JONESTOWN SURVIVOR Answers a Researcher’s Question

JONESTOWN SURVIVOR: I received an email from a Peoples Temple researcher. He had this question: What do you believe Jim Jones meant by 'revolutionary suicide' and what he was protesting at the massacre?

Jim used the phrase "Revolutionary suicide" to protest that we had people from outside of our Jonestown community thinking they could come in and monitor what was happening. He turned his decision for everyone to die into a political message – a message that was in the rhetoric of the Left during that time in the US. He tried to put the burden of the suicides (he called it suicide but I call it murder) on those who insisted on coming into the community. He spoke about THAT as his reason.
The reality was, all politics aside, Jim was isolated in a remote part of the world, led a small group of 1,000 people who were mostly both exhausted and also focused on the community – so not really spending time worshiping him anymore – and was in failing physical and mental health, was increasingly paranoid due to drugs and his own personality disorder, was being challenged with a number of custody decision, was being investigated by news media, was under "house arrest" in Jonestown while custody fights were going on in Georgetown and other pressures. And on top of that, he was used to getting all the acclaim for the work done by Peoples Temple – in the U.S.A. and in Guyana and had no desire to share that fame or infamy with any other person – he wanted all of the glory. He was in a corner and didn't see any way out for him to retain his enormous ego.

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