“To me death is not a fearful thing. It’s

living that’s cursed.”

–Jim Jones

Jim Jones was a righteous priest who established the Peoples’ Temple. He was considered to be a charismatic leader who displayed sentiments against racism which mustered great support from many African Americans all over the United States. He went rogue after his church was accused of financial fraud and in paranoia he, along with a few of his loyal supporters, settled down in a small place by the name of Jonestown where the living conditions of the people dropped the level of subpar. Long working hours coupled with a rogue leader, who was unstable due to the excessive usage of drugs, that would punish anyone who questioned his authority created an unhealthy environment. However, what was most appalling was the fact that he was able to lead everyone to commit mass suicide as some ‘revolutionary act’ in 1978. The grounds of Jonestown were carpeted with dead bodies the next day.

Often enough, compelling leaders woe the public with their ability to create a sense of association, excitement and, to an extent, misplaced ambition. Under their charm the public, with blind faith, conform to their sayings and follow obediently not asking about the what’s, why’s and the how’s. Their ability to think is influenced to a great degree, almost comparable to the brainwashing of today’s venerable by terrorists to muster support. Not only religious figures but political ones including, the enigmatic Kim Jong-Un who has an entire nation bowing down at his feet and the relatable Vladimir Putin who has the captivated the public by improving the financial conditions of Russia. All have the capabilities that Jim Jones had but the mass suicide stands out as an example of a push for individuals to question authority and to think rationally without being manipulated easily.