THE PEOPLE'S TEMPLE (JIM JONES)



This was a Christian destructive, doomsday cult founded and led by Jim Jones. Jones held degrees from Indiana University and
Butler University. He was ordained in the Christian Church / Disciples of Christ. Jones was not a Fundamentalist pastor as
many reports in the media and the anti-cult movement claim. He belonged to a mainline Christian denomination. He assembled
a large following of over 900 members in Indianapolis IN. The temple was initially structured as a mission for the sick,
homeless and jobless. When an investigation began into his cures for cancer, heart disease and arthritis, he decided to move the
group to Ukiah CA. He preached the immanent end of the world in a nuclear war. They later moved to San Francisco CA.
After an expose in the magazine New West raised suspicions of illegal activities within the Temple, he moved the Temple to
Jonestown, Guyana.

He developed a belief called Translation in which he and his followers would all die together, and would move to another
planet for a life of bliss. Mass suicides were practiced in which his followers pretended to drink poison and fell to the ground.

Rumors of human rights abuses circulated. This motivated Leo Ryan, a Congressman, to visit Jonestown in 1978-NOV for a
personal inspection. At first, the visit went well. Later, some of the members of the Temple decided that they wanted to leave
Jonestown with the visitors. While they were waiting at the local airstrip, some heavily armed members of the Temple's security
guards arrived and started shooting. Congressman Ryan and four others were killed; 11 were wounded. Fearing retribution,
Jones ordered his entire group to commit suicide by drinking cyanide-laced kool-aid. 638 of his adult followers and 276
children died. Some committed suicide by drinking the poison; others appear to have been murdered by poison injection or
shot. A few fled into the jungle and survived. The bodies were in a state of extensive decay when the authorities arrived. There
was no time to conduct a thorough investigation.