Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue: Jones Speaking
Date cues on tape: none
Mary Bowen (speaks)
Ruth Dean (speaks)
L. M. House (phonetic) (speaks)
Sadie Jacobs (phonetic) (speaks)
Catherine Listen (phonetic) (speaks)
Iona Mann (phonetic) (speaks)
Esther Purifoy (speaks)
Hester Smith (speaks)
Rachel (last name unknown) (speaks)
Members of Peoples Temple
Jim McElvane (speaks)
Thelma Belcher (phonetic), connection to Sadie Jacobs
James Chance, son of Mary Bowen
Henrietta Fleming, connection to Sadie Jacobs
Fanny Green, connection to Sadie Jacobs
George Listen, husband of Catherine Listen
Iona Mann (phonetic), acquaintance of healed woman
Ruth Morgan, friend of Sadie Jacobs
Annie Rice, daughter of Sadie Jacobs
Etta Mae Robinson, connection to Sadie Jacobs
Wesley Smith, son of Hester Smith
Dorothy Taylor, daughter of healed woman
Bible verses cited:
(Click here for a scriptural index to the sermons of Jim Jones.)
- “Because he that keeps my sayings, Christ said, shall not die.” (John 8:51, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” Also, generally, Revelation 22:5-14)
(Note: This tape was transcribed by the late Michael Bellefountaine.)
(Note: This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from public disclosure.)
In this undated faith-healing service, Jim Jones cures numerous people – all but one of them women – of various diseases, including cancer, sight problems, crippling paralysis and other ailments of the joints, and strokes. Some of the cures are quite dramatic: a woman who couldn’t see is able to count the number of fingers on Jones’s upheld hand, even though they are separated by the full length of the sanctuary; a woman who could barely walk on artificial knees runs laps around the congregation; more than one cancer patient returns from the bathroom holding vile-smelling growths to present to the crowd. One woman is raised from the dead, but the miracle takes place in the bathroom, beyond the hearing of the microphone. The tape includes only the celebration afterwards.
The service has a wider audience than the people in the sanctuary. A radio announcer describes the action going on when the audio from the church is insufficient to tell the story, and his excitement waxes and wanes with that of the congregants. Since other tapes include pointers on how to present testimonials for Jim Jones suitable for broadcast, it may be assumed this tape was used for a similar purpose.
The healings follow a process which is almost a ritual. Jim Jones calls out someone by name from the audience, and describes the illness or condition which the person is suffering. As proof of his knowledge of the illness, Jones then reveals facts about the person’s life. Sometimes it’s the name of a relative (including the date of death if the relative is no longer living), other times it’s a mundane detail. He knows, for example, about the deterioration of the muscles in a woman’s legs, “[j]ust as I know that there’s a white linen tablecloth in your third drawer of your chest in Phoenix.” The purpose of these revelations, he says, is to “build your faith just a little bit,” although he’s always careful to note that Jones and the supplicant have never met, thereby building the faith within the church community. In most cases, the person under Jones’ care expresses gratitude even before the healing has begun. Jones then whispers some glossolalia – that is, he speaks in tongues – or presents a healing cloth, or, in one case during this service, offers a Christian prayer. Then, to the cheers and applause and singing from the congregation, the newly-healed person celebrates his or her good fortune with incredible displays of restored health.
Jones also dispenses healing cloths to be sent to persons not in attendance, and explains how they will work. Some will do the healing work on a specific condition that Jones usually cures himself during the service. Other uses are preventative or as insurance or protection from an event that might otherwise happen (“[P]inning these in both boots and on your green coat… will save you a terrible fall that would have broken both of your hips”).
Jones recognizes that some people are so scared, apprehensive, or concerned about their privacy that they’re reluctant to talk about their illnesses or to acknowledge the personal details of their lives that he might reveal. He tries to reassure them. “You that are not familiar with this ministry, we endeavor very, very hard to see that nothing is spoken that would in any way cause embarrassment to you,” he says. “But if there is something very private, we will speak it to one of the registered nurses that work without compensation, or one of the social workers, and they will speak to you, personally.”
Along the way, Jones offers his philosophy behind faith healing: “[A]s you believe in the spirit of God, in keeping with the spirit, you may be healed mentally and spiritually… If you apply [your faith] to the spirit of God, your spirit will be healed. And if you apply it to the mind of God, your mind can be healed. But if you apply it to the body of God, then your body will be healed.”
He immediately follows with an assertion – repeated elsewhere as well – which both critics and supporters of Jones’ ministry in Peoples Temple have wrestled with: “Those that recognize the body of God shall reduplicate that process in them. If you see the temple of the Holy Ghost, then you’ll be able to reproduce God in you.”
He does expand upon this on several occasions, to show how God is in him and how – by extension – that makes him God. As he heals one woman, he tells her, “You’re not going to die here, because God and not another is here.” Towards the end of the service, he is even more emphatic. “Nobody can take you when you’re crippled up with arthritis, cause you to walk, nobody can take the cancer from you but God,” he says, immediately after he has taken the cancer from a woman.
Although much of this could be found in any of Jones’ faith-healing services, there are a few conversations which differentiate this one from others. This is apparently the first time Jim Jones met Jim McElvane, the young black man who would eventually hold a position of leadership in Jonestown (although it is also possible that Jones knew McElvane from before, and that this “introduction” was staged). Jones also meets Esther Purifoy, a relative of two young people who would later die in Jonestown.
Jones also breaks out of his ministerial style at one point when his revelation about one woman informs him that she has extrasensory powers of her own. “Sometimes in your mind, you know what peoples’ ages are,” he says, then continues in a more conversational tone, “First time I’ve seen a legit for a while. I want to get to know you.”
Jones also puts his own mark on a standard faith-healing session with two characteristics of his own. In one, he intimates the presence of sinister forces behind the car crash in which Jim McElvane’s brother was killed. “There was no clues [in the cause of the accident],” he says over McElvane’s soft assents. “Someone’s trying to do the same to you.” Jones gives McElvane healing cloths for him and his surviving brother. “You know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a conspiracy. You got to keep this on you and on him.” The theme of conspiracy drove much of Jones’ worldview and many of his decisions, including on the final day.
Secondly, Jones’ high regard for animals surfaces again here. He tells one woman to treat her pets well, because she needs them for protection. Later, though, he is more general in his expression of love for the four-legged beasts around them, and explains why. “I want you to be kind to little animals. They’re far more loyal to you than people. You say that they don’t have any souls, but I tell you another thing, I know better… The best friends I’ve had in the healing work is some loyal animal that stands by beside you.”
Date of transcription: 7/9/79
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 June 14, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B107-11 This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES offering up prayers and curing physical ailments such as Cancer, stroke and heart disease at a “healing service”. Later, JONES raises a woman from the dead.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate – other than the fact that the raising of the dead occurs “offstage” from the sanctuary where the tape is being made – and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted April 2004