Personal Reflections

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Children in Peoples Temple

The icon which characterizes Jonestown in the public mind is a picture of a galvanized metal vat, surrounded by bloated bodies. This image dehumanizes the victims, however, and disconnects us from the tragedy.

The fact is, those who died in Jonestown were real people, with families, friends, and loved ones. The best way to appreciate this fact is to read personal reflections by those with direct knowledge of Peoples Temple and its members.

The articles below offer a wide range of perspectives on the life of Peoples Temple and the deaths in Jonestown. All were written by former members and relatives of the people who died. While each individual story brings a powerful voice to any consideration of the events of 18 November 1978, their totality contributes to an even more important – if sometimes cacophonous – body of work. For that reason, these stories represent the foundation for an online collection of perspectives which we hope will grow over the years.

We invite other members and families of Peoples Temple – whatever your views on the tragedy of Jonestown and the factors that led to its end – to join in this chorus. Contact us at remoore@sdsu.edu so that we may add your story.

A Child of Peoples Temple Finds Hope at Memorial (2011)

The Trauma of Marriage to a Temple Survivor (2003)

Laughing with Liane, by Kristine Alles (2011)

Reflections and Articles by Jack Arnold NEW

Reflections and Articles by Susan Ashby
Reflections and Articles by Barbara Sines

Reflections and articles by Kathryn (Tropp) Barbour

Reflections and Articles by Glenda Randolph Bates

Remarks at May 29, 2011 Jonestown Memorial Dedication Service, by Jessie Beagle (2011)

Reflections and Articles by Don Beck

Remembering the Beikman Family, by Thomas Beikman (2011)

Larry Layton and Peoples Temple: Twenty-Five Years Later, by Frank Bell (2003)

Snapshots from a Jonestown Life, by Phil Blakey (2018) NEW

My Adolescence in Peoples Temple, by James Bernie Blanton (2011)

Reflections and Articles by Thom Bogue

Reflections and Articles by the Family of Donald Bower

Reflections and Articles by Dorothy Brooks

Poetry of Teri Buford O’Shea

My Peoples Temple Christian Church Experience, by Jesselle Carter (2018) NEW

Reflections and Articles by Mike Carter

Reflections and Articles by Tim Carter

Reflections and Articles by Mike Cartmell

The Art of Patti Chastain Haag

Reflections and Articles by Jean Clancey NEW

Reflections and Articles by Jim Cobb

Wayne Pietila: A Life of Quiet Passion, by Teresa Cobb (2012)

Rock This Way, by Jackie Colbert (2013)

Theologies of Oppression, by Arlander Ronnie Cole (2008)

Reflections and Articles by June and Gene Cordell

Edith Cordell and the Cordell Family Legacy, by Don Cordell (2013)

What Did November 18, 1978 Do To Me? by Donna Cordell Lawrence (2008)

Honoring My Duty to My Family, by Steve Daniel (2013)

Reflections and Articles by Denise Davenport

Questioning the Cults Around Us, by Laura Davis (2012)

My Journey to and from Peoples Temple, by Dominique Z. Delphine (2018) NEW

Articles and Reflections by Kim Dutra Arvold

Investigation, Reflections and Articles by Laurie Efrein Kahalas

Reflections and Articles by Prophet/Pastor Hue Fortson, Jr.

The Writings of Dawn Gardfrey

A Visit to Peoples Temple, by June Gerlach (2005)

Notes on Peoples Temple, by Carlton B. Goodlett (1988)

Reflections and Articles by Vernon Gosney

Reflections and Articles by Dan Harpe

Living Through the Pain, by Silvia Harrill (2008)

Reflections and Articles by the Family of Liane Harris

MaryLou, Our Secret Sister, by Mike Higgins (2017)

Reflections and Articles by Lela Howard
Meeting The Lady I Never Knew, by Chris Demirdjian (2007)

A Young Girl’s Story, by Bunny Jackson (2008)

The Great Protector, by Janet Jackson (2014)

State of Mind, by Claire Janaro (2008)

Our Own Worst Enemy, by Charles Johnson (2017)
The Coty Johnson Story, by Charles Johnson (2013)

The Death of Innocence, by Pinkie Jones (2007)

Reflections and Articles by Stephan Jones

Address at May 29 Memorial Dedication Service, by The Hon. Bayney Karran, Guyana Ambassador to United States (2011)
Introduction of Ambassador Bayney Karran, by Charles Krause (2011)

Reflections and Articles by Laura Johnston Kohl

The Longest Twenty Years, by Bryan Kravitz (2003)

Poetry, Reflections and Articles by Garrett Lambrev

Reflections and Articles by Deborah Layton NEW

Articles by Chris Lewis, Jr.

How Bobby Survived and Returned, by Judy McAbee (2010)

Reflections and Articles by Dea McConnell

Recovering the Simple Pleasures in Life, by Diana Mertle Mills (2008)

Reflections and Articles by Linda Mertle

Linda Harris: A Remembrance, by Virgil Miller (2003)

The Deaths of Two Daughters: Grieving and Remembering, by Barbara Moore (1988)

Reflections and Articles by John V Moore

Jonestown: Catalyst for Social Change, by Robert B. Moore (1988)

Remarks at May 29, 2011 Jonestown Memorial Dedication Service, by Vickie Ijames Moore (2011)

My Father, Oliver Morgan, Jr., by Zelma Morgan (2011)

Reflections and Articles by Hattie Newell

Reflections and Articles by Herbert Newell

Remembrances and Articles by Kenneth A. Odell

Together We Stood, Divided We Fell, by B. Alethia Orsot (1988)

Damn you, Jim Jones! by RP (2011)
My Life Since the Temple, by RP (2011)

Writings of Vicki Perry

A Visit to Peoples Temple, by Jacinta Hector Powers (2012)
Memories of My Sister: Melanie Hector Simon, by Jacinta Hector Powers (2012)

Living in Rome, by Jim Randolph (2010)

Remarks at May 29, 2011 Jonestown Memorial Dedication Service, by Craig Reubens (2011)

An Early Departure from Peoples Temple, by Susan Saylor (2018) NEW

Reflections and Articles by Dianne Scheid

Reflections and Articles by Janet Shular

Poetry, Reflections and Articles by Andy Silver

The Aunt I Never Knew, by August Silverstein (2017)

Reflections and Articles by Neva Sly Hargrave

Reflections and Articles by Juanell “Nell” Smart

Articles and Reflections by Eugene Smith

My Mother, Agnes Jones, by Robert Spencer (2014)

To the Survivors of Peoples Temple, by Tim Stoen (2003)

Solitary, by Julian Tarver (2017)

Reflections and Articles by Mickey Touchette

Reflections and Articles by Mike Touchette

Poetry, Reflections and Articles by Jordan Vilchez

Surprise! I’m Alive and Look What I’m Doing Now, by Tommy Washington (2010)

Reflections and Articles by Vera Washington

My Mother, My Superhero, by Jakari L. Wilson (2017)

Reflections and Articles by Leslie Wilson

Reflections and Articles by David Parker Wise

Reflections, Articles, and Poetry by Guy Young

Last modified on October 25th, 2018.
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