Jim Jones

(May 13th 1931 to November 18th 1978) Leader/Messiah of the People’s Temple

Jim Jones was one of the most successful cult leaders of the 20th century. He was extremely charismatic, and the founder of the Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ. He offered his followers a ‘utopia’ in the Jungles of South America called Jonestown.

As a student pastor, he had a strong belief against racial segregation.

He met his wife, Marceline, while working in a hospital. They had one child together and adopted several other ethnicities. He called them his rainbow family.


Members at the top of the church’s hierarchy had pledged not only their devotion to Jones but had also pledged over all of their material possessions and money. Some members even signed over custody of their children to Jones.

Psychological methods employed by Jones and his followers:

  • Physically Isolating Followers

In 1977, Jones moved his cult to Guyana, South America. Those who went with him were cut off from their friends and family outside of the organization and Jones became the sole source of information for them.

  • Creative a False Warzone

Jones made followers believe that the military was after them. He set up people who would shoot into the jungle to make followers feel as though they were under attack.

  • Torturing Doubters

Doubters would be sent to ‘The Medical Unit’ – and put into on coma-inducing drugs. Children who cried about missing the United States were lowered into a well at night.

  • Public Humiliation

He would force members to undergo mass criticism in front of the congregation. He made followers strip naked and encouraged cult members to berate them at length

  • Fake Mass Suicide

On ‘white nights’ members had to drink a red liquid that they were told contained poison to test their loyalty.

  • Starving Residents

Deborah Layton Blakely, a former member, said that Jonestown residents weren’t fed enough. Rice for breakfast, Rice water soup for lunch, rice and beans for dinner. On Sunday, they would receive an egg and a cookie

  • Breaking Family Connections

Vernon Gosney, a former member said that Jones saw family relations as sick and something that needed to be broken down. He would separate children from their parents, break up and rearrange marriages,

  • The ‘Box’

During this, a person would be stuffed into a coffin-shaped box and held underground while continually berated and reprimanded for their slights against the cult.

  • Blackmail –

He forced members to sign blank power-of-attorney forms as well as false confessions that they had molested their children or conspired to overthrow the US Government

Influenced by Karl Max and Joseph Stalin’s view on communism and socialism.

HowJonesUsedDrugsJim Jones had a habit of self-medicating, and as such he was almost always on a cocktail of perspection medication.
Drugs found on site:

  • Thorazine (chlorpromazine), 10,000 injectable doses and 1,000 tablets in a size normally given only “for severe neuropsychiatric conditions.”
  • Quaaludes, 1,000 doses of sedative-hypnotic drug
  • Vistaril, 1,000 doses. Used for total management of anxiety, tension and psychomotor agitation
  • Noludar, 1,000 pills. A sleeping aid that produces both physiological and psychological dependence.
  • Valium injectable, 3,000 doses.
  • Valium tablets, 2,000.
  • Morphine sulphate, injectable, 200 vials.
  • Demerol, 20,000 doses. A narcotic analgesic, it should be used with great caution and has multiple reactions similar to those of morphine.
  • Talwin, 1,150 doses. Similar to Demerol in morphine-like actions.
  • Seconal, 1,000 pills. An extremely dangerous sedative and hypnotic that can be habit-forming.

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