Jim Jones had a dream could not be more noble: to bring together the Black and the White, in full America segregated. Put an end to racism, to make people happy, heal them, help them. These pious wishes have been carried out for a time, before this american pastor did not derive at the end of the 70’s. Forty years ago, now, 914 followers of the sect of the Temple of the people would die in the jungle of Guyana. Have they committed suicide or were they pushed towards death? No official explanation has ever been given. Anyway, the death of these taken is closely linked to the fate of their “father”, a revolutionary marxist author of various misdeeds during his career as a reverend. Rape, confinement, fabrication, uptake of inheritance… Back on the career of a man whose madness led to the largest loss of life in the United States before the attacks of September 11, 2001.

” READ ALSO – Jonestown: massacre of the followers of the Temple of the People 40 years ago

Group the Blacks and the Whites, Jim Jones, guru of the sect. -/AFP

Born in Indiana in 1931 in a poor environment, Jim Jones, his real name was James Warren Jones, was raised in a religious environment. As a teenager, he began to preach to the other children. He is a member of the pentecostal movement and charismatic evangelical. At the age of 19, he married a nurse. Interested in the medical field, he slowly abandoned his religious beliefs for the benefit of communism. And then he discovers the methodist church, and decides in 1952 to become a pastor, before leaving methodism to pentecostalism. In his life, the future guru will have made dozens of back-and-forth in terms of belief. However, Jones maintains a constant: to bring together Blacks and Whites in one church. In spite of the opposition of the two communities, the pastor opened the first church in a suburb of Indianapolis, named in 1955 the Temple of the people.

The healing miracles allow you to build the myth : the guru made, for example, pretend to extract the tumors of the patients out of their mouth, hiding a chicken liver in his sleeve.

In 1959, the organization joined the christian Church Disciples of Christ, granting him a certain credibility. The couple Jones, the wand, uses methods misleading but clever to attract new members. They hire private detectives to learn about people who might join, and reveal things on it, passing this information to the intuitions of god. The healing miracles allow you to build the myth: the guru made, for example, pretend to extract the tumors of the patients out of their mouth, hiding a chicken liver in his sleeve. Little by little, the movement is becoming more radical: procreation is regarded as a sin, Jones claims to be a prophet sent by God, while criticizing other religions. At that time, approximately two million people joining the movement.

In the 60s, Jim Jones goes in search of a new city for his church, after having had the vision of an attack to the atomic bomb in Chicago. He moved in 1965 in Ukiah, California, with a large hundred of the faithful. There, the courses take on a connotation marxist. Jones critical widely the government and gives advice on masturbation in advocating abstinence. These teachings have earned him a number of complaints. As much as it claims to be the reincarnation of Moses, Lenin, Buddha and Jesus Christ. In his speech, he tightens the vise with the faithful: if they do not give themselves 100% to the Temple, Jones ensures that they will be reincarnated in a microscopic cell. More the taken give up their life before, the more they are considered to be loyal. In the early 70’s, so that suspicions are sneaking around outside the sect, to the camp of Ukiah is military. In 1973, Jones sexually assaults a police officer in civilian clothes.

” READ ALSO – Jonestown: the suicide of a sect

to Leave America

After this event, the Temple of the people moved to San Francisco. “Spiritual leader”, Jim Jones becomes the “father” of the sect. Its members call him “dad”, and he commits criminal acts against them. It is not uncommon to see him sodomize young men who join the movement, or publicly humiliated, through physical abuse, those who have “caught”. It was at this time that the press began to take an interest in the group. A local newspaper, the San Francisco examiner , published a series of articles revealing the abuse of power of the reverend. The sect denies this, but the bottle in the sea is launched: complaints are filed for attempted homicide, use of drugs or misuse of minors. The prosecutor of the city did not order any investigation since he himself has been appointed thanks to the guru. While the Jones family begins to disintegrate – Jim had seven children -declares that the Temple of the people will have an “abrupt end”.

From “spiritual leader”, Jim Jones becomes the “father” of the sect. It is not uncommon to see him sodomize young men who join the movement

Feeling the noose tighten around them, the sect is preparing a plan to exit the United States. To hide. To flee. To live in autarky. In previous years, Jim Jones has visited different corners of the globe to predict the coup. Finally, the Temple of the people moved to Guyana, a small country in South America, north of Brazil. This choice is not the fruit of chance: the country is socialist, and it corresponds to the values conveyed by the sect. It is also undermined by corruption, allowing Jones to bring in hundreds of members without a visa. On a plot of 11,000 hectares in the jungle, he founded the colony of “Jonestown”, a “society of genuine socialist, finally stripped of all racism, all sexism, and all forms of discrimination against the old.”

facade, everything is for the best for these families. In truth, Jim Jones made life a hell with his 1200 disciples, a majority of Black americans are poor, children or elderly. Between drug taking, hunger, and sexual enslavement, it requires them to work from dawn to night, six days a week. The day, the speech of the guru are broadcast on loud speakers. It instrumentalise the fear, developing themes such as persecution or the prospect of an imminent apocalypse. Each week, Jones submits the families to a “white night”, a strange year in which the followers must swallow and swallow to their children of the false poison. For the reverend, suicide is the only solution to the guetpp that the u.s. government will begin a day against him. Between August 1977 and November 1978, eight people die of natural causes in Jonestown, mainly among the elderly.

” READ ALSO – health and well-being, the sects are gaining ground


The situation escalates when a member of Congress, Leo Ryan, arrived in Guyana on November 17, 1978 after complaints from parents of “the faithful”. The next day, as he prepares to return to his plane, he was assassinated with three journalists by men of Jim Jones. At the same time, the guru persuades his followers that the policy is an agent of the CIA and that “Jonestown” is going to be stormed by us marines. According to an AFP dated December 9, 1978, citing a recording of 45 minutes found near the body of the reverend, the latter was summoned to the adults of the sect to administer the poison to the children with syringes. “My opinion is that it must be good for the children and the old and take the potion like they did in ancient Greece, and go quietly,” he reportedly said.

Some people are protesting, begin to die. “Die with dignity. Don’t go to bed in tears. Stop this hysteria! This is not a way to die for the socialist-communist,” says Jim Jones. “The carnage ends in a cacophony of screaming and of pain, gasps, cries of children who were dying and protests, mingled with the applause of the fans of Jones,” continues the dispatch of 1978. Few followers trying to escape in the jungle. They are caught, or killed, and forced to give the drink deadly. Only one in twenty people will survive. The guru, himself, will be found a bullet in the head. Is it suicide or has he been killed? No one ever knew. Anyway, the story of the mass suicide of the followers of the Temple of the people has created a huge stir in the United States has had an impact in the world. In its edition of November 24, 1978, Le Figaro describes the revelation noted by the journalists on the spot: “A real pile of bodies entwined together, with their faces twisted in the agony of death, around the altar. In some places the ground was disappearing under corpses.”

The many investigations following the tragedy revealed suspicious links Jim Jones with a good number of politicians, of Rosalynn Carter, wife of the american president, the successive mayors of San Francisco, passing by the Health secretary, Joseph Califano. Because in addition to the crimes committed by the guru, it is also come in assistance to certain needy people. He has organized charitable works and even participated in the campaign of Jimmy Carter in 1976, providing many supports. These smart initiatives have enabled him, for several tens of years, to pass between the meshes of the net of the police and justice. And of itself to recruit millions of people.

hundreds of syringes have been found on site. -/AFP