An evangelical preacher led nearly a 1,000 followers from the United States deep into the jungles of South America. They would build a new community free of oppression and violence and it was to be their paradise on Earth.
But outsiders threatened to expose the dark side of their leader. In one day two worlds collided and paradise was lost. In November 1978 reporters around the world broke the news that Jim Jones and more than 900 of his followers died.
By the late 1960s and early 70s the streets of America erupted in violence and civil strife. War in Vietnam, civil rights marches and political assassinations played out on television. Out of this turmoil thousands of Americans flocked to hear the sermons of a charismatic preacher named Jim Jones. His early speeches were a mixture of socialist ideals and Christian redemption. Some turned to the temple because they needed help, others wanted to serve humanity, but whatever they needed Jim Jones and his peoples temple seem to had it.Jim Jones claimed special powers to heal the sick and dying.
As his popularity grew he preached less about the Bible and more about social activism. He called himself a prophet, a savior who would guide, protect and watch over his followers. His devoted followers referred to him as “father.” Many signed over their paychecks, possessions and even their homes. But at the height of his power a darker side of Jim Jones emerged. Former temple members accused Jones of physical and sexual abuse, mind control and forced drugging.
In 1977, as media interest grew Jim Jones and hundreds of his supporters left San Francisco, California and set out for Guyana determined to build a new community in the South American country.
“This groundbreaking feature-length hybrid of documentary and drama definitively examines the five tense days leading up to that unthinkable massacre in Guyana. Through this moving program you will come face to face with “Father” and his followers, hear from survivors and experts, and experience for yourself life in Jonestown and the final terrible days there. Jonestown: Paradise Lost perfectly portrays the man who made “the gravest decision in history,” and captures the power Jones wielded that allowed him to command followers to kill not only themselves but their own children.”
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