Lori Vallow Daybell’s spiritual inner circle explains her self-described beliefs

Posted at 4:58 PM, April 21, 2023 and last updated 11:34 AM, May 9, 2023


BOISE, Idaho (Court TV) – The twisted nature of Lori Vallow Daybell’s spiritual beliefs is unraveling as some of her closest inner circle testify at her murder trial. The so-called “Doomsday Cult Mom” is charged with murdering two of her children and conspiring to kill the former wife of her fifth husband, Chad Daybell.

FILE – Lori Vallow Daybell sits between her attorneys for a hearing at the Fremont County Courthouse in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Aug. 16, 2022. (Tony Blakeslee/East Idaho News via AP, Pool, File)

Although raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), Lori’s beliefs became increasingly extreme, according to Lori’s cousin, who described a cult-like off-shoot of the church. Lori believed she was part of a special group of people chosen to prepare for the end of the world. These beliefs eventually led her to Chad, a self-published author and self-proclaimed prophet who says he receives direct messages from God.

READ MORE: Chad Daybell: Murder defendant…or prolific author?

Here’s a breakdown of the religious teachings prosecutors say Lori and Chad used to manipulate the people close to them and justify their actions, from the affair to the murders.

The 144,000

A religious concept used in various belief systems and is believed to represent a specific number of people who will be chosen or saved during the end times or the apocalypse. Lori and Chad believe they are in this group, thus have the highest power.

Light and Dark Beings

“People were light before they came to this planet in the pre-mortal realm, and those who made contracts with the Savior were light. Those who signed contracts with Satan were dark,” Melanie Gibb testified.

Lori believed many people in her life who were once light turned dark, including her ex-husband and JJ’s adoptive father Charles Vallow, her second husband Joseph Ryan, Melanie’s husband Brandon Boudreaux, her brother Adam Cox (not to be confused with Alex Cox), her father, Tylee, JJ and Chad’s ex-wife, Tammy Daybell.

Five Worlds

Zulema Pastenes has a journal depicting a diagram of the five worlds that she says Lori, Chad and her group believe in. Each world, or life, was created with a Satan and a Savior. She says the fifth world is Earth, and they believe each time someone dies, there’s a two-minute window in which a demon can take over the body.


Weeks after they began talking about the spirit entering the body, Chad and Lori started using the term “zombie.”

Melanie Gibb testifies she later became aware of the term and she says Alex Cox believed the people Chad and Lori wanted to pass away were referred to as “zombies.”

Melanie says she observed a pattern, “whoever questioned her or her beliefs… they became dark or a zombie.”

Once Lori and Chad identified anyone as a Zombie, they began using pseudonyms to refer to the evil spirits. Examples include Charles Vallow, who they would often refer to as “Ned, Garrett or Hiplos.” Tylee’s evil spirit was called “Hillary,” and Tammy Daybell’s was referred to as “Viola.”

Trust Scales

“Vibrations” that relate to what level of spirituality you are at. Vibrations are typically associated with a person’s level of lightness or darkness. Examples include Lori’s daughter Tylee, rated 4.1 dark, and Zulema, rated 4.2 light. Both Lori and Chad had reached the highest level of lightness.


A term used by Lori and her inner circle referring to a prayer-like ceremony where someone would read forms of scripture and encourage a spirit to come out of the body using the power of God.

Zulema Pastenes testified that the first casting performed by the group in early 2019 included Lori, Zulema, Nicole Atwood, Sarena Sharpe and Melanie Gibb. 

Block Spirits

Zulema Pastenes testified that once a spirit is pushed out of a body during the casting, the body must then be destroyed by:

  • Burning the body.
  • Taking it apart / escorting the spirit away from the body
  • Binding the body / sealing the body so the evil spirit could never return

Pastenes told the court castings were all performed verbally and were not meant to be literal in nature.


Chad would explain to Lori how to make portals, in Lori’s closet or Chad’s bed, so the two could communicate, Zulema Pastenes testified. 

Church of the Firstborn

In LDS theology, the Church of the Firstborn refers to a group of individuals who have been exalted and have reached the highest level of spiritual development and communion with God. The defense asked David Warwick on cross-examination whether he had heard of this, and Warwick replied, “Yes, I’ve seen the scriptures.”


Court TV senior field producer Emanuella Grinberg and Court TV staff contributed to this report.