Housing God In Life And Death: Architecture and the final resting place in two radical movements

by E. Black

(E. Black’s complete collection of writings for the jonestown report may be found here.)

In previous papers, we have explored some similarities and differences in the religious, philosophical and behavioral manifestations of the movements of Father Divine’s Peace Mission and Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple. This article[1] considers a seemingly more mundane issue – the physical facilities of the movements – to learn how Father Divine’s group influenced Jones’, and how they can inform us of their central messages. What role, if any, did the experience of the earlier movement – whose latter year overlapped the Temple’s beginnings – have on the decisions that Jim Jones and his church made in terms of how it functioned, how it housed itself, and then 
ultimately and collectively how it left “this world”? These and other questions 
are explored below.[2]

GOD is in a House, Not Up in the Sky[3]

Both the radical, utopian movements envisioned, created and manifested by both George Baker Jr (Father Divine) and James W. Jones (Father Jim Jones) expressed themselves in the language of religion and specifically the Christian church. The familiar themes of “God” “heaven” and “salvation,” so well known to them and their targeted audience were used as a language to transfer what is usually taken in traditional Christianity as hopes both for the “hereafter” into hopes and for the “here and (right) now.” Both taught that God was not “in the sky” but was embodied in each and every individual. Yet most, if not all, off the followers of these two men were too blind to see this reality or – as they would say – ”the mystery.”[4]

Both men held themselves out to be – and were accepted by those who saw them as – embodiments of what most know as God. In doing so both sought to bring others into the immediate realization of universal brotherhood, health, peace of mind and body and a lived experience of utopia, or heaven, right now, that they represented. As such, their movements, teachings and even the physical structures of their facilities – rented, purchased or built – were to be seen as mere utilitarian facilitators of this process of mental realization.

Thus as opposed to the (false) “sky god” of the traditional versions or churches, the “God” of both the Peace Mission and Peoples Temple was actually the people in it who recognized (the true) “God” as embodied in and reflected by their respective leader, teacher, pastor and spiritual “Father.” This theoretical realization was reflected in the actual practice of both movements.

What became known as The 
Peace Mission movement got its start – and never really lost its core – as a
 house church or an extended family based association. An association united in 
a shared belief in the charismatic leader and whose followers thus formed a
collective of believers. Although the movement had began quit non traditionally,
eventually outside and inside pressures forced Father Divine to
 institutionalize the latter manifestation of his movement into what appeared on
 paper as traditional churches.[5] Conversely Jim Jones’ initial ministry started off within the traditional church model, but gradually evolved, through his conscious guidance, into the collective and extended family model similar to what was in fact the Peace Mission reality.[6]

Thus in both the Peace Mission and Peoples Temple, the true House of God was ultimately the collective as organized and headed by the “God in a body” Leader. Yet both movements used a variety of rented, purchased and – in the case of Peoples Temple – built, physical manmade structures to house this reality.

Housing GOD: The Peace Mission Example

The origins of the Peace Mission Movement are in the itinerate ministry of a mysterious individual named Samuel Morris who taught in an eclectic way at the turn of the 20th century in Baltimore, Maryland.[7] Using the name Father Jehovia (i.e. Father Jehovah or God) he preached and taught about the utopia of the here-and-now that resulted when one saw, and of course accepted the “mystery” of the reality of “God” in every person. The young George Baker Jr. (and future Father Divine) was a follower of this leader.[8]

Early on, the small extended family/commune and school of Father Jehovia, gathered, worshiped, dined, and lived together in a small row house on Fairview Street in the crowded black working class area of Baltimore. Eschewing the need for a separate and designated church building of any type, they as a body represented the church. When Baker began his own separate itinerate ministry, he, like Father Jehovia before him, went on a missionary tour and taught wherever he was able to lift his voice and preach, be it in response to an invitation to a worship service in a church, during a social gathering, at someone’s home or in the streets. It was “the message” and the “messenger,” not a “building” that was emphasized.

Eventually Baker assembled a core of followers while organizing in the small towns of southern and central Georgia, and married a woman several decades his senior from this group. After several run-ins with both the black church and the state over the radical nature of what he was positing, Baker and his small band of followers moved north into a series of dilapidated and cramped apartments in early 20th century inner-city New York. Eventually, the savings realized by communal lifestyle and the central control of the monies by the Divines gave Mrs. Penniniah Divine the ability to purchase a house with multiple bedrooms in the all-white suburb of Sayville. All of these residences, up to and including Sayville, doubled as communal living centers for Father Divine’s ministry and organization.

Baker’s use of his physical home as a church – with loud and boisterous services characterized by ecstatic and emotional singing and testimonials of some of the racially-integrated members to the healing power of the leader – created a problem for his white middle class neighbors. Their complaints and calls to the police led to a confrontation between his organization – by then in 1930 officially known as the Peace Mission of Father Divine – and the local New York government. This confrontation sparked a 10-year period of growth and expansion that was, in retrospect, the pinnacle of the Peace Mission movement.[9]

It is both instructive and indicative of the nature of the Peace Mission’s concept and sense of mission that, instead of building or purchasing churches to house a false “sky god,” Father Divine focused on challenging and confronting racially-restrictive housing covenants and integrating hotels and other residences that he rented or purchased to house his growing numbers of followers. Another Peace Mission focus was the creation of huge and expansive rural settlements in upstate New York. These settlements served Father Divine’s political and social justice agenda as well. He purposely chose lands to rent or buy that were adjacent to properties owned or leased by the all-white business, banking and political elites of the time. Called “the Promised Land,” these rural settlements were designed as examples of his teaching of a racially-integrated utopia in the here and now.

Communalism, interracialism and gender separation was emphasized and promoted in all Peace Mission properties, both urban and rural. Separate apartments or rooms were always provided and set aside for Mother and Father Divine in designated facilities within or in immediate close proximity to the rest of the communal living membership. Members who worked on jobs outside of the Peace Mission properties were expected to live Father’s teachings at all times. The more affluent or able Divinites who lived, worked and ate in their individual homes as they did before they joined the movement, were encouraged to “give Father their all,” to sell or donate what they had and join the collective in a Peace Mission-owned and operated property, whether in a city or in the rural “Promised Land.”[10]

This was the movement at is height. Followers of Father Divine marched in the streets of Harlem side-by-side with communist and anti-war protesters calling for peace, social justice and reparations for black people.

The radical interracialist and pro-communal ethic continued even into the Peace Mission’s years of decline starting with the 1940′s. A number of problems arose at this time, including internal pressures from vengeful apostates who used newspapers owned by virulent anti-Divinite individuals to spread bad publicity. There were also crusades against the movement by both the established Black Church as well as by rival black new religionists. During the Cold War following World War II, the Peace Mission abandoned its base in New York City, eventually cutting back all across New York state itself. The movement relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, forced to adopt the codified and institutionalized structure of a collection of established churches in order to survive.[11]

God’s Retirement Home

The immediate effect of this post war transition on the Movement became long term. The group stopped its spontaneity, slowed its growth, and turned increasingly, however incrementally, inward and away from the public sphere. Divine now emphasized his titles “reverend” and “bishop,” and his meetings, while still held in the auditoriums and ballrooms of the buildings and converted hotels of his movement as before, now began to be called “circle” and “palace” mission “churches.” Ultimately one of his white multi millionaire followers bought and gave to him what was to become both his signature and legacy property: the Woodmount Estate on Philadelphia’s mainline.[12] It would be here, in a hilltop palace on 73 acres amidst choice rural woodland, that the aging and declining God of the Peace Mission, born to ex-slaves in a rural Maryland shack almost 100 years before, would meet death – or as his followers say, he “laid his body down”- on September 10th 1965.[13]

God’s Crypt[14]

Father Divine’s body lay in private hands until his widow and followers built what they saw as a fitting receptacle to contain the shed “body of God.” Two years and $300,000 later, what they came up with was – in the words of one researcher – a small hexagonal structure with large gilded doors topped with a glass pyramid that contains within the red marble crypt the body of Father Divine.

Potter’s Fields, Forgotten Memories

In stark contrast the vast majority of the followers of the Peace Mission Movement, those who lived and grew old after living and working communally in its hotels and dormitories and on its farms, passed from life to death, unnoticed, unheralded and without ceremony, buried and forgotten in potter’s fields. Most of them, having previously cut all ties with their non-Movement biological families when they first joined the Peace Mission long before, had no known relatives to inform of their deaths. Thus, near Peace Missions in urban areas, corpses of John and Jane Does appeared periodically on the doorsteps of local hospitals, funeral homes and mortuaries. Peace Mission members, whose relatives had either tracked them down to a Peace Mission communal residence or keep up correspondence with them despite being asked repeatedly not to, were sometimes informed by a curt,
 short notice of their loved ones death. But this was not often the case.[15]

The Peace Mission’s Closing Campaign

The Peace Mission had started as an offshoot of a radical utopian commune centered on an idea and the deification of the mind and body that housed that idea. In the Peace Mission, that idea was then housed in the body of Father Divine, to be both championed and lived by his enthusiastic followers. While most of these were the descendents of former slaves and others the white children of privilege, all lived together under Father’s teachings in dilapidated inner-city homes and apartments, in formally segregated grand hotels, and on expansive rural farms. After his death, his movement, once so vibrant, transitioned into a dwindling, aging society for the commemoration of his memory in his converted manor home of the stately rich. Instead of being on the cutting edge of American social progress, 
the Peace Mission is now irrelevant and largely unknown to the larger world.[16]

Housing 
GOD: The Example Of Peoples Temple

The mind of Jim Jones 
also housed the same radical, interracialist and utopian ideas that had
 animated Samuel Morris and George Baker Jr. before him. He too would use the
language of the Christian church to convey deeper meanings, more far-reaching 
in practice than the established and contemporary church was ready or willing 
to go, in his quest to right the injustices of the world. His vehicle was 
Peoples Temple, with roots in both the Methodist and non-denominational
 evangelical churches of Indianapolis, with eventual affiliations with the 
Independent Assemblies of God and the Disciples of Christ, but most significantly, with a 
physical church.[17]

It wasn’t long after Jones 
established his ministry that he, his wife, and his top associates went on the 
first of many visits to the elderly and declining Father Divine. They arrived 
at his lavish retirement castle and attended Peace Mission church services held 
in a converted seventh-floor ballroom next to another expansive room that itself had been converted into a huge dining area in the Divine Lorraine Hotel.[18] Jones enjoyed himself immensely in the atmosphere of the Peace Mission.[19] Some of his more orthodox church officers realized, though, that – despite 
references to God and the Bible – the churches of the Peace Mission were not 
typical or conventional. They were simply superficial trappings of a much 
deeper radical utopian understanding and practice, one which could be described – in the era of the prevailing 1950′s white racist male chauvinist ethic – only as subversive. It was a radical movement masquerading as a church. Given Jones’ later history, this inside/outside façade of the Peace Mission would seem to be one of the characteristics that secured a strong and lifelong attraction of Jim Jones for the Peace Mission and its members. He and they had similar goals, and even a similar ways of reaching those goals.[20]

Posing as part of the orthodox mainstream church, Jim Jones’ ministry attracted the positive attention of both the public and his church superiors through the innovative ways that he emphasized the social gospel. Peoples Temple Christian Church of the Disciples of Christ served hot meals and provided health screenings, job referrals and even coal to the Indianapolis homeless and under-employed, regardless of race, creed or marital status. He offered senior citizen care through a private business run by family members, and his personal home blended aspects of his ministerial work. His care and concern for stray animals and people turned his home into a nascent commune.[21]

Like Fathers Jehovia and Divine before him, Jim Jones took his ministry on the road in the early 1960′s, making missionary stops further afield than either of the two organizers before him in their itinerate days. With stops in Cuba and British Guiana – the future Guyana – on the way, Jim Jones and his family moved to Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where they lived about a year.

Even though his still-developing ministry was far more conventional than the founders of the proto-Peace Mission tendency, Jim Jones had been through several church structures, all while building his place at the center of a ministry that he initiated, founded and led.

Returning to the US in 1963, Jones gathered his Indiana flock and led them to northern rural California two years later. There, on the outskirts of Ukiah, Peoples Temple established roots, acquiring acres of farm land, developing care facilities for senior citizens and foster children, and – most significantly – building a church/meeting hall structure adjacent to the Jones parsonage. From this headquarters, Jones began to expand his ministry to the great urban centers of San Francisco and Los Angeles, purchasing properties in both cities. Peoples Temple was following a pattern that mimicked and combined features of the Peace Mission and from its own past, with communal living and worship space for its growing numbers carved from rented and leased homes, apartment buildings, and – in the Peace Mission case – a former hotel. Even the Temple spatial arrangement of a rural headquarters combined with an aggressive inner city outreach in large cities, all served by a fleet of buses decorated and painted with messages of the ministry, was reminiscent of the Peace Mission of the 1930′s.[22]

Jonestown[23]

In 1974, ground was broken for the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana, South America. Although the Temple also maintained a communal headquarters at Lahama Gardens, Georgetown – mainly for logistical and administrative purposes – it was to the interior agricultural project that the members of Peoples Temple would relocate to en masse three years later. A small town area initially designed to accommodate a slow but steady influx of residents until it reached a population of 750, instead exploded into a small city of over a thousand. Jonestown housing consisted of “cabins painted in pastel colors .small huts called troolies made of palm leaves [and] large thatched covered dormitories” that served as communal living places for the elderly.[24]

There were other structures built as well, including a radio tower, barns and facilities to house various forms of livestock as well as storage facilities for foodstuff, medicines, and supplies. There was a school, a library, a communal laundry, a health clinic, a sewing factory, a soap factory, a brick factory, and a sawmill. Its food preparation facilities featured a central kitchen, a bakery and herb kitchen. Jonestown even had a basketball court.[25]

A large communal open air pavilion served multiple functions: a sit down cafeteria/dining area, a class room, and space to hold Peoples rallies, community meetings and entertainment both for themselves and for visiting guests. This was also the structure where residents gathered to listen to “Father/Dad” Jones teach, lecture and harangue his followers, and of course, it was also here that the infamous ”white night” suicide drills were rehearsed over the last few months. The pavilion was central in Jonestown’s final 24 hours, from a gathering place to entertain the congressional delegation, to a point of assembly and departure for defectors, to the site of most of the deaths during the murder/suicide ritual. Among the hundreds of bodies inside and ringing the pavilion were those of Mother and Father Jones. Thus in retrospect, this edifice becomes iconic as a symbol of housing the community of Jim Jones in life and in death.

GOD’s Jonestown House[26]

Communal housing was the norm and the expectation for the all the residence of Jonestown. With the exception of some early communards and Temple stalwarts, like “Mom” and “Pop” Jackson, who lived together in a troolie hut, most Jonestown residents lived in groups of four or six to a cabin and more in the large dormitories.

Father Jones was no exception. The “West House,” a two bedroom cabin with a screened porch, served as the communal residence for Jim Jones, Carolyn Layton, Maria Katsaris, Annie Moore and John Victor Stoen. According to one account, the bedrooms were separated by “a tiny room with an army – type field telephone” that was used to reach “the radio room and the public address system.” The only material difference between Jones and his followers was that he had a personal refrigerator, separate medicines and food located within reach, as well as private papers on Temple and Jonestown business in his bedroom/office.[27] As all of these amenities could be accessed by his immediate secretarial and physical support staff, Father was just as communal as the followers or children. In some respects, Jones’ personal space – shared with his immediate staff – formed a communal clique both within and separate from the larger Jonestown commune. It is also noteworthy that in the end, while Jim Jones joined his wife and many followers in death at the pavilion, his home was where much of his leadership group died.[28]

The Shrine to Life – Jonestown style[29]

While the vast majority of Father Divine’s followers are buried in unmarked graves, and the vast majority of the Jonestown dead lay in and around the pavilion before being removed back to the US, only two persons who died in the combined movements of Father Jehovia, Father Divine and Jim Jones were given any type of movement memorialized graves. One was Father Divine in 1968. The other was, Lynetta Jones, the Mother of God in the Temple movement.

Lynetta Jones died in Jonestown of natural causes at the age of 75 on December 9, 1977. Her grave marker read “Lynetta P. Jones: In commemoration of the true fighter for justice; who gave the ultimate, who gave up her son so he could serve the people in the struggle for justice, for freedom from oppression and for the foundation of socialism.” According to one account, she was “buried in a place of honor near his [Jim Jones’] cabin,”[30] while another holds that “she was buried among the children to emphasize life.”[31]

Jonestown Deaths aftermath Controversy and final resting place

The removal of the Jonestown dead, including Jim Jones, became the responsibility of the US military after the tragedy. Jones’ body was identified, transported back to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, autopsied, and cremated, and his ashes were scattered over the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the followers’ bodies, once transported back to the US, were identified and claimed by grieving relatives who then gave the deceased formal burials.[32] But almost half of the bodies – 408 in all – like their dead Peace Mission counterparts before them, remained unidentified and unclaimed. Efforts began to find a final resting place for them to be buried in a mass grave. Only one cemetery – Evergreen in Oakland – agreed to take all the bodies, and, after excavating a hillside on the cemetery’s south side, it stacked the coffins, recontoured the area with dirt and sod. The formal service for the unclaimed bodies was held in May 1979, six months after the deaths. From November 1979 through present day, Rev. Jynona Norwood has led a memorial service at the site of the mass grave. and preparations were made to bury them, together in an unmarked grave in Oakland.[33]

Conclusion

The ministries and movements of Fathers’ Jehovia, Divine and Jones’ approach to and use of buildings, homes and worship space was very similar. All three were radical utopian visionaries who sought to use the normative – homes, halls, synagogues, hotels, churches and farmlands – to house there extraordinary social experiments.

While Father Jehovia’s following never graduated past the communal house stage and vanished into obscurity early in the 20th century, the movement of his most well-known disciple, Father Divine, for a while took center stage before the eyes of a fascinated public in the 1930′s. Using a core group of followers dedicated to living his teachings of radical interracial communalism, Father Divine challenged the prevailing racial social norms of the USA and much of the western world. Extrapolating from the familiar physical trappings of a church, his movement rented, bought and occupied homes, hotels, apartments and synagogues to live together – regardless of race – to underscore, challenge, and confront that segregation, reality the skin color hierarchy of white domination and black oppression, caused. It was left to two white followers of his, the ultra-wealthy follower Warner Hunt (aka John Devout) and his wife, Mother Divine, to memorialize the movement through edifices strictly related to Father Divine’s personal use, the monumental retirement palace where he lived his last 12 years, and the hexagonal crypt built on the palace grounds. Without these two structures to house its memories, history may have cast the Peace Mission into the same oblivion that it has cast the original movement from which it grew.

Jim Jones started off as a radical white young minister with an obscure church advocating and practicing racial integration. His approach to physical structures was as utilitarian as both Fathers Jehovia and Divine before him. Unlike either, though, he followed through on buying land and building material, physical structures on it to house a utopian community, and ultimately a Divine, vanishing city.[34] What he first envisioned implementing in Brazil, he built in rural northern California and finally in Guyana. What has survived is the church building in Redwood Valley, even though the movement that built it did not. Constructed in the form of a church, it is another religious denomination that now uses it for services.[35]

Thus in the final analysis, Jim Jones has succeeded, where Father Divine didn’t,[36] in erecting in the architecture of our minds the memory of his works, and thus housing it in our collective consciousness for some time to come.

Sources

Black,
 E. The Three Virtual Intentional Communities Of God In A Body In Real 
Time (1868-2008).

—. The Reincarnations Of God: George Baker Jr. and Jim Jones as
 Fathers Divine.

—. “Ever Faithful”: The contest between Mother Divine, Jim Jones 
and their followers for supremacy in faithfulness to the Cause.

Chidester, 
David. Salvation and Suicide: Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and 
Jonestown. Bloomington and Indianapolis: 
University of Indiana Press, 2003.

Divine,
 Mother. The Peace Mission Movement. New York: Anno Domini Father Divine
Publications, 1982.

Hall, John 
R. Gone From The Promised Land. New Brunswick, N.J.: 
Transaction Publishers, 1987; reprint 2004.

Harris, 
Sara. Father Divine: Holy Husband. New York: Macmillan Publishing
 Company, 1971.

Hayden,
 Dolores. Seven American Utopias: The Architecture of Communitarian Socialism, 
1790-1975. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1979.

Hoshor,
 John. God In A Rolls Royce: The Rise of Father Divine: Madman, Menace or
Messiah. Hillman-Curl, Inc., New York, 1936.

Kohl, 
Laura Johnston. The Architecture Of Jonestown and How It Both Created the
Community and Ultimately Destroyed It.

Maaga,
 Mary McCormick. Hearing the Voices of Jonestown. Syracuse, 
N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1998.

Mabee, Carleton. Promised
 Land: Father Divine’s Interracial Communities in Ulster County, New York. Fleischmanns, NY: Purple Mountain Press, 2008.

Moore, 
Rebecca. Understanding Jonestown and Peoples Temple. Westport, 
CT: Praeger, 2009.

Parker,
 Robert Allerton. The Incredible Messiah: The Deification of 
Father Divine. Boston: Little, Brown and
 Company, 1937.

Primiano, 
Leonard Norman. “Bringing perfection in these different places: Father Divine’s
 vernacular architecture of intention.” Folklore 115:1 (April 
2004), 3-26.

Reiterman,
 Tim, with John Jacobs. Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim
 Jones and His People. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1982.

Watts, 
Jill. God, Harlem, U.S.A.: The Father Divine Story. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1995).

Notes

[1] This work is informed by Seven American Utopias: The Architecture of Communitarian Socialism, 
1790-1975 by Dolores Hayden (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1979); “Bringing perfection in these different places: Father Divine’s
 vernacular architecture of intention,”
 by Leonard Norman Primiano, Folklore 115:1 (April 2004), 3-26; and The Architecture Of Jonestown and How It Both Created the 
Community and Ultimately Destroyed It,
 by Laura Johnston Kohl.

[2] Articles by this author
 exploring the connections between the Peace Mission of Father Divine and the 
Peoples Temple are available here. See also Raven: The Untold Story
 of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman with John Jacobs (New York: E. P. Dutton,
 1982), 57-66;
 and Understanding Jonestown and Peoples Temple by Rebecca Moore (Westport, CT: Praeger, 
2009), 15-17.

[3] “Jesus never taught the 
Kingdom of Heaven above the sky, they say, but affirm that He said, ‘Behold, 
the Kingdom of GOD is within you,’” and “Do you realize that you have been 
walking and talking in GOD, and GOD has been walking and talking in you all the 
way along? But you did not know it. You had an idea that GOD was in your
 imaginations. You saw GOD some place far beyond the blue ether, as it is 
supposed to be – and that is nothing and nowhere, and everywhere where there is 
nothing. Now many may say to you that you must die and go far beyond the sky to 
meet your GOD, and that has been, and still is being taught by many. But we are
 conscious that here and now, and here and there and everywhere, is your GOD.” 
Peace Mission. On Peoples Temple use 
of the term, see Salvation
 and Suicide: Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and Jonestown by David Chidester (Bloomington and
 Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 2003), 52-55.

[4] See note 3 above.

[5] See Promised Land: Father 
Divine’s Interracial Communities in Ulster County, New York, by Carleton Mabee (Fleischmanns, NY: Purple 
Mountain Press, 2008), 110, 141 and 212.

[6] More in-depth on the
 development of the Peoples Temple in Reiterman.

[7] A picture of Father 
Jehovia, the founding leader of this movement, is here.

[8] More on Father Jehovia 
and the young George Baker Jr. (Father Divine) in God, Harlem, U.S.A.: The 
Father Divine Story, by Jill 
Watts (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995) 27-31.

[9] For the Peace Mission 
movement during its peak in contemporary works, see God In A Rolls Royce: 
The Rise of Father Divine: Madman, Menace or Messiah, by John Hoshor (Hillman-Curl, Inc., New
 York, 1936) and The Incredible Messiah: The Deification of Father Divine by Robert Allerton Parker (Boston: Little, Brown 
and Company, 1937).

[10] For more on the Peace 
Mission of Father Divine, see notes 5, 8 and 9, as well as the Peace Mission, a sermon from 
libertynet.org and Tommy Garcia websites.

[11] See note 5 above.

[12] Information on the Peace
 Mission’s Woodmount estate available on Wikipedia and the Peace Mission website. More information
 available at the Dupont
 Castle website and A tour of 
Woodmont. 
For Warner Hunt’s purchase of Woodmont estate for Father Divine, see Mabee, 
155-156.

[13] On the use of the
 phraseology in regards to the death of Father Divine, see The Peace Mission 
Movement, 
by Mother Divine (New York: Anno Domini Father Divine Publications, 1982), 99.

[14] On Father Divine’s crypt 
with pictures, see The Shrine To Life At Woodmont and The Lower 
Merion Historical Society. See also Mother Divine, 60-61.

[15] “We cut all ties of 
blood relationships. We live as though we died and went to heaven,” says the 
mission at the Fellowship
 for Intentional Community. For a detailed overview of this aspect of the Peace 
Mission often overlooked and under reported on by researchers and never 
critically assessed in Pro Peace Mission apologetics, the treatment in death of 
the average Peace Mission follower, see chapter 9, “Let the Dead Bury the
Dead,” 116-127, in Sara 
Harris, Father Divine: Holy Husband (New York: Macmillan Publishing
 Company, 1971).
 This is not only interesting in its own right, but it also has interesting
 implications and possible insights for the researcher into possible convergent 
Peoples Temple attitudes around questions of the deaths of the average Temple members as well as possible insights into the Temple mentality that produced 
the final white night and its immediate aftermath.

[16] On the long decline of 
the Peace Mission movement under Mother Divine, see the Los Angeles Times 2003 article, “Father 
Divine’s movement slowly fades” and Mabee, 207-213.

[17] See Moore, Understanding
 Jonestown, 12-15, and Reiterman.

[18] For more information on 
the Divine Lorraine Hotel, see Wikipedia. For historical 
pictures of the building, see the Library of Congress website. For a
 historical view of the Lorraine during the time of Jim Jones, see the article at the libertynet site. For contemporary 
pictures of the hotel in its current dilapidated state, see the Kingston
 Lounge preservation site.

[19] Mabee, 213.

[20] See notes 2 and 19
 above.

[21] Reiterman, 56-57.

[22] Reiterman, 91-219;
 Moore, Understanding Jonestown, 22-40; Mabee, 91-116; and Watts, 72-166.

[23] Moore, Understanding 
Jonestown, 41-56; Reiterman, 345-350.

[24] Pictures of the Peoples Temple Lahama Gardens Headquarters structure in Georgetown Guyana and of 
the cabins in Jonestown can be seen 
on this site.

[25] The Jonestown radio 
tower and the basketball 
court can be seen here.

[26] Three pictures of the 
Jonestown cabin of Jim Jones can be seen here.

[27] Reiterman, 398 and Kohl.

[28] Reiterman, 571-580; and 
Moore, Understanding Jonestown, 95-102.

[29] Father Divine is buried 
in a crypt called ‘The Shrine to Life” on the grounds of the Woodmont 
estate (see note 14 above). This Peoples Temple counter part applies to the
 Mother of Jim Jones Lynetta P. Jones. Due to the circumstances surrounding the 
end of Jonestown and Peoples Temple itself, the rainforest eventually reclaimed 
the Jonestown site, and as of this writing the original location of Mrs. Jones
 memorial plaque and gravesite are not precisely known. See What happened to Jonestown After November 18, 1978.

[30] On Lynetta Jones honored
 as the “advance guard of socialism” during a final White Night testimonial see Hearing the Voices of Jonestown by Mary McCormick Maaga (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse
 University Press, 1998), 
164. On the inscription on her memorial plaque, see Gone From The Promised
 Land, 248 by John R. Hall (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 
1987; reprint 2004), 
248. On the point that she was “buried in a place of honor near his [Jim
 Jones’] cabin,” see What happened to the graves of the people who died in Jonestown before November 1978? on this site.

[31] See Edith Roller
 diary.

[32] On the fate of the
 bodies of the Jonestown dead, see What happened to the bodies at Jonestown? On the fate of the body of Jim Jones, see What was the disposition of Jim Jones’ body?

[33] The Norwood family 
pioneered the services at the Evergreen memorial site. Their account can be
 found here.

[34] As far back as 1917,
 George Baker Jr. in his persona as the Reverend Major Jealous Devine, revealed
 to his tiny following that the purpose of his coming was to prepare a vanishing
 city of the faithful whom he called the pure in heart. Watts, 43. Although the
 meaning of this prophecy of a vanishing city has had various interpretations by
students of the Peace Mission phenomena over the years, it is this researcher’s 
studied view that it was Jim Jones, in his guise as the reincarnation of Father 
Divine, who successfully fulfilled this stated “Divine Purpose” by building, 
then ending the city of Jonestown as he did. I am convinced by the evidence
 that Jones did so with this “Divine Goal” in mind.

[35] On the present day use
 of the Redwood Valley, California former Peoples Temple Church building, the 
only Peoples Temple built structure left in the world, now an Assemblies of God
 church see Transformed by Kim Harvey.

[36] Although the work and 
teachings of the Peace Mission leader did influence the popular culture of the 
post war 1940′s and early 1950′s through the lyrics of the ever popular song “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate 
the Positive” 
by Johnny Mercer who wrote about how and why he came up with the tune. “I went 
to hear Father Divine and he had a sermon and his subject was ‘you got to 
accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.’ And I said ‘Wow, that’s a 
colorful phrase!’”

Originally posted on July 25th, 2013.

Last modified on May 30th, 2020.
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