Jonestown Massacre

Topics: Jonestown, Jim Jones, Peoples Temple in San Francisco Pages: 5 (1707 words) Published: November 27, 2010
Jim Jones Jonestown Massacre

Jimmy Jones is the name that I’ve kept for the sake of my life and what does it truly say about my legacy? The question is who am I? I’ve kept many aliases for myself throughout my life. James, Jim, and frequently Jim Jones. My uncle told me as a child when he was in college that one day your going to have people start calling you Jim and start shorting your name to Jim – Jones. I laughed, and this was year 1997. That was thirteen years until this day. But it has been almost three decades ago an unusual series of events led to the deaths of more than 900 people in the middle of a South American jungle. Through dubbed a massacre, what transpired Jonestown on November 18th, 1978, was to some extent done willingly, making the mass suicide all the more disturbing.

The Jonestown cult, also known as the “People’s Temple” was founded in 1955 by Indianapolis preacher Rev. James “Jim” Warren Jones (1931-1978). Jones, who had no formal theological training, based his enlightened ministry on a combination of religious and socialist philosophies. Teachings that in which helped people amongst all social classes to deal with pain, suffering, and to find purpose in to those that were in need for in their lives. The charismatic leader of Peoples Temple was born to James Thurman Jones and Lynetta Putman Jones in Crete, Indiana, on May 13, 1931. Although the family was irreligious, the younger Jones attended several local churches and by the age of ten was being groomed as child evangelist – as a person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, by a female preacher. As a high school student, Jones met his wife Marceline Baldwin, at the same hospital in Richmond, Indiana, where the both of them worked. Getting wed in 1949, and periodically attending the University of Indiana, Jones found himself dawn to the church atmosphere, despite his earlier expressions of skepticism. (1) He began an internship in 1952 at a Methodist church in Indianapolis but was expelled after he brought Blacks to his services. So for there he went on to establish his own congregation, Community Unity Church, which in 1955 became the well known, Peoples Temple. His ministry in Indianapolis, marked by Pentecostal and Holiness beliefs of life and black church tradition and style, attracted a very wide and diverse group of members drawn to his message of racial equality and social justice. He and Marceline- his wife- adopted five children, including one white, one black, and three Koreans. He had a very lavished family to a go along with his beliefs upon modern life. So he gained a lot of attention and publicity. Jones’s work as a white minister was well recognized which led to his appointment as director of the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission in 1961, where he served briefly before traveling to Hawaii and South America. When he returned two years later, in 1963 he pronounced and told the reduced Indianapolis congregation that the church must move to northern California to be safe in the event of nuclear war.

A group of eighty parishiors relocated with the Jones family to Redwood Valley, a small town in California, north of San Francisco. There members began to live and work communally, donating wages and income from outside jobs. The group sponsored several residential homes and outpatient services for the mentally ill and mentally retarded, which Mrs. Jones- administered. James “Jim” Jones continued to preach a socially through group gospel messages of service to the poor and encouraged expansion of the church to San Francisco, where membership grew with the actions of thousands of African Americans. The dynamic minister became a political force in San Francisco in the 1970s, a result of his delivering Peoples Temple members to demonstrations in support of freedom of the press, Native American rights, and antidevelopment efforts. (1) Local, state, and national politicians frequented the Temple, where they were warmly...
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