More than a third of the documents on this page are in the form of affidavits, hence the FBI’s title for this section. Their use – whether actual or anticipated – is unknown.
While the format matches a formal legal affidavit, including the signature of the affiant and of witnesses, there is little about these documents that would stand up in court proceedings. Numerous documents have corrections to spelling and grammar in another person’s handwriting (although the same person seems to have done the bulk of the corrections). More compromising to their value as legal documents is that several have additional words inserted: some are contextual like “at a Peoples Temple service” or “with Pastor Jim Jones”; others are more substantive, adding a detail which is new or different from the balance of the text.
Finally, a number of the affidavits include substantive cross-outs, sometimes of a word, half-line, or sentence that is replaced by better wording, but there are also numerous paragraphs which have been x-ed through, and numerous others that include a handwritten comment on the side, “Don’t include this.”
The signatures of the witnesses periodically provide additional questions, especially when taken as a whole. The affidavits were seemingly signed around the same time, with 75 people or more participating in the witnessing, but some signatures do not match from one document to another. In some cases, the affiant misspells his or her own name. In addition, on at least two occasions, the affiant witnessed his own signature.
The final notation on each affidavit is the witnessing by a notary public – each has language virtually identical to “Subscribed to and sworn before me, a notary public of the Republic of Guyana or Commissioner” – but there is no signature of a notary public and no official seal, which in turn means the witness signatures are invalid.
For these reasons – and despite their structure as such – these affidavits should more accurately be considered statements of loyalty, as are the bulk of the remaining documents on this page.