The Jonestown Massacre was a cult related mass suicide taking place during the 1970s, revealing the darker side of fringe social groups taking root in US society. How do you think Jim Jones was able to manipulate so many individuals and eventually lead them to commit mass suicide? Do you think such groups are inevitable in a free society or are there ways to reduce the number of such cults? If so, how? Make sure the writing assignment is one page in length, double spaced.
Jim Jones was able to influence almost 1000 of his members to commit suicide. Jim Jones could have been able to manipulate so many of his worshipers through his charismatic appeal to the audience. Jim Jones must have been a charismatic leader among his followers. It is clear that Jim Jones had mastered mind control techniques even before he built his church and gained followers. According to Rochford (2016), Jones’ previous engagements before starting the church included selling pet monkeys on a door-to-door basis. Jones had also worked as an activist and as a student pastor. These positions might have accorded Jones the opportunity to learn mind control techniques (Rochford, 2016). Through his prior experience, Jones became more confident of his abilities to influence people. Jones could have applied some form of coercion to persuade his followers into agreeing with everything he says. For instance, Jones could have established certain standards for which all believers had to conform.
Related: The Japanese Internment
It is impossible to avoid religious cults in a free society where all individuals enjoy the freedom of worship. First, there is no clear distinction between what constitutes cultic movements or fringe social groups in the society. In fact, what may constitute a fringe social group could pass as a religious organization to another. While it might be possible to establish laws banning such fringe groups in the society, it would be impractical to implement such a law. Part of the problem is that some of these fringe groups are secretive in nature. Another issue is that such a law could be construed as interfering with people’s freedom of worship. As such, such a law could turn out as controversial and attract criticism from various quarters.
Related: Secretive Government Site-Area 51