My only sister, Karen Marie Lendo, died in Jonestown. Her absence resonates within as an untreated wound still festering with infection. Her abrupt passing left a ferocious thunderstorm twirling inside that never passed through. My two daughters have captured Karen’s spirit, in which my mother and myself find solace.
Karen, affectionately known as “Baby,” was one year my junior. She had aspired to become a podiatrist. Her spirit was calm as a lamb with a heart that expanded as far as the need. She seamlessly exercised unmatched tenacity. Her commanding smile was indeed infectious. Her inner strength made her our family’s Samson.
This chapter of my life has been stored and locked away in an emotional vault. Almost four decades have passed, and still I am haunted by it, replaying segments of my youth inside Peoples Temple over in my mind. I want to bring closure of this epic tragedy, but I also want to prevent this generational curse of events from ever occurring again.
Jim Jones was one of many false prophets to come, as “it is written” in the Bible. False prophets twist the Word of God to influence and gain confidence and popularity of even seasoned parishioners, as it was, since the beginning with Adam, Eve and the serpent. One of God’s creation, twisting, manipulating and distorting God’s word. The serpent said, “God did not say that you will not surely die. But, be just like him.”
Let’s not be naive of how luring and cunning a deceiver can be. Back then he came in the form of a serpent. The serpent still appears in many forms to befriend us – in this case, a preacher named Jim Jones – but still the same beast. Alternately, be aware that there will be more deceivers who will mask themselves as present-day-saviors speaking their own twisted interpretations of God’s word. Again, I speak of Jim Jones.
The Jonestown Massacre only provides credence to our family’s theory of phenomenal generations of devastating tragedies which we dubbed the “Lendo Theory” in remembrance of our beloved daughter, granddaughter sister, and niece. Historically, we have been encumbered with too many devastating occurrences and events to overlook a repeating pattern of misguided deceptive mindsets that is a form of subtle covert brain re-programming taking place. This “covert brain reset” bypasses all neurons of our logic, reasoning and thought processors, rendering a vacant receptor even to the most advanced minds of our times.
As a result, we have seen numerous tragedies of the past 50 years, including the Charlie Manson murders, the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army, 9/11, the rise of Isis, and of course, the one I know most personally and directly, the Jonestown Massacre.
The “Lendo Theory” brings awareness to the forefront to promote dialogue, discussions, solutions, investigative reporting and increased research on this unresolved issue. Without an understanding of this theory, future generations will succumb and endure the next explosive uprising of despair of this magnitude which will soon follow.
But among these travails – those in the past, those we have yet to witness – I find hope in the words of Psalm 100:5: “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endureth to all generations.”
(Sharon Lendo may be reached at Sharaeppert@gmail.com.)