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: Late September 1974 (few days after death of Gail Cobb)
Ramona [phonetic] (speaks)
Barbara Henley/Hendrix [phonetic]
Spiro Agnew, former Vice President
Coleman Young, Mayor of Detroit [by reference]
Evelle Younger, Califorina Attorney General [by reference]
Tom Bradley, Mayor of Los Angeles [by reference]
Ed Davis, Chief of Police in Los Angeles [by reference]
Gail A. Cobb, police officer killed in line of duty
Robert “Sonny” Carson, leader of protests against education standardsPart II:
J. Paul Getty
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.)
- “Bibles that have no meaning, unless they have the savior to interpret it.” (Romans 10:13-15, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 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? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?”)
“It’s told you right in the Bible, II Corinthians 3:6 that this Bible kills. The letter kills. Letter to Corinthians, letter to Romans, letter kills, but the spirit, and the spirit of the revolution is love. Love, nonviolence, maketh alive. Love, truth makes alive.” (II 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.”)
“As Jesus said, no man takes my life, but I lay down my life on my own terms.” (John 10:17-18, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”)
(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Georgiana Mamlakah. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
This tape consists of two segments, a longer piece lasting 40 minutes and a short piece – almost undoubtedly from a previous sermon which the Temple recorded over – lasting about five. There is not a sufficient context to date the second segment.
In the longer piece, Jim Jones answers questions from members of the Peoples Temple congregation in Los Angeles. Some of the questions seek information – how can Temple members apply for a reimbursement for an antibiotic; what is the 25th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that has been in the press lately – but many more people ask questions which reflect their own sense of disenfranchisement, powerlessness, and alienation in mid-1970s America, all of which characterized many of Jones’ followers. And Jones responds in kind.
The result is an articulation of many of the conspiracies which were prevalent of the period, although Jones elaborates upon many of them, offering more detail which makes them more foreboding (and even paranoid) than they already were. On the issue of fluoridation of water, for example, Jones repeats the commonly-held assertion that “it does great harm to humans,” but then he adds that it’s a plot to kill black people. “[A]t first they didn’t care who they killed…” he says, “[b]ut now they’ve found a more specific way of extermination, and they will use that and I’m sure they’ll not be trying to kill us through a general chemical that would apply to all races equally.”
Similarly, in his answer to a woman’s question about black people having higher rates of cancer, Jones suggests that doctors know the cure for cancer, and those who speak out about the cure are in jail. But most in the medical establishment “don’t want it to be known because there’d be so much money lost to the drug industries and to doctors who cut when they don’t need to cut.” Going directly to the woman’s question – and adding a wrinkle to the long-held notion of a suppressed cancer cure – he then says “maybe if they know how to cure it, they also know how to give it.”
Other theories are exaggerated to reinforce Jones’ core beliefs, including his antagonism towards “the system” in general and government in particular. There is a new California law that state employees must take a loyalty oath, and there are consequences for people who refuse to sign or who break it after they sign. The penalty, Jones says, is that “if you’re disloyal to the State of California, you’ll die in the gas chamber.”
That defiance against anyone in authority shows in other ways in this tape. Jones tells an oft-repeated story about being arrested and refusing to leave jail until everyone in the jail was set free – the story appears in some form on at least a half dozen other tapes – thereby presenting himself as the only one who understands and defends his followers against the police. Later, when he speaks about a young black woman police office who was killed in the line of duty, he first acknowledges that “People were sad about it,” then, after a pause, adds, “Some people were sad about it… she deserves what she gets.”
Following scattered applause, he adds a warning: “Anybody that black skin that would want to be an officer under the present conditions of injustice on a police force, or any of my people that want to be an officer, I suspect them.… How could anybody with any racial pride want to be an officer in the part of that kind of system?”
The brief segment at the end is primarily an endorsement of socialism, in which Jones declares that if people knew really what was happening in the world, if they weren’t controlled by the press – which itself was controlled by the ruling, capitalistic class – they would choose to have a socialistic government.
Date of transcription: 6/21/79
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 15, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B108-10. This tape was found to contain the following:
A recording of JIM JONES lecturing on police corruption and how the white people are systematically doing away with the black people.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted March 2017.