Ed Smart, the father of Elizabeth Smart who was kidnapped in 2002, has revealed that he is gay. However, he said he is not leaving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The 64-year-old said it took time to realize and accept his sexual orientation. He told CNN, “I was attracted to men going as far back as 12 years old. I tried to suppress that; it’s not me, not who I am. I tried to put that out.”
Smart said he is divorcing his wife, Lois, but explained that he is not leaving her for someone else. He explained that the divorce “is in the interest of fairness to everyone.”
“Never wanted to live with regret. My belief was something that was very difficult to come to terms with,” said Smart. I tried and I tried to reconcile my beliefs, and I could not. Therefore, I no longer accept the guilt and the shame that I have basically had my whole life.”
Smart, of Salt Lake City, said he has not removed his name from the church; however, he would if they were to push him to do so. He is still a member of the church.
He said, “The trauma that occurs – keeping that inside – it makes you miserable. I don’t think God wants us to be miserable.”
Previously, the church considered same-sex couples to be “apostates,” but it was dropped this year. Responding to Smart’s revelation, the church said it will still consider same-sex marriages to be a “serious transgression.”
Smart came into the spotlight when his daughter Elizabeth was abducted in 2002, when she was 14 years old. Elizabeth, now 31, said that she was tied to a tree and raped repeatedly by her kidnappers. Her captivity lasted nearly nine months before she was discovered in Sandy, Utah, 18 miles from her home.