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: One Audio Magnetics 60 marked in part “Sex — Rev.” (strikeout in original)
Date cues on tape: 1974 trip of inner circle of Planning Commission to Jonestown
Vladimir Ilich Lenin, father of Russian Revolution
Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana
Ptolemy Reid, Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana
Walter Baldwin, father of Marceline Jones (by reference)
Johnson (first name unknown), friend of Phillips family
Clara Phillips (by reference)
Rose Shelton’s daughter
Jack Beam (by reference)
Lynetta Jones (by reference)
Marceline Jones (speaks)
Les Matheson, Jonestown pioneer
Mike Prokes (speaks)
John Victor Stoen (by reference)
Charles Touchette (speaks)
Bible verses cited: None
(This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
Jim Jones presides over a meeting of his closest advisers held in the nascent community of Jonestown in 1974. The conversation is freewheeling and lively, covering a number of subjects – from the nature of socialism, to sex, to his own abilities as a leader of Peoples Temple – but there is no discussion about the real issues facing the pioneers in Jonestown itself, such as construction, infrastructure, housing, crops, or relations with the Guyana government.
Jones begins by extolling the virtues of both socialism and communism, and sets forth several theories about their nature. In a true communistic society, he says, there is no need for government on either a national or local level. All properties – from real estate to people’s personal effects – are held in common, so there is no poverty. There is no crime – no theft, no murder – so police forces can be dissolved. There is no litter on the street, because everyone takes responsibility for their upkeep. China is the closest nation to the complete communist model, although the country still has a way to go, because of its policies on the international stage, a criticism Jones continued to level throughout the balance of the Temple’s history.
The conversation about sharing of everything extends to sex as well. “Perfection of understanding and love. Perfect sharing. No more jealousy,” Jones says. “My wife wants you? You want my wife? And I love you both. Happy, happy. When you love somebody, you don’t want to hold them. You want to free them.”
Until the world gets there, though, sex will be superficial. For the time being, sex goes to the best looking people, and the lovers with the best abilities. The latter would include him, he acknowledges. He has a strong appetite, and he has strong endurance (“I’ve fucked for hours… Let me tell about one woman I screwed for seven hours”). But most of all, even though he says several times that sex is counter-revolutionary, he recognizes its value in his work for Peoples Temple, whether it’s bringing people in, keeping people from betraying the cause – he specifically references Grace Stoen – and even to stop an outsider from damaging the church. He has fucked ugly women, he has fucked older women – “60, nearly 70” – although, as one person points out, he hasn’t fucked any women who are black or Native American.
But there’s a good reason for that, he says. Sex is inherently an act of aggression, an act of violence. “The black ones have had enough pain,” he explains. “[I]f it’s discriminatory, if it’s anything, I’m prejudiced against white.”
Still, he doesn’t mind that criticism of him. “Any criticism you want to give me, I’ve got an answer for, because I’m pure, I’m honest.”
Jones continues for a number of minutes cataloguing his sexual conquests – if not by name, then by type – even though his wife Marceline is in the room throughout the conversation. She seems to endorse what he says about sex – that it is aggressive, that it is “hostile,” that it is a sign of insecurity – and declares that the exploitation in the Temple comes from the women who want to sleep with her husband. Moreover, the only insult she truly suffers is that these women use her to get next to her husband. “[T]he thing that I had to really deal with, and probably it’s the hardest thing, I mean, like the fact that all you women were screwing my husband, but the fact that you use me to get near him, … that most women didn’t give a damn about being a friend to me, but used me to get to him.”
Ultimately, though, sex is unfulfilling and not really very important. Women know how to perform during the sexual act to keep their spouses happy, but it ranks low in their priorities – Jones says it’s about number seven – in what they are looking for in a relationship. That’s one reason men go to prostitutes, he says – for the performance as much as the release – and also explains why “all prostitutes … are lesbians who hate men.”
The conversation turns to leadership within the Temple on several occasions, even as Jones intimates that he hasn’t found anyone yet who could succeed him. He makes an effort to nurture leadership, even among people who have betrayed him, although he thinks those efforts are most often wasted. “I don’t hold anything against him,” he says about one unnamed person whom he has placed in a position of authority, although with “as much cynicism as I have, … I don’t have any illusion” that the promotion will succeed.
Jones sprinkles the conversation with several references to death. During the discussion on the demands of leadership, for example, he expresses his hope that after he’s dead and no longer around, people will remember his own example, his own life as a lesson. “When you lose something that is good, then you should make it easier for the second leader.”
The subject arises elsewhere as well. Members of the Temple often bragged about how little sleep they got, and Jones provided their template. “What’s the use of sleeping? You can sleep much longer when you die. I think you get a long rest when you die, so why don’t you just keep on pushing, you know? Why work so hard for an eight-hour sleep when you can get a permanent sleep?”
The last of the references reflects another of his driving forces or – as he would argue – lack of driving forces in demanding that people live a socialist. He is unmotivated, he says several times, and despite how he might seem to want to push folks, the fact is, he just doesn’t care, and doesn’t have hope. “I have died. I’m crucified.”
Date of transcription: 3/14/79
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 March 9, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B47 #9. This tape was found to contain the following: JIM JONES discussing the difference between communism and socialism. JONES appears to be very upset at JANET PHILIPS and states that he should place her on his list.
Differences with FBI Summary:
While the tape does include Jim Jones’ criticism of Janet Philips, the remarks comprise only the first 20 seconds of a 60-minute tape, and represent a minor sidebar to the main topics under discussion.
Tape originally posted February 2019.