Brother Jed

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Jed Smock
Brother Jed on Speakers Circle (Oct 2014).jpg
Brother Jed preaches at Speaker's Circle on the campus of the University of Missouri in October 2014.
Born George Edward Smock
(1943-01-04) January 4, 1943 (age 72)
Brookings, South Dakota
Occupation Campus evangelist
Years active 1972 – present
Religion Evangelical Christian
Spouse(s) Cynthia D. "Cindy" Lasseter Smock (m. 1983)
Children Charlotte, Evangeline, Justina, Martha, and Priscilla
  • Who Will Rise Up?: A Call to Confrontational Evangelism (1984)
  • Gold in the Furnace: South Africa on Trial (1987)
  • Grieve Not the Spirit (1992)
  • Walking in the Spirit (1992)
  • The Mystery of Christ Revealed: The Key to Understanding Predestination (2000)

George Edward "Jed" Smock, Jr. (born January 4, 1943), better known as Brother Jed, is an American evangelist whose ministry is concentrated on college campuses. He has preached at major universities in all fifty US states, as well as other countries.[1] He usually only spends a few days on each campus, visiting the northern campuses in the fall and spring and the southern campuses in the winter months. In 2004 he relocated to Columbia, Missouri.[2] In the spring of 2013 he announced he would relocate to his hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana, over the summer and would headquarter his ministry from there.[3] He often preaches in Speaker's Circle at the University of Missouri and other colleges throughout the midwest.


Brother Jed draws from many experiences in his early life while preaching. His self-described lifestyle of "drunkenness, dissipation, and debauchery" began while he was a freshman in high school. Older friends exposed him to alcohol, which became a regular part of his life. Smock began attending Indiana State University in 1960, studying social studies and English, where he pledged Delta Upsilon Fraternity. By his second year he had established himself as the heaviest drinker in the fraternity. Smock states in his autobiography that, despite his lifestyle, he graduated near the top of his class.

Smock attended graduate school at Indiana State University, where he earned a master's degree in history and wrote a thesis on "the personal effects of smoking seven straight joints of marijuana" while he was a research assistant in psychology for the Institute of Research into Human Behavior at the school. Smock served as a history professor for one year at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse.[4]

The Campus Ministry[edit]

Smock wrote a spiritual autobiography, "Who Will Rise Up?" in which he describes his dissolute youth and conversion experience and presents his justification for his confrontational style of evangelism. In the book he recalls how he converted to Christianity after being preached to by an Arab carrying a cross in Morocco. Smock began preaching to students at Indiana University in 1974, and he founded The Campus Ministry USA in 1984 after realizing he wanted to make evangelism his life's work.[4][5][1]

Brother Jed on Speaker's Circle in Sept. 2005

Smock and his wife Cynthia D. Lasseter Smock (a.k.a. “Sister Cindy”[6]) use a distinctive preaching style, termed "confrontational evangelism" in the subtitle of his autobiography. This controversial variant of evangelism[7] is shared by many street preachers, campus pastors, and other evangelicals, who hope that a spiritual rebuke will force sinners to repent.[8] In his autobiography Smock refers to his college evangelical group as "The Destroyers," but this name is not presently being used on his website.

College newspapers have reported some of his statements: "I don't know how the whorehouses in this town stay open — all of you sorority girls are giving it away for free!" and "Who are you, Bob Marley?" (said to a black student with dreadlocks).[9] He often shouts, "A masturbator today is a homosexual tomorrow." His assistants carry signs declaring that feminists, liberals, and those who listen to rock and roll are destined for Hell, along with homosexuals, fornicators, and masturbators. As a result of his aggressive and confrontational style of preaching, Brother Jed is frequently mocked and accused of intolerance.[10] His staff has often been accused of aggressively forcing students to listen to him by asking students with iPods to take them off, or grabbing random students passing by. There also have been deceptions such as his staff advertising that there's another event on campus that has nothing to do with Brother Jed or Christianity.[11]

They are members of the United Methodist Church, although their actions, views, and theology are not indicative of that church. Brother Jed frequents Eastern Illinois University. [12]

He and Cindy have five daughters, all of whom have accompanied them on their travels and appearances on college campuses.[13]

Fictional portrayals[edit]

Smock's character was the basis of the 2012 short, Battle of the Sects,[14] in which an extreme evangelical preacher visits a university only to be run out by the campus Christians.[15]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Handelman, David "College is Hell: The Destroyers have preached hellfire and damnation on campus for a decade. But can they get a witness?" Rolling Stone 27 March 1986, pp. 87+