Q637 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. Listen to MP3 (Pt. 1, Pt. 2).
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FBI Catalogue : Jones speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: One Audio Magnetics 60/ April 12 1978 Meeting #3

Date cues on tape : 12 April 1978 (notation on tape box, confirmed in context)

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Forbes Burnham, Guyana Prime Minister (by reference)
Prime Minister’s brother, unnamed, by reference
Rafael Trujillo, Dominican Republic leaderTemple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Grace Stoen

Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Reb, and wife
Roberts (speaks)

Jonestown residents:
Terri Buford
Tim Carter
Eugene Chaikin
Stanley Clayton
Arlander Cole
Edith Cordell (speaks)
Lee Ingram
Eartis Jeffery (by reference)
Margrette Jeffery
Johnny Moss Brown Jones
Marceline Jones (by reference)
Carolyn Layton
Vincent Lopez (identified only by first name, but only one Vincent in Jonestown)
Jerry Parks (speaks)
Tracy Parks (by reference)
Rose Peterson
Larry Schacht (speaks)
Richard Tropp


Bible verses cited :

“No man shall take my life. I will lay it down. That’s what [Jesus] said. He meant he’d lay it down when he got ready. Some of these Christians don’t understand this. We¹re more Christian than they ever could be.” (John 10:17-8, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”)

“Paul said, it’s all right to give your body to be burned, but be sure you got charity, which means principle. What is pure love? Communism. So in other words, Paul was saying, give your body to be burned.” (1 Corinthians 13:3, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”)


This tape continues the White Night that began on tape Q 635, continues on Q 636, and extends through Q 638 and Q 639. Many of the same themes remain: Stanley Clayton is still on the floor, as is Janice; Jones and the Temple leaders struggle with writing a response to the Concerned Relatives; and while the subject of death arises several times, people talk in the future tense on occasion.

The tape opens with a man seemingly agreeing with what Jones has said before, that he would die for his child. The question arises from the floor: what if that means the fascists would get her. Would you leave her for the fascists? After a moment, the man says he would kill her. Jones then asks how old she is. Eleven, he replies. Then she can fight, Jones says. “She would take up a cutlass and fight till she was dead, unless it came to an overwhelming invasion, and then we would gently put them to sleep.” Jones says they would also die if the battle appeared to be set up to be black against black, in which case, they would all die. “But you don’t do that as long as there’s alternatives in which you can make a mark.” He also says suicide for selfish reasons will leave you cursed.

The debate goes back and forth with conflicting points, until Jones says, “If it’s going to cause dishonor to socialism, it’d be best to just lay down our lives, and what’s that called? Revolutionary suicide.”

The testimonials continue throughout the evening, and one elderly woman concludes, “You have saved my life so many times, Dad, now I’ll have no life of my own. I’m living on your time. I would die for you right now, Dad. I’m willing to face the front line with you right now. Thank you, Dad.”

Jones says he appreciates the testimonials, and takes pleasure in the fact that others can enjoy the beauty. Most don’t appreciate what he’s done, though. He didn’t come there for the beauty, he says, but – returning to traditional themes of Peoples Temple – to save them from jails, torture, concentration camps and nuclear war. Jones then criticizes those who complain about the food – people who used to be on welfare, they don’t know how good they have it here, he says – and concludes an angry tirade with, “I’d like to see what I could do if some of you sonofabitches would help us.”

Jones is also critical that most who volunteer to die – usually by taking enemies with them – are young, not the ones at the end of their lives, the ones who have cancer.

Jones reminisces with Edith Cordell, a member of the church for almost 30 years. He has saved her many times through what he calls his “paranormal socialist dimension,” and she has responded by helping him resist the attacks against the church. She has been with him all across America. But they couldn’t succeed in America, he says. We’d only be tortured there. In Jonestown, we can die on our own terms.

Jones immediately goes on to put that in Christian terms. “That’s what Jesus said. No man shall take my life. I will lay it down. That’s what he said. He meant he’d lay it down when he got ready.” Continuing with Paul, Jones said, it’s all right to give your body to be burned, but be sure you have charity. That means principle. That means pure love. That means communism. In other words, he concludes, you can’t have charity without communism. “So this is nothing new, giving your body, going out and committing suicide, taking a few enemies with you.”

In working on the statement for the Concerned Relatives, Jones worries that the concluding comments about death will be the only thing that’s picked up, the only thing the media will attach itself to.

In a long discourse about using sex as a weapon in the revolution, Jones concludes that everyone sleeps well in their beds at Jonestown because they have been protected by sex. You use it sometimes to cultivate a person’s strength, you use it other times to keep a person from committing treason. The only way you can do it, though, is that “you’ve got to keep your mind in socialism all the time.”

Jones gives conflicting advice on relationships. On the one hand, he criticizes women who define their social acceptance by what men think of them. Later, though, he tells Janice that if she lost some weight, maybe Dr. Schacht would go for her.

Ultimately, Jones says, no one loves you but Father, and you should love nothing but socialism. After a pause with no response, he adds that everyone seems to claps for the healings, but no one claps when he talks about socialism. “And I don’t know why. That’s what makes me want to die.”

Jones goes back to Stanley, again with conflicting results. Although he says Stanley won’t be criticized for honest answers, when Jones doesn’t like the answers, Stanley is criticized. As an example, Stanley answers a question about what they’re supposed to write up after the meeting by saying, we’re supposed to tell you about sex. ” So I will know about sex?” Jones shouts in reply. “So the maestro of using revolutionary sex will know about it?”

Jones also returns to the theme of the two-minute fuck, and wonders why Stanley fixated on the length of time Jones can make love. At first, when Stanley says he doesn’t know why he fixated on the number, Jones criticizes him for not being a good socialist. “You’re supposed to know why you remember things, why you think the way you think. You’re supposed to know everything you can know about yourself.” Stanley then says he’s striving to be like Father, but Father points out only how much of a burden that is.

Finally, when Janice pays Jones a compliment, by saying she knows that Jones is the only one who can save Stanley, a young lieutenant (Jones is away for this portion of the tape) says, “That puts a lot of burden on Dad, just what you said, because that means that Jim Jones can’t die now, because he has to save the likes of that asshole.” The unidentified man continues that Jim says Stanley won’t be punished, but all that means is that Jim is punished instead.

The tape ends on an angry note, as the man says to Janice, “You’re a stupid ass, too. I want to tell you this, too. Dad talked the other day about, don’t put pressure on him.” Turning to Stanley, he says, “Dying – killing you is too good for you, Stanley. To kill you would be too good for you, ’cause you wouldn’t have to bear any responsibility or any guilt.”

This “White Night” continues on Q 638.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription : 3/14/79

In connection with the FBI’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 7, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape number 1B47 #82. This tape was found to contain the following:

This tape appears to be a recording of a “White Night” in Jonestown, Guyana and concerns efforts to counter a petition by former People’s Temple members to obtain custody of children named JOHN and DANA.

The tape consists of rambling discourse by JIM JONES and others on a variety of topics. A group of People’s Temple members come forth to state their willingness to die for the People’s Temple. Plans for “revolutionary suicide” are discussed including a statement by JONES that people would be sent back, presumably to the United States, to kill their enemies and then take their own lives. JONES recounts several instances of “paranormal socialist dimension” he has had to save lives of People’s Temple members. JONES states that they can die on their own terms in Jonestown. JONES discusses using “revolutionary sex” for political purposes. JONES edits statements about to be given over the radio by relatives of people petitioning for the children.

No mention is made in this tape recording of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN, any pending visit by RYAN, or any conspiracy to murder RYAN.

Differences with FBI Summary: None (see note on tape 635)

Tape originally posted February 1999