IDAHO FALLS — An author who worked closely with Chad Daybell warned him three years ago that his teachings “will lead to death and sorrow.”
Suzanne Freeman was one of the first writers to have her work published by Spring Creek Book Company, which Daybell launched in 2004. Over the next ten years, she partnered with him on three projects but in 2014, she felt uncomfortable with the direction his business was moving and new authors he was working with.
“He started publishing non-Mormon doctrine stories – people’s different experiences and stuff, and I just told him there’s something that’s not quite right,” Freeman told EastIdahoNews.com earlier this month. “Plus, we were working on a book of mine together to take out of the LDS stuff, and I was kind of surprised by that because he was an LDS author.”
Freeman and Chad parted ways, but she wanted the publishing rights to her book back. On June 2, 2017, she sent him an email making the request with a stern warning:
I was wondering if it was at all possible for you to give me the rights of the books. I understand that you are busy but I have paid you off last fall and I have not seen any royalties since last year.
I have had a deep respect for you and have thought that you were following the spirit but in the past few years I think that deception has crept in.
I do not agree with what you are publishing. I have come to the understanding that what you are publishing is false.
I understand that you don’t agree and you might just think I am being spiteful or jealous in some way. That is further from the truth, but in the end, truth will prevail and the truth of all things will be shown to those who are true and faithful.
I know without a shadow of a doubt what you are preaching will not lead to happiness. It will lead to death and sorrow.
Daybell responded two days later, saying he was sorry Freeman had “bitter feelings” toward him and agreed to return her publishing rights. The two communicated via email for several months but Freeman said she never got the rights back.
Freeman provided the email chain to EastIdahoNews.com with some personal information and details redacted. She forgot about the messages until she went back to her email archive this week.
“I kept the emails because I wanted proof that he said he would give them (the publishing rights) to me and when I read through it…it was just plain old eerie. I just don’t know what to make of it honestly,” she tells EastIdahoNews.com.
Freeman says when she told Chad his teachings would result in “death and sorrow,” she was referring to his predictions about the end-of-times. She was particularly bothered about his idea that a “call-out” would happen where righteous members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with food storage and temple recommend would gather at Church-owned camps and prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
“I figured they’d be up in the hills and people would be shooting each other because of food storage and stuff like that,” Freeman says. “It was bad what he was doing and everybody was so obsessed with the “call-out” and wanting to go out there. If I even said anything remotely bad about these authors (he was working with), I would be attacked viciously. I had to quit a lot of these (online) forums because they were so abusive.”
Freeman recalls telling friends that Daybell’s beliefs were dangerous but she had forgotten about the blunt warning she said to him in the message until this week.
“It was a hard email for me to read. I’ll be honest,” Freeman says. “Maybe I thought I was being overdramatic just so I could get my rights back. I didn’t think Chad would be a killer. I figured people would follow what was predicted and then people would die because of the false predictions.”
Freeman held out hope that Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan would be found alive. When she saw EastIdahoNews.com confront Daybell and his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, in Hawaii in January, she had a bad feeling about the children but never suspected their bodies would be recovered in Daybell’s backyard.
She now looks back on her email message three years ago and wishes somehow Daybell would have taken her words to heart.
“For me to see this, I feel like maybe I could have stopped it if he would have just listened to me,” Freeman says.
Suzanne Freeman provided the following emails to EastIdahoNews.com showing her exchange with Chad Daybell. Personal information and details have been redacted.