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 “Feb 7, 1977 Philadelphia”
Date cues on tape: Contents of tape consistent with identification note
Geneva Beal (speaks)
Selika Bordenave (speaks)
Archie Ijames (by reference)
Jim Jones, Jr.
President Jimmy Carter
Rosalynn Carter, First Lady
Ruth Carter Stapleton, sister of President Carter
Former president Richard Nixon
Otto Kerner, former governor of Illinois
Patricia Roberts Harris, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (by reference)
Joseph Califano, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (by reference)
Press Secretary Jody Powell (by reference)
Guyana Prime Minister Forbes Burnham (by reference)
Gen. Ernesto Geisel, president of Brazil (by reference)
Aparicio Mendez, president of Uruguay (by reference)
Gen. Augusto Pinochet, president of Chile
Alfredo Stroessner, president of Paraguay (by reference)
Idi Amin, president of Uganda
Johannes Vorster, Prime Minister of Union of South Africa (by reference)
Bernard Bergman, nursing home owner
David Frost, TV talk show host
Dorothy Hunt, wife of Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt
J. Vernon McGee, radio evangelist
Roy Wilkins, leader of NAACP
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.)
- “… [ministers] want their pastors’ birthdays, and yet it is said God is no respect of persons. Anybody that goes to a church that gives people pastors’ wives’ teas and preacher’s birthdays, you are guilty of violating the commandment, because God said to treat no one with respect to persons” (2 Chronicles 19:7, “Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.” See also, James 2:1-4)
“It said the government is upon his shoulders. And unto that government there is no end.” (Isaiah 9:6-7, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: … Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”)
“We’re to cry aloud and we are to spare not. We’re to show people their transgressions and all this house’s sins and its inequities.” (Isaiah 58:1, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”)
“Nobody got the courage of a Jeremiah, nobody going to stand up and speak but me.” (Jeremiah 19:14-15, “Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, whither the LORD had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the LORD’S house; and said to all the people, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.”)
“[Jesus] said the Bible said … an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, he said I said unto you, it’s no longer so.” (Matthew 5:38-39, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 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.”)
“[The Bible] Didn’t say do unto others as they do unto you. It said do unto others as you have them do unto you. Most of us do onto others before they do it to us.” (Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”)
“I’ve got one thing I’m glad about. The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” (Matthew 19:30, “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” See also Matthew 20:16, Mark 10:31, Luke 13:30)
“Because as husband, I must be first protecting the fruit.” (Parable of the husbandmen and the vineyard, Matthew 21:33-44, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19)
“[I]f anything would give you the heavy heart that Jesus had on his way to Golgotha…” (the location of Jesus’ crucifixion, named in Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, and John 19:17-18)
“Jesus said, we must live by the spirit, … not by bread alone, bread means the written code.” (Luke 4:4, “And Jesus answered [the devil], saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” See also Matthew 4:4)
“Our God is not flesh and blood, but it’s spiritual.” (John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”)
“Jesus said, we must live by the spirit, not by the flesh.” (John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”)
“Wonderful to know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)
[Later] “You got to know the truth, ‘cause the truth will set you free.”
“[Jesus] didn’t say I came to give you a burial plan. He said, I came to give you life and life more abundantly.” (John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”)
“When they took him away, he said for what good work do you take me away? They said for no good work, but because you being a man make yourself God. He said, it’s written, oh, generation, foolish generation, it’s written ye all are gods.” (John 10:31-34, “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shown you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?’)
“You know what I believe? [Jesus] said, though you are dead, yet you shall live, and he that liveth and believeth shall never die.” (John 11:25-26, “Jesus said unto [Martha], I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”)
“And he said, when I go away, these things shall you do, but greater. Greater suffering, greater miracles, everything greater. That’s what he said, not only the same things shall you do, but the same things and greater.” (John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”)
“You can hate me. That’s all right. They killed Jesus, and they said they will kill us – in the last days, they will kill us – thinking they do what? God a service.” (John 16:2, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”)
“He said no man can know who Jesus is, no one can call Jesus the Christ except by the spirit of truth.” (John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” See also John 14:17)
“[Jesus] said we had to be made perfect, even as he was perfect.” (Generally, John 17, esp. John 17:23, “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”)
“The finality, we’re going to have to live up to the code that was established in Jerusalem when the revolution took place and Rome was overthrown. It didn’t happen that night, but the moment those 120 people of all races and all tongues got together, the moment they spoke with a new tongue – that wasn’t just an unknown tongue, but a new tongue – the moment they were set on fire with the revolution of Pentecostal socialism, that moment the dictatorship of Rome began to fall.” (Generally, Acts 1:12-2:20)
“We all live as it was on the day of Pentecost, we all share and have all things common… we share and we all eat as they did and was revealed in the church on the Apostolic day.” (Acts 2, esp. Acts 2:44-45, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”)
[Later in address] “As it was on the day of Pentecost, so must it be in the church today. When they were baptized – the moment they were baptized in the name of Jesus – what happened? They sold their possessions and had all things common.” (Acts 2, esp. Acts 2:44-45)
“He said how can you hear without a preacher, how can he preach, lest he be sent.” (Romans 10:14-15, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?…”)
“You are not saved by Bibles, you are saved by the foolishness of preachers.” (1 Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”)
“Only a child can take milk, but you need to get up where you can eat the strong meat, the strong meat.” (1 Corinthians 3:2, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” See also Hebrews 5:12-14)
“Christ had blessed me with the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
“Honey, you’re still a baby, but Paul said that it’s time to come on up a little higher and put away those childish things. He said, when I was a child I spake as a child, but he said you need to get up.” (1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”)
“He lived by the New Testament, his own testament. His own testimony. He lived by the living epistle that he was. Read and known of all men.” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”)
“The Bible warns you even against itself. [It] Says the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. What is the letter? The letter, the letter, the letter to Romans, the letter to Corinthians, the letter to the Colossians, the letter to Timothy, letter means Bible. Second Corinthians 3:6 says the letter – the Bible – kills.” (2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”)
“Where the spirit of God is, there’s liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”)
“Hallelujah, I’m crucified with Christ, I’m crucified with Pentecostal socialism. Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ that liveth in this body.” (Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”)
“That’s the commandment. [The Bible] said, bear one another’s burdens. It said minister to the necessities of all the saints or all the believers. It said take care first of the household of the faith.” (Generally, Galatians 6, esp. Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ,” and Galatians 6:10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”)
[Later in address] “He said we’re to bear one another’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”)
[Later in address] “[You] say, well, what’s [the Promised Land in Guyana] got to do with the church? Well, it’s all about taking care of the household of the faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
[Late in address] “In order to fulfill the scripture to take care of the household of the faith, I’ve got some land over [in Guyana].” (Galatians 6:10)
“They’re afraid to stand up and say, something’s rotten. Something’s corrupt. Spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”)
“How many have been healed … I’m talking about the Christ in me making contact with the Christ in you.” (Colossians 1:25, 27, “…I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; … To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”)
“It is written the love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil…”)
[Later] “[You] Say, why do you got to talk about [the ruling class]? Because that’s the antichrist. Said the love of money is the root of all evil so you better find out what the love of money is. Well, the love of money that is the root of all evil is called capitalism. (1 Timothy 6:10)
[Several other discussions of capitalism and money as “root of evil”]
“I’m talking about God’s church. I’m not talking about that form that they have out there, that form that denies the power thereof.” (2 Timothy 3:5, “[Of men] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”)
[Later] “If you will stop wasting your money on these great cathedrals that have nothing, form of godliness denying the power thereof, you’re going to have to get the spirit.” (2 Timothy 3:5)
“He learned perfection, he was made perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 5:8-9, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”)
“I’m talking to you about the holiness without which no man shall see God.” (Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”)
“We cannot possibly get to the truth unless you preach against discrimination, ‘cause that’s what respect of person means. Respect of person is discrimination, and said, the worst commandment there was, more severe than breaking, thou shall not kill, was where it says is to hold respect of persons. (James 2: 1-18, esp. James 2:9-10, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”)
[Numerous other discussions of “respect of persons”]
“Faith without works is dead. Faith that doesn’t work is dead and faith without works is dead.” (James 2:20-26, esp. James 2:26, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”)
“It is written God is love, and love then must be God. It said, whosoever loveth is born of God and knoweth God.” (1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”)
“Jesus said, he was one that stirred up the people, he said these are they that turn the world upside down.” (Unknown reference; several references to prophets and apostles stirring the people, but none in KJV to Jesus)
(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by the late Michael Bellefountaine.)
(Note: This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from public disclosure.)
Made in 1977 during People Temple’s last tour of the East Coast, this tape features an address by Jim Jones on the themes he has developed over the years: the authority in the Bible through which people can claim their freedom and divinity; the hypocrisy and ills of American society, especially in its treatment of lower classes and racial minorities; the danger of nuclear war; and the sanctuary they all have waiting for them in the Promised Land of Guyana.
At the same time, it is an atypical address. While Jones’ message is familiar to the Temple members in the audience, the fact is that the address takes place in a church in Philadelphia, and many people in attendance are hearing him for the first time. As a result, his rhetoric is less confrontational, his claims of personal divinity less emphasized, his denigration of the Bible less pronounced. It is a political speech, a call to social action, a sometimes fiery sermon, but it is meant for public consumption, as opposed to the addresses he delivered during the same period in California before the household of the faith.
For that same reason, it is also much more religiously oriented than other addresses of the period, and certainly more so than the meetings he convenes in Jonestown a few months after this speech. He explicates many verses of the Bible, especially from the New Testament, and within that, especially the texts which extol communal living, compassion and brotherhood.
The meeting likely occurs on the second night of a two-night stay in Philadelphia. People have been healed the previous night – and three women testify about those healings as the tape opens – and this night, people have returned to hear the healer talk about his ministry (although, as Jones himself notes, some people would have preferred more healings over hearing the truth of his sermon). Following the testimonies, the Peoples Temple choir performs four songs. The balance of the tape is Jones’ address.
Jones begins with a Christian message. He speaks of God’s love, of Christ’s suffering and sacrifice, and of Christ’s attainment of perfection while on the cross. Jones speaks of Jesus being persecuted because he is a man who makes himself God, and quotes Jesus’ reply that, “Ye all are gods.” Although Jones soon returns to the subject of God’s love, he leaves the balance of his introduction alone.
He tells his audience about the facilities at Peoples Temple – the health care, the legal services, the homes for seniors and children – and says that his followers share their assets and their talents, with the result that some of their seniors who never would have been able to afford a trip across the country are in the pews of this church. He stresses the communal aspect of Temple life, comparing their work as the embodiment of the day of Pentecost. “What does it mean to have all things common?” he asks. “It means you don’t have to worry anymore.…
“When you are together as one,” he continues in the preaching style of the Black Church, “you don’t have to worry anymore, you don’t have to worry, you don’t have to worry, you don’t have to worry no more.”
The communal aspects are in accordance with God as a principle, Jones points out, especially if you recognize that the principle is love. That principle is not something you share once a week on Sunday morning, he says, but is as constant and mutually-beneficial as a family. “Praise his name,” he says over the ensuing applause. “Praise his holy name. I’m talking about God, I know God, so I praise his holy name.”
Jones then speaks of current conditions of life in America, a theme he returns to several times in his address. Over the course of the 75 minutes captured on this tape, he excoriates the rich for not paying their fair share and – worse – for ripping off the weak and vulnerable. He talks about the power of the corporations, not only in ruling American life but in controlling world events. He points to wage discrepancies between black and white, the racial disparities in incarceration rates, and the inability of the poor to get basic government services in their communities.
The same racial considerations drive his observations of the international scene. He points out the sins of the minority-run governments on the African continent – referring to the leaders as “white Hitlers” – then notes that the U.S. seems to be concerned only with the sins of Idi Amin, a black “wild man” who governs Uganda.
Jones then introduces his Philadelphia audience to other ideas more typical of his speeches. He tells the people “to get ready for concentration camps… [g]et ready for identification marks to be put on your body … even if necessary tattooed on you.” This is what the corporations are doing elsewhere in the world, and the lessons of the other nations are clear. “[T]he same corporations that rule this country, the same megalomaniacs, the same elitist, the same ruling class – Ford, Dupont, Chrysler, General Motors – they’re running the show over there. And if they will do that to our people over there, they’ll do it here when the trouble comes.”
His warnings of concentration camps aren’t the only predictions he makes. There will be forced sterilizations, he says, “cybernetics, mutations created by messing with genes,” and lobotomies used to control black troublemakers. He also speaks of the caves in California which will provide refuge to Peoples Temple members in the event of nuclear war – an apocalyptic theme common in Jones’ discourses – but then he adds, “there’s things worse than nuclear war.”
The troubles which America faces are not all from economic sources, but from social malcontents as well. Jones speaks more than once of the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, especially in prisons – “it almost took over Attica prison,” he says – and of the continuing genocide against Native Americans. His descriptions of racial discrimination weave in the historical as well, and he speaks with barely-contained fury about the recently-documented human experimention upon blacks in the South during the 1930s in the study of syphilis. He reminds the congregation that the Japanese were interred during World War II, but not the “blond-headed … blue-eyed” Germans.
The discrimination runs from the overt to the subtle, he says, as is evidenced by the substandard food – the rotten meat which has been injected with dyes to make it seem fresh, the stale bread, the old vegetables and fruits, the stale bread – that is sold in ghetto supermarkets.
After cataloguing these problems, Jones declares that they are all “niggers.” But they should embrace the word, he says, “that is a good word.” Racial minorities, lower classes of all races, people dispossessed of their homes are niggers. “Nigger means cheated…,” he continues. “[T]he poor have got to realize that they are the niggers that are going to have to unite against those that are the rich ruling class, that are indeed the antichrist who love money which is the root of all evil.”
Indeed, the love of money as the root of all evil, quoted from the book of 1 Timothy and repeated throughout the service, is the basis, not only of this sermon, but the overall philosophy of Peoples Temple. Jones’ attacks on American society – and the capitalistic foundation for its corruption – recur throughout his speech, just as his descriptions of the Temple as a contrast to that corruption. “They buy you and they buy me, if we could be bought, but … we are not going to be kinship with this world. Our God is not flesh and blood, but it’s spiritual, it’s an ideal, it’s Pentecostal socialism. We’re not going be oppressed by the tyranny of all the oppressive riches.”
He seeks to demonstrate that Pentecostal socialism will ultimately prevail – over American society, even over the mainline churches – just as it prevailed in the Bible. When the Holy Ghost appeared on the day of Pentecost, he says, the people gathered together didn’t speak in an unknown tongue, but rather in a new tongue that they all understood, one that united them in brotherhood. “The moment they were set on fire with the revolution of Pentecostal socialism, that moment the dictatorship of Rome began to fall.”
He has that power of Pentecostal socialism, he says. It enables him to walk on water, to stop the snow and the rain from falling, to heal the sick and raise the dead. They have all seen his miracles, but he performs them for a purpose. “Hallelujah, hallelujah,” he says. “I’m talking about the Christ in me making contact with the Christ in you.”
Jones offers the Temple as a contrast to other churches, as well a contrast to society at large and government in general. Another theme of a Jones address – one that echoes several times here too – is the bankruptcy of most churches. The “jackleg” pastors are concerned with fancy cars and clothing, with anniversaries and birthdays, with social trappings of their positions, all of which conflict with the teachings of the Bible.
Jones returns to this theme when he describes mainline churches as being part of the problem. Despite the deterioration in the ghettoes, “you can go up and down Broad Street and you got fifteen different churches… and often you got fifteen Baptists or fifteen Pentecostal or fifteen holiness churches in the same block… We are our worst enemies.”
He can preach this message, he says, because “I live it.” He owns no car, wears second-hand clothing and shoes, and lives less well-off than many of those under his care.
He urges people to “stop wasting your money on these great cathedrals that have nothing,” and to turn to search for the spirit instead. But to get the spirit – as the Bible says – they need a prophet who is sent by God (because as the Bible also says, “how can he preach, lest he be sent”). As he points out, “the Bible warns you even against itself,” since it often contradicts itself and denies itself. It even acknowledges that, as the letter of the Word, it can be a killer. But the spirit gives life, and “it’s a tragedy that if we don’t get that spirit, that spirit of freedom.”
Jones’ observations of the Bible’s contradictions point out his own inconsistencies. He is quite knowledgeable of Scripture, interspersing it throughout his analysis of America’s social ills and using it to proclaim the divinity of his followers, the righteousness of his causes and the authority of his own ministry. Yet he disparages it as a defender of slavery, a justification for oppression, and the principal tool in subjugating the ancestors of the people now before him.
As happens many times during services in new cities, some people in the pews apparently tire of what they hear, but as they leave, Jones calls them out. “Better hear what I’ve got to say, because you won’t get it again. And the more you start walking, the more I start talking.” Later, he calls to a woman who has fallen asleep. “Better wake up. Now, sister, you come to get healed or see healing, but you can’t get healed until you hear the truth.… Just turn around and watch for the next five minutes, and you’ll see what I am talking about.” His frustration is compounded by his recognition that they would stand for the American flag that has subjugated them – “if somebody’d say, ‘Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light,’ all of you be standing on your feet like fools” – but they won’t stand when they hear the truth. “I’m not singing about no freedom until freedom’s a reality,” he concludes.
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 1B110-52. This tape was found to contain the following:
Testimonials by various members of People’s Temple concerning JIM JONES’ “healing miracles”. Followed by JONES delivering a Pentecostal Sermon on socialism. This tape was recorded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted May 2004