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: Fall 1974 (A man described as “doing fine” in segment from Q 1059 (4) — which was specifically dated to October 20, 1973 — has died on a recent September day.)
Reverend Edwards (speaks)
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.)
- Creation story of Adam and Eve (generally, Genesis 2 & 3)
Reference to Jonah (Jonah 1 & 2)
Discussion of Job, God and Lucifer (Book of Job)
It opens with the end of the scatological version of the creation story, which quickly becomes political. Eve was taken from Adam’s side, Jones says, and that’s the beginning of women being treated less fairly than men. The lack of equal pay for equal work can be blamed on the Bible, and if you blame it on the Bible, then you have to blame your Skygod, Jones concludes.
In re-telling a version of the Garden of Eden story — which appears in several other sermons as well — Jones comes to a familiar conclusion which combines political, religious and social elements: “[Adam and Eve] did not die, their eyes were opened, and they did have the knowledge of good and evil, they did become like the gods, because they could choose whether they wanted evil or good… God was a liar. The snake told the truth… And then, because they did what was natural to anyone, to eat when you’re hungry, Eve was cursed… And because Adam ate the apple that his good wife brought him, he must work from that day forward and earn his bread by the toil and sweat of his brow. He had to be a nigger from that day forward.”
Jones later tears apart the stories of Noah and the flood, and of Job as a pawn between God and Satan.
He admits that he should probably back down on some of his rhetoric, to give people a reason to stay a while longer (which represents a continuation of concerns he voices on the previous tape). “[I]f I kept on, said all I had to do, and all I want to say tonight, we’d only end up about a hundred here,” he says. More than that, the hundred that were left would be attacked by “those good Christians” who stand against him, “those Bible-fearing people, those people that love God on Sunday, and hate blacks Monday through Saturday.” He then talks about taking on all the honkies with “nigger power,” which he would use until they killed him. And he would, he concludes, if he did not love his followers as much as he does.
Part of his prediction comes to pass: people get up and leave as he speaks. He calls after them, asking if they want to get healed when they have a heart attack. He also blasts those who criticize him when in his holy place. “[Y]ou think that I’m in power when I’m up there talking about Jesus and God and the Spirit and the Consciousness? Mess with me when I’m telling the truth.”
Later, calmer, he returns to the theme and says he’d like to heal people and keep them from danger, even though they work against him. God punished Job who was faithful to a fault, he says, but he will reward those who even give him “half-assed faithfulness.”
His words have apparently affected an elderly woman in the congregation, but Jones reassures her that she’s not one of those “paper churchgoers” he was talking about. He describes how she threw off her chains by burning her husband’s Bible. And when a woman does that, it makes the husband determined to murder Jones. “I don’t care,” Jones says as the tape concludes, “because I’d rather have you free. And I’d rather be dead than to see women slaves or blacks slaves. I’d rather be dead than see how you were.”
Date of transcription: 7/2/79
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 21, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-1. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES concluding a sermon on the “evils” of the Bible.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted April 2001