Jim Jones

Family tree of Jim Jones

Priest, nun, rabbi, imam...

AmericanBorn James Warren Jones

American cult leader, political activist, preacher and faith healer who led the Peoples Temple

Born on May 13, 1931 in Crete, Indiana , United States

Died on November 18, 1978 in Jonestown, Guyana , United Kingdom

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James Warren Jones (May 13, 1931 – November 18, 1978) was an American cult leader, political activist, preacher, and faith healer who led the Peoples Temple, a new religious organization which existed between 1955 and 1978. In what he claimed to be a "revolutionary suicide", Jones and his inner circle orchestrated a mass murder–suicide in his remote jungle commune at Jonestown, Guyana, on November 18, 1978.
As a youth, Jones developed an affinity for pentecostalism and a desire to be a preacher. He was ordained as a Christian minister in the Independent Assemblies of God and attracted his first followers while participating in the Pentecostal Latter Rain movement and the Healing Revival during the 1950s. Jones' initial popularity arose from his joint campaign appearances and endorsement by the movements' prominent leaders, William Branham and Joseph Mattsson-Boze. With their support, Jones took a leadership role in multiple international conventions where he recruited many new members for his church. Jones founded the organization that would become the Peoples Temple in Indianapolis in 1955. Jones distinguished himself through civil rights activism, founding the Temple as a fully integrated congregation, and promoting Christian Socialism. In 1964, Jones joined and was ordained a minister by the Disciples of Christ; his attraction to the Disciples was largely due to the autonomy and tolerance they granted to differing views within their denomination.
Claiming Indianapolis would be destroyed by nuclear weapons, Jones traveled to South America and California in an effort to locate a suitable location to move Peoples Temple in 1963 and 1964. In 1965, he moved the Temple to California, where the group established its headquarters in San Francisco and became heavily involved in political and charitable activity throughout the 1970s. Jones developed connections with prominent California politicians and was appointed as chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission in 1975. Beginning in the late 1960s, Jones became increasingly vocal in his rejection of traditional Christianity and began promoting his teachings as "Apostolic Socialism" and making claims of his own divinity. Jones became progressively more controlling of the members of Peoples Temple, which at its peak had over 3,000 members. Jones followers engaged in a communal lifestyle where they turned over all their income and property to Jones and Peoples Temple who directed all aspects of community life.
Following a period of negative media publicity and reports of abuse at Peoples Temple, Jones began constructing Jonestown in Guyana during 1974 and gradually began convincing and compelling many of his followers to live there with him. Jones claimed that he was constructing a socialist paradise free from the oppression of the United States government. By 1978, media reports had surfaced of human rights abuses and accusations that people were being held in Jonestown against their will. Deciding to investigate these reports, U.S. Representative Leo Ryan led a delegation to the commune in November of that year. While boarding a return flight with some former Temple members who had wished to leave, Ryan and four others were murdered by gunmen from Jonestown. Jones then ordered and coerced a mass murder-suicide that claimed the lives of 918 commune members, 304 of them children; almost all of the members died by drinking Flavor Aid laced with cyanide.

Biography from Wikipedia (see original) under licence CC BY-SA 3.0


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