Reflections and Articles by Laura Kohl
After trying single-handedly to effect change throughout the 1960s to make the world around her more humane, Laura Johnston Kohl found she needed more hands. She joined Peoples Temple in 1970, living and working in the progressive religious movement in both California and Guyana. A fluke saved her from the mass murders and suicides on November 18, 1978, when 913 of her beloved friends died in Jonestown.
Soon after this, Synanon, a residential community, helped her gradually affirm life. She married, and she and her husband adopted a young son. In 1994, she finished her studies, and became a public school teacher.
On the 20th anniversary of the deaths in Jonestown, Laura located fellow survivors of the Jonestown tragedy, and together they have worked to make sense of the jigsaw puzzle that was Peoples Temple. Her perspective has evolved as new facts have cleared up mysteries and she has had time to reflect. Her mission continues to acknowledge, write about, and speak about why the members joined Peoples Temple, why they went to Guyana, and who they were.
In addition to being interviewed on television and radio, in documentaries, and for both domestic and foreign press, Laura makes herself available to family members of those who perished in Guyana and scholars who are trying to understand the calamity of the ending. She is contact with fellow survivors many times during the year and helps organize gatherings twice a year.
Her research and contemplation has led to publication of her book, Jonestown Survivor: An Insider’s Look. The website for the book is here. The blog on her site includes a number of articles, including A Gathering of Peoples Temple Survivors , Grief, and Going Home Again.A short biographical video clip appears here.
Laura may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hate? What is it good for? (2012)
Poison in Jonestown (2010)
Making The He’s Able Album (2009)
Three Cinquain Poems (2009)
An Evolving People’s Temple (2008)
Was It Murder or Suicide? (2006)
The Silence That Need Not Be (2005)
Q 875 Made by Outsiders (2004)
A Temple Member’s Odyssey (2003) _
Johnnie Mae Yates (2010)
Seeing the Faces (2008)