The church which Jim Jones established in 1956, and which became Peoples Temple within a very short time, was born as “Wings of Deliverance.” Located in a church building which he purchased at Fifteenth and North New Jersey Streets in a racially-mixed neighborhood in Indianapolis, the congregation was initially made up on people whom Jones brought with him from his previous ministry at the Laurel Street Tabernacle.
While the name “Wings of Deliverance” did not last as the name of the church very long, it did survive as the name for the corporate entity to conduct Temple business, including its receipt of donations of property and money from church members. The corporation followed the migration of the Temple to California in the mid-1960s, and numerous financial documents from throughout the organization’s history include references to the entity. Nevertheless, there are very few records remaining from the corporation itself.
The documents below include a set of proposed by-laws, likely written early in the Temple’s history – given its language promoting overtly Christian principles – and three sets of articles of incorporation over a twelve year period. All documents are from Indiana, including a set from 1972, seven years after the Temple left the state.
According to Tim Reiterman and John Jacobs in Raven (New York: E.P.Dutton, Inc., 1982), the need to renew the articles of incorporation stemmed from several reasons. “Indiana tax officials would revoke the charters of [Wings of Deliverance] … in 1970 for failure to file any returns. In 1972, Wings would be reincorporated as a church member signing for Jones would liquidate a house, a nursing home, another property and the church building itself” (p. 584).