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Jim Jones 1

            His life-long apparition of leading The Peoples Temple can be traced all the way back to his early childhood influences. Jones was born in May of 1931 in a small town in Indiana, a part of the country, which at this time was divided by racial segregation and imbued with Christian fundamentalism. Jones" father, James Thurmond Jones was an active participant in the Klu Klux Klan, and was described by Jones as a "KKK bandit". As a child Jones was viewed as the "Dennis the Menace" of his town for he was known to regularly greet his neighbors by shouting, "Good morning, you son of a bitch." Upon Jones" first exposure to religion he was extremely enthusiastic about getting involved in the Pentecostal churches he attended. Such affection and emotion to the Pentecostal church persisted throughout his life. Jones was once heard saying, "I had had my religious heritage in Pentecostalism deep rooted emotions in the Christian tradition and a deep love which I share to this day for the practical teachings of Jesus Christ." Though he found himself to be quite alienated as child, Jones looked to the Church for emotional warmth and acceptance, something which he never forgot. The concepts that he explored as a grown man all stemmed from the strong relationship he had with his church, and from his observations of how it operated. Later in life Jones recalled, "in Pentecostal tradition, I saw that where the early believers stay together they sold all their possessions and had all things in common." Such devoted faith carried him into his later years where he was able to practice the potential healing powers he saw in the Pentecostal church. A follower who was with Jones in the 1950's stated, "when his gift (healing) began to operate, he just ran like ticker-tape." It was not long after this encounter that Jones was able to create his own place of refuge, the Peoples Temple Full Gospel Church.

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