A True Follower of This Activist Christian Ministry

With the move to Redwood Valley – and unshackled from its theological beginnings in Indiana – Peoples Temple was able to establish a new identity for itself. The Temple’s articulation of its beliefs became more of a reflection of its leader Jim Jones, than of the holiness church tradition from which it had sprung.

One manifestation of this was a one-page flyer entitled “A True Follower of This Activist Christian Ministry.” It quotes scripture and embraces other biblical imperatives, but it also employs language that Temple members would often hear from the pulpit.

The flyer provides guidance to those who would follow Jim Jones, but it can also be seen as a personal manifesto, a list of goals to which Jones himself aspired. In the years to come, Jones would declare that he had attained these goals – that he embodied the “Principle” (with a capital “P”) which he outlines here – and that anyone who wished to achieve these laudable objectives could do no better than to follow his example.

It is likely, but not certain, that Jones wrote the text for this flyer himself. Besides the nature of the commands and admonitions that would become familiar to his followers, there is one use of the first person in the document. The pronoun “I” is significant in another regard, in that it comes in a declaration of two things “I have said before,” and one – “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, because you have love for one another” – is a quote attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John.

A True Follower of This Activist Christian Ministry, from the collection of former Temple Associate Pastor David Wise.