An Appeal to Emotion:
History, Emotions, and Jonestown

by Connor Ashley Clayton

(Connor Ashley Clayton is a Ph.D. candidate at the Queen Mary University of London. He can be reached at 

The study of Peoples Temple is a small area of research with fascinating potential. Since 1978, scholars of various disciplines have sought to contribute to the ever-growing pool of knowledge regarding the Temple, yet there are still large gaps present. This piece will attempt to emphasise the importance of one oft-overlooked facet of the study of Peoples Temple: the emotions and styles of management which predicated much of the behaviour and decision-making exhibited by the group and its leadership. As such, it is not the purpose of this author to criticise the excellent work which has already been produced on the Temple, but rather to stress how an understanding of the emotional communities which formed the group can help scholars to develop a fuller and arguably more humanistic approach to the study of the Temple and other comparative groups. Better understanding the behaviour and motivations of historical actors takes their actions out of the realm of the ‘other.’

In a somewhat formulaic manner, this article will demonstrate three key points for consideration, in the hopes of provoking further discussion and research. First, the article will insist upon the growing importance of understanding the role of emotion in history. Second, the article will demonstrate that emotion has been touched upon in various discussions of the Temple and other comparative groups, yet rarely analysed – as such, it forms a natural progression of research. Finally, the article will demonstrate that emotion was indeed important to the members of Peoples Temple themselves, and that the source material is rich in evidence waiting to be examined. By the end of the piece, it is the hope of this author that a new perspective on the Temple can be developed by remembering the importance (although not necessarily the primacy) of emotional factors in key analyses. This author believes that in doing so, the behaviour and practices of a group like the Temple can be viewed in a much more three-dimensional, humanistic manner. In understanding the processes which contributed to the tragedy of 1978, we humanise it – and, perhaps, understand how any individual, regardless of race, creed, ideology, or belief, can be subject to the exact same social forces.

Emotion in History

The study of historical emotion is one which has proliferated greatly over the course of the last 50 years. Whilst a reconstruction of the study of emotions is outside of the purview of this piece, it is certainly worth mentioning some key historical works which have utilised emotional analyses in ways which have greatly contributed to their fields of study. A fantastic overview of this subject is Jan Plamper’s 2015 book The History of Emotions: An Introduction, which not only surmises and interrogates various methodologies, but also critically establishes the intellectual frameworks on which our current understanding of emotions themselves rests. The first study I will mention is William M. Reddy’s seminal article ‘Sentimentalism and Its Erasure: The Role of Emotions in the Era of the French Revolution.’[1]

Reddy’s work has set an agenda for the role of emotions in social change. He argues that the dominant emotional style of 18th-century France, namely sentimentalism, had a clear, causal impact on the events and outcome of the French Revolution. Reddy built upon a large corpus of sociological, psychological, linguistic, and neural science to develop a theory of emotions which rests upon the core concept of the emotive – the first-person emotion statements made by individuals. Emotives such as ‘I love you’ or ‘I hate you’ have an implicit, largely unconscious effect upon human cognition which involves an activation of thought material not unlike an automatic bodily-cognitive reaction. The issue with emotives is that they are not guaranteed to have a certain result. As Reddy points out, emotives can confirm, deny, change, or temper certain feelings (with the most likely outcome being an intensification of feeling). It is because of this uncertainty of outcome, Reddy argues, that societies, groups, and cultures develop styles of emotional management which inform how emotives are used or expressed. These styles can have widely different impacts and outcomes not only on personal history, but wider social history too. In the case of the French Revolution, Reddy’s broader argument is that the larger emotional style of French society throughout the 18th century was sentimentalism, an emotional style which encouraged and rewarded public outpourings of humanistic emotion. On the eve of the Revolution, when the cahiers de doleances (lists of grievances produced by local delegations) called for moderate reform and certainly not revolution or abolition of the monarchy, it was the members of the French National Assembly who invoked sentimentalist emotives in their speeches which led to a much deeper, sweeping program of change than had been initially requested in the cahiers. One piece of evidence Reddy utilises here is the Assembly’s own record of proceedings, which indicate the cascading, sweeping nature of benevolent reforms motioned specifically by members of the Assembly: ‘The delegates of the provinces called pays d’Etats, yielding to the impulse of generosity….’[2] The impulse of generosity, according to Reddy, rests clearly upon a sentimentalist understanding of emotions which equated natural feeling with truth, and thus the elicitation of those feelings through emotives would confirm the moral truth of said emotions. This is demonstrated clearly as a political force when Reddy quotes Brissot – a core actor of French Revolutionary politics – in stating: ‘Reason shows me only shadows, where the moral sense enlightens and directs me.[3]

Reddy demonstrates how human emotion had a clear impact on historical development – a finding which certainly cannot be ignored. Whilst it perhaps need not be said that individuals in such a tumultuous period of history experienced intense emotions, it is how these emotions affected the playing-out of said history which is of interest. This is not to suggest that emotional factors take primacy over others . Indeed, the emotional styles of a group, society, or population are largely determined by the historical location of said group, and in turn help shape various cultural expressions. Aside from the core concept of the emotive, Reddy has, in other work, promoted concepts such as emotional regime and emotional liberty to describe monolithic, empowered attitudes to emotional expression, and freedom of emotional expression, respectively.[4]

In a slightly more modern scenario, work produced by Elizabeth J. Perry has successfully emphasised the role of emotions in the Chinese Communist Revolution. In her article, titled Moving the Masses: Emotion Work in the Chinese Revolution, Perry demonstrates the centrality of emotions in radical political mobilisation.[5] Perry’s argument follows the general tenor that in order to generate mass popular support for the Chinese Communists, party officials and cadres launched campaigns of emotion work in order to ensure political mobilisation among the population. These campaigns utilised techniques such as suku (speaking bitterness), kongsu (self-criticism), and sixiang gaizao (thought reform) in order to ensure compliance with the Party by the peasants. This, Perry states, resulted in a ‘textbook demonstration of how emotional energy may (or may not be) harnessed to revolutionary designs.’[6] Perhaps of most importance here would be the suku technique, which saw farmers, renters, and other agricultural and industrial peasants directly encouraged to speak bitterly about landowners, the wealthy, and counter-revolutionaries – even if they did not harbour any personal resentment – for the purpose of developing this sense of resentment, and then weaponizing it. Citing a large corpus of material, Perry emphasises how eyewitness accounts have allowed historians to reconstruct the ways in which Chinese Communists ‘encouraged – indeed demanded – public expressions of anger, fear, and shame.’[7] Perry furthermore devotes a portion of her attention to the analysis of communist ‘struggle meetings,’ which were localised village meetings arranged by Cadres which ‘unfolded as a kind of mass theatrical performance whose purpose was to harness emotional excitement to the Communist cause.’[8] Perry’s work as such touches upon a number of bases, including crowd emotion (or collective emotion), the link between political mobilisation and emotion, and in particular how this was used by 20th century Chinese Communists (although she does concede Nationalist forces under Chiang Kai Shek simply utilised other methods and other emotions – less successfully). Parallels can be drawn between these mobilisation techniques, the nature of crowd emotional participation and the techniques employed by Peoples Temple leadership – particularly after the migration to the Temple’s Agricultural Project (informally known as Jonestown). At the very least (and this is a suggestion which only further research will confirm or deny) it suggests that emotional analyses will offer a better understanding of the techniques employed by Jones and the community-at-large (both consciously and unconsciously) to maintain community identity, momentum and structure.

These are but two examples which insist the importance of emotional factors in any kind of historical analysis. Other historians have sought to emphasise the links between emotion and other factors in history. Work completed by John Corrigan has demonstrated the link between worship services, ritual and emotions (whilst also emphasising the role of collective emotions in shaping belief and action).[9] Barbara Rosenwein, esteemed medievalist, has similarly devoted a large portion of her academic focus on attempting to reconstruct the emotional communities of the past – by examining the moral frameworks shared by social groups as presented in works of literature, art, and letters.[10] The larger point this author is attempting to make is that for a while now, historians have appreciated and attempted to fully understand the role of emotions in human social and personal praxis. Despite this broader methodological shift, little attention has been paid to the role of emotion within Peoples Temple. Perhaps the clearest example of a scholar at least suggesting the relevance of such factors however is Rebecca Moore, one of the leading voices of Peoples Temple and New Religious Movement research.

Emotion and New Religious Movements

The seminal work Peoples Temple and Black Religion in America (2004), edited by Moore, Anthony B. Pinn and Mary R. Sawyer, places repeated emphasis is made on the link between Peoples Temple as an organisation, and its historic roots in practical black worship traditions. At multiple points however, either through Moore’s own words or through editorial prerogative of included essays, brief attention is paid to the importance of emotional factors within the black worship tradition itself. Milmon F. Harrison’s essay, ‘Jim Jones and Black Worship traditions,’ which comprises Chapter 7 of the larger work, focuses on what exactly those worship traditions include, and how they were utilised by Jim Jones himself. One such aspect Harrison identifies is the core value of ‘freedom of emotional and ecstatic display in the context of worship,’ which is nurtured by the call-and-response preaching framework, the use of music, dance, clapping, and individual testimonial.[11] Following this essay is a piece by J. Alfred Smith, contemporary black pastor of Temple leader Jim Jones, who writes that: ‘even when he changed his message, he didn’t change his style. That was his delivery wagon… The problem was that eventually people responded only to the style of preaching instead of what he had to say.’[12] Even contemporaries of Jones recognised his utilisation of a certain style, and the power that style had in keeping Peoples Temple together. That style, like any other style of worship, contains within it implicit and explicit feeling rules – the rules regarding the expression of emotion, including which are expected, encouraged, or regulated otherwise. The questions follow: how could the unique emotional style of Peoples Temple best be understood? What did they value, and what didn’t they? To what extent was this emotional style successful (vis-a-vis maintaining the community, socially and ideologically)? A careful analysis of the affective community present within Peoples Temple at least promises to answer one of Moore’s own core research questions: to what extent the residents of Jonestown responded to familiar forms of worship without critiquing the content (which will be returned to shortly).

Emotions have been loosely mentioned in various analyses and discussions, not only of the Temple, but within the wider literature dealing with New Religious Movements and ‘charismatic relationships’ in general. Despite the width and breadth of methodological difference, emotions are touched upon in a similar manner in a variety of analyses (despite this, they are rarely analysed themselves). In his discussion of charismatic leadership, sociologist Doyle Paul Johnson stated one aim of the leader figure is to ‘make the members as dependent as possible upon the leader… for meeting their social, emotional, and material needs’ (emphasis added).[13] Lorne L. Dawson’s article, Psychopathology and the Attribution of Charisma, similarly emphasises the structural basis of the charismatic relationship as resting on ‘a relationship of great emotional intensity.’[14] Len Oakes, in his discussion of the ‘charismatic personality,’ argues that individuals join charismatic groups in order to ‘experience intense love,’ which is strongly reminiscent of Durkheim’s concept of collective effervescence.[15] All of this is to say, simply, that emotion has often been loosely discussed but rarely ever critically analysed in discussions of Peoples Temple and the wider literature, barring a few notable exceptions.[16]

Naturally, this call-to-attention also applies to other groups which have been looked at comparatively, and it opens a wide range of potential study. What differences would be found in an analysis of the emotional style of Peoples Temple versus one conducted on Father Divine’s International Peace Mission? Existing contemporarily, and in close geographic and cultural proximity to one another, it seems any detailed comparative analysis would have to examine if, where, and why the emotional styles of these groups diverged, as well as the potential impact on their historical development. Internally, an analysis of emotional styles could also help answer the question of why the loyalty of African Americans within the Temple surpassed that of its (much smaller) white membership – a distinction raised by Mary M. Maaga in her fascinating study titled Hearing the Voices of Jonestown.[17] Yet these are not the only research areas which benefit. A more complete understanding of the role of emotion within Jonestown promises to open new angles of research on the link between emotions and political or social mobilisation, as well as helping to develop an historical framework through which a better understanding of human experience and motivation can be better analysed.

But what would an emotional analysis of Jonestown look like? It could, for example, take a structurally linguistic approach similar to Reddy in looking for emotives in various forms of sources, written and audial. What would the emotional management style of Peoples Temple look like – how was the use of emotives encouraged, regulated, or dismissed, and what does this tell us about the community? What were the intellectual foundations of their understanding of human emotion, and how was this implicit in their language and ritual? One could also take the approach of Rosenwein, and narratively detail the emotional norms that are both articulated and implied within the Temple to uncover ‘systems of feeling.’ Furthermore, Rosenwein suggests that ‘historians interested in the “collective emotions” of crowds should consider the emotional community (or communities) to which members of the crowd largely belong.’[18] This applies directly to Peoples Temple, and could spur an interrogation of competing emotional styles within the Temple based on demographics, among other metrics.[19]An approach in the style of Rosenwein could go a long way to answering why some rituals or practices of the Temple were much more strongly internalised by some groups rather than others.[20]

One could also take an approach which has gathered steam largely among social scientists with a focus on practice. Also in the field of history, Monique Scheer has developed a framework of emotions as practice inspired by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, which looks at emotions not as something that happens to us, but as something we do. As such, this method would encourage us to look at change in historical emotion, not only because of the language or norms associated with said emotions, but also because of ‘changes in the practices in which emotion is embodied.’[21] This is important for a number of reasons, not simply because of the methodological adjustment away from the primacy of language. It is also important in light of contemporary statements about Jones, such as those made by J. Alfred Smith in claiming that Jones changed his message yet not his ‘style.’ As such, the impact of emergency meetings in Jonestown known as White Nights, struggle sessions, and other interrogative practices must be analysed for their impact on the Temple particularly after the move to Jonestown.

The theoretical differences between these models are considerable, and it is regrettable that this piece cannot be afforded the depth of analysis to them that this author would like.[22] The purpose of this short essay is rather to suggest three things: that methods for studying the emotions exist, and are being continually developed; there is clear motivation to study the emotional community of Peoples Temple as a natural progression of research; and finally, that the source material is awash with evidence – spoken, written, and recorded – that has yet to be examined. The final point informs the last section of this essay. A few examples will be presented, with suggestions for how they could be analysed considering various emotional methodologies. The purpose of this will simply be to demonstrate the value of a re-examination of the source material, in the hopes of spurring a profitable academic discussion on the merits of such approaches.

Emotion in Jonestown

There exists a plethora of examples to choose from regarding the perception and practice of emotions within the Temple. Of particular value are the audio recordings produced by the Temple of a number of services – sermons, meetings, and the infamous White Nights to name but a few. This section will demonstrate not only that people felt things – a truism that needs no analytical support – but rather that feeling, in and of itself and according to its various expressions, was important to Jim Jones, the wider leadership and even the Jonestown community themselves.

On the night of March 20, 1978, a White Night was held within the pavilion of Jonestown, formally known as the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project. Here we see Jones indicate a distinct attention paid to the emotions of each individual member:

I don’t look when you’re talking to me, I study faces and expressions, and you learn a lot by doing so. All of you ought to study your neighbour, when certain comments are made.[23]

Faces and expressions are uniquely important because they are a primary way in which human beings communicate their feelings. As any good public speaker knows, reading the room is important and made possible by studying the faces of the people you are speaking to, rather than speaking to an amorphous crowd. In the context of Jonestown, it is made considerably more interesting by Jones’ paranoid focus on sedition and betrayal. This is made clear further into the tape when he states:

Maybe there’s some knowledge of our activities and mood. Mood… We have reason to– to believe somebody might be predicting a little bit of our mood and behaviour too accurately.[24]

Mood was important particularly within the confines of the Agricultural Project because mood could indicate loyalty or betrayal. Loyalty to the community, being one of its foremost values, was thus subject to social scrutiny. This need to scrutinise loyalty certainly developed alongside Jones’ own intense sense of paranoia, but what is of interest in this analysis is how this individual feeling was communicated, internalised, and often reciprocated among the rest of the community. Paranoia was certainly a community feeling for many within the confines of the Agricultural Project (although that is not to say everyone felt that way), but in the case of Jonestown we see the weaponization of paranoia as a political tool – one which had the social aim of regulating dissent (which isn’t to say, either, that this was always successful).

Concerns around mood were not entirely predicated upon negative emotion alone. Jones personally held a fascination with leader adoration from his earliest days. In a booklet entitled “Pastor Jones Meets Rev. M. J. Divine,” published in 1959 and circulated among the blossoming church which Jones was building, Jones states:

I was nauseated by what seemed to be personal worship to their leader. None the less when I would pause to think and be fair in my judgment, I could not help but see a peace and love that prevailed generally throughout the throng of enthusiastic worshippers. Every face was aglow with smiles and radiant friendliness.[25]

Jones not only addresses negative impressions of what he perceived to be leader worship, but here we actually see him approve of and defend it. Whilst the rhetorical device used here is an interesting one, for the purpose of this analysis what is more interesting in his deliberate notation of smiles and radiant friendliness. For Jones, one of the most crucial aspects of a congregation such as Father Divine’s was the expression of love, or the communal feeling of love as presented and generated by individuals. This document, circulated during the Temple’s early years among its members, explicitly demonstrates that Jones considered this important – at least, important enough to document and circulate among congregants. A key aspect of worship, Jones believed, was the expression of love toward your congregation and your pastor, and this author believes maintaining this style of positive reinforcement was a primary aim of Jones throughout the lifespan of Peoples Temple.

As aforementioned, the work of Milmon F. Harrison has suggested that a core value of African American worship styles throughout the 20th century was the right to free and ecstatic emotional expression. This is akin to what Emile Durkheim, esteemed French sociologist, would have referred to as ‘collective effervescence.’[26] It is clear that this was a style still maintained by Jones and the congregation, and one need only view footage of Jones’ faith healings to see this in full display. Realistically, almost any of Jones’ sermons can be employed to demonstrate such a fact, and the recorded audio tapes are awash with interjections made by the congregation which, if they can be surmised, are composed primarily of cheering, whooping, hollering, clapping – along with shouts of ‘Amen!’ and such. This ‘call-and-response’ style of preaching is one that relies not only upon the direction of the speaker – in most cases, but not always, Jones – but also upon the involvement of the congregation. In the example quoted beneath, we see Jones halt a meeting to question why an individual at the back of the room was not clapping during a pause in his dialogue. Jones admonishes the individual as such:

Do you realise how wilful and daring you are to my office, Mrs. Butler, by saying you’ve got nothing to clap about? [Pause] Do you realise how much you’re daring to my power, and I must prove my power, no matter how much I love you, ‘cause  you say you’ve got nothing to clap about tonight?[27]

Clapping in this analysis is to be understood as an inherently emotional practice – because people clap not simply to express approval, gratitude, excitement, happiness, or concurrence with a statement made or action performed, but in order to actually generate, or practice, those feelings. To Jones, this refusal to clap indicates a direct challenge to his position and power. To the reader, especially one informed by Practice Theory, this confirms that whilst the emotional style of Peoples Temple was a largely successful one, it did not have the desired effect upon everyone. This indeed goes a long way toward answering Rebecca Moore’s astute question of to what extent individuals within the Temple responded to traditional forms of worship without critiquing the content. Mrs. Butler, the individual in question in the above source, provides a clear example that certainly not everyone internalised the content without question.

However, there is evidence to suggest that a large portion of the community indeed responded to traditional forms of worship without critiquing the content – and that maybe the question is not so clear cut. Presented below is an excerpt from another of Jones’ sermons, with the call-and-response inputs noted.

Jones: You peoples gripe and complain, you’re never sorry – [erupts angrily] – don’t you have any enemies that are greater than any difference you have with somebody here in Peoples Temple?

Crowd: [Cheers, applause – vocal calls of ‘That’s right!’]

Jones: Don’t you have something worse back there to hate? Didn’t you come out of something worse?

Crowd: [Cheers, applause]

Jones: Don’t you have some relatives you could hate?

Crowd: [Cheers, applause]

Jones: You hate their ways and what they’ve done?

Crowd: [Cheers, applause, and vocalisations of ‘That’s right!’ and ‘Amen!’][28]

This is interesting because here we have the community’s approval (and thus a reinforcement) of Jones’ message – that Jonestown residents should hate their relatives back home, as opposed to have a negative opinion of something occurring within the confines of the Project. Thus, it appears safe to suggest that a large portion of the group did indeed respond to these traditional forms of worship without necessarily critiquing the content. If a large enough portion did critique it, then the structure of the sermon or meeting would have collapsed entirely.

Why is this important? Timothy J. Nelson, another sociologist specialising in black religiosity, has emphasised the role of the ‘feedback effect’ present in public speaking scenarios: the speaker makes a claim, which is then reflected back through the approval of the audience, which thus reinforces the speaker’s belief in the subject matter which is being discussed. As Nelson puts it, this is a structure ‘in which the actions of one party affect the actions of a second party which in turn amplify the actions of the first party and so on.’[29] Particularly in the rigid environment of Jonestown, which prohibited much criticism for a number of reasons, this could certainly have had the effect of radicalising communal feeling. Nelson further notes, echoing the suggestions made by Practice Theorists, that the ‘feeling rules’ present in such services do not just encourage the display of the correct emotions, but actually motivates actors to feel the emotion required. This is an established concept in our current understanding of emotions, one commonly referred to as deep acting. Clapping, and the call and response method, are not only important because they demonstrate approval or gratitude, but because they engender the very feelings themselves within bodily practice. Thus, the failure to clap itself can be indicative of the failure of the emotional practices or the ideological content being presented to resonate successfully with an individual.

The view which Jones took on emotion could probably be described in a contradictory manner as both useful and as a hinderance. Take, for example, his comments recorded in the Spring of 1978 during a meeting. Here, expressing his disgust at the lack of apparent moral integrity of his followers, as well as their supposed laziness, Jones states:

And the only way you make decent people, Mao says, is out of the barrel of a gun… I bet you – I put my gun on you, I bet you’d work all night without stopping.[30]

Here, Jones succinctly demonstrates his own understanding of fear as a motivator – a tool which was certainly useful to a point in achieving his goals. Furthermore, he seeks to shape the way fear itself is expressed through his communication of it – the idealised form of fear would encourage individuals to work harder, whilst a more negative portrayal could indicate abdication or escape.

At the same time, emotion was certainly understood to have a somewhat destabilising effect. During the infamous Death Tape, which has preserved some audio of the tragedy which occurred in November 1978, Jones can repeatedly be heard telling the crowd:

Peace – Keep your emotions down. Keep your emotions down.[31]

To the historian with an eye to emotions, this is indicative of the general unpredictability of emotives and emotional practices. No one style can ever guarantee the response or responses of a crowd to an emotive stimulus, and thus not always are the correct or preferred emotions performed. In the case of Tape Q042, the desire to stifle the emotions of the crowd comes from the tension between achieving the aim of the leadership (‘revolutionary suicide’), and the way various, internalised emotional expressions deterred or detracted from that aim.

Concluding Remarks

A few short examples have been provided here, and indeed an exhaustive analysis is far outside of the scope of this piece. This author has aimed to demonstrate three key points: that emotions are an important aspect of historical study; that research has touched upon yet not fully developed this aspect particularly in regards to Peoples Temple and other comparative groups; and finally that the source material is rich with detail for analysis which can open up areas of further investigation. In many ways, academic development in this area can improve our understanding not only of lived experience, but also of the unique role our emotions play in decision making – from decisions within personal relationships to a larger scale.

Specific to Peoples Temple, however, an emotion analysis has the potential to develop our understanding of a number of key questions, such as the question of how and why the mass-murder/suicides of 1978 took place.[32]Further issues, such as the issues of demographic receptiveness to Temple practice and both the nature and location of power within Temple hierarchy, could also be resolved through the writing of a history with apt attention to emotion. If the motivations of actors in the past can better be understood, then a more complete analysis of actions taken can be achieved. Work in this regard is currently being conducted through the development of this author’s PhD thesis, with the aim of better humanising the decisions of historical actors that have not been afforded their due agency in popular culture. As such, it will seek to demonstrate that whilst the Temple was unique in a number of ways, the social forces which contributed to the mass-murder/suicides of 1978 are the same social forces which act upon us all, every day in every capacity, in varying manners and forms. By better understanding this fact, we can diminish the chance of such tragedies occurring once more.


[1] Reddy, William M., ‘Sentimentalism and Its Erasure: The Role of Emotions in the Era of the French Revolution,’ Journal of Modern History, Vol. 72 No. 1 (March, 2000) pp. 109-152.

[2] Hirsch, Jean-Pierre, La nuit du 4 aouˆt (Paris, 1978). Quoted in Reddy, ‘Sentimentalism and its Erasure,’ p. 135.

[3] Aulard, Alphonse, Les orateurs de la Revolution: La Legislative et la Convention, 2 vols. (Paris, 1906) pp. 230-1. Quoted in Reddy, ‘Sentimentalism and its Erasure’ p. 138.

[4] Reddy, William M., The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions, (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

[5] Perry, Elizabeth J., ‘Moving the Masses: Emotion Work in the Chinese Revolution,’ Mobilization: an International Journal, Vol 7. No. 2 (2002) p.111-128.

[6] Perry, ‘Moving the Masses,’ p. 112.

[7] Perry, ‘Moving the Masses.’ Here Perry cites Myrdal 1965; Hinton 1967; Snow 1963; Crook and Crook 1979; and Endicott 1991.

[8] Perry, ‘Moving the Masses,’ p. 114.

[9] Corrigan, John, ‘Emotions and Religion,’ in Matt, Susan J.; Stearns, Peter N. (Eds.), Doing Emotions History, (University of Illinois Press, 2014), pp. 143-163; Corrigan, John, ‘Emotion and Religious Community in America,’ Religion Compass, Vol. 4 No. 7 (June, 2010), pp. 452-461.

[10] Rosenwein, Barbara H, ‘Problems and Methods in the History of Emotions,’ Passions in Context, Vol. 1 No. 1 (2010) pp. 1-32.

[11] Harrison, Milmon F., ‘Jim Jones and Black Worship Traditions’ in Moore et al., Peoples Temple and Black Religion, pp. 123-140.

[12] Smith, J. Alfred., ‘Breaking the Silence,’ in Peoples Temple and Black Religion, p. 141-165.

[13] Johnson, Doyle Paul, ‘Dilemmas of Charismatic Leadership: The Case of the Peoples Temple,’ Sociological Analysis, Vol. 40 No. 4 (Winter, 1979) pp. 315-323 [p. 321].

[14] Dawson, Lorne L., ‘Psychopathology and the Attribution of Charisma: A Critical Introduction to the Psychology of Charisma and the Explanation of Violence in New Religious Movements,’ Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, Vol. 10, No. 2 (November, 2006) pp. 3-28 [10].

[15] Oakes, Len, Prophetic Charisma: the Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities (Syracuse University Press, 1997) p. 159.

[16] The most recent, and most fully developed, example being a reworking of Durkheim’s concept of suicide as social phenomena as a Microsociological study of Jonestown: Abrutyn, Seth; Mueller, Anna S., ‘The Socioemotional Foundations of Suicide: A Microsociological View of Durkheim’s Suicide,’ Sociological Theory, Vol. 32 No. 4 (December, 2014) pp. 327-351.

[17] Maaga, Mary M., Hearing the Voices of Jonestown (Syracuse University Press, 1998).

[18] Rosenwein, ‘Problems and Methods,’ p. 12.

[19] Rosenwein, ‘Problems and Methods,’ p. 12.

[20] Rosenwein, ‘Problems and Methods,’ p. 11.

[21] Scheer, Monique, ‘Are Emotions a Kind of Practice? (And is That What Makes Them Have a History?) A Bourdieuian Approach to Understanding Emotion,’ History and Theory, Vol. 51, No. 2 (May 2012), pp. 193-220; Davison, Kate; Jalava, Marja; Morosini, Guila; Scheer, Monique; Steenbergh, Kristine; van der Zande, Iris; Zwicker, Lisa Fetheringill, ‘Emotions as a Kind of Practice: Six Case Studies Utilizing Monique Scheer’s Practice-Based Approach to Emotions in History,’ Cultural History, Vol. 7 No. 2 (2018), pp. 226-238 [236-7].

[22] Discussion of Reddy, Rosenwein, and Scheer (among others) can be found in: Plamper, Jan, The History of Emotions: an Introduction, (Oxford University Press, 2015).

[23] The Jonestown Institute, ‘White Night in Jonestown, Q833,’ originally produced March 20 1978, accessible from:, accessed on 15/8/20, last updated 18/4/19.

[24] The Jonestown Institute, ‘White Night in Jonestown, Q833.’

[25] The Jonestown Institute, ‘Pastor Jones Meets Rev. M. J. Divine’ (1959), p. 6 accessible from: accessed on 20/08/20, last updated 12/05/20.

[26] Durkheim, Emile, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1995 [1912]).

[27] The Jonestown Institute, ‘Transcript of FBI Tape Q807,’ accessible from:, accessed on 16/8/20, last updated 18/2/16.

[28] The Jonestown Institute, ‘FBI Tape Q242’ (August 19, 1978), accessible from:, accessed on 16/8/20

[29] Nelson, Timothy J., ‘Sacrifice of Praise: Emotion and Collective Participation in an African-American Worship Service,’ Sociology of Religion, Vol. 57 No. 4 (Winter, 1996) pp. 379-396 [392].

[30] The Jonestown Institute, ‘Transcript of FBI Tape Q963,’ ( c. May 1978), accessible from: Accessed on 26/08/20, last updated 26/11/2019.

[31] The Jonestown Institute, ‘Transcript of FBI Tape Q042,’ (November 18, 1978) accessible from: accessed on 26/08/20, last updated 30/05/2020.

[32] This area has been touched upon regarding collective emotion, see: Abrutyn, Seth; Mueller, Anna S., ‘The Socioemotional Foundations of Suicide: A Microsociological View of Durkheim’s Suicide,’ Sociological Theory, Vol. 32 No. 4 (December, 2014) pp. 327-351.

Originally posted on September 12th, 2020.

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