Articles by Rebecca Moore

beckyRebecca Moore is Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at San Diego State University. She has written and published extensively on Peoples Temple and Jonestown (listed here), including her book Understanding Jonestown and Peoples Temple (Praeger, 2009), and an extensive description of the Temple appears at the World Religions & Spirituality Project at Virginia Commonwealth University. She also kept a blog throughout 2108, the 40th anniversary of the tragedy, called The Jonestown Journal (2018).

Rebecca was interviewed by Kelly Lavoie in July 2019 for her Lines and Strings blog. The interview appears here.

Rebecca is the co-manager of this website. She may be reached at

The Erasure (and Re-inscription) of African Americans from the Jonestown Narrative (PDF here) (2018; posted 2020) NEW

Jonestown in American Religious Life (2018; posted 2020) NEW

Carmen Gillespie: A Remembrance (2019) NEW

Before the tragedy at Jonestown, the people of Peoples Temple had a dream (2019) NEW

Jonestown at 40: The Real Conspiracy Is More Disturbing Than the Theories (2019) NEW

Revisiting Jonestown: An Interdisciplinary Study of Cults – A Review (2019) NEW

The Forensic Investigation of Jonestown Conducted by Dr. Leslie Mootoo: A Critical Analysis (2018)

The Brainwashing Myth (2018)

Cult, New Religious Movement, or Minority Religion? (2018)

Nesci Book Offers Psychoanalytic Portrait of Jim Jones (2018)

Cue the Kool-Aid: Watching Jonestown Docs in the ‘Fake News’ Era (2018)

An Update on the Demographics of Jonestown (2017)

Demographics at a Glance (2017)

The FBI and Religion: The Case of Peoples Temple (2017)

Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Information, and the National Security State (2007; revised and expanded, 2017)

Joanstown: A Different Look at Guyana (2017)

Rhetoric, Revolution, and Resistance in Jonestown, Guyana (2016)

The Stigmatized Deaths In Jonestown: Finding A Locus For Grief (2015)

African-American Women Find Voice in New Jonestown Novel (2015)

Jane Smiley Character Dips into Peoples Temple (2015)

Jonestown and the Study of NRMs: How Survivors and Artists Are Reshaping the Narrative of Jonestown (2014)

The Transformation of Peoples Temple in California: From Pentecostal Church to Political Movement (2014)

A Dream Deferred: The Promise and Pathos of Peoples Temple (2013)

Contested Knowledge: What Conspiracy Theories Tell Us (2013)

Annie: An Enigma (2012)

Address at May 29, 2011 Jonestown Memorial Dedication Service (2011)

History Comes Alive: Jonestown in the Classroom (2010)

Carolyn’s Other Letters (2009)

The Sacred and the Profane in Wilson Harris’ Jonestown (2008)

Survivors Speak Thirty Years Later (2008)

Representations of Jonestown in the Arts (2006)

The Sacrament of Suicide (2006)

Garrett Scott – An Appreciation (2006)

Katrina and Jonestown (2005)

FOIA Lawsuit Results in Release of Thousands of Documents (2005)

The Strange Case of Garry Scarff (2005)

Drinking the Kool-Aid: The Cultural Transformation of a Tragedy (2002)

Reconstructing Reality: Conspiracy Theories About Jonestown (2002)

Comments on Reconstructing Reality: Conspiracy Theories About Jonestown by Ken McCarthy

A Response to Ken McCarthy’s Comments by Rebecca Moore

Jim Jones and the Conspiracists by Jim Hougan

Response to Jim Hougan by Rebecca Moore

The Demographics of Jonestown (2002)

American as Cherry Pie (2000)

Is the Canon on Jonestown Closed? (2000)

Last Rights (1988)

A Sympathetic History of Jonestown: The Moore Family Involvement in the Peoples Temple (1985) (selected chapters)

Chapter 9: Tim Stoen, 1977 (this chapter appears as a pdf)
Chapter 11: The Vise
Chapter 12: The Last To Die
Chapter 13: Closing the Books
Chapter 14: Residual Suspicion
Excerpts from Chapter 16: McGehee v. CIA. The complete chapter appears here as a pdf.

Rebecca Moore also edited two collections of letters from her two sisters who died in Jonestown. Letters from Annie Moore and Letters from Carolyn Moore Layton appear in the Primary Sources section of the site.

In addition to writing the articles above, Rebecca Moore appeared as a speaker during the Griot Institute of African Studies lecture series entitled Jonestown: 35 Years Later at Bucknell University; her presentation appears on this page (scroll down the videos).

Originally posted on March 11th, 2013.

Last modified on May 29th, 2020.
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