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Jonestown the life and death of peoples temple

Download PDF On-screen text: On November 18th, 1978, in Jonestown, Guyana, 909 members of Peoples Temple died in what has been called the largest mass suicide in modern history. Nobody joins a cult.

Nobody joins something they think is going to hurt them. You join a religious organization, you join a political movement, and you join with people that you really like.


I think in everything that I tell you about Jim Jones, there is going to be a paradox. Having this vision to change the world, but having this whole undercurrent of dysfunction that was underneath that vision.

Some people jonestown the life and death of peoples temple a great deal of God in my body. They see Christ in me, a hope of glory. Jim Jones talked about going to the Promised Land and then, pretty soon, we were seeing film footage of Jonestown. Rice, black-eyed peas, Kool-Aid. Kristine Kravitz, Peoples Temple Member: We all wanted to go.

I wanted to go. Grace Stoen, Peoples Temple Member: Peoples Temple truly had the potential to be something big and powerful and great, and yet for whatever reason, Jim took the other road.

On the night of the 17th, it was still a vibrant community. I would never have imagined that 24 hours later, they would all be dead. Jim Jones archival, subtitles: Die with a degree of dignity! I vividly remember the first time that I met Jim Jones. My sister Carolyn had invited my parents and my younger sister and I to visit her in Potter Valley.

Annie and I were sent out to go on a walk. When we came back, something had happened. Something terrible had happened, because everyone had red eyes except for Jim Jones.

He was carrying on an jonestown the life and death of peoples temple relationship with my sister.

Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple

Everything was plausible, except in retrospect, the whole thing seems absolutely bizarre. Welcome, welcome all of you. Janet Shular, Peoples Temple Member: Stanley Clayton, Peoples Temple Member: We all got suited down, neck-tied and everything. You know, and we were sharp. Tim Carter, Peoples Temple Member: As soon as I walked into the San Francisco temple, I was home. I was one of those kind of guys that — I used drugs. I was an alcoholic.

I drunk alcohol and stuff like that. And — and all these people that were like my age, they were clean. Without our pastor, Jim Jones, to teach me the right way, I would not be in college right now. Thank you very much, thank you.

There was an interracial group. Never heard a jonestown the life and death of peoples temple speak like this man before. All the days of my life, ever since I been born, I never heard a man speak like this man before. Something got a hold of me, oh yes indeed. I said something jonestown the life and death of peoples temple a hold of me.

Garrett Lambrev, Peoples Temple Member: The Peoples Temple services, they had life, they had soul, they had power. We were alive in those services.

Claire Janaro, Peoples Temple Member: I would be up jumping in the balcony and clapping my hands. By the time Jones did come out to do his speaking, the table had already been set. I represent divine principle, total equality, a society where people own all things in common.

Jonestown : the life and death of Peoples Temple

Where there is no rich or poor. Where there are no races. Wherever there is people struggling for justice and righteousness, there I am. And there I am involved. What he spoke about were things that were in our hearts. The government was not taking care of the people.

There were too many poor people out there. There were poor children. The world is like a human family. The little child may not be able to go and draw a paycheck, but the father guarantees the childcare. The grandmother may not be able to work anymore, but the father and mother guarantees her the right to live. Every single person felt that they had a purpose there and that they were exceptionally special. And that is how he brought so many young college kids in, so many older black women in, so many people from diverse backgrounds who realized that there was something bigger than themselves that they needed to be involved in — and that Jim Jones offered that.

Indiana, 1931-1965 Jim Jones archival, subtitles: The moment I think of it a great deal of pain comes. As a child I was undoubtedly one of the poor in the community, never accepted.

Born as it were on the wrong side of the tracks. Phyllis Wilmore-Zimmerman, Childhood Friend: I grew up with Jimmy Jones. We started first grade together. Chuck Wilmore, Childhood Friend: From the time I was five years old, I thought Jimmy was a really weird kid, there was something not quite right.

He was obsessed with religion; he was obsessed with death. My brothers jonestown the life and death of peoples temple back with stories of him conducting funerals for small animals that had died. A friend of mine told me that he saw Jimmy kill a cat with a knife.

Well having a funeral for it was a little strange, killing jonestown the life and death of peoples temple animal was very strange. And he was kind of left to his own devices.

Kind of the kid who ran wild in the street, you know what I mean? Listen, he was in a dysfunctional family. We got a nice name for it now. But he did find community in the Pentecostal Church.

He saw that they were a surrogate home.

Jonestown: The Life & Death of People

He saw that the preachers were like father figures to their congregations. And that role represented power over the lives of your congregation. Jim Jones started out on the revival preaching circuit, learning the ropes of being a preacher.

And once he started doing that, it became clear that he could get a following. The first time I met Jim Jones was Easter 1953. My mother-in-law, Edith Cordell, had a monkey and it hung itself and she wanted to replace the monkey. So it was through that that she met Jim Jones, and came back saying that he had invited her to church this next Sunday.

It was everybody welcome there in that church and he made it very plain from the platform. We had some people that disagreed with Jimmy.

They got up in the audience and they said they disagreed with him. They did not like this integration part of the jonestown the life and death of peoples temple.

We did ask people to leave the church one night because of that. I was the first Negro child adopted by a Caucasian family in the state of Indiana. Jim and Marceline actually went to adopt a Caucasian child.

The story goes that Jonestown the life and death of peoples temple was crying real loud and it drew attention for Marceline to come over, and once she picked me up, I stopped crying.