Thursday, February 2, 2017

"My Story"

My mom and I finished reading "My Story" by Elizabeth Smart a few weeks before Christmas. My friend Heather recommended this book to me, and I'm so glad she did! When this book came out several years ago, I didn't give much thought to reading it. I basically knew what had happened to Elizabeth (or so I thought) from things that I had heard on the news and watched on TV. What I knew only scratched the surface as to what all happened to Elizabeth. I started this book and was absolutely sucked in from the beginning. It was a real page-turner!

Here is a synopsis of the book: "For the first time, ten years after her abduction from her Salt Lake City bedroom, Elizabeth Smart reveals how she survived and the secret to forging a new life in the wake of a brutal crime.

"On June 5, 2002, fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart, the daughter of a close-knit Mormon family, was taken from her home in the middle of the night by religious fanatic, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was kept chained, dressed in disguise, repeatedly raped, and told she and her family would be killed if she tried to escape. After her rescue on March 12, 2003, she rejoined her family and worked to pick up the pieces of her life.

"Now for the first time, in her memoir, MY STORY, she tells of the constant fear she endured every hour, her courageous determination to maintain hope, and how she devised a plan to manipulate her captors and convinced them to return to Utah, where she was rescued minutes after arriving. Smart explains how her faith helped her stay sane in the midst of a nightmare and how she found the strength to confront her captors at their trial and see that justice was served.

"In the nine years after her rescue, Smart transformed from victim to advocate, traveling the country and working to educate, inspire and foster change. She has created a foundation to help prevent crimes against children and is a frequent public speaker. In 2012, she married Matthew Gilmour, whom she met doing mission work in Paris for her church, in a fairy tale wedding that made the cover of People magazine."

I was so impressed and inspired with the way Elizabeth was able to handle this horrific ordeal. Imagine being kidnapped in the middle of the night, sexually brutalized, having to go with very little food, being forced to get drunk, and being emotionally ravaged. What happened to Elizabeth was truly heinous. There were small miracles and tender mercies along the way, however, and Elizabeth never gave up or lost her faith. It was her faith in God and the atonement of Jesus Christ that enabled her to not only survive this trauma, but to be able to move on and still have a beautiful life where she has been able to advocate for others who have endured similar experiences. The atonement has so much power, because Jesus not only atoned for our sins, but He also suffered for all of the pains and atrocities that God's children would ever feel and experience.

I've recommended this book to several people, and think it's one that anyone who likes to feel uplifted and inspired would enjoy.
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