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Sunday, April 22, 2007

National Cult Expert Pans Nelson's "Jonestown"; The First Censored People's Temple Expose Is Revealed

Let's give it to History Channel top executive Dan Davids--sensational timing, Danny!

And let's not forget his tact, oh yes. Much like his ratings-crazed news colleagues that jumped like circus canines to immediately broadcast those obscene photos of the Virginia Tech gunman. Never mind about the grieving families, or old-fashioned notions about decency.

Not even a week has passed, with yesterday being the first of a long line of memorial services and funerals for the slaughtered young people. And still, Davids just couldn't resist last night throwing at us a rerun of "Jonestown: Paradise Lost", graphic portrayal of another mass-murder.

It was just two days ago that we had a national day of mourning.

Why on earth couldn't Davids have at least waited a little while? Nothing against the docudrama per se, outside of a couple of serious flaws, the primary one being director Tim Wolochatiuk's turning to those notorious cult apologists Becky Moore and Mac McGhee for "expert advice".

The nagging question: Is this the kind of programming that we really had to have now??

Jonestown, of course, produced more victims, under entirely different circumstances. But these tragedies both share the same senseless criminal essence. Investigators of such atrocities have to uncover the causes and establish accountability, which the media is obliged to report.

We know our "safety-first" friendly gun lobby, National Rifle Association (NRA), has done whatever it takes to allow the most unhindered flow of guns to the public, even fighting to put "cop killer" armor-piercing bullets on those gun store counters. These fanatics have a stranglehold on Congress. In such an atmosphere, it's hardly surprising that former mental patients like the Va Tech killer could get hold of the weaponry to go on a murderous rampage.

It's no surprise, either, how Jim Jones was able to carry out his murderous rampage, on so many more people, albeit a dramatically different setting. The real question, still, is on accountability.

The media keeps on pretending they were on top of it, because reporters like Marshal "Pursued 'Em Early & Often" Kilduff say so. Negligent and dishonest.

California politicians and clergy--in particular Rev. John V. Moore--pretend they knew nothing until too late about this cult's nefarious nature. Negligent, spineless, and even more dishonest.

But the worst of the lot are the collection of cult apologist "New Religious Movement" scholars that infest universities across the nation, from Rev. Moore's daughter, Becky (San Diego State), to John Hall (UC-Davis), Catherine Wessinger (Loyola), Jeffery Hadden (Univ. of Virginia), and scores of others.

These people are the most insufferable, because they are hard-working shills for religious cults that ruthlessly brain-wash, enslave, and abuse others, often children. They are wonderfully adept at disingenuous arguments coached in fancy academic language designed to confuse readers with half-truths bathed in fantasy.

There's a nagging suspicion that one of them, a certain retired member of Columbia's academic community, went on something of a rampage against this blog in a rambling, fuming attack in one of the comment sections. She neglected to identify herself beyond leaving her first name: "Gillian".

But I'll wager--and she's welcome to correct me if not so--that this is the very same Gillian Lindt listed in the "Scholarly Resources" section (brimming literally with a who's who of apologists, including Godfather of Cult Promoters and vampire enthusiast, J. Gordon Melton) of the Moore/McGhee Jonestown-Wasn't-So-Bad propaganda website.

Fess up, now, Gill; did Becky and Big Mac send you?

In any event, I wish you luck in continuing to try "to make sense and figure out" the serious problem posed by cult apologists and deluded film makers who concoct twisted, sugar-coated portraits of a monstrously destructive cult called People's Temple.

Nationally recognized cult counselor Steve Hassan recently commented about Nelson's "Jonestown" film, the one you argue contributes "something enlightening" to us.

"I was deeply affected by the documentary," writes Hassan, "as it brought back in powerful detail much of what I felt back in 1978 that made me want to dedicate more time to fighting cults. I have met Grace Stoen and was supposed to testify before a hearing convened by Bob Dole in Washington DC. It was that taken over by cults and all ex-members were taken off the agenda and cult leaders were invited to speak. They pulled this off by having cult members picketing with signs like "Elect Bob Dole President, Repeal the First Amendment.

"In order to understand Tom Kinsolving's position, I recommend reading his blog at Basically his father Les Kinsolving investigated Jones and wrote articles to expose him way back in 1972, but because Jones was politically connected, his father's work was suppressed and minimized.

"There was a lot of evidence that Jones was very warped and corrupt from much earlier on than this film suggested. Kinsolving feels that Moore and others who were defending Jones during the days of the People's Temple show them to be very biased and I think that is true. They were painting a very idealistic picture because in the mind of members, that was why they were involved.

"The fellow who said, 'well at least we tried' is pretty sad. Most of the ex-members in the movie, with the exception of Deborah Layton and possibly Grace Stoen, did not seem to know and understand cult mind control issues. If they did, it wasn't included. It is pretty pathetic in this regard and I recommend that people write in an give their comments good and bad to the film at:

"My problem with the Documentary is that while they did have ex-members stating facts, like 'Jones's words were blaring 24/7 at the compound at Jonestown', 'We were only sleeping 2- 3 hours a night' and 'People were afraid that they might be turned in by their family and friends if they ever said any negative about Jones (paraphrase)', the documentary didn't go into enough detail about what mind control is and how it works.

"For example, no one talks about the dual identity phenomenon, or thought-stopping, or phobia programming. In fact, my biggest gripe is to be found on the PBS web site for the show. The Teacher's Guide could be orienting students to questions like, 'What are the characteristics of a group that might be considered to be a destructive cult?', or 'If you were approached by a group to get involved, what questions should you ask to decide if this is a healthy group?' Go take a look at: campaign=pbshomefeatures_1_americanexperiencejonestownthelifeanddeathofp eoplestemple_2007-04-09

There were some very interesting deleted scenes--especially the segment about Grace and Tim Stoen's son, and also Tim Carter's explanation for how he got away from the compound.

"Factually there was much left out of the documentary.

"They did dig holes and put children in them and tell them there were poisonous snakes and dangle ropes. They did do multiple rehearsals for drinking poison. Jones had taken all of their passports away. There was massive welfare fraud concerning many of the adopted children.

"Deborah Layton was a courier and transported huge sums of money to Switzerland for Jones. Ex-member Jeannie Mills and her family were mysteriously murdered in San Francisco and so much more. I think they could have done better edits to portray Ryan as the hero he really was. He actually listened to the concerned families and actually did something about the problem. Unfortunately, no politician has been willing since to put his or her life on the line to help people in cults- in the U.S or anywhere...."

It's interesting how Stan Nelson just couldn't seem to track down Steve Hassan, or any other genuine experts such as renowned social psychologist Dr. Phillip Zimbardo, to add to his film's "enlightenment." He opted instead for interviews with raging cult apologists like John Hall and Becky Moore.

What was Moore smoking when she invented this claim about the Jonestown day of mass-murder? "....Members of the Jonestown community did not see themselves as participating in a violent act," she wrote, "On the contrary, they saw themselves taking their leave quietly, peacefully, and yet as an act of protest. Jim's final recorded words demonstrate this...."

Oh, right. "Jim's final recorded words." Now there's some scholarly, bona fide testimony that perfectly complements the record of all the dead with injection marks between their shoulder blades, and the Jonestown prisoner whose so struggled that every joint had been torn out of her body, and the little children and infants who were force-fed the cyanide.

One thing is certain. Cult apologists are worthy to appear in film. Not, however, to "enlighten" us about cults. Their time would be better spent in documentaries on the clinical behavior of people trapped in denial.

As for most of our frequently shameless, self-serving media, as demonstrated by their behavior in recklessly broadcasting Va. Tech gunman's photos--a great incentive to publicity-craving copycat maniacs--they are just one rung below all this.

They'll have promoted the lie that the Jonestown massacre was inevitable long enough now that it qualifies for the Big Lie Award.

Moreover, they'll continue covering up their yellow streak from not closing down Jim Jones in 1972. None of the media, or our "Jonestown: Paradise Lost" director, or of course the mighty Lord Nelson, wants to reveal there were the devastating Examiner exposes rolling out in 1972, which one of Jones's inner circle said "drove Jones up the wall." They would have done more than that, had media editors just had any insight and backbone to allow the investigation to continue. Instead, they proceeded to serve up the cult's public relations about its "good works"; much like today, thanks to propagandist Stan. It seems only Tim Reiterman will talk about it, but then lies about "lack of substantiation."

Here is the first of the last four exposes by my father, which the Examiner editors censored, because they were so terrified by Jones's legal muscleman Tim Stoen. Decide for yourself if "substantiation" problems rest with my father, or creative writer Reiterman.

Jim Jones stands next to Tim Stoen with Grace Stoen and an unknown man holding John Victor Stoen, whom Jones claimed was his own son. image source

by Lester Kinsolving
Examiner Religion Writer

Ukiah, Calif. September, 1972 - - The sister and former husband of the late Maxine Harpe, who was found hanging in her garage here in March of 1970 have asked the Attorney General's office to investigate the disposition of $2400 belonging to Mrs. Harpe -- which they allege was placed in a trust fund set up by the People's Temple Christian (Disciples) Church.

Daniel Harpe, a local resident, and Mrs. William Key of Citrus Heights near Sacramento, in a joint letter to the Attorney General's office, asked that the People's Temple be required to release this trust fund set up for Mrs. Harpe's three children, who are now in custody of their father.

Their letter encloses a photostatic copy of a $2400 check issued by the Redwood Title Company as part of the proceeds of the sale of the Harpe's former home. The check is endorsed by Mrs. Harpe -- as well as by James Randolph, a member of the People's Temple.

Randolph is a social worker for the Mendocino County Department of Welfare who, the letter says, was "keeping company" with Mrs. Harpe at the time of her death, which the County Coroner's office ruled as suicide.

The letter also notes:

* That Mrs. Key contacted Mendocino County Assistant District Attorney Timothy O. Stoen, who told her that the People's Temple had placed the $2400 in a trust fund for the Harpe children -- to which she could not have access. (Stoen, in addition to his duties as Assistant District Attorney, is a member of the Board of Directors of the People's Temple.)

* That Harpe asked Mendocino County Sheriff Reno Bartolemei for assistance in recovering the $2400 from the People's Temple trust fund - - but that the Sheriff had replied that he didn't know anything about it; even though Harpe has since heard that the Sheriff is a trustee of this trust fund.

* That Mrs. Harpe had attended the People's Temple for more than a year prior to her death - - and that she had definitely sought advice from District Attorney Stoen.

But in a front page article published in the Ukiah Daily Journal on Sept. 21, Stoen wrote:

"The woman (Mrs. Harpe) referred to - - was not, incidentally a member of my church -- was somebody I did not know, had never talked with and certainly never counseled."

Stoen's statement in the Ukiah Daily Journal also took obvious issue with The Examiner's reporting of his relationship to and statements about the Rev. Jim Jones, charismatic pastor of the People's Temple.

"I never said at any time that I saw 40 people raised from the dead."

(But in a letter dated Sept. 12, 1972, Stoen wrote: "Jim has been the means by which more than 40 persons have been brought back from the dead this year... I have seen Jim revive people stiff as a board, tongues hanging out, eyes set, skin graying and all vital signs absent.")

Stoen's statement also contains the following:

"People's Temple Christian Church does not, as far as I know, advertise that Jim Jones raises people from the dead."

Yet the People's Temple's mimeographed bulletin, which was distributed at the 11 a.m. service on Sun. Sept. 10 (at which Stoen was present), specifically reported that in Los Angeles:

"Pastor Jones walked to the dead man and commanded 'Arise!' Instantly the man was resurrected before thousands there."

Stoen was not available for comment, as the District Attorney's office said that he began a five-week vacation.

Stoen's boss, District Attorney Duncan James, declined comment when asked if he had been fired.

James also declined comment on a report by The Indianapolis Star which concerned an alleged telephone threat, which was attributed to Stoen's wife, Grace.

The Indianapolis newspaper quoted Mrs. Cecil Johnson (whose daughters, Mildred and Gwin, recently left the People's Temple to return home to Indianapolis) as saying that she recognized Mrs. Stoen's voice during a 6:15 a.m. long distance telephone call last week.

Mrs. Johnson told The Star that she had been listening on an extension phone when the caller told her daughter, Gwin:

"The newspaper out here is harassing Jim. Your parents have signed something saying bad things about the Temple. You find out what they did and call me back. Get them to stop it. It's for your own safety."

Mrs. Stoen was one of some 150 People's Temple members who picketed The Examiner last week. When asked about the alleged phone call, she declined comment.

But Mrs. Stoen told a TV interviewer that her husband was an ordained minister -- which she had denied, when asked during a People's Temple service the previous Sunday in San Francisco. Her husband also told The Examiner, the following evening, that he was not ordained.

The issue arose over Stoen's admission that he had officiated at the marriage of one of the Johnson sisters, Mildred, despite the fact that Section 4100 of the Civil Code requires that in order to solemnize a marriage, the officiant must either be ordained or a judge.

Stoen told The Examiner that despite his being neither ordained nor a judge:

"I meet all the requirements of the Civil Code," but was unable at the time of this interview to state which section of the Code he had in mind.

And three days after this statement to The Examiner, Stoen's written statement appeared in the Ukiah Daily Journal, in which the Assistant District Attorney wrote:

"I am not only a duly authorized minister of my church, I have been ordained in another, and I have taken theological studies including two years of New Testament Greek."

Stoen's statement did not identify this other denomination which he claims had ordained him, nor does his statement provide any such information as to where, when, or by whom he was ordained.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

PBS & Director Nelson Claim Jim Jones Cult's Ukiah Years Filled With "Social Advocacy"--While Covering Up Reported Killing & Terror

As you watch "Jonestown: Life and Death of People's Temple" on TV tomorrow night, or later on DVD, please keep in mind this caveat from American Heritage reviewer Allen Barra:

".....One in fact yearns for more information than we're given. We're never really told the infrastructure of Jones's organizations, or how the California and Guyana settlements were financed and built...."

Indeed. So many unanswered questions. But then again, director Stanley Nelson was swamped with all the "making up" he and Mrs. Nelson (script writer Marcia Smith) had to do.

People's Temple scholars: Prepare for landing on Leftest Planet PBS....On your mark, get set--FIND THOSE FICTION NUGGETS!

Jim Jones stands next to Tim Stoen with Grace Stoen and an unknown man holding John Victor Stoen, whom Jones claimed was his own son. image source


Wednesday, September 20, 1972
San Francisco Examiner
Page 1


By Rev. Lester Kinsolving
Examiner Religion Writer

The State Attorney General's Office has been asked to investigate the People's Temple Christian (Disciples) Church in Redwood Valley - as well as the conduct of the church's attorney, Timothy O. Stoen, who is also assistant district attorney of Mendocino County.

The written request was made by the Rev. Richard G. Taylor, who served as pastor of Ukiah's First Baptist Church for six years prior to his appointment in July as South Coastal Area minister for the American Baptist Churches of the West.

In his letter to Attorney General Evelle J. Younger the Rev. Mr. Taylor noted:

"In March of 1972, I requested that Sheriff Reno Bartolomie ask the Attorney General's Office to investigate the People's Temple and in particular the conduct of Timothy O. Stoen, attorney for The People's Temple and assistant district attorney of Mendocino County."

"Prior to that, I asked Mendocino County District Attorney Duncan James about Stoen's conduct with Maxine Harpe, a suicide whose funeral service I conducted."

"I knew that Mrs Harpe had been connected with the People's Temple Christian Church of Redwood Valley (near Ukiah). I had been informed by Mr. Stoen that prior to her suicide she had been engaged in counseling at the People's Temple, in which counseling Mr. Stoen had participated."

"Following Mrs. Harpe's death, her sister informed me that unidentifiable persons from People's Temple had occupied her sister's house and ransacked it."

"District Attorney James informed me that he had discussed this matter with Stoen, but no action was taken other than requesting Stoen to refrain from any further misuse of his office."

A spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office in San Francisco said that the requested investigation would be considered.

In Ukiah, District Attorney James confirmed the Rev. Taylor's statement that no action had been taken - but he otherwise declined to comment.

Mendocino Sheriff Bartolomie was not available for comment.

But Undersheriff Tim Shae firmly denied the claim of another of the People's Temple's three attorneys - that the Temple has armed guards at the sheriff's request.

Redwood Valley attorney Eugene B. Chalkin wrote the Examiner before any story on the People's Temple was published - as did 54 other Temple members. In his letter, dated September 11 - and hand delivered by Sharon Bradshaw of the Mendocino County Probation Department, Chalkin wrote:

"Our local law enforcement agency has requested that we have trained persons carry firearms, and we have reluctantly acquiesced to the sheriff's request."

But when this letter was quoted to Shea, the undersheriff replied:

"That is an absolutely untrue statement. We never requested this."

When informed that armed guards (three pistols and a shotgun) were spotted outside the People's Temple on Sunday morning September 10, Shea explained:

"That is private property and people may carry firearms on private property provided the weapons are not concealed."

Shea did not comment upon the letter of the Rev. Mr. Taylor who, while he was ministering in Eureka, served on the Mendocino County Planning Commission, the Community Center Committee, and as president of the Ukiah Ministerial Association in 1970.

In his letter, the Rev. Mr. Taylor also informed the Attorney General:

"What is of utmost concern is the atmosphere of terror created in the community by so large and aggressive a group, which effect is implemented by Stoen's civil office."

"The People's Temple, I understand, employs armed guards, contending that their pastor, the Rev. Jim Jones, has been threatened."

"From my experience, I seriously wonder if they have ever been threatened and whether instead they have not contrived such reports in order to justify armed guards at their services which attract crowds in excess of one thousand people."

"I have counseled with one paroled inmate of a California correctional institution who was sponsored on parole by People's Temple, but after he lived for some time in Redwood Valley, he planned to move away. Here again, a group of men from People's Temple held him incommunicado for four hours - leaving him terrified."

"For these reasons and because I sincerely believe more questionable activity is going on, I do request that your office conduct an investigation."



In the "Special Features" section on the PBS "Jonestown" film website are the video accounts of eight ex-Temple members, each clip separated by a dramatic "TURNING POINT" section in which they sensed something was "amiss" in what the director Nelson has described as a "social-activist experiment".

This fourth expose, about a desperate minister's attempt to stop Jim Jones IN 1972, was an unquestioned "Turning Point", that would bear incalculable ramifications. It would be the last published true investigation for nearly five years, thanks to the cowards on the Examiner's editorial board who caved into threats of a law suit by Tim Stoen.

All the rest of the local media, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury, as well as TV and radio stations, slithered beneath their news desks as well over the thought of standing up to Jim Jones. Some of them, like the late, famed Chronicle columnist Herb Caine, in spite of the Temple revelations, unforgivably promoted the lethal cult, all the way up to the slaughter in 1978.

And what does our "informative" Nelson documentary tell us about this critical episode, when the media turned ran away at the critical hour, when there was still time to stop Jones from morphing into a political Frankenstein?

Carefully stay tuned Monday night. Record it. Listen to every word, watch every scene.

You'll find nothing.

But MISSING information isn't the only thing ailing this production. Lying outright is the biggest epidemic. And the reason for much of that is the "research team" that put together all "facts" for Stanley, which you'll find in the credits, consists of Denise Stephenson--a college roommate of Becky Moore; Stephenson, you see, controls the Temple Archives at the California Historical Society. Our other sage is "Mac" McGhee, Moore's husband, who runs the cult apologist "Jonestown Institute". Together, they are a truly mind-numbing, maybe even--shudder--brain-washing fountain of ideas.

Of course, Nelson made the final decision to buy this conterfeit load of goods and mass market it. And PBS? Well, here's the "in-depth" story they offer about this cult's impact on Ukiah, as presented in their Jonestown site's "People & Events" section:

"Indiana minister Jim Jones moved his growing family and his Peoples Temple there in 1965. In California, the Peoples Temple continued to grow and develop into a political and social advocacy group. There were still religious services, but longtime members understood that those were a means to an end: social justice and racial equality."

And, pray tell, what did PBS say in its site about this media-turning-and-running-away point in its site? Did our Jonestown Institute Of Orwellian History get 'em like they did Nelson??

In a word, yeah. Actually it was an entire sentence.

"When local reporters suggested investigating Jones and the secrecy surrounding many aspects of the Peoples Temple, their editors or publishers would discourage them."


Somebody really ought to contact PBS and suggest they stick this one in their site's "Teacher's Guide". The "ethics" section, perhaps?

One other addition they might consider. That is that HAD those craven editors at the Examiner not surrendered to Jim Jones and allowed the investigation to continue, the "rest of the story" would have seen daylight and over 900 could have had a chance. Here is one full accounting [from] of the Harpe episode that my father was on to, that has drawn from a number of post-Jonestown sources, including the book "The Cult That Died":

Maxine Bernice Harpe
Died: March 28, 1970
Hung by the neck

Maxine Harpe grew up in the small Northern California town
of Willits where she married her high school sweetheart, had
three children and settled down to a quiet life in Talmadge,
that is until 1969, when Jim Jones targeted her for
assassination. In a little more than a year, Jones and his
aides would destroy Maxine's marriage, family, career, and
love affair. They would steal her children and her life
savings and drive her to the brink of suicide.

Temple strongarm man and Mendocino County Welfare worker,
Jim Randolph, initiated a love affair with Maxine intended
to break up her marriage and bring her into the
congregation. Every relationship pursued by Jim Randolph, or
any other Temple member, required the prior approval of the
Temple's Relationship Committee and Jim Jones, who not only
issued binding judgments on proposed relationships, but also
proposed many himself. Maxine quickly fell in love with
Randolph; attesting to Jones' ability to pair villain with
victim. Spurred by Randolph's encouragement, Maxine left her
husband and moved into a Temple communal house with her
three children and Temple member Mary Candoo. During this
difficult transition period, Maxine was counseled and
encouraged by her welfare caseworker, Linda Sharon Amos, a
high ranking Temple aide who claimed to have once been a
member of Charles Manson 's gang. Amos helped Maxine secure a
job as a dental assistant at the Mendocino State Mental Hospital in

Linda Amos and Jim Randolph were only two of the estimated
fifty Temple members who had infiltrated government agencies
in Mendocino County, but their function in the Welfare
Department was one of particular importance to Jim Jones.
Together with their colleagues, Amos and Randolph were able
to license several Temple operated foster care homes and
protect several additional homes that were unlicensed and

Jones convinced his congregation that their children would
have a richer life experience living apart from their
parents. Families were disbanded and a the children, who
were now eligible for welfare assistance, were placed in
Temple foster homes. The children's welfare support checks
were signed over to the Temple and provided a substantial
portion of Jones' government subsidy. The Temple welfare
activities were not restricted to simple fraud; many Black
children were taken from the ghettos of San Francisco and
Oakland using tactics that bordered on kidnapping.

The illegal use of the Mendocino County Welfare Department
appeared to escape the attention of the Department director
Dennis Denny. Though it was impossible to ignore the Temple
foster care homes and to ignore the the Temple welfare case
workers, Denny never seemed to make the connection. Carrie
Minkler was one of the few case workers in the Welfare
Department who was not a member of the Peoples Temple. Ms.
Minkler, now retired, recalls working with Amos, Randolph
and other Temple members:

"You didn't open your mouth. You didn't mention
the Peoples Temple in our department. Even the
walls had ears. There wasn't anything that went
on in our office that Jim Jones didn't know the
next day...Peoples Temple workers went through
other workers' case files. The CIA could have
used them. The atmosphere was really tense."

It didn't take long to surround Maxine. She had a Temple
lover, a Temple house with a Temple roommate, a Temple
social worker, a Temple job with Temple co-workers, even the
attorney representing her in the divorce case was Temple
attorney Tim Stoen. The Temple was also Maxine's religion
and recreation. By March of 1970, every aspect of her life
depended upon the Peoples Temple as Jim Jones pulled the
plug on her life support system.

Three weeks before her death, Maxine received a check for
$2,493.81; her share of the divorce settlement. She signed
the check over to Randolph, whe deposited $2,000.00 in his
personal checking account and $493.81 in his savings
account, as per Jones' instructions. Once her life savings
were safely in Temple hands, everything bad happened to
Maxine at once.

Jones ordered Randolph to end his relationship with Maxine
and she was heartbroken. She was fired from her job. She had
no means of support; Randolph had all her money and wouldn't
give it back. She went to Linda Amos for financial
assistance from the Welfare
Department, but Amos not only denied her request but, in
addition, judged her a "mental depressant" and threatened to
place her children in a Temple foster care home as she was
unfit to be a parent. Her roommate, Mary Candoo, would
certainly parrot Amos' accusations.

Maxine realized she was under siege by a well organized
attacker and sought help from her attorney, Tim Stoen, but,
of course, her protest fell on deaf ears. She then turned to
the one man who seemed to be at the center of her problem.
She confronted Jones the day before her death. Jones was
furious and thoroughly humiliated Maxine in front of
Randolph and other Temple members who remember him saying,
"Why don't you just kill yourself? Get it over with!.... At
least Judas had the guts to kill himself. Others recall
Jones predicting, "That bitch (Maxine) is going to die,"
just one day before she did.

Everywhere she turned, Maxine felt an ever increasing
hostility. After the March 27th confrontation with Jones,
she was so afraid the Temple would take a more physical
approach to their harassment that she made a special request
to bring home a houseful of Temple children, whose presence,
she hoped, would discourage a physical assault. She was

On March 28th at 1:30 AM, one of the children spending the
night at Maxine's house wandered into the garage to find
Maxine dead; hung by an electrical extension cord from the
roof rafters. A hastily scribbled suicide note on a torn
grocery bag instructed the children to phone the Temple in
Redwood Valley and wait in the house until they arrived.

Jim Jones, Jim Randolph, Patty Cartmell and Jack Beam
arrived at Maxine's house sometime before
dawn. Jones waited outside in the car while the others put
on surgical gloves and entered the house to remove any
evidence of Maxine's involvement with the People's Temple.
They untied the body, lowered it to the garage floor and
disrobed it to remove a red prayer cloth that belted the
waist. Temple members often wore these blessed prayer cloths
in concealed places on their person.

The body was then
redressed and rehung, carefully re-staging the scene for the
police investigator. The aides then ransacked the house to
locate and remove anything that might associate Maxine with
the Temple. They completed their work at approximately 8:30
AM, instructed the children to phone the police, and left.

Jones was safe in his Redwood Valley parsonage at 8:57 AM
when Deputy Sheriff-Coroner, Bruce Cochran, arrived at the
death scene in Talmadge. Twenty minutes later, Randolph,
Cartmell and Beam returned to the house and informed Deputy
Cochran that the children had phoned them but that they
really didn't know why as they had never met the dead woman.
Cartmell convinced Deputy Cochran that she should remove the
children from such a gruesome scene, and consequently, he
never got the opportunity to question the only eyewitnesses.
One of the children, nine year old Tommy Ijames, would later
recall the event:

"The children called the church before they
called the police, and they came very early in
the morning. They came in there and took all the
pictures of Jim Jones out. .. (prayer) cloths
they took from her, pulled her down
off the (rafter) and took them off her waist,
anything that had to do with the church... Jim
(Jones), he stayed in the car and didn't come
out... They pulled her down and they took the
clothes off her... They were taking all the...
little pamphlets of Jim Jones, and then (after
the coroner arrived) they acted like they didn't
know her...."

The Temple death squad had left Maxine's house twenty
minutes before the coroner arrived and returned just twenty
minutes after he arrived. They allowed him enough time to
assume that he was the first adult on the scene, but not
enough time to question the children, who were quickly
transported away. Such impeccable timing was typical of
Temple operations. Like the other agencies in Mendocino
County, Jones had spies in the Sheriff's office who informed
him of their every move.

Deputy Cochran's subsequent investigation proceeded exactly
as Jones had planned. It was Cochran's job to be suspicious
and he was. There was the unusual placement of a trunk under
Maxine's feet and the unexplained presence of children and
adults, all of whom were members of the Peoples Temple. But
eventually his investigation was to center on Maxine's
financial transactions just prior to her death. Cochran
contacted Jim Randolph's boss, Welfare Director, Dennis
Denny, questioning the legality of a welfare worker
depositing a welfare recipient' check
in his personal account; especially when that same welfare
worker was present at the scene of the recipient's apparent
suicide just three weeks later.

Denny defended Randolph's
actions and assured Cochran that there was no reason to
suspect foul play or improper conduct, but Cochran was not
satisfied. He pressured Randolph for a deposition regarding
his role in Maxine's finances and reluctantly he complied.
In a sworn statement, Randolph told the police that a few
weeks after receiving the money, he transferred $2,000.00
from his savings account to Temple treasurer, Eva Pugh, to
set up a trust fund for Maxine's children. He held the
remaining $493.81 until three days after Maxine's death when
he added that to the fund as well.

If Randolph's statement
is to be believed it would seem that he helped establish a
fund for Maxine's children before herdeath. Randolph
completed the deposition but refused to sign it until
Assistant District Attorney and Peoples Temple attorney Tim
Stoen had the opportunity to review the statement. Randolph
stalled, Stoen stalled, and the statement was never signed.

It was Tim Stoen who finally convinced Cochran to drop the
investigation when he informed him that he (Stoen) was co-
trustee of the children's fund, along with, of all people,
Cochran's boss, Sheriff Reno Bartolmei. Also, to disguise
their true involvement, the Peoples Temple had contributed
an additional $470.00 to the fund, that together with the
initial money and the accumulated bank interest, totaled
$3,000.00 for the three children. Linda Amos, Maxine's
welfare case worker, buttressed Stoen's statements with her
volunteered testimony as to Maxine's depressed state of mind
just prior to what certainly must have
been her suicide. Cochran's investigation quickly lost
momentum. Maxine's death was declared a suicide. The case
was closed and, despite future pleas from ex-Temple members
and the press, it was never reopened.

Richard Taylor, a local Baptist minister who knew Maxine
Harpe, was not satisfied with the superficial investigation
into what he believed as murder. Aware that the Temple
controlled most of Mendocino County, Taylor presented his
arguments in a long letter he sent to the state attorney
general's office in which he asked the state to investigate
Jim Jones' role in Maxine Harpe's death. Taylor was invited
to present his evidence to a deputy in the attorney
general's office but when he appeared to testify in
Sacramento, his notes on Jones were confiscated and he was
told that there would be no investigation due to
"insufficient evidence."

Immediately upon his return to
Ukiah, Taylor and his wife were deluged with threatening
phone calls that they believed "originated from the People's
Temple." Intimidated and frightened, the minister dropped
all attempts to prove that Jim Jones had ordered Maxine
Harpe's death.

Randolph may have avoided signing a statement for the police
but he did not avoid signing a blank statement for Jim
Jones. It wasn't long before he realized his mistake when
Jones presented him with a copy of his previously signed
blank statement which was now a typed confession to the
murder of Maxine Harpe. Only then did he understand why
Jones had instructed him to deposit Maxine's money in his
personal bank account and why he insisted Randolph be
present at the scene of the crime.

The police already
suspected him, and their suspicion, along with the signed
would certainly convict him of murder; especially since the
foreman of the Mendocino Grand Jury, who would bring down
the indictment, was none other than Jim Jones. Randolph was
promoted to the Angels and his only way out was a lifetime
sentence in prison. To further implicate him in Maxine's
death, Jones called him in front of a closed meeting of the
Temple's Planning Commission and, with a dozen witnesses
present, he accused Randolph of killing Maxine. He shouted,
"You know you did it (killed Maxine)!" But for all of
Jones's badgering, Randolph said nothing in his own defense.

Rumors of the Temple's involvement in the death of Maxine
Harpe continued to circulate in the press. Two and a half
years later, Lester Kinsolving penned a series of articles
in the San Francisco Examiner, in which he accused Temple
attorney Tim Stoen of wrongdoing in his counseling of Maxine
just prior to her alleged suicide. Stoen refuted the charges
in a statement that appeared in the Ukiah Daily Journal,
dated September 21, 1972, in which he said:

"The woman referred to (who was not,
incidentally, a member of my church) was
somebody I did not know, had never talked with,
and certainly had never counseled."

Stoen could not have forgotten that he represented Maxine in
her divorce or that he was a custodian of the fund for her
children or was instrumental in suppressing the coroner's
investigation into her death. He must have felt extremely
threatened to publicly report such a blatant, bold-faced

Jones profited from Maxine's death in several ways. He
gained a new Angel; a competent, intelligent slave, Jim
Randolph. He received the $3,000.00 trust fund and the three
children who, following their mother's funeral, were placed
in Temple foster homes and enrolled in the welfare system.
Their welfare support checks were signed over to the Temple
that profited at least $10,000.00 from overcharging the
welfare system and under-caring for the children.

In 1977, a special prosecution unit of the San Francisco
District Attorney's Office, looking into allegations of
illegal activities in the Peoples Temple, cited what their
subsequent report termed "Welfare Diversion," but rather
than pursue the investigation, the DA's office referred the
matter to the city's Department of Social Services and the
City Comptroller's Office with the recommendation that any
evidence that surfaced should be submitted to the DA's
welfare fraud expert, Don Didler. Didler, following the lead
of Mendocino County's Welfare Director, Dennis Denny, did
absolutely nothing. Together, Didler and Denny were very
effective in protecting the Temple's federal welfare

In retrospect, Maxine Harpe's story was a study in microcosm
of the events that would occur some eight years later in
Jonestown, Guyana.

In both cases, the victims were
systematically stripped of all self-esteem and lured into a
total dependence on Jim Jones, who, at the proper time,
denied them everything. Suicide appeared to be the best, if
not the only, alternative. It will never be known whether
Maxine's death was a suicide or a murder. She may or may not
have actually wrapped the wire around her neck, just as the
residents of Jonestown may or may not have voluntarily taken
poison; regardless, there is no doubt that Jim Jones killed
them all.

The Maxine Harpe death is but one of a half-dozen unsolved killings connected to People's Temple during its California phase. Director Nelson, with the invaluable assistance of his "Jonestown Institute," skillfully buried these bodies in his film, as if they just don't count.

But Nelson has much company in Obfuscation & Coverup, Inc. Too many of today's reporters are every bit as gullible as when they gave the People's Temple so much priceless promotion in its assent. Sacramento Bee reporter Jennifer Garza, for instance. Her 25th Jonestown Anniversary piece "What Was The Lure?" provided a fine sounding board for our two lively apologists, Moore and McGhee, just as Nelson does in featuring them as film narrators.

"People joined [the cult] because that's where their families went," claimed McGhee. "And in the end, they stayed because that's where their families were."

That's an interesting contrast to what defectors Grace Stoen, Jeannie Mills, and others said what "encouraged" cult members to remain captive: Anyone who tried to leave was promised they'd be murdered.

Maybe that's what Nelson really means whenever he crows about this notion of Jim Jones's fulfilling those "promises."

Our astute reporter Garza allows Becky Moore to unleash a blast of apologist methane. Garza prefaces this with the news that "many religious scholars are reluctant to describe People's Temple as a cult."

Religious scholars--such as our very own Prof. Moore.

"That's a term we use to describe religious groups we don't like," Moore says. "But it's so loaded with negative connotations. If we label something a cult, then we don't make any effort to understand it." But of course. And that's just why the very accomodating Nelson gave Becky the on-camera cue to enlighten viewers that the People's Temple, in fact, was nothing more than a "Black Church." (Yes, some "issues"...but surely none egregious enough--like the Harpe case--to apply the "c" word.)

Finally, Garza allows her this rosy seal of approval: "Moore adds there are many people who still praise People's Temple and much of the work the church did."

Praise be, indeed. Now let our public somehow survive the effects of such stupefying media messages.