Jonestown Essay

834 words - 3 pages

On May 13, 1931 in Crete, Indiana, a small boy was born who would, 47 years later, convince 914 men, women, and children to committe suicide. Jim Warren Jones lived in Crete, Indiana with his single mother, Lynetta. Jones's mother was a devout Methodist and it is said that she had a great influence on the theology he would later form for the People's Temple. It is also said that a Pentecostal woman who lived near him sparked interest in him to learn more about religion. (Pentecostal religion emphasizes individual experiences of grace, expressive worship, evangelism, and spiritual gifts such as faith healings). The philosophies Jones formed later in life were molded by his mother's beliefs he learned as a child, the Pentecostal viewpoint he experienced, and his love of social idealism he recieved from reading about socialism and communist documents.After high school Jones attended college off and on and 10 years later he recieved a Bachelor of Arts Dgree from Butler University. During this time Jones worked at a hospital and met Nurse Marceline Baldwin, who he married. After recieving his Bachelor's Degree, Jones became a Methodist minister at a church in Indianapolis. Jones soon thought he had become disillusioned by the Methodist church and that he needed to do something else with his ministry.In 1954, the formation of the People's Temple began when Jones was given and invitation to evangelize at teh Laurel Street Tabernacle, and Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church in Indianapolis. During his vist, Jones was disappointed about the lack of racial differences in the church congregation. With the help of other members of the congregation Jones formed another church titled Wings of Deliverance. Jones's main priority for this church was racial integration and during this time his church became one of the most interracial congregations in the state of Indiana. The church began to acquire greater numbers when Jones started to perfomr healings.In 1960, Jim Jones became the director of the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission. And in 1961, the church switched denominations to become part of the Disciples of Christ Church. When the Wings of Deliverance Church recieved a new membership it changed its name to the People's Temple Full Gospel Church. And Jones was ordained by the Disciples of Christ Church.In fear of a nuclear war in 1965, Jones moved the church to California, near San Francisco. Over the next 12 years the People's Temple gained a great deal of members...

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