lot of life ahead of you and a lot of things to
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
MapleDon,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
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.
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.
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.
The strength of Amy Smart AND the Smart Family is inspiring to those willing to
be inspired. Many Thanks!
What a great article. It is amazing how God can turn ashes to beauty.
Elizabeth Smart epitomizes being a victor not a victim.
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.
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.
BYUalumWhy 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.
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.
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