James Warren “Jim” Jones (May 13, 1931 – November 18, 1978) was the founder of the Peoples Temple, which is best known for the November 18, 1978 death of over 900 Temple members in Jonestown, Guyana along with the deaths of nine other people at a nearby airstrip in Georgetown.
Jones was born in Indiana and started the Temple in the 1950s. Jones gained notoriety when he moved of the Temple’s headquarters to San Francisco in the mid-1970s. In the summer of 1977, Jones and several hundred Temple members moved to the Temple’s “Agricultural Project” in Guyana. Jones hoped to establish a pure communist community at Jonestown. On November 17th, 1978, U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan led a fact-finding mission to Jonestown to investigate allegations of human rights abuses. In the afternoon of the next day, the Congressman left with his party and 15 members of the Peoples Temple who wished to leave Jonestown. As they were boarding their planes, members of Jones ‘Red Brigade’ gunned them down on the runway of the airport. At the same time, in Jonestown, the mass suicide had begun.
Jones had professed several religious beliefs in his life, from Christianity, to Islam, to atheism. Perhaps being baptized into the True Church after his death will allow him to settle down and build a devoted congregation to The Lord. It is heartwarming to know that the LDS church is willing to forgive his involvement in the suicide and murders of 909 members of his previous ward.
James Warren Jones
1931 , , Indiana
18 NOV 1978
02 NOV 1994 WASHI
30 MAY 1995 WASHI