Remember the Victims

Thirty years ago (on November 18, 1978) over 900 people died in Guyana, South America, victims of spiritual deception. Living in Jonestown under the care of self-proclaimed prophet Jim Jones, many of these people died willingly, drinking poisoned punch in obedience to a directive given them by their prophet.

Some of the victims may not have realized that they were actually drinking poison.

Jim Jones often conducted what they called “white nights” in Jonestown, nights where they were practicing in the event they were under attack. On these occasions, they would often practice mass suicide. The members after a while often stopped taking these seriously, although on the first occasion people reminisced “this punch is going to be passed out to everyone here. We all drank our punch, and then he said ‘you just drank poison and we will all die right here in the church together.’ The women were screaming oh no my baby my baby, and others just sat there. And then Jim said ‘you didn’t drink poison,'” and also the comment, “Jim said this was a test of loyalty. He just wanted to see if we were truly committed, and that is how we would show it.” (“How did Jim Jones manage to gain such control over his followers?” by Tim Brooks)

Such unquestioning spiritual loyalty has been responsible for many needless deaths since 1978 – and before. Remembering Jonestown should be a wake-up call to all of us. God calls us to discernment — to know His truth from error, and His prophets from false prophets — for our safety, both physical and spiritual.

Today, remember the victims:

  • 2001 – Al Qaeda, 2,974 deaths
  • 2000 – The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, 925 deaths
  • 1997 – Heaven’s Gate, 39 deaths
  • 1995 – Aum Shinrikyo, 12 deaths
  • 1994 – Order of the Solar Temple, 53 deaths
  • 1993 – Branch Davidians, 76 deaths
  • 1990 – Mormon splinter group led by Jeffrey Lundgren, 5 deaths
  • 1978 – People’s Temple Christian Church, 914 deaths
  • 1857 – Latter-day Saint group at Mountain Meadows, 120 deaths

Commit anew to share more urgently what Jesus said:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.

This entry was posted in Mormon History, Truth, Honesty, Prayer, and Inquiry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Remember the Victims

  1. Rick B says:

    Me, I am what you would call a name dropper. LDS feel we pick on them by saying they have a false Gospel, I am not picking on you, I am telling you your church is teaching false doctrine that will only lead to eternal death.

    But their are also many so called Christians out their that are only teaching so they can have money , power or both.

    I cannot stand people or pastors that say, their are false Churchs around where I live or on TV but will not say who they are. I’m not saying this like, simple drop names for the sake of it, Back up what your saying, Like when we say, LDS are wrong, we give reasons why, Granted the LDS feel are reasons are wrong.

    like if we say, the lds deny the Trinty, we give reasons why. Not every one who says they are Christians are, just because they say they are. Jesus said, Not everyone who says, Lord,Lord will enter into heaven. My entire wife’s family follows the health and wealth (Blab it and grab it) Teachers.

    they refuse to speak to me because I call them to account. My wife has MS, So here family says, she’s living in sin and is not trusting in God, But when I ask them, why do you see a doctor or use med’s How is that different? They say, They are so holy that the devil is attacking them.

    So my wife has MS, And that means she’s in sin, but when they are sick, it is simply the devil. All of this stuff is spoken about in the Bible, Men are wicked and are after evil greedy gain. I have no problem naming names and saying this person or group is false and I use the Bible to support my views. Rick b (LDS priesthood holder)

  2. Arthur Sido says:

    Rick is right, there are many spiritual counterfeits and many are not as obvious as Jones and all of them lead to eternal death. The physical death of the followers of Jim Jones and David Koresh are insignificant compared to the eternal death in hell those deceived people will receive. There are many guises the enemy takes, many lies he tells and many people who espouse those lies and think they are doing the will of God, when in fact they are doing the opposite. Any time any man exalts himself, says he has special knowledge, knows more than the Bible you need to open the Word of God and show that false prophet his lies and call him to repent. Whether it be obvious cultists like Jim Jones or nice sincere pairs of young men in suits or televangelists selling the snake oil of wealth-wealth-prosperity, there is no room to “go along to get along” when it comes to the Gospel.

    Compromise in the Gospel leads people to hell. If the Bible is clear on anything, it is clear on that. That is what drives us, that is what makes people take the time to witness to mormons, to JWs, to any of the members of any false religion. It is not my salvation at stake, I gain nothing from it. He bought me and I am paid for, but billions of others are still lost and what sort of Christian would I, would any of us, be if we left mormons alone in the false teachings?

  3. Rick B says:

    About a month ago, I had two JW’s knock on my door, I spoke to them for about 30 min, But right from the get go, I told them they had a false Gospel and were leading people to hell.

    They found things with me to agree on and then said, See we have common ground, I said, So what, your still leading souls to hell. They told me about how Every JW goes knocking on doors sharing their Gospel, that proves they are doing the work of God.

    I told them LDS do the same thing yet they also have a false gospel, then I told them, I am speaking with you that shows I am doing the work of the Lord, Big deal. The one thing they really liked about me was, I stood their and spoke whit them, To many Christians refuse to speak to them or any one else. They have many excuses, They dont know enough, they are Tired, Etc.

    I told the JW’s, My Ministry is to the Mormon First, but will speak to ANYONE who asks me a question or knocks on my door. I told them, at the very least, If they are busy speaking with me, And I know they will not convert me, then they will not be busy speaking with another on my block that they might convert. Rick B (LDS priesthood holder)

  4. germit says:

    Great posts, RICK (Father Rick ????) and Arthur

    What hits my mind is this: the common denominator, and Arthur touched on it, is investing in one man or woman (or perhaps a small group of men/women) a prominence or authority or position of power that is just not rightly theirs. When things REALLY go awry, you get a false religion, a cult; but as Rick noted, there are derivatives short of that (a cult) which are also evil in their own way (health and wealth false gospel). A willingness to put any man or woman in a place that only JESUS belongs, and DESERVES, is a sure road to ruin: now and later. GERMIT

  5. Rick B says:

    Germit, I’m no Father, Falcon calls me the HAMMER. I sometimes go by Sandman, But that comes from Loving and Doing MMA.

    That Aside, Here is a question for the LDS. The bible speaks a LOT about False Teachers, False Doctrine’s, false Prophets, False Gospels, I’ve asked this question Before and Honestly do not recall ever getting an Honest answer.

    How do the LDS view the verses that speak about those things, In your own words, What are the False Gospels and Doctrine the Bible speaks of? Who are the false teachers and Prophets? What is false and how do you know?

    To all the other posters, If you notice the LDS not answering this question, please remind them of it, since they seem pretty good at not answring my questions and those of a few other people, As I have spoken via email about this to a few of you. Rick B (LDS priesthood holder) 3rd post today, More tommorow.

  6. Megan says:

    ‘Blab it and grab it’. That’s a good one, Rick. I hate the health and wealth gospel. Unfortunately it has made serious inroads in Africa.
    In any case, it is really interesting (and disturbing) reading books like “In Sacred Loneliness” and seeing the mind control going on in there.
    And for any LDS who point out any examples of mind control in today’s Christian communities or throughout history, you are right; there are and have been many examples of mind control. Fear and excessive control are always signs of the enemy. Now returning to lurkdom.

  7. faithoffathers says:

    Curious how any current event can be morphed into criticism of the LDS church.

    Any virtue, if given enough prominence and emphasis, can beat down and destroy other virtues. For example, if I embrace the virtue of freedom too enthusiastically, I can end up trampling on the freedoms of others and even my own. The freedom to do drugs or frequent sex clubs can result in disease and even premature death. Freedom from traffic laws can quickly result in serious injury and the loss of life.

    A person who places too much emphasis on “proving false doctrines” can become imbalanced and even miss much of what the gospel is all about. I see two extremes- one is the aggressive, self-righteous warrior who stomps out doctrines he disagrees with, pushing others out of his way in his “holy” march. On the other end is the long-suffering, non-judgmental servant who leads by example and tries to see the good in every person- the “light on the hill” type person who has empathy for others.
    Before any of us become too confident in who and what we are, I suggest a little humility and a little more focus on the actual words of Christ- the good Samaritan type Christian. Our world could certainly use more true peacemakers.

    RickB- as far as false teachers and prophets- they are everywhere, religious and non-religious. There are those that say give me your money and you will be saved. Others say “eat, drink, and be merry… and God will save all of us.” Some say we must stop having children to save the earth, or that there are no absolutes. Some claim God has done His work and no longer reveals His will to prophets.

    Of course you believe LDS are following such false prophets. And of course, I disagree. What else is there to say?

    How does one know- the same formula discussed on another thread.

    continued…

  8. faithoffathers says:

    “The Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.”

    “But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil.”

    “And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.” Mormon 7:16-8

    Each person is given “the light of Christ,” this internal compass and can judge right from wrong. Anything that truly testifies of Christ and motivates one to follow and serve Him is from God. Anything that diminishes a belief in Christ and leads away from Him is of the devil.

    Christ offered “by their fruits shall ye know them. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” Very simple. You are all fond of saying that the devil is so sophisticated and will lead people into doing great things and wonderful lives, only to secretly destroy their souls. This is simply not consistent with Christ’s own words. “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”

    Germit- you are of course suggesting we give too much emphasis or authority to one man- the prophet? The history of God’s dealings with his children are filled with such precedent. Our respect of Thomas S. Monson or Joseph Smith is very consistent with that given to Moses or Isaiah in ancient days. You say that all ended with Christ. I disagree, and believe that God still speaks through such prophets.

  9. SteveH says:

    This is yet another veiled attack against the LDS Church.

    Sharon, you should include in your list the innumerable victims of religious intolerance and zealotry – but that would entail citing most of the wars of the last two thousand years including the Crusades, the wars of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and of course the Holocaust.

    Millions of innocent people have been brutally killed by so-called “Christians” who thought that they were serving God. This history of the depredations of European Christianity is long and bloody.

    It is easier to attack religious groups that are outside the norm than it is to honestly reflect upon the evils and hypocrisy that lie within your own. However, I suppose it is too much to expect such honest circumspection from this forum

  10. germit says:

    FoF: we can agree on at least a few things; studying history, both biblical and secular, is always a good idea, and can be very useful in the topic we’re talking about.
    I haven’t gotten around to this yet, but an interesting, and useful, use of time would be to look at all the people since the resurrection of Christ who have made similar claims as JS, and claimed a special (God ordained, of course) position above their brethren. It would be fascinating to see all these ‘shepherds’, ‘apostles’, ‘God’s special instrument’…etc. all listed out, complete with the course of their life and life’s work. I think it would become quickly apparent that JS was in many ways not at all unique and a ‘retread’ of a quest for power, influence, and religious reputation. Not that his accomplishments are small or easily done, but I’m thinking the road he travelled was a path worn down by many feet over the centuries.

    Sharon: your list is sure to tick off several , esp. the reference to MMM, but to me it’s a compact and powerful jolt of motivation: sometimes seeing the physical destruction of humans reminds one of the cost of the battle we are in. May God give permanence to the work of your hands, mind, soul, and spirit. GERMIT

  11. shelli says:

    Steve H,
    You are correct that their are many groups that claim to be christian that lead people astray. The Bible tells us not every person is a child of God, some are children of the Devil, LDS either dont believe this, or dont want to believe this.

    their are many people who share Jesus with every one who is willing to talk, or go out of our way to share Jesus with others, like Rick with the JW’s or health and wealth people, but you need to remember, this blog/website is about Mormonism and the false doctrine it teaches.

    So if your going to point out about other groups that need to hear the gospel, then share that some place else, this place is about the LDS. But also, remember, your church is know for telling others they are wrong or have false teachings.

  12. SteveH says:

    Shelli,

    What???!

    In response to Sharon’s rather one-sided comments I was merely pointing out that the religious intolerance and zealotry of some so-called “Christians” (Catholics and Protestants) is responsible for some of the most vicious wars in recorded history and that millions of innocent people have died as a result of this religious intolerance.

    To lump the LDS Church with the likes of Al Qaeda and the Branch Davidians is both repugnant and disingenuous. It is thoroughly dishonest to suggest that LDS Church is some how cut from the same cloth as Al Qaeda.

  13. shelli says:

    Steve said

    In response to Sharon’s rather one-sided comments I was merely pointing out that the religious intolerance and zealotry of some so-called “Christians” (Catholics and Protestants) is responsible for some of the most vicious wars in recorded history and that millions of innocent people have died as a result of this religious intolerance.

    I agree with that, never said it was false, But A true or false set of questions for you.

    T/F Jesus called some people Children of the Devil?

    T/F The Bible says, not every one is a child of God, but rather a child of the devil.

    T/F Jesus said, not every one that says LORD,LORD will be saved?

    So now this begs the question, do people who believe in false Gospels and teach false teachings that deny Christ mean they themselves have a false hope, since the gospel or god they follow is not the true gospel, god?

    If that is true, then according to scripture they will go to hell, so while groups like Al Qaeda kill the human body, Groups that teach false doctrine kill the soul by having them end up in hell for rejecting Jesus.

    Take a counterfeit 100 dollar bill, it might look good to the average person, and even fool them, but it is still wrong, it is theft and you will be going to jail.

    The LDS gospel almost looks like the Christian gospel, but it still goes against the Bible and is leading people to hell.

  14. germit says:

    STeveH: I think it reasonable to assume that Sharon’s list is sad, tragic, and not at all exhaustive. Any of us could add to it, using Catholic, protestant, and various ‘others’. The fact that loyalty gone bad or too far is wide spread or oft repeated does not diminish her point. If you are trying to exhort us to a thorough look at ALL history, that’s great and needed: I think the treatment of the Anabaptists by BOTH the Catholics and protestants to be particularly ugly.

    Again, her point seems to be “loyalty gone too far is lethal”. Are you saying that the MMM tragedy does not fit this category ? Then tell us why it doesn’t belong on the list. I note that Sharon herself does NOT generalize about the characteristics of the LDS from the MMM, but it’s a safe bet that some of us have and will.
    One reason why it’s a very good reason to teach christians about the excesses of history is that we are ALL capable of these things, making the discernment Sharon talked about a “must”. GERmIT

  15. GB says:

    Sharon,

    You forgot the 3600 killings and assassinations of the Catholic vs. Protestant conflict in Northern Ireland.

    Those “christian” cultist fighting it out.

  16. shelli says:

    Steve, these quotes sound like hateful angery LDS Prophets and LDS god, what do you think?

    1 Nephi 14:10 “behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the lamb of god, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the lamb of god belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

    B Young: “with a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called christian world” (J.O.D 8:199).

    Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell, the eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and kicked onto the earth” (j.o.d 6:176).

    Heber c. Kimball “christians-those poor, miserable priests brother brigham was speaking about-some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth” (j.o.d 5:89)

    So Steve, do I need to quote the verses for you that Jesus said not every one will be saved? Or that Jesus called people children of the Devil? If you need me to I will.

    Also why do you say we are angery, the Bible shows God got angery with false teachers and people that taught false things about him, are you sure you know the Bible, seems like your not aware of these things.

    Lastly, Like I said, I agree bad things happend at the hands of so called believers, whats your point, were expousing the false Gospel of LDS.

  17. GB says:

    And you forgot the 30 year war (in the 1600’s) that resulted in the deaths of nearly 5 million people.

    Oh yeah, it was another Catholic vs Protestant conflict.

    And what about the “reformation” wars?

    And the “St. Bartholomew Massacre”?

  18. SteveH says:

    Shelli,

    You are obviously overwrought – evangelical theology does that to people. I will let you go and worship your counterfeit Jesus and false gospel of cheap grace.

    Germit,

    Mormon haters will always say the the LDS Church is complicit in the MMM notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary. That is just the nature of Mormon haters.

  19. Bloodshed over Catholic/Protestant conflict was horrible, but when religion and politics were more mixed than they are now, the mess was inevitable.

    Mormonism has only been around for more than 175 years. I can guarantee that, if its theocracy had begun in the early AD centuries and expanded to control massive political realms, it would share in the heritage of bloodshed over conflicts regarding religious freedoms.

    Far from being an utterly novel restoration, Mormonism stands on the shoulders of those who have learned things the hard way. It benefits from the keen reality that much of civilization now shares, that basic religious freedoms are fundamental to the human rights that help a society flourish.

  20. GB says:

    Oh and, Bosnia 1992-1995, where 300,000 killed, 100,000 raped, by “christians”.

  21. germit says:

    GB: I guess we can expect an “atrocity ticker tape” to help catch us up on all the evil inflicted over the last milennia or two… Between headlines and body counts, you could always work in a word or two about what point you are trying to make. Just a thot.

    STeveH: you are probably right about those who hate and make rash judgments. Are we any better off by those who feel that their leader(s) are just categorically incapable of MMM or worse ?? It sure seems that ALL of those on Sharon’s list were of that opinion, my leader right or…..well, he just can’t be wrong…. and look what that led to. This is NOT just an indictment on MMM (and it’s fair to say that John Lee’s reasons and motives are , for us, somewhat speculative), as I’ve said a couple of times this thread already, the wisdom of Sharon’s thot is that “hey, this could be US if we aren’t careful”
    LEt me assure you that the Germans that carried out the Holocaust were a LOT like you and me. Well, at least a LOT like ME…. and that makes me read Sharon’s words and take heed…..I think that’s her goal in this…. GERMIT

    PS, I liked your quotes below:
    “Millions of innocent people have been brutally killed by so-called “Christians” who thought that they were serving God. ”

    “It is easier to attack religious groups that are outside the norm than it is to honestly reflect upon the evils and hypocrisy that lie within your own.”
    And hence the ongoing need for honest self-reflection, accountability, and prayer.

  22. GB, what professing “Christians” do (yuck) is one thing, but be careful not to automatically assume such actions are the direct effect of the religions they claim allegiance to.

    For example, is ethnic cleansing a product of Christian theology? No, of course not.

    What Sharon I think is getting at is the destruction that results in giving unqualified allegiance to a religious tradition, charismatic leader, or institution. Of course, mentioning MMM implies that a spirit of unquestioning loyalty and unthoughtful radicalism was at least fostered by institutional Mormonism. Heck, from what I hear, Young gave Lee two more wives after the MMM.

    But since MMM is controversial, and since history is replete with professing Christians doing horrible things, often at a wider political destructive scale, I don’t see this thread going anywhere but mudslinging.

  23. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Germit, thanks for getting what I was endeavoring to communicate in this post.

    Frankly, I’m quite surprised by the reaction from the LDS readers here. My above list of killers draws from many religious backgrounds, from Islam to New Age to Baptist beginnings. The common thread running through them all is a spiritual leader who victimized people — either his followers or the “others,” whether out of fear, a sense of revenge, atonement, or promises of grandeur in a better world. These were not battles of opposing ideologies, as religiously driven wars have been. These were spiritually abusive episodes in which unquestioning loyalty to a spiritual leader led to death or murder.

    And since this topic was meant to memorialize the dead but the conversation has devolved into far too much mud slinging and finger pointing, comments are hereby closed.

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