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: None
Date cues on tape: Late winter 1978
Jerry Brown, Governor of California
Evelle Younger, Attorney General of California (by reference)
Dennis Banks, leader of American Indian Movement
George Jackson, imprisoned Black Panther
Jonathan Jackson, imprisoned Black Panther
Ralph Nader, consumer advocate
Miss Mitchell, elementary school teacher of Jim Jones
Jack Arnold Beam
“That Pearson child”
“little” Chaikin (likely David, could be Eugene)
Christian [likely Robert]
Linda (several in Jonestown)
Eleanor Beam (by reference)
Rheaviana Beam (by reference)
Bible verses cited: None
Jim Jones speaks to the people of Jonestown for 40 minutes during a community meeting in winter 1978. More accurately, Jim Jones seethes, growls, threatens and menaces as his followers sit mostly in silence.
It is not known what incident might have set Jones off on this tirade, but during its course, he tells his followers on three occasions that they’re stupid, he denies he has lost his mind even as he insists that they have lost theirs (“You are the one that’s going to have to prove your stability, because I’m very stable”), and he declares that while he may have fallen short of perfection, they themselves are much further behind him. Throughout it all, he insults them as fuckers whom he alternately doesn’t give a shit about, doesn’t know how to relate to, or for whom he doesn’t have to demonstrate his love.
One problem he has is that so many of them have expressed a desire to return to the United States (although this is a recurring complaint for him). Their home is nothing but “a graveyard,” he says, and since there’s nothing back there that he misses, they shouldn’t miss it either. Moreover, they wouldn’t survive back there, “you’d fall apart, because you’d be so self-indulged. So you need me, fucker.” Later, when he compares America to a pigsty, and he’s watching them to see which of them are “Yankee pigs” who want to return. But “if you’re in a pigsty,” he adds, “[if] you want to be in a pigsty, you deserve to be roasted.”
The idea that he is watching them also recurs several times. People underestimate him, he repeats several times, “but one goddamn thing you want to believe in, that this mind is more prepared to know what the hell’s going on than anybody.” More than that, “[y]ou don’t know who you’re talking to. The person you are talking to may have been sent there by me.” He follows one of these observations with a threat as well: “I observe you so caustically, that before I see any more hell for this place, I’ll take you with me.”
There is also a moment of autocratic rule, in which Jones sees something in the audience he doesn’t appreciate – people selfishly thinking that their families extend only to blood relations – and takes action on the spot: “You oughta set apart, no blood people ought to ever set together. In fact, I’m making a law right now. None… [B]lood oughta be broken up. It’s a miserable sick goddamn obnoxious disease.”
Only at the end, shortly before he dismisses them, does he return to a message he has given a number of times, about the immorality of suicide. “[W]e’re too responsible to commit suicide,” he says, then adds a moment later, “You wouldn’t want to commit suicide because you’d hurt somebody.… I don’t care if you got no children, nobody, you can’t do it without hurting somebody.”
Date of transcription: 6/27/79
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 26, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-7R59. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES at a peoples rally telling the people what is wrong with them.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted June 2021.