Among other things Jonestown was an example of a definition well known to sociologists of religion: a cult is a religion with no political power.
Guyana-Cult of the Damned has crawled out from under a rock and into local theaters, and will do nicely as this week's example of the depths to which people will plunge in search of a dollar. The movie is a gruesome version of the Jonestown massacre of 1978, so badly written and directed it illustrates a simple rule of movie exhibition: If a film is nauseating and reprehensible enough in the first place, it doesn't matter how badly it's made - people will go anyway.roger ebert
As his colleagues have noted in their tribute to him, it was typical of Leo Ryan's concern for his constituents that he would investigate personally the rumors of mistreatment in Jonestown that reportedly affected so many from his district. Leo Ryan is the 88th recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal and only the 4th Member of Congress to receive this high honor from his colleagues.leo j. ryan
Jonestown was at heart a religious community, whether classified as a new religious movement, a cult, a sect, or a church.
As with its disciplinary practices and its round of daily life, the community of goods in the Peoples Temple at Jonestown emphasizes its similarities to otherworldly sects both the contemporary ones labeled 'cults' by their detractors, and historical examples which are often revered in retrospect by contemporary religious culture.
There is an interesting class difference to be found among these apocalyptic sects. The victims at Waco were predominantly from the lower class, as was true of Jonestown. The Heaven's Gate believers, on the other hand, were on the whole from the middle class.
I did a lot of soul-searching before going public. I was concerned there might be some type of Waco or Jonestown event.