Of the hundreds of books, articles, movies, and documentaries dealing with Jonestown over the last 35 years, not one of them dealt with the ultimate meaning of the Jim Jones cultic horror. The only exceptions are my own books and articles, and, sad to say, few of them even come close to getting real public attention.
It was only after the Jonestown, Guyana mass murder that, in utter frustration, I decided to research the various reasons that politicians, the media, academicians, and new-age theologians allowed Jim Jones to go eleven years without exposure, since there had been serious indications that he was a charlatan for at least that long. It was a case where their strong need of his political and monetary support overwhelmed considerations of his obviously fraudulent activities.
As a result of that research I wrote The Specific Density of Scientists. In it, I demonstrate how these supporters of Jim Jones – among others – were driven by what is proven to be false reasoning. It became clear to me how they were powerfully misguided by proponents of scientism (a spurious concept of scientific methodology), and how they would seek some refuge in it. It further amazed me how the real scientists, themselves, would often lapse into scientism.
I later solved a major question: How is it that scientists, who are statistically among the top seventh in IQ and intellect, often fail to see a critical flaw in their reasoning?
This flaw is primarily tied to pride and to a basic flaw in logic. Pride, of course, is the main culprit because it keeps them from thinking deeply, with honesty and courage. Thus they miss the obvious flaw in their logic.
I assure you: Once this flaw is pointed out to those who have been proceeding in this errant fashion, they realize, understand, and accept the fact that they were in error. So far, I have yet to have any scientists or intellectuals deny that they were not caught by this point of logic. And the reason none of them will deny it is because the logic is ineluctable, meaning that it cannot be successfully challenged. Their only recourse, then, is to avoid the question!
Here is that point of logic, one that I put to these scientists and other major intellectuals: Given the premise of the Almighty and perfectly fair God of the historical Judeo-Christian Faith, do you think He would give you — because of your majestic brain — a special access to His Kingdom? I refer to this as “Lednorf’s Dilemma,” which is the title and subject of my 2006 book.
The moment this question is put to these high-level intellectuals, they are forced to see their error. The logic is too pure: Perfectly fair cannot be unfair. And when they are next apprised of the Biblical pronouncement, “God is no respecter of persons,” they know they have absolutely no recourse. Finally they admit that, under the premise of the Almighty and Perfectly fair God, it is purely logical for Paul, in Chapter One of First Corinthians, to say:
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
This alone allows us to see why the liberal California politicians, media elitists, and new-age theologians allowed Jim Jones a free rein for those eleven years: they were the “wisdom of this world” mentioned in the Bible. As a result, they had no reliable frame of reference by which to assess the spiritual insanity of Jim Jones, let alone his clinical insanity, for a big segment of them were and are spiritually insane. Some of them, even, might be clinically insane, given latest statistics suggesting one person in thirty is a sociopath.
But there is still more that these “majestic brains” missed, either consciously or semi-consciously. A second major concept in The Specific Density of Scientists is termed Lord Bertrand Russell’s Truism. It, too, is ineluctable; for Bertrand Russell, one of the Twentieth Century’s greatest mathematicians, proved the truism by way of formal mathematics.
Lord Bertrand Russell’s Truism can be stated quite simply: Either: all religions are invalid, or only one is valid. And, since no one can reasonably argue against the truth of that statement, most intellectuals – because of the ferocity of its implications – choose to ignore it. Thus, because of cowardice, these “intellectuals” force the world to atrophy into a circus of confusion: objectivism, realism, cultural relativism, syncretism, and a host of other “isms.”
There is a corollary to Lord Russell’s Truism which can be stated: Absolute Truth either exists or it does not exist; and, if it exists, there can be only one source for it. (Again, this is ineluctable.) It is this unshakable corollary that forces most intellectuals (the ones who do not believe in a single source for Absolute Truth) into the realm of pure absurdity. Therefore, to avoid making a choice, they brazenly deny the premise: They reject the existence of Absolute Truth. They of course are quite unaware that they have merely jumped from the frying pan and into the fire of logic, where they would roast in the flames of absurdity. But many of them avoid this final “roasting” because only a few healthy adversaries remain who can press them to the edge of their absurdity (their claim that nothing is absolutely true).
In The Specific Density of Scientists, I give several examples of intellectuals I have taken to “the flames of absurdity.” It takes no special talent, only persistence. One example suffices, and it will help you to understand the fear that drives them to such absurdities.
I encountered a chief chemist for a multi-billion dollar corporation, wherein we discussed his atheism. Ultimately we got around to the concept of Absolute Truth. And it was there that he became fearful and confused. After a few minutes I was able to get the concept through to him. And, when I asked him if he could say that it is necessarily and absolutely wrong for a couple of men, upon coming across a ten-year-old boy fishing in a creek, to take their chain saw and cut off the lad’s arms and legs merely in order to settle a bet on whether he would die in less than a half hour, he paused awkwardly for a moment, and then replied, “No.”
I believe I then saw what T. S. Eliot meant in his poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” when he wrote: “Till human voices wake us, and we drown.” For this affable chemist was himself stunned by what he was forced, by his own life-view, to say. Then, strangely, weeks later he said, “Maybe I’m not an atheist, maybe I am an agnostic.”
When I explained to him that being an agnostic doesn’t let him off the hook, and that he still has to say this heinous action is not necessarily wrong (because agnostics are, by definition, without knowledge of Absolute Truth), he scratched his head in dismay. Again, it was the truth that left him helpless and hopeless.
It was obvious that here was a man who had gone most of his life under the illusion that there were no ultimate consequences. He had bought the Marxist drivel of his professors at the University of California, Berkeley. And of course none of them had the insight to tell him that this same atheism is what allowed Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao Tse Tung to perform severely outrageous atrocities against their people. They, too, believed that nothing is necessarily and absolutely wrong, and that there are no ultimate consequences.
In researching what allowed Jonestown, I realized that liberal religious groups, like the Disciples of Christ hierarchy who first welcomed Jim Jones to the West Coast, are nothing but another form of atheism. If you manufacture a god, as they did, then you obviously have denied the One True God of the historical faith. It is therefore not surprising that they welcomed Jim Jones and that he saw in them exactly what he needed in order to continue his cultic tyranny. Thus: he continued. Thus: they protected him, right up to the end. It was a symbiosis of evil.
A third major concept is bifurcation. Only when scientists and other intellectuals bifurcate, can they get past the illusion that they, because of their extra brainpower, are more capable to deal with what, who, and whether or not, God is. Only through bifurcation can they discern the flaws and false reasoning that I describe throughout this article. Bifurcation is what allows them to separate the “scientific self” from the “total self.” Thus they can allow the scientific self the freedom to pursue pure and natural science. They need not feel guilty for betraying science, because they have not really betrayed science. They now realize that God is quite content when their science selves pursue knowledge of the natural universe by purely scientific means. In fact, keeping God out of the process assures progress in learning all about the natural universe, while bifurcation allows the “total self” to pursue thoughts of God and Truth and thereby attain a reliable frame of reference for assessing the spiritual flaws and failures that allow narcissistic charismatics like Jim Jones and Barack Obama to fool their way to the top.
You can see, then, why bifurcation frees scientists from doubts or beliefs that might interfere with their professional pursuit? For they understand why they are now free to put science aside whenever they are nudged at times, by intuition or by the Holy Spirit, to seek God by way of the heart.
Bifurcation leads to a peculiarly powerful freedom. For example: when scientists, while pursuing a certain scientific experiment, get a thought that God might be involved here, they can put that thought aside and continue the experiment in the context of natural science. Thoughts of God are considered later – or at that moment, if time allows – by the bifurcated self that now is totally free.
In The Specific Density of Scientists, I go into this and the other major concepts in great detail. For I am certain that if the California hierarchy of scientists, politicians, media and new-age clerics had understood bifurcation, they would have stopped Jones in his tracks early on.
The fourth major concept is my terminal corruption hypothesis. (In my book, it is called Grath’s paradox). It is simply a warning that with democratic societies, there ultimately comes a time when the government system becomes so corrupt and ingrown with lavish spending, public provisions and entitlements, that even if steps are finally taken to reverse the trend, it is too late, for it is beyond the point of no return. The system has become so corrupt – and dependent upon that corruption – that if it is eliminated, the nation collapses (note Argentina’s history). So here is a question of major concern: Have we, in America, reached the “point of no return”? If we have not, I believe that, the reelection of Barack Obama would soon put us past that point of no return.
I was positive that Jim Jones, in his internal decay, had gone past the point of no return. And that is why, during that last week, I warned the media, two lawyers, friends and co-workers, that Congressman Leo Ryan “will not leave South America alive.”
Imagine my frustration, now that another cult leader, disguised as a Christian, has now “on a grand national level” reached the zenith of his power. I feel as helpless as I did during those last few days prior to the Guyana mass murder. And, as with Jim Jones, the media only now are beginning to look at him somewhat realistically, when it might well be too late.
When I warned over those last thirty-five years that, since this cult vulnerability (that pervaded California’s societal hierarchy) had gone unexamined – and therefore unchecked (thus allowing Jones a power brokerstatus) – the same spiritual disease would gradually increase and then reemerge “on a grand national level,” I had no doubts whatsoever. Finally, in the winter of 2007-2008, when I saw the young Senator Barack Hussein Obama, I realized that this was the reemerging. I could see the remarkable parallels to Jones: The narcissism, the charisma, the flare for oratory, the capturing of the gullible media, the blatant rhetoric of socialism, the community organizing, the anger, the total lack of a role model father. It was obvious: the reemergence was upon us.
And the next five years did nothing but prove it.The same as it was with Jim Jones then, the same it is now, with Obama: the fawning media, incapable of objectively vetting him; a leftist political hierarchy that defends, or covers for, his outrageous actions; the deception; the glaring use of the “straw man fallacy”; the excessive fear of having anyone see his private history; the same unexamined claim that there are “many paths” to heaven;the “adoring wife” who goes to great lengths to describe how “caring” her husband is; and the astounding disparity between his public image and his private and personal insensitivities.
But do I hate him? Absolutely not. In fact I want the very best for him. I hope and I pray that he might awaken to his misery, and turn to the Lord. I pray that he would be saved from the horrors of his wrongdoings. You see, I know the Lord would experience glory if it happened.
But it should not surprise you when I say that I would not hesitate to write the same warning about Obama that I wrote to the Prime Minister of Guyana about Jim Jones in February of 1978:
I would hope, however, that you would look carefully into his background, and that you would see him in his true light, ambitious and ruthless, a truly destructive societal flaw – but clever, very clever. He can only do your country harm.
In conclusion, I urge you to read The Specific Density of Scientists. Besides explaining why it was that Jones was able to get away with his dangerous charade for over eleven years, it contains behind-the-scenes accounts, and anecdotes that have never come out, like my encounter early last year with former Speaker Willie Brown, during and after his debate with Dr. Frank Luntz in Sacramento. This account appears only in one other book, one released just last month, Unsung Davids, by Ben Barrack. It is in fact the only other book that contains the full behind-the-scenes account of my nine-year attempt to expose the Jim Jones cult, and it is not found in any of the hundreds of other books, articles, movies, or documentaries on the Jim Jones cult.
So, if you really want to know what led to the Jonestown mass murder, read those two books. You will gain an entirely new and reliable insight on how and why it was allowed to happen. More than just reading how and why Jones got away with his eleven-year reign, you will understand why we have a cultic reemergence in the form of Barack Hussein Obama. As to meaning in the Guyana Jonestown massacre, then, you must understand that the meaning is in the portent. The ignorance, that allowed the Jim Jones cult to attain power, grew unchecked until it reached the “grand national level.” The very ignorance that allowed Jim Jones to succeed is identical to the ignorance that allowed Barack Obama’s success!
(David Conn described himself as an “investigator of the Jim Jones Peoples Temple cult for nine years prior to the Guyana mass murder.” He died on December 31, 2021, of Parkinson’s disease. His complete collection of articles for this site is here.)