Communique 9-15-2020 "This is How Things Go Wrong, Horribly Wrong"
By Philip Drucker
Today is the day, if you haven’t already, to ask yourself, if Jim Jones was running for president, would you vote for him? Now, before you answer, let’s take a moment to look back at the life of James Warren “Jimmy” Jones.
In 1955, he started a religious movement called The Peoples Temple of the Disciples of Christ. The Peoples Temple, as his congregation came to be known, was an odd blend of Christianity, communism, socialism and community oriented service. In the beginning, many persons including those within the left wing of the Democratic Party began to take notice and lauded him for his commitment to racial equality. Among those who spoke favorably
This came after the now ordained Reverend J.W. Jones abandoned his Methodist roots after he was not allowed to integrate African-Americans into his growing legion of disciples, or perhaps cult members, or, both. As Jones continued to blur the lines between religion and politics, he on more than one occasion cited scripture as the authority for the proposition that Jesus was a communist.
You must admit, "distribution was made to each as any had need." From Acts of the Apostles (4:34–35) does sound an awful lot like Karl Marx as in "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” Not that big of a stretch, is it? Funny part is, his message started to resonate and his adherents continued to grow, so did his reputation and influence in political circles.
His stature as an advocate for human rights was further elevated when the Temple began to expand its socially aware footprint by opening a soup kitchen and offering several services to the poor including information and assistance regarding rent, employment, while providing food, clothing and coal for the winter. I personally love the coal part. Makes him sound like something out of Dickens' a Christmas Carol, but not ending quite so well.
In 1959, Jones began a series of fiery sermons/rallies that came to include your standard faith healing sessions mixed in with more “Jesus was a commie and it’s a good thing” gospel where, I imagine if he had the chance, the good Reverend would have “healed” those with the Covid-19 virus while assuring the rest of those in attendance not to worry as it will one day just go away, like a miracle. Masks and social distancing would of course have been optional, if not outwardly ridiculed as a sign of weakness and lack of spiritual certainty in both the movement and curiously, Jimmy.
It was around this time that observers began to see a somewhat disturbing trend in Jimmy’s ever more fiery sermon/speeches, veering away from the mission, and into what is best described as self-promotion. Jones started to foster and combine a belief in the possibility of atheism, while simultaneously dropping hints he might just be the next prophet they were all waiting for. The combination of messages resulting in an earlier version of “only I can fix it-ism” if you know what I mean and I’m sure you do.
Shortly thereafter, the goodly Reverend Jones took his traveling medicine show on the road, leaving his Indiana roots and landing in the anything goes fairy-tale land of California, where, even back then, there was no movement too stupid to dismiss as utterly without merit, particularly if it fostered a belief in excess, pseudo mysticism, and Jimi Hendrix.
His getting stranger by the day and becoming toxic by the minute merger of religion and radical political ideology included allusions to “Christ the Revolution” while casting America and capitalism, as the nation and economic theory of “the Antichrist system.” Did it work? I told you this was California. Of course, membership grew, and when Jones & Co. infiltrated the streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles, membership in whatever movement he was calling it by this time went from approximately 150 to roughly 3,000 followers.
By this time, what exact ideology the devoted were being fed and dutifully following is at best, open to debate. Jones probably didn’t worry too much about a consistent or even coherent message as the Temple moved one step closer to outright cult status by voluntarily and purposefully inserting classic Chinese and North Korean mind control and behavior modification techniques into the daily routines of their true believers. Jones, who was never shy about his love affair with Mao, without the beautiful letter, had also developed a probably unmarked “secret police” and started the inevitable ritual persecution of his “enemies of the people/state” real and/or imagined.
By this time, the “Us versus Them” mentality/dichotomy was in full swing. Jonesy was in full paranoia/monetary exploitation mode driving around in a bus filled with armed guards and tricked out with special armored plating as part of a series of bus caravans canvassing the USA looking for funds, funds, and more funds. Fake healing, pronouncements of the coming doom and destruction (Jones routinely claimed nuclear war was imminent) along with in person and direct mail marketing campaigns (fraudulent for the most part) for donations and in return for a piece of Jim’s sacred robes, holy water, healing (snake) oil, rings, key chains, lockets, you know, anything you can sell, like MAGA hats, hydroxychloroquine, Lysol, bleach, florescent lightbulb insertions where they don’t belong, and who knows what else.
Skittles, BBQ sauce and/or LSD are my best predictions for future miracle cures, if the “no worse than the flu” virus Trump knew all along as deadly as all get out, doesn’t just “go away”. It won’t, but as I have been known to say, people are entitled to suffer whatever level of stupidity they are willing to tolerate. The question then as now, is one of the limbo pole. How low can you go?
By the 1970s, Jimmy Jones was claiming about 20,000 members or so in his, well, whatever it was, by now more of a political movement than a religious experience. 3,000 operatives/adherents/soon to be victims of the combination of his ego and insanity was probably more like it. Strangely, and even as late as the mid-1970s, the Reverend could legitimately claim support, if not admiration from George Moscone, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown and Harvey Milk. Then, beginning in 1974, things began to go wrong. Horribly wrong.
In 1974, the Peoples Temple moved to Guyana. Jones heralded the move publicaly as the new beginnings of a socialist utopia and privately, to escape continued media scrutiny and the creep of fascism coming soon, well, not so soon to an America near you. By 1978 there were a reported 900 persons living in what was now known the world over as “Jonestown.”
On November 17th, 1978 in response to rumors and allegations of abuse, surrounding you guessed it, physical and mental abuse and underage sex between minors and the “elites” you know, child brides, human trafficking, the whole Epstein enterprise, sort of like what QAnon is claiming, but not in Jonestown, where it really happened but in pizza parlor basements in Washington DC and on the moon, or is it Mars? I forget. Anyway, Congressman Leo Ryan and his posse made a trip to Jonesburg from which Ryan and four additional souls did not return.
Later that day, after years of practicing suicide drills, you know the type, drink the imaginary poison and then we all fall down! A gruesome loyalty test if there ever was one, it was go time for what Jones referred to as “an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.” Flavor Aid (a cheaper substitute for Kool-Aid) laced with sedatives and cyanide was distributed. 909 persons died, including Jones of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. 304 of the dead were under the age of 18. 36 survived. This is where the term Drink the Kool-Aid originated. It was grape. What flavor will it be next?
Problem with sex, corruption, faux religion and death cults is there’s always a next time. My point? As I said earlier, would you vote for Jim Jones for President? Probably not. But let me ask you this, the fake Evangelical Christianity, the Prosperity Gospel, the connections and conflagrations with political ambition, the open involvement with Jeffrey Epstein, the attraction to all dictators, great and small, the buying and selling of anything and everything, downplaying of a pandemic resulting in the unnecessary death of what will soon be over 200,000 and counting, would you vote for this man? No?
Approximately one third of the electorate are committed to voting for this monster, this fake prophet, this killer. Why? Because as it was in Jonestown, we are dealing with members of a death cult that would rather follow a false prophet than no prophet at all. And I suspect, if push comes to shove, resulting in blind loyalty and love, yes love, artificially flavored fruit drinks laced with the promise of eternal happiness, aka, the ultimate die for me mentality, is a very, very real possibility.
And that, my friends, is more stupid than I can tolerate. Let it go.