Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope

Bringing Elizabeth Home: A Journey of Faith and Hope

4.3 31
by Ed Smart, Lois Smart

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At 3:58 in the morning of June 5, 2002, Ed and Lois Smart awoke to the sound of their nine-year-old daughter Mary Katherine’s frightened voice. “She’s gone. Elizabeth is gone.” At first they thought she was having a bad dream about her older sister, but Mary Katherine’s seeming bad dream would quickly become their worst nightmare.


At 3:58 in the morning of June 5, 2002, Ed and Lois Smart awoke to the sound of their nine-year-old daughter Mary Katherine’s frightened voice. “She’s gone. Elizabeth is gone.” At first they thought she was having a bad dream about her older sister, but Mary Katherine’s seeming bad dream would quickly become their worst nightmare. Their daughter Elizabeth was gone.

They were not sure why the media picked up on Elizabeth’s story, but after their daughter was kidnapped she became the whole world’s daughter. After nine months of a strange, hard, sometimes rewarding, but mostly painful journey, Elizabeth was miraculously returned to them. Just as millions throughout the world had grieved for her loss, now they celebrated her safe return.

In Bringing Elizabeth Home, Ed and Lois share the pain of every parent’s worst fear: “What would I do if my child was taken from me?” They also share a story of great hope, strong faith, and trust in God. The Smart family had always been devoted to their Mormon faith, but through their terribly painful experience they gained a tremendous inner strength, which became the key to their survival. They write, “Having our daughter back home, in our arms, is nothing short of a miracle. It is the ultimate proof that God answers prayers. Granted, sometimes the answer is not the one we pray for, but still it remains an answer. We feel truly blessed that He answered our prayers the way we had hoped for, although we realize, regretfully, that this is not always the outcome in kidnapping cases. We have met so many families with missing children and we’ve seen how deep their pain goes . . . But what we hope to convey through our journey of faith and hope is that with a strong belief in God, all things are possible. Miracles do happen.”

In the end, the Smarts’ story brings one point poignantly home--nothing is more important in this world than family. Not money. Not work. Not a fancy new car or an expensive, big house. Family, the prayers of so many friends and strangers, and trust in God are what got them through this experience--and having survived, they have no doubt that they can persevere in any situation as long as those three things are in their lives. Though their story is filled with many incredible twists and turns, they never lost focus on what was important: bringing Elizabeth home.

Editorial Reviews
The parents of Elizabeth Smart speak out about the kidnapping of their young daughter by religious extremists, her miraculous safe return nine long months later, and the strength and solace their Mormon faith provided throughout the agonizing ordeal.

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The Crown Publishing Group
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Random House
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Read an Excerpt

"I feel triumphant!"

Those were the words Elizabeth spoke the day she took us to see the campsite where she had been held captive. It was amazing to be there with her and to witness her feeling that she had conquered Mitchell and Barzee. Ed and Elizabeth have gone jogging together several times after she returned home. Sometimes they run up one of the canyons behind our home-in the hills where Elizabeth was held. We thought that maybe, someday, she'd want to take us there, but we never expected to have Elizabeth, just a couple of weeks after coming home, want to show us where she was held captive. When Elizabeth came home it was like having a newborn baby, so to speak, since we worried about her all the time. We thought the visit to the campsite would set her back-that she wouldn't be able to deal with it. We gave her plenty of opportunity to bow out-but it was important to Elizabeth that we see the site. She was adamant. She wanted to go. "I want to do it now," she said.

Everyone in the family except William and Edward hiked up the trail together. Elizabeth marched up that hill as if she were headed to battle. We arrived, and she showed us everything: "This is the place we hid our shoes. This is where we got water. This is where I lived." We were stunned at the calm and secure way that Elizabeth spoke. She explained that she, Brian, and Wanda had moved between two campsites. The upper site is where she was for the Wrst two months. Then, Brian moved them to a lower campsite. He obviously felt safe with what he was doing by the time they moved to the lower camp. It had been two months and nobody had found them. It is so unbelievable that thousands of searchers were looking for Elizabeth-any sign of her-and no one found her. Elizabeth has said that Brian constantly reinforced that it was God's will that no one would catch him, that God had told him to take Elizabeth. When we stood at the site, Elizabeth was free-free to do and say whatever she wanted.
It was liberating and cathartic. More crucial to her was to prove that Brian and Wanda did not own her. There were no tears-she certainly didn't show any anguish about being there. It was like a cleansing for her. It is part of the healing. For us, it was bewildering. We didn't know what to expect. It was horrifying seeing the conditions she had to live under. On the other hand, it was glorious to see our daughter hold her head up in victory-to see her in control, knowing that she was a survivor in every sense of the word.

It was a continuation of the rebirth of Elizabeth Ann Smart.

Today, Elizabeth is trying to get back to normal. She is so looking forward to getting her driver's license. She is now sixteen years old. It has been a year and a half since she was kidnapped. Life has changed for all of us. But Elizabeth is reconnecting with her friends-trying to catch up on the year she missed out on in their lives. She's not allowed to date until she's sixteen, which means by the time you read this book, our daughter will most likely be driving and dating-yikes! She's right on target-doing the things she ought to be doing. She goes out with her friends, which is sometimes hard for us, but we want life to be sweet for her. She started school in the fall, and is adjusting well to being back in the swing of things.

Meet the Author

ED AND LOIS SMART live with their six children--Charles, Elizabeth, Andrew, Mary Katherine, Edward, and William--in Salt Lake City, Utah.

LAURA MORTON is the author of eighteen books and has written six New York Times Bestsellers. She lives in New York.

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Bringing Elizabeth Home 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Ames26 More than 1 year ago
This story written by the parents of Elizabeth Smart is an amazing story that really touched my heart. The family was an LDS family just like me so there strength and faith in the lord was incredible and it helped me gain a better testimony of my religion. The family went through so many traials but still seemed to stay very postitive in front of press and in theare home. They didn't let things get in there way and they didn't let people get in their way of finding their daughter. The major theme is going through your trials with a positive attitude and not letting things effect your attitude, even when they aren't going your way. I loved that the parents were so positive and had such a good outlook on the situation. I also loved that ELizabeth was brought home safe and sound. I reallly loved this book and think everyone Lds, or not should look into reading it because it can really change your perspective on your life and your personal attitude. Another book that you should read is, Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult because it is a great book with similar values. I would give this book 5 out or 5 stars hands down. This book is a great example of how we should handle things when trials come our way and it gives us a good perspective of how things can turn out when we do. I really reccomend this book and think that this story can change others lives. Elizabeth came home positive and happy and she didn't come home critical and negative. She got her life back on and really is living it to the fullest now. READ THIS BOOK IT WILL CHNAGE YOUR ATTITUDE AND PERSPECTIVE. I think that everything in this book was inspired and they really put their feelings into words. Getting Elizabeth home was a trial and conflict in the Smart's life but with theie positive attitude and willing heart they were able to bring her home safetly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Bringing Elizabeth Home" was an inspirational story of how a family was able to end up making the best out of a situation, even when it was one of the toughest decisions the parents (Lois and Ed Smart) have ever had to make. Elizabeth was kidnapped on June 5, 2002 but with their willingness to stay true to their beliefs, through prayer, faith, and love, they were blessed to have Elizabeth Smart returned. The family's dedication in searching for Elizabeth was unwaivering, with their faith put into God's hands. Elizabeth herself said, "You have to live life every day knowing how precious God's gifts are." This means to never take anything for granted and always be grateful for what you alredy have. It was inspiring to know that a girl just like me, my same age, had to go through all of that horror. With a bit more detail on the kidnapping, this book would have been "that" much harder to put down. I recommend everyone to read this book to inspire them to live every day to its fullest and never let your faith unwaiver. Anyone who does not read this book would surely be missing out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the best book that I have ever read. It was very emotional, but it really put their lives into perspective. I hope that everyone reads this book and really knows what actually happened. You can't judge a book by its cover & this book was AMAZiNG! I read this book in 3 days. I was really into this book. I usually dont like reading but this book was the one that I had been wanting to read. So PLEASE READ THiS BOOK!..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good. Slow at first
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book this past week and read it in one day. It was impossible to put down. Every parent should read this and be inspired by this remarkable family and what happened to their daughter, Elizabeth. It is so uplifting to know that there are still families strong in their faith in a loving God. It is horrible, however, to see how police & investigators could have possibly believed they in some way could have been responsible for this horrific crime. It seems that it was handled in the same manner as the Ramsey case. I feel that the murderer of the Ramsey child was never found because the law enforcement spent way too much time on examining the family instead of finding the true killer. Also, it is hard to believe that all of our congressmen do not work toward passing laws to protect our helpless children. I recommend this book highly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well.. Im only 14.. and i had been dying to read this book. So asked for it for Christmas. & it was such a great book. It really puts your life and their life into perspective. I want to meet Elizabeth one day because she seems like the type of girl I am. I love the outdoors. & I hope that Elizabeth and her family and enjoying their life together as a family again. I encourage you to read this book. I cried.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The subtitle says it all, really. Readers expecting to learn details of Elizabeth Smart's captivity should look elsewhere; there are no such revelations in this book. Her parents leave it to Elizabeth to tell that story herself, someday, if she chooses to do so. This is Ed and Lois Smart telling their own story, and that of their family's other members, during the months between Elizabeth's kidnapping and her return. Faith played a huge role in keeping the Smart family's hope alive during those months, so it's natural for them to speak of it often. For some readers this may give their book a 'preachy' quality, while for others it may strike exactly the right note. True crime this is not - it's more like a series of essays, sharing each parent's feelings while walking us through the events as they remember them. Worth reading, but oddly dry for all the material's tremendous emotional impact. I came away feeling that someone - authors, ghostwriter, editor(s), I couldn't be sure who - worked so hard at avoiding sensationalism that the effort backfired. 3.5 stars, rounding upward to 4.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the time Elizabeth came home until the time Elizabeth's parents wrote this book i was curious about what Elizabeth's parents went through. I could not put the book down until I was finished. I read it about 9 times before I got a handel on myself. Now people know ed and lois really do care about all their kids. It was a tragedy that somebody would kidnap a sweet, cute, innocent 14 year old. I also read Held Captive about 6 times until my teacher wanted to read it. I would recomend both books to anybody.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first heard about Elizabeth Smart's kidnapping, I was worried for her parents. I was hoping that this would not turn out like the Danielle van Dam and Samantha Runnion tragedies. When I heard Elizabeth was found alive, I was overjoyed. I got this book as a Christmas present. I could not put it down. It does not preach too much and it was good to get the parents' side of the story. I would like to meet the Smarts one day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really intrigued with this story, so reading this book brought closure for me. I found myself crying throughout the entire book....but it was the good kind of cry. It was a tragic story that had a happy ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book is excellent, it is very heart warming and a great knowledge to go in to the life of their story and really understand what heppened!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Bringing Elizabeth Home' was not only a story of one family's triumph over one of the greatest possible trials, it was an inspiration to anyone facing any type of personal trial. The Smarts' sharing of how they used their faith, scriptures, and prayers, helped me through my own personal trial. As big as my own problem seemed at the time I picked up the book, their much greater trial put my problems into perspective and helped me tremendously. I wish I could thank Ed and Lois Smart personally.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is such a wonderful book! it shows how much trust they had in God even though there beloved daughter was missing. I'm a christian so there are really tuff times so when there are tuff times i have to put my trust in God.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! I'm only half way through it, but I wanted to go ahead and write a review. This book is so amazing. It amazes me when I read about how faithful the entire family was. They could easily be motivational speakers if nothing else. I'm soooo glad that Elizabeth got home safely. My prayers will always be with them!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This past Friday I spent 2 hours reading this book, unfortunately I only got about half way through the book. But as much as I've read, it's a very good book. Ed and Lois tried hard to protect Elizabeth's story, but also showed readers what they themselves were going through, and in the end everything will work out. It's a book to keep on the shelf, and get out and read it if you're feeling down, it will bring you up. Two Thumbs up to Ed and Louis Smart. I'm only 17, and I've become very interested in this story, for whatever reason, I don't know.. But it's a heartfelt story of belief, faith and hope, very inspiriational to NEVER GIVE UP.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Smart family is full of faith and hope. they want her daughter back.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bringing Elizabeth Home was a very touching stroy. I recommend everyone to read it
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cried off and on throughout the entire book! This family has my utmost admiration for what they've endured and how they've responded to their ordeal. They are an inspiration...and this book is an inspiration! It underscores what's really important in life. The book is a quick read; it only took me two days. It would make an excellent gift book for anyone needing a little inspiration and/or for those who believe in miracles.