918 Dead by Fundamentalism -Brainwash or Human Need?

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Author: ChristineCleopatra Djerf

Peoples Temple

Sect in Sweden or cult in America

A sect can be described as a group to which you can become a member by fulfilling the wishes of the charismatic leader. It is a summary description of a sect but, far from all. A sect is considered to have, just as a charismatic leader, a leader who can “influence” other people for their own benefit or for the “group” benefit. This also applies to our elected representatives in politics.

I want to develop this.
Within family and politics, we all have a need for faith in those who will lay down our future. We want to be accepted, loved and given tools for the future. We believe in the future that strong bonds can create.

I know that I am very strong mentally. Because of this, I back out of many social situations to leave the individual in a maturity phase where decisions for the future are made by the individual himself. I throw out some anchors here and there and always stand for a parachute. For me, it is very important that the student learns from several sources and that I only point to an alternative path.

In one sect, the leader’s own outstanding ability to influence his surroundings is “exploited” to a desired result. The sect leader is “charismatic” or very strong mentally and manipulative. Religious belief in a sect is of less importance, the sect only exist as long as the leader does. The leader is the driving force.

On November 18, 1978, a total of 918 people died, 909 in JonesTown and of these there were “272” children. To be fair in my presentation of Peoples Temple and Jim Jones, I first want to tell you about the dream, the perfect Christian and socialist society that was behind the ideology.

CNN

In 1955, Jones founded the “Wings of delivierence” church which later became the Temple of the People. In 1966, when Jim was seen as a healing Pastor, his sermons could be laid out like this.
First he talked about injustice, then racism and lastly “healing”. He knew that what attracted was the miracle but to be able to participate in it, the congregation had to listen to social criticism first. At the back of the church there were medical staff and tables set up for free healthcare, for the community’s seniors there were blood pressure gauges and others could be tested for immunity diseases. They also had a well-organized social activity which meant, among other things, to follow their members to hospitals when needed, so one can perceive a significant social commitment.

Until 1978, Jim had been the group’s pastor and as he himself said and others testified to a caring father figure. He had in his intimacy with the group, the group as an extension of his body. He felt that people had no life without him. The members were not only part of his life, he could no longer separate them from himself.

Despite the symbiosis-like intimacy in the group, there was always someone or some who thought this was uncomfortable and deserted with the group’s almost tasteless history to anyone who was willing to listen. The group that had grown into a smaller community in 1978 was hard pressed by the public, authorities and troubled relatives. With JonesTown, society was protected from transparency and the world’s vivid imaginations built disaster images before anything had happened. The press was now not only on Jim Jones but also on the US authorities. What really happened in the jungle?

Because of all the newspaper writings and troubled relatives’ pressure, Congressman Leo Ryan took on the task of investigating what was going on in Jonestown. He was allowed to bring a group of people and journalists with no clear views on the temple sect. What Ryan and the journalists see is happy people dancing and singing and loving life in their small town.

Within the camp or community in Jonestown, they had practiced “white nights” disaster preparedness every other night, held meetings on the safety and future of Jonestown and the survival of the temple sect. In these fairs, collective suicide was also practiced. There were witnesses of armed guards keeping an eye on the fairs, but the weapons were not intended to keep people away during the nights, they were aimed at the group. Thus, there was a clear psychological stress on the members of the community but, which was also justified by themselves. The jumpers could not see the logic of what was happening and could feel the affinity with the group or Jim Jones’ consuming love. Those who were strong fled.

Every time someone fled the community, Jim Jones was very ill at ease, he couldn’t understand how anyone could leave his care and love. After all, he was life itself for society and he was prepared to die for all of them. One of the ones he identifies as a threat to the group and their freedom is the US government.
He repeats during the death speech before the suicide “I would rather hand ourselves in than let them slaughter our children”. In the speech he says that there is no other solution than to lay down their lives for the right to freedom before judgment

Every time someone fled the community, Jim Jones was very ill at ease, he couldn’t understand how anyone could leave his care and love. After all, he was life itself for society and he was prepared to die for all of them. One of the ones he identifies as a threat to the group and their freedom is the US government.
He repeats during the death speech before the suicide “I would rather hand ourselves in than let them slaughter our children”. In the speech, he says that there is no other solution than to give up their lives for the right to freedom before they (the US military on behalf of Ryan) come to kill us.

The recorded tape was just one of the 1000’s of records of Jonestown’s operations. Therefore, not much is left to further speculation

On the tape, he predicts “someone will shoot the pilot it’s not something I’ve ordered, I just know”. Jim is still speaking as a prophet to his members even though he has planned and sent his loyalist to fire the pilot. The aircraft was supposed to crash into the jungle. The group of defectors warns pro-journalists of the loyalist’s suspicious mission. It doesn’t go as well as Jim planned and after the Loyalist injured two people, he was overpowered. So Jim has decided in the same vein as Leo Ryan and the others leave Jonestown that now the total tragedy will happen and it should lie on the government’s shoulders. It was a revolutionary suicide.

Jones’s message from the beginning was a Christian community based on love for his neighbor without segregation of color, relationship or status. He turned to vulnerable individuals and offered food with his mushroom kitchen, housing for homeless and free healthcare. During his time in San Francisco, he had over 2,000 members. The dream was Jonestown, the burgeoning socialist paradise.

Something Jim doesn’t do, picking up during the band’s run is the truck with Jones’ followers arriving at the airport and executing, among other things, Leo Ryan before getting on the bigger plane.

I get the feeling through everything I read that Jim Jones had tired of his work, his son claims that Jim was affected by drugs, labile and tired of life over the law. As he had grown up with his congregation, he could not only pack up and go, there were an incredible amount of people he controlled life for and maybe one should keep in mind when one is judging. How easy is it for a parent to control just one child? Every day, year in and year out, Jim Jones was the father of around 1,000 “children” in his ward. He experienced outside threats to their utopia that were both real and distorted conspiracy theories. It was time to end it all now.

I have to say that the “death band” is one of its kind where the listener knows that the man who speaks leads nearly a thousand people into death as soon as the tape ends. Somewhere I would like to interrupt the divisive and absent-minded thinking but, when this happened, I was 8 years old. He gently urges parents to “lay down your childrens lives” so they don’t get slaughtered later. I am appalled and fascinated by the number of people who so willingly give up their lives and that there seems to be only one woman trying to find a way out through the discussion.

You probably don’t know what a charismatic leader is until you read about Jim Jones.

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