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: Late summer 1977 (Jones has just learned of Tim Stoen’s defection)
Adolf Hitler (by reference)
George Brown, Colorado Lieutenant Governor
Mervyn Dymally, California Lieutenant Governor
Joe Mazor, detective hired by Concerned Relatives (by reference)
Joyce (likely Joyce Touchette, could be Parks or Rozynko)
(Note: This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
In this relatively short tape of a Jonestown community meeting from the summer of 1977, Jim Jones reads a letter that California Lieutenant Governor Mervyn Dymally wrote to Guyana Prime Minister Forbes Burnham which praises Jonestown and cautions the Guyana government about conspiracies against the progressive forces in the United States, such as the Peoples Temple movement.
In the second, longer, and more important part of the meeting, Jones announces the defection of former trusted Temple attorney Tim Stoen to the forces aligned against them.
Jones reports the news of Stoen’s defection calmly, especially when compared to the anger and sense of betrayal he expresses in later tapes. He says that he had warned Stoen not to return to the United States “because it would be very dangerous for him and be dangerous for all of us if he did so. Tim Stoen went to the United States against my judgment.” As Jones says he predicted, Stoen “got himself into legal difficulty,” but what he hadn’t anticipated was what happened afterwards: “And so he has now turned,” Jones says, almost casually. In the next breath, though, he adds in a similarly-even voice, “He has turned to an abominable degree, and if anything happens to me, I’m sure that conscientious people will remember that for the rest of our days.”
The tape also lays the groundwork of the strategy that the Temple will use against Tim and Grace Stoen. In language which will become very familiar to the Jonestown community, Jones says that Tim paraded around Santa Rosa in women’s clothing.
More crucial to the events that would consume Jonestown for the next year, Jones also tells of how Tim and Grace did not have a “blissful” marriage, how Tim begged his leader to have sex with Grace – even though she “disgusted” him – and how she became pregnant as a result. Further, when she went to the hospital to give birth, Jones accompanied her, and she introduced him as her husband. For anyone who needed further proof, all they had to do was look at the pictures of John Victor Stoen and the pictures of Jim Jones as a child. “John is my son,” he bluntly states, and a few moments later, vows just as bluntly, “And before I give him up, I tell you, no matter what youdecide to do, I will die.”
Jonestown is relatively small – “Jesus Christ, man,” he exclaims, “we’re trying to get 300 people over here” – but near the end of the tape, he exhorts people with rhetoric which will recur throughout the last months of Jonestown: people need to work harder so they can save more people, people need to stop complaining about conditions in the jungle community and consider how so many people around the world are truly suffering, people need to understand that Jonestown “is the greatest experience of a lifetime.”
Date of transcription: 6/27/79
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 25, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-51. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES reading a letter praising JONES and People’s Temple and complaining about a conspiracy against JONES and People’s Temple. This letter is addressed to Prime Minister of Guyana, FORBES BURNHAM and is from California Lieutenant Governor MERVIN DYMALLY.
This is followed by JONES discussing TIM STOEN and how he (JONES) fathered a child with GRACE STOEN. JONES states that before he would give the child up he would die. JONES tells the membership at large not to accept any suit papers.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted May 2009