* Jim Jones and the People Temple
* When you think of Jim Jones and the People Temple the first thing that comes to mind is a mass suicide, not only involving one specific sex or race, but involving men, women, and children of all races. However, do we ever take the time to sit down and look into what Jim Jones and the People Temple actually stood for? There must be a reason behind all the things that were done. Behind the reason Pastor Jim Jones preached what he did and had such a major impact on the members of the People’s Temple. People take leadership in many things throughout everyday life. Yes, some on more significant levels than others. There are leaders of groups, companies, churches, and even leaders of cults or whole nations. Every leader has their own way of going about things, but James Warren Jones just went to a greater extent. * James Warren Jones was born May 13, 1931 in Indiana to parents James Thurman Jones and Lynetta Putnam. Jones claimed his father was associated with the Ku Klux Klan. Growing up Jones was seen as a weird child, with a great obsession for religion and death. It was brought to the attention that he would perform funerals for animals and even killed a cat with a knife. In his family his father did not work, while his mother worked to support the family. So Jones grew up as a wild child just on his own. In the documentation, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, Jones brings out how when growing up there was “feeling as an outcast, I’d early developed a sensitivity for the problems of blacks”. (Nelson) This brought Jones at an early age to not segregate against African Americans. When the separation of Jones’ parents occurred he moved with his mother Lynetta to Richmond where he graduated early from Richmond High School in 1948. Jones then attended Indiana University at Bloomington. * The People Temple also known as the Jonestown Cult was founded in Indianapolis, in 1955 by James Warren Jones. James and wife Marceline Baldwin, who married in 1949 bought a building and moved the church there, changing the name to Wings of Deliverance Church. However, later that year the church was renamed again to The People Temple Full Gospel Church. In 1960 Jim and Marceline were the first to adopt an African American child into their white family in Indianapolis. After many years of ministry here in Indianapolis, Jones and his family did some study. When they returned the first demonstration of power that he had amongst the People Temple members was brought out. “Jones announced to his congregation that his family would be moving to Redwood Valley, California. He encouraged the members of Peoples Temple to relocate with him.” (Maaga 2) Just from looking at this statement Jones was able to persuade his members to move with him. The reason he gave the members was that Ukiah was one of 9 places on earth that would survive a Nuclear Attack. Jones got about 70 or more members to relocate to Redwood Valley, California in 1965. They spent a few years growing as a church getting new members starting with a few here and there. Finally, the “People Temple was able to build a church of their own in Redwood Valley, which the group named Happy Acres.”(Maaga 3) Once this occurred the number of members grew significantly especially since the ministry was expanded to urban blacks of Los Angeles and San Francisco, leading to the opening of two more churches in 1970 and 1972. * The People’s Temple was gathering more and more members as it went on. Over summer they would take bus trips and go around preaching to places. The purpose of these bus trips was to gather more members and spread the word. People would hear Jim Jones speak and pack their things and get on the bus with them. The members of the People Temple were a majority of African American people. Members themselves would say how, “Jim sounded like a black man, he fit right in.” (Nelson) So it was as if...
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