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 Concertape C-90/ "April 1 Sat Night Service" Gila wasn’t sure of length
Date cues on tape: 1 April 1978 (notation on tape cover consistent with context)
Public figures/National and international names:
- Hamilton Green, Guyana official
Mr. Marcuys, police official
Moms Mabley, comedienne
Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
- Tim Stoen
Harry & Rosemary Williams
Temple members not on death or survivors’ lists:
- Lela Murphy (died prior to community moving to JT)
Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Brother Edwards (probably James)
Jeff (probably Carey)
Maizy (none on Jonestown death list or survivor’s list)
Rose (probably Rose Shelton)
Wanda (numerous Wandas)
Williams (probably Syola Williams Turner)
- Tom Adams
Kathy Purifoy, aka Kathy Richardson
Jewell James Simpson
Harriet Sarah Tropp
Bible verses cited: Generic reference to proverbs/Proverbs? "I’m talking in the proverbs of those that will understand."
This meeting of the Jonestown community includes long statements of Jim Jones’ personal philosophy. It is self-pitying at times, in part because he says he isn’t feeling well.
Jones begins the conversation by saying he is sensitive to noise. He criticizes members of the community for their selfishness, and says they might not miss him if he were dead. And he could do that, he adds, he could die tonight. But even though that would mean they could do what they want, he ponders what would it mean for the movement. He didn’t have the moral right to die, he says.
He speaks of Cuba, the Soviet Union, and Congress. He says that the Soviets are threatened by the community’s goodness and its lack of elitism; they’re also impressed by their atheism.
But it’s the “paranormal factor that does kind of confuse things.” It confuses him as well, he says. However, his powers to heal does not transfer to a belief in a loving God. “It don’t make me believe in anything but me, and believe in the efficacy of communism.” That doubles back to himself, though. “I don’t think that we could ever talk enough about the advantages of communism. And I know we can’t talk enough about the goodness of the leader.”
He says they have a right to die, and even to want Dad to die. But what about the others, he asks rhetorically. What about those members of the Temple who have not seen Jonestown? Or the betrayal it would represent to those who have worked hard in Jonestown?
In a conversation that sounds as though it’s with himself even though hundreds of people are before him he asks why do some care and not others? He wonders aloud whether they think Jim Jones is getting something extra out of this. Well, it’s true, he concludes. He gets pain. He doesn’t get any joy there, because his days are filled with such worry. Throughout, though, he speaks of his love for the community.
He chastises a member for thinking of suicide selfishly. Since the mind doesn’t die with the body, he says, “you’ll come back. I’ll bet it isn’t any time until you’re born again in some other baby.”
He acknowledges a powerful sex urge, driving him more strongly than any human being has ever been driven, but says he doesn’t think about fulfilling it, “because there’s too many people never have had any kind of love at all.” Besides, he adds, you don’t prove your love for someone in bed. Nevertheless, he adds that “sex is life with me,” but what turns him on is the inner beauty of a person, warmth, compassion, character. “So I want to hold people, I would like to hold all of you in my arms and, so that you never have any more pain, never have any more pain, give you all the love I could give you and then be able to grant you eternal rest.”
Sinking into self-pity, he laments that he always has to be at his best. Still, it won’t be enough. He won’t be remembered for his healings or anything he has done down here, but “[w]hen one good person goes down, I’ll be blamed.” His private prison makes him suffer along with those in Learning, and he knows there’s always room for improvement in himself, just as there is in others. “When I know the most sensitive, dedicated human being on earth, says there’s room for improvement in him, I know there’s room for improvement in everybody else.”
He says he has nothing against homosexuals, but he has a problem with some of the men who act it out with his involvement. “I have had to have a smell of their nasty ass, and I do resent it, because I don’t like shit, I like flowers.”
His remarks about homosexuals sends him into a criticism of Tim Stoen, and he remarks how one little twist of history can send someone on a different path. And that, he continues, is why they can’t allow elitism. Even though he expresses great anger towards Stoen, saying he could “literally kill him,” he criticizes himself for his feelings of vengeance. “You know, I don’t like to feel vengeance. What the hell is vengeance? Don’t get caught up in vengeance, let’s be caught up in principle. Do what the hell’s right.” He concludes his remarks about Stoen as a father would about a wayward son, wondering why he couldn’t see goodness, why he acts so strongly against the community.
He wonders why people have doubts about his goodness, even though they enjoy the benefits of his work in Jonestown and his paranormal dimension. “I’m so sure of my principles and my goodness and my honesty and my introspection and my soul-searching analysis, that I can answer any question you’ve got to ask. And if you can see my goodness, then you would work on your goodness.”
Still, he confesses his suicidal feelings which were present even when he was a boy. He speaks about his uncle wanting to die, but “there was no communists around to help him.”
He warns what will happen if Guyana authorities try to serve papers against them, because if they try to come out here, “we’re not going to be alive out here, if you do. We’re going to raise hell, we’re not going to eat, and then we’re going to do some other things.” He encourages people to refrain from acting like a “crazy nigger” just for the sake of being nasty, to reserve it only “when you’re dealing with a class enemy.”
The community has its strength in numbers, he says. “That’s what you get in a communist society, that kind of protection, with a communist leader that’s pure. A structure. You’ve got a thousand people that’ll defend you when they come for you.”
Even though Stoen is their enemy, he says the apostate is under constant surveillance. He has people who are ready to kill him. If they ever hear that a White Night has started, they’ll take the enemies down with them.
Date of transcription: 4/11/79
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 April 3, 1979, Special Agent reviewed (name deleted) the tape numbered 1B62#74. This tape was found to contain the following:
A speech by JIM JONES during at “severe headache” period brooching [broaching] topics including:
- (1) America’s interest in Jonestown “We’re the Talk of Congress”
(2) JONES rejection of religion and the benefits of communism.
(3) Revolutionary suicide
(4) An indictment of TIM STOEN for his rejection of Jones ideology. JONES said several times (regarding STOEN) “I could kill him”, “I got the man who can get him.” JONES also said (to the assembly), “If TIM gets into a court of law, he can kill you (the assembly),” “I’d like to make him tiger bait.”
(5) TIM STOEN is under constant surveillance by JONES’ group.
(6) JONES appears at one point to be addressing a “learning” group apparently children who are being disciplined for some reason.
(7) Dr. GREEN is shipping for 13,000 pounds of medicine to Jonestown.
(8) JONES mentions that he could call a “White Night” by saying “go thou send me” or It’s it”, a sign to attack the enemies.
(9) JONES said “Andrew Young, according to the foreign minister of Guyana is gonna’ be sacrificed just before the elections… He’s a liability… and yet he lifted up the lone vote in the security counsel to vote for Rhodesia.”
Differences with FBI Summary: None
Tape originally posted January 1999