Jim Jones, Jonestown, and Alternative Viewpoints

Posted on December 4, 2019


When discussing the People’s Temple and the Jonestown tragedy, it’s very easy to focus too much on Jim Jones. We shouldn’t. The focus should be on those who lost their lives and the families that they left behind, and their very real, human motivations for joining the Temple.

Obviously, to fully understand the situation, it’s important to understand conformity, group think, obedience, and the myriad of social pressures inherent in American society in the 1950s-1970s. It’s also important to consider the individuals who existed and how they interacted with these psychological ideas and society.

San Diego State University has a website dedicated to the individuals and alternative views of Jonestown – some of which you still hear vocalized by the survivors today. This site is an investigation of the tragedy, but it allows the victims to speak – and to drown out Jim Jones. It’s well worth your time.