John Moore notes on interview with Gordon Lindsay, 8/78

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SUMMARY OF INTERVIEW WITH GORDON LINDSEY [Lindsay] and John V. Moore

1:00 p.m. August 9 Written from memory, 8/10/78.

Lindsey had called a week or so earlier. I returned his call twice to the answering service. On August 9 he called again, He said that I was willing to be interviewed. He said that he would be taping he was writing an article for the National Inquirer, and asked if I was willing to be interviewed. He said that he would be taping our conversation.

“Q-S” = his questions or statements. Often he made statements, sometimes the statements were his words of the implications of what I was saying, or rather his words of his interpretation and misinterpretation of what I was saying. I would reply that I would stand by my words, not his. The order will be seriatum as I recall whil[e] typing.

“A”=my answer.

Q Indentify yourself.
A I identified myself as pastor of First United Methodist Church of Reno.
Q How long have you known Jim Jones?
A Eight or nine years.
Q-S You were in Guyana when? for how long?
A We were in Guyana in May for one week, four days at Peoples Temple house in Georgetown Q In Lamaha Gardens
A Yes…and three days in Jonestown.
Q-S You stayed in the guest house…it is off by itself…it has a refrigerator…It has a mosquito netting over the bed…It’s Jim Jones’ house, isn’t it?
A That’s where we stay [handwriting: “ed”]…I don’t know if it is Jim Jones’ house….I don’t understand the reason for such questions.
Q The house is off by itself, isn’t it?
A There are other houses nearby.
Q About how far is it from other houses?
A About fifty yards.

———–

Q-S I flew over the project… The people live in hurts with corrugated roofs…and there are privies..[Handwriting: “He said ‘Thirty or forty people live in the huts.’”]
A I’d call them houses. They are small. …Corrugated roofs were Common in Guyana and Trinidad. That’s one of the things I noticed in both countries.
Q-S We’ll I didn’t. (His words clearly gave the impression that he thought corrugated roofs were the exception in that part of the world.)
Q-S You had a privy didn’t you. (There were two or three interchanges about privies)
A There are different kinds of privies. We used an outhouse. They had public or common restrooms which Barbara used, but I never did. I assume that they had tanks as our’s did…it was very sanitary.

[Handwriting: “JDM”]

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Interview with G. Lindsey, page 2

—–

Q-S What did you eat? With whom did you eat. You ate with a small group, didn’t you? Did you eat in the dinning area?
A We took sack lunches at noon and ate wherever we were….In the evening we ate with about twenty or thirty people.
Q=S You didn’t eat with the people…where they ate.
A We ate one evening in the entertainment area…We had [Handwriting: “for breakfast”] pancakes, eggs, juice or fruit, coffee…They have a native fruit drink, which we also had in Matthews Ridge…We had chicken one night.
Q-S Debbie Layton says that the diet is principly rice.
A We had rice, I doubt that rice is the principle food source. It’s my impression that they do not produce enough rice for themselves. They must buy rice. I think that their diet is more from the foods they grow..such as casava.
A Debbie Layton lived with us. She is the sister of our daughter’s former husband. Debbie had problems when she was with us. I think that she was a junior in high school, and went to England for her last year.
Q-S Teenage problems.
A Debbie was a member of our family. I have nothing to say about Debbie except that Peoples Temple was a stabilizing force in her life….Debbie is not as credible a witness as her mother or husband or brother.
Q Are the others credible.
A I regard Debbie’s mother as very credible

——

Q-S Your daughter is Carolyn Layton?
A Yes.
Q-S And you solemized her marriage to [Michael] Prokes?
A Yes.
Q-S She was pregnant at the time, wasn’t she?
A I did not talk about Debbie’s personal life. I will not talk about my daughter’s. …I’ve been a pastor to thousands of adults…and children…I would not answer questions of this kind about any of them.

——

Q-S You wrote a letter to __________ praising Jim Jones?
A No. I never wrote a letter to anyone praising Jim Jones. I did write a letter for the church expressing appreciation for the service ministries of Peoples Temple.
Q-S How can you speak highly of Peoples Temple when ______ (number) of “Concerned Parents” are so critical of P.T.?
A I can understand how parents are concerned…We raised our children to stand on their own feet, make their own decisions, and live with the consequences of their decisions and actions.

[Handwriting: “JOM”]

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Lindsey interview, p 3

Q-S Maria Katsaris says that her father had oral and anal intercourse with her when she was a child. (His implication was that it was a terrible charge and that P.T. or Jim Jones were responsible for it.)
A I don’t know anything about that…We saw Maria in Jonestown and Georgetown. In Georgetown she had complete freedom to come and go. She could have left as Debbie left.
Q-S She doesn’t have a passport.
A All she would have to do would be to go to the American Embassy…

——-

Q-S Did you see Jon Jon [Kimo Prokes]?
A Yes… (In the course of this interchange I said that Jon Jon did look like Jim. He responded “O come now.” or words to that effect. He came back to this issue once or twice in the course of the interview.)
Q-S Can you understand Tim Stoen and his wife’s feelings? How would you feel?
A I can understand. If my child were kidnaped or taken away, I would do everything in my power to get my child back.
Q-S Would you kidnap the child.
A I don’t know.
Q-S You would contemplate it.
A It certainly would enter my mind, as would other thoughts.
Q-S That’s contemplating it.

(He did not ask me if I could understand Jim’s position, or what I would do if I were in Jim’s position. It is my view that child custody is a legitimate issue and that I can understand, or [handwriting “am”] open to understanding the view[s] of contending parties….In the course of the conversation I referred to Tim and his [handwriting: “wife”] as divorced. He objected with feeling, saying they were[n]’t divorced. He charged that I had treated Tim and his [handwriting: “wife”] differently than my words about confidentiality about personal matters. As best I can recall, I said I apologized. He informed me that they were not divorced, and asked: “People can be separated and not divorced, as Debbie Layton?” I responded “Of course.”

——–

Q-S What is your judgment of the medical clinic.
A I think that it is good. (I had the impression that he felt about the clinic as he did about the “huts” and “privies.”)
Q-S Do you know the doctor, or meet him? Did he finish his residency?
A I think that he did not finish it in San Francisco, but I don’t know. I did not imply that Larry had finished.

(I told him that our daughter was a nurse. He asked “What kind?” I replied: “Registered Nurse ” He asked about the medical supplies. I said that it was my impression that they had good medical supplies. Barbara commented over my shoulder “Excellent.” I said: “My wife says ‘excellent.’ “)

[Handwriting: “JOM”]

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Lindsey interview, p 4

Q-S What is your impression of Jim Jones?
A Jim Jones is in touch with the pain and suffering of people…
Q-S What about the pain of suffering of parents?
A There are lots of people in Jonestown who have known suffering in our society…
Q-S What about beatings? _______ people have pictures of beaten people.
A I don’t believe the allegations about beatings.
Q-S But pictures don’t lie.
A Pictures can lie

——

Q-S Is Jim Jones a rational man?
I think that anyone who can lead 1,200 people from their country to settle in a new country has got it together.
Q-S I’ve seen the same thing..in a prison camp in Malaysia.
A Are you saying that Jonestown is a prison camp?
Q-S I didn’t say that.

——

Q-S You sound like a politician
A I don’t mind sounding like a politician… You sound like a reporter.

——

Lindsey made some reference to Congressman [Pete] McCloskey, quoting him about “bastards” in the context of Peoples Temple. This was when we were talking about the custody issue with Jon Jon.
Once when I was expressing my view of parents of grown children, he interrupted to say that he was not interested in them, but the three small children. Jon Jon was obviously one of the three. At one point he referred to the “Prokes baby.”

The foregoing is not in order. Some of it is, but I’m sure that some material is out of order. Since we talked about some issues more than once, the quotes may be out of chronological context but not out of substantive context.

——

Q-S (He introduced this as his last question, but the conversation continued about matters previously discussed.) How do you feel about your daughters?
A We ca[handwriting: “me”] home feeling good about our daughters and what they are doing.

——

Q-S You will be extensively quoted.

[Handwriting: “John V. Moore”]

Originally posted on May 20th, 2022.

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