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30 Years Ago Today

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Jim Jones murdered over 900 people in Jonestown in Guyana.

Congressman Leo Ryan, NBC News correspondent Don Harris, NBC cameraman, Bob Brown, photographer Greg Robinson, and Temple defector Patricia Parks - killed on the airstrip - brutally shot by gun-wielding assassins sent there by Jim Jones.

It was called a mass suicide, but the ones who did not want to drink the poison were injected with it. Over 300 children....murdered.

The memory of hearing that horrible news 30 years ago had faded, until I watched two documentaries the past few days - one on MSNBC, and the other on CNN, and then, it all came flooding back. Watching the survivors speak, the ones who managed to escape, and hearing their stories - man.....what they witnessed will always be with them, and they have to deal with that every day.

It was chilling. And horrifying that this insane, evil man had manipulated so many vulnerable people into following him.
post #2 of 20
I always wonder about people that could follow someone like that.
I don't understand it at all.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
I always wonder about people that could follow someone like that.
I don't understand it at all.
I know. But he was a master manipulator. He preyed on people who he could see were vulnerable and he caught them at their most needy and worked it.

By the time Congressman Ryan and the group got to Jonestown, there were plenty of people who had realized The People's Temple was not paradise, and wanted out. But he had used brainwashing techniques to weaken people further. Constant talking over speakers posted around the camp, constant group meetings. And there were armed guards stationed all around.

The psychology of this fascinates me and scares me and horrifies me. The screams of the children in the background while Jim Jones is ranting on about how "quick" death will be......geez...horrible.
post #4 of 20
He organized a "religion" and got followers. Much like any other religion IMO. He was a nut case and preyed on the weak, lost and lonely but there again, some other religions also do that.

It was a tragedy of course, and those children did not have the choices their parents made to follow this insane leader. Waco is another example of this type of insanity.

I'm sure God has a place in heaven for those little children.
post #5 of 20
There's a really good doc. on this guy and the organization called Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples Temple.

I had never heard of this before until it was recommend to me by Netflix. That guy has one of the bone chilling voices I have ever heard.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Much like any other religion IMO.

Ummmm, I don't think so, but I'm sure some people can use it to downgrade any and all religions.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
He called it a religion....but, then again, he used that to, as Yosemite says, prey on people who were lost and searching for something meaningful in their lives. He was a master at this...he sniffed them out. It's cult mentality.....not what I would call religion. His followers thought it was a religion because that's what he told them.

As he got more and more insane, he used the standard brainwashing techniques. Once they were sucked in, he weakened them even more by constantly barraging them with his amplified voice, limiting their food supply, so they depended on him, twisting their brains when they were weak.
post #8 of 20
The difficult thing is that people like him are able to get that far. This of course, isn't the only case of this type of thing, but you know, they do prey on people when people are at a low time in their lives. They give them the sense and belief that change is needed and they are the one to bring it to them. They guide them and boost their confidence, and breed the fanaticism until their followers are blinded by anything but their leaders word, and then that leader, should he choose to do so, can do whatever he wants..

and we're left with a situation like above. Desperation and the need for something to change can do a lot for a person's launch into leadership.

Look how many things like this have happened.. although I think that might have been largest on the tragedy scale thus far. It's just unbelievable. Truly, the whole thing gives me the chills.
post #9 of 20
I can never forget that.
We lived in San Mateo county then and every one was so sad.
The teachers were yelling at all of us. Then 9 days later the mayor of San Francisco and Harvey Milk were shot and killed.
They had Leo J Ryans Furneral where my grandparents are buried.
I think Jim Jones was sick in the head and some kind of nut.
I still feel mad and sad all these years later.
I lived in San Bruno then bout a mile from Golden Gate.

Here is a link to some of the stories.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...MNB414357H.DTL

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...MNA1142BPH.DTL
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
I always wonder about people that could follow someone like that.
I don't understand it at all.
I was about to answer that the cult preys on people with psychological problems, or something like that, but I looked it up, and read an article that said surprisingly, the vast majority of members have no psychological problems.

http://www.workingpsychology.com/cult.html

It also addresses (and disputes) the claim that cults and religions are the same.

Anyway, I was a kid when the Jonestown Massacre happened, and I remember being very affected by it.

Interestingly, that's where the phrase "drink the kool-aid" came from.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by clixpix View Post
I was about to answer that the cult preys on people with psychological problems, or something like that, but I looked it up, and read an article that said surprisingly, the vast majority of members have no psychological problems.

http://www.workingpsychology.com/cult.html

It also addresses (and disputes) the claim that cults and religions are the same.

Anyway, I was a kid when the Jonestown Massacre happened, and I remember being very affected by it.

Interestingly, that's where the phrase "drink the kool-aid" came from.
Hmm, I'd venture to say that the majority have no diagnosed psychological problems, but there are a lot of people who have problems that haven't been diagnosed.

I'd also venture to say that religion can have a cult-like following, but that for the normal everyday person, it's not the same thing. I think it would only apply in the extremist situations. I personally believe that some people follow their religion in a manner that would befit a cult, but that's not to say that the religion is the cause of their behavior. I think that's completely due to their own issues.

Children, unfortunately, are just dragged into it without having any say in the matter, or any way out.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mews2much View Post
I can never forget that.
We lived in San Mateo county then and every one was so sad.
The teachers were yelling at all of us. Then 9 days later the mayor of San Francisco and Harvey Milk were shot and killed.
They had Leo J Ryans Furneral where my grandparents are buried.
I think Jim Jones was sick in the head and some kind of nut.
I still feel mad and sad all these years later.
I lived in San Bruno then bout a mile from Golden Gate.

Here is a link to some of the stories.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...MNB414357H.DTL

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...MNA1142BPH.DTL
I don't understand, why were the teachers yelling at you?
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsAreBetter View Post
Hmm, I'd venture to say that the majority have no diagnosed psychological problems, but there are a lot of people who have problems that haven't been diagnosed.

I'd also venture to say that religion can have a cult-like following, but that for the normal everyday person, it's not the same thing. I think it would only apply in the extremist situations. I personally believe that some people follow their religion in a manner that would befit a cult, but that's not to say that the religion is the cause of their behavior. I think that's completely due to their own issues.

Children, unfortunately, are just dragged into it without having any say in the matter, or any way out.
You said it much better than I but essentially this is what I was attempting to say.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsAreBetter View Post
Hmm, I'd venture to say that the majority have no diagnosed psychological problems, but there are a lot of people who have problems that haven't been diagnosed.

I'd also venture to say that religion can have a cult-like following, but that for the normal everyday person, it's not the same thing. I think it would only apply in the extremist situations. I personally believe that some people follow their religion in a manner that would befit a cult, but that's not to say that the religion is the cause of their behavior. I think that's completely due to their own issues.

Children, unfortunately, are just dragged into it without having any say in the matter, or any way out.
I don't think I've ever met any cult members personally, so I can't speak to their mental status.

I think the article is kind of saying what you're saying. It says that cults and some religions can use some of the same methodology to a degree, but it's the extent and intent that's different. Both indoctrinate, but most mainstream religions don't expect the complete capitulation that cults or the most extremist religious sects do.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clixpix View Post
I don't think I've ever met any cult members personally, so I can't speak to their mental status.

I think the article is kind of saying what you're saying. It says that cults and some religions can use some of the same methodology to a degree, but it's the extent and intent that's different. Both indoctrinate, but most mainstream religions don't expect the complete capitulation that cults or the most extremist religious sects do.
Very true....totally agree.
post #16 of 20
It was Mr Ma$$$ch that yelled at us. He was the principal
I was a good kid but other kids were acting bad.
He said dont you understand our congressman is dead and and Spier is hurt bad. They called everyone into the gym for a meeting after that they were shot and again when the mayor of san francisco was shot.
My Dad worked for cable tv and he knew all of them.
He installed cable in their houses.
The teachers were taking it out on the kids because they were upset.
They cried in front of us.
I was 11 when it happened and was scared to drink cool aid for a long time.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by clixpix View Post
I don't think I've ever met any cult members personally, so I can't speak to their mental status.

I think the article is kind of saying what you're saying. It says that cults and some religions can use some of the same methodology to a degree, but it's the extent and intent that's different. Both indoctrinate, but most mainstream religions don't expect the complete capitulation that cults or the most extremist religious sects do.
That's the way that I read it also. By the same criteria, there are several minor religions that some seem to insist on calling a cult that by definition, actually are not.

Asatru is one that comes to mind
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
He organized a "religion" and got followers. Much like any other religion IMO.
I've got to disagree with this characterization, too. Jones and his followers were obviously a classic cult. There's a fundamental difference between a religion and a cult: in a legitimate religion, you have the freedom to choose to be in or to be out. Not in a cult. You have no freedom of choice. As has been noted, those who didn't choose to die were murdered. Just the very fact there are members here who've chosen to no longer follow the religion they were brought up in illustrates this fundamental difference.

I'm talking about adults, of course. Children don't have freedom of choice in any religious, social, or cultural setting. They're generally taught whatever their parents choose to teach them. But when they become adults they can choose to go their own way. Not so in a cult.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by clixpix View Post
I don't think I've ever met any cult members personally, so I can't speak to their mental status.
My husband's first cousin got involved in the Moonies which I believe most people regard as a cult. His family were devastated. He is very intelligent and the Moonies paid for his law degree. He and his wife and 4 children were living and doing well in New York City but he still works for the Moonies. I've met them and they are really lovely people. Very gentle, laid-back and kind people. Their children are very well-behaved and polite. I'd even go so far as to say they were much nicer than some folks I've met who are devout in other religions.
post #20 of 20
Jim Jones had a strange magnetism about him. Before he left the states, he used to have motorhome where he would travel from the Bay area to LA. I remember one time (and I think this was him) when I was visiting a guy I liked at the gas station he worked at. It was very early in the morning and a big motorhome came in. My friend, who is a Christian, and I was talking to a guy who wanted to give us a prayer cloth. I know that Jones was big on "prayer cloths" I remember thinking at the time that he made what he was saying very appealing, but in the back of my mind, something was telling me something was just not right about the guy. I never did send the prayer cloth back. It reminded me when I was just out of high school and was talking to someone at the college. She had invited me to a Bible study and I got the feeling something wasn't right. I found out later that the girl I was talking to at the college was from the Children of God cult. I could have so easily been sucked in! It was the same feeling when I met that guy I think was Jim Jones.
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