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: Labeled in part “L. A. Embassy 9/3/72”
Date cues on tape: Tape contents consistent with identification note
People in attendance at Peoples Temple service:
Sister Julia (speaks)
Scott [likely Thomas] (speaks)
Sister SidenerLottie Caldwell
Idella Carter, sister of Sister Sidener
Katie Green (speaks)
Archie Ijames (speaks)
Jim Jones Jr.
Lew Jones (speaks)
Marceline Jones (speaks)
Stephan Jones (speaks)
Tim Stoen (by reference)
Public figures/National and international names:
Bible verses cited:
(Editor’s note: The verses below appear in order of biblical reference, not as they appear in Jim Jones’ address. For a complete scriptural index to the sermons of Jim Jones, click here.)
“Remind me of Ezekiel’s bones.” (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
“But if you see me in the hundredfold – there’s thirty percent God, sixty percent God, sixtyfold, or a hundredfold, hundred percent God – and I have come in the hundredship, fathership, sonship manifestation… You’ve never lived under the fathership degree, the hundredfold, this is the day of the Lord.” (Matthew 13:8, 23: “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold… But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”)
“When two or three are gathered together in my name, there will be the power, sayeth God!” (Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”)
“Ye must be born again! You must be born again in the Spirit of God!” (John 3: 3-8)
“You that are blind, oh, you were blind yet you can see.” (John 9:25, “He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”)
“He that overcometh, Revelation 3:12 says, I will make a pillar in the temple of the house of God, and he will go no more out into the Earth” (Revelation 3:12, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out…”)
(This tape was transcribed by Connor Clayton. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance.)
In 1972, Peoples Temple acquired two sanctuaries beyond its original home in Redwood Valley – a former Jewish synagogue on Geary Boulevard in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, and the First Church of Christ, Scientist on South Alvarado Street in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles – and in early September, the Temple formally made its move from the Embassy auditorium to its new facility in Los Angeles. This two portions of this tape, consisting of segment of two services, includes parts of the last moments at the Embassy, followed by the dedication service at Alvarado, and were likely recorded on the same day.
The Embassy portion of the tape is primarily a healing service. Following the pattern of these miracles, Jones calls out someone from the audience, reminds everyone that they do not know each other, has no way of knowing the details of the life he is about to reveal, and then, once the faith in him is established, cures the congregant. Less common – but not unique – is the presence of a narrator who describes what is going on to an unseen public, which means this tape was intended for one of the Temple’s radio broadcasts, likely for the one Jones refers to, for that very night.
The second portion of the tape includes three guest speakers, whom Jones identifies as his sons. His natural born son Stephan speaks first, and Lew, the Korean boy adopted by Jim and Marceline, speaks last. In between is “Scott,” whose presence in the Jones family is unknown, and whom Stephan Jones tentatively identified in April 2022 as Scott Thomas.
All of them either echo what Jones has said from the pulpit on countless occasions – Stephan talks about two out of three babies in the world going to bed hungry each night, a familiar refrain – and all three praise Jones himself in equally well-known terms. Repeating what he has heard earlier – as recently as that morning – Scott says “If you see Jim Jones as a friend, he’ll be the best friend you ever had. If you see Jim Jones as a father, he be the best father you ever had.… If you see Jim Jones as God Almighty, your needs shall be met.” And Lew dismisses the God everyone talks about but that no one can see – but who hasn’t done one thing he can see – whereas Jim Jones stands before them and takes care of them.
And while Jim does invoke the name of Christ on several occasions, he talks about his own miracles, including the ones performed the night before, and – during the second service – the ones performed earlier in the day. But the proof of his power doesn’t appear only in church, but also in legal proceedings, doctors’ offices, social service agencies and orphanages, everywhere he is needed. Rejecting what the educated elite might say – and rejecting what their own rational thoughts and intellectualizing might tell them – Jones tells people to believe what they see before their eyes.
“We’ve abandoned our degrees,” he says. “We just laid our degrees aside, ‘cause we couldn’t move the mountains with our degrees. Our law degrees didn’t heal the sick! Our law degrees didn’t open up the courtroom! … A law degree can’t do that! But when you get a radical faith, and you get the Christ Consciousness, it’ll do that!”
The calls for an anti-intellectual acceptance of him extends to political action as well. “I didn’t see none of you in politics getting this done. I didn’t see any of you joining any movements that got this done.” In words he would eventually dismiss from his own speech, he describes a miracle he performed on his adopted son Jim Jr. “I could have read Marx and Engels over my son, and it wouldna got it done. I coulda read some doctrinaire statement over my son, and it didn’t get it done. But something inside of me, ever since I can know, said that you are God and beside you there is no other.”
Both services feature music, hymns performed by a female vocalist, accompanied by Jones and the congregation. As occurred in many Temple services, several hymns have been adapted to reflect the worship of Jim Jones over that of God or Christ. They include “In the Upper Room with Jesus” becoming “In the Upper Room with Father”; two lyrics in “Down from His Glory” changed from “my God and savior came/ oh, Jesus was his name” to “my socialist savior came/ oh Father was his name”; and similarly changes the lyrics to “Joy to My Soul” to address it to Father instead of to God, even as Jones performs a miracle.
Date of transcription: 6/20/79
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 8, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B101-25. This tape was found to contain the following: JIM JONES conducting a “healing” church service.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted May 2022.