Search This Blog

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Illegal Marriages, Welfare Fraud, and More Phony Faith Healings--3rd 1972 People's Temple Expose

Former People's Temple Enforcer Tim Stoen during the deadly cult's heyday--who is now amazingly once again an appointed Mendocino County Deputy District Attorney

Deceitful. Delusional. The same, sad baldfaced lies.

The mountain of specious media accounts of the People's Temple is increasing exponentially these days, as we count down to April 9th's big PBS premiere of cult apologist director Stanley Nelson's "Jonestown" fantasy epic. This film is a textbook example in perverting the concept of a documentary, which is supposed to emphasize or express things "as perceived without distortion of personal feelings, insertion of fictional matter, or interpretation."

Lord Nelson's Ode to Jones--that is, before he suddenly turned Darth Vader in Guyana---is some piece of work. "Jim Jones promised the people who joined People's Temple they would be part of this social-action experiment," said Nelson, in yet another of his incredible interviews, with Inside Bay Area reporter Susan Young.

An experiment that featured the following "social-action experiments": Forced labor. Torturing five year-olds with cattle prods. Extortion. Welfare fraud. Malnutrition. Death threats. "For a long time," says the director, "he really delivered on that promise."

Reporter Young, like nearly all the rest of the media horde that have been seduced by Nelson's trick photography, lead off her story with this "promise-delivering" image:

"The first thing that strikes you are the filmed images of happy children, a riotous rainbow of races. Towheaded boys with Afro-haired girls, all holding hands, singing, giggling."

The more than lamentable thing about the stupidity of falling for this cult-staged film is the position that the children's demise--which Young does note in the next paragraph--was inevitable. Had the California media just had the guts to pursue Jones, rather than embrace him, there wouldn't have been a Jonestown. Because this cult would have had a merciful, just demise, without loss of life, long before that.

In this, the third installment of my father's expose series, the "social-action" unmasked here included an illegal Temple marriage, welfare fraud, and phony faith healing, in Indianapolis. It centers around a very suspect asst. Mendecino D.A. named Tim Stoen. Stoen, while he did manage to apologize in recent years to my father for some of the dirty work he did on behalf of Jones, still sadly manifests much of the deceit of many of the cult apologists ("religious scholars", they call themselves).

The way Stoen still clings to the delusion, and won't come clean, makes one wonder if he's been baptized in the same ethics cesspool as Stanley Nelson. Here is what Stoen told the Mendocino Coast Christian Men's Ministry in a "testimony" on his life story last February 24:

"....Joined People's Temple in 1970 to bring about a model utopia based on total economic and racial equality; was attorney for the People's Temple and Jim Jones from 1970 to 1977, becoming a socialist; helped establish Jonestown in 1973; lived there in 1977 with my five-year old son, John Victor, working in a sawmill: left the movement on a trip to the U.S. upon discovering Jones's abuses...."

Is the re-appointed Asst. Mendocino District Attorney, who never apologized for conspiring with Jones to murder my father or rig San Francisco's 1975 municipal elections, SERIOUS??

We're supposed to actually swallow the yarn that, as one of the most powerful members of Jones's inner circle (which he also denied publicly), for all those years from 1970 onward, while kids were being tortured and people were being extorted and threatened--Tim didn't have a clue?

Another full-blown symptom of a Full-Nelson chokehold on reality, something clearly not restricted to confused film makers in this Jonestown Fable Forest.

Interestingly enough, director Nelson has censored Stoen's critical role as Temple muscleman. Jim Jones' top enforcer has been let off the hook. Yet another twisted piece of this cult apologist revisionist wonder, to add to the censoring of this article's publication sparking Jones and Stoen to send up a picket line of cultists around the Examiner building that day.

You may just see the unlabeled footage in the film, however!

Tuesday, September 19, 1972
San Francisco Examiner

By Rev. Lester Kinsolving
Examiner Religion Writer

REDWOOD VALLEY - Mendocino County's assistant district attorney - who has written that his pastor, the Rev. Jim Jones has raised 40 people from the dead - has confirmed reports that he himself has solemnized the marriage of a minor girl who joined his church.

Timothy O. Stoen, who in addition to his duties as assistant DA, is attorney for and board member of Pastor Jones's People's Temple Christian (Disciples) Church in this hamlet near Ukiah, admitted he is not an ordained clergyman.

When asked by what authority he had officiated at the marriage of Mildred "Mickie" Johnson (who has now returned to her family in Indianapolis), Stoen contended:

"I meet all the requirements of the State Civil Code."

When asked which section of the state code permits an attorney (rather than a judge) to solemnize marriages, Stoen replied:

"I'll have to ask you to let me go back and check that."

The issue arose in a legal affidavit filed yesterday in Indianapolis by Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Johnson.

The Johnsons, former parishioners of the Rev. Mr. Jones when he was a pastor of the Indianapolis People's temple, charged that after Stoen married their daughter (to a man identified only as "Junius"), she was placed on the welfare rolls of Mendocino County.

Forced Donation

The Johnsons also charged that Mildred was obliged to give her monthly welfare check of $95 to The People's Temple - and that in August of 1971, Stoen had written them for permission to appoint a legal guardian for their other daughter, Gwin, age 18.

(The two girls were among former parishioners - including a number of teenagers - who followed the charismatic prophet-pastor, who left Indiana for California in 1965.)

Stoen confirmed that he had written the Johnsons for such permission. But he said that he had not known the Rev. Mr. Jones in 1965, when the Johnson affidavit says:

"Jones said that the world would end on July 16, 1967, and encouraged the congregation here to pool their money and follow him to California - where he promised they would find a place where only they would be safe from this impending disaster."

Curious visitors

The Johnson affidavit also charges that the Rev. Mr. Jones:

"Uses people to visit potential church members, noting anything personal in the house, like addresses on letters, types of medicine in the medicine cabinet, or pictures of relatives.

"Then, when they show up in church, he tells them things about their ailments and the kinds of pills they take."

When asked to comment on this charge, Stoen explained:

"I don't remember anything like this. I believe Jim's gift is authentic - or as he said in his sermon yesterday, he has paranormal gifts."

On Sunday, Sept. 10, at 11:15 p.m. (following this writer's first visit to a People's Temple service in Redwood valley), Stoen telephoned long distance to say among other things:

"I suppose you've heard a rumor that Jim Jones was run out of Indianapolis for faith healing?"

When asked to elaborate, Stoen explained:

"Well, I've seen the story in the Indianapolis Star."

What information did this Star story contain?

"I don't remember the details," replied the assistant district attorney.

Fast Trip

Yet immediately after the Indianapolis Star featured one of two stories about Prophet Jones and his faith healing, Stoen traveled from California to Indianapolis to confer with Dr. Jeanette P. Riley of the Indiana State Board of Psychology Examiners, according to Dr. Reilly.

When asked about this, Stoen explained that he made the trip but that Dr. Reilly had sent him to a meeting of the board - which had announced that it intended to investigate the Rev. Mr. Jones for allegedly claiming to heal psychosomatic diseases.

Yet the Indiana State Board took no action, as Jones had not used the title of psychologist.

No Case

"I explained to the board and to Indiana's Attorney General that Jim had done no wrong,"<>"and the Attorney General said he can come back anytime, as there is no case."

The announcement of the possible investigation by the state board came after the Indianapolis Star reported that on Oct. 13, 1971, the Rev. Mr. Jones told the congregation of the People's Temple of Indianapolis:

"With over 4000 members of our California Church, we haven't had a death yet!"

Star reporter Byron Wells, an eyewitness at the visiting pastor's afternoon and evening services that day, reported that at the afternoon service a woman was ordered to leave the auditorium in order that she "pass a cancer."


Wells reported that when the woman returned, her alleged cancer was being carried about by an attendant - although the Rev. Mr. Jones warned everyone not to get too close. He also reported a striking similarity between those healed in the afternoon and those healed that evening.

The Star also reported that the Rev. Mr. Jones subsequently refused requests to allow that the alleged cancer be analyzed.

He was reported as explaining that he had "no objections," but that he has to abide with the wishes of his church leaders "not to become involved in more publicity."

The Rev. Mr. Jones was also reported as having said that he was afraid that the cancerous tissue would be switched on him in a deliberate attempt to discredit his power.

Dislikes Publicity

"I've done more than any other faith healer," he was reported as explaining, "that's why I don't want any more publicity, either favorable or unfavorable."

Apparently, the Rev. Mr. Jones, for all his charismatic effect, has not been able to prevail on his devoted flock in this regard. For this past weekend, when he was in San Francisco for special services at Benjamin Franklin Junior High School Auditorium, pamphlets were distributed throughout downtown San Francisco by his followers. These pamphlets advertised:

"PASTOR JIM JONES... Incredible!...Miraculous... Amazing!... The Most Unique Prophetic Healing Service You've Ever Witnessed!... Behold The Word Made Incarnate In Your Midst!"


Postscript: In light of the Indianapolis Star's admirable record in being the first actual newspaper to expose the fraudulent cult--covered up, AGAIN, by "Honest Stan's" film--I appealed to them not to fall down at his feet like the rest of the media. I sent this message:


Mr. Ryerson
Ms. Fine
Ms. Green
Ms. Thomas
Mr. Lloyd

I'm astonished--and disgusted--that of all newspapers in the nation, the Indianapolis Star, would continue lying down in the muck of denial and dishonesty regarding Jim Jones.

Yes, lamentably a native demon seed son he was. Yet WHY on earth wouldn't the Star want to take some credit in it's proud history of having their brave reporters Bryron Wells and Carolyn Pickering be the first in the nation to investigate the People's Temple?

You choose not to say ONE SINGLE WORD about your former reporters' work to stop Jones. Instead, readers are served up a March 16 reprint of a disingenuous, creme puff L.A. Times review of Stanley Nelson's insidious cult apologist film, "Jonestown: The Life and Death of the People's Temple."

If there is one shred of integrity at that paper, perhaps you might dispense with the "we just don't have the space" excuse and allow the people of Indianapolis to read the following excerpt (which was submitted today to two of your open forum sections):

October, 1971. Indianapolis, In.

"Church Filled To See 'Cures' By Self-Proclaimed 'Prophet of God'" was the first Jim Jones exposé ever published. Indianapolis Star reporter Bryon C. Wells had attended afternoon and evening "miracle healing services" at People's Temple in downtown Indianapolis. There he heard Jones proclaim, "With over 4,000 members of our California church, we haven't had a death yet!...I am a prophet of God and I can cure both the illness of your body, as well as the illness of your mind."

Wells noted that "people who were called upon in the evening to be cured had a striking resemblance to some who were called earlier in the day." Wells's second account, "State Psychology Board to Eye 'Prophet' Jones" reported that, for the first time, Jones would be investigated.

The State Board of Psychology Examiners would decide whether they could prosecute Jones for practicing psychiatry without a license, since he claimed he could cure psychosomatic diseases. After careful scrutiny they concluded that Jones was protected under the First Amendment, and state law forbid prosecuting "faith healers."

Wells's first exposé provoked a deluge of furious letters and phone calls to the Star from Temple members. Jones, meanwhile, claimed during services that he received 23 phone calls from Indianapolis "hatemongers." Nine months later, Wells received an alarming letter from Indianapolis resident Georgia Johnson. Once one of Jones's earliest followers, she was now a concerned mother trying to get her two young daughters to return home from the Temple's other base in Redwood Valley, California. Wells passed it onto the city editor, who in turn handed it to Carolyn Pickering, the Star's leading investigative reporter.

Although Pickering was a bit apprehensive when reading Georgia Johnson's long-winded letter, she nevertheless set up an interview. Her month-long full-time investigation into People's Temple had begun.

August, 1972.

"Dear Tom", wrote Pickering to Executive Editor Tom Eastham of the San Francisco Examiner. "The Star is contemplating sending me out to your grand and glorious state to probe into a religious cult operation in Redwood Valley, near Ukiah...called People's Temple...

"...The fraud who conducts this holy organization is the Rev. James W. Jones who once had a small church here...If there is someone on your staff who might have some knowledge of this bunch, or could provide some entrees to state officials who might be interested, I'd appreciate it."

Eastham told Pickering that he already had a reporter, the Rev. Lester Kinsolving, investigating Jones. Kinsolving, who wrote a weekly column entitled "Inside Religion", had contacted Ukiah Daily Journal editor George Hunter on February 7th of that year after hearing reports that the People's Temple charismatic pastor was attracting thousands to his Sunday services. Four days later, Examiner editor Ed Dooley received a letter from Timothy Stoen, whose letterhead identified him only as "Attorney at Law". Stoen, Jones's point man, sang the Temple praises.

It was obvious Hunter dutifully reported Kinsolving's phone call to Stoen. Stoen elaborated on a long list of achievements, such as Jones's past appointments to various positions of public trust, "including Foreman of the Mendocino County Grand Jury...and that Jones was "the most compassionate, fearless, and honest person I know of..."

After being briefed by Eastham, Kinsolving contacted Pickering and the two reporters began collaborating.

---"Madman In Our Midst"
by Tom and
Kathleen Kinsolving

Giving Nelson's fraudulent film a thumbs up is not just a disgraceful disregard of your own newpaper's work (which, unlike the cowardly Examiner, stood up to Jim Jones in the early 70's).

No, it just DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. So will the Star's current publisher and editors explain this to their readers? Or do they think they deserve to keep getting that old mushroom treatment of being kept in the dark and fed manure?

And their response, ladies and gentlemen?

According to "Head Honcho" Dennis Ryerson: "....the chapter of the Jones story that was Indianapolis was so many years ago that the people involved on the staff are no longer here, and with them, went institutional memory."

As did, obviously, the last vestiges of Star integrity.



Anonymous said...

Mr. Kinsolving,
Just wondering if you know where I can read a copy of that Indiana Star expose`? Is it online anywhere? If it is, I have been unable to read it. Thanks for your help.

Tom Kinsolving said...

Please accept my apology for the time lag from when you submitted your question (fell through a cyber crack!) As far as accessing any of the Star's People Temple exposes, I would suggest contacting the archive department of the newspaper. Considering current editor Dennis Ryerson's shameless coverup of Star reporters Carolyn Pickering & Bryron Wells historic first exposes of Jim Jones, it would hardly be a surprise if you were told that the records were "not available."
Maybe not, though. But what is unequivical is that Ryerson is an unmitigated coward, like most of the shrinking cadre of editorial field marshalls, when it comes to fessing up about the "real story" of the People's Temple. He told me, incredibly, that the reason why he refused to recognize Pickering's work was his defective "institutional memory".
That's a good one. When that little catchpharase wears thin, Dennis, you can use "ethics lobotomy", okay?

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!