The reality about what occurred in Jonestown

“His message has been incredibly violent over time. And it was unpredictable, ”Stephan remembers. “When we didn’t have an open meeting where he tried to attract new members, we had closed meetings where he tried to control the members.”

Jim Jr., who later remarried and has three sons, explained how his journey was different from Stephan’s, largely because as a child he was just so grateful to be welcomed into their family. “I was a real believer,” he said. “When I say true believers, I have believed in anything that Peoples Temple could have been.”

He remembered being reluctant to teach his oldest boy basketball because the game only reminded him of the night so many people died, but he survived. However, his son became a star player in high school, and Jim Jr. started out as a coach. “I was known as Jim Jones’ son for so long,” he said. “And it wasn’t until Rob started playing that I became known as Rob’s father.”

Stephan complained: “Maybe we could have steered things in a different direction often. We could have stopped what happened long before that last night, and we didn’t make it. For me it was because I was too focused on myself and not enough on my community and what was best for them. Simply put, I just wasn’t there when they died. I don’t know what I would or could have done. “

As part of his own healing process, he made it his business to identify every member of the Peoples Temple who appeared in photos taken in Jonestown. “If there was even one person whose name I couldn’t remember, I put that photo aside and went on and I would do anything to remember that one person,” he explained. “It might sound like a small thing, you know, given the devastation of Jonestown, but that’s where I found my cure.”

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