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
FBI preliminary tape identification note: Q 1058 – all parts – labeled in part “10-11-74 #15”
Date cues on tape: After trip to Guyana, probably November 1976 (Part 1)
Indianapolis, 1957-58 (Parts 2-4)
Guyana Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, by reference
The Rockefeller family
Greenfield (first name unknown)
Brother Smithley (phonetic)
English anatomist William Harvey
Erving, Edward, early pastor in Pentecostal movement
Nikita Khrushchev, then-leader of USSR
Josef Stalin (by reference)
Mother Terry (last name unknown)
Mrs. Heather Yett (phonetic)
David Bettis Jackson
Sister Moore (several)
The Sneed family
Mary Stahl [known as Mary Tschetter on 18 November 1978]
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
“Don’t look back on Sodom. And some of you got things in your home, you won’t release, you won’t bring your talents, you won’t bring your jewels, you never give up your things, your possessions. You better get rid of them, because you better not look back, God said it. It’ll happen to you what happened to the wife of the mayor, Lot’s wife in Sodom, she looked back and she was petrified.” (Genesis 19, esp. 19:17-26)
“The widow’s mite and the sister’s mite or the brother’s mite has more significance than Rockefeller’s millions, when it’s given from your best that you have.” (Luke 21:1-4: “And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” Also Mark 12:42-44)
“[They] could destroy and kill, thinking they do God a service.” (John 16:2, “…yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”)
“Some people think that when it says, Take not the name of the Lord in vain, it means not to say to somebody go to hell. There’s more to it than that.” (Exodus 20:7, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”)
“But you can’t serve God in Baal. You got to choose whom you shall serve.” (2 Kings 10:18-28; also Joshua 24:15, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”)
“And my heart panteth after God as the deer, as the hart panteth after the water brook. I have a desire, an unquenchable thirst, I want to hear it, what doeth sayeth the Lord.” (Psalm 42:1-2, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”)
“[L]et no filthy things proceed out of your mouth.” (numerous cautions in watching what emerges in speaking, including Lamentations 3:38, Matthew 15:18, Ephesians 4:29, and James 3:10)
Ezekiel 37 is text for sermon. (Quotes Ezekiel 37:1, “The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones.”)
“The Bible says God scattered his sheep out into the mountain, or rather the false shepherds have scattered them from mountain to mountain.” (Ezekiel 34:6-12)
“The Christ … is the one that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, and he’s shining it on us tonight. Shining it in our eyes, shining in on our Temple, if we can only just stir up that gift that is within us.” (John 1:4-9, esp. John 4:9, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”)
“How many believe that God’s no respecter of persons?” (Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”)
“He said, ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set ye free.” (John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)
“He said, overcome evil with good. You need to know evil, you need to recognize it.” (Romans 12:21, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”)
“The Kingdom of God is righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”)
“Now God … didn’t choose the high or the mighty or the esteemed of this world, but he used the foolish things to confound those who think they have wisdom, who think they are something when they are nothing.” (1 Corinthians 1:27, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”)
“When [people] danced and sang, and I thought, oh God, sounding brass and the tinkling cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”)
“[W]e need to be a people that are— change. He said, we are new creatures, we all talk differently.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” See also Galatians 6:15, Revelation 21:5)
“We sow our thought and we reap an idea, we sow an idea, we’ll reap a habit, and we sow a habit and we’re going to reap a character, and we sow a character, we’re going to reap a destiny, and constantly, we’re doing that.” (2 Corinthians 9:6, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”)
“You’re going to have a get a real understanding of God and go out by two’s again.” (Reference to flood story, esp. Genesis 7:15)
“Ye shall be my witnesses.” (Isaiah 43:10, “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD;” Also Isaiah 43:12.)
“Read Ezekiel 34 and see what God’s so-called shepherds have done, how they’ve divided them all over the mountains out through the land and separated the flocks, and lied, and the people would like it so.” (Ezekiel 34)
“Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for that they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”)
“Judge not, lest ye be judged.” (Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”)
“You must lose your life and find it in Christ.” (Matthew 10:39, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it;” also 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 Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; Luke 17:33; and John 12:25)
“The Kingdom’s suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”)
“If you’re still able to make it up here, we’ll take you in, not whosoever will come, but whoever can stand it will make it.” (Mark 8:34, “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” See also Matthew 16:24, Mark 10:21, and Luke 9:23.)
“The upper room was an appropriate place for the baptism of the Holy Spirit to fall, because it was there in the Last Supper in Eucharist, Jesus showed the disciples how he would pour out his life for the redemption of the world.” (Mark 14:14-25; Luke 22:10-20; and Acts 1: 13)
“Then you’ll look at Peter, ole lyin’ Peter. He denied him. He said before the cock crows twice, you’ll deny me three times.” (Mark 14:30, “And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.”)
“He’s Lord and Christ, he’s been made both Lord and Christ, he taketh the right hand of God.” (Numerous references to Christ on the right hand of God, including Mark 16:19, Acts 2:33, Acts 7:55-56, Romans 8:34, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 10:12, and 1 Peter 3:22.)
“Jesus said, he did not come for those that were whole but for those that were sick.” (Luke 5:31, “And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.” Also, Matthew 9:12, Mark 2:17)
“They called him a winebibber and a glutton, didn’t they? They called him one that ate with sinners.” (Luke 7:34, “The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” Also, Matthew 11:19)
“Jesus wouldn’t allow ’em to build a tabernacle, when they saw the vision on the Mount of Transfiguration. He would not permit them to build three tabernacles.” (Luke 9:33-36)
“I say unto you, you must be born again.” (John 3, esp. John 3:3, “Jesus answered [Nicodemus] and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Also, 1 Peter 1:16-25)
“He said, I am come not in my own name, but I am come in my Father’s name.” (John 5:42, “I am come in my Father’s name.”)
“Lord Jesus Christ, He said, I am come in my Father’s name. Didn’t he say that?” (John 5:43, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” In later years, Jones emphasized the latter half of the verse.)
“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set ye free.” (John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)
“When you see me, you’ve seen the Father.” (John 14:9, “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?”)
“He said, if I go not away, the Comforter shall not come.” (John 16:7, “Nevertheless 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.”)
Acts 2 is text for sermon, esp. Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
“Said it with many other words, did he testify and exhort, saying, save yourself from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40)
“I say as Paul said of old, let every man be persuaded in his own mind, because I believe that when we get enough of God in our lives, that people will follow the Christ.” (Romans 14:5, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”)
“Anything that’s not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:24, “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”)
“If our hearts get repented, and we are fully baptized into Christ … as many have been baptized into Christ, shall put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”)
“They’ve lost the center of the fruits of the spirit, … but if you don’t get the power of love and joy and peace and long-suffering and gentleness and kindness, you’ll never break this thing that has worked at loose on the earth today.” (Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”)
“I’ve seen them lay all things behind, leaving all things behind that they might press on to the mark for the prize of the high calling.” (Phillippians 3:14, ‘I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”)
“Christ in you the hope of glory is the operation of a Holy Ghost.” (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:”)
“I want to tell you, there’s power in Jesus’ name. Whatsoever we do in word or deed, do also in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”)
“He that knoweth to do right and do it not, it is sin.” (James 4:17, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”)
“He said, when we see him, we’ll be like him.” (1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”)
“For he’s that born to God doth not commit sin.” (1 John 3:9, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”)
“Somebody return to the faith that was once delivered to the saints and got back to their first love.” (Jude 1:3, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”)
“He spoke of the angel of the church at Ephesus, and he said, I’ve seen your patience. I’ve seen how you labored. I’ve seen how you could not bear those that were evil, and you were able to eliminate all dissension, but he said, I have one thing against you. You’ve lost your first love, the church at Ephesus that had wrestled with godless ideologies and wrestled with heathen conception, but yet that church at Ephesus was warned that I’m going to come quickly and remove your candlestick.” (Revelation 2:1-5)
“[Y]ou’d be better off to being an old Baptist truant snuff than to have a revelation of Jesus’ name and a revelation of speaking in tongues and then use it and adulterate it, and become lukewarm. He said, I’d have you hot or cold.” (Revelation 3:16, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”)
This tape consists of segments of four sermons. The first one on the tape is the most recent, taking place in San Francisco, probably in late 1976, after Jim Jones returned from the Jonestown project, still under construction (Tapes from the visit include Q 569 and Q 570.) The other three segments are undated sermons from Jones’ years as a Pentecostal preacher in Indianapolis. There are few dated references Jones mentions Nikita Khrushchev in one, the leader of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, which covers almost all of Jones’ Indiana years; and Jones’ contacts with and admiration for Father Divine are almost as widely-encompassing and no indication even of where he is. Indeed, there are so few voices answering Jones’ calls for responses, that the sermons could be in small churches or even a modest assembly hall.
The San Francisco segment is a quasi-inspirational service and political address, quasi-organization meeting of the Peoples Temple. In the midst of speaking of miracles and the Promised Land and other familiar themes, Jones warns people not to interfere with the work of his subordinates who are following his orders. At another point, he equally admonishes his staff who have not advised Temple members to give up everything they own in preparation for the move to Guyana.
The tapes opens as Jones asks people to get a copy of the picture of himself and meditate upon it, because that’s where he is putting his energy. He has never done this before, he says, but he is doing it now. Later in the service, he describes the miracles that came to those who did meditate.
He describes the miracles that he heard testimony of during his trip to Guyana. He extols the wonders of the Jonestown community, especially in comparison to what they live with in the U.S. He tells them to get ready to move, and not to worry about what possessions they leave behind.
There are several edits in this first segment, and the tape starts again several times as he completes a miracle cure or reads a letter of testimonial to his work. At the same time, though, he is pragmatic about the health care some members are receiving, and matter-of-factly urges one to be moved into another nursing home.
He also talks about the people who had illnesses that had not been healed, because they were not part of Peoples Temple. And that is an issue that is not up for debate: “Do not correct me on that point. I established that as eternal veracity.” Later, he says that the miracles are part of “socialism waiting for the revolution,” then adds, “the non-violent revolution, of course.”
Jones acknowledges his own leadership at one point, his own indispensability to the cause. “Don’t put any burden like you put on Father. He knows that there’s no one that can fill his shoes, and that’s a tremendous costly burden.” He then turns that to a statement of self-sacrifice: “I don’t want anyone to feel that burden but me. I don’t want anyone to go through that heavy hell but me.”
The balance of the tape shows a different Jim Jones from those of his California years. The style of delivery he mastered in Indianapolis followed him throughout his years, even if his message changed. He uses some of the same Bible verses, especially John 8:32 (“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”), even if the truth itself has evolved. At other points as with John 5:43 (“I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive”) Jones emphasizes a different part of a verse. In Indianapolis, he relies on the first half; by the time he uses the verse in California, he uses the second half as foundation for demonstrating his own divinity.
This Jim Jones, however, still glorifies God and Christ. He praises many things that he will later reject. He has no patience for some Pentecostals whom he continued to lacerate in his later years but his frustration here stems from his belief that other Pentecostals do not follow in daily life what they say in church that they believe.
Some things are the same throughout, however, such as his anti-intellectual strain. Here, Jones blasts “scientific religion.” In Redwood Valley, he mocks the psychologists who criticize his services.
Note: According to longtime Temple member Mike Cartmell – whose parents and sister died in Jonestown – the latter three sermon segments were likely from 1957 or 1958, “around the time of the first Soviet Sputnik.” As he wrote in June 2005, “this tape refers to ‘Huntington.’ That’s probably a reference to Huntington, Ohio… That makes sense because Jim, at that point, had a ‘circuit riding ministry.’ Every three weeks or so, he’d head out from Indianapolis and hold services in South Charleston, Ohio (where the Swaneys were from), Huntington, Ohio … and perhaps another town. He continued this pattern after his return from Brazil in 1963, and added Columbus. I believe my mother [Patty Cartmell] was instrumental in his adding our then-church, the Church of the Savior, in Columbus, to his circuit. Jim usually stayed with us when he came to Columbus.”
The second segment begins with Jones telling his followers that he went to a storefront mission, because “sometimes that’s where you have to go to find the Lord.” And that’s what they found, he says. He also talks about cooperative churches he works with, outside speakers, and other preachers who will be appearing as guests in the church. They have a different style, Jones says. “They moved as God directed them… I knew that we got a good treat for Friday, because I believe you’ll be blessed by these.” It doesn’t matter where the word of God comes from, Jones says, “if it comes in the Catholic Church or if it comes in a Hebrew synagogue, or if it comes on a back step of a storefront mission, praise the Lord.” It’s the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
Jones delivers a more typical Pentecostal message, when he says, “We need the Hand of the Lord upon us. The Hand of the Lord is dynamite… And you need that personal, intimate relationship with God if you’re to do anything.”
Jones also preaches a message of Christian love. He tells of a parishioner dying in the hospital, a man who must have been in physical pain, but whose spirit was right with the world, because he was with God. The man was calm, unselfish; Jones’ recollection of it is tender.
Jones’ anti-intellectualism appears several times in this service. Early, he says, “didn’t choose the high or the mighty or the esteemed of this world, but he used the foolish things to confound those who think they have wisdom, who think they are something when they are nothing.” He returns to the theme later: “You can learn all you want to about homiletics and church history, and ecumenicity, but you need the Spirit of God.” Nevertheless, elsewhere he says that he doesn’t believe “God puts any premium on ignorance.”
In another departure from his later sermons, Jones recounts anecdotes to demonstrate a point. In one, he talks about sitting in a draft, and wondering whether no, anticipating that he’ll get a cold. He got one. “It came, just as I expected it to come, he says. Then he add, “But you and I would do as much to expect God.”
In the midst of one of his extemporaneous lessons, Jones stops himself suddenly and corrects an error. He has just said something about “my church,” then adopts a chastened tone to say, “Blessed be the Lord, I’ll not say that anymore.” He then picks up the fervor again, with the new inspiration. “It’s His church. Who shed the blood for us? Who shed his blood for us? Who shed his blood? Who died for us? It’s His church.”
He urges his congregation not to take the Lord’s name in vain. By that, he says, he doesn’t mean swearing, but by letting your own burdens, illnesses, and complaints stand in the way of your service to God. “He said, I am the Life, and I came to give you life, and when you go around … and say you’ve got diseases that don’t belong to you, you’re taking the name of the Lord in vain.”
This is but one hint of the direction his ministry will later take him. Elsewhere, he speaks of the commonality God’s people have. “You gotta have a fellowship, one with another, you gotta be bound together, we’re gonna have to come together as one people, bear one another’s burdens and support the people’s need, and lift up one another, and be a part of one another.”
This segment of the tape ends with Jones speaking about the existence of evil, and the only way to overcome it, through good. There are those who would downplay evil, he says, but “don’t you kid yourself. There is evil, and you’re the evil one… And never forget that you’re evil, but remember that He is all-sufficient. Your faith rests in Jesus Christ.”
The third part of the tape is a short segment in which Jones speaks of faith, describing it in part as being “one of the most dangerous forces in the world,” since men use it in evil ways, from war to segregation. But he also describes faith as “the miracle worker” that we must seek and incorporate into our lives.
There are human failings that stand between people and a life of faith, and Jones confesses that he finds himself falling into them. Nevertheless, he says, “I would not dare allow my mortal mind to rid me of the hope that there is faith for the survival of the good life, or the incarnate divinity that is within every man.”
As brief as it is, this segment still takes shots at both intellectuals (“So we have come to say, give us intelligence, but beware of this vice of the mind, this impediment to progress faith”) and atheists (“The negativeness of the atheist has never moved a mountain, but Christ can do all things”).
The final segment uses Acts 2, the description of the Pentecost, as the text for the sermon. Jones begins by saying people have “accused” him of basing his ministry upon the Acts of the Apostles, to which he pleads guilty. “Yes, it is true. I believe that that’s where our foundation is… Without this, there wouldn’t be no meat or no power to the gospel of Christ.”
Among the other quotes he uses is the Gospel admonition to “lose your life and find it in Christ.” The spirit of self-sacrifice in church is one that is little-known, he says, but it is a tenet of the Christian faith. “When he will come, he will give you a spirit of courage, he will give you the dynamics of courage and bravery.”
Speaking almost as an aside to one woman, he says he won’t mince words. “I believe what I believe. You can believe what you believe, but I know there’s power in the name of Jesus… I have thanked God for the name of Jesus.”
The criticism of Pentecostals which he voiced in his latter years is here as well, but for different reasons. He says he doesn’t join groups, but he would, if there was one with the true spirit of Christ. He adds that many Pentecostals have lost the center of that spirit. They have the structure or the skeleton of the full spirit, but have lost its meat.
Likewise, even though he recognizes the value of the speaking of tongues elsewhere including at other points in this sermon he also criticizes it as a “form” or “phenomenon,” merely to liven up a meeting. The fact is, though, Pentecostals (including this congregation) are dead, and what has risen in its stead during the last 40 years is Communism. “It’s a challenge to God’s people. It has its own Bible, dialectic materialism. It has its Messiah, Karl Marx. It has its prophets… and the only thing that’s going to dispel them is to return to the faith that was once delivered to the saints.”
The best way to do that, he says, is to get away from the literal image of the Pentecost. “I say, let’s get away from the fiery tongues and the Upper Room experience, because it’ll never fall twice the same way… [I]f somebody would come forth with a new language and a new experience and spoke English with the clarity of the Holy Ghost, and had a new awakening in their life, I’d accept their Holy Ghost.”
He adds that those who do speak in tongues, but then return the next day to their old ways of being a gossip or fashion conscious or other manifestations of worldly sin, just don’t “get it.” When the Holy Ghost comes, he says, you’ll be born again. And what does that mean to him? “If you’re born again, it means to be born out of racialism, born out of creedalism, born out of selfish, born out of all the lust and immorality, and born out of all the temptations and the weaknesses of your flesh.”
He asks his congregants, how many know they’re not saved, that they aren’t what they ought to be, that they don’t have the power that the early church had? You have to work for it, he tells them. “You’re not going to get it in any kind of a namby-pamby church where people tell you sweet nothings and tell you, you’re the blessed church, hold out till the end, because Jesus is about to come and get you.”
At the end of the sermon, in seeming contradiction to earlier observations, he gives Communism a better review. Jesus worked with the harlots and the drunks and the gluttons of the world, the people whom the Communist Party tries to reach today. “I’m so sick of… some of these Pentecostal outfits… I believe a Communist’ll have a better chance of gettin’ through than this so-called pack of wolves that call themselves the Church of God.”
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 1B108-33. This tape was found to contain the following:
Reverend JIM JONES preaching and sermonizing. There is also Reverend JONES in a religious broadcast. The rest of the tape Reverend JONES preaches and shouts his religious views and thoughts.
Differences with FBI Summary:
There is no religious broadcast, although the sound in one of the four segments is of lower quality than the others, and could be so interpreted. Other than that, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted November 2001