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The proteins brands that this is Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling and we're doing a podcast and it's called Nine to One Wingy G. You believe it's been 30 years. 30 years since what?


Since we started now to a.. Oh, man. Since I graced you with my friendship. That means you're old. She's a year older, by the way. Listen to nine to one OMG on the I Heart radio app, on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast.


All right, welcome to another Scientology Fair Game podcast. Hello, Mike. Hi, Lily. We have one of our special special guests today of this amazing story of survival and resilience. And our guest today is Captain Yolanda Williams. We are so happy to have you. Hello, Yolanda. Hello.


Happy to be here. Thank you so much for hosting this of Hello, Yolanda. And congratulations on your promotion because we talk to you. You were a lieutenant and now you're captain.


Well, it was acting captain. Now I'm off on injury. So we're just in limbo right now.


That doesn't mean you still didn't get the promotion and captain moshpit for all. I have the position for almost two years. So that was actually an amazing part of law enforcement. Agreed. Agreed. Do you want to talk a little bit about that and why?


Well, it was absolutely amazing because I became a whistleblower at my agency. And normally, you know, it's extremely difficult once you decide to speak out and it involves some people having to change the way they've been normally accustomed to do business. Law enforcement is very institutionalized and sometimes resistant to change. Right. So what ultimately occurred was that when I would take promotional exams, there would be frivolous complaints that certainly appeared. And then I would have to go in for interviews and whatnot to actually show that there was nothing intentionally done on my part and that these were just frivolous complaints to make it difficult for me to continue in my career.


But ultimately, we got a new chief of police in and he recognized what was really going on with me.


And because I had been one of the originators of our school resource officers program and opening came and the school district, San Francisco Unified School Districts, was looking for a captain to take over that whole program for all the schools in San Francisco, public and private. And so I was named as the person to take over. That is the commanding officer. So I was actually responsible for almost two years, for fifty six thousand youth in the city and county in San Francisco.


And I had an opportunity on several weekends to actually be the weekend captain for the entire city on Saturdays and Sundays. So it was a great opportunity and a wonderful learning experience.


Well, congratulations. Thank you. That's amazing. Really well-deserved. They're lucky to have you. Thank you. Yes.


All right. Let's dive into your history, which is an amazing story.


And I'm so happy that, you know, ultimately things turn into a blessing.


Yes, yes, yes. Let's just dive right into it.


Let's let's start telling your story, Londa, of how you got into the into the People's Temple. How old were you? And and just go ahead and tell you. Tell us your story.


Yeah. As I recall, I was between the age of 11 and 12. I was just in middle school. Right.


And my father had recently sustained a heart attack and his doctor had advised him that he would not be able to ever work again.


Well, and it was a very difficult time for me, challenging as a middle school student, trying to figure out if we could sustain the lifestyles we had become so accustomed to.


And one particular Saturday, my father came home and he had said he had ran into one of his clergy friends because my dad was a minister and they were talking about his health conditions and this friend of his, Reverend Dave Garrison. Told him about a profit that could actually heal people and he thought that my dad should actually come to this church that was in Redwood Valley and my dad was like, where's Redwood Valley? And he said, oh, it's up by Mendocino County, up in Ukiah, about two and a half hours from San Francisco.


Mm hmm. And they communicated a few more times about this. And because my dad wanted to try everything possible so that he could resume his life in the normal fashion that he was accustomed to. He decided that he was going to not attend one of the Sunday church services at our church. We had been a member of since the early 50s. And instead, he decided that he was going to take that two and a half hour drive and he was going to bring my mother with them.


So I recall them getting up at about five thirty or six in the morning in order to ensure they were there for 11 o'clock.


And your mom, your mom was OK with this?


My mom was OK with the fact of him going somewhere to possibly help his medical condition. Sure, sure. So she went with him and of course, he was excited and insistent that they leave immediately. So they did not wake me up and make me get ready to go to church service. So that was one of those freebie days for me that I didn't have to go to church. But I had a good excuse. Right. So they went on and attended the service.


And I recall they didn't get back home until about four, 30 or five in the afternoon, the first time they had attended this People's Temple. And I was wondering what had taken them so long and what could have potentially gone on there. And as my parents begin to explain things to me, it piqued my curiosity in my interest because they talked about the fact that this was an interracial church. It was a church that had young people and old people.


And the young people were included in a big choir and they sang songs about racial harmony, justice and and that Jim Jones was unlike other ministers that they were accustomed to because he was American Indian. He didn't wear a suit. You just wore some black pants, a simple shirt and just some regular old shoes, nothing fancy.


And inside of the church, there was a swimming pool in a swimming pool and they were like, yes, this huge swimming pool in the back of the church. And when George is over, the kids just get out of their clothes and they jump in the pool. And I Lord. And I said, yeah. And they said, and they have a band, they have a piano, they have the drummers and everything.


And I'm like, oh boy, this sounds like some fun.


And they said, and then there's a ranch and they have grape vineyards. And I mean, it became so interesting to me that I was excited and I said, I want to go, I want to go. So I think within a few weeks we wound up taking the drive up there and I recall taking the drive up there just thinking, God, how much further can this be? Because, again, I was a city girl never accustomed to that type of ambience or environment.


And I was going to ask you, how how different was this church from what you were from what you're describing and what your parents were describing from what you were traditionally raised with? Because I'm assuming that that's part of the allure. Right. And cults like this is like this is like nothing you have ever experienced.


Absolutely. It was 100 percent polar opposite because the church I attended was predominantly black. Right. Occasionally you might see someone that came in, but it would just be like they were just there out of curiosity and then they disappeared. But the membership was predominantly black. And also in our church, you always had to wear suits. The men wore ties and the women wore suits or they wore very dressy dresses and it was extremely conservative.


And then to instead of a church where you just come as you are. I'm not come. You are right. All right. Yes.


So. For me that I just wanted to see it because I couldn't believe it.


And then to have a church that had a full size swimming pool that the church members can just jump into, I'm like a swimming pool. Supposed to be the baptismal pool, right. You're not supposed to go in there. Supposed to be holy water. Right. Right, right. Right there. I just had to see it because I could not imagine it.


And then them telling me about horses, horses, and there were actually horses around there. I mean, it was just totally, totally different. Right. And then the I would say the reception that you received, everyone was always smiling, so happy to to meet you, making you feel extremely comfortable and just tell you just to kick back and just relax and enjoy the the time with them. And they treated you just like you were family, and yet they didn't even know you.


So. Right.


Well, this is the traditional call to Laura, right. The love. Yeah, yeah.


Yes, yes, yes. Right. And in my excitement. I was not judging anything because it was all so exciting and so different and enticing that I just wanted to see more. I wanted to just be there. And I was like, I could just stay up here. I mean, hey, can we stay here? And when we were there, my parents let me sit with the kids. Yeah. And there weren't any ushers that would tell you no talking because in church you're not supposed to talk right now.


They were eating candy and chewing gum.


And I'm like, oh, yeah, this is right up my alley, right? Yeah.


And at the end of church. They had food prepared for us. We didn't have to go out and I thought we were going to go to a restaurant or somewhere and grab something to eat. No, no, no, no, no. They had the full spread, so that was cool. And while my parents were with the other adults and they were eating and laughing and talking and whatnot, of course, I maintained my communications at that point with the young people because my siblings were the closest sibling to me was 10 years.


So it was quite an age gap. Right. And so it was exciting for me to be around young people that were my age and then some that were older. But the fact that they were all willing to talk to me, wanted to know more about me. So I became the center of attraction. So this is real cool for you.


And let's remember, you were only, what, 10, 11? I was about 11 or 12, just like you. Yes, of course. You're listening to me. Yes. And I got something that I get to tell them finally. Yes. Right. Yes.


So then the next question they said is they said, you know, did you hear Jim? And that was the thing I said, Jim. They didn't call their pastor, Reverend Wright or Mr. Jones or Pastor Jones, it was just plain old Jim. They said, did you hear Jim say that we were getting ready to take a trip on our buses?


I said, buses. You guys got buses? Yes. Well, it wasn't the newest bus, but heck, I hadn't seen a church that had buses. I'm like, oh, man. I said, what are you guys going? He said, We're going to Oregon. They said, Would you like to go? Well, it was summertime. And I was like, Oh, yeah, when are you going to go? And they said, We're leaving tonight.


I said, I don't have any clothes or anything to where they said, no worries. We got people all over this place, kids all over here. We'll find somebody who's clothed. You can bet you can come with us. And I said, well, I have to ask my parents. Well, of course, we did later ask my parents. And unfortunately, my parents said no because they really weren't familiar enough with the church get to send to send me.


And then they were concerned because I still didn't have my own clothes. But they assured me that if we came back again and they would take the kids, we're taking a trip or they were going somewhere, they would be more than willing to let me go. But they they just wanted a little bit more time to see what was indeed going on. And so that was my introduction. And I guess we would say my law, the People's Temple.


Well, and your parents. So your parents bought this as well, right? So your parents were sold on it from that point on. They were fully dedicated and loyal to the People's Temple right after that.


Well, yes, because, I mean, how could you not be right during the church service, which was another unusual thing in the black church. Yes. You have people that step up and give testimonies. Right. But as a young person, they don't they don't really keep our attention or track what they're testifying about. But I heard young people that were my age and some they were a little bit older. Yeah. Talking about various things that Jim Jones had done for them and their lives.


That was a major impact as what they were doing today, like some who attested to the fact that they were constantly in and out of trouble with the criminal justice system. But he had attorneys that got them out of trouble, assured that they were actually allowed an opportunity to correct their behavior without having to go to jail. Very young people who said they were addicted to drugs. And when I'm talking about drugs, we're talking about like LSD, all kinds of hard drugs that were available at that time, which we're talking about in the late sixties, late, late sixties, those folks talking about the fact that this man had that type of influence and impact on their life.


I was just mesmerized and then some of them getting up, saying they had never thought that they would go to college. He had several of them in law school. There were others who were entering into the medical field. Others who had a test testified to the fact that they were in the nursing programs.


He had dormitories that they didn't have to even pay for in Santa Rosa. And they were getting their education up there. And then he had others going to school in other areas. But all of this was being financed, according to their testimonies, by People's Temple.


And I was going to ask that. Is that just from the donations of the of the parishioners?


How is he financing this little we didn't know the complete. Method that was being used prior to really becoming more involved, but surely some, I'd say within seven to eight months we realized that. Those people who were who had their homes, they had money that they brought with them from Indiana, from sales of properties and different things, they were able to buy houses in Redwood Valley really cheap at the time.


But those houses were operating as senior citizens homes and rest homes and foster homes for children. And so that was yielding a lot of money. And they were actually. Heidi. And some of them were actually living communally at that time, so they were actually finding this stuff through the church bank accounts.


They were putting their money in there and that's how everything was being funded. And then the church would make sure that their mortgages were paid and that these properties were maintained by church members.


And as the church grew, residents inside of these various homes grew. And then they started to just continue to purchase more and more pieces of property throughout Redwood Valley. And some even lived in Ukiah.


Right. And it was your father's condition. Was he healed?


Well, what have you done? Yeah, we were sitting in church one Sunday and suddenly Jim Jones magically appeared. And I even have a picture of exactly. And and that's the thing. I have some things that have come forth in the death of my mother. We found out that she had stored some things that she had never shared with us that were part of the church. So I now have some actual documents that are really, really interesting from the church.


But what happened was we're sitting at a Sunday service. I said Jim Jones is. Is a minister in here from San Francisco, and I nudged one of the young people I was sitting next to and I said, I wonder if he's talking about my dad. He said, I know we'll see and be quiet. This is this is the metaphysical time. I'm hearing things that need silence. Everybody be quiet. So we were quiet. He said, hold hands.


We're all holding hands. And he said his name is Reverend Harry Williams. Is the Reverend Harry Williams in here? And my dad said, yes, that's me. He said, You grew up in Louisiana. Yes. When you were young boy, you were struck by a racist while you were riding on your bicycle and left in the ditch for dead. He said yes. He said you recently. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You recently sustained some type of heart condition and your doctor, Dr.


William F. Dowling. And when he said that, I said, oh, my God, oh, he knows all of these things. So at that point, I said he really is a prophet. And then he went on to say, the doctor said, you'll never work again. He says right now, do you believe that I can hear you through the power of God, I can hear you. Do you believe this, Reverend Williams? He said yes.


Yes. So he put his hands up and did some mumbo jumbo.


And he said, Reverend, I want you to run run around this entire church. The next thing I knew because my dad was just walking real slow. Next thing I knew, my dad was running around the entire inner perimeter of the church. And I think he must have made at least two or three laps.


I jumped up and I started clapping and everybody started clapping.


I said, he's healed. He's healed.


I mean, I just I mean, it was just one of these amazing years. And he says, and guess what, Reverend Williams, my dad said what he says, you're going back to work. You'll be able to resume your full duties. And if you don't believe me, I want you to make a doctor's appointment with your doctor. You go back to Dr. Dowling and you make sure when you come back again, I want to hear what the doctors told.


And. About a week or two later, my dad had an appointment with Dr. Dowling and Dr. Dowling was scratching his head and he said, I don't understand this. My dad said what he says, Reverend, I don't know what's going on, but your muscles and everything around your heart seem to be strong again. He said, Londa, I am not kidding you.


He said, I if you want to go back to work and go back to work, I can just keep you off of my dad said, no, I want to work right. My dad went back full time as a plumber for the city and county of San Francisco.


However, the one thing that I realized to this day and my dad even recognized it after we had a time to have that space and break away from Jim Jones, that. Mentally, my dad had given up, right? And it was really mind over matter and the strong suggestion and ability that Jim Jones had to convince you, right, that he had something, but whatever you had, you were heel and your heel because of him. Right. And so that within itself allowed my dad to work at least another seven or eight years until he retired when he wanted to retire under his terms.


Wow, that's amazing. I mean, that would make me a believer.


Oh, I was a terrible time not believing it now.


Well, I said, you know what? I owe this man and church my life and I'm indebted to them forever. And that makes sense way. The connection became even more solid of a more strong Yolanda. Yes.


This is something that that you see in all high control groups and cults.


Like if you if you recently been watching the Nexium shows, you will see the first episodes of Everybody Goes, Wow, I want to join up.


And when I come into Scientology, it's all this is wonderful.


This is amazing. And the Reformation and the support and everybody's there.


We're going to help you deal with all your problems in life. Yes.


And solve your problems. Yeah.


It's it's not a mystery why people get involved with organizations that ultimately twist them around and start abusing and destroying them. Your story is like the perfect illustration of that, which is still happening today. And it's the.


Oh, yeah. And Mike, you're right. Look, the thing is that you can people do ask us, how could you have gotten involved in this? So it is hard to understand for people who actually don't hear.


And Paul Haggis made this point when I was writing the book, he said, please, please do me this favor and write in your first chapters of your book All the good things about Scientology. So by the time people get to the middle, they want to sign up because it makes us all look crazy.


Like, how did you believe in this? How did you get involved in this? It was seems so crazy. It doesn't seem crazy in the beginning. They are doing things that are helpful. They're giving you tools that maybe you didn't have. And like Yolanda said, she went from a very traditional church life where she there were rules and you had to do it at this time.


You had to dress like this. Kids were not seen, were seen, but not heard.


And you offer people a promise, right. Of healing yourself, of unity, of being able to be in control of your own life to because over your own problems to not be a victim. Right. Like these are positive things. They're not you're not running into something and they're talking to you about like Mike, like you were saying, they're not talking about the crazy shit that you find out about later in Scientology. Right. Like if we started with the confidential the plan, it was made by Sykes and that you're controlled by beings within your body and outside of your body.


Everybody would have walked away from Scientology from the beginning if people knew that they were going to be branded and that you had to give up all your secrets that they were going to use against you later. The full, you know, totally excluding the rest of the world and becoming this extremist.


Nobody signs up for that in the beginning.


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What is the promise of the People's Temple, because like Scientology, I would like people to know this all sounds amazing, by the way, I would have signed up myself. Well, the problem promise, because they were so amazing.


He had an amazing concept, right?


Yes. Well, the funny thing about it is that if he would have told us to write letters that are self incriminating on yourself and to sign blank sheets of paper. Right. And to give us a power of attorney over everything that you have initially, like you said, beginning walked in there, we would have walked out. Right. But he was providing every absolute need that we had. I had a sister that was addicted to drugs, to heroin.


She was going to prison for life. You know, he provided free legal service for her. And they got her out.


Right. Right. Those are the types of things that then tie you in, lure you in further. Right.


And your dad running around with your dad running around the church three, doing three or four laps around the damn church and going back to work. I mean, they they made a promise. They said, you come to this church and we're going to heal. Your daddy's going to go back to work. Delivered. Right. What were the other from this church? When you come to this church, we're going to guarantee your daughter gets a college education.


You don't have to worry about how it's going to get paid. We're going to make sure it happens. Did you come to this church? We're going to make sure that your baby daughter Yolanda never gets on drugs because we don't tolerate it in this church. Right. We have our own drug rehab facility if we need to use it right. You come to this church, we can assure you that your daughter is not going to be a teenager that's pregnant out there on the streets in San Francisco.


Like some youngsters, you know, that it's happening to out there. Right? You come to this church, we're going to keep her grounded and we're going to help you to maintain the discipline, the rules and the necessities to ensure that you have a child. That is the example of what all children should be. And we're going to make these. But they kept those promises. They didn't say how they were going to do it. They just said they were going to do it.


And they did it. Right, right, right.


And and Yolanda, also, I remember you telling us these very grand utopian concepts of we're going to we're going to change society. There's not going to be racial discrimination. There's not going to be this. There's not that's going to be human rights for everyone. This is also something that we're very familiar with in science. It's a pitch that gets used where we're bringing human rights to the world, et cetera, et cetera. And I know that you told us earlier Jim Jones was big on that stuff, too, right?


Oh, yes.


The politics and whatever was going on in the world, he was very well informed. And he had a plan for everything. He had the ultimate utopia for us where it would be no racism, there would be no need for police officers. Every family would have their own home supplied to them by People's Temple. And that would be your family house. You won't even have to lock. The doors will be plentiful. You don't have to work. Everything's going to be provided for you because you are a member of People's Temple.


And later on, after we get everything situated like we need it to be, you can even invite your family members to come and live with you in your home or will help you build a separate home for those family members because they won't have to be worried with this government politics of this government or anything, because what we do is going to be fair and impartial and justice will prevail because we know that people of color, specifically black people, have been mistreated by this country.


Right. And it is time that the last shall be first. And that was his ultimate promise that he was going to do for us what no one else could have done.


And and ultimately, that is what Jonestown was supposed to be, correct?


Exactly. Exactly. Before we get to Jonestown, I want to ask you, so how long are you so you guys are fully indoctrinated into the People's Temple at this point.


So you're you are in how long until Jonestown?


We had been in the church almost ten years before. Well, I would say was seven, six to seven years before we heard about Jonestown. OK, and that was when he was looking he was looking in Cuba. He was looking in Venezuela. He was looking at Russia. He was looking at all these various countries outside of the United States for someplace where he could have his People's Temple Agricultural Missionary Project.


OK, now, before before this in the ten years, was there a financial commitment to the People's Temple or there wasn't?


Well, there was all type of commitments. The first commitment and and I happened to have the little booklet here was, you know, many of the black members came from.


Church back grounds, so we were very spiritually grounded, right? So he had to find some type of way of ripping the Bible from our hands.


So he developed a little book. We call the letter Kill It, but the spirit give it life. And I have the actual booklet that he had given to my dad. And he told my dad to read this in its entirety, and he wanted him to start studying it as a member. And the first thing it says on the inside cover is let us exalt the name of Jesus and not the name of King James of is of England. And then it goes on inside of this booklet that Jim Jones had typed up and developed for him about faith comes by hearing Search the Scriptures.


It talked about prophets that would come on earth and be able to heal people. It talks about man should not live on bread alone. It goes on to talk about the great truths of the Bible, heirs of the Bible, slavery in the Bible, absurdities in the Bible, atrocities in the Bible and decencies in the Bible, and then the genealogy of Jesus, which he calls the contradictions twenty one contradictions.


He developed this book specifically with one thing in mind that was to make us start to question our faith. Right. And that was the first thing he did. And once he stripped us from the Bible, that then enabled him to move to another level. Right. And then that's when it became more of a organization. Right. We became non-denominational. We didn't realize that the the disciples of Christ, that he was part of the Pentecostals and the disciples of Christ had really told him they didn't want him involved in that form of religion anymore.


So we can't we became a nondenominational church and then he started focusing on.


Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Black Panthers politics, San Francisco politics started to interest him more. And the reason we found out later that San Francisco politics interested him so much was because he recognized that. Black people are. More willing to follow than others because we're used to having a leader. And so since Martin Luther King had died shortly after Martin Luther King was killed, I should say that he was killed, murdered, murdered.


Then he wanted to move to San Francisco. He was going to be the messiah. That was going to bring the message to the black San Franciscans and to others who would want to hear hear the message of hope, the message that we can get through this. The message that if we all get together, in spite of whatever our financial or racial or sexual preferences and differences are, we can change the world. We can be the example for others to follow.


And so that's how that transition evolved. It was slow. Yeah.


Subtle, but deliberate. Yes. Right.


OK, so now take us to Jonestown.


OK, so what had been going on is he started having problems with the media, started having problems with people, started to leave the church and then make.


Reports to the police and stuff, and he started claiming that these were untrue and these were just people who are bitter, bitter and nasty.


Yeah, yeah, yes. An ax to grind. Yes, exactly.


And they had to be excommunicated from the church and he excommunicated them from the church. So now this was their way to lash out.


So I'm saying, what were they saying? It was saying things like there were that he was not. He was. He was. Forcing people to do and obey his rules, and if you didn't, you were punished and the punishment was harsh and that they thought that he was not, he was far less than genuine, but they never had enough evidence to really take it to the total extreme right. And so he was always then discrediting whoever it was.


So what he told us was that, you know, we need to find a way to get out of here because it's clear that the CIA, the FBI, they were all of these people who were supposedly against People's Temple. Why? Because they did want to see a melting pot of all these ethnicities. They didn't want or appreciate the interracial marriages that were going on in the church. So he had convinced us that it was time for us to possibly look into purchasing some land elsewhere, just like he had left Indiana and went to Ukiah and then came to San Francisco.


It was time for us to start looking at other options. And that's when he talked about some other countries he had visited. And then we heard about in South America, this little country of Guyana. He said it was a socialist country, but the people there was no racism. The people were lovely people.


They loved United States citizens, and they would welcome us there. He had checked other countries, but this was the best one for us. And our US dollars would go far in this country, this country, we could grow all types of crops. It was a tropical place. We would just love it. And there was just hundreds and hundreds of acres that they were offering us for just one dollar.


All we had to do was clear the jungle and then we could start by sending some of our temple workers who were in construction and plumbing and whatnot there to start to build homes and structures for us so that we could slowly start to move over to that quote unquote, promised land safe haven.


And so the more you talked about it, the more enticing it begin to appear. And a few of the laborers and construction folks went over there. I'd say there was maybe about 30 or 40 that went over there and they started building and then they would send us pictures. And of course, he would show us the slide shows, the pictures. He would show us these big fruits and tell us that they were growing on this land. Little did we know that you could hardly grow anything on that land, but he had us believing it.


Of course, we didn't see the label. Some people were smart and they saw the labels on the fruit go that way. Yeah, you'll see it. They didn't tell us till we came back. Did you see the label on the pictures that, like some of us, didn't go. We saw you.


I got out of Peru. Incredible.


People see what they want to see, right? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I mean, we just wanted to see something that looked better than what and what we were experiencing. Then he told us we got to get over there. We got to save our black people because the National Guard is going to come in. They're going to take over San Francisco. You see all these projects betray your point. All of these public housing projects is just their method of rounding you all up like they did the Jews.


And they're going to have it all fenced in and you're going to become victims. And I'm going to try and save you and assure you that you will be free. And he bought it right? We believed him, right? It sounded good. It sounded like a viable option to what was available to each of us individually. He convinced us that we were more powerful as a group than we are as an individual because that synergy keeps everything moving forward and no one would dare stand up and question him, right?


Not in a church meeting or in a group setting. And then it came to a point where you wouldn't question something, he said, with one of your immediate family members for fear that they might tell him what you said and then you would wind up in catharsis up there on the stage being either beaten or boxed because you violated church rules and you were trying to bring discredit to our leader.


So that's what was happening as punishment. You guys are being beaten and oh, yes, there were boxing gloves. There was a green big paddle that was used wooden paddle. And, you know, they would tell you to bend over and then the councillors or Jim Jones would make a recommendation as to what should be your punishment. Then he'd ask the congregation, what do you think? Well, nobody's going to go against what he recommends here because they're going to be the next one out.


Exactly right.


And the other thing is, is you're not going to to question it, because then if you question it, they're going to consider that you're a traitor and you need to be monitored even further than what you will already be monitored by one another. Because when you monitor people and you bring him information about something that someone has said or done to bring discredit to the church at that time, you would probably get some type of promotion, maybe to another nicer position within the church.


And ultimately, when you went to Jonestown, people started turning and folks just to get candy and different things, little treats. I mean, it just became ridiculous. Well, so where did you go to Jonestown?


Yeah, we have. Exactly. So what happened? What how did you guys eventually get to Jonestown and how old were you?


Well, it was my silliness. I think I was bit about the 21. And so I decided, well, Jim and a whole lot of people over there to Guyana, why hasn't he picked my family yet?


Right. And I felt like you should be honored. And it was a privilege to be exalted to the level where you could go to the Promised Land before others. So I started to worry about my mother's real sincere commitment to the church because she started to just make some comments that started to make me wonder. So I told him, I said, I think it's time for you to let me and my family go over to Jonestown. I want my parents to stay members of the church, and I want to make sure that they're committed to the cause.


And in order to do that, I think we need to bring them with the other committed members over to Guyana so that we can prepare the place for others to come over. So within less than 30 days, he had acknowledged my request. And the next thing I knew, we got a call that day and we were told that night we would be leaving in a station wagon with Reverend and Mrs. James Edwards. And we were going to pack one bag each and we were going to be going to the Promised Land and we had to do some paperwork and everything in advance of that.


Mind you, he had already had us all processed our passports and everything that had been going on. While others were sent in advance to start building the conflict is over there. He started having others who were here stateside getting their passports completed and everything. So we had passports already.


And so you and your parents went, me and my parents and my husband and my little one year old daughter, along with the Edwards, piled into their station wagon and we drove from San Francisco to Florida.


I think it took us a total of two and a half days to three days. We were we were we were we were cooking. We we didn't stop to stay over anywhere. It was just to drive straight through changing drivers. And when we got to Florida, we got a call from Jim Jones and he was telling us that he needed. Two people to stay in Florida and their responsibility was going to be to greet all of the people who were coming from San Francisco because they're the airplanes would stop in Florida for them to then be transferring over to the KLM, Dutch airlines or some other airline service to get into Georgetown, right into Guyana.


So I was hoping that he was going to let my mother and I stay back with my daughter. And since my husband and my dad on, well, he pulled a fast one. I think he knew that was what I really wanted.


So is it because you were getting scared, you know, or you started to fly? Just all of a sudden something came over me that was, you know, at least if you're in Miami, you kind of have an opportunity to see a little bit more and just take a little bit more time about things because. I just had never been separated from my parents and I didn't want that type of separation and specifically I did not want to be separated from my mother.


I was very spoiled to her. So even through marriage, it was still about my mother. Right.


So needless to say, he sent me and my husband and my daughter on with Reverend and Mrs. Edwards and he decided to leave my parents behind. And so my parents stayed in Miami while my husband and the Edwards family and my daughter went on to Georgetown.


OK, so that's how he attempted to break the family unit again, right. Because it had already happened.


Right. While you were members, you know, you were there reporting your mom and people were reporting people for maybe separating ideas or starting to think for themselves. Right. Maybe the truth about what this organization was really about. Right. So that had already begun. You know what, you were 10, 11. Yes, I mean, we started telling on each other that I must have been about 13 or 14 and and the first lesson I learned will shoot.


When you tell on someone, you get you get a reward. I became one of the membership secretaries. Next thing I knew, I was one of the church counselors. I was like, wow, OK, so this is how you get up in the hierarchy. And then before we left for Jonestown, I was on his little elite planning commission. But I thought being on the Planning Commission meant that I really had to say, but I didn't realize till later that didn't mean anything.


I was just the token.


Right. Right. So you guys go on and you arrive in Jonestown. We go on and we first arrived in Georgetown, the capital itself, so when we arrived in Georgetown, as soon as we got to the customs, I realized that they weren't looking through our bags. And then suddenly we had these big crates that I knew what I was. And I said, those aren't ours. I don't know whose that is. And then Debbie, I said, be quiet.


Those belong to the church. Just say they're yours. So I'm like, OK, whatever.


And I still was wondering after we got to this raggedy blue van Dodge van, what was in those crates? I did find out eventually, but when we got to this raggedy van, I said, Oh.


I think we made a mistake and I'm looking around and we're driving on this road and all I see is like. Houses with 10 roofs, some with no roofs. I said, what is that building, Debbie? She said, that's a that's a bar. And I'm like, where are the walls and where is the roof? A bar. And then we get to La Mahat Gardens.


Forty one Lahmar Gardens where the People's Temple headquarters was in Georgetown.


Tonight, how's it as Miranda and stuff, but I'm looking around and saying we made a mistake.


Soon as we get in the house, they strip us of our passports. My then husband argued with them for over 30 minutes and I tried to argue and I just got irritated and just gave it to them. He argued with them for about 30 minutes. And then finally I told him, look, I don't want to be up on that. I'm tired. Give them this shit. Who cares? So he gave it to them, right. And then they tried to get all of the US dollars from us.


I kept some money and fortunately, my husband was one of the time he didn't have any money either. So we finally were allowed to go to sleep. And they gave us one room in that house and my husband and I shared it with my little daughter. There was no bed. And there we just used our sleeping bags and slept on the floor. In their introduction, that was my yes, that was my introduction, first introduction to Utopia, but then you woke up and everything was great, right?


You were like, where's our houses? Where's the rights? We're having to be this one to ask that, right. I said, Oh, you haven't seen it yet. It's so beautiful.


Right. And I'm like, Really? I said, well, where is it? Yeah. And they said, Oh, it's in Jonestown. I said, Well, aren't we here? I said, no, this is the capital. This is Georgetown. So we stayed in Georgetown for about a week to 10 days. And then finally, Jim said, you know, we're going to have to go to Jonestown. However, I had impressed him during the ten days that I was there with my ability to be able to procure things from the Guyanese people and bargain down the prices and save the money where Debbie, I had made a mess of everything.


So he stripped her of that responsibility and said it was going to be mine.


Right. I was like, OK, this is great. I get to stay in the capital and I don't have to go anywhere. But he goes, but I do want you to see Jonestown first, because I want you to know what you're talking about when you're talking to and you have to see it.


And I'm like, OK, again, reluctant we get on this little bitty. Oh, it was something like a little boat like this, they called it the Kodjoe. OK, and. It takes over a day and some over a day. I mean, I felt like it was hours upon hours upon hours and you have a baby. I don't do water. I don't know what it is like. Twenty I'm twenty twenty one years old. I mean, I don't go in swimming pools and go swimming.


I may jump in and just wait in it. Right. Because I just don't do that every day. And then when he wants to put me in a little boat. Right, I'm like, if that boat flipped over, what the hell going to happen to me? I'm a die right the whole time. I'm praying, God, please don't don't let me and my baby die here in this unknown foreign country.


Right. Because I still hadn't seen anything that really impressed me. They had big flying roaches and big old lives. I mean, just disgusting stuff, stuff I've never seen before. So when we get to Jonestown, I'm like, OK, we're finally here. And they said, no, this is Port Kaituma or something.


I got my Port Kaituma. Know what? We had to get in a big dump truck. I got I had on jeans and stuff. Yeah. All that dust kicking up river. I'm a city girl rock. Right, right. Thing. We finally get to this sign that says Jones Agricultural Project. Welcome. And I'm seeing a security officer, Ronnie James, that I knew from the San Francisco Church. What a big gun in his hand. Oh, my God.


What the hell's he got a gun for? I said we didn't need no guns here. Right. So I ask somebody, what's the gun for? They said, oh, that's just to keep out trespassers. I'm like, yeah, OK. So we get in there and all of a sudden I see these plywood shacks. That's and there were no individual homes for individual families, they said they still hadn't had enough time to do all of that. So I had to sleep in a dormitory building with other women.


Me and my daughter. And then my husband was separated and he was in a dormitory that was for the men. Right. So that was our great introduction. And then when I asked where was the shower? Right. We go into another wood structure and instead of it having a shower here is just water running from out of there. I'm like, oh, my God, where's the toilet tissue? There is no toilet tissue there. Use the newspaper.


Where's the bathroom? There is no bathrooms. You're using outhouses. I said, what? What an outhouse. What is that. Right. He had to show me so disgusting. Totally disgust. And just I could not believe that we had been played big time like that. And then, of course. The P.A. system with his voice going from sunup to sundown, and you would think when the sun was down, he'd let you get sleep, or now then you got to come to the pavilion and you got to have another service or you got to discuss something that somebody did wrong.


Right. In. A six foot trench where they had built had constructed for Tommy, both because he kept trying to escape then speed, and he was being kept prisoner in this whole prison, in this little hole.


And this is just the first just the first time you're seeing these types of.


I mean, obviously, you saw the beatings and you saw how people were being turned in and all that. But this was just just like, wow, this is not now this is not anything that we thought it was.


This is was that the icing on the cake?


What, you started that? Well, I already had had enough. Right. But that in and of itself was my introduction to torture. Right. And then as I started to look around the compound, I realized the movie that he had consistently shown us on Sundays called Night and Fog about the Jewish concentration camps. And I recognize the way they had constructed this area and the pavilion and everything was very similar to the Jewish concentration camps and the fact that he kept going on the loudspeaker.


Even when you're supposed to be sleeping during the night, you would hear his sermons constantly. So it was a brainwashing process to kind of like make you go crazy. You couldn't read anything unless it was approved by him. There was no income outgoing mail that you freely just wrote and received. They had to review everything that was going out and they reviewed before you received anything that came in.


Well. So I just flat out. How did you get the. Oh, yeah, because so how long did it take you to try to start to to plan your escape?


My my plan was initiated. Before they even got to Jonestown, because I had already met a guy, any citizen who had a telephone and I had been giving her US dollars in exchange to make collect calls, the United States. So I had been communicating with relatives and close friends and tell them everything that was going on and what we were experiencing and that this is not the promised land. This is not what he said. It was, is lies.


And I need to get out of here. I being held against my will work captive and we have our passports and we have no money. We have not seen any meat. We have not seen any eggs. We have not seen any milk. We were being deprived of nutrition, basic nutrition. I was surviving on coconuts, peanut butter and bread and rice pudding. It is day. I don't eat rice pudding. Because I can't stand it, because it reminds me of that.


And so I made these calls and then once. He allowed us to leave Jonestown and come back into Georgetown. He decided he would let my husband still come to Georgetown with us because he was an attorney and they could use his expertise right there in Georgetown. So when we came back, I had to go out just about on a daily basis to procure food and they would give me some U.S. dollars and say try not to spend it. All right.


So I became very familiar and good friends with so many of the Guyanese merchants there that the money that I would say I would pocket some of it for myself and I'd give them some. And that's when I realized he is bright of a profit. Is he supposed to be because he would be knowing I was still in this money, but then I would in turn, turn around, use that money and write my own letters and go directly to the post office trying to make sure that they weren't following me and send letters directly back to United States.


But I found out through some other things that my mother had that the letters didn't really get where they were supposed to get to. The ones that were sent to my brother, they were intercepted by members of People's Temple. And in fact, we openly broke the seal on some of them. Oh, really? So they were just just two weeks ago, my brother said I never saw that.


And then there was a letter that my brother supposedly wrote to us and he said, I never wrote that. What yet? Wow. Yes.


So so you're sending letters.


They're not getting received at your mother. Receive any of the letters that you sent saying, don't come help us rescue us?


Well, she did. I never sent her any letters like that. That's why I had to make the phone calls and I backed it up with letters so that I was trying to give them enough evidence to work with the media here in San Francisco. So my family was doing that. The ones who were in San Francisco, my mother didn't know really what was going on because I didn't realize they were sending letters to my mother on my behalf that I hadn't even written that everything's great and my husband has the perfect job.


And my mother sent the letters to my brother, which we have, which my brother never received. But we we read it together and he goes, that's crazy, right? My mother's saying that everybody's got jobs and we're all just doing so wonderful. It's so lovely.


So the letter that I ultimately got to my mother was the last trip that Jim Jones was making to the United States. He had finally decided that he was going to, quote, unquote, go back to face his accusers. When he got to Florida, of course, he stopped right there. He could refuse to move on into the state of California. But what I did was I wrote a letter. My letter was an open. Confession to my mother, everything that was going on in People's Temple, and I told her I needed her to come and come as soon as possible with US dollars, with tickets and enough money to get tickets for us to get back to the United States.


And I told her to get a round trip ticket for when she came there and to not give them her passport when she could do anything. They ask her for money to say she doesn't have any money. And then I told her to get in touch with the family, tell them to stop the sale of our house if it was still if it had been sold and to get over here as soon as possible because I didn't know how long he was going to let us stay in Georgetown.


So I sent that letter to her. I looked at his son. Jimmy was going, Timmy was going, and Stephen was going back supposedly to the United States with Jim. So I had to decide which one I could trust. So in looking at them, I finally decided I'm going to choose Jimmy.


So I pulled Jimmy over to the side and I said, Jimmy, I need to get a letter to my mom and it's real personal. I don't want anybody reading it. Do you think you could get it to my mother, because it's really, really personal, I just want to share some things with her, how much I love her and need her, and I can't wait for her to come here. Would you do that for me? I said, if you really love me, you will do this for me.


You've always said we will really try. And, you know, my dad did wonderful things for you. Come on, can you help me out here? And he said, Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll take it because you stutter. So I gave him the letter in a sealed envelope and it was marked confidential when they landed in Miami. I did know that Jim Jones had told my parents what flight to expect him on and to meet him at the Miami airport right.


When they met him there. My mother was standing next to Jim Jones and Jimmy was standing right behind his dad. Jimmy broke away from behind his dad and handed my mother a letter. And my mother said, Jim got really stern with little Jimmy and said. Did you read that letter, was that letter written read before you gave it to her and he said, yeah, yeah, but Jim was still mad at my mother could tell he was mad.


My mother said she immediately put that letter in her bra and she was thinking when she put it in a burner, you come in my bra to get this right, they're going to have to get the laws. Going to have to get you up. Give me a few. Right. Right. So. He was irritated because he didn't know what was in that letter. However, he had to let it go and then he stayed there in Miami a few hours.


And the next thing I knew, within less than 24 to 48 hours, he was back in Guyana. And needless to say, I had no whether the letter had been given to my mother or not.


Right. And so when he came back, I was fearful that, oh, they know what I did and I'm going to be shipped out to Jonestown. Right. Well, fortunately, they didn't. And Jim Jones just went straight on from there into Jonestown and left me in Georgetown with my husband and daughter. And I guess it was about a week to 10 days later, maybe less than that. My mother wound up arriving in a little cab with the Guyanese citizen and they were looking for some US citizens from some People's Temple Agricultural Project.


And I was leery then.


I'm like, now that that possibly I said, who wants to know? And then the guy and his taxi cab driver said, There's a lady in here. She says she's looking for a family member. And I said, well, tell her to get out the car. Let me see who she is.


And I was talking to them from the upper veranda on an upper floor. And when I looked, I realized it was my mother. They had to say nothing else. I can't remember if I if my feet even touched the staircase as I ran down there to greet her. And the only thing I kept saying to her is, don't give me your passport. Don't give me your money. Tell me you don't have your money. Keep your passport. Don't give me your passport.


And as soon as she got in to the to home on Lamba, how guards in Georgetown, first thing they asked her was, do you have your passport? We'll keep it for you. She said, Oh, no, you won't. And so they realized they were gonna have a problem with her. I said, well, do you have any money? She said no, and if I did, it would be my money, right? Well, we were just going to keep it.


She said, I don't need you to keep anything for me. I'm in full control of everything. Right. And so I would say within less than twenty four hours, we sit in the room. We stayed up most of the night. We were telling her everything that we had endured during those two. Months to two and a half months, two and a half months, and then we develop the plan that we were just going to outand outright tell him that we no longer wanted to be there.


We wanted to return to the United States immediately. It was not what we had thought it was going to be, and we just did not want to be a part of it at this point in time. So whatever. So the next day we got him on the shortwave radio. Yeah. And I told him, I said, I'm sorry to tell you that. This isn't working for us, and you know that you're having problems with the press and the media and everything, and I know you have mentioned that my brothers and sister were giving the church members who were staying at my parents house problems.


I think it's time for you to show that people are not being held against their will. And this would be a golden opportunity and a time for you to prove it by letting me and my mother, my husband and daughter go back to the United States. And then we can be your evidence, your living evidence that no one is being held against their will. And he said, do all of you feel that way? And so then my mother spoke up and she said, I'm here to get my daughter, my son-In-Law and my grandbaby.


And I've already told my family in the United States of we're not back by a certain time. They know what they need to do. Oh, right. Yeah. And I said, well, at this point, Jim, I would say that it would be in the best interests of the church and this cause that if you want to save, because you want to continue your mission, that you let us go back and let us try and facilitate and assist you in stopping the bad press.


Right. And he said he was going to have to think about it or whatever, but while he was thinking about it, he didn't know I had already had the little guy and this woman that had provided me an opportunity to use her phone, agreed to allow my family to stay on her veranda or on her porch area until we could get to the airport. But you did have your passport, did you?


We didn't have our passports. So the only thing that we could think of doing is trying to get to the customs area of the airport and then have my family trying to still work to get some type of emergency passport, a legislature, because my family was connected with the brothers, very well connected with them. So we had that. If we had to use lies at the time. That was Senator Byrd and Congressman Burton, John Burton and Phillip Burton, because they grew up in Detroit.


They lived in Pittsburgh. So they had been longtime friends of my family. And the other option of what we were going to do is we would have had to have tried to go to the council. But I told my mother we couldn't really go to the council it safely because the Paula Adams was sleeping with one of the people who worked in the consulate and she was getting information if anyone had went there to try and get emergency pass or she was part of the People's Temple, right?


Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Wow. So safe haven.


We had planned a year and then we still knew that my mother still had her passport. So we still figured out that there was a way for us to still try and remain some safety and distance from them until we could get what we needed to get out of there. Right. But fortunately, Jim Jones was in a drug induced state, so we were able to actually manipulate him and get him to agree to allow us to be the only family or I should say the first family released by people simple to return to the United States.


But there were conditions that he gave us if he were to grant our request, which was and those conditions were, that we had to continue to attend church services at the San Francisco temple.


We were not to say anything negative about Jonestown or People's Temple, for if we did, the angels would get us.


So these angels were well known. This was a real threat.


Those were real threats because he had the angels looking for the college students to knock them off. I mean, because anybody who had any delicate information about this church, they were a threat to his. Revival, yes. And then they. This was never were these ever investigated, these murders, these was there any you know, three investigations were never completed.


So ultimately, when you got back when you got back to the States, you you did start talking. Right? You talk to the media.


You talk to take us through that. Yeah. When I did get back, I gave a deposition which is recorded of the things that were going on in People's Temple. I refused to go to Washington because I was afraid of doing any type of traveling at that time. So they made arrangements to take care of it locally. Yeah, the deposition.


And then I would not say anything directly negative initially about the Jonestown situation, but when people would ask me and I'm a very talkative person, so I feel like people could read through the lines because they would ask me, hey, you came back, would you come back for.


Well, the story I was supposed to tell was that I came back because I was going to reenroll and UC Berkeley and finish up my medical degree. OK, so I had to keep to that story. So I told that one that that didn't really bother me much. But when they would ask me, so what is Jonestown like, I would say, well, you know what? It's something that I really can't explain. You would have to see it to believe it.


And they could say, What do you mean? You have to see it to believe it. I said, That's all I can say is just something that you have to really see to believe. Right now, some people who know me took that to mean that maybe I don't want to go there because she's really not saying a whole lot. And I know she's always very tall talking details. Right. So but there were others who unfortunately were swayed. And then at the very end, when he needed to get them there in droves, they were forced to pack within less than four to five hours and be ready to roll on the church buses to Florida.


They weren't even using airplanes anymore because I think it was due to the fact that people were starting to talk. The pressure was was building up in mountain up too much. So he had to then take more drastic measures to get the people, the majority of the people out of San Francisco so that he could then make sure that the moneys were secure there and they would keep coming. And foster children were taken without permission of the state children that were not completely adopted.


There were still wards of the state or moved to foreign countries without permission of the court systems.


So there were all types of violations he was facing, not to mention the fight for John Victor Stone against him, stone and gray stone at the time. So what so what ultimately happened? You went to the authorities, right, you were contacted by senator, contacted by Senator Leo Ryan after he had secured a job in San Francisco. And of course, just because you told me he was a congressman, I was talking to him on the phone and my instinct said, you know, Jim, don't play those kind of tricks on people.


So I said, OK, your congressman, give me your number and I'll call you back in a while. So I he gave me the number. I waited about a half an hour to 40 minutes, and then I decided to call back. And when I called back, I asked Congressman Leo Ryan s office and he said yes. And so I said, this is Jolanda Williams. You called for me, what can I do for you? And then that's when I was advised that he planned to go to Guyana because he was doing a favor for Bob Houston's dad, who was a long time friend of his and also a group of former People's Temple members known as the Concerned Citizens Right of Peoples Temple.


And then those are people who had gone to him for help to get their family members out. Yes. Yes.


And people who had not heard from their family members for an extended period of time, but they had heard that people were being mistreated, that they were working long hours and they were subjected to corporal punishment, et cetera. And so I told him, well, I suggest you not go. And he goes, well, why would you want me to go? Don't you think that they deserve to be to leave if they want to? I said, absolutely, but they got big guns because big guns with big guns.


And I said, I don't know what the colleges these big, huge, long guns because I wasn't familiar with weapons at that time. Right. But he said, well, I'm not worried about that because I carry the congressional seal. And I said, and with all due respect, I think you need to bring some police to somebody who's got some guns with you, too. Right. And he said, OK. He said, I'd like to find out if you might be interested in joining some of the concerned citizens and coming over.


Maybe you can help persuade some people who really want to get out to leave. And I said, oh, wow, that I said, I can think of some people right now. I said, I'll consider it. Well, when I got home that night, I talked to my parents about it and they cautioned me that if you go there again, we're not going to come back out there. Well, so we recommend you stay here, stay put and be happy that you've been spared.


Right. And do what you can from here for them.


So I concurred and agreed with my parents and called back and told them that unfortunately I would be joining them, but I wish them well. But again, I was concerned that they might be killed or the people who were there at the complex would be killed or something just really, really dangerous was going to happen because I told them of the fact that they we had been conditioned and forced to state that if they came for him, we would kill for him, we would die for him, because that's what comrades do.


And I said, so I just I just don't know. I mean, I'm concerned about your safety, right? Yeah.


And certainly, ultimately, if you want to just tell the story of what happened, for those who don't know, ultimately when he got there, Jim Jones was very irate and irritated that he had the audacity to come out there to see what was going on with his people, because, again, Jim Jones assumed that People's Temple members were his property. Right. And so it was a very.


Cantankerous meeting Jim Jones was still, you could tell he was highly agitated and he was also under the influence of drugs because he was not really able to maintain a conversation for any great length of time. And he would babble on and on about things they put on a big show for the congressman, showing all the different talents and stuff of the many young people that were there in the Jonestown. However, when it was all said and and Jim Jones started to realize that people were slipping notes to the congressmen, to news reporters and others indicating that they wanted to leave and that families were going to be separated, he couldn't risk that the cost was too great.


He could bully other people, yet he never wanted to be held accountable for his crimes. So what he did instead was. He had, Don, a white male, take out a knife and take it to the congressman and he cut the congressman because it wasn't anything too severe. But then I think the congressman realized that this was dangerous and they decided that they were going to instead shorten their trip, try and do what they could do, that one last day and be heading out the next day.


And anybody who wanted to come with them would be able to leave if they chose to do so. And so that following day there were some, I guess maybe about a dozen, maybe more that decided they wanted to leave. And it got really ugly out there with family members yelling and screaming back at each other, a lot of crying and emotions and whatnot. Jim Jones sitting there looking like an utter fool, shaking his head back and forth, not knowing what to do because he had just created an utter mess.


And so when they left on the dump truck, get to Port Kaituma to a small plane that was waiting for them, unfortunately, the congressman did not realize that it was going to be that many people that would want to leave. So the plane was big enough, so they had to order another plane. So while waiting in some boarded onto the plane that was already there, another dump truck came up and that dump truck had People's Temple security guards, armed guards, and they began to shoot at the folks on the airstrip, including the congressman, his aide, Jackie Spears, news reporters, etc.


. It was a bloody mess. People some people ran into portions of the jungle. I heard that someone even climbed up a tree for safety, but they had to lay out there over that entire day until the next day, until they could get out of there. And, of course, many lost their lives out there at Port Kaituma at that dusty so-called airstrip.


Right. And as well, for those who don't know, over nine hundred individuals died from cyanide poisoning.


He ordered everybody to to kill themselves and their children. And it resulted and.


Yes, yes. And in essence with that. Ordering a suicide. You must realize that even in the San Francisco temple, there were times when we would have our church meals together and we would drink something and we would get up in the sanctuary. You would say, remember, you just said that view and the punch you drank. And we were all like, yeah. Was it a good bill? Yeah, it was great. Well, that punch was poison.


How many you guys are willing to die for the cause? Everybody raise their hand, of course, and everything. And we had been doing that for the longest. But when he said it was poison, then some of us started to get this gasp look and some people right out of the church. And then he started laughing like I mean, and he said it was poison. I was just playing with you guys. I just want to see who really is committed to the cause and willing to die for the cause.


You've got to be willing to die for the cause. You never know when something may happen. Right. And I think what really happened is because so many were still convinced that in. Reality, he really did care for us and that, you know, it was just he was under so much pressure with the law that he just wasn't thinking straight. And I think what happened is the first maybe 15 to 20 people took it thinking that it was just the loyalty terms.


It's just a test, you know, and I do believe that after that, when people started to realize that those babies weren't getting up and that people weren't moving, they started to back way. And that's why I believe so many bodies showed signs of physical injections and others were shot on the airstrip. But the one thing that I do recall is he always said that if they ever came for him, they would never capture him alive and that if he had to, he would flee to Cuba, Russia or Venezuela, where he could use some of the bank accounts that they had in other countries and get himself a whole new I.D., our plastic surgery done.


And they would never know because there's cyanide or some kind of poisoning would be utilized so that they would make sure that they would never know for sure if it was him. And he always had people in the church that did look alikes of him. And at times some people would be sitting up there in the pulpit, you'd really think it was him. And then later on, you'd find out it wasn't him. Right.


You know, so there was a very sinister side of him. Yes. But in reality, his ultimate goal was always to be known as a martyr and to go down in history as a leader of a group of people who were willing to die for the cause.




And you'll wonder, is this what what were your love for law enforcement?


Your interest in law enforcement came in trying to make these things right in your life, or what was your interest in getting into law enforcement?


Quite frankly, I was never interested in were not for as but the the opportunity came about. And I remember him saying how you should you should go to law enforcement.


And I was considering the San Francisco sheriffs, but then I ran into a couple of black police officers and they told me, you know, you're always trying to clean up your community and you want to get the drugs off your street and stuff. You need to be an instrument of change. In order to invoke change, you have to be part of change. Why don't you sign up for the police department?


And I said, yeah, but I won't be able to wear my heels and my, you know, nice clothes and stuff.


I don't really like your uniform and that, you know, and then they said, no, we really think you should we could use someone like you because you're really oriented around community and people. So I took them up on that and I scored really high on exam, was hired within six months of having applied. And now I've been in the San Francisco Police Department, first generation law enforcement for 30 plus years. And my career has focused really on people, primarily seniors and youth.


And ultimately I realized that yes, indeed, this was my calling. It gave me an opportunity to speak with the investigator that was responsible for the People's Temple investigation and to ask her some questions. I thought I was going to be able to see some of the files.


Yeah, but unfortunately, as a PD turned over those files to the FBI, never kept a copy of the files for themselves, which is outrageous. And of course, the FBI never turned back those files to SFP.


So I will never know many of the details that would have been contained in those files.


And I was going to ask you about that. What do you see as the problems for law enforcement? Because law enforcement really doesn't pursue abuses in organizations like this, obviously, as well.


Scientology, Nexium, like Mike was mentioning earlier this, it's just not easy to get law enforcement to. I think that law enforcement there's there's two issues with law enforcement.


First of all, they want to use the separation of church and state so Holtze can easily hide under the auspices of being a religious organization. I mean, because if you think about it, you look at the Nation of Islam, you look at Jehovah's Witnesses, you look at a Seventh Day Adventist, things like that. Those are religious cults. It's a culture. A cult is a culture, but a cult requires a whole doctrine nation to what is required and no deviation.


And if you deviate, you're punished. Right. Job witnesses excommunicate family members all the time.


Don't report to report. Yeah, they're not allowed to report sexual.


You know, if you're molested as a child or molested raped as a Jehovah's Witness, you need to have witnesses to those crimes. Right.


And it's got told to them to go report this to the police. It's a sin in their religion as well. In Scientology. Yes.


So that's one area that's a major, major issue for law enforcement and then for law enforcement. They don't have the appropriate training.


Right, to understand the intricate details of a cult and to understand sometimes things that are unsaid are really revealing as to what is potentially going on.


Law enforcement is manipulated oftentimes by religious organizations that are engaged in things that they should not be doing.


Well, look at the look at the priest. Right? My God. I mean, and they have some of those priests that were chaplains for various law enforcement agencies that were eventually brought to task for their crimes against children and whatnot. So it's it's the fact that law enforcement does not see cults as a threat, which becomes severely problematic. They want to believe that that is someone's right. They choose. That's a personal freedom. That's part of their First Amendment rights, but, you know, I'm here to say that it's not a First Amendment right for you to be abused or see someone else being abused and not report it.


And I say that in each one of these religions, I know that they have teachers and doctors and mandated reporters who are not reporting things, that they have working knowledge, of course.


Well, they're not against and it's justified because they're part of a bigger cause. Right. In their belief system.


Says we have the solution to fix the child molester, the rapist, the abuser. So why should we turn over to the real criminals which they are taught?


Is law enforcement right? They think they can be beat it out of someone and you can't beat that out of someone or counsel them out of it or counsel that the child molester out of them.




The abuser would tell the child, oh, you don't want to go public, because if you do, all of this information is going to come out. You're going to be pulled from your family and then we won't be able to see you anymore. You make the victim all of a sudden feel like they're guilty of something. Right.


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And I think that the other thing that law enforcement is ill equipped to deal with when it comes to cults is the fact that they will lie, they will lie without any hesitation if they believe that it is protecting the cult or the cult leader or they are the cause of the higher power they are.


They are not answerable to the law. They are answerable to the leader of their cult.


And that is something that that, you know, it comes up repeatedly and is a difficulty that I think that just as you say, you learned there has to be education for law enforcement agencies that are dealing with these type of groups because they just don't know.


They don't they don't recognize that the person sitting in front of them is operating on a completely different wavelength than education.


Mike, kids in Scientology are not taught the words molestation, pedophilia. It's not OK to be touch where your bathing suits are. It's not OK that they're not taught this. They're not even taught those words like abuse. Physical abuse is being taught to them every day. They're not taught that.


No one should be touching you, pushing you, shoving you, punching you in the face like you were beaten. Mike, you didn't think what you were doing when you were doing that to others was illegal.


And if you didn't know it as adults, it was it was justified by the promise of what Scientology is doing. It's justified by the higher mission of what the cult is saying they're doing. Yeah.


And sometimes you look at it as a form of entertainment. What do you mean you've been so well, I mean, sometimes I have to admit, as a young kid, I was look forward to going to catharsis because I want to see who was going to get in trouble.


And I loved watching my sister get her ass watched by my dad. Yeah.


Yeah, I did. I hit him again. Right, right, right, right. So you get caught up in that moment. And the thing is, is with law enforcement. It's hard for them to look at the human being and deal with the real human side of individuals, because then it requires them to have some type of emotion, right.


And they can't do that. They can't do that because they feel like if they show any side of emotion, then they become vulnerable, which is foolishness, right?


I mean, you're supposed to be serving a community. You can't serve your community if you're not compassionate and empathetic for human beings and human conditions. Exactly.


And the unfortunate thing is, is that. I spoke with my chief about the importance of it. I'm hoping with this new commander in chief, we can get some headway on stuff like this, because I'm a tell you something, the current commander in chief makes my body cringe because the things that he states are so in alignment with things that Jim Jones would say, they tell so many lies that they believe their own lives. Right. It's pathetic.


And it does. It speaks to the worst side of all of us all. Yes, it is. Yeah.


It's the worst side of us all.


And we believe it. Yes, we believe those lies is truth. And then we go on our social media. I had to just. Tell someone to cut the political stuff. I don't want to hear it anymore because I don't want to hear these these theories that really you don't have anything to show it. I've gotten I know of nine hundred and thirty people, so I have a right to come up with a theory that the man couldn't have done it by himself.


That had to be some government assistance of some kind, because what government allows their citizens to go to another foreign country allows checks to just leave and not be cashed in. Don't even question what the heck is going on. Right. Right.


There was so many agencies involved in this stuff. And the other thing that you have to worry about, about cults is they love to get involved in the political scene.


Exactly. To manipulate, to infiltrate, to control and to avoid being prosecuted. Yes.


And they do love to support police unions. They love to support police departments. And they filter in thousands upon thousands of dollars on that show so that then they own your butt and then they find out what the weaknesses of the persons in charge, like what Jim Jones did to Mayor George Moscone. They find out what their weaknesses. And once they know your weakness, they entice you with your weakness. And when they catch you, they're filming it or they're recording it.


And then all of a sudden they've got the ultimate blackmail against you. So you're going to do what they want you to do.


And that's what's happening in Scientology as well. I mean, and it's going on Scientology and other cults today.


And people keep asking us, why are you guys not doing?


We're doing what we can do and our hands are tied into we have to have politicians that are willing to say, I'm not going to take money from these organizations and lawyers, politicians and law enforcement that says the same thing. And until you have a law that says churches and not be involved in the politics or in the legal portion of it, I mean, you've got to set some parameters that protect people better because we have people who are vulnerable. We have people that have needs that have not been met.


And ultimately, that's who these cults look for. And of course, they look for some people who are educated to give them credibility. Sure. By far and large, they look for the vulnerable and those who are just looking for some form of help or assistance. Right. Right.


So what happened to your family after you guys went home? We never we never got that part. Like after the Jonestown happened.


All these just happened.


It was just a sin what happened there. But we never talked about them. What happened with your family? You want to like.


Yes, well, we're for cover for this. I mean, what, by the way, your mother amazing that she had the insight and she knew to not send her daughter back there. Right. I mean, your mother knew and she knew and she knew pretty early on.


Right. When you you know, because you were like, wait, we got to get Mom's back.


She's because she's, you know, starting to question the People's Temple. And you're the one who pulled her back in. Right. Look, we got to get her to. So what happened after all of this tragedy? Did your family after the tragedy?


We went into hiding for at least a good 10 to 11 years because there were still members who were from the San Francisco based church and there were a few that had come back from Jonestown that still believe in Joe Johns and his goodness.


So for us, that meant a possible danger, right? So we stayed under the radar. And so it wasn't until about I think it was the either that it must have been the fifth, the 10th or 15th anniversary that Reverend and Mrs. Lane invited me to go to it. And they said, you need to go because you need to start to close up this room. Right.


And you got to deal with it. Yeah. And my family chose not to seek professional counseling or anything like that because we were able to recover. We had the resiliency to be able to recover. That's the one thing, too, that Jim Jones asked us after we had the day before we were leaving was how was I able to break your family unit like the others, like I said, because we still believed in a higher authority than you. And because we never lived communally, we always maintained our home, and even though you said don't spend Christmas and Thanksgivings with your family, we were still assembling.


And so after the tragedy, November 18th of nineteen seventy eight. We had our first family gathering and all of the family members that were from San Francisco wound up at some point in time at my parents home, and it was a reunification of our family and a commitment that Family First was going to be our motto and.


From there, we consistently attempted to support each other in a way so that we could survive this tragic incident and and give it meeting, right? I mean, yes.


And it's important to give your painting. Yes. Yes.


And so I took on the responsibility that as a survivor of Jonestown, I'm going to be a victorious lioness and I'm going to be the example for the nine hundred and thirty plus people that are not here to speak for themselves. Absent that of Jim Jones because he was not a victim, you cannot be a victim of your own viciousness.


And so through that and through my commitment to the fact that I was going to survive this, having the knowledge of the sacrifices that my parents had made, the sacrifices that we all have made, that we could not continue in life and make it have no meaning and value. So through this, all my responsibility as I see it now is to engage people in the conversations of cults and religions and the danger of losing your identity to someone. It could be even a a relationship relationship.




Domestic violence relationship. If it can, it can be the the Crips and the blood and all that. That's all there. All cults. It's a culture that requires more of you than even your family. And they will kill you if you don't do what they say do. Right. I don't know how many people have family members that are going to kill you because you refuse to do what they tell you to do. I mean, there might be a few, but it's not the norm.


Right. But in cults and in gangs and in domestic violence situations, that is considered one of the norms. So my responsibility is to do what you all are doing and what we're doing here today, today together, because this is how we survive and this is how we can help others survive. Thank you, Amanda. Thank you for everything that you have done, continuing to do, and any time you need us, any time you need anything from us, we are there.


You need us. I told you people about Scientology.


You need me to come talk to some kids, whatever you need.


Yolanda, I appreciate that. Yes, I sincerely appreciate that. And like I say, my goal is as soon as I dim down the light even further with law enforcement, I got to get this levee repaired. Soon as the left knee is ready, then I'm ready to start rocking and rolling and we're going to get together and start doing some big things because I have some ideas at least to start with out here in Northern California. And I do really want to get with Gab and I do want to get with Kamala.


And I want to start having this important conversation because we left it on the bookshelf too long and it now needs to come down.


Agree? Yes. May I help you? We were there to help you in any way. We can continue. God bless you to heal up. OK, well, OK. Thank you. All right. Thank you so much. And thank you guys for listening until next time.


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