Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

JONESTOWN ANNIVERSARIES

JONESTOWN ANNIVERSARIES                The 36th anniversary of Jonestown just passed. As the anniversaries move in to the more distant past, the ceremonies at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland change too. We have two groups of former members, family members, and friends who gather each November 18. The morning group meets at 11 a.m. and is led by Reverend Jynona Norwood. She drives up from LA with a group of her parishioners, shares messages from some local or regional political leaders, and gathers with a handful of people more closely involved with the past. She lost many relatives in Jonestown. From Day 1, ...

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JONESTOWN SURVIVOR TAKES A GLOBAL LOOK, FINALLY

JONESTOWN SURVIVOR TAKES A GLOBAL LOOK, FINALLY                Thirty-six years ago this month, 918 people died in Guyana, members of Peoples Temple or visitors in the Jonestown community. Both good-timing, and plans gone awry, left me as one of the few survivors. From when I first returned, through at least the first two decades, my journey was about survival.  It took all of my energy rebuilding a life, one that I was reluctant to rebuild, at first.  I did live for years in another community, Synanon, where I was taken care of. I got married and my son was born while in ...

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JONESTOWN SURVIVOR and Articles Posted on Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple Site

  Reflections and Articles by Laura Johnston Kohl   Since 2004, I have been writing and reflecting on my decade in Peoples Temple. Much of the writing I have done has ended up on the website of The Jonestown Institute, available at this link.  My dearest friends and members of the survivor community Fielding McGehee and Rebecca Moore work tirelessly to keep this wonderful resource free and available to the public.  Many of my beliefs immediately after the murders in Jonestown were false. It has taken a lot of my deeper study and time for me to even allow my feelings to evolve. ...

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JONESTOWN SURVIVOR – Setting 2014-15 Schedule

I set up my year's calendar around this time. Universities are now ready to look at their calendars to schedule me in. Here is my information: Hello again! I am setting up my schedule for the next two semesters. There is always a lot going on so I thought I’d fill you in! • This November is the 36th anniversary of Jonestown. • Nine cremated remains of Peoples Temple members were found in an abandoned funeral home in Dover Delaware. Survivors and the Jonestown Institute have managed to find and contact family members of seven, and hope to find the remaining two ...

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JONESTOWN SURVIVOR Interviewed on Channel 10

I was interviewed by Michael Chen of Channel 10 News this week. Channel 10 News with Michael Chen 9/18/14 SAN DIEGO - Two more sets of family members have been tracked down after a stunning discovery of the cremated remains of nine Jonestown Massacre victims. Some 35 years after the tragedy that captured a world's attention, the emotions have barely faded for Laura Johnston Kohl, who survived because she wasn't living at the main encampment. "I do get emotional. Some call it PTSD - 'Peoples Temple Stress Disorder,'" said Johnston Kohl. More than 900 members of the Peoples Temple, led by American preacher Jim Jones, ...

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JONESTOWN SURVIVOR SHARES WONDER OF DEEP FRIENDSHIPS

UNITY I have taken on a new project since I retired from twenty-five years of teaching on June 12, 2014. A psychologist friend and I got a $10,000 grant to gather an Oral History Collection of Peoples Temple and Jonestown survivors and family members. It has been a deeply meaningful project for me already. I have interviewed and recorded Oral Histories from five good friends. My Peoples Temple family is a connection I treasure with people of every background. In interviews with just these five, I have recorded how this diverse group came to Peoples Temple ...

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Entering my Third Trimester of Life

MY THIRD TRIMESTER OF LIFE Today, I begin my last third of my life. I know it will be astounding, as the others have been. My first segment was my formative time – growing up, emerging from my mother’s womb and her day-to-day nourishment. And, it included my entering into the unknown while trying to find myself – and barely surviving the deaths in Jonestown, Guyana. These were my formative years. I learned about the person my mother trained me to be, and then I learned to be strong enough to survive an unimaginable experience and keep going. The second trimester, I ...

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JONESTOWN SURVIVOR SEES A BLURRED LINE

I am a teacher, so much of the year, I am preparing future lessons, correcting work from past lessons, or just consumed by the experience. I've had about ten days off from that, while waiting to teach summer school in a few days. I have been immersed in Peoples Temple. We have a private "survivors only" Peoples Temple facebook page, and the memories of the details of the last days of Peoples Temple are harrowing. Along with following these conversations, and adding a person's name here and there, I'm also setting up my own book talks ...

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JONESTOWN SURVIVOR WRITES: HATE? WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

Hate? What is it good for? by Laura Johnston Kohl This is an article I just wrote for volume 14 of the jonestown report. Recently, I opened an innocuous-looking piece of email that turned out to be hate mail. The sender must have seen one of my interviews in the documentaries that show up on PBS or one of the cable channels periodically. The people of Jonestown deserved what they got, he said. He added that when I cry about anything related to Peoples Temple, I’m just being stupid, ignorant, etc., and that I should just shut up. Why would anyone write such a ...

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JONESTOWN SURVIVOR to Present at Annual Communal Studies Association Conference

This week, on Friday October 5, 2012, I will present a scholarly paper at the Communal Studies Association Conference in the Oneida Community in upstate New York.   Here are the details: PEOPLES TEMPLE AND SYNANON – MODERN COMMUNITIES THE ROLE OF WOMEN                 During the two decades from 1970 until 1990, I was a resident in two modern residential communities – both, controversial and unique communities.  I am the only one from either community who experienced them both.  We continue to have rich friendships and frequent contacts.  I will compare and contrast the leadership styles, including the role of women.  I will share the ...

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