An interview with John Coltharp,
reveals he thinks he will be martyred
like Joseph Smith, for his beliefs
By James Tilson
MANTI—Before he left the Sanpete County Jail to go to prison last week, John Coltharp agreed to an interview in order, he said, to clear up inaccuracies in the way he had been portrayed in the media.
The first inaccuracy he wanted to clear up was that his order was not a “doomsday” cult. “The Knights of the Crystal Blade was a fraternal order,” he said. “It was basically a way to be organized in whatever it is we decided to do, because we felt that the church in Utah, the LDS church, was falling short on certain things that were its responsibility to do. We believed we were led by revelation, and by spirit, by good principals as we went.”
However, on further questioning, Coltharp continued to fall back on language referring to the end of time and the destruction of present-day society.
“We’re living in a time when gross darkness covers the Earth and all flesh is corrupt,” he said. “The whole world is going to suffer destruction, because the majority of people fight against Zion, they fight against the laws of God.
“Isiah says the Earth is destined to burn, and few men are left. Many are called, but few are chosen. We will be gathered out from the midst of the terrors. I look at the way society is today, there is an all-out war against sanity. I look at the promotion of transgenderism, homosexuality, all these people praising weird, disgusting things.”
Coltharp repeated what he had said at his sentencing hearing that he doesn’t believe he will serve to the end of his prison sentence.
“I don’t think the present structure of society is going to survive the duration of my sentence,” he said. “I know the Lord has promised me and has shown me certain things I will do in the future that obviously necessitate me not being in here. [But] I don’t plan on escaping and having the U.S. Marshalls go looking for me.”
When asked to describe his beliefs, he said he was following Joseph Smith, but picking up where he left off and moving forward based on personal revelations. “I believe the work [Joseph Smith] did was good, inspired, and I believe I have been called to pick up where he let off.”
“I believe Joseph Smith is what he claimed to be. I believe the Book of Mormon and the (Doctrine and) Covenants. I believe in the restoration. And I believe that because the Saints did not live up to all the commandments they were given, the Lord allowed them to be driven from place to place.”
But, he was quick to add, his version of God’s message did not derive from other sources, but from his own “revelations” and “visions.”
“Those things came to me so powerful, in experiences, including experiences in this jail, that when I say now I know ‘perfectly,’ I know perfectly. I’ve pierced the veil several times; I’ve spoken to God. I don’t have doubt anymore.”
Since his actions were dictated by revelations, he said he did not think that he had done anything wrong by the child victims.
“Based on the research I had done, I knew that in ancient time, the marriage consisted of two or three stages, depending on which period of time you’re talking about,” he explained. “The first part was just a promise of a future relationship, from the father to another man with regard to the daughter.
“The next step was a formal ceremony, where we married each other’s daughters, and they consented to it. The third stage of marriage was sexual consummation. We did receive revelation that it was not only appropriate, but ideal to a certain extent to have some degree of physical affection with the person.”
When asked if he thought that having sexual relations with so young a child might be seen as abusive, Coltharp replied, “I think that taking a child and abusing that person, not loving them, doing it outside a celestial marriage outside God’s laws, could be abusive.”
When told others had described him as “manipulative and controlling,” he said, “I tell people the truth. I show people what the facts are, and some people absolutely hate that. And they feel like they are manipulated because they can’t sit on the fence anymore. They’re compelled by the force of reason, by the force of evidence, to take a hard proposition on something now, because now they know what the facts are.”
He was asked if he was afraid of what might happen to him in prison. “
“I’m aware of the danger,” he said, “but when I went down this road a long time ago I was prepared to face whatever consequences there are. I believe I will probably be killed for what I believe; that’s a pretty likely scenario.”