By Rebecca Moore
The Peoples Temple flow ended on November 18, 1978, while greater than 900 males, girls, and kids died in a ritual of homicide and suicide of their utopianist neighborhood of Jonestown, Guyana. just a handful lived to inform their tale. As is widely known, Jim Jones, the chief of Peoples Temple, was once white, yet so much of his fans have been black. regardless of that, little has been written approximately Peoples Temple within the context of black faith in the US. In 10 essays, writers from quite a few disciplines handle this hole within the scholarship. Twenty-five years after the tragedy at Jonestown, they determine the influence of the black spiritual event on Peoples Temple.
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Extra resources for Peoples Temple and Black Religion in America
The problem is exacerbated by the veritable deluge of new 32 lincoln and mamiya religions and the confused status of their legitimacy. Whether in fact there is a growing public acceptance of contemporary cults, or whether there is mere public resignation in the face of their apparent legal right to exist, the cult phenomenon seems well on the way to becoming a commonplace response to the uncommon spectrum of anxieties, frustrations, and yearnings which illustrate our times. Practically all the new religions are white—or perhaps it is more accurate to say that practically none of them are black.
Is there not the possibility that African Americans participated in Peoples Temple, forged community around Peoples Temple, because of its creative approach to the development of life meaning? Must we think about the movement of African Americans into Peoples Temple as a negative statement about the Black Church, thereby maintaining the supremacy of traditional black Christianity, rather than as a positive statement concerning Peoples Temple’s vision for complex subjectivity? In all fairness, I think the theoretical and epistemological issues Peoples Temple as Black Religion 11 lodged in this dilemma are large and deeply rooted.
At the very least, this possibility merits additional attention. 26. John R. Hall, “Peoples Temple,” in America’s Alternative Religions, ed. Timothy Miller (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 305. 27. James Foreman, “God Is Dead: A Question of Power,” reprinted in By These Hands: A Documentary History of African American Humanism, ed. Anthony B. Pinn (New York: New York University Press, 2001), 272–273. 28. : Prometheus Books, 2002); William R. Jones, Is God a White Racist? A Preamble to Black Theology (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999); Anthony B.