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(JIM JONES and HIS PEOPLE'S CHURCH – continued)

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JIM JONES and HIS PEOPLE'S CHURCH (3 of 5)

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The People's Temple Expands, 1966-73

By the time Jim Jones was in California, he was having sexual intercourse with women other than his wife. Marceline wanted out of their marriage, and their son Stephan was losing respect for his father. He could see that his father was breaking his own rules and making rules for others just to suit his whims. Jones was using chemicals other than caffeine for stimulation and other than cigarettes to calm himself. He was using painkillers, and occasionally when Jones had an attack of some sort Marceline would inject him with what was described as Vitamin B12 and this would immediately tranquilize him. Among the pills Jones was taking were Quaaludes, and his son overdosed on Quaaludes trying to kill himself.

In 1968 Jones had sixty-eight members in his new People's Temple. He had endeared himself to the conservative community and leadership in Ukiah. He was granted affiliation with the Disciples of Christ, a denomination reputed to number 1.5 million, and Jones took advantage of the Disciples' failure to maintain an eye on his church and refrained from adhering strictly to the Disciple's requirement for holy communion and baptism. Jones had begun espousing socialism to his followers, and he was baptizing new members in his temple's swimming pool "in the holy name of Socialism."

Membership in the Disciples gave Jones tax exemption and more prestige, and soon his membership increased to around 300. To advance his church, Jones was pushing himself day and night. He maintained contacts with local politicians and church leaders, making sure everyone knew of his church's good works. He was sending as many as 36,000 copies of  a newsletter to various locations across the nation where he had contacts. In 1971 he began radio broadcasting that could be heard across North America. By 1973 membership in his movement was 2,570. His church spread to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and he began preaching in these cities. Jones was pleased. He was not one to be satisfied as a minister of a mere small-town church. Jones was into grandiosity.

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Copyright © 2006-2014 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.

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