Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart is back in the headlines, but it's not because of her ongoing advocacy work. On August 15, Elizabeth Smart's dad, Ed Smart, announced he is gay and planning to divorce his wife of 33 years, Lois Smart.
How did Elizabeth Smart respond to her dad announcing he's gay? Here's what you need to know about Ed Smart and the future of the Smart family.
Elizabeth Smart's dad, Ed Smart, announced he was gay in a since-deleted Facebook post.
Per the Deseret News, Ed Smart posted "one of the hardest letters I have ever written" to Facebook on August 15. In the since-deleted post, Ed wrote, "I have recently acknowledged to myself and my family that I am gay."
"The decision to be honest and truthful about my orientation comes with its own set of challenges, but at the same time it is a huge relief," he wrote. "Living with the pain and guilt I have for so many years, not willing to accept the truth about my orientation has, at times, brought me to the point where I questioned whether life was still worth living."
Ed Smart remains firm in his Christian faith, but he no longer sees a place for himself within the Mormon church.
In Ed's letter, he acknowledged watching in silence as many LGBTQ people in and out of the church were mistreated for their sexuality. "My faith is strong, and unwavering, however, after considerable study, prayer, and pondering I have come to a change in my beliefs," he wrote, per KSL.com.
"It is because of this change, that I can finally acknowledge and accept my orientation," he continued. "Had I not had a change in my beliefs, I would have likely remained closeted the rest of my life."
"As an openly gay man, the church is not a place where I find solace any longer," Ed added. "It is not my responsibility to tell the church, its members, or its leadership what to believe about the rightness or wrongness of being LGBTQ.”
Ed filed for divorce from Lois Smart in July 2019.
According to court records obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune, Ed filed for divorce from Lois Smart on July 5, 2019. They were married for 33 years and have six children together.
“Lois has been a loyal wife, and extraordinary mother, who has had to endure an impossible part of this journey,” Ed wrote in his Facebook post, per Deseret News. “I deeply regret the excruciating pain this has caused her. Hurting her was never my intent. While our marriage will end, my love for Lois and everyone in my family is eternal.”
Elizabeth Smart has only love for her father, Ed, and the rest of the family.
In a statement given to Today.com, Elizabeth said: "My parents taught me as a young child that they would love me unconditionally no matter what happened," she said. "While I am deeply saddened by their separation, nothing could change my love and admiration for them both."
"Their decisions are very personal," Elizabeth continued. "As such, I will not pass judgment and rather am focusing on loving and supporting them and the other members of my family."