THE VAULT

AUDIO CLIPS



The Federal Bureau of Investigation collected nearly 1,000 cassette tapes from Jonestown after the massacre as part of their investigation into Congressman Ryan's assassination. Most are of Jim Jones addressing the community. The collected recordings show Jones' sinister character arc, from denouncing the Bible and Capitalism, to claiming to be God, to pressing his followers to commit "revolutionary suicide." Here are a few in which readers can hear the voices of Tommy Bogue, Stanley Clayton and Edith Roller.


Divine Socialism

Redwood Valley, California, 1972. An early tape of Jones denying the validity of the Bible and establishing his philosophy of "Apostolic Socialism." He says "I call capitalism the devil. And socialism is God."

Jones claims to be God

San Francisco, 1973.  Jones opens this tape with the following statement: "For some unexplained set of reasons, I happened to be selected to be God." He proceeds to take credit for miracles around the world, and midway through his sermon, throws the Bible on the ground before saying "See that? I'm still alive."

Tommy Bogue runs away

Jonestown, November 1977. The community confronts Tommy Bogue and Brian Davis after they attempt to escape Jonestown by running away through the jungle. After they are caught, residents debate whether the boys should be killed for their antics. "I think both of you deserve to be stood up against a wall and shot" Edith Bogue tells her son.

Have you planned your death?"

Jonestown, December 1977. In this tape, Jones introduces the notion of "revolutionary suicide" to Jonestown residents for the first time. They are baffled, confused, stunned. “When somebody’s so principled, they’re ready to die at the snap of a finger,” he says, “and that’s what I want to build in you, that same kind of character.”

Stanley Clayton in the hot seat

Jonestown, April 12, 1978. Jones confronts and humiliates Stanley Clayton about his sex life.  The confrontation occurs the day after the Concerned Relatives publicly demanded the release of their loved ones from Jonestown, and Jones is preoccupied with his response to the group. "The only fuck I want right now is the orgasm of the great fucking grave," Jones says.

"Revolutionary suicide"

Jonestown, late summer 1978. A group of 44 residents, including Edith Roller, state their reasons for committing "revolutionary suicide." Jones recorded the tape for posterity, to explain to the world  why the group had "collectively" decided to die. "It seemed to me when I joined Peoples Temple uh, it was an ideal society of egalitarian justice and love," Edith says. "I pray and hope that this tape will at least survive in portions so that they can know what we stood for."