Peoples Temple in the News (2019)

More than forty years after the deaths in Guyana, Peoples Temple and Jonestown continue to make the news on a regular basis.

General News

Robert Spencer

* Do You Really Want to Know? One Man’s Search for Family From Jonestown and Beyond
by Tara Siller, KQED, November 16, 2018

For years, Robert Spencer knew that his mother was Agnes Jones, the oldest adopted child of Jim and Marceline Jones. Spencer himself was adopted, and knew little about his birth family, other than Agnes died in Jonestown along with four of his half-siblings. This article tells the story of Robert’s successful search for his biological father.

* In 2018, California enacted legislation requiring disclosure of records involving officer-involved shootings or other use of force events. One of the sets of records released by the Lake County Sheriff’s office involved the Officer-Involved Shooting of Chris O’Neal in Lucerne, California on November 9, 2014. O’Neal was a survivor of the Jonestown tragedy, and the incident – considered as “Suicide by Cop” – was consistent with O’Neal’s history of depression, especially around the anniversary of the Jonestown deaths. A story about the release of the records appears here. Documents and recordings of the incident released by the Lake County Sheriff’s office appear here.

* It has become almost a cliché for participants in political debates to attack a policy by raising the specter of Jonestown or to cast an opponent in the mold of Jim Jones. It happens less often when a disaffected aide uses the invective to go after a former ally, especially when the former ally is the president of the United States. But in August 2019, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci blasted Donald Trump in a tweet, referring to his former boss as “Rev. Jim Jones.” The story was covered by The Washington Times and The Hill.

* In a painting by actor Jim Carrey, President Trump was also portrayed as Jim Jones on his Jonestown throne presiding over the deaths as his Senate allies Lindsay Graham and Mitch McConnell pour Kool-Aid down the throats of his willing supporters. The story was covered in late April 2019 by Breitbart News, Fox News, and The Wrap.

40th Anniversary Press Coverage

Martin Luther King III Delivers Keynote Address on 40th Anniversary of Jonestown Tragedy
by Wanda Ravenell, Oakland Post, 14 December 2018

From Jonestown’s Ashes, Fillmore Finds New Hope
[Editor’s note: This URL was found to be defunct in December 2022]
by Mike Ege, The Bay City Beacon, December 2, 2018

Inglewood Pastor Spearheads Memorial to Young Victims of Jonestown Tragedy
by Cora Jackson-Fossett, Los Angeles Sentinel, November 28, 2018

40 years later, Jonestown survivor wrestles with tragedy’s legacy, and its lessons
by John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 November 2018

Dark Days: Remembering Jonestown and the Moscone-Milk assassinations 40 years later
Staff Writers, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 November 2018

Jonestown massacre 40 years on: Why the phrase ‘drink the Kool-Aid’ hurts this cult survivor 
by Emma Reynolds, New Zealand Herald, 18 November 2018

40 years ago, this journalist survived the Jonestown massacre. He warns it could happen again.
by Caitlin Gibson, Washington Post, 18 November

The lessons of Jonestown could help us prevent terrorism and mass shootings today
by David Chappell, Washington Post, 18 November

Jonestown teaches us that no one person can solve our problems
by Alexander Poster, Washington Post, 18 November

Jonestown Revisited: Jackie Speier, a 40-Year-Old Audio, Heroism and Difficult Memories
by Mark Stricherz, Roll Call, 18 November 18, 2018

Jonestown at 40: Religious and Political Lessons
by Tom Swiss,, 18 November 18, 2018

An apocalyptic cult, 900 dead: remembering the Jonestown massacre, 40 years on
by J. Oliver Conroy, The Guardian, 17 November 2018

SF finally remembering Jonestown victims where it all began
by Caille Millner, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 November 2018

Remembering Detroiters who survived, died in Jonestown, 40 years ago
by Meira Gebel, Detroit Free Press, 16 November 2018

Exploring Houston’s Connection To The Jonestown Massacre
by Michael Hagerty, Houston Public Media, 16 November 2018

The expression ‘drinking the Kool-Aid’ was coined from a horrifying tragedy that happened 40 years ago this weekend
Simon Thomsen, Business Insider Australia, 16 November 2018

Jonestown Massacre: Conspiracy Theories Arose Because ‘Reality Was Too Horrible’
by Chris Summers, Sputnik News, 16 November 2018

US congressman Leo Ryan’s murder at Jonestown, Guyana, sparked mass suicide
by Troy Lennon, The Daily Telegraph, 16 November 2018

Jonestown Massacre at 40: Deciphering Jim Jones’ Apocalyptic Visions
by Ellis Cashmore, FairObserver, 16 November 2018

Jonestown and the Future Vice President from Indiana
by Chris Davis, WIBC, 15 November 2018

Jonestown Tragedy Remains A Cautionary Tale 40 Years Later
by Mohamed Hamaludin, South Florida Times, 15 November 2018

Articles by Tim Reiterman, AP, 16 November 2018

Young Jonestown survivors built new lives amid grief
Jonestown survivors lost only lives they knew, built new ones
Jonestown survivors lost only life they knew, built new ones
Jonestown: 40 years later, survivors who lost only life they knew have built new ones
Jonestown survivors reflect 40 years later on the mass suicide and murders that killed the only the life they ever knew

Jim Jones’ deadly, leftist strategy still alive and well
by Jack Cashill, WND, 16 November 2018

No more ‘drinking the Kool-aid’
by Francis Moriarty, Berkshire Eagle, 13 November 2018

My guilt that I let twisted Jonestown cult leader dad murder 900 and force parents to kill 300 children with ‘Kool Aid’
by Natasha Wynarczyk, The Sun, 14 November 2018

PURE EVIL: Who was Jim Jones?
by Mark Hodge, The Sun, 13 November 2018

MASS MURDER: What was the Jonestown massacre, who was Jim Jones and how many people died?
by Mark Hodge, The Sun, 12 November 2018

On 40th anniversary of Jonestown Massacre, Kool-Aid still getting bad rap
Joe Phalon,, 12 November 2018

Jonestown 40 years later: The story of a cameraman who lost his life
by Kevin Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 November 2018

JONESTOWN 40 YEARS LATER: Mass suicide shocked world
by Brad Hunter, Wetaskiwin Times Advertiser, 10 November 2018

Three tell their tales of how they survived the Jonestown massacre
by Candace Sutton, New Zealand Herald, 28 October 2018

918 dead in jungle: ‘How I survived the Jonestown massacre’
by Candace Sutton, Daily Telegraph, 29 October 2018

‘I believe they were murders’
by Melissa Doyle, Sunday Night, 28 October 2018

Hours before the Jonestown Massacre, Leslie Wagner-Wilson grabbed her baby and ran
by Ali Moore, MamaMia, 27 October 2018


Soliloquy: Jonestown Massacre fades into fog
by Donna Marmorstein, Aberdeen News, 3 November 2018

(Cult)ivating Understanding
by Keating Reid, Opinion Editor, The McGill Tribune, 30 October 2018