Jonestown Massacre

A suicide in general is bad enough as it is. But over 900 suicides at once will no doubt shake
the world. Reverend Jim Jones is best known for leading a group of his most devoted followers
to kill themselves and their children. There is without a doubt a sociological explanation as to
why this happened. The deaths at Jonestown can be viewed as sort of a product of obedience,
of people simply being compliant with their leader and reacting to the threat of force.
Whatever Jim Jones ordered, the members of the Peoples Temple were sure to obey.
Anyone who was noticed gathered at the pavilion that day in Jonestown, November 20th, 1978,
would never see the outside world again. Everyone was surrounded by armed guards who
were trusted lieutenants of Jones. Some reports say that there were actually some people who
were reluctant to drink the cyanide laced fruit drink, those individuals had the drink forced
down   their throats or were injected with the substance. In the Peoples Temple, Jones
tolerated no dissent, made sure the members had no allegiance more powerful than to
himself, and tried to make the alternative of leaving the Temple an unthinkable option. Seeing
the terms of obedience and the power of the situation can probably explain why the people
acted the way they did.
Jim Jones dreamed of a “socialist paradise” or “sanctuary” from the media scrutiny which had
started in 1972 due to his cult like leadership in the Peoples Temple. He started Jonestown in
1974 which was the Peoples Temples “Agricultural Project” in Guyana in South Africa. He
named Jonestown after himself of course. In the fall of 1977, Tim Stoen and other relatives in
Jonestown formed a "Concerned Relatives" group. Stoen   traveled to Washington D.C. to visit
with Congressmen including Leo Ryan, and wrote a "white paper" to Congress detailing the
dispute and pressing for Congressional correspondence. In April, 1978, the Concerned
Relatives destributed a...