The following interview with former Peoples Temple member Charles Johnson – the husband and father of two people who died in Jonestown – was conducted in an effort to create a living history by those who comprised the Temple. It is meant to focus on their lives before, during, and especially after November 18, 1978. By creating an archive of the former members, it is hoped that their voices, feelings, and perspectives (in all aspects of the movement) will lead to a healthier and better-informed dialogue with a more holistic look at the lives of those who participated. Future generations will not need to wonder what the people thought or did; they can hear it, and read it, for themselves.
Already far too many who might have added to the conversation have been silenced by shame, fear, and time. This is an attempt to give a forum to those who remain. If you would like to participate in this project, please contact me, Katherine Klapperich, at email@example.com.
(Katherine Klapperich is also the author of Creating Community Despite the Demagogue: A Case Study of Peoples Temple. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.