Q681 Transcript

Transcript prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

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This tape is the second in a series of Channel 2 news reports from August 1977 that begins with Q 680 and concludes with Q 665.

Tape begins in middle of anchor’s introduction

Anchor: …surrounding its activities. Tonight he continues his special series of reports and recaps some of the information already brought out about the 20,000-member church.

Jim Clancy: This is a bag of garbage, just like any other bag of garbage that you and I throw away several times a week. But former members of the Peoples Temple say their pastor, the Reverend Jim Jones, used bags of garbage like things, along with other things, in order to create revelations before his congregation. Linda Dunn was for years a member of the Peoples Temple and at one time the personal secretary of Reverend Jim Jones, religious leader, chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission and a well-recognized political power broker. She was also a member of a small group of people who helped Jones present astounding revelations about the personal lives of his congregation.

(Break for change of location)

Dunn: We obtained names of people who had come into the meetings um, for the first time or else someone who had written a letter asking for help. Uh, we’d take their names and their addresses, uh, go to their homes, and talk with them, get any information — we’d go in disguise, of course, so they wouldn’t know we were from Peoples Temple — uh, get any information we could at all, any of their personal information, uh, description of their house, where they lived, uh, any little mementos in their house that were very personal, anything that would make them believe that there was no way that anyone other than (pause) God himself could have that information.

Clancy: What was their reaction when he sprung that on them in a church meeting?

Dunn: (Short laugh) Very effective. They really did think that he was God.

Clancy: And then did that lead to greater offerings from them, signing over their house, things like that?

Dunn: Oh certainly. Absolutely.

(Break for change of location)

Clancy: After talking with former Temple members, we were able to get some of the materials that were collected on people by the Temple, things as tape recordings, notes on uh, their habits, uh, who was living in their family, what kind of ailments they might have had. Interestingly enough, they kept track of things saying, "Not dumb," "Not young." They kept track of people from Los Angeles, Compton, Fresno, Seattle, Washington, Ukiah, all over. Here’s a typical one of how they would classify people in gaining these revelations. They have, "Revelation to L.A." L.A. is the initials of the person that went for a "V" — that means a visit — on 5/16/72. Here it says, "Direct." That means they had direct contact with the person. And it lists things that they got from this person’s office, such as checks — these were copied down, might have been lying on the desk or on a shelf — a bill from the City of Paris (ed. note: store?), a statement of a payment uh, on a previous balance, things like that. Again, a revelation to L.A. This time, they went through the garbage, and they got out things like telephone credit cards. And the garbage goes on for (Dramatic turning of pages) page after page after page, everything, diapers, uh, cards, Kraft orange juice uh, one quart bottle, uh, what they contained, things like that. Now this person was a member of the Temple at the time, and they would use this to find out if the person was obeying the diet, doing things like that, and of course it was also used in order to make people believe that Reverend Jim Jones could tell what was going on in their private lives without ever having contacted them there. (Pause; change of location) According to former members of the church, the gathering of information went further than just looking through people’s garbage and paying them visits.

(Break for change of location)

Dunn: The counselors took me in a room and they asked me, you know, if I would uh, do something for Father to help the cause — that was how they called him, you know — and, you know, I was brainwashed at the time, so I did. They asked me to break into my mom and dad’s house and take a bunch of articles, you know, that supposedly belonged to my— to the um— to the Temple, but later I found out, some of them did belong to my mom and dad.

Clancy: What kinds of articles were they interested in?

Dunn: Uh, they— like— just things like uh, camera equipment and candle(?) equipment and tapes, and different things like that.

Clancy: They— things that would concern the church, photographs of what went on inside?

Dunn: Yes.

Clancy: That was because your father had been the photographer for the church.

Dunn: Uh-huh.

Clancy: What did they say when you brought those things back?

Dunn: Well, they, you know— they praised me a lot and everything, you know, built me up to the people in the Temple, uh, you know. They really built me up a lot.

Clancy: Linda’s story includes having church members distract her parents at work and provide her with a van in order to haul out the goods. She had to break into her parents’ home, and what she says about Peoples Temple involvement raises more than a few questions about other break-ins associated with this story, most notably at New West Magazine. But just gathering information for revelations and other purposes wasn’t enough to win over the most conservative of his congregation. Reverend Jones was also a miracle worker.

(Break for change of location)

Dunn: We would put together um, chicken guts or anything that we could get that would look like uh, some sort of growth, put it together with human blood in a plastic bag, and uh, fake this material coming out of the person who was being healed. A nurse would of course come along beside and— and help her spit up her cancer or his cancer or whatever, and uh, she would take this bag of material and— and palm it down into her mouth from— and throat and bring it up, and everyone would think it was a, a cancer coming up, and that was another thing that was very effective, made people believe that he was God. Um, another thing to— to make them give more money.

Clancy: Remember that the trick deceived even the person on which it was performed. This is an actual photo of a Peoples Temple cancer cure that was smuggled out. And Reverend Jim Jones didn’t just like the chicken raw for miracles, according to members. He liked it Southern fried, too.

(Break for change of location)

Clancy: Did he ever perform miracles so to speak that you observed, like uh, you know, similar to loaves and fishes that uh, Christ performed?

Woman: Yes. Um— Once my husband and I were standing in back of the temple in Redwood Valley, and we saw two um, buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken being brought to the office, the back door office. And um, a few minutes later, Jim said that we had ran out of food and that he was miraculously going to —

Man: — materialize uh, some chicken. And all of a sudden, they brought in two uh, uh, plates of chicken, a bunch of chicken legs, and everybody was just raising their hands and crying and —

Woman: Everybody wanted the miracle chicken.

(Break for change of location)

Clancy: Former members of the Temple claim that Reverend Jones developed an atmosphere of paranoia among his congregation, particularly older black people. He told stories and plays were staged which told of a white supremacist takeover that led blacks and whites in favor of civil rights off to the gas chambers. They say it encouraged people to sell their homes and turn over the money to the Temple for the purchase and development of a 25,000-acre mission in British Guyana in South America. Tonight, Reverend Jones — shown here in a rare photo — is reportedly at that mission, and there is no indication of when he will return. Jim Clancy, Channel 2 Action News, San Francisco.

End of Tape.

Tape originally posted November 1998

Originally posted on June 16th, 2013.

Last modified on April 8th, 2014.
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