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Scholars ask to declassify documents on Jonestown

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CC-16.jpg (8315 bytes)It is possible that more documents like the one I webbed would shed a greater light on the events surrounding Jonestown. Unfortunately, many of these documents are classified and inaccessible. Religious scholars are arguing that after more than twenty years, there is no reasons to continue keeping these documents secret, and that it would enhance greatly our understanding of what exactly happened prior and during the Jonestown tragedy.

In its press release (link http://www.cesnur.org/guyana_doc.htm doesn't work anymore), Cesnur quotes Dr. Gordon Melton:

"Our understanding of the Jonestown deaths is still hindered by the unavailability of numerous key documents that would highlight the situation at Jonestown immediately prior to and during Congressman Ryan's visit, the relationship of the State Department to the Jonestown community, and the state of mind of Peoples Temple leader, Rev. Jim Jones."

The open letter (link http://www.cesnur.org/guyana_lett.htm doesn't work anymore) made by a group of 13 scholars states, among other:

"As scholars of religion and the religious life, especially of new religious movements, we take this opportunity to express our sympathy for the families who lost loved ones in Guyana and share their concern for the further disclosure of information concerning what occurred on that day so long ago.

Furthermore, We deplore the use of this tragedy as an excuse for religious bigotry, especially in the stigmatization of new religious movements as destructive cults each with a potential for the same violence as occurred at Jonestown."

"[...] Now, twenty years later, the need for keeping these documents away from the public no longer exists and we, the undersigned, respectfully petition the Committee to move to make these documents accessible to the academic community, the families of the deceased, and the general public."

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