Elizabeth Smart didn’t run because she felt dirty and worthless.

Elizabeth Smart, kidnapped at knifepoint from her bedroom at age 14 and subject to horrible abuses for the next nine months, says she didn’t run from her captors because her abstinence-only education had taught her to feel like a worthless, chewed-up piece of gum.

Rescued kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart said Wednesday she understands why some human trafficking victims don’t run.

Smart said she “felt so dirty and so filthy” after she was raped by her captor, and she understands why someone wouldn’t run “because of that alone.”

Smart spoke at a Johns Hopkins human trafficking forum, saying she was raised in a religious household and recalled a school teacher who spoke once about abstinence and compared sex to chewing gum.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value,” Smart said. “Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.”

Smart has founded the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to combat child victimization and teach kids that “you will always have value and nothing can change that.”

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69 Responses

  1. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve May 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm |

    As much as I agree with your assessment of the worthlessness of the abstinence only teaching she got, I cannot see that the church is all or even partly responsible for her feeling “like a worthless, chewed-up piece of gum.” That responsibility lies entirely with the man who brutalized her.

    1. victoria
      victoria May 6, 2013 at 8:04 pm |

      If she had been raised in a household and/or faith community that valued women, that taught that rape is different from consensual sex, that instilled in her and all girls and women their inherent worth and dignity, regardless of their sexual history, then she might have been able to easily dismiss comments like the chewing gum analogy as terrible ways to talk about human beings and not internalized such a damaging way to think about herself. But from the sound of it she was steeped in a culture that shamed girls and women for even the slightest hint of sexual immorality, and was given the message that she was not worth fighting for because she was an object that was used up. Yes, her faith community bears a heavy responsibility for that, for not providing her with a moral narrative to counteract such a dangerous message.

      Also, your privilege is showing.

      1. Andie
        Andie May 6, 2013 at 8:10 pm |

        Agreed. A system that preaches abstinence-only generally, in my experience, doesn’t differentiate between consensual sex and rape. So if someone is taught that their worth lies in their so-called purity, and has managed to thoroughly internalize that message, the responsibility for that feeling of worthlessness is born at least in part by those who were responsible for that indoctrination.

    2. Donna L
      Donna L May 6, 2013 at 8:07 pm |

      So she drew the connection herself, and you’re presuming to tell her that she’s wrong? Saying that her religious upbringing is partially responsible is not excusing her rapist/kidnapper in any way.

    3. EG
      EG May 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm |

      I cannot see that the church is all or even partly responsible for her feeling “like a worthless, chewed-up piece of gum.”

      No. It is not inherent in sexual assault that the survivor feel like a worthless, chewed-up piece of gum. That connection has to be made by the same religious fanatics who make that ridiculous analogy in the first place. It is possible to be sexually assaulted and understand that one has been violated and hurt but also understand that one is still a human being with great value and worth. The piece of shit who abducted her is responsible for brutalizing her. But he didn’t create the connection in her mind between experiencing that and being worthless. That connection had been made by her church and by all the churchmen and women who pushed abstinence-only ignorance on her.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune May 6, 2013 at 8:59 pm |

        It is not inherent in sexual assault that the survivor feel like a worthless, chewed-up piece of gum.

        Yes. Yes. YES. Half the reason I don’t feel “damaged” or made “worthless” by my abuser is the fact that my parents protected me from believing much of the victim-blaming bullshit I heard (and believe me, I didn’t hear the gum thing, but I heard things almost as gross).

    4. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune May 6, 2013 at 8:57 pm |

      I cannot see that the church is all or even partly responsible for her feeling “like a worthless, chewed-up piece of gum.”

      Steve, I strongly urge you to check out Love, Joy, Feminism and related blogs (No Longer Quivering is also brilliant, if less focused on gender issues than LJF) on how Christian fundie sects teach precisely this. As in, word for goddamn word, they teach this sentence, and they stand by it, too. Please, before you shoot your mouth off on what people in religious cults (yes, yes, I know they’re technically sects, but wev), actually do some research on the environment Smart, and others like her, grew up in.

      I”m frankly amazed that your immediate response to this article is telling a survivor what she is and isn’t allowed to say led to her victimisation. As others have said, please check your privilege in this.

    5. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune May 6, 2013 at 9:06 pm |

      Also, Steve, who in flying fuckity do you even think is responsible for most of the purity-related abstinence-only icky-sex-is-icky teaching in schools? Neil DeGrasse Tyson? Zombie Tesla?

    6. A4
      A4 May 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm |

      I cannot see that the church is all or even partly responsible for her feeling “like a worthless, chewed-up piece of gum.”

      Why should you expect to see the many influences in her life and how they affected her? Isn’t that something you are obviously very ignorant about? Would it not be wise to listen to her own interpretation of her life experiences and learn something?

    7. Computer Soldier Porygon
      Computer Soldier Porygon May 6, 2013 at 9:24 pm |

      Really jerkbaggy comment. Try to imagine for a sec what it might be like to grow up believing that your value as a human being literally hinges on your ‘purity.’

    8. roro80
      roro80 May 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm |

      The church is not responsible for the rape; she didn’t say they were. They were and are responsible for telling her that she had no value if she lost her virginity. The reason the chewed up piece of gum, or the piece of tape that got stuck to too many dirty things to be sticky anymore, are used by the ab-only religious crowd is because they are clear and simple symbols — one-use-only items with value until they are used up, at which point they belong in the trash. They were symbols chosen for the very purpose of making little girls feel like Elizabeth Smart felt. It was some sort of accident that she felt that way: she was taught to feel that way, she was meant to feel that way by those who taught her. It’s a different sort of victimization than that perpetrated by her captors, but it is a victimization nonetheless.

      Also: good god. First comment on a thread about a young girl being kidnapped and raped for months on end is a defense of the church and its role in making women feel like shit. Good work, buddy.

      1. Fat Steve
        Fat Steve May 6, 2013 at 10:00 pm |

        But she didn’t say the church made her feel that way. The church put the idea in her head. Her abusers made her feel that way.

        I am in no way saying her feelings are wrong. I’m just saying she is not saying what you think she is.

        1. SophiaBlue
          SophiaBlue May 6, 2013 at 10:14 pm |

          By her own words, the church taught her that having sex made her worthless, and as a result she felt worthless after she was raped.

          The church is not responsible for her rape, but it is responsible for her feelings of worthlessness afterwards.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 6, 2013 at 10:15 pm |

          Steve, assume someone tells you “get arrested by the cops for anything at all and you will become a child rapist” all your life, until you unconditionally believe it. Everyone in your community is dead convinced that anyone who gets arrested is a child rapist. Then imagine you get wrongly arrested one day for looking like the guy who wrote a fake cheque. Are you going to feel like you’re going to become a child rapist? And if so, is that the fault of the cop who wrongly brought you in, or the douchebag who indoctrinated you to think that in the first place?

          And even if YOU don’t personally believe that you’re going to become a child rapist just by being arrested for writing a dud cheque, why would you try to return to a community that will now forever regard you as a child rapist? And again, is that the fault of the cop or the community?

        3. EG
          EG May 6, 2013 at 10:15 pm |

          You’re splitting hairs, Steve. If the church hadn’t worked so hard to foster that idea, her abuser’s actions would not necessarily have made her feel that way.

        4. victoria
          victoria May 6, 2013 at 10:16 pm |

          Steve, you’re not hearing us, and you’re definitely not hearing Smart. Just stop, you’re not helping this discussion.

        5. Anne
          Anne May 6, 2013 at 10:24 pm |

          No, she is saying exactly what I think she’s saying because I’ve already said and felt that way myself. Feeling dirty and feeling “dirty” are two very different things.

        6. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve May 6, 2013 at 10:54 pm |

          Sorry, Caperton. Sorry everyone

          Clearly I interpreted it wrong. I have read enough past comments from every person who objected to what I say to know that all the objections were in good faith, so I am prepared to retract everything I said, apologize, and will try in the future not to allow my interpretation of one word (what EG referred to as my ‘splitting hairs.’) to allow me to be totally insensitive to 99.9% of a point.

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 6, 2013 at 10:58 pm |

          Thank you, Steve. That was gracious of you.

        8. EG
          EG May 6, 2013 at 11:07 pm |

          Thanks, Steve. Takes a thoughtful person to reconsider like that.

        9. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll May 7, 2013 at 2:24 am |

          You mean you’ll check that male privilege that “allows” you to nitpick a bullshit point while you’re dictating what women mean after they fucking spell it out clearly, and stop insisting you have some special insight or comprehension that every other woman in here doesn’t that allows you and only you to grasp the “true” meanings of a woman’s word? Fanfuckingtastic. Oh wait…you’ll only do this if you deem their objections to be in good faith as opposed to what ? Knee-jerk man hatin? That “apology” is almost as offensive as your first post.

        10. Computer Soldier Porygon
          Computer Soldier Porygon May 7, 2013 at 3:31 am |

          You mean you’ll check that male privilege that “allows” you to nitpick a bullshit point while you’re dictating what women mean after they fucking spell it out clearly, and stop insisting you have some special insight or comprehension that every other woman in here doesn’t that allows you and only you to grasp the “true” meanings of a woman’s word? Fanfuckingtastic. Oh wait…you’ll only do this if you deem their objections to be in good faith as opposed to what ? Knee-jerk man hatin? That “apology” is almost as offensive as your first post.

          Bingoooooooo

        11. TomSims
          TomSims May 7, 2013 at 10:36 am |

          @pheenobarbidoll & Computer Soldier Porygon

          You are both 100% spot on!

        12. Fat Steve
          Fat Steve May 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm |

          Oh wait…you’ll only do this if you deem their objections to be in good faith as opposed to what ? Knee-jerk man hatin?

          No, not ‘knee-jerk’ ‘man hating. I mean specific hatred of me. Something none of those people who initially criticized me ever show, but something you seem to revel in, which of course allows Tom Sims and other MRA’s to pile on in the bullying.

          Please don’t respond to this, I’m perfectly fine with you hating me. In fact, if this comment if giraffe worthy then I’m happy to have it removed by a mod.

        13. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll May 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

          Yep. Can’t be your words we might have a problem with, it must be some sort of grudge (unfairly held, of course).

          I revel in it? Ha. I think I’ve had an issue with your posts on 2 whole threads, and it had to do with this exact same thing. Your MP stomping in and deciding what women really mean.

        14. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm |

          I don’t normally say this, but Steve, get over yourself.

          Seriously. You apologised, but people aren’t actually required to accept your apologies, and snarking/squabbling about it and accusing people of vendettas is undermining that apology pretty hard.

        15. trees
          trees May 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm |

          No, not ‘knee-jerk’ ‘man hating. I mean specific hatred of me. Something none of those people who initially criticized me ever show, but something you seem to revel in, which of course allows Tom Sims and other MRA’s to pile on in the bullying.

          Thanks Caperton for saying something! This is getting down right tiresome: dude gets back-up by other posters but pheenobarbidoll doesn’t offer him the same level of support so is then accused of harboring a man-hating personal vendetta. Horseshit.

        16. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll May 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm |

          Thank you trees. While I admit I can hold a grudge with the best of them, none of the men here are important enough, frankly, for me to invest that kind of energy in. Honestly, aside from the make up thread, I couldn’t tell you what Fat Steve had to say about anything, I tend to scroll past him to begin with.

        17. Computer Soldier Porygon
          Computer Soldier Porygon May 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm |

          course allows Tom Sims and other MRA’s to pile on in the bullying.

          I really hope you don’t mean me. I’m an infrequent poster but I’m certainly not a fucking MRA.

    9. BabyRaptor
      BabyRaptor May 7, 2013 at 2:21 am |

      The church is responsible for it because the church is where the entire purity concept came from, and they push it.

      It’s not Atheists that are out there pushing for Abstinence only and “True Love Waits” education. It’s not the Pastafarians that are outraged and pull their kids out of class when basic sex ed is taught. It’s not the secularists who freak the hell out when someone says “vagina.”

      It’s the religious Right. The Jesusbots. The people who fill churches.

      1. Willard
        Willard May 8, 2013 at 1:32 am |

        It goes without saying though that pushing a message of purity versus filthiness doesn’t require a belief in the big JC. The religious right is definitely the biggest voice on a national level, but plenty of other denominations use the same idea of uncleanness to devalue women in the eyes of the faithful and themselves.

        I’d even say it goes deeper than the abstinence only education here. Sex is only one of the many vehicles by which women can be brought down from the state of grace into the sea of crap that awaits those who stray.

        I do love a good dig at the Jesusbots though, feels good. >:)

        1. Past my expiration date
          Past my expiration date May 8, 2013 at 5:44 am |

          I’d even say it goes deeper than the abstinence only education here. Sex is only one of the many vehicles by which women can be brought down from the state of grace into the sea of crap that awaits those who stray.

          Actually, as far as I know, the idea that humans were in a state of grace which they have now fallen from is specifically a Christian idea.

        2. Willard
          Willard May 8, 2013 at 8:11 am |

          Not state of grace in the literal Christian religious sense. Mea culpa for being culturally Catholic, even a generation removed you can take the Catholic out of the Church, but not the Church out of the Catholic. The language and concept works across different religions though, where some event or occurrence causes a woman to become impure and dangerous to the pious.

          Christians use grace/sin and purity/uncleanness pretty interchangeably, and while not all religions have analogs to the former the latter is almost the whole point of the system. Temptation and corruption of men by women is the norm, not the exception. The message “You are dirty” comes from a lot of places and puberty, menstruation and sex all carry their own signifiers of that motto.

  2. roro80
    roro80 May 6, 2013 at 9:53 pm |

    ^arg. It was NOT some accident she felt that way. Sorry.

  3. Kim C
    Kim C May 6, 2013 at 10:09 pm |

    As someone who was brought up with Catholic church and school, I know what it feels like to be made to feel worthless and ashamed for having or contemplating any sort of sexual relations. Being told that abstinence is the only way creates an environment where people don’t feel comfortable talking to each other or seeking help if they need it. I recall being seventeen and having my boyfriend at the time compare me to a used pair of jeans (although he had been with other girls, but that was okay).

    Although I can’t draw a solid line and say that it was this conservative view that dictated such misogynist woman-shaming comments but it created an environment that accepted it.

    1. TomSims
      TomSims May 7, 2013 at 10:50 am |

      @Kim C Having a similar upbringing, I absolutely agree. I think the RCC is the most corrupt organization in history. I also think they , the Mormons, the Muslims and most other religions have done much more harm to humankind over the years than the likes of the Italian Mafia, the Russian Mafia, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and others of the same ilk.

      1. Willard
        Willard May 8, 2013 at 1:36 am |

        @ TomSims

        I agree 127%

    2. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah May 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm |

      I feel ya, was raised the same way.

      But, also…a used pair of jeans? That’s a terrible analogy! Don’t people usually prefer jeans that are broken in? What, he never wore a pair of jeans more than once? He only liked jeans the first time he wore them? Personally, I like my jeans nice and worn in! :)

  4. Aaliyah
    Aaliyah May 6, 2013 at 11:50 pm |

    “you will always have value and nothing can change that.”

    Amen to that.

  5. Toni Marshall
    Toni Marshall May 7, 2013 at 10:43 am |

    So the Mormons are still committing this fraud, this errant concept of the value of girls 52 years after I was presented the very same concept with no consideration of my molestation by my father figure with whom I lived which began before I had memory and ended when I was 8 years old.
    Well, at least I can stop thinking it was just a stupid, destructive concept of just those several youth teachers who passed a chewed piece of gum around the room and back again only to ask who wanted it, who wanted me.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune May 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm |

      I am so, so sorry you went through that. Hugs if you want ‘em.

      1. khw
        khw May 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm |

        co-sign

  6. Brennan
    Brennan May 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm |

    Can I take a minute to mention how incredibly impressed I am with this woman?

  7. Scott Cunningham
    Scott Cunningham May 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm |

    This contributed to why, after being sexually assaulted at 17, I chose denial. My parents weren’t even conservative – it was some of my school teachers, and the talking heads on the television, and myself.

    1. Alexandra
      Alexandra May 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm |

      Same. I was raised in a secular household, in a fairly liberal part of the country, but when I was raped at 16 I chose to believe that:

      a) even if it wasn’t consensual, it wasn’t really rape;
      b) no one would believe me if I told them anyway; and
      c) everyone would turn against me if I made a scene.

      Part of this came down to the appalling response of the college’s counseling service (the woman I saw told me that I was too uptight and just needed to learn to relax and enjoy the experience), but part of it was that my freshman RA was a vocally conservative, evangelical Christian (of the “I would rather die with my baby than have an abortion, and so should all of you,” type) and I was afraid she would think I was a slut if I told her about my experiences.

      I remember lying awake for hours at night reliving it over and over again, and feeling I could tell no one – not family, not friends (didn’t have any close ones), not the RA, not the administration… and certainly not the police, because after all – it couldn’t really be rape if it were in any way possible that it was my fault.

      And all of this monologue went on inside my head without anyone ever bringing up the ‘sex is dirty’ argument – I had so thoroughly internalized it by the age of 16, without over indoctrination, that I brutally reinforced rape culture on myself without outside intervention.

      It’s sort of astonishing, in retrospect.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll May 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm |

        the woman I saw told me that I was too uptight and just needed to learn to relax and enjoy the experience

        Holy fucking shit.

        1. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah May 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm |

          Really nothing to say other than that. HFS.

        2. Alexandra
          Alexandra May 8, 2013 at 1:03 am |

          She also told me to talk privately about my feelings with the man who raped me. I did. He raped me again that night.

          In the history of bad advice, hers was some of the worst I’ve ever been given. If I knew then what I knew now…

        3. Willard
          Willard May 8, 2013 at 1:13 am |

          That is so fucking twisted. Was this a counselor with letters after her name or someone who read some pop pysch rags and decided it might be fun to screw people up?

        4. SophiaBlue
          SophiaBlue May 8, 2013 at 1:17 am |

          Wow. I’m so sorry you went through that, Alexandra.

        5. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 8, 2013 at 1:22 am |

          Fucking hell, Alexandra. I don’t even know what to say, aside from that I’m so, so, so sorry that was done to you, and all the hugs for you if you’d like them. ALL THE HUGS.

        6. Alexandra
          Alexandra May 8, 2013 at 2:37 am |

          Thanks, all, for your concern. This happened many years ago now, and I’m able to speak about this much more fluently now than I could years ago.

          The conclusions I draw from this, now, are that even credentialed counselors can give wildly inaccurate and irresponsible advice(she had letters of some sort – a master’s level practitioner IIRC), that institutions by default will act to silence, rather than support, victims of all sorts of crimes, particularly sexual assaults, and that the more high-minded the ideals of the institution the more likely it is to cover up wrong-doing by members of the institution, for fear of tarnishing its image.

          I want to reiterate for the regular contributers and mods of this site, and to Jill, if you’re reading, how important Feministe has been for me in the past few years… having a feminist space where I consistently hear voices supporting survivors speaking out is a big part of the reason I’m not still in denial over what happened to me when I was sixteen.

      2. Beast
        Beast May 8, 2013 at 3:01 am |

        Second the other comments, add tears and a scream of rage.

      3. Scott Cunningham
        Scott Cunningham May 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm |

        Holy mackerel. Hugs all around.

        I’ll second that about institutions silencing people by reflex. I really had to put my foot down to get the words “sexual assault” included in a report about what I disclosed in interviews for accessibility services this year. The first draft was all euphemism and felt like complete erasure.

        And I’ll second the importance of Feministe too. I’m supposed to be contacting lettered counselors, but I don’t have the slow lead-in and time to develop trust and a sense of safety in the environment the way I do with blog comment sections, so I’m afraid it’s going to be brisk and unpleasant, with lots of pressure and demanded trust, totally unlike what exists informally online. And if it’s bad I can’t just click back to Google.

        Also, hugs all around.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune May 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm |

          Scott,

          As someone who uses disability services and used to use counseling at my college (though for sexual abuse related stuff, not sexual assault), they try to keep things as unspecified as possible on paper IME, too. Sorry you had to go through that :( and I imagine it was much worse for you as a man (I’m assuming from your name that you’re a guy), too.

        2. Willard
          Willard May 8, 2013 at 6:20 pm |

          In reporting and passing privileged information on I think I prefer the euphemistic or nuanced approach as the default. If the letters are staying within a need to know circle (counselor to disability services rep trained in that sort of situation) that’s one thing, but I never felt like I wanted or needed my professors to know which page of the DSM to turn to if they wanted to “know” me a little better.

          Though the assholes in financial aid review looked at my disability services letter and sweetly demanded the “real” letter from my therapist.

          Scott, if the person you meet with is any good they’ll shut up and listen. Good luck.

          With all the hugs bouncing around I’ll offer up the rat equivalent of a group hug:
          Baby Rat Pile

      4. Annaleigh
        Annaleigh May 8, 2013 at 8:59 pm |

        HFS indeed. I’m so sorry Alexandra. Wow. The person who advised you to go back and talk about your feelings with the man who raped you…is incredibly awful. :( Hugs if wanted.

  8. Scott Cunningham
    Scott Cunningham May 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm |

    Brennan

    Can I take a minute to mention how incredibly impressed I am with this woman?

    I think we all are.

  9. A4
    A4 May 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm |

    I wish we could actually teach children about their bodies and how to connect with them rather than teaching them to be ashamed of their bodies and how to abuse them.

  10. Izza
    Izza May 8, 2013 at 3:52 am |

    As a Christian who was a virgin until marriage, I really don’t understand this abstinence only education in parts of America. I’m from New Zealand, and in sex ed they always drummed it into us that abstinence was the only foolproof way to not get pregnant or get an STD, but then they proceeded to tell us all of the other options. There was never anything about purity; it was about being smart, having respect for yourself and not giving into peer pressure.

    Even at the various churches I went to, waiting until marriage wasn’t about purity, and they didn’t even talk about virginity. Sure, they told us sex was supposed to be within marriage but it wasn’t like once you had sex you were ‘spoiled’. The exact same message was given to males and females.

    I will never understand the fear mongering that goes on in so many churches here. I feel like that goes against everything the bible teaches about faith.

    1. Saby
      Saby May 8, 2013 at 10:07 am |

      Yeah, I was raised Catholic in Canada, and we learned that having sex outside of marriage was a sin, but the bigger deal is that every time you have sex with your spouse, it’s supposed to be a renewal of your marriage vows (which in the Catholic church do not include a promise to obey but do include an openness to having children). So sex between spouses is supposed to be this sublime, holy thing, with pleasure, and togetherness, and procreation all kind of tied together. And sex with someone who isn’t your spouse is a sin, but then so is masturbation – actually in the eyes of the church those are approximately the same thing.

      (Admittedly I went to public school so all of this came from books I had to read about Catholic teachings on love and marriage. It was probably a very different experience from getting sex ed at Catholic school. At my public school we all had to take a solemn oath saying we wouldn’t have unprotected sex unless we were able to support a baby and our partner had been tested for STIs, so, you know, very different experience.)

  11. Abby
    Abby May 8, 2013 at 8:48 pm |

    My friend’s grandson was in a Sunday School lesson in which the teacher passed around a chewed up piece of gum as a lead up to her question of whether anybody would want to eat that piece of gum. Her grandson was a candy loving and innocent little boy (maybe around 8) and when the teacher asked that question, he raised his hand and said he wanted it. Well, he caught the teacher by surprise because the teacher had been planning to teach the importance of abstinence and how nobody wants a chewed up piece of gum. I love that he sabbotaged the lesson. I also love Elizabeth Smart’s recent message to the abduction survivors that they have value and can feel free to do what they had been planning to do with their lives before the horrible abduction.

    1. Q
      Q May 8, 2013 at 10:28 pm |

      Your friend’s grandson is awesome and should feel awesome. It’s funny, I was actually just wondering what it would do to the lesson if someone raised their hand and said “I still want that candy!”

  12. Annaleigh
    Annaleigh May 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm |

    If there is anyone who is surprised by Elizabeth Smart’s willingness to say what she said, I think it helps to point that the Smart family seems to have been willing to criticize aspects of their religion that affected Elizabeth’s experience in some way. In 2004 Ed Smart showed to a press conference being led by Jon Krakauer and Dan Fischer, a former dentist for and member of the FLDS to raise awareness of the teenage boys being kicked out of that fundamentalist sect in droves. This is something that a lot of mainstream Mormons don’t want to touch with 30 ft. pole because they don’t want to be associated with it. And when I consider the fact that the problems the FLDS Lost Boys are facing are not really directly connected to Elizabeth’s rapist fancying himself the leader of a new fundamentalist sect, I find it even more impressive.

  13. Jackie
    Jackie May 17, 2013 at 4:25 am |

    Elizabeth’s statement, “You will always have value and nothing can change that.” is so powerful.

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