the jonestown report 11, Personal Reflections

Photos Courtesy of California Historical Society, MSP 3800

The articles below offer a wide range of perspectives on the life of Peoples Temple, the deaths in Jonestown, and the 31 years that have passed. All were written by former members and relatives of the people who died. While each individual story brings a powerful voice to any consideration of the events of 18 November 1978, their totality contributes to an even more important – if sometimes cacophonous – body of work. For that reason, these stories may also be found on our growing online collection of perspectives here.

We invite other members and families of Peoples Temple – whatever your views on the tragedy of Jonestown and the factors that led to its end – to join in this chorus. Contact us at or so that we may add your story.

  1. A Distasteful Task, by Mike Cartmell
  2. Thriving Once More, by Guy Young
  3. Showtime, by Eugene Smith
  4. What We Haven’t Learned from Jonestown: The Rest of the Story, by Don Beck
  5. Hope Beyond Pain, by Kim Arvold
  6. A Good Night’s Sleep, by Lela Howard
  7. Do Not Be Gullible, by Hattie Newell
  8. Returning to Jonestown, by Jordan Vilchez
  9. The Jonestown Poets
    1. Sweet, by Jordan Vilchez
    2. An introduction to my mother, by Vita Thais O’Shea
      1. Reflection, by Teri Buford
    3. Independence Day Celebration, by Garrett Lambrev
    4. Three Cinquain Poems, by Laura Kohl
    5. Unrehearsed, by Andy Silver