Speakers Bureau

(Editor’s note: Some of the addresses below are old and out-of date. For the most current listing of speakers, click here.)

The following individuals have agreed to speak with researchers, scholars, and members of the media about their experiences in Peoples Temple.

Don Beck, a member of Peoples Temple living in Redwood Valley in November 1978, was part of group making original trip to Guyana, and for summers of 1974 and 1976 as Jonestown was being built. His email address is donbeck@cox.net. Numerous articles by Mr. Beck appear on this website.

Mike Cartmell’s family joined Peoples Temple in Indianapolis in 1959, and he was a member for 17 years until he left in February 1977. His mother, step-father, sister and adopted brother died in Jonestown. Several articles by Mr. Cartmell appear on this website. He may be reached at Beemermcart@aol.com.

Vernon Gosney left Jonestown with Congressman Leo Ryan on November 18, 1978, and was seriously wounded during the shootings at the Port Kaituma airstrip. He has numerous articles on this site. He can be reached at alive@hawaii.rr.com.

Lela Howard, niece of Jonestown victim Mary Pearl Willis, speaks about the shame and other emotions her family and others have endured as loved ones of Peoples Temple members, giving a different perspective as to how the massacre and media coverage affected survivors, creating a silent shame. She is dedicated to correcting this stigma. She may be reached at lelavhoward@gmail.com.

Laurie Efrein Kahalas, a long-time Temple member and author of Snake Dance, created the website www. jonestown. com which now appears on this site here. She can be reached through dan_laurie44@comcast.net. Several articles by Ms. Kahalas appear on this website.

Laura (Johnston) Kohl lived in Jonestown but was in Georgetown on 18 November: ljohnstonkohl@gmail.com. Numerous articles by Ms. Kohl appear on this website.

Bryan and Kristine (Johnston Tarver) Kravitz, long-time Temple members, were living in San Francisco in 1978: bryan.kravitz@hotmail.com.

Garrett Lambrev was the first person to meet Jim Jones and join Peoples Temple after the exodus from Indiana to the west coast. A recent dropout from a doctoral program in history at Stanford and seasoned peace activist, he thought he had found in Peoples Temple the realization of all his dreams. His passage through Peoples Temple was stormy, but he didn’t finally cut the umbilical cord until apprised of what he still considers “torture”in the summer of 1976. Today he’s a semi retired public librarian, living in Oaktown, California, who operates an online used book business through Amazon Marketplace. He’s always been a poet and early this year published his first collection, “Dogstar and Poems from Other Planets: 1964-1989” (Beatitude, 2007). He can be reached at garrett1926@comcast.net.

Deborah Layton is a former member who left Jonestown and encouraged Rep. Leo Ryan to investigate the community. Layton’s memoir, Seductive Poison has been required reading at major universities, and the audio version of the book, narrated by Kathe Mazur and Deborah, is available here. She can be reached through her website, or email at deborahlayton2012@gmail.com.

Pat Ryan is the daughter of the late Congressman Leo J. Ryan, who was murdered while assisting Peoples Temple defectors to leave Jonestown on November 18, 1978. She currently serves as Executive Director of the California Mental Health Directors Association (CMHDA), a statewide association representing county mental health departments and services. Her e-mail address is pryan@cmhda.org.

Andy Silver, a member of Peoples Temple for seven years, was living in the San Francisco church on November 18, 1978. He is married with five granddaughters, has a divorce mediation and hypnosis practice, and  serves on the Community Relations Commission in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he has lived since 1981. He has numerous articles on this site. He can be reached at AndyS604@aol.com.

Juanell (Nell) Smart was a member of Peoples Temple for five years in Los Angeles until she left in 1976. Her mother, uncle and four children died in Jonestown. Several articles by Ms. Smart appear on this website. She can be reached at juanell@sbcglobal.net.

Eugene Smith joined Peoples Temple in 1973 and lived in the Temple’s San Francisco commune before leaving for Jonestown in fall 1977. He was in Georgetown on November 18 clearing items from customs. Numerous members of his family – including his mother, wife, and infant son – died in Jonestown. He can be reached at eugene.e.smith@gmail.com.

Mike Touchette was among the original pioneers who built Jonestown. He and his wife were in Georgetown on November 18, but several family members died in Jonestown: MichTouc@aol.com.

Jordan Vilchez became a member of Peoples Temple as a teenager when her family joined. She was in Georgetown, Guyana on November 18, 1978, but her sisters and nephews died in Jonestown. She was on the Planning Commission and is familiar with many inner workings of the organization. She can be reached at jordanvilchez@gmail.com.

Vera (Ingram) Washington was a member of Peoples Temple for several years but left in 1973 because of conflicts she had with the leadership of the group: verajbw@gmail.com.

Leslie Wagner Wilson (Cathey) was a child of Peoples Temple. Having been raised in the Redwood Valley Church from the age of 13 until 19, Leslie has a bird’s eye view of what life was like in the church for an adolescent, how the ideal of socialism was instilled and the sacrifice so many of the young people made during their Junior High School and High School years because they felt as if they were building a better place in the world. Leslie left Jonestown with several others early on the morning of November 18, but lost her immediate family on that fateful day: leslie.monique@yahoo.com.

David Parker Wise was a Pastor of the Los Angeles branch of Peoples Temple, and is writing the book Jonestown Legacy. His email address is hopetek@gmail.com. Several articles by Mr. Wise appear on this website. Mr. Wise also managed the Jonestown Legacy website.

The following scholars have agreed to talk with researchers, scholars, and members of the media concerning their research into Peoples Temple and Jonestown.

John R. Hall author of Gone from the Promised Land, is at the Department of Sociology at University of California – Davis. His e-mail is jrhall@ucdavis.edu. Dr. Hall has contributed numerous articles to this site.

Massimo Introvigne, CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions, Via Confienza 19, 10121 Torino, Italy; telephone 39-011-541950; Fax 39-011-541905; e-mail cesnur_to@virgilio.it.

Rebecca Moore, Professor Emerita, Department of Religious Studies, San Diego State University; 485 Friday Avenue, Friday Harbor, WA 98250; telephone 360-317-1313; e-mail remoore@sdsu.edu.

Catherine Wessinger, Department of Religious Studies, Loyola University, 6363 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118; telephone 504/865-3182; e-mail wessing@loyno.edu. Dr. Wessinger has contributed several articles to this site.

Eileen Keremitsis, Ph.D., San Francisco-based independent historian and master researcher familiar with materials on Peoples Temple and Jonestown. Telephone 415/431-3644; e-mail e.keremitsis@sbcglobal.net.


Originally posted on July 25th, 2013.

Last modified on May 12th, 2020.
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