Marcelina Jones Narrative

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
This essay was done based on the the wife of the late Jim Jones leader of the People's Temple. Below is a short Wikipedia summary of the late Jones.

************ In 1978, media reports surfaced that human rights abuses were taking place in Peoples Temple's Jonestown, Guyana headquarters. (United States) Leo Ryan led an investigation into the commune and was murdered while boarding a return flight with defectors. Jones subsequently committed a mass murder-suicide of 918 of his followers in Jonestown, Guyana. Nearly three hundred children were murdered, almost all of them by cyanide poisoning via a Flavor Aid mix. This historical episode gave rise to the ubiquitous American-English expression "drinking the Kool-Aid".

Jones was born in Indiana and was influenced by communism as a child, as well as ideas of racial equality. He started the People's Temple in Indiana 1950s. He later moved the Temple to California in the mid-1960s, and gained notoriety with its activities in San Francisco in the early 1970s.

Submitted: July 23, 2017

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Submitted: July 23, 2017



Naomi Cudjoe
Ms. Cairns
English 100

Fredonia University 
April 24th 2015
Narrative on Marceline Jones

The morning of November 18th 1978, I was lying in bed thinking about all I had to do that day, I had to attend to the crops, cook, do laundry becausethose children of mine couldn’t seem to keep clean clothes for long, and of course gather the patience to deal with Jim and his spar of the moment events. I rolled off my bed and kneeled on the hardwood floor, my hands clasped tightly to my chest, my eyes shut, and I prayed to my God above to bless my family and I with a good day ahead. As I was done praying, I got up off the floor and started making the bed when I heard an unusual amount of rustling sounding from the kitchen, I ignored it with the expectancy of its soon distinction. The rustling continued longer than I expected, so I went to see who was doing it. In the kitchen it was Jim, he was busy searching through the bottom cabinets where we kept all our tools and chemicals for the field work. Sitting in this box now, I recall the conversation….

I’m looking at him in confusion because he seems very bothered. “Jim, what are you up to?” I questioned. He answered me without turning around, “It’s time Marcy it’s time.” “Time for what honey?” I wasn’t quite sure what Jim was up to, but I was close to finding out. I’m pretty sure this is just another one of his crazy ideas that he did no thinking on, he’s been having a lot of those recently. He turned around and looked at me intently and started walking up to me, he held my hands and didn’t say a word, and from the look in his eyes I knew this had to be important. I don’t know why, but I was a bit nervous to hear what he was going to say, little chills ran through my anatomy as I felt beads of precipitation forming on my forehead. Oh God what is Jim up to now? 

He sat me down on the nearest chair around the dining table, and he took a seat on another. With a slowly forming smile on his face he said, “Marcy, today is the day I’m taking my people home.” I still didn’t get what he was saying because I thought we were already home. I guess he read the expression on my face because he went on to explain. “Marcy, I think today is the day that we are all going home to our father, where we can live in ultimate peace and equality where we are free of the contaminations of this unjust world.” I remained as calm as I could, but on the inside my heart was palpitating as if twenty horses were running on it. I caught my breath and spoke, “So honey, how are we getting home?” The smile from his face fell abruptly and he went on rambling to himself as if he just remembered something. He shook his daze and asked me, “Do you know where the bottle of Cyanide is? I’ve been looking for it all morning; I know it has to be around here somewhere.” I sat thinking for a moment, and then I remembered that I left it out by the garden when I mixed it in some water to kill the insects that had been destroying my plants. I told him where it was and then he got up and was about to go for it, but I stopped him short. “What do you need Cyanide for?” I asked. He said simply, “It is our way home.”

It is 10am, three hours since Jim left to go for the Cyanide. I can’t remember the last time I was ever so panicked. I thought by now Jim had no more surprises that I couldn’t come to terms with, but this one is the last of all his surprises. I wanted to go run and tell him that it was not a good idea, but I didn’t want to deceive my husband. I knew he meant well, but I don’t think he was in his sane mind at the time. My eyes were filled with tears while my heart was heavy. Jim was going to make him, my children and me no more, but I couldn’t stop him for he had good intentions and I loved him. Sitting there helplessly I couldn’t shake the thoughts of the first time I met Jim. He was so handsome with his dark hair and beautifully lit eyes, one look at him and my heart went on a leaping spree. He was very handsome, but it wasn’t his looks that caught me at first, it was his personality. Jim had this way about him that he treated everyone with equal love and respect. He loved animals in a way I’d ever seen anyone love animals before. He hated when people were being mistreated and he always vouched for equality in everything, it was there where I knew that man had my heart.

In the early years of our relationship, I toured everywhere with Jim and spread the word of God with him. He shared his own beliefs of a socialist world and though I heard his beliefs repeatedly when he preached, I never grew tired of hearing him. Jim started to accumulate followers from all over America and I didn’t know that I too became one of his followers until the day I defied my Republican parents by telling them that I was voting democratic. Jim and my 
parents never saw eye to eye, they had opposite beliefs, and they resented him for turning their daughter away from their ways of life. What my parents didn’t know was that I always had a bit of socialism in me and even if I wasn’t with Jim, I would’ve still followed him. No one knew the love I acquired over the years for Jim, he hadn’t once disrespected me, he took care of me, he stood for what was right and most of all when I loved him, he loved me back ten times more. I couldn’t have found another man like him and I loved and protected him with my entire being because I knew God would’ve wanted me to. My husband had done some wrong things, but everyone deserves second chances. Jim had sexual relationships with other women, he killed people, and he broke the law on many occasions, but all of his actions were justified and I didn’t love him any less for his doings. The day I swore to God and on the bible that I would stick by my husband side in sickness and in health till death do us part, I meant it.

I was snapped out of my preconscious state when I heard the emergency bell ringing. I sprung up and searched for the children, and then we all went to gather outside the church where the community always gathered when the bell rung. Ten minutes had passed and everyone except Jim was there. I stood in front of everyone with my children by my side waiting for Jim to join me, it was our normal procedure. Shortly, Jim came out of the church followed by some of his guards with buckets in their hands. They started pouring out what looked like juice in cups and shared it out to the other community members. I knew what they were doing, I was scared,but I refused to say anything. Jim cleared his throat and spoke, “I gathered you all here today in celebration, today is the day we’re all going home to our savior. We have lived in thiscommunity where we hid from the unjustness of the outside world, but we won’t have to anymore. We are going to the place where we are all equal and we get to live absolutely free, so on the count of three as we toast, this would be the end of the suffering, God be with you all. 1 2 

The silence was deafening, everyone was seated before me with cocked ears. It has been 20 years now since the day. My children are all grown now, and even though they hate me I love them with all my heart. I am sitting in the witness box in purgatory, the whole community except Jones is here and they are waiting for my testimony. Their stares are piercing holes in my soul, and it hurts, because I am only soul now. I feel sad for what I have done to these people, but if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t hesitate. My marriage vow said, “Till death do us path”, but I am still in love with my husband, death did not do us part, but I wish it did. Jones has landed on the level beneath us and it hurts so much that I have to go on without him, why did death do us partially part (Ludwig, 2013)? 

I’m about to unstill my numb tongue, I can’t take it any longer, I must justify myself. The community had so many questions as to why I didn’t stop Jim from killing people, why I didn’t leave him when he cheated on me, why didn’t I hide the cyanide when I knew what he was going to do was insane, why I kept silent all those years, why I behaved like I had no self worth, and more whys. I took a deep breath, tears dripping where my beautiful face once was and I started, “I am a woman of God therefore I have God’s love installed within me, this love is greater than any other love there is. I will not lie, at times I wanted to leave Jim and run, but my love for him wouldn’t allow me to take a step away from him. I am sorry that I didn’t speak up for the majority, but I am not sorry for not deceiving my husband. I believe that if I did the same things Jim did, he would not deceive me either. I love my husband more than I love myself, and I would die before I ever do him wrong. Yes, Jim cheated on me on many different occasions, but Ididn’t have the power to relieve my husband of the male dominating hormones that have a way of controlling our men. I understand that you all are mad, and that you wish I had the strength to turn away from him, but in reality it was my strength that kept me holding onto him. I wish you all understood the power of true love, nothing can break its bonds, it fills the emptiness in hearts and it consumes your entire being. I was blinded by love, I didn’t truly see what wrongs Jim had done, but if being blind again brought my Jim back to me, I would beg to be relieved of my sight.” I got up and exited the witness box with one question in my mind. If I try to commit suicide now, will I be sent to the level beneath? My soul is here but my heart is there…


Jones, M. (1970, June 8). Marceline Jones letter to Jim Jones. Retrieved from San Diego State University:
Jones, M. (n.d.). Undated recollections of Marceline Jones. Retrieved from San Diego State University:
Ludwig, A. M. (2013, December 5). Marceline Jones: Saint, Sinner, or..? Open to Dialogue. Retrieved from 
San Diego State University:

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