The Lynetta Jones Interviews

In November or December 1977 – according to notes by Tish Leroy, a Jonestown resident who conducted the interviews – Lynetta Jones spoke at some length on two separate occasions about her life even before she became the mother of Jim Jones.

The first tape especially is somewhat rambling and disjointed. There are likely several reasons for this, any one or combination of which may have been in play at any given moment.

First, the interviewer tended to let Lynetta Jones take the lead in the discussion. Without a great deal of direction or intervening questions, Jones’ mother was free to wander through her memories at will.

Secondly, this was intended as background for a biography in the works of Jim Jones, and Lynetta – whose pride in her son appears in her writing and other tapes as well – was happy to accommodate the request. Indeed, the only complaint she lodges during these tapings is that they’re spending more time on her and less on her son.

In addition, since the tape transcripts were likely considered as a reference for use as resource material in preparation of the biography – a very raw first draft – the notes could get away with less care for coherent organization, complete sentences, differentiation between notes and verbatim quotes, and even differentiation among speakers, since the interviewer is not always identified as such.

For both tapes, however, if the dates on the interviews are accurate, Lynetta was within weeks of her death. It is unknown what her cause of death was, if she knew it was coming, or if the process of dying affected either her memory or her speech.

Even though these interviews were made in Jonestown, they reflect more of Jim Jones’ early years and are catalogued in the Indianapolis section of the Primary source section.

Lynetta Jones Interview #1, RYMUR 89-4286-EE-3, Section SSS

Lynetta Jones Interview #2, RYMUR 89-4286-EE-3, Section TTT