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
Date cues on tape: Early 1970s (Redwood Valley established, not in SF)
People in attendance at Peoples Temple service
Lillian L. Cordell
Dwight Cordell, son of Lillian L. Cordell
Tanya Cordell, daughter of Lillian L. Cordell
Mrs. Coran Jones
Roy Jones, son of Mrs. Coran Jones
Mrs. Thelma Levels (phonetic)
Mrs. Alberta Sewell
Public figures/National and international names:
Robert Fulton, inventor of steamboat
Samuel Morse, inventor of telegraph
George Stephenson, inventor of locomotive
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.)
- Part 1:
“As a man thinketh in his heart, as we have said so often, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”)
“It’s even apparent in Matthew, the first chapter, in Luke, the third chapter, that there’s a disagreement as to who Jesus’ grandfather was, and as to how many descendants there were back to Abraham or Adam. Both trace through the lineage of Joseph. So we must get into the actual experience of Christ.” (Matthew 1:1-17 contrasted with Luke 3:23-38)
“Wherever the spirit of Jesus Christ, there will be the healing of all manner of sickness and disease from among the people.” (Matthew 4:23, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”)
“If you want to enjoy the life and the more abundant life, come to Peoples Temple.” (John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”)
“He that liveth in me, and believeth in me, shall never die.” (John 11:26, “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”)
“[Christ] said, these things shall ye do and greater, because I go to the Father.” (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.”)
“[T]he study of the mind of Christ has been proven in our midst to heal every known disease.… We are going to deal with the mind of Christ, for in that mind is the resolution to all problems, and it will adjust all problems satisfactorily. We will live in this mind, we will preach this mind, until finally, this mind engulfs all of our life, and covers the earth as the waters cover the sea and ultimately brings divine help, love and happiness to all of mankind… We will deal about the mind of Christ, for in the mind of Christ is a sustaining force that will resolve every problem, that will heal every disease as is being done in our Temple throughout every minute of every day.” (1 Corinthians 2:16, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.”)
“For people to believe, we have to become living epistles, read and known of all men, inspired of God with the same power that was in Jesus, resurrecting people, liberating them, emancipating them, setting them free.” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”)
“Otherwise Christ is nothing more than a dead letter, and the dead letter will kill, but his spirit will make alive, his spirit is making alive in our midst.” (2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”)
“[W]e have to have the Christ in us, the hope of glory made real and manifest.” (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:”)
“Thus we will not have time to deal about the streets of gold, the streets of heaven, the gates to the city, or some peripheral concern.” (Revelation 21:21, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.”)
“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.”)
“If we will invoke the spirit of good will and harmony towards all people, that God is no respecter of persons, and live in this consciousness, that he is with us today, as he was in yesterday.” (Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”)
“It is written, how can you hear without a preacher, how can he preach, lest he be sent?” (Romans 10:14-15, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”)
“Know this morning that God is your savior, as you recognize him, and as you choose him as your savior by presenting your body as a living sacrifice wholly, that God might be all in all for you.” (Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”)
- “What possible result are you going to have from a study of hell or heaven, the furniture of heaven and the temperature of hell.” (Reinhold Niebuhr: “It is unwise for Christians to claim any knowledge of either the furniture of heaven or the temperature of hell.”)
(Note: This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from public disclosure.)
This tape consists of three relatively short radio messages, two by Jim Jones and the third by an unknown member of the Temple. Although there is no date on the tape, and no mention of events to give it specific context, both Jones and the unidentified member speak of the Redwood Valley Temple as the hub of operations — Jones calls it a “Garden of Eden” — and the last sentence of Jones’ second address asks for help in building a facility in San Francisco. This puts the recording in the early 1970s.
There are other reasons for concluding the tape is one of the earliest ones in existence. It is of a man in transition. Jones has moved somewhat — but not completely — from the Pentecostal preaching he did in Indianapolis, yet he still invokes the name and authority of God and of Jesus Christ. He offers a critique of the Bible, but the critique is a means to get his listeners to go directly to Christ. He says he speaks with the authority of God — indeed, that he is the only one who can do so — and he tries on the mantle of divinity, but he does not claim to be God. The tape offers evidence both of where Jim Jones has been and hints of what his addresses will eventually become. More than anything else, though, the tape offers Jones’ philosophy of faith healing, and of the power of the mind both to bring about death and to restore life and health.
Jones begins the tape with an acknowledgment that, wherever the spirit of Christ is, there will be healing. He says there are problems with the Bible — the “interpretations, the genealogical problems, the variations of translations and apparent contradictions and so forth,” its incomplete record after King James removed some of its most “beautiful books” — but all that means is “we must get into the actual experience of Christ… we have to have the Christ in us, the hope of glory made real and manifest. For people to believe, we have to become living epistles.”
Jones focuses on the role of Jesus as a source of strength, liberation, and emancipation, and says that’s what his own ministry is all about. “If you want to enjoy … the more abundant life, come to Peoples Temple, and participate in this last day God-ordained ministry.”
Much of the address centers on what Jones himself describes as a recurring theme in his ministry: the power of thought. He says the mind has the power to destroy itself, and to become the source of its own healing as well. “A false or fallacious idea is ultimated or externally manifested in the body by disease,” he says, “and the truth is the best medicine.”
Existing ideas — either as they are thought internally or expressed in conversation with another — shape the body, for good or for ill. If negative thoughts are allowed to grow, they become chronic and destructive. That’s why Temple members don’t discuss sickness or problems. “We are told when we greet one another not to discuss how we are in the terms of negative condition, but to talk about the positive, the hopeful.”
Jones uses the examples of mechanical inventions as illustrations of his point. Innovators had to strive for perfection, he says, because any defects in the design would have doomed their machines to failure. That’s why they concentrated on solidifying their ideas. “Here is the whole spiritual theory of disease, for what is true of a [machine], is more certainly true of the body and its relation to the mind.” And the mind can find its cure — its truth — only through God. “This is the philosophy of the system of cure and divine healing practiced by Jesus Christ, and forever consecrated by him as the divine method of healing both soul and body.”
Later in the broadcast, he goes even further, to say that no one dies from a disease itself, but only when the mind decides to surrender to the disease. “[I]t is only when faith, hope, and imagination lose their hold upon the organic structure, and the soul relaxes its grasp upon the body, that it yields.”
He then speaks of the power of his own mind as a healer. There are testimonies in Temple files attesting to his abilities to heal, even as he slept. “I would be thinking in prayer meditation in my dreams about someone in their need, and I would send out my thought through the Christ Consciousness, and they would be healed.”
Even as Jones concentrates on faith-healing, he acknowledges that some radio listeners have tired of the subject, and would rather that he talk of other things. But he doesn’t see any reason to change the subject. “What possible result are you going to have from a study of hell or heaven… It will do nothing for you to ameliorate your circumstances in life, but the study of the mind of Christ has been proven in our midst to heal every known disease.”
In the second part of the tape, an unidentified man lists some of Jones’ miracles, and describes how he performs them. Basing his healings upon his discernment of the people in the congregation before him — “as further confirmation of this all-powerful gift of revelation,” the speaker says — Jones calls them out by name, reveals details in their lives that no one else could know except through that revelation from God, and then cures them. The healings benefit everyone, because they “confirm the fact that God is the same today, yesterday and forever.” The remainder of this section of the tape reports the details of a number of these miracles.
In the final section, Jones speaks again of the need of people to live Christ’s life “in deeds and in actions,” and that this is more important than to teach Christ. Nevertheless, they will not know how to live Christ’s life without the hearing of the word, and that is what he is bringing through his ministry in Peoples Temple.
Jones does not claim divinity, but he does say he brings salvation. “My words alone, as the words of Christ, as I present to you the spirit of the life of God, can save your life. Nothing else. Nothing more… I set before you this morning the way of deliverance from all difficulties, for I have come in the name of the Lord.” He is an important factor in their understanding of God, but he is only the messenger, not the message itself, “for I have entered into that faith consciousness, to not demonstrate my own ego, but to demonstrate the will of God of He who has sent me.”
The tape concludes with a single sentence request for “help” in building a “further extension” of Peoples Temple in the Bay Area.
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 1B108-13. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES delivering recorded radio sermons. All of these sermons concern the revelations of JONES, the healing miracles performed by JONES and end with an invitation to come to People’s Temple.
Differences with FBI Summary:
Aside from the fact that one of the three messages on the tape is delivered by an unidentified man — and not Jim Jones — the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted September 2003