The question of why Jim Jones specifically should decide he had the answers to any of life's questions is one we cannot answer. Since Jones is dead, we cannot psychoanalyze him, we can only speculate. Along these same lines, a Freudian interpretation of the Peoples Temple and Jones is possible. We could make suppositions about the cult members and their relationships to their parents and their consequent search for a father figure and their consequent killing of their father, for example. In fact, one of us (J.K-N.) has written a paper on the relationship between the Jonestown cult and the guru model of religion, which is quite similar to a Freudian interpretation. We have consciously chosen to leave a detailed Freudian examination out of this page, however, because in our opinion it has limited value in an examination of the relationship between the Peoples Temple and the culture out of which it grew.
We believe that Jones was able to articulate a response to mainstream culture which resounded eloquently in the ears of his followers. The question to be answered is: "Why did these particular people feel alienated from their culture, and what was it in Jones's preachings that drew them to the Peoples Temple?" We hope that this Web page can help in the answering of that question.