Jonestown Massacre: What It Meant To 'Drink The Kool-Aid'

By | November 18, 2022

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Jim Jones. Photo by Michèle VIGNES/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Nearly 1,000 men, women, and children died in a chilling massacre at Jonestown, in Guyana, on November 18, 1978. Ordered to drink poison by the charismatic and delusional cult leader Jim Jones, the casualties of the "Jonestown massacre" were members of the People’s Temple, a Christian organization that integrated anything that Jones wanted to use, from Marxist theories to faith healing. Jonestown was envisioned as a “rainbow family” made up of people of all races, ages, and creeds, who were separated from America and working on their own to create a utopian civilization. In the harsh jungle of Guyana, none of the utopian dreams of Jones’ followers came to fruition, and as their leader devolved further into madness he led the families and friends who trusted him enough to move across the world to their deaths.

Jim Jones Was A Door-To-Door Monkey Salesman In The Early Days Of His Ministry

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source: britannica

After growing up in Indiana with an alcoholic and racist father, Jones lit out on his own and started preaching at the Cadle Tabernacle in Indianapolis, in 1956. Jones broke away from the group and started his own racially integrated congregation, but his coffers weren’t overflowing from the onset and he had to work a series of odd jobs in order to make money. The oddest job was door-to-door monkey salesman. There aren’t a lot of reports about how many monkeys Jones sold, but he was charismatic so it’s likely that he was able to move a few units. By the 1960s, he’d given up the monkey game and moved his congregation to Northern California, first settling in Ukiah before bringing the group to San Francisco