Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Jones speaking
Date cues on tape: 1972 (two direct references)
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen
Eva (probably Pugh)
Bible verses cited:
(Editor’s note: The verses below appear in order of biblical reference, not as they appear in Jim Jones’ address. For a complete scriptural index to the sermons of Jim Jones, click here.)
- “And both chapters disagree as to how many granddaddies he has, as they trace him back to that important Abraham, the Melchezedek Order. Can’t even agree. Fifteen more granddaddies. Now if you don’t know how many granddaddies Jesus had, you’re sad.” (Melchezedek Order — Genesis 14:18-20, Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 5:5-9.)
References to “Noah in the ark [Genesis, chapters 5 through 10], and Jonah in a whale [Jonah, chapters 1 and 2]”
“If you found the treasure, if you found God, why are you still back there in Matthew, Mark, Luke and back there in Romans, or back there in Deuteronomy, or Nehemiah, why are you back there when God, the gold mine, has come in the might and the power of socialism in the midst of his people?”
“But you can’t tell me who Jesus’ grandfather is, then you better listen to somebody that’s practicing love. And you don’t know who Jesus’s grandfather is — Matthew 1:16 and Luke 3:23 tells you two different things. Both Matthew 1:16 and Luke 3:23 tell you something different about his great-grandfather.” (Matthew 1:15-16 “…Matthan begat Jacob; And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ”; Luke 3:23-24, “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, Which was the son of Matthat.”)
“When they’ll come at you with the twenty-fourth chapter Matthew, say there’ll be lo– false Christ, lo here and lo there, and they will do these things and that and so forth, but that same chapter says that this generation shall not pass away till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:23-24. “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect;” Matthew 24:34, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”)
“What is a Jew? Romans 1 tells you what a Jew is. Circumcision of the heart.” (Romans 2:29, “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”)
“He is the light that lighteth every man and woman.” (John 1:9, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” See also, Matthew 5:14, John 3:19, John 8:12, John 9:5, John 11:9, and John 12:46)
“Let not my words deceive you. Let my tongue, that may be somewhat ill-styled, according to your imaginary legends, let it not delude you from recognizing, that all you said God to be.” (Romans 16:18, “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”)
Lengthy discussion of 1 Timothy
“…know God, for all shall know him from the least to the greatest.” (Hebrews 8:11, “And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”)
(Man in crowd: “I have returned with my power and glory to build a new Jerusalem. Hallelujah.” Jones replies: “Yes. To build a new heaven and new earth would probably be more sound theology.” (Reference to Revelation 3, esp. Rev. 3:12)
This sermon by Jim Jones, recorded in Los Angeles in 1972, includes passionate oratory and audience participation, a worship of Christianity, of socialism and of self, and evocation of familiar themes of churches that care more about their preachers — with their Cadillacs and their fancy clothes — than they do about the people. It also shows how well Jones knew his Bible.
Early in the tape, a man cries from the congregation that, “Jim Jones has come to bring socialism to the United States of America.” Jones says that that’s beautiful, but cautions his followers to always call it Christian socialism. “You’ll need to preface these things with OThe Lord hath declared,'” he says. That way, he adds, “You take them stage by stage.” If people witness and learn, he says, they’ll be able to reach people that he can’t.
Several people — including at least once, Jones — speak in “tongues” (i.e. use glossolalia). Jones counsels them on how to use tongues, and cautions, “we’re here to utilize it for good.”
He speaks of God as love (albeit in the conditional sense), then adds, “nobody can go wrong in this atmosphere, because this is the most loving place.” He expands upon that to say, by eradicating social diseases from their lives, they’re doing God’s work, and — then upon that — to say that, by saving people from death, they are “even more God.”
That does not mean they are the Antichrist, though. “In the first place, if it did, when the Antichrist can be better than the followers of Christ, you got a weak Jesus.” He then begins his comparison to other churches. “When the anti-Jesus people [i.e., Peoples Temple] are more loving and sharing and kind and good than the Jesus people, you better look at your Jesus,” he says. No matter what the others say, if you’re healing as Jesus healed, and helping others as Jesus helped, then you’re with us.
He also says his love — and his church — is unconditional. “If you have the spirit of Jesus, I will accept you, whether you accept me or not.” That’s a bigger love than that in other churches, which love you only if you love their doctrines first.
Jones reserves a special attack on Pentecostals, saying that they become more loving after they leave the Pentecostal church. They certainly aren’t charitable, he says later. “All God wants from you is to be charitable. And you stupid ass Pentecostals have never been charitable with anything but your hot air. All you been charitable with is your damn hot air.”
Other preachers also love you if you give your money to them. But “[w]hen I picked up older people all over this nation, I never said, how much money you got? [I] said, get on board, little children. We’re not going to wait for heaven, we’re going to go out in Redwood Valley and build heaven, by God … Jim Jones don’t say, [we’ll] meet you over on the other side. He says, get off your ass, get on board, we’re going to the Promised Land.”
He acknowledges that other preachers are becoming more him, but says he is leading by example: “They didn’t make a practice of feeding people till I came along… till you met your God on earth.”
At the same time, he admits that this is not a place that will bring you comfort. They have a Herculean task to perform, he says.
Jones preaches from the Bible against faith. He opens the Bible to a random place — 1 Timothy — and interprets the “need for law.” The law of God “is not made for righteous man. Law is not made for good folks. Good folks don’t need God’s myths, fables, laws… Good folks don’t need God’s commandments, laws, structure, religion… Righteous man does not need religion. Only ungodly, only unrighteous, only devils need religion. Religion is an opiate to those that are righteous. Religion is stench in the nostrils of those that are holy.” The law is good for one purpose only: if someone can’t be good for the sake of being good, “then scare hell out of them.”
The righteous don’t need instructions, Jones continues, because they see the whole, and the whole is equality, harmony, goodness. In other words, socialism.
Even so, Jones says there is a need for the Bible, though. It’s like a contract or a mortgage. Once you honor it or pay for it, you can throw it away. with the Bible, once you learn to love, you can throw the book away. “If you love your neighbor, then you don’t need any other of the crap.” The analogy he makes towards the end of the tape is to a gold mine: “if you’ve found the treasure, what do you need with a map? If you found the treasure, if you found God, why are you still back there in [the Bible]?”
There is another need for the Bible. It’s not for themselves, because they don’t need it, but to save others, to bring them in to the Temple.
They don’t have a need for the other interpretations, as he pointed out towards the end of his sermon, “anything you pick in this Bible will support us” more than it does other churches’ viewpoint. As for those who complain that they want more “church” in the Temple — its myths, fables, legends and genealogies — “I say, you’re lawless. You’re disobedient. You’re defilers. You’re the murderers.”
At the end of the tape, he confesses to thoughts about doing wrong, but says he won’t. “So what makes me not steal? I am too socialistic to take that chance that even a passerby would see me. I know the only Christ the world will see is me… everything I do, I want to use it for socialism, Ocause I know the hope of the world is in me.”
He then adds that which is often left out: “You say, well, you’re different. No, I’m no different than you. I’m just an example of what you should be.”
Date of transcription 7/2/79
In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States.
On June 14, 1979, Special Agent reviewed (name deleted) the tape numbered 1B107-26. This tape was found to contain the following:
Reverend JIM JONES leading a sing-along PT celebration and he calls for a Christian socialism. Various members give their praise to JIM JONES from 1972.
Differences with FBI Summary: None
Tape originally posted April 1999