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: October 15, 1974 (specified, except for year)
Fulgencio Batista, former Cuban dictator
Kathryn Kuhlman, religious faith-healer
Nikolo Gillian, Cuban poet
Vince Hallinan, S. F. attorney
George Lopez, Cuban editor
Arnual de Vega (sp?), Cuban Ministry of Internal Commerce
Patty (numerous Patty’s and Patricia’s)
Elmer & Deanna Mertle
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.)
- “And we’re the only people living the Christ’s life in the first place. Nobody else feeding the hungry. Jesus said the only judge of a Christian, the only way you could judge a Christian is if they fed the hungry, clothed the naked, took in the strangers, and by damn, we take in more people and feed more people and send food to more places, and do more for more people than anybody on earth. So we’re the only Christians, really.… And the way you’re going to have to remember it is Matthew 25 … we are the only ones doing the work of Christ. Christ said that the people that would be judged as sheep and goats, it was based on one thing. The goats were the people that had no concern for feeding the hungry or clothing the naked or going into the prisons and taking the prisoners out or ministering to the homeless, the widows and orphans in their affliction.” (Matthew 25:32-46)
“The class system won’t take on the Bible, because they’re going to use the Bible to reinaugurate slavery, because in the Bible is a perfect case for slavery, ‘cause it tells the slaves to obey their master.… So I question the Bible, and I question their God that says, slaves, obey your master, I question everything, anything there is to question, I question it.” (Colossians 3:22, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” See also, Ephesians 6:5, Titus 2:9)
“People will look to Big Brother only, or the Mark of the Beast, as you religious folks will want to say.” (numerous references in Revelation, including 13:17, 14:9-11, 15:2, 16:2, 19:20, and 20:4)
In a sermon in San Francisco, Jones tells of the progress Cuba has made since it became liberated under Fidel Castro. He talks about a country transforming itself from a racist Southern state like Mississippi into a place where everything is free.
Jones spends part of time criticizing Kathryn Kuhlman, a faith-healer who hasn’t healed anyone. The exposure of her fraud has brought disrepute upon all faith-healers, and “with the mess that’s going on, we as respectful people may very well want to get out of the entire healing business.” Her advantage is, though, that she speaks about the power of God, so no one can attack her. “And no one in this country wants to attack God, because that’s the way you control the country. You control the country by letting the people, the masses, believe in God.”
One reason the U.S. needs this is that the Bible offers the case for slavery. “I question the Bible,” he says at another point, “and I question their God that says, slaves, obey your master, I question everything, anything there is to question, I question it.
The allegiance to God gives cover to other non-mainstream groups, like the Children of God. But it puts Peoples Temple at a disadvantage, Jones says, because it has eliminated God, and said “God is here” within us. That knocks out our defenses, Jones says. Later, Jones says he is God, and “I shall remain that as long as you people hold onto superstitions.”
While Jones continues to criticize other religions, he continues to rely upon the religious motivations that allow people to follow him. He says people “with that stupid carryover religion” should leave, since Peoples Temple is better off without them, but a few moments later, says they’re building a better world, and are the only ones doing the work of Christ.
The escape to the Promised Land, Jones says, removes the Temple from the conflicts between capitalist and socialist countries. But eventually, it is only the oil economies — Venezuela, for example, near the Promised Land, and definitely not the U.S. — which will survive.
In talking about starvation, Jones cites numerous statistics about hunger and the number of people dying. He talks about seeing babies die — although not in his presence, because he could have saved those — and asks rhetorically, with so much starvation, how can you believe in a God? How you do that is a reflection on your own intelligence, he say. He also contrasts his approach to helping starving children — which is to feed them — than a missionary he was with — who wanted to save them through prayer.
In several discussions about racism, Jones talks about detention camps going up in Canada and England, and anticipated for the U.S. He talks about different “niggers” in the U.S., including Irish, Chinese and blacks. The press won’t talk about the extent of black unemployment, or concentration camps. Peoples Temple needs to stand up for what is important, to make a revolution. He also urges white people within PT to marry blacks, or adopt black babies, so they can understand the problems in their own homes.
Jones talks about being a self-made man, that no one helped him, but he got it done. He continues that he gave it all up to help others, to take on their pain. Later he says he has incredible power, but doesn’t misuse it, doesn’t think better of himself than he is.
In talking about relationships with Temple members, he says he reviews the self- and mutual evaluations that come from the workers in the Promised Land every day. At another point, he says “We need to stay together,” but then says he could tear the place apart. “I could drive half of you away, and it’d be nothing but truth that drove you away. No — because I am truth, nothing but the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the unadulterated truth, the Word.” Even later in the sermon, he says he knows enough to send people in the congregation to jail, but he won’t, because he’s not that kind of person. Finally, he talks about the “enemies” at one point, about them being in disarray, and about some of them wanting to come back. He has not determined whether he will allow that, though.
The tape ends with distribution of information about membership cards. The membership cards carry the provision of whatever is given to the church, stays in the church. Jones also asks everyone to sign two sheets of paper, including a resignation sheet. He says he won’t use them, unless someone wants “to do you harm.” In large part, though, it doesn’t matter what the cards say, because their memberships are in his heart.
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 22, 1979, Special Agent reviewed (name deleted) the tape numbered 1B6110-16. This tape was found to contain the following:
A political and religious lecture by JIM JONES before a congregation consisting of 34 minutes, which was given in the United States. Within the same tape, JONES provides instructions on filling out resignation cards for all members prior to resigning.
Differences with FBI Summary: None
Tape originally posted April 1999