The Eight Revolutionaries

In 1973 eight young people left Peoples Temple in a group. In the first major defection from the church, the college students wrote a letter to Jim Jones to explain their decision to abandon the organization. Concerned that Jones might read it as a criticism of himself, the group carefully worded the letter to blame staff members of the Temple, rather than its leader.

The group – also referred to as “The Gang of Eight” – pointed out that whites advanced more quickly in Peoples Temple than did blacks. Most importantly, the Eight Revolutionaries left the movement for political reasons, claiming that the Temple’s actions and concerns did not match its rhetoric. “[F]or the past 6 years all staff have concerned themselves with have been the castrating of people, calling them homosexual, sex, sex, sex. What about Socialism?”

For more information, see Tim Reiterman and John Jacobs, Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and his People (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1982), pp. 222-229.

The Eight Revolutionaries’ letter, California Historical Society, Moore Family Papers, MS 3802
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Last modified on April 30th, 2015.
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