Skip to main content

Peoples Temple Collection; Box 7, Virtual item 9, Q049-1-Jonestown community rehearses answers for reporters

 Digital Record
Identifier: ms-0183_07.09


Summary Note

In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States. On June 24, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B60-2. This tape was found to contain the following: JIM JONES questioning and instructing members in correct replies to possible newsman questions regarding the settlement. He instructs them to discontinue the use of the term "DAD" for him and "group", "family", comrade and other revolutionary terms to combat C.I.A. plot against the church. He also mentioned statements should not be anti-United States or pro Communist countries and should indicate an unbiased knowledge of correct events. The majority of side two seemed to be blank although distant voices can be heard. In this undated - and non-contextual - tape, Jim Jones holds a meeting of the Jonestown community during which he prepares them for the arrival of a few unnamed reporters, by posing random questions to random (almost all unidentified) members and passing or revising the answers he hears. While Jones coaches the people to improve their answers, the tone is generally light-hearted, and there are numerous moments of levity. Jones often offers suggestions to people on what to emphasize: "I would say about the weather that we always have some sunshine every day"; "You might say, before I came into this church, I was wasting my life on drugs and that sort of thing, [but I] haven't had any need for drugs, and haven't committed a crime of any kind since I got in the church, 'cause my life is fulfilled"; "I'd say it's a community. That's what I was after. Jonestown's a community." Full summary of the recording available at Alternative Considerations of Jonestown website, along with the tape transcript.

Rights Statement Note

The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Physical Description Note

Original audio cassette tape recording digitized and made available as .mp3 audio file.

Publisher Note

Publisher: The Jonestown Institute

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US