Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple

By Deborah Layton

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"...on November 18, 1978 in Jonestown, a commune in the depths of the Guyanese jungle, 913 followers of the Reverend Jim Jones obeyed his orders to take their own lives, dutifully swallowing fruit-flavored punch laced with cyanide. It was the worst mass suicide in modern history. The Peoples Temple had started out years before as a respectable church involved in community service and civil rights activism. Jim Jones's followers grew in number, and the organization gained prominence in the San Francisco community, recognized by such high-profile figures as Mayor George Moscone and First Lady Rosalyn Carter. But by the time Jones and his followers had begun their emigration to the 'promised land' in Guyana, the group had become increasingly militant and paranoid.

"Deborah Layton saw that something was seriously wrong the minute she arrived in Jonestown, and six months before the massacre, she escaped the guarded compound she had imagined would be paradise. Her warnings to the press and to the U.S. State Department of an impending disaster fell on disbelieving ears: Exactly four days after her testimony in Washington, D.C., Congressman Leo Ryan, three reporters, and over nine hundred Peoples Temple members, including Layton's mother and countless friends, were dead."

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