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: Labeled in part “Oct 8 B’cast Message to SF”
Date cues on tape: Contents of tape consistent with tape box label
U.S. President Jimmy Carter
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s national security advisor
Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator, assassinated presidential candidate
Ethel Rosenberg, executed U.S. spy
Julius Rosenberg, executed U.S. spyDonald Freed, author and screenwriter
Carlton Goodlett, San Francisco physician, newspaper publisher
Mark Lane, Peoples Temple attorney
Dr. Walter Thain, American doctor, consultant with Dr. Larry Schacht
Peter Fernandes, chairman, Guyana Livestock Corporation (by reference)
“Dr.” Paul, unknown, apparently accompanied Goodlett to Jonestown
Debby Blakey (by reference)
Tim StoenPeoples Temple members not in Jonestown
Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Evans’ child (either Sharelle, Sharla, or Sonya)
Ruby Jewell Carroll
Sandra Evans (by reference)
Marceline Jones (by reference)
Mike Prokes (speaks)
“The day of Pentecost, that’s all they built. They sold their possessions and had all things common. That’s socialism. That’s what the church was about. Jesus Christ established his church upon that foundation. The first thing after they’re in there from a union and baptism with fire, was they went out and sold their possessions, brought them to the apostle seat and shared and had all things common.” (Acts 2)
“Sister [Rosa Lee] Peterson … knew that her redeemer lived and stood on the latter day on this earth.” (Job 19:25, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.”)
“It was written long ago by Jesus that these things shall you do and greater, because I go away.” (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.”)
“Don’t look back like Lot’s wife to Sodom and Gomorrah.” (Genesis 19, esp. Genesis 19:26, “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”)
“Here I am, and there I am, and the world cannot hinder. The world did not make me. The world did not create me. The world did not shape this socialist concept – the word made flesh – and the world cannot take it away.” (John 1:1-14, esp. 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.”)
“They that live goodly in Christ – what’s Christ mean? The anointed, the revolutionary Jesus, the revolutionary body… – goodly in that revolutionary body shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”)
“They’ll say all manner of things against you falsely, for the namesake.” (Matthew 5:11, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”)
“The same power is in this name.” (Acts 4)
“Shake the dust from your feet and march forward, and don’t look backward.” (Matthew 10:14, “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” See also, Mark 6:11, Luke 9:5)
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
With the assistance of Temple publicist Mike Prokes, Jim Jones records two messages – for two very different audiences – extolling the virtues of Jonestown. The first is for a Guyana audience, and closes with an invitation to learn more about the Temple’s agricultural project by writing to a Georgetown post office box. The second is for the remaining Temple members in the U.S., and while Jones reiterates several of the points he made for local consumption, there are more features of a typical Jones’ address from his years in the States, including political analyses, healings and prophecies, and – almost unique in the tapes recorded in Guyana – religious references that his Christian followers would understand and appreciate.
The tape is different form other tapes from the period in another respect: Jones’ voice is strong and confident, without the hesitations, slurred speech or moments of seeming bewilderment which increasingly characterized the Jonestown recordings in the final months of the community’s existence. He may be reading the messages from a prepared script, but there is an air of spontaneity which suggests that he is not.
Both messages paint a glowing picture of Jonestown as the realization of the dream by its founder. Jones talks about the diversity of small industry in both messages, such as doll-making, brick-making, a soap factory, and clothing, although his second message includes names of the Jonestown residents involved. He speaks also of the diversity of entertainment in the community, ranging from numerous sports to movies and music. Each message speaks – although in slightly different terms – about Jonestown’s outstanding medical services, including its outreach to the local population of the Northwest District, and of their ability to diagnose and treat illnesses and conditions which other doctors, including those in the States, had missed. Finally, both messages offer testimonials from recent visitors to the project, including Mark lane, Don Freed and Carlton Goodlett.
Jones’ words about diversity in the community of “every race under the sun” are directed to the Guyana audience that would be less familiar with the Temple’s rainbow family. So too are his distinctions between Jonestown’s cooperative and similar projects in other “socialist countries,” which would likely include Guyana itself. “[W]e of course operate on the basis of no monetary system,” he says. “We don’t condemn those who do. Other cooperatives work very well who use a monetary system. I gather from what I’ve heard from various socialist countries who have visited us, or we have visited, that we’re one of the few where there is absolutely no monetary system in dealing with each other internally.”
Jones acknowledges that it was hard for some people to adapt to such a different place at first, and admits they had some problems – “[we’re] taking people from a system, a society that emphasized competitive struggle and a great deal of alienation existed, and a lot of these youth had tremendous backgrounds of self-destruction” – but that the spirit of cooperation has brought them through the trying times. “I couldn’t give you all the answers but I can say this: we’re not experts or geniuses, so if we can make a cooperative work, it can be done all over the world.”
The Guyana message includes with an affirmation of the Temple’s work: “I believe in the cooperative life. It doesn’t work for the other person? It certainly works for us at Jonestown.”
The message for Temple members in California contains many elements of Jones’ stateside addresses. He speaks of the “lies” that have been told about him and Jonestown, of the conspiracy against them, of the “enemy” who somehow gave both him and Marceline cancer. More than once, he describes their antagonists and their efforts as “ridiculous,” and reminds his listeners, “Truth will come out in the end. You can press it down and beat it down, but finally truth does triumph… Truth [is] on our side. They’re the ones that have so much to lose because they’re trying to maintain a false image. They’re trying to live something that they cannot be and be pure and be good.”
Quoting both Goodlett and Thomas Jefferson, Jones exhorts his followers not to allow “the enemies of socialism” to lead them astray. Cooperate with each other as you prepare for your trip to the Promised Land, he tells them, save your money, and above all, disregard whatever negative rumors you may hear.
When Jones speaks of the miracles he has performed to save his people, he not only includes himself as one of the healed, he puts it in a religious context. “No man takes my life from me, because it was written long ago by Jesus that these things shall you do and greater,” he says. “I’m not going to let anyone take my life away from me, and I’m reporting to you the victory that’s in the name of Christ socialism.” Jones peppers the balance of the message – especially at the end – with numerous New Testament references, especially to Jesus’ social gospel and to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.
The tape is a public relations piece, and Jones waxes enthusiastically about the community. The underlying message appears about halfway through: “It’s a remarkable place to be able to look as far as your eye can see, and see peace and your land and to have tranquility and justice. To live in a country where people are not judged by race, creed or color but are judged on their basis of their commitment to social justice, to egalitarianism, to socialism. Yes, it’s a fantastic community, and you’ll love it.”
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 1B93-93. This tape was found to contain the following:
MIKE PROKES taping a report from the People’s Temple Agricultural Mission at Jonestown, Guyana with an interview and report by Reverend JIM JONES covering a wide spectrum of questions. This was apparently soon after JONES’ arrival in Guyana.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary meets the FBI’s purposes and is for the most part accurate. The notation that the recording was made “soon after JONES’ arrival in Guyana” is likely based upon the fact that Jones’ voice is strong and articulate, without the hesitations, pauses and slurring of his latter addresses to the Jonestown community. It also contains many more biblical references than almost any other tape made in Jonestown. Nevertheless, the references to visits from Mark Lane, Don Freed and Carlton Goodlett place the recording in the fall of 1978, probably close to the October 8 date listed on the tape box.
Tape originally posted March 2009