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 1059 – all parts – labeled in part “6-13-73 #15”
Date cues on tape: Tape contents consistent with identification note
Martin Luther King
Angela Davis, UC-Berkeley professor, member of Communist Party
Daniel Ellsberg, Defense analyst who released Pentagon Papers
Susan Bartholemew, woman made paraplegic by a rape in 1968
Rev. Jay Ed Golder, minister in Christ Church
Brother McFarlane (first name unknown), minister from boyhood
Nathan A. Urshan, “head of the United Pentecostal Church”
Dr. Louis H. Deer (phonetic), psychiatrist friend of PT
Mother Brown (first name unknown)
Sister Brown (first name unknown; unknown if different person)
Brother Flower (first name unknown)
Joy (last name unknown)
Brother Mitchell (first name unknown)
Mrs. Pennington (first name unknown)
Mike Prokes (by reference)
Shirley (last name unknown)
Sister Taylor (first name unknown)
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.)
- Discussion of Genesis 2:17 – Genesis 3:24
“That’s why women are not free. Because you’re supposed to come out of the rib of Adam.” (Genesis 2:21-23)
“You’re supposed to be cursed, because you caused that stupid Adam to eat an apple. And if Adam was the first man, where in the name of heaven, after Cain slew Abel, did he go and get his wife?” (Genesis 3 & 4)
“You can’t possibly prosper when you touch God’s anointed. (Pause) Socialistic anointing is the greatest anointing in the world, you can’t prosper and touch it.” (Both 1 Chronicles 16:22 and Psalm 105:15, “[God] Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”)
“Yes, I can cause the sun to quit shining.” (Isaiah 13:9-10, “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”)
“They may bring us down, down, seemingly, in natural circumstances, as they did Jesus so many days ago, when they hung him on the tree, and he seemed to be a loser, and laid away in a tomb, but my followers got me out of the tomb there, and they’ll always get me out of the tomb.” (Resurrection story in all gospels)
“You might send them there to learn. And that’s exactly what the early scripture said. Turn them over to the judge, and the judge puts them in the prison, and they still in prison till they what? Prison’s a type of hell. Till you pay the what? Uttermost farthing. That means you get out.” (Matthew 5:25-26, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.”)
“You wouldn’t give stone for bread, would you? That’s what the Bible says. You wouldn’t give a serpent for fish. Said, how much more God then would God be? Uh — good. Would you send somebody to hell to burn forever and ever?” (Matthew 7:9-10, “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?”)
“[Jesus] said, I would have thou perfect, sell all. The young ruler said, I’ve kept the commandments from the youth up, I’ve obeyed all church laws, Jesus said, one thing thou lackest. Sell everything. Some of you are not willing to give all, you’re not willing to sacrifice.” (Mark 10:21: “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” See also, Matthew 19:21, Mark 8:34, Luke 12:33, Luke 18:22.)
“But I’m going to tell you, I represent Divine Principle, Divine Socialism, total equality, a society where people own all things in common.” (Acts 4:32, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” Also, Acts 2:44.)
Reference to 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”) as being the favorite verse of a minister from his boyhood.
“I intend to … guarantee life, liberty and happiness, [and] the only way you can have that is to guarantee that if people don’t have money, they will be taken care of, as they were on the Day of Pentecost, from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” (Acts 4:34-35, “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”)
“Self has died. I’m crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live. I’ve been crucified with the revolution.” (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.”)
“Jesus supposedly went down to hell, according to the epistles, and preached to who? The spirit of the disobedient ones in the days of Noah who were so cussed that they wouldn’t get on that boat and cooperate. Stood off and laughed at old Noah while he’s building that boat… But it said Jesus went down to hell to those 800 and preached to them, and took captivity captive, led them out of hell, and ascended to the right hand of power. He took them out of hell.” (1 Peter 3:18-20)
Reference to Paul’s socialist philosophy: “The ones cannot work are taken care of by those that can. And the ones that do not work will be taught how to work, because if you don’t work when you can work, you won’t eat.” (Reference unknown)
“For some unexplained set of reasons, I happened to be selected to be God.” This sermon by Jim Jones opens with this sentence, and returns to the theme throughout, with some of the most detailed articulation of his perceptions of his powers as God. As examples:
o “I have to tell you, that the universe would not run without me.”
o He details some of the miracles he has performed for members of the church, and later in the sermon when some newcomers apparently tire of him and leave, warn that people who leave the church will not have his protection. In addition, he warns of the evil that will befall his enemies, including those he knows are in the audience that night.
o He expands upon that theme to claim credit for other miracles they don’t know about. “[Y]ou may not believe, but I’ll tell you, there was never a miracle done in the world, ‘less I did it.”
o Taking his power through his personification as the “Principle [of] Divine Socialism,” he says: “Someway I am intrinsically involved with every good person’s wishes, with every hope and ambition, whether it’d be in the Irish Republic for freedom, whether it’d be in Biafra for freedom, whether it’d be over in Vietnam or Wounded Knee, wherever there’s people struggling for justice and righteousness, there I am, and there I am involved.” Later he says he has saved people who didn’t know who did it or how it happened, including three criminals slated for execution and the Indians at Wounded Knee; he also promises that his power will keep Daniel Ellsberg out of jail.
o He questions the goodness of a Skygod who would let children starve and evil prevail. “If I was out there… if I had all the power you say he’s got,” he says, he would prevent all the floods, earthquakes and natural disasters that kill poor people; he would’ve stopped the bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He later criticizes a God that requires people to have faith in Him. In contrast, he says, “I don’t care whether you got any faith in me or not, I want to help you.” He returns to that point later on, as he promises that his followers will have his powers if they think like him. As opposed to “a God that you gotta pray to, a God that you gotta worship… [y]ou don’t need to worship me. All I want from you is to do right. Feed my children. Do something about the misery around you.”
o Even as he criticizes those who follow the Skygod, he puts his own power in Christian terms. “I happen to know I’m the Messiah,” he says. Then, to counter those who might say he is delusional, he continues: “It’s only a complex when you’re confused. It’s only a complex when you have some kind of neurotic compulsions… Honey, I don’t have any conflict about it whatsoever. I’m not in conflict at all. I know … that I am God the Messiah.” At another point, his discussion of Jesus switches in mid-sentences from the third person to the first person.
Jones says there is no logical explanation for his powers — it is a matter of faith — and chastises those who would try to define him in intellectual terms. “You can’t explain Father Jones, so there’s no way an intellectual can deal with me.” Although he chastises intellectuals several times, he also praises those who are “not afraid to get up and lose [their] intellectualism.”
The commitment Jones gives to his followers, though, he demands in return. He saved a woman who gave a quarter of her income to the church — her generosity was what led to the miracle, he implies — and says those who give all they have will rid themselves of the sin of capitalism. “You’ve got to work out your salvation with your money.” He later offers a warning to those who do not make a full commitment to him. “[T]hose that have followed me and those that have embraced my teachings, they have had perfect success, perfect prosperity and perfect deliverance.” Later in the service, he asks people to fill out forms detailing what volunteer work they will do and what money they have. It’s important, he says, because “[w]hen the day comes … to be saved, I’m sending only the buses to those that are sincere and conscientious, and when you tell me it’s none of my business, you must change this, or leave the church.” At still another point, he cites the biblical imperative — Mark 10:21 — to “sell everything” to become part of the church.
Jones says that he does not run the country yet, but that he eventually will. His is the way of the Constitution, and he realizes that no one can have “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” unless everyone has an opportunity to enjoy them. That means breaking the power of the handful of families who control the country, and that he will do it. This political vision yields to a utopian one of a society without welfare, with work for all, with child care centers and true universal education.
This vision is based on the principle of love, he says, and love means people hold everything in common. If you follow him, he says later, “[if] you give me your strength, and I will make a heaven out of your hell. If you believe in me, and cooperate with me, I will cause the kingdoms of this racist society to become the kingdoms of socialistic freedom. I will cause your desert to blossom as a rose, if you start believing in me.”
He speaks of the strength of the Temple, giving opportunities to those who would be derided elsewhere. The church has counseled a child molester, he says, and the man has turned his ambition towards becoming a doctor. He goes on to say that the Temple doesn’t turn anyone away, and has done everything for its members. “I’ve never turned anyone away from food, I’ve never turned away one that wanted education, or … turned one away that wanted a healing.” Elsewhere he speaks of the provisions they have in case they ever need it: food, medical supplies and people trained to administer them, and transportation.
Halfway through the tape, Jones throws the Bible on the floor, an action he acknowledges for its gimmickry, one he has done countless times before. He talks of those who spit on it and jumped on it, and they’re still alive. He uses the theater as a means to launch into the inconsistencies of the Bible. He also speaks extensively of his childhood in the context of abandoning the Bible. He knew the Bible would keep him as a prisoner. When he stopped praying, he says, his abilities to conduct healings started.
He tears apart several Bible stories — including two attacks on the creation story of Adam and Eve — and blasts ministers of churches he’s known in his past and in the present. As he speaks of turning away from Pentecostalism, he reminisces about some of the each church members who have been with him.
The tape concludes as it began, with a description his miracles and healings, of the differences between himself and the Skygod, and of the punishments in store for the people who leave him after hearing the truth.
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 1B108-36. This tape was found to contain the following:
Reverend JIM JONES begins with “For some unexplained set of reasons, I happened to be selected to be God.” He then goes on to preach and recount his many miracles. He continues to praise himself and the good works of his church, the People’s Temple.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted October 2000