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:
Date cues on tape: Part I, late 1972; Part II Fall 1972 (reference to July in the past, and to upcoming election in November.
Flowers (first name unknown, could be Judy)
Marshall [could be Farris]
Maxine (likely Betts)
Jim Jones Jr. [by reference]
Marceline Jones [by reference]
Love Life Lowe
Sister Jones (speaks)
Sister Price (relative of Helen Price)
Marceline Jones (speaks)
Rep. Ron Dellums (D-California)
Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of Pentagon Papers (by reference)
Harriet Tubman, black abolitionist
Frederick Douglass, black abolitionist
George Washington Carver, black botanist
Sister Reverend Davis
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.)
- Part I
“That’s all I’m saying to you, as you think in your heart, so are you.” [Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:”]
“I said, repent or perish.” [Luke 13:3 and Luke 13:5, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”]
“Out of one blood made all nations to dwell on the face of the earth. That means together. That means for the blood to flow together, and for them to integrate and amalgamate and assimilate all the characteristics of every group.” [Acts 17: 24-26, esp. Acts 17:26, “[God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.”]
“There’s no respect of persons in God.… And God’s no respecter of person” [Romans 2:11, “For there is no respect of persons with God.”]
“Hey, did you understand the mystery? Some of you didn’t understand the mystery.… Children, you’re not embracing the mystery” [several references to mystery of gospel and mystery of Christ, mostly in Ephesians, likely Ephesians 3:3-4, “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)”].
‘[The Bible] Says you cannot love God whom you have not seen. You love not your brother whom you have seen.” [1 John 4:20, “ If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”]
“The same spirit that is here today in Los Angeles at Alvarado and Hoover, is the spirit that said, let there be light and let there be dry land.” [Genesis 1]
“Is it Judges 1, first chapter of Judges, the fifteenth [nineteenth] verse, it says, God was able to take care of the inhabitants of what? He was able to rid them in the self of the enemies, the inhabitants of the valley, was it? The mountain? You know that scripture? Where is that scripture?” [What follows was a long deconstruction of Judges 1:19, “Judge 1:19, And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”]
“Manoah and his wife saw [God].” [Judges 13].
“Ahab saw [God].” [1 Kings 18:38-40]
“Wherever you make your bed, there I’ll be with you. Though you make your bed in hell, I’ll go down there and rescue you.” [Psalm 139:8, “…if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.”]
“Solomon looked out and saw him, and said his hair was as black as a raven. Described his own personal body, and said he had hair as black as a raven.” [Song of Solomon 5:11, “His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.”]
“Isaiah 7:20 said in the last days, he would come and God would manifest himself. And said God would after that day, shave with a razor just like you. He said in that day, God said. God, the body of God would shave with a razor. Don’t think it’s in the scripture? Don’t look so puzzled, Sister. Isaiah 7:20 says, after that day God will shave with a razor [Isaiah 7:20, “In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard.”].
“Nebuchadnezzar – a evil racist king – saw him open the furnace door and looked and he said, ‘I put three in there and now I see one as is two, the form of the son of God.’ He said I put three in there, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and now I see Jesus Christ in there.” [Daniel 3]
“They shall know their God and do exploits.” [Daniel 11:32, “… the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”]
“I’m the same today, yesterday, and forever, the God that changeth not.” [Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I change not;”].
[Comparison of Matthew 1:1-16 to Luke 3:23-38]
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God.” [Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”]
“He said, Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world. I will never leave you.” [Matthew 28:20, “…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.]
[Comparison of Luke 3:23-38 to Matthew 1:1-16]
“He came to his own and his own received him not.” [John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”]
“I shall fulfill the Word made flesh.” [John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”]
“And when I come, you can receive me, ye shall receive the Father. You can receive me, and you’ll receive Christ Jesus.” [John 5:4, “ I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”]
“You’re going to have to have the truth, or you won’t be set free.” [John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”]
“[I]f you take a picture of what I am, you can become greater than what I am, because that’s the nature of God. [Jesus] said these things shall you do and greater, because I go to the Father… This is a greater day in Jesus. Jesus said it was. He said these things shall you do and greater, because I go to the Father.” [John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”]
“The good scriptures tell you that they live in that principle, godly in Christ Jesus, they will suffer persecution. They say, all manner of things falsely against him for their namesake, persecute them, revile them, deliver them before the council, the synagogues, and even finally kill them, thinking they do God a service.” [John 15:9 – 16:2]
“There are truths in the scripture, but it says how can you hear without a prophet or a preacher, and how can he preach lest he be sent. It said faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. It didn’t say faith cometh by reading the Bible and faith cometh by hearing the King James Version. But it said faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” [Romans 10:14-17]
“These piker representatives up and down the streets, they want to be able to represent God. Know nothing, can’t heal the sick, can’t discern a spirit, can never tell you what’s in the thoughts of the mind.” [1 Corinthians 12].
I’m glad you don’t do what this verse says, it says women keep silence. In all the churches suffer not a woman to speak. [1 Corinthians 14:34, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.”]
“I don’t like the responsibility of being what I am, but I am what I am. I am what I am.” [1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am…”]
“I shall become an epistle written and known of all men.… It’s to let you become the living epistles, read and known of all men.” [2 Corinthians 3:2-3, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: orasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”]
“Perhaps now you’re beginning to see the mystery” [several references to mystery of gospel and mystery of Christ, mostly in Ephesians, likely Ephesians 3:3-4, “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)”].
“The God that I am incarnate and manifesting, he can do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that you are able to ask or to think.” [Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”]
“Ephesians 6:5. Slaves? That’s the way it is originally, servants. Many of you are servants. You’ve been working as servants. We’ve been made servants. Says servants – originally it says slaves – be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling in singleness of your heart. I can see some of you folk that are servants in house, are you going to tremble when you look at that master?” [Ephesians 6:5, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.”]
“The Holy Ghost has no tangible meaning, unless someone is willing, as Jesus was willing, to considerate it not robbery to be equal with God. It is written that Jesus was in the form of a slave or a servant, but he considered it not robbery to be equal to the task of being God [Philippians 2:5-7, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”]
“I tell you nothing about Jesus’ coming, I tell you that God is here, Christ is in you, the hope of glory.” [Colossians 1:27, “To whom 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:”]
“It says whatever state you find yourself – in Colossians 3:22 – slaves, obey in all things your master according to the flesh, not with eyeservice but in a singleness of heart, fearing God.” [Colossians 3:22, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;”]
“Slaves, exhort slaves to be obedient unto their own masters – Titus 2:9 – and to please them well in all things. Always be faithful to them.” [Titus 2:9: “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;”]
“Every week, every day, I tell you the intents of the heart, tell you your thoughts… What is the word of God? Hebrews 4:12. It’s a little misinterpreted, but it is reasonably accurate. Hebrews 4:12 says that the word of God will do what? It’s sharper than a two-edged sword. Already you’ve felt its sharpness. It’ll cut away your old foggy prejudices. It says it’s sharper than a two-edged sword. It’s mighty to the pulling down of strongholds, it’s quick and it’s powerful. It’ll separate the bone from the marrow.… Hebrews 4:12 said that the word of God is quick and powerful. It will separate soul from spirit.” [Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”]
“I will never forsake you, not even unto the end of the world… he said I will never leave you and I will never forsake you, not even unto the end of the world.” [Hebrews 13:5, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”]
“Slaves – First Peter 2:18 – be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle– Aren’t you glad Harriet Tubman didn’t believe this? Aren’t you glad that Frederick Douglass didn’t believe this? Aren’t you glad that [George] Washington Carver didn’t believe this? It says slaves be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward, for this is thankworthy., if a man for conscience towards God endure grief suffering wrongfully.” [1 Peter 2:18-19, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”]
“It says women, obey your husbands.” [1 Peter 3:1, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives”]
“I am the Alpha, I am the Omega, I am the Beginning, I am the End.” [Revelation 22:13, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.“]
(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Nightrissa Crosby. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
This tape consists of portions of two sermons by Jim Jones. The first is most likely the latter of the two – it was likely recorded over an older tape – but they are also likely only a few months apart.
The first portion of the tape is a midweek service held in Redwood Valley, probably late 1972. More a congregation-wide administrative meeting than a traditional sermon, it focuses on Jones talking about who should and should not be allowed to attend Temple services. As a general rule, Jones says they will welcome anyone who loves all people or who can identify with oppressed people, “touched by the feeling of their brothers’ and sisters’ infirmities.”More specifically, however, he wants to be sure any newcomers can be vouched for by current members.
As he does throughout the Temple’s history, Jones refers to his followers as “niggers.” The word has long since lost its shock value, but rather has been transferred into as an attribute. “I’m making a conversion of the word ‘Nigger.’ It means the oppression that’s around us.
He can do this, because “God can convert a word if he chooses. He can use the words that pleases him.” For anyone who needs clarity on the point, he continues, “If I’m privileged or allowed by you to raise the dead, … and to heal every known disease and the cancers to be spit up all around this… then I’m permitted to take a word that I wish to use, and make it for good purpose, even though you’ve known if for a bad purpose. I’ll take that word and use it as it pleases me.”
Jones also reminds his followers what he has done for them, and what toll that service has taken on him. The diseases he cures don’t evaporate but rather go into him, but even when he is ill, he continues to be their Father. He has been known to come to church with a temperature of 104, and to preach for four hours. The cancers in particular has cost him dearly, destroying his vocal cords, and so he has “learned how to speak through my own chest, and to project words through my mouth without the usual instruments that you have. … I said, cancer, I shall not be moved, because I have a will to speak and I will speak on.”
With the sacrifices he has made in the name of God socialism, he castigates those who complain about any physical discomfort they feel in church. He offers himself as an example – he has endure the heat of the Amazon, and stood in the cold without a jacket – because he is filled with the spirit of socialism. “If you’ve got enough principle you won’t be bothered by this heat.”
This is all he wants them to do, he says, is to follow him, not just as a minister or father, but as an exemplar. “I want you to look at me and copy me, and be as strong as I am in my strength, be as compassionate as I am in my areas of love. Get whatever wisdom there is in me… Lift yourself up in a higher dimension.
“I have not come here to stand and be praised and be glorified,” he adds. “I have come that you might copy after me and be what I am.”
As he summarizes in the closing moments of this portion of the tape, “I can still do what I have to do, because [there is] nothing more than will in this nigger body. I’m just a nigger body just like you.”
The second portion of the tape was recorded in the Los Angeles church in the fall of 1972, a few weeks ahead of the November election. He does voice criticism of others, but – as differentiated from the in-house meeting – he goes after the more familiar targets, whether they be the oppressors in government, the “jackleg” ministers who preach that Jesus is coming and yet take their parishioners’ money and drive around in their Rolls Royces and Cadillacs, or (perhaps most personally hurtful) those who leave his sermon in the middle before they’ve had a chance to learn his truth.
He reserves his greatest criticism, however, for the King James version of the Bible. Whether he is castigating the king himself as a drunk and a racist, or whether he is chronicling the atrocities in history that have been perpetrated in the name of “that black book,” or whether he is going after the text itself – both its factual errors and the evil practices it condones, all detailed in The Letter Killeth – little of the Bible escapes Jones’ deconstruction.
The address details several miracles he has performed. Beyond the accidents he has prevented and the diseases he has cured, beyond even the more mundane examples of his powers such as the lack of smog in Los Angeles whenever they go down there for services, he recounts the story of a vacation everyone took to a beach in Mexico, and how he drove sharks out of the water, “literally walking out on the water above the ocean waves, above the surf” to make sure they were gone. In the course of inviting his followers from LA to come to Redwood Valley for Thanksgiving, he informs them that they won’t run out of food, no matter how many people show up, and then tells the story of providing roasts the previous year when others thought they would come up short.
He is able to do these things, he notes, because just as Jesus came as God in a body, so has he. He quotes Jesus’ words from the Gospel that he would be with his people forever, that he would never leave them. “If there’s ever been a time that Jesus hasn’t had a body, he was a liar,” but as we all know, Jesus wasn’t a liar.
At times, he presents this concept in overtly Christian terms – “receive me in faith and know that I have come in the name of Jesus, in the name of God… And thus what happens when you do? You reincarnate the same spirit” – but art others, it is clear he is not speaking just of Jesus. “You say, ‘Well, I believe in giving God the credit.’ I am indeed giving God the credit.”
Both of the address’ major themes – his rejection of the King James version of the Bible, and the divinity of his own presence as part of the recurring promises of that same book – come together, seemingly inadvertently, late in the sermon as he lambasts one verse in particular. Usually adept at recalling the chapter and verse of a particular passage, he finds himself lost trying to find one. “You know that scripture? Where is that scripture?” he asks one woman “I’m not interested in it anymore. I’m tired of your fairy tale book, and I’ve laid it aside… Open up that book. Maybe it’ll be the last time some of you’ll open it.” In the next breath, however – after he has located the verse – he points that that “When I have to get it, I can get it, ‘cause I was there when it was put together.”
Ultimately, the answer to the question of what Jim Jones believed about himself – Was he literally God? Did he take on the mantle of God as part of his performance? – eludes definition. “Nobody [is] going to take you out of this mess until you do something about this mess you’re going to stay in this mess,” he cries out near the end of the tape. “That’s why I say shocking things, like saying I’m God manifested. That’s why I shock you, so you’ll be able to shock yourself into seeing that you are what I am, that you have to be exactly what I am, or you’re not going to get out of your mess.”
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 1B108-15. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES conducting an evening church service. He discusses church finances and possibilities for expansion and a building program and expansion of church membership. JONES interrupts the service to expell [expel] some Jehovah’s Witnesses and states, “You racist honkies, I’ll put a rattlesnake in your bed.” JONES later relates some more of his “miracles.”
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.
Tape originally posted February 2019.