Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
To read the Tape Transcript, click here. To read the Annotated Transcript, click here.
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FBI Catalogue: Jones Speaking
Date cues on tape: Mid-1973, most likely (reference to Jones influence in release of Daniel Ellsberg in May)
Sister Collier (probably Leona Collier)
Sister Inez (probably Conedy) (speaks)
Farad (last name unknown)
Johnny (last name unknown)
Sister Moore (first name unknown)
Sister Peterson (probably Rosa Lee Peterson)
Mike Prokes, by reference
Dr. Perkins, “the head of the hospital” (first name unknown)
Reverend Brown, “the head of the mayor’s youth commission”, (first name unknown)
Frederick Douglass (see Other Quotations, below)
Anton Alexander Von Auersperg (“Anastatius Grun”) German poet (see Other Quotations, below)
Oral Roberts, evangelist
Kathryn Kuhlman, evangelist
Dr. J. Bruce Massey
Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon analyst who leaked Pentagon Papers
President Richard Nixon
Martin Luther King
Elijah Muhammad, leader of Black Muslims
Native American leader in South Dakota, most likely Dennis Banks (by reference)
South Dakota Governor Richard F. Kneip (by reference)
Lester Kinsolving, newspaper columnist
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]ll the books of Abraham, they’re so confused, that if you read them, you’ll find that Abraham gets younger as his children get older.” (reference unclear)
“So I said, let there be light. And the light came. We had sun.” (Genesis 1:3, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”)
“Jesus denied the Bible. Jesus throwed a ringer around that Bible and said, get rid of it. Yes, he did. Nehemiah and Numbers said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” (Exodus 21:24, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth…”)
“Now you say, you say some kind of blasphemy. No, I say, the science of Christianity, the science of Mohammadism, the science of Buddhism, the science of Judaism, it says, as a man thinketh in his mind, so is he. In my mind, I know I’m God.” (Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”)
“I was repeating Ezekiel 16 and 6, that says, ‘As I pass by thee, Jim Jones, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee, live. Yea, I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, live.’ And I kept repeating that, because I knew it would stop blood.” (Ezekiel 16:6, “And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.”) Spoken in meeting by elderly black woman named Inez (probably Conedy)
“Yet you have a Good Friday service at high noon, and you celebrate his rising on Sunday morning, and the Bible said that he died on Friday and he rose on Sunday. That, my child, only means about a day and a half.” (Easter story in all four gospels)
“Jesus has one set of grandparents in Luke, and he’s got another set of grandparents in Matthew, and– but he’s got 15 more grandparents, as you trace him back to Abraham, in Luke 3, as he does in Matthew 1.” (Luke 3:23-38; and Matthew 1: 1-17, esp. Matthew 1:17, “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”)
“[Your Bible] doesn’t know whether Jesus… went to Egypt to flee from King Herod, or whether he stayed and kept the feast of the Passover every year in Jerusalem with his parent, because one chapter in the Bible said he stayed every year, and kept the feast of the Passover. The other chapter says he went over to Egypt.”
“[Jesus] said, it’s been said of old times – you remember what he said – it’s been said of old times, that meant it was said in the Bible, it’s been said in the old Bible, of old times that you do this, but he said, I say, it’s no longer so.” (Generally, Matthew 5:19-48)
“Jesus said, no. Resist not evil… And we’re going to love, and we’re going to overcome evil with good, and if the people slap us on the one cheek, we’re gone turn the other. Well, I turned this cheek, I turned that cheek, I turned both cheeks of my rear end. I run out of cheeks.” (Matthew 5:39, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Also, Luke 6:29)
“Jesus come along, and he said, no longer so. Said, we’re going to have to reason together. You’ve got to love your enemies, and do good to those that despitefully use you.” (Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” See also Luke 6:27, Luke 6:35).
“[King James] said Jesus would be three days in the belly of the earth. He would be dead for three days, this temple will lay three days, and then it’ll rise.” (Numerous references to rebuilding temple in three days, including Matthew 26:61, Matthew 27:4, Mark 14:58, Mark 15:29, John 2:19-20.)
“One chapter says he died … amongst three thieves. And all three thieves railed upon him. Another chapter says, only one refused to. The ones rebuked the others, and Jesus said to that thief, this day, thou shall be with me in Paradise.” (Matthew 27:38-44, especially Matthew 27:44, “The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth”; Luke 23:39, 43, “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us… And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”)
“You can get a sixty percent level, the Scripture speaks of it, sixty-fold, thirty-fold, but there’s a hundredfold, a place where you’re one hundred percent in the mind, and the mind is in you, and the energy of God become identical with your nature.” (Mark 4:20, “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” See also, Matthew 13:8, 23; Matthew 19:29; Mark 4:8; Mark 10:30; and Luke 8:8)
“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, because you have love.” (John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”)
“But if it works, use it, employ it, if it is of goodness and if it is of righteousness, whatsoever thing is lovely, whatsoever thing is good. Use it.” (Phillipians 4:8-9, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”)
“So if this body happens to be utilized just a bit too much by all the energy I put out, I’m going to have somebody else to sit here and be able to know the thoughts like I have, be able to discern the intents of the hearts like I have.” (Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”)
“You gotta go by love, child … even Jesus said, whosoever loveth is born of God.” (1 John 5:1, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”)
“Quoting the words of the immortal Frederick Douglass, ‘If every pencil, paper, periodical and pamphlet were burned, and their ashes given to the four winds of the heaven, there would still be no peace for the racist. By the wind, the breeze that soothes and the thunder that startles, he would be awakened. Thou art guilty.’ (Paraphrased from Frederick Douglass, “A Nation In the Midst of a Nation”: An address delivered New York, New York, 11 May 1853. Full text here) Spoken by second minister at meeting
Paraphrase of poem “Enemies,” by Anton Alexander Von Auersperg (“Anastatius Grun”) German poet (1806 – 1876) (Original poem found at http://www.giga-usa.com/gigaweb1/quotes2/quautauerspergantonax001.htm) Spoken by second minister at meeting
Paraphrase of poem, “Saengchai Sunthornwat: In Memory,” by Ethel Rosenberg, found at http://www.tu.ac.th/overview/honor/alumni/sangchai/sangchai.htm. Spoken by second minister at meeting
Paraphrase of poem, “The Bridge Builder,” by Will Allen Dromgoole, found on hundreds of sites on Internet. Spoken by second minister at meeting
This tape of a service in the Peoples Temple church in San Francisco consists of two distinct parts. The first third of the tape features an unnamed black man who speaks passionately of the work of the church and its leader, Jim Jones; the last two-thirds is an address by Jim Jones that touches on several familiar themes, including the miracles he has performed, the problems he has with other churches, the reasons he feels he can claim his “Godship”, and the inconsistencies and mistakes of the Bible. As with most tapes of Jones’ addresses and sermons, it ends before Jones concludes his remarks.
The tape begins with a joyful song of praise about Jim Jones, followed by equally effusive words, spoken by an unidentified black man who often uses the tones and cadences of a minister. Rather than being religious, though, the address is much more political and inspirational. He talks about fascism – which he defines as “rule by the most reactionary segment of organized financed capital” – but he also blasts what he calls the “allies of fascism,” or those who sit idly by while the problems of the community parade by them. Whether you ignore the litter at your feet or the toughs on the bus or the gangs painting graffiti on the walls, he says, you contribute to fascism, because someone will react, and “people will choose tyranny over anarchy.” Similarly, he tells people to educate themselves about the problems of their community. “I’m saying to you, Christian friends, you can’t afford the luxury of ignorance, because ignorance is an ally of fascism.”
The leader he most admires in this struggle, the unidentified man says, is Jim Jones. After reminding the congregation of the concrete accomplishments Jones has brought to the community, the man says: “One of the many reasons that I enjoy the dynamic ministry of Pastor Jim Jones is because of the truth, because of the eloquence, because of the realist approach to the things that we need… Jim Jones is walking down the life’s path, and he’s taught us how to enjoy the trip.” The man concludes his remarks by reciting several pieces of poetry about struggle and helping other people succeed, adapting them principally by inserting the name of Jim Jones as the source of aid.
When Jones takes the microphone, he begins by listing some of his recent miracles, a subject to which he returns throughout the address. Most of the miracles are what he has done for others – healed cancers, mended broken bones, brought the dead back to life – but some are things he has himself survived. He speaks of the times he was shot and stabbed., as well as of a recent event in which a man who intended to shoot Jones found himself suddenly without a gun. That man is now babbling in the street, speaking a foreign language. When he gets “corrected in his mind,” Jones promises, he will call the man back to get straight again.
The miracles have been witnessed by doctors whose patients were cured, by television and movie producers, and others outside the church. But there is a purpose beyond the healings themselves. “We do these things, not only because we are desirous to heal sick bodies, and indeed we are, but we do these things as signs that follow the believers in democratic socialism, in black liberation, we do these as attention means, to bring people to the wholeness of mind, to the healing of mind that we have, that will not only change bodies, but will change the nation.”
Even as he proclaims the miracles, the fact that there has not been a single death in the Temple since he became God, and his observation that he doesn’t need doctors for himself, he hastens to add that people should see their doctors regularly. It is more than a passing aside.
Jones also weaves his familiar attacks on ministers in other churches into the address. Some of the criticisms are directed at the unnamed preachers who drive fancy cars – “[A]nyone that can drive around in Cadillacs and Rolls-Royces, when one-half of the black population today are jobless, that person is not capable of leading you anywhere but to hell” – but he also compares his miracles to two faith-healers by name, and spends much time towards the end of the tape with carefully-crafted commentary on Black Muslims in general and, eventually, of their leader, Elijah Muhammad.
Along the way, he says that the religious leaders around them cannot be emancipated “as I” until they renounce their worldly possessions and “put the money in the people’s hands, for land, jobs, industry, businesses, and social justice in the courts.” His frustration with the ministers of all religions led him to call out, “if there’s any God in the universe, let it be deposited in me. If there’s any energy in the universe, let it be combusted in me. And that moment, it happened. And ever since that moment… I have seen myself as God, and I have seen my children as gods.”
Jones returns to the subject later in the address, but puts the concept of God in terms other than an almighty deity. “See, God is a static principle that anyone can find. Anyone can determine to be God, if they wish to be. If you’ll sacrifice your own selfishness, and lay down your own will, then you can have this abstract principle as an incarnate reality in your body.”
Nevertheless, the address seems to reflect some ambivalence about the permanence of his leadership. Despite his ability to survive assassination attempts, he says, the day may come when “this body happens to be utilized just a bit too much by all the energy I put out.” He wouldn’t leave his followers without a leader, though. “I’m going to have somebody else to sit here and be able to know the thoughts like I have [and] be able to discern the intents of the hearts like I have… I’ll have somebody to do it, because I made you a promise, and I prophesy according to my measure of faith.”
In addition, he brings up the possibility that some Temple members may think they have found another leader greater than he. If that happens, he says, “you let me go to him. I’ll teach him some of the things that I only can do in the world today, through … this great spirit of socialism.” When he raises the same issue later, though, he says, “If you can find one that looks after you better than I do, then you let me know who he is, and I’ll join him.”
In many sermons and speeches – as he does here – Jones describes himself as being black. He also claims here, as he does in other speeche , many other heritages, especially that of Native Americans. In this address, though, his self-description of being black makes it clear, he isn’t speaking of it as a race, but as an identity. “So black is a consciousness. Black is a disposition. To act against evil. To do good… One of the blonde-headed woman here was the first one to join me against the racist mob. She got out there and fought with her bare hands. She proved she was black.”
At the same time, he notes with approval the power that people of different races, nationalities and religions have when they unite. Indeed, he says, it’s the only way they can survive. “We’ve got to get together and unify, or we’re going to be overwhelmed by a common enemy.” For that reason, he says, he doesn’t care who people are or – conversely – how they perceive him, so long as they’ll work with him. He could be Buddha, he could be Allah, “I don’t care what you see me as. You can see me as a pussycat. If pussycats work for you, child, then you see me as a pussycat, and I’ll just meow till I get you free.”
Finally, Jones spends much time tearing apart the Bible and the people who use it to oppress others. He describes King James as a racist and a slaveholder, the man who used his version of the Bible to bring blacks from Africa to America in chains. He attacks King James as a bad writer, whose gospels can’t even decide how many generations there were between Abraham and Jesus.
Later in the address, when Jones talks about throwing out the Bible because it doesn’t work for him, he cites a biblical figure – Jesus – as his precedent. Jones reminds his followers that Jesus told his followers that the old Bible (i.e., the Old Testament) taught lessons that were “no longer so,” especially when it came to issues of vengeance and resistance to evil. Jones initially cites the reference about turning the other cheek with approval. As the tape nears it end about ten minutes later, though, Jones has returned to the reference with a different interpretation. “Jesus’ teachings don’t work today in America,” he says. “I’ve run out of cheeks, [and] I am no longer going to turn every other cheek.
“I will say, I will never pick up the knife. I will never pick up the gun,” he says as the tape ends. “We won’t touch one of you. But if you touch one of us, you’d better be prepared to die.”
Date of transcription: 7/6/79
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 23, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-39. This tape was found to contain the following:
Church service conducted by unknown male praising JIM JONES. This is followed by JONES recounting his “miracles”. He states at one point “I know I am God”.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted April 2002