Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Tapes Not Summarized
FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Audio Magnetics 60/ “Ramparts”
Date cues on tape: None (Likely 1974-75)
Public figures/National and international names:
Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science
Sergeant Roach, police officer (speaks)
California Highway patrolman Turner
Investigator Voss, police officer
Captain Martricano (phonetic), police official
Captain Ginden, police official
Sonya, receptionist at Unification Church (speaks)
Rev. Branch (speaks)
Rev. John Townsend, First Baptist Church, Los Angeles
Artie Merin, church relations, Church of Scientology
Lori Zern, social coordination bureau, Church of Scientology
Rev. Sledge (speaks)
Eugene Chaikin (speaks)
“Mrs. Gambill” (probably fictitious name) (speaks)
“Jane” (daughter of Mrs. Gambill)
Bible verses cited: Several, but by ministers not associated with Peoples Temple and hence outside of scope of this project
This tape consists of a series of phone calls made by Peoples Temple. In the first, a Temple attorney – with the assistance of Jim Jones – files a police report about possible criminal activity around the L.A. Temple, especially since they suspect the activity may be part of a harassment campaign against the church. In the series of phone calls afterwards, a woman contacts a number of ministers in the L.A. areas as part of a whispering campaign against the Unification Church of Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
In the first call, Eugene Chaikin calls a police station to report the presence of people attempting to sell stolen goods to members of the Temple’s security force which is patrolling outside the L.A. church. Jim Jones, who is on an extension, corrects Chaikin a few times on the facts, and then details the church’s support for law enforcement efforts, including contributions to the families of officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Although Jones may be establishing his credentials as a way to get the police to take the report seriously – if not as a means to obtain preferential treatment – he says the criminal enticement could be coming as a result of the church’s support of the police. It may be a coincidence, he says, but it’s also true, “[w]e have bizarre things happen every time we do something for law enforcement.”
In the dozen calls that follow, a woman who identifies herself as “Mrs. Gambill” speaks with ministers of local churches about abuses going on inside the Unification Church. Using language that sounds rehearsed, if not written out in a script before her, Mrs. Gambill says that her 18-year-old daughter had attended services a few times just to see what the place was like – “you know how teenagers are” – but when she disagreed with some of their teachings, the members had beaten her “all black and blue … with a rubber hose.” The family is “of course” taking legal action, but she says she is contacting the ministers to see what they could do about looking into these activities. Even though it’s the activity of only one church, she says, “it reflects on all the churches.”
She fields a variety of responses. Several churches suggest that the daughter should have known better than to join a new religious movement like the Unification Church, a description which Mrs. Gambill reinforces: “Yeah, I think it is some sort of a cult. [Rev. Sun Myung Moon] says he’s Jesus Christ or something, I guess.” Other ministers are even more vehement in their denunciation of the Unification Church, saying that it has strayed from the principles of Christ, that its leaders preach against the gospel, and – according to one minister – that “they are absolutely twisting the Bible.”
Several suggest specific action, such as taking the issue to the local Council of Churches. “[T]hey could pass out the word in their publicity,” another minister says, “because I think other churches ought to know about this… because people like that ought to be arrested and exposed to public view.” Another clergyman suggests writing a letter to the local newspaper.
Mrs. Gambill wholeheartedly endorces the ministers’ attacks, even when she misunderstands their criticism. One pastor says they can’t account “for all the many different religions that we see, sects or what goes on in these different organizations and movements.” Mrs. Gambill replies, “Well, yeah, speaking of sex, I understand he’s been arrested for molesting children.” “No,” the man corrects her, “what I mean is sect, I mean like sectarian.”
A couple of ministers urge caution. One says he would need more proof – such as the success of her lawsuit – before he proceeded. For the moment, he says, it’s just hearsay. He wouldn’t want his church to be brought down based solely upon mere allegations such as those she is making, but “after you’ve found out that … some injustice had been done, we’ll be behind you 100%.” She thanks him and ends the call.
Another minister defends the Unification Church, not in the beating, but in responding harshly to the daughter’s mode of disagreement. If the daughter disrupted the service, he says, that was improper and disrespectful. And rather than file a lawsuit, he suggests, Mrs. Gambill should go to the church itself and seek reconciliation. Again, Mrs. Gambill tries to end that call quickly.
Mrs. Gambill’s story doesn’t change, but it becomes more refined with the repeated telling (even if the repetition also diminishes her passion for it). Some of the refinements follow a telephone conversation early in the series in which another Peoples Temple member calls the Unification Church itself, pretending to be a potential convert, and elicits more details from the receptionist.
Nevertheless, when Mrs. Gambill goes outside the script, she becomes confused. One minister asks for her daughter’s name, and she hesitates before she says, “Jane.” Another minister asks her for her own church affiliation, and she struggles before she says, “Methodist.” Her greatest difficult comes when ministers ask to call her back, and she has to tell them she is new to town, or in the process of moving, or doesn’t have a phone for some other reason.
Date of transcription: 3/5/79
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 March 2, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B47 No. 57. This tape was found to contain the following:
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:
There is nothing to compare between the two summaries, since the FBI did not write anything for this, or 64 other tapes which bear the notation “Tapes Not Summarized.” These tapes seems to have little on them which the FBI could use for its purposes of investigating crimes arising from the Jonestown tragedy, but then again, that describes many other tapes as well. The difference seems to be that one or two FBI agents catalogued this set of tapes – as evidenced by the typewriter used in writing the reports – and that generally, the transcriptions were made early in the process, before someone may have asked for greater detail in the reports.
Tape originally posted May 2004