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Jeffrey "Jeff" Difford, usually called Pastor Jeff, is a pastor at the church Sheldon and his family attend in the series spinoff Young Sheldon. Sheldon considers Pastor Jeff an enemy of his and enjoys forcing Jeff to engage in lengthy debates over the credibility of Christianity.

Sheldon harbors anger towards Jeff for his pro-Christian principles and sermons, having gained multitudes of followers and refusing to allow even one atheist voice (Sheldon himself) to argue how science can contradict religion.


Pastor Jeff is a devout Christian who, in his debut appearance, declares the existence of God because it's cynical to doubt so. Sheldon, trying to fluster the pastor, claims there is a flaw in his reasoning. Jeff enthusiastically gives him a few seconds to elucidate, but then cuts Sheldon off short before he can talk any more about atheism and science towards the church. This is what makes Sheldon develop a strong contempt for Pastor Jeff and makes him more determined to discredit the pastor and his viewpoints.

Jeff was married to a Hispanic woman named Selena, although she doesn't speak English, causing a language barrier between them. Selena doesn't seem to like Jeff and thinks he failed as a husband. Jeff had stolen Selena's credit card for money because the church was losing money, thus putting Jeff and Selena at the risk of bankruptcy. Jeff tries to keep his financial hardship a secret from Selena, fearing that this will make her want to divorce him. Jeff had also lied or exaggerated to Selena how rich he is.

Season 1[]

He is introduced in Pilot (Young Sheldon) and answers several questions that Sheldon asks during his sermon.

One particular Sunday, he is interrupted by Sheldon, so he invites him up and sits him near the lectern, where they talk about science and God. He is a great talker, beating Sheldon by confusing him and thus making Sheldon vow to beat Jeff the following Sunday. That next Sunday, Sheldon asks about photons, to which Jeff responds saying God created the photon. (Poker, Faith, and Eggs)

Sheldon goes to Sunday school and tells them about the conclusion he's come to after having studied religion. He's decided to start his own religion called Mathology. The pastor tells him that he's at a Baptist Sunday school, to which Sheldon replies that he knows; he's here to convert everybody. Unhappy about this, the Pastor takes Sheldon to talk to his mother. Sheldon hosts his first religious Mathology gathering. He has one attendee and that's Billy. (Demons, Sunday School, and Prime Numbers)

Pastor Jeff has heard that Brenda Sparks, Mary Cooper, and Meemaw had some drama, so he had to intervene; He manages to get those three to sit down on the Cooper Household living room and discuss it. Eventually, he gets them to put away their differences. (A Dog, a Squirrel, and a Fish Named Fish)

Sheldon claims that he still vows to destroy Pastor Jeff's comments about Christianity triumphing over atheism after having been denied the chance to do so using evidence of Earth's archeology and rock geology. (Dolomite, Apple Slices, and a Mystery Woman)

Jeff is at church, introduces the Cooper family to his wife Selena. She later hires Mary as the church. When Mary does an audit on the finances, she reveals that they can't spend the couch at $2,000 since Selena spends too much. At the same day, he tells her about her spending habits and is concerned. Later on, he comes in asks about his decision to take her credit card away from her purse. His decision is validated by Mary's words. (Potato Salad, a Broomstick, and Dad's Whiskey)

Season 2[]

Jeff is giving a sermon when Sheldon asks a question, to his usual dismay. Later he tells Mary to take a week off to refresh herself after Stephanie Hanson's daughter died. The next Sunday, he is preaching again, but somewhat welcomes to answer Meemaw's question. To his dismay, it was Sheldon who had a question. (A Crisis of Faith and Octopus Aliens)

One day, he baptizes people in his church and one of them is Veronica Duncan. (A Race of Superhumans and a Letter to Alf) It turns out that Jeff's marriage with Selena has sunk so low that he tries to stay away from her as much as possible and stay outside his house even when he's sick with a flu. (A Math Emergency and Perky Palms)

As the series progresses, Jeff is depicted as being more concerned about how much money he can make off of promoting Christianity such as church attendance or church-related activities such as a Halloween Hell House, which he uses to try to turn its visitors away from sinful behavior) instead of (or at least not only because of) sincere religious beliefs. That year, he had asked Mary Cooper to promote Hell House, which was done to resounding success. (Seven Deadly Sins and a Small Carl Sagan)

Sheldon asks him for advice on a political campaign at school; Jeff replies saying to channel the words that God has him to say out loud.(A Political Campaign and a Candy Land Cheater)

Jeff talks to mary about his troubled marriage to Selena. He is at the cooper house and says grace, and stays over. The next day, he drives Mary to the church, but drives past a stop sign. This gets the attention of Officer Robyn, who pulls him over and talks to him; she takes an interest in his church, and Mary says he's single. Robyn lets him leave.(A Broken Heart and a Crock Monster)

Jeff overhears on the news and such that Sheldon had wanted to implement communism to ensure bread taste the same. Concerned at the over arching public opinion, he had Mary come to hish office to chat, and wanted her to make a public statement. (A Loaf of Bread and a Grand Old Flag)

Season 3[]

Jeff is very into Robin and wants Mary to give him on a date. (A Broom Closet and Satan's Monopoly Board)

In an upcoming carnival, Jeff wanted Mary to volunteer Sheldon to join in the carnival at the dunk tank. At the carnival, Jeff invites people to throw tomatoes at himself, but no one wants to. When Sheldon comes, he makes a comment abut his umbrella, but is told it is a Parasol. (A Parasol and a Hell of an Arm)

Mary visits Pastor Jeff and reveals how George and Georgie are getting greedy for money. Given that the world practically preaches about material gains, how can she protect her family from the sin of greed? Pastor Jeff cites an example of how he, himself, almost fell for a toaster oven in spite of owning a fully functional toaster and an oven at home. He explains that it's better to change our homes than trying to change the whole world in vain.  Later at a mall, Pastor Jeff is at the mall looking longingly at the toaster oven. He tries to make his mind understand and walk away only to return faster and collect it swiftly while apologizing to God for being a weak soul. (The Sin of Greed and a Chimichanga from Chi-Chi's)

Jeff is given a suggestion for a Sunday Sermon, something about neighborly behaviour. He takes it into consideration.(A Party Invitation, Football Grapes and an Earth Chicken) One Sunday, Jeff speaks on the significance of love while eye his then-girlfriend Robin. It was Mary who set them up. After the mass, Billy and his mother Brenda meet with the pastor. Billy's dad wants to eat Matilda, his pet chicken, as she's not laying eggs anymore and Billy wants to know if she'd go to heaven. Pastor Jeff offers him solace by saying yes. Soon, Jeff and Robin speak to Mary about setting up a low-key wedding, on the following Sunday. He and Robin were in abstinence but do not want to wait any longer. Mary visits Pastor Jeff to discuss the wedding, flowers, cake, centerpieces, and guest numbers. Having been married before, Jeff stresses that he wants it to be a bare-bones affair and hopes to have a small guest list. Mary, however, explains that it's Robin's first time as a bride and wants it to be memorable. She argues that invitations to the congregation are a must. Jeff panics a little. He and Mary go cake shopping, and then a tuxedo; he at the same time says she is a role model for him and Robin while he thinks she sucks at wedding management. Jeff and Robin gett married on Saturday in holy matrimony. After the kiss, they run out, wanting to engage in intercouse.(A Live Chicken, a Fried Chicken and Holy Matrimony)

Season 4[]

Sheldon likes to debate Jeff, even after recovery from a bicycle accident during Sunday School. (Training Wheels and an Unleashed Chicken) Jeff hosts a bible camp at church. He asks if people have space in their hearts for God. At camp Pastor Jeff sings with Missy making current song requests. Pastor Jeff begins trivia with Sheldon answering questions and Paige not caring. (Bible Camp and a Chariot of Love)

Jeff enlists George Cooper Sr. to help set up a nursery. George and Pastor Jeff continue to get ready for the baby and discuss life as parents. Pastor Jeff is still excited, even though George keeps trying to tell him the negative aspects. He freaks out a bit about being a dad but is calmed down Jeff takes a ride with George on a motorcycle, squealing in delight. (Freshman Orientation and the Inventor of the Zipper)

Pastor Jeff leading vacation Bible School in prayer for a good year of school. Sheldon questions if it covers the college bound. Pastor Jeff says yes and thanks him for reminding him that he is in college. (A Philosphy Class and Worms That Can Chase You)

At the church, Pastor Jeff goes to Mary's desk to complain about a sign he saw over at the Methodist church. "Friendship, pirate ship, try the best ship... worship." When Mary says that's clever, Pastor Jeff says he wrote that last year. Mary thinks getting people to church is the important thing, but Pastor Jeff is just happy to know whoever copied his line has the sin of stealing on their soul now. As Pastor Jeff goes to leave, Mary mentions she saw him and Brenda Sparks walking this morning. After Jeff says it's a good way to start the day, Mary says she'd go with George but gym teachers aren't much for walking. Missing the hint, Pastor Jeff tells her to keep asking and maybe he'll come around. Mary explains she saw Pastor Jeff and Brenda walking and thought it looked like fun. (A Box of Treasure and the Meemaw of Science)

Pastor Jeff has Peg and Mary in his office and shows pictures of his new child with Robin. He had mentioned he had a dog named Waffles. The pair of women decide to take up some responsibilities for Sundays since he will be busy with the child. (The Wild and Woolly World of Nonlinear Dynamics)

Season 5[]

Hearing that George Sr. is in the hospital, he comes in, gives some get well cards from Sunday School, and gives a prayer before he leaves. One Bad Night and Chaos of Selfish Desires) On one day, Pastor Jeff is preaching to the kids about the Book of Moses, and how he was sailed down a river during the Pharoe's slaughter of first-born children. The Pastor is mixing this with stories of his own difficulties as a new father. Pastor Jeff reminds Sheldon that the massacres were the work of the Pharaoh, not God. However. Sheldon points out that he claimed these events were God's will. "How do you sleep at night?," he asks. After this, he decides to recruit a new youth pastor; In a search with Peg, and Mary, he decides on Pastor R Rob. (Snoopin' Around and the Wonder Twins of Atheism) Jeff and Mary had gone on a trip when they sang a Christian version of Oh Mcdonalds.(Stuffed Animals and A Sweet Southern Syzygy) At church, Jeff notices in the church gazette that one advertisement was gone. He asks mary about it, to which she replies Peg must have removed it. They have a nice talk. (The Granc Chancellor and a Den of Sin) At church, a lock in occurs. He manages and watches the kids. Some of He had confesticated some things, including a water balloon from Billy. Soon enough, he had to leave because his kid had a fever and was forced to go back home. (A Lock-In, a Weather Girl and a Disgusting Habit)

Missy calls Jeff asking if she can babysit but he seemed uninterested. (Babies, Lies and a Resplendent Cannoli)

Mary is told of Georgie getting Mandy pregnant and asks for his advice. He said the father and mothers should get married before the birth of the child and God would look the other way; he also blames the parents for lack of value sand virtues. (Uncle Sheldon and a Hormonal Firecracker)

Pastor Jeff, George, Mary, and Rob are in a meeting with Jeff. He states that the tight knit community means hard decisions need to be done. After some back and forth, Mary and Rob both want to create a teaching moment as Jeff preaches a sermon about forgiveness and judgement. But he wants her to take a leave of absence. (White Trash, Holy Rollers and Punching People)

Season 6[]

Jeff takes out the trash and at the same time runs into Mary. He tries striking up conversation and asks about Georgie and Mandy. Mary is pretty sure he wants to say “bastard” but doesn't. He goes back home soon after, but not before requesting that she comes back to church. The next day, he preaches a sermon about love while everyone in the church shuns the Coopers. Hurt and embarrassed, Mary leaves with Sheldon and Missy, although the former returns and interrupts the sermon by calling everyone out for their hypocrisy, but is dragged out. After church, he comes to the Cooper home and is greeted by Missy, who is understandably cold to him. After Mary arrives, he apologizes for what he had done, but calls her out for walking away from God. In return, Mary shuts the door on his face after saying it felt like the lord is the one who is walking away from her and her family. (Four Hundred Cartons of Undeclared Cigarettes and a Niblingo).

Jeff was told of the sexual content in the Video store, and organized a public pressure campaign. He had a table outside with a petition for people to sign it, Meemaw had use a fire extinguisher to leave. Meemaw goes to the church, and drops off a video of Dirty Dancing. She reveals that his wife, Robin had rented the movie five times and Fatal Attraction six times. Jeff realizes he's being blackmailed by Meemaw; if Jeff continued on with his public petition, then she would reveal to the public about the movie rentals by his wife and the church elders. He begs her with, “Connie, please”. Adult Sheldon provides a voice over of hearing a man beg. (Legalese and a Whole Hoo-Ha)

Jeff confronts Mary and Missy during Sheldon's yard sale. The issue is that his niece Tonya (who is living with him for the summer) had a VHS tape of an R-rated movie disguised as the film Bambi, rented from the video store where Missy works. He then shows up having told the congregation about Sheldon's opportunity to study in Germany and presents him with money from the collection plate, remarking that he had never seen it that full. (German for Beginners and a Crazy Old Man with a Bat)

Jeff decided to get his clothes washed so she decided to get them done at the Laundromat. Dale recognizes him and tells Meemaw, who tells Dale to be nice and pretend, and not reveal it at all. However, due to the tornado damaging the business, Meemaw had to bring everyone including him into the gambling den. To pass the time, Jeff leads the group in a prayer session. After the tornado dissipates, Pastor Jeff helps the Coopers with Meemaw's house and decides he will keep quiet about the gambling room because she's been punished enough. (A Tornado, a 10-Hour Flight and a Darn Fine Ring)

Season 7[]

He is told by his wife about a bunch of money that she found. He felt it is not very Christian-like to keep it as it came from Meemaw's house. He later is surprised at the presence of a 27-inch television purchased by Robin so he accepts it. Later, he gives it to George as he felt that that was the right thing to do. (A Wiener Schnitzel and Underwear in a Tree)

He reappeared again in A Frankenstein's Monster and a Crazy Church Guy.

Pastor Jeff helps the Coopers arrange George's funeral. (Funeral)

Jeff gets yelled at by Missy before the baptism because he had unknowingly reminded her of her father's death, but Sheldon continues to be baptized. (Memoir)


Although he tries to pass himself off as a good, morally superb and reasonable person, Pastor Jeff on the inside is depicted by the show's writers as a greedy, insecure liar who will do anything to promote religion because the only way he can make money is to find more people in his town to convert to Christianity to the point where he tries to convert children. Jeff even tried stealing money from his wife Selena because the church is on the verge of bankruptcy. Jeff is an unskilled critical thinker. His decision to marry Selena was also a poor one, given that she was abusive and the two have nothing in common. However, despite this, Jeff is shown to be able to fluently speak Spanish when he translated Selena's language. Jeff was not financially prepared to marry Selena, yet he exaggerated to her about how well he's doing with money. She leaves him in the penultimate Season 2 episode "A Broken Heart and a Crock Monster", considering him a loser.

Additionally, Jeff can act prejudice and hypocritical. This is displayed when after learning of Georgie's pregnancy, he lays Mary off from her job even though he was previously talking about how big of a tight community the church is, something that even George Sr. calls him out on. His hypocritical side is shown again when he tried to force Connie to remove all movies he and the more judgmental congregation members find objectional because of nudity or language. Connie finds out that his wife rented Dirty Dancing and Fatal Attraction multiple times, which Jeff is well aware of.


  • Jeff, who appears to be a weak defender of his faith, tries (with mixed success) to discredit Sheldon's (and by extension, any atheist's) claims of there being "gaps" in the Bible and his attacks on Christianity's detailing of the origins of the universe. Making Pastor Jeff a weak and flawed defender of Christianity is by the design of series creator Chuck Lorre, who has a low opinion of religion in general and of Christianity in particular.
  • Ironically, it is not Jeff who convinces Sheldon of God's existence, but Sheldon himself expresses his belief in the possibility of a higher power via scientific points he makes in "A Crisis of Faith and Octopus Aliens" as he attempts to help Mary through her crisis of faith and restore her faith in God following the death of a congregation member's teenage daughter in a car accident; he points out the precision of the universe, including gravity and electromagnetic forces being precisely as they are to support life as we know it, and rhetorically asks Mary what the odds are of these things happening by themselves. Sheldon then indicates that this logically points toward the existence of a Creator (which reflectively would actually make Sheldon an agnostic, not an atheist - which also indicates that Lorre dishonestly uses a broad definition of atheism to also include agnosticism in his depictions of Sheldon).
  • His first name is Jeffrey, as revealed at his wedding to Robin in "A Live Chicken, a Fried Chicken and Holy Matrimony".
  • His surname was Hodgkins, but it was changed for unknown reason.





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Young Sheldon Episodes
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Season 2 8
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Season 4 M 6
Season 5 M M 9
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Season 7 5
Appeared M = Mentioned Did not appear Not aired/Not available
V = Voiced C = Cameo F = Flashback I = Indirectly mentioned P = Pictured
v · e · d
Young Sheldon Characters
Main Characters Main Sheldon Cooper  ‧  Mary Cooper  ‧  George Cooper Sr.  ‧  George Cooper Jr.  ‧  Missy Cooper  ‧  Meemaw  ‧  Jeff Difford  ‧  Billy Sparks  ‧  Amanda McAllister
Recurring and Minor Characters John Sturgis  ‧ Tam Nguyen  ‧  Paige Swanson  ‧  Veronica Duncan  ‧  Brenda Sparks  ‧  Herschel Sparks  ‧  Victoria McElroy  ‧  Evelyn Ingram  ‧  Wayne Wilkins  ‧  Hubert Givens  ‧  Sheryl Hutchins  ‧  Gene Lundy  ‧  Tom Petersen  ‧  Le Nguyen  ‧  Trang Nguyen  ‧  Mai Nguyen  ‧  Kim-Ly Nguyen   ‧  Barry Swanson  ‧  Linda Swanson  ‧  Erica Swanson  ‧  Dale Ballard  ‧  Selena  ‧  Robin Difford  ‧  Jana  ‧  Marcus Larson  ‧  June  ‧  Grant Linkletter  ‧ Linda Hagemeyer  ‧ Pat  ‧ Professor Boucher  ‧ Jim McAllister  ‧ Audrey McAllister  ‧ Amber