A self-described “prophet” for a new fundamentalist Mormon cult has been arrested after being found with four young girls, two of whom weren’t his own.
Samuel Warren Shaffer (below), who purports himself to be a prophet and the head of the “Knights of the Crystal Blade” cult, was arrested as the result of an Amber Alert issued for Hattie Coltharp, 4, and Dina Coltharp, 8.
Their grandfather, Steve Sobel, confirmed the news to CBS4 later that night. He said the girls were found in a “storage receptacle.”
Sheriff’s Department in Iron County Utah said it was doubtful the children would have survived the night.
BREAKING: Both 4&8 y/o girls allegedly abducted have been FOUND!! Safe but very cold. @ironsheriff says they were found shortly after the suspect, Shaffer, was taken into custody. #Lund #kutv2news #SoUT pic.twitter.com/7m3WNT3pHD
— D.J. Bolerjack (@DJBolerjack) December 5, 2017
The mother of those two girls, Micha Coltharp, said her ex-husband John Coltharp took the children (despite being denied custody) in September and she hadn’t seen them since.
She told Fox 13 she believes her ex-husband joined Shaffer in a religious sect called the “Knights of the Crystal Blade.”
“They are with a man that calls himself Samuel ‘The Seer,'” Micha said. “His name is Samuel Warren Shaffer and he believes he holds the keys of this dispensation and he has been many people throughout the history of time and that he has been reincarnated. They are following his prophecies and I believe he is with them and helping hide the children.“
Coltharp’s sister, Cindi Ray, on Monday said her brother has fundamentalist Mormon beliefs, including support for polygamy, though he has never practiced plural marriage. Coltharp and Shaffer, Ray said, started a religion called Knights of the Crystal Blade and have baptized each other and Dinah.
On a website titled “The kingdom of God or nothing!!!,” Shaffer outlines a religious doctrine he says was handed down to him by God on the morning of June 22, 2015.
I took a closer look at the Knights of the Crystal Blade website, which reads just as you’d expect from a cult manifesto. There are lots of Christian elements, and the links to Mormonism are unmistakable, but what struck me were the attacks on homosexuality and feminism, which are described as “plagues.”
Think about that: child sex is completely fine and even encouraged, but feminisim and same-sex relationships are the enemy. While the website itself doesn’t explicitly condone marrying young girls, Coltharp’s sister has informed the police about what they really believe.
Ray worried her nieces were being hidden so they could be placed in a marriage at an early age.
According to her, Coltharp has “said to all of [his] siblings in the past that girls are meant to get married at the age of 12 — their bodies are ready.”
This is the last group in the world that should be caring for young girls, especially considering its stated position on child sexuality and marriage. I’m happy these girls have been returned, but we need to make sure this type of thing can’t happen again. This type of extremist cult is a danger to society.