Jim Jones made everyone welcome and feel as if they had a purpose. He accepted the ones who were not accepted elsewhere. His job was full time and he used his work in all aspects of his life. He helped people win campaigns and in favor he had a seat on specific housing boards.
New members and making money:
People of all races joined the People’s Temple. Young children, college students, and the elderly came in by the masses. It was a giant wave of new membership and rebirth of the people.
They were told to sell all of their luxuries, their houses, to live in one community, and to give one hundred percent of their paycheck to the temple.
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Doubt and questioning punished:
People were questioned about their actions at every meeting. The congregation would decide their punishment which ranged from verbal abuse to actual fighting.
Doubting or questioning the temple, and leaving without permission was punished. You would be turned in by other family members or friends if you were heard speaking about questions or wanting to leave.
Mind numbing techniques:
Mind numbing techniques involved denunciation of members within group meetings, one girl was forced to stand naked and be described by others. They lived together in a community and could barely talk. All luxuries were avoided, such as sleep, so they were easily persuaded.
Control over everything in their lives:
The members of the People’s Temples were completely controlled by Jim Jones. They were always being watched and since all of their financial ties were out of their hands, they had nothing to run to. When they went to the remote Jonestown in the middle of the jungle on another continent, they had no access to the outside world. The only information they heard was Jim Jones’ orders and sermons playing on speakers 24/7.
Their elitist mentality placed them above others who were unaccepting. They were the ones who were going to be saved and they deserve peace. The People’s Temple had an elitist mentality because they were not accepted by everyone else and Jones needed to prove their worth and capability.
The outside community and relatives of the temple members were against the cult. They believed that they were being held against their will and that there was deception beneath the public eye. Jim Jones gave his people an elitist mentality and when they were in Jonestown, he specifically said they could not leave because the outside world was turning against them. Everyday as Jones went more insane, he told his people of the destruction and pain the United States was bringing to them.
Leaders not held accountable:
Jim Jones was the head of the People’s Temple. He could hit, drink, sleep with whoever, and do whatever he wanted. His rules did not apply to him and there was no one above him to check his power. When the Governor and the media attempted to leave, he had them killed. He knew the US would come after him so he killed all of his people. Jim Jones took a shot to his head but never had to pay the price on Earth for abusing and murdering his members.
Justifies unethical things they do:
Jones justified his unethical things with religion, the state of humanity, and for peace. His religious cause was that he would be whatever power you wanted him to be. This made giving every ounce of your possessions, time, and body to him. He said the state of humanity was homosexual but he was the only heterosexual. When he raped one of his female members he stated that he was doing it for her and for her peace. When he murdered all of his people, he said it was for peace. That the children did not deserve war and that it would be not suicide, but an immaculate version of it, like myarters.
Get rid of their previous life:
The members of the People’s Temple completely removed who their previous lives. As the temple grew, more full time positions opened within and people left their previous jobs. People moved across the country and across the world with no contact, leaving their families behind. As the members moved into mass communities, their future and selves were shaped by Jim Jones.
Devote all of their time:
All of the members time were devoted to Jim Jones and his cause. They helped the community but took no luxuries such as sleep. The people worked and worked and worked for Jones. When the article about the ex-members was going to be published, people dropped their entire lives within a day to move and be fully committed to the People’s Temple in Jamestown.
Only socialize with cult members:
Socialization with the outside world was frowned upon. Outside influences could persuade members to see the insanity, attempt to leave, and show the dark truth of the cult. Even socialization within members had to be thought-through. Words of questioning and doubt led to public humiliation and scrutiny.
Guilt is used to control members:
Guilt was used in connection with the lack of sleep. Members were tired and tried to outdo each other in simplistic lives. Lack of necessary resources for proper functioning led people to be easily swayed. People would speak of sleeping 1.5 hours but others would scoff at them when they stated they only slept for 1. Guilt was also used to keep the members in and keep them from leaving the temple because they would be doing a disservice to integration, helping the elderly, and supporting the community.
People joined the People’s Temple because they were welcomed. Everyone was let in and it was a hopeful, energetic place. It was an accepting religious community. Its functions were to help the elders in the community, provide equality for all races, and to remove social class boundaries. It was a socialist society where equality and supporting others was its main cause. It was so appealing because of all its opportunities. People were being healed and had everything they needed provided to them. It was a large pot of money if you invested everything you had in it. Whatever you needed, Jim Jones would make sure you got it.
Problems some of the members of the People’s Temple faced were: inability to leave, deceit by members, abuse, false information, lack of power, and fear. At Jonestown, Jones said that people could leave, but only with permission, and the leave was never permanent. The idea that he said you could leave, was false; once you were in the cult, you were in it till the end. Many members were deceived by their husbands, wives, children, neighbors, and friends.
If someone slipped a note to the media or told their wife they were leaving, the person would turn them in and they would be punished. Punishment was another issue. Public meetings where members stood and told of their sins were common, but the other members and Jones would verbally and physically abuse them. Women were raped by Jones and Jones would suggest that the people remain abstinent and/or be homosexuals. Many people joined the temple in happy marriages and they were ruined by him. When in the jungle, the only information about the outside world came from Jones. Jones fed them his lies and his paranoia. The people had no power against Jim Jones, and if they spoke against him, no one would join the person who told their opinion. Fear of death and punishment was rampant as Jones became more ill.
Jim Jones was appealing because he was younger and accepting. He took care of the people’s basic needs and was very persuasive. He kept his promises and was fully committed to his work. He did what he said he was going to do and his outer image was one that made huge, elegant nursing homes for the elderly members of the temple. If the people invested their money now, they would be taken care of now, but spoiled in luxury later in life. His followers were so devoted because they saw the compassionate and energetic community. The members were like a family everyone wanted to join and learn from. Everyone had a place and Jim Jones welcomed all people.
India faces a problem of exponential population growth. They need to minimize the birth rate of each family to only two children in order to keep the country stable with resources. An issue is the idea of male supremacy. Birth control is being taught and given, and women are taking control. In the past, female babies have been aborted and wifes are in danger from childbirth. Husbands and families pressure wives to have at least two sons to insure the survival of the family name. Japan is facing the issue of a population decline. Most of the population is over 60 years old and will soon die.
The young generation who is at the age to marry and reproduce do not prioritize that. Women are more in the workforce and want to wait before settling down. The elderly have to take care of themselves. With the death of this generation, the population will have a significant decrease in numbers and that can upset the global economy. Kenya is also having issues, they are expected to be one of the most populated countries within the upcoming centuries. However, HIV and AIDS run rampant. Women have to sell their bodies and abortions are dangerous. Women get paid more for not using condoms so many become infected and die. The vaccines to prevent this are now becoming more common, but are in high demand. The high death rate makes the exponential population growth fluctuate and be unpredictable.
Luhnow, David. “400 Murders a Day: The Crisis in Latin America.” Wall Street Journal, 21 Sep. 2018, pp. A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks-sirs-com.proxy071.nclive.org.
Latin America has become one of the most violent, deadly places on Earth. Gangs seeking revenge and power will go to any length to reach their goal. Luhnow describes its effect on the community and the life normal citizens endure because of them. Autopsies have waiting lists and morgues are filled to the brim with bodies. Many bodies go unidentified and unclaimed because they are so damaged, people cannot tell who they are.
Recently the news reported two tractor trailers were roaming the area filled with bodies because the morgues were full. Gangs within Latin America have caused fear and panic within the people. Police cannot stop them, some police are gang members. A brutal murder in daylight seen by a townsperson goes on without interference or shock, it is a normality. Bodies are submerged in concrete, shoved through sugar cane grinders, and dissolved in acid. Drug lords in today’s times are not afraid to kill anyone, infants, children, women, and the elderly are no exceptions to the violence. Organized crime accounts for two-thirds of Mexico’s murders (Luhnow).
Gangs are prominent due to the lack of education. Survival is the primary thought and tendency of the people, there is no time or enough resources to go through all of the grades. People own family businesses that do not require education or strict policies. The government is corrupt and unbalanced. People are always fighting for independence or power or control. Taxes go unpaid, giving the government little control and other laws little to no enforcement.
Gangs provide a sense of family and belonging to orphans and misfits. They can channel their anger to a cause and become rich. The two largest gangs in Latin America grow plants for cocaine or are the largest drug lord in the country. This not only gives them wealth, but power and control over everything. Because drugs are so common, this is another normality within these areas. The gang culture of drugs, prostitution, wealth, and violence is corrupting the pure and innocent population of Latin America.
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