Q993 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:     December 1977 (references to Cudjoe being loaded with Temple members also in Q 998)

People named:

People in attendance at Peoples Temple service
Chief Joseph, leader of Nez Perce nation  (by reference)
Albert Schweitzer, physician, missionary
John Wayne, American actor
C.T. Wells, head of NAACP in Memphis (phonetic)
Rockefeller family (by reference)

Richard McCoy, US Embassy official (by reference)

Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Fannie (likely Fannie Ford, could be Fannie Jordan)
Mother Taylor (either Lillian Taylor or Lucille Taylor)

Jonestown residents:
Stephen Addison
Bea Jackson
Penny Kerns
Laurence Schacht
John Victor Stoen (by reference)
Charlie Touchette

Bible verses cited:     None

Summary:

Jim Jones is in a self-reflective mood for most of this tape, speaking principally about the way he sees himself as leader and – overtly – the reasons people should appreciate him. He speaks of the numerous things he does for them, the protection he offers, and the miracles he is still able to accomplish – he details two at some length – all the while dealing with Guyana officials coming into the community, with the CIA in Georgetown, and his constant and unrelenting taskmaster, the radio (which he describes as “the squawk box”). At the same time, he is always on call, and even when he tries to get away from it all, by doing chores like chopping weeds, there are people who come to him with problems and concerns, or just to chat. But, he says, he knows that’s his purpose. “I’m always here, and I never say no, and I always will respond.”

He speaks numerous times about his own desire to die – “death is a blessed friend to me,” “I would love to be in a position to go into bed and die and nobody miss me,” “I believe I’d be like the stoic Indian chief … I’d just set and die, because that would be the easiest way to go” – but in most cases he doesn’t say it as a threat, but to the contrary, as a reminder of the sacrifices he makes for his people by staying alive. At the heart of it, this is his perception of his main burden: that his people could not live without him.

This also comes through on several occasions. “I know terribly what this world is without me,” he says about a third of the way into the tape, “and none of you will really know it until you’re faced with that kind of world, which I hope you never have to face, without me, because nobody else will take the risk that I take.”

“I don’t have the prerogative of dying in peace,” he says a moment later, “because I know when I die, you have hell.… It’s a terrible feeling, when you love like I do and know that the future of everybody’s wrapped up in my life.” Later, during the second half of the tape, he summarizes his thoughts by saying, “I want to die, and I’m afraid of leaving you.”

There are fewer references to mass death, and they are delivered – and received – almost by rote, due most likely to its familiarity through repetition. When he informs his followers that he’s been told there may be more custody battles to come, beyond that of John Victor Stoen, he repeats his reply: “I said, well, here we go. What date do we die?” If they are invaded, he adds in the next breath, “when they come in here to get anybody, that day, they have to walk over us all.”

The pledge to defend the community unto death recurs once or twice more, and on one occasion, he says he knows he knows many in the community will join him on the front line, but then he speaks of those who won’t, the ones who are afraid to die, the selfish people who think only of themselves, and the “mental cases,” including those who try to make themselves crazy.

It is apparent that, in general, Jones believes mental illness in general is faked, or something a person brings on by choice. “We do at least not let ourselves go nutty … [E]very time you have a dream after you ate some beans, [you] think it’s the Lord or some mystical force speaking to you. Ain’t nothing speaking to you but your goddamn dreams and your own thoughts, and if you live with your thoughts, and face your thoughts, and accept your thoughts, we won’t have all these compulsions to go around killing somebody.”

He believes in treating it accordingly. In one of his relatively rare acknowledgements that the community has drugs for behavioral control, he says, “I’d like to say to the sister, … quit doin’ all that shit, because you better see the psychologist, and [if the] psychologist don’t help you, I tell you, we got some tricks that will.

“We got what we call disorientation and reprogramming,” he continues to community approbation. “And when disorientation process is used, you won’t know who you are in a matter of a few hours, and so we can reprogram you to be a sane person instead of a nut.”

FBI Summary:

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 26, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-58. This tape was found to contain the following:

JIM JONES lecturing before the Guyanese congregation for approximately 12 tape minutes. JONES advises that if there are further custodial problems, the welfare of Jonestown will be threatened. He states that “when they come in to get anybody, that day they’ll have to walk over us all.” JONES describes some healings and relates the constant and daily tribulations he faces.

Differences with FBI Summary:

Other than the fact that the tape is closer to 30 minutes, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.

Tape originally posted May 2013

Originally posted on July 25th, 2013.

Last modified on May 2nd, 2016.
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