By Jai’Michael Anderson

The Evangelical preacher, Cindy Smock, known popularly as Sister Cindy, recently visited multiple Kentucky universities as part of her “Ho No Mo” tour.

Smock, 65, has toured southern US colleges for over 40 years according to Rolling Stone. However, the preacher has gained a large following on TikTok in recent years.

With millions of views on TikTok, Smock’s preachings against sexual promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, and homosexuality have garnered the attention of teens and young adults across the country. U of L student, Jaydon Michalczyk, says he first found out about Sister Cindy through TikTok.

“A lot of her stuff was geared towards misogyny and sexist commentary,” he says, “when I heard that she was coming that’s what I expected.”

There have been slight evolutions in Smock’s beliefs within the past few years.

In 2021 Smock went viral in a TikTok video in which she was speaking to students at Texas State University. “Don’t kiss a girl and like it” Smock said in the video. As a response, two female students kissed each other in front of Smock as she covered her eyes.

On U of L’s campus last week, Smock seemed to have abandoned her homophobic views. “I love the gays – but not in a gay way.”

Smock says her origins as a preacher began in 1977 after hearing a preacher on her campus. She spoke of being a “party girl” in college but reformed after hearing Brother Jed, another Evangelical preacher, speak to students on campus. The two got married just six years later.

On Nov. 14, Smock visited U of L’s campus and was met by a large energetic crowd excited to engage with her preaching. Students gathered to hear the Evangelical speak on her thoughts about virginity and promiscuity. Many of them were sitting around the preacher. Though the topics were serious and, at times, of a sensitive nature, the preacher didn’t shy away from cracking a few jokes.

She often poked fun at students and passersby. Smock would often call out to the crowd for responses, “How many of you have grandmas that are hoes?”

Each question was met with students eager to answer and participate. Those who played along well and answered correctly were awarded a button with her slogan on it “Ho No Mo”.

The buttons seemed to be a large factor in the audience’s participation. One student was very adamant about receiving a button and participated in all the preacher’s questions, including a roleplaying activity.

The crowd at U of L seemed to be under her control. There were cheers for Smock’s excitement and boos to match her disapproval.

Smock’s preachings felt akin to a comedic set. The preacher’s emotive expressions and movements were used to draw responses from students and keep them engaged.

Smock spent a great deal of time advising men against taking women to Mexican restaurants and buying them margaritas, saying that “after the third margarita – she will grab your penis and put it up her anus!”

Smock was sure to persuade the crowd to stay engaged. The preacher emphasized that she wanted the students in attendance to prioritize listening to her speak over going to class. One student was even antagonized by Smock for attempting to leave the gathering.

Despite such a seemingly positive response, students seemed to mostly be enjoying the preacher’s presence ironically. There were many moments when Smock’s seriousness was met by laughter and a little bit of mockery. Most students did not seem to buy into what Smock was saying.

Michalczyk reflects on students’ feelings toward the preacher, “I think most people think of her as a joke,” he says, “It’s not that I think people feel like she is joking, I think they just see her kind of like a video. They kind of see her [as] something like a spectacle.”

However, according to Michalczyk, not all of the U of L students in attendance viewed Smock in the same comedic regard, “In the U of L crowd I feel like there were people who responded to the religious stuff seriously.”

Smock often quoted the Bible to support her claims on virginity and premarital sex. Some students rebutted with questions about the Bible and the validity of her claims.

Students in the crowd were confused just as much as they were engaged. Many passersby who were unaware of Smock and her preachings could be overheard questioning the legitimacy of her values. “This can’t be serious,” one student said.

Michalczyk is also skeptical of the sincerity behind Smock’s words. He limits the possibilities to two perspectives. One option is that “She’s completely satirical and her backstory is a joke. It’s kind of a façade, like a character to get views.” Michalczyk says.

He also entertains the idea that Smock and her backstory are sincere and that “she is someone who has come to understand that she can use crowd work to bring in an audience to indoctrinate.”

Smock hasn’t always been met with such an embrace. In Apr. 2022, she had to call the University of California San Diego police to escort her through a crowd of students. UCSB students can be seen taking the preacher’s belongings in a video posted on TikTok.

Another video showed UCSB students surrounding Smock to take selfies as she showed her feet as part of a demonstration. Smock was supposedly on the phone with campus police at this time.

Outside of speaking to students on campus, Smock is very active on social media. The preacher promotes testimonials, Christianity, and encouraging messages.

In addition, Smock hosts weekly Bible studies on Zoom.

Photo Courtesy // Sister Cindy Instagram