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Music Leader of Peoples Temple Jim Jones picture(s)/pic(s), wallpaper and photo gallery.
Birth name: James Warren Jones.
Born: May 13, 1931 Lynn, Indiana, USA.
Died: November 18, 1978 (age 47) Jonestown, Guyana,
Jim Jones biography (bio):
James Warren "Jim" Jones was the American founder of the Peoples Temple, which became synonymous with group suicide after the November 18, 1978 mass murder-suicide by poison in their isolated agricultural intentional community called Jonestown, located in Guyana. Over nine hundred people died from cyanide poisoning or gunshot wounds in the aftermath of Jones ordering his men to kill visiting Congressman Leo Ryan and numerous members of his entourage.
Early life and founding of Temple:
Jones was born in Crete, Indiana to Lynetta Putnam and James Thurman Jones. He graduated from Richmond High School in Richmond, Indiana. He became a preacher in the 1950s. He obtained a bachelors degree at Joliet Junior College in 1961, and after graduate school at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, Jim sold pet monkeys door-to-door to raise the money to fund his own church that would be named Wings of Deliverance. He later renamed his church the Peoples Temple, which was located in Indianapolis. He became an ordained minister in 1964 in the mainstream Christian denomination, Disciples of Christ. The church was distinctive for its equal treatment of African Americans, and many of them became members of the church. He started a struggle for racial equality and social justice, which he dubbed apostolic socialism. After leaving Indiana, the Peoples Temple cult built its home in Redwood Valley, California, because Jones believed it was one of the few places in the world likely to survive a nuclear holocaust. Jones authored a booklet, called "The Letter Killeth" pointing out what he felt were the contradictions, absurdities, and atrocities in the Bible, but also stating that the Bible contained great truths. He was particularly fascinated with his ability to manipulate people. Throughout the years, the young Jones perfected his craft and was very skilled in his new found art. He claimed to be an incarnation of Jesus, Akhenaten, Buddha, Lenin, and Father Divine and performed supposed miracle healings to attract new members. Members of Jones' church called Jones "Father" and believed that their movement was the solution to the problems of society, and many did not distinguish Jones from the movement. The group gradually moved away from the mainstream.
Jonestown and mass murder-suicide:
In the summer of 1977, Jones and most of the 1,000 members of the Peoples Temple moved to Guyana from San Francisco after an investigation into the church for tax evasion had begun. Jones named the closed settlement Jonestown after himself. His intention was to create an agricultural utopia in the jungle, free from racism and based on socialist principles.
People who had left the organization prior to its move to Guyana told the authorities of brutal beatings, murders and of a mass suicide plan, but they were not believed. In spite of the tax evasion allegations, Jones was still widely respected for setting up a racially mixed church which helped the disadvantaged. Around 70% of the inhabitants of Jonestown were black and impoverished. Religious scholar Mary McCormick Maaga argued that Jones' authority waned after he moved to the isolated commune, because there he was not needed for recruitment and he could not hide his drug addiction from rank and file members.
In November 1978, U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan led a fact-finding mission to the Jonestown settlement in Guyana after allegations by relatives in the U.S. of human rights abuses. Ryan's delegation arrived in Jonestown on November 15 and spent three days interviewing residents. The delegation left hurriedly on the morning of Saturday November 18, after an attempt was made on Ryan's life by a man armed with a knife. The attack was thwarted, bringing the visit to an abrupt end. Congressman Ryan and his people succeeded in taking with them roughly fifteen Peoples Temple members who had expressed a wish to leave. At that time, Jones made no attempt to prevent their departure. However, Peoples Temple survivors reported that a group from Jonestown left shortly afterwards in a truck with the intention of stopping the delegation and members from leaving the country alive.
Surviving delegation members later told police that, as they were boarding two planes at the airstrip, the truckload of Jones' armed guards arrived and began shooting at them, killing Congressman Ryan and five others. At the same time, one of the supposed defectors, Larry Layton, drew a weapon and began to fire on members of the party. When the gunmen left, six people were dead: Representative Ryan, Don Humphrey, a reporter from NBC, a cameraman from NBC, a newspaper photographer, and one defector from the Peoples Temple. Surviving the attack were former California State Senator Jackie Speier; a staff member for Ryan; Richard Dwyer, the Deputy Chief of Mission from the U.S. Embassy at Georgetown and allegedly an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency; and Bob Flick, a producer for NBC News. Later that same day, 914 of the remaining inhabitants of Jonestown, 276 of them children, died in what has commonly been labeled a mass suicide. (However, because there is much ambiguity regarding whether many who participated did so voluntarily or were forced (or even killed outright), some feel that mass murder is a more accurate description.) Some followers obeyed Jones' instructions to commit "revolutionary suicide" by drinking cyanide-laced grape flavored Flavor Aid (often misidentified as Kool-aid). Others died by forced cyanide injection or by shooting. Jones was found dead sitting in a deck chair with a gunshot wound to the head, although it is unknown if he had been murdered or committed suicide. Autopsy of his body showed levels of the barbiturate pentobarbital that could have been lethal to humans who have not developed physiological tolerance. His drug usage (including various LSD and marijuana experimentations) was confirmed by his son, Stephan, and Jones's doctor in San Francisco.
Jones married Marceline Baldwin, with whom he had two sons, one biological and one adopted. Their biological son, Stephan Gandhi Jones, did not take part in the mass suicide because he was away, playing with the Peoples Temple basketball team in a game against the Guyanese national team. Jones' adopted son, Jim Jones Jr., was African American; he was also playing with the basketball team at the time of the mass suicide. Jim and Marceline were the first white couple in Indiana to adopt an African American child.
Jones claimed to be the biological father of John Victor Stoen, who was the legal son of Grace Stoen and her husband Timothy Stoen. The custody dispute over Stoen had great symbolic value for the Peoples Temple and intensified the conflict with its opponents who consisted of, among others, a group called the "Concerned Relatives".
Marceline and Jim Jones' son Stephan Jones is a businessman and family man, married with three children of his own. He appeared in the recent documentary Jonestown: Paradise Lost which aired on the History Channel and Discovery Channel. He states that he will not watch the film and that he does not mourn his father, only his mother Marceline. Jim Jr., who had lost his wife and unborn child at Jonestown, returned to San Francisco, remarried, and has three sons from that marriage. One of them, Rob, currently plays basketball at the University of San Diego.
In MacArthur Park, Los Angeles on December 13, 1973, Jones was arrested and charged with soliciting a man for sex in a movie theater bathroom known for homosexual activity. The man was an undercover Los Angeles Police Department vice officer. Jones is on record as later telling his followers that he was "the only true heterosexual", but at least one account exists of his sexually abusing a male member of his congregation in front of the followers, ostensibly to prove the man's own homosexual tendencies.
One of his sources of inspiration was the controversial cult leader Father Divine. Jones had borrowed the term "revolutionary suicide" from Black Panther leader Huey Newton who had argued "the slow suicide of life in the ghetto" ought to be replaced by revolutionary struggle that would end only in victory (socialism and self determination) or revolutionary suicide (death).