Jed

Here is the list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the alt.brother-jed Usenet newsgroup. This FAQ is regularly posted to alt.brother-jed, alt.answers, and news.answers . Its master copy is available on the Web at http://www.eilertech.com/faqs/jedfaq.htm . Web links are included there to home pages for everyone in the newsgroup who has them, including Brother Jed himself.

The picture of Jed is from 1983, but it still looks remarkably accurate. At least, compared to the picture he posts himself at http://www.brojed.org/.

If you have comments, either post to alt.brother-jed, or e-mail me, or both. My address is seiler@eilertech.com.

Thanks, Scott


Huh?

Brother Jed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) List

  1. Who is Brother Jed?
  2. Is this the same Brother Jed who was preaching on the campus of the school I attended years ago?
  3. Are Brother Jed's wife and kids brainwashed?
  4. Where does Brother Jed get his money?
  5. What is alt.brother-jed about?
  6. Why is this group called alt.brother-jed if there isn't anything posted here about Brother Jed?
  7. Does Brother Jed ever post to this group?
  8. Who is Lawyer Jim, and is he related to Brother Jed?
  9. Who are the rest of these bozos who post here?
  10. What is a "fundy?"
  11. I practice a particular religion faithfully. Will I be offended if I read this group?
  12. Would you like to learn how to MAKE MONEY FAST???
  13. Can I post about any religion on this group?
  14. I heard that this was a group for making fun of fundamentalist Christians. What the hell happened?
  15. I've noticed that some of the people posting to this group seem to believe in a Being who created the universe. Oh yeah? Can you prove it?
  16. I've noticed that some of the people posting to this group seem to believe that there is no Being who created the universe. Oh yeah? Can you prove it?
  17. I've noticed some people on this newsgroup accusing other people of being Pagans. I've even noticed some who claim to be Pagans. What the heck is Paganism?
  18. Are you all a bunch of wankers or what?
  19. Why are there two FAQs for this group?
  20. If the group were stranded on Gilligan's Island, what would the theme song be?
Links

Disclaimer: The information in this document has been taken from reputable sources (such as Jed's own books) and is considered as accurate as possible. However, nobody's perfect. As such, nobody here takes responsibility for incorrect or inaccurate information in this document, beyond correcting the error.


  1. Who is Brother Jed?

    Brother Jed (George Edward Smock) was born in Brookings, South Dakota, in 1943. His father was a Ph.D. in English from Cornell University, and his mother was A.B. magna cum laude from Syracuse University. In 1946 the family moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, when his father became chair of the English department at Indiana State University (ISU).

    In 1960 Jed went to Indiana University and joined Delta Upsilon, which held a well-deserved reputation as a hard-partying fraternity. After a year and a half Jed dropped out and made a brief visit to southern California, where poor success as an encyclopedia salesman convinced him to return to Indiana to complete his education, this time at ISU majoring in social studies and minoring in English.

    In 1965 he got a job teaching U.S. history at Highland High School, and in the next 2 years earned an M.A. in history from ISU. In 1967 he made another visit to California, this time working as a junior high school teacher in Berkeley-- it was here that Jed was first introduced to marijuana and LSD.

    As the "summer of love" drew to a close Jed returned briefly to Indiana, but soon got a position as a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin. In 1970 Jed returned again to Indiana, this time to take a position as research assistant in a psychology institute at ISU, where he studied drug use.

    In 1971 he left on a journey to North Africa where he joined a commune on the beach of Morocco, living a life of hedonism and depravity. In the spring of 1972 he began to seriously read the Bible, and in March of that year returned once again to Indiana. In August he met an old high school friend Clyde Swalls, who had become a preacher. It was at that point that Jed "met the King of Kings at Burger King" (became fully converted to Christianity).

    Since that time Jed has travelled the nation's college campuses spreading the word to students. His early companions in that task were "Holy Hubert" Lindsay, a quick-witted evangelist whom Jed had encountered at Berkeley, and "Brother Max" Lynch, an ISU mathematics-professor-turned-preacher. In 1977 while preaching at Arizona State, Jed coined the nickname of that group, "the Destroyers", in honor of the way they destroyed the complacency of Christian churches around ASU.

    In the following years Jed has been featured in _Newsweek_ and _Rolling_Stone_, and has appeared on both Sally Jesse Raphael and Donahue. Jed has written several books including an autobiographical work, _Who_Will_Rise_Up?_ which was the source of most of the information in this short bio. -- N.E.

  2. Is this the same Brother Jed who was preaching on the campus of the school I attended years ago?

    Yes, although it's a good idea to make sure the person you remember was really Jed since he's subsequently been joined by many regional preachers. His first recruit, Sister Cindy Lasseter, later became his wife in 1983 and has since borne them 5 daughters. Other additions to the fold include Brother Jim Giles, Sister Pat Noordewier, and Brother Paul Stamm (who is pictured in _Who_Will_Rise_Up?_ wearing a "Sodomy Free Zone" sign on his backside). -- N.E.

    For those currently on campus who want to keep an eye out for the "real" Brother Jed: He is a dark-haired man in his early fifties who wears glasses, and usually a dress shirt and dark pants. He is almost always accompanied with at least two of his daughters, who all have long hair and wear long skirts, but are otherwise pretty normal-looking children. The last time I saw Brother Jed, he was also joined by a young college-age woman named Sister Elizabeth (never got her last name). -- E.G.

  3. Are Brother Jed's wife and kids brainwashed?

    In the spring of 1996 I was upset to be told by Evangeline "I hate you, you're going to hell!". She was visibly upset by attempts of several people to gently open her mind to the possibility that other opinions were valid. Although I hesitate to use the word "brainwashed", I believe that her parents have sealed off her mind to any original thoughts or differing opinions. -- V.C.

    I can't speak about the kids, but I met his wife (Sister Cindy) in 1983 before they married. She was preaching on the Michigan State University campus, with Brother Jed also on campus but not present. Sister Cindy presented her own beliefs forcefully, and stood up to popular pressure (almost to the point of being forcibly unbaptized in the Red Cedar River). In my opinion, she may be one of the few people who agrees with Jed on every single topic, but she's not brainwashed. -- S.E.

    Jed and Cindy's girls are home-schooled with strong emphasis on scriptural subjects. Many crowds have been amazed at the girls' ability to recite Bible verses, and whenever possible Jed and Cindy like to take their daughters along on their travels. While many onlookers have expressed concern for the welfare of the children, personally I think it's significant that the girls are usually better-behaved and more articulate than most of the college students they meet at their parents' very unusual job-sites. -- N.E.

    Except for the extremely conservative dress, all of the girls seem like pretty normal kids to me. When they accompany their parents to campus, the older ones often help their Dad by passing out tracts and buttons to the crowd. Little Evangeline often carries around a big sandwich-board type sign which expresses succinctly her parents religious philosophies. The ones who aren't helping out are usually reading or playing nearby. The last time I saw the family on the Oval at Ohio State in the spring of 1996, I was rather amazed at the girls ability to rollerblade in ankle-length dresses. -- E.G.

  4. Where does Brother Jed get his money?

    Brother Jed heads an umbrella organization called Campus Ministries USA, which attempts to defray the costs of the various members of the old Destroyers. In addition to donations and sales of books and videos, Jed also receives honoraria from speaking at churches and conferences. If anyone is interested in helping, Jed can be reached at:

    Campus Ministries USA

    922 W. Village Dr

    Newark, OH 43055

    This organization has a web page: http://www.brojed.org.

    Obligatory Adverblurb: Copies of Brother Jed's books and videos are available. The suggested donation for "Who Will Rise Up?" is $10, $5 for the shorter works ("Grieve Not the Spirit" and "Walking in the Spirit"), and $35 for the video. -- N.E.

  5. What is alt.brother-jed about?

    Originally alt.brother-jed was dominated by critics who ridiculed him on-line in much the same way as they did during his appearances on their campuses. At this point the group has evolved into a more serious discussion group focused on various issues raised by Jed and his Destroyers.

    Nowadays, discussion of all sorts of religions and religious philosophies appears on alt.brother-jed. This occasionally does include Jed-bashing and news of Jed-sightings, but it is no longer limited to such. Common discussion topics have included the existence of God, the nature of evil, Biblical literalism, whether or not homosexual acts are sinful, whether Christianity is harmful, whether the Old Testament God was just, and whether proselytizing is good or bad. -- N.E. and E.G.

  6. Why is this group called alt.brother-jed if there isn't anything posted here about Brother Jed?

    The group's name is mostly an honorary title, in respect to the man by whom we have been touched and whose passion brings us all together, Christians and non-Christians alike. -- N.E.

    Also, discussions often center on the topic of confrontational evangelism and whether it is effective. Brother Jed exemplifies this type of evangelism, in a flashy way which gets people talking about him and his beliefs. -- S.E.

  7. Does Brother Jed ever post to this group?

    Brother Jed has made occasional-but-infrequent forays online, much less frequent in recent months, just enough to tell people where he'd be preaching in the next few weeks and to slip in the occasional e-sermon. His e-mail address is brojed@aol.com; if he ever wants to change it, he'll have to move his own web page first. -- N.E and S.E.

  8. Who is Lawyer Jim, and is he related to Brother Jed?

    Lawyer Jim, real name James Elsman, is a fundamentalist who once frequently posted to alt.brother-jed and claims to have "street preached". As far as we know, he and Brother Jed are not related. Except, of course, that they are both brothers in Christ. And it is believed that they sometimes preach together, and that Lawyer Jim acts as a legal consultant to Brother Jed. His e-mail address is elsmanlaw@aol.com. -- E.G. and S.E.

  9. Who are the rest of these bozos who post here?

    Quick introductions all around, so's everyone will know who's who the next time Lawyer Jim starts slinging invectives around:

    Sorry if I missed anyone. ;) (F)

    As the above summary shows, not everyone who posts here agrees with Brother Jed's theology. We just post and argue here because we can. B{D> (SE)

  10. What is a "fundy?"

    This term, occurring often in AB-J, is shorthand for "fundamentalist" and is not necessarily intended to be derogatory, although some people may mean it that way. When used alone, it generally refers to fundamentalist Christians, but may be combined with other faiths to mean anyone who is fundamentalist. It can be combined with non-religious philosophies and with non-mainstream religions quite easily as well.

    The Microsoft Encarta 95* definition of "fundamentalism" is as follows:

    1. A Protestant movement holding the Bible to be the sole authority.

    2. A movement marked by rigid adherence to basic principles.


    *The American Heritage(R) Concise Dictionary, 3rd ed. Copyright (c) 1994 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from and portions copyright (c) 1994 by InfoSoft International, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Fundamentalist Christians believe that the Bible should be taken as literally as possible. For example, many fundamentalist Christians believe that the world actually was created during a six-day period on or about 4001 BC (a date arrived at by summing up the ages of the Biblical patriarchs).

    To contrast, typical mainstream Christians believe that the spiritual aspects of the Bible, especially the teachings of Jesus, should be taken literally, and that other aspects of the Bible may be treated the same way as any other ancient book of source material. For example, many mainstream Christians believe that the entire earth was not actually covered with water at the height of the Great Flood. Other mainstream Christians interpret the Bible even less literally, taking its moral truths literally but accepting much of the rest of it as symbolic or allegorical ways of expressing those moral truths.

    As you can imagine, fundamentalist and mainstream Christians often disagree and argue. Extreme proponents on either side of these arguments sometimes say that their opponents are not truly Christians. Moderates on either side try to avoid such statements.

    Brother Jed falls in the "fundamentalist" category, somewhere near the line between extreme and moderate. -- S.E. and E.G.

  11. I practice a particular religion faithfully. Will I be offended if I read this group?

    Yes. But that shouldn't keep you away. And you need not fear offending others. -- N.E., E.G., and V.C.

    And bear in mind that nobody who posts here speaks authoritatively for their entire religion. In particular, neither Brother Jed nor Lawyer Jim represents all Christians, or all Protestants, or even all fundamentalists. So don't use them as examples of "All Christians are assholes". -- S.E.

  12. Would you like to learn how to MAKE MONEY FAST???

    No. If you try to tell us how, we'll send e-mail to your postmaster and have your account cancelled. -- E.G.

  13. Can I post about any religion on this group?

    As long as the gist of the post has even an indirect relevance to Jed's ministry the sky's the limit. -- N.E.

    Or any other kind of ministry, for that matter. I'd say the majority of posts relate in some way to Christianity-- either expressing Christian beliefs, debunking Christian beliefs, or offering alternatives to traditional Christian beliefs. But we've touched quite a bit on Islam, Judaism, Taoism, modern and historical Paganism, various Eastern religions, and of course a healthy dose of atheism as well. -- E.G.

    To the extent you can call atheism healthy, of course. -- S.E.

  14. I heard that this was a group for making fun of fundamentalist Christians. What the hell happened?

    Sorry to disappoint you. You can still make fun of fundamentalist Christians-- it's just that we talk about other stuff too. What happened was that people started responding seriously to sarcasm. This phenomenon snowballed, until most people who post to alt.brother-jed actually take their posts seriously (even when they use humor).

    Newsgroups are what we make them. Whenever anyone feels that the group's sarcasm level has fallen too low they're cordially welcome to correct the deficiency. -- E.G., S.E., N.E

  15. I've noticed that some of the people posting to this group seem to believe in a Being who created the universe. Oh yeah? Can you prove it?

    No. Religion consists of a set of personal beliefs which cannot be proven. Many of us who have this belief try to support it, but we can't prove it. -- S.E.

  16. I've noticed that some of the people posting to this group seem to believe that there is no Being who created the universe. Oh yeah? Can you prove it?

    See previous answer. -- S.E.

  17. I've noticed some people on this newsgroup accusing other people of being Pagans. I've even noticed some who claim to be Pagans. What the heck is Paganism?

    Paganism is, in general, the belief in the Supreme Being embodied in the God and Goddess. We believe in the sanctity of nature, that the God and Goddess are everywhere embodied in Mother Earth and Father Sky. We have no sacred texts, no revealed guidance from the Gods-- the Pagan path is a gnostic one, you must seek the truth for yourself. We believe in the Wiccan Rede, "And if it hurt none, do what thou wilt." This means that whatever action you do, so long as you are hurting no one, no living animal, the environment, or even yourself, it is an acceptable action. This also means you have to take serious responsibility for the consequences of your actions-- harsh words, for example, hurt others, as well as actions that don't take into account the welfare and well-being of others.

    The general Pagan idea of the afterlife is reincarnation. We believe in a Heaven-like place called the Summerland, where it is always warm and beautiful, although we consider it more of a "pit stop" until we go on to our next incarnation as opposed to a permanent home for our souls. We don't believe in Hell per se; we believe that if you led an evil life you will be reincarnated in much more difficult circumstances, to receive the lessons you obviously didn't learn in your previous life and to pay back the negative karma.

    There are many diverse sects and branches of Paganism, all with different beliefs. Some honor just the Goddess; others just the God; others give equal attention to both. Some are vegetarian, some are not; some believe in reincarnation, some do not; some consider the various gods and goddesses of each pantheon (Celtic, Greco-Roman, Norse, Latin American, and Egyptian among others) to be all separate beings, and some who believe in the "Unified Deity Theory" that all gods and goddesses are merely separate manifestations of the One Creative Supreme Being. It's as difficult to pigeonhole Pagans as it is to do the same to Christians. -- F.

  18. Are you all a bunch of wankers or what?

    Questions like this are best addressed to the alleged wanker via private e-mail. -- E.G.

  19. Why are there two FAQs for this group?

    This is the second FAQ to be created for alt.brother-jed. The other one was created by Wayne Head (a.k.a. Pope Bongophelius Zed I), back when AB-J was a forum for making fun of fundamentalists. You may want to check http://www.eilertech.com/faqs/oldjed.txt to see the kind of spirit that first made AB-J famous. That document reproduces the group FAQ, as posted in February 1996.

    In July 1996, one of the regular posters jokingly suggested renaming the group to reflect its new emphasis. While most responses were in favor of retaining the group's name, some of the rest of us decided to write a new FAQ list which was more representative of the opinions generally expressed therein.

    In other words, you can think of the original FAQ as a "Heckler's Guide" and this one as a "Discussion Guide." -- E.G. and S.E.

  20. If the group were stranded on Gilligan's Island, what would the theme song be?
     
    "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale A tale from Brother Jed, Some religious types and some alien dorks The latters' brains were dead. The mate was an anal preacher dude The skipper anal too The rest were a dirty heathen lot A rotten hellbound crew! The language started getting rough The small N.G. was tossed They argued all religious points Like the man who'd once been Crossed. The group's adrift in the midst of this uncharted cyberspace, With Brother Jed And Lawyer Jim The alien dork Disco Queen The psycho witch The Juggler and Erin too Here on Brother Jed's grooooooup! ;)"
    -- F.


Links:


Primary authors of this FAQ are:

Copyright © 2001, by the primary authors mentioned above.