What Was The Jonestown Massacre?

Before the US attacks 11, 2001, the Jonestown massacre was notable as the most deadly harrowing experience in the nation’s history. More than 900 individuals died on the fateful day of November 18, 1978, including more than 200 children. Members had been followers of a cult popularized by Jim Jones and nicknamed the People’s Temple. Jones had taken his followers out of the United States into a remote jungle in Guyana with promises to create a utopian community.

Who was Jim Jones?

Jim Jones was born in rural Indiana in the community of Crete on May 13, 1931. Jones’s mother, Lynetta Putnam, believed that Jones was a messiah. Jones was of Welsh and Irish descent. In 1934, the family moved to the city of Lynn, where they lived in a shack with no pipes. Jones devoted himself to the works of Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mahatma Gandhi and Karl Marx during his childhood and also cultivated a deep interest in religion. Jones was, by all means, a social outcast and childhood acquaintances described him as a “really strange child”. Jones began to sympathize with the African American population in his country that he noticed having been oppressed. Later he explained how he had conflict with his father on the problem of travel.

Origin of the Temple of the People

Jim Jones developed communist ideals believing it to be the most appropriate social order. To Jones’s surprise, a Methodist superintendent oversaw his absorption into the Church although he knew about Jones’s love affair with communism. Jones earned the post of student pastor in 1952 in the Southside Methodist Church, based in Indianapolis, which he left since he did not welcome the African-American congregation. He later founded a church in a rented place he called the Community Unity Church. Jones and other members of the new church falsified the healings in an attempt to increase the size of the congregation. Jones managed to purchase a church building in 1956 in a mixed neighborhood of races in the state. Initially titled ” but later changed it to “Temple Gospel Full Gospel Church”. The Temple organized grandiose religious assemblies in which Jones and other Pentecostal pastors performed healing and revealed private information to impress the crowd. Jones, accompanied by other members of the Temple, led the Ohio and Indiana cities to recruit members and raise funds. The Temple preached egalitarian ideals and hired Archie Ijames as a preacher, whose African-American stature marked the inclusion of the almost 50% African-American congregation.

The Church was then absorbed into the Christian Church and named the Gospel of the Christian Church of the Temple. The Church has launched social service programs and Jones has even obtained an appointment for the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission. but later changed it to “Temple Gospel Full Gospel Church”. The Temple organized grandiose religious assemblies in which Jones and other Pentecostal pastors performed healing and revealed private information to impress the crowd. Jones, accompanied by other members of the Temple, led the Ohio and Indiana cities to recruit members and raise funds. The Temple preached egalitarian ideals and hired Archie Ijames as a preacher, whose African-American stature marked the inclusion of the almost 50% African-American congregation.

Expansion and transfer to Guyana

With the 1960s, Jones had begun to adopt socialist concepts in his sermons. He also warned of an imminent holocaust and moved his church to Redwood Valley, California, in 1965. He created permanent structures in San Francisco in 1971 and Los Angeles in 1972. Jones began to infiltrate political circles and proclaim himself a respected man of church. However, the People’s Temple has been accused of inhuman treatment of members, brainwashing, financial fraud and blackmail. In 1974, a small group of Jones’s disciples left for Guyana where they developed an agricultural cooperative to facilitate the arrival of the other members in 1977 accompanied by Jones. Jones attracted followers to establish a socialist solution for utopia.

Abuse of human rights

Members arrived in Guyana in hostile conditions. Since there were inadequate cabins, those available had bunk beds and were overcrowded. The cabins were further segregated by gender, in the sense that married couples lived separately. Members spent their days working in the fields and attracted punishment by challenging Jones’s authority. Even the medicines and passports of the followers were confiscated, and several members became ill with heat, humidity and tropical diseases.

The plant was surrounded by large tracts of jungle and further surrounded by armed guards to discourage deserters. Followers were encouraged to attend long night meetings and suicide exercises. Members’ letters and phone calls have been carefully monitored. Reports of the terrible things that happened in the settlement reached Leo Ryan, a member of the United States Congress who went to the community on November 17, 1978, accompanied by several journalists and observers.

The first day of the visit went well, but the delegation was approached by some of the residents who prepared to leave the following day. Ryan invited anyone who wanted to leave to join his delegation, and one of the members tried to slit his throat to convince Ryan of the danger that lay in Jonestown. A group of armed men from the community reached the delegation in the landing strip, killing five individuals including Ryan and wounding 11 others. a member of the United States Congress who went to the community on November 17, 1978, accompanied by several journalists and observers. The first day of the visit went well, but the delegation was approached by some of the residents who prepared to leave the following day. Ryan invited anyone who wanted to leave to join his delegation, and one of the members tried to slit his throat to convince Ryan of the danger that lay in Jonestown. A group of armed men from the community reached the delegation in the landing strip, killing five individuals including Ryan and wounding 11 others. a member of the United States Congress who went to the community on November 17, 1978, accompanied by several journalists and observers.

The horrible case of mass suicide

The killing of the US delegation panicked Jones because he knew the US government would go down on the community. Jones ordered all members to gather in the main pavilion to carry out his “revolutionary suicide plan” that they had previously practiced. He convinced the congregation that there was no other way out of the dangerous situation. Large pavilions of grape-flavored flavoring were gathered in the pavilion. The drink was laced with cyanide and Valium. The children were fed the mixture, followed by the adults. The guards were armed to encourage everyone to take the deadly mixture.

Aftermath of the event

918 people lost their lives in mass suicide, including children 276. The event made history the most deadly loss of American civilians in an intentional event. Relatives of dead members and the media staged a siege at the San Francisco Temple site. The bodies of the Temple members were flown to the Dover Air Base in Delaware, and some were identified. More than 400 bodies were buried in a mass grave at the Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland. The event helped to integrate the notion that new religious movements are deadly in the public mind. Subsequently the church declared bankruptcy in 1978 and its constructions in California, Los Angeles and Indianapolis remained intact, and the congregations also used some of them.

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