Q639 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 #5

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

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:

Guyana Prime Minister Forbes Burnham

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:

Mike Cartmell
Suzanne Jones Cartmell
Liz Forman
Walter Jones
Garry Lambrev
Chris Lewis
The Mertle family
The Oliver family
Grace and Tim Stoen
Mickey Touchette

Jonestown residents, full name unknown:

Ava (probably Jones)
Cathy (probably Stahl, aka Cathy Barrett)
Mom Dean
Diane (probably Wilkinson, aka Deanna Kay Moton)
Jack (probably Beam)
Jeff (probably Carey)
Jonathan (speaks)
Lois (either Ponts or Breidenbach)
Mercy Perkins’ daughter
Ricardo, a child
Sandy (probably Jones, aka Sandy Cobb)
Sharon (probably Amos)
Stephan (probably Jones)
Tammy, a child

Jonestown residents:

Paula Adams
Brian Bouquet
Tim Carter
Amanda Fair
Sylvester Fair
Renee Gieg
Rob Gieg
Richard Janaro< Johnny Jones, aka Johnny Brown< Lynetta Jones (by reference) >Marceline Jones
Anita Kelley
Tish LeRoy
Bruce Oliver
Shanda Oliver
Larry Schacht
John Victor Stoen (by reference)
Christine (probably Talley
Maureen (probably Talley) (speaks)
Ron Talley (speaks)
Dana Truss
Mary Walker
Marlene Wheeler (speaks)
Ramona (Mona) Young

Bible verses cited : None


This tape is the last tape of a White Night that opens with tape Q 635, and that extends through Q 636, Q 637, and Q 638. It takes place while Guyana Prime Minister Forbes Burnham is out of the country. The themes are familiar for a White Night: revolutionary suicide, class enemies – as in most cases, members of the Concerned Relatives organization – and the Temple’s legal problems. In general, though, the tone seems less desperate than others, perhaps because Jim Jones starts the tape drunk, then becomes sick. Ron Talley is on the floor for a good part of the tape, but there seems to be more of an attempt to correct undesirable behavior than to berate him.

Jones is drunk at the beginning of the tape. He says he wishes he could do it on a peaceful night, not so much for the thrill of a drunk, but so he could sleep. Later, as he comes down from the drunk, he tells people it isn’t good; he repeats that after he vomits. He elaborates upon that twice to say, “there ain’t nothing good but socialism.”

One concern Jones mentions early is the radio. He is afraid that the enemies will succeed in cutting them off. “Without communications, you’re dead,” he warns.

Jones calls out Ron Talley about having a “big mouth,” as he says more than once. He said that Talley had been tested by someone in the leadership, and had failed. “You underestimate me, son.” He should know better, Jones adds, because Ron is a street-wise man. Jones also expresses surprise, because Ron had put his ass on the line in the past, even before he was a member of the church. He could have brought down the movement, Jones says, and didn’t.

Ron apologizes several times in the tape. He admits that, “I’m not grateful enough. If I were grateful enough, I would never question anything, and I’d just go along and do more than I’m doing now.” He says later he should be more humble.

Even in the midst of the White Night, the community prepares for a birth. Jones tells the nursing staff to get ready, and to make sure that they’re rested. Nevertheless, he uses the occasion of the impending event to return to a theme of the White Night: “we’re prepared for life, and we’re prepared for death. If you’ve got anything that’s freely socialistic in you, you can take it or leave it.”

Ron is chastised for going to the nurse’s office for antibiotics on a regular basis, although later it appears that he went for pain medication or perhaps other drugs. The simple admission that he went for medication triggers a progression of thought in Jones’ mind that he speaks aloud. He notes that the drugs might be for hair loss, and wonders why. Jones says he’d be glad to lose a little hair. But then, what’s going to happen when he can’t masquerade as a sex symbol (ostensibly after the hair loss)? Well, he can still fuck for the cause. Like Grace Stoen. And she was the mother of a child who is in Jonestown. He knew the risk when he had a relationship with someone like that. He could risk losing the child. But he won’t. If they come for John Victor Stoen, they come for him. And if his followers want to go with him, they can.

Ron admits transgressions from before. Jones says they can forgive the past. “Can you analyze why? That’s what I’m interested in. I’m not interested in what one does in the past. We can forgive the past. All socialists are redemptive. If they’re not, they’re not good socialists.”

The community then discusses whether Ron should have a relationship, and/or if he should have a child. In the convoluted discourse, Jones observes that it would take “a communist psychiatrist to figure out some of this shit. But,” he adds, “the communists don’t get mentally ill so they don’t have any psychiatrists.”

There could be other reasons for Ron’s problems. Jones asks if he has “a high degree of a homosexual feeling.” After a hesitation, Ron answers yes. Jones says that narcissism, which Ron exhibits, is part of the homosexual personality. An unidentified male adds that the narcissistic tendency – the reason Ron is so wrapped up in himself – could be the drugs he admits to taking in the past. A female then warns everyone, including Ron, about him being a con artist who ran cons in the U.S., runs cons here, and can con doctors out of drugs. “[H]e’s done it for years. I could say, he creates the pain so he can get the drugs and escape the reality.”

Ron again admits his failings, but says he’s not so manipulative here, because it’s a better society here. Jones warns him to be careful in his admission, since Ron had been reported several times.

But Jones does extol Jonestown, and talks about the injustices towards blacks in the States. As one example, he talks about a black doctor accused of raping a 35-year-old white woman in her hospital bed. Since the woman was 35, Jones says, “anybody know that’s a lie.”

Nevertheless, Jones says, one of the reasons Jonestown survives is because of its watchfulness. “Everything you do, everything you say, the way you look, the way you move, where you walk, whether you smile just right, everything’s under a microscope.” According to Jones, though, that lack of privacy is a benefit, and the problems that arise as a result are his to deal with.

The hangover doesn’t incapacitate Jones, although several times he asks the meeting to go on without his direct moderation. He also uses his illness as an object lesson. “Don’t stop for this,” he says. “What’s a sick stomach? There are babies starving. There ain’t no sick stomach like a starving baby’s stomach.” After a pause, he goes on: “See, notice how I think. No matter how much discomfort there is. No matter how much discomfort is, I can imagine, what would it be to be a baby starving to death?” At the end of the tape, he reminds the community that he can’t get drunk for more than a few minutes, “because I love you too much to allow myself the privilege.”

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 numbered 1B47 number 84. This tape was found to contain the following:

This tape appears to be a recording of a “White Knight” in Jonestown, Guyana, which concerns efforts by the People’s Temple to obtain certification for the camp doctor to practice medicine in Jonestown.

The tape consists of rambling discourse by JIM JONES and others on a variety of topics. “Revolutionary Suicide” is discussed. JONES tells of a list of class enemies, and includes GRACE STOEN, TIM STOEN, WALTER JONES, Garry Lambrev, all the MYRTLES [Mertles], all the OLIVERS, LIZ FOREMAN [Forman], MICKEY TOUCHETTE, SUZANNE JONES, and MIKE CARTNELL [Cartmell]. JONES criticizes the activities of several People’s Temple members and further advised that there is now a high powered weapon on the premises. JONES further advised that if they take his child, JOHN, they would have to take him also.

Differences with FBI Summary:

The main point of the FBI summary is that Jones says there is a high-powered weapon on the premises. In the hour-long tape, the extent of discussion about the weapon is this: “I’ll tell you mighty, mighty sure that there’s a, there’s a – now, now a high-powered weapon on this place all the time, ready. It may not be through your official structure, but don’t, don’t ever make that mistake.” The summary also notes Jones’ comment that if their enemies comes after John Victor Stoen, they’ll have to take him too. See “Summary” for fuller discussion. The summary also lists Jonestown’s “class enemies,” which are also listed above.

Tape originally posted December 1998