A psychopath is a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior. A person who is labeled a narcissist has a sense of self-importance and need others for admiration, but show lack of empathy. The Reverend Jim Jones was a psychopath who ultimately lead hundreds of people to their deaths in Guyana. He developed narcissist behavior due from his upbringing, when he was older he wanted the love he wasn’t showed in his childhood, but he never learned how to treat others with the same compassion he desired.
Although never being diagnosed officially there are signs of behavior to point to Jim Jones being a psychopath and narcissist. Why were people so reluctant to follow him and teachings, a man who lied, manipulated, and cheated people, especially those of different ethnic backgrounds. Jonestown was probably one of the biggest cults America has ever seen. The cult was orchestrated by one of the most powerful preachers in Jim Jones ever to live. The cult went by the name the People’s Temple which originated in Indiana but later moved to Northern California where it’s congregation increased dramatically.
On the evening of November 18, the Notorious cult of Peoples Temple which presided in “Jonestown” Guyana came to an abrupt end. On this day Jones called everyone to have a meeting which he coded as “white night”. Although this would be the final white night, Jones had actually called these before and his members would drink the kool-aid. After they drink the juice he would say think drink was poisoned to see how loyal his followers were the lay down their lives. They would panic and then Jones would say it was just a test, but on this day November 18th this was the real thing.
The death toll was assumed to be over 900, including the controversial leader of the group Jim Jones. Among the dead, an unbelievable amount of nearly 300 were just children. The children of People’s Temple were the first to complete the transition over to death, as parents and nurses used syringes to drop a potent mix of cyanide, sedatives, and powdered fruit juice into their throats. Adults then drank the “kool-aid” while armed guards surrounded them. When Guyanese officials arrived the next day it was a scene of lifeless bodies everywhere.
Reports state that many of the citizens of Jonestown were still holding loved ones while they were dead. Jim Jones, 47, was found in a chair dead from a single bullet wound to the head, most assume selfinflicted. James “Jim” Warren Jones was born May 13, 1931 in the town of Crete, Indiana. Jones was always an outcast of the children in his neighborhood because he always looked different from them. His eyes were slanted, almost oriental, his face round, his hair shiny, black and straight like an Indian’s.
In his youth Jones felt unloved because his mother’s opinion of him being “ugly” because of his multiracial appearance, although she was part cherokee Indian. His father “Big Jim” reportedly had a deep racist mentality and was reportedly a member of the Ku Klux Klan. His father was also an unemployed alcoholic, who made a little money on the side being a fortune teller. “Jones began his own religious quest around the age of 10. He visited churches in the small town of Lynn where he lived with his family and befriended a Pentecostal minister for a time. An observant child, Jones began taking what he learned at these different houses of worship and started preaching to other children in the community. Jones’s parents eventually separated in 1948 and he moved to live with his mother in Richmond, Indiana. While in Richmond Jones began to work at a local hospital, there he met an older nurse Marceline Baldwin who he married. Shortly after getting married the couple adopted 3 children of three different ethnic groups. The family relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana where Jones worked as a methodist preacher in the early 50s.
Shortly after the family had moved to Indianapolis where Jones was a student pastor at Somerset Methodist Church. Jones later left the church after he was aware that the church didn’t welcome African Americans. Jim branched out to start his own thing which would be called Wings of Deliverance which later evolved to People’s Temple. Jones was clever trying to gain up his following by often times buying time on local radio stations. After spending some time in Indianapolis and gaining his following up to about 100 church members Jones decided to move his operation to Northern California. They lived in the remote, small towns of Ukiah and Redwood Valley. By the early 1970s, Jones had expanded his recruitment efforts. He started preaching in San Francisco, opening up a branch of his church there. ” Jim Jones was known for his ability to speak in which he delivered “fiery” sermons and “healings” which would be catalysts to build up his congregation. In many cases church members turned over their possessions thinking it was for the good, things usually ended up in Jones’s hands. He was charismatic, friendly, supportive, and seemed to have “divine” powers to heal the body and soul.
But then slowly the truth became more apparent-beatings, theft of money, paranoia, drug use, rape, emotional abuse, and virtual imprisonment of his members. Many of the members of the People’s Temple said that they didn’t see their leaders as being white. Jones had been an oddball and renegade his entire life, someone who never felt at home in his own skin-found his identity by taking on a persona of a black person. He saw himself following in footsteps of the great leaders of two of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr, and leading his people out of bondage and to the promise land.
By taking on this persona of being black and having the atmosphere of a black church service, Jones gained many African American supporters. Actually blacks were the dominant race in the People’s Temple. When you think about these things that this would be one of the most equal race churches ever, but in actuality it wasn’t. In reality, Jones maintained a racial hierarchy within the organization, even though primarily black, the 37-member planning commission, as Jones called his leadership council, was dominated by white women, which at least six of whom were his sexual conquests and firmly under his sway.
Many people actually supported the Temple which had friends in high place in San Francisco. Such as then city councilman Harvey Milk, Mayor George Moscone and future Mayor Willie Brown were considered to be members. The visions that Jones had for People’s Temple were to find a place like heaven on earth where he could take his people. Although headquartered in San Francisco, its members sought to find their own Utopia in a nondescript plot of the South American jungle near Georgetown, Guyana.
Jones chose Guyana because poor, socialist ruled, English-speaking and predominantly black and East Indian. To give some members of the cult no choice but go to Guyana with him Jones done cruel things. Jones had forced them to prove their loyalty to him by signing blank pieces of paper, blank power-of-attorney forms, and false confessions that they had molested their children, conspired to overthrow the United States government, and committed other crimes while member of the People’s Temple.
In many people’s eyes the People’s Temple was able to flourish because there they found a sense of belongingness. To the outside world the Temple seemed to be a mixed congregation who were equal with the leader being someone who told what they wanted to hear. For example, African Americans who were oppressed and here you have a man telling he can make your life better if you follow him. In the instance of the women like stated that he gave the women leadership positions in the church in a time where it was rare for women to be in positions of power. Another issue involved with Jim Jones’ control over these people that many of them came from broken homes and off the streets, from horrible lives which frequently included drug use and abuse, alcoholism and sometimes prostitution, alongside other criminal activities and abuse. ” People’s Temple gave these people a second chance a place where they could learn to work hard and stay clean of their past lives. The Temple even inspired young people to try and go to college, better lives and people who cleaned up their lives attributed their success and hard work to The Temple getting their life together.
So this worked in advantage for Jones because this organization has turned someone’s life around. Now these people will most likely be loyal to you because they access you and your organization for saving them. The People’s Temple quickly changed from just a church to a civil rights organization, rehab, and retirement home. Looking at the complete picture Jim Jones, I do believe there was some good in him and what he was doing could have been something very special. To get people of different ages and racial backgrounds to be able to coexist together.
This was something the great United States of America hadn’t/hasn’t figured out how to do. Even though in ways Jones manipulated the senior citizens of his church, he still looked out for them. Although he had them turn over their life savings and homes to People’s Temple, he made sure they were kept up. People’s Temple had a couple retirement homes were these older members could live with other older members. They didn’t have to pay for a things food was provided, all their needs were met, and there numerous pictures and videos of Jim mingling with his older members.
Also him wanting to help African Americans and be apart of the Civil Rights Movement. The Jones family was the first family in Indiana to adopt a black child. He was also noted to have desegregated a couple of restaurants and an hospital while still living in Indiana. These things show you that Jones had flashes of wanting to do things the right way. In the end, the things he done that were right, would be hugely overshadowed by the wrong he would.