Jonestown Mass Suicide:
A Look at Jim Jones diagnosis and the People's Temples
918. This is the number of people that died in Jonestown, from apparent cyanide poisoning because of Jim Jones. This mass murder/suicide was one of the largest in modern history that resulted in the largest single loss of American civilian life, without being caused by a natural disaster until the events of September 11,2001. Jim Jones was the leader of the Peoples Temple, a religious organization also seen as a sect. Criminal psychology is the study of the wills, thoughts, intentions and reactions of criminals. This is why, in the following essay, I will discuss, take a look and analyse Jim Jones and his diagnosis. I will also explore many ideas surrounding the Peoples Temple and their members. It is my hope that my research paper will provide an extensive and interesting psychological look at Jim Jones behavior, Jonestown mass suicide and the members of the Peoples Temple.
Born on May 13,1931 in a rural area of Indiana, James Warren ¨Jim¨ Jones had an uncommon childhood . His dad James was a World War 1 veteran, and his mother Lynetta believed that she had given birth to a messiah. Jim was Irish and Welsh, and was claiming that he was partial Cherokee, but it wasn't true. Hall (1987) basically explain that because of the Great Depression, his family had economic difficulties that necessitated them to move in another town in Indiana in 1934. He grew up there in a shack without any plumbing. According to a childhood friend and Jim Jones himself, his father, James, was associated with the Ku Klux Klan, which is a far-right organizations in the U.S who had advocated extremist reactionary currents such as some white supremacy, nationalism and anti-immigration through terrorism. In one of the interviews that took part in 2006 for the documentary ¨Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple¨ some acquaintances of Jim childhood described him as being a ¨really weird kid...
References: Hall, John R.(1987), Gone from the Promised Land, Transaction Publishers.
Chidester, D. (2004). Salvation and suicide: Jim jones, the people 's temple and jonestown (religion in north america). (2nd ed.). Indiana University Press.
Wessinger, Catherine (2000), How the Millennium comes violently: From Jonestown to Heaven 's Gate, Seven Bridges Press
Reiterman, T., & Jacobs, J. (1982). Raven: The untold story of Rev. Jim Jones and his people. Dutton.
Rosenburg, J. (2005, April 10). About.com. Retrieved from http://history1900s.about.com/od/people/p/jimjones.htm
Jones, J. J. (1978, 11 17). [Audio Tape Recording]. Alternative considerations of jonestown and peoples temple. Jonestown project. Transcript of Recovered FBI tape Q 42., San Diego State University.
Antisocial personality disorder- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) American Psychiatric Association (2000) pp.645-650
Please join StudyMode to read the full document