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: Radio transmissions
FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled “JJ”
Date cues on tape: 1972 (Shortly after Lester Kinsolving visited Peoples Temple in Ukiah)
Linda Dunn, aka Linda Swaney
Elresia Gray [phonetic]
Mrs. Birdie Marable
Mrs. Lola Pikes
Mike Prokes (speaks)
Tim Stoen (by reference)
Thomas Paine, American pamphleteer
Art Finley, KGO newscaster (speaks)
Lester Kinsolving, Examiner reporter, Temple critic
Fran Ortiz, Examiner photographer (by reference)
“We believe that all good things come down from above.” (James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”)
“The scripture mentions the herbs and the leaves which were for the healing of the nation.” (Unknown reference)
“[H]ow do we know that Jesus was born of a virgin? How do we know of the history about his life is true? They will point us to such scriptures as Matthew the first chapter and uh, the 16th verse… Now in Matthew 1:16 we see that it relates that Jacob begat Joseph who was the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. In other words, the father of Joseph was Jacob and we have in Matthew that Jacob’s father was Matthan.” (Matthew 1:15-16, “And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”)
“[T]he same genealogy, conception and birth through Joseph is uh, treated in Luke in the third chapter in the 23rd verse through the 36th verse. It says there that Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age being able as was supposed the son of Joseph which was the son of Eli. Luke said that Joseph’s father was Heli. Well, someone could say maybe Heli was a nickname for Jacob. Then we have a little more difficulty. In the 24th verse we see that Heli was fathered by Matthat.” (Luke 3:23-36)
“[W]e are told even in the King James version that the letter kills, but the spirit makes alive. Now what does the letter mean?… [L]et us Americanize it for a moment. The letter would be the Bible. The Bible kills but the spirit makes alive. Now what is the spirit? God is the spirit. And what is God? God is love. So to completely Americanize it, you would have the Bible kills but love makes alive.” (2Corinthians 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.”)
“People are not saved through the reading of the Bible. … Said how can you hear without a preacher. How can he preach lest he be sent? In the original, how can you hear without a prophet? How can he prophesy lest he be sent?” (Romans 10:14-17, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”)
“You are saved through the foolishness of preaching.” (1Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”)
“Saint Matthew states that Joseph took the child Jesus and his mother by night and departed into Egypt and lived there until the death of Herod. When Herod was dead, it says he – Joseph that is – arose and took the young child and his mother and came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth.” (Matthew 2: 12-23)
“The evangelist Luke on the other hand not only ignores the flight to Egypt but leaves absolutely not a shadow of a foundation for the story as told in Matthew… [A]ccording to Luke, Jesus did not leave the country at all.” (Luke 1:26-31, 56)
“Nor did he avoid Jerusalem where Herod reigned as we read in the scripture.… And when the days of her purification, according the Laws of Moses, were accomplished – that would have to be eight days after the birth of a child – they brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the lord. And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee to their own city of Nazareth… [A]nd when the eight days were accomplished for the circumcision of the child, his name was called Jesus.” (Luke 2: 21-39)
“So we do have these contradictions, even on the death of Jesus at the cross. Matthew and Mark says the thieves, also which were crucified with him, reviled him. Thieves plural. John says only one of the malefactors railed on him but the other rebuked him – his companion – saying doest thou not fear God? Matthew says they gave Jesus vinegar to drink mingled with gall, Mark says they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh. Nor do these biographers, as we now have it, the translators of Jesus agreed as to whether Jesus drank the vinegar-wine or not. Matthew says he tasted thereof but would not drink. Mark says they gave him to drink but he received it not. John is sure that there’s a mistake, for he says he received the vinegar. Luke does not mention the wine vinegar drink at all.” (Matthew 27:33-50, esp. 34, 38-39; Mark 15:22-37, esp. 23, 27-30; Luke 23:33-46, but see esp. 36; John 19:18-30, esp. 29)
“We read one writer that says so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, then follows an equally unqualified statement that Jesus was buried late Friday, and rose before or at sunrise Sunday, thereby allowing only at the utmost one day and two nights for Jesus to remain in his grave.” (Matthew 12:40 compared to Mark 15:42, 16:1-2)
“The writer of the book of Acts tells us that Jesus ascended to heaven from Mount Olivet. The writer of the Luke, of the third gospel says it was from Bethany – two separate places – that he went up to heaven. The author of the second gospel intimates that– at least that it was from neither of these places that Jesus ascended, but that it was while they were all at dinner.” (Acts 1, compared to Luke 24:50-51 and Mark 16:14-19).
“One more scripture for your thoughts. Paul’s conversion as given in Acts 9 and Acts 22. Acts the ninth chapter mentions the conversion of Paul or Saul and Acts 22 treats the same conversion. In the first story, we find this: the men who were with him when he saw his famous vision on the road to Damascus stood speechless hearing a voice but seeing no man. This is as explicit as any statement can be, but according to the other version, in Acts 22, the men who were with Paul saw indeed the light but they heard not the voice. Absolutely a reverse.” (Acts 9, compared to Acts 22)
“We find the uh, Judas situation, according to Matthew, that he brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priest and elders in Matthew 27:3… and according to Matthew, Judas went out and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:3-5, “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.”)
“But in Acts we find that, according to Acts, Judas purchased a field with the reward of the iniquity… and according to Acts, Judas, falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midsts and all his bowels gushed out, in Acts 1:18. Now the writer of Acts, there was nothing about the hanging story evidently.” (Acts 1:18, “Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.”)
“Jesus said he is not against me is on my part.” (Matthew 12:30, “He that is not with me is against me…”)
“Whosoever loveth is born of God, one of his beloved disciples said.” (1John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”)
“By this shall all men know that you are my learners or disciples, it says in King James, but in the original, it means learners. By this shall all men know that you are my learners because you have loved one for another.” (John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”)
“Now, let us see if anyone really practiced the teachings of Jesus Christ, no one I think would quarrel with it… For instance, if thy enemy hungers, feed him.” (Romans 12:20, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”
“[I]f Jesus’ lovely teachings – it’s not what you do to me, it’s not what you say to me, it’s not how you pray to me, it’s not what you’ve been baptized in my name, but I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in – if we would practice these lovely teachings, people will come.” (Matthew 25:34-45, Parable of the last Judgment)
“If we resurrect him in our lives, Christ in us the hope of glory, people will not be so concerned or preoccupied with the scriptural contradiction.” (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.”)
“And if you come to Peoples Temple, … we will show you a Christ in action, the word of the intelligence. That what the word means, the Logos. The word is made flesh and dwells amongst us.” (John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”)
“[T]hese things we are doing and greater because Jesus has already gone to the Father.” (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.”)
(Note: This transcript was prepared by Seriina Covarrubias. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
(Note: This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from public disclosure.)
This tape consists of three segments: a radio broadcast by Jim Jones; a statement by Mike Prokes responding to allegations by Lester Kinsolving; and a short snatch of non-contextual conversation. The first segment begins with Jim Jones in mid-sentence, as many of the tapes in the Peoples Temple collection do, but in context it seems to be near the beginning of a radio broadcast, and it concludes at the end of the program. The second segment then begins near the beginning of Prokes’ formal statement. In addition, the Jones broadcast and the Prokes statements make similar points – using almost identical language – about the coordination of the Temple’s use of faith healings with “medical science.” For these reasons, it seems likely both substantive segments of the tape were made about the same time.
As such, then, the tape reveals how Jim Jones was presenting Peoples Temple to the general public in 1972.
Jones’ comments focus on three main topics: the undeniable proof of the healings in his ministry; the numerous errors in the Bible; and the way that Peoples Temple can lead seekers of Christ past these errors into a powerful, relevant, and socially-responsible experience.
The tape opens with Jones speaking about the faith-healings he has performed in recent weeks, but stresses that the Temple works “hand in hand” with medical science. Rather than “cast aspersions” on doctors and nurses, he describes his relationship with them as one of a “beautiful team.” When he points out that “God does help those that help themselves,” he is encouraging people to get both professional medical care and to seek him out for the miracles he can perform.
His conversation about the Bible begins with a description of the youth in his church. He tells of how they have excelled in their educational endeavors – the expense which, he adds, has been borne by the church – and of what they plan to do with their lives. But many of them came to the church as atheists, and even the ones that aren’t raise questions about the Bible. As a result of their education, both inside and outside the Temple, “[o]ver thirty young people [have been] gloriously converted to this practical Christianity.”
Jones then goes through some of the questions they have on the differences in the biblical accounts of Jesus’ genealogy, his childhood home, his crucifixion, and his ascension into heaven, as well as the death of Judas Iscariot, and the conversion of Paul. Many of the points he raises are covered in the booklet written by Jones called The Letter Killeth. As he completes each point, he asks rhetorically why he is doing this, then answers his own question. He later concludes: “We don’t bother [our followers] with all of these weighty doctrines. We have our own beliefs. We believe in baptism, we believe in the ordinances, we believe in a spiritual life, but again we say you’re going to have to prove the reality of a living Christ, and that we do.”
This invocation of the living Christ – reiterated on several occasions – is the heart of his message. The Christ of Peoples Temple is the one defined by the Parable of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:34-45), which also appeared on Temple letterhead and which Jones describes here as “Jesus’ lovely teachings.” If we follow these teachings, he says – if we feed the hungry and clothe the naked and take in the stranger – people will find value in your ministry. “Christianity is practical, even though the historical figure is somewhat obscured. If we resurrect him in our lives, Christ in us the hope of glory, people will not be so concerned or preoccupied with the scriptural contradiction.”
In the second part, Temple spokesperson Mike Prokes reads a prepared statement defending the Temple against the attacks which had been recently made by San Francisco Examiner columnist Lester Kinsolving. Prokes begins by reviewing Kinsolving’s assertions, then states: “We of Peoples Temple assert that these statements by Kinsolving are untrue, malicious, and outrageous.”
Prokes’ response is threefold. He refutes the charges one by one, denying, for example, that Jones practices exorcism or claims to cast out the devil. Rather, Jones conducts “a calm sane spiritual healing ministry… based on New Testament principles.” Prokes also describes the humanitarian work of the church, its contributions to the social welfare of the community, and its recognition by civic and political leaders. Finally, Prokes launches a counter-attack on Kinsolving and attempts to demonstrate the columnist’s contradictory statements. “We at Peoples Temple ask, if Kinsolving was so threatened, why did he come back the following week by himself?”
The subject which has struck a nerve, though, has been Kinsolving’s description of the security at the church, and Prokes spends more time on that point than any other. He speaks of some of the acts of violence directed at the church, its members, and even its animals over the previous year, and concludes, “The evidence shows that Peoples Temples has excellent reason to be concerned about security.”
After refuting the last charge made by Kinsolving, Prokes ends his statement with a challenge: “Reverend Jones has said that every member of his church is willing to take a polygraph lie detector test… I ask that Kinsolving do the same.”
Date of transcription: 5/30/79
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 May 24, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B68-1 (5 inch). This tape was found to contain the following:
A radio broadcast reporting on the people who have had all their maladies cured by JIM JONES and also a sermon of the many errors in the Bible.
Toward the end of the tape, there is music.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary omits a second section in which Temple spokesman Mike Prokes defends the church against one of its chief antagonists, Les Kinsolving. Other than that omission, it is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted January 2006