End Times Cult Leader Says He Is Biblical Jacob, Elijah and John; Sentenced for Child Bigamy, Sodomy

Cult leader John Alvin Coltharp was sentenced in Manti's 6th District Court in Utah on August 8, 2018. | (Screenshot: Fox 13)

A doomsday cult leader who claims he is the reincarnation of several biblical prophets has been sentenced to 26-to-life in prison on the charges of child bigamy and sodomy in Utah.

John Alvin Coltharp, 34, was sentenced in Manti's 6th District Court on Wednesday, according to Fox 13. The man, who led an apocalyptic group known as the "Knights of the Crystal Blade" in Spring City, pleaded guilty of inflicting trauma on six children.

The cult leader kidnapped four children last year in central Utah. Police found two of them in a mobile home near Cedar City, while the other two children were found hiding in empty water barrels near freezing temperatures.

Samuel Shaffer, another cult member who was charged, said that he was "betrothed" to Coltharp's 8-year-old daughter, while Coltharp himself was married to his 7-year-old daughter.

Since Coltharp pleaded guilty to child sodomy, a first-degree felony, and child bigamy, a second-degree felony, the child kidnapping and obstruction of justice charges were dropped.

Coltharp made several claims during his sentencing, including that he is the reincarnation of Old Testament prophets Jacob and Elijah and of John.

"My marriage was the right thing to do," Coltharp said. "If I'm a sex offender for what I've done. If I go to the other side, I'll be in good company with all those other sex offenders I've read about in the scriptures."

The cult leader also made prophesies about the end of the world.

"We're living at a time before the Second Coming of Christ, where the majority is going down the wrong road," Coltharp said, according to Deseret News. "And so if I'm judged by majority standards, by people who profess to believe in the scriptures and in those prophesies, I hope they would take that into account."

Judge Marvin Bagley told Coltharp his beliefs are wrong and not of the Bible, and added that he is a danger to others.

Still, the cult leader argued that as a Christian, his religious freedom rights are being impeded.

"I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I taught it to my children and wives, and I'm sorry for the things they had to suffer that are truly bad," he told the judge.

Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels said that he wanted to pursue the death penalty for Coltharp's actions.

"If he wants to be a martyr, I'm more than happy to fill the role of the individual who drops the sword on his head," Daniels told FOX 13.

Steve Soble, a grandfather to some of the victims, condemned Coltharp for what he did.

"It's nice to know that most likely he will be spending the rest of his life in prison and we hope it is very, very uncomfortable for him," Soble said.


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