Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Jones speaking
Date cues on tape: October 1974 (Nelson Rockefeller nominated as Vice President; and tickets on sale for upcoming dinner on November 1)
Agnes Paulette Jones, by reference
James Jones Jr., by reference
Stephan Jones, by reference
Suzanne Jones, by reference
Timothy Glenn Tupper Jones, by reference
Rev. Bill Purifoy
Sister Bryant (could be Princeola Bryant)
Sister Cox (could be Tanya Cox Garcia)(speaks)
Janice (could be Jan Wilsey)
Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State
Former President Richard Nixon
Vice President (nominee) Nelson Rockefeller
Former President Harry S Truman
Former California Governor Ronald Reagan
Angela Davis, professor fired for Communist Party membership
Billy Graham, evangelist
Mrs. E. Howard Hunt, wife of Watergate defendant
Thomas Paine, Revolutionary War era pamphleteer
Mark Twain, writer
Martin Niemoller, German clergyman in World War II
Dr. C. Northcote Parkinson, “that invented Parkinson’s law”
Walter Baldwin, Marceline Jones’ father, by reference
Stephanie Jones, adopted daughter of Jim & Marceline Jones, by reference
Mr. Van Dusen, head of federal drug enforcement program
Lester Kinsolving, newspaper columnist, by reference
Mr. Heddy, rancher in Ukiah, “secretary of the John Birch Society”
Gertrude Mitchell, friend of woman healed during service
Cliff, husband of woman healed during service
Sharon Keesling (phonetic), friend of man healed during service
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.)
- Commentary on creation story of Genesis 1 and 2
(Hymn) “Let God, let God arise and his enemies be scattered, Let God, let God arise and his enemies be scattered, Let God, let God arise and his enemies be scattered, Let God arise in the earth.” (Psalm 68:1, “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.”)
“And then the most beautiful angel turned out to be the devil that led a third of his angels astray.” (Lucifer fall from heaven in Isaiah 14; one-third reference is post-biblical)
“Even the ancestry of Jesus is wrong.” (Matthew 1:1-16 compared with Luke 3:23-34)
“I’ll tell you, when you do that outside, and cast those pearls outside, you are on an ego trip.” (Matthew 7:6, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”)
“But what’re you going to do with these people who start coming to church, just for the avaves and fishes, and we cannot offer them the same thing that we offer the rest.” (Reference to miracle of loaves and fishes: Matthew 14:13-21; Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9:10-17; and John 6:5-15)
“Why do you suppose Jesus said, Go tell no man. [He] Said I’m the only God there is. But he said, go tell no man.” (Matthew 17:9, “And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.” See also: Matthew 8:4, Matthew 16:20; Mark 7:36, Mark 8:30, Mark 9:9; Luke 5:14, Luke 8:56, and Luke 9:21.)
“I think Jesus must have had something when he throwed the money-changers out.” (Matthew 21:12, “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.” See also Mark 11:15)
“Wherever someone is hungry, wherever someone’s impoverished, wherever someone faces jail sentences, wherever my people are in prison, look out, because I’m going to shake the jails, I’m going to shake the creation… I have commanded you … to go into the prisons and bring them out. I have commanded you to feed the hungry, I have commanded to give water to the thirsty, I have commanded you to let the captives go free, I have commanded you to fight against capitalism from the beginning of time.” (Reference to Matthew 25:34-46)
“You quote that silly scripture, the poor will be with you always, and it isn’t even in the original Bible.” (Matthew 26:11, “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.” See also, Mark 14:7 and John 12:8)
“You know this faith is right. You know it is God, and you know it is beautiful, so don’t take any thought for tomorrow, take no thought for what you shall wear, take no thought for you shall put on.” (Reference to parable of rich man in Luke 12:16-22, which ends, “And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.”)
“Jesus said, worship what you see.” (John 4:22, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.”)
“Ye all are gods.… And all God meant was Jesus said, when they took him away to crucify him, he said, ye all are gods… He said, why do you stone me? He didn’t know why. He said, why do you do it? For what good work. [They] Said, none. Because you being a man make yourself god. [He] Said it is written, ye all are gods.” (John 10:32-34, “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?”)
“[T]hese things shall you do and greater, because I go to the Father, or I return into life or into energy… [H]e said, this is a greater day than his, he said, after he went away, these things shall you do and greater. He said, everybody after him would be greater.” (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.”)
“Paul told you not to worship an unknown god… Why do you do, as Paul said, why are you so superstitious, that you worship an 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.”)
“And we’ve known the beauty, the beauty of honesty and sincerity as none others have known it. So now, having all that treasure hid in earthen vessels, we’re able to proceed in a high vibration.” (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.”)
“The whole book, the New Testament— This is the thing that will lead us back into slavery. It says, ‘Slaves, obey your masters.’” (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.)
“Wear everything you’ve got as a loose garment. If I’ve given you houses, wear them loosely. If I’ve given you cars, if I’ve given you communes, businesses, all of our beautiful things, wear them loosely, because the only people that can have real peace are those that are free to take on the battle at any moment.” (Reference unclear)
This tape consists of portions of two or three sermons — or, just as likely, one sermon, with numerous edits — with Jim Jones addressing his congregation in San Francisco in late 1974. There are many elements of a Jones address here, including commentary on the Bible, faith healings, observations of the political scene, warnings of the coming nuclear holocaust, and reminders of the Promised Land which awaits them in Guyana.
The sermon opens with Jones in a combative mood, and the crowd is equally enthusiastic. Jones declares a passionate commitment to socialism, no matter what the costs. Don’t worry about dying, he tells the congregation, but rather, move forward with him. “I am saying to the world … Damn the torpedoes of religious systems that will try to put our light out. Damn their jails. Damn their assassin bullets… I say, full speed ahead.” He adds that he has no intention of dying, but to bring them through victorious in life, “I will have my way.”
“Everything we do will be radical,” he says. “Every time they oppose us, … every time they touch us, we’re going to fight.” The fight is not just of resistance to the enemy, but aggressively taking on the enemy. He continues that he must declare himself, because he is the only true socialist, and the only god there is, is the principle of Socialism. “Look out, injustice, wherever you are. Look out, old landlords and capitalist class, whoever you oppress… Look out, because … I’m going to shake the creation.”
The commitment of the people needs to be complete, and he warns his followers not to let their intellectualism — which he calls “the greatest defeating force” — or even their sense of self-preservation to destroy them. He tells them to remember the beautiful things they’ve shared and the love they’ve had for one another, but admonishes them to put that aside. “Don’t take any thought for tomorrow,” he says. It won’t be easy, he concludes, but people won’t be bored.
While Jones says that the evening’s service is not a healing service, he first speaks of people he has healed that day, and then performs a couple of healings. In one, he calls on someone through revelation, then places a cloth on him and says he has been just saved from a tragic accident. In return, he asks the man to join then in their struggle for socialism.
The healings are for the sick and the crippled, he says, but there are deeper, more meaningful healings he can perform. “We’ve delivered those that were crippled from the paralysis of capitalism, we’ve lifted those that were bound by the capitalist, and we’ve set them free to be healed. We can unseat the oppressors.” All the gifts he has given, both in health and in possession, he tells the congregation, they should wear as “loose garments” so they can be free to rise to the battle at any moment. To those who leave the Temple and return to their old church homes — especially those people that he has healed — he compares to adulterers, and worse: “[You’re] the ones that would nail me to the cross.” The section ends with much celebration and singing.
In the next section (or possibly a different sermon, although the setting seems to be the same), Jones talks about his family, and how he saved each member of it. He rescued his adopted son Lew from starvation. He rescued his wife Marceline from the Methodist church “and all that religion.” He details the work that Marceline now does in the Temple and the sacrifices she’s made for it. The people need to support her in that work, he adds, because “[y]ou won’t find any woman any better than that woman.” His reminders of Marceline’s contributions to the life of the Temple recur periodically throughout the service.
Their support of Marceline should extend to the church as a whole, he says, to both congregations in L.A. and San Francisco, as a demonstration of unity and solidarity, because when people stay home, it “shows the enemy we’re not together.”
Jones conducts a discourse on politics and religion, opening with his thesis statement: “I would not eliminate God from the scene, in the terms of an abstract idea, if it was not that wherever God is worshipped blindly and superstitiously, freedom’s light goes out.” He reiterates the point later in his address, that people who worship God often do not follow the path of justice. After speaking of the horrors of dictatorship and totalitarianism in other countries, he reminds the congregation that America faces the same threat. People need to defend freedom against all its enemies, and that requires the basic freedom of expression. “This house of America must be free for all to express themselves non-violently, or we’re in trouble.” That’s why he defends everyone, from a Communist like Angela Davis, to members of the John Birch Society. “We’re concerned when anyone loses their liberty, … because anyone’s liberty is our liberty. You can’t separate it. Freedom of speech means freedom for all, or freedom for none. And you better protect it with all your heart, your mind and your soul.”
He segues his worship of liberty into a denunciation of a cruel and unloving God, a God that allows starvation and the death of children. He speaks of natural disasters, of famine and disease in the world, of racism and poverty, and the omnipresent threat of nuclear war, then concludes rhetorically, “You say, there’s a god sitting up there that’s got all power? Then he ought to use it.”
He worships nothing in the sky, he says, and doesn’t have any use for what he calls the “Skygod.” And since the moment of his understanding that he would get no help from God, that the only help he’d get is that which he provides himself, he has been able to conduct healings, and there have been no deaths in his church. He reminds the people of the hardships they faced before they came to him — “I could tell you some stories here that would break your hearts. Your stories. You’ve all got them” — but now they benefit from “the most unusual power I know of.”
Jones criticizes his members who still believe in a Skygod, and extends the criticism to those who have “substituted your Skygod in me,” because that means they think they can ask him to do God’s work. “[D]on’t you ever insult me by calling me your creator Skygod. I am a savior, because I save everybody that comes to me.”
He continues that, in fact, he would rather that they call him the devil, since at least “[h]e had the good sense to rebel.” He repeats the creation story — which he acknowledges he has told many times — about the devil being kicked out of heaven. He says he wishes he didn’t have to repeat it, that he would prefer to spend all of his time working for freedom, but there are new people in the audience.
The book of Genesis isn’t the only one with inconsistencies, contradictions and errors, he says, but worse than that are the hypocrisies and moral outrages contained in the Bible. That’s why, he says, “I’ve long since put out a warrant for [God’s] arrest, charging him with murder, abandonment of his children, abandonment of his people, desertion, torture, cruelty, [and] inhuman treatment beyond description.”
Despite Jones’ longstanding denunciations of God and the Bible, both in his many addresses and in written form, he is not above citing the Bible approvingly, if it reinforces a point he wants to make. This paradoxical approach seemingly gives license to people in the audience to make statements which contradict Jones’ message of the moment. In this instance, an elderly woman follows Jones’ reminder that the Bible condones slavery with her observation that, “I am perfectly willing to remain where I am, and win them over for Christ.” Again, in this instance, Jones affirms her. Depending upon his mood, that is not always the case.
Jones makes several extended references to the “Promised Land” in Guyana, including a description of what awaits the people when they arrive. He also reminds them of what the Temple has already promised and delivered to them in the past, then asked rhetorically if other churches offer those types of services.
During a question and answer period, Jones reminds his followers that they need to be sure of the “ideals” of the guests they invite to services. They need to be careful that the people have love in their hearts, and that they aren’t racist.
Much of the balance of the tape consists of a discussion of when and under what circumstances newcomers should be allowed to attend Temple services. Jones expresses his concern about how guests would react to some of their more radical perspectives. Perhaps, he suggests, they should designate one service a month to allow visitors. “And if we had a service, we could take people apart, and then we’d see how the people reacted during that service, … and let them see what we’ve done through cooperative, non-violent, true apostolic socialism, as an alternative to totalitarian fascism or communism.”
There are several problems with allowing people to come to any service they choose. One is that he has to educate the newcomers from the start, to give them the truth about the Bible, and to tell some of the same stories that regular members are tired of hearing. Equally troubling is the tendency of some members to glorify Jim Jones as God in front of strangers. “Then you create a whole afternoon’s work for me. Because I sure don’t want to be that almighty god that everybody’s worshipped.” What he wants the people to do is to tell others of his works, the children he’s adopted, the services he’s provided, the healings he’s performed. “I don’t want to be God to anybody else. Do you understand? I’ve got enough children. Don’t make me God to anybody else.”
In the midst of these words of reluctance to open the doors for every service, Jones contradicts himself and castigates those who deter visitors from coming through their own actions. “And there’s a lot of people that would come here, but you have scared them away, because you don’t live the life, you don’t show concern.”
After laying out the two sides of the issue, he opens the subject up for the congregation to debate, and then — in the free-form stream of consciousness that characterizes many of Jones’ addresses — takes the experience of a woman who stands up to express her opinion and makes a seamless transition into a discourse on welfare, OSHA, the inability of a couple to buy a house in current economic times, former President Nixon and the CIA’s dirty tricks, and the CIA’s role in a recent plane crash.
Nevertheless, Jones affirms everyone who addresses the subject of closed meetings, whether the speaker is for or against the proposal. At one point, he suggests they could resolve the problem by changing Peoples Temple from a church into something else. He dismisses the idea almost immediately, listing several reasons, including their loss of the tax status.
But if the church remains open to everyone, he concludes, anyone can come in and plant bombs or bring guns. He reminds people that when an unidentified man “came in with the submachine gun… we gave him a good shellacking.” The Temple is against violence, he says, but there are limits. Morover, even the Christian gospel recognizes those limits. “I think Jesus must have had something when he throwed the money-changers out, because we haven’t had nobody come back in with a gun, since [that incident].”
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 1B108-8. This tape was found to contain the following:
Portions of several Temple services, including JIM JONES preaching, “healing” and question and answer sessions.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary — as minimal as it may be — is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted February 2003