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Tuesday, January 2, 2007

The Devil's Blueprint

Devil's Blueprint for an Apologists Playground

Imagine peering into a special cult crystal ball that captured a scene from the final, terrible twilight hour of Jonestown on November 18, 1978—and suddenly witnessing this foreboding dialogue of things to come in the new millennium.

You first see the slowly undulating man, languishing like a mortally wounded king cobra. Jim “Dad” Jones, totalitarian ruler of People’s Temple, naturally destined as one of the last official departures from this nightmarish gulag he so proudly created. So he sits out his final minutes on his infamous wooden “throne,” in that horrendous death-filled pavilion, waiting for his final special medication. No painful cyanide for him, of course. Just like a previous dictator, in Germany, he’ll opt for a bullet through the head.

But just before he’s about to “step across,” the defeated cult leader gets a friendly tap-tap-tap on his slumped over shoulder. It’s a very familiar friend. Jones is ecstatic. His prayers have been answered.

“So, my son,” says Lucifer, “Before you join your brethren below, what exactly are your three wishes to bestow here on Earth? Remember not to make them in haste, like some of your political friends did. Stalin—don’t even get me started. I mean, the guy wanted a permanent iron curtain across Europe! Now look at the place. So, ‘Reverend’….just be sure your three wishes are practical ones…..”

“Not a problem, pop,” replies Jones, “Got the perfect blueprint. My first wish: Replenish and rally our Cult Apologists Armada. I know my massacring babies, children, etc, has left them in something of a full retreat…. True, I’ll be long gone by the time they hit full speed again. But time is on our side. We know full well that older memories fade and younger ones can be corrupted. I’m sure of one thing, or I never would have gotten this far: In the next millennium, it’ll be a revisionist paradise.”

“Cult apologists, hmmm…..”
grins the Beast, flashing his great canines, “….always so accommodating. And such superlative aim with those devilishly pleasing ‘religious freedom’ smoke bombs covering for our pals. Well, Jimmy, it may very well take close to a generation but, yes, your wish is granted. We will, however, have to come up with a nice lovable euphemism for our cronies carrying on the cult torch.”

“Okay….let’s see,” Jones thinks, “….we could call it…..’NEW…..”
the Devil finished for him. The title was insidious. Perfect. Who could possibly take issue with the great champions of “New Religious Movements”? That would be anti-First Amendment, Un-American, and Un-Godly, after all. It was the proverbial stroke of wicked genus.

“Now, your second wish, faithful student?” asks the Fallen Angel.

“Well, I’m not quite sure yet,” replied the Pastor, who is feeling increasingly feverish as he’s edging towards the brink. “But I do want to have some future personal spin doctors pop up and wallpaper over all this with tales of the “positive” and “egalitarian” and “beautiful” realities of the People’s Temple.”

“Your wish is my command, James,” smirked the horned one. “You don’t know the half of it, but the future shows not only personal computers in nearly everyone’s home, but where people can have what are called websites, promoting any and all subjects.”

“ANY subjects??”
said Jones.

“That’s correct, my boy…..even somebody like you,” answered Satan. “And guess what---you’ll even have your very own People’s Temple website that’ll feature the brilliant Stalinist accomplishments of your ‘Apostolic Socialism.’”

said Jones. Now, with the sound of the bullet now being loaded into the gun chamber, the soon-to-be extinct tyrant had just enough time for his third wish. This website thing really got him going, but it would still never eclipse his excitement for show business, which could provide a whole new realm of immortality.

He couldn’t resist. “The third wish,” he said, “is to put me in an award-winning documentary!!”

His master looked at him for a moment, as the gun barrel now slowly pressed up against Jones’s tortured skull. All this horror, tragedy, and carnage—in a documentary??

“…..and only if my film has all these NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS ‘production values’, Father….” pleaded Jones, as the trigger slowly moved backwards.

“Agreed!” answered the Prince of Darkness, just as the sound of a single gunshot erupted, echoing throughout the new ghost town in the Guyana Jungle.

Editor’s Note: The above allegory is a warning, essentially on the dangers posed by cult apologists, e.g., assorted “scholars” and other supporters that include prominent film makers. Cult apologists are the well-financed (sometimes by terrorist cults, it seems) defenders of so-called “New Religious Movements” (NRM). There is an abundance of information detailing their activities on my website links, such as Steve Hassan’s Freedom of Mind Center and the Rick Ross Institute.

The point about the allegory’s three wishes Jim Jones made to the Devil is that…..they have all now frighteningly become reality today.

There is, in fact, a website exclusively devoted to People’s Temple and Jonestown, run by one of the lesser known of these apologists, Rebecca Moore, who like a lot of “NRM” sages, teaches religious studies in a university (surprise, surprise). Along with her husband, Fielding 'Mac' McGhee, they have a clever fusion of “bad news”/”good news” about the People’s Temple, but ultimately their goal is to “recondition” the public toward a more “optimistic” view of this monstrously destructive cult

Take a look and decide for yourself:
Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple

There is, for instance, this comment from Rebecca Moore’s “Katrina and Jonestown: A Commentary”:

“First, the situation of desperate poverty experienced by African Americans seems not just unchanged, but even worse in 2005 than in 1978. The message of hope, the overcoming of racial inequality, and the level of security which People’s Temple provided would be just as appealing today as it was back then.”

“Level of security”? This just has to beg that familiar question of “What Were You Thinking When You Wrote This?” Level of security?? Let’s see what child advocate and journalist Kenneth Wooden revealed about how this applied to the young cult captives, in his landmark book, “Children of Jonestown”:

“Physical abuse of the young was part of the routine at People’s Temple. As Jones began to exercise control, children were beaten if they failed to call him Father or were otherwise disrespectful or if they talked with peers who were not members of People’s Temple. Belts were used at first, then were replaced by elm switches, which in turn were replaced by the “board of education,” a long, hard piece of wood, swung by 250-pound Ruby Carroll.”

Message of hope? Wooden goes on to describe how this message was conveyed:

“Mild discipline gave way to making young girls….take cold showers or jump into the cold swimming pool at the Redwood Valley Church. Unequal boxing matches gave way to beatings with paddles, then electric shock, and finally something [Jones] called ‘blue-eyed’ monster, which hurt and terrorized the younger ones in a darkened room…..These abuses occurred while the People’s Temple was in California and regularly winning praise from newspapers and politicians.”

The last sentence should outrage every citizen in California, and everywhere else for that matter. Those elites still swaggering around should be confronted for aiding and abetting such crimes. Of course, that would likely not phase J. Gordon Melton, founder of the Santa Barbara-based Institute for the Study of American Religion, one single bit.

“This wasn’t a cult,” said Melton, commenting on the People’s Temple, “This was a respectable, mainline Christian group.”

Mind you, Melton claimed this in early 1988, nearly 10 years after the Jonestown Massacre. It’s no surprise he’s known as the “father of cult apologists.” And, yet, he sponsors religious conferences and defended the terrorist Aum Shinrikyo cult—receiving travel expenses from them in exchange-- in Japan (which launched a poison gas attack on a Tokyo subway in 1995).

But Melton is insignificant compared to the Devil’s third kept promise to Jim Jones in the allegory. Throughout the nation’s theatres, and now on the“short list” for a possible ”Best Documentary” Academy Award nomination, is Stanley Nelson’s “Jonestown: Life and Death of the People’s Temple”.

The award-winning Nelson is an amazingly talented film maker, although he really ought to give just a little more spotlight to his wife, Marcia Smith, also an award-winner, as she wrote the “story” for the film.

After seeing this astounding collage of unabashed cult apologist tripe, it’s fitting indeed that quotation marks hang over Mrs. Nelson’s “story”-telling. She admitted in an interview with the Writer’s Guild of America the following:

“I view my work as advocacy…..yes, they’re [documentaries] supposed to be based on fact, but you always have to make a choice about what part of the facts you’re going to put in a film.”

Yes, ma’am. And with such a skilled director as your husband, whom I’m certain has the same passionate view on “advocacy” and “fact deletion” as you, it’s no wonder we’ve come up with this breath-taking movie that surely has Jim Jones dancing in his grave, giving thanks to the unholy one—in our allegory.

Writer Bettina Drew of “The Nation” (presumably a sympathetic “advocacy” publication) provides one of the most ghastly of all accounts of life for the mind-controlled, now physically imprisoned cult members in the Guyana gulag, in her article “Indiana Jones’ Temple of Doom”:

“Like a plantation, Jonestown was closed, semi-self-sufficient agricultural world, with a sawmill, a school and a medical unit. Transplanted from their homes, their family relationships sundered, most of the able-bodied were made to work in the fields from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days a week, and on Sundays, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., while living in crowded, tin-roofed wooden barracks containing bunk beds for scores of people.

“They toiled in gangs observed by armed guards said to be for their own protections, and were physically abused if they slacked in their work or were defiant. Offenders were assigned to a socially segregated “Learning Crew”, which had to work double-time, heavily guarded, in the fields. There were also isolation units and an “Extended Care Unit”, where Thorazine, found in quantity, was said by a nurse and others to keep the truly backward sedated; for recalcitrant children, there were horrifying well-dunkings. The all-night harangues and Jones’s incessant voice over the loudspeaker were a psychological constant for a population that grew thin and susceptible to diarrhea on an inadequate rice-based diet.

“And Jones kept his followers in ignorance by selectively editing and delivering himself any news form the outside world. Though Jonestown wasn’t racially based, he re-created New World plantation slavery in Guyana. For, like slaves, Jones’s people were there to serve his vision, yet they were central to his identity.”

Isolation units? Slave labor and starvation diets? Totalitarian oppression?? Oh no, well that surely wasn’t compatible in Stanley and Mrs. Nelson’s Little Storyboard World. No doubt they torpedoed one freighter load of facts after another in their quest to get full sail with the rest of the Cult Apologist Armada.

But don’t fret--we’ll delve into all the things that Stan and the Mrs. censored, such as Jim Jones’s ex-enforcer Tim Stoen, who almost caused the mass murder to happen a year early. What’s more, how the Academy could possibly consider a Documentary Oscar for someone with the following mentality about one of the worst human rights atrocities in modern American history:

“I see them in Jonestown,” related Nelson, in an interview with Greencine Magazine, “and part of me sees a huge party, you know what I mean? When I see clips that NBC took of that last night, when they got that band playing…..and they’re in the middle of the jungle, and—you think about that—that band can play as late as you want them to play. They can party as hard as they want. All the people are there, everybody that you know and love, you can go put the kids to bed, and they’re safe in their beds, and you can come back and party all night long. Hey. Looked fun to me.”

Ah-huh. A whole lot of fun in Jonestown. Hopefully, Stanley and Mrs. Nelson will make public the exact reasons why they have so unconscionably exploited the American public with this screen derivative of Rebecca Moore’s appallingly twisted “Sympathetic History of People’s Temple”.

Photo source Photo source


artoo45 said...

As a person fascinated with the whole concept of cults and mind control groups, I salute your blog and research. I never would have imagined that someone would "apologize" for that monster and his destructive cult, but I see that I was wrong.

I don't subscribe to the "conservative" far-right for it's hateful superstitions and politics, neither can I stomach the "liberal" far-left for their willingness to embrace equally absurd spiritual and political nonsense. They have both been duped by cults, the right by Sun Myung Moon and the left by . . . well, everyone else.

Which brings me to learning about Hollywood's embrace of this "documentary" and these apologists. Michael Moore may be a manipulative, irritating twat, but at least he was right about Iraq. These Jonestown apologists . . . yikes. These folks must be very young and idealistic . . . or completely insane.

Social equality is a noble goal. The African-American experience has been a long, painful struggle for human rights and acceptance with many villains and heroes of both colors. That anyone would hold Jones up as one of the heroes is unimagineable to me. He used the classic cultic tactic of taking something good, and noble (in this case racial harmony) and twisting and perverting it into something to satisfy his boderline/megalomania.

I've read that it's actually easier to induct smart people into cults than stupid ones. It's about neediness, not intellect. Sociologically, it seems that a lack of belonging and dearth of critical thinking skills has made us vulnerable to these charlatans. Until we emphasize critical thinking in our educational system, we'll keep falling for the lies and drinking the Kool-aid.

From the "Alternative Considerations" site, I found the site which is completely off the hook. They seemed so convinced that I almost began to wonder if maybe there was another side to this whole thing. Then I got to the reviews section and sanity returned when I saw just who it was that was heaping praise on their "research" . . .

"I am indeed impressed with your courage and persistence in continuing to communicate about the lies that surround Jonestown. Please continue to keep me briefed on your work."

Rev. Heber C. Jentsch
President, Church of Scientology International

They might as well have a recommendation from Hitler.

Keep up the good work.

Emily said...

Excellent work exposing these "apologists" for what they really are - fraudulent "academics" hawking their credentials for a buck, naive people obtusely ignoring facts around events like Jonestown under the insipid guise of being "tolerant," or ego-obsessed opportunists touting their dangerous lies for attention.

Nelson's "looked fun to me" comment was downright shocking. He's seen the footage. He's presumably read the details of what life was like for people in Jonestown. I'm sure those children lassoed and lowered into damp, dark wells and taunted with stories of monsters lurking in the shadows had the time of their lives. I suppose we could ask them if they hadn't been, you know, MURDERED.

Robin Shelley said...

Like so many of the PT's public displays, the party for the media on that last fateful night at Jonestown was staged. If Nelson is too stupid to know that, how can I believe anything else he might say? Outrageous!
Hurry, Tom! I need to see everything you've got.

Rose said...

If Nelson had done his homework, he would know, among other things, that

22. The food was woefully inadequate. There was rice for breakfast, rice water soup for lunch, and rice and beans for dinner. On Sunday, we each received an egg and a cookie. Two or three times a week we had vegetables. Some very weak and elderly members received one egg per day. However, the food did improve markedly on the few occasions when there were outside visitors.
28. Visitors were infrequently permitted access to Jonestown. The entire community was required to put on a performance when a visitor arrived. Before the visitor arrived, Rev. Jones would instruct us on the image we were to project. The workday would be shortened. The food would be better. Sometimes there would be music and dancing. Aside from these performances, there was little joy or hope in any of our lives. An air of despondency prevailed.