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Elizabeth Smart opens up to People

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Elizabeth Smart is back in the news again. Almost six years after she was abducted and held captive for nine months, the 20-year-old is on the cover of People magazine.

The June 23 edition hits newstands on Friday.

According to the magazine, Smart agreed to be interviewed "because she feels her story can help other children who have survived abductions."

"I feel so fortunate that I was able to come through this unscarred. I want to tell other people, 'Don't give up. Miracles do happen,"' Smart said.

She told People that living among homeless people during her abduction helped broaden her perspective.

"Before, I was just your average Mormon girl. And since everything I've gone through, there's been a lot of learning and growing. I've learned to listen and not jump to conclusions," Smart said. "I'm not sorry this happened to me anymore, because it made me grow up."

Smart also said that, while her parents offered to send her to a therapist, she declined.

"I don't feel the need to talk about what happened to me, but if I do, I know my family is there," she said.

Her father, Ed Smart, told People he isn't worried that she's bottling up her feelings.

"It's a part of her life she can never forget, but it's nothing she wants to dwell on," he said. "So we try not to dwell on it either."

Elizabeth Smart said she recovered quickly because she forgave her abductors, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee.

"It's just not worth holding on to that kind of hate," she said. "It can ruin your life. Nine months of my life had been taken from me, and I wasn't going to give them any more of my time."

But she said Mitchell — who has not been certified competent to stand trial — deserves a life sentence because if he's released, "he'd come back after me immediately. I think he knew exactly what he was doing."