English and Literature
Submitted By shannon1marie
In the articles Jones showed how one man can take control over a large group of people and convince the group to take their lives on his command. “We are social creatures who need to feel that we belong to something greater than ourselves and rely heavily upon the approval of others to measure our worth. Such a situation leaves us vulnerable to others, quickly changing our viewpoints to fit in with those around us, denying our own instinctive values and beliefs when faced with the conflicting views of others. People such as Jim Jones, driven be their own insatiable need to be accepted and loved, have an instinctive knowledge of the weakness of others and how to manipulate them to their own advantage”(Steel). There were many people who gave up their homes for Jones. The people wanted to help Jones raise money for the Peoples Temple. Each individual had surrendered all of his or her possessions and income to the people’s temple. To leave would mean to abandon all the possessions they had, leaving them penniless and homeless. When everybody started to give up their homes for the church everyone started to do the same. “Once thrown off balance (in the exclusive company of other people who already believe it) and being shown evidence that supports the conclusion, it is not difficult to become convinced that the people have actually met the living god” (Psychology today). When the people were in the church and around everybody who already believed in Jones, it became easier for others to believe as well. When the people were in the churches, they were happy to be there. It was contagious. Everybody started to become happy and realize this is the best thing that has ever happened to them. When it came to the end and Jones realized it was time to die, Jones stated, “If these people land out here, they’ll torture some of our children here. They’ll torture our people, they’ll torture our seniors. We can’t have this”(History1900’s). This made people think they have no other choice but to kill themselves to save themselves; everyone believed Jones and did what they thought they had to do. Another reason people obeyed Jones was because people wanted to avoid responsibility “people had know in the past from the constant need to make decision and choices was now gone. Life was easier with fewer choices” (Steel). In the Peoples Temple, Jones made the rules and told everybody what they can and cannot do. For instance, in the church, people were humiliated by Jones and nobody spoke up. The people listened to Jones and obeyed his commands. The people did not leave the temple even when Congressman Ryan told everybody he would take who ever back with him. “Anyone who wanted to leave had the option of doing so openly without the normal threats to their safety, yet only fifteen chose to do so. This is a strong indication of the effectiveness of Jones indoctrination”(Steel). The people didn’t want to take responsibility for leaving the temple and dealing with the consequences. “Staying could easily be justified, and the consequences seem more appealing than what could be faced outside”. The people also didn’t want the responsibility of rebuilding their lives of having to go back to their families and admitting their mistakes. That would mean being alone without a support group. Jones became a powerful figure. Jones started off donating money to many charitable causes and delivered votes at election time. “The Peoples Temple ran social and medical programs for the needy, including a free dining hall, drug rehab and legal aid services’. Jones never judged anybody or was racist against anybody because of their color. A lot of the followers were young people who wanted to do something meaningful with their lives. As time went on, giving money was not an option, it was a demand. There was a certain percentage the people had to give to the church to become part of Peoples Temple. “The people described their experiences as finding an unexpected sense of purpose, as though they were becoming a part of something extraordinarily significant that seemed to carry them beyond their feelings of isolation and toward an expanded sense of reality and the meaning of life”(History). The people were promised they would be able to grow their own food and work together without all of the negativity around them. After moving to Jonestown, there were a few people that realized they made a big mistake and wanted out but could not leave. The people knew there would be consequences and there were armed guards all around. Even though there were visible signs of things going wrong, there were people who saw past that and still believed in Jones. Those people liked the feeling of being part of the group and not being alone. The Peoples Temple pleased authority as shown throughout the article Jonestown, when “the members time increased gradually and so did the level of financial commitment” (Steel). The members had to give more to Jones the longer the members were with the church. It was a demand, not an option, to all of the members, and everybody did as they were commanded . There are different levels of pleasing authority, which is, “The highest level of commitment that could be demonstrated was when an individual or family lived at the peoples temple facilities, handing over all personal property, savings and social security checks to the temple” (Steel). The people followed in the revolutionary act because this is what Jones wanted everyone to do and prepared everyone for. Jones prepared everyone to follow the group and believe in whatever Jones has to say. When Jones made his speech about killing Ryan, Jones demanded everyone they had to kill themselves and their families. The people followed Jones and obeyed him when the mothers and fathers watched their children die in front of them. In the article Jonestown it should how people obey authority regardless of what the people have to give up. Then there are others who will do as they want no matter what. In Jonestown people gave up their lives to be with Jim Jones and died for him, even though they didn’t want to die. If people think in a group mind set, will people every be able to think independently and do and say as we please?…...