Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue Jones Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “10/27/73”
Part II: Late August/early September 1973 (within days of fire at SF Temple)
Marceline Jones [by reference]Part II:
the Gieg family
Brother Purifoy (likely Bill)
Ever Rejoicing (Amanda Poindexter)
Richard Nixon, U.S. President
Tom Bradley, Mayor of Los Angeles
Sam Yorty, former mayor of Los Angeles
Robert Pierpoint, CBS correspondent [by reference]
Joseph Alioto, Mayor of San Francisco (by reference)
Joe Johnson, Deputy Mayor of San Francisco
Melva Davis, Los Angeles TV broadcaster
Jim Dunbar, San Francisco TV host
Rev. Lester Kinsolving, newspaper columnist, Temple critic
Bible verses cited:
“[If] God appeared to Jacob…” (Genesis 31, Genesis 35:9-13)
“If God appeared to Moses…” (Exodus 3)
“[I]n the case of a dictatorship … we have to say, Pharaoh, let my people go.” (Exodus 5:1, “And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go…”)
“We have to make a way through the Red Seas through the wilderness.” (Exodus 13:18, “But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.” Also Exodus 15:22, Deuteronomy 1:40, Deuteronomy 2:1)
“[If] God appeared to Manoah…” (Judges 13)
“[If God … walked with kings like] Solomon…” (1 Kings 3:5-14)
“[If God] walked with kings like Nebuchadnezzar…” (Daniel 2:28)
“–Kingdom come, thy will be done heaven in earth.” (Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4).
“You say, well, the devil can do these things. What liar have you been listening to?… They called Jesus the prince of devils. They’re always telling you that lie.” (Mark 3:22-23, “And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?”)
“[M]any will come in the name of Christ and will deceive many, but that was fulfilled in (unintelligible word) generation. It had to be fulfilled in twenty years. Read Mark 13, Matthew 24, that had to be fulfilled in twenty years. But that doesn’t apply to us.” (Mark 13, Matthew 24)
“God didn’t ever go anywhere, because God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21, “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”)
“[W]hen you find out that God is embodiment, when you find out that the Word is made flesh…” (John 1, esp. 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”)
“That was just a parable about God so loving the world. If you love the world, you’ll come down and fight it yourself. You won’t send your son. You don’t send your son to fight a battle for you. You fight your own battle.” (John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”)
“That’s just a parable. Jesus said when you see me, you’ve seen what? The Father. He said I come in who? My Father’s name. I and my Father are one.” (John 14)
“God [is] here. In a body. Yes, in a body. Don’t make the mistake they did when they laid Jesus in the tomb. Mary and Martha said, where are they taking our Lord? Where are they taking our Pastor? – Lord means pastor, shepherd – where are they takin’ him? The gardener was walking by them, they said he was a gardener. He said well, they’re taking him nowhere. But they didn’t understand, and the Bible said, as they walked away from him they thought he was the gardener, but it was the same God, the same Jesus. He didn’t look the same, he had different hair color, he must have had different body shape, he mighta been a little taller, he might’ve been a different race, but it was the very same Jesus, and the very same God (John 20:13-15).
“Because wherever the Spirit of God is, there’s liberty… For where the Spirit of liberty is, what? Where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”)
“[Satan] can appear as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14, “…Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light”)
“And we’re to stand fast in the freedom with which God has set us free… you’re to stand fast in the freedom, the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free, and be not a slave again for any man.” (Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”)
“He’s going to come soon to those who get off their backside and recognize the only Christ is in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:26-27, “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”)
“[W]hen you know that he’s discerning the thoughts, knowing the intents of the hear…” (Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”).
“All good things come down from above.” (James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”)
“[I]f God would walk with them and not with us today, he’d be guilty of discrimination. He’d be a respecter of persons, but it says God is no respecter of persons. Respect of person is sin.” (James 2:9, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” Also Leviticus 19:15, Deuteronomy 1:17, Deuteronomy 16:19, etc.)
“And I have said something else, that if you will keep my sayings, you that live shall never die, if you will keep my sayings.” (John 8:51, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”).
“[T]hough you are dead yet shall you live… Though you were dead, yet shall you live.” (John 11:25, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”)
“Now I prophecy according to my measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”)
“I say to you that I will not allow more to be put on you than you are able to bear.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”)
“[T]he love of money is the root of all evil.” (I Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”)
(This tape was transcribed by Nightrissa Crosby. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
[Editor’s note: This tape consists of at least two – but most likely no more than two – addresses by Jim Jones from the last half of 1973. Part I likely postdates Part II, which means that the Temple recorded over part of an earlier speech. The exact location of the juncture between the addresses is unknown, however, and the indication of the beginning of Part II is only an educated guess.]
In two addresses from the last third of 1973, Jim Jones is feeling both powerful and defiant.
The tape opens with his open – and defiant – political endorsements and criticisms. Earlier that year, the Temple had worked to elect Tom Bradley, the first black mayor of Los Angeles, over one of the Temple’s political foes, Sam Yorty. Jones then says that, while he’s not supposed to, he’s going after President Nixon. The privilege that churches and their ministers have in society – tax exemptions, draft deferments – should muzzle him, but he won’t be muzzled. And unless the government goes other churches, like the Catholics, Methodists and Baptists, they better stay away from him. But no matter what the government tries to do to him, he will not be silent, he will be free. “So if I’m not free to speak in the church, I’ll be free to speak in the jail. If they want me to stop speaking, they’ll have to cut my tongue out.”
He segues into a story which has become familiar to his followers, that of the Temple standing up to an attack by a mob, and then to an assault by the police who arrested members of the Temple instead of the perpetrators. He reminds them of the black woman who was handcuffed, kicked, and called names, and who disappeared from the ambulance taking her away; he also reminds them that the police arrested Marceline, “the most wonderful mother you ever wanted, the church mother who’s been faithful to you.” He repeats the story of his own arrest and of how he refused to post bail until everyone else who was arrested had the chance to post bail. The result was, “they tore up the record, and they let all my people go, … they dropped all of the charges. That’s what comes when people will get off their backside and stand up for each other.” As the cheers mount, he concludes, “You gotta let them know if they take the freedom of one, they’ve got to take the freedom of all. You got to go on record right now … if you come in here to take one of us in a concentration camp, you better come to take us all.”
Some people may wonder what all of this talk of political activism and resistance has to do with God, but – citing Scripture as his authority – he proclaims, “If you do not love liberty, you do not love God. If you don’t have freedom, you don’t have God. If you don’t care about freedom, you can never know God.”
Nevertheless, there is room to criticize God, and in the context of struggling for freedom, it’s God’s cowardice which Jones lambasts. Some see Jesus as being sent to save mankind; Jones sees Jesus being sent to fight battles so that his Father doesn’t have to.
But God did send Jesus. In language reminiscent of Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement, Jones describes Jesus as “God … in a body,” and then reminds his own followers that people may not always recognize when God in a body has returned to be among them. The story of Mary and Martha speaking with the gardener at the tomb following the resurrection is a demonstration of that. “If God had a body in the day of Jesus, then he’s got a body today, because God is the same today, yesterday, and forever,” he cries out.
After all the miracles Jim Jones has performed, can there be any doubt that God is in the midst of them. He has already talked about the resurrections he has performed, both among the people sitting in the pews before him, and in the aggregate: “[Y]ou know we’ve had 463 people resurrected in these buildings… [My staff may] give me the signal that she’s having a stroke or a heart stoppage down there, but I don’t get nervous, after 463 successes in that department.”
The second, earlier part of the tape is similarly delivered with much defiance and self-congratulation. The Temple has had a couple of tangible successes – their efforts to clean up the Mall in Washington, D.C. during an August 1973 cross-country bus trip earned them an editorial of praise in the Washington Post, for example – but they have had a couple of setbacks, too, most notably an arsonist-set fire which heavily damaged the San Francisco Temple a few days earlier (given Jones’ reference to their presence in “this school,” this address is almost undoubtedly made at Ben Franklin Junior High, the Temple’s earlier venue in San Francisco before its acquisition of the Geary Street Temple). Whether the news is good or bad, Jim Jones turns it into demonstrations of his paranormal abilities and his commitment to his people. “Everything that happens to us,” Jones says, “we make it for good.”
Jones protects his followers in all ways. Even when the church was firebombed within the previous few days, there was no loss of life, there were no injuries, the church’s important files weren’t damaged, even individual rooms were left unscathed, “because there was a certain aura.” Then, much as he warned the government and the mobs that would come to harm them, he has a message for those individuals who would try to hurt them: “You say they meant to burn us up. That may be, but they’re dealing with one that will end up burning them up.”
Indeed, much of Jones’ focus in this address is about the fire. It was his premonition that made him extend the meeting on that fateful night, despite the urging of people who wanted him to stop talking, because that saved their lives. “If I’da listened to people on Wednesday night, there’da been 40 to 50, maybe 60 people, burned to a crisp. So when are you going to let me have my way and shut your mouth?” He also reminds his followers how cool he was when the police informed him of the fire, because he knew no one had been harmed. “And how was I able to say it? Because I put myself there to see that nobody was harmed.”
It has been a year since Rev. Lester Kinsolving, a former columnist for the San Francisco Examiner and perpetual thorn in Jones’ side, wrote his series of articles criticizing Peoples Temple, and he is still on the mind of the Temple leader. He points out that the Temple was not the only church to be attacked by Kinsolving, and that three of them have been burned since (and Jones hints that Kinsolving may have even been in on a scheme to collect some of the insurance money). On the other hand, the columnist’s fortunes have fallen precipitously since the 1972 exposé, “and if it took our building to burn up, we’ll be glad to give our building to get rid of Kinsolving forever, wouldn’t we?”
There are two mentions of a refuge outside the country tucked away in the course of this two-hour tape, one in each address. The first comes during Jones’ pledge to stand and fight those who would take them down, when Jones refers to a biblically-endorsed escape route. Just as Moses told the Pharaoh to “let my people go,” Jones says that if dictatorship comes, “we have to get land abroad.” The second – but earlier – mention comes during his discussion of their options after the fire. They can rebuild the Temple on Geary, they can buy another place, they can develop a new site to include housing for Temple members, or – reminding his followers just how mean America can be – they can “get ready to leave to the Promised Land.”
Most of his proclamations of his own deity come as he is in the process of asking for offerings. As with almost every other tape, Jones shuts off the microphone almost every time he asks for specific dollar amounts. The exception comes when he solicits thousand-dollar pledges from the congregation to rebuild the church, and attaches urgency to the request. Quick responses, he says, bring more miracles more quickly.
Date of transcription: 7/2/79
In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States.
On June 22, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-7R24. This tape was found to contain the following:
A recording of JIM JONES lecturing about political platforms.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted March 2017