Friday, April 12, 2013

Nov. 21-23, Washington Post Texts

November 21, 1978, Washington Post, Survivor: 'They Started With the Babies', by Charles A. Krause, Foreign Service,
November 21, 1978, Washington Post, Exalting 'Beauty of Dying,' Jones Leads 408 to Death, by Leonard Downie Jr.,
November 23, 1978, Washington Post Foreign Service, The Final Months: A Camp of Horrors, by Charles A. Krause and Leonard Downie Jr.,
December 15, 1978, Washington Post, Chart Found in Jonestown Details Structure of Cult, by Charles A. Krause,
December 23, 1978, Washington Post, Guyanese Panel Rules All but 2 Were Murdered, by Charles A. Krause, diigo,
December 23, 1978, Washington Post, Some Cult Ex-Members Suspicious of 'Defector', by Paul Grabowica, Special to The Washington Post, diigo,
December 23, 1978, AP / Washington Post, 12 Jonestown Survivors Arrive in United Stales, diigo,
June 2, 1993, The Washington Post, ‘The Family’ and Final Harvest, by Gustav Neibuhr,


November 21, 1978, Washington Post, Survivor: 'They Started With the Babies', by Charles A. Krause, Foreign Service,


November 21, 1978, Washington Post, Exalting 'Beauty of Dying,' Jones Leads 408 to Death, by Leonard Downie Jr.,


November 23, 1978, Washington Post Foreign Service, The Final Months: A Camp of Horrors, by Charles A. Krause and Leonard Downie Jr.,


December 15, 1978, Washington Post, Chart Found in Jonestown Details Structure of Cult, by Charles A. Krause,

JONESTOWN, Guyana, Dec. 14 — Guyanese and U.S. investigators who supposedly combed Jonestown in the days after the mass suicide-murder here overlooked until today a Peoples Temple organization chart that may prove to be of key importance to criminal investigations now under way in both countries.

The chart, which has on it the names of those Peoples Temple members who served in, top positions at the time of the Nov. 18 suicide-murder, was found here this afternoon.

The chart was in the same place—at the side of the central pavilion where more than 900 of the Rev. Jim Jones' followers later died of cyanide poisoning—as when Rep. Leo J. Ryan and his party entered Jonestown Nov. 17.

The chart was considered important by members of the Jonestown hierarchy, who stopped me from copying the names on the chart that night. Guyanese police prevented reporters who found the chart today from copying the names once the police realized the potential value of the information.

In addition to providing a picture of how Jonestown was organized, the chart contains the names of persons who had top positions at Jonestown —at least several of whom, including Jones' son Steve and Lee Ingram, were outside Jonestown at the time of the mass suicide-murder.

Guyanese authorities have yet to release Steve Jones, Ingram and more than 20 other Peoples Temple members who were either here in Georgetown when the mass suicide ritual was occurring at Jonestown, or who managed to leave. The rest died of the cyanide potion except Jones and one his mistresses, who died of bullet wounds.

Police here are known to be investigating the possibility that at least some of those Peoples Temple members still alive may have engaged in criminal activity before or during the death ritual

In addition, a federal grand jury in San Francisco is now hearing evidence in an effort to determine whether a conspiracy existed that led Ryan's death shortly after he left Jonestown on Nov. 18.

The federal grand Jury in California is also looking into reports that the Rev. Jones drew up a "hit list" of Peoples Temple enemies that some of his top lieutenants and most loyal followers might intend to implement in the United States.

Guyanese police said the organization chart found today will be entered into evidence as part of an inquest now being held to determine the causes of death of those at Jonestown. Once this hearing is concluded, death certificates for the more than 900 dead Peoples Temple members can be issued in the United States.

A U.S. diplomat who was at Jonestown today when the chart was found said that the embassy in Guyana will probably request the chart—or at least the information contained on it —for use by the FBI and the San Francisco grand jury.

The Guyanese government inquest, in its second day, is being held in Matthews Ridge, a small settlement about 35 miles from Jonestown. The only testimony heard at today's session was from Odell Rhodes, who witnessed about 20 minutes of the suicide-murder rite before volunteering to find a stethoscope and then hiding, escaping death.

Rhodes testified that he and several others he knew about had expressed a desire to leave Jonestown during the months preceding Ryan's visit. Rhodes said that anyone who wanted to leave was punished, either by being given extra work or by being beaten. Rhodes testified that all mail into and out of Jonestown was censored by a four-member committee and that, beginning last September, five armed guards patrolled the Jonestown commune every night to prevent defection.

December 23, 1978, Washington Post, Guyanese Panel Rules All but 2 Were Murdered, by Charles A. Krause, diigo,

MATTHEWS RIDGE, Guyana, Dec. 22 — A coroner's jury ruled here to day that all but two of the more than 900 persons who died at Jonestown Nov. 13 were murdered because they were coerced into taking poison by cult leader Jim Jones and his henchmen.

The jury's rejection of the notion that his followers committed mass suicide by drinking the poison voluntarily was based on its conclusion that "Jim Jones masterminded the situated," According to the jury's foreman, Albert Graham.

"The man made people believe he was a god," Graham said of Jones, "and naturally they moved to his command."

After some confusion, the jury, composed of five laborers from this mining outpost about 35 miles from Jonestown in remote northwestern Guyana, also ruled that Jones was murdered by "some person or persons unknown."

The jury first announced that it had decided that Jones had committed suicide, apparently basing its conclusion on testimony by Dr. Leslie Mootoo, a pathologist, that Jones was shot from very close range in the "suicide area" of the brain, above and slightly behind his ear.

But Magistrate Haroon Bacchus shouted at the jurors, asking them, "What evidence do you have to support suicide?"

Bacchus told the jurors that Mootoo had stated that the gun was found 20 Yards away from Jones' body, and that was inconsistent with a finding of suicide. What the jurors did not know was that the first police officials who reached Jonestown after the mass killings had told reporters that the gun was found no more than five or ten feet from Jones' body on the podium of Jonestown's central pavillion.

In any event, the jurors filed back out, deliberated for 10 more minutes and returned to announce that "some person or persons unknown is clearly responsible for the death of James Warren Jones."

Magistrate Bacchus and the jurors agreed that two of Jones' mistresses, Anne Elizabeth Moore and Maria Katsaris, were the only ones to have committed

See GUYANA, A12, Col. 4


suicide of their free will. Moore fired a shot into her own head and Katsaris swallowed poison, evidence showed.

The jury's finding that the rest were, in effect. victims of murder was not based, however, on unconfirmed news reports of the past week that many of those found dead at Jonestown had apparently been killed by poison injected into them by the Jonestown medical staff after they refused to drink the poison.

The only evidence introduced during the 10-day inquest that indicated that anyone might have been injected with the cyanide poison came from Dr. Mootoo, who is the Guyanese government's official pathologist.

In a letter that was introduced to augment his oral testimony, Mootoo said "several" of the 39 bodies he had examined on the ground in Jonestown had needle marks on their arms. He drew no conclusions from this finding in his letter.

Other officials have said privately that these victims could have chosen to be injected rather than drink the poison because it is difficult to hold a person still enough for an injection if the person is resisting violently.

It is also possible that the needle marks could have been made by injections prior to the "white night," of death. Some Jonestown survivors have told of injections of tranquilizers that were given to troublemakers and old people.

Today's ruling has the practical effect of clearing the way for authorities in the United States to issue death certificates for the 914 bodies airlifted by the U.S. military from Jonestown to Dover.

The coroner's jury found that cyanide poisoning was responsible for the deaths of all but three of those who died inside Jonestown. Besides the gunshot deaths of Jones and Moore, another unidentified victim found in the Jonestown psychiatric ward in a pool of blood may have been killed by a bullet rather than poison.

A Guyanese police official testified today that neither he nor U.S. authorities are certain about how that mail died. The jury left the cause of his death open.

The jurors deliberated a total of 17 minutes before reaching their findings, which were clearly influenced by Magistrate Bacchus. At times, he berated the jurors and made strong suggestions to them of what he thought happened during the final hours at Jonestown. Jury foreman Graham expressed displeasure both with Bacchus and his own jury's findings after the inquest ended. Asked about testimony by Odell Rhodes, one of the Jonestown survivors, that at the beginning, at least, many Peoples Temple members seemed to take the poison voluntarily, Graham said: "I was not there, so how will I ever know?"

But Graham went on to explain the jurors had reasoned that even if some of those who lived at the agricultural commune drank the poison of grape drink, cyanide and tranquilizers, "they were under the influence of Jones at the time." Since Jones Clearly ordered the deaths and armed guards were there to enforce his order, the jurors reasoned, he was criminally responsible.

To some extent, the debate over whether members of the Peoples Temple committed suicide or were murdered depends on how suicide and murder are defined. The hundreds of children who died at Jonestown were clearly murdered, whether or not their mothers gave them their poison, because they did not have the mental ability to choose to live or to die.

According to Rhodes and Stanley Clayton, another survivor who witnessed much of the killing before he escaped, others made no move to drink the poison and were escorted to their deaths by the armed guards.

Most did not actively protest, but neither did they choose death willingly, Rhodes and Clayton said.

But a large number of those who died did so according to both of the living witnesses without having to be forced in any way. Jones exhorted them "to die with dignity," and they approached the vat of poison without further persuasion.

The jurors concluded that this Jones, who convinced them that enemies of the Peoples Temple were set to destroy it—especiallY after Rep. Leo J. Ryan and four others were killed by gunmen sent from Jonestown. These Peoples Temple members may well have believed they would be tortured and killed as Jones had told them, and so chose poison instead.

Others believe that this group of persons simply took the poison because they believed in Jones and believed for political or religious reasons that those who lived at Jonestown, would, after death, "meet in another place," as they were told. Although a certain mass hysteria occurred at the time, it can be argued that these people chose to die voluntarily, in effect committing suicide.

December 23, 1978, AP / Washington Post, 12 Jonestown Survivors Arrive in United Stales, diigo,

NEW YORK (AP)—A dozen members of the Peoples Temple who left Jonestown weeks, ago with Rep. Leo J. Ryan and survived an ambush that killed Ryan' and four others have finally arrived in the United States. The 12 arrived here from Guyana Thursday night and were questioned briefly by Secret Service and FBI agents before clearing customs.

December 23, 1978, Washington Post, Some Cult Ex-Members Suspicious of 'Defector', by Paul Grabowica, Special to The Washington Post, diigo,

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 22—Recent efforts by Terri Buford, one of the Rev. Jim Jones' former top aides, to blame others for alleged illegal activities by the Peoples Temple, may indicate that she is still loyal to the dead temple leader and is carrying out his orders to discredit defectors from the church, according to several temple ex-members.

The former church members claim that Jones had instructed his top aides to destroy the reputations of any "traitors" to the temple should anything happen to him or his congregation. At the top of his list of enemies, according to the ex-members, was former temple attorney Timothy Stoen, whom Buford is now blaming for most of the church's questionable activities.

Buford appeared Wednesday before a federal grand jury in San Francisco investigation the Peoples Temple and the murder of Rep. Leo J. Ryan (D-Calif.). At a 'news conference the next day Buford charged that Stoen was the central figure in many alleged church activities, including plans to poison the water supply in Washington, D.C., store weapons at Stoen's California home and set up the church's complicated overseas network of secret accounts.

Buford, accompanied at the news conference by her attorney, Mark Lane, claimed she had defected from the temple Oct. 27, and said her role in the temple's affairs was secondary to that of Stoen. She and Lane also charged that former temple attorney Charles Garry knew about the smuggling and stockpiling of weapons by the temple.

Buford's attempt to downplay her role in the temple, and particularly her attacks on Stoen, have lead several temple ex-members to say they fear she may still be wedded to Jones's philosophy.

A spokesman for the Berkeley-based Human Freedom Center (HFC), run by several temple ex-members, expressed extreme skepticism about her defection from the temples. "Just the way they (Buford and Lane) are attacking Tim Stoen, it's like a final salute to Jim Jones."

"It was pretty well known by the entire congregation that Tim Stoen was going to be slandered" by Jones' loyalists if the temple collapsed, the HFC spokesman added.

The temple ex-members are particularly distrustful of Buford because she sought out Mark Lane when she defected from the church in October. They point out that Lane at the time was one of the attorneys for the temple and subsequently went back to Guyana and conferred with Jones.

"The last place in the world she would have gone," says Patrick Hallinan, Stoen's attorney in San Francisco, "was to Mark Lane. . into the jaws of a possible trap."

Meanwhile, the federal grand jury impaneled in San Francisco is continuing its investigation into the temple's affairs. According to one source close to the inquiry, federal officials are viewing the statements made by all the former temple members thus far with extreme skepticism.

The U.S. attorney's office, according to this source, has no immediate plans to grant immunity to any of them, and recently turned down a request by Buford for immunity from prosecution.

The federal investigators are trying to obtain documents from Guyana in an effort to weigh the truth of the testimony of the temple ex-members. "There is certainly some truth in what they're saying about each other," the source explained. "But they're just not telling the whole truth, particularly about their own involvements."

June 2, 1993, The Washington Post, 'The Family' and Final Harvest, by Gustav Neibuhr,

LA HABRA HEIGHTS, CALIF. – Just what is The Family — a group of radically self-sacrificing Christians or, as some allege, a sex-obsessed doomsday sect?

An answer is offered by Daniel Alexander, a polite, bespectacled man, sitting in the sun behind a big house in this Los Angeles suburb. He’s the father of 13 children, once a Roman Catholic, but for the past 22 years a follower of “Father David,” a reclusive prophet who foretells the coming of a dictator called the anti-Christ, the rise of a brutal One World Government and its eventual overthrow by Jesus Christ, in the Second Coming.

The Family, Alexander says, is a group of “evangelical, fundamentalist, born-again” missionaries who live and preach in dozens of countries. Spurred by their belief that the “End Time” is here, many members are returning to the United States after 20 years abroad, hoping to reap a final “harvest” of souls. The group says it has about 9,000 members worldwide, with about 750 scattered across the United States.

Sure, Alexander concedes, plenty of people object that The Family’s “Law of Love” permits sex outside marriage and that the group once condoned a practice known as “flirty fishing” — the use of sex to win converts.

But The Family's primary goals are to proclaim the Gospel and save souls for Jesus. Members oppose abortion, homosexuality, drugs and drunkenness. They frown on birth control. They respect the Rev. Billy Graham.

"We admire Christians," Alexander says. "But it's interesting, it's not reciprocal. Because they identify us as a cult."

Do they ever.

The deaths of David Koresh and his Branch Davidian followers in April after a standoff with federal agents in Waco, Tex., turned up the heat on a spiritual warfare simmering across the United States.

On one side are "new religious movements" (cults, to their opponents) founded in the past three or four decades and usually led by a person whom members regard as a prophet. Arrayed against them are ex-members of these groups, along with various "counter-cult" organizations.

Few of the religious groups have been as consistently controversial as The Family. Its critics — many of them ex-members — maintain that The Family’s leadership follows a policy of lying to outsiders, is steeped in a history of sexual deviance and has even meddled in Third World politics.

The Family denies all this, calling such statements "persecution." And members point to Waco as an example of just how far persecution can go.

The Waco tragedy reflects The Family’s theology, which leans heavily on the end-of-the-world imagery in the Bible's Book of Revelation. "We believe the Waco incident was a foretaste, a foretaste of the Great Tribulation,” says Alexander. "A wake-up call," agrees another member, Timothy Richard, 20.

Recently, breaking years of virtual silence, The Family began inviting reporters and religious scholars to visit its La Habra Heights commune and get to know a group that traces its roots to the 1960s counterculture.

In 1968, evangelical preacher David Berg began gathering a following of born-again hippies who hung out at a coffeehouse in Huntington Beach, just down the coast from Los Angeles.

Berg was anti-establishment to the core and full of foreboding about America’s future. He condemned established churches as ineffective and urged a return to the early Christian community described in the Bible’s Book of Acts, in which believers lived together and shared all.

In 1969, Berg had a revelation that California would be hit by a major earthquake and took his followers on the road.

Early members recall being wandering soul-savers, roaming the highways, preaching Jesus. A colorful bunch, they turned up at public events — the Chicago Seven trial, the funeral of Sen. Everett M. Dirksen (R-Ill.) — dressed in scarlet sackcloth, their foreheads smeared with ashes, carrying long staffs with which they would strike the ground and shout “Woe!” They became known as the Children of God. Berg was “Moses David.”

The older adults at the commune here remember the Children of God as a revolutionary movement, attractive to the spiritual seekers of the time.

Kay Spain, 44, was a Baptist youth director in a rural Texas church, full of fire “to win the world for Jesus.” Don George, 44, was a Scarsdale, N.Y., Presbyterian, a long-hair, dabbling in drugs, on a spiritual search, "just determined to find the truth.”

Alexander also was on a spiritual quest. Visiting a Detroit art museum in 1971, he spotted a young man “witnessing” to strangers.

"I went up to him and I said, ‘I’m looking for a way to serve God,’ ” Alexander says. The man belonged to the Children of God and he talked about the group’s work and lifestyles. Alexander was sold on the spot. “It was like: Click! I knew that was what God had in mind for me.”

Berg communicated with his growing flock through a steady stream of “Mo Letters,” giving guidance on matters of belief, personal behavior, even automobile maintenance. To date, he has issued more than 2,800 of these.

"God has always had a mouthpiece, where he gave his word to his people,” says Jonathan Waters, 19, who lives in the La Habra Heights house and was born into The Family.

No one interviewed for this article claims to know where Berg — now 74 — lives these days. He was in the Canary Islands in the mid-1970s, in the Philippines about five years ago. Alexander says he met Berg in Spain about 15 years ago but adds: “Most people have never met him. He does not make personal appearances.” John Francis, The Family’s international spokesman, says that Berg “keeps his whereabouts private for a number of reasons, mainly to have private time to hear from the Lord.”

Francis says the man they call Father David is “an iconoclast by nature” who will “often bring up issues that may be startling or shocking,” but only to get people “to think.” Indeed, for years, his language has been provocative, occasionally crude.

Berg once described America as “the whore” (as in the Book of Revelation’s allegorical “whore of Babylon,” a city that is destroyed) and warned that the comet Kohoutek, then due to appear shortly, would signal coming destruction in the United States.

Ruth Gordon, who joined the Children of God in 1972, recalls a Mo Letter that year titled "Flee as a Bird to Your Mountain," which she interpreted as “God was going to destroy the U.S. . . . and we had to get out."

Already under pressure from parents trying to “rescue” their children from the group, the Children of God followed Berg’s warnings and migrated abroad — first to Europe, eventually to Latin America and East Asia.

Gordon, who moved to Brazil, left the group in 1977 and since has become one of its fiercest critics. She calls The Family a "pseudo-Christian cult" that dabbles in occult beliefs and sanctions adultery. “They don’t understand biblical Christianity apart from Berg’s writings,” she says.

Family spokesman Francis says the group takes “strong exception” to the claim that it is not Christian. Its beliefs are “fundamentally rooted in the New Testament,” he says, comparing Berg’s writings to the letters of the apostle Paul, providing practical instruction to Christians.

By the mid-1970s, the Children of God had “colonies” in an estimated 70 countries. In 1977, its members were reported to be living in overwhelmingly Muslim Libya, apparently with approval of its leader, Moammar Gadhafi. Rarely heard from, the group continued to attract unflattering publicity. In 1984, one of Berg's daughters, Deborah Davis, wrote a book about her father, alleging sexual excesses.

By The Family's own account, these were productive years — as the group spread out to preach on five continents — but also a time of change and uncertainty.

In 1978, Berg dismissed more than 300 leading members after hearing unspecified "reports of serious misconduct and abuse of their positions." He renamed his followers The Family of Love.

Around this time, the group began its practice of “flirty fishing” (“FFing,” many members called it), which won it an enduring notoriety.

To show God’s love, members would offer sex as a way of evangelizing people. The idea was Berg’s. The Family’s history states that, based on his reading of Scripture, “Father David arrived at the rather shocking conclusion that Christians were therefore free through God’s grace to go to great lengths to show the Love of God to others, even as far as meeting their sexual needs.”

The Family’s history acknowledges that this scandalized “many religious institutions,” but notes that “many people, most of whom would never even go near a church, were reached and won to Christ through this very humble, honest, open and intimately human approach to witnessing.” Partly in response to fears about AIDS, the practice was banned in 1987.

Kay Spain remembers flirty fishing in clubs in Sweden and Finland in the 1970s. She remembers that recipients of such attention almost always became born again.

But David Hiebert, a former member who runs a support group for ex-members called No Longer Children, says flirty fishing was used to curry political favor in many countries. "They would target special people — in the media, lawyers, in the government," he says.

Family spokesman Francis denies this, saying that flirty fishing was directed mainly at “lonely traveling businessmen that were in hotels."

"Our motives have been and always remain witnessing to the Gospel," Francis says. "We used FFing to reach people we couldn’t reach any other way."

It was during this period — The Family of Love stage — that the group had “far fewer common standards of conduct” than previously, its official history says. The group tightened its standards in the late 1980s “to ensure that all member communities provide a very wholesome environment for all, particularly the children.” It also shortened its name to The Family.

Despite the changes, opponents do not have to reach very far back in the past for ammunition.

Critics like to cite a couple of publications from The Family of Love period, including a 1987 “Basic Training Handbook,” which offers explicit advice on sex among prepubescent teens. There’s also something called “My Little Fish” containing nude photographs of a young boy and an adult woman embracing.

Francis says the handbook contains "early guidelines" intended to prevent teenage pregnancies and to teach youths that sex is a gift from God. The handbook is “long outdated,” he says. “At present, there’s no authorized sexual practices between any teens under the age of 16.”

As for “My Little Fish,” he says it is a chapter out of a longer book on child care and is meant to get parents to discuss sex openly with their children.

Still, the critics persist.

These days, one of the most outspoken is Edward Priebe, a Canadian who helped edit group publications until he quit in 1990 after 19 years. He alleges that it was not unusual for adult members to have sexual relations with teenagers before 1986, when the leadership moved against this.

Priebe says he worked in 1986-88 in the Philippines, where top Family officials openly sympathized with right-wing military officers who tried to overthrow the government of Corazon Aquino. “What we were doing was supplying all the moral support, you know, ‘God is with you,’ ” he says.

Francis denies both charges. “There may have been genuine cases of child sexual abuse in The Family, but any place we have come across them, we have excommunicated the members." The group has no interest in political power, in the Philippines or elsewhere, he says.

At least one outside observer — James R. Lewis, a senior research associate at the Institute for the Study of American Religions in Santa Barbara, Calif. — also questions the charge of child sex abuse. After visiting the La Habra Heights commune, he said, “I just came away feeling if there ever was any abuse it wasn't condoned or promoted by the hierarchy. It was isolated.”

The controversy with Priebe goes further. Last September, he entered The Family commune in Manila and left with numerous audio and videotapes from the group’s archives. Francis says Priebe entered illegally and took material valued at $750,000.

Priebe says he offered to hand the tapes back to The Family in return for either custody of or visiting rights to his two children, who are members of the group living in another Asian country. When The Family ignored his offer, he turned over copies of some of the tapes, which he says show very young girls dancing nude, to “police authorities all over the world.”

Francis says at least 90 percent of the tapes Priebe removed were irreplaceable musical recordings. But “a handful, we’re talking less than a dozen,” featured nudity, "very tastefully done," he says. "There’s nothing more erotic on them than you’d find on MTV today.”

Opponents like Gordon and Priebe irritate members who have stayed with The Family. At the La Habra Heights house, Alexander, George and Spain say that many people have passed through The Family’s ranks — up to 35,000 by their count — but only a handful are publicly antagonistic.

In this country, members say, The Family maintains perhaps 20 communal homes, including the one it rented two years ago here in La Habra Heights, an upper-middle-class neighborhood bordering politically conservative Orange County.

About 25 people live in the house here: middle-aged baby boomers, adolescents, pre-teen children, even an infant. They're a clean-cut bunch, friendly and courteous.

In the dining room, the older teenagers pull up chairs to talk about their beliefs with a visitor. They were born into The Family; it has guided their entire lives.

Lanky Jonathan Waters recalls how as a 3-year-old living in the Netherlands, he dressed in traditional Dutch clothing with wooden shoes to sing "Jesus Loves Me” on the streets while his father strummed along on a guitar.

Music is a big part of The Family’s evangelism, but so is blunt talk about the coming end of human history.

Based on its reading of Revelation, the group believes the anti-Christ and the single world government will demand that everyone wear the "mark of the Beast” (the number 666). That may be a computer chip embedded under the skin, allowing the evil authorities to track people. Through its studio in Japan, The Family makes videotapes, including a sophisticated MTV-style video for teenagers called, "Look Out for 666."

One Saturday, just after a spaghetti dinner, adults and teenagers climb into a van to go out for a little street preaching. At a busy intersection not far from south-central Los Angeles, members approach strolling Mexican immigrants. The teenagers — fluent in Spanish after years in Latin American communes — buttonhole passersby, whom they ask to pray to Jesus for salvation.

They pass out colorful posters called “The Endtime News!,” a comic book-style explanation of the coming apocalypse. The next morning, group members proudly announce that they won 38 persons to Christ.

Later, some members muse that proselytizing arouses the forces of evil, which leads to more persecution. Just look at how early Christians were attacked by the Romans, says Alexander. "We have a heritage: This is what it means to be a Christian. But great is your reward in Heaven. It fires us up to do more."

No comments: