“I Have Been To Paradise”

On November 10, 1977, The Sun-Reporter –  the newspaper serving the black population of San Francisco – reported on a talk given by Charles Garry, the attorney for Peoples Temple who had recently returned from a trip to Jonestown. With unabashed praise for the agricultural project in Guyana, the article immediately became a featured item in all Peoples Temple public relations efforts and an indispensable piece of its response to the Concerned Relatives campaign against Jim Jones. It also eventually became a weapon used against Garry himself by his critics after the Jonestown tragedy, who said it demonstrated how much he had been seduced by the Temple and its leadership.

Charles Garry never repudiated the views he expressed in the article, although he did eventually break with Jim Jones when – unbeknownst to the attorney – the Temple leader engaged the services of another attorney, Mark Lane, to represent the group in its battles with the U.S. government. Garry went to Guyana in mid-November 1978 to tender his resignation, only to find himself on the same flight to Georgetown with Lane and – several days later – in Lane’s company as the two lawyers left Jonestown on the day of the tragedy.

“I Have Been To Paradise”, RYMUR 89-4286-1127, p. 8

The article was republished on page 328 of the May 1979 report of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on The Assassination of Representative Leo J. Ryan and the Jonestown, Guyana Tragedy.