The Story Behind ‘Cult Massacre: One Day in Jonestown’

The Story Behind 'Cult Massacre: One Day in Jonestown'

The legacy of cult leader Jim Jones will be explored in Hulu’s Cult Massacre: One Day in Jonestown. The man whose name is Jones was an influential religious cult leader, who set out to establish a utopic version of equality and community living. However, what started as a peaceful movement ended up in a mass casualty event where nearly a thousand lives were lost.

Hulu’s Cult Massacre: One Day in Jonestown, which is a part of the One Day in America series, will explore the life and philosophy of the infamous Janes and the circumstances leading up to the mass massacre event in Jonestown in 1978.

Who is Jim Jones?

Jim Jones was born on May 13, 1931, in Indiana. At a young age, he became interested in religion as a child, being a regular churchgoer. After attending college, he started working in ministry and eventually became a reverend in Indiana.

His church was called the People’s Temple, which promoted racial justice and allowed people of all ethnicities to join, with an emphasis on equal opportunity for Black Americans. While growing his followers, Jones also grew his family. He had at least eight children with his wife, Marceline, and a member of the church, Carolyn Layton: Stephan Jones, Suzanne O. Jones, Timothy Glen Tupper, and Jim Jones Jr. 

Some of his sons survived the massacre and have spoken about their father since. Stephan told ABC News in 2018, “ I lived in a community that was filled with every walk of life, every level of education, every color in the rainbow. For there the most part, we lived in harmony most of the time especially early on.”

Things took a dark turn when Jones began to call himself a prophet and claimed he was psychic, able to heal people with his mind. Before the events of the Jonestown Massacre and the church’s move to Guyana, the preacher was also accused of sexual assault, rape, and staging fake healing sessions.

In 1977, Jones had Grown paranoid under media scrutiny over the temple’s dubious activities. So, he decided to move with his followers to an agricultural settlement in Guyana, which was called Jonestown.

About Cult Massacre: One Day In Jonestown

The People’s Temple was disbanded after the November 1978 tragedy and declared bankruptcy the same year. Cult Massacre: One Day In Jonestown details the story of how Jones made his way as an actual leader and his dubious practices which ultimately led to the carnage. The sheer enormity of the event, the bodies of hundreds of people, including children and infants, that were found lying face down on the grass, have been documented in photography and covered by Media channels.

Even now, nearly 40 years later, the carnage continues to fascinate us and has made its way to remain documented in history forever through documentaries, books, and recordings.

Hulu’s Cult Massacre: One Day in Jonestown is the latest take on the 1978 event. The America Franchise series is the third installment of the Emmy-winning One Day. Divided into three episodes, Cult Massacre: One Day in Jonestown follows the story of the cult of Jim Jones as told by eyewitnesses, surviving members, and rare footage.

What Happened During the Jonestown Massacre?

In 1978, cult leader Jim Jones led one of the biggest mass murders in American history.  On November 18, 1978, over 900 Americans were killed after ingesting poison at Jonestown, a religious commune in Guyana, South America led by Jim Jones. The reverend brought thousands of members to his religious cult.

His group, the People Temple, was initially involved in charitable causes and allowed membership of all races, which was radical during the 1950s to 1970s.

The seemingly wholesome community dynamic became deadly after Jones moved the church to Guyana and grew increasingly paranoid. At first, many of the members seemed to be happy to be in the new environment.

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