Learning about other people’s lives somehow puts one’s own life in sharper relief.
Pentecostalism is warmth and catharsis, a fizzy soda to Calvinism’s sour water.
Meanwhile, Jones’s message was quietly evolving. The more he studied the Bible, the more he noticed the number of errors, contradictions, and inconsistencies it contained. More alarming were the loathsome acts God condoned: slavery, mass murder, rape, and an astounding amount of violence. He began to doubt the authenticity of the Bible—and of God himself. Jones spelled out his concerns in a self-published booklet titled “The Letter Killeth, but the Spirit Giveth LIFE,” a phrase plucked from 2 Corinthians 3:6: “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter,...
Later, he’d use stronger words: The Bible murders. The booklet, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation found in Jonestown after the massacre, represents important early evidence of Jones’s break with Christianity.