30th Anniversary of the "Revolutionary Suicide" at Jonestown

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by MagicRose99, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. Splenda

    Splenda New Member

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    I totally agree, Lisah. Children cannot make those decisions -- their lives were taken by adults who chose to end their precious little lives.
     


  2. Splenda

    Splenda New Member

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    These tragedies are concrete reasons why we should be wiser in the company we choose to keep. People have an influence on us over a period of time whether we realize it or not.
     
  3. Alice Bernadette

    Alice Bernadette Member

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    A new HBO series called Raven based on the book of the same name is being made on the Jonestown story. I'm fascinated by this event and have read nearly everything I can on the subject. Raven is the best book on the subject and is very thorough.

    https://qz.com/779613/breaking-bad-...s-about-jim-jones-and-the-jonestown-massacre/

    After nearly 40 years it is still hard to fathom that something like Jonestown could happen. I feel most sorry for the children and teenagers that died as they didn't really have a say in what paths their parents chose.
     
  4. MsMarple

    MsMarple Well-Known Member

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    I won't argue with the FBI but IMO I think Jonestown was very much a cult, at least in the way I've always used the word. I'm not as well-read on Jonestown as you seem to be but I've done my share of study over the years. I read Edith Roller's journals a number of years back and have been re-reading them - I think they're a bit more complete now than they were when I first found them.

    IMO, the lack of sleep (they averaged 6 hours a night, sometimes less), the endless hours of Jones speaking through the loudspeakers, often as late as 3 or 4 in the morning, and long work hours kept the members chronically fatigued. Jones also split families apart. Married couples were reassigned and referred to each other as companions rather than husband/wife. In some cases couples were put together for three months without having sex in order to see if they would get along. Children lived in communal dorms.

    People were publicly accused of petty crimes and imagined infractions such as having a bad attitude or acting elitist. As you pointed out there were boxing matches and beatings to punish them. Dropping people by rope into a well and the "box" were also punishments. People were encouraged to tattle on each other.

    Jones held all the passports and Social Security cards and government checks were signed over to the Peoples Temple to the tune of about 65k a month. Leaving Jonestown was extremely difficult if not impossible and members were discouraged from communicating with family outside of the Temple other than to assure them they were happy and not being held against their will.

    To me that is a definition of a cult, regardless of what the FBI chose to call Jonestown. But even beyond that, it seems like the whole project was destined to fail.

    Just going by Edith Roller's daily entries on life in Jonestown it's obvious that life there wasn't wonderful; the first people went to Jonestown to begin clearing the land back in 1974 and by the time Jones arrived in July 1977 the community was far from self-sufficient. That Jones brought a huge group with him put immense pressure on the site. There were 60 cottages, kitchens and food storage areas, laundry rooms, the infirmary, and two schoolhouses, along with a pavilion for meetings. IIRC, Jones brought around 500 people with him - way more than the present accommodations could handle.

    And there was the problem of feeding all the people three times a day, something that the community failed to do after 4 years of attempting to grow crops and raise feed animals.

    Anyway, now I'm rambling on too :blushing:. There was so much wrong there that it's impossible to discuss it in single posts. Here are a couple of links for anyone interested in delving further. The first is to what I consider the definitive Jonestown archives:

    http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/

    Here you'll find most anything you want to know about Jim Jones and Jonestown. Also, here's a link to raw NBC footage from November 17 and 18, 1978:

    http://www.nbcuniversalarchives.com/nbcuni/clip/51A02171_s01.do

    Note: the NBC site hosting this clip recently migrated to a new site which contains edited clips from the footage. I don't know how long this clip will be active. It's about 58 minutes long and has footage of Ryan's visit to Jonestown. It's worth watching. Be warned that near the end there is aerial footage of after the suicide and some shots of victims on the ground. After that there are a few interviews with people saying they are happy at Jonestown and don't wish to leave.
     
  5. spooky24

    spooky24 Member

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    The disposition of Edith's last three month of the diary has bothered me for 35 years. It might be helpful to you to read Deborah Layton's book. It's a step by step accounting of the Temple from the first day in June till the end. Debs could have been more honest but it is brutal description of the downfall-from a long time insider. Also. this is hard to explain, but none of those internet accounts show emotion and that is the most interesting part of this tragedy. Debs also said on the way back to New York that everyone, with the exception of a few diehards, wanted to get out. Only about 10 would stay if given the option. A tragedy in one act-think about 900 people in horrible circumstances but to afraid to do anything about it because ,like she said, they had gotten to the point that death was the only out-Jones encouraged this of course. I felt bad about the way I trashed her book when it came out-so I have bought many of her books as a way to say-not only to her-but others that I was wrong and over reacted. I can send a copy of it to you to read-but never post it on the internet.
    There is a small but potent underground of the Temple. They can still be considered dangerous.
     
  6. MsMarple

    MsMarple Well-Known Member

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    spooky,

    What do you think of Terri Buford?
     
  7. spooky24

    spooky24 Member

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    Buford's escape saga never had the desperation of the others and I believe Jones hardly reacted at all. Compared to the Armageddon that came after Layton and others this made it sound concocted. Also, and more important, the Bureau spent a year or more interviewing former and x members and ask them to rate the dangerousness of some of the survivors. Teri Buford led the way even more than Jones jr. or Larry Layton-who was headed to the penitentiary for 20 years. This 'survey' made it into the media and you can find if you want to. I just never thought her very important because she was so detached from Jonestown-and the temple in general.Her only real contribution was confirming everything that Debbie Layton had said on the flight out and on the way to new York with Mark Lane. There are so many people in this tragedy that you can't focus on them all. She was never part of operatives and was more like Sandy Bradshaw who was kept behind the scenes. Her 'plan to wipe out temple enemies' never impressed the Bureau or anyone else including myself and Jones reaction is key here.
    No one trusted her and the US Attorneys office along with the FBI and Department of State met with her in California with Mark Lane as her council. The subject was immunity and like an idiot Mark Lane threatened the Federal Government that she would 'take the fifth' which was stupid as she had not been arrested nor charged with anything. She dumped Lane and a US Attorney named Hunter worked out the deal which was not much of a deal because she was so far away from the Temple and Jonestown. The only testimony she could give was the same that Debbie Layton had given a Congressional Delegation more than a year before. The Bureau spent quite a bit of time interviewing what was left of the temple trying to get to the bottom of the 'Jones's death wish plan' or the 'Contingency plan'.. Like so much about Jones it was never taken seriously by anyone simply because there was not much left of a network to plan things of this nature. You have half starved people, the bottom of the barrel, planning to assassinate people was the height of folly. No one trusted her/or believed anything she said however she buried Jones jr. to the FBI-calling him a psychological killer who beat people at his own will in Jonestown and was the most dangerous of what was left. One look at this kid could tell you he was about as dangerous as a puppy dog. Never understood why she did this, or care ,really since she was just not part of the saga.
    The bureau did, release quite a few of these interviews in which they ask about surviving members were any threat. The bin number is number 11 I think and she was rated at the top-mainly because she was never trusted by anyone. The deal with the government she made is in the FBI vault as well.


    The idea that the remnants of this disaster could go around the country picking off Congressman like La Costa Nostra was never taken seriously. Irresponsibly writers have added to this by injecting nonsense like 'Debbie Layton could not visit her brother in prison because of "Temple hit squads' So one of these losers with his 22 long rifle is going to abscond into one of the most secure Federal prisons in America-if not the world for that matter-and take pot shots her when she came for a visit. Really. The internet at it's worst.
    As long as I have been associated with this event I never found credible-or even circumstantial- evidence that the Peoples Temple ever killed anyone in America while it was still a functioning group.

    FBI File Jonestown Part 138-139 Continued_Page_23.jpg

    FBI File Jonestown Part 138-139_Page_136.jpg

    Though this might interest some. The first photo is the Temple list of 'enemies' all in code-every single word is meaningless.

    The second is the Temple's reaction after Debs left and it shows their typical strategy of dissociation and dissent after a member leaves. He mother Lisa Layton, who was dyeing at Jonestown, signed this release. If she was responsible for all these accusations I never found out one way or the other. It is also in code however I keyed the middle paragraph so people could understand the document. Sharon Amos comments are somewhat puzzling other than alerting her brother who, a temple member, was in the States at the time. There is also a reference to Attorney Mark Lane in code.
     
  8. MsMarple

    MsMarple Well-Known Member

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    snoopy,

    Thanks for the response. I asked because what I read in the FBI files indicates that Buford was considered extremely dangerous by the PT members interviewed. I was curious after seeing a couple interviews with her where she seems to be yet another victim of Jim Jones.

    I guess I'm having trouble understanding the dichotomy I see with some members. They were heavily entrenched in Jones' delusion yet they are also seen as his victims. I'll probably never really understand, at least not as well as you do. Even Edith Roller seems to have had her own little agenda.

    To me, superficially anyway, it seems like a lot of the inner core members were more concerned with controlling the residents than the Socialist movement. And as such it's hard for me to understand the horrific ending they met in Jonestown. Surely none of them believed Jones' tales of impending nuclear war and internment camps in the U.S.

    Sigh, I'm not saying this very well. It's much easier to understand the general members of the Peoples Temple. For the most part they were poor and uneducated and believed Jones' warped sermons and his so-called healings. Seniors turned their property and SS checks over in exchange for care and housing. Instead they were stuck in overcrowded cottages and starved most of the time. Others signed on because they thought they were working for a better life - which turned out to be a lie. How many of these people actually joined PT because they were gung ho on being Socialists? How many even understood the concept? Not many if Roller is to be believed.

    https://www.scribd.com/document/73650673/FBI-Files-on-Jonestown
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national...ol-aid-a-survivor-remembers-jim-jones/248723/

    Anyway, thanks again for your insight.
     
  9. JeannaT

    JeannaT Former Member

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    Sad. The common phrase, "drinking the purple koolaid" still means following blindly without any information whatsoever.
     
  10. spooky24

    spooky24 Member

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    In the end it wasn't following Jones to their death it was more like they had nothing left in this world to live for. All they had to do was look around to see it. The farm was a total loss and they would not see any to eat for 3-4 months-that was only possible if they start planting now. They thought they were to weak and malnourished to even start.

    Jones took their blinders off and his lies had caught up with him. My part of this big project is an examination of the farming from some one who knows why they were failing. First off only 20% did the actual work. Those people that had been beaten and tortured over the years by Jones considered themselves as having 'payed their dues' and no longer were required to work-that was what they thought of themselves Jones thought other wise. It was too late anyway to make any difference now.

    Tim Reiterman's 'Raven' was an excellent work and he is obviously a brave man. However now he knows all the people that lied to him. The so called survivors of Jonestown now are known as 'Leavers' in the media. When the FBI finally went digital they removed all the redactions that opened up 100's of pages of never seen interview/interrogations with certain 'Leavers' They are no longer in the FBI Vault as they have been transferred to the National Archives in Washington DC.
     
  11. Steft50

    Steft50 Having Fun

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    Trident likes this.
  12. The Hands Team

    The Hands Team New Member

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    Agreed, read Debbie Laytons book .... After all the research I've done on the subject, nothing quite puts you there like her book does. I think I may have actually dreamt of or had nightmares about being in Jonestown during the final days... And woke up thinking, dang that book.
     
    LietKynes likes this.
  13. Jinkasaurus

    Jinkasaurus Well-Known Member

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    Multiple episode podcast about this event - Transmissions from Jonestown.

    You can listen on the link below, or in any podcast app

    Transmissions From Jonestown
     
    MsMarple likes this.
  14. cuttlebone

    cuttlebone Former Member

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    Such a signal event that I remember exactly where I was when I heard this unlikely news.
     
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