Brother Jed Smock brought two of his five daughters to the University of Arizona campus today. Another preacher spoke, but he wasn’t nearly as popular.
It was still sunny and comfortably warm at 4:30 p.m., and a female pastor spoke to dozens of UA students on Heritage Hill. The crowd seemed wilder and angrier, particularly one vocal girl who would scream at the top of her lungs even though she was at the bottom of the grassy hill, therefore in close proximity to the visiting preachers. The pastor yelled back at this girl, and she also told me that only certain Catholics can be admitted into heaven.
As UA students tore down the preacher, Jed sat atop the grassy knoll with one of his other daughters, who bowed her head and sat at his side. Jed rubbed her back and frowned at the rabid audience. As inhumane as some say Brother Jed is, he looked like a dedicated, compassionate parent today, and I felt sorry for the Smock family. I can imagine it’s hard for the young girl to see hundreds of students abuse her father, mother, and sisters. You can argue that Jed subjects her to it by inviting her on tour, and I have no comeback to that. Still, can you picture watching the same spectacle happen to your own family? Wouldn’t you be heart-broken, too?
I never thought I’d pity the Smock family, and I can’t explain why I found it so sad to see them in pain. Maybe I’m too easy on him. Even though I think he can say hurtful, inappropriate, and offensive things, he’s a person at the end of the day, and I hate to see any family be so publicly denounced.
I explained this to a close friend, who said, “Well, of course the girls are upset. They’re Brother Jed’s children! How would you feel in that family? What are they raising these girls to be?”
I’m going to counter that as well. Most people believe that Brother Jed is a disgusting person and that his teachings are beyond out-dated. There are, however, others out in the world like him, and they’re probably content. As liberated individuals, we can’t understand how anyone would enjoy being in Jed Smock’s family, or why it’s okay to promote questionable ideals, but everyone is different. We can’t impose our opinions on the Smocks, nor can they rightfully shove their evangelism on us. If the Smock girls want to be essentially subordinate and “baby makers” (as Cindy Smock put it), they should be able to live this way. It’s not my path by any means, but I respect that maybe it’s best for them.
On a lighter note, another pastor entertained the crowd after the female pastor sat back down.
“My grandmother was the sweetest woman in the world, but she’s in Hell right now because she didn’t accept Jesus Christ,” he said.
The highly vocal girl continued shouting at an unnecessarily high volume. I truly think some of these on-lookers visit Brother Jed just to release their own anger and anxieties. It’s too easy to dump that on Brother Jed, the perfect target. I still think it’s kind of pathetic to get so worked up just to purge negative emotions. Not even the Smock family deserves to be a punching bag.
Around this time, the Pride Alliance angels gathered behind the pastor and stood in silence, passing out sheets of paper on the organization. All was quiet until a student walked up to them, a yellow bible in hand.
“Great, horse face is back,” someone said to me, referring to the same young man with the bible.
I will not call him “horse face,” so I’ll just say his name is Bible Boy. He took advantage of Pride Alliance members’ silence and preached against homosexuality, sex before marriage, and many other subjects Brother Jed mused upon. Only he was much calmer.
I walked over to the “angels,” and the loud girl and her friend were already harassing Bible Boy. One girl was wearing a bikini and asked Bible Boy if he liked what he saw. He turned away from her and began talking to the silent angels, who were trying hard not to laugh or say much.
Bikini Girl pointed to her half exposed chest.
“Do you like these?” she asked Bible Boy.
“Those are for your husband.”
“But you can’t see my nipples.”
“You’re still probably going to Hell.”
“What problem do you have with her?” I interjected.
“She’s a sinner and she’s exposing herself.”
The girls and I moved back to the hill, and Bikini girl announced, “THE TEMPTATION IS BACK!”
Brother Jed was speaking at this point, and the rabid young girl stole his chair. I told her that I thought she was being immature by taking an old man’s chair, but she refused to move. She was being highly insensitive by preventing an aging man from sitting down if he needed to. No matter how nasty Brother Jed may be, she’s pathetic for taking away his crutch.
A quieter evangelist predicted that this girl will become a Christian in time because she is so passionately against it. If you hate something, you also love it, in a way. If you don’t care, you wouldn’t have any feelings on the matter.
I left just after Brother Jed said, “You guys can be saved and be like me and my wife. We’re saints.”
Don’t you have to die before being dubbed a saint?
Let’s see what happens on Jed’s last University of Arizona visit tomorrow. By the way, Bible Boy went off to get dinner with Cindy Smock and one of her daughters around 5:30. Jed can say he changed one UA student, at least.