- Islam Slayer
Jay Smith - Trekker and Qur'an Killer
Joseph "Jay" Smith, (PhD): World Renowned Islamic Scholar and Polemicist, Christian Apologist, College Roommate, and Lifelong Friend.
Joseph "Jay" Smith, son of Joseph and Marietta Smith, was born in India in the foothills of the Himalaya (heem-ahl-yah) mountains. His parents being missionaries, sent their children to a British Boarding school at Woodstock, in Mussoorie, India.
There, in the Himalayan foothills, Jay excelled at track events, specializing in high-altitude marathon running. As well Jay was experienced with trekking -long distance hiking- in wilderness or mountains (Trekking did not mean Star Trek in those days, though I am a fan of STOS). Jay was also imbued with the Asiatic style of barter, dicker, and debate. His polemic, passionate view of life is what drew me to him in the Fall of 1970 when Jay's family came to the States for a sabbatical. I was attending Western Christian High School and rode the bus from the Upland Brethren-in-Christ church to the school's newest campus in Glendora. One day this whip-cord thin boy gets on the bus and sat down in the next seat. As soon as I heard he was from India, it was all over!
My favorite books as a child included Kipling's The Jungle Book, Kim, Just So Stories (with records) and others (definitely not the modern Disney abominations!) Nag and Bagheera, chai-wallas and chela's had instilled a love of India in my heart. Meeting Jay was friendship on sight. For three months Jay and I were inseparable. I hosted his family to Disneyland, Marineland, and all the other tourist attractions of Southern California. In turn Jay told me his own set of tales from India.
Jay's family stayed in Southern California for only three months, but it seemed like a lifetime, we had bonded so firmly. We vowed to stay in touch. Jay, raised in a British School system, had learned the art of penmanship and letter writing. As pen-pals we wrote each other during my Senior Year. We made plans to attend Messiah College together, which we did. We roomed together for that freshman year. Jay set long-distance running records at Messiah College which I believe still stand. I set records of a different kind. During our off days we trekked the local Appalachian Trail sections
Unfortunately neither one of us was ready to be serious scholars. As to be expected, we were party-hardy boys, and got into scrapes and adventures. At one point I covertly started what evolved into a legendary waterfight, with Jay joining in, between two dorms which ended up causing thousands of dollars in damage (fortunately I was never tagged as the instigator). Jay also had a knife collection curated from all over Asia: We choreographed a knife-fight for a presentation in his public speaking class. The teacher panicked at our "improptu" duel. After being called into the Dean's office for a second time, I asked the Dean to not to kick me out, as I would not return next year. Jay had a better reputation than I did.
At the end of the school year (early June, 1972), we went back to California and rented a bungalow bachelor pad on the campus of the defunct Upland College for $50 a month. It was unheated, but we were hearty young men used to camping, and were trekking in the mountains or desert nearly every weekend. We slept in our expedition-grade sleeping bags on (unheated) waterbed bladders on the floor with no frames. We cooked using our camping gear and washed dishes at the car-wash. M&M's and leftover pizza was regular breakfast fare. We smoked-- uh yeah-- In other words we partied and had a great time...
In May of 1973 we traveled to India together, Jay to see his family and his sister's graduation from Woodstock school and I to see the world. We traveled from Delhi to Mussoorie where we stated at the Smith's summer season bungalow above Woodstock School. From there we visited the Taj Mahal and stayed in Nepal for two weeks. We returned to the US after three months, Jay to continue schooling and I to get married to a girl I met on the way to India.
Since those days, we have stayed in touch. Jay went on to mission work in Senegal, back to the States for school, then London. In 2017 he moved to the States, near where I live now. I often spend Christmas with his family, and we communicate regularly concerning our projects.
The one thing I remember is all the arguments we used to get into. Jay would argue about everything! Over the years I have seen him turn that negative trait into a world-class weapon and brought it to bear on the second largest religion in the world...Islam! And regardless of how much they protest, when looked at clinically with hard evidence, rather than rhetoric, Jay is winning!
Shabash! Tik hai Jeh!