Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.
FBI Catalogue Jones Speaking
FBI preliminary tape identification note: None
Date cues on tape: Likely 1973
The Cobb family
The Phillips family
Sister Nabors (sings)
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.)
- “You said God works in mysterious ways, so he sure as shit is today, I’ll telling you.” (Isaiah 45:15 [New King James version] “Truly, O God of Israel, our Savior, you work in mysterious ways”; [King James version] “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour”)
“That bullshit too, you go home and read Matthew 24 and Mark 13, and you’ll see that all that stuff about false signs and wonders and false Christ, it had to take place in one generation. Said, before this generation pass, all these things would be done. So it didn’t even keep its promise. King James lied. It didn’t– The moon was supposed to stop giving us light, which it didn’t have in the first place, the sun was supposed to go out, and the stars were supposed to fall on the earth within 20 years. You read Mark 13, the whole chapter, and Matthew 24, and nobody’ll be able to call me a false Christ. In the first place, I ain’t come in nobody’s name. They said, he’s come in Christ’s name. The shit I have.” (Matthew 24 and Mark 13)
“She’d come to church when she felt like it, and stay at home when she felt like it, bring a little food in here, thinking she was doing me a service.” (John 16:2, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”)
“I been hearing about what your God’s gone do, he’s gonna come down in the twinkling of an eye, and the dead in Christ are gonna rise and gonna jump up through the grave.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.”)
“I’ll be a savior, I’ll save you to the uttermost and lift you out of all this shit.” (Hebrews 7:25, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”)
“[T]hey said all good things come from God. Nobody has to tell me that. ‘Cause I know all good things are good, that’s why I believe in them, just good is good. And I’m good.” (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.”)
“We got something put heaven to shame. No damn streets of gold, who in the hell wants slide ass round on streets of gold, I don’t know.” (Revelation 21:21, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.”)
As in other tapes of Temple services, Jim Jones switches off the recording function during the actual collection of the offerings on this tape, made in the Los Angeles church in the early 1970s. Even discounting those edits – and acknowledging that Jones touches on a few other topics during the service, such as his assertion to have worked as a grave-digger when he was a young man – this 40-minute tape is little more than a lengthy, stream-of-consciousness pitch for financial support for the Temple, its current work, and its future away from the United States.
Jones reminds his congregation what they have in terms of the Temple’s facilities – “a children’s home, four senior citizen homes, four college dormitories, forty acres, 25 acres in food, … community center, animal shelter” – and the integrity of the transportation they need to get back and forth to Redwood Valley and San Francisco to take advantage of those facilities. He talks about the nutritional and health services he provides to his congregants. After asking the people whom he has brought back from the dead if they saw angels or a “pearly white city” during their time away – to which a smattering of voices replies “No” – he promises that “I can make this world a place for you that you’ll be happy in, if you’ll just work with me.”
Working with him requires money, he says, and he goes through a number of ways to ask for it. He takes several collections – not unique to this service – after saying that so far it’s been the “lowest offering’s ever been taken on Sunday morning.” He tells stories of what other people have done to bring money into the church, ranging from a woman in her seventies who sells peanut brittle to passersby, to a prostitute who says she’s willing to sell her body and turn over the proceeds “for this cause” (Jones declined her offer).
He rails against the members of the church who hold onto their money for other causes or other people, or who make no provision for what will happen with their money upon their death. “Some of you are gonna die with your money, and somebody gonna take your damn money, and you worked for it, you worked to build a better world of light, you wanted some happiness… and you keep your damn money when you can help. It’s a shame.”
Along the way, he defends himself against charges that he is lining his own pockets. Everything he does, he says, everything he has, it’s “[a]ll in the people’s name. This church, in your name. Go down and look at the county [record].” Moreover, all the money he collects goes to church programs, since the buildings themselves are paid for. “Every damn brick, and every nail, and every pane of glass has been paid for, and a whole new modern kitchen, so don’t you talk to me about taking money. Hell, I’m sweating to get money to build and to help the people. It’s ridiculous. I’ve got no more than I had when I started.”
Despite his defiance and his earnest pleas, there is a playfulness in this sermon, a banter with the congregation, that doesn’t often appear. There is a purpose to it, though: he’s testing the newcomers to the church to see how much they can take. He knows why they’re there – they want to get healed – and even though they might disagree with what he says about other preachers and their Cadillacs, or what he says about the coming concentration camps in the United States, or how he dismisses the protection that their Skygod can give them, “[n]obody can disagree with what I do when I heal.”
He seems to want to drive them out, only to turn around and try to draw them back in. “Go help them people,” he says in an aside after one statement of defiance. “Go help them. Testify to them, they’re gonna walk out on life here.” Later, he mocks the newcomers themselves: “you’re gonna go out and talk about me, and you’re settin’ there smilin’ like you’re a damn hypocrite. If you don’t like it, why don’t you walk out? Why don’t you just walk out? ‘Cause you know damn well, I’m the one who’ll heal you when you need to get healed.”
The real challenge he presents, though, is the language he uses throughout the second half of the tape, and his laughter over what he’s doing. “I been cussin’ for 50 years,” he says over applause and cheers, “and goddamn it, I’m not gonna quit till I get goddamn good and ready.” But if they can take his healings, they can take his cussing. “I’m a goddamn cussin’ healer, that’s what I am.”
Still, he says he knows what he’s doing. “Say, what are you trying’ to do?” he asks himself rhetorically. “I want to get rid of all those people, all those silent Christians that never said anything when our people were suffering, while we were in slave chains, while we were being lynched by angry mobs and never got a jail sentence, you didn’t mind calling yourself a Christian, well, goddamn your ass, I don’t need you anyway.”
And it is in this vein that the tape ends: “It pleases me to cuss… I’m gonna get it out till I get rid of everybody I was supposed to. Rejoice, goddamn it to hell, rejoice.”
Date of transcription: 7/6/79
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 23, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-7R31. This tape was found to contain the following:
A recording of JIM JONES telling the people that he is good and can heal anyone. Also, that he is gentle as a lamb.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted July 2014