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: One unlabeled/April 15 meeting
Date cues on tape : 15 April 1978 (notation on tape box consistent with context)
Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
- George Hunter
Debbie Layton Blakey
Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Ava (probably Jones)
Bobbie or Bobby
Cynthia (probably Pursley)
Tim (probably Jones)
- Shawnterri Hall (also known as Teresa Cordell)
Lee Ingram (speaks)
Marceline Jones (speaks)
Penny Kerns (also known as Ellen Louise Dupont)
Bill Oliver (speaks)
Bruce Oliver (speaks)
Shanda Oliver (speaks)
Lois Ponts (speaks)
Kim Yoon Ai
Bible verses cited : None
Taped in Jonestown in April 1978, this meeting begins with a general criticism and catharsis session for Bruce Oliver, who is on the floor before the community, but eventually turns to a more general discussion about relationships, sexual fidelity, and birth control. The tapes ends as the community is voting on a policy of establishing and maintaining relationships.
The criticism of Bruce Oliver includes a rehash of old relationships gone bad – including one six years earlier – gossip and innuendo, accusations of sexual disloyalty, and eventually a split between himself and his woman friend Shanda. There is an undercurrent of tension for the first ten minutes of the tape, and sounds at one point as though a fight has broken out.
Jones says that one of the problems is that women don’t have solidarity, the same problem that confronts blacks and Indians, “and until people realize the necessity of that kind of solidarity, we will never overcome.” However, he then discourages the break-up of relationships due to sexual embarrassment – i.e., affairs and infidelity – which he says is “standard practice” in marriages.
Jones nevertheless expresses disappointment with Bruce, whom Jones is protecting against a court order in an action filed by a “manipulative mother.” He then criticizes Bruce for his insecurity in trying to subject a mature socialist black woman to the same manipulation. But the court order seems to be on Jones’ mind, and he vows that “if they invoked the court order, I’da died out here.” He says he believes they’re in a war zone, and later in the conversation, when a woman says she doesn’t know how people can have sex anyway, Jones replies, “[It’s] pretty hard, if we realize how dangerous the conditions are at this particular point, where you don’t know whether mercenaries are landed, where are they, are they here, or are they coming?”
The community debate turns to relationships in general, with one woman saying she believes relationships – especially sexual relating – detracts from personal growth and from the movement as a whole. “I feel that, that as long as we’re tolerating relationships, that we would have more functional people if they didn’t have to have this constant relating. I feel that the constant relating is a sickness.”
Part of the discussion revolves around what the consequences of sex are for the whole community, i.e., the increase in babies. A woman from the medical department says only 20 women are on the pill, and others who should be aren’t coming in. Jones says they need to enforce the use of birth control, and if women don’t take that responsibility, the community will do it for them. As with other issues, Jones sees it as a matter of survival for the entire community. If the community allows indiscriminate sex between people who don’t know each other that well, and a woman gets pregnant, Jones asks, how will the child be raised?
There is a complicated vote, returning to an issue that was once decided and is not fully articulated here. It involves relationships, how they will be set up, what type of probationary period there will be for couples, including a two-step, three-month/six-month threshold. The vote is taken several times, as people keep clarifying what they intend their vote to mean. While everyone seemingly has a vote, Jones asks the elderly to refrain from voting. “If you’re 85 years of age and not interested in a relationship, you ought to not vote. That’s my opinion. Quit trying to relate to something that you are out of commission to do, or you want to destroy in somebody else, an opportunity for something, because you are over the hill.” The tape ends before the community takes its final vote.
Date of transcription : 3/6/79
In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 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 March 1, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape number 1B47 #43. This tape was found to contain the following:
A general discussion between JONES and his followers on the topic of sexual life styles, followed by a vote of the congregation on the topic of marital separation.
This tape was reviewed, and nothing was contained thereon which was considered to be of evidentiary nature or beneficial to the investigation of Congressman RYAN.
Differences with FBI Summary: None
Tape originally posted June 1999