Elizabeth Smart told a court today that her kidnapper had grandiose religious illusions, referring to himself as the "Davidic King" or the "one mighty and strong," but many of the prayers he said out loud were for God to make Smart "perform her wifely duties."
Smart underwent a brief cross examination today, her third day of testimony in the trial of Brian David Mitchell who is accused of kidnapping her at the age of 14 from her Salt Lake City home and terrorizing her with almost daily rapes and the constant threat of killing her if she tried to escape.
In a gentle 15 minute cross examination, Mitchell's lawyer appeared to be trying to depict his client as severely mentally ill, whose extreme religious views and abusive practices indicate the depths of his insanity.
Smart said Mitchell held bizarre religious views, melding traditional Mormon philosophy with new ageism and his own doctrine that included a book he wrote, "The Book of Immanuel David Isaiah," which he made Smart read.
She said Mitchell forced her to pray for lengthy periods and said Mitchell would pray out loud for Smart to have sex with him.
"The things that he would say in his prayers were things that I would never have said," she said. "He would say, 'Please bless me,' [Smart], that I would be able to cope with my wifely duties and be able to rise to the occasion and fulfill my wifely duties. That is about the farthest thing from my prayers."
Mitchell also had his confessed accomplice Wanda Barzee make up a book of hymns and would make Smart sing whatever songs he chose.
She testified that Mitchell declared that he was the one destined to fight the anti-Christ because he was the "one mighty and strong" and the "Davidic King."
"Nine months of living with him and seeing him proclaim that he was God's servant and called to do God's work and everything he did to me ... is something that I know that God would not tell somebody to do," she said. "God would never tell someone to kidnap her at knifepoint from their bed, from her sister's side ... never continue to rape her and sexually abuse her."
Elizabeth Smart Contributed to Her Rescue
Lawyer Robert Steele also had Smart describe Mitchell's belief in a healing process he called lymphology which involved touching places that hurt and "bouncing," which was jumping up and down. She said he was a restless sleeper who frequently got up during the night to bounce for several minutes, sometimes on one leg, before going back to bed.
In addition, Steele asked Smart if she ever saw Mitchell lose consciousness.
"Yes. We were in California at the time. He was in the middle of raping me and he experienced a seizure," she said calmly.
Mitchell, 57, is charged with kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes. He was captured in March 2003. Barzee has already confessed and has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
During her three days on the stand, Smart, now 23, was poised and unruffled as she detailed her nightmarish nine months with Mitchell and Barzee. She said that at one point she was confronted by a police officer looking for Elizabeth Smart and he wanted to look under the veil Mitchell made her wear. She was so afraid of Mitchell's death threats that she didn't speak up and was heartsick that the officer wasn't more persistent.
When she was finally rescued, she initially denied her identity out of fear that Mitchell would make good on his death threats.
She did, however, make an effort to get help when she was allowed to go to a bathroom in a Hard Rock Cafe and tried to scratch "Help" on the bathroom wall.
She also contributed to her rescue after Mitchell took them to California. She told Mitchell that God wanted them to return to Salt Lake City. She suggested he pray on it, and said he could probably kidnap another wife from a Mormon camp for girls in the area.
Mitchell supposedly prayed about her suggestion and decided to return to Salt Lake City where Smart was eventually discovered and rescued.