‘Mormon Land’: Why so many Latter-day Saints are drawn to a YouTube channel run by a former ‘Mormon basher’

Evangelical pastor’s show, Hello Saints, seeks to build bridges between faith groups that have, at times, been bitter enemies.

Jeff McCullough took a trip to Utah in 2020, and it changed his life.

No, the evangelical pastor didn’t convert to the state’s predominant religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he didn’t launch a virulent campaign to explore what some have seen as Mormonism’s heresies. Instead, he felt a divine call to launch a YouTube channel, titled Hello Saints, to, as he put it, “fight criticism with curiosity.”

“Most of my Christian friends didn’t say very nice things about the people from the LDS Church,” McCullough says in his introduction, “and I don’t really like that.”

So the 43-year-old Hope Chapel minister from the Bible Belt, who calls himself a “recovering Mormon basher,” set about exploring the beliefs and practices of the Utah-based faith, eager to build bridges between that church and evangelical Christians.

McCullough now lives in the Beehive State and has produced more than 90 short videos comparing and contrasting “the lifestyle, culture and beliefs of Mormons and mainstream Christianity,” including questions like these: Are Mormons Christians? What do Christians and Latter-day Saints agree and disagree about?

On his journey to familiarize himself and his audience with this unfamiliar faith, he has viewed General Conference, attended Sunday services, read the Book of Mormon and toured a Latter-day Saint temple.

His Hello Saints channel, which operates as a nonprofit and attracts mainly Latter-day Saints, has 60,000 subscribers and nearly 7 million views. He is currently hosting a virtual summit with interviews and presentations by Latter-day Saints and evangelicals on topics ranging from Jesus and marriage to politics and heaven.

On this week’s show, McCullough discusses his online efforts, his approach and what he hopes to accomplish.

Listen to the podcast: