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Research paper topic: Cults Jonestown: The Terror Within - 1051 words
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.. ine. When they returned Jones had brought back not only Divine's songs, but his vision as well. Jones began to implemented Divines "insistence on fierce personal loyalty" into his sermons(Axthelm 55). Jones 's meeting with Divine influenced him to the degree in which he "instituted an interrogation committee in the church to question anyone who dared to speak against him"( Axthelm 55) Those who dared to defy Jones would suffer. Jones's threats as Thomas Dickson remembers where such that "he'd get awfully violent--not physical, but verbally"(Axthelm 55). In 1961 Jones began going public with his doubts and confessed that he no longer believed in the Virgin Birth.
Jones then demanded a show of hands by his congregation signifying who agreed with his view. Only one hand was raised. The owner of this hand became an immediate trusted ally as well as aide to Jones. During a sermon soon after Jones's first confession, Jones "threw a Bible to the floor and complained , 'Too many people are looking at this instead of me' "(Axthelm 55). Jones a man who had once stood proud and strong against the evils of the world, was now condemning the Bible. In 1963 Jones visited Guyana eventually to be the site of his ultimate vision of a remote utopian settlement.
In 1974, Jim Jones, along with a handful of followers, moved to build his dream a "Christian, socialist commune in the wilds of Guyana"(Steele 62). Jones's followers built a commune complete with housing and medical facilities advanced by Guyanese standards. Within the commune there was little racial tension and the children seemed content. "Maury Janaro 16, a member of Jonestown wrote in a letter to her mother who was living in San Francisco 'I love it here'" (Steele 62). For a year the commune ran smoothly.
All those who lived in Jonestown were happy with their society they had built, led by their caring and all knowing leader Jim Jones. In one short year all they knew, believed, and trusted in would change. "Meat, served twice a day at first, was served once, then not at all. The workday increased from eight hours to eleven. The commune's security forces began to impose harsher discipline.
Jones himself seemed to deteriorate physically; he began to gain weight, he started to slur his words, he looked dazed--and the rumors began to spread that he was on hard drugs, or seriously ill" (Steele 62). Deborah Blakey, a long time trusted aide to Jones escaped from Jonestown. When Jones discovered her escape he shouted over the loud speakers, "I am the alpha and the omega." Jonestown, once a commune promoting integration and liberal views, had turned into a place that resembled a Nazi concentration camp.(Steele 62) "'Alert! Alert! Everyone to the pavilion!' The Rev. Jim Jones was on the loud speaker, summoning the members of his Peoples Temple to their last communion. Dutifully, they gathered round; some of them, without a doubt knew what was in store"(Oblsson 38). It was November 18, 1978 just before sunset tragedy feel upon Jonestown.
Earlier that day Larry Schact, a medical-school graduate who was acting as the camp doctor was instructed by Jones to prepare a potion of death, mixed in Flavor-aide. Schact "dumped a quantity of pain killers and tranquilizers into the pinkish-purple brew. Finally Jones ordered Schact and Joyce Touchette, one of the leaders of the commune, to bring forth 'the potion'. Half-gallon jugs of cyanide was then poured into it"(Mathews 53). " 'Everyone has to die.' Said Jones.
' If you love me as I love you, we must all die or be destroyed from the outside.' "(Oblsson 38). Jones's words over the loud speaker echoed through the camp. "It is time to die with dignity" (Oblsson 40). Babies were summonsed first. Mothers cried out in anguish as their children were taken from their arms by nurses.
Second later nurses sprayed the potion down their throats with a hypodermic needle. Those who resisted were told by guards, " you better do it or we're going to shoot your ass off"(Oblsson 40). When then members were finished drinking their death they were told to lie in rows face down. Families laid down next to one another holding hands. Within minutes of ingesting the liquid they began to gasp and retch.
Blood began to stream from their mouths and noses. Soon pain stopped and death took over. "On a raised chair on the pavilion stage, Jones kept saying .'I tried. I tried. I tried.' Then he cried ' Mother! Mother!' Finally, there was a shot.
Jones toppled over backwards"(Oblsson 40). Jones had shot himself in the head as he watched his decibels die by his wishes. November 24, 1978, the death toll count was 779. All the dead, with the exception of a Congressman, and a handful of reporters/pilots were residents of the former Peoples Temple, 200 were children as well as their leader Jim Jones. Why did Jones feel he had to resort to mass suicide? To this day that question is still unknown. One theory that has been accepted was a strong possibility is the visit of Congressman Ryan.
On November 1, 1978, Ryan telegramed Jones "I am most interested in a visit to Jonestown and would appreciate whatever courtesies you can extend"(Oblsson 41). Jones's drugged and paranoid thoughts ran wild through his head. Jones had lost his mind and saw the outside world as an enemy that would bring the end to the world he had created and ruled. Jim Jones had a power over people that was unlike any other. Unfortunately, when a person is given that much power and control over a large group of people their decisions as well as reasoning can become altered.
In the case of Jim Jones his power lead to an enflamed ego, which led to a greed, not only of loyalty but of money. Money then lead to drug use, and in the end, drug use led to insanity. Those who are gifted with the ability to influence others have a huge responsibility. They must recognize what they have as a gift and not abuse what God has given them. Jim Jones is a person who had this gift as well as good intentions, yet he could not balance and keep in perspective that what he was doing was to benefit the world, not to benefit himself. Religion Essays.
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