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North Smithfield High School Library: Jim Jones and The Peoples Temple:

Jim Jones and The Peoples Temple:

"Jim Jones was an American cult leader who promised his followers a utopia  in the jungles of South America after proclaiming himself messiah of the The Peoples Temple, a San Franciso-based evangelist group. He ultimately led his followers into a mass suicide, which left more than 900 dead and came to be known as the Jonestown Massacre (November 18, 1978)." - Encyclopaedia Britannica

Tape Recordings:

Tape Recordings:

"Contains an uncredited excerpt from one of Jim Jones 'White Night' rehearsal speeches, followed by the complete recording of Jim Jones final speech (FBI tape no Q 042) recorded during the mass murder/suicide in Jonestown on the night of November 18th 1978."

Jonestown (Full Documentary):

Jonestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple

PBS Documentary (90 min.)


Completed almost 30 years after the deaths in Guyana, the following is the first list to include the names of the 918 people who died in Guyana on 18 November 1978.

Time Magazine:

"The U.S. Military Had to Clean Up After the Jonestown Massacre 40 Years Ago. What the Crew Found Was 'Beyond Imagination'"

By Andy Kopsa (11/16/18)


Until the September 11th attacks, the tragedy in Jonestown represented the largest number of American civilian casualties in a single non-natural event.

(Time Magazine)

Issues & Controversies in American History:

Jonestown Tragedy:

Did the members of the Peoples Temple commit suicide or were they murdered?

GSW Journal of First-Year Writing:

"Jonestown: The Psychological Massacre"

by Alexis A. Wiles


Jim Jones preaching...

Jim Jones surrounded by "church kids" in California

Peoples Temple members in front of the agricultural department of the sect in Jonestown

Mass suicide at Jonestown

Sign for a service

Peoples Temple members/friends at Redwood Valley Ranch 1975

Time Magazine cover: December 4, 1978

Jonestown - pop culture influence...


"Deconstructing 'Brainwashing' within Cults as an Aid to Counselling Psychologists"

by Yvonne Walsh

Special Collections of Library and Information Access at San Diego State University:

Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple:

This website is designed to give personal and scholarly perspectives on a major event in the history of religion in America. Its primary purpose is to present information about Peoples Temple as accurately and objectively as possible.


Journalist Jeff Guinn details how Jones captivated his followers in his new book, The Road to Jonestown. He calls Jones a "tremendous performer" who exhibited "the classic tendencies of the demagogue."

Personal Account:

"The Last Guest in Jonestown: An Account of a Non-Follower 11 Days before the Massacre"

by Peter Elsass


More cults to research:

  • The Branch Davidians
  • Heaven's Gate
    • For "Heaven's Gate" Podcast Host, the Cult Story hits Close to Home
  • The Manson Family
  • Children of God
  • Sullivanians
  • Aum Shinrikyo
  • The Rajneesh Movement (Osho Cult)
  • The Unification Church ("Moonies")
  • The Faizrakhmanist Movement
  • The Order of the Solar Temple