You think you know the whole story of the Reverend Jim Jones who led 911 people to mass murder and suicide with the famous “don’t drink the cool-aid” notoriety. The story is more complicated than just a mass suicide though it does have that as a component fact. What made Reverend Jim Jones a successful prophetic figure, cult leader, charismatic leader and mass murderer is of course not just about his own personality disorder but that of his followers who thought they had found a new reality.
The biggest open secret of the Reverend Jim Jones story is the manner in which he raise funds to create his People’s Temple organization. He had people sign over their welfare and social security checks to his organization. Success in raising funds made all of his exploits possible from the beginning. The Reverend had an amazing ability to communicate. He knew how to build confidence among a certain percentage of people in any audience. He rather seemed to cultivate an Elvis like persona of himself the way he dressed and carried himself in public which was kind of like the way Hitler adopted Charlie Chaplin’s mustache for the purpose of gaining celebrity and cultivating a public image with a recognizable persona. Ordinary people would find it difficult to find a large following of people who will immediately sign over their social security checks in exchange for being part of a group and being taken care of by the group. It is happening in cities like Portland Oregon where the city and state government have found that maximizing social security benefits in the community allows them freer access to other forms of taxation for other than social service programs. The farming of social security checks has created a cult of big government in many American cities with politicians, social workers and lawyers running empires based on that farming of government check money. Reverend Jones was doing pretty much the same thing on a smaller scale. Is that to say that big American cities are running cults? Indeed some are because of the transfer of dependency to government programs.
Reverend Jones found that communism also suited his needs. This is why his church became the “people’s temple” It was his own people’s republic in the built in semantics. Jones knew how to take advantage of people as he even hosted fake healing services with hired actors playing the roles of people he would instantly save in front of a congregation. Preforming miracles helped find needy and lower IQ disciples for him which helped to generate his God complex. Reverend Jones became a true communist leader in that he began to believe himself that he was God. His people were handing over their financial assets and social security entitlements which further enhanced his God complex. They also gave him feedback treating him as if he was God which only made him more dangerous. Mixing the His god complex with recreational psychotropic drug use Jones became a later day emperor Caligula or Stalin. The communist manifesto justified his own belief in his being God and having followers that believed it. Having the power of God is what led to mass murder and mass suicide. The 276 children of Jones Town were murdered not suicided because they were killed in advance of the most of the parents committing suicide. Children did not realize that the Cyanide and sedative laced Flavor-Aid grape drink given to them was a voluntary act of suicide although most of the parents who later joined them drinking it were aware. It was not just mass suicide but murder because after the mass suicide gunmen in vans roamed around Jones town shooting any survivors they could find. Jones himself had drugged himself and shot himself or had someone else shoot him in the head.. The Potassium Cyanide used was stockpiled long in advance of the suicide and had no other use out in the Guiana Jungle because there was no hope of finding placer gold deposits there. Other drugs were stock piled in advance as was the cheap dissoluble bug juice that goes by the brand name Kool-Aid in the popular story. Reverend Jones was not that much different than Adolf Hitler who obviously prepared in advance for a smaller version of mass suicide in his besieged Berlin Bunker.
Jones had ulterior motives for everything he did. His people’s temple colony out in the jungle took advantage of people and pressed them into plantation like forced labor. Anyone not in compliance was beaten in public and sent to a work camp for re-education. The vast majority of his cult members were not rebelling or even rebellious as is seen in their final act of suicide and mass murder. The whole group had even rehearsed their mass suicide on a previous occasion. Jones had plans long in advance of killing the congressman who came to visit because his organization was being accused of human rights abuses. Jone’s paranoia spread like a contagion though his cult which raised the level of emotional connection to the group making social stress into a benefit that aided his control. You saw the same sort of social stress in communist countries as a means of keeping society looking in the same direction with a sense of purpose. It is curious how the founder of communist North Korea started out as a Christian preacher like Jones did who later switched over to communists ideology because the communist ideology worked a lot better. Communist ideology gave all cult members a vested interest in all of their comrades economic circumstances and it reduced the ego of the masses directing it to the man at the top calling himself God. Followers might have found thinking hurt their brains before Jim Jones helped them to repress their own personal egos and to install his own as members of his own tyrannical family. When communist cult members feel they are being taken are of they are available to serve their masters because there is the me too effect of seeing everyone serving. Then you see more of the real Jim Jones who was requiring people in his cult to serve him sexually. One might wonder if the murder of the investigating congressman was just cult induced paranoia or a means of covering up something else going on. Jones with his god complex had no limits. Emperors and tyrannical dictators can do most anything they want. One might even have a Strong suspicion that Jones may have been abusing the commune’s children. Of course that was happening because he was abusing the adults. The final act of his murdering 276 children with an advance plan to do so puts Jones into a category of one of the worst serial mass killers in history. You don’t read too many versions of the story that taint his history with mass child abuse and with their intentional extermination possibly as witnesses because a lot of observers are blinded by the rhetoric of the cult with it’s multi racial make up and its concept of ‘equality’ and economic equality and socialism which unfortunately too many observes look at as a sort of pass for Jim Jones and look for some excuse that maybe drug abused induced paranoia or a cult that started with good intentions gone bad.
Reverend Jones is now even reported to , as a child, to have had a tendency to kill small defenseless animals and hold funerals for them. That is quite similar to the reported early history of serial killer Jeffry Dalmer who did basically the same thing as a child. That starts to mark Jones as a psychopath with an early start at it in life. Sometimes the behavior of children is beyond just being noted as “weird behavior.” Jones had a habit of seeking his own gratification at the expense of others from the beginning to the end. He may have committed crimes worse than his reported lewd conduct in a public men’s room that included rape and murder long before the mass suicide in Guiana that have just never been discovered. It would be remarkable to think that if Mao and Stalin had not become political dictators that they would not have ended up killing a number of people in their life times in other vocations than socialist dictators? The Reverend Jones was no accident waiting to happen. There was nothing unplanned about what we call an accident when 276 children are murdered using supplies ordered long in advance.
Next time you read a story about the Reverend Jim Jones and the mass suicide start to remove the sugar coated terminology of a cult gone bad and start seeing the head line mass murdering wanna be communist serial child killer leaves 911 dead at Jungle commune. It then becomes a totally different story. The dominant liberal media has always emphasized that the story is about a cult. That is only a technicality in the story. The story is about the abuse of welfare, the abuse of children, the abuse of people in general, a self serving psychopath who knew exactly what he was doing and planned it out in advance. It is not the story of hope or false hope but of social psychopathology . The idea is that cult members had no voluntary engagement in the events is as absurd as saying the German people did not conspire with the Nazis. The idea that this was just another apocalyptic cult that suicides is only half correct because there happen to be a number of established religions that can also be labeled as “cults’ where they assigned a date for the world to end , it did not and they did not commit suicide. Then there is the Heaven’s Gate Cult story in San Diego where suicide was much more of a voluntary thing than is what is most often seen as what happened at Jones Town.
Perhaps the only person at Jones Town who was suicidal was the Reverend Jones and the rest were tricked into suicide. One might even wonder that after the first practice round of a mass suicide that Jones wanted people to pretend that they would fall il and die so that many people who saw their children looking as if they had fallen dead on the ground might have thought the hole thing was just another practice round with the foam on the mouths from the cyanide in the children being something like artificial blood in a Hollywood movie. Was it a test of faith exercises? It seems pretty clear Jones was trying to dispose of evidence against him with roving bands going to shoot to death anyone who had not shared a cup of cyanide tainted grape flavored drink. When you revisit the story and you see that the whole thing was pre-planned rehearsed and executed with an event that was mass murder and not suicide the whole story takes on a completely different flavor and complexion. Once you see that the whole build out of the so called church by Jones was financed with the tax free utilization of signed over social security checks the whole affair takes on the look of a sort of social cancer in a government social service organization. What cult? That is a legitimate question. The people drinking the Kool-Aid had drank the same Kool-Aid before many times. It was one of the cheap drinks of choice favored by the dictator of the organization. What was Jones really covering up? Misuse of funds? What kind of jurisdiction was the US Congress necessarily going to have on a private commune in a remote Jungle in a foreign country? There is probably something more to the story. Jones had frequently moved his temple from place to place with his followers coming along with him and that is not adequately explained. Were they run out of town after town or were they leaving bad debts behind? One can reasonably guess that the real reason is something else. Jones was even considering moving his commune from the Guiana site to Soviet Russia. The Russians were wise enough immediately to profile Jones as trouble.
Even if they had been financing his operations in the Americas they certainly knew they did not want him there which would be like the US grandstanding Cuban criminals boat lifted out of Cuba to Miami as an event that happened near the same time. The Russians could immediately see the psychopathology but the American News Media had mixed feelings. At the time it happened i read the news reports with no idea how the reports had filtered out the reality from the story. The news media did the same thing with other cults bringing in more mystery than facts . If you remember the story of Patty Hurst the bank robber you will remember the story was muddled by the media . Even worse happened with the cult called the weather underground. In more recent times the dominant liberal media made practical hero’s out of Earth Liberation Army savages. What I though I knew about Reverend Jim Jones and his people’s temple turned out to be something a little different than the cult catch word implies The emphasis in the media became how not to get yourself involved in a cult and how to get relatives and friends out of cults. The emphasis was on the cult and not on the cult leader as the truly bad seed. It was the Marxist / socialist objectives of many of the cults that blind the news media. They are signaling to their readers this kind of pathos to the cause as if the cause was ever justified and as if it is just the cult itself was what made it go wrong.. The message was there are good cults and bad cults as if that was what mattered in the Jim Jones story.
What can be learned from Jim Jones? That the people who want you to give them the most to take care of them are often the ones who should be trusted least. If you have trust you had better verify often. That welfare itself is a sort of cult of dependency. It is a lesson that really savage people compensate for a defective personalty with building trust with people they only intend to exploit for personal gain. It is a lesson that someone like Jim Jones will have all the warning signs long in advance of his final catharsis. That popular social behavior of leaders in general can be a warning sign that they appear as role models to masses of people when their true direction of leadership is harmfully, not just potentially dangerous but shocking orange or red warning sign that says steer clear. Jones manipulated people from beginning to end by understanding their motivations and by promising something impossible to achieve. You also might observe that there were more adult female than adult male cult members in the group and other little odd quirks that can start to change your reading of the nature of a cult or political system. Jones preached racial harmony and equality but had fewer blacks in is inner sanctuary of leadership than in the total population. Everything that looked wrong was wrong. You can see that the same cult of personality aspects in every communist and socialist social experiment from the beginning. You can also see it in non communist dictatorships. The lesson is too look behind the labels and excuses printed in the news stories and to spend a little more time exploring the dimensions of the story that have nothing to do with cult followers but have to do with people who really have no limits and assume power because they can go beyond what is legal or moral or ethical or just sane. The news media was always too fascinated with the cult aspects of the story because they tended to approve of c ults that they thought advanced meaningful social advances just as the news media has difficulty seeing Che or Castro as the cold blooded killers they were or are in real life. The Jim Jones story was white washed. There looks like there was a lot less suicide in the final act than is recorded. The tape recording of the grand mass suicide might sound deliberate but having known it was rehearsed once or more before not everyone was going to be sure it was not just a sort of an community act as theater. There are some strange resemblances of this group and the David Koresh suicide wher it also turns out that followers did not suicide but were murdered in advance of those who did actually suicide.