Hi! 👋🏼 I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I have another story!
Back in 1973, my grandmother discovered that her 79-year old mother was being taken for all of her money by her pastor, Jim Jones. Now, for those of you for whom that name does Not ring any bells, I will tell you why it’s infamous… back in 1976, he murdered his entire flock in order to steal their money and property.
My great-grandmother’s daughter, my grandmother, was livid when she found out that a young man from the congregation had taken her to the bank and taken all of the funds out of her account. Jim Jones had been telling the members of his congregation that the government was going to take their money, but that He could put it all in a special account and take care of them all with it.
Soon after my grandmother found out what had happened, she had my father (the one who later frightened the Hat Man) drove my grandmother and 9 year old aunt up to the church up on Alvarado in Los Angeles.
While my father waited outside in the car, my grandmother took my little aunt inside to look for the pastor. Before they left the car though my 18 year old father told my grandmother that he was worried about them going into the church. After all, he had been driving my great-grandmother to and from church every Sunday, and was never permitted to go inside the gates, him not being a member of the church himself. Besides that, any church and pastor that was bold enough to be taking people’s money in that way, had to be Crazy.
My grandmother was far too pissed off to just let it go though. They had taken all of her mothers $1,500, which was a lot for people in that time period. So she walked my little aunt to the back of the church and ushered her inside for the secret meeting and asked for the pastor who was told was not available. Not being thwarted from her agenda, my grandmother settled for speaking with some of the pastor’s associates there at the time. She and my aunt were made to be seated and comfortable, and offered “cookies and punch”.
My aunt wanted to partake in the refreshments, but my grandmother firmly told her, “We are here to get your grandmother’s money back, not to eat no koolaid and cookies”. (Yes, we’re Black. lol) The conversation, which my grandmother believed was being taped, commenced and one of the associates stated that they would relay a message from her to the pastor, as they could not conduct that particular business kn his behalf.
So my grandmother told them to tell the pastor: that he had better give her mother her money back, that her mother was nearly 80 years old, on a fixed income, and a church was not supposed to be taking members’ money like that. She had been to her mother’s bank and knew exactly who took her mother there, the bank had pictures of the young man too. With all of that said, they were convinced that she meant business and told her to come back in one week for a check.
She told them that if she did not have the money back in one week, she would inform the media about them. She also said that her mother did have a son in Dallas, and he would come and blow that damn church up if she told him what they had done.
Suffice to say, the money was returned.
Three years later though, when the news broke that Jim Jones’ entire 900-person congregation had been forced to eat and drink poisonous cookies and punch, some at gunpoint, it was my grandmother who was shaken knowing the fate that nearly befell her mother, as well as her daughter and herself.
(CREATURES OF THE DARK EPISODE)