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‘Sister Cindy’ causes laughter, unease during campus visit

Social media campus preacher Cindy Smock’s outrageous rhetoric produced loud reactions from the large group of students surrounding her on Tuesday. ORACLE PHOTO/JUSTIN SEECHARAN

A crowd of students gasped and cheered in front of the Marshall Student Center on Tuesday as social media campus preacher Cindy Smock, known as “Sister Cindy,” evangelized the benefits of an abstinent lifestyle.

“At UCF, [students] have mothers that are h*es. Does anyone here have a mother that’s a h*e? Some of them have grandma h*es. Does anyone have a granny that’s a h*e?” Smock said as students responded by cheering and nodding their heads.

Smock’s presentation, which lasted from noon to 4 p.m., engaged students with topics including “sinful” celebrities, refraining from alcohol and the importance of abstinence. 

Her aggressive pairing of evangelical ideas and “gen-z” lingo has drawn crowds on college campuses nationwide. 

Studio art major Hannah Norato said that despite the content being presented, Smock’s outrageous performances have a way of bringing students together. 

“If anybody here took her seriously, I’d consider her to be a negative presence, but I think everyone’s just kind of gathering and having a good time. Overall I think it’s a net positive,” Norato said.

“Anyone who’s watching on their own wouldn’t have time to internalize her hateful commentary because everyone is drowning out her hate by making fun of her.”

The catchphrase for which Smock is most known for, “Ho no mo,” was brandished on signs, Bibles and Smock’s T-shirt at the gathering. Smock, who has amassed over 419,000 Tik Tok followers, said it advocates for young women to repent for premarital sex and remain abstinent. 

To Smock, the controversial one-liner is meant to blend comedy and gen-z lingo to bring her message to students.

“Actually, the students made that my catchphrase. I have a lot of catch phrases like turn or burn, repent or perish…I was just doing my thing presenting the gospel in a way that students could relate to, talking their language,” Smock said in an interview with The Oracle.

Geology major Miranda Smalling said although the message behind Smock’s preaching is concerning, they don’t expect it to be taken seriously.

“She’s publicly slut shaming women for just doing what they want with their bodies,” Smalling said. “I think people just come here to make fun of her, honestly.”

When speaking on how she believes women should dress and act, Smock told the crowd of students female celebrities like Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga are the opposite of who they should be idolizing.

“Lady Gaga tells you you were born this way,” Smock said to the crowd of USF students. “Nobody was born a h*e. Nobody was born with a penis in their mouth. Nobody was born with a penis up their a**.”

Despite the controversy, Smock said in the interview the interactions she has on college campuses are some of the most fruitful for her ministry. Her passion for preaching began decades ago when she was recruited for Christ on UF’s campus as a student.

“The man who led me to the lord was doing the same thing I’m doing, and what better place to share the gospel? Often [students] are open at least to hearing, and they’re the future,” Smock said. “And I really love Gen-Z. I think they are more open, even though they are generally liberal and generally speaking, not very religious.”

Smock said some of her favorite experiences are the one-on-ones she has with students outside of the campus shouting matches.

“Human relationships are very important. A lot of times students will write me for advice and say ‘I’m a ho no mo now, what do I do?’ So I direct them to a good church or a Bible study,” Smock said in the interview. “Reading the Bible can get you started, but you need someone to share the Christian faith.”

Some USF students recalled one-on-one experiences of their own with Smock.

“Last year, she was here and she called me a dude,” Smalling said. “And then she felt bad about it and gave me a pin and followed me on Instagram.”

Smock will speak again at USF Wednesday afternoon to preach in front of Cooper Hall.

Despite her controversial and aggressive persona, Smock said her message is one of love.

“Sister Cindy loves you, and Jesus loves you more,” she said in the interview. “We were made in his image to know him and have a relationship with him. Receive his joy and forgiveness today.”

Additional reporting by Clinton Engelberger