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People's Temple

The People's Temple was infamous for their cult suicide at Jonestown, on November 18, 1978.

Founded in 1953, at Indianapolis, Indiana by Reverend Jim Jones, it was at the time a group advocating and aiding social justice.

In Indianapolis, and at the California cities of Ukiah, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, where Jones extended new branches of his church, they earned a good reputation for aiding the cities' poorest citizens, especially racial minorities, drug addicts, and the homeless.

Soup kitchens, day care centers, and medical clinics for elderly people were set up, along with counseling programs for prostitutes and drug addicts that want to change their lives.

Then disturbing accounts began to sprung up, told by a few people who had succeeded in leaving the cult. Jones was stealing from his followers, Jones faked the miracle healings, Jones was punishing the members severely, and Jones now considered himself the the new Messiah.

Jim Jones reacted with frequent long and angry speeches, where he claimed that the defectors lied, and the outside world was trying to destroy them. At the time, more former members told of beatings and abuse within the People's Temple, and relatives of members insisted that members were being forced to remain there against their will.

By now, journalists, law enforcement officials, and politicians cast their interest onto Jones' group.

Jones reacted by moving his church, over 800 followers, to Guyana. The followers were promised a tropical paradise, free from the wickedness of the outside world, but when they arrived, they were forced to work by Jones' orders, and together they built Jonestown.

When the outside world finally interfered in the form of a Guyanese army, they found the that the entire town had committed mass suicide by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid.



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