Letter from Jean Brown to Mervyn Dymally, May 11, 1978

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May 11, 1978

Lt. Governor Mervyn Dymally
Office of the Lt. Governor
Capitol Mall
Sacramento, California

Dear Merv;

Thank you for taking the time to talk on the phone. I know how busy you are. Your concern, as always, is deeply appreciated. Jim send you his very best regards and (baring [barring] the passage of Prop. 13), is looking forward tremendously to seeing you and your distinguished friends in July. You are an under guest in our midst.

I am sure you will scarcely recognize Jonestown, it has grown so much since your last there. As many as 35 people a day visit the project, from Guyana and around the world, and acclaim the progress and beauty of the lifestyle there. Mr. McCoy of the US Embassy has visited again recently, a superintendent of the Methodist Church in Nevada, a British High Commissioner and delegations from all the Guyanese Ministries (including the Ministry of Education, which gave accreditation to all of our schools); they are unanimously impressed.

I have included a few new articles for you. One, from the Guyana Chronicle, describes our participation in the National Cultural Holiday, to which 100 or more of our members traveled from the interior and stayed several days with various friends and acquaintances in Georgetown. Especially our youth participated, presenting cultural displays, films, demonstrated our project’s development, and provided three hours of entertainment which drew thousands of people. Some reputation our band and dancers have gained! Our band as of that event was pronounced the most popular in the Caribbean! In any case, this kind of enthusiastic participation and freedom of movement back and forth from the interior should be evidence enough to dispel doubts in any detractor’s mind that the people who are there are there because they love it. For us, it is home – and in many cases the first home we have had.

I want to clarify a few things I said to you about Tim Stoen. Maybe we could be thought of as overreacting – but I think we have suffered enough violence and harassment and slander that we have come to regard any threat as an imminent possibility. Mr. Stoen is meeting regularly with the same group of detractors who made the false allegations in New West, and he is attempting

 

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to gather more support by calling relatives of people who are overseas and seriously alarming them with lies about Jonestown. Just last week he contacted the mother and mother-in-law of a woman whose children and husband are at the project. He told them, among other things, that people there are “shot on the spot”, are not allowed to leave, and made a series of slanderous comments about Jim. They have written affidavits to this effect to the District Attorney for protection from further harassment.

From these calls and from reports we have about the content of the meetings he is holding in LA and in San Francisco, Tim and a few other ringleaders are talking about mercenary force to go into Jonestown to take relatives by force. In one recent phone patch conversation via radio, an elementary school principal at Jonestown asked her relatives what Tim had told them. They replied he bragged about having mercenaries, about hiring a helicopter to “drop bombs” and that he had guns and other weapons. It sounds like a wild story, but many people have called the Temple with the same report. The principal incredulously asked her relatives over the radio to repeat what they had heard about guns. They responded, “Well, it’s his business. They (the Temple congregation) ought to all be killed anyway.”

Tim is in fact working with an agency called the Eureka Resource Associates, an exploration company specializing in aerial photography and geographic research. This can be fully substantiated. It is also a fact that he is using your name and Prime Minister Burnham’s name. In the same phone conversation with Mrs. Janaro’s mother and in a second call to her mother-in-law, Tim said that you were once supportive of the Temple’s work, but were now weakening under pressure. He also told a number of people that Mr. Burnham had asked him personally to get as many names on petitions as he could so “he could do what he (Burnham) had to do,” implying that we are not on good terms with the Guyanese government. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our standing in the eyes of the leaders there is soaring as our contributions and participation in the life of the country keep developing. The fact is, when Tim Stoen was in Guyana, Dr. [Ptolemy] Reid refused to see him at all. In any case, these elderly relatives were so alarmed, they had immediate phone patches with their loved ones in Guyana for reassurance that they are well and happy and that what Stoen has said was lies.

Yesterday, in front of the Federal Building here in San Francisco, the so-called “Concerned Relatives” – [words struck out, handwritten insertion, “only a few relatives overseas”] put on a demonstration. They carried signs saying Jonestown is a concentration camp, and held up a picture of Mr. Burnham inside a large cyclone-type fence they had set up with barbed wire across the top. They made the same ridiculous allegations

[Balance of letter not included]

Originally posted on May 23rd, 2022.

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