The family of Elizabeth Smart has spoken with another cult kidnap victim Patricia Hearst in an effort to better understand how to handle certain issues with the fragile girl, reports the New York Times.

Elizabeth’s grandfather told reporters that her father has spoken with Hearst who advised not to press the 15-year-old about the details of the nine months she spent with self-proclaimed “prophet” Brian Mitchell.

Speaking for the family the grandfather said, “I’m going to let her tell me those stories at her own pace. We won’t try to rush it.”

It seems that Elizabeth is doing well back at home. 14 years as a member of the loving and tightly knit Salt Lake City family by far outweighs the 9 months she spent with Mitchell.

But the family has noticed that at times Elizabeth appears distracted, with something on her mind.

The Smarts say they still don’t know “the evil things that were done to her.”

Immediately after her abduction Elizabeth was kept isolated from the outside world. She spent two months alone with Mitchell and Barzee at a canyon campsite. Subsequently, the girl was moved to another isolated spot and lived with her captors in a “teepee.”

This largely parallels Patty Hearst’s early months of confinement after her abduction. Then a 19-year-old college student, Hearst was broken down and “brainwashed” by a political cult called the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA).

It took Hearst time to heal after more than a year spent within a cult. She was found and arrested along with SLA members after a bank robbery. Fortunately, Elizabeth doesn’t face the legal complications Hearst endured.

Perhaps Patricia Hearst, more than anyone else, can empathize and clearly understand how Elizabeth feels right now.

Hopefully, the Smart family will continue to consult Hearst and seek her insights. And it might help Elizabeth better understand her own experience and the recovery process, if some day she actually met with Hearst.


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