Surviving Columbine by Liz Carlston
How Faith Helps Us Find Peace When Tragedy Strikes

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The gunshots started to get louder, and I realized they were coming to our section of the library. The shots stopped as they came to our table and set their weapons on the top. My heart was pounding. Our legs were sticking out the back of the table because it was impossible to conceal our whole bodies with the three of us curled under it. I began to pray, and at the very moment I began my prayer, I felt an instant rush of peace. His Holy Spirit told me, 'You are not going to die, but you have to endure this. Just hold on.'

On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, and killed twelve students and one teacher, injured twenty-five other students, and then killed themselves in the school library. The event shocked America, and almost everyone touched by the tragedy has asked the same questions: Why did God let this happen? How can we possibly heal from such a tragedy?

Five years after the event, Columbine students and Latter-day Saints Liz Carlston, Amber Huntington, and Mike Johnson share what happened to them on that fateful day and tell of God's comforting power that was manifest in the midst of the turmoil. Liz remembers her experiences with Coach Sanders, who was her basketball coach and who died trying to save his students. Amber describes her harrowing moments in the school library when the gunmen burst through the doors and opened fire. Mike, one of the first students shot outside the schoolyard, shares his story of medical miracles, with his mother Kathy, adding a parent's perspective.

As difficult as surviving Columbine was, the aftermath proved to be just as difficult as the students struggled with depression, guilt, physical challenges, and emotional upheaval. Yet, through it all, their testimonies of Jesus Christ and his gospel remained an integral part of their lives, providing them with much-needed perspective, patience, and hope.

Their stories are an inspiring account of how faith endures despite fear, how testimonies are strengthened from trials, and how healing is possible through the divine ministrations of God.

Published: February 2004
Pages: 128


About Liz Carlston

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Published June 29, 2012 by Deseret Book. 126 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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On the morning of April 20, 1999, Columbine High School junior Liz Carlston struggled with writing an English essay about a hero she knew—someone who was honest, selfless and courageous.

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