Emily E. Lorente

Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Fall 5-11-2011

Major Department or Program



Melissa Wilcox


This thesis explores Jim Jones and Peoples Temple from an empathetic and balanced perspective. It seeks to compile and portray a complete picture of who Jim Jones was—to his followers, to his enemies, and to himself. It investigates Jim Jones in three ways: from the perspective of current scholarship, from the perspective of those who saw his public face, and from the perspective of those who experienced and were subjected his internal policies and weaknesses.

This essay does not attempt to blame or condemn any single actor in the events leading up to the tragedy in Jonestown, but instead serves to fairly portray an incredibly complex and often misunderstood aspect of American history.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Leaders – Religion, Good and evil, Empathy – Religious aspects, Cult members, Cults, Jim Jones (1931-1978), Peoples Temple, Jonestown Mass Suicide – Jonestown‚ Guyana (1978), Jonestown (Guyana), Religious leaders, Cults – 20th century, Religious communities, Humanity – Moral and ethical aspects, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2011 -- Religion Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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