Earlier this week, a Jonestown survivor thinks back on the tragic events surrounding the “revolutionary sucide.” Thirty years have passed. The People’s Temple. The purple Kool-aid. The so-called “dying with dignity.” The memories linger on.

Fear, distrust, guilt and shame have marked the lives of virtually everyone connected to the Peoples Temple. Many of the survivors hid their identities or changed their names. Garrett Lambrev, who joined the Peoples Temple in 1966 after dropping out of a doctoral program at Stanford, defected 10 years later after hearing credible reports of Temple members being tortured. He says he believes some prominent defectors in San Francisco were followed by surviving Temple loyalists after the mass suicide-murder and recalls attending the first memorial service, in 1979, “with fear and trembling.”

Many Jonestown survivors and their families believe that the lessons of Jonestown are to remember and guard against demagogues who use religion as a cover for fraud, deception and imposing their own sometimes dangerous social and political beliefs on their naive and unsuspecting followers.

[read the entirety on washingtonpost.com]

Here is a response to the article above from getreligion.org: “Jonestown: Not the usual theocracy.”

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