Have some Kool-Aid, dearie
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James R. McGowan)
The last large-scale test of Mark 16 took place 15 years ago today
(Nov. 18, 1978) in Jonestown, Guyana. Needless to say, it was a miserable
failure. 909 persons died- -so many that a US Army Graves Registration Unit
was sent in to identify and return the bodies.
The massacre was precitated by the visit of Congressman Leo Ryan who
went to investigate charges that some members of the People's Temple, the
Rev. Jim Jones's religious church, were being held there against their will.
Ar Ryan's group prepared to depart, some members of the People's Temple
opened fire, killing Ryan, three reporters, and a defector. Ten other people
were wounded by the gunfire.
Following this, a vat of Kool-Aid laced with cyanide was prepared and
Jones told them to drink it. Reportedly, most did so willingly. Those who
resisted were shot or injected with poison. A few escaped. Jones died from a
gunshot wound to the head.
Jones had dabbled in numerous Christian denominations. He was ordained
by the Disciples of Christ in 1964. He had been told by his mother since
childhhood that he was a messiah and reportedly believed it.
The People's Temple was founded in Indianapolis in 1955 and moved to Ukiah,
California in 1965. New People's Temples were opened in San Francisco
and Los Angeles in 1971. Jones became active in San Francisco politics
and was appointed chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority in
In that same year (1976), New West magazine published an expose of Jones,
charging him with corruption, sadism, sexual perversions, and drug
addiction. Jones quickly left San Francisco and a large part of his
congregation followed. Two years later, most were dead.
Religious fanaticism and proclamations of prophethood can be much more
than harmless eccentricities.