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: Labeled in part “Language tapes”
Date cues on tape: November/December 1977 (Charles Garry has been to paradise)
Charles Garry, Temple attorney
Beverly and Howard Oliver (by reference)
Shawn Baker (sings)
Marceline Jones (sings)
Bruce Oliver (by reference)
William Oliver (by reference)
Shanda James Oliver (by reference)
John Victor Stoen (by reference)
Bible verses cited: None
This tape opens with almost 24 minutes of music performed by members of the Jonestown community, followed by a short address by Jim Jones.
The nine songs comprising the bulk of this tape seem principally to be original compositions – both the music and lyrics – by Peoples Temple members. One song does take the melody of a familiar song – “The Banana Boat Song” by Harry Belafonte – and give it complete new words, and Jim Jones sings a version of “The Hymn of the Soviet Union” which has been adapted to life in Jonestown. The themes of the music throughout are the joys of socialism, the freedom of the Promised Land, and the benevolence of Jim Jones.
There is one notable exception. The first song appears to be an adaptation of a song composed by Father Divine’s Peace Mission, with the lyric “To sing and praise and glorify/ His Holy Name” changed to “To sing and praise and glorify/ His Socialist Name.” This was not the only Peace Mission song to find its way into Peoples Temple’s repertoire; this was also only one among many songs to be adapted to reflect the views of the Temple.
After Jones leads the final song, he addresses the crowd in a more structured and inspirational speech than many of the stream-of-consciousness and somewhat disjointed conversations he would have in future months. He speaks of the sacrifices they have all made to get there – and of the battles they’re still waging – but it’s all been worth it. They’re learned to lived together cohesively. In a ministerial tone reminiscent of his sermons in the States, he lauds what the movement has done, and what the future holds for them.
Only at the end of this relatively short address does he talk about their opponents – specifically their relatives, and most particularly, Grace Stoen – but even that is in the context of the failure of their enemies’ campaign to bring them down.
For the most part, then, he does look to the future in terms of hope and progress in realizing their own vision. “We don’t know about the communism of the rest of the world, but we know about the communism that’s here. And that communism has satisfied us, and is going to continue to satisfy us, because we’re going to improve upon it.” He speaks of the unity of their efforts, whatever they do – “wherever we go, we go together” – and of what they need to do accomplish their goals in terms of food production, etc. Only once does he invoke death, and that is near the end of his address, when he speaks in defiance of their opposition: “we want the world to know that we will exist together or we shall die together.”
Date of transcription: 6/29/79
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 8-9, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B102-3. This tape was found to contain the following:
Unidentified female individual leading people in songs about father, Guyana, Socialist land, and work.
In addition, JIM JONES talks to the assembly of members and makes the following statements:
1) We want the world to know that we will either exist together or we shall die together.
2) This family will have to stay together and anyone that wants to penetrate it or to divide it or in any way circumvent it, they’re going to have hell to pay.
3) I’m still pretty good with my trusty little six shooter.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted May 2013