Jim Jones – Individuals Report
The widely known leader I have chosen to present in my report is the American religious cult leader, responsible for the Jonestown massacre in 1978; Jim Jones. Born as James Warren Jones on May 13, 1931, he was an extremely influential leader of his cult church, The People’s Temple. His influence over this group led to a series of quite horrific events and eventually a mass suicide which Jones called “revolutionary suicide", killing more than 900 people, including him. Jim Jones was a well-educated man with degrees from Indiana University and Butler University. By 22 years of age he had already joined the Methodist Church as a student pastor. In 1995, after being involved with several different churches in the Indianapolis region, Jones started his own congregation named “The People’s Temple”. Jones presented himself as a leader for change and a champion for the disadvantaged, organising soup kitchens for the homeless, forming an employment assistance service, providing decent clothes to wear to job interviews for the members of his church to help them find work and supporting multiculturalism. At the time of the forming of The People’s Temple there was a lot of interracial discord and Jones responded to this by encouraging diversity in his congregation, gaining the trust of people who did not fit into the standard, racist American stereotype. In 1961, the mayor of Indianapolis appointed Jones as the director for the city’s Human Rights Commission to address racial problems in their city. In response to his open-minded approach to racial integration, he and his wife and supporters received much harassment from the white public. As The People’s Temple gained more supporters, Jones convinced the members of his church to move to Guyana, South America as Indianapolis was no longer a safe place, according to Jim. At this point he began to preach his own word more than the biblical scriptures. This provoked some members to grow...
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