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Kool-Aide Drinking Zombies
Perspective on the News
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Rebecca Droeger

All this week, we have been discussing the Islamic uprisings in the Middle East.

When Jack first covered the story in his article “The Second Coming (of Jimmy Carter?)” it felt like way more to me than the US trying to respect the adherents to the religion of “peace and love.”  It seemed more like a push towards a more tolerant, world-wide, accepting religion that is not so extreme.  One that is more inclusive, and where we can live in “a world where the dignity of all people—and all faiths—is respected.” (per Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough)

The thought made my stomach churn, and I thought “all it would take would be another Jim Jones incident to happen within Christianity for the government to start targeting fundamental Christians as being extreme hate groups.” You know, because fundamental Christians claim they are the only ones to go to Heaven, they don’t believe in allowing homosexuals to marry, and they believe life begins at conception.  So they hate people that don’t believe what they do, homosexuals and women because they don’t respect their rights.

Since we are becoming eye-witnesses to more Bible Prophecy unfolding on this side of the Rapture than I expected, I thought it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with what actually occurred during the Jim Jones tragedy so we could be on the lookout so something like that does not happen to our flock again.  Boy, was I in for a surprise that took me completely off-guard.

As a little background, I personally remember witnessing the horrid videos in 1978 when the mass “suicide” occurred.  I had just turned four and we were on a family vacation in Florida.  It flashed on the news, and my parents did not have enough time to shuffle me out of the room before I saw it.  Plus, I think they were so shocked that they did not have time to react to it.

I recall asking my Mom what happened.  When she composed herself enough to tell me, she told me how they had killed themselves because they did whatever their leader told them to do.  She explained to me that they were mislead into believing he was God.

Of course, it was an extremely difficult concept for a four-year old to grasp, but I remember thinking “how could that happen?”

After I saw bits & pieces of the Jonestown story movie with Powers Booth when I was a little older, I asked my Mom again what had happened.  She abbreviated the portrayal she was led to believe and said “He was a Christian preacher who started out good, but power went to his head and he went nuts.”  She also mentioned drugs played a huge part in his fall from grace.

What really happened has haunted me since the day I started researching it.

On November 18, 1978, 909 human beings loss their lives in what appeared to be a mass suicide.  Members of Jones’ congregation, the Peoples Temple, were either found dead with gun shot wounds or from cyanide poisoning in Jonestown, Guyana (located in South America).

The famous term “don’t drink the Kool-Aide,” or other derivatives spawned from the group’s mixture of the cyanide concoction with a flavored drink in order to have their members drink it in a grand final gesture of “revolutionary suicide.”

Originally, Jones’ and the members of the Peoples Temple were seeking out the ultimate Utopian society where everyone was equal and all were welcome.  It was their own version of a Socialist paradise.

Since my first source was Wikipedia, and it was so different from what I had heard, not to mention the site’s reputation as not always having accurate information, I continued to search other sources.

They all verified what Wikipedia summarized; and worse yet, I witnessed actual video footage and heard audio tapes of Jones’ discourses.  To say I was shocked is the understatement of the year.

Now, I knew all along that this guy could not truly be practicing Christianity and have committed these heinous acts; but that did not prevent the World from thinking he ended as a Christian and from ultimately blaming a Christian for the deaths.

However, what I discovered was that he was never a professing Christian; despite leading a congregation associated with a Christian denomination.  He was always a communist and subscribed to a “social gospel.”  According to Catherine Wessinger in her book How the Millennium Comes Violently: From Jonestown to Heaven's Gate, Jones viewed traditional Christianity as “‘fly away religion,’ rejecting the Bible as being white men’s justification to subordinate women and subjugate people of color and stating that it spoke of a ‘Sky God’ who was no God at all.”

Do what?  I had to be absolutely sure that history wasn’t being rewritten.  While I would pray that our Brothers and Sisters in Christ would never stoop as low as to rewrite history because of something that happened because of nut that had a cult, I still needed to make sure.

So, I watched hours of video footage, read many documents, and watched some documentaries.  Sure enough, in Jones’ own words, I never heard him acknowledge Jesus as his Savior.  Most of the time he mentioned Jesus or God, he mainly used in the context of teaching, or people seeing Christ in him.

Even all the music played in his “church,” mysteriously never mentioned God or Jesus.

Jim Jones would also selectively quote Scripture, focusing on verses that justified his view on redistribution of wealth, or equality for minorities.

Everything Jones said reflected a view that man could achieve a type of Heaven on Earth scenario if everyone were equal.  Of course, he uses Scripture to support his philosophy by partially quoting Mark 10:21-22 “go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor.”

Notice how Jones leaves out a crucial portion of the Scripture where it immediately follows with “and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”

“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 16:25 NKJV)

Sadly, those who were not students of the Bible, or those who really related to the injustice of segregation back in the 60’s-70’s saw a worthy and noble cause in Jones’ mission.  After all, it really seemed like Jones’ lived by what he was teaching.

Jones adopted several children who were not Caucasian, would champion equal rights and work with legislatures to end segregation, and he even refused to be moved to the “Whites only section” of a hospital when he was mistakenly placed in the African American unit.

Jones looked picture perfect because he was even seen doing servant duties for the sick and poor.

"Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8)

***Stay tuned for Part 2 next week***

Thanks to one of our OL members for the title.  I saw a post of his in our forums and thought it fit nicely.  I avoided using his name for privacy purposes.

About Rebecca Droeger

Last week: Has It Always Been This Bad?



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