Jim Jones Biography: Progressive to Predator



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00:00
Jim Jones leader of the People’s Temple
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has come to symbolize the ultimate in
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sleazy evil cult figures through a
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forceful personality charm and genuine
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good works he managed to draw a massive
00:12
following and lead them like a
00:13
modern-day Pied Piper to the jungles of
00:15
Guyana there he promised them a
00:17
modern-day Garden of Eden what they
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found was confinement mental and
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physical control and enforced suicide in
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this week’s by graphics we dive into the
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life of the real Jim Jones James Warren
00:39
Jones was born on May the 13th 1931 to
00:42
lanessa Putnam and Jim Jones senior in
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Crete Indiana the older Jim was a
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disabled War veteran then Atta was some
00:49
15 years younger than her husband and
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the marriage was not a happy one Jim was
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often away working on road crews leaving
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Lunetta
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isolated and lonely in Crete she
00:58
certainly didn’t help her cause though
01:00
with her unsocial manner she smoked
01:02
cursed and voiced obtuse opinions at
01:04
every opportunity Mineta
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had never wanted to be a mother the
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addition of a child to the family only
01:11
increased the stress the Jones were
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facing shortly after the child’s birth
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Jim suffered a complete nervous
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breakdown unable to work any longer the
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finances became dire leading to their
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eviction from the family farm the
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homeless family were taken in by Jim’s
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relatives in the small town of Lynn
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Indiana Lynn was a conservative orderly
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town with the vast majority of the
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townspeople of being churchgoers the
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town also had a prominent Ku Klux Klan
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membership the Joneses lived in a
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derelict Shack that lacked plumbing when
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young Jim began school at the age of six
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his mother took a factory job this
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provided the child with the freedom of
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before and after school to roam the
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streets he was a needy child who was
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terrified of his father finding it
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difficult to make friends he spent a lot
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of time alone reading often the child
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could be seen wandering around town
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looking disconsolate elderly widows
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around town felt sympathy for the young
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wife and would invite him in for a piece
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of cake the boy was so polite that he
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soon won them over it was through one of
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these local matriarchs that Jim got his
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first exposure to religion by the way of
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the Church of NASA
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Jim was constantly attentive even
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quoting scripture back to the elderly
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woman to his mother’s ambivalence Jim
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began attending church with the old
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woman he hung on every word coming from
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the preacher’s mouth he also showed an
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amazing ability to recite sermons and
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quote lengthy biblical verses but Jim
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was not exclusively committed to the
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Church of Nazarene his natural
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inquisitiveness caused him to attend
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every denomination in town during the
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week he would wander into the woods and
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prop himself up on a stump where he
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would proceed to deliver fiery sermons
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of his own to the local forest animals
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this was pretty far outside of a Normand
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was just one reason why people would
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remember young Jim Jones as a weird kid
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his great interest in religion led to an
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equally obsessive fascination with death
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there were also other things that set
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Jim apart from the other kids in Lynn he
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cried a lot and he also swore far too
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much he would also steal candy from the
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local store further his odd religious
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obsession led him to come out with all
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sorts of strange things such as that he
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was being held down by the Angel of
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Death by the age of nine Jim was
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claiming that he had special powers one
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day he climbs on a roof and called down
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for everyone to watch him fly cattle
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vaulting himself from the roof he
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promptly fell to the ground and broke
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his arm about that same time Jim took to
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wandering around town and collecting
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roadkill in order to give each dead
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animal and elaborate funeral the other
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kids looked on to this with a morbid
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fascination Jim was 10 years old when
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America entered the Second World War
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while all of his schoolmates spent their
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recess playing as Marines or GIS he
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insisted on playing the Nazis
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particularly their leader Adolf Hitler
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with whom he was absolutely enraptured
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he even went so far as recruiting
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younger children and telling them into
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mini stormtroopers when they did not do
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step high enough he would whack them
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with a twig when he became a teenager
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Jim’s new favorite topic changed from
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religion to sex he established himself
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as the young people’s authority on the
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subject and would set up court on his
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porch to teach the facts of life in
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minut detail to a near audience his
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mother was happy for him to share his
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dubious knowledge but the parents of the
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other children well they were rather
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incensed at high school Jim set himself
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apart not just by his strange beliefs
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and by his strange actions but also
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his dress rather than the casual dress
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that was normal he wore his Sunday best
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every single day he also never spoke
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unless he instigated the conversation
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however he did love to engage his
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teachers in debates attempting to
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highlight his superior intellect now
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although not in any sense a talented
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sportsman Jim was an exceptional
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organizer at the age of 14 he
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established a baseball league but during
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one team meeting some kids saw Jim drop
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a pet dog from his loft to its death
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after that the players they became
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scared of him and the league fell apart
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by the early 1940s Jim senior had become
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a hopeless alcoholic his body was now
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ruined and he had suffered a stroke that
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left him unable to speak legibly
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lanessa took another man a secret that
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was not so secret in the small town
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inevitably the marriage irrevocably
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broke apart and Jim and lanessa were
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divorced in 1945
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lanessa took Jim and moved to Richmond
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Indiana while attending high school Jim
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worked the night shift as an orderly at
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the Reed Memorial Hospital in December
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of 1948 he graduated with honors which
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was quite an accomplishment for a
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17-year old who was also working a full
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time job
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[Music]
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it was while working at Reed memorial
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that Jim met quartered and fell in love
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with a young nurse by the name of
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Marceline Baldwin Marceline was
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entranced by Jenna who was four years
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her junior and the couple were married
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in 1949 together they moved to
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Indianapolis Indiana in Bloomington
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Marceline found work as a nurse while
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her husband attended but the University
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the couple they now found themselves
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living in the heart of Ku Klux Klan
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country and it was in the midst of this
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redneck country that Jim developed a
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passion for two things racial
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integration and socialism in the spring
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of 1952 Jim accepted a position as
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student pastor at Somerset Methodist
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Church he excelled in the role and
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quickly set up a Youth Center which was
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open to children of all faiths he soon
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recognized that the way to attract
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crowds and therefore to increased church
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donations was to adopt a flamboyant
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Pentecostal style and make faith healing
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a central part of his performances these
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performances began to gather wider
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attention and before long he was being
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invited to preach at conventions and
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assemblies throughout Indiana and the
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surrounding states regular services were
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held at Elmwood temple in Cincinnati
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Ohio where he would invite those
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suffering from ailments to come forward
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for the laying on of hands he even
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traveled as far afield as Los Angeles to
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participate in a healing convention by
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the mid 1950s Jones was filling the
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churches with his traumatic healing
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sermons at each one he insisted that the
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audience be completely integrated and
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that black members of the congregation
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set up front facts which further
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ingratiated him to local black people
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it was his insistence on racial
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integration within his flock that led to
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a split with Jim’s church employer
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churches in Indianapolis at the time
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were strictly segregated and Jim’s
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allowance of blacks was causing real
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problems Jim he quit and discussed and
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set up his own community unity Church
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this soon morphed into wings of
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deliverance which was renamed in 1955 as
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the People’s Temple Full Gospel Church
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from the start Peoples Temple grew large
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crowds of both black and white
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parishioners the healing dramas were
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still the highlight of every sermon but
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Jim’s prime concern appeared to be
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building a truly racially integrated
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ministry in recognition of his efforts
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to achieve racial harmony Jim was
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appointed in 1960 by Indianapolis mayor
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Charles Boswell the mayor has intended
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his role to be low profile but Jim
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immediately took to the limelight
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appearing on TV and radio programs
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dramatically proclaiming let my people
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go
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Jones threw himself into the civil
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rights movement through his efforts of
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churches restaurants amusement parks and
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movie theaters they were all integrated
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in 1961 Jim collapsed as a result of
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over exhaustion he was mistakenly taken
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to a black Hospital but when the mistake
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was identified he refused to move he
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even took to making the beds and
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emptying the bedpans
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sick black people in the wards this
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caused publicity which directly led to
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pressure on hospital authorities to
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desegregate the wards now not
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surprisingly whites controlled churches
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and businesses were highly critical of
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this upstart preacher who dared to
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challenge the status quo threats were
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received a swastika was painted on the
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wall of the People’s Temple church
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building and a dead cat was tossed at
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Jim’s house throughout the 1960s the
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Joneses adopted three children of Korean
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descent Jim referred to these children
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as his rainbow family in an attempt to
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extend the rainbow family he also
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encouraged members of his congregation
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to likewise adopt war-torn refugees now
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in the early 1960s Jim he became
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obsessed with the prospect of a nuclear
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holocaust in December of 1961 he
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announced to his congregation that he
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had a prophetic dream in which the
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entire American Midwest had been
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destroyed in a nuclear conflagration
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after reading a magazine article
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entitled nine places in the world to
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hide he took his young family on a trip
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to one of them Belo Horizonte in Brazil
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they stayed there for two years during
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this time his distrust and personal
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hatred towards the government of the
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United States intensified he was
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convinced that American political and
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economic self-interest had brought the
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world to the brink of destruction the
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drains is returned to Indianapolis
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December of 1963 Jim immediately made
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plans to move his congregation who had
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been waiting patiently for their leaders
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return to another of the nine safe
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places on the list Northern California
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in the summer of 1964 the family along
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with about a hundred and forty
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congregants moved to the town of Ukiah
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in the Redwood Valley area above San
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Francisco over the next few months
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church services were held in rented
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church buildings and then at a ranch at
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Ridgewood throughout the week Jim worked
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as a high school teacher after three
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years of steadily building up its
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membership for Peoples Temple was
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granted official standing by the
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Christian Church disciples of Christ
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Northern California Nevada region in
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1968 the following February the People’s
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Temple Redwood Valley Complex opens the
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complex included the Joneses home a
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swimming pool childcare center old folks
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homes the temple meeting place and a
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ranch all of this of course was
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completely integrated this little Garden
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of Eden sat in the middle of a strictly
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segregated Redwood Valley within a year
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the People’s Temple had expanded into
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San Francisco buses were put on to
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transport new parishioners there to
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Redwood Valley for weekend services Jim
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also took to the road by bus touring
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from one city to the next winning new
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converts in each place many of which
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were so captivated by the charismatic
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preacher
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that they moved to the Redwood Valley
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Ranch
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people’s temple experienced rapid
11:12
expansion during the 1970s however it
11:14
was also during this time that the
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church received its first negative media
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coverage a series of articles in the San
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Francisco Examiner profiled the church
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painting Jones as a false messiah who
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had claimed to bring 43 people back from
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the debt the authority structure of the
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Church was also put under the spotlight
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the examiner articles drew the interest
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of other media outlets from then on
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Jones came to view the media as the
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enemy and an agent of the devil himself
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things got worse when in 1973 eight
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prominent members of the Peoples Temple
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defected stories emerged of financial
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abuse mind control and tax evasion in
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response to the pressure brought upon
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the church by the media and the
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defectors Jim first proposed the idea of
11:54
mass suicide such a grand action would
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establish the congruence as martyrs and
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shame those who were out to get them as
12:01
for how however Jones’s words were
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nothing more than bluster it was during
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the summer of 1973 that Jones made the
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decision to relocate the People’s Temple
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to the South American country of Guyana
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two months later he visited the country
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in order to open negotiations to
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purchase 27 thousand acres of land in
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the Mathieu Ridge area near the
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Venezuelan border the Guyanese
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co-operative Republic was a socialist
12:24
country and for Jones who had passed
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through on his return trip from Brazil
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in 1963 it was an ideal haven the first
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People’s Temple members arrived in
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Guyana in March of 1974 to begin the
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mammoth task of clearing the jungle and
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breaking grounds for construction on
12:39
what was to become Jonestown a year
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later there were 50 Peoples Temple
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pioneers in Guyana day and night they
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worked to construct buildings and
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establish a massive agricultural project
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by 1977 Jonestown was an established
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community but things were getting worse
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back in California on Memorial Day 1977
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along with 600 congregation members
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Jones made an appearance at a
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commemoration for suicides who had
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jumped off San Francisco’s Golden Gate
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Bridge in his address on this day he
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declared I have been in a suicidal mood
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myself today so I have personal empathy
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for what we are doing here today by now
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there was renewed pressure on the church
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from the American media on August the
13:20
1st 1977 an article appeared in
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you west magazine that alleged members
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had been beaten the church was rife with
13:27
financial Mis dealings and that Jim
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Jones was nothing more than a charlatan
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by the time the article hit the
13:33
newsstands James was already in Guyana
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by September there were more than a
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thousand people’s temple members in
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Guyana with only about 50 or so left in
13:42
the United States the sudden influx of
13:44
people placed severe strain on the
13:46
facilities of Jonestown however members
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enthusiastically pitched in to extend
13:51
the village in order to accommodate the
13:53
demand three-quarters of the
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transplanted residents were black with
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the remainder being white Hispanic Asian
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and Native American the task of feeding
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housing and clothing the community was a
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massive undertaking but the temple
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members found a great sense of pride in
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the feat that they were accomplishing a
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utopian heaven on earth despite the
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harsh conditions in the hard work the
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people appeared in those first few
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months to be genuinely happy back in
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California former members began a
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concerted attack on the People’s Temple
14:20
a woman who had borne a child – Jones
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sued for custody of the child’s which
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was living at the commune Jones refused
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to even consider giving up the child
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declaring that any attempt to take the
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child would put the life of every member
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of the People’s Temple in jeopardy still
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other defectors who had left children
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behind also sued for custody following
14:38
this a declaration of human rights
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violations committed by Peoples Temple
14:41
were issued by defectors to the media it
14:44
included the assertion that rehearsals
14:46
for mass suicide often took place at
14:48
people’s temple a committee of concerned
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relatives claims that Jonestown was
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little more than a concentration camp
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with armed guards constantly patrolling
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and the residents continually subjected
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to brainwashing forced labor and sleep
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deprivation attempts were made to
15:02
pressure Congress to establish an
15:04
official investigation of Jonestown the
15:06
challenge was taken up by congressman
15:08
Leo Ryan representing the San Mateo
15:10
district of Northern California Ryan had
15:12
determined to lead a fact-finding
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mission to Jonestown
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in order to find out firsthand what was
15:17
going on there with reporters and
15:19
relatives in tow he flew into the
15:21
airport at nearby Georgetown on November
15:23
the 15th 1978 two days later they flew
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to the airstrip at chi tumor and then
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were driven by limousine into the jungle
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towards Jonestown Jones had been
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preparing the temple members for the
15:34
congressman’s visit for weeks
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every member knew that gods were
15:38
watching their every move they were
15:39
commanded to portray a glorious utopian
15:42
society role plays were conducted in
15:44
which the members were told exactly what
15:46
to say when spoken to you by reporters
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any signs of dissatisfaction would be
15:50
harshly dealt with away from prying eyes
15:53
the congressman was warmly welcomed into
15:55
reception was held that first night Ryan
15:57
seemed genuinely impressed with the
15:59
organization and the order that he saw
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but late into the night one of the
16:03
reporters who had come along with him
16:05
was secretly passed a note from a man in
16:07
the crowd the man he wanted to leave
16:09
with the congressman the next morning
16:11
the reporter showed the note of the
16:12
congressman Ryan brought the issue up
16:14
with Jones who declared that anyone was
16:16
free to come or go as they pleased this
16:18
prompted Ryan’s you make a public
16:19
declaration that anyone who wanted to
16:22
leave with him at the end of the weekend
16:23
was most welcome over that weekend many
16:25
people came forward then on the
16:27
afternoon of the second day of the visit
16:29
a People’s Temple member lunged at
16:31
congressman Ryan with a knife this event
16:33
soured the proceedings and the visitors
16:35
were intent on getting out as fast as
16:37
possible
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[Music]
16:42
when the congressman’s party left there
16:44
were 14 people’s temple members with
16:46
them they got into two trucks and were
16:48
driven back to the airstrip however
16:50
almost immediately after they left
16:52
Jen’s ordered a tractor and trailer
16:53
manned by armed bodyguards to follow
16:55
them just as the congressman reporters
16:57
and evacuees were about to board the
16:58
plane and head back to the safety of the
17:00
United States the truck and tractor
17:02
rolled onto the airstrip
17:03
it was at this point that Jones’s guards
17:05
immediately opened fire with submachine
17:07
guns congressman Ryan and four others
17:09
were killed then one of these supposed
17:11
to defectors pulled out a handgun and
17:13
began shooting at those who had already
17:14
made their way onto one of the two
17:16
waiting planes the leader of the killer
17:18
guards immediately radioed back to Jones
17:20
and told them that the congressman was
17:21
dead it was at this point that Jones
17:23
immediately began talking to his
17:24
followers over a loudspeaker system he
17:26
told them that the congressman had been
17:28
killed and as a result the Soviet Union
17:30
who we had been looking to for salvation
17:32
would no longer take them in the
17:34
Americans were now certain to send in
17:35
armed forces to annihilate the People’s
17:37
Temple
17:38
he drove fear into his followers by
17:40
telling them Americans would torture
17:41
their children raped their women and
17:43
brutalized their old people
17:45
the only dignified response he said was
17:47
to commit mass revolutionary suicide
17:51
[Music]
17:52
we didn’t commit to it I we can enact a
17:55
revolutionary suicide protesting the
17:58
conditions of an engine main world large
18:00
barrels of cyanide laced kool-aid were
18:02
rolled out and the people began lining
18:04
up to lay down their lives in mass
18:05
protest when he heard people trying to
18:07
beg off Jones told them not to be afraid
18:09
they were simply stepping over to
18:12
another plane that day November the 18th
18:14
1978 nine hundred and fourteen members
18:17
of the People’s Temple lay down their
18:19
lives Jones however did not succumb to
18:21
the cyanide laced kool-aid he was found
18:23
with a gunshot wound to his head it was
18:25
determined as being self-inflicted so I
18:28
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18:30
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