(12 MP3 files below the fold)
Do you remember Reverend Jim Jones and the People's Temple? I guess most of you do, but for those who don't here is a quick recap of the history: In the 1950s, Jim Jones started People's Temple in Indianapolis as a church affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, a mainline protestant denomination. Looking for a safe place in case of a nuclear war, the group moved to California in 1965. Due to their left-wing political and social views and focus on racial integration they attracted many new members, especially in their time in San Francisco. Beginning in 1974, the People's Temple started preparing a move to Guyana, where most of the group relocated in 1977, to an agricultural settlement more commonly known as Jonestown. Unfortunately, Jim Jones grew increasingly paranoid and mentally unstable, and a visit by US congressman Leo Ryan in 1978 first lead to the murder of Ryan and a few hours later to the infamous mass suicide and murder of more than 900 cult members, including Jones himself. You can read much more about People's Temple, including many first-person accounts, at this excellent website.
The motto above the altar at Jonestown was "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it". There is a photograph of this sign with several dead bodies lying on the floor in front of it. Yes, reality frequently is more cynical than art or comedy could ever try to be. My own advice for cult members is this: If your leader thinks he is "the only true heterosexual" in the whole world, you should get suspicious. If he starts doing mass suicide drills, get the fuck out immediately.
In 1973, still in California, the People's Temple Choir recorded a gospel LP called "He's Able". In 1999 Grey Matter Records re-released this album on CD, adding some Jim Jones audio from Guyana as a bonus track. Here is the music from the album in mp3 format: Welcome | Walking With You Father | Set Them Free | Walk A Mile In My Shoes | Hold On Brother | Down From His Glory | He's Able | Something Got A Hold Of Me | Because Of Him | Black Baby | Will You
The last track "Mass Suicide" is pasted together from two different sources. The first part is an incredible rant/sermon by Jim Jones, where he points out that the phrase "Love is the only weapon" is bullshit (I have to agree with him on this), and vows to "kill them if they come". Listen to the mp3 here.
The rest is the chilling and sad documentation of Jones' discussion with his followers where he tells them why they have to kill themselves. His last words on the tape are "We didn't commit suicide, we committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world". The audio on the CD is of pretty bad quality, but there is a much better version over at the Internet Archive, so I did not feel the need to post the CD version. You can also read some transcripts of the tape.