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: None
Date cues on tape: August 1973 (reference to longtime civil rights activist George Wiley dying in boating accident)
Sister Jewel (speaks)
longtime civil rights activist George Wiley
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.)
- “I am that one. The I am that I am.” (Exodus 3:14, “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.”)
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”)
“All the Bible is fulfilled in this saying: love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself, and you can’t love God if you don’t see God.” (Luke 10:26-27, “He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” See also Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12:29-31)
“As Jesus said, ye are Gods.” (John 10:34, “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”)
“And Paul said, you’re entirely too superstitious. Paul said that in your Bible, because you have … an inscription to the unknown God.” (Acts 17:22-23, “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD…”)
“…women keep silence in the churches…” (1 Corinthians 14:34, “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.”)
“King James erroneously printed many things like Servants, obey your masters, slaves, obey your masters…” (Colossians 3:22, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” See also, Ephesians 6:5, Titus 2:9)
“…suffer not the women to teach.” (1 Timothy 2:12, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”)
(Note: This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from public disclosure.)
(Note: This tape was transcribed by the late Michael Bellefountaine.)
This 1973 tape was made at the end of a healing service which Jim Jones conducted in Philadelphia during one of Peoples Temple’s tours of the east coast. The tape lasts for less than 30 minutes – a fraction of most of Jones’ services – and even as he performs the last healings, he is arranging for transportation for people to the Temple’s next stop in Washington, D.C.
Despite its relatively short length and its main emphasis on healings, the tape is quite complex in Jones’ presentations of his understanding of God, his assumptions of God, and his relationships to Christ. There are contradictory elements of the Christian preacher which Jones began as, the declarations of personal divinity which he increasingly proclaimed, and several steps in between.
The tape begins, for example, with a rejection of the “Skygod” found in the King James Version of the Bible. Speaking to an elderly black woman who is apparently ashamed of her cowardice in front of white men – the tape opens in mid-conversation, and the details are unclear – Jones reminds her and the congregation how the Bible was an instrument of oppression, used to subjugate both black slaves and women. He then refers to King James himself as a slave-trader.
Even as Jones castigates the legitimacy of the Bible because of its immorality, he quotes from it approvingly to demonstrate his own incarnation as God. Paul tells them, they cannot worship an unknown god. Jones agrees, and says, “you cannot worship anything you don’t see.” His healings have demonstrated the proof of himself as the God that the people can see, and since God is now in their midst, “you can put your Bible away.” The Bible is a contract, he says, like a mortgage, and when it’s paid off – as it is with his arrival – “you can throw the contract away. When you fulfill a contract, you don’t need it any more.”
He becomes even more personal about the renunciation of the Skygod. Fifteen years earlier, the woman he is about to heal had a miscarriage, and was never able to conceive afterwards. “That’s what I mean about the Skygod, you can’t believe in the Skygod.” The news of the day was of a well-known civil rights organizer who died in a boating accident – more specifically, according to Jones, he drowned when he couldn’t reach the rope which his son threw to him – but the real reason the man died was, “he didn’t know me.”
While not specifically backpedaling as the service continues, he uses the more traditional language of a faith-healer as he works with the sick. Working over one woman, he quotes Jesus as affirming them all as gods – a phrase which Temple members in California, if not the worshippers in Philadelphia, often heard – but leads into the proclamation with the assurance that “I have come in the name of Jesus.” Later during the same healing, he invokes the name of Jesus to complete the healing. Towards the end of the service, as the crowd begins to break up, Jones urges “anyone that wants to give their life to Christ, [to] come out of the aisles now.”
Even as he issues that invitation, though, he suggests various ways for the people in the congregation to get healed through him after he leaves. “If you want to be saved, just call upon the name of God right now.… We’ll come back to Philadelphia when the hearts are ready.” But he can heal in his absence: “When you get my teachings, you’ll get your healing.” He acknowledges the power of money to his ministry: “In the balcony a woman gave the proper amount of money and saved her from a stroke… because she gave what she’d been prospered with.” The tape ends with one final suggestion: “[I]f you’ll take a picture of me, I guarantee you, you’ll live.”
Jones conducts numerous healings in rapid-fire succession during the tape, without the usual revelation of details of the lives of the supplicants in order to prove his powers as a healer. It could be that the hour is late and many people await his touch; it could be that he has sufficiently demonstrated this ability earlier in the evening and no longer feels compelled to offer proof to each person. Whatever the reason, as he moves through the crowd, he calls out, “I don’t have to call you out” to heal you.
Instead, he apparently points to various people, names their diseases, and pronounces them cured. “Sickle cell anemia, you’da died, but your sickle cell anemia’s gone now,” he says to one person. Even before the cheers of that healing have died, he performs another: “A little touch on the heart. You feel a warmth there? Just touch your hands and clap them three times. I saved you from a heart attack in three minutes.” Without fanfare – that’s discernible on the tape, at least – he resurrects someone from the dead. A woman trying to get close to him apparently stumbles, but Jones says she won’t be hurt. “When anybody falls under the power, you’re all right. [I] Just saved her. She fell because she’s healed, she’s all right, healed of heart trouble, blood pressure.”
The session winds down with heartfelt expressions of love and appreciation for the assembled crowd. He tells them about Redwood Valley, and the wonders they work there. “Oh, I wish I could take you all home with me,” he says. “Wish I could take you all home with me.”
Date of transcription: 6/18/79
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 1B93-90. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES giving a revival meeting and the “healing” of MARY PHILLIPS and others.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted April 2004