Concerned Relatives Petitions

By May 10, 1978, a month after publishing its Accusation, the only real response the Concerned Relatives had received was from Peoples Temple itself, which – in a series of statements – attacked both the motives and the composition of the oppositional group, denied the charges made in the April 11 document, offered government reports endorsing the Jonestown project and, most disturbingly, reiterated that the community was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Even as the Temple was releasing additional broadsides, the Concerned Relatives decided the abandon its earlier strategy of vague appeals for assistance from Jim Jones whom they considered deranged or a general audience which was either uniformed or apathetic. Instead, it issued two petitions, signed by 57 members of its group, to the State Department in the person of Secretary Cyrus Vance, and to the Government of Guyana in the person of Prime Minister Forbes Burnham. The language is similar to that in the earlier Accusation; rather than appeal to the Temple leader to agree to their requests, however, the documents entreat officials to use their power to enforce the relatives’ demands.

Concerned Relatives Petition to State Department, May 10, 1978

Concerned Relatives Petition to Guyana Prime Minister, May 10, 1978