Q1030 Transcript

(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Georgiana Mamlakah. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)

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Several muffled sentences at head of tape.

Jones: I can’t speak with a thorough understanding. If it is as I understand on occasion that some take the position that no white people can be trusted, I can empathize with that, but I think it is a gravely dangerous position to take. Let’s just look at it pragmatically. Look at it from a practical standpoint. In a nation where there’re 200 million people and 180 million are white, if all those whites are indeed devils, and you divide a line in which you cannot cooperate, it seems to me, that that kind of philosophy will lead to nothing but a dead end street. Twenty million people – I don’t care if Allah or whoever’s on their side – 20 million people are not going to be able to defeat 180 million people. There’s no chance of that. Let’s just look at it from a practical standpoint. If [one] wanted to be a tactical strategist on a battlefield. But I don’t– I don’t intend to look at life like that. I know the backbone of this church, when we have been in Civil Rights fights, have not been any more black than white. Some of the most principled people – one of them ninety-some years of age sitting in this congregation somewhere, who has fought, Bea Whitna, who has fought for principles sitting back there, who’s fought to the point of even going to jail, she’s very much white, very much Irish, and I think it’s stupid to make a categorization about any race of people. That’s what we’ve been fighting. As an Indian, I’ve been fighting that all my life, to say all Indians are bad or all blacks are bad, and I– I– in all due respect, and I respect the feeling of pride that the Nation of Islam has given, but when it says that all whites are– are wrong or bad or devils or (unintelligible word, sounds like “charlatans”), then I say at that point I must wholeheartedly disagree.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: Now we– we do all we can to foster peace, and we feel that it is important to do so. For instance, we tell the people, there is someone in our halls every evening from the Nation of Islam selling their paper. They were in the streets. We said, no. Come inside. We welcome you. We don’t want you to feel that alienation that you’ve known in the past. We welcome you inside to sell your piece of paper or your news or your periodical. And the black self-help store, we feel that that’s very good in this neighborhood. We need to give all kinds of encouragement to black businesses, and we feel we should help one another. And when we wanted– uh, when we want to choose something to eat, if you uh, would follow the general consensus of the council here and the leadership, we say go down to that lovely little shop that’s run by the Muslims on the corner. But just because I buy their sandwiches or buy their paper does not mean that I buy everything they preach.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: (Clears throat) Now I don’t know whether I answer your particular persuasion, but I– I– I feel it’s foolhardy, in fact I– I– I feel– I– I feel it’s tragedy, because they are doing so many wonderful things, and they have encompassed now people of my background. I could become a Muslim tomorrow. I’ve been invited to see uh, the Messenger, [Elijah] Muhammad, and I may very well do that, because I certainly want to get to know everyone in various straight and– and walks of life, and as I was speaking the other day with Dr. [Carlton] Goodlett, no doubt history will show that Mr. Mu– Mr. Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah as he sees himself, has done more I suppose than any person today to give black people a sense of pride and cohesiveness. He has built communities and businesses, and he’s inspired a feeling of pride, I think, that all of us look to with great satisfaction.

Congregation: Murmur assent

Jones: And I cannot really say that they’re preaching hate. I hear that they preach hate. I do not know that they preach hate. I know when I met with the local representative, the representative, John Muhammad, and we ate uh, at their request at a restaurant, with Mr. [Tim] Stoen, who is Caucasian, finely-committed man, and another Caucasian– black person was in– it was– it was [an] integrated group, I sensed no racial hostilities. I think many of their conclusions have been formed because they feel from their own empirical of experiential evidence that whites cannot be trusted. I think if more white people would make an attempt to show the Muslims they could be trusted, the Muslims might change some of their attitudes.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: I think we have– we have to waken to the fact – and I’m– as I– sure I look down upon those who are interracially married, and I know in my own black’s– adopted son [Jim Jones, Jr.]– Some of you can’t possibly know what this is, unless you are either black and then even more so– uh, people– uh, uh, the former speaker, who uh, he and his wife have lived these beautiful years, twenty s– they had to be in love. You can’t live, an interracial couple can’t live 25, 26, 27 years, they really have to have something on the ball, or they won’t stay together that long.

Congregation: Murmurs

Jones: Because most of the marriages that I’ve known who’ve attempted to cross ethnic lines, it’s a tough battle to hurdle. Uh, you– you’re– You’ll find yourself uncomfortable– Unfortunately and tragically, you find yourself uncomfortable, not only sometimes in the white world, but I know interracial couples who are here who have gone to black churches, and the white partner has been shunned in black churches just as well as the black person has been shunned in the white community.

Congregation: Murmurs

Jones: And I think we need to re– We– We need to be vividly aware of these racial antipathies. No use to go around with an Uncle Tomish attitude and say that they don’t exist. No use to try to make us uh, uh, believe at this hour, with my background of experiences, that race doesn’t enter into every arena. For instance, I know of all kinds of uh– of– of ministers who are doing nothing for their people. Driving in expensive cars. I only own one suit, and it’s a used suit. I own one suit to my name. You see it. Every time you see it. Same tie, same suit. And recently we saw what a newsman [Lester Kinsolving] can do. Now I’m confident that if I had been white, and this church had been middle class white– But because we were doing something for the average man, reaching the black and the brown and the poor whites, that newsman took potshots and risked– Oh, didn’t risk, he told fabrications – that’s what I’ll call them, let him sue me for slander if it‘s not true – he lied faster than a horse could trot. And I’m sure that he would’ve never taken such an attack on someone that was in the establishment position of being white. There would’ve never been those attacks, because know of ministers that he coulda picked on, if he wants to look at dishonesty. know some ministers that have not adopted eight children as I have. Iknow some that are driving around new cars. I don’t even own one. I know some that are not helping their people to have four senior citizens homes, four college dormitories, two convalescent sanatoriums, and uh, the children’s home,, and all this humane work that we do. I know plenty that they could’ve picked on, if they wanted to be looking for dishonesty. But the fact was that it’s all right when the man that’s already on the end is prospering. When the Man is prospering, it’s fine, but when somebody comes along, an old common engine like me, and tells us that it’s time that blacks and browns prosper too, some folk don’t like it, and some of them are in pretty high places.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: That’s why I’ve taken with a good– a good eye and a good look at uh, Deputy Mayor [Joe] Johnson and his freedom to serve the community. And Iwouldn’t have– I– I told Mr. [Joseph] Alioto, I said, Mr. Alioto, and I support you. I would– No, I would’ve supported Mr. Alioto if I hadn’t met Mr. Johnson. And I felt I should lay the cards just like that, because I’m tired, as the man said, I’m tired of poetry, I’m tired of words. I uh– I got all kinds of people giving me all kinds of uh, verbiage you know, they’re giving all kinds of hot air, but I– it’s about– about time I saw some people putting legs on their prayers, and putting some action behind their words.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: (calls out) I’ve often heard it said, it’s good to preach Christ, but more so to liveChrist in deeds and actions.

Congregation: Applause

 Jones: (Moderates) And so when I walk into that, uh– that reception the other day, which I’m sureI was there because of the community concern of Mr. Johnson. I said to M– Mayor Alioto, I said I am convinced to support you and your community endeavors because of this man, because I see here a black man with his talents being recognized and permitted to function, and uh, that’s where we need to stick our– ourselves together, stand together, because united we stand and divided we fall.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: And I think we also need to know that things aren’t getting better, just because we say they’re getting better. And we don’t need to uh, be like a ostrich with his hand in the proverbial uh– his– his neck in the proverbial sand. We have to recognize that yellow journalism is not dead. I thought it was, hoped it was, but just in September 16, I found out that people can lie, and they can do it under the cover of liars with affidavits. Everyone that was quoted in that newspaper had a police record. Every one. Every one, from morals charges to immorality against their children. One of them, you heard by her testimony here, was molested when she was a child and then schizophrenic withdrawal. Now she’s one of the finest nurses in our community. But her father had made her ill. But the paper– This reverend – so-called – picked up the ilk of this type of man who had everything to gain by maligning us, because I guess he was afraid we would tell what we knew about him.

Congregation: Quiet murmurs

Jones: And so he bombarded the public with terrible, terrible things. Racist things. Did you see their innuendo? We say– Peoples Temple says, don’t have your natural born children, and every young couple, the moment they come in, they’re not permitted to have their white children, they must adopt a black child. Now what do you think they were trying to do? (raise voice) What do you think that kind of maneuver is attempting to do? Obvious racism. And when they printed the headlines, on that particular day, our church was about 60% white on that particular day, and it said all– nearly all black. The headlines. What do you think they’re attempting to do? A certain discrediting that’s there, and I’m not– I’m certainly very glad for whatever the majority we have that are black. I wouldn’t change– trade places with s– all those folks that are proud of the fact that they’re white. I’m only with those people today that are white who realize the sin of what the white man has done and wants to make restitution for it. To those, I can walk with them and love them and cooperate with them, but anybody that walks in here that’s so proud of being white, I think you ought to take another look at your history.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: Now I uh, speak on my own behalf. The persons who have spoken before me do notshare my opinions, they’re just here as guests of the community. I always feel that uh– it was most important to say that when I’ve got newsmen around, uh, not that I have any– any question about uh– There was no prior arrangement for anyone to come, just a community gesture that people in uh, uh, uh, the various officials will visit the church. We had last week the senator, a– a– a very fine senator that was in our ranks, and we had a congressman, and they come repeatedly. That does not mean that they’re necessarily in support of our views, but I think that I have to give you an honest answer, and my honest answer, what do I feel about the Muslims’ position on race is thoroughly this. I cannot absolutely say because I’m not there, but if it is indeed true that they say all white men are devils, I cannot believe this. I believe that human beings, some are devils, some are angels, mostly in between.

Congregation: Stirs

Jones: Mostly in-between.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: And I want to remind you too, that some– the times when people were needed to serve their fellow beings and go into the courts and go to jail in the early days of our church movement. You look around at some of the white faces here. They were there. When Civil Rights was so questionable back there in the Midwest, when they threw human feces, and they threw garbage, and they put dynamite, and they marked swastikas on our doors, sliced our tires, put sugar in our gas tanks, stole our batteries, took our wheels off, I want you to know that the people that stood there, 95 percent of them were whites that took that battle on, and (emphatic) they never let down, not one moment.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: And if you think I’m going to come along with some philosophy and say that all whites are devils, I will not do that. I don’t accept it. I just can’t accept that. I– I have a reason to be hurt. My people, my background have suffered just like anyone else that’s a minority race, and sometimes you wonder who you can trust, and we know very well. I’m sure people who’ve been in a official capacity. I’ve been a government commissioner on human rights, and I could tell h– how they would treat me, when I’d walk in alone, when I walked in with my son. I’m sure that people here who have interracial marriages can know the difference sometimes that they feel, and sometimes it’s a– it has a cutting edge that you feel like you– you could hardly stand it. I am not asleep to the fact that there is still too much racism in this society, but I know one thing, that we cannot have a war between 180 million whites and 20 million blacks. That’s suicide.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: That’s suicide. And when you teach racial superiority, whether it be black or white, if you teach that one race is superior to another, you’ve got the same old devil reversed. And it’ll lead to the same kind of problems, the same kind of trouble, and the same kind of end road self-destruction. Thank you. Anyone else that has a question?

Congregation: Applause

Female 1: What is your feeling on capital punishment, now that [cut off by Jones]

Jones: What is my view on capital punishment?

Female 1: (inaudible)

Jones: Hmph. Now as a pastor, that’s what gets me in all of this trouble. I’m not supposed to get into these fields of legislation, but I invariably get these questions, and I’ll honor them. What do I think about capital punishment? Well, I’ll speak what the scriptures says. It– Thou shalt not kill.

Congregation: Light applause

Jones: That’s what it says. Thou shalt not kill.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: I say that there’re some things that you need to look for. Now, under present democratic processes, and I think that we’ve got a lot of civil libertarians– uh, civil libertarians that still functioning in American society, but the statute of California says that there are certain crimes punishable by death. One of the them, a very vague thing called treason against the state of California. (short laugh) Now that bothers me. Who is the state of California? Today, it’s safeguarded by the checks and balances systems of the legislature, the legislative branch and the executive and the Supreme Court. But if tomorrow, a demagogue comes along in California politics and begins to take over the court by appointments of rascals, like we’re seeing in some instances in various places in the world and the legislature might be said, because some crisis in our civil life, uh, not necessarily– (microphone static) Don’t bother with uh, any of this uh, for the moment, will you please, now I’ll– don’t bother that. So if you– If as in the Philippines for instance, the legislature’s been s– uh, told that it’s not needed for the time being because of an emergency. I would hate like the dickens to think that Governor [Ronald] Reagan was going to decide what would be treason against the state of California.

Voices in congregation: Right

Jones: That’d be my own opinion. I’d hate– and he’s not a bad guy, in the sense that I think he uh– he’s written letters of complementary nature to our work. In a lot of ways he shares some real good principles, but he is too much authortarian [authoritarian] for me. I wouldn’t want him deciding who has committed treason against the state of California. So that’s what I– I told one of my good friends. I’ve got a good friend up there in Redwood Valley. You get strange friends in the midst of a battle. You know who come to our rescue? Uh– You’d thought – You’da thought, well, all of the Civil Rights groups would come– ‘course, we don’t have any up there in the hills, there nothing but good old farmers, and you’da thought the good old liberal farmers woulda got right in there gung ho, wouldn’t you?

Congregation: Murmurs

Jones: You’da thought they’da rushed right in there and fought for us hard. You know who one of our greatest supporters was? He’d been in and seen our youth rehabilitated, and he looked and he saw blacks and whites working together, and he knew, because his relatives were in the law enforcement agency, that not one of Peoples Temple’s members had ever been arrested. And when they started after us, who was the first to get a hold of the Attorney General [Evelle Younger] – and the Attorney General didn’t know what to think about it, ‘cause we were being accused of being leftist – the chapter leader of the John Birch Society, Walter Heady, went to battle and wrote the newspaper and said, leave those people alone. I may not agree with where they’re going, but they change people’s lives for the good, and they make this community a better place. There’re no one in trouble, they’re good citizens, they don’t have any arrest records, they don’t use alcohol or tobacco or drugs, so what’s wrong with them being alive and permitted to function in our community?

Congregation: Applause

Jones: You never know, you never know. Even for a prophet, that was a hard one to call. Not only did he do that, he got a hold of [Randolph Hearst] the head of the Hearst papers, and he got a hold of– Well, I– I tell you some of the people he got a hold of. Amazing. Made me realize how strong the right is in America today, ‘cause he got a hold of some people that would’ve never taken a second look at me. I have people writing me that wouldn’t– if they’d hear me preach one sermon, they’da probably drop dead.

Congregation: Laughter

Jones: But they were writing me sympathy c– and sympathetic letters. But again, a lack of communications. Someone told me once Walter Heady hated me. Said he– Said he says you’re a socialist. I said, well, if he hates me, we’re going to have to go over there and see what’s wrong, ‘cause scripture says if your brother has got ought against you, you go to him. It didn’t say if he got ought against you, it says if he’s got– if you– if he’s got ought against you, you got to go and find out what’s the trouble. That’s what scripture– See, I’m an old-fashioned religionist in a lot of ways. I don’t dangle you over hot hell, and I don’t always tell you about the streets of gold, but I take some of those ethics of the Judeo-Christian principle very seriously and sincerely to heart. And it says if your brother’s got ought against you, you go.So I tromped over to his farm one day, and I walked in there, and the dogs met me, and the signs “America love it or leave it” and everything else, I thought– I felt like Abraham in the wilderness.

Congregation: Laughter

Jones: And I walked down for about a half mile, and the more I got there, the more disturbed I got, but when I got to the door, I said, I am Jim Jones. He said, you walked though all these dogs? I said, yes, I– I– I did, I get along with dogs better than I do people. 

Congregation: Applause, laughter.

Jones: He said well. (chuckles) And so– so from that point on began a conversation, and it was a conversation that where we were miles apart, but there was warmth, and then somebody had a common need, somebody got in trouble in the community. Hurt. They were burned out, and we aided them, we didn’t ask what their politics was, and you know? Out of that came an understanding, and we began to talk about some of the problems of repression and bureaucracy. And do you know, I found out that the John Birch Society was concerned about some of the same laws that threaten civil liberties that you are. They just didn’t realize it. There’s a racist connotation, but I got him out of that racism. Why, they– Walter Heady, he has blacks in his home now. He may be the chapter leader of the John Birch Society, but he’s not a segregationist anymore.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: I– I might want to change some of his views, but he’s no longer a segregationist. If he ever was one, if he ever was one. He d– isn’t now. And it was amazing that during that time of trial, that when liberals wanted to flee, some of them, they want to flee because we were getting onslaughts. They were threatening us by night and by day. They kicked a little dog into co– unconsciousness. They harassed us and broke out our windows, they blasted a shotgun over my head that missed just by– well, I would hate to measure how much– how little it missed by, and ten or twelve others that were in the parking lot. It was a sorry night that the Hearst Press– I don’t think Hearst did it, Mr. Hearst himself sent us a sympathy letter. I want to tell you something, it pays to be good in every front of your life. I don’t think that thing would’ve stopped today, but Mr. Hearst happens to be an anti-vivisectionist, and someone sent him articles, saying that we help little animals, and he rushed the letter to the uh, Hearst paper from the– from the Examiner from New York and Mr. [Charles] Gould wrote us up there, saying we are going to look into Mr. Kinsolving again. We’re sorry if we’ve caused you any discomfort. And I think your policy and mine of treating little animals kind might’ve been the thing that touched and stopped us from getting more attacks. I believe those attacks woulda kept on and kept on, because it took somebody higher than Mr. Kinsolving, because he made a brag to the bishop of our denomination [Karl Irvin]. He made open statements to people at the Pacific School of Religion, he said, “I’m going to crush Peoples Temple if it’s the last thing I do.” So somebody somewhere– And of course we believe that we know somebody somewhere.

Congregation: Laughter, Applause

Jones: But (calls out) somebody somewhere moved a lot of things, because there was a lovely article written in another newspaper about our animal shelter, and when Mr. Hearst read that– You see, everybody’s got a heart. Someplace. Somebody’s got sensitivity and feelings everywhere. And you know what we were told? There were two more articles, and editors said, you can be grateful, because there were two more articles so filled with lies that someone might’ve gotten hurt without dowu– doubt if they’d been printed, but they were stopped. Now you know and know that uh, ordinary things don’t stop things like that.

Congregation: Murmurs

Jones: (Tsks) Ordinary things don’t stop things like that, but I wanted to– wanted to drop that in to show you just how small the world was. But during that time, what did Mr. Heady say? He said, “I’m not like you, Reverend, you don’ t believe in any shotgun, but,” he said, “I got one, and if you need it, I’m coming down, I’m going to park myself on that church lawn,” and he said, “let them throw another rock,” he said, “I’ll shoot somebody in the rear end.”

Congregation: Laughter, Applause

Jones: Oh, come on, now, child, you know, you know, that uh– you know that uh– you may say that’s not quite the way you’da said it, but I loved it. I appreciated him saying it, ‘cause nobody was saying anything to me, to folk weren’t liftin’ up the phones. I’ve had all kinds of folks that knew me during those days before, and they come to me and openly invited me to this and that, but when that trouble hit, you’d be surprised how silent it was. You’d be surprised how the Democratic Party that our church has majority supported all through the years, you’d be surprised even how silent it was. Do you know who came to our rescue again? The head of the Republican Party of the town. Got a hold of the Attorney General, wrote an article in the newspaper, Doctor– because he’s seen our children, he said, those children came to me with their teeth rotting out, and that church paid to straighten their teeth, put on braces, and he said, people that do that kind of work have to be good, and he said, if you’re gonna come after them, you’re gonna have to come after me too.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: I appreciate the chapters in our life. I learned a lot of things. Of course, after the Republicans came out, then my Democrat friends came out too. But– With one exception. Deputy John– Mayor [Joe] Johnson came right in the midst of the battle. He didn’t ask me any questions, didn’t say what’s about this newspaper, is it true or not. He said everybody doing things that’re good, have lies written about them. And I guess Mr. Alioto should surely know, because he’s been the most maligned person, I suppose, that public official– That caused me to take notice of him, you know.

Congregation: Murmurs

Jones: That alone. Just why does he– What does he get all of these lies told on him, and why is it not mentioned that a jury found him innocent of all charges? Just because he did not get a financial settlement, does not– That’s not really representing it like it ought to be. That’s why I told you the other day, you should write Channel 7 because Mr. [Russ] Coughlan of Channel 7 says it’s an unfair treatment that he’s getting, and I think it is indeed unfair, because there’s not been enough mentioned in the media that this man was de– was proven innocent by two juries.

Congregation: Murmurs

Jones: Hmmm?

Congregation: Murmurs

Jones: But I wasn’t asked any questions about– and I’da been highly offended if I had. Mr. Johnson was a wise man and a kind man, ‘cause if he’da said, what about those newspapers. I’da said, Mr. Johnson, if you choose to believe it, you can. If you don’t, that’s up to you. But he didn’t. And thus he’s got a friend from now on. And he may not uh, know just how valuable that is, but I’m a scrapper. I’m there. When you give me loyalty when I need it, I’ll be behind you. If after Mr. Alioto has decided he doesn’t want to run anymore, and you want to run for mayor, I’ll be right there pushing–

Tape edit

Congregation: Applause

Jones: Because I (tape edit) elephants have something in common. They never forget. (chuckles)

Congregation: Lingering applause, murmurs

Jones: I never forget. I– I never forget kindness, particularly when it isn’t going to– not gone do you thing– anything, not going to gain you anything. He wouldn’t– He didn’t have a thing to gain by being kind to us, but just was kind. He didn’t know how much we stand together. He didn’t know how unified we are. He didn’t know that if they come after one of us, if they’d ever wanted to take away liber– liberty in this country, if they ever wanted to take away freedom, as they did to the Jews in Nazi Germany, if some terrible misfortune would take place that they came to do that sort of thing, if they came after one of us, they’d have to take every blessed one of us.

Congregation: Enthusiastic, sustained applause

Jones: Thank you, thank you. And we aren’t all here tonight, ‘cause some of ‘em are managing children’s home, and managing senior citizen home, (tape edit) some of them are in college classes, and some of them (tape edit) in the nursing convalescent homes, and some of them are in the various projects, managing the concession stands on the city. But we are in various pa– roles and functions, and a whole lot of Los Angeles is not here and a whole lot of Seattle that’s coming in tomorrow. When you get us all together, about 10,000 of us, and that’s no small number.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: We believe in the democratic process, and we’re going to stand by it. We’re nonviolent, and we’re going to stand by it. So in answer to you, dear, I don’t believe in killing. I don’t believe it’s brought us any good thing in society. I don’t believe wars have gotten us very far. I think we’re going to have to learn how to win with ideas. If I had listened to what they said to me about the John Birch man, I suppose we coulda been in a battle, because he– he really said we ought to be driven out of the neighborhood. But I walked up, and I didn’t carry a gun, I came with an honest heart, and he had an honest heart, and two honest hearts met. So I’m afraid of killing, because so often in the state’s background – not this state, every state – the ones that end up in the gas chamber and the gallows and the execution chambers are black, brown, or poor whites. (unintelligible under tape distortion) There’s never been a person ever executed that had $50,000 in liquid assets. Until they start (unintelligible word under tape distortion, likely “killing”) all those rich folks as well as they kill all the poor folks, I’m not for capital punishment.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: (raises voice) I mean a criminal’s a criminal. If you’re gonna get uh– I notice someone, a famous right wing racist today who’s using– uh, he’s a cartoonist, and he was involved in sodomy and involved in a morals charge, and up in two different universities, they had him cleared. They pinned his head to the wall. I’ve never been arrested in my life, never done anything that I want to– anybody– would hesitate for anybody to know. But I’ve got all kinds of malarkey thrown at me. And you’ve had it too, if you’ve been standing for what you believe. But you know that guy? Strangely enough, he didn’t get a day sentence. He didn’t b– a– a court to even hear the case. Judge just threw it out. And yet he was proven guilty in Wisconsin and in Louisiana. He had all the evidence against him, an c– an act of immorality against a minor. (Pause) His money bought him out. When money can buy people justice, I’m afraid of laws that takes anyone’s life.

Congregation: Delayed applause

Jones: And I think you’ll have to look at it from the uh, criminologist standpoint. The head of the– the uh, local prison said that he believes, and many say, that it is not a deterrent to murder or any other capital crime that has been covered by uh, the gas chamber. Let’s look at the young child in San Jose, who was a babysitter. She w– didn’t have the courage, she said, to commit suicide, so she murdered two children, so that the state would take the problem out of her hands and kill her. And I think you’ll find a lot of people like that. The states that have done away with capital crimes have no more crimes of violence and acts of passion than the states that have them. In fact, if anything, there are less capital offenses in states that’ve done away with capital punishment. So if you want to look at it just practically, I say we ought to really worry people with the fact that they could be in prison a long, long time. I think that will deter people. But death– Sometimes when you’re killing someone else, it’s an act of suicide, you know, just self-destruction of an impulse to be destroyed. So I– I would say, if you going to be Christian, and Ju– and follow the Judeo-Christian tradition, no, no to the death penalty. No. But if you are also going to look at it just from a practical standpoint, no. In fact of the matter, I believe with [Thomas] Jefferson, that good Democrat, that said the government that governs least governs best. Gotta watch government when it gets too many laws. History, that is, shows that governments, when you give them too many laws, they don’t always get used in the proper way. So I’m le– leery of giving anyone the right to take somebody’s life. I’m leery of giving such laws as we have, the Ominous Crime Bill, that can keep someone for 90 days without even a charge being placed against them. But do you know, that something is happening in America? The John Birch Society for instance is against some of these same laws that you as liberals have been against. They’re getting an awareness. If we can get them out of this brainwashing of race that’s been done to them, and get them to see just civil liberties as an issue. There’re a lot of laws that are bad laws, brother, sister. I don’t know whether you’re re– familiar with this Washington crime bill. It’s a bad business. They can just take somebody and put him right back in jail for 90 days again, because he mi– uh, it says I think the law’s vague, my attorney, who’s a member of the church can say it better than I, but it’s some sort of vagueness that uh, if he seems likely to commit a crime? You want to give a government that kind of power? Not on my life, not on the hair of my chinny chin chin. You’re not going to get me to give no government that kind of power. I’m against it. Said I’m against the government having that kind of power, to put people in the jail without a charge, without due process of law. I think we want to safeguard everyone’s rights, because when one person’s rights goes, look out. You’ll remember what [Martin] Niemöller said in Germany. That Protestant. He said it so capably. He said, oh, I was a good Christian, I was so concerned about Jesus, I was Gentile, I didn’t have any concerns about anybody else. He said when [Adolf] Hitler came in Germany– and he was elected, by the way, don’t you forget it, Hitler was not appointed, he was elected by a mandate. Some people don’t realize that. But when Niemöller said Hitler came after the Jews, he said, oh, well, the Jews murdered Christ. I didn’t get too badly disturbed in my disposition when they come after the Jews. Said I thought they had something coming to them. Said when they came after the Communist, he said, every good Christian hates communist. I didn’t get worried. Said when they came after the trade unions, he said, I’d never been very much involved in labor, I’d always had a silver spoon in my mouth, I didn’t worry about labor. Boom, they took labor out, throwed them in concentration camps. He said then they come along after the Catholics, and he said, we’d always been taught as good Protestants to have a sort of distrust for Catholics, so I didn’t worry once when they come after the Catholics. But he said in late 1942, when they come after me, there was nobody left to stand up for me, ‘cause everybody else was gone. So (voice rises) that’s when I said, with Angela Davis. don’t agree with her supporting Moscow’s opinion, if she does, but when I saw Angela Davis being maligned and pressured, I saw that uh, civil liberties was in question, and that’s why I put the full effect of my office and the strength of this church, I thought if they get Miss Davis, the next one might be a member of my church, so they’re not going to get Miss Davis. (calls out) I’m not going to sit by and let by– anybody go.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: I know that may get you charged. It may get you charged of being a Communist or something else, I don’t care. Names– Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words have never harmed me yet. I– I just– I learned a little bit more about endurance these last few times. I learned why– You know out there I lost marching around the Examiner’s office? I lost three and a half pounds. I never woulda lost those three and a half pounds, hadn’t been marching around the Examiner. (laughs)

Congregation: Applause

Jones: One of our sisters, one – Sister Ella – said she went uh, went to the doctor after she’d marched for two days, they said, what’s happened, your blood pressure’s gone down. She said, I’ve been able to carry a picket where I knew a picket was needed, and she said, it’s done a lot of good for my mind, and I guess it affected my blood pressure.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: So that’s indeed– (Voice calms) Uh, that’s indeed uh, a little bit of the chapter on that question. Watch laws. Know what you’re doing when you support laws. ‘Cause laws cannot achieve what you want them to achieve. For instance, my good friends in the Mormon church, and they were marching up around uh, Redwood Valley saying they wanted to get obscenity stomped out. I said, well, good brothers, sit down and talk to me, ‘cause I’ve got– My accountant’s a Mormon. We get along with people of all stripes. But I say, when you folk get to marching around these streets, and I– and I can joke with them. I said when you get to marching around these streets just as hard to get that little clause in your church to stop blacks from being denied entrance to the eldership and entrance into the temple, then I’ll listen to what you folks got to say about obscenity, and they all started to getting blush and red, because they know that a lot of good Mormons don’t like that law, but it’s still a law in their church. The black man is not equal. So I said, when you get that law changed, then I’ll listen to you about obscenity. But then I sit down and talk to them, and I converted a Mormon. He give up his petition, and left it right there. He said– He said, I didn’t realize this. He was talking about the obscenity, what it uh– we needed to control the morals. I said, don’t you know if you get through with that obscenity law, you won’t be able to read certain parts of King Solomon. (short laugh)

Congregation: Laughter

Jones: I said that law has got a double edge. You don’t realize what you’re doing. He said, you don’t mean it. We went over some of the little fine print of that law. He laid his petition down in my home and went home. Didn’t decide to pa– pass out anymore petitions about that obscenity measure.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: Certainly I don’t like pornographic literature. Certainly I don’t like the obscenities of people behaving with animals and that sort of thing, but watch the kind of (voice rises) law you’re writing into being, because that law can be used by people that’ve got immoral minds to stop you from having the freedom to read anything you want to read or say anything you want to say. Be careful when somebody comes along wanting to stop you from wha– reading something that you choose to read. And a whole lot of folk– And in California, I was proud– a whole lot of folk saw behind that obscenity measure, and they voted it down. I wish they had seen behind capital punishment. I think that a lot of people today uneasy, ‘cause they can’t take a walk down a street. That’s why I say to you out here, like the did today, I was so proud of you, you cleaned up that street, there wasn’t a piece of debris out there. We’re gonna have to clean our neighborhoods, we’re gonna have to– we’re gonna have to wash our streets, we’re gonna have to clean our neighborhoods. We’re gonna have to build such a way of life, that people will not feel– like that dear woman down here who loved all races, who loved all races, so I understand, that was in that Kentucky Fried Chicken, and she gets shot doing her business. I’m telling you, you talk about who is our enemy. You want to talk about who’s our devil? Any brother, be he black or polka dot that shoots somebody in their business, that’s the worst enemy we’ve got.

Congregation: Responds.

Jones: That’s the worst enemy. That’s what going to get a noose around our neck. We’re going to have to keep the laws, be good citizens, be responsible, we’re gonna have to unfortunately be little bit better than everybody else.

Congregation: Responds.

Jones: ‘Cause people look at us a little bit more, so that’s why we’re gonna do it. That’s why we took this place and renovated this. We’re gonna get involved in housing. The next thing we’re gonna do, we’re going to put up an apartment housing scheme here. We’re (stumbles over words) we’re just beginning. We’ve just begun to hear from Peoples Temple. Just begun to hear from Peoples Temple.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: And I think days’ll fare better because a lot of people voted for capital punishment, because they know they can’t walk out on a street in the midday without getting mugged. That’s bad. And we’re hurtin’ ourselves when we allow that to continue. And I know that we can’t change all those social conditions in a minute. And we certainly gotta have someone understand that if we give youngsters jobs, and if you give them the right kind of schools, and we give them the opportunities they ought to have, they wouldn’t be out there doing some of that mugging. But in the meantime (emphatic) we must realize that we’ve got to do everything we can to show another side of it, because if this keeps up, if this kind of violence keeps up– I heard a CBS report the other day saying – local station – by 1975 there’d be barbed wire perhaps, around every inner city. Now that– I don’t know what you call barbed wire around every inner city, but to me, that means concentration camps.

Congregation: Responds

Jones: And I don’t want to see that happen, and by the help of God, by the help of truth and by the help of you and I together working as a team for brotherhood, (calls out) we’re not going to let that happen.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: So don’t give up. Don’t say you can’t work with white people. If you do, you might as well say the day of concentration camps have come. If you accept that uh, you can’t trust a white man, you better get on a boat for Africa quick–

Congregation: Responds

Jones: –because we can’t have a nation divided against itself. Scripture says a house divided against itself cannot– cannot– a house divided against itself cannot stand, so you recognize what you’re doing. If you preach the people going to divide, ‘cause nobody going to divide anything with us. They promised us 40 acres and a mule back there. We ain’t got that 40 acres and a mule yet, so you’re not gonna get anything now. Nobody gonna splice up some of this land. Nobody gonna give us anything but desert. You know that, if they’re gonna give us anything. You’re gonna have to get out there and work and get it, we’re going to have to cooperate and lift ourselves and build people into businesses and professions, we’re gonna have to make (slow, emphatic) our own day. Nobody gonna give us anything.

Congregation: Responds

Jones: Did you understand me?

Voices in Congregation: Yes.

Jones: And I– and I say to– I’ll continue to support the Muslims and all other liberation groups in their work, I’ll buy from them quicker that I would from somebody certainly that has never done anything for freedom, but I think you ought to take a look at this kind of silliness, that nobody gonna give you no island, nobody gonna cut out a part of America and give it to you. You’re just listening to a brainstorm, that’s all. That’s dreamy-eyed nonsense. Nobody gonna give us anyplace anywhere. If we build and earn it and gain it back, then we’ll have it, but nobody gonna give us anything. I guess some of you still think they are. You still believe it, and that’s fine. I haven’t had anybody give me anything yet. (short laugh) You get what you work for. Hmmm?

Congregation: That’s right. Delayed applause.

Jones: All right. One last question. Don’t feel, Mr. Johnson– I think that there– there– Don’t feel you– any pressure to stay. I know that you’re a busy man. And I– We appreciate having you and your wife, and I am not surprised to find you have such a fine companion. I expected it, because I knew that for a man who crusaded as you had, you had to have a good woman behind you. And I knew that if you had an interracial union, you both had to be very much in love or you never woulda made it 25 years. Can’t make it . Can’t hack it.

Congregation: Applause

Call from congregation unintelligible

Jones: What? I didn’t hear–

Johnson: My whole family will be (fades out)

Jones: Thank you, thank you. (chuckles)

Congregation: Applause

Jones: Yes. Yes. Again, brother?

Male Voice: Inaudible

Jones: Best way to get people off of drugs. We have found uh, to take them into our rehabilitation center, give them a lot of attention for reading, counseling, good old-fashioned love, and to go off cold turkey. That’s our best way. We don’t like– We don’t like any drug method. We feel that you can build up other dependencies in a– just a cold turkey way, and I’m sure that one of the men standing back there, that was a heroin pusher, can tell you that that was effective for him, and sometimes they feel like they’re going to crawl up the wall, but overall we find that that is the best possible method for us. We’re very happy to support other– other treatments though. Methadone therapy, I am sure, if you’re going to use any therapy, it seems to be scientifically the most acclaimed, but for Peoples Temple, we don’t have–

Tape edit

Jones: –a half years, from dust up there. Three years we had nothing but a ground. Nothing but ground. We were worshipping outside. Now we have four senior citizen homes, two convalescent homes, one children’s home, a lovely church here, a beautiful church and residence next to it in Los Angeles, community center with an indoor pool, four college dormitories. That shows what you can do, if you decide that there are other things more important perhaps than just having anniversaries and teas for those that lead the church.

Congregation: Delayed, scattered applause

Jones: I’m not to say– that’s not to say I’m against anniversary, but I uh– I feel here we like it better– I don’t have an anniversary gift uh, or a special birthday. We– Every– every month, each person that has a birthday gets an equal birthday present. And when you come up in Christmas, every child in Peoples Temple will have the same standard of Christmas. If some child is less handicap– is more handicapped, less privileged, we see that their standard is raised to our norm of affluence. We don’t lower everybody to some pittance, but every child has a parent, a grandparent gift. If they don’t have a living grandparent, the church becomes the grandparent, and there’s a gift given. Hopefully, many times it’ll be through an individual. But every child in Peoples Temple has the same amount of Christmas. That’s been for the last three years. Every human being has the same birthday gift. I think that’s better than just a pastor having an anniversary. After all, the pastor works hard, but so does that person pushing the broom, that cleans the aisles, and so does that usher that stands there faithfully and helps people up the stairs– up the stairs. And so does those workers that get in with the latrines – that’s usually me – in the bathrooms. But I’m there too, because it’s not– that’s not the only function, certainly not up here, because I clean this church, as you know, and work and paint and build right along with everybody else. But. I think it’s just better that we distribute the uh, strength and the resources, and in answer to your question, the church spoke. You say, can the church and other churches doing enough. The people said a redounding [resounding] voluntary spontaneous, what?

Congregation: No.

Jones: Well, that’s good. Now I see a couple of churches locally, ones we’ve offered our resources to. Third uh, Baptist– Reverend [F.D.] Haynes who’s had a housing development. Some like that who work for progressive ideals in the past. But many churches could do a lot more than they do. Certainly many could do more. And we can do more, and we’re gonna be doing more. We haven’t yet begun to do all we’re going to do. Anyone else?

Long Pause

Jones: Yes, anyone else has a question?

Voice in Congregation: (inaudible)

Jones: You wish to get into what? The college program. What is the best way to get into the college program?

Voice in Congregation: (inaudible)

Jones: Did you– Where– where is this question?

Voice in Congregation: (inaudible)

Jones: I like to see who I’m talking to. Yes, you want to get into the college. You uh, wish–

Voice in Congregation: (inaudible)

Jones: Make application tonight to someone on the college commission. Uh– If Professor [Edith] Roller’s here, Professor [Richard] Tropp, where are wh– Where are wh– the u–. There’s Professor Tropp back there. Good to have you, Deputy Mayor Johnson and Mrs. Johnson.

Voice in congregation:Inaudible

Jones: Oh, the– I see. Oh, oh, fine. Fine. Thank you, thank you.

Congregation: Applause

Jones: Uh, (pause) Make application there with one of the college pro– uh, people and uh, we’ll certainly see that you are– are processed as soon as possible. Now for this semester, naturally, things are well taken up, but uh, we have uh, thus far not turned away anyone. Let’s hope we can be able to continue that. Now I want to say, if you come in with uh, the idea – and certainly this doesn’t apply to you, but somebody thinks they’re gonna come in and live up high on the hog and drink and smoke and carouse. No go, because we believe that everybody should live the same, sacrifice the same–

Congregation: Applause

Jones: –that doesn’t mean you got to dress like us, or do everything just exactly like I would do it, but we certainly have got to share. We’re not going to give some freeloader an opportunity to keep his money and ride around in his little coupe or his little sports car and do his thing. If you want to get in and share with us, then we’ll take you in.

Voices in Congregation: That’s right.

Jones: If you don’t have any money, we’re not let that be a hindrance, but if you got money and you are taking advantage of us, we’ll boot you out the moment we find it out. And in fact is that, thus far, anyone that’s tried to get in with that kind of thing for some reason – and I’ll let you figure out why – for some reason they’ve never got in.

Congregation: Scattered laughter and applause

Jones: They never even got so far as to make a formal application. They just talk about it, and I’d take one look at ‘em – or two – and that would take care of it.

Congregation: Laughter

Jones: All right, all right. Any last question? One last question. Any clocks in this place? They’re like most church people. They don’t work. That clock right there–

Congregation: Laughter

Jones: –that’s good. (Pause) Give me something that works in this place or take this down. There’s nothing I hate worse than a clock that can’t tell time. I– The only one thing I dislike more, and that’s a Christian that don’t live what they say.

Congregation: Scattered applause

Jones: Give me something I– (talks away from mike) Yeah, read, well, shut that clock up there. Lay hands on that clock, in the name of Jesus, and correct it.

Congregation: Laughter

Jones: That’s what we need to do, with a lot of church folks. You know, Paul said lay hands on them, he didn’t say where. 

Congregation: Laughter

Jones: (voice rises) Aren’t you glad!

Voices in Congregation: Applause

End of Tape

Originally posted on February 13th, 2019.

Last modified on November 25th, 2019.
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