Q353 Summary

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.
To return to the Tape Index, click here. Listen to MP3 (Part 1, Part 2).

FBI Catalogue: Jones speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: None

Date cues on tape: (Part 1) Numerous news articles put in Jonestown, Spring 1978
(Part 2) Late 1972 (Reference to Kinsolving article of Sept. 72)

People named (Part 1):

Public figures/National and international names:
Attila the Hun
Adolf Hitler
Arbee Armstrong, Guyana government official
Menachim Begin, Israeli prime minister
Leonid Brezhnev, Communist Party chair of Soviet Union
Dr. Hamilton Green, Guyana Minister of Health and Labor
Valery Kroske (sp?), Soviet diplomat
Michael Manley, Jamaican Prime Minister
Gally Mikovsky (sp?), Czech diplomat
Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
_____ Musaka, African leader
Joshua Nkomo, leader of Zimbabwean Patriotic Front in Rhodesia
Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt
Steve Sheryl (sp?), Zimbabwe freedom fighter
Ian Smith, Rhodesian Prime Minister
Campanis (sp.?), CIA agent
President Jimmy Carter
Alexander Ginzburg, Soviet dissident
Sen. Edward Kennedy
Mary Jo Kopechne (by reference)
Mark Lane
Charles Lindbergh
Michael and Robert Meeropol, sons of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
Richard Nixon
Tip O’Neill, Speaker of U.S. House of Representatives
Tom Peters, former CIA agent
Julius & Ethel Rosenberg
Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to UN
Rev. Samuel Kyles, aide to MLK
Wayne Chastain, reporter on Memphis paper re: MLK killing
Coom (phonetic), figure connected to MLK killing
Martin Luther King
James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther King
Jerry Ray, brother of convicted assassin
Thomas Smith, investigator of the MLK probe for Memphis police
Charles T. Stevens, witness of MLK assassination
Rep. Louis Stokes (D-OH)
Grace Walden, witness of MLK assassination
Ingrid Bergman, film actress
Gary Cooper, film actor

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Tim Stoen

Jonestown residents:
Marceline Jones
Harriet Sarah Tropp

People named (Part 2): Members of Peoples Temple congregation
Sister Joy

Temple adversary:
Lester Kinsolving, newspaper columnist

Bible verses cited: (Part 2)

(Note: The verses appear in order of biblical reference, not as they appear in Jim Jones’ address.)

(Click here for a scriptural index to the sermons of Jim Jones.)

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. They shall see God… Blessed are the meek, the people who don’t act haughty and pride, for finally they’re going to inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:4-5, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”)

“Sell what you have. Enter into cooperative living. Get rid of all those wares that you will let possess you.” (Numerous commands of Jesus in Gospels, including Matthew 19:21, Mark 10:21, Luke 12:33, and Luke 18:22)

“They said to Jesus, why don’t you fast? He said, you don’t fast when the bridegroom is in the house. You don’t fast when the bridegroom’s here. You don’t pray when the bridegroom’s here.” (Mark 2:19, “And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.”)

“Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Not maybe, but will set you free.” (John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)

“Jesus said, what good work do you stone me? And that blasphemer said, why not for any good work, but because you being a man, make yourself God. And then Jesus said, with such direction and such power, He said, well, it is written, to whom the scripture says, Come and it cannot be broken, You are all gods.” (John 10:32-35)

“Matthew 5 said … unalterably clear, ye are gods.” (John 10:34, “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”; citing Psalm 82:6, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.”)

“I am the way, the truth and the light. No one can come to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”)

“He said, these things shall you do, and greater.” (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.”)

“God is no respecter of persons, is the law of scripture.” (Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”)

“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ that lives here.” (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.”)

Summary: Part 1

Jones reads the news in the first part of the tape, lasting the entire first side and part way through the second.

Before he begins, though, he warns about a cat on the Jonestown property, which he says will threaten small animals. He also notes that he personally protects everyone from harm. “If I’ve done nothing, the miracle of protecting people from ever having a snake bite, not one snake bite in all these years, that would be proof enough of the power of the paranormal in me.”

Later, he speaks of a man coming to Jonestown who will write a book about the community and expose Tim Stoen for the CIA agent that he is.

The news items include:

o Crime news in Georgetown;
o The Jamaica Workers Liberation Party;
o South Africa, Rhodesia, African liberation movements, and exploitation of African resources
o Romania;
o The pope;
o A Philippines airline disaster;
o Several mentions of James Earl Ray, including a lengthy discussion of the King assassination;
o A former CIA spy caught in espionage, and other spy-related news;
o Social Security;
o A Canadian bush crash;
o Croatian nationalists;
o Tax breaks in Congress;
o Balloonists over France;
o US correspondents in Soviet Union;
o Camp David Peace talks and the Middle East conflict;
o Carter’s energy program;
o Memphis public workers strike;
o US weapons programs, the neutron bomb, and Carter veto of defense bill;
o FDA and nitrates;
o Teddy Kennedy;
o Probation as an alternative to jail time;
o Czech dissidence;
o Beirut shelling;
o Common Market;
o China/Vietnam border dispute;
o Chinese students in US;
o Rains in Pakistan;
o UN Conference on Racism and UN assistance to developing nations;
o The Soviet space program and infrastructure improvements;
o The Rosenbergs and Meeropols.


The tone and style of story suggest that Jones is engaging in “rip and read,” that is, reading stories from wire services as they come into Jonestown. Several stories — those of James Earl Ray, the CIA spy caught in an espionage scandal, the Croatian nationalists, and the Canadian bus crash among them — are breaking stories, and Jones updates them as the tape goes on.

Jones’ sources seem to be an international feed, to which he adds a pro-Soviet spin. He reports that US correspondents in Eastern Europe have channeled information to the CIA, then adds that, “In Soviet Union, slander and libel is very, very frowned upon. Very serious crime. Even if a person’s guilty, found guilty in a court, cannot be printed about in newspapers because it hurts innocent loved ones.”

His commentary is somewhat limited, though. It is also periodically ironic, as when he notes, “Some of this news is about as interesting as how many cavities Mr. Nixon has in his teeth, I’m sure.”

On US tax policy, though, Jones says: “The rich are actually getting away without paying as much taxes as they did in 1969. By investing in foreign companies, they can almost manage to pay no taxes whatsoever. One Congressman feebly spoke out that the only people getting any help from this tax reduction plan were those making over $50,000 a year. He suggested at least maybe some help for those under $20,000. They’re getting no help at all, so who do they think they’re kidding?”

In dismissing the possibility that James Earl Ray acted alone in the King assassination, Jones says: “Really, they do expect a lot of us to believe that kind of shit.”

In claiming that socialist countries are helping to prop up Western economies, he suggests: “I presume that the Soviets feel that there’s such madness in the Pentagon, that if the capitalist world were to collapse economically right now, there would be no alternative but a nuclear war.”

Jones’ sympathies with those who have been scrutinized by the US press stems from identification, his own sense of being under attack. Referring to Tip O’Neill, who was taking the press to task over a disagreement between himself and Ted Kennedy, Jones says: “I agree with him about the US press, trouble making all the time, trouble making. Any time they’re in some act, you can know who they’re against, you ought to be for… [W]hen they champion anybody else, you can bet your life it’s in the interest of capitalism, because they’re the arm, the obedient servant of capitalism.”

Among the comments Jones makes is one that has characterized his worldview from the beginning of his ministry: the inevitability of nuclear war, and apocalyptic results. He accuses the US of risking nuclear war, the Soviets as still trying to avoid it, and the Chinese who are “pragmatic” about the whole issue. “[They] feel it’s going to happen anyway, so you might as well get it over with, before it destroys all the world.”

Summary: Part 2

The last half of the second side, over which the news portion of the tape had been recorded, is a sermon most likely from the fall of 1972, after newspaper columnist and Episcopal minister Lester Kinsolving had published the first of his articles criticizing Peoples Temple. The sermon contains many elements of a Jones address — including references to his miracles, pleas to his members to follow his example, and descriptions of socialism as the only economic system — but it also speaks to the passages in the Bible as positive and important messages for them to understand, albeit with the understanding which he alone can bring them.

The abbreviated sermon begins with his description as reincarnation as a great leveler, the vehicle for bringing equality to the world over many generations.

Quoting from the Bible, he tells people to follow his example, and give away everything they own. He doesn’t own a car, he says, although he could have one if he wanted. He has no new clothes, doesn’t buy new shoes. “I have followed after the example of Christ. When you see me… it’s no longer Jim Jones here. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ that lives here.” As proof that Christ is within his body, he points to the fact that he has surrendered everything, except what he needs for their salvation. He adds later in the service, they can find salvation, if they believe in him.

People want to get the benefits of his blessing, he says, but they won’t see the commitment all the way through, and therefore, they cannot receive it in full abundance. “[Y]ou will not get Christ in Jim Jones’ blessing until you walk like Jim Jones, until you talk like Jim Jones, until you act like Jim Jones, until you look like Jim Jones.”

He notes that people say they don’t understand him, and it’s easy to see why. “How could you understand, because you are in another plane, you’ve not yet reached to that which I am.”

Building upon the message, he points out that people criticize him for not praying, but, quoting Christ, he points out when the time of prayer is over. “[Jesus] said the time’s gonna come when you no longer pray to me, you’ll speak to the Father directly.” He then goes to a familiar scripture in his sermons. “[D]on’t be judges of the fact that my people say I am God. Jesus said, ye are gods. Ye all are gods.”

He warns his listeners, though, that it is not a fun ride they are on, but rather a “denied life” of sacrifice and toil for their fellow humans. When he tells them to take up their crosses, he says he doesn’t mean the cross of gold around their necks, which he condemns as “idolatry” — and which, he adds, doesn’t resemble the “splintered wood” on which Jesus died.

Instead, he says, they need to learn to mourn those who have lost so much, the blacks of the nation, the Indians of the reservations, and the Vietnamese. There will be a time of joy, he promises, but only after the mourning. And the pains they have, which they bring to him, he adds, he will take on, to save them, “and I will not be denied.” He closes with a plea for his followers to look into their hearts, to act meekly, and to love simplicity.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/20/79

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 3, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B93-87. This tape was found to contain the following:

News of the day and commentary by JAMES JONES. A sermon given by JAMES JONES, where he says that he is Christ reincarnated into mortal flesh.

Differences with FBI Summary: None

Tape originally posted April 1999