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(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Seriina Covarrubias. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.
(The original verbatim of this transcript is here. This version was edited for coherency, primarily to delete the many verbal pauses – mainly “uh” – and false starts in Jack Beam’s speaking.)
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: 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 Dogpatch Kentucky. I mean Dogpatch of southside Indianapolis and–
Woman: Mmm (agreeing)
Beam: –that’s where the Somerset Mission was that Jim had been assigned to and he was told that the word had got around by this time that some– oh, what was the reference called of these people that never had no church home. They were Pentecostal people, but they ran all over and they would take in everything. Well, anyway Jim had been in down in Franklin–
Woman: Latter Rain.
Woman: Latter Rain Movement.
Beam: Yeah, the Latter Rain Movement. But anyhow they had had a meeting down in Franklin, Indiana, and Jim had been asked to come down there and speak and–
Woman: Was Columbus, Indiana.
Beam: Columbus, you’re right. Columbus, Indiana– and asked to speak down there, and so his gift began to operate while he was down there and I mean he was just running like ticker tape, just called all people, all kinds of their problems, their numbers, Social Security numbers, payment numbers that would be filed away sometimes that nobody could possibly know just stuff like this and silly little insignificant things that nobody had, and he’d call people out and 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 some kind of a colored stone or something. Just intricate little details that just flash and they’d go do it, and he said if that’s there, then you’ll believe, you know, but– blam, and they’d be healed. But this gift, this grown girl, and he (unintelligible word) but in the meantime, John Price had heard about this, and so he went fishing, 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–
Man: So he just realized that Jim would bring a lot of people into his church?
Beam: And his retirement is predicated, you know, I mean his retiring salary 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–
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 of false pains really. Not a goddamn thing, no matter what they say–
Beam: Hypochondriac. He fantasized him a heart attack. But anyhow, Laurel Street was comprised of Ben Adams, which was a contractor. I mean he built houses. He lived out in Beach Grove out in that area. Hines [phonetic] was another– I can’t think of his initials, but anyhow they had a big electrical place, like light fixtures. They had a big store which they had done electrical work wiring houses and all that commercially and for homes, and so Ben Adams and Hines and a couple of the other people in the church with many means with– was well to do, they put everything in there. Hines put in all the electrical work. Ben Adams done the masonry and built that sort of thing and then we had finish carpenters and that other which they done. I think it was, oh, Dycus was a finish carpenter and–
Man: This was when Jim was in the church? Or just before or–
Beam: Well, I’m bringing you up to this.
Beam: That just prior to Jim being brought in there, all right?
Woman: It was kind of like they owned the church.
Beam: See. So what I’m saying and each one of these goddamn vultures had a piece of the church, and they set in their goddamn corner where they could 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. You know, so Price come in and made this proposal, what it was fine, and so Jim said, well, bring him in, let him do his act, you know, we’ll see if we dig him. 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 one Sunday, 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 the next Sunday afternoon, 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. Well, I think about the third time that Jim had come there–
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 told Marceline [Jones] that, and I found out about this later, you know, that he said there were some black people coming, 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 told them specifically who they were, and by God, Marceline brought them right up there. Well, after the service, I mean, packed houses and the offerings were what Jim at that point did not mess with money. You know– I mean (coughs).
Beam: 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 young people’s leader. 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. 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 they told Jim that, or wedid, ‘cause I was on the board, (unintelligible word) you know, you you know don’t be 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? 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 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 constituted right off the bat about forty, fifty grand a year.
Man: In those days, that was a hell of a lot of money.
Beam: Hell yes–
Beam: –in 1950?
Marceline: (laughs) God.
Beam: I said, there’s a guy with balls, man, he’s walking out of a– you know. But I didn’t like their shit anyhow, their operations, their clanny shit of keeping everything in one church, even in their cross town fellowship. You know there was like three songs and a dry fucking sermon and then how you should 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. As soon as Jim walked out of there, they said, well, you said that somebody– (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.
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.
Man: Who fight who? I mean, who– (unintelligible under Beam)
Beam: Well, I’m going to tell you this, that the thing was that 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 his salary would be predicated–
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 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 all of– everything that he said was relevant, and it made sense. And it would electrify people that– and I mean he would wrap it in the scripture to such a way–
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 Price said, I insist on this man, he said God showed me, and Dycus as much as said fuck God, bam– and took a swing at Price. And he– somebody said 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 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?
Man: They had a fight.
Beam: Yeah, they had the goddamndest fight, and then politics began to play and so some of the young married people that had went to Springfield Religious College began to play politics, you see, and they wanted a William Thorton–
Beam: –to be their pastor.
Beam: And 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, You can be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That’s the scripture in the Bible. But the name of his program over at KFAX is Renewal. He’s got a program.
Beam: Yeah, William Thorton. But anyhow, Willy Davie come there and Jim was there and he was like saying that–
Man: You say Willy Davie, was that yours or is that his?
Beam: I hate that buck-toothed motherfucker.
Man: Does anybody– Did he come across any of these preachers (unintelligible) because other people call him (unintelligible word)?
Beam: No, but what had happened, I do know. I’m not too clear on this, but 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 with a young (unintelligible). Jim knows the full thing of that, and I am pretty sure at one time– Thorton may know about this (unintelligible name) 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 was that they started this politics thing. After that board meeting, then the politics got. They called in Bill and wanted him, and they tried out another minister there. And so they called me on the phone and wanted to line up, they was trying to line up both, and wanted me to work, you know, my campaign. Campaign to get him back. And Rheaviana [Beam] then got pissed, and she said to me– And, I said 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 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 that sort of thing, and they was kinda– she said look, (unintelligible word) from now on, (unintelligible phrase) and we was going home after a hell of a fight and (unintelligible) and the following week. In the meantime, Jim and Marceline went down and Marty or whatever they had and got a loan some way 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 he had a hell 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, did he ever preach in Indianapolis before?
Beam: Yeah, down in Somerset.
Man: That only came later.
Beam: Right. But the next Sunday we were on our way, and she said, well, we’re not going back there no more. I said (unintelligible) She said look, the kids can come with us. And by God, (unintelligible) And so that afternoon we went, we went (unintelligible) didn’t even go home. We didn’t even go home, ‘cause they hadn’t got the thing settled on Fifteenth and New Jersey yet, and there was a little place over on Hoyt Street, that they were holding service, and she said let’s go over there. She said they’re a young couple and. you know, I like them. I said I do too, you know, and but I was still a racist (unintelligible) and 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– Yeah, Hoyt and Randolph, and I went in there, and 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, she just loved him, and 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 David sit down there, and I don’t know all of 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 I went in there with Wright. Wright Gibson? Frank Gibson? (unintelligible) shit out a growth. You know, he couldn’t even– somebody was gonna flush it and you couldn’t even get it down the toilet. 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, he followed Jim a long time. (unintelligible) He had trouble with black folk, him and 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 were torn up because they were raised (unintelligible)
Beam: Right. Right. You seen it in here the other night. False pride.
Beam: That’s right.
Woman: They wanted their lives. They wanted their health.
Beam: Well, and then we was there and then moved into the Fifteenth and North New Jersey, and–
Woman: 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 (soft) 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?
Beam: 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 young people’s service (unintelligible)?
Woman: (unintelligible) 1958.
Beam: I know that, but I’m trying to put it in– This was about ’54 or ’55. That’s what I’m trying to–
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–
(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.
Beam: Eva Jackson, right, right. Ralph, her husband. But John (unintelligible name)
(too soft for several exchanges)
Man: So this was kind of like aa test of the whole Laurel Street congregation.
Beam: Yeah, that made the transition? There was LeTourneau, Eva–
(too soft for several exchanges)
Beam: Yeah, Bradley never was Laurel Street.
(Audio suddenly improves)
Man: That would be when he started church over on Fifteenth and Bellridge. His congregation began to grow fairly quickly, or were you still in this Dogpatch area?
Beam: Oh, yeah. Well, it was growing, but–
Woman: –it wasn’t in the Dogpatch area.
Beam: No. We were downtown then, on what they call the East Side. See, we went from the South Side to the East Side, and it was growing just a little bit. A lot happened in that three year span. I think it was about three years that we was there. 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. Kuhlman come there while we were there, Kathryn Kuhlman, and she tried to get him to go with her, you know, still maintain our church, but I mean, go on the–
Beam: –tour, yeah. 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 Hoyt, you know, I was talking, it was like with just, boom, boom, boom, but there was a time that Jim had been contacted for O.L. Jaggers–
Beam: Did you tell that part?
Marceline: No, I didn’t. We went out to California to hold a meeting–
Beam: That’s right. He’d contacted him, 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– was in backstage, and he saw how Orval treated his dad–
Beam: 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 was unkind, he was unfeeling, humiliated his father. And that’s the same prick that was in–
Woman: Jaggers never heard Jim preach before he invited him.
Woman: Jaggers never heard Jim preach before he invited him. Just heard by reputation.
Beam: But the effectiveness of his healing ministry. Then he come back and then that other thing fall into place (voices fade)
Beam: Well, I’m saying, yeah, that fell (unintelligible word) And then I said Kathryn Kuhlman come at that time, I’m trying to think of the goddamn one that Penny [Kerns] called a son-of-a-bitch. (unintelligible) in Ohio. What was that fucker that sucked the girl on the Sunday School table, and his Sunday school superintendent caught him, and they throwed his ass out. And Jim took him in, you know, said that– 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–
(exchanges too soft)
Beam: Anyhow, trying to fill in the name. Jim took him in and let him use our church, on an off night to hold his meetings, but this man had ridiculed Jim and talked about Jim horribly on the radio. It was an example of really turning your other cheek. You know, this guy – I can’t think of his name right now – but he had done everything that was– and Jim had said this man will have to you know face this thing, and the whole thing was over black people.
Woman: (unintelligible) Jim had asked for what?
Beam: For interracial church–
Woman: Really? He did? On the race issue?
Beam: Yeah. Huh?
Woman: On the race issue?
Beam: Yeah, he would preach sermons like you know, God made all kinds of chickens, speckled ones, white ones and black ones. 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 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 this man was gonna 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)
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 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: For about 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. Then, we had a parsonage with them, and we fixed that up. And I moved into the parsonage and maintained, because the boiler and everything there. But the race issue was getting hotter and hotter at that time. And people would come, and by God, they would just do everything, and Jim was just really preaching scorching sermons on 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 face.
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, Jim did this because basically he wanted you guys to count the congregations–
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. Yeah, you know, he would finally 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, biblical words, that’s why his health is, you know–
Beam: Yeah. Well, there was other things I need to feed into you at this point of what happened. 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– you know, 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 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 mean, like, 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–
Beam: Yeah. ‘Cause they didn’t like it. What was that church before? Yeah, Latter day Saints. Seventh-day Adventists.
Beam: No, they had had. 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, people saying you know–
Beam: Yeah. 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.
Beam: Fifteenth and North New Jersey, where we just finished that on the other side of the tape. As I said, it was very hard for the neighborhood to comprehend what had really taken place, but we were getting quite a bit of resistance, and people would like to, at that time, the healing ministry was going real good, and Jim at that time had started pacing himself– in other words, everything that he picked up, only if it was detrimental– I mean, not detrimental, but if it was a lifesaving factor. In other words, if people had cancers or cataracts so they could go blind, or something like that, I mean, headaches and maybe little other things he didn’t do it, but the healing lines– not the healing lines, but the calling out and all the manifestations that he would talk about, the taking care of people’s lives was tremendous, and so the people would come for that, and he would just exhaust himself. In that way. But before he would do that at that time, he would– he was intensifying the social message at that time, and bring in the aspects of socialism through the gospel, and a progressive doctrine as (unintelligible word) I saw it at that time, as removing people’s expectations from a heaven and to a here and now. And a lot of the scriptures that he used at that time, you know, like the 23rd Psalm, Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in Heaven.
Man: That’s the Lord’s Prayer, that isn’t the 23rd Psalm. (Laughs)
Beam: Yeah– you’re right. Well, that shows you how long I forgot it. That is the Lord’s Prayer, but the thing that took place that he was bringing them to, there was a responsibility now, and you could not use an escape program of heaven to bring about any social change, or bring about any change at all, because we had been conditioned in the Temple, (unintelligible word) to always put off, you know, things cannot always be this way, they will get better, you know, or Jesus will undertake our– one of the great things that things that was (unintelligible word) that day, you know, God’s will be done. Well, God’s will was always being done, ‘cause God could never be a liar to a Christian, and there was just some awful things that happened. We moved on then, ‘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: It was getting more black, because the people that had followed Jim for the healing ministry had seen that he intended to have a social gospel that took in everyone and there was no elite place for the white structure of Indianapolis.
Man: What percentage of the healing crowd were able to also take the social gospel? And what percentage of them got– (unintelligible under Beam)
Beam: We had a 2:30 meeting in the afternoon on Sunday afternoon, and people from all over the city would come. 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 un-Christianize from their different doctrinal standpoints, because you had the Oneness Pentecost and the Trinity Pentecost, and you had all your other persuasions there in Indianapolis that were fighting one another, but on doctrinal points out of the Bible, and here come a man doing manifesting, doing what they had talked about on both of their sides, whether they be one with (unintelligible name, Gar Tremedy?), and yet none of them had the evidence of what they were preaching about. They said if you believe on Jesus Christ, and you would be saved, and then all of these things would follow after the healings and 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. They would like to kill him, but they thought that they would be touching God’s anointed, and at that time that was one of the scriptures that was used, touch not my anointed, do my prophets do harm. And they would be in awe, that– but doctrinally, they thought we were (unintelligible word)– but they could not, they could not say a thing about the manifestation of the Spirit, 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 last things in your blood and (unintelligible)
Beam: Well, he said (Pause) (unintelligible) would be done away with, so he was doing a perfect work, you see, and so it (unintelligible word) him, and he said when that day appeared, and it had appeared, because he was doing it, (unintelligible word) laying on of hands, the eternal judgment, the damnations of bad persons–
Man: Did they accept that?
Beam: They were having a hell of a time with it, so they–
Beam: Yeah, but, they could not question the healing, because they were real, you see, and they were from where they were, where they were coming from, he was outperforming anything with all of their traditional doctrine points, were doing so much manifesting the Spirit, and–
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. When they could not duplicate it, in any way, shape nor form– and then we had people that came in, that joined us, that would fall out. They said they had gifts, but Jim could always– None of ‘em could ever do anything. 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 then we had all types of people come in and trying to get him where they could study under him, like who would be running– what they would try to do and see if he– David Ketch [phonetic] – how he was doing these things, you know, all they could ever pick up, and what would really aggravate them beyond measure was the fact that Jim was an honest person, speaking from his heart, and living up to the highest, as he knew it at– at each given time–
Beam: –and they would get mad at that–
Man: Were they stuck on– 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: Looking for I would say, 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 really don’t know. People would ask me dumb questions because I was one of the associates, you know, (unintelligible name, sounds like “Betty Gill”), Elmo Miller and some of these things and I said you know, they would ask me, well, you’ve known Jim for a long time, how does he do that? I said, well, I don’t know how he does (unintelligible word) anything–
Man: 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–
Beam: The things that he could know the most devastating thing on you, that would be most embarrassing if it would be brought out. And he’s always worked with the outcast and people that had been in trouble. And even some of these people that profess to be so loving and so kind and so God-based, had been in trouble, had been in situations, like I told you of the Reverend Huntington that had had intercourse with his younger Sunday School secretary, on the table in the basement of the church and got caught. But this man had ridiculed us on the air and done all sorts of things like that, and Jim knew about him, knew about his situation, however this gift works, know many things about him. Yet he did not expose him, till they said, he got caught, is what (unintelligible name) said, but Jim opened up the church and the facilities and– in other words, he fulfilled the Scriptures that the people thought, he would fulfill it for them, like you know, if your brother’s caught in a fall, don’t condemn him, 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 they opened up the doors, and he demonstrated a Christlike spirit, and it made me made me very aware of– if these people really did believe in Jesus the way they said he did, you know, and the guy knew anything 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 the kindness, the fulfilling of George Weathers, I think, the guy’s name. Jim and Marceline was trying to finish up school themselves, and carry on the church. Marceline was working a lot of hours, and so was Jim, and they were both going to school. And they was helping the Weathers through college, he was going to be a lawyer, I think. And this man turned around and called Jim Beelzebub, called him the devil, ridiculed and–
Man: In what context did he (unintelligible word), publicly or–
Beam: Yeah– well, in my presence, and certainly of friends, and it was one of the–
Man: Was he a (unintelligible word)
Man: Why did he–
Beam: But there was an interracial marriage. He was married to a white woman, but certainly if anybody was going to be defeated, that would b a defeating situation, it seems like when you had went all out for a man, then he turn around and treat you like that, but where it would react, say, on me and you, with vile and one of the most. you know, say what the hell with that kind of situation, (unintelligible word), it seemed to me, it seemed that it turned Jim on 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 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 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 (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 look beyond, how can you not be good and then feel guilty about it? (unintelligible under Beam)
Beam: Well, I interpret him to being good. Evidently, Jim didn’t think he had been good enough. That’s the only way that I can explain it, you know, because a lot of situations – I can’t think of another one right offhand, that would demonstrate that – but 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 think so, but I never saw him do anything for the Weathers but kindness. And–
Man: Let me ask you this question. Was Jim known by the healers who were also well known?
Beam: At that time–
Man: Did he get into healing of (unintelligible). Did he know about people like [Kathryn] Kuhlman and (unintelligible name under Beam)?
Beam: Yes, but at that time, Kathryn Kuhlman come to Fifteenth and New Jersey–
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. But right before this even– (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. From the time that we left that until he started the place over on Hoyt, he was contacted by O.L. Jaggers, which was a big healing minister, I think a Latter Day minister on the West Coast in Los Angeles. And I know that he had heard about Jim when we got into L.A.
Beam: But again, there was principle. The man offered I think it was something like six thousand dollars for six meetings, and (Pause) Jim didn’t go with that purpose, but when he got out there, he offered him that. (Pause) And 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 he was so inconsistent with what was going on that Jim turned the whole thing down and come back home back to Indianapolis, didn’t have no meetings for him whatsoever. But to get on down the road a little bit on this – I kinda went back on that thing, but as I started to say, then Fifteenth and New Jersey, it got to growing, and there was a synagogue at Tenth and Delaware that was for sale. And so another– this is a good thing to know even at that age then, how frugal Jim was in his dealings with money and taking care of the people’s money. I forget the exact price that the temple was offered for, but anyhow, he 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, due to all – there were things that that went on in the nursing home, (unintelligible word) things that– but he managed them and he saw that we was able to get the money together and pay for that, but I think at that time, then we begin to having the large crowds– All the time, all the time in both of these at Fifteenth and New Jersey, and Tenth and Delaware, Jim was working– most of ‘em was working, and he was pastoring the church and at the same time, him and I was doing a lot of traveling all over the state and over into Ohio, holding meetings and in Cincinnati, just like before, in Eddie Wilson’s place in Cincinnati. And he used to come over and speak at our place. This man got very upset over– His great falling out was over the social gospel, the here-and-now, and got tremendously jealous over his wife too, so it was just impossible for us to continue, but the reason I brought Eddie Wilson up at this particular time, we were holding a meeting over there, and we had taken our choir over there, and so as always, Jim was trying to help out everyone that he could in the meeting, and he was getting a very strong impression of something on– I’m gonna have to think hard here–
The thing that was he was sitting was a little town on the highway where there was going to be an awful wreck, and so six of our people – I think it was six – Jim’s daughter Stephanie [Jones] Mabel (unintelligible name) – this was Loretta’s [Loretta Cordell], our organist’s mother, Dallas– I’m trying to think of her last name – three of our black sisters, and they had 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 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 lad, and he was thrown out. He was the only one that survived out of the out of the car, and so (Pause) It was a terrible shock, a terrible loss to the congregation but I know that Jim was insisting that 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, oh, a very, very traumatic time. At that time, (unintelligible word) Jim and Marceline ,but they said, but Reverend Jones, we’ll bury your daughter up on the hill 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 water runs off. And this is going back a little bit, if you wanted to know why people could not take that, he was a staunch, real disciplined egalitarian, and he never deviated from that, and I think that every minister, so they could sleep (unintelligible word) by night, ‘cause they knew he had the goods and they knew there was sincerity and honesty and integrity, and they would, like Nicodemus, they would sneak out and try to contact to Jim at night, ‘cause they didn’t want their congregation to know, they knew that they had come in contact with Principle, and he could point out things to ‘em, and they said that they did not agree– I mean, they agreed in the errors of the Bible and many things like that but they did not choose to allow their congregation to know these things, because they said it would interfere with the offerings and Jim always worked, and he took no salary. That was one of the big thorns in their side that they could not accept, but the fact that he stood by what was right, and always demonstrated Principle that these people could not deal with. (unintelligible word, could be “Weathers”) church continued to grow, and we was getting more black people. Now at Tenth and Delaware that started to change then–
Beam: 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– he took on Bell Telephone, and he integrated the Indianapolis police department, he integrated Methodist Hospital. He had had a situation that–
Man: I know the story but (unintelligible)
Beam: Yeah, okay. So you’ve got that. But it was right around that time that– so the Chamber of Commerce (laughs) at that time, I forget what his salary was, but 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.
Beam: Yeah. That’s right. So–
Man: How did he fit in the accident– (unintelligible) integrating the police department and so forth, was it too much that he had to go along with it, to (unintelligible) to be trends of the time now (unintelligible)
Man: Was he in (unintelligible word) time, or was he ahead of the times (unintelligible)
Beam: I think I think that he awoke in a lot of people’s minds that this was right. Someone didn’t have the guts to do it, and others were, (stumbles over words) not only to do it, but not even attempt it. Not even talk about it. Indianapolis was oftentimes referred to the the northernmost Southern city in the country.
Man: Why is that?
Beam: Well, you know, rednecks–
Beam: Yes, but it had the mentality of the South, but it was a northern city, you see. And it said that it was the South’s most northern city.
Man: Yeah, I got you.
Beam: Well, you did have a lot of infiltration from Kentucky and Tennessee for the industrial community of Allison’s and Link-Belts and Chrysler Corporation and Ford, a lot (unintelligible name) Meat Packing, (unintelligible name) Meat Pack– a lot of industrial sites there, General Motors, and for the city– (unintelligible) redneck mentality from the South, because they couldn’t make a living down there, and it wasn’t too far, it was only about a hundred–
Beam: Oh. Yes, that’s another thing. He sits on the bank and the lending agencies because they’d already made a a projection that the blacks would go out Indiana Avenue and on out, and they had the real estate companies and everything else all tied up, and Jim tied into them, that there wouldn’t be no money to loan on any property, only in certain areas, in that particular area, for black people. And the (unintelligible word) he stirred up quite a few of their– a lot of threats. That’s when the shit began to hit the fan, is when all of this begin to (unintelligible under woman)
Man: He was in the public eye then.
Beam: Oh, yeah. About the same time, he started a free restaurant in the base– in one of the back rooms of the Temple. He even had a neon sign, you know. Anybody that wanted to have a free meal, you know, they could come in there, and we–
End of tape