Jonestown Massacre Research Paper

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The “Jonestown Massacre” was a heinous mass suicide, carried out by a mad man. It shocked the world both in its magnitude and its heartlessness. Many consider the architect of this crime the epitome of a wolf in sheep clothing. A man who led a congregation from California to Guyana just to quench his need of control, this was the man that ultimately led his congregation to their demise. In 1965 an Indiana minister named Jim Jones moved his congregation to Redwood Valley, California. Although Jones’s teachings were considered “Christian” in nature the majority of his tutoring consisted of communistic ideas and themes (“ People’s Temple”). Once Jones and his disciples reached California, he felt the need to introduce a certain amount of control over his followers, so he hired a male cadre of armed enforcers that he called the “Interrogation Committee” (Gottesman and Brown). He used these enforcers to inflict pain and abuse to his followers as punishment for faults they had committed (“ People’s Temple”). Through this kind of treatment and teachings, his congregation began to treat Jones as more god than man (Gottesman and Brown). Because of the growing number of his followers, Jones moved his people to San Francisco in 1971. During this period of time the Congregation…show more content…
The people living in Guyana welcomed this secluded community and gave it the name Jonestown. With nearly 1,000 Temple members residing there, Jones felt a need for even more control over the masses, so he established communistic totalitarianism. One of the many examples of this is the law that Jones passed that stated that any man, woman, or child, who was suspected of not listening to one of Jones’s sermons would be beaten. Jones also used this absolute authority to acquire pharmaceutical drugs from the Jonestown medical staff, which led him to unbridled drug abuse and depression.

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