The Jonestown Massacre: An Analysis

Essay by ober12345High School, 10th gradeB+, January 2007

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This research paper is based off of the "Jonestown Massacre" which occured in 1978. In this paper, I will discuss the ways Jones was able to manipulate people, how he was an expert with deception, and how all of his insane ideas became a reality for so many people.

The People's Temple, created by Jim Jones, showed faith while promoting racial equity in a time of racial discrimination. Jones made promises to his followers and persuaded them that he had a strong connection with God. When rumors were surfacing about the group, Jones told his group to move to a place where the "evils of the world" were less.

Jones and about 900 followers moved to their new location in the Africa known as Jonestown, strange occurrences were reported. Many began to question whether there was something else going on. As it turned out, there are many shocking events, including the shooting of journalists and a congressman.

However, the most appalling event took place when nine-hundred followers commited mass suicide. Jones had convinced them to drink cyanide and valium laced "Flavor-Aid", a kool-aid ripoff.

There were and are many questions as to why so many people do such a thing. With Jim Jones's religious claims, promises, and methods of persuasion, one can rationalize why a group of people would commit such an atrocious act. Jim Jones claimed to be a healer, "Psychologists say that the authority of a spiritual or psychological leader is only as strong as the leader's connection to a still-higher source of authority." (Barden, 28). So, Jones used this common idea to manipulate his followers who were unable to see through this obvious deception.

Deception was a key to Jones success. Lacking a real connection to the divine he had to lie to impress his...