Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
To read the Tape Transcript, click here. To read the Annotated Transcript, click here.
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FBI Catalogue: Jones speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: Q 1059 – all parts – labeled in part “6-13-73 #15”
Date cues on tape: (Part 2) June 12, 1972; Supreme Court ruling on segregating fraternities. See continuation of tape on Q 1059-3 for specific mention
Marceline Jones (speaks)
Mr. Griffith (former member)
o Ardiss (phonetic) (Rosie’s sister-in-law)
o Dr. Robinson (Rosie’s sister-in-law’s doctor)
Dr. George Bedford, “head of the Baptist Federation”
H.L. Miller, rich man in Lynn, Indiana
Dr. Parker, doctor of Lynn
Jones’ grandfather, by reference
General George Armstrong Custer
Singer Paul Robeson
Rep. Pete McCloskey (D-Calif.)
Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh
Commander of the Marine Corps General David Shupe
General Hugh Hester
Rear Admiral True
Lt. William Calley, leader of US troops in My Lai massacre
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:
“The good shall have crowns.” (Psalm 21:3, “For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.”)
“I love my enemies, better than anybody I know anyway.” (Matthew 5:43-44, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”)
“They called him the Prince of Devils. They called Jesus, Beelzebub. The Prince of Devils. He said, devils can’t cast out devils. Devils don’t heal.” (Matthew 12:22-27)
“I don’t want you lost at that final day, when you pray and find out that it won’t do you any good, that the Kingdom of Heaven is within.” (Luke 17:21, “For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”)
“The Word of Truth. That’s all you’re ever supposed to do, that’s the true Scriptures. King James didn’t get all the truth out. So how do you know what’s true and what’s error. Because I am pure mind. Logos, the word, means pure mind. My mind’s pure. My mind is pure and holy as the driven snow.” (John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”).
“It is written, you are the temples of the Holy Ghost. That means the Temples of God are good, the Temples of Socialism.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”)
“The only Christ that you’re going to see is the Christ in you. That’s your 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:”)
“God made the heavens and earth in six days.” (Genesis 1)
“You go back there and read King James, he’s got vegetables growing before the sun shines… You got vegetables growin’ in the King James Bible before the sun shines. You know nothing don’t grow without sun.” (Genesis 1:11-19)
“Adam couldn’t have been the first man. First place, that doesn’t say he was. One Bible verse says it, but it says go forth and replenish, which means, fill again. So if he was the first, you don’t have to go fill it again. Somebody’d been on it before he was.” (Genesis 1:28, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it”; Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”)
“One doesn’t have to be a prophet to discern the times.” (Matthew 16:3-4, “… O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.”)
“It’s harder for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of socialism, the kingdom of God, than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” (Matthew 19:24, “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”)
“Because the Bible says, let you keep silent in all of the churches… The Bible says for you not to teach, not to even speak in all the churches, and if you want to ask a question, go home and ask your husband.” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” See also 1 Timothy 2:12)
“It says in Second Corinthians 3, that it will kill, the letter will kill, and the spirit will make alive, or the Bible kills or love makes alive.” (2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”)
“Paul said it. Now the old fashioned, vulgar word in the Hebrew for crap was dung. D-U-N-G. Paul said, I count everything but dung. All things dung that I might apprehend Christ.” (Philippians 3:8, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”)
Summary: Part 1
This tape consists of two different sermons by Jim Jones, the first of an unknown date (but most likely in the early- to mid-1970s), both taking place before large congregations in one of his three venues. The second sermon continues on Q 1059-3.
There are several themes of other sermons which appear on this tape: faith-healings, mixed with common sense medical advice; autobiographical pieces that work their way in; criticisms of people who don’t pay attention to what Jones says or how he sets an example; and the use of the Bible to destroy the veracity of the Bible and — by extension — to support his own theology.
The tape begins in such a moment, as Jones disparages the use of prayer, even when people pray to Jim Jones to help them. Prayer doesn’t work the way that joining him in the cause with their hearts, minds and dollars does. But people don’t care, he says, or they sleep during his talks, or they don’t want to think about what they hear. He wants them to understand, “the only Christ that you’re going to see is the Christ in you. That’s your hope of glory.” Then, shifting from words of promise to ones of threat, he adds, “And if you don’t get a hold of it, the Man’s gonna come and gonna take us away.”
The theme returns later in the service, when he says, “I stopped praying, and I started working. And because I started working, hundreds are now free. But if you would do what I am, if you care like I cared, we could do so much more.” Even later, he answers the question of how to become like him, by saying simply, “Quit seeking and start working.”
His ominous tone also returns. People who don’t help the church after they’ve heard the truth, die. He tells of a man who thought “this preacher, he’s too dirty-mouthed, always talks about social gospel, helping others, wouldn’t let his wife give, he’s dead.” But, he adds, that doesn’t mean he brings on the deaths. Rather, he says, he only sees the coming catastrophes.
The genesis of his loss of faith in prayer came when he was a boy of five and watched his grandfather die, while a rich man — with a rich man’s ailment — was treated by a doctor, because the rich man could pay. That’s when he stopped praying, he says, and then continues, more angrily, “That’s your damn system. That’s your damn God you had. That’s your damn religion you got.” In reality, he continues, God doesn’t have any power except what’s in you, since you are His hands and His feet. He concludes the thought: “No God in the world but in me and in you.”
Another part of his biography emerges — as well as some deep emotion — when Jones speaks about his years in South America, his exposure for the first time to starving babies, his frustration with getting support from the church back in Indiana, and his decision to sleep with another woman in order to get the money needed to save the children.
Along the way, he talks about his experiences as a chaste youth — he was a virgin when he married Marceline, he says — and his vows of monogamous sex. But when the couple arrived in South America and saw what was there, “we got together and said, these 200 babies are worth our lives.” He adds that breaking his marital vows and sleeping with the woman outside of marriage was like dying on a cross. “That was the worst death I know… And I got baptized that night. I lost my virtue for others.”
He then adds that he was with Jesus at the moment of the crucifixion, but it’s unclear whether he means he was present, or whether he himself was Christ. In a breaking voice, he does add, “It’s a tough job, being God. It’s a tough job… I’m not worrying over me, because I have died, you see. I don’t live any longer. That’s the key to being God. I have no ambitions, I’ve seen all of life I wish to see. There’s no hidden secrets that it holds, any allurement for me.”
He talks about the youth of the church, saying they are good young people who don’t get into trouble, once they’re part of the church. They give up smoking,drinking, and doing drugs. But it isn’t religion that made them clean. Jim Jones made them clean.
Jones reverts to a familiar theme of tearing apart the Bible story of creation, asking rhetorically what kind of Skygod is it who would make people because He was lonely, and who would create a devil to give the people choices of good and evil — and then punish those who made the wrong choice.
He criticizes the other churches that people go to, and says those preachers are hypocritical, and worse. He notes that people complain about his dirty language, but the truth is, the others do dirty deeds. “If you ever get just as good as I am, this world will be a nice place to live in.” He returns to the theme during his weepy description of his time in South America. People are with him on Wednesday nights, he says, but then return to the traditional houses of worship on Sunday. “Don’t go back to those lying churches,” he pleads. “Don’t go back to them… Come out from amongst the unclean thing. Be with separate people. Become the body of God.” He makes a final plea for people to stay with him during the healing part of the service, when he tells them, “Once you get healed from me, you’re supposed to stay healed in mind and body,” and there is only one way to do that.
He weeps, he says, not for himself, but for them. “I’m crying, because here the greatest healer, and the greatest father-lover — and that’s what I mean, not romantic, sexual lover — but the greatest father, the greatest humanitarian, the kindest human being that’s ever walked in our day, only has a handful of people by comparison to what he should have.”
The first part of the tape ends during the healing service. He performs healings, but reminds people to watch their sugar intake and their blood pressure. He directs one woman to see a nurse about information on a healthy diet.
He has difficulty making connection with some people during the healings, discerning people’s thoughts as rapidly as usual, because his preaching sometimes “creates a lot of aggravation” among those in the church, and he has to put out more energy to override it.
Summary: Part 2
The second part of the tape begins with a description of the work of Peoples Temple — the health examinations it gives to its members, the free immunizations, the education to young people — but this speech is more political. He speaks of the power of socialism to protect him and his followers from other dangers, including knife attacks. The ultimate protection offered by the church, he says, is the underground refuge where they will go when the nuclear holocaust comes. And it will come, he warns, reminding the congregation that, through his prophecy, “we know the day, the hour, the minute, the year” of the Armageddon. Nevertheless, he talks about some of the recent errors by madmen in the military and elsewhere that have almost triggered the war.
Jones says that America thinks it’s immune, because the bombs didn’t hit us in World War II, and because America is a Christian nation. That leads into his attack on American policy in Vietnam and its historical relationship with Native Americans.
Along the way, he interrupts himself to remind one person that, just because he’s in the room, doesn’t make him a follower. The person needs to listen and stop wandering around. “I’m not seeking followers,” Jones says. “I’m seeking comrades. But you have to learn to follow before you can ever lead.” Some people try to con him into thinking they’re followers, he adds, but he knows who they are. “You think you can fool me, and I won’t say a word. I just won’t bring you up one night… When the caravan gets ready, there’ll be an asterisk by your name, don’t call them.”
That theme continues to find voice throughout the talk. Political organization and discipline — as opposed to religion and anarchy — are what they need to stop war and genocide. People who do their own thing aren’t neutral, they’re part of the problem, “just as much a part of the problem as the warfare state, the military-industrial complex that’s creating the napalm bombing the children. While you’re out smoking your weed and doing your thing, people are dying.”
Jones blasts the people who just sit around and talk, or who hear his words without acting on them with a supreme insult: “I have more respect for a capitalist than I do an anarchist.” He explains that later, by reminding them that they have the truth, and someone who declines to act upon the truth is worse than someone who hasn’t been exposed to it. “If you don’t give of yourself, and discipline yourself, you’re a murderer, you’re a traitor, you’re worse than all the killers that are making the napalm, because you know better.”
Jones treads on familiar territory when he talks about the Bible. He defends this use of foul language, by saying that both Paul and Jesus used the word “dung.” (In other addresses, he includes Solomon in that number.) He blasts the inconsistency of fact in the Bible (returning to the creation story) and the archaic laws (such as the old Testament’s prohibition on women speaking in church) as demonstrating the book’s irrelevance. He attacks the King James version of the Bible, and reminds his congregation that King James was a slavemaster who brought their forebears in chains to America on the Good Ship Jesus. He turns his disdain to mainline churches, and says they don’t care about the parishioners the way Peoples Temple does. These are common to many addresses of this period.
He does talk about evolution, and adds that monkeys should be insulted that we say we’re higher than they are. For people who disagree with him on evolution, he invites them to look at the development of human embryos, or to feel the tailbone at the tip of their spines. That subject returns towards the end of the tape, when he cries out to the assemblage: “Now, you may not want to take the monkey preacher, you may not like me with my tailbone, you may not like this nigger settin’ here, but when you get ready to die, you’ll be huntin’ this nigger up, I know you will.”
The address continues on tape number Q 1059, Part 3.
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 1B108-37. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES talking before an assembly of People’s Temple members regarding God; how good it is to be a Socialist; how JONES cared for orphans in Brazil; healing Pople’s [Peoples] Temple members of their physical disorders; light-colored dark people who believe they are better than other dark people; Hiroshima; Vietnam; and Wounded Knee.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted April 2001