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: None
Date cues on tape: August [specified], either 1972 or 1973
Ziporah “Zippy” Edwards (speaks)
Archie Ijames (speaks)
Ellen “Penny” Dupont Kerns
Louise Schaeffer (speaks)
Bunny Tally (most likely Maureen Fitch, aka Maureen Talley) (speaks)
Herman (likely Herman Gee) (speaks)
Jim (likely Jim Pugh)
Lois (likely Lois Breidenbach, could be Lois Ponts)
Stephan (likely Stephan Jones)
Tim (could be Tim Stoen)
Martin Luther King, assassinated civil rights leader
Bible verses cited: None
(Editor’s note: This tape was transcribed by Georgiana Mamlakah. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)
There seem to be two halves to the same meeting of the Temple’s governing board in this tape recorded in Ukiah, almost certainly in 1972 or 1973. In the first section, an unknown officer of the Council discusses a number of issues to be resolved and transgressions to be addressed, and although Jim Jones asks questions and offers opinions on the subjects at hand, there is at least a momentary deference to the governing structure. “I’m the Father,” he says early in the meeting, “and I tend to love my children too much to indulgence. You’ve gotta have a tough council. Council has to take an unloving role. That’s what it seems to be it, really is a loving role. “
That changes about midway through, when he abandons the role of questioner, and starts reminding his followers about himself as the embodiment of the principle of socialism, the attribute which makes him God.
Some of the transgressions are minor: a man is chastised for reading a newspaper during the meeting, another for chewing gum, and one woman is criticized for taking sick leave off of work, since she apparently was not “deathly ill.”
Most of the criticism is towards one older black man named Herman – possibly Herman Gee – who has violated several Temple policies. He is a poor worker on his day job, which reflects poorly upon the Temple. He likes to listen to ball games on the radio, in contravention of Jones’ observation that this is a capitalist diversion, and has even spent money to go to a few games in San Francisco, money which could have been used by the Temple. He apparently left the scene of a minor car accident. He has “flirted” with women at the workplace and in the Temple, and made them uncomfortable in his presence. With careful prodding, he eventually and reluctantly admits that his problem might be “Homosexuality,” although this comes during a period in the Temple’s history when many problems were laid at the feet of sexual issues.
Perhaps worst of all, during this meeting, he lies – or at least ducks the truth – on numerous occasions, until Jones reminds him of his power to see through lies.
Jones offers commentary throughout the first half of the tape, reminding the people called up before the council of the goodness of the Temple and of the ethics which he knows they know. But even as he chastises them, he says he will stand up for them out of a sense of solidarity. That solidarity extends to denying anything that may have been said in that room that night – ironically, right after dressing down Herman for his lies – because “We’re like the Jews, we’ll stand by each other… [If] Anybody goes out and say he left the scene [of the accident], I’d say they’re a liar, because I’ll support the family.”
Even as Jones reaffirms the trust he has in his leaders, he reminds them of the damage that their transgressions can do to the movement. They must give their loyalty to him – “Doesn’t mean blind agreement with me, but work with principle” – and recognize that for the Temple to succeed, there is no alternative but him and his way. “I’m principle. The marriage should be to me. I don’t need that marriage, and I don’t want that marriage, but the office doesn’t have anybody else to put in its position right now, so I’m here and the first alliance and first marriage should be to me.”
Part of his dilemma is that he gives so much of himself, and takes on the problems, illness and disabilities of all of his followers. “If I didn’t, I would never age. I think I could really whip it. I’ve got the keys. I really got the keys to immortality. But instead of keeping it, I’m opening it up as much as I can for you. But the risk is, in opening it for you, I lose it for myself.” But it’s worth it: if they can become what he is, “the kind of sensitive being that I am,” then he is happy to lose his life for them.
Date of transcription: 7/2/79
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 21, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B110-13. This tape was found to contain the following:
JIM JONES conducting criticisms of the membership.
Differences with FBI Summary:
The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.