I was stationed at Dover AFB in November 1978 when the dead bodies came to be placed in the largest mortuary on the East Coast. There were so many bodies the First Sergeants had to wake many of us up at 3 AM to help unload bodies off of the C-5/A aircrafts and move furniture to make room for the bodies. I will never forget the stench of death at Dover that week. I received a Commendation medal for helping move bodies and equipment. That was something I pray to God I never have to experience again. The real tragedy is that it COULD have been prevented if only somebody read their Bible. Before Jim Jones took those people to Guyana, it is recorded that he preached a sermon in Indiana where he uttered these chilling words, “You don’t need to read the Bible anymore, just listen to me”. I don’t know how many left the church after he said that but the church SHOULD have emptied out. How did over 900 people choose to drink cyanide laced Flavor-Aid (It really wasn’t Kool Aid) because their Pastor told them to? Jim Jones was able to take hundreds of lives in Guyana because someone refused to listen to their gut (spirit). I firmly believe in supporting the local church and helping pastors, I want to make that clear. However there is a real epidemic of spiritually stupid "saints" that don't study their Bibles and try every spirit by the Spirit. We were given the ability to discern so we WON'T end up giving our money to crooks and drinking poison Kool-Aid! Many of today's most prominent preachers would be labeled heretics hundreds of years ago because MOST clergymen were devout Theologians and serious students of scripture. Today ordination papers and licenses are given to anyone that say's they are called to preach. I agree that being Spirit-filled and called is the first priority of being a preacher, but ALSO there has to be training…SERIOUS TRAINING! A lack of understanding of just the basic Bible doctrines of the faith can lead to the types of abuses I am talking about. Martin Luther was able to stand up to the lies of Rome because he was filled with the knowledge of the truth. I am a Pentecostal preacher, I believe in the Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit, but that doesn't negate the fact that we must have a scholarly approach to the scriptures and its teachings.
In the summer of 1977, Jones and most of the 1000 members of the Peoples Temple moved to Guyana from San Francisco after an investigation into the church for tax evasion had begun. Jones named the closed settlement Jonestown after himself. His intention was to create an agricultural utopia in the jungle, free from racism and based on socialist principles.
People who had left the organization prior to its move to Guyana told the authorities of brutal beatings, murders and of a mass suicide plan, but were not believed. In spite of the tax evasion allegations, Jones was still widely respected for setting up a racially mixed church which helped the disadvantaged. Around 70% of the inhabitants of Jonestown were black and impoverished.