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: August 1972 (Katsaris family introduction to Peoples Temple, according to Raven)
Chaikin (likely Eugene, could be Phyllis)
Miss Dupont (likely Ellen Dupont, also called Penny Kerns)
Laura (several in Temple)
Noah (could be part of Katsaris family)
Edith Roller (speaks)
Ho Chi Minh, leader of North Vietnam
Sukarno, President of Indonesia
Mohammad Mosaddegh, deposed prime minister of Iran (by reference)
Charles Darwin, naturalist
George Orwell, author of 1984
George Christopher, former mayor of San Francisco
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.)
- “But when people actually get up and try to support uh, differences of race based on some ridiculous Bible passage or some curse. We’ve had this happen right in the school system, where they bring up the curse of Ham, It makes us uptight, but we’ve found no solution just but to just mill along.” (Curse of Ham in Genesis 9:20-27)
“It doesn’t inspire you quickly to make a lot of platitudes about the universe, so I just simply say, quite compatible with Christ teachings. I think they’ve never been tried, so I’d like to give them a whirl. If your enemy hungers, feed him.” (from Matthew 25: 35-45, which appeared on Peoples Temple letterhead)
“There’s a wonderful extra sensory power that works. It’s compatible with what I see in the Scripture as the nine gifts.” (I Corinthians 12:7-11)
(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Georgiana Mamlakah. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
[Editor’s note: This address almost certainly follows Q 1021.]
Although this tape is from a single evening at Peoples Temple in Ukiah, there are two separate, and equally significant, parts. In the first, Jim Jones has a conversation with a Greek Orthodox priest and head of the religious Trinity School in Ukiah, a man named Steven Katsaris, who is in attendance for the first or second time with his family, including his daughter, Maria. In the second part of the tape, Jones spends a great deal of time analyzing the conversation which the people in the pews have just heard, and urges several members to cultivate the relationship with the family, and especially with “the little girl,” the 19-year-old woman who would become a key figure in the Temple’s history, especially during its last year.
The tape opens with Steven Katsaris speaking about being his family blocked from attending Temple services the previous week, an event which led Jones to invite him as a special guest for a midweek meeting (which few non-members ever attended). Jones explains what happens – without apology or expression of regret, however – and expresses happiness that the priest has returned.
Jones then speaks at length about the Temple’s life in Ukiah, describing the social services facilities it has opened in its years there and the diversity of people’s viewpoints in the church, all of which are welcomed. He speaks fairly openly of the challenges the church has faced, especially with the racial make-up of its congregation. The area has challenged him as well: “I lived in an interracial setting that was really a deprived neighborhood for about 13 years with my family, so in a sense, we don’t feel that we have as much to offer an agricultural community.”
The church’s – and the minister’s – theology has also been a concern, Jones notes. He is more liberal than the rural community, and while the Temple has fundamentalist members, including some who have made the journey from Indiana, it also incudes – and embraces – the agnostics and atheists in the community.
As a result of all this, Jones acknowledges, the church is thinking about relocating its main facility to the Bay Area and letting Redwood Valley serve as a retreat center. Certainly, he adds, the Temple has not tried to poach members from other Ukiah churches.
It is a calm and straightforward address, and while he describes some of his healing powers, he does not claim perfection or divinity. “I’m distraught that I cannot effect cures for all that are sick. We have effected cures for phenomenal things,” but his work does not represent “a panacea.” Instead, he says, the church works to implements Christ’s words about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.
“We really can’t say Christianity’s failed,” Jones tells his guests. “Maybe the church has, but we’ve never really tried Christianity… I’d like to give [Christ’s teachings] a whirl.”
Jones listens respectfully to Katsaris’ description of his own church and his own school, interjecting several questions and inviting one or two members to participate.
After Steven has left – undoubtedly with Maria, given the fact that she is referred to in the third person, and that Jones outlines a strategy to bring her into the church – the Temple leader speaks of his own humility and of how that will work to their advantage. “I’m quite confident that I can move heaven and earth, but you don’t tell people that. You prove it to them, and you take ‘em little by little, and then prove it to them. Then you can do a lot more than if you make great big promises. If you don’t promise and produce, that’s better than to promise and not produce.”
Jones also says that Katsaris lied to them, but that he – Jones – lied as well. “We’re playing games.” He does resort to telling lies himself, he admits, but only if it helps his people. And a successful lie has an element of truth to it, something for them to fall back on if they’re ever caught out. “They do find out that I believe I’m God, or you believe I’m God, I perfectly made a way for it, ‘cause I said I don’t believe there’s anything up there. The only thing that there is, is here in me, but I didn’t say that.”
His main concern is if he downplayed himself so much that they will not be able to bring Maria in. “I might’ve thrown away too much charisma here for her to be won, because all people are won through that image. Everyone likes their God or their leader to be put up high, and I put myself down pretty low, so she might have lost some of that necessary initiation charisma.” The best solution, he proposes, is for young people in the Temple to invite her to a social event and have them talk up what Jim Jones can actually do.
The tape ends with a portion of a Temple service which is not often recorded, the collection of money from the congregation, something that happened several times a service but which Jones usually edited out.
Date of transcription: 7/3/79
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 14, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B107-33. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES speaking before a group about the PT, the Church, and miscellaneous topics. JONES also engages the group in questions and answers with discussion.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted March 2017.