Anointed photo card of Jim Jones

AnointedJonesThe healing ministry of Jim Jones spread far beyond the walls of the Peoples Temple sanctuaries in Indiana and California. For a free will donation – or, in some cases, following a simple request, especially from someone claiming poverty – the church would send an anointed item which would protect the bearer from illness or accident. The three most common items were prayer cloths, a vial of oil which Jones had blessed, and an anointed picture of the Temple leader.

Jones claimed miraculous powers on numerous occasions which could be attributed to these item. In a tape recorded in 1973 in Philadelphia, Jones says people are saved by the oil and the “blue cloth” they receive from the Temple; at another point in the same service, he tells a woman that if she takes a picture of him, “I guarantee you, you’ll live. You’ll live.” During a Los Angeles service recorded that same year, numerous Temple members testify to the power of Jim’s picture, including a small child who tells of laying the picture on the body of a dead bird, “and it came back alive!” In an undated healing service, Jones tells a woman that the prayer cloth he is giving her “will save you a terrible fall that would have broken both of your hips.”

There were other benefits to the cloths and oils, though: the Temple built its national mailing list from the addresses provided in the requests for the items, and used them often in fund-raising efforts and publicity campaigns.

The image of the anointed photo card was supplied by Dialo Lomax of Nashville, Tennessee. As he described the find, “a guy had bought a lot of stuff from an estate sale in California, and this card was found in a book inside a box. Who knows how long it had sat there in that book.  Its condition makes it seem that it had been handled quite a bit.  The person who found the book told me that the items from the estate sale all belonged to a woman who had recently passed away, and her family was selling everything from her attic.”

Anointed photo card of Jim Jones, courtesy of Dialo Lomax.

Last modified on September 15th, 2014.
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