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: 1972 (Nixon/McGovern election coming up)
President Richard Nixon
George McGovern, Democratic nominee for President
Hubert Humphrey (by reference), 1968 Democratic nominee
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)
former Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev
Nelson Rockefeller, governor of New York
General David Shupe, commander of the Marine Corps
Gen. Matthew Ridgeway
Gen. Mark Clark
Gen. James Gavin
Rear Admiral Arnold True
Gen. Hugh Hester
James Francis McIntyre, Archbishop of Los Angeles, Nixon supporter
(first name unknown) Soyaki (phonetic), Jones’ Japanese friend in WWII concentration camp
Bible verses cited:
(Editor’s note: The verses below appear in order of biblical reference, not as they appear in Jim Jones’ address. For a complete scriptural index to the sermons of Jim Jones, click here.)
- “[A]s a tree falls, so shall it lie.” (Ecclesiastes 11:3, “…if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.”)
“I want to be like Jonah of old, I want to be proven wrong. Jonah got mad when his prophecy went wrong. See, God showed him Nineveh was going to be destroyed, and then God decided not to, and Jonah got mad Ocause he didn’t get the prophecy carried out, supposedly. Jonah wasn’t happy that his own prophecy hadn’t been carried out. I’ll be happy if one of my prophecies fail.” (Jonah 3:1-4:11)
“Jesus said, be ye perfect, even as I and the heavenly father are perfect.” (Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”)
“Jesus told you to do, build a heaven here. He said, thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth.” (Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:10-15, Luke 11:2-4)
“[Jesus] said the word is nigh you, the kingdom is within you.” (Luke 17:21, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” See also Luke 10:9-11.)
“It’s very evidently clear on the day of Pentecost, they that believed were together and had all things common. They bought their possessions to the apostles’ feet, and the apostles parted, every man as he had need. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Now we’ve been told that this was a Marxist concoction, but it isn’t…That’s what the New Testament spoke about. All the people holding things in common” (Acts 4:31-32, 34-35, “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common… Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” Also, Acts 2:44-45, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”)
“You better get about doing what Jesus told you to do, build a heaven here.” [Reference uncertain]
This 1972 sermon in Redwood Valley touches on many familiar themes in Jim Jones’ speeches — racism in American society, the evils of capitalism and the use of wealth to suppress blacks, war as a tool of the rich to make money for themselves and to subjugate lower classes — but it includes several overtly partisan remarks.
At one point, Jones urges his congregation to vote for George McGovern, the nominee of the Democratic Party, as the lesser of two devils; soon afterwards, though, he says that the country would’ve been better off with the Democrat’s 1968 nominee Hubert Humphrey, and that it’s a “realistic” choice to side with McGovern. Hereturns to the theme later, when he says: “We have to get involved with politics. It’s your duty.”
Nevertheless, he criticized those on the right who use God in defense of Nixon. “If God is for Mr. Nixon, why can’t we be for him,” he quotes one as saying. That makes Jones nervous, he confesses. That’s the kind of thinking that led to the death of seven to nine million Jews in Europe during World War II.
The talk begins in mid-sermon, as many of the tapes do, with Jones’ statement that he’s proven “you cannot base your faith upon the Bible.” Nevertheless, he uses the Bible throughout his speech, quoting Scripture in defending his call to build heaven on earth, rather than to wait for after people die. He also says that to trust your judgment of the Bible, you have to be socialist. “The only ethic by which we can lift mankind today is some form of socialism. There’s a smattering of it in the New Testament.” He continues that what others say is Marxist or socialist, in fact, goes back to the Bible or even earlier, and that the “dialectic of history” demonstrates that humans are capable of perfection.
Returning to the theme later, he says if you operate from a socialistic or humanistic ethic and if you recognize the errors of the Bible, then you’ll also see its truths and the good you can do with it. “I’m not an atheist, but I behave as an atheist. I do good for good’s sake, with no thought of compensation… I just want to see a better world.”
He links socialism and the Bible again later. “Socialist consciousness means that you believe in these days that … government must come whereby the means of production and distribution are owned by the people. That’s what the New Testament spoke about.” In conclusion, he says that’s why he calls capitalism the devil and socialism as God. “That’s what we’re saying. The perfection of man. Christians say it, but they don’t believe. [Karl] Marx said it. He said man is capable of perfection. Christians say, that you must be perfect like God is, [but] it won’t work.”
He criticizes U.S. involvement in Vietnam, saying that our involvement there was for exploitation of the people and resources in the country, not to save them from communism. The same motivations apply in American society as well, and those in the audience who think they have it so good, “if you have to go to an intensive ward of a hospital… the special care [is] based on how important [you] are in the capitalist structure.” He adds though, that because of his work, there has not been a single death in the Temple for five years.
He also characterizes the American system as an oligarchy or a plutocracy, not a democracy. Citing the examples of the Kennedy family and Nelson Rockefeller, he says, “You have a right to vote for the few that have the most money to buy the nomination of their particular office.”
His fatalism returns as he discusses the approaching nuclear war. “I have given the date, the month and the year where nuclear war will take place.” He says he hopes to be wrong, but he hasn’t been so far, and that 11 of the 14 cycles of prophecy have come to pass.
At one point, he runs out of breath and pauses to reflect. He recognizes, he says, that people are there for healings or singing. That saddens him, when they’re all “a stroke of the pen” away from concentration camps. For those who say it can’t happen, he cites the Japanese in California. He admits there are more blacks than there were Japanese, but they had money and property, and we don’t. “We have throwed our money down ratholes. For churches. For cars. For clothes.” But it doesn’t make any difference, because when the white man sees us niggers — for he expresses his pride again in considering himself a nigger too — “Whitey” doesn’t see the clothes, he only sees our race.
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 21, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-9. This tape was found to contain the following:
A sermon to the congregation by JONES consisting of some 13 minutes of tape. The sermon is believed to have taken place in the United States. The remaining portions of the tape are blank and appear to contain no items of evidentiary nature.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate — with the exception that it lasts closer to 30 minutes, rather than 13 — and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted October 2000