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“Jonestown: The Life And Death Of Peoples’ Temple”

997 words - 4 pages

In the PBS film, “Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples’ Temple”, it illustrates an extreme example of one radical religious leader's control over hundreds of people to the extent of convincing them to voluntarily commit a "revolutionary suicide" in their attempted utopian settlement in Guyana. In the 1970's various changes were being made and through social and cultural movements, including political and religious, people wanted something to believe in. They wanted to fight for a cause that would change the world. Jim Jones preyed on the members of the Peoples' Temple and gained his ultimate control through promoting activism, managing all the finances of each member while providing ...view middle of the document...

Religion later in the 19th through the 20th century was evolving and the Social Gospel Movement had begun to apply the ethics of Christianity to solve problems of the time such as poverty, education, and crime. The ethics were accentuated, but the teachings of the scriptures on sin, heaven and hell, and the rapture were of lesser importance. The line of separation of church and state was blurring.
The changes society had undertaken during the time was a vast advantage to Jim Jones and allowed him to gain followers for the Peoples' Temple. Because of the war in Vietnam and racial tension people felt a strong calling to take action, especially the youth of America. Whether in protest, service, or community support they wanted to be involved in a fight that would create an impact. Jim Jones wanted youth in his church since they were more open-minded and he catered to their desires to be a part of something greater. Jones was for the black man and integration. His family was integrated and so was the Peoples' Temple. He believed firmly in activism and made some contributions to politicians in their campaigning by having members of his congregation at rallies, protests, and even going door to door. It was a politicians dream ensemble due to of the diversity of age and ethnicity. They were enthusiastic to be there, always on time, and there where so many members willing to be whatever was needed . Jones benefited from his congregations activism by becoming the appointed chairman of housing while in San Francisco. Parts of the social gospel movement can be observed in the way Jim Jones conducted his church and he believed that the bible was a book that had held the black man down and that heaven was a place that was to be created on earth. The more power and followers he gained the more he saw himself as a God. He preached for...

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