A Lavender Look at the Temple: A Gay Perspective of the Peoples Temple

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Press: iUniverse Publishing (August 10, 2011)
ISBN:9781462035298
Author Name:Bellefountaine, Michael; Bellefountaine, Dora;
Pages:128
Language:English

Content

For most of its history, the Peoples Temple existed under the radar. 
Most had never even heard of the church until news of the tragic deaths of more than nine hundred men, women, and children in the jungles of Guyana broke in November of 1978.Th e lives and deaths of the members of the Peoples Temple are ones that remain mostly misunderstood to this day.
And for the gay and lesbian members and their families, the truth is sometimes even harder to and.
Author Bellefountaine-an activist, a scholar, and proud member of the gay community-provides a new perspective of the Temple.
His detailed research into the inner workings of the Peoples Temple is presented, with a special look at the lives of the gay and lesbian members of the Peoples Temple community.
Their stories illustrate how their lives were influenced and affected by Jones and his "acceptance" of their sexuality.
Bellefountaine looked deep into the historical connection between Jim Jones's Peoples Temple and the city of San Francisco, as well as the connection San Francisco's first gay councilman, Harvey Milk, had with the Peoples Temple.
The power that acceptance-even false acceptance-can have on people is explored through the detailed accounts of members of the temple community.
He tells the very human stories of those who died in Jonestown as well as how those who survived the horror and their families were deeply affected by the tragedy of November 18, 1978-and what we can learn from this event.

Tags

Gay & Lesbian,History,Nonfiction,LGBT Studies,Politics & Social Sciences,Social Sciences,Specific Demographics



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Comment

 
 

Comment List (Total:7)

  •     I've seen a number of documentaries about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple but this book provided a perspective I never knew existed.
  •     My son would have been so disappointed with the movie,"Milk".The total omission of the Peoples Temple, Jonestown and the late gay San Francisco councilman, Harvey Milk's polical relationship.Author Michael Bellefountaine examines how gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender in Peoples Temple faired during a hostile time in history. The Peoples Temple on homosexuality was far more progressive for it's time. His detailed research into the inner workings of the Peoples Temple is presented,with a special look at the lives of the gay and lesbian members of the Peoples Temple community. Their stories illustrate how their lives were influenced and affected by Jones and his "acceptance".Michael Bellefountaine - an activist, a scholar, and proud member of the gay community - provides a new perspective of the Temple. There are so many lessons to be learned and debated from what happened with the Peoples Temple and Bellefountaine kick-starts that discussion with a powerful commentary on the world in which we live. Michael Bellefountaine passed away in 2007 at the age of forty-one. Dora Bellefountaine
  •     just wish it had been longer. Very interesting insight into Jonestown. I would consider this an important academic work. mm
  •     If Michael Bellefontaine was still alive when the film, "Milk," came out, he would be livid and furious with regards in the total omission of the Peoples Temple, Jonestown, and Rev. Jim Jones especially in San Francisco history of 1978.This book finally offers some answers between gay supervisor Harvey Milk and his relationship with the Peoples Temple in San Francisco which ended in Jonestown, Guyana on November 18,1978 with hundreds of dead men, women, and over 300 children among the dead.The book also examines how gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Peoples Temple members faired in their community during a hostile time in history.In the last years of his short life, the author, Michael Bellefontaine, was a staunch gay rights and AIDS activist in San Francisco, California but he was also part of the Peoples Temple and Jonestown history.While other writers have long dismissed Milk's relationship with the Peoples Temple, Bellefontaine not only addresses it but attacks and analyzes the information from reliable sources regarding their association.First, you have to understand the lure of the Peoples Temple. It was welcoming of people from all walks of life including races, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and religions. Rev. Jim Jones was charismatic and fooled people into believing that he had special powers to read minds and cure people. But it wasn't just Jim Jones that lured it's members.The People Temple offered services such as drug and alcohol rehablitation; a food pantry and soup kitchen; counseling; a school; elder care and day centers; and other facilities widely staffed and run by it's members. The Peoples Temple welcomed people of all walks of life including the ostracized, the outcasts, criminals, etc. into their world.The Peoples Temple of homosexuality were far more progressive for it's time period. Of course, the book details further Jones's bizarre beliefs that he was the only true heterosexual in the room.Still this book is about two major issues such as the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered members of the Jonestown and the Peoples Temple who were members and their experiences, good and bad. Another is about the Peoples Temple relationship with Harvey Milk. The author does a very good job in examining and clearing up information regarding two key events in San Francisco dark history in November 1978.
  •     This book is very interesting, informative, well-researched, and easy to understand. It must have taken courage to write it.
  •     A Lavender Look at the Temple” is an informative and surprising expose of the overlooked impact of LGBT influence of the Peoples Temple, and how it shaped the politics the San Francisco region in the 1970’s. Peoples Temple was recognized for its advocacy supporting diversity of all minority groups, and promoted the election of LGBT martyr Harvey Milk (1930-1978). The Peoples Temple is known for the shocking horror of mass destruction when over 900 people perished at the jungle settlement in Jonestown, located in Guyana, South America on November 18, 1978.This book was completed in memory of Michael Bellefontaine (1966-2007). Michael was a dedicated LGBT historian, scholar that studied at the San Francisco State University, and was instrumental in preserving documentation of the role Peoples Temple in San Francisco area politics. He worked tirelessly transcribing tapes, journals, and materials (retrieved by the FBI) at the Jonestown Institute /San Diego State University and wrote many articles for the Jonestown Report. Michael worked for years to honor the history of LGBT members of Jonestown, and was writing a book at the time of his passing. He also joined the group ACTUP/SF that advocated for the rights of HIV/AID’s patients.The book is compiled with a helpful timeline and a bio brief of the numerous individuals involved, and tells the individual stories of LGBT members. The story of the Peoples Temple is long and complex, the focus of this book is to preserve the truth of the LGBT influence which was undermined. In the Peoples Temple same-sex relationships occurred, the factual evidence suggests that Jones was likely bisexual himself. Jones was known to instruct and interfere with marriages within the church. He also preached openly from the pulpit concerning homosexuality and other private sexual matters/encounters of himself and followers. The church fully accepted LGBT people without question, while at the same time promoted the rejection of promiscuity and support of overall celibacy for the general membership free of the “sin” of sexual desire.It was also notable that much of the correspondence between People’s Temple the election of Harvey Milk and his relationship with Jim Jones was eliminated from the Milk archives. The correspondence received by the Peoples Temple from Harvey Milk is preserved in Jonestown archives. Milk openly praised the socialist work and community involvement of the Peoples Temple, and members arrived in busloads to support his campaign for office. This highly detailed expose remains an important part of LGBT history, its connection with Jim Jones/Peoples Temple, and 1970’s San Francisco cultural and political climate. Dora Bellefontaine is to be commended for completing this book project in honor of her son.
  •     The documentaries that I've seen on this subjuct tend to linger on Jim Jones, and the influence he weilded over his followers, to the exclusion of other points of view.
 

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