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Religion and cults: The People's Temple - Essay Example

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The People's Temple was a religious cult that was founded in Indiana and was started by its founding member Jim Jones in 1955. It started out as a simple church where members would go to worship and Jim Jones would be the presiding priest…
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Religion and cults: The Peoples Temple
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Religion and cults: The People's Temple

Download file to see previous pages... During that time, America was a racist nation – racism was quite prevalent- and most of the states in the USA did not approve that African Americans also had the same equal rights as those of the Caucasian people (Whites). As a result, Jim Jones was one of the few Caucasian men who fought with all might so that African Americans could be appreciated and treated well by other majority ethnic groups. Due to this strategic move by Jim Jones, a lot of people became believers in his dream for America. In the 1970’s, the organisations grew from the state Indiana to a number of different regions in the USA such as California and San Francisco. The People's Temple had a number of beliefs. These included: Christian socialism where the members of the church were taught on a number of religious teachings that they ought to follow based on the Holy Bible and majorly the New Testament. Additionally, the members of the church were taught to believe that the lack of a proper Christian behaviour could lead to mortal sin (Hastings, Mason and Pyper 678). Another belief that was propagated by the People’s Temple was theosophy. This is a form of superior philosophy where the church members were taught on divine intervention and/ or divinity. Apparently, Jim Jones portrayed himself to his followers that he was their supreme leader. In the film “Jonestown the Life and Death of Peoples Temple”, at one point, he mentioned that he shall be what an individual perceives of him. That is, if a church member viewed him as a friend, then he would be their friend; if the church member viewed him as an enemy, then he would be their enemy; if the church member viewed him as a god, then he would be their god. Based on such comments, it is without doubt that Jim Jones has already utilized this philosophy concept to woo a number of individuals to believe that he was the wise one or the chosen one that could lead them to divinity. The third aspect that they believed in was higher thought. Higher thought can be referred to as the belief that somebody has higher intelligence and wisdom. Jim Jones was a man who believed that he was the only one who had higher intelligence and wisdom among his church congregation. He created the impression that he was the supreme human being and that everybody in his congregation ought to have followed what he mentioned – in one way or another, Jim Jones practiced compliance. From the film, “Jonestown the Life and Death of Peoples Temple”, a good example of this scenario was given by one of the members and survivors of the mass murder that was promoted by Jim Jones. The individual mentioned that Jim Jones used to tell his congregation only to speak to each other when they were allowed to. If they were not allowed to speak to each other, then nobody should have spoken to their neighbour while they were in church. As a result, people followed this protocol without even questioning its validity. Lastly, the members of the church believed in Christian communism. Christian communism can be termed as a form of communist ideologies which are based entirely of Christian teaching. Apparently, Christian communist ideologies teach Christians that they should support communism as the optimal social system. For example, Jim Jones told his church members that they should either sell their belongings or bring them to the church and from that, they could become residents at the church. Through that, he propagated for communism in the form of “Christianity”. Based on the stated ideologies (beliefs), there were a number of ways in which people got involved with the People’s Temple. Due to the fact that the mission and vision that was propagated by Jim Jones was equality for the African ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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