Elizabeth Smart has traveled the county promoting her memoir “My Story” that was released in early October.
Smart spoke to an audience of nearly 60 people at Salt Lake Community College’s Grand Theatre on Oct. 15. The event was sponsored by The King’s English Bookshop, and was part of Utah’s sixteenth annual humanities book festival.
The night began with Smart reading the prologue from “My Story” which described the moment that she first met Brian David Mitchell. After reading the prologue she spoke candidly about her experiences during the nine month ordeal.
“I was absolutely horrified when I learned of her abduction. I had children that were her same age,” says SLCC student Julie Wright, 48.
Wright attended the event with her 16 year old daughter Savannah who was five at the time of Smart’s kidnapping.
“I vividly remember seeing my mother cry when they found Elizabeth. We were on a vacation in Mexico watching CNN,” says Savannah.
Smart wrapped up the 20 minute speech by talking about The Elizabeth Smart foundation.
The Elizabeth Smart foundation is an organization that is geared towards preventing the victimization of children. Afterward the forum was turned over to the audience for a question and answer period that lasted 15 minutes.
“In your book you talk about the fact that you’ve never been in therapy, and that you’ve never had to take any medication. What I’d like to know is what advice you have for women that have experienced trauma that may have not had the same recovery process as you?” asks an audience member.
“I wish there were a list of things for us to do, but I think everyone has to experience things their own way,” said Smart.
A woman from the audience thanked Smart for “standing up for victims everywhere,” and then proceeded to ask a question.
“Back in 2001, I experienced a similar situation as you. Not to take away from your story by any means, but I’m heading to sentencing. I have to give a victim’s impact statement and I want to know how you had the strength to do that,” says the audience member, who was visibly shaking.
“I didn’t prepare anything. At the end of the trial when the judge said I could say something, I just got up,” said Smart. “I told him he didn’t have control over my life, and that it didn’t matter what his sentencing would be because god was his ultimate judge.”
After the question and answer period concluded, Smart signed several copies of “My Story” for audience members who purchased her memoir from The King’s English bookshop. The event was one of three that took place in Salt Lake City, but it was the only one that Smart spoke at.