Q580 Transcript

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Jones: Uh, we have been chagrined to see baseless, absolutely baseless charges being made by a limited few, even uh, one minister I was surprised at, uh, it’s unfortunate the reporter [Lester Kinsolving] didn’t contact some other ministers because one who served as a ministerial president after him of the Ukiah Valley, (unintelligible word) said that very kind things about our character, he might disagree with my theology, and we’ve had offers of support from other ministers here, (unintelligible word) people of other persuasion. We’ve even had people to the right as the John Birch Society, a fine rancher [Mr. Heddy] out here that also this consolation and what could he do to help us in these times when we were being vilified, and we’ve had liberals, moderates.

This is a beautiful valley in many ways. Certainly we’ve had harassment, uh, things we don’t like to have to endure, but I think that good people of this valley far outweigh the negative people. I think that Mr. [Tim] Stoen– [tape silence for 10 seconds] –to every church to take concern, or any group that has deep convictions, because I think that no one is immune from this kind of thing. I wouldn’t believe that it could happen. It’s been a growth experience, you– we– we’ve met wonderful people, a group of Methodists in Sacramento who I never knew made a press conference telling of some of the good work they had known, that we’d done. Even as far away as they are from us. And other churches have done similarly. So we’ve met good people in these times, and uh, I would say that the far majority of the press have been very responsible. We’ve had TV coverage in the Bay, and commentators have openly said we don’t like what you’ve been put through, and [tape silence for several seconds] reporter has done this to many different groups, and no one seems to be immune.

But I think that the freedom of the press is the most cherished thing, but we must have responsible reporting. And if I were uh, the minister or church that could– happen to be listening, take cognizance of this, because this has been the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen. Charges like we ransacked houses, made by a minister. Absolute lie. Charges that Mr. Stoen, who works seven days and uh– a week in his office, has often taken positions differing from the church, uh, never once has he mixed his business with his religion. Fact, he is a Presbyterian that attends our church, because he admires our service ministry and our missionary work, and uh, he has been elected even by our denomination, 100 churches in this northern California area, to be on  the governing board, but the man has no time to do work here, he never has legally counseled this church, we’ve not needed it, and then to see him accused by the same minister that he counseled a woman [Maxine Harpe] he never met, a woman that did not belong to our church and had been referred to us because she had attempted suicide several times, and to think that he was accused in black-and-white of counseling a woman who was dead before he ever came into the church.

So this is what can happen to you. And uh, if it would happen to Peoples Temple Christian Church, why couldn’t it happen to anyone? I– I used to think, well, most reports, any newspaper article, it’ll be at least half truth. But I’ve seen things this week, that haven’t– they haven’t had the most remote connection with truth. And this frightens me. And I’ve heard uh, some on a call-in program say, get these people out of town. I think it a commune iss– community should be more concerned about people who would want to get any group out of town. The freedom of religion is cherished. I know how I have behaved when other churches have been the blunt– or brunt of persecution, I’ve always come to their defense. And I will even more so intently in the future, defend and safeguard the right of religious assembly, the freedom of– of one’s conviction, this right to conduct one’s religion service– religious services in private, and uh, without duress and uh, this kind of terrible persecution. I know one must expect it, as Harry Truman said, you– if you can’t take the heat, you better get out of the conviction [kitchen], and that’s the Christian life. If you’re gonna live the Christian life, you’re gonna get persecution. But what I don’t like is to see good people in the community, like Assistant Tor– Attorney– District Attorn– uh, Mr. Stoen, have to undergo this kind of thing. And as he said, I thought so capably, that it– it seems that uh, someone who lived the years of the uh, before the religious wars, or to impose a final solution on those who differ from them. Uh, this– this is a desperate thing, when people don’t want to give another person the right to hold their beliefs, and uh, I– I think it would be interesting for everyone to read his– his article in depth and see his point-by-point denial of all these stories. After all, he can be countered, and as the people we– uh, he has accused of saying false things about him want to be heard, let them come out, uh, because they have nothing more to say but more groundless charges.

If it’s in this type of (unintelligible word) at least, everything I’ve seen up until now  has been utterly untrue. The idea that we are some kind of a faith-healing church that, uh– all we are interested in doing is working in that realm, uh– Each  of our members by the way, go for annual check-ups, and if they can’t afford, our church pays their bills, dental bills, medical bills. And we have nine of our students who are studying to be medical doctors in the four college dormitories that are sponsored by this church. People talk about, we’ve got so much money, and they never stop to think that 104 students are being educated partially or fully in our dormitories, and uh, the uh, terribly expensive fields of medicine and law and every profession, and uh– We really don’t have enough, we’d like to build a drug rehabilitation center, and we don’t have the money to do so, even though we have been successful in rehabilitating 127 people [tape silence for several seconds] community that once were troublemakers are now making straight A’s in college. And it’s an interesting fact that never once has one member of Peoples Temple youth been arrested for anything. They don’t smoke, they don’t use drugs, [silence for two seconds] alcohol, and they’re good citizens. And I– I think that we have a right to exist, just as every church has a right to exist, and I really get concerned in 1972, when people will call up a radio station and say they should be run out of town.

But this is uh, only a small fringe, and a misinformed fringe. Why don’t they come and see? There’s been all this uh, flak about uh, investigation. Why, anyone could investigate. Come out and visit us. See what goes on. Look at our senior citizen home to the north. Of course, give notice to older people before you come. See uh, nine lovely people living in one of our senior citizen homes. Not one of them charged a penny. It’s left up to their own uh, conscience what they want to give. If we want two in there that don’t have a dime, and we maintain their support. I don’t think you can do more than that. One little lady had been in another church, and a volunteer worker for many years, and thus she ended up without Social Security, and was referred to us. We took her in very gladly. And she had an art talent that her particular background had not permitted her to use, and we encouraged her again to take up her art, we’ve got her easels and her equipment, and all the paints that she needs, and you should see the beautiful paintings she’s mean– she’s making for people and giving them away to people free, uh, that she’s known in the community. So, if a person will just come out and see. Look at our animal shelter. Uh, we have the only animal shelter outside of the governmental agencies in this entire Mendocino area. And we take in dogs and cats every day, and get them spayed, so that there will be a less of a animal problem, and uh, we give them homes. And uh, this is just a few of the phases, not to mention clothing and food that are given to anyone that call, and uh, uh, the convalescent home and the children’s home and all these service work that we do. People even go in some homes on a volunteer basis when people are older and wo– do yard work. People we don’t even know, people who are not members of the church.

Uh, we’re good citizens. We’re honest citizens, and we have nothing to hide, and I hope that people will get the answers for themself and quit listening to people who evidently are so insecure, they have to knock others, because I know that the Examiner reporter, for instance, that we– has been telling these things or reporting these false allegations, he– at the same day, he attacked me on Tuesday, he was attacking his own church, the Episcopalian Church on another page. And I’ve understood from responsible church leaders of various denominations that this is his– uh, this is his approach. Uh, very sharply critical of anything he writes about.

And I mean, that’s his right. I’m not worried about that. But he is responsible to tell the truth. Now attorneys are coming to us and telling us that he’s got into the area of libel. I’ve never sued or have I been sued, and I don’t like to think in those terms, but if it will cause him to be more careful in the future before he attacks innocent people, then we may consider such. Uh, we would like to say again, though, that the Examiner has been very, very kind, the editors have offered on Sunday to give a front page story of the good work that we’re doing. And I think that will help to uh, alleviate some of the fears and misunderstandings. And again I say, thank you so very much for the time that you’ve given us.

Broadcaster: Reverend Jim Jones of the Peoples Temple Church. For KUKI news, Solly (unintelligible name cut off)

Music for several seconds

End of Side 1

Side 2

[22 seconds of quiet conversation]

Child: It says right here, newscast at 6 ‘clock.

Woman on radio: Hello, hello, hello.

Originally posted on May 14th, 2022.

Last modified on May 16th, 2022.
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