How did Jones manage to lure all these people in, to the point where they would follow him anywhere?
He was very charismatic and attracted people who were feeling vulnerable or disenfranchised for whatever reason. Most of them were African-American, but there were also white people, Jewish people, people of Mexican descent. There were religious Christians and communists. If you wanted religion, Jim Jones could give it to you. If you wanted socialism, he could give it to you. If you were looking for a father figure, he’d be your father. He always homed in on what you needed and managed to bring you in emotionally.
I always looked at the Temple as a utopian community that used religion to get where we were wanting to go. Other people took it as Christ’s way. There’s a passage in the Bible where Jesus tells people to leave their families and follow him. Jim quoted that quite a lot. He said he was Gandhi, Buddha, Lenin — he said he was the coming back of anybody you’d ever want to come back. And we believed him.