Press release of February 13, 1974


Peoples Temple Christian Church of the Disciples of Christ Denomination, led by Pastor Jim Jones, has voted to contribute $2,000 to meet the demands for Patricia Hearst, who was taken hostage recently by the Symbionese Liberation Army. The church obtained the consensus of over 500 of its several thousand members who are on Social Security that they would not take the $70 worth of food demanded by the S.L.A. Peoples Temple has the facilities to take care of its people when their incomes can’t meet their needs. In a letter to Miss Hearst’s father, newspaper publisher Randolph A. Hearst, Peoples Temple stated:

    “Our primary concern is to help save the life of your daughter, Patricia, and, secondarily, to make public our belief that if anything happens to her, it will only serve to aid those who want ‘Big Brother’ demagoguery type of government.”

    “We would like to contribute more money at this time, but cannot because of our ongoing commitments which include sending food to hungry people in this and other lands.”

All of the Peoples Temple expenses are financed through offerings and church projects, such as rummage and bake sales. This ministry has never received inheritances, nor have we received gifts of properties from any other people we serve.

Peoples Temple also recently gave $300 to each of the bereaved families of the innocent persons senselessly slain on the streets of San Francisco, as well as offered a reward for the capture of the murderers. As an interracial group the church and Pastor Jim Jones felt it essential for everyone who could do something positive, however small, in an effort to keep the country from becoming further divided along racial lines. Peoples Temple has given many times to the families of law officers killed in the line of duty.

The Reverend of Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, has chosen to live modestly, and with his wife, Marceline, has adopted many children of five different ethnic and racial backgrounds. Pastor Jones has established a ministry that includes care homes for senior citizens, orphans and exceptional children; college dormitories were young people of all faiths reside, who are on church scholarships and want to help humanity; convalescent sanatoriums; a community center, with an indoor swimming pool, that is open to the entire public; and a large animal refuge center where sick abandoned and stray animals are taken in, cared for, and treated (neutered and immunized) by veterinarians.

Under Jim Jones’ guidance and inspiration, an extensive and highly regarded ministry of human services has been developed which provide emergency food, clothing, legal counsel, nursing care, and effective drug rehabilitation. Major humanitarian mission work has been undertaken both at home and abroad. For example, food and supplies have been sent to aid sick and hungry people in poverty regions all over the world, including Biafra, Bangladesh, Africa’s Sub-Sahara, Appalachia, and Indian reservations in America. Consistent support involving thousands of dollars has also been given to a wide range of charities, groups, and causes. They include the following:

    “Operation Breadbasket” in Chicago
    Soviet Jewish refugees in Eastern Europe
    NAACP Legal Defense Fund
    Medical research for cancer, sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis
    Retarded and exceptional children
    Medical check-ups financed for those unable to afford them
    Reporters facing trial over free press issue[s]
    Law enforcement programs involving antidrug abuse, traffic safety, community relations, prison rehabilitation
    Financial assistance to persons out of work
    Equal Christmases all children who come, without restriction
    Yearly gifts to many other denominations and ecumenical organizations

Peoples Temple also channels thousands of dollars yearly through its denomination to support a host of other humanitarian programs. The above list, which is only a small segment of the support given and the work being done for others, is given only in the hopes of demonstrating that Peoples Temple consistently and daily works to meet human needs – not just on a one-time basis – but as they are brought to its attention. Thus, although the church would like to contribute more towards the demands given to the Hearsts, the above amount is all that can be afforded at the present. In addition to making its own contribution as a church, Jim Jones encourages members to make contributions to worthy non-church causes, such as the support of both liberal and conservative persons facing possible political persecution. Members are urged to get involved, individually, in the cause of civil rights or any matter that reflects human dignity, freedom, and the sanctity of life.

We hope others will join with us in assisting people to meet the demand to aid needy people with food supplements, and particularly to save a young innocent woman’s life. It is up to Americans not to demonstrate the care we have traditionally shown when someone faces such extreme adversity.

Commendation received from the General Council of the denomination of Christian churches of 1.4 million people, who quotes the President and overseer of our entire national-international brotherhood: “As you well know, the ministries of Peoples Temple has the endorsement in total support from the Regional Executives to us here in Indianapolis. Dr. Teegarden speaks highly of what Jim Jones is doing and I’ve heard nothing but praise for him for what Peoples Temple is doing for those in need. It is my hope to see some of your work firsthand and to renew our friendship in April.

Faithfully yours in Christ
Wade D. Rubrick, General Council
for the leadership of Denominational headqu