Personal Reflections, November 2013

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 35 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. The United States of Jonestown, by Kathryn R. Barbour
  2. Reflections by Glenda Bates
    1. The Others
    2. Leaving Peoples Temple
  3. What I Have Learned from My Aunt’s Life, by Dorothy Brooks
  4. As We Remember, by Mike Cartmell
  5. Rock This Way, by Jackie Colbert
  6. A Life, Turned Around, by Hue Fortson Jr.
  7. Two Poems by Vernon Gosney
    1. My Journey To The Crone/Elder
    2. Beings of Light
  8. Reflections by Stephan Jones
    1. Ankles and Assholes
    2. Death’s Night
    3. Reunion
  9. I Rest This Case: In Defense of “In Plain Sight,” by Laurie Efrein Kahalas
  10. Articles and Reflections by Laura Johnston Kohl
    1. Who Suffered The Most?
    2. Transition of Leadership in Peoples Temple, the Branch Davidians, and Synanon
    3. A Further Legacy Of Peoples Temple
  11. Articles and Reflections by Garrett Lambrev
    1. The Tale of the Tape
    2. Pilgrimage Through Richmond and Lynn to Crete: What God Did and Didn’t Want Us to Know
  12. Comforting Words to My 15-Year-Old Self, by Dianne Scheid
  13. My lessons from almost drinking the Kool-Aid, by Andy Silver
  14. Time Is a Funny Thing, by Eugene Smith
  15. A Place Like No Other: Jonestown’s Early Years, by Mike Touchette
  16. Threads of Legacy: The Continual Integration and Sharing of the Temple Experience, by Jordan Vilchez
  17. One Day, by Guy Young