When one thinks of the tragedy of at Jonestown in Guyana there could be many assumptions made about its followers and charismatic leader Jim Jones. People could say that those that followed were simple minded, individuals who had something missing in their lives so they found it in Jim Jones and he lead them to slaughter. In this article the author’s analysis was divided into three major points: conforming, persuasion and self-justification. The definition of conforming is to change one’s behaviors or attitudes to match another person or group. The church was able to get their members to conform to Jim Jones beliefs and practices. They persuaded them that his way was the only way and that his cause was the only cause. The members started out doing small volunteer jobs at the church that lead to much larger jobs that totally consumed them. Jim Jones had them sign over all of their worldly possessions to the church. I don’t know if he told them that these things were evil; but he was able to get people from all walks of life, educational background and races to do this for the church. The pastor would also perform fake miracles to get people to join the church. Members would tell the congregation of how the pastors cured them of cancers and of different miracles that they had seen him perform with their own eyes. There was a disconnect that the members had with the world that made them go and follow Jim Jones. It’s like they gave up living in the world as we know it and only lived in the People’s Temple, as if they stopped taking responsibility for their lives and lived only the way that Jim Jones said to live their lives. Jim Jones would also use violence and humiliation to keep people from leaving the church. He would separate husbands from their wives and parents from their children. By doing this he made the members feel that they had no one to talk to about things that they felt were wrong, because they had no one they could trust. He would also encourage married couples to have affairs (some of them being homosexual), so that he could embarrass them if needed by telling their secrets. In the article it gave a description of a child that was punished severely for doing something wrong, the parents were asked if it was ok and agreed to the punishment. That evening when they got home the young girl felt that even though she was severely punished it was justified because “Father” punished her for recent behavior as well as things from her past. The author concluded that Jim Jones was a man that studied mankind and knew how to manipulate it to do what he wanted. He was able to get over nine hundred people to commit a mass suicide unlike none this world has ever seen before. The author also discussed how Jones’s techniques could be considered to be like “brainwashing” denying the followers in Guyana food, drink or rest so they would all bend to his will.
I still wonder how he could get people to drink the poison. I then thought about how we run about and buy anything that certain celebrities wear whether we can afford it or not. Or how some people will be beyond debt and will continue to charge on their credit cards to live a certain life style. I feel that it’s the same thing just a different