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October 14, 2013


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Thank you for this review, Neylan. Her strength has always amazed me, and I love how you boiled it down in such a succinct way here.

I look forward to reading her book.


Thank you for this posting this. I have always been amazed at what a strong woman Elizabeth is. She owes that in part, I think, to a wonderful family and to the gospel truths that she had internalized before her horrible kidnapping. Her story is truly one of good triumphing over evil, and of inner strength conquering outer turmoil. There is so much that we can all learn from her.

Glad to know you had the chance to interview her, and that the interview will be appearing on the Mormon Women Project!

Catherine A.

Exceptional piece Neylan. Elizabeth's centeredness and peace are remarkbale. Throughout this horrendous journey, she has been (to me) a testator of Christ's Atonement and His redemptive power. Looking forward to seeing her interview on MWP.


Very insightful. Thank you.


That was beautiful. I need to read her book.


That is such a beautiful thought, the allegory of life. I can't wait to read her interview!

Adam Ford

I am inspired by her courageous recovery from such horrific events.

I would be interested in how the sense of self-worth you uncover and discuss here, which sustained her, interacted with her feeling of being so "dirty and filthy", "like a chewed up piece of gum" which she cited in her talk at Johns Hopkins University as a reason she didn't run or scream for help.

It seems to be a nuance between the two contrasting emotions there might be worth exploring. Any thoughts on this Neylan?


I would like to respond to comment by Adam regarding Elizabeth feeling "dirty and filthy." I also heard her make this comment similar to this one--in a news interview in which she stated that after being raped, she remembered something a schoolteacher had once said about someone who's had sex (like she did) being just like a chewed up piece of gum that nobody would want anymore. She stated emphatically that no girl should ever be told this, and that it could be very traumatic for a girl in the situation in which Elizabeth found herself.

However, given Elizabeth's comments regarding self-worth that she also has stated clearly and expounded on in her book--cited above--it seems clear that she experienced some conflict in her mind between what she had been told by a schoolteacher and what she had been taught by her family and at church. I'm so grateful that a 14-year-old girl was able to discern wisely regarding which viewpoint she should cling to in her distress. So grateful that this understanding brought her back to SLC and allowed her to be found!


Your beautiful review has given me the courage to read her memoir. Thank you for providing the framework I was hoping to have going into it even though I know she has a "happy ending"! I had recently watched her interview with Meredith Rivera and marveled at her courage and strength.

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