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Peoples Temple Collection; Box 12, Virtual item 05, Q279-B- Jones rehearses community in reporters’ questions | Special Collections & University Archives

Peoples Temple Collection; Box 12, Virtual item 05, Q279-B- Jones rehearses community in reporters’ questions

Jim Jones leads the Jonestown community in anticipating questions which visiting reporters and other outsiders might ask about their project. Throughout the tape, he alternate roles between that of an aggressive reporter asking questions and a critic dissecting the answers the people give him. He maintains a conversational tone for most of the tape, gently offering suggestions and even remarking – with some levity – on the inconsistency of the responses, but there are several occasions when he seems to be frustrated and angry.

The specific impetus for the night of role-playing is unknown. The tape label has a mid-August 1978 date, and the references he makes – the recent defection of long-trusted advisor Debby Blakey and the anticipated arrival of American screenwriter Don Freed – are consistent with the label. The Jonestown community often hosted official delegations from the Guyanese government, and certain relatives of Jonestown residents were granted entry into the settlement, but the detailed critiques and repeated warnings about reporters’ tricks in tripping up their interview subjects suggest the expected arrival of a more hostile contingent. While Jones praises many of the answers, he offers either a lengthy critique, a minor correction, or alternative phrasing to practically everyone who comes before him.

Full summary of the recording available at Alternative Considerations of Jonestown website, along with the tape transcript.

Phys. Desc:
Original audio cassette tape recording digitized and made available as .mp3 audio file.
Special Collections & University Archives
Found in:
The Jonestown Institute
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