The meetings of Jonestown community – known as Rallies – were held at the pavilion. While they could occur as frequently as necessary, regularly scheduled meetings took place twice weekly, on Saturday and Tuesday evenings. Though seats were not supposed to be “saved,” seniors often were the first arrivals, leaving a space or two for friends. Starting at 7:30 pm after supper, a Rally gathering consisted of three parts: Entertainment, Agricultural Reports, and Discipline and Praise. Rallies had approximate agendas of items to bring up to the whole group, and minutes were kept as well. The reports given to the people not only made everyone generally aware of what was happening in Jonestown, they also had the opportunity to participate in the discussions, and were encouraged to do so. Nevertheless, it is apparent that Jim Jones managed the meetings closely. Edith Roller reports that Penny Kerns was appointed to keep track and make lists of things that Jones called for in Rallies to be done. The first list below – instructions to be done in the Medical Units – is an example. The records below from December ’77 to August ’78 offer a sampling of Rallies over time. Some Rally minutes & follow-up notes.

1. Medical Department Instructions from JJ
2. Rally Minutes – December 20, 21, 25, & 28, 1977
3. Rally Minutes – January 1, 11, & 14, 1978
4. Rally Minutes – July 1 & 4, 1978
5. Rally Minutes – August 1 & 4, 1978
6. Discipline Guide – dated October 28, 1978

Dates = Rally (59) chronicled in Roller Journals E = Entertainment (28) in JT








Sat 28 E

Sat 4

Wed 1 E

Sat 1 E

Tue 2

Sun 4 E

Fri 4

Tue 31

Tue 7

Sat 4 E

Sun 2 E

Thu 4 E

Fri 9

Tue 8

Sat 11 E

Tue 7 E

Tue 4

Sat 6

Tue 13

Sat 12

Sun 12 E

Fri 10 E

Thu 6 E

Tue 9

Sat 17

Sat 19 E

Tue14 E

Sat 11 E

Sat 8

Mon 15 E

Tue 20

Sun 20 E

Sat 18 E


Wed 12

Sat 20

Mon 26

Tue 22

Tue 21 E

Fri 17 E

Thu 13

Tue 23

Fri 25

Sun 26 E

Sun 19

Sat 15 E

Sat 27

Tue 29

Mon 27

Tue 21 E

Thu 20 E

Tue 30

Tue 28 E

Wed 22

Sat 22

Sat 25

Sun 23 E

Sun 26 E

Tue 25 E

Mon 27

Fri 28

Sat 29

Formal definition of People’s Rally from Jonestown Governmental Responsibility Source: CD2 sect 077, pp188-89 [RYMUR-89-4286-2018- C-11-e-14b & 14 a]

“PEOPLES FORUM & RALLY is the primary governing body including all citizens, practicing a total participatory democracy, even of school-age children…”

Judicial Function of “Peoples Forum & Rally”

A. Duties of the Judicial Function 1. The Assembly of the whole community which functions as a super-legislative body and legislative assembly and reporting assembly which informs all members of the community of its condition, progress and development. 2. Functions as a Judicial body to evaluate and reward behavior through positive reinforcement.

B. Organization of People’s Forum and Rally Chaired by the Executive Director

News over the P.A. System Jones presented world and US news both in meetings and over the PA system, oftentimes adding his own commentary and opinions in the course of the newscast. The news was gathered from news services on radio and shortwave, and from the magazines and newspapers as they came in with arrivals. Jones chose the items to cover and usually read them as well.

The general population was responsible for the news that Jones read. Notes from the news were posted for the community to review, and people were often tested during Rallies on what Jones had read that day, as well as teachings about socialism in the Enlightenment classes offered once or twice a week. People who failed the test often were assigned to additional classes, given additional work, or ordered to take the test again before they would be served the next meal.

Transcripts of audiotapes of Jim Jones reading the news may be found here.

– Don Beck


Last modified on October 20th, 2013.
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