Letters of Support for Peoples Temple

With the assistance and participation of members of the concerned Relatives organization, Tim and Grace Stoen began a campaign in late 1977 and early 1978 to support their efforts to retrieve John Victor from Jonestown. The campaign included letters to elected officials and the media, demonstrations against Jim Jones, and additional lawsuits.

Peoples Temple responded in kind. While its efforts were challenging at times – especially since much of the Temple leadership was in Guyana, thousands of miles away from the focal point of the custody lawsuit in San Francisco – it was still successful in soliciting letters from its supporters to defend its cause.

Among the letters to members of Congress and the president was one from Harvey Milk, the San Francisco Supervisor who had attended several Temple services before the emigration to Jonestown, and who himself would be assassinated about ten days after the Jonestown tragedy. In a letter to President Jimmy Carter dated February 19, 1978, Milk defended the character of Jim Jones and attacked that of Tim Stoen, declaring in the letter’s close that “the actions of Mr. Stoen need to be brought to a halt.”

Letters of support for Peoples Temple

A better copy of the Harvey Milk letter to Pres. Jimmy Carter appears here.

Originally posted on May 30th, 2013.

Last modified on October 22nd, 2021.
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