Jonestown: Paradise Lost (documentary)

This is a hybrid documentary about Jim Jones, Peoples Temple, Jonestown, and the victims. This includes the words of some of the survivors and dramatization of the real events. Please feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations.

via Top Documentary Films

An evangelical preacher led nearly a 1,000 followers from the United States deep into the jungles of South America. They would build a new community free of oppression and violence and it was to be their paradise on Earth, but outsiders threatened to expose the dark side of their leader. In one day two worlds collidedand paradise was lost. In November 1978 reporters around the world broke the news that Jim Jones and more than 900 of his followers died.

By the late 1960s and early 70s the streets of America erupted in violence and civil strife. War in Vietnam, civil rights marches and political assassinations played out on television. Out of this turmoil thousands of Americans flocked to hear the sermons of a charismatic preacher named Jim Jones. His early speeches were mixture of socialist ideals and Christian redemption. Some turned to the temple because they needed help, others wanted to serve humanity, but whatever they needed Jim Jones and his peoples temple seem to had it.

Jim Jones claimed special powers to heal the sick and dying. Staged healings werepopular attraction at temple meetings. As his popularity grew he preached less about the Bible and more about social activism. He called himself a prophet, a savior who would guide, protect and watch over his followers. His devoted followers referred to him as “father.” Many signed over their paychecks, possessions and even their homes. But at the height of his power a darker side of Jim Jones emerged. Former temple members accused Jones of physical and sexual abuse, mind control and forced drugging. In 1977, as media interest grew Jim Jonesand hundreds of his supporters left San Francisco, California and set out for Guyana determined to build a new community in the South American country.

“This groundbreaking feature-length hybrid of documentary and drama definitively examines the five tense days leading up to that unthinkable massacre in Guyana. Through this moving program you will come face to face with “Father” and his followers, hear from survivors and experts, and experience for yourself life in Jonestown and the final terrible days there. Jonestown: Paradise Lost perfectly portrays the man who made “the gravest decision in history,” and captures the power Jones wielded that allowed him to command followers to kill not only themselves but their own children.”

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  • jnana

    some of the most tragic moments in the history of humanity. what a “legacy” jim jones left. I have a hard time believing this wasn’t some kinda psyops to discredit revolutionary communes, which may possibly be the earth’s only hope. if it wasn’t political, it was definitely satanic.
    may all their souls’ know forgiveness.

    • Taan Maat

      It was a classic mind-control setup. They probably collated their findings and scaled it up for larger communities, or used it to enhance politicians use of NLP, many things.

      • jnana

        definitely classic mind control, but did it speak of a deeper conspiracy? I don’t know but it wouldn’t surprise me

  • jnana

    I read a new book on Jonestown recently and I think I remember someone who was interviewed hinting they thought it might not be coincidental that congressman ryan was killed that day. he was quite a progressive politician(even going undercover in a prison to see what the conditions were like) who spoke quite a bit of truth to power. I don’t necessarily think there was a conspiracy to kill him, but it definitely was a shame that one of the few congressmen who really seemed to care, had to have such an early demise.

    • echar

      I have entertained the thought that it could be psyops. Congressman Ryan does appear to have been awesome. He flew all the way down there to see if he could rescue people. Jim Jones’s son does a great job of dispelling anyidea of psops in this documentary, in my opinion.

      What is the name of the book you mentioned?

      • jnana

        I think the title was just Jonestown, can’t remember the subtitle. but it was in the new section at the library so it came out in the past yr. the writer did interviews w/ survivors to do a play about it in Berkeley. he also did a play about the matthew shepard incident previously. can’t remember his name. sorry couldn’t be of more help.
        i’m not sure his son would have known if it was psyops, jim jones maybe wouldn’t have known. but he did have many paranoid suspicions the cia was goin after him. who knows, maybe it wasn’t just paranoia?

        • echar

          Woah… Disqus is glitched right now. I went to reply and clicked edit on your post, and I think I could have edited.

          Anyhow, I apreciate the info. I’ll do a search and see if I can find it. We may never know what exactly went on.

          What I find most disturbing is the small ammount of people who said hey, this is wrong. If memory is correct (it’s been about a year since I’ve watched this) only the one black lady resisted.

          • jnana

            they were beat and drugged if they resisted. the question I ask is why nobody just ran up and dumped the poison. I think it was all put in one big tub.

          • echar

            That’s a great question. I have read that people in cults are beaten down, and less likely to resist. Maybe that’s the case?

  • Taan Maat

    Who shot jim in the back. His CIA handler? Also, never listen to the jonestown tape on acid.

    • Monkey See Monkey Do

      haha funny you say that. I remember being inclined to listen to the tape one morning after a particularly confronting night on acid. I felt like I had learned a little more about the human condition that morning.

      • Taan Maat

        Yea it’s horrific when the one woman comes to her senses “wait, but you said they were coming, couldn’t we leave now?” etc. then the actual people in the crowd start screaming for her to shut her mouth. Then they fucking drink poison, feed it to their children and die. It’s strangely symbolic of the world today.

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