Elizabeth Smart opens up to Shauna Lake about her kidnapping, rescue, and new life in this week's "Person 2 Person".
Below is a transcript of Shauna's interview with Elizabeth.
SHAUNA LAKE: First of all thank you so much for doing this with us. I feel like I know you because for those 9 months that you were gone while I was at Channel 2 and we covered your story every single day. Do you feel that sense of connection with the community with people looking for you and praying for you and thinking about you all the time?
ELIZABETH SMART: I couldn't imagine coming from a better community. I have always felt so loved here and just like so many people cared about me and they really did want a happy ending for me and still do want a happy ending for me. I have to attribute as well as Im doing today too partially to my community.
SHAUNA LAKE: Did you ever feel a sense of anger that it took 9 months to find you when people were so connected and thinking about you and looking and yet you were right there in front of us and nobody seemed to see you?
ELIZABETH SMART: I wouldn't say I ever felt a sense of anger. I certainly, more than anything, wanted to be found and to be rescued. But I didn't seem impossible not to be found any quicker because I had watched this man be so manipulative and so controlling and Id seen him succeed so many times. I mean why wouldn't he succeed in keeping me hidden?
SHAUNA LAKE: And yet you were so close. You were so close, Elizabeth, that must have driven you a little bit insane. That entire time; to know you were on the streets of downtown Salt Lake City. Your house is a couple miles up the hill. You're so close and yet you probably felt so far away--like it was impossible.
ELIZABETH SMART: It was, like I mean, you know sometimes when you go into a building and you can look through a glass but the person on the other side can only see a mirror. They can only see their reflection; what is it called one sided glass? I don't know. It was like that it was like looking through this mirror and seeing streets that my mom used to drive me down every day seeing shops I used to like to go into but then everyone else on the other side when they looked back all they saw was a reflection. They didn't see me.
SHAUNA LAKE: There were times when you were able to out manipulate him as time went on.
ELIZABETH SMART: Yes, almost at the end of my kidnapping they were talking of a new city we should go to. We had already moved from Salt Lake to California and they were talking maybe we should go to New York or Boston and I was just ahhh; we can't go there. I'll never be found. Nobody found me in California if I'm going to be found Ive got to get back to Salt Lake. So I thought about what he did and how he got away with what he wanted and I decided Id try it on him. I would try to use religion to manipulate him to come back to Salt Lake and it worked.
SHAUNA LAKE: What did you say?
ELIZABETH SMART: First of all I feel like I need to clarify this, I know it's wrong and I knelt down and I prayed and I promised Ill never do this again. Just let it work this one time. And then I turned around and I faced my two captors and I was, I just have this feeling, I know that God would never speak to me but I just have this feeling like we're supposed to go back to Salt Lake. Could you please ask him? Could you please ask him because I know he'll tell you? I mean you're his prophet. You're practically his best friend, could you ask him?
SHAUNA LAKE: Some people would lose faith going through something like that. Why have you done this to me? Why is this happening to me? And it seems like it had the opposite effect with you.
ELIZABETH SMART: I don't think God sends hardship on anyone. I think everyone is allowed to make their own choices and sometimes they are terrible choices, sometimes other people's choices affect people who least deserve it, but that we don't have to be alone through it and we don't have to feel abandoned. We don't have to give up. I mean we can always turn to our Heavenly Father who loves us, who wants us to be happy and we can always rely on him and know that whatever happens that it can be turned for a better cause. For a bigger reason, for the betterment of ourselves even.
A woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap Elizabeth Smart in 2002 will be freed from prison more than five years earlier than expected, a surprise decision that Smart called "incomprehensible" on Tuesday.
Wanda Barzee, 72, will be released Sept. 19 after the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole determined it had miscalculated the time she was required to serve in prison, board spokesman Greg Johnson said.
Barzee pleaded guilty to kidnapping Smart and helping keep her captive for nine months before then-teenager was found and rescued.
Smart, now 30, said in a statement she was "surprised and disappointed" to learn that Barzee will be freed next week. She said she's exploring her options and plans to speak publicly in the coming days.
"It is incomprehensible how someone who has not cooperated with her mental health evaluations or risk assessments and someone who did not show up to her own parole hearing can be released into our community," Smart said.
Once an accomplished organ player in Salt Lake City, Wanda Barzee became a disturbing figure for members of her own family after she helped in the 2002 kidnapping of then-teenager Elizabeth Smart.
Days before the 72-year-old woman is released from prison, looming fears about whether she remains a threat and calls to keep her off the streets bring up deep-rooted questions about mental-health treatment in the nation's prisons, an expert said.
And details of the crime still horrify Barzee's niece, Tina Mace. "It just makes you ill. How could anyone do that?" she said.
Her aunt played the organ at her wedding decades ago, before Barzee joined Mitchell as he acted on his so-called revelations from God.