SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 15, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Ed Smart, father of former kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart, announced Thursday that he is gay, in a story first reported by the Deseret News.
Smart, 64, not only announced he is gay, but also said he is divorcing his wife, Lois, of 33 years, and leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In “one of the hardest letters I have ever written I have recently acknowledged to myself and my family that I am gay,” Smart said.
“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. Living with the pain and guilt I have for so many years, not willing to accept the truth about orientation has at times brought me to the point where I questioned whether life was worth living,” he wrote.
In an interview with KUTV, Smart confirmed he had issued the statement on Facebook. It was removed a short while later. He declined to provide a copy to Channel 2.
Smart told KUTV his children, including Elizabeth, have been supportive of the news. He also praised his wife, Lois, whom he married in 1986.
“Lois has been a loyal wife, and extraordinary mother, who has had to endure an impossible part of this journey. 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.”
On Thursday night, Elizabeth Smart’s spokesperson released the following statement:
“My parents taught me as a young child that they would love me unconditionally no matter what happened,” Smart said.
“While I am deeply saddened by their separation, nothing could change my love and admiration for them both. Their decisions are very personal. As such, I will not pass judgment and rather am focusing on loving and supporting them and the other members of my family.”
Ed Smart also addressed his decision to leave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“My faith is strong, and unwavering,” Smart wrote, “however, after considerable study, prayer and pondering I have come to a change in my beliefs. It is because of this change, that I can finally acknowledge and accept my orientation. 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. 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.
“In the end, people are free to say what they will, and believe what they want, but there is one voice more important than any other, that of my Savior, who wants each of us to love one another, to be honest and joyful and find a meaningful life.”