Personal Reflections

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Children in Peoples Temple

The icon which characterizes Jonestown in the public mind is a picture of a galvanized metal vat, surrounded by bloated bodies. This image dehumanizes the victims, however, and disconnects us from the tragedy.

The fact is, those who died in Jonestown were real people, with families, friends, and loved ones. The best way to appreciate this fact is to read personal reflections by those with direct knowledge of Peoples Temple and its members.

The articles below offer a wide range of perspectives on the life of Peoples Temple and the deaths in Jonestown. All were written by former members and relatives of the people who died. While each individual story brings a powerful voice to any consideration of the events of 18 November 1978, their totality contributes to an even more important – if sometimes cacophonous – body of work. For that reason, these stories represent the foundation for an online collection of perspectives which we hope will grow over the years.

We invite other members and families of Peoples Temple – whatever your views on the tragedy of Jonestown and the factors that led to its end – to join in this chorus. Contact us at remoore@mail.sdsu.edu so that we may add your story.

A Child of Peoples Temple Finds Hope at Memorial (2011)

The Trauma of Marriage to a Temple Survivor (2003)

Laughing with Liane, by Kristine Alles (2011)

Sing the song of life… Follow your dreams, by Jack Arnold (2009)

Reflections and Articles by Susan Ashby
Reflections and Articles by Barbara Sines

Reflections and articles by Kathryn (Tropp) Barbour

Reflections and Articles by Glenda Bates

Remarks at May 29, 2011 Jonestown Memorial Dedication Service, by Jessie Beagle (2011)

Reflections and Articles by Don Beck

Remembering the Beikman Family, by Thomas Beikman (2011)

Larry Layton and Peoples Temple: Twenty-Five Years Later, by Frank Bell (2003)

My Adolescence in Peoples Temple, by James Bernie Blanton (2011)

Reflections and Articles by Thom Bogue

Reflections and Articles by the Family of Donald Bower

Reflections and Articles by Dorothy Brooks

Poetry of Teri Buford O’Shea

Reflections and Articles by Mike Carter

Reflections and Articles by Tim Carter

Reflections and Articles by Mike Cartmell

The Art of Patti Chastain Haag

Reflections and Articles by Jim Cobb

Wayne Pietila: A Life of Quiet Passion, by Teresa Cobb (2012)

Rock This Way, by Jackie Colbert (2013)

Theologies of Oppression, by Arlander Ronnie Cole (2008)

Reflections and Articles by June and Gene Cordell

Edith Cordell and the Cordell Family Legacy, by Don Cordell (2013)

What Did November 18, 1978 Do To Me? by Donna Cordell Lawrence (2008)

Honoring My Duty to My Family, by Steve Daniel (2013)

Reflections and Articles by Denise Davenport

Questioning the Cults Around Us, by Laura Davis (2012)

Articles and Reflections by Kim Dutra Arvold

Investigation, Reflections and Articles by Laurie Efrein Kahalas

Reflections and Articles by Prophet/Pastor Hue Fortson, Jr.

Reflections and Articles by Dawn Gardfrey

A Visit to Peoples Temple by June Gerlach (2005)

Notes on Peoples Temple, by Carlton B. Goodlett (1988)

Reflections and Articles by Vern Gosney

Reflections and Articles by Dan Harpe

Living Through the Pain, by Silvia Harrill (2008)

Reflections and Articles by the Family of Liane Harris

Reflections and Articles by Lela Howard
Meeting The Lady I Never Knew, by Chris Demirdjian (2007)

A Young Girl’s Story, by Bunny Jackson (2008)

The Great Protector, by Janet Jackson (2014)

State of Mind, by Claire Janaro (2008)

The Coty Johnson Story, by Charles Johnson (2013)

The Death of Innocence, by Pinkie Jones (2007)

Reflections and Articles by Stephan Jones

Address at May 29 Memorial Dedication Service, by The Hon. Bayney Karran, Guyana Ambassador to United States (2011)
Introduction of Ambassador Bayney Karran, by Charles Krause (2011)

Reflections and Articles by Laura Johnston Kohl

The Longest Twenty Years, by Bryan Kravitz (2003)

Poetry, Reflections and Articles by Garrett Lambrev

Chasing Serenity, by Deborah Layton (2008)

Articles by Chris Lewis, Jr.

How Bobby Survived and Returned, by Judy McAbee (2010)

Reflections and Articles by Dea McConnell

Recovering the Simple Pleasures in Life, by Diana Mertle Mills (2008)

Reflections and Articles by Linda Mertle

Linda Harris: A Remembrance, by Virgil Miller (2003)

The Deaths of Two Daughters: Grieving and Remembering, by Barbara Moore (1988)

Reflections and Articles by John V Moore

Jonestown: Catalyst for Social Change, by Robert B. Moore (1988)

Remarks at May 29, 2011 Jonestown Memorial Dedication Service, by Vickie Ijames Moore (2011)

My Father, Oliver Morgan, Jr., by Zelma Morgan (2011)

Reflections and Articles by Hattie Newell

Reflections and Articles by Herbert Newell

Together We Stood, Divided We Fell, by B. Alethia Orsot (1988)

Damn you, Jim Jones! by RP (2011)
My Life Since the Temple, by RP (2011)

Poetry and Reflections by Vicki Perry

A Visit to Peoples Temple, by Jacinta Hector Powers (2012)
Memories of My Sister: Melanie Hector Simon, by Jacinta Hector Powers (2012)

Living in Rome, by Jim Randolph (2010)

Remarks at May 29, 2011 Jonestown Memorial Dedication Service, by Craig Reubens (2011)

Reflections and Articles by Dianne Scheid

Reflections and Articles by Janet Shular

Poetry, Reflections and Articles by Andy Silver

Reflections and Articles by Neva Sly Hargrave

Reflections and Articles by Juanell “Nell” Smart

Articles and Reflections by Eugene Smith

My Mother, Agnes Jones, by Robert Spencer (2014) 

To the Survivors of Peoples Temple, by Tim Stoen (2003)

Reflections and Articles by Mickey Touchette

Reflections and Articles by Mike Touchette

Poetry, Reflections and Articles by Jordan Vilchez

Surprise! I’m Alive and Look What I’m Doing Now, by Tommy Washington (2010)

Reflections and Articles by Vera Washington

Reflections and Articles by Leslie Wilson

Reflections and Articles by David Parker Wise

Reflections, Articles, and Poetry by Guy Young

Last modified on January 4th, 2016.
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