Richard Cordell was a member of Peoples Temple who joined the church during its years in Indianapolis and who eventually migrated to Redwood Valley in the mid-1960s. Although he himself had left the Temple before the mass move to Guyana, many of his relatives – including his wife and several of his children – died in November 1978. He himself died about five years later, an apparent suicide, in Washington state.
This document is the transcript of a taped interview he gave to Dick Tropp, the Temple’s historian, as part of a “book regarding Jim Jones” that Tropp worked on the last several years of his own life. While the tape is not labeled with a date, it likely occurred in 1975: Cordell says at one point that “I brought my family out in 1968, so that would be seven years ago.”
The place of recording is unknown. Several of the members of People Temple who joined Peoples Temple in Indianapolis were interviewed about the same time in Ukiah, however, so, until further information come forth, this is included among them.
The tape itself has not been recovered, and the transcription was likely never intended for publication on its own. The punctuation, spelling, and syntax, then, was not likely to be important for the Temple’s purposes. With that in mind, then, the words in the text of the transcript do not always appear exactly as they do in the PDF, but rather, have been slightly edited for publication here.