Saturday, November 17, 2007

Don't miss all eight of Les Kinsolving's Original Exposes

Originally published in The Examiner:
Previously Unpublished:
Jonestown Apologist's Alert


Part One....

By Rev. Lester Kinsolving
Examiner Religion Writer
[September 17, 1972 Page 1]

REDWOOD VALLEY ---- A man they call The Prophet is attracting extraordinary crowds from extraordinary distances to his People’s Temple Christian (Disciples) Church in this Mendocino County hamlet.

His followers say he can raise the dead.

The PTC (D) Church’s mimeographed newsletter recently described the resurrection of a Los Angeles man.

And one director of the Temple claims that The Prophet has returned life to “more than 40 persons…..people stiff as a board, tongues hanging out, eyes set, skin graying, and all vital signs absent.”

His congregations, mostly black, believe The Prophet possesses other, equally amazing powers. They come from all over the West—from as far away as San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles — to the Temple, 7 miles north of Ukiah.

The weekend flock is gathered by the Temple’s fleet of 11 ex-Greyhound buses for services that often run from 11 in the morning until 11 at night, broken only for communal meals prepared by Temple cooks. Congregations number over a thousand and attendance at weekly services is similarly impressive.

The Prophet (or Prophet of God, as he prefers to call himself) is the Rev. Jim Jones, 41, the part-Cherokee former pastor of the People’s Temple Christian Church in Indianapolis.

Utopian Community

So powerful was the appeal of The Prophet’s ministry reportedly designed to create a Utopian community along the lines of the early Christian church that when he decided to move west seven years ago, a goodly number of his Indianapolis congregation came along.

No less than 165 Indianapolis Temple-ites—including several teenagers—moved to Redwood Valley with the Rev. Mr. Jones in 1965. The Temple’s total participating memberships today is 4,711, according to one of its directors.

“Grand total income” is said to have been $396,000 for the year ending June 30, 1972, while “grand total paid out” is put at $343,000. Permanent funds: $260,000.

The resurrection cited in the Temple newsletter transpired inside an ex-Christian Science Church building in Los Angeles—-the latest in a series of PTC (D) Church real estate transactions. And the Temple is presently in final stages of acquiring an auditorium to house the proposed San Francisco People’s Temple—just across Geary Boulevard from the Japanese Trade Center.

Other holdings: A 40-acre children’s home, 3 convalescent centers, and 3 college dormitories. Other operations: A heroin rehabilitation center and, in the words of one of the Temple’s three attorneys, “our own welfare system.”

The Rev. Mr. Jones’s influence in the Ukiah area is apparently just as strong as his impact on the congregations who jam his temple (with its 41-foot indoor swimming pool) to overflowing. Not only is The Prophet a part-time teacher in the local school system, he has also served as foreman of the Mendocino County Grand Jury.

He has stated to his flock:

“We have won over the sheriff’s office and the police department.”

He has certainly won over the assistant prosecuting attorney of Mendocino County, Timothy O. Stoen-—who is one of the Rev. Mr. Jones’s five assistants, a member of the Temple’s board of directors—-the man who claims “over 40” resurrections for The Prophet.

But the Rev. Mr. Jones has not won the hearts of all the locals. Four years ago, the Ukiah Daily Journal carried a story bannered, “Local Group Suffers Terror in the Night.”

It described menacing phone calls to The Prophet in the middle of the night—sometimes featuring the sound of heavy breathing, sometimes outright threats: “Get out of town if you don’t want to get blown out of your classroom window.”

Highly Respected

A large newspaper ad (8 columns, nearly full page) appeared in the Journal a month later as “an open letter to Rev. Jones, his family and his church members,” deploring “the unseemly words and actions of a small segment of this community.”

It pledged that “you are not only welcome in this valley but are highly respected"—and was signed by nearly 200 residents. But the harassment did not abate.

For this reason, The Prophet travels with impressively armed body guards. Attendants at services wear pistols in their gun belts.

These guardians are necessary, explains one of the church’s attorneys, Eugene B. Chaikin, because, “We have suffered threats and vandalism. Our local law enforcement agency has requested that we have trained persons carry firearms, and we have reluctantly acquiesced to the Sheriff’s instructions on this matter.”

There is little question of The Prophet’s influence on the Ukiah Daily Journal—for when The Examiner inquired about the People’s Temple and its charismatic pastor some months ago, Journal editor George Hunter immediately reported the inquiry to the office of prosecuting attorney.

‘Jim, The Prophet’

Thus relaying the news to the precincts of Timothy O. Stoen, assistant prosecuting attorney and assistant to The Prophet. Stoen promptly wrote to The Examiner to say, among other things, the Rev. Mr. Jones “goes by the self-effacing title of ‘Jim Jones.’”

Subsequently, Stoen explained that “our church bulletin writers are somewhat zealous”—but that’s the way they see it.”Stoen seems enthusiastic himself, though he prefers to call The Prophet just plain “Jim.” Here is an excerpt from a Stoen letter to The Examiner received five days ago:

“Jim has been the means by which more than 40 persons have literally been brought back from the dead this year. When I first came into the church, I was the conventional skeptic about such things. But I must be honest:

“I have seen Jim revive people stiff as a board, tongues hanging out, eyes set, skin graying, and all vital signs absent. Don’t ask me how it happens. It just does.

“Jim will go up to such a person and say something like, ‘I love you’ or ‘I need you’ and immediately the vital signs reappear. He feels such a person can feel love in his subconscious even after dying.

“Jim is very humble about his gift and does not preach it.” As a matter of fact, Stoen writes, “The Prophet eschews publicity.”

Additional Powers

[Stoen continued] “Whenever there is publicity, the extremists seem to show themselves. Jim has simply been hurt enough….Jim Jones is NOT concerned for his own safety. His real concern is to prevent harm to his children and others in his church family who might be hurt for what he himself has stood for…” The Temple’s newsletter, however, is not the least bit shy about publicizing either his power to bring back the dead or his “additional powers.”

In exhibiting these powers to an unnamed woman in Los Angeles, the Prophet reportedly identified all the names of her relatives, the brands in her refrigerator, the cost of her insurance policy, and the exact price—“TO THE PENNY”—of all the books she had purchased “years ago!”

Stoen’s written affirmation of the self-effacement of The Prophet did not include any explanation for the three tables just outside the main entrance of the People’s Temple.


These tables are loaded with either photographs, or neck pieces and lockets—all bearing the image of the Rev. Mr. Jones, and on sale at prices running from $1.50 to $6.00.

Attorneys Stoen and Chaikin have repeatedly contacted The Examiner, by phone calls, letters, and even via messenger—Sharon Bradshaw of the Mendocino County Probation Department—because, as Stoen puts it:

“People’s Temple does, frankly, have a remarkable human service ministry and is devotedly supported by extensive numbers of people. It is extremely important to us to keep our credibility.”

The Prophet, as Stoen describes him, is "supremely and totally dedicated to building an ideal society where mankind is united, life (human and animal and plant) is cherished, and the joys of nature and simplicity are esteemed."

Furthermore, he adds, the Rev. Mr. Jones “receives 400 letters a day” and has adopted 6 children of assorted races. He “wears only used clothing and takes in abandoned animals.”

Meanwhile, his sturdy sentries lend the temporal assurance that the Temple of The Prophet is the best-armed house of God in the land.


By Rev. Lester Kinsolving
Examiner Religion Writer

[Monday, Sept. 18, 1972]

"I know that Pastor Jim Jones is God Almighty himself!" cried one of the more than 1000 people who overflowed the auditorium of Benjamin Franklin Junior High School on Geary Boulevard yesterday morning and Saturday night.

"You say I am God Almighty?" asked the Rev. Mr. Jones, the charismatic pastor-prophet of the People's Temple Christian (Disciples) Church near Ukiah, who was holding special services in San Francisco this weekend.

"Yes, you are!" shrieked the unidentified but obviously ecstatic woman, as the audience clapped or waved their arms and shouted approval at Sunday services.


The Rev. Mr. Jones has been consistently attracting congregations of more than 1000 people - who travel by the fleet of ex-Greyhound buses from as far away as Los Angeles and Seattle to his home in Redwood Valley, seven miles north of Ukiah, and to services such as those this weekend in San Francisco.

Among those attracted is the assistant district attorney of Mendocino County, Timothy O. Stoen, who has affirmed in writing that the Rev. Mr. Jones has raised 40 people from the dead.

Jones arrived in California in 1965, accompanied by 165 of his parishioners from the People's Temple of Indianapolis, where he served as pastor.

He is a darkly handsome, 41 year old, part-Cherokee who is an ordained minister of 1.9 million member the Disciples of Christ (Christian) Church.

Yesterday as he conducted services, he was clad in a white turtleneck sweater, a pulpit gown, and dark glasses. He was seated on a cushion-covered stool behind the podium - which is an apparent necessity given the five and six-hour length of his services.


He reflected only momentarily upon the lady's enthusiastic affirmation of his divinity before replying:

"What do you mean by that? If you believe I am a son of God in that I am filled with love, I can accept that. I won't knock what works for you - but I don't want to be interpreted as the creator of the universe."

Then he added, gently:

"If you say 'He is God,' some people will think you are nuts. They can't relate. I'm glad you were healed, but I'm really only a messenger of God....I have a paranormal ability in healing."

The Rev. Mr. Jones had just completed what were said to be two resuscitations of parishioners who had either fainted or gone into catatonic stiffenings in the general excitement.

In each case, he stopped in the middle of a sentence, raced from the stage to the audience and laid hands upon the stiffened congregant.


After some 30 seconds, the audible tension of the multitude broke as the Prophet lifted up each prostrate figure - to thunderous applause.

Another unidentified woman began leaping wildly and screeching hallelujahs - while an even more elderly woman commenced a frenzied hopping in a corner down stage right.

Utilizing the full force of the microphone to project his generally soothing voice above this ecstatic din, the Rev. Mr. Jones smilingly explained:

43rd Time

"You'll have to understand - she was given up to die; they said she'd never be able to move again....Such experiences are not at all uncommon to us. That's the 43rd time this has happened. I just said: 'I love you, God loves you, come back to us.' The registered nurses around her said it was so."

These R.N.s were neither introduced nor even identified, however. They were hardly even apparent, given the number of large men who surrounded the reported resurrection.

None of these security guards ("ushers") was spotted carrying firearms, however - in contrast to last Sunday's service in Redwood Valley, where an Examiner photographer spotted three holstered pistols (one a .357 magnum) and a shotgun.

"You all complied with my wishes and didn't bring guns, even though you are afraid for me," congratulated the Rev. Mr. Jones.

Yesterday morning's services opened with two hymns, followed by glowing testimonials from 3 men who recalled how The Prophet had either healed them or in one case saved them from air crash and false arrest for transporting narcotics.


Then Mrs. Jones, a trim blonde, sang a song entitled "My Black Baby," with the Jones' adopted black son, a handsome boy of 14, standing at his mother's feet at stage edge while the audience loudly applauded. (The boy had been extensively featured in last week's sermon by his father in Redwood Valley, as well.)

Then The Prophet made everyone hold hands (after an initial embrace). With the organ providing a tremolo background, he began a series of trance-like revelations about various people's names, relatives, addresses, and maladies. These assorted ills were all pronounced cured by both healed and healer - to further applause.

Among a vast number of subjects discussed by the Rev. Mr. Jones in his two-hour extemporaneous sermon was the desirability of cooperation and fellowship with other denominations.

He did note in this connection that this is sometimes difficult, however.

"We tried to fellowship with one pastor in this area - who actually propositioned two of our young choirgirls! And when I confronted him about this, he replied: "Wasn't David a man after God's heart?"

(King David, in the second Book of Samuel, seduced Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, whom David ordered killed after Bathsheba became pregnant.)


But this San Francisco pastor was not identified by the Rev. Mr. Jones. Nor were several assistants and parishioners able to identify the man.

The prophet's offertory calls are (comparatively) low key. He told the mammoth congregation that the elders had informed him that Saturday evening's collection was "light."

Later in yesterday's service he applied this very same (unspecific) description to the Sunday's collection - while one week ago, the Rev. Mr. Jones described the current financial condition of the People's temple as "bleak."

(Receipts for the fiscal year ending this June 30 are listed by attorney Stoen at $396,000.)



Tuesday, September 19, 1972
San Francisco Examiner
By Rev. Lester Kinsolving
Examiner Religion Writer

REDWOOD VALLEY - Mendocino County's assistant district attorney - who has written that his pastor, the Rev. Jim Jones has raised 40 people from the dead - has confirmed reports that he himself has solemnized the marriage of a minor girl who joined his church.

Timothy O. Stoen, who in addition to his duties as assistant DA, is attorney for and board member of Pastor Jones's People's Temple Christian (Disciples) Church in this hamlet near Ukiah, admitted he is not an ordained clergyman.

When asked by what authority he had officiated at the marriage of Mildred "Mickie" Johnson (who has now returned to her family in Indianapolis), Stoen contended:

"I meet all the requirements of the State Civil Code."

When asked which section of the state code permits an attorney (rather than a judge) to solemnize marriages, Stoen replied:

"I'll have to ask you to let me go back and check that."

The issue arose in a legal affidavit filed yesterday in Indianapolis by Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Johnson.

The Johnsons, former parishioners of the Rev. Mr. Jones when he was a pastor of the Indianapolis People's temple, charged that after Stoen married their daughter (to a man identified only as "Junius"), she was placed on the welfare rolls of Mendocino County.

Forced Donation

The Johnsons also charged that Mildred was obliged to give her monthly welfare check of $95 to The People's Temple - and that in August of 1971, Stoen had written them for permission to appoint a legal guardian for their other daughter, Gwin, age 18.

(The two girls were among former parishioners - including a number of teenagers - who followed the charismatic prophet-pastor, who left Indiana for California in 1965.)

Stoen confirmed that he had written the Johnsons for such permission. But he said that he had not known the Rev. Mr. Jones in 1965, when the Johnson affidavit says:

"Jones said that the world would end on July 16, 1967, and encouraged the congregation here to pool their money and follow him to California - where he promised they would find a place where only they would be safe from this impending disaster."

Curious visitors

The Johnson affidavit also charges that the Rev. Mr. Jones:

"Uses people to visit potential church members, noting anything personal in the house, like addresses on letters, types of medicine in the medicine cabinet, or pictures of relatives.

"Then, when they show up in church, he tells them things about their ailments and the kinds of pills they take."

When asked to comment on this charge, Stoen explained:

"I don't remember anything like this. I believe Jim's gift is authentic - or as he said in his sermon yesterday, he has paranormal gifts."

On Sunday, Sept. 10, at 11:15 p.m. (following this writer's first visit to a People's Temple service in Redwood valley), Stoen telephoned long distance to say among other things:

"I suppose you've heard a rumor that Jim Jones was run out of Indianapolis for faith healing?"

When asked to elaborate, Stoen explained:

"Well, I've seen the story in the Indianapolis Star."

What information did this Star story contain?

"I don't remember the details," replied the assistant district attorney.

Fast Trip

Yet immediately after the Indianapolis Star featured one of two stories about Prophet Jones and his faith healing, Stoen traveled from California to Indianapolis to confer with Dr. Jeanette P. Riley of the Indiana State Board of Psychology Examiners, according to Dr. Reilly.

When asked about this, Stoen explained that he made the trip but that Dr. Reilly had sent him to a meeting of the board - which had announced that it intended to investigate the Rev. Mr. Jones for allegedly claiming to heal psychosomatic diseases.

Yet the Indiana State Board took no action, as Jones had not used the title of psychologist.

No Case

"I explained to the board and to Indiana's Attorney General that Jim had done no wrong, and the Attorney General said he can come back anytime, as there is no case."

The announcement of the possible investigation by the state board came after the Indianapolis Star reported that on Oct. 13, 1971, the Rev. Mr. Jones told the congregation of the People's Temple of Indianapolis:

"With over 4000 members of our California Church, we haven't had a death yet!"

Star reporter Byron Wells, an eyewitness at the visiting pastor's afternoon and evening services that day, reported that at the afternoon service a woman was ordered to leave the auditorium in order that she "pass a cancer."


Wells reported that when the woman returned, her alleged cancer was being carried about by an attendant - although the Rev. Mr. Jones warned everyone not to get too close. He also reported a striking similarity between those healed in the afternoon and those healed that evening.

The Star also reported that the Rev. Mr. Jones subsequently refused requests to allow that the alleged cancer be analyzed.

He was reported as explaining that he had "no objections," but that he has to abide with the wishes of his church leaders "not to become involved in more publicity."

The Rev. Mr. Jones was also reported as having said that he was afraid that the cancerous tissue would be switched on him in a deliberate attempt to discredit his power.

Dislikes Publicity

"I've done more than any other faith healer," he was reported as explaining, "that's why I don't want any more publicity, either favorable or unfavorable."

Apparently, the Rev. Mr. Jones, for all his charismatic effect, has not been able to prevail on his devoted flock in this regard. For this past weekend, when he was in San Francisco for special services at Benjamin Franklin Junior High School Auditorium, pamphlets were distributed throughout downtown San Francisco by his followers. These pamphlets advertised:

"PASTOR JIM JONES... Incredible!...Miraculous... Amazing!... The Most Unique Prophetic Healing Service You've Ever Witnessed!... Behold The Word Made Incarnate In Your Midst!"




Wednesday, September 20, 1972
San Francisco Examiner
Page 1


By Rev. Lester Kinsolving
Examiner Religion Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mendocino Sheriff Bartolomie was not available for comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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

by Lester Kinsolving
Examiner Religion Writer

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

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

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

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

The letter also notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stoen's statement also contains the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



By Lester Kinsolving
Examiner Religion Writer

REDWOOD VALLEY, September, 1972 -- The Rev. James Jones, charismatic prophet-pastor of People's Temple Christian (Disciples) Church here, has repeatedly told his congregation that he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ -- and that San Francisco is due for impending destruction by an atom bomb, The Examiner has learned.

Eyewitnesses to these stated claims by the Rev. Mr. Jones have signed affidavits and submitted to tape recorded interviews, both in the Bay Area and in the vicinity of Redwood Valley, near Ukiah.

Some have asked for and have been guaranteed anonymity. Two who did not, Opal and Marion Freestone, were married by The Prophet Jones. They were parishioners of his for more than a decade and followed him from Indianapolis to California.

Yet they are no longer parishioners of the Prophet Jones -- because with Marion's disablement in an accident, they cannot afford to pay the 25 per cent of gross income which the People's Temple demanded.

Marion Freestone recalls that five years ago he accompanied Jones and five of the flock to one of the caves which pockmarked the area around Ukiah. He recalls seeing Marvin Sweeney and Rick Stahl lower themselves out of sight in this cave -- which he recalls was designated as the refuge for members of The People's Temple when the bomb destroys San Francisco and other major cities. Reference to this cave were heard by a number of additional witnesses.

(Freestone still has the large medicine kit filled with bandages and vitamin pills, a staple of People's Temple secret diet, as prescribed by The Prophet Jones.)

He and other witnesses recall The Prophet Jones's repeated warnings not to look south, toward San Francisco, when the bomb drops -- due to the blinding flash.

He also recalls that The Prophet has assured all of the flock that he will warn them of this doomsday enough in advance so that they alone can escape destruction.

The Freestones and other witnesses also recall repeated instances in which Jones, (after the congregation had been carefully checked for any strangers) has shouted:

"Who am I?"

To this, the mammoth and bedazzled congregation has screamed:

"You're Jesus Christ!"

Once you can get a congregation to believe such things, the dividends can be impressive, as attested by the renowned wealth acquired by Philadelphia's famed Father Divine -- who admitted that he himself was God Almighty.

Yet that movement wilted somewhat when the alleged demigod Divine proved to be shockingly mortal -- by dropping dead.

This lesson was hardly lost upon a dynamic young faith healer named Jim Jones who, according to Eugene Corder of Indianapolis, visited Father Divine in the late 1950s. According to other witnesses, Jones has spoken affirmatively of the cherubic-looking, ingenious, and affable black deity.

While Gods are not supposed to die, Jesuses can either resurrect or ascend -- which may explain the Rev. Mr. Jones' more modest posture as Jesus Reincarnate, when compared to his apparent model in Philadelphia.

Yet the financial rewards are hardly modest, given such required donation as 25% of the gross income and some 4000 members.

Such a financial bonanza must, however, be rigidly guarded and its members impressively disciplined.

That members of People's Temple are carefully regimented was evident on the sidewalks of the Examiner, when 150 of Jones' flock picketed for hours, quietly and under impressive control.

They were protesting this writer's reporting of various criticisms of The Prophet Jones. But among these pickets were those who, just the previous week (before the Examiner had published anything about Jones or the Temple) wrote 54 letters.

Those letters are as strikingly uniform in structure as was that impressively regimented picket line. The letters all either commend this writer's reporting, or his weekly column -- most of them quoting Jones' own high commendations in this regard.

When apprised of this, Opal Freestone laughed and recalled that one of the regular requirements of People's Temple members is "letter writing sessions," where members are required to turn in as many as 10 letters per day.

These letters, she told The Examiner, are censored. If they are approved by Jones and his lieutenants, they are sent to anyone on whom The Prophet wishes to impress his desires (or the willingness of his followers to obey him).

Another regular requirement of People's Temple members is attendance at "Catharsis Sessions." During these meetings, which can last for hours, members either voluntarily confess even the most intimate sins (especially those which are sexual) to the assembled congregation -- or else they are called up and made to confess amidst ferocious critiques from other members.

Mrs. Freestone also recalls that she was given orders not to associate with non-members of the Temple, except as absolutely necessary in her secular job. As for those who leave the congregation, they are either to be shunned -- or warned that something dreadful will happen to them.

This technique has worked effectively for generations of voodoo leaders and witch doctors. And in Ukiah, given the present circumstances, it works especially well.

The city's population is 10,300 -- while the reported membership of The People's Temple is 4,700.

This awesome segment of the body politic has managed to infiltrate almost every power structure in the Ukiah Valley.

People's Temple members are employed in almost every business or industry in the area. (After eating with two witnesses late at night in one restaurant, this writer was informed that the waitress was a member of People's Temple -- as were two couples sitting one booth away.)

The cult has members on the school board, among the Grand Jury (of which The Prophet Jones has served as foreman), in the Sheriff's Department and -- most significantly, in the apex of law enforcement: The District Attorney's Office.

But in the Mendocino County Welfare Dept. there is the key to Prophet Jones' plans to expand the already massive influx of his followers -- and have it supported by tax money.

The Examiner has learned that at least five of the disciples of The Ukiah Messiah are employees of this Welfare Department, and are therefore of invaluable assistance in implementing his primary manner of influx: the adoption of large numbers of children of minority races.

Welfare Department statistics have been obtained by The Examiner which show that most categories of welfare recipients have remained generally static -- in a comparison of June 1967 with June of this year.

But in one category -- aid to families with dependent children -- the case load has soared -- from 563 in 1967 to 1, 027 this June.

In addition to ordering his followers to adopt as many children as possible, The Prophet Jones is recalled by witnesses as having recurrently issued orders as to how they are to vote.

And even if any of his massive flock should in a sinful moment care to disobey Jesus Reincarnate, their astounding public obeisance to the Rev. Mr. Jones is hardly lost upon observing political leaders -- who can easily measure the effect of a 4,700-member voting block in a town of 10,300.

If the civil government is awed, the communications media have proven downright subservient.

Ukiah has two radio stations (one with the call letters KUKI) and a daily newspaper (circulation 7,461) called The Daily Journal.

KUKI has provided The Prophet Jones with hours of free time in which to denounce his critics, in tones so hypnotically dulcet as to recall commercials attesting the gentle action of Fletcher's Castoria.

When dissenters dare to criticize the Rev. Mr. Jones on a KUKI talk show, they are ridiculed by the talkmaster.

As for The Ukiah Daily Journal, some 23 clippings about The Prophet Jones were recently hand-delivered to The Examiner (by an employee of the Mendocino County Probation Dept.) They are so effusive as to suggest that they could have been dictated by The Prophet himself.

Most recently, The Daily Journal decorated 3 top columns of its front page with a photograph of The Prophet Jones. He is accompanied by two of his adopted sons, all clad in coats and neckties, posed squatting on the front lawn with three large dogs.

Such polished political ploys apparently appeal to many -- for The Prophet Jones seems to have admirers who are not (yet) of his fold.

But there are other residents of the area -- including one who has known the Rev. Mr. Jones for nearly two decades, from the vivid vantage point of the inside of The People's Church. And for Marion Freestone, at least, the atmosphere in the Ukiah area is eerie.

This was obvious when the elderly man pointed to an object on the floor next to his chair, a holstered .38 caliber pistol.

"We're scared of those people at People's Temple," he said. "As soon as we can save enough money, we're moving out of here."

This reaction confirmed what former Ukiah Baptist pastor Richard Taylor described to the Attorney General's office as:

"An atmosphere of terror."

By others, who have also been inside the Rev. Jim Jones's People's Temple, this Ukiah Messiah is regarded as more maniacal than messianic -- in his exercising a ministry which they feel is better described as a monstrosity.