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 1057 – all parts – labeled in part “7-8-73 #14”
Date cues on tape: Part 2: September 1973 (following defection of the Eight Revolutionaries)
Wanda Johnson, aka Wanda Kice
Marceline Jones (speaks)
Charlie and Joyce Touchette
Mike and Debbie Touchette
“Brother Carter” (probably Tim or Mike Carter)
Mabel (could be Mabel Hines)
Barbara (likely Barbara Swinney)
U.S. President Richard Nixon
San Francisco Supervisor Dianne Feinstein
U.S. President Richard Nixon
1960’s South American revolutionary Che Guevara
Terry Cobb Pietila
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
Lengthy description of Job’s travails, from Book of Job
“I lose my life. I live the fullness of losing my life that I might find it in you.” (Matthew 16:25, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” See also Matthew 10:39; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; Luke 17:33; and John 12:25.)
“Jesus said, my God, my God why has thou forsaken me? You will never hear me say that. Don’t care what they bring, you’ll never see me cry and ask God for nothing.” (Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” See also Mark 15:34)
“Jesus said, if thou would be perfect to whole, go sell all.” (Luke 18:22, “Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.”)
“Father, remove this cup from me. I never asked when they shoot me and threatening to kill me, to remove any cup from me.” (Luke 22:42, shortly before Christ’s arrest, “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”)
“I never let anybody bathe my feet with oil. Don’t buy anything for me. Nothing. Wouldn’t dream of letting a woman put oil on my feet. A whole year’s wages. No wonder Judas got upset.” (John 12:3-5, “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?”)
“There’s greater power today than there was in the days of Jesus. These things shall you do and greater. Because I go to the father, greater power today.” (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.”)
“Jesus didn’t go into no tomb. It was in a gardener, just the next day, Mary Martha were worried about him laying in a tomb, and somebody walked by the wayside, according to your Bible, even with all of its lies, and they said, my Jesus is dead. They were wanting consolation, and the gardener walked with them, and they didn’t know it, and they called him a gardener, and it said it was the same God, the same Jesus.” (John 20:11-18)
“Paul said to fight for reward. One winneth the race, he said, I fought the good fight, kept the faith.” (I Corinthians 9:24, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”)
“Paul said he run the good fight.” (I Corinthians 9:26, “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:”)
“There is only one hope of glory, that’s within you. And I’m showing the thing within you, the revolution in me is showing you the Christ revolution in you. That’s the only 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:”)
“Now there is laid up for me a crown. I don’t want no crown. It’s a new consciousness today.” (2 Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”)
“You want to make me something other than human, but I’m just like you, flesh of your flesh, and bone of your bone. Yes, very much God but very much human.” (Genesis 2:23, “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.”)
“Don’t love your life. Move on like I have till you hate your life. Move on till you lose it, then you find it.” (Matthew 10:39, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” See also, Matthew 16:25)
“They were saying this man has done mighty works, but then somebody recognized him. Said is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joses, and of Judah and Simon, and none of his sisters here with us, and they were offended at him. Because he was just like them.” (Matthew 13:54-57, “And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him.”)
“The little fella said so beautifully, and blessed are the little children. Accept some when they come as little children, no one will enter into the Kingdom of God or righteousness. They said the Skygod’s dead, but they said somebody else is still alive.” (Matthew 19:14, “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” See also, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16.)
“Peter was told he would deny [Jesus] three times. But whether he was told it or not, Peter was very close to Jesus, and man, he went fishing. He didn’t even stay in the garden, and he went fishing while he was going through the cross and the death and the burial. Peter’s out fishing somewhere.” (Matthew 26:34-35; Mark 14:30-31; Luke 22:34)
“[I]f Jesus was God, why did Judas do what he did? If Jesus was God, why could not even twelve stay together, and not one of them even stay awake when he was wrestling all night trying to find his way?” (Matthew 26:36-45; Mark 14:32-41)
“Every day has been like a Golgotha. Every day has been like a cross.” (Place of Jesus’ crucifixion mentioned in Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22 and John 19:17-18)
“But the elitists, the big shots, the so-called upper class that followed Jesus couldn’t find him. Who stayed with him? The whore, Mary. The street whore, that’s who stayed on, that’s who worried about him in the tomb, that’s who went and made her self known at the cross. The whore. Not the doctor. Not the lawyer.” (See Matthew 27:56-61, Mark 15:40-47; John 19:25-42)
“I will shed tears over you, but I’ll never say, my God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” See also Mark 15:34)
(Reads) “And he went out from thence and came unto his own country, and his disciples followed him. And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue or the churches, and many hearing him were astonished. Saying from whence has this man, these things, and what wisdom is this which is given unto him. That even such mighty works are wrought by his hands.” (Mark 6:1-2)
“Jesus said in the first and second days, he did miracles and cures, and the third day he was perfected.” (Luke 13:32, “Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.”)
“He loves you and he cares about you. Come home. Say, oh my God, don’t say come home to those prodigals, and I know some of you’ll be just like the faithful steward, the faithful brother, the elder brother.” (Parable of the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32)
“I will never say, if it be thy will, remove this cup from me, because I’ll take every cup they give me. I’ll take anything they bring me.” (Luke 22:42, shortly before Christ’s arrest, “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”)
“Look at [Peter] as he gave his life. He too was martyred in Rome. Look at him as he suffered all through. He vacillated when Jesus was alive, and that’s a horrible guilt.” (John 21:17-18)
“But look at Peter’s life thereafter. Watch him on the day of Pentecost. Talking about… not this revolutionary violence, but talking about the pure peaceful socialism.” (Acts 2)
“Paul was a murderer… Saul was the worst. SOB you could find. He made it a passion to kill Christians, he liked to do it. He tried it all up and down the road.” (Generally, Acts 8-9)
“I have made my decision to go forward as your Father, and nothing can separate me from you, except death. And even death will only momentarily separate me.” (Romans 8:34-39)
“And what ever you think of his mistakes and his slant on the gospel he went to prison, he was bitten by snakes, he was burned, he was beaten with forty strikes plus 39 strikes plus one he was beaten and cruelly treated, he was hung upside down until he died.” (2 Corinthians 11:24-33)
“And I heard a voice that said, though I was a servant, and though I was the son of an outcast, though I was the son of a bastard, though I was the son of the lowest and meanest devil, though I was a servant, yet I consider it not robbery to be equal with God the highest truth.” (Philippians 2, esp. Philippians 2:5-7, “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: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”)
“We’re being made perfect through suffering.” (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.”)
(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by the late Michael Bellefountaine.)
This tape consists of segments of two addresses by Jim Jones to the Peoples Temple congregation. The first – likely the more recent of the two (although there are no date cues on it) – takes place in San Francisco and refers to the facilities which the Temple has in Redwood Valley. The second takes place in Redwood Valley – with similar references to the other Temple church, this one in San Francisco – and occurs within days, if not hours, of the defection of the Eight Revolutionaries in September 1973.
In the first address, Jim Jones spends much times comparing his qualities, his miracles, his care for his people, and his leadership to those of the “Skygod,” a being which may have created them all but which has long since died. As the tape begins, Jones talks about the assassination attempt that left three bullet holes in his body. Even though his followers urged him to see a doctor, he didn’t need to. He used his “own mind power” to heal himself, and all he has left is a small scar.
The Temple’s approach to medical care is complex, and Jones offers the complexities in the first few minutes. He speaks of the miracle he has performed and singles out some of the people in the crowd whose conditions he has cured. He says he himself doesn’t fully understand his power, but does know that it works for people who have faith in him. “[A]ll you gotta do is just think positively on me, and that’s the way the miracles get done.” By the same token, he says he doesn’t heal people who won’t take the time his words, no matter what the illness. Nor do his healings extend to relatives or friends of Temple members. “[E]ven tonight, someone’ll come up here and said, Jim, I want you to work something out for so and so. If you really knew me, you’d never do that.” And despite his abilities, he does recommend that his followers should go to doctors, even if he doesn’t need them himself.
Jones describes his generosity in providing a home to an elderly couple, even though the woman was the only one who believed in him, and her husband was firmly against him. That’s because he’s loving, he says, more loving than their Skygod. He contrasts his benevolence to the God in the story of Job, whose devotion to his Creator resulted in a test that cost him everything he owned and loved. As Jones summarizes the story, “And a crazy Job still said, though the skin worms destroy my flesh, yet still I will serve God. About that time I’da kicked him in the ass.”
The theme recurs several times in the address. Later, after describing the apartments he provides to his members in L.A., he says that he takes care of his children, then adds: “I’m a savior. The only savior in the whole damned country.” Contrasting that act – again – to the God in the story of Job, Jones calls out his advice: “Have nothing to do with that Skygod. Have nothing to do with this Bible. You’re going to help yourself or you’ll get no help. There’s no heaven up there! We’ll have to make heaven down here!”
He also describes what happens to people who do the opposite of what he says. They get hurt, they’re involved in accidents. “I never do anything bad to anyone,” he adds. “When people get away from me, they just lose my protection.” He recounts the story of a Temple follower who was involved in a motorcycle accident, and the questions that were asked of Jones as a result. But Jones said he had counseled the young man not to ride the motorcycle – on two occasions, no less – and both times, the young man had disregarded Jones’ words, and both times, he’d been injured. “If he’da listened to me, wouldn’t have been that trouble.”
The problem with being as generous and faithful as he is, Jones says, is that everyone wants something from him, and he has to watch himself so that people can’t accuse him of playing favorites. He won’t visit people in their homes – unless it’s to heal them or to save them – because then he would have to go to everyone’s home.
Jones often said that there had been no deaths in the history of Peoples Temple, but in this address, he amplifies upon that. “Haven’t had anybody die,” he begins, then explains that one woman in the church had been beaten by her husband to the point that “[s]he came up to an energy level [that] I could free her from her earthbound state to a higher planet.” A moment later, he describes the “other planet” as “just a stage of evolution, just like we’re a stage higher than the reptiles and the chimpanzees.”
He segues from this discussion into the Temple’s stalwart defense of animals. In part, he says, they stand up for animal rights because of their loyalty. But there’s a deeper reason, he says. “You better go over and look at these dog pounds, and see how they [are] shoving these little animals in these gas vats. There’s only a step – only just a step – before they’ll be shoving black people in them.”
As often occurs this type of stream-of-consciousness format, Jones calls out to the people in the audience, including with light and gentle banter. He makes a small joke about a follower named Mary still being a virgin, then lifts her up to the congregation as someone who has been healed, who has followed him through several moves, and who is faithful to him. Laughter and applause punctuate the address.
The last portion of this address begins with a question – “How many believe I am the Almighty God?” – and continues from there. Jones disparages the Bible, even as he elevates himself. He said the book was good enough in Jesus’ time, but “they didn’t know any better. Now we have a new gospel, a new testament, a new covenant.”
The difference between him and Jesus is that the man on the cross asked why he had been forsaken, and Jones doesn’t have to. Even when his enemies come to persecute him and put him in jail and try to kill him, “you’ll never see me cry and ask God for nothing. You’ll never see me beg for any mercy or any help whatsoever.”
On the contrary, he will be the one taking on their pain – absorbing the cancers and illnesses of those he cures – as he always has. And when he has done as much as he can do, when his body no longer appears to him the way it ought to look, he knows “exactly when to lay it down. And I have planned just exactly when. And how.”
But no one will see his body, because “my body is a principle. infinite love, the highest principle of love.” Even after his criticism of the Bible, Jones refers to the book to illustrate his point: his followers may not recognize him, just as the women didn’t recognize Jesus in the form of the gardener after his crucifixion. Jones then returns to his own interpretation of the Gospel, by saying Jesus didn’t die on the cross, that he was drugged to appear dead, that he was removed from the tomb and that he eventually died in India.
No matter what happened to Christ, though, the fact remains there is more power today than there was in Jesus’ time – the Bible says so – and Jones implies, then affirms that that power resides in him. “I can do things Jesus never could do,” Jones says, such as walking through buildings, lifting cars off bodies, walking through fire to save a child, miracles they have all seen. “No,” he concludes, “you haven’t seen anything out of Jesus that you’ve seen out of me.”
The second address focuses both directly and indirectly upon the Eight Revolutionaries, a group of young Temple members in mid-level leadership positions who have just defected from the church, leaving behind a very public, very damning statement against the Temple. (The Eight Revolutionaries letter is on this website both as text and as a PDF .) Jones refers to the defectors by name on several occasions, but even when he’s speaking from the Bible, he cites the texts in which Jesus is betrayed, or Jesus is denied, or Jesus reveals himself to be a man of character and worth, only to be bled dry and destroyed by those who profess to follow him. In each of these stories – as he returns to them over and again – there are parallels between what happened to Jesus and what has happened to him.
Jones’ direct references to the Eight Revolutionaries show the complexities of emotions swirling in him. He is conciliatory at many points, and defiant and bitter at others. Oftentimes he offers an olive branch, and tells his followers that when the wayward members make overtures to return – as they certainly will – that they should be embraced as the prodigal son of Jesus’ parable was embraced. At other points, he seethes with anger, referring to one as “a dirty rotten thief,” accusing another of an act of “treason,” declaring that one of them is “a sadist who brought women to their knees before his body and made them grovel in the dirt.” He makes vague references to mental health issues and to drinking problems. He predicts internal dissent in the group once their “crazy, love games [which] are so sick and stupid” play themselves out. Jones even attacks Che Guevara – whom the Eight Revolutionaries now profess to follow – by listing the revolutionary’s shortcomings. If that’s who Che was, Jones adds, he doesn’t want anything to do with him, and, by extension, neither should his loyal followers. “We got a group of- they would perhaps like the word ‘revolutionaries’,” Jones says with a laugh, but “I will tell you what I call them. Bandits!”
There is a point of formal action, however, during which Jones reads the names of the eight defectors and declares that they “are at this moment removed from this church, disfellowshiped, and in no way will we acknowledge or recognize them, or in no way do we hold any responsibility for their actions. we take public record to denounce their anarchy, we go on public record to denounce their lawlessness. We go on public record to denounce their violence and all those that propose violence.” Within a few minutes, though, he has offered them a way back into the church.
Jones reports on the defection in terms that become harsher as the account progresses. The description of the toll on him also becomes more ominous. He says that he hasn’t had any sleep beyond catnaps in seven days of dealing with the crisis, and that he has been in agony. Towards the end of the tape, though, he says that any of the defectors who call should know that he has had a heart attack, but that he’s okay.
He warns the congregation not to give credence to any complaints the defectors might tell them, and certainly not to believe their lies. One defector has told a member they will all end up in concentration camps, but Jones insists that cannot happen, as long as the members have faith in him. “I promised you, that if you kept my teachings and followed me, you wouldn’t go to concentration camps. I made that an unconditional promise, and I never have made an unconditional promise I haven’t kept.”
He laments the defectors’ inability to see him as he is. “If I had a leader-” he begins, before cutting himself off. “Oh, how I would love to have a leader,” he continues, “how I wish I had a god like you’ve got a god. I have searched all over heaven and earth, and I certainly looked through the belly of hell, and I have found that beside me there is no other.” But if he did have such a leader, he concludes, “I wouldn’t run when the heat was on.” It is a sentiment Jones expressed many time over the years.
Jones tries to anticipate the criticism of those who don’t understand why he would allow the defectors back into the church. He tells them to forgive other people’s faults, not to let what they have done in the past to stand in the way. He first offers biblical examples to prove his point, reminding the congregation that Paul once murdered Christians and that Mary Magdalene was a “whore” (“I’m just trying to use that term. just to get something across to you”).
Ultimately, though, he turns to his own life. He cries out – several times – that his own father was a louse, that he wouldn’t take responsibility, that he manipulated things to suit himself, that he used to beat his son with a belt buckle, but then “I heard a voice within that was the highest voice in the universe that said it didn’t make any difference who my father was, that I could be the author of eternal salvation. I am the best human being and the best deity on earth, and my father was a louse.”
The tapes ends with Jones repeating his promises that he will never fail his followers, no matter what happens to him. And if he dies in his efforts, if he succumbs to “their painful treason,” he says, he doesn’t want his followers to feel guilt or regret. Instead, he urges them to be like Peter, who slept through Jesus’ agony in the garden. “If you happen to go to sleep at the wrong time, and let me down, remember you can get awake, even though I would lay molding in the grave, you could take my spirit, and my spirit would go marching on.”
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 16, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B108-28. This tape was found to contain the following:
Reverend JONES shows his bullet wounds and talks about his powers. He tells of some of the miracles that have occurred as a result of people believing in JIM JONES. This meeting was in San Francisco. The rest of this tape JONES deals with members, such as JIM COBB, who have just deserted the People’s Temple.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted February 2005