Adding Tiles to the Mosaic

Although I have been involved in the work on this website for a few years now, it came as quite a surprise when the editor of the jonestown report asked if I would be willing to take on the challenge of joining him as co-editor. I knew that there would be quite a bit of work involved, and I would have to squeeze it in between what little time I had after working on my day job and taking care of my family, but there was no doubt in my mind: this was a dream job I could not turn down.

I was never a member of the Temple. I am too young and live on the wrong continent. And it remains a question in me if I would even have been attracted to – let alone have had the courage to join – the organization, if the circumstances had been different. Nevertheless, Peoples Temple has been a steady presence in my life for almost four years.

During that time, I have tried to make sense of Peoples Temple, to heed Richard Tropp’s imperative to “Look at all. Look at all in perspective. Look at Jonestown, see what we have tried to do.” Serving as co-editor of the jonestown report fits in perfectly with this desire not only to understand, but also to add to the history of Peoples Temple, and maybe even help shape the way Peoples Temple will be perceived in the future. I feel that I have been invited to do important work.

After my first round of editorial work I can say without hesitation that I am delighted to have been given this opportunity. During the course of working with a number of writers – most of whom are, like myself, first timers in this responsibility – for this edition of the jonestown report, I have come into contact with many new facets of the Peoples Temple story. Like tiles in an ever growing mosaic, each of these stories adds to our understanding of Peoples Temple, and I am proud to accept the responsibility of helping people tell them.

(An article by Rikke Wettendorff about the new Peoples Temple Discussion Forum appears here. Her collection of articles on this site appears here. She can be reached at