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Joy and relief pour in from around the globe

The story of Elizabeth Smart's reunion with her family touched Deseret News readers throughout the world. Our Web site,, offered them a forum where they could share their reactions and well-wishes. Here we publish a random selection:

I had to pull off the road when I heard Elizabeth Smart had been found alive. My kids couldn't understand why I was crying. Thank God she is back with her family! — Dianne Esplin, Redding, Calif.

Thank you, thank you, God, for miracles do happen! I am so relieved Elizabeth is back home with her family. I know my prayers were answered. — Sherrie Gerber, Seattle

My name's Sol, I am a LDS Argentinian member who lives at the present in Trinidad and Tobago. I cannot describe with words the happiness and relief I feel to find out they found Elizabeth Smart alive!. I have been checking the development of this story since she was missing, my prayers were with her family, and I'm so glad to know that God has shown his mercy upon her and her family!!!!!! From this tiny island of Trinidad, I want wish the Smart family ALL the best. — Sol

We are so happy to hear of Elizabeth's return. We pray that she (and her family) will recover from this very scary experience and will live a long, happy, love-filled life together. — Carol Price, Ashland, Mo.

As the person in charge of my Department's Missing Persons Unit, it brings great joy to my heart to know that Elizabeth Smart has been located ALIVE & WELL. I received the teletype of her location this afternoon and was quite startled to learn she'd be found so close to home. We in law enforcement know all too well the grim recovery statistics with kidnapped juveniles, and for one case to end happily such as this is truly a miracle. May Elizabeth and her family rejoice in the one thing that is so important these days — being together as a family. God Bless! — Officer A.M. Serr, Ventura, Calif., Police Department, Missing Persons Unit

This is the story I have been wanting to hear. I moved from Salt Lake in July of last year, but one of the first places I went to was your site Elizabeth Smart Missing. — Andy Moore, Stevensville, Mont.

My name is Evan Bee. I live in Torrance, California, and I am 13 years old. I would like to say that I am very happy that Elizabeth is back home with her family. I saw the picture in the paper of Brian David Mitchell and I really feel bad about what he might have done to Elizabeth. . . . I am really glad that she was found, so that she could be with her family again. There was a girl missing from our city that disappeared right after Elizabeth, and they just found her bones a couple of weeks ago.

I am so overwhelmed with joy right now at the news that Elizabeth has been found! My prayers go out to her and her family at this time, and I hope that the media will allow the Smart family their privacy as they try to piece their lives back together. — Olga in North Carolina

We are overjoyed on behalf of the Smart family. This is the miracle we have all been praying for. What a great example (the Smarts) have been to all of us during this ordeal. They never gave up, and it is so wonderful to see their faith rewarded. — Ella Golightly, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

To the Smart family: We are so overjoyed in the return of your beautiful daughter. The tears flowed down our faces as we heard the wonderful news. We don't know your daughter, but as we passed out her fliers in San Diego, our hearts went out to your family. We love her and are so glad she is home safe. — Love, the Murphys

I'll keep this short, but it is wonderful to hear some positive news among all the grim reports. This type of news brings hope to the state and the nation. It is a beautiful answer to such a bleak situation. Thank God. — Nathan Wodbury, Mountain Green

Instead of bashing police, we all must be grateful Elizabeth is alive, well and with her family. How many of these cases do not end up that way? . . . We ought to be on our knees thanking God instead of pointing fingers of blame. God bless Elizabeth that her faith saved her emotional stability and this will be something we can ALL put behind us; even the Smart family. Unforgiveness is poison for us. — Brian Devereaux, Reseda, Calif.

I live in Oklahoma and was so thrilled with the news. I have kept up with the search and am so relieved to hear of her being found! Miracles certainly do happen in this day and age! — Jane Westfall, Guthrie, Okla.

What a wonderful, miraculous day for the Smart family! It is so refreshing to hear good news, and that news is happily spreading rapidly throughout the United States. I would urge everyone to continue their prayers for Elizabeth, her parents and siblings for a full recovery from this long nightmare. It was uplifting to see the FBI spokesperson, the mayor of SLC and those involved in the recovery of Elizabeth so very happy and excited during today's national news conference which was broadcast from SLC. That happiness has spread to the media and citizens in Tucson, Arizona, as well. May there only be happiness in the future for this family. — Jerri Manka

It is just like having found one of my own children! I am so happy for Elizabeth and her family. Some much needed good news in these days of turmoil. A true modern-day miracle. — Terri L. Carr, Ozark, Mo.

After so many negative news about going to war with Iraq the news about Elizabeth is like a miracle. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bakersfield, Calif., and like so many people I am thrilled at the news about Elizabeth. It was a very special moment when I heard the radio state she was found in Sandy, Utah. There has been a lot of prayers in our ward, and I know that God works many miracles, this is one of them. The Smart family's joy must be unimaginable. I am so happy for them. Thank God for all the blessings. — Trenton Spears, Bakersfield, Calif.

Thank God! Prayers are answered. We will continue to pray for her and her family as they recover from this horrific incident. — Kathy Wright, Benicia, Calif.

Thank the Lord for Elizabeth's discovery and for the wonderful citizens who helped find her! — Chet Cole Barrett, San Diego, Calif.

This is nothing but a miracle! Thank you, Lord, for her safe return! — Roxy Vandersluis, Fresno, Calif.

As the parents of six children we thank God for allowing the Montoya family to find Elizabeth earlier this afternoon. We happen to be Catholics, but here in San Diego we have so many wonderful LDS friends that we know your prayers worldwide made this happen. It's about time we had some "good news" on TV, and this is certainly the best story of the year! — John and Donna Shean, San Diego

What a happy day! I saw the "found alive" headline on my home page with Elizabeth Smart's picture. What a wonderful ending to such a terrible story. I am a former Salt Lake City resident and know members of the Smart family, and I know they must be very, very happy tonight. — Barbara Woolf

We are overjoyed at the happy outcome of this story. This shows that miracles do indeed happen. The courage shown by Elizabeth's parents has been an inspiration to us all, and I am so glad that their faith was rewarded. — Henry Pearson, Oakville, Md.

As the father of a precious teenage daughter myself, I have to let at least the echo of my shout of joy travel to Utah. Indeed, how great is the rejoicing for the return of one lamb to the arms of her family, and a moment of healing for other hearts who have lost their own. Amongst terror, war, and economic concerns, one shining beacon of redemption and reunion has flared to light the darkness in untold hearts across America and the world. Joy and grace and blessings to the Smart family from Alaska. — Bruce Orton, Anchorage, Alaska

This story has touch so many around the country. We have followed it from day one. Our son, attending university in Idaho, called us as soon as he heard the exciting news. We are pleased for the Smart family and the answer they have received to their prayers. They will have a lot of work ahead of them as they help their daughter recover from this terrible ordeal. May God's sweet Spirit and his blessings be with them. — D.C. Williams, Marysville, Wash.

Congratulations on a job well-done to everyone. — Mike Livingstone, Cardston, Alberta, Canada.

When our tiny branch of the LDS Church in Northwest Wisconsin heard the news, we of course prayed throughout all of our meetings. I then thought of my own girls, two of whom are the same ages of Elizabeth, and her sister who witnessed the abduction. It scared me to my very soul and yet to see the odds finally not come true in this case, is something I cannot even express in words. Thankfulness, happiness, joy, and yet trepidation to think of recovery, are some of my thoughts. My prayers are with them in their reunion and true joy and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father, yet I will pray also for understanding and help for all those who need to forgive the ones who had her. We sometimes forget that part the most. — Carrie Nelson, Drummond Wis.

I heard the news first on a talk radio program this afternoon while traveling in Houston. Immediately had to pull over to the side of the freeway in order to gather my emotions. As I attempted to phone my wife and children on my cell phone, I found myself sobbing and hardly able to communicate. What an astounding story. And what a blessing and miracle for not only the Smart family, but indeed the entire state of Utah. Thank God! — Steve, Alpine, Utah

We are so happy for the Smart family and their community! We live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but have followed the story very close as have most people here and across the country. We had nearly given up hope. We prayed and hoped with the nation for her safe recovery. What a miracle! We are so happy she can be reunited with her family. Good news travels fast, and it was so fun to see Shelly Osterloh live on the NBC news here at 6 p.m. reporting the great news! — Doug and Connie Esplin

I am a 19 year old from North Dakota. I have followed this story to the second since I heard about it last summer. It stuck in my heart for obvious reasons, but I have continued to follow it even as recently as Monday night checking updated news stories. I bought groceries the other day and her face was on the plastic bag, I prayed that instant and knew in my heart that she was still alive. I have posted fliers all over my city and have kept Elizabeth in my prayers every single day since she was gone. I teared up when she was found, and know that GOD is the real reason for this. He allowed Mary Katherine to remember this face she saw once long ago, He allowed witnesses to recognize him, HE allowed her to be found ALIVE!! This day will be remembered as a true miracle unfolded in front of America. I pray for Elizabeth even now that her life will resume as best it can, and she is now safe in the arms of her family. Her story touched my heart, and although it never looked good, I always told everyone she was still alive. This is a beautiful day. THANK GOD AND BLESS YOU ELIZABETH!!!!!!!!!! — Amber Hoepfner, Fargo, N.D.

Thanks be to God, who knew along where Eliabeth was, and had her in His arms, as well as her family. — Steve, Ariz.

I wonder if Elizabeth can comprehend the magnitude of America's concern and prayers in her behalf? I've seen her posters here in my hometown. We stopped at a gas station in a little town somewhere in Iowa, and there was Elizabeth looking at us. We traveled to Anchorage, Alaska and again, her sweet face. Yes! Yes! Miracles do happen! We join the multitude of others thanking the Lord for her safe return! — Grace Jones, Ukiah, Calif.

Dear Smart Family, We are so happy for all of your family that Elizabeth is found. I can't express how we feel for you people. She is such a beautiful girl and our thoughts are with you always. — Kathy & Chuck LaTrielle, Rio Vista, Calif.