A man going by the name of Yezrah speaks to students outside of the Nigh University Center on Thursday, March 9, 2017. Yezrah was given permission by the university to stand in a specified area to spread his message to students throughout the day. (Cara Johnson/ The Vista).
Students gathered outside the western end of the Nigh University Center on March 9, around a man who called himself Yezrah, to listen to him speak on campus at the University of Central Oklahoma.
The self-proclaimed prophet came to UCO earlier in the morning to begin preaching about his beliefs about God, the gospel and the appearance of women to students passing the area he occupied and continued well into the afternoon.
“Just like God told Jonah to go to Nineveh so that they would repent, I came here to this campus,” Yezreh said.
He continued to state the belief that, symbolically, he was taking on the role of Jonah and calling students at UCO, his Nineveh, to repent wrongdoing and follow Christ.
In addition, Yezrah carried hair clippers with him to occasionally wave toward the crowd that formed around him, calling on any woman on campus who was not wearing a head-covering to allow him to shave their head.
Yezrah holds clippers to the crowd surround him outside the Nigh University Center on Thursday, March 9, 2017. Throughout the day, he called for female students to shave their heads if they were true believers of Christ, or wear a head-covering. (Cara Johnson/ The Vista).
“The Bible says if a woman be not covered, let her also be shorn,” he said, “So if you’re a real Christian, then let me buzz your hair, or put on a covering… A real Christian obeys the Bible.”
Only some students in the crowd were targeted by the so-called prophet’s judgement. He claimed that he was there solely to judge proclaiming Christians, while non-Christians had already been judged and it was not his place.
Some students responded to Yezrah through shouting, while others took the route of conversation.
“We just kind of talked about everything he was saying,” said UCO junior Jake Spralding, “if someone is going to question my Christianity, I’m going to throw what my knowledge is back at you. So me and him sat down. We talked.”
However, Spralding did not agree with UCO allowing Yezrah on campus.
“He is not a student, staff, or faculty member of UCO,” said Spralding.
— MIKE (@MikeIpong) March 9, 2017
Spralding said that, since practitioners of Jehovah’s Witness and the Mormon faith are not allowed to preach door-to-door through the residence halls, men like Yezrah should not be allowed on campus to preach to students the way he does.
“He, in my personal opinion, has no business being here on campus,” Spralding said.
Yezrah stated that he was required to sign a waiver before entering campus that required him to leave at a certain time, and stay restricted to a certain area of campus.
However, staff members from the university were handing out flyers of ways students can respond constructively if they became upset about the situation.
“Who knows if he is a prophet,” Spralding said, “I mean, nobody knows. There’s only one person that knows, and that’s Jesus Christ. If he isn’t a prophet, he’s false claiming that he is, and therefore he will be shunned at the gates of Heaven.”