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What role did 'cult-like' religion play in disappearance of Lori Vallow's children?

NEW Lori Vallow booking photo - credit CBS.jpg
The fringe religious views held by Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell may provide insight into what happened to Vallow's two missing children. (Photo: CBS)

The fringe religious views held by Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell may provide insight into what happened to Vallow's two missing children.

“She’s (Vallow) taking cues from the Bible, but then apparently feels like she has a special role in preparing people for Jesus’ return,” said Patrick Mason, Mormon history and culture chair at Utah State University.

RELATED: Case of missing children tied to doomsday beliefs, 3 deaths

The couple are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but they also hold more extreme views.

“She apparently told her ex-husband that she had been chosen by God — maybe was even a god herself — to lead 144,000 people in preparing the world for Jesus to return,” Mason said. “That’s a number that gets thrown out by various religious groups because it comes out of the book of Revelation, from the Bible.”

He said worshipers often point out that they’re part of the mainstream faith and attend church on Sundays.

“Mormonism has always had people with visionary experiences, with spiritual experiences, because the idea of personal revelation is at the heart of the religion — that God can talk with anybody,” Mason said. “It means that some people have taken that idea and really run with it.”

Family members have noted a change, saying they noticed "cult-like" behavior.

In some cases, people with fringe beliefs become violent.

“Oftentimes, it’s a feeling that God has a special message, God has given somebody a special mission,” Mason said, “and that mission is so serious that they need to remove anybody who gets in the way.”

Vallow and Daybell believe the end of the world is near — July of this year.

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