Elizabeth Smart's Dad Ed Smart Comes Out As Gay; Leaves Mormon Church

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Who Is Ed Smart? New Details On Elizabeth Smart's Dad Who Came Out As Gay And Left Mormon Church

Ed Smart, the father of Elizabeth Smart who was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City Home in June 2002 and found in March 2003, dropped a doozy of a bombshell on his Facebook page recently. He announced he was divorcing his wife, Lois Smart. He also came out as gay. And finally, he declared he's leaving the Mormon church. Ed is about to embark on a whole new life and he's shouting about it from the proverbial mountaintops. Who is Ed Smart?

1. Why is he leaving the church?

In interviews, Ed Smart has been clear he still believes in the Mormon faith but he cannot remain a member of the church that oppresses gay men and women. “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.”  Smart went on to say that he had “come to the conclusion that it was never my Savior’s intent to change me from the way I was born.”

2. He tried to suppress his feelings

In his Facebook post, Smart mentioned that coming to terms with his homosexuality and telling his family was one of the hardest things he's ever had to do. In an interview with Salt Lake City's KUTV, Smart said that he "struggled with this for most of his life." He wrote that he had fought to suppress his feelings and that he'd been witness to members of the LGBTQ community being bullied in the Mormon church. Smart spoke of how the church views homosexuality as a sin and how some people told him he wasted his life by not coming out sooner. He said: “Both are inaccurate and fail to do justice to the deep conflict involved in not being honest with myself and others for so long. Acknowledging I am a gay man is freeing but it also hurts many of those whom I love very much.” Smart concluded his post by writing, “While there are wounds right now, I also know our Savior can help heal the damage which this revelation has brought. Through Christ love will outlast the grief.”

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3. His wife and kids

Smart and his wife Lois have six children: four boys and two girls. Elizabeth is the second oldest. Her sister Mary was a witness to her kidnapping by Brian David Mitchell on the night of June 5, 2002. Elizabeth was snatched from the room they shared in the middle of the night. Mary had been threatened by Mitchell and as a result waited two hours before telling her parents about her sister's kidnapping. In a 2014 interview with People, Elizabeth praised her mother, saying: "I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my mom. My mom is a hero and has influenced my life more than any other person, and I’d like to have that same influence on my children.”

4. Lois Smart filed for divorce

Lois Smart filed for divorce from Ed in early July. The Deseret News reported that Ed Smart's Facebook post about coming out said: "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.”

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5. He's known he was gay his whole life

Like most homesexual people, Ed Smart realized he was gay as a childNBC News reported that he remembered being 12-years-old and realizing he was different. He chose to stay in the closet until now. “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 went on to say: "I think that there are so many like myself that have remained closeted for the better part of their lives and debate on whether or not it’s something that they want to do because it is so hard. It is so life-changing.”

6. He is an advocate for missing persons

Before Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped, Ed was a mortgage broker in Salt Lake City with his own company, Smart & Company. Since his daughter was found, he has been an advocate for missing people. He founded the Elizabeth Smart Foundation with his daughter and serves as its executive director. The organization advocates against child abuse and empowers survivors.

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7. His daughter Elizabeth's statement

Elizabeth is now 31 and married with three kids. She released a statement about her parents' divorce, saying: “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.”

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.