Lessons for today: Jonestown and the Reformed Movement (Updated)

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:

UPDATE 12 July 2013

There is video of a People’s Temple meeting embedded below.

UPDATE 18 November 2010

There is a remembrance of the tragedy today in the Indianapolis Star that focuses on Jones’ Indiana roots. Jones wasn’t originally a “crazy Californian.” Rather he was, like many other Californians, an immigrant from the Midwest and his bizarre behavior began long before “The Peoples’ Temple” moved to San Francisco.

Original Post 17 December 2008

Just over 30 years ago, on 18 November 1978, more than 900 people died in “Jonestown,” Guyana in one of the most spectacular examples in modern times of the danger of cults and sects. Jonestown was a settlement on the northeast coast of an ignored South American country. It was led by a charismatic, colorful, and socially progressive preacher from Oklahoma (via Indianapolis) who led a large movement with congregations and communes in San Francisco, Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Jim Jones gathered a large congregation in San Francisco and began to use his followers to gain political influence in the city. Strangely, neither the mayor nor Willie Brown objected to a confusion of church and state, since Jones supported leftist causes. Behind the facade of the socially progressive, pentecostal church lay a much darker story of fraud, coercion, manipulation, and violence. The “healing” services were fraudulent but folks (many down and out) believed him because he was persuasive and personally powerful. Ex-members now testify that Jones was promising them a utopia, that “The Peoples’ Temple” was going to lead a social revolution leading to racial harmony and economic equality. They testify that everyone saw in Jones what he needed. He was miracle man to some and the next Che Guevera to others.

Read more here...


  1. He says that no one has set up a utopian society in south america, but Geoff Botkin is certainly trying to prepare to set one up. He has taken several men on a trip to New Zealand to scout it out as a possibility and I think another country as well. He is trying to buy a boat that would take several hundred people. He is reformed and he is a Dominionist/Christian Recon. He is very influential in the Vision Forum/ NCFIC camp.

    1. Thanks for the information... Now that I think about it, I remember hearing something about Geoff Botkin's endeavors; I hope folks will be careful!


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