The effect of the publication of the New West article may have been to accelerate the pace of migration of Peoples Temple members to Guyana, but the Temple wasn’t going to let the magazine’s charges go unchallenged.
On July 30, 1977, the Temple office in San Francisco issued a seven-page statement which alternately described the mission of the church, criticized those who would criticize it, and defended itself against the specific charges.
“We realize that, of course, we have made some poor decisions,” the statement says near its close. “But we have taken on the task, we have tried, and we have had some remarkable successes. And this is why we are being attacked.”
After detailing some of the particulars in the campaign against the Temple – a list to which the New West article has now been added – the statement concludes: “But in the face of it all, we plan only one course of action: to proceed with our work.”