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: December 22, 1977 (Thursday night meeting, and Christmas is on Sunday)
Temple members not in Jonestown/ not on survivors’ or death lists:
Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Brother Jeffrey (likely Eartis Jeffery, could be Jeff Carey)
Margaret [likely James]
Tommy (likely Bogue)
Julia (likely Birkley )
Patty Cartmell (speaks)
Irene Edwards (speaks)
Love Life Lowe
Shanda James Oliver (by reference)
Don Sly, aka Ujara
Bible verses cited: None
(This tape was transcribed by the late Michael Bellefountaine. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable contributions to the site, including this transcript.)
It’s the end of a nighttime meeting in a Jonestown on December 22, 1977 – three days before Christmas – and while there are other subjects that are raised during the conversation, the purpose of the meeting has been, as Jim Jones says, “to look at the beauty of death. Revolutionary death. The privilege for dying for what you believe.”
There have been several aspects of this apparently already discussed. Jones raises the issue – in context, not for the first time that night – about who is afraid to die. He wants to get their names, so they can start counseling. He has also asked how people would respond if their community were attacked from the outside, and while some have raised the possibility of going to Russia, others have talked about staying and fighting it out. Jones reminds the latter group, “Honey, if we fight it out, there ain’t nobody going nowhere.”
The meeting is full of references to and specific memories of the Six-Day Siege from the previous fall. Jones reminds them about what they went through together on the lines, and several people talk about how they went from being afraid of death to waiting to embrace it for the cause. Jones expresses his own views as well, that he has prepared himself for death so many times already – too many times – and has gone through all the reactions to the possibility, and now he’s “ready for anything.”
Despite the stated purpose of the meeting, much of the time in this tape is filled with administrative issues. Jones makes decisions on disciplines and rewards – who is going on, and who is coming off, the Learning Crew – but there are also discussions about how to keep the toilets from smelling, and how to keep their meat from spoiling.
Near the end of the tape, Jones invites Patty Cartmell, a longtime follower, to regale the crowd with a funny anecdote she has about dying for the cause. Like those who went through the Six-Day Siege, she was once afraid to die, but eventually came to accept it, but when she does throw herself in the ocean, she’s going to take the “fuckin’ radio” with her.
Date of transcription: 6/27/79
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 9, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B102-7. This tape was found to contain the following: JIM JONES conducting a “People’s Rally” question and answer session concluded with a singing of the Soviet national anthem. Suicide is discussed at this meeting in a joking manner.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted May 2016