Hearing the Voices of Jonestown

Hearing the Voices of Jonestown

Hearing the Voices of Jonestown

Hearing the Voices of Jonestown

Synopsis

When over 900 followers of the People's Temple religious movement committed suicide in 1978, they left a legacy of suspicion and fear. Most accounts of this mass suicide describe the members as brainwashed dupes and overlook the Christian and socialist ideals that originally inspired People's Temple members. Hearing the Voices of Jonestown restores the individual voices that have been erased, so that we can better understand what was created - and destroyed - at Jonestown, and why.

Excerpt

Everyone knows what happened at Jonestown. In 1978, Jonestown was a compound in the jungles of Guyana where over nine hundred brainwashed Americans lived. They were members of a church named Peoples Temple led by an insane, megalomaniac messiah, Jim Jones. After an unwelcome investigative visit by Congressman Leo Ryan, news reporters, and concerned relatives, which prompted some of the residents to defect, Jonestown men opened fire on Ryan's departing party killing five people including Ryan. Then the men returned to Jonestown where they joined the other residents in drinking punch laced with cyanide and tranquilizers. Some people were injected with the deadly potion. The children were killed first. People who did not want to commit suicide were forced to do so at gunpoint. Since no sane person would follow a leader so obviously delusional as Jim Jones, we can be certain that the Jonestown residents were brainwashed zombies. Further proof that Jim Jones had a controlling, narcissistic personality is the fact that he sexually exploited the women, and some of the men. The decision to commit murder and mass suicide was made by Jim Jones alone. Jones exercised total control over his followers. Jim Jones is solely to blame for the 922 deaths in Guyana on 18 November 1978.

The Jonestown myth is at once frightening and reassuring. It is frightening because, as we are warned by anticultists, anyone can be brainwashed by an unscrupulous religious leader. It is reassuring, because the Jonestown residents were clearly not in their right minds, since they were obviously subjected to mind control by Jim Jones. We can rest assured that sane people capable of making rational choices . . .

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