Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue Jones speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “3/23/75”
Date cues on tape: Probably mid-1970s (Reference to Edith Roller, who joined in 73-74)
Joyce [probably Touchette]
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.)
- “That’s thirtyfold, sixtyfold, sixty percent, thirty percent, one hundred percent? One hundred percent love, one hundred percent sensitivity? Yeah, that’s me.” (Matthew 13:8, “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” See also, Matthew 13:23; Matthew 19:29; Mark 4:8; Mark 4:20; Mark 10:30; and Luke 8:8)
“Jesus said, by this shall all men know that you’re my disciples, ‘cause you have love one for another, so you’ve got no problem.” (John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”)
(This tape was transcribed by Nicole Bissett. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
This sermon, recorded in Redwood Valley in March 1975, contains many elements of Jim Jones’ addresses. He claims to be the most loving person on earth – with all the burdens that go along with that responsibility – the most caring and the most socialistic. He doesn’t know of anyone who feels the way he does, or who is able to recognize the needs of his followers the way he does, much less meet those needs. He speaks in an offhand manner of his ability to raise the dead, even as he adds afterwards, “that doesn’t make me higher than you.”
Less often – although not unique to this address – is Jones’ claim to be from another planet, which is how the tape opens. Moreover, he was the only one who could get to earth from that planet. He is trying to impart the sensitivity he brought from there. “They can’t do it. They can’t make a contact or communicate to get into your body, to help you, and they have no way… They can not intrude here. Only I.”
Even though he is unique in his presence from that unknown origin, he does claim there are “fifty million inhabited planets that’s got people on them of some sort or another.” Some of the others who have traveled to earth from outer space have appeared in the Bible, bringing with them, for example, the Ark of the Covenant. More recently, the people who are sitting in the pews before him are not of this earth, and he is on a rescue mission to save them. “[Y]ou shouldn’t have come to this damn place, I told you not to come anyway. But you did. And you got my ass in it because I love you.”
Most of the rest of the address touches on more familiar themes. He criticizes God the creator as being selfish, and offers the mere fact of the creation that Jones himself is more loving and more intelligent than God, who should have known the mess that people were going to make. He extends that criticism to parents as well, including those in Peoples Temple. The mistakes that children make are really the responsibility of the parents, since it was the parents who brought them here. “You say, well, I didn’t cause my children to do what they did, but you brought them here. So in that way, you’re a little bit like God.”
But, of course, he adds, the reason they’re bringing babies into the world is not for the babies but for the sex.
Jones returns to the subject of sex later in the relatively short address, when he says he himself cannot be distracted by physical pleasures like food, drink, or sex, because he’s too busy working to save his people. He doesn’t deny his desire for sex, but says he has conquered it. “You don’t let [the needs] guide you, you don’t let them direct you. They don’t lead you, you never get led around by your ass when you’re a hundredfold.”
That resistance has also saved him a lot of trouble, he says. His ability to overcome sexual temptations, for example, means he doesn’t have to worry about treating anyone special. “I want to be turned on to all of you equally… I’d like the light to be on for everyone or for none. That’s the feeling that I have. I want to love everybody the same. Now you can’t respect everybody the same, but you can love everybody the same.”
The last minutes of the service are marred by numerous tape edits, and the context is unclear, but Jones does seem to be trying to get a sense from his congregation as to how he should continue his ministry. Several times, he calls for votes on such issues as whether “I should withhold the truth that I know about politics in these public healing meetings,” whether “I should not preach about the errors of the Bible in these public meetings,” and – a question he says he asks again in all seriousness – “how many want me to not speak so bravely and forwardly about the Bible and God, and me being the only God there is.” Due to the edits, there is no indication how the congregation votes.
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 (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B107-28. This tape was found to contain the following:
A recording of a peoples rally led by JIM JONES.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted December 2009