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Nothing in the way of film or recorded TV (shown on the commune's closed-circuit system), no matter how innocuous or seemingly politically neutral, could be viewed without a Temple staffer present to "interpret" the material for the viewers.
This invariably meant damning criticisms of perceived capitalist propaganda in Western material, and glowing praise for and highlighting of Marxist–Leninist messages in material from Communist nations.
Guests at a large 1976 testimonial dinner for Jones included Governor Jerry Brown, Lieutenant Governor Mervyn Dymally, and Assemblyman Willie Brown, among others.
In the fall of 1973, after critical newspaper articles by Lester Kinsolving and the defection of eight Temple members, Jones and Temple attorney Tim Stoen prepared an "immediate action" contingency plan for responding to a police or media crackdown.
Many contemporary media accounts after the events called the deaths a mass suicide.
After the group's participation proved instrumental in the mayoral election victory of George Moscone in 1975, Moscone appointed Jones as the Chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission.
According to Carter, the Temple concluded that Guyana, an English-speaking, socialist country with a predominantly indigenous population and with a government including prominent black leaders, would afford black Temple members a peaceful place to live.
Later, Guyanese Prime Minister Forbes Burnham stated that Jones may have "wanted to use cooperatives as the basis for the establishment of socialism, and maybe his idea of setting up a commune meshed with that".
Burnham also said that, when Deputy Minister Ptolemy Reid traveled to Washington, D. in September 1977 to sign the Panama Canal Treaties, Mondale asked him, "How's Jim?
Jones reached an agreement to guarantee that Guyana would permit Temple members' mass migration.
To do so, he stated that they were "skilled and progressive", showed off an envelope he claimed contained 0,000, and stated that he would invest most of the group's assets in Guyana.
This also comported with the Temple's practice of gradually subjecting its followers to sophisticated mind control and behavior modification techniques borrowed from North Korea and Mao Zedong's China.
"Discussion" around current events often took the form of Jones interrogating individual followers about the implications and subtexts of a given news item, or delivering lengthy and often confused monologues on how to "read" certain events.