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 “8/31/73”
Date cues on tape: October 24, 1973 (Wednesday night meeting in Redwood Valley after Watergate’s Saturday Night Massacre [October 20, 1973])
Debby Blakey (speaks)
Georgianne Brady (speaks)
Mary Ann Casanova (speaks)
Rick Cordell (speaks)
Ollie Darnes (speaks)
Vickie Dover (speaks)
Linda Dunn, aka Linda Swaney (speaks)
George Holsum (phonetic)
Melvin Johnson (speaks)
Wesley Johnson (speaks)
Eliza Jones (speaks)
Lynetta Jones (by reference)
Al Kemp (speaks)
Georgia Lacy (speaks)
Julie Runnels (speaks)
Andy Silver (speaks)
David Smith (speaks)
Carol Stahl (speaks)
Virginia Vera “Mom” Taylor (speaks)
Jan Wilsey (speaks)
Joe Wilson (speaks)
Mary Wotherspoon (speaks)
President Richard Nixon
Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox
U. S. Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson
Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus
Assistant Attorney General Henry E. Petersen
Solicitor General Robert H. Bork
White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig
Calif. Gov. Ronald Reagan
Nussbaum (first name unknown), author on race
James Thurman Jones (by reference)
Dr. Van Dusen, L.A. psychologist who praised PT
Miss England (teacher at school)
Miss Gardner (teacher of 1st grade at public school-probably Calpella)
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.)
- “We ought to be able to… make more joyful noise unto our savior. Unto our savior we ought to make a more joyful noise than the church does.” (Numerous references in Psalms to “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD,” including Psalm 66:1, Psalm 95:1-2, Psalm 94:4-6, and Psalm 100:1.)
“I don’t ever think about what’s happening to me, because I bear in my body, the stripes of the iniquities, the transgressions of others.” (Isaiah 53, esp. Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”)
“[T]hat means giving all, as they did on the day of Pentecost, turning it in totally, living communally, with more discipline on his life.” (Acts 2, esp. Acts: 44-46, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”)
“Who art thou? Who art thou, sister, to criticize the one that is God? Who art thou to enter in your mind, sitting over there that you would question the word that I use. Who art thou the one that raises the dead and causes the blind to see, that causes the people to come out of the wheelchairs. Who art thou that would question God?” (Romans 9:19-21, “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”)
“That’s what you call prophesying, according to your measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”)
“It’s wonderful to recognize as we have recognized, that heaven must be here, that Christ must be in us, that our hope of glory is in us… We gonna do something about the human race because our hope of glory is within us. And we know what our hope of glory is.” (Colossians 1:26-27, “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”)
(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Don Beck. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance.)
This address by Jim Jones to his Peoples Temple congregation in Redwood Valley in October 1973 has many elements of his sermons from the period: he analyzes some of the news of the day for his followers, showing how it demonstrates the corruption and decadence of the US; he holds up Peoples Temple – including its congregation and most especially himself – as a refuge from the world outside; he castigates his enemies; and he proclaims his own divinity. What is more singular to this tape is that he let the tape continue to record as he solicits donations from his followers (in most other addresses transcribed on this website, he turned off the microphone during his appeals for funds). And the majority of the tape is a wide-range and open discussion of how to handle several discipline problems, including those presented by a young black man and by three elementary school-age children.
The tape begins with Jones reading letters which he says are from the Eight Revolutionaries, a group of apostates whose public statement outlining reasons for their defection represented an early challenge to his authority. The letters confess to the mistakes that they made in leaving the church, and ask forgiveness and permission to return to the fold. They also testify to Father’s mercy and care, even when they had forsaken him. (It is not known whether the letters were genuine, but no one from the Eight Revolutionaries ever returned to the church, nor were they considered as anything but traitors.)
The major news story of the day is what became known in the history of the Watergate scandal as the Saturday Night Massacre, when several members of President Nixon’s administration resigned or were fired. Jones describes Nixon as “being placed in a corner” and says that the nation will face one of two outcomes: “eventually there has to come a dictatorship in this land or socialism.”
Jones’ own preference is socialism, and he segues into a discussion of a province in Canada which is moving towards that. As for the U.S., the only place anyone can find kind of structure is within Peoples Temple. He adds that the Temple will work towards bringing socialism to America as a whole, but “if we cannot get it here, we will go some place where we can get it until America comes to its senses.”
He raises the issue of “exodus” a few moments later when he discusses the coming apocalypse, and says that they are the only ones who are prepared for what’s coming, because they are the only ones who know what’s going on. At that point, he summarizes his theology of the period in a few sentences.
It’s wonderful to recognize as we have recognized, that heaven must be here, that Christ must be in us, that our hope of glory is in us. It’s wonderful that we have done away with the illusions of heavens that are for tomorrow or gods are out in space. We don’t want to race out to space. We gonna do something about the human race because our hope of glory is within us.
There is no Skygod that the people need to worship, but there is a Christ who raised the dead and who caused the blind to see, and in what Jones describes as “religious evolution,” that figure has been part of human history in every age and time since, and indeed is among them now. “I’ve said it in the body of Jesus,” Jones says. “Same spirit. Same mentality. I say it today. Do the works that I do, then talk.” And then, confronting his adversaries, he adds, “Until you can do the works that I do, shut up!”
Jones also details some of the miracles he has performed – which he describes as metaphysical and supernatural – and later in the service says he is the result of his mother’s communication with an interplanetary vibration. “I wouldn’t have been here, if she hadn’t set her mind to lift above this ordinary planetary consciousness, attune her mind that she wanted a savior, that she wanted a liberator, and her mind made contact with another planet.”
Jones begins his lengthy plea for weekly donations from his flock by telling them that everything they donate will enable them to achieve their larger goals, which is the establishment of a place of refuge elsewhere. “Now have faith in me to produce the offerings that we need to get land. You can buy land.. So you do what you can do, so I can do what I must do.” (At this point in Temple history, Jones was considering establishing his new community in Canada, hence the earlier focus on the “socialist” province.) Later in the collection, he tells his followers not to dwell upon the past, but – as on the day of Pentecost – to sell all their possessions and find freedom in community.
His exhortations still aren’t enough to reach the goal for the night, and he slowly lowers the threshold for a gift. He asks for ten dollars, then three, then two, then one. “If everyone in this room would make a sacrifice of one dollar. And I have a deep feeling that many of you could do so, and many of you’ll regret one day not doing so.”
Much of the evening is taken up in deciding what to do about Joe Wilson, a young black man who – by his own admission – had been before the congregation numerous times to account for his actions. Wilson’s transgressions include his history of fighting, his disobedience of the group’s rules, and his refusal to help others in the church, even when he is the one who did the damage that needs repairs. Jones asks for people to speak both for and against Wilson, but the Temple leader finds fault with each of those who offer a defense. After several young women speak on Wilson’s behalf, for example, Jones amends the complaint to make it worse: he helps only young women instead of men, because he thinks he can get something extra out of them. When a relative newcomer questions the severity of the punishment Wilson faces, Jones points out that the objection does come from someone who is new, and adds, “People who have problems can be helped by certain groups, but a group that is the avant garde of defending the American freedoms cannot have time for people who repeat over and over a mistake.”
Eventually, almost everyone who speaks is critical of the accused.
Jones has a punishment in mind – he believes Wilson should be banished for a period of six months – and demands that it be carried out. “There has to be some kind of discipline in this house, and it must be established that he is disciplined tonight, one way or the other. I insist on that.. I demand that it will not be cleared from this office tonight without adequate discipline.” Jones also says he’s willing to take the heat for maintaining discipline – to be disliked, hated, shot or even killed – because ultimately it gives strength to the Temple.
Nevertheless, proposals from the floor argue for leniency, for closer supervision and regular review, for an additional chance. Jones argues against the proposal – “[I]f you’re going to make this a review, review, review, review, if we review everybody here tonight, we are finished” – and he attempts to swing the vote by disallowing participation from people who have been disciplined themselves. But in the end, the congregation defies its leader and puts Wilson on a “contract” under the jurisdiction of a hard but apparently fair supervisor in San Francisco.
A similar scenario plays out with the next disciplinary case. A school age boy with a tone of defiance has been getting in trouble at school and sassing his grandmother. The grandmother and Jim Jones support the idea of a spanking. The audience discusses it, the same newcomer speaks against it, Jones tries to pull rank, and when the vote comes on a proposal, Jones warns, “I don’t want any malcontents putting your hand up.” At the end of the debate, though, the boy goes under the supervision of someone who’ll monitor his behavior.
Nevertheless, Jones insists that spankings have their place in the Temple. He talks about people who have been corrected by a spanking, including one alcoholic who stopped drinking after corporal punishment. The Temple offers an alternative society to its followers, but it needs to have ways of handling troublemakers. “You don’t have to worry about the bomb,” he reminds several children near the end of the tape, “or you don’t have to worry about the concentration camps or dictatorship, and some of you little ones have shown that you know about it by your writing. . All that know the heaviest problems in this world are not our behavior problems. So, maybe an honest thump will get it done.”
Date of transcription: 6/21/79
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 6/15/79, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B107-34. This tape was found to contain the following:
An entire side of the tape was devoted to sermons by JONES and a question and answer session over which JONES presided. The remaining portions of the tape were either blank or of no evidentiary value.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted May 2009