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 “11-18-72”
Date cues on tape: Tape contents consistent with label
Bea Whitna (phonetic)
Adolf Hitler, German Führer
Martin Niemöller, German theologian in World War II
Ronald Reagan, governor of California
Evelle Younger, California Attorney General [by reference]
Joseph Alioto, San Francisco Mayor
Joe Johnson, Deputy Mayor (speaks)
Wife of Joe Johnson
Elijah Muhammad, leader of Nation of Islam
John Muhammad, San Francisco leader of Nation of Islam
Lester Kinsolving, San Francisco reporter, antagonist of Peoples Temple
Carlton Goodlett, San Francisco physician, newspaper publisher
Angela Davis, professor, member of Communist Party
Walter Heady, Redwood Valley head of John Birch Society
Randolph Hearst, owner of Hearst papers
Charles Gould, newspaper publisher
Karl Irvin, official in Disciples of Christ [by reference]
Russ Coughlan, broadcast reporter for SF TV station
F.D. Haynes, minister at Third Baptist Church, 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.)
- [In response to question from congregation about views on capital punishment] What do I think about capital punishment? Well, I’llspeak what the scriptures says. Thou shalt not kill. That’s what it says. Thou shalt not kill. [Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17].
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 ought against you, you got to go and find out what’s the trouble. 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. [Matthew 5:23-24, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”]
Scripture says a house divided against itself cannot– cannot– a house divided against itself cannot stand, so you recognize what you’re doing. [Mark 3:25, “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” See also Matthew 12:25 and Luke 11:17]
(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Nightrissa Crosby. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
There’s a local political figure in the San Francisco congregation of Peoples Temple on this night – Deputy Mayor Joe Johnson, whose relationship with the church remained strong – and Jim Jones adopts a measured tone and a non-confrontational message throughout this address. The format is a question-and-answer session, but Jones has one or two themes that he reinforces several times.
His principal message is one of cooperation, reconciliation, and overtures to those who might have thought they were against the church until Jones engaged them in conversation. He speaks of how his relationship with the John Birch Society and the Republication Party in Mendocino County had both immediate and long-term benefits. He speaks of having an accord with the owner of the San Francisco Examiner, which resulted in the last of the series of articles by its reporter Lester Kinsolving being pulled.
The reconciliation has even extended to the Nation of Islam, which has a Temple on the same block as the Peoples Temple building. He endorses the practice of Black Muslims to take pride in their race, but says it shouldn’t be to the detriment of other races. He exhorts his followers not to hate them, just as he doesn’t hate them. He says he disagrees with their religion – and belittles the notion that the black minority of the country could ever overcome the white majority – and concludes that racism is racism, no matter who is expressing it, “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.” Nevertheless, he says, he meets with their local leaders and patronizes their stores, and concludes that “if more white people would make an attempt to show the Muslims they could be trusted, the Muslims might change some of their attitudes.”
He speaks on some of the political issues of the day, even though, as a pastor, he says he knows he shouldn’t. Commenting on two recently-decided statewide ballot initiatives in California, he said he was glad the anti-obscenity measure went down to defeat – the ramifications of someone in government telling you what you can and cannot read are frightening – but regrets the voters’ decision to restore capital punishment. He raises several arguments against the death penalty – its fallibility, its lack of deterrent effect – but he reserve most of his criticism for the fact that it is applied almost exclusively to the poor and the minorities of the state. “There’s never been a person ever executed that ha $50,000 in liquid assets. Until they start killing all those rich folks as well as they kill all the poor folks, I’m not for capital punishment.… When money can buy people justice, I’m afraid of laws that takes anyone’s life.”
He does raise a couple of the Temple’s political bugaboos, like the Omnibus Crime Bill, which included provisions for preventive detention and lengthy incarceration without charge, and the specter of concentration camps being established in America’s inner cities, a theme which continued throughout the history of the Temple, even to Jonestown.
Even more basic to his talk, however, is his reiteration of his belief in the democratic process, of reasonable minds being able to build bridges and work towards solutions. Aside from these general acknowledgments of the deputy mayor’s presence, there are direct ones, congratulating him several times on his long and successful inter-racial marriage and thanking him for his support of the same type of community endeavors that Peoples Temple works for every day.
But perhaps most fundamental to his talk – a theme which also traveled to Jonestown, with tragic consequences – is his repetition of the depths of loyalty which members of his church share with each other, and with their supporters. Whether in speaking about an alliance with the local John Birch Society, or the failure of various populations in Nazi Germany to defend one another, he reiterates several times, “if they came after one of us, they’d have to take every blessed one of us.”
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 6/15/79, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B108-2. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES speaking before a group re miscellaneous items such as the Nation of Islam, newsman printing false story about JIM JONES, Muslim’s position on race, racism, capital punishment, JOHN BIRCH Society, Unity of the People’s Temple, and how to get people off of drugs.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted February 2019.