Articles by Heather Shearer

Heather Shearer is the Associate Chair of the Writing Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her paper entitled “Crossing into the Promised Land: An Activity-Theoretical Analysis of Application Paperwork Used by Peoples Temple Members for Entry into Jonestown,” was presented as part of a larger panel called “Bodies in Rhetorical Space: Discursive Bias and the Transgression of Physical and Social Spaces” at the Rhetoric Society of America Conference.

She is also the author of an extensive profile of Marceline Jones published in 2020 for the World Religions and Spirituality Project.

Dr. Shearer can be reached at or at

“Verbal Orders Don’t Go—Write It!”: Building and Maintaining the Promised Land (2018; republished January 2023) NEW

Cult City: A Review Essay (2019)

The value of the archive (2018)

Why “the ordinary” is extraordinarily important: Researching Peoples Temple and Jonestown through the experience of the rank-and-file members (2013)

Reflection on Jonestown Memorial Dedication (2011)

The Textual Practices of Peoples Temple: How Did Texts Help to Build the Promised Land? (2010)