Reverend Jim Jones--Jonestown: The Peoples Temple Mass Suicide/Death 1978
Hello everybody. I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying your day. We had a few fires on the Fourth of July. This was due to the carelessness of people using fireworks too close to homes and dry woods. Here in Florida I don’t have to tell you we’re hitting heat factors over 100°. When you walk outside and get in your car and get it started and by the time the air is somewhat cooled down you are most likely drenched in sweat. It’s awful! Especially if you’re oily anyway like I am. I have always struggled with that but from what I hear it helps slow down the aging process but who knows. I’ve gotten completely off the subject friends. Lol. Please forgive me. ADHD slips through now and then.
James Warren Jones was an American cult leader. He started what he called the Peoples Temple, originally located in Indiana. Then in the 1960s, he moved the Peoples Temple to San Francisco, California. He gained quite a bit of notoriety when the Peoples Temple moved to San Francisco in the early 1970s. He was the head and dictator for leading the 1978 mass murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, 918 members of his Temple including 276 children, were found dead by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. Many say Jim Jones is one of the prominent psychopaths in American history. The motive of the mass revolutionary suicide, (he had a unhealthy obsession with death when he was young and as an adult.) Revolutionary suicide I’ll have to explain in another blog. Anyway, according to Jim Jones himself, he wanted to "protest the conditions of an inhumane world." Jones is thought to have shot himself in the head at the final stage of the mass suicide. He was found dead at the scene with a gunshot wound on the back of his head. Let’s not forget he was also responsible for the death of those visitors including Congressman Leo Ryan, was making a visit to Jonestown Temple to investigate human rights violation complaints against Jim Jones. Jones had six adoptive children and one biological child with his wife, Marcy.
I’m going to use this particular cult as an example because it is based on Christianity. Exactly what I believe in. I have no illusions that all religions and beliefs can go too far. Or there is always somebody that just takes it too far as I said in my last blog. The Jonestown event is a great but heartbreaking example of that. Any religion or personal beliefs can get radical and this was one of them. I stipulated in my last blog I would write about Jonestown and Reverend Jim Jones a little further and explain. There are a lot of YouTube videos for you to watch, if you'd like. There are a lot of different tapes he purposely recorded himself to leave behind for everybody to hear. Typical narcissistic psychopath, in my opinion. There was a loudspeaker that played they said almost 24/7, using fear and mind control. Can you imagine hearing somebody go on and on and on? He did this while they slept! The people who were part of his cult were underfed and overworked. I bet the devil was sure dancing when that horrible event took place that day. This man was very cruel he was NO prophet of God. That’s why the Bible tells us to be aware of these false prophets. Many will try and claim this. title.
I’m certainly not exaggerating on anything I say. There were tapes found. He recorded that very violent event that was all over the news. Jim Warren Jones truly was disturbed... a very sick man. Sick with power. He was having sexual relations with men, women and even the young teenagers. When you’re in that kind of position you should not be getting intimate with anybody in your congregation but your wife. From what I understand, she turned a blind eye to all his sexual escapades. Just like with many others, and the human race in general, eventually his ego became so big as his power kept rising. That’s what initially caused him to go dark in the first place, in my humble opinion. It takes a special kind of person to be in that type of position. It’s a calling by God to be in that kind of leadership. It’s not for everybody. There are many temptations and the enemy is just waiting for that person to make a mistake. Or have a weak moment in time.
Let’s discuss from my research about what kind of childhood he had. A lot of times with people like this they don’t always have a bad childhood. But Reverend Jones had a raging alcoholic for a father. His mother would send him to vacation Bible school to help, I guess trying to shelter him from his father. But Jim Jones took to Bible study with great joy. He was never seen without his Bible. As a ten-year-old, they said he would give funerals to all the animals that would die in the neighborhood. But what’s very disturbing is that a girl who grew up with him and was latern interviewed, alluded to the fact that he killed a couple of animals just to be able to give them funerals. She mentioned he was always an "odd duck" for lack of better words.
He was a very handsome man. Also very charismatic. He had, I believe, that southern drawl similar to Elvis Presley. He just had a way with people and making them feel good and wanted, and loved. On the plus side, he was big into civil rights to stop segregation. He could’ve done so many wonderful things. That’s what makes me so sad. He was on the right track for a while. He even had the respect from some political figures at one time. And other people of that nature. The more everybody revered him because there was nobody else like him at that time in the Bible Belt community. Sticking up for civil rights and speaking their mind whether you like it or not. No matter who you were. You have to remember it started in the 1950s and ended in the 70s.
Once he was able to move The Peoples Temple to Guyana, almost 1000 members followed him. In the United States people were starting to catch on to what was spreading around from former temple members that something wasn’t right. There would be public punishments in front of the whole congregation, slapping people and so-called beatings. There were very concerned family members. They just really wanted to get the other family members out. But he used fear to brainwash these people. In November 1978, the Congressman from California, Leo Ryan, along with other delegattes, the media, and concerned relatives flew to Guyana to see exactly what was going on.
Jim Jones ordered his death and everybody with him along with the people who left Jonestown. Fifteen people left and he couldn’t handle it. To him, that was a betrayal. The Congressman‘s assistant survived and I believe two cameramen from NBC as well. There were other survivors that were able to run into the jungle in the middle of the chaos, avoiding detecton. Thank God! Jim Jones had men surrounding that compound with a variety of military type guns. It was said that he even had grenades; however, I can’t confirm those allegations. But it wouldn’t surprise me. How did he get past U.S customs with cyanide and all those guns? That’s something that they never figured out, or maybe not telling. It could go either way. The point is the survivors and their families of the non-survivors still hurt very much over this. How do you get over a mass murder like that? I know some did drink the poisoned punch willingly but not all 274 children did. They did not have a choice. It’s heartbreaking.
People who are brainwashed and will kill at any moment people who would kill their own family members. This is how badly brainwashed they became a little at a time. Jones said they were all going to be in so much trouble. He told them since the congressman was dead, they would be back to torture the babies and kill all of them. Which was a huge lie. He lied to them and said that they had to shoot in self-defense. He didn’t tell them that they shot them all down -- he left that part out. He had them thinking people were going to come back to torture their babies and put them in prison because the the congressman and his group was shot.
In conclusion, this is an example where any religion can go radical or there’s always somebody your small group that takes it too far. Sadly this was one of those events.
Written by Jennifer Auld