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: Q 1055 – all parts – labeled in part “9/6/75”
Date cues on tape: Part 1: Likely late 1972; Part II: Likely fall 1966
People in attendance at Peoples Temple service
Harry Edwards (by reference)
Archie Ijames (speaks)
Marceline LeTourneau< James Pugh Tim Stoen (by reference)
- Steve Addison
Marion “Whitey” Freestone
Marceline Jones (by reference)
Eva Pugh (speaks)
Judy (likely Merriam or Meade)
Christine, relative of congregant
Ida, relative of congregant
Public figures/National and international names:
- Ronald Reagan, governor of California
Eric Sevareid, CBS news commentator
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 I:
“In all this holy mountain in Redwood Valley, nothing has been killed, because he said in the last days, nothing would be destroyed in all of his holy mountain.” (Isaiah 11:1-9, esp. 11:9, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” See also Isaiah 65:25)
“I’ve got to speak and cry loud and spare not.” (Isaiah 58:1, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”)
“And he said to kill an ox would be like killing a man.” (Isaiah 66:1-5, esp. Isaiah 66:3, “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.”)
“Keep my words and see if I won’t come through with every promise that I have made unto you.” (Jeremiah 33:14, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.”)
“I feed the hungry. I clothe the naked.” (Matthew 25: 34-46)
“He that keeps these sayings shall not die.” (John 8:51, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”)
“Paul said if others will boast of their apostleship though, he said, I will boast more than you all. He said I’m going to straighten out the bunch of these people that are sick and ridiculously following false apostles. He said I am the chiefest of apostles.” (2 Corinthians 11)
“Oh, whatsoever things I do are true, and they’re beautiful and honest and lovely and of good report. And they’re pure.” (Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”)
“Said in the scripture, ancient scripture, the herbs of the leaves of the healing of the nation. I have found them.” (Revelation 22:1-2, “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”)
“[T]he systems of men are falling like the Tower of Babel.” (Genesis 11:1-9)
“I’ve got to open the channels and get everything out and be just as expressive and as operative as I want you to be, for I’ve come to manifest God. I have come on the wings of this morning to make God manifest, to dwell in your midst.” (Psalm 139, esp. Psalm 139:9-10, “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” Also, reference to Jesus as manifestation of God, esp. at I John 3:8, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”)
“Certainly you will be always what you think. For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”)
“For when the voice of a Logos leaves this valley, dissolution and dissipation will be evident on every hand.” (Jeremiah 42)
“I cannot be contaminated by your offers or your kind of compromised suggestions, or your intimidations or your bribes. I am not available to the intimidating influences of mortal mind.… And if you shall enter into this marvelous revelation, we shall go forth and do exploit for the Almighty.” (Daniel 11:28-32)
“All men shall know God, from the least to the greatest, and the knowledge of this revelation shall cover the earth as the water cover this sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14, “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”)
“To him that hath an ear to hear, he will understand.” (Matthew 11:15, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” See also, among others, Matthew 13:9, Mark 4:9, Luke 8:8, Luke 14:35)
“It’s not … consistent with the teachings of Christ, or the gentle one. But we can do it. We can turn the tide if we’re dedicated enough. It only takes two … if we gather together in the fundamental, to move against all these onslaughts.” (Matthew 18:20, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”)
“We … say get thee behind me, false suggester, Satan, Lucifer or whatever name we should give it.” (Luke 4:8, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” See also Matthew 16:23, Mark 8:33.)
“To whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”)
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how oft I would have gathered you under my wings as a hen doth gather her brood and you would not.” (Luke 13:34, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!”)
“It is written in the old John epistle that the Word was with God and was God, but it had no significance to you absolutely until someone made the word flesh and it was then, said the scriptorum, that you behold the glory of God. When the word was made flesh.” (John 1:1-14.)
“What usually comes out of these kind of talks is disgust with my hard saying. He’s so hard.” (John 6:59-61, “These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?”)
“Because he said when it was spoken of Jesus, why are you the– called the son of God? He said, is it not written that ye are Gods and sons of the most high?” (John 10:33-34, “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?”)
“And did he not declare that he said these things shall you do and greater, because I go to the Father because I have come?” (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.”)
“He says it’s expedient that I go away as it’s always often expedious that the instrument for the moment goes away. He says it’s expedient that I go away, for if I go not away, the comforter will not come. Whethere he, the comforter – and … I want you to catch the reference, he, the comforter – when he comes, he will lead you into all truth.” (John 16:7-8, “…I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”)
“Forgive us for all the … states of thought that should be corrected here and groanings that cannot even be uttered with human tongue.” (Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”)
“We’re going to have to repent of the other world. You’re going to have to lay it aside. You’re going to have to be renewed and transformed by the renewing of your mind. Not conformed to the image of the world thought or the mortal thought, but completely transformed.” (Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”)
“When one was not sharing, we would be touched with a fuse of their infirmities and would bear it and would be happy to share whatever we had and possessed to the good and the welfare of every other person.” (Romans 15: 1-2, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.”)
“[The Holy Ghost will] not speak of the things that will make him of man pleaser and esteemed by the body politic of man, but he will speak those things which he heareth it, and for Paul, those things which are to come.” (I Corinthians 3:21-23: “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your’s; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.”)
“You are dealing with the infinite mind of God who has come in a character representation that has struck with virginity. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Not the kind of virginity that comes when mommy brings you into this world, but I’m talking about a virginity of spirit.” (I Corinthians 7:34, “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”)
“And truly it was written by the uh, apostles of old, the letter or the Bible kills, but the spirit or the love of God maketh alive.” (II 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.”)
“That’s what I’m here to do. To cause mortal man to die and the Christ to live. First he’s got to die in me, before he can ever live in you.” (II Corinthians 4)
“There’s no longer ‘I’ but the Christ that liveth in you.” (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.”)
“Once you become afraid of persecutions, you’re no long– longer worthy to carry the banner of Christ. Oh, it’s said that anyone that would follow after him would suffer persecutions, prosecutions and all sorts of the oppositions of mortal mind.” (2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”)
“Place of quiet confidence, where they needed a rest, provided from the foundation of the world, for those that prefer to enter into it.” (Hebrews 4:3, “For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”)
“You have beheld the word of God which is sharper than any two-edged sword to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, to the joint and the marrow that is the discerner of your thoughts and the intents of your heart. Bibles do not discern your thoughts, nor the intents of your heart.… [T]he voice of this discernment called her out which was sharper than any two-edged sword” (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.”)
“For you can never find reality … until first you come as the solid Gibraltar of faith, not wavering, as James said, for he that wavers is like the sea, it’s never tossed to and fro with the wind.” (James 1:5-7, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”)
“[A]ll the good things that cometh down from above…” (James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”)
“[T]he elements are on fire.” (II Peter 3:10-12)
(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry, and we gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance. We also are deeply indebted to Garry Lambrev for his contextual and explanatory notes, especially as they relate to Christ’s Church of the Golden Rule.)
This tape includes portions of two sermons. The FBI summary says it “continues on in the religious theme,” and presumably the continuation is of Q 1055 (Part 1), which it seems to be. The first portion of the tape carries the same challenge in locating it in both time and location, with few references to members of the Temple, and even fewer references to current events. However, as former Temple member Garry Lambrev notes, Jones’ reference to a puppy and a little cat “upstairs” places the location in San Francisco. “There was no ‘upstairs’ at the Redwood Valley Temple or at the one in LA.”
Garry Lambrev also offers this note in terms of dating the address: “The term ‘Body of God’ didn’t come into currency until the arrival of the elderly ladies and few gentlemen from Father Divine’s Peace Mission, which means it can’t be earlier than July 1971. Moreover, the reference to a Sacramento meeting dates it to later than the spring of 1972, approximately the time of our one public Sacramento meeting. He has evolved by this point to speaking of the ‘office’ he held and the authority of such ‘office’, a very important point in terms of ideology and reflective of the disappearance of Jim into/behind the mask of his role as savior. It seems in this first tape that he’s speaking to a lot of people who’ve never heard him before, and undoubtedly a black audience.”
The sermon echoes the themes of the previous portion: He speaks of the recent miracles he has performed, then asks rhetorically, if the “things I do are true, and they’re beautiful and honest and lovely and of good report… why don’t you see God?” In the next breath, he protests for his own humility, and says the value of which he is speaking is not his own, but that of God.
His self-effacing descriptions continue, and he proclaims himself to be gentle, kind and meek. Animals come to him, he says, because they recognize his tender spirit. He rescues flies, he can handle rattlesnakes without being bitten, and pets which have turned on their owners respond to his loving.
This is reflected in what he does for his followers. People in his church will never be homeless, he says, never without the legal assistance they need, never without medicine, never without food, never without guidance on how to live a healthier life.
He has said it before, for example, but people will be in much better health if they eat less. Those who go on a starvation diet will add years to their lives. But most people – including those in the church – eat like pigs. More than that, they eat bad kinds of food. And even worse than that, the foods they eat play right into America’s system of oppressing the poor. “[D]o you know the system has provided the right kind of foods to get the poor in a state of mind that they will not be able to think? … They want to keep you in physical lax and chemical imbalance, so you will not be able to hear the truth and come out of your poverty and your misery.”
This, he says, is what he can save them from. Even though it is less spectacular than the miracles he performs, he can provide dietary information to them that will purge them of harmful chemicals and bad food. “I’m here to bring you to good health,” he says.
The second sermon of the tape likely takes place in the fall of 1966, and just as likely takes place in the Ridgewood Ranch school house, where Jones spoke several times to joint gatherings of Temple members and members of Christ’s Church of the Golden Rule. This makes this tape one of the earliest Temple tapes in the collection assembled by the FBI following the deaths in Jonestown.
There are several indicators to locate the date. First, Jones speaks in the present tense of “a sweep of Republican victory” and “this great tidal wave of victory that’s surrounding [Ronald] Reagan,” and Jones’ quote from the California governor’s electoral campaign that “he was going to make Vietnam into a parking lot” is from Reagan’s 1966 race. Even more telling is Jones’ reference to what he describes a fatal auto accident “barely a few weeks ago” which he had prophesied, and in fact, on September 16, 1966, the youngest child of Opal and Whitey Freestone died in an car crash.
Garry Lambrev offers this description of Christ’s Church of the Golden Rule, especially in its relationship to Peoples Temple in the mid-1960s: “Christ’s Church of the Golden Rule was what remained after Mankind United, founded in the late 1930’s by Arthur Bell, as an experiment in communitarian living, was destroyed by government persecution and judicial decisions in the immediate aftermath of World War II which it opposed. The few members who survived the quiet defection of its founder in 1951 inherited a court judgment on final appeal that restored the worth of confiscated properties and enabled the church to purchase 16,000 acre Ridgewood Ranch in 1963, only two years before Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple began to meet in its schoolhouse and attempted but failed to bring about a merger. The Church of the Golden Rule still owns and manages a range of enterprises based in the valley which it had the apparent good fortune to buy and to keep for members alone.”
The joint meetings with members of Christ’s Church of the Golden Rule were separate and apart from the Temple’s own meetings, which it continued to hold on its regular schedule, including two meetings every Sunday, during this two-year period. Although Jones was never successful in incorporating the church into his own, he did siphon off several members. None died in Jonestown.
The address wanders among themes of traditional Christianity, New Thought, and self realization. It is a younger Jim Jones who speaks, one whom the editor of this website believes is still in transition between the evangelical preacher of Indianapolis and the self-proclaimed Christ in San Francisco. He summarizes his own views midway through his address:
I have long wondered why I am here, why I’ve been sent to such a plane as this. And why I’ve had to endure. Not that I’m any better than anyone else, but why I’ve had to endure doubts, fears, incongruities of man, and now I can well understand why. For it is this that births the true soul, the true spirit of man. We have to have the perfecting influences of doubts and all these oppositions, so-called, to manifest our true identity. And so I’m grateful for God’s challenge in this. I only pray and affirm that I shall be able to mature in this place that he has called me so that I can be able to reach out to mankind and extend this hope that has been afforded by divine revelation. For indeed, we are blessed.
Garry Lambrev disagrees with this description of Jones being in transition. “There was no such dichotomy. He’d proclaimed himself the reincarnation of Jesus the Christ to his followers in the Midwest before bringing them out to the first of several promised lands. He remained or perhaps became even more evangelical a preacher in San Francisco. His vocabulary certainly changed, reflecting the transition from an overwhelmingly white to an overwhelmingly black church, in a dense, highly politicized urban environment; the theology slowly, almost seamlessly moved into the background until it almost disappeared. But the theology/philosophy from and in terms of which he evolved was never traditionally Christian. It was Indic – as in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist – in a theosophical mode. Jim made clear to us that we were yogins, burning away our karma, following the revolutionary dharma of his practice of karma yoga. Jesus to him was merely Ishvara, one of many manifestation of the godhead in a human.”
A third possibility also deserves consideration: Jim Jones understood the differences among the audiences he addressed. Even in the latter years of the Temple’s existence, when the Skygod had become the subject of ridicule when Jones spoke before the California congregations, Jones could still travel to Philadelphia and preach a traditional Christo-centric sermon to an urban black church. With that in mind, it is certainly possible that it wasn’t Jones’ thinking that changed as the way in which he manifested it under changed.
However Jones perceived himself at this point in Temple history , many of the views which he expresses in this tape are consistent throughout his ministry. “[We want] a world, free from want, poverty and all of the strife,” he says as his address begins. “I felt the beauty of this concern, the beauty of this crusade, to see a world where there’s not one hungry child.” In order to bring this about, he continues, “it will take nothing but a miracle in divine proportions. That’s all. And I’m going to keep affirming. I’m determined that I shall not be the instrument to anything but accord and unity.”
There is an abbreviated political element to his address, shorter from what they will become. He criticizes Ronald Reagan for his views on Vietnam, and says that the politician’s solution to the still-nascent war in Vietnam is “not consistent with the teachings of Christ.” People have to stand up to the fear and the warmongering, Jones says, and not fear the repercussions of resistance, because “I still say, once you become afraid of persecutions, you’re no longer worthy to carry the banner of Christ.”
The religious service includes a healing, one which is much less theatrical, in large part, because, in Lambrev’s words, “the environment was much more intimate, the classroom of a school house.” The healing seems more dependent upon a traditional understanding of God, than those from later years in the Temple, and is followed by a long prayer, also to a Christian God. The hymns which the small group sings have not been altered to reflect on Jones himself.
The period of quiet, contemplative meditation is virtually unique to this tape, although, as Lambrev points out, they were common during the joint gatherings of Temple and Church of the Golden Rule members, “perhaps in deference to the Golden Rulers among us.”
Nevertheless, there are recognizable hints of the man Jim Jones would become and of the beliefs he held. He speaks of the “I am” consciousness which the people need to embrace – “we pray that it will no longer be the eye of mortal thought that stands in cognizance here, but it will be the ‘I am’ of all ages, the wellspring of eternality, the Christ thought that flows deep within,” he says at one point, “…we listen only to the ‘I am’ that says I am able, I am prosperous, I am well, I am blessed, I am loved, and I can do all things. I can do all things. I can do all things” – but later he puts the concept into the language of principle, which he embodies. “I do not want your money,” he says near the end of the tape, “nor I will not receive your money and I do not want anything but your devotion, selfless devotion to the ‘I am’ principle, which I represent and I have represented accurately. And you cannot deny it.” It is a statement he will reiterate with increasing certainty and ferocity as time passes.
Another hint of what’s to come is Jones’ reminder that there is a difference between the Bible and the Spirit of God. “Bibles do not discern your thoughts, nor the intents of your heart. And truly it was written by the apostles of old, the letter or the Bible kills, but the spirit or the love of God maketh alive.” Jones will eventually expand upon this belief into a booklet – one of his only known writings – into which he will pour his catalogue of inconsistencies and criminal acts which he says the Bible contains. At this point, however, the scripture allows him to point out the differences between various Bibles in the Judeo-Christian traditions and denominations, with the result that “the voice of the Logos is not in their midst, the prophet’s hands have been tied, the so-called prophets lie and the people would have it so, … and the voice of the prophet is gone, the voice of the Logos is silent in the land.”
At this moment, someone is the congregation interrupts Jones – whether to challenge or to merely discuss the point is not clear, since the voice is too far away from the microphone – but the minister will have none of it. “I am not interested in any conversation at this juncture,” Jones says. “I do not want to get our minds divided, because I’m attempting to perfect the Christ within me. And if I allow any kind of suggestion outside of perfect faith to take place, then I will weaken the fulfillment of that which I’m trying to bring forth.”
He returns to the subject of his personification of empathy, compassion and tenderness, and how those who would challenge him are thereby challenging the fundamentals of faith. “You people try to placate me to my face but down within, you have not understood the totality of what I mean. This is not anything to be joking with.”
As the tape ends, he is quite specific with who he is and what he represents: “There is no higher manifestation than what’s taking place in this little valley [where Ridgewood Ranch was located]. This is an honored place here, while it’s lasting. For out of all of the kingdoms of this world, this valley has been called upon to bring a perfectibility and a perfection. And way after it’s gone but a short time, people will cry out for its return. For when the voice of a Logos leaves this valley, dissolution and dissipation will be evident on every hand.”
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 1B108-19. This tape was found to contain the following:
JONES continues on in the religious theme and talks of his healings and the people he has saved. He has some healings during the service and prophesizes.
Differences with FBI Summary:
Other than the fact that the tape includes portions of two sermons separated by a number of years in time, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted January 2011