James Warren Jones was an American cult leader, preacher and self-professed faith healer. He launched the Peoples Temple in Indiana during the 1950s. He then left the United States, taking many members to a Guyana jungle commune called Jonestown. In 1978, media reports surfaced of human rights abuses in the commune. Jones then ordered and likely coerced a mass suicide and mass murder of 918 commune members.
About Jim Jones in brief
James Warren Jones was an American cult leader, preacher and self-professed faith healer. He launched the Peoples Temple in Indiana during the 1950s. He then left the United States, taking many members to a Guyana jungle commune called Jonestown. In 1978, media reports surfaced of human rights abuses in the commune. Jones then ordered and likely coerced a mass suicide and mass murder of 918 commune members, 304 of them children, almost all by cyanide-poisoned Flavor Aid. Jones was a voracious reader who studied Stalin, Marx, Mao, Gandhi, and Hitler. He became frustrated with the persecution of open and accused communists in the U.S., especially during the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. He later claimed partial Cherokee ancestry through his mother, but his maternal second cousin said this was untrue. The Peoples Temple was initially an interracial mission church, which became the Full Gospel Christian Church after it had various names until it became Jones’ Peoples Temple Christian Church. He was highly revered as an Oral Roberts-style healing evangelist who was also a well-known author and religious author. He died of natural causes on November 18, 1978, at the age of 76. He is buried in JonestOWN, Guyana. He married nurse Marceline Baldwin in 1949, and the two relocated to Bloomington, Indiana. He had a son, James Warren Jones, Jr., who was born on May 13, 1931, in a rural area of Crete, Indiana to James Thurman Jones, a World War I veteran, and Lynetta Putnam.
He was of Irish and Welsh descent; he later claimedpartial Cherokee ancestrythrough his mother. He attended Indiana University for two years and then took night classes at Butler University, earning a degree in secondary education in 1961—ten years after enrolling. In 1952, he became a student pastor at the Sommerset Southside Methodist Church, but later claimed he left church because its faith-healing leaders forbade him from integrating blacks into his congregation. One writer suggests this was primarily because he found it difficult to make friends. One childhood acquaintance noted that after German POWs arrived in the town, one patted young Jimmy on the back of the head and then Jones responded by giving the Hitler salute and shouting \”Heil Hitler!\” Jones and a childhood friend both claimed his father was associated with the Ku Klux Klan, which had become very popular in Depression-era Indiana. Jones said he asked himself, \”How can I demonstrate my Marxism? The thought was, infiltrate the church. \”Jones was surprised when a Methodist district superintendent helped him get a start in the church, even though he knew Jones to be a communist. He concluded that he could accomplish his social goals with financial resources from such a mammoth religious convention to take place in June 1956. Jones concluded that it attracted people and their money, and he organized a service at a Seventh Day Baptist Church service at Cadle Tabernacle.