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Peoples Temple of America

Cults around the world: Peoples Temple of America

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The People’s Temple of the Disciples of Christ shortened to Peoples Temple was a New Religious Movement founded in 1955 by Jim Jones.

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By the mid-1970s it included over a dozen locations in California including its headquarters in San Francisco.

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It is best known for the events of November 18, 1978, in Guyana, in which 920 people died at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project (informally, and now commonly, called “Jonestown”) and nearby airstrip at Port Kaituma, and Georgetown in an organized mass suicide/killing.

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The mass suicide and killings at Jonestown resulted in the greatest single loss of American civilian life in a deliberate act prior to the events of September 11, 2001.

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Mass Killing

After Jim Jones left for Guyana, he encouraged Temple members to follow him there. The population grew to over 900 people by late 1978. Those who moved there were promised a tropical paradise, free from the supposed wickedness of the outside world.

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On November 17, 1978, Leo Ryan, a Congressman from the San Francisco area investigating claims of abuse within the Peoples Temple, visited Jonestown. During this visit, a number of Temple members expressed a desire to leave with the Congressman, and, on the afternoon of November 18, these members accompanied Ryan to the local airstrip at Port Kaituma.

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There, they were intercepted by Temple security guards who opened fire on the group, killing Congressman Ryan, three journalists, and one of the Temple defectors.A few seconds of gunfire from the incident were captured on video by Bob Brown, one of the journalists killed in the attack On the evening of November 18, in Jonestown, Jones ordered his congregation to drink a concoction of cyanide-laced, grape-flavored Flavor Aid.PeoplesTempleOfAm11

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