Q979 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

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FBI Catalogue           Jones Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: (none)

Date cues on tape:    likely May 1978 (after Accusation of Human Rights Violations, around time of Stoen lawsuits)

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Mervyn Dymally, Lt. Governor of California
Willie Brown, California Assemblyman

Karl Marx, German economist, father of communism

Judge Winslow, first name unknown, friend of Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally
John Maher, head of Delancey Street Foundation
unnamed bishop in Disciples of Christ
unnamed head of Disciples of Christ

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Jim Cobb (by reference)
Terry Cobb (by reference)
Deanna Mertle (who became Jeannie Mills)
Linda Mertle
Grace Stoen
Tim Stoen

Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Ruby (three in Jonestown, and reference may be to woman not there)

Jonestown residents:
Stanley Clayton
Amondo Griffith (by reference)
Camella Griffith (by reference)
Emmett Griffith Jr. (by reference)
Emmett Griffith Sr.
Mary Griffith
Pat Grunnett
Marceline Jones
Eva Pugh
Marcie Ann Simon (by reference)
John Victor Stoen
Bobby Stroud

Bible verses cited:      None


Jim Jones presides over a meeting in which he describes the (relatively unsuccessful) efforts of the Concerned Relatives to bring them down, criticizes Tim Stoen for his campaign again them, and considers the real possibility of emigrating to the Soviet Union. While he does speak with anger at times in the tape, much of it is relatively sober – more of a report to his people – with few references to death.

For example, as he discusses his frustration with the Concerned Relatives – who keep harassing them, and while their efforts have not resulted in anyone being forced to return to the States, it takes a toll upon their own energies – he considers a more long-range solution to the problem. He rejects the idea “to take on a full stand” (i.e., mass suicide), because, as he says, “I always act somewhat as a barometer for what you are able to take … [and] some of you people are not prepared” to make that commitment. Instead, he suggests that they openly embrace who they are – more Soviet than American – and make that allegiance known to all parties, even though it will bring more criticism from the US.

In explaining the problems of being Communist and pro-Soviet, he notes that their enemies (and not just those in the Concerned Relatives) will have to try and crush them, even if they are 6000 miles away from the States. With that in mind, he asks for a vote on proceeding with the alliance; from the audible audience response, the vote seems favorable.

Much of the tape is devoted to criticism of Tim Stoen. Jones wonders how his former aide can live with himself, knowing that his opposition hurts so many of his old comrades. He points out that no one likes a sell-out, and the Temple’s allies in the States – whom Stoen has ostensibly approached – have maintained their distance from him. Even the Disciples of Christ is moving to revoke Stoen’s ordination as a minister, Jones says.

Along those lines, Jones reports that Stoen has tried to persuade the denomination to eject the Temple from its fold, on the grounds that it is now atheist. “Which we are,” Jones admits in the next breath. But Stoen has failed.

Jones describes religion in general – and by extension, the denomination in particular – as “the prostitution of all centuries… Our few dollars a year that we give in donations, they need so badly that they’ll keep atheists in their ranks.” He then anticipates the next question someone might ask, which is, why should they stay in. “Keeps us from having to pay any taxes on any of our money,” he replies. That’s Stoen’s motivation for going after them, and why they fight to keep their status: “All of our annual income this year could be taxable. And that’d be forty to fifty percent.”

Jones’ criticism of Stoen extends to his estranged wife, Grace. The Temple leader repeats the story – familiar to all in Jonestown – of why he had sex with Grace (a relationship which he says lasted “six long years” and which resulted in the birth of John Victor Stoen): she could have destroyed the movement, Jones says, and so, with the approval of Tim Stoen, the Planning Commission and his own wife Marceline, Jones made the sacrifice he needed to. Even so,  “that was a hell of a goddamn pain in the ass.”

As he relates his stories, his anger begins to mount until he lashes out at the Stoens in particular – “I could take my own hands and break their bones” – and at their enemies in general. His words against Tim persist to the tape’s end, as he raises another familiar charge, that Stoen paraded around the streets of Santa Rosa in women’s clothing. Jones says he can understand homosexuality – after all, that’s private and in a bed – but a transvestite is in the open, where he can do some damage to the movement.

Jones also adapts a mocking tone to disparage an unnamed woman – everyone there knows who she is, he says – who is selfish enough that she talks incessantly about the things she misses in the States. “I’ll be glad when they bury you, you fucker,” he says in a tight voice. It is unknown if the woman is in the audience, since she doesn’t speak and no one else picks up Jones’ calls against her. But it is only a short aside from his main target of Tim Stoen.

FBI Summary:

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 24, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-7R44. This tape was found to contain the following:

A short recording of JIM JONES telling the people of PT that TIM STOEN has been telling lies about PT and had taken legal action against the PT. JONES also stated that TIM STOEN cannot win.

Differences with FBI Summary:

The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.

Tape originally posted May 2013