Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue Jones Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “8/15/73”
Date cues on tape: Tape contents consistent with identification note
Members of Peoples Temple:
Lynetta Jones, mother of Jim Jones [by reference]
George Lewis (speaks)
“the Baker boy”
Sister Mason (could be either Francine Mason or Irene Mason)
Senator Edward Brooke (R-Mass)
Adolf Hitler, German Fuhrer
Joe Johnson, deputy mayor of San Francisco
Kathryn Kuhlman, American evangelist
Oral Roberts, American evangelist
A. A. Allen, American evangelist
Don Stewart, American evangelist
George Bedford, San Francisco Baptist minister
James Thurman Jones, father of Jim Jones [by reference]
Bible verses cited:
(Editor’s note: The verses below appear in order of biblical reference, not as they appear in Jim Jones’ address. For a complete scriptural index to the sermons of Jim Jones, click here.)
- “Lot– dirty old Lot– Lot had a couple of angels– Angels are supposed to be able to fly. Couple of messengers dropped in on Lot, and Lot was very honored that a couple of angels dropped in, but a mob got outside, they wanted get the angels. That makes no sense. Nothing in that book makes any sense. If they flew in, why didn’t they fly out? But the angels flew in, and the mob comes and wants to get the angel, and Lot goes to the door. Lot– good old righteous Lot. He comes to the door and he says, I’ve got some young virgins, daughters here. My young daughters has never known any man. He says, now if you’ll spare the angels– stupid ass angels oughta been able to spare themselves.” (Genesis 19:1-16)
“God told him to do it. He read it in the Bible, where Abraham gave up his son. Abraham laid Isaac there, and gonna murder him.” (Genesis 22)
“Jephthah gave up his daughter. Jephthah made some kind of a stupid vow. Jepthatah went out and said, if you let me win the battle of Ammon, let me fight this battle, and if I win this battle, God, he said, I’ll make a blood sacrifice, the first one comes through my door. Well, Jephthah was a great prophet. Who came through his door? His daughter. He said, well, I’m sorry. He said, I’m gonna kill you. He said, you can go around and bemoan your fate for two– two months, and he let her go around bewailing her condition for two months, and after that, he burned her alive. That was the custom of the day, because God told him to do it.” (Judges 11)
“It’s in the Book of Solomon, talking about who can piss the– and it’s that word. He pisseth over a wall. I– I– I think it’s just stupid to figure out who could piss over the wall. That’s why I suppose all little boys have been doing it for the last 2,000 years. Every time they get the little, they get out and see who can do it the furthest.” (Could be 1 Kings 14:10)
“They don’t even know who his granddaddy was.” (Matthew 1:1-16, compared to Luke 3:23-34).
“One place it says immediately after he was baptized with the Holy Ghost, he went into the wilderness for forty days and forty nights, and was tempted of the devil. Another writer said three days later he was at Cana of Galilee, turning the water into wine, having a good time with a bunch of drunks.” (Matthew 4:1-2, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-2; contrasted with John 1:32, 2:1, 2:9).
“It said Jesus walked on water. Were you there?” (Matthew 14:25, “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.”)
“And the woman gets up in her eighties and danced all around this Temple this week. Didn’t she? Danced all around. The beautiful Los Angeles Temple danced, praised, rejoiced, went home made every whit whole… And he danced around here and clapped hands and shook hands with all of you, and you saw that he was made every whit whole.” (John 7:23, “…are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?”)
“It is written, ye are gods. He said, why do you call– crucify me for calling myself the Son of God?… He said it is written, ye are gods and sons of the most high.” (John 10:34-36)
“He said those that come after me will do greater things than I… and they that come after me, these things shall they do, and greater because I have come and gone to the Father.” (John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father”).
“He said I’m only the first born of many brethren.” (Romans 8:28-29, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”)
“Even though Paul said I count all crap. He called it dung. In Hebrew that’s the dirtiest word. That’s the dirtiest word for S-H-I-T. He said I count all dung that I might know the revolution, the anointing, the Christ… Paul said dirty word, as I said, dung, and you go look it up, and that’s the worse word for a bowel movement you can find.” (Philippians 3:8, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ”).
(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Georgiana Mamlakah. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
In this address delivered before the San Francisco congregation of Peoples Temple in August of 1973, Jim Jones speaks about the advantages of belonging to his church over any other. The comparison is made on several levels.
First, Jones goes after the King James Bible, detailing the inconsistencies, violence, justifications for slavery and other fatal flaws, not only with the text of the book itself, but of the men – drunken whoremongers and slaveowners – who wrote it. He attacks it for its use as an instrument of enslavement, and asserts that the only reason they believe in it is because their grandparents did.
Even as he disparages the Bible, though, he quotes it approvingly when it gives him permission to declare himself and his followers as gods, and to remind them that that book empowers them to do even greater things than Jesus did.
But the criticism is not limited to Christian churches, but to Muslims, Buddhists, the Church of Satan and to atheistic churches as well. “I am an enemy of organized religion,” he declares early in the address. “I will not stop until I see organized religion destroyed.”
It isn’t just the churches that people belong to, but the Skygod that people have erroneously put their faith in. So what is the alternative, he asks rhetorically, “what do you base your faith on?” His answer: “Faith in Jim Jones, faith in the people that are around Jim Jones, faith in the people that walk with Jim Jones.”
The ministry of Peoples Temple is much more than they would find any other place. In the Temple, he tells them, the sick are healed, the lame are made to walk, the dead are raised back to life. The protection extends beyond the Temple’s walls, to prevent fatal accidents involving his followers.
He also reminds the congregation of the other, more tangible things the Temple does, including getting people out of jail, standing with them in court, advocating for them in welfare offices, providing money to help with a mortgage or a month’s rent. “Now you say, you don’t know why you should belong to this church. Honey, you better begin to ask why you don’t belong to this church.”
There is one more reason for people to belong to the church, and that is the political power they have to get things done. Beyond the services to individuals, they have opportunities to make larger impacts upon public policy itself, because of their strength in numbers and the influence that gives them. “How many times health department was going to condemn a building, or how many times pensions were gonna be cut off, how many times welfare was gonna be cut, we get my people in there and it’d be stopped. “The city of San Francisco recognizes that. According to Jones, the deputy mayor told him, “you people are the only hope for Blacks.”
His purpose in telling them all this, he declares near the end of the tape, is that “I want to get something across to you, why you’re a church, why we are a group, why we are a family.”
Most of this language – including the scripture he quotes – is familiar to members of Peoples Temple, but at times he seems to be deliberately provoking newcomers and visitors. Throughout the address, some people in the pews have apparently had enough, and get up to leave. Jones calls after them, telling them not to bother to return when they have cancer or when they fall into financial destitution, as they surely will. “I got some sister over there shook up till she feels really upset. Remember when you get homeless, there’ll be nobody to take you in. These churches won’t take you in… [Y]ou feel all upset with me, but when you get out of a home, there’s only one person that’s gone take you in.”
Date of transcription: 7/6/79
In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States.
On June 23, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-7R38. This tape was found to contain the following:
A recording of JIM JONES praising himself and talking about the Bible and how it degrades the Black man.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted February 2021.