Endorsements of Peoples Temple After New West

In addition to writing its own statements of protest to the critical article published in New West Magazine, Peoples Temple solicited – and succeeded in collecting – a score of letters and statements of endorsements from its supporters in the San Francisco Bay Area. Those who spoke out on behalf of Peoples Temple – and oftentimes, launched their own attack on New West – included many well-respected political, religious, and activist leaders.

While the endorsements did not include any from the Temple’s higher profile supporters – such as Dennis Banks, Angela Davis, Mayor George Moscone, or even their own attorney Charles Garry – those represented in this document were those who contributed to the functioning of San Francisco as a beacon of progressive politics, who thereby commanded much respect within the city, and whom Jones was proud to claim as peers. Many of the people on this roster influenced day-to-day decision-making within the city, even if they weren’t well known to the general public.

The Temple included this 11-page document throughout its campaign in the summer of 1977 to limit the damage inflicted by New West and other negative articles in the press. But most of the damage had already been done, and by the time the furor over the article had subsided, Jim Jones and nearly 1000 of his followers had already emigrated to Jonestown or were about to: the vast majority of Temple members who left the United States for Guyana did so in the six weeks following publication of the New West piece, this collection of endorsements notwithstanding.

Temple Endorsements After New West, RYMUR 89-4286-I-1-a-8, pages a – k