Personal Reflections, October 2012

Photo courtesy of the
California Historical Society.

The articles below offer a wide range of perspectives on the life of Peoples Temple, the deaths in Jonestown, and the 33 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. Temple Life in the United States Without Jim Jones
    1. A World Unto Itself: Life in the States after Jim Jones Moved to Guyana, by Don Beck
    2. My life in the San Francisco Temple during the Jonestown era, by Hue Fortson Jr.
    3. We were part of a larger family: Experiencing Jonestown from a distance, by Guy Young
  2. The Gift Thrust Upon Us, by Thom Bogue
  3. Questioning the Cults Around Us, by Laura Davis
  4. New Branches on the Family Tree, by Dawn Gardfrey
  5. Articles and Reflections by Stephan Jones
    1. Baby Toes
    2. The Deluded Heir
  6. Articles and Reflections by Laura Johnston Kohl
    1. Who Could Have Stopped The Deaths In Jonestown?
    2. Hate? What is it good for?
    3. Peoples Temple and Synanon – Modern Communities: The Role of Women
  7. A Visit to Peoples Temple, by Jacinta Hector Powers
  8. The Book That Wasn’t, by Jordan Vilchez
  9. Suffering in Silence, by Leslie Wagner-Wilson
  10. The Jonestown Poets
    1. Two Poems, by Teri Buford O’Shea
    2. Remembrance, Forgiveness, Hope, by Guy Brewster Young