Undated letter to State Department from Temple member Guy Young

[Editor’s note: The following letter to a Deputy Secretary of State from Temple member Guy Young is undated, and could have been written any time during the 14 months – from September 1977 into November 1978 – that Tim and Grace Stoen were battling the Temple for custody of John Victor. Given its proximity to other documents in the State Department release for Temple materials under the Freedom of Information Act, it is likely that the letter was written in March or April 1978.]

PEOPLES TEMPLE
PO Box 15123
San Francisco, Calif. 94115

Frank A. Sieverts
Deputy Secretary of State
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Sieverts:

I thought it best to write directly to you to set a matter straight that has been of some concern, from what friends have told us. We have heard that Timothy Stoen is currently making some statements that I consider highly derogatory to the integrity of numerous public officials including yourself. In essence, he is boasting that he has your complete support in a custody case which is currently being settled in a Guyanese court. It appears that he considers you an easy mark and has said that your support is “assured”.

Please note we don’t automatically believe such tales. Tim Stoen has long been known to us to be a very devious person, and his estimation of other people’s intelligence and integrity has, thankfully, consistently been proven wrong. Others, whom he has underestimated and tried to use, later saw right through one who is trying to do.

This is only the most recent of a long string of his tales, in any event. The child in question is not his at all; repeatedly, since the child was born, Tim Stoen has made known that the child is the natural son of Rev. Jones. Now he and his ex-wife, though estranged, have joined forces to attempt to pursue custody of the child they have never shown any interest in at all. On the contrary, they have used the whole matter as a means of applying ruthless pressure on Rev. Jones for seven years. The Stoens instigated his relationship with Grace, over Tim’s plea to protect his reputation from embarrassment of threatened exposure of his transvestite patterns. Additionally, they threatened to attempt to destroy the church through lies, agency investigations of bogus charges, and manipulations of the press. In recent months we have, by the way, seeing all these threats carried out.

Hundreds can testify that Jim Jones is not only the actual father but the only loving, consistent parent the child is known from his infancy. The natural mother’s neglect and subsequent abandonment with a lover, taking the money Jim set aside for the child’s future education, is well documented, as is Tim Stoen’s complete disinterest, finally resulting in his leaving the child in Guyana with his natural dad. Grace earlier signed for the child to live there. He is very happy there, but traumatized at the thought of being removed.

Stoen is a man who postures for convenience – his own convenience. He will bluster and make a great show of his influence. But we can prove to you how many, many supporters we have, both here in the US, and in other areas as well. We are convinced of your integrity, and will not allow what a man like him has said (an unscrupulous man whose past behavior points to a career as a provocateur) to allow us to be misled.

As with many groups considered too utopian in years past, we also

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were being set up. However we learned much from perhaps putting too much emphasis on labels, and are now concentrating our energies on accomplishing as much as possible in the way of human service. We have an internationally acclaimed agricultural and medical program in Guyana, under the direction of Rev. Jones which is serving the needs of thousands. Obviously Jim Jones is a man of integrity for the Disciples of Christ to uphold him and his work. Rev. Jones would have absolutely no reason to stake his reputation on bringing the plight of his son to public attention if this were not the truth.

I wanted to forewarn you of this misuse of your name, which I feel sure you would in no way condone. Thank you for your attention.

Respectfully,
/s/ Guy B. Young
Rev. Guy B. Young
Master of Divinity

Originally posted on June 16th, 2020.

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