Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Unidentified Individuals Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: None
Date cues on tape: Summer 1976 (Peoples Temple trip to East Coast, including Philadelphia)
Former Vice President Spiro Agnew
Former President Richard Nixon
Sen. Edward Brooke (R-Mass.)
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)
Sister Walls (speaks)
Jim Jones, Jr.
Marceline Jones, by reference
Rev. A.A. Allen, healing evangelist of the 1950’s
Rev. Jones, a minister in Philadelphia
Alvin McFall, a man who attacked Jones with a knife
Rev. Nathan Urshan, United Pentecostal Church
George Wiley, activist for progressive causes
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.)
- “You didn’t love no child that you had in the spirit. You had to have a child, flesh of your flesh, and bone of your bone… And you can’t love no God that’s in the spirit, you gotta love God that’s flesh of your flesh, and bone of your bone.” (Genesis 2:23, “Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.”)
“I’m on the scene. I said, I am that I am has come. The very same Jesus, and the very same God.” (Exodus 3:13-14, “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.”)
“Let the God that is God answer by fire. I know who’s God. If you don’t know who God is, I know who God is.” (I Kings 18:24, “…call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.”)
“Jeremiah said, get rid of the paper box, the talisman, the ark of the covenant.” (Jeremiah 3)
“He knows the thoughts of the mind. He knows the thoughts of your body.” (Daniel 2:28-30)
“I’ve told you, as I did in the day of Jesus, go out without purse or script.” (Matthew 10:9-10, “Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves…” See also Mark 6:8, Luke 10:4, Luke 22:35-36.)
“As Jesus said … I’ve come to lose my life, and then find it. But you, the one to keep your life, you’re gonna lose it anyway.” (Matthew 10:39, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” See also Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; Luke 17:33; and John 12:25)
“We’re in trouble, if people don’t listen to God on earth, and build the kingdom on earth, and read the scripture, ‘The Kingdom suffereth violence, and the violence must take it by force,’ if we don’t turn the world upside-down.” (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.”)
“Jesus … said you’ve cleaned outside of a platter, but the inside you’re filled with all kinds of things.” (Matthew 23:25-26, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” Also, Luke 11:39, “And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.”)
“I’ll make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17, “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” See also, Matthew 4:19.)
“As Jesus said, I have come to serve and not to be served.” (Luke 12:36-37, “And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”)
“I’ve had the best come to me at night, like Nicodemus, they’d slip in, they’d slip in … the preachers come drivin’ up, and slippin’ up like a Nicodemus at night, and said, ‘Would ya heal me?’” (John 3: 1-21. See also John 7:50, John 19:39)
“She said, ‘I know thou art.’” (John 3:2, “The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” See also, Matthew 22:16, Mark 1:24, Mark 12:14, Luke 4:34.)
“You get around me, and I will send you out in my name, and you will set the people free.” (John 8, esp. John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)
“Jesus said, ye are gods.” (John 10:34, “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”)
“They’ll even kill you, thinking they do God a service.” (John 16:2, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”)
“Have I been with you so long, doubting Thomases and Phillips, have I been with you so long that you don’t know me?” (John 20:24-29)
“[Jesus] Said in the last days, saviors would come up out of Zion.” (Romans 11:26, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”)
“I said get rid of the letter, ‘cause the letter killeth.” (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.”)
“They that live godly in Christ, they shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”)
“But I have come, and I have spoken, and now, you’ve gotta walk in the light.” (Numerous references to walking in the light of Jesus, including John 8:12, John 9:5, John 12:46, Ephesians 5:8, 1 John 1:7, and Revelation 21:24.)
This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from disclosure.
Jim Jones speaks to a congregation in Philadelphia, apparently at one of the Peace Missions of his former mentor, the late Father Divine. Temple members made several trips to Philadelphia, and while his several references to a specific mining disaster would seem to place it in 1972, the allusion to the past legal troubles of former Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Richard Nixon suggests it came during a 1976 cross-country trip.
The sermon has many elements of a typical Jones address: He tries to shock the congregation by calling them “niggers” — and he is successful, since people walk out throughout the tape — but he always adds that he is a nigger too, and that being a nigger has nothing to do with race, but with economic status in the U.S. He speaks of the King James Bible, having been written by the king who sent out the Good Ship Jesus to enslave blacks. He speaks of the way whites use religion to oppress blacks, from early days of American slavery, to current conditions in South Africa and America’s ghettoes.
Along the way, he speaks of the benefits of Temple membership, telling the congregants in Philadelphia about the dorms, the health care facilities, and the farm plots in Redwood Valley, and the buses outside that are ready to take them there. As opposed to other churches, he adds, Peoples Temple takes care of its members, and still manages to send out tons of food to Africa and Wounded Knee. The next time the people there tonight go to another church, he invites them later in the service, look at how well the preachers are dressed, what kind of cars they drive, how their wives are appointed.
When some of the preachers in the crowd that night want to take their people out, Jones accuses the clergy of being afraid to face him, but tells the people, if you’re thrown out of your church, I’ll take you home with me.
Also, as is usual when Jones addresses a congregation, he talks about the miracles he has performed. He says he disarmed a man who about to attack him with a knife; when the man looked down, he saw the knife was gone. He speaks of being about to conduct miracles through his followers, even though he is thousands of miles away at the time. Later, when he detects a restlessness among his listeners because of his message — “[You] say, you’ve done stop preaching and gone to meddling” — he reminds them, this is the same man who performs miracles.
He interrupts himself throughout the service, calling out to people who leave, asking them where they are going, why are they afraid of the truth. He reminds others that he has prophesied the date — down to the hour — when America’s concentration camps will open. More than that, he wants to know, who will fight for them when they’re in jail or in trouble.
There is, however, a statement which is as tidy and concise an articulation of Jones’ political philosophy — especially as it merges with his theology — as anyplace else. Midway through the tape, after he ticks off a list of ills facing America, most with racial or economic themes, he says, “we’re in danger tonight, from a corporate dictatorship. We’re in danger from a great fascist state, or a great communist state, and if the church doesn’t build a utopian society, if it doesn’t build an egalitarian society, we’re going to be in trouble.”
A moment later, he adds: “We’re in trouble, if people don’t listen to God on earth, and build the kingdom on earth, and read the scripture, OThe Kingdom suffereth violence, and the violence must take it by force.’ If we don’t turn the world upside-down, if we don’t share the wealth, if we don’t establish a decent order here, in an economics and social order, if we don’t do it, the Man’s gonna throttle our neck, and lead us right into the concentration camps.”
Jones makes several references to a mining disaster from 1972, how the mine owners exploited the workers, how overlooked safety violations resulted in the deaths of over 100 miners (actually, 91 died in the Sunshine Mining disaster of 1972). The few survivors were radicalized, both in political and religious terms, Jones says. They now spoke against capitalism. They also realized the Skygod wouldn’t help them.
Jones says that he doesn’t claim to be a Skygod, but he’ll help his followers. “I’m promising that if you go to jail, I’ll go to jail. If they come after you, they have to come after me. If they hurt you, they’ll have to hurt me.” Returning to the theme a few minutes later, he says, “I don’t claim to be no Skygod. If I found a Skygod, I’d give Him a subpoena, I’d indict Him. I said, if I found the Skygod, I’d swear out a warrant for His arrest.”
You have to be able to touch a God to love him, he continues. You love the child you can hold, you love the mother you can hold, and by extension, you need to see and touch and feel your God to love him.
Date of transcription: 6/12/79
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 1B68-13. This tape was found to contain the following:
Two unknown males giving sermons to a congregation.
This tape was reviewed and nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investigation of the murder of Congressman RYAN.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The difference is almost total: There is one male, not two. The male is not unknown, but is Jim Jones (as any transcriber in June 1979 must have known). It is, however, a sermon. Beyond that, the summary meets the FBI’s minimal purposes, even if there is no explanation why the tape was initially withheld from disclosure.
Tape originally posted July 2001