Many visitors go to Speakers Circle to share their views with MU students, but one of its most frequent visitors is Brother Jed.
“I’m on some campus somewhere virtually every school day,” Brother Jed said. “I preach to all 50 states. My home is in Columbia, so when I’m home, which is not most of the time, I will preach at Speakers Circle because it is made to get your message out.”
Brother Jed said his message aims to make students understand that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and that all religions other than Christianity are false.
“People were arguing with him (in Speakers Circle) because he’s one of those fire-and-brimstone-type preachers, and he really gets in your face about personal choices," senior Dan Sheehan said. "It was comical how angry people were getting.”
When Sheehan was a second-semester freshman, he said he felt compelled to make a Fake Brother Jed Twitter account and has maintained it ever since.
“I tried to keep up with current events at Mizzou and put a fun spin on it,” Sheehan said. “I wanted it to be something that all Mizzou students could look at and relate to.”
Junior Lauren Dixon is one of 2,358 followers of the account.
“I thought it was pretty funny because I’ve seen Brother Jed speak in person, and it was just a satire of the things that he says,” Dixon said.
Past tweets on the account include “If Christmas had an ugly sister, her name would be Hanukkah” and “Instead of wars, I wish we just had contests of which country has funnier cats.”
Brother Jed said he doesn't have any particular thoughts about the Twitter account.
“I suppose it’s mocking me, but as long as they titled it ‘Fake Brother Jed’ I think it’s clear to people that it’s not me,” Brother Jed said. “It puts my name out there, and maybe some people will want to go to my website, and then they can learn about the true Brother Jed as opposed to the Fake Brother Jed.”
Sheehan announced Nov. 13 that he retired the account, but followers could still view his jokes on his personal Twitter account, @ItsDanSheehan. Sheehan said since he plans to pursue standup comedy as a career, he wants people to pay more attention to his personal work.
“I just felt like the overall quality has been diminishing,” Sheehan said. “It had been stressing me out for a while, so it felt kind of nice to just end it on a pretty decent note before it got so bad that people started to not wanting to read it anymore.”
Brother Jed said whether the account is active or dormant does not affect him.
One of Fake Brother Jed’s last tweets, which Dixon retweeted, was, “But you’re all still going to hell.”
“I thought that was really funny because that was something that Brother Jed would say,” Dixon said. “He seems like his goal is to save people, but the whole fire-and-brimstone thing is pretty outdated. His tactics don’t work, but they do make for a funny thing to talk about amongst peers.”
Sheehan said if he could ask Brother Jed one question, he would probably ask him to grab a beer with him.