Q777 Transcript (Original)

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(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Seriina Covarrubias. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.

(This is the unedited version of this tape, as close to verbatim as the poor audio recording will allow. Because there are so many verbal pauses – mainly “uh” – and so many false starts in Jack Beam’s speaking, however, it is difficult to follow at times. With that in mind, we have an edited version of this transcript which is less cluttered and more coherent.)

Woman: I knew they were rednecks, I knew they were– (laughs)

Woman: Right, but you didn’t know–

Woman: But I didn’t know–

Woman: –which (unintelligible) section.

Woman: Yeah.

Woman: You didn’t know about that. Okay.

Jack Beam: But they were Kentuckians and Tenneseeans. Is it going now?

Woman: Yeah, we’re okay.

Beam: They were Kentuckians and Tenneseeans in that district. The district was called uh, Dogpatch Kentucky. I mean Dogpatch uh, uh, uh, of southside Indianapolis uh, and uh–

Woman: Mmm (agreeing)

Beam: –that’s where the Somerset uh, Mission was uh, that– that Jim had uh, been assigned to uh, and uh, but uh, he was told that the uh, word had got a– around by this time that uh, some– oh, what was the reference called of these people that never had no church home. They were Pentecostal people, but they were uh– they ran all over and they would take in everything. Well, anyway Jim had been in down in Franklin–

Woman: Latter Rain.

Beam: Huh?

Woman: Latter Rain Movement.

Beam: Yeah, the Latter Rain Movement, uh– But anyhow they had had a meeting down in Franklin, Indiana, and Jim had been asked to come down there and speak and uh–

Woman: Was Columbus, Indiana.

Beam: Columbus, you’re right. Columbus, Indiana– and uh, asked to speak down there and uh, uh, uh, so his gift began to operate while he was down there and I mean he was uh, just running like ticker tape, just called all people, all kinds of their problems, their uh– their numbers, uh, Social Security numbers, uh, uh, payment uh, numbers that would be filed away sometimes that nobody could possibly know uh– just stuff like this and– and uh, silly little insignificant things that nobody had uh– and that– and uh, uh, he’d tell people– call people out and tell ‘em– tell ‘em to go down to the corner and make a right turn or something, and there’d be a Nestle wrapper laying in the gutter, and under that Nestle wrapper was uh, some kind of a colored stone or something. Just intricate little details that just flash and– and they’d go do it, and he said if that’s there, then you’ll believe, you know, but I– blam, and they’d be healed. But uh, this gift, uh, this grown girl, and he (unintelligible word) but in the meantime, John Price had heard about this, and so he went fishing, and– and– and he got this vision out while he was fishing that Jim should be his successor, that he was ready to retire. He was an old man. And uh–

Man: So he just realized that Jim would bring a lot of people into his church?

Beam: Right.

Man: Okay.

Beam: And uh, uh, his retirement is predicated, uh, you know, I mean his retiring salary is predicated– is predicated on what kind of good income come in there, and so if he had a moneymaker in there, you know, then he was guaranteed to get uh–

Man: I see.

Beam: You dig? Okay, so–

Man: Is he dead now?

Beam: Oh yeah– he died horribly. She stood there and watched the old fucker die uh, of uh– of– of false pains really. Not a goddamn thing, no matter what they say–

Woman: (unintelligible)

Beam: Hypochondriac. He– he– he– he– he fantasized him a heart attack. But anyhow, uh, uh, Laurel Street was comprised of uh, Ben Adams, which was a contractor. Uh, uh, I mean he built houses. He lived out in Beach Grove out in that area. Hines [phonetic] was another uh– I can’t think of his initials, but anyhow they had a big uh, uh, electrical uh, place uh, like light fixtures. Uh– They had a big store which they had done electrical work wiring houses uh, and all that commercially and– and– and for homes uh, and uh, so Ben Adams and Hines and uh, uh, uh, a couple of the other uh, people in the church with uh– with many means uh, with– uh, was well to do, uh, they put everything in there. Uh, Hines put in all the electrical work. Uh, Ben Adams done the masonry and the– and– and built that sort of uh, thing and then uh, we had finish carpenters and that other which they done. I think it was, oh, Dycus was a finish carpenter and uh–

Man: This was when Jim was in the church? Or just before or–

Beam: Well, I’m– I’m– I’m bringing you up to this.

Man: Yeah.

Beam: That just prior to Jim being brought in there, all right? Uh–

Woman: It was kind of like they owned the church.

Beam: See. So what I’m saying and– and each one of these goddamn vultures had a piece of the church, and they set in their goddamn corner where they could ad– admire–

Man: Look at their masonry and their woodwork and their plumbing.

Beam: –every fucking that they had been put into the church. Hallelujah, praise God, isn’t he wonderful. Don’t fuck with the fixtures. Halle– You know, so uh, Price come in and made this proposal, what it was fine, and so they bring in– Jim said, well, bring him in, let him do his act, you know, we’ll see if we dig him. This is– I’m– I’m stating it coldly, but that’s the way that was.

Man: That’s the way they looked at it.

Beam: Yes– Yeah, you’re damn right, you know, and so all he did is he and about three people in a– in a– in one Sunday, uh, he healed more than that, but what I’m saying, he had healed about three people, and I mean, the word went out like wildfire, and uh, the next Sunday afternoon– it­– it was crowded, the next Sunday afternoon, you couldn’t even get in the place. It was packed out and people out in the parking lot looking in the doors and everything and so (clears throat) he laid this down. Uh– Well, I think about the third time that Jim had come there uh–

Man: They were all white, you’re saying?

Beam: Oh, yes, these were all white people, and some black people had come and they’d been crammed way back on the back row, and some didn’t even get in.

Marceline Jones: It was so crowded that I didn’t realize that we had ushers. And I didn’t know that black people were being purposefully put in the back.

Man: I see.

Marceline: You know it was one of those things that–

Man: I understand, yeah.

Beam: So Jim– Jim told uh, Marceline [Jones] that uh– and I– I found out about this later, you know, that he said there were some– some black people coming and– and– and by God, he wanted them right up on the platform with him.

Marceline: He gave him their names, he gave him their names.

Beam: And he– yeah, he– he told them specifically who they were, and by God, Marceline brought them right up there. Well, hit the serv– after the service, I mean, packed houses and uh– the– the– the– uh, the offerings were– were what uh, Jim at that point did not mess with money. You know– I mean (coughs).

Marceline: (unintelligible)

Beam: Yeah– Yeah, that’s right, but what I’m saying, he never even took the offering. The Laurel Street Tabernacle took the offering and they took it back in their room, and they counted it and would tell him, and it’d be (unintelligible word), you know, because we were stealing off of Jim Jones at that time. The reason I say “we.” I was part– I was young people’s leader that– and I was in on all of what went on, you know, on the money and all–

Man: They give him– they gave a salary or–?

Beam: They give him a cut of the offering supposed to be wacko–

Man: Yeah, so they told him–

Beam: But it was wacko.

Man: Yeah, I understand.

Beam: Okay. So– But right after that, when the black people got put up there on the (unintelligible word), right after thatmeeting, we had a meeting, a board meeting. I was on the board being young people leader and uh, they told Jim that, uh– or we did, ‘cause I was on the board, (unintelligible word) you know, you uh, you know uh, don’t be uh, bringing the niggers on the front. I mean, it was sophisticated, but that’s what– now don’t bring the niggers up front. I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll build a church for the niggers, and you can minister them and then you can come and minister the white people. And Jim said, I’ll have no part of that and (makes a sound of finality). Well–

Man: Did he leave the board meeting while it was– progress?

Beam: He walked it– Right, right. Yeah, he walked out of that goddamn thing.

Man: What did you think about when he walked out? Was your– What was your reaction?

Beam: I thought he had a lot of goddamn guts, because here was a young guy, and well, you got to see the setting, Jim. Now Laurel Street Tabernacle was no goddamn shabby on the hill. This– this was a Bedford stone brand new church, and everything in it was brand new.

Marceline: And Jim was going to be the pastor.

Beam: And he was going to be the pastor, and that– that constituted right off the bat about, uh, forty, fifty grand a year.

Man: In those days, that was a hell of a lot of money.

Beam: Hell yes

Woman: Yeah.

Beam: –in 1950?

Marceline: (laughs) God.

Beam: I– I said, there’s a guy with balls, man, he’s walking out of a– you know. But I– I– I didn’t like their shit anyhow, uh, their operations, their clanny shit of keeping everything in one church, even in their cross town fellowship. You know there– there was– there was like uh, three– three songs and a dry fucking sermon and then how you should be– give honor to an old fucking man that was drying up and never said nothing in his life anyhow, you know?

Marceline: And then you had the baptism and–

Beam: Right, and beat all of that shit and then him take out his wrath on everybody that he didn’t like in the goddamn congregation, scripturally, you know. Uh, but– so soon as Jim walked out of there, they said, well, you– you said that somebody– they and (clears throat)– they was tired of Price anyhow, and so a hell of a fight broke out in the goddamn board meeting. And Price is there, the pastor.

Man: Yeah.

Beam: And Dycus, a fist fight.

Man: A fist fight?

Beam: A fist fight.

Man: Who were they fighting over?

Beam: Well, Jim.

Woman: I didn’t know this.

Beam: Yeah.

Man: Who fight who? I mean, who– (unintelligible under Beam)

Beam: Well, I– I’m going– I’m going to tell you this, that the thing was that uh, Price didn’t want just any fucker coming in there and taking over on his retirement, because he wanted his retirement guaranteed.

Man: So he wasn’t– (unintelligible under Beam)

Beam: And– And his salary would be predicated–

Man: Yeah.

Beam: –on the drawing power of who took his place.

Man: Right. So he wasn’t going to be in the church, so he didn’t really care who sat where. So he wanted Jim there.

Beam: That– That didn’t bother him at all, and he was insistent on a money winner, which Jim Jones was the front runner, you know. He could outpreach, at that time. His social commentary and– and– and– and all of– everything that he said was relevant, and it made sense. And it would elec– uh, it would electrify people– uh, people that– and I mean he would wrap it in the scripture to such a way–

Woman: (unintelligible)

Beam: Yeah, and he would wrap it in such a way that (clears throat) you had to look at it, you know, you had to look at it. And then, by God, you know, by looking at it, then he’d heal your ass, and it was the Word being accompanied by signs and wonders, which was their scripture. They couldn’t get away from it, but they didn’t like that shit sitting by niggers, you see. All right. So a fight broke out and– and Price said, I insist on this man, he said God showed me, and– and Dycus as much as said fuck God, bam– and– and took a swing at Price. And he– somebody said well– hey, he’s an old man, he’s put his life in this church, and Dycus said fuck– he didn’t say fucking, but he said, well, let him go get a job like I did. He said– Oh boy. He said go let him get (unintelligible phrase) Let him go get a job like I did, he said, well, Brother Dycus said, you work on a railroad. He said, I don’t care, let him work like I did. And– and then Hines woke up. (unintelligible sentence) He said, oh, when Jim Jones comes in here, my lights come out. In other words, he’s gonna jerk the goddamn light fixtures out of the church.

Marceline: You remember how Dycus spelled his name?

Beam: D-y-c-u-s.

Man: They had a fight.

Beam: Yeah, they– they had a– they had the goddamndest fight, and then politics began to play and uh, so some of the young– young married people that had went to Springfield Religious College began to play politics, you see, and they wanted a– a Thorton, a William Thorton–

Man: Yeah.

Beam: –to be their pastor.

Man: Yeah.

Beam: And uh, he was supposed to be a young (unintelligible word) man. In fact he come to California, and he was over in Kingwood a while. In fact he has a program right now, uh– You uh, you can be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That’s the scripture in the Bible. But the name of his program over– over at KFAX is Renewal. He’s got a program.

Man: Thorton?

Beam: Yeah, William Thorton. Uh, but anyhow, uh, Willy Davie uh, come there and uh, uh, Jim was there and he was like saying that–

Man: You say Willy Davie, was that you– yours, or– or is that his?

Beam: I hate that buck-toothed motherfucker. Uh–

Man: Does anybody– Did he come across any of these preachers (unintelligible) because other people call him (unintelligible word)?

Beam: No, uh, uh, but– but what– what had happened, I do know. I’m not too clear on this, but uh, uh, Bill asked– he finally got the church. He got the church and we moved. Bill Thorton. He got the church for a while, but Bill got into trouble uh, with a young– young (unintelligible). Jim knows the full thing of that, and uh, I– I am pretty sure at one time– Thorton may know about this (unintelligible name) and– and– and goddamn Bill’s wife went for Jim.

Man: This was many years later?

Beam: No, it was right around in the same time but –

Woman: –What happened at the board meeting?

Beam: Oh. The rest of the board meeting uh, was that uh, uh, they– they started this politics thing. After that board meeting, then the politics got. They called in Bill and– and uh, and wanted– and wanted him, and– and they tried out another uh, minister there. And so uh, they called me on the– on the phone and uh, uh, wanted to line up, they was trying to line up both, and wanted me to work, uh, you know, my campaign. Campaign to get him back. And uh, Rheaviana [Beam]–Rheaviana then got pissed, and uh, she said to me, she said uh– And, I said uh, one– one reason I–­ I said I am a little dubious about right now is I know that they’re all fighting in there and I don’t give a shit what is going– really going  upstairs, and I said, there’s a bunch of little kids (unintelligible phrase), and there had never been anybody to care about them too much, you know, they’d run the streets, and we got them (unintelligible) and– and that sort of thing, and uh, they was kinda– she said look, (unintelligible word) from now on, (unintelligible phrase) and uh, we was going home after a hell of a fight and (unintelligible) and the following– the following week. In the meantime, Jim and Marceline went down and Marty or whatever they had and got a loan some way and– and got the church at Fifteenth and Delaware. Fifteenth and Delaware. Fifteenth and North New Jersey–

Man: Right around the same time this happened, or immediately after.

Beam: Oh yeah, oh yeah, because– because he had a hell of a– of a following that he–

Man: He had to do something with.

Beam: Yeah, he had to do something with. So–

(Several exchanges, unintelligible)

Woman: Now, uh, did he ever preach in Indianapolis before?

Beam: Yeah, down in Somerset.

Man: That only came later.

Beam: Right. But uh, the next Sunday we were on our way, and she said uh, she said, well, we’re not going back there no more. I said– I said (unintelligible) She said look, the kids can come with us. And by God, (unintelligible) And so the next uh– That afternoon uh, we went, we went (unintelligible) didn’t even go home. We didn’t even go home, ‘cause Jim was uh– they hadn’t got the thing settled on Fifteenth and New Jersey yet, and there was a little place over on Hoyt Street, that uh, they were holding service, and she said let’s go over there. She said uh, they’re– they’re a young couple and uh, uh, you know, I like them. I said I do too, you know, and uh, uh, but I was still a racist (unintelligible) and uh, so we went in there and we went over to Hoyt– we didn’t even (unintelligible) over on to Hoyt Street where they were holding service, and uh– Yeah, Hoyt and Randolph, and uh, I went in there, and uh, sit down (too soft) Edith Cordell (unintelligible) I don’t know how old she was at that time. In her nineties, I think. You couldn’t hardly. I can’t remember. She said she loved Jim. I don’t know where she sit next to him. (unintelligible; too soft).

Woman: (too soft)

Beam: Oh. Okay. Anyhow– but anyhow, she just loved him, and– and uh, she asked if he was the mayor, and Edith was– Edith said, but you’re sick. She said, I don’t care, I want to go see him. And uh, David sit down there, and I don’t know all of what– what was said and everything, but that was the first time. There was a drinking fountain back (too soft).

(several exchanges too soft for minute)

Beam: And uh, I went in there with Wright. Wright, uh– Gibson? Frank Gibson? (unintelligible) shit out a growth. Uh– You know, he couldn’t even– somebody was gonna flush it and you couldn’t even get it down the toilet. Awful– awful goddam growth come out of that guy. Remember they had a trailer park down on the west side of– (unintelligible under woman)

Woman: Oh, yeah.

Beam: Gil– Price Gilbert, or Gilbert Price? Gilbert Price. Okay. But anyhow, uh, he– he followed Jim a long time. (unintelligible) He had trouble with black folk, him and his– his wife and their son, they was–

Woman: You’d say this is true of a lot of people that he healed, right?

Beam: Oh yeah.

Woman: They– they were torn up because they were raised (unintelligible)

Beam: Right. Right. You– you– you– you seen it in here the other night. False pride.

Woman: (unintelligible)

Beam: That’s right.

Woman: They wanted their lives. They wanted their health.

Beam: Well, and then uh, we was there– uh, we was there and then moved into the uh, Fifteenth and North New Jersey, and uh–

Woman: How big– How big would you say the church was back in the–

Beam: –there was two wings on it, plus the main auditorium.

Woman: The main auditorium (unintelligible)

Beam: We had– we– we had uh, (soft) Uh, uh, it’d comfortably hold about five (unintelligible word), you know, (unintelligible) and then we had a basement full of, you know, full of Sunday School (unintelligible word)

Woman: Which church is this now?

Beam: Fifteenth and North New–

Woman: He started this whole (unintelligible) What year, do you remember? Fifty­-what?

(unintelligible)

Beam: It– It– Yes it is, yes, it is, yes, it is. I know it is. Maybe it ain’t. Remember I bought that brand new 1958 Plymouth– in the– in the young people’s service (unintelligible)?

Woman: (unintelligible) 1958.

Beam: I– I know that, but I’m trying to put it in– This was about ’54 or ’55. That’s what I’m trying to–

Woman: Okay.

Beam: ‘Cause we was there, what, about three years at New Jersey?

Woman: Think of how old–

(women too soft)

Beam: Huh? Yeah. Yeah, well, I’m trying to think. We started a uh–

(exchanges too soft)

Woman: How about [Marceline] LeTourneau?

(People talk over each other)

Woman: There was some that left.

Beam: Oh, yeah. Eva Pugh? Eva Pugh was Eva what then.

Woman: Jackson.

Beam: Eva Jackson, right, right. Uh, Ralph, her husband. But uh– Uh, John (unintelligible name)

(too soft for several exchanges)

Man: So this was kind of like a– a test of the whole Laurel Street congregation.

Beam: Yeah, that made the transition? Uh, uh– there was LeTourneau, uh, uh, Eva, uh–

(too soft for several exchanges)

Beam: Yeah, Brad– Bradley never was Laurel Street.

(Audio suddenly improves)

Man: That would be when– when he started church over on Fifteenth and Bellridge. His congregation began to grow fairly quickly, or were– were you still in this Dogpatch area?

Beam: Oh– Oh, yeah. Well, it– it was growing, but uh–

Woman: –it wasn’t in the Dogpatch area.

Beam: No. We were– We were downtown then, on– on– well, on the what they call the East Side. See, we went from the South Side to the East Side, and uh, it– it– it was growing uh, just a little bit. Uh, a– a lot– a lot happened in that three year span. I think it was about three years that we was there. Uh, his ministry was being heralded all over at that time, his healing power–

Woman: It was all over the world.

Beam: And offers were coming in from everywhere. Uh, Kuhlman come there while we were there, Kathryn Kuhlman, and uh, she tried to get him to go with uh, her, uh, you know, still maintain our church, but I mean, go on the–

Woman: Tour–

Beam: –tour, yeah. Uh– Oh– In between – I missed a part, maybe Marceline may have got this – in between, I’m thinking back now, in between the transition from Laurel Street to– to Hoyt, uh, you know, I– I– I was talking– it– it was like with just, boom, boom, boom, but there was a time that Jim had uh, been contacted for O– O.L. Jaggers–

Marceline: Right!

Beam: Did you tell that part?

Marceline: No, I didn’t. We came out to Califor– We went out to California to hold a meeting–

Beam: That’s right. He’d contacted him, and– and guaranteed Jim a hell of a price.

Marceline: Several thousand dollars a week, and I don’t know–

Beam: Yeah. Several thousand dollars a week. Jim come out, and the first night, Jim walked– uh, was in backstage, and he– he saw how Orval treated his dad–

Man: Jaggers?

Beam: How– how Orval Jaggers treated his own dad, and Jim and her got on the plane and come home.

Man: They didn’t even stay for the–?

Marceline: He refused to (unintelligible)

Man: What was he did– What was he doing–

Beam: He– He was unkind, he was a– he was a– unfeeling, humiliated his father. And that’s the same prick that was in–

(Tape edit)

Woman: Jaggers never heard Jim preach before he invited him.

Beam: Hah?

Woman: Jaggers never heard Jim preach before he invited him. Just heard by reputation.

Beam: But his uh– The– the effectiveness of his– of his healing ministry. Uh, then he come back and then that other thing fall into place (voices fade)

Woman: (unintelligible)

Beam: Well– well, I’m saying, yeah, that– that fell (unintelligible word) And– then I said Kathryn Kuhlman come at that time, I’m trying to think of the goddamn uh, one that Penny [Kerns] called a son-of-a-bitch. (unintelligible) in Ohio. What was that fucker that sucked the girl on the– on the Sunday School table– and his– and his Sunday school superintendent caught him, and they throwed his ass out. And Jim took him in, uh, you know, said that uh– You know the church I’m talking about, hon? It was a Oneness church.

(voices too soft)

Beam: But anyhow, there was a whole congregation–

Woman: (too soft)

Beam: No, he was a white guy, but he had uh, uh–

(exchanges too soft)

Beam: Anyhow, uh, trying to fill in the name. Jim took him in and let him use our church, uh, uh, on a– on an off night to hold his meetings, and– but– but this man had ridiculed Jim and talked about Jim horribly on the radio. It was an example of uh, really turning your other cheek. You know, this guy – I– I can’t think of his name right now – but he had done everything that was uh– and Jim had said this man will have to uh, you know face this– this thing, and the whole thing was over black people.

Woman: (unintelligible) Jim had asked for what?

Beam: For interracial church, uh–

Woman: Really? He did? On the race issue?

Beam: Yeah. Huh?

Woman: On the race issue?

Beam: Yeah, he would preach sermons like uh, you know, God made all kinds of chickens, speckled ones, white ones and black ones, uh– Now if he wanted them to be the same, he said, they’d all get in the same chicken yard, he said, you wouldn’t know what was happening in your hen house. Yeah, that kind of stupid (unintelligible word) sermon–

Woman: (unintelligible) chickens do make that–

Beam: I know that. But what makes a difference when you got a (unintelligible word) going, you know. But anyhow, this character got caught sucking a young girl, his secretary on the– on the Sunday School table in the basement of his own church, and his own congregation–

Woman: His own congregation at the time–

Beam: Yeah, caught him, and of course, the church was split down the goddamn middle, and uh, this man was being– was gonna be– be run out of goddamn town on a rail. And he had nobody to befriend him but the very man that he ridiculed, which was Jim Jones, and he said, even though you (fades)

Woman: (unintelligible)

Beam: Hah? No, in our church. He was allowed to come in there and hold meetings which his little (unintelligible word) assed congregation that had come with him. Evidently they were (unintelligible word) members–

Woman: And what church was that at, now?

Beam: It was the– It was the United Pentecostal Church.

Woman: (unintelligible) Holiness Church, it was Jim’s church–

Beam: No, it was not. Our church at Fifteenth and Delaware is where he allowed him to bring–

Woman: How long did that go on for?

Beam: Uh, for about uh, uh, uh, maybe a month and a half or two (unintelligible word) this motherfucker got his second wind and then he landed and then– right back, you know. (unintelligible) That was one of the things, uh– Then, we had a parsonage with them, and uh, we fixed that up. And I moved into the parsonage and uh– and uh, maintained, because the boiler and everything there. But the race issue was getting hotter and hotter at that time. And– and people would come, and by God, uh, they would just uh, do everything, and Jim would uh– Jim was just really preaching scorching sermons on uh, out of one blood, God made all nations, do you really want to face (unintelligible), how can you love God whom you have not seen and not let– you know, the whole racial thing from the biblical standpoint, boom boom boom, and these suckers just stay like to get healing, and pour out the door, and Jim would just work ‘til he fall on his– on his face.

Woman: (unintelligible)

Beam: Right. At that time we had went through every black house in Indianapolis and knock on their door, and invited them to church, if they had no church affiliation.

Woman: Now– now– now, uh, Jim felt that this– Jim did this because basically he wanted you guys to count the congregations–

Beam: Right.

Woman: –but he also kinda was sick about the way these people was acting–

Beam: Oh, yeah, he would tell ‘em. He would tell ‘em. Uh– uh, yeah, you know, he– he– and uh, he– he would finally get– get frus– well, you know, he would get, God damn it, you know, and what he wanted to say, but they was religious people, God damn it, you want the fuckin’ healing, well, stick your fucking money up your ass if you don’t love these black people. That’s what– he really want– and he’d have find it in all loving, you know, uh, biblical words, what– that’s why his health is, you know–

Woman: (unintelligible)

Beam: Yeah. Well, there was other things I need to feed into you at this point of uh, what happened. Uh, I went down to fire the boiler there one night, and it was a hopper type, boiler where you put your coal in a hopper, and the damn thing augered it into the– you know, it– it would feed itself all night long, you know. And when I opened up the hopper to put more coal in there, some motherfucker had put two big sticks of dynamite in there, which, if it had got down there in that auger (unintelligible word) under pressure, if it’da pressured them things right in there and when they get that hot blast, it’da blowed that whole fucking corner off (unintelligible word). And uh, on that corner–

Woman: (unintelligible) it was a time when all those people were at church

Beam: Yeah! And I just went down to check it, you know. I don’t know why I went down to check it. I do know why, but I don’t know why, do you know what I mean?

Woman: Yeah, I know what you mean.

Beam: I– I mean, like, I– I– I’m going– I’m all dressed up in a suit, and for no reason I would go down, but I did, and I saw it, and I come up and I told Jim. And then we cleared the people out, so we could check around and see what the fuck else they (unintelligible).

Woman: And these were people who you met and people who had heard him speak and uh–

Beam: Yeah.

(women unintelligible)

Beam: Yeah. ‘Cause they didn’t like it. Uh, uh, what was that church before? Yeah, Latter day Saints. Uh, Seventh-day Adventists.

(unintelligible exchanges)

Beam: No, they had had. Uh– It had been a Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Woman: Oh, I see, I see. So maybe they thought the church was being defiled and desecrated.

Beam: Well, the neighborhood thought, goddamn, this is no way to have church. You’re supposed to go in there and praise him and (unintelligible) get your ass out and go home, yeah. And you don’t have no goddamn racial riots on the goddamn corner, you know, people saying you know–

Woman: (unintelligible)

Beam: Yeah. And– and– and over a loudspeaker, and you know how Jim speaks, and “He who does not love a black man must burn eternally in hell.” (unintelligible) –24 hours dong something.

 

Side 2

Man: (unintelligible)

Beam: Uh, Fifteenth and North New Jersey, uh, where we just finished that on the other side of the tape, uh, uh. As I said, uh, it was very hard for the neighborhood to comprehend uh, what had really taken place, uh, but we were getting quite a bit of resistance, and uh, people would like to, at– at that time, uh, the healing ministry uh, was uh, going uh, real good, and the– uh, uh, Jim at that time had uh, started uh, pacing himself uh– in other words, everything that he picked up, he– he, uh, uh– only if it was uh, uh, detrimental– uh, I mean, uh, not detrimental, but if it– if it was a lifesaving factor. In other words, if people had cancers or cataracts so they could go blind, or– or something like that, I mean, headaches and maybe uh, little– little– little other things he didn’t do it, but uh, the healing lines– uh, not the healing lines, but the calling out and uh, all the manifestations that uh, he would uh, talk about, the taking care of people’s lives was uh, tremendous, and uh, so the people uh, would come for that, and– and he would uh, just exhaust himself. In that– in– in that way, uh– But before he would do that– before he would do that at that time, he would– uh, he was intensifying the social message at that time, and– and bring in the uh– the aspects of socialism through the gospel, and uh, a– a progressive uh, uh, uh, doctrine as (unintelligible word) I saw it at that time, as uh, removing people’s uh, expectations from uh, a heaven and to a here and now. And uh, uh, a lot of the uh– the scriptures that uh– that he used at– at– at that time, you know, uh, uh, like the 23rd Psalm, or– or sermon– uh, I mean, 23rd Psalm, Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thykingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in Heaven. Uh–

Man: That’s the Lord’s Prayer, that isn’t the 23rd Psalm. (Laughs)

Beam: Yeah– Uh, you’re right. Well, that– that shows you how long I forgot it. That is the Lord’s Prayer, but uh, uh, the thing that uh, took place that he was– he was bringing them to, there was a responsibility now, and you could not use an escape program of heaven to– to uh, bring about any social change, or bring about any change at all, uh, because uh, uh, we had been conditioned in the Temple, (unintelligible word) to uh, uh, to always put off, you know, uh, things cannot always be this way, they will get better, you know, uh, or uh, Jesus will undertake our uh, uh, uh– one of the great uh, things that things that was (unintelligible word) that day, you know, God’s will be done. Well, God’s will was always being done, uh, ‘cause God could never be a liar, uh, to a Christian, uh, and there was just some awful things uh, uh, that happened, uh, uh– We uh, uh, moved on then and uh, our– ‘cause our crowds were getting so big and our Sunday School was so big at that time. As I said before, we had contacted other black families in the city of Indianapolis–

Man: Was the congregation mostly black at this time, or mostly white?

Beam: Uh, it uh– it was getting more black, uh, uh, because the people that had followed uh, Jim for the healing ministry had seen uh, uh, that uh, he intended to have a uh– a social gospel that uh– that uh, took in everyone and there was no uh, uh– no elite place for the white uh, structure of Indianapolis.

Man: How many– how– What– How would you like to–­ I mean, like, what percentage of the healing crowd were able to also take the social gospel? And what percentage of them got– (unintelligible under Beam)

Beam: It was– It was very uh– I– I was a– We had a 2:30– uh, a 2:30 uh, meeting in the afternoon on Sunday afternoon, and people from all over the city would come. They– they went to their regular churches on Sunday morning, but they would come to our meetings on Sunday afternoon, just for the healing, and Jim had a tremendous job to do, to try to uh, un-Christianize uh, from– from their different doctrinal standpoints, because you had the– the Oneness Pentecost and the Trinity Pentecost, and you had all your other persuasions there in Indianapolis that uh, uh, were uh– were fighting one another, but uh– on uh, on doctrinal points out of the Bible, and here come a man uh, doing manifesting, doing what they had talked about on both of their– or both of their sides, whether they be uh, one with (unintelligible name, Gar Tremedy?), and yet none of them had the evidence of uh, what they were– what they were preaching about. They said if you believe on Jesus Christ, uh, uh, and– and uh– you would be saved, uh, and uh, then uh, all of these things uh, would follow after the healings and– and uh, uh, the manifestation of the Spirit and the gift of the Holy Ghost, but none of them could do what Jim was doing at that time, and they were in awe. Uh, they would like to kill him, but uh, they thought that uh, uh, they would be touching God’s anointed, and uh, at that time uh, uh, that was one of the uh, uh– one of the scriptures that was used, touch uh– touch not my anointed, do my prophets do harm. Uh, uh, and they would– they– they would be in awe, that– but uh, doctrinally, they thought uh, we were (unintelligible word)– but they could not, they could not uh, uh, say a thing about the manifestation of the Spirit, uh, as they called it at that time–

Man: (unintelligible word) the doctrinal points that messed them up, was that still the Social Gospel basically, or was it the fact that he didn’t emphasize that the uh, uh– the last things in your blood and (unintelligible)

Beam: Well, he– he– he said uh, uh, uh– (Pause) (unintelligible) would be done away with, so he was doing a perfect work, you see, and uh– and so it (unintelligible word) him, uh, and– and he said uh, uh, when that– when– when that day uh, appeared, and it had appeared, because he was doing it, uh, (unintelligible word) uh, laying on of hands, uh, the eternal judgment, the damnations of bad persons–

Man: Did they accept that?

Beam: Uh, they were having a hell of a time with it, so they uh–

Man: (unintelligible)

Beam: Yeah, but, they could not– they could not question the healing, because they were real, you see, and they were uh, uh, from– from– from where they were, where they were coming from, uh, uh, he was outperforming anything with all of their traditional doctrine points, were doing so much uh, manifesting the Spirit, and uh–

Man: But from a doctrinal standpoint, they had to accept the healings, but there was contradiction with what they believed in scripturally.

Beam: That’s right.

Man: And then let them go and try to (unintelligible) other services?

Beam: Oh, yeah. Yes, yes. Uh, when they could not uh, uh, duplicate it, uh, in– in any uh, way, shape nor form– and then we had people that– that came in, uh, that uh, joined us, uh, that uh, would fall out. They– they said they had gifts, but uh, uh, Jim could always uh– None of ‘em could ever– ever do any– anything uh– I think of an Elmo Miller, stay to fight all the time, because he was so jealous of what Jim was doing, he was kind of a glorified little Pentecostal hole-in-the-wall preacher in an old storefront, and uh– and then we had uh, all types of people come in and uh, uh– uh, trying to uh, get him uh, where they could study under him, like uh– like uh, oh– who would be running– uh, what– what they would try to uh, do and see if he– uh, David Ketch [phonetic] – how he was uh, uh, doing these things, you know, all– all– all they could ever pick up, and what– what would really aggravate them beyond measure was uh, the fact that uh, Jim was an honest person, speaking from his heart, and living up to the highest, as he knew it at– at each given time–

Man: Yeah–

Beam: –and they would get mad at that, uh–

Man: Were they stuck on– They were– they were looking for just a way to learn about Jim, they were looking for a gimmick, were they looking for his style, were they– What were they looking for?

Beam: Uh, uh, looking for uh– I– I– I would say, uh, what he’d done and how he was getting in contact with God.

Man: How would you learn that by watching someone? I mean, what is it?

Beam: I– I– I really don’t know. People would ask me dumb questions because uh, I was one of the associates, uh, you know, uh– (unintelligible name, sounds like “Betty Gill”), Elmo Miller and uh– and– and some of these– these things and uh, I said uh, you know, they would ask me, uh, well, you’ve known Jim for a long time, how does this uh– how does he do that? I said, well, I don’t know how he does uh, (unintelligible word) anything, uh–

Man: What– what specifically would he say, when some of them really blew their mind? What kinds of things that really were beyond the ordinary healers of– (unintelligible word) that uh–

Beam: Uh, the– the things– uh, things that uh, he– he could uh, know the most uh, devastating thing on you, uh, that would be most embarrassing if it would be brought out. And uh, he’s always worked with uh– with the outcast and– and people that had been in trouble. And even some of these people that profess to be so– so loving and so kind and so– so God-based, had been in trouble, had been uh, in uh, situations, uh, uh, like– like I told you of the Reverend Huntington that uh, had uh, uh– had intercourse with his Sunday School uh,­ younger Sunday School uh, secretary, on the uh– on the– on the table in the basement of the church and got caught. Uh. But this man had ridiculed us on the air and done all sorts of things like that, and Jim knew about him, knew– knew about his situation, uh– however this gift works, know many things about him. Yet he did not expose him, uh, till they said, he got caught, is what– what (unintelligible name) said, but Jim opened up the church and the facilities and uh– in other words, he fulfilled this– the Scriptures that the people thought, he would fulfill it for them, like uh, uh– you know, if your brother’s caught in a fall, don’t condemn him, but– but help him. And that’s what Jim would do, like open up his system, allow– ‘cause the man got kicked out of his own church, had nowhere to go, and uh– and they opened up the doors, and uh, he demonstrated a Christlike spirit, and– and uh, it– it uh, made me uh, made me very aware of uh, uh– if these people really did believe in Jesus the way they said he did, you know, and the guy knew uh, anything at that– uh, at that particular, I thought, if Jesus Christ had come walking down the goddamn street right, these people that say they believe in him would turn around and kill him, because of the works that he’d done, you know, so uh– the uh– the– the kindness, the– the fulfilling of uh, of uh, uh– George Weathers, I think, the guy’s name. Jim and Marceline uh, was– was– was trying to finish up school, uh, themselves, and– and– and carry on uh, the church. Uh, Marceline was working a lot of hours, and– and so was Jim, and– and– and uh, they were both going to school. And uh, they was helping the Weathers through– through college, uh, he was going to be a lawyer, I think. And this man turned around and– and– and called Jim Beelzebub, called him the devil, uh, uh, uh, ridiculed and– and–

Man: In what context did he (unintelligible word), publicly or–

Beam: Yeah– well, in– in my presence, and– and certainly uh, of friends, and– and it was one of the– one of the uh–

Man: Was he a (unintelligible word)

Beam: No–

Man: Why did he–

Beam: But there was an interracial marriage. He was married to a white woman, and uh– uh, but uh, certainly if uh, anybody was going to be defeated uh, that would be a– a defeating uh, situation, it seems like when you had went all out uh, for a man, uh, then– then he turn around and treat you like that, but it’s a– uh– it– it– it uh– where it would react, say, on me and you, with– with– with vile and– and one of the most uh, you know, say what the hell with that kind of situation, (unintelligible word), it seemed to– to me, it seemed that it turned Jim on to– to be more loving, more understanding, he couldn’t guilt over that, he would always say or demonstrate, it would seem like to me, though, well, what– what did I do here that caused that man to feel that way and all–

Man: Well, what did he do?

Beam: I never thought he done anything, but– but be helpful.

Man: No, what you were saying before was that the very thought of him being Jim Jones was the reason he was turning a lot of these people into uh, (unintelligible word), because they couldn’t stand the goodness that he was demonstrating.

Beam: That’s right.

Man: So how could he feel guilty about that? (Pause) I mean, did he ever– did he ever look beyond uh, uh– how can you not be good and then feel guilty about it? (unintelligible under Beam)

Beam: Well, I interpret him– I interpret him to being good. Evidently, Jim didn’t think he had been good enough. That– that’s the only way that I can explain it, you know, uh, because uh, uh, a lot of situations – I can’t think of another one right offhand, uh, that– that would demonstrate that – but in– in every situation, he would re-examine the situation and always see, well, you know, I could’ve done better about that.

Man: Well, what is it, the one example that–

Beam: I– I thi– I think so, but I– I– I never saw him do anything for the Weathers uh, but kindness. And–

Man: How was uh– Let me ask you this question. Was Jim known by the healers who were also well known?

Beam: Uh, at that time–

Man: Did he get into healing of (unintelligible). Did he know about people like uh– [Kathryn] Kuhlman and uh, (unintelligible name under Beam)?

Beam: Uh, yes, uh, but at– at– at that time, uh, Kathryn Kuhlman come uh, to Fifteenth and New Jersey and uh– and uh–

Man: So what time was that? What year was it roughly?

Beam: Oh, you’ll have to maybe ask (Pause) somebody else. Somewhere in that era. Uh, but uh, uh– Then, also uh– I told you. But right before this uh, even uh– (tape edit) Right after this situation in Laurel Street– did I take that up in that last tape?

Man: (unintelligible) tradition in another church, (unintelligible)

Beam: Okay, uh– From the time that we left that until uh, he started the place over on Hoyt, he uh– he was contacted by O.L. Jaggers, which was a uh, big uh, healing minister, I think a Latter Day uh, minister uh, on the West Coast in Los Angeles. Uh, and I know that he had heard about Jim when we got into L.A.

Man: Yes.

Beam: Uh– uh– But again, uh, there was principle. The man offered uh, I think it was something like uh, six thousand dollars for six meetings, and uh, (Pause) Jim didn’t go with that purpose, but when he got out there, he offered him that. Uh– uh– (Pause) And uh, he saw that the way he treated his dad.

Man: The way Jaggers treated his dad?

Beam: Saw the way Jaggers treated his own father, and uh, he was so inconsistent with uh– with what was going on that Jim uh, turned the whole thing down and come back home back to Indianapolis, didn’t– didn’t have no meetings for him whatsoever. Uh– But uh, to get on down the road a little bit on this uh, uh– I kinda went back on that thing, but as– as I started to say, then Fifteenth and New– New Jersey, uh, it got to growing, and uh, we went to uh– uh, there was a synagogue at Tenth and Delaware that was for sale. And uh, so uh, another uh– uh, this is a good thing uh, to know even at– at that age then, uh, uh, the uh– how frugal Jim was in his uh– in his dealings with money and taking care of the people’s money. Uh– They uh, they uh– the– I forget the exact price that the– the temple was offered for, but anyhow, he uh, he made a deal, he said, well, if we pay for this – we met with the Jewish people – he said if we pay for this in a year, can we have it interest free, and they said yes. The rabbi says yeah. And Jim Jones, before the year out, the temple at Tenth and Delaware where it was paid for, uh– Uh, due to uh, all uh– there were things that uh, that went on in the nursing home, (unintelligible word) things that– but he managed them and he saw that we was able to get– get the money together and– and pay for that, uh, but uh, uh, I think uh, at uh, that time, then we begin to uh, having the large crowds, uh– All the time, all the time in both of these uh, at Fifteenth and uh, New Jersey, and Tenth and Delaware, Jim was working– most of ‘em was working, and he was pastoring the uh, the– the– the church uh, and at the same time, him and I was doing a lot of traveling all over the state and over into Ohio, uh– uh, holding meetings and uh, in Cincinnati, just like before, in Eddie Wilson’s, uh, uh, place, in uh, in Cincinnati. Uh, and he used to come over and speak at our place, uh, uh– This man got very upset over uh– His– his great falling out was over the social gospel, uh, the here-and-now, and uh, got tremendously jealous over his wife too, uh, uh, so it was just impossible for us to continue, uh, but uh, uh, the reason uh, I brought uh, Eddie Wilson up at uh– at this particular time, we were holding a meeting over there, and uh, we had taken our choir over there, and so uh, as always, Jim was trying to help out uh, everyone that he could in the meeting, and he was getting uh, a uh, very strong impression of something on– on uh– I’m gonna have to think hard here, uh–

The thing that was uh– he was sitting was uh, was a little town on the highway where there was going to be an awful wreck, and uh, so uh, six of our people – I think it was six – uh, Jim’s daughter Stephanie [Jones] uh, uh, Mabel uh, (unintelligible name) – this was Loretta’s [Loretta Cordell], our organist’s mother, uh, Dallas– I’m trying to think of her last name – uh, three of our black sisters, and they had a young– another young boy in there. But anyhow, people were making a lot of noise, and he was trying to get people to quiet down so he could (unintelligible word) this, but anyhow, the people went on out and uh, a drunk man in a station wagon crossed the line and hit ‘em head-on and killed all of them in the car except the young uh, lad, and he was thrown out in uh– He was the only one that survived out of the uh, out of the car, and uh, uh, so uh– (Pause) It was a terrible shock, a terrible loss to the congregation uh, but I know that uh, Jim was insisting that uh, his people be taken care of, and they wanted to take our black people and bury them in the lower part of the graveyard where the water run off, and it was a uh, uh– oh, a very, very traumatic time, uh, uh– At– at– at– at that time, uh, (unintelligible word) Jim and Marceline and– but they said, but Reverend Jones, uh, we’ll bury your daughter up on the hill with the– with the other– with the white folks, but she was Oriental, and he said no, he said, if all of my people can’t be buried up there, then bury my child down there where the uh, water runs off. And– and this is uh, uh, going back a little bit, if you wanted to know uh, why uh, people could not take that– take that, he was a staunch, real uh, disciplined egalitarian, and he never deviated uh, from– from that, and uh, I think that uh, every minister, so they could sleep (unintelligible word) by night, ‘cause they knew he had the goods and uh, they knew there was sincerity and honesty and integrity, and they– they would– they would, like Nicodemus, they would – they would sneak out and try to contact to Jim at night, ‘cause they didn’t want their congregation to know, they knew– they knew that they had come in contact with Principle, and uh, uh– but uh– and he could point out things to ‘em, and they said that they– they did not agree uh, uh– I mean, they agreed uh, in the errors of the Bible and– and many things like that uh, but they did not uh, choose to allow their congregation to– to know these things, because they said it would interfere with the offerings and uh, uh, Jim always worked, and he took no salary, uh– That was one of the big uh, thorns in their side that they could not uh, accept uh– Uh, but the fact that uh, he stood by what was right, and uh, always demonstrated Principle uh, that uh, these people could not uh– could not deal with. Uh– (unintelligible word, could be “Weathers”) church uh, continued to grow uh, and we was getting more black people. Now the uh– at Tenth and Delaware that started to change then, uh, uh–

Man: (unintelligible)

Beam: Yes, uh–

Man: (unintelligible)

Beam: Uh, now, he’s just getting ready to go– or maybe it’s right around– I’m not too sure about the dates on this, but he had taken a job for Charley Boswell, which was the mayor of Indianapolis, Indiana, and he formed the Mayor’s Commission for Human Rights. Jim was the first one on that. He opened up the police force, Bell Telephone, he integrated uh– he took on Bell Telephone, and he integrated the Indianapolis police department, uh, uh, he integrated Methodist Hospital. Uh– He had had a uh– a situation that uh–

Man: I know the story but (unintelligible)

Beam: Yeah, okay. So you’ve got that. Uh– But it was right around that time that uh– and uh– so the Chamber of Commerce (laughs) at that time, I– I forget what his salary was, but uh, it wasn’t what they offered him, they offered him another job and a chance to be slingshotted on into Washington, and the job above, what they offered him was for doing nothing but getting out the way, for twenty-five thousand, I think.

Man: (unintelligible)

Beam: Yeah. That’s right. Uh– So uh–

Man: How did he– how did he fit in the accident– (unintelligible) integrating the police department and so forth, was it– was it too much that he had to go along with it, to (unintelligible) to be trends of the time now (unintelligible)

Beam: Well, uh–

Man: Was he– Was he in (unintelligible word) time, or was he ahead of the times (unintelligible)

Beam: I think uh, I think that he awoke uh, in– in a lot of people’s minds uh, uh, that this was right. Uh, someone didn’t have the guts to do it, and– and others were, uh, (stumbles over words) not only to do it, but not even attempt it. Not even talk about it. Uh– Indianapolis was uh, oftentimes referred to the n– the northernmost– uh, the northernmost Southern city uh, in the country.

Man: Why is that?

Beam: Well, you know, rednecks uh–

Man: (unintelligible)

Beam: Yes, uh, but it had the mentality of the South, but it was a northern city, you see. And it said that it was uh, uh, the South’s most northern city.

Man: Yeah, I got you.

Beam: Uh, uh, but uh, uh, and uh– Well, you did have a lot of infiltration from Kentucky and Tennessee uh, uh, for the industrial uh, community uh, of Allison’s and Link-Belts and uh, uh, Chrysler Corporation and Ford, uh, a lot uh– (unintelligible name) Meat Packing, (unintelligible name) Meat Pack– a lot of industrial uh, uh, sites there, uh, General Motors, uh, and for uh, the city uh– (unintelligible) redneck mentality uh, from the South, because they couldn’t make a living down there, and it wasn’t too far, it was only a hundred– about a hundred–

Man: (unintelligible)

Beam: Oh. Yes, that’s another thing. He sits on the bank and the lending agencies uh, because they’d already uh, made a uh, a projection that uh, the blacks would go out Indiana Avenue and on out, and uh, uh, they had the real estate companies and everything else all tied up, and Jim tied into them, that uh, there wouldn’t be no money to loan on any property, only in certain areas, in– in that particular area, for black people. And uh, the (unintelligible word) uh, he stirred up quite a few of their– a lot of threats. That’s when the– when the uh, shit began to hit the fan, is uh, uh, when all of this– when all of this uh, begin to (unintelligible under woman)

Man: He was– he was in the public eye then.

Beam: Oh, yeah. Uh– About the same time, he– uh, he started a free restaurant in the base– in the uh– in one of the back rooms of the Temple– Temple. He even had a neon sign, you know. Anybody that wanted to uh– wanted to uh, have a free meal, you know, they could come in there, and we–

End of tape

Originally posted on February 8th, 2021.

Last modified on February 9th, 2021.
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