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 “9-14/73”
Date cues on tape: Tape contents consistent with identification label
Ken Bavarous (phonetic) (speaks)
Georgianne Brady (speaks)
Tim Carter (speaks)
Rick Curful (phonetic) (speaks)
Elly Freeman (speaks)
Willy Hamlin (speaks)
Edna Holman (speaks)
Marceline Jones (by reference)
Carol Myers (speaks)
Booker T. Nash (speaks)
Reverend Alice Rancisfer (speaks)
J.B. Robbins (speaks)
Isaac De La Rosa (speaks)
LaDorothy Thomas (speaks)
John Williamson (speaks)
Nathan Yawonston [phonetic] (speaks)
Rick (may be the same as Rick Curful above)
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President (by reference)
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.)
- “It has even been said on the great body of scientific study, that the Ark of the Covenant was a monitoring device from some spaceship outside, because when people touched it, they died from some electronic power, and it would speak to the people, and the people worshipped it … in Joshua’s day. They rent their clothes before that Ark of the Covenant.” (Joshua generally, esp. Joshua 7:6, “And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.”)
“Then it [the Ark of the Covenant] disappeared, it was lifted, and Jeremiah said we will remember the Ark of the Covenant no more.” (Jeremiah 3:16, “And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.”)
[Agreeing with a woman quoting scripture to him] “She said a great truth there. Said once that God did nothing that he did not first reveal to his servants, the prophets. So that’s a very good point.” (Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”)
“You remember I’ve always said, let your life so shine that men will see your good works and glorify your Father.” (Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”)
“You give your life and then you find it.” (Matthew 10:39, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it;” Matthew 16:25, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” See also Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; Luke 17:33; and John 12:25)
“[W]e speak of God in me in the hundredfold. In the scripture, it speaks, there’s hundredfold, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold. Well, that means sixty percent of the principle, thirty percent of the principle, or a hundred percent fool proof, hundred percent pure. Your Bible tells you that in the last day there will be one hundredfold manifestation of God. That means one hundred percent God. Well, I’m in the hundredfold. It’s one hundred percent dedicated, completely committed, completely sacrifice to the will.” (Matthew 13:3-23)
“Don’t throw a pearl of great price out too easily. Let people find it. If they don’t find it on their own, it won’t mean anything. It’ll turn them away.” (Matthew 13:45-46, “…the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”)
“Jesus said deny yourself… Jesus said if any man would come after me, take up your own cross. He didn’t say anything about taking his cross or pleading the blood of his cross. He said that if any man that would follow me, let him deny himself and take up his own cross. You can’t take Jesus’ cross, and Jesus can’t work out your own salvation.” (Matthew 16:24, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” See also Mark 8:34, Mark 10:21, and Luke 9:23)
“But people say uh, Jesus save me. Jesus can’t save you. You must be saved by enduring to the end. He that endures to the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:13, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” See also, Mark 13:13)
“Ye must be born again, I hear. Well, if you’re born again, that makes you something new.” (John 3:1-21, esp. 3:7, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” See also John 7:50, John 19:39.)
“Now many say that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. This means nothing at all in terms of literalism. A Father who would sacrifice his son for reprobates, evil doers, would be less than love.” (John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”)
“What was actually the case, and has to be the case, a savior or God, a God must come himself, and Jesus bore that out when he said I have come in my own name? No. I have come in my Father’s name.” (John 5:43, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”)
“I [Jesus] and the Father are one.” (John 10:30, “I and my Father are one.”)
“When you see me [Jesus], you have seen the ultimate of good, or the Father.” (John 14:9, “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?”)
“Jesus says these things shall you do and greater, because I go to the Father, so we’ve living in a greater time of compassion, a greater time of love, a greater time of miracles.” (John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”)
“The word Communism’s been badly abused, but on the day of Pentecost, they had all things in common. Perhaps we should call it Common-ism or Communalism. You have to share, you have to think of your brother or your sister above yourself.” (Acts 2, esp. Acts 2:44, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common.”)
“[W]e believe in that God has no respecter to persons so if people, the first one said more than what I maybe had suggested, everyone would have to have that right to do so, because equality is the nature of God, our principle.” (Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”)
“The law of life in the Christ sets us free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”)
“If we give generously, all the parables of every world religion says … then we will reap generously. If we give sparingly, we reap sparingly.” (2 Corinthians 9:6, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”)
“[M]ake the parable a little more difficult. The treasure’s hid in earthen vessels. And don’t cast it easily out.” (2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”)
“He [Jesus] said, behold, I make all things new, you are new creatures in Christ.… You’re a new creature. Well, if you see many new creatures in these churches, I’d like for you to point them to us so we can go and work with them. But I haven’t found very many new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” See also Galatians 6:15, Revelation 21:5)
“Our own point of view is that we have been visited from higher dimensions. Paul called them third heavens – he was carried away to the third heaven once in a vision – or we say extra planetary realms.” (2 Corinthians 12:2, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.”)
“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but the revolution of the Christ of the anointing lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”)
“I hear all that malarkey today. Jesus save me… I did a sinful lustful thing today, but I ask Jesus and he forgave me. No, no, no. Whatsoever you sow, that shall you also reap.” (Galatians 6:7-8, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”)
“You’ll see the church as it was required to be. We were demanded that we take care of the household of the faith. That’s what the church was demanded that it had to do, is to take care of the household of faith. We not only take care of the household of the faith, but hundreds and thousands of other people.” (Galatians 6:10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”)
“He said each man and woman must work out their own plan of salvation in fear and trembling. That means it ought to be serious business, because it requires fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”)
“Christ, I prefer to say, meaning the revolutionary, the anointed one, because God has no meaning without Christ. Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:25-29, esp. Colossians 1:27, “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:”)
“God is Logos or the word, and the word in the Greek means mind. And the mind when it’s made flesh and dwells amongst you, it discerns the thoughts and knows the intents of the heart. It’s quick and powerful. It separates soul from spirit or body from spirit, and if it can separate them, it can reunite them.” (Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”)
(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Seriina Covarrubias. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
This tape of a Peoples Temple service takes place in San Francisco in September 1973. Jim Jones’ address to the congregation includes many elements found in other tapes from the period – descriptions of healings he has performed, criticism of the Bible balanced against evocations of biblical scripture to reinforce his points, and requests for offerings, among others – but there are also singular aspects to the service as well. At one point, Jones opens the floor for a question-and-answer session about the church and its beliefs, something rarely done; at another point, he asks visitors to stand and identify themselves and give their church affiliation, if any, a way of introduction which he says they have never done before.
The service includes other familiar aspects as well, including testimonials to Jones’ healing powers and charity, and singing (which is cut off).
The tape opens with several minutes of praises for Jim Jones and the works he has done for individual members. As one man cries out, “What what we visualize, Jim Jones can materialize, and if we let him take over, if we become clay in his hands, he will mold and shape and develop us.”
Jones follows the testimonials with a request for offerings, and reminds the congregation of the biblical warning of reaping generously only if one gives generously. He then says that he will personally examine every envelope which contained the offerings – after the money has been removed, he adds, he doesn’t handle the money – as a means of determining the members’ faith to the cause. “We are separating the loyal from the non-committed,” he says. The request then draws upon the miracles which the people have just heard about, and then makes the conclusion: “Miracles like that come from giving generously. I mean that. If you give of yourself generously, you’ll save yourself. Hold back, and everything will be held back from you.” Finally, he adds a measure of urgency, counting down from a minute until the collection must be finished.
The theme of coupling the benefits offered by the church to the generosity of the offering returns later in the service. During the question-and-answer period, Jones tells his followers, “you cannot get help until you share.” As long as people are selfish – “like they are tonight” – they cannot expect to realize the life of Christ or love or the socialist collective, terms which are interchangeable throughout the address. People are “holding onto their money, and they want me to heal them, but as long as you hold on and want to have a treasure above someone else, you are dying because you’re living in the carnal mind.” A moment later, he is even more explicit: “I could no more heal [the selfish] than a termite could heal them, because you get what you give. What you give is what you’re gonna receive.”
The question-and-answer session allows Jones to outline his theology in a way that seems to have the newcomers to the church in mind. He parses the definition of “principle” – which he explicitly personifies as himself on other tapes, and more subtly on this one – as God, and God as love, and love as “apostolic communalism where there is total equality.” In the same answer, he describes the principle as “just being the highest source of good or the highest attainment of good.” Later he brings the answer back full circle, when he says, “Principle is a recipe. The recipe today is total racial, social, and economic equality. The way to that recipe is love.”
Jones equates God with Christ – “God has no meaning without Christ” – and says that by referring to Christ as the hope of glory and as the anointed one, the Bible is actually acknowledging that Christ is a revolutionary, and that, as Jones says later, by “set[ting] us free from the law of sin and death,” Christ is standing up to “the enmity against the principle, the capitalistic mind, the selfish mind.”
That equating of God and Christ provides a foundation for Jones’ renunciation of John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”). A father who sacrifices his son – especially for evil doers – “would be less than love,” Jones says. He then turns to other scripture – Christ’s words that he and the father are one – to demonstrate “what was actually the case, and has to be the case.”
Jones offers several alternatives to the spiritual considerations of an unseen God. One of the alternatives is extraterrestrial. Quoting both Paul in Corinthians and two Hebrew Bible prophets as his authority, Jones says, “We have been visited from time to time by saviors from outer space.” The Ark of the Covenant is proof, he says. People “died from some electronic power” when they touched it, because it was a monitoring device from a spaceship. Eventually, the Ark lifted and disappeared, as a spaceship would.
The less spiritual definition of God allows Jones’ dismissal of John 3:16 to return in another form. Again, using the Bible as the source for his authority, Jones answers a question about God living on earth by emphasizing that tangible presence. “There never was a God anyplace else but on Earth. Never was any other place.” When the questioner replies that God is on earth now, Jones answers, “And always was.”
His declaration of personal divinity is somewhat coy in the minutes that follow, though, perhaps because there were a number of strangers in the congregation. When the same woman says God’s name is Jim Jones, he answers, “I’ve always said, let your life so shine that men will see your good works and glorify your Father. Now you’ve projected that Jim Jones is God.” The rest of the answer – citing his miracles – does nothing to dispel her assertion, but doesn’t overtly confirm it. He gives a similar reply later in the service – “People can only speak for what works for them. And as you think in your mind, so are you. If in your mind you think you behold God, then you behold God. If in your mind, you think you just see an ordinary man, then you’ll see an ordinary man” – but then, as before, he continues with the things he can do that an ordinary man can’t.
Jones goes out of his way to differentiate between love and sex. Love has positive attributes, he says – “love gives, love sacrifices, love does what the other person needs” – as opposed to sex. “There’s nothing farther from love than sex. Sex is animalism, sex is sensuality, sex is narcissism.” The belief followed Jones to Guyana, where he often spoke of sex as “sick love games” which are counter-revolutionary in that they distract the people who play those games from reaching their fullest potential.
He also differentiates between people whose sole claim to religiosity is that they are born again, as opposed to people who actually do the work that Christ commands his followers to do. Describing people in the Baptist and Pentecostal churches as “the worst racists… the worst bigots… the most selfish,” Jones adds, “They think that all they have to do is to put it in Jesus’ hands and say a few little prayers on Sabbath or Sunday and it’ll take care of it.” But if you truly take on Jesus, you have to accept him in all of his parts, including the giving and sacrifice that love/God/socialism/principle requires. Concluding one of his answers, he cries, “it isn’t just enough to get Jesus and swallow him on Sunday and think you’ll spit him out on Monday.”
Later in the service, Jones welcomes those who stand and introduce themselves. One woman testifies how her faith in Jim Jones – by holding his picture through the medical ordeal of her infant great-grandson – saved the boy’s life. Jones follows up by saying that the picture has been responsible for 38,000 documented miracles, including cancer cures, extinguished fires, and drownings that didn’t happen. As for Peoples Temple itself, he notes, there have been more than 460 times that year in which people have been resurrected from death, including people who were already dead when they were brought into the church. “The love that is in me, by people orientating or focusing upon that, we’ve had had no death, no death.… No death in our family – the mother church – for years. No death.”
This facility is an extension of the Temple’s recognition of the power of the mind. He speaks of holy men who can stop their own hearts or slow their own breaths or regulate the flow of blood within their own bodies. He tells of hypnotists who can persuade someone that a pencil is a hot poker, and when it touches them, it leaves a burn. He speaks of people who can move an object merely by concentrating on it. This is the mind control he urges his followers to embrace.
“The power of mind,” he says near the tape’s end. “[I]f you think positively through the emphasis of a positive aura, to one who has that positivism metabolized to such a degree that it’s a part of their very being, like it is mine, it can stir up a creativity in you that will save you from things that everyone else in the whole human race will have to undergo… If you think positively and unselfishly, then you come to the nature of God, you come to the sweet garden of Eden, you come to the holiness of an advanced utopia.”
A few moments later, he has turned that call into a political message: “[U]se your mind control with the center control that I have and all of our minds together will bring a revolution,” he says to cheers and applause as the tape ends.
Date of transcription: 7/3/79
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 1B107-35. This tape was found to contain the following:
Unidentified individuals praising JIM JONES and his healing powers followed by JIM JONES soliciting donations and talking about Socialism. The tape concludes with JONES telling people to think positively and unselfishly.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted January 2006