CRF Blog

A Thousand Lives

by Bill Hayes

Julia Scheeres’ book A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown tells the horrible story of the people who followed pastor Jim Jones to Jonestown and to disaster.

From the New York Times Book Review:

In Jonestown, Jim Jones was the demonic almighty. Yet it’s easily forgotten that initially he was considered a force for good. Born in 1931, he was just 23 when he opened one of the the first integrated churches in Indianapolis. Seven years later, as head of the city’s Human Rights Commission, he attempted to integrate other churches and local restaurants. To boost his appeal, though, he was already faking miracles. In 1962, fearing nuclear war, he moved to Brazil for two years. Upon his return to the United States, he led his Peoples Temple Full Gospel Church to Northern California, where he felt safe from nuclear fallout. There too he won over African-Americans, particularly the old and ailing and the young and troubled. “When he claimed to be their savior,” Scheeres writes, “many believed it. He’d saved them from the street, fed, clothed, sheltered and empowered them. They worshipped him for it.” [more]

Below is a promotion video for the book.