SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH. (THECOUNT) — Ed Smart, the father of kidnapping survivor and child safety activist Elizabeth Smart, has come out as gay.
Smart, 64, also announced he is divorcing his wife and leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Smart, who has also served as a child safety advocate for years through his daughter’s foundation, announced the emotional decision in a Facebook post to family and friends on Thursday that he has since taken down. He shared the letter with TODAY.
“It is with this same spirit that I wish to share the news that I have recently acknowledged to myself and my family that I am gay,” he wrote. “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.”
Smart has five children with his wife, Lois, who filed for divorce on July 5, according to court records obtained by The Salt Lake City Tribune.
“I love my family and always will,” he wrote. “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. I believe that love is what binds us together. 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.”
Geo quick facts: Geo quick facts: Salt Lake City, Utah’s high-elevation capital, is bordered by the buoyant waters of the Great Salt Lake and the snow-capped peaks of the Wasatch Range. Downtown’s 10-acre Temple Square, headquarters of the Mormon Church, is home to the majestic, 19th-century Salt Lake Temple and the neo-Gothic Assembly Hall. The acclaimed Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs in the square’s domed Tabernacle – wikipedia.