Christian Nightmares recently shared this rare clip of infamous cult leader Jim Jones preaching and performing “miracles” at his church, the People’s Temple, in Los Angeles.
Personally, I find this fascinating (and a bit terrifying). This is, after all, the guy who quite literally and tragically got his followers (or possibly forced them) to “drink the kool-aid.”
What I find so interesting in this clip is how disturbingly familiar it all is. Maybe it’s just me, but I think we have a tendency towards historical revisionism when it comes to figures like Jim Jones. By that I mean I think we “remember” them as being so obviously awful that we can’t comprehend why anyone would ever have followed them anywhere, let alone to their death.
But this clip should serve as important reminder that while hindsight might be 20/20, evil is often so veiled in the seductive, the compelling, and the veneer of good that at the time of its incarnation it can be very difficult to name it for what it truly is lest we be branded the crazy ones.
While they may not be brewing cyanide laced kook-aid, the uncomfortable truth of the matter is that there are still Jim Joneses in our midst, preachers and pastors who won’t hesitate to abuse and exploit the faithful in the name of God for their own gain.
They may not destroy the body, but they have no qualms with destroying souls through empty promises and systematic abuse. In other words, Jim Jones may be long gone, but his legacy of spiritual abuse is tragically alive and well today.
Which is what makes this video so intensely fascinating and incredibly disturbing to me.
Because in it, I don’t just see a time long since passed.
I see a phenomena that is alive and well today.
A cult of personality mixed with the passion of the faithful and the hope of the desperate to create a toxic mix that is nothing other than a recipe for disaster.