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: Labeled in part “18/7/73”
Date cues on tape: Tape contents consistent with identification note
People in attendance at Peoples Temple service
Claire (likely Janaro)
Sister Ingram (speaks)
Eugene Chaikin (speaks)
Willa Mae Conley (speaks)
Ellen (Penny) Kerns Dupont (by reference)
Jeanette Kerns (speaks)
Larry Schacht (by reference)
Tim Stoen (by reference)
Cecil Templeton (speaks)
Richard Tropp (by reference)
Hannah Wright (speaks)
Public figures/National and international names:
Richard Nixon, President of U.S.
Sen. Edward Kennedy
Tom Bradley, mayor of Los Angeles (by reference)
Helen Flanders Dunbar, American psychiatrist
Bible verses cited:
“Some people see me as a representative of the I Am, as Jehovah.” Jireh (Exodus 3:14, “And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.”)
“We believe by their fruits shall you know them. Jesus said, ye shall know a tree by the fruit it bears.” (Matthew 12:33, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.”)
“I remember her saying she saw me to be the hundredfold of God.” (Matthew 13:3-9, esp. Matthew 13:8, “But other [seeds] fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.”).
“They love their brothers, they love their sisters. And the– the Scripture says, by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, because you have love one for another.” (John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”)
“They see Christ in me, a hope of glory… Christ is in each of us, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27, “…God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”)
“The love of money is the root of all evil… There’s a love of money in this land, a love of materialism that alienates against us everyone.” (1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil”)
“In the apostles’ day, in the times of the great Jewish messenger, Paul, he spoke of the laying on of hands.” (Hebrews 6:1-2, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” Also, Acts 8:18, 1 Timothy 4:14)
“But we recognize that all good things come down from the father of lights in whom there is no shadow or variableness of turning.” (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.”)
“Whosoever loveth is born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”)
(Quoted by unidentified associate pastor) “They said in times of old, if you did not cry out, the rocks would cry out, children.” (Luke 19:39-40, “And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”)
(Quoted by audience member) “Peter 5:4 says, when the chief shepherd appears, you will be crowned with glory that fadeth not away.” (1 Peter 5:4, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”).
(This tape was transcribed by Nightrissa Crosby. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
A documentary crew is filming a Peoples Temple service in July 1973 – almost undoubtedly the crew of two University of Southern California film students – and the members of Peoples Temple give them a show. There are numerous hymns and spirituals on this tape, numerous healings, numerous testimonials, and a few words from Jim Jones as he answers questions from the audience about the church and its programs. Because of the presence of the outsiders, the service is different from most. Jones does not rail against the forces that would destroy them, his criticisms of American society are light and almost in passing, and – perhaps most telling – there are more references (and positive ones) to the Christian aspects of the church and its denomination.
Some of the musical selections do include the changes which the Temple has made to them, to reflect its own values and beliefs. The original words to the spiritual “I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me” refers to the singer being bound by Satan, among other troubles; the Temple’s version refers to bigotry and prejudice as being among those sins, and – at least in one verse – praises “Father,” that is, Jim Jones, as the savior.
But Jesus as the Christ figure does have a predominant presence in this service. During one of the first healings, Jones calls out a woman in a wheelchair by declaring, “I love you. Jesus Christ loves you. All the goodness of all the world’s great religions, in the name and the mercy and the goodness of Jesus wherein I stand.” During another healing a few moments later, he tells a woman, “I love you, the people love you, and most importantly, Christ loves you.”
The questions posed by audience members are general and soft, and Jones is eloquent in his responses. When considering the problems in America, he says that they stem from a love of money, which – as the Bible reminds them – is the root of all evil. When asked how he thinks the people of the congregation see him, he replies that he is a “representative of the I Am, a Jehovah Jireh,” then famously adds – in a piece of video that appears across the internet – “They see Christ in me, a hope of glory.” He then continues with his other roles, as a humanitarian, as a teacher, and as a provider to his family. As a conclusion, he notes, “I’ve got people who see me on every kind of level, and if people are kind and gentle and they practice the great ethics of the Judeo-Christian tradition or the ethics of love general, they’re welcome in here.”
He offers a similar answer when asked about the role of healings and the greatest achievements of the church. “All of these healings in themselves are wonderful, and we’re grateful for them, but if they do not lead to greater action and deeper experience in contribution to society, I think they would be somewhat in vain.”
Despite his healings – and their role in the church’s ministry – he stresses numerous times that the church is not “a panacea,” and that he urges people who are ill to go to their doctors.
There is a single reference to death: Jones notes that many people are attracted to Peoples Temple because of their work on peace, their belief in nonviolence, and their opposition to totalitarianism. “Whatever its name, be it fascism or communism, we are not interested in any kind of oppressive systems. We want our liberty, or we want death.”
Shortly before he excuses the film crew so that the church can have its regular service, Jones goes through the list of accomplishments the church can claim, its child foster and adoption programs, its senior citizen homes, its students who attend college with Temple scholarships, even its animal welfare efforts – Jones brings out the chimpanzee, Mr. Muggs for a short appearance – and notes that this is what the church does, instead of buying Cadillacs and new homes and new suits for its minister.
The service ends with a round of appreciative applause for the film crew as they are ushered away.
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 22, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-29. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES conducting a church service.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted January 2018.