In 1955, people’s temple was founded in Indiana. Its doctrines and teachings were more related to the bible and Christianity. Even though there was a slight difference, it asserts to be practicing apostolic socialism. Jones who was the leader of this temple passed by Guyana, at the beginning of 1960s while he was going to brazil to open up a temple. While in Indiana, Jones faced serious resistance and rejection, which forced him to relocate to California, and opened a division in Los Angeles and San Francisco that would become its headquarters (Deborah, 1998). While in San Francisco, the temple became involved in political matters, and after the elections that saw George Moscone win the seat of mayor, Jones was appointed to the housing authority commission in the city.
Jonestown was the nickname of the people’s temple agricultural project, which was a rural settlement build by a cult of people with Jim Jones as its leader. It was situated in Guyana Esequiba, a disputed region in northwestern Guyana, wanted by Venezuela (Deborah, 1998). On November 18, 1978, Jonestown became globally known when about 918 people lost their lives at the settlement, at port kaituma, an airstrip nearby. It was a building that was being managed by the temple.
Jones often made speeches to the temple members about the town’s security; he asserted that the government security apparatus and the intelligence services were working to destroy and harm its inhabitants. During his address’s Jones would table four options to his flock: stay in town and fight the invaders, commit,” revolutionary suicide,” run to the forest, or try to run to Soviet Union (Deborah, 1998). In two cases during the white night, just after an agreement was reached on revolutionary suicide, a fake mass killing was practiced.
Cumulatively, 909 people passed away in Jonestown, except for two who died from cyanide poisoning, an incident that was named,” revolutionary suicide” by Jones and other temple members who were caught on an audio record of the occurrence, and in preceding discussions. The Jonestown poisoning came just after the killing of five other people, including Leo Ryan, who was a congressman in the united states, by temple members (Hall, 1987). An act that was authorized Jones and he further commanded another four followers to kill themselves. Seventy or more people are said to have died after they were injected with poison, and three hundred and four were children. Jones also ordered security personnel who were armed with crossbows and guns to kill those who tried to escape from the compound as he advocated for suicide.
At the temple’s main office in Georgetown, Sharon Amos, a member at the temple, got a radio communication from Jonestown, instructing all the followers to retaliate on temple enemies and then take their own lives (Hall, 1987). Sharon heeded to this call and killed herself plus her kids.
After the killings, the foreign affairs house committee and U.S state departments did take a blame for how they handled the temple. While the political opposition of Guyanese humiliated their prime minister by setting up a commission of that concluded he was responsible for the killings in Jonestown. The remains of four hundred plus victims were laid to rest at a mass grave in California’s evergreen cemetery and a mausoleum constructed in 2011.