Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
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FBI Catalogue Jones speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “2/1/73”
Date cues on tape: 1973 (reference to Wounded Knee, South Dakota)
Jim Jones Jr. [by reference]
Richard Nixon, U.S. president [by reference]
General George Armstrong Custer, leader of army troops at Little Big Horn
Kathryn Kuhlman, evangelist
Reverend Ike (Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II), evangelistAngela Davis, political activist
Flip Wilson, black entertainer
Jack Paar, host of The Tonight ShowGeorge Bedford, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in San Francisco
Dr. Jones, “racist pastor in our city of Ukiah”
Bible verses cited:
(Editor’s note: For a complete scriptural index to the sermons of Jim Jones, click here.)
- “Why they get this because of slave curse, that slaves should obey their masters. They’re preaching it on the radio… that the slaves should’ve never broken their chains, because the Bible said, ‘Slave, obey your master.’” (Colossians 3:22, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” See also, Ephesians 6:5, Titus 2:9)
(This tape was transcribed by Nicole Bissett. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
This extended segment from a Jim Jones address to his followers in the Redwood Valley Temple in February 1973 focuses on the evils of religion. Whether Jones is talking about nationally-known evangelists like Billy Graham and Kathryn Kuhlman, or radio ministers on “your Bible stations,” or local ministers whom many in the Temple congregation know, or the generic “jackleg” preacher who drives a Rolls Royce or Cadillac, or the Bible and its defense of slavery, or the Sky God who cares only about creating humans to keep him company and not about the pain and injustices of the world that went along with that creation, the Temple leader disparages – and even mocks – all of them, and contrasts them (always unfavorably) to the benefits the congregation before him has in believing in him. “I don’t know,” Jones says during one of his critiques, “I really don’t know how you can look at religion, and not wish to get free of it.”
Jones spends time decrying the fate of black people in America and especially its ghettoes. The poor and black rob and kill each other every day, he says – not Temple members, he adds – but no one in authority cares. “As long as one black is killing another black, they’ll not say a damn thing.”
The blame for this state of affairs, he says, rests at the feet of the white man’s religion. The same King James who sent the slave ships to Africa and “brought our people back in slave chains” is the same man who wrote the Bible that gives the white man the authority to oppress them. “Everything,” he cries as he pats the Bible, “all of our trouble comes out of this.”
Their only chance for freedom, he says, is in Peoples Temple. The church has acres of land in cultivation so “never one of you here will have to starve.” The church has power and prestige in the community, because it has the strength of numbers to stand up to the system. “They don’t care about us. They just as soon spit on the likes of me. They’d like to cut my throat. They look at us and they seethe. But they know there’s a whole lot of us.” And rather than go into providing luxurious comfort for the minister, the financial support the church receives goes right back to its people. That’s part of its strength as well.
The Temple could be bigger, he says, but people are turned off by his teachings as well as his insistence of their own commitment to see those teachings through. “I teach freedom. I teach equality. I teach and practice justice. You’d have so many white people in here, if I wouldn’t talk about black people’s rights.”
That doesn’t mean the Temple is a black church and that there is no room for whites in it: “We’re not against white, we’re against honky, that’s what we’re against.” In one of the few tributes to whites preserved on a Temple recording, Jones describes his white followers as “the bravest of all. You’ve been willing to give up your special privilege and … really are one with us, you are the most beautiful of all.”
At several points in the tape – including its beginning – Jones voices a recurring complaint about some of his followers: people are eager to receive the healings that he offers them, but they’re not prepared to do the hard work that comes after the healings. He could do healings every night, he says at one point – and he does them better than any of the radio evangelists they’ve heard – and he himself brings up the subject of the miracles he has performed, the cancers he has cured, the lives he has saved or restored, but he nevertheless criticizes those who “want to sit there and open your beak for me to put a fish worm in, and some of you’ll be sitting here for 50 years if I’d let you, and you’d never use your wings.”
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 1B107-31. This tape was found to contain the following:
A PT rally led by JIM JONES.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted December 2009