Q962 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

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To read the Tape Transcript, click here. Listen to MP3 (Pt. 1, Pt. 2).

FBI Catalogue Jones speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: None

Date cues on tape: 1973 (Jones specifies year, but gives no other clues)

People named:

People in attendance at Peoples Temple service
Jack Beam
Archie Ijames (speaks)
Brother Cordell (numerous Cordells)
Deborah
Brother Heywood
Brother Lewis
Mario
Sister Nizarum [phonetic], Temple representative in Africa
Roosevelt, child of parishioner
Public figures/National and international names:
Richard Nixon, President of the United States
Lyndon Johnson, former U.S. president
John F. Kennedy, former U.S. president
Harry Truman, former U.S. president
Edward Brooke (R-MA), black US Senator
Ludwig von Beethoven, composer
Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, composer
A. A. Allen, evangelical preacher
Billy Graham, evangelical preacher
Kathryn Kuhlmann, evangelical preacher
Harriet Tubman, black activist, organized underground railroad

Bible verses cited:

(Editor’s note: The verses below appear in order of biblical reference, not as they appear in Jim Jones’ address. For a complete scriptural index to the sermons of Jim Jones, click here.)

    “So [God] makes Adam. … And Adam was made out of the dust. And then he spit on it. And he breathed into him. And then Adam wasn’t complete, and that’s why women are treated like dogs today. So he takes out a rib, that false God, the Bible God, takes out a rib, and he makes a woman. And she’s subject to him, just to do his pleasure. So she wants to go and feed the old fool. That’s why women are getting half the salary today. That’s why women don’t get treated like men. Because the Bible makes women less important than men. God tells her now, one tree you’re not to eat of. You can eat of the Tree of Life, but don’t you eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, because the day you do, you’ll die. And she said why? Because, he said, your eyes will be open, you’ll become like God. You’re not to eat of that tree. … She went out there, and Lucifer, the most beautiful angel’s turned into a snake. He’s around a tree, and he says, come over here, Eve. Said, now that apple’s good., and if you eat that apple, you’re not gone die. That God’s just jealous. He don’t want you to have as much sense as he does. If you eat it, your eyes will be open and your understanding will be open. That’s what the old snake said, the old devil said. God said, they each are gonna die. And the snake said, the day you eat, you’re gonna live. Well, she didn’t know evil from good anyway, so how would she know what to do? … Eve didn’t know knowledge from good and evil. … She didn’t know right from wrong, so how would she know how to keep from doing right from wrong. So she goes out and she eats the apple, takes it home to her husband, he eats it, and they didn’t die. Who told the truth? The snake.” (Creation story Genesis 2 and 3)

    “[Adam and Eve] went to bed, they had two kids. Two children. Cain and Abel… that failed on him, because Cain killed Abel with a jawbone of an ass.” (Genesis 4, conflated with Judges 15: 15-17, Samson killing the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass)

    “[W]here’d that fool Cain go get his wife? Cain went over to the Land of what? Nod, and got a woman. Now, how could he get a woman, if Adam and Eve were the only two?” (Genesis 4:16-17, “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife;…”)

    “Jacob met [God] and wrestled with him all night, like a man, he was fightin’ with him, like a lot of folk do with me, they just don’t want to accept the truth… Jacob wrestled with him all night long, and on the morning, Jacob had more sense than folk in here… Jacob had more sense. All that man did in that Bible was, after the morning began to appear, the dawn began to open up his eyes, and he looked on the man, and the man just looked at him and he said what is your name? … That man just said, what is your name? But there was something different about the way the man said it, and Jacob said, I have met God face to face. I will name the place Peniel. And all the man says, I’m gonna change your name from Jacob to what? Israel. Gonna change it. He didn’t tell him what his name was, he just said he was gonna change it. But there was something about the man that said Jacob, I’m gonna name a town after him, I’m gonna build a city, I’m gonna make a place, and I’m gonna call it Peniel, which in the Hebrew meant, this day I have met God face to face. Jacob wrestled with him, thought he was just a man, but he was God.“ (Genesis 32:24-30)

    “I’ve given you a sign, like the ones in Moses’ day, the sign of the cloud by day and the sign of fire by night.” (Exodus 13:21-22, “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” See also Exodus 40:38, Number 9:15-16, Numbers 14:14, Deuteronomy 1:33, Nehemiah 9)

    “Moses saw [God], and spoke with him as man would face to face.” (Exodus 33:11, “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend…”)

    “God is a restorer.” (Ruth 4:14-15, “And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age:…”)

    “Job says I had heard of him with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eyes behold him.” (Job 42:5, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.”)

    “What is this principle, the rod and staff that’s in my hand?” (Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” See also Isaiah 10:24, Jeremiah 48:17)

    “There are many saviors come up out of Zion, I am a savior come up out of Zion.” (Psalms 110:2, “The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” See also Psalms 14:7, Psalms 53:6.)

    “Only you can make up for the mistake of you. As a tree falls, so shall it lie.” (Ecclesiastes 11:3, “…and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.”)

    “Solomon saw him, and he said his hair was as black as a raven.” (Song of Solomon 5:11, “His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.”)

    “God made the devil, supposedly. Lucifer was the most beautiful angel, right?” (Isaiah 14:12-20)

    “I want to make this so plain that, though a man be a fool, you shall not err therein.” (Isaiah 35:8, “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”)

    “Because I can run and not be weary, I can walk and not be faint. Oh, yes, I can.” (Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”)

    “You didn’t want to look at Jesus, they said he was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief, he had no comeliness, no beauty that you would desire him.” (Isaiah 53, esp. Isaiah 53:2-3, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”)

    “They looked like Ezekiel’s dry bones.” (Ezekiel 37:4, “Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.”).

    “Nebuchadnezzar and the king of Babylon, in the fiery furnace, he looked out there, he saw Ashack, Meshach, and Abendego [Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego], and then, baby, he looked and he saw Jesus Christ, God. That’s what he said, he said he saw four.” (Daniel 3)

    “[G]ive something above your commitment. This is not your commitment. It won’t do you any good. But there is a way to rebuke the devourer. It was said, the only time it’s ever been spoken this month, ten dollars, it’s a way to rebuke the devourer. It’s a way to maintain blessings.” (Malachi 3:10-11, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.”)

    “What happened when Mary and Martha saw Jesus put in the tomb? Bible says he was there for three days. That’s another lie. King James says he was there for three days. He was buried on Friday and supposed to’ve come out on Sunday. That means a day and a half.” (Gospels)

    “Bible said Jesus, after he was baptized with the Holy Ghost in the river Jordan, a dove settled on his head, one part of the Bible said he went over to the wilderness to be tempted [by] the devil for 40 days and 40 nights.” (Matthew 3:13-4:3; Mark 1:9-13; Luke 4:1-2)

    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”)

    “Who is my father, who is my mother, who is sister, my brother, but he that doeth the will of the Father or Truth.” (Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”)

    “[T]he foxes had dens and the birds had nests, but the Son of Man had no place. You didn’t desire him then, but it’s the same Jesus, and it’s the very same God.” (Matthew 8:20, “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” See also Luke 9:58.)

    “And somebody else moved into that hundredfold consciousness, because in Jesus’ day, there was more than one body.” (Numerous Gospel references to the hundredfold, including Matthew 13:8, 23; Matthew 19:29; Mark 4:20; Mark 10:30; and Luke 8:8.)

    “I’ve got the pearl of great price. I’ve got the treasure hid, and it’s only by looking and listening that you’re gonna be able to live, and if you listen closely, you’ll find life.” (Matthew 13: 44-46, “…the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”)

    “And he looked around at Peter one time, and he said, Peter, you’re a rock. I’m gonna build a church on you.” (Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”)

    “You have to just die out to self, where you have no desire to do anything but to give. And then you go. When you lose your life, you find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”)

    “All may change, but Jesus never, heaven and earth may pass away, but my word shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” See also Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33)

    “And I’ll separate the sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25:31-33, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”)

    “God always will have a body, he said, lo, I am with you. He didn’t say, it will be with you, he didn’t say some thing will be with you, he said, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”)

    “They called Jesus a prince of devils too, they called him not only a devil, they said he was Beelzebub, the mastery of witchery, the master of trickery, the master of the flies. Oh, how evil people are. They said no man can cast out a devil with a devil. No man can heal with a devil. He said if it were so, a house would be divided against itself.” (Mark 3:22-25, “And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”)

    “Another time he looked at Peter and he said, Get thee behind me, Satan, ‘cause he was in a state of aggravation and unbelief and cynicism and ugly old morose nasty spirit… He looked around at Peter, and he said, Satan, get thee behind me. Because Satan isn’t a man, he’s a state of mind.” (Mark 8:32-33, “…And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.”)

    “I will not review the thirteenth chapter of Mark, ‘cause it says the same thing, only some errors. The story’s told just a little different. Every time you read the Bible, the story’s told just a little different.” (Mark 13)

    “I’m in a higher consciousness than Jesus. He said, wash my feet. King James says that Jesus said to them, the poor woman, put a whole year’s salary, broke it on his feet to alabaster, and Judas said, we could’ve used this money in the treasury to feed the poor, and Jesus was supposed to’ve said, according to King James, the poor you’ll have with you always. Oh, not me. I’m in a greater consciousness than that. I wouldn’t let you waste any alabaster, no perfume on me.” (Luke 7:37-50, conflated with Matthew 26:7-13)

    “Actually, Jesus didn’t actually die there. Joseph of Aramathea, they just were good disciples, and they had him drug well.” (Luke 23:50-53)

    “John the Baptist was who? Elias. Jesus said, if you can receive it, this John the Baptist is Elias, which was and is to come.” (John 1:19-28)

    “Another writer in the same Bible said no. Three days after he was baptized, he was over in Cana of Galilee, at a wedding feast, turning water into wine. Now you can’t be in a wilderness for 40 straight days and 40 nights, and yet three days after you’re baptized be over 80 miles away at Cana of Galilee turning water into wine.” (John 2:1-11)

    “And you better get the truth, ‘cause the truth will set you free… I told you I’d give you the truth, and the truth would set you free.” (John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)

    “I have other sheep which are not of this fold.” (John 10:14-16, esp. John 10:16, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”)

    “All those in the days of Jesus got to walk with him, Martha and Mary, Martha, just an ordinary woman, Mary [Magdalene], a whore that was converted. They got to walk with God in a body face to face. I tell you, it’s different when you walk with God face to face.” (John 11)

    “Though you were dead, now you live.” (John 11: 25, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”)

    “I have work to do to prepare mansions for you, not up there, but out someplace else in the world.” (John 14:2-3, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”)

    “[T]his a greater day than Jesus’ day, these are the greater things. Jesus said, these things shall you do, and greater. This is a greater day than Jesus. He said, these things shall you do, and greater, because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”)

    “Mary Martha [Mary Magdalene], saying where have they laid our Jesus. He’s in the tomb, and they were talking – your Bible tells you the story – and they were saying they’ve taken our Jesus away, and laid him in grave clothes. And a man came up to them and was listening to them and consoling their heart and comforting them, and they said, he was a gardener. But your Bible tells you, it was God. It was Jesus in another body. It was the hundredfold in another body. Though Jesus was in one body, but it wasn’t the same body, because they would’ve known Jesus.” (John 20:1-17)

    “[I]f you want to be believer, if you have to be a doubting Thomas, I’d rather you would just admit that you’re a Thomas and say, I want to see it… Don’t take my word. Don’t go out of here a doubting Thomas.” (John 20:24-29)

    “And how can you have love? Only by a Pentecostal socialistic economy, where they had, as it was on the day of Pentecost, all things common.” (Acts 2, esp. Acts 2:44-45, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”)

    “God is no respecter of persons… He would be a respecter of persons, but he says, God cannot lie. He is no respecter of persons. What he has done for others, he will do for you… God would be a respecter of persons, if he would appear to a mother, Martha, and to Mary, and not to you. And he proved that he was no respecter of persons.” (Acts 10:34, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”)

    “I will not bow to anything that’s unknown. We’re not to do it. Paul said, don’t bow before the unknown God. He said I perceive, you’re too superstitious, because you have an inscription to the unknown God.” (Acts 17:22-23, “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”)

    “Out of one blood, he made all nations.” (Acts 17:26, “And [God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;”)

    “Your old Bible speaks of it, said God, the principle-bearer. Said Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated. From when? Before they were born.” (Romans 9:13, “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,” referring to Genesis 25)

    “But you have to have a preacher to bring the truth out.” (Romans 10:14, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”)

    “I see him as a man speaketh to a friend face to face.” (1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”)

    “[The Bible] says, women, keep silent in all the churches.” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”)

    “As in Adam, all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”)

    “Who was Adam? … The first Adam was a living soul, the second Adam was a quickening spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:44: “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”)

    “[A]nd you’ll come out of mortality, and your mortality will put on immortality, and your corruptible will put on incorruptibility.” (1 Corinthians 15:52-54, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”)

    “[T]his black book … is a paper idol. It’s a destroyer. It’s a killer. Second Corinthians 3:6 says, it will murder. The letter kills, murders, but the spirit – truth, love – makes alive… That [the Bible] is your enemy. The letter kills. The Bible murders.” (2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”)

    “And Jesus is not to be looked after, after the flesh. You’re to know no many after the flesh, after he’s gone, not even Jesus. That’s what Paul told you. Know no man after the flesh, after he’s gone, not even Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 5:15-17, esp. 2 Corinthians 5:16, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”)

    “Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”)

    “When somebody does good, it has to be God.” (Ephesians 5:9, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” See also 2 Corinthians 5:22-23.)

    “A woman can work hard as a man, but she’ll get four thousand, and a man gets nine. Why? Because the women are taught by King James to obey, to be subject to their husband. What’s subject mean? Be a slave to their husband.” (Ephesians 5:24, “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” See also 1 Peter 3:1)

    “That’s why nobody can come down from that heaven and lift you, you’ve got to lift yourself. You’ve got to work out your own salvation.” (Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”)

    “King James put lies in there. He said, slaves, obey your master. Servants, obey your master.” (Colossians 3:22, ”Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” See also, Ephesians 6:5, Titus 2:9)

    “Suffer not a woman to teach. Suffer not a woman to speak. If she’s got a question, ask her husband.” (1 Timothy 2:11-12, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”)

    “The slave system, the monetary system, the love of money which is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”)

    “I put my law into his heart, and I put my spirit in his consciousness, and I put my words in his mouth, and I put my mind in his body.” (Hebrews 8, esp. Hebrews 8:10-11)

    “I will not leave you nor forsake you, never, no never.” (Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”)

    “[You] Say, well, the devil can heal… Your Bible never even taught you that. Even King James didn’t teach you that. Said all good things come down from above.” (James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”)

    “If you’ve got a good master, be thankful. If you have a bad master, he said, endure him. Is it in the book? Yes, it’s in the book. That’s why we had people owning black people. That’s why they were put in slavery, and they were told not to question, because if they had a good master, be thankful, but if they had a bad master, endure him. I’ve come and told you, there are no masters. We shall be free.” (1 Peter 2:18-21)

    “Nonetheless, the only way you can get there it to overcome. Revelations 3:12 says to him that overcometh, I will make a pillar in the temple of the house of God, and you will go no more out into the earth.” (Revelation 3:12, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”)

    “[The president] will put serial numbers and a mark of the beast right on you… That’s the mark of the beast, the dollar, the almighty dollar. You’re gonna have to free yourself from that mark of the beast.” (numerous references in Revelation including 13:17, 14:9-11, 15:2, 16:2, 19:20 and 20:4)

    “Say, where are you [Jim Jones] from? The first heaven.” (reference to “first heaven” at Revelation 21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”)

Summary:

“I’ve given you all my truth in one package, “ Jim Jones says about two-thirds the way through this sermon, and he was close to being correct. Although he de-emphasizes his political views, he does quote, paraphrase or allude to more than 50 passages from the Bible, using some of those quotes to dismiss the value of “your black book” and to demonstrate his own divinity. In addition, he incorporates any number of concepts which would be strange – and potentially alienating – to a Christian or socially- or politically active gathering.

Already underway when the tape opens, the address picks up Jones in mid-deconstruction of both the Hebrew and the Christian Testaments of the Bible, with examples that were familiar to his congregation. He describes the four gospels, for example, as four different versions of the same story, like “four people … on a corner watching an accident” and coming away with different accounts, and wonders why we should “judge our life by what four people on a corner say.” The balance of the sermon offers several examples of discrepancies among the gospel writers, including the days in Jesus’ life immediately following his baptism: three gospel writers say he went to the desert, where he was tempted by the devil; the fourth says he attended a wedding 80 miles away, and was turning water into wine.

At other times, Jones turns to the passages which show the Bible to be a weapon of oppression, sanctioning both slavery and male dominance over women. All of these – the errors, the inconsistencies, and the malevolent practices condoned by the Bible – are contained in his booklet, The Letter Killeth, which Jones alludes to directly.

When he doesn’t attack the Bible directly, he goes after the man who commissioned it: King James, he says, removed numerous books he didn’t like from the Bible, he enslaved blacks in Africa and put them on the “Ship Jesus” to the New World, and he was a whoremonger and alcoholic.

At the same time, Jones uses the Bible to demonstrate how he himself fulfills the embodiment of God that the Bible proclaims. After noting the passage in Acts several times that God is no respecter of persons, and after detailing the number of times that the Bible speaks of God appearing to people, Jones concludes that God must be present in every generation. Moreover, “if God would appear to the Jews in the form of Jesus, and not to blacks and poor whites and the downtrodden of the earth today, … he would be guilty of discrimination.” But God doesn’t discriminate, and God is present in every generation, and Jones is “doing more good than anybody on earth today,” all of which leads to an unspoken conclusion which is affirmed by sustained applause and cheers.

At other times, Jones is even more direct about his reincarnation as the Christ. In the midst of discussing what Jesus said to his disciples, he adds, “I had some good followers in that day,” before reverting to the third person. A moment later – after raising a controversial (i.e., non-biblical) theory that Jesus didn’t die on the cross at all – he declares, “I don’t care whether you believe it or not. I know, ‘cause I was there.”

He builds upon the claim of his divinity a few minutes later, turning it into an immortality: “God is here to stay,” he says. He could be shot or burned into “nothing but ashes, [but] in five minutes, I would be standing here. … I said it, and I will keep my word. I said I cannot fail, and I promise you, you will never lose if you follow me.”

There are numerous occasions in which Jones seems on the verge of offering even more controversial notions, and then backs down. “Devil is a state of consciousness. Satan is a state of Saturn vibration,” he begins, before he says it’s too complicated to get into. The notion that Jesus did not go to the tomb – and hence was not resurrected at all – is also “too complicated.”

Still, he does present some ideas about his life and his beliefs that seemingly leave his congregation uncomfortable, if the frequency and enthusiasm of the applause may be seen as barometers.

Where is he from, he asks rhetorically. Initially evoking an image from Revelation of “the first heaven,” he continues that he came from “another planet. A school of masters. … I come down here every now and then, but I evolved.” Moreover, “you left another planet, another heaven, you left it, and I’ve got to raise your vibrations to be sensitive and loving and kind and sacrificial as I am, as socialistic as I am, and then when I get your vibrations up, you will leave the earthbound state. Unless you do overcome, you’ll keep going back through matter, ‘cause your mind is now already reaching an eternal state, so you’ll keep going back through matter.” And, he adds almost offhandedly, the main things that keep them earthbound are capitalism, selfishness, and greed, which to him are synonyms of the same thing.

People can be like him, he says at the conclusion of the sermon, if they deny themselves and follow him. “Why don’t you say yes to this cause,” he says before he dismisses the congregation for the night, “because my words are spirit, and my words are life. This is a revolution that will heal you, this is a Father that will save you, this is one that will shepherd you through every storm.”

One note on a cultural reference: At one point in his address, Jones gives the devil’s point of view for the reason he left heaven: “Lucifer got up on the barrel, … and he said, now you go around it. … You go around there and sing, Amazing grace, amazing grace, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, and he said, when you get through ten thousand years, you’re gonna have ten thousand more to sing God’s praise… He’d done it about fifty laps, and he said, I’m tired of doing this. [Lucifer] said, that’s exactly what happened to me.” If one replaces the barrel with a British postal box, it is a virtual recreation of a scene between Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in the 1967 movie comedy Bedazzled during which the devil, played by Cook, describes his fall from heaven. It is an indication that Jim Jones went to the movies sometimes, and not just to see political conspiracy thrillers.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/25/79

In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States.

On June 22, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-27. This tape was found to contain the following:

A sermon and rally led by JIM JONES to a congregation. This tape consists of 29 tape minutes and is believed to have been recorded in California.

The remaining portions of the tape are blank and appear to contain no items of an evidentiary nature.

Differences with FBI Summary:

Other than the fact that the sermon is closer to an hour in length, the summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.

Tape originally posted July 2014

Originally posted on July 2nd, 2014.

Last modified on February 22nd, 2019.
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