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Jonestown Murder-Suicide

You may have heard about the Jonestown murder-suicide of over 900 cult members. But do you know how it started? 

Let’s take a look at what led to this unfortunate event. 

Early Church

Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana was a religious church based around unorthodox ideas about the world. Rooted in the beliefs of the old Peoples Temple, it was founded in 1955 and based in Indianapolis. Rev. Jim Jones took over the congregation and was known for his charitable efforts towards the homeless and for his belief in human equality. 

A Moving People

Fearing nuclear war, Jones moved his church of 900 members to California in 1965. After his move, Jones became known as a prophet. Jones taught that the Divine equated to love, which, in turn, related to socialism for his church. He also allegedly began siphoning church funds into his own pocketbook. 

Due to his ever-increasing paranoia that the temple’s suspicious activity would eventually catch up with him the following year, he uprooted his whole congregation to a small town in Guyana near the Venezuelan border naming it after himself.

Power Hunger Begins To Strike 

There, Jones continued preaching until November 1978. He had gotten in the habit of confiscating passports, taking members’ money and offering up deadly threats when necessary. That’s when the U.S. government ordered an investigation to check up on the welfare of Jones’ American followers. The government recruited Congressman Leo Ryan to go down and inspect the site. Once in Guyana, Ryan didn’t even have a chance to look around when he and his party were shot dead by Temple guards. 

Drink Up

After the murder, Jones ordered all of his 900+ obedient followers to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. The victims knew full well they were essentially ingesting poison, but because no one died immediately, Jones had time to make everyone believe that he didn’t actually put any poison into their drinks.

“This was only a test, but the time for you to die by your own hand is not too far off,” said Temple rebel Deborah Layton in court rehearsing Jones’ words after the cyanide had been consumed. 

Within hours, his lies were unmasked as people started dying one by one, falling face down onto the ground. Jones took his own life later that day when his crime was committed. Jones took his own life later that day when his crime was committed.

Robert Blake
Robert has always enjoyed history. As a kid, you could find him playing games like Oregon Trail and Super Amazing Wagon Trail Adventures. In his free time, he enjoys hiking the wilderness and spending time with his family!
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6 COMMENTS

  1. Jim jones did not comment suicide some one shot him probably one of his guards. Jim jones was doing mind control and reporting to the CIA. He had been doing it for years. He was an evil human being.

  2. I guess I would be to dumb to go for the kind of crap Jones spewed to his idiot followers. One has to be really intelligent to be brainwashed by an actor.

  3. I thought Rep. Ryan had visited Jonestown and was leaving with some of the members and was attached at an airstip. when they were leaving.

  4. I heard the original investigation found injection holes in peoples necks and the kool-aid came out a week later as a coverup. Where’s that story?

  5. That was the most discussing thing I ever seen as you know people are still listening to some crazy pastors like they don’t know wrong from right

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