Summary of Q042, the “Death Tape”

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

For full coverage this tape, click here.
To read the Tape Transcript prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III, click here.
To listen to MP3, click here. To return to the Tape Index, click here.

FBI Catalogue: Jones Speaking

Date cues on tape: November 18, 1978

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:

      Congressman Leo Ryan (by reference)
      Richard Dwyer, U.S. Embassy official
      Charles Garry, Peoples Temple attorney (by reference)
      Mark Lane, Peoples Temple attorney (by reference)

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:

      Debbie Layton Blakey
      Jim Cobb
      Deanna Mertle (Jeannie Mills)
      Beverly Oliver
      Tim Stoen

Jonestown residents, full name unknown:

      Ruby (several in Jonestown)

Jonestown residents:

      Jack Beam
      Wesley Karl Breidenbach
      Johnny Brown (speaks)
      Lue Ester Lewis (speaks)
      Jim McElvane (speaks)
      Marceline Jones (speaks)
      Maria Katsaris (speaks)
      Annie McGowan
      Christine Miller (speaks)
      Patty Parks
      Don Sly (known as Ujara)
      John Victor Stoen

Bible verses cited:

“The kingdom suffereth violence and the violent shall take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12, “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”)

“It is said by the greatest of prophets from time immemorial: “No man may take my life from me; I lay my life down.” (John 10:17-18, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”)

“Paul said, ‘I was a man born out of due season.’ I’ve been born out of due season, just like all we are, and the best testimony we can make is to leave this goddamn world.” (1Corinthians 15:8, “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”)


This tape was one of the 53 tapes initially withheld from disclosure.

The so-called “death tape” of Jonestown’s final hour includes Jim Jones urging the members of the Jonestown community to come forward to receive the poison — first for their children, then for themselves — as Jones describes the horrors of what would await those who don’t commit revolutionary suicide. There are two other complete versions of the transcript on this website: that of the FBI, and that of Mary Maaga. There are minor differences among these three transcripts. In addition, there are three excerpts of the tape: that provided by Mark Lane; that provided by Jonathan Z. Smith; and that provided by Steve Rose.

FBI Summary:

This tape was transcribed in its entirety, the only one which the FBI transcribed and didn’t summarize. To go to the FBI’s transcript, click here.

Differences with FBI Summary:
Not applicable