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 “Undated”
Date cues on tape: October or November 1972 (reference to 1972 early in address; later, he speaks of resurrecting 63 people in the eleven months since December 1, presumably of 1971)
Evangelist Billy Graham
Then-President Richard Nixon
Rev. Jay Ed Golder, minister in Christ Church
Stinson (full name unknown)
Christine Ella Mae Bates(speaks)
Bea Whitney/Whitna (phonetic)
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.)
- Long discussion of creation story, Genesis 1-4. Later in service, Jones makes specific references to Genesis 1:25-26, Genesis 2:18
“Jesus was flesh of your flesh, bone of your bone.” (Quote from Genesis 2:23, “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” References to Jesus as flesh and bone include Luke 24:39, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have;” and Ephesians 5:29-30, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”)
“God promises Abraham everything, and He said, I’ll give you the seed, all the land of Canaan, for an ever-lasting possession.” (Genesis 17:8, “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”)
“Genesis 25 said that Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.” (Genesis 25:1, “Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.”)
“God, according to the Bible, in Exodus 21, sanctions slavery. Said, if you buy a servant or slave, if his master’s given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and the children shall be her master’s. Take them away from the man.” (Exodus 21: 2, 4, “If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing… If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.”)
“Exodus 21:20. And if a man slap your servant or his maid and he die under his hand, if he continues a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his money. In other words, somebody can slap your slave around, and smite them and do what he wants to, but he shall not be punished, because he has money.” (Exodus 21:20-21, “And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.”)
“Leviticus 25 says the same thing: Both thy bondman and the bondmaid which thou shall have shall be of the heathen that are around you, of them shall you buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover, the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall you buy. You’ll take the children from them, as your inheritance.” (Leviticus 25:44-45, “Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.”)
“Numbers 33:37, Aaron the priest went up into Mount Hor at the commandment of God and died there.” (Numbers 33:37-39, “And they removed from Kadesh, and pitched in mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom. And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month. And Aaron was an hundred and twenty and three years old when he died in mount Hor.”)
“Deuteronomy 10:6 said he didn’t die there at all. And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth to Mosera, there Aaron died in Mosera and he was buried. Mosera is miles away from the other place that was mentioned, Mount Hor.” (Deuteronomy 10:6, “And the children of Israel took their journey from Beeroth of the children of Jaakan to Mosera: there Aaron died, and there he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest’s office in his stead.”)
“Elisha, the great prophet supposedly of God. Second Kings, second chapter, twenty-third verse. There came little children out and mocked him, laughed at him, saying, go up though, baldhead, and he turned back and he looked on them and he cursed them in the name of God, Jehovah, the Lord, and there came forth two she-bears, according to his curse, out of the woods and those two she-bears came and they tore forty and two children a pieces.” (2 Kings 2:23-24, “And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.”)
“1 Chronicles 1:32 got honest and said, Keturah, Abraham’s whore. Abraham’s concubine. Now, if you’re a whore, honey, you’re not a wife. Or you could be, but it’s hard.” (1 Chronicles 1:32 , “Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham’s concubine…”)
“I come from another planet. And that’s all the whole parables of all the Bibles is talking about. The wheel in the middle of the wheel, all this … was just talking about visitations from other planes.” (Ezekiel 1:16, “The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.”)
“Matthew 1 and Luke 3. You’ll find that uh, Matthew and Luke disagree as to who Jesus’ grandfather is, and how many great-grandparents he has back to Abraham. One has him having 15 more grandparents than the other.” (Matthew 1:1-17, ending with 1:17, “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” Compared to Luke 3:23-38.)
“Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”)
“Jesus said you can’t take new wine until you get rid of the old. You gotta get rid of the old vessel. You can’t put new wine in an old vessel. You can’t put a patch on this thing, you’ve got to get a new garment.” (Matthew 9:16-17, “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.” See also Mark 2:21-22 and Luke 5:36-39)
“I said like Elias, we’ll show you who’s the God.” (Matthew 17:10-12, Mark 9:11-13, John 1:21-25)
“[He] Said all things may pass, but I shall never pass. Heaven and earth may pass away, but I’ll never fade away.” (Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33 all read, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”)
“One [gospel] said when Jesus was crucified on the cross, that all the thieves that were there railed on him. The other says only one malefactor did, and he rebuked the other. Now what was the case? You don’t know what the case was.” (Matthew 27:38-44, ending with 27:44, “The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.” Compared to Luke 23:39-40, “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?”)
“Jesus said, Lo, I am with you always. [He] Didn’t say, some thing. He said I. [He] Didn’t say a feeling, he didn’t say some kind of a ghost, he said I am with you always. And he said, I’ll be with you— I’ll be a God to you, I’ll have a body as long as the earth stands.… Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”)
“I said, sell your possessions and have all things common and part to every man as had need.” (Mark 10:21, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” See also Matthew 19:21, Luke 12:33, and Luke 18:22)
“[The word of God] will straighten out the crooked bones and make them straight.” (Luke 3:5, “… and the crooked shall be made straight.”)
“Elias… said let the God that is God answer by fire, and that’s what I say to you.” (Luke 9:54-55, “…They said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.”)
“[I]n the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God, the Word was made flesh. (John 1:1, 1:14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”)
“You’re ashamed of me, like Nicodemus was ashamed to see Jesus.” (John 3:1-21, esp. John 3:1-2; see also John 7:50 and John 19:39.)
“[He] Said, I’ve come in my Father’s name.” (John 5:43, “I am come in my Father’s name.”)
“The truth sets you free. That’s all Jesus came to earth to say. He said, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. That’s what I’ve come back to tell you.” (John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)
“[They] Said, we know whose father our father is. Our father’s Abraham, but the inference of the written Scripture was, Jesus, you’re born of a bastard. You’re nothing. We know who our father is, but who is your father? But you see, that was the beauty of Jesus. Though he was made in the form of a servant, though he was born on the wrong side of the tracks, yet he saw in himself the form of God.” (John 8:37-42)
“[He] Said, I and the Father are one… he said, for what good work do you … stone me? … [T]he assailant said … we don’t stone you for any good work. We assail you because you being a man, blaspheme and make yourself God. That’s what got Jesus in all the trouble.” (John 10:30-33, “I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shown you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”)
“[Jesus] Said, what good work do you stone me… We don’t stone you because of good works, Jesus, it’s because you, being a man, make yourself God. He said, well, isn’t it written to those whom the word of God came, Scripture can’t be broken. He said, it’s written that ye are gods. [He] Said, I am just doing what you have had written. It’s in the book. Don’t look at me funny. Jesus said that every human being was a god. I’ll give you the verse and scripture if you want me to give you the verse and scripture. I can give you the verse and scripture to the line, that you are God. I’m a god and you’re a god. And I’m a god, and I’m gonna stay a god, until you recognize that you’re a god, and when you recognize you’re a god, I shall go back into Principle, and will not appear as a personality.” (John 10:31-34, “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shown you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”)
“Saint John 10:33, and you’ll see there, that it is said, Jesus said, it is written, ye are gods …. Jesus said, ye are gods.” (John 10:34)
“Jesus said, when you see me, you have seen God.” (John 14:7-9, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 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?”)
“If you try to live godly in Christ Jesus, you’re going to get persecution. They’re gonna even deliver you to the council and the courts, and they’ll lie on you, and they’ll say all manner of things falsely, and they’ll even kill you, thinking they do God a service.” (John 16:2, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” Also, Matthew 5:10-11, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”)
“Now, where did Jesus die? Where did he resurrect? One [gospel] says it was at Bethany, one says it was at a last supper, one says it was on another mountain, one says it was in Galilee.” (reference unknown)
“The new life has gotten them a blessing, and they give all. That’s the way it was on the day of Pentecost. That was the new earth’s message there. A visitor met them then, a visitor from outer space.” (unknown reference; Day of Pentecost in Acts 2)
“Acts 7:5, and he gave him none. Not any inheritance in it. No, not so much as to set his foot off it. He didn’t get his foot on Canaan, much less get it all, he didn’t even his foot in it.” (Acts 7:5, “And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.”)
“Paul said, I perceive you’re too … superstitious, he said … you should make your inscription to the unknown God.” (Acts 17:22-23. “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”)
“[The Bible] Didn’t say you were saved by Bible reading. Said, faith cometh by hearing. And hearing cometh by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”)
“He let this mind be in him, that was attributed to God, and he told us to let the same mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 1:9-10, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”)
“Remember you are saved by the foolishness of preaching.” (1 Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”)
“Honey, now you wake up now, all you women wake up and listen to me real good. If you love the Bible, the Bible says let the women keep silent in all of the churches, suffer not the woman to teach. That means, honey, shut your mouth.” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” Also, 1 Timothy 2:12, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”)
“Galatians 4:22, For it is written that Abraham had two sons. You either have one or you have two, honey, you can’t have both.” (Galatians 4:22, “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.”)
“Slaves be obedient to them that are your masters according to flesh, with fear and trembling as unto Christ.” (Ephesians 6:5, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.” See also, Colossians 3:22, Titus 2:9.)
“[Jesus] considered it not robbery to be equal with God. That’s a remarkable truth, if you get a hold of that truth. And though he were a servant, though he made himself a servant, he did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” (Philippians 2:5-6, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”)
“Philippians 4:11, I have learned in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”)
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (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.”)
“Colossians 3:22, Slaves, obey in other things your master. Servant, slave, same thing. In the Hebrew, it’s slave. Slaves obey all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but in singleness of heart and fear God.” (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.”)
“First Timothy, let as of many slaves as are under the yoke, count their own yoke worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. In other words, stay a slave.” (1 Timothy 6:1, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.”)
“I don’t care if it’s in a western magazine, you’re supposed to divide the word of truth wherever you find it. Rightly divide the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”)
“Men have a form of godliness, denying the power thereof.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5)
“Titus 2:9, exhort slaves to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things, not answering again, not purloining, not showing anything but good fidelity that they adorn the doctrine of God, our savior in all things. (Titus 2:9-10, “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”)
“The word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword. It can do things like that. It’ll cut away the bone from the marrow… It said it’ll discern the thoughts and know the intents of the heart. It’ll quicken the body, that separate the soul from the spirit.” (Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged 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.”)
“Yet Jesus was made perfect through the things that he suffered. He learned obedience through the death of the cross. That means he didn’t know it when he started, ’cause if he had been God at the beginning, he would have been perfect to begin. But he said, he was made perfect through suffering… So Jesus was made God. Jesus made himself conformable to the image of the death of the cross.” (Hebrews 5:8-9, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”)
“[Jesus was] Born without a father, as far as the world knew anything about it. That’s the way the world considered him.” (Hebrews 7:3, “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.”)
“Hebrews 11:9, by faith he sojourned in the land of promise. There all died in faith, not having received the promise.” (Hebrews 11:9, 13, “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise… These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”)
“Hebrews 11:17. By faith, Abraham offered up Isaac, his only begotten son.” (Hebrews 11:17, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.”)
“[The Bible] said, to the slave, if you got a good master, be glad. [The Bible] Said, if you got a bad master, endure him. Oh, yes it does… Slaves, 1 Peter 2:18, be subject to your masters with all fear. Not only to the good master, not only to the gentle master, but also to the forward, or to the evil one, or to this that is unthankworthy. If a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully, it is right to do.” (1 Peter 2:18-20, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”)
“Jesus was … the Alpha and the Omega.” (Four references to Alpha and Omega in Revelation, including Revelation 22:13, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”)
Delivered before a congregation in late 1972, this sermon by Jim Jones makes many more Christian references than do his later addresses, and certainly contains more quotations and citations of the Bible. While he criticizes the Skygod, as he often does elsewhere, he places much of what he says in the context of a Christian God, the reference that everyone in attendance will understand.
As do most of these tapes, this opens in the middle of a sentence, in this instance as Jones speaks about the nature of the Christian God and of the Christ figure himself. Jones says Christianity was not based on the idea of an unknown God, but one of flesh and bone, one that was visible, tangible and human. Moreover, even though Christ was the son of God, yet he was equal with God. “Jesus said, when you see me, you have seen God.” It was for that claim that he was condemned, because people don’t like it when God is visible.
And that’s why people have trouble with Jones himself, because the same applies to him. “God speaks for himself, and addresses the masses on his own behalf, and on his own right.”
People prefer the unknown God, because it gives them an excuse or a convenient explanation. If we don’t understand something, Jones says, we attribute it to the unknown God. When you can’t find a job because of your skin color, he adds, you can blame the unknown God, rather than the racist society or capitalist economy. In short, we can interpret him any way we choose. “And because of that unknown God, the most segregated institution in America is the church at 11 o’clock on Sunday morning.” But when God is made flesh, Jones says, no one can interpret him.
Along with the unknown God comes death, Jones continues. Other churches that worship the unknown God have funerals. This church doesn’t, because, Jones says, he saves them from death. If people look around “my house,” he continues, they’ll see no one that is hungry or needs a home or lacks an educational opportunity or needs protection from the law. The only catch for all of this to work, he adds later, is that “you can’t carry that Skygod in here, ’cause that messes us up… You gotta leave that Skygod alone.”
Jones eventually makes the more direct connection between himself and Christ. In a ministerial cry, he tells his followers, “The truth sets you free. That’s all Jesus came to earth to say… That’s what I’ve come back to tell you.” But, as he often does at this juncture, he continues quickly to make the claim all-encompassing. “I’m gonna cause you to know that you are what Jesus was… It’s in the book… I can give you the verse and scripture to the line, that you are God. I’m a god and you’re a god. And I’m a god, and I’m gonna stay a god, until you recognize that you’re a god.”
Returning to his criticism of the Skygod, Jones reads an article about a nursing home fire in Atlanta, Georgia that killed 27 people. The people cried out to God as they hung onto the burning building, and they died. If they had called upon Jones, even though he didn’t know them, he would have heard them and saved them. “See, I’ll give you what you give me. I’m just a motivator and a duplicator and a reproducer and a dynamo and a generator.” The proof, he says, are in the miracles that happen in this church every day.
The nursing home deaths find reference later in the sermon as well, as Jones draws direct comparisons between what “this God is doing” and what the Skygod is doing. After describing the facilities at Redwood Valley in glowing terms, Jones says, “Even our aged home has a fire sprinkler, it has a fire alarm system in every hall, in every room, you can see the little device. No, you trust in Jim Jones, he won’t put you up on no nine floors without a stairs to get down. Only the Skygod does that kind of nonsense.”
Jones also returns to the subject of miracles and healings throughout the sermon, and eventually returns to the separation between himself and the unknown God. “That’s the difference between having something you can see, because what you see is what you get, and if you can’t see, you’re not going to get it.”
Jones criticizes not only the Skygod, but also his messengers, especially those who can’t answer questions about the Skygod. But, Jones adds, that’s because the questions are unanswerable. Jones singles out Billy Graham for particular scorn, describing the evangelist as a hypocrite and a fool.
Returning to Graham later in the service, Jones says the evangelist acknowledges that he doesn’t believe the Bible, but he uses it to get to people. Once Graham used his words to bring the people the social gospel. Now he doesn’t; to the contrary, he refers to shoplifters and petty criminals trying to survive on the streets as sinners, but says nothing about governments and corporations that bleed people with their corruption. Why? Because he has a big house to protect, a place in society to defend.
Later in the service, Jones mocks other preachers and how they sound with their traditional messages, then imagines how they describe him: “And they say, ‘Ohh, you gotta watch that Jones. He’s against God, he’s the anti-Christ.’ I am. I’m giving you blessings, I’m healing you, I’m saving you when you die.”
Jones says he knows he is upsetting people, and, as he does in other services as well, calls out to them. “So if … you’re upset by this, that’s a design. I gotta find out who’s willing to think.” He continues with another familiar theme: “It’s only right that I get somebody to be like I am. I want you to be like me. I don’t want you to worship me, I want you to be like I am. I want you to become what I am.”
As for people who might be frightened on a more fundamental level — that they might be getting in trouble with their idea of a God, or with society’s need to preserve its God — Jones points out that he’s been preaching for almost fifty years, “ever since I was a child, and I’m gonna preach a long while yet, nobody come down and knock me out yet.” In one of the only illusions to his death in this service, he adds, “And you know what? I wouldn’t care if they did, because I’d be free.” Later, he reiterates his determination to live: “I’m gone keep holdin’ too, ’cause too many people want me to die, and I’m a contrary cuss when folk want me to die. I don’t die when folk want me to die.”
In speaking to yet another segment of the congregation that might be disappointed, because they came to be healed instead of hearing him tear apart the Bible, he tells them to listen and laugh, as others in the gathering are doing, because that would go a long way towards getting them healed.
Jones spends much of the tape criticizing the Bible, both for its inconsistencies and for its poisonous messages. He goes over the creation story, as he does in other sermons, discussing the angels who continually worshiped God, and Lucifer, who refused. He chastises God for creating Adam and Eve solely for the purpose of having someone to else to worship him. He questions how Adam and Eve, the only people in God’s creation, could have two sons and how one could find a wife in the land of Nod. These are “silly stories,” he says. (And it’s also why Jones doesn’t want his followers to call him a creator. “Savior, I am. A friend, I am. A deliverer, I am. Don’t call me no creator. ‘Cause I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t put you in the messes that you’ve been in.”)
He speaks of the Bible’s errors, beginning with the two different accounts of creation in Genesis. He disagrees forcefully and passionately with a Bible story in which a prophet calls forth two bears to rip apart 42 children who have laughed at the prophet’s bald head. He speaks of the oppressiveness of the Bible, quoting passages that hold back women and others that sanction slavery. No wonder blacks are discriminated against, he says. It’s a good thing Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass didn’t take that part of the Bible to heart.
Jones also challenges the belief that Christ was perfect, and — in this case — uses the Bible as his authority. He quotes a passage from Hebrews which says Jesus was made perfect upon the cross, and concludes, logically, that he was not perfect before, but had faults and failings like any other human being.
So what do the people of Peoples Temple believe, he asks rhetorically. “You believe in me in order to believe in you. That’s the only thing gonna set you free. Christ is in you. The only hope of glory you’re ever gonna see.” On the other hand, Jones says a moment later, if those who hear him don’t believe him, “you’re gonna be in real serious trouble. I’m going to tell you this: When light comes to you, and you don’t walk in the light, then darkness comes… I’m not going to scare you with hellfire and that kind of thing. I’m going to tell you, that you lose your soul when you don’t walk in light.”
In more political and social terms, he promises that people who follow his teachings will be persecuted, just as Christ was, and — he adds — just as he is. After listing some of the sins of other preachers, he points out that they aren’t touched. But the press is after Jim Jones and his followers. The press attacks Tim Stoen for unscrupulous acts, when all he is doing is helping the poor. But the larger society has to attack Peoples Temple, and has try to mess them up. “‘Cause they know, if they don’t mess me up, I’m gonna mess them up, and that’s what they’re trying to do, you see.”
Jones returns to the subject of press criticism as he discusses his own source of power. “[You] Say, where are you from? How you get this power? You want to know? I’m going to tell you. I’ve come from another planet.” Then, after saying that’s where all the parables in the Bible are from, he asks his followers to imagine how that would sound in the press. He returns to the interplanetary theme late in the sermon, saying it was the same on the day of Pentecost. “That was the new earth’s message there. A visitor met them then, a visitor from outer space… Yes, it was a visitor then, a visitor now, a visitor from another planet.”
Towards the end of the service, Jones takes the microphone into the crowd to talk and laugh with the people. It begins as he asks people who believe he is drinking wine in the pulpit to taste the grape juice for themselves.
Amidst the light banter, he says this is where he is most comfortable, among his flock. He speaks about narrowing the focus of his speeches, so he doesn’t have to say the same thing over and over to people who already know what he believes. If they could keep newcomers out, the committed congregation could accomplish so much more. “That’s what coming,” he says. “There won’t be public meetings… There’ll be a smaller number, but you’ll have to make a reservation to get in here… We’ve heard A-B-C, now we want to get to D.”
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 June 15, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B108-7. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES speaking before a group regarding miscellaneous topics such as:
(2) Adam and Eve
(3) People trying to “mess up” JIM JONES
(4) BILLY GRAHAM
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted January 2002