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November 10, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-10

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Page 4-Saturday, November 10,.1979-The Michigan Daily

41, r 4+
11gan Ott
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom

Vol. LXXXX, No. 57

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

How deep is our malaise?

F TWO IS COMPANY and three is
a crowd, the list of Democrats
hoping to live at 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue in 1981 is getting just a little bit
cramped. In what could easily be the
worst two days of Jimmy Carter's
presidency, not one, but two
Democrats made it official that they
want the president's job.
The casualty of what promises to be
a rough-and-tumble primary will not
be either of the three politicos who will
take turns carving up the other. Nor
will the party itself be in much
disrepair, since Democrats have
hiistorically loved to disagree, then kiss
and make up in the off-years.
i No,. the true victims of this battle
royal will be the innocent by-standers
on the sidelines-the American people.
One candidate tells us we are mired in
'malaise", the other candidate tells us
that such is not the case, that we are
mherely "sinking into crisis." Then a
third candidate rebuffs both ex-
planations, and tells us that our
problem is we are "a sleeping giant
that needs to be awakened."
'So which is it? Are we truly bogged
down in this mysterious force called
"malaise," this undefinable substance
that must be something akin to
nMayonaise, sticky, quicksand-like,
impeding our forward motion?
Or is it that we are "sinking into

crisis," sort ofacesspool of national
problems, which is distinguishable
from malaise in that "sinking" implies
water, which has a higher viscosity
than malaise?
Or, could it be that neither is true,
that we have only been sleeping all this
time. like the giant in the fairy tale,
surrounded by a sea of lilliputins, and
that all we need is a gentle jostle to
wake us from our slumber?
Either way, no matter which of the
three sides win, it would appear that
the American people will come out of
the 1980 primaries either malaised,
sunk, or sound asleep. No matter who
wins, it seems we lose.
It is time for the American people to
stand up to this kind of vicious
maligning and verbal slander.
Americans consider themselves quite
free of malaise, qite adept at swim-
ming out of our crises, and quite wide
awake, thank you.
So if Jimmy and Jerry and Teddy
want to drag each other through the
mud for the next eight months,
criticizing each other's ineptitude and
personal integrity, so be it. That, un-
forunately, is what politics is all about.
But all the American people ask is that
when the politicians talk about the
problems in the country, just leave us
out of it. We don't really want to be

By Elizabeth Gatov

AP Photo'
Recalling Jonestown:
To Hell and back

Another group of hostages

AMERICA WAS plagued by two
crises in Iran this week.
The first one, the students' takeover
of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran enters
its seventh day today, but there seems
to be no rest in sight. Mediation efforts
continue between PLO representatives
and backers of the Khomeini dictator-
ship as the nation watches with
restrained agony.
It is the second crisis, though, which
may be less urgent now, but which
threatens to expand into another
edition of the latest national
catastrophe-the energy -problem.
While U.S. negotiators and the public
were waiting to find how their helpless
countrymen were faring under cap-
tivity, Iranian officials notified some
American oil companies that they will
receive almost ten per cent less oil
than they expected from Iran for the
rest of the year.
This heavy cutoff once again under-
scores the, country's decade-long
vulnerability to foreign oil reserves.
Once delivered, the news triggered
signs of deep concern among Carter
administration officials, and within the
business community. The stock
market trailed off again, anticipating
higher oil and gas prices in the near
The news was not really that sur-
prising. In recent months, Ayatollah
has stepped up its anti-American
propaganda even in the face of sincere
efforts by U.S. diplomats to repair
relations between the two former
allies. Yet there was always the hope
that the clergy-dominated government
would privately maintain its economic
and even political connections with the
ahted 'Americans. That hope has now
been dashed, and the future of Iranian-
American relations looks extremely
bleak, regardless of what happens to

the hostages.
How ironic it is that this disturbing
news is overshadowed by other events
in that turmoil-ridden modern Islamic
Republic. The eventual impact,
however, cannot be ignored for the
winter is slowly creeping in, and fuel
and home-heating oil prices are expec-
ted to climb to new record levels.
Already Congress and the ad-.
ministration-anticipating the dread-
ful season-have allocated millions of
dollars to ease the pain. That will help,
'but probably not enough. And with the
1980 election hovering over both bran-
ches' heads, their hands will be tied
and more relief will not be easy to get.
The only sure relief is spelled F-R-E-
E-D-O-M, freedom from the mercy of
foreign oil powers, most notably the
OPEC heavyweights. For too long, the
United States has had to. pay exor-
bitant fees to fund the greedy pocket-
books of the sheiks in Kuwait and Saudi
Arabia while the poor families in
Maine and New Hampshire give up
their lives' savings. To rip the chains of
OPEC bondage, the U.S. will have to
continue on its course toward
development of synthetic fuels, solar
energy and more fuel-efficient
automobiles. And of course, conser-
vation would help.
One productive step was canned,
ironically, when President Carter can-
celled a two-day trip to Canada to stay
in touch on the fate of the 60 hostages.
A main item on his agenda with our
northern neighbors will be to fight the
energy shortage together, a move un-
doubtedly that would ease the crisis.
Without these and other necessary
initiatives, OPEC will continue to
dominate our oil future. Those unfor-
tunate 60 Americans in Teheran are
not the only hostages. So are the
American people.

Almost one year ago, on
November 18, 1978, more
than 1100 men, women, and
children perished in the grisly
mass murder/suicide of the
People's Temple in Jonestown,
Guyana. Elizabeth Gatov, a
lecturer and writer on social
trends, has come to know two
people-Tim and Grace
Stoen-who operated at the
top of the People's Temple
and who survived the jungle
holocaust by leaving the chur-
ch before it was consumed in
madness. The following is
Gatov's unique insight into the
People's Temple
phenomenon, through the eyes
of the Stoens. Tim's story ap-
pears today, and Grace's story
will appear on this page
Tim Stoen and Grace Grech
stood proudly before the Rev.
Jim Jones in the sunny, pastoral
seclusion of the Peoples Temple
in Redwood Valley, California. It
was July, 1970, their wedding
day, a blissful day marred by
only one event: When Tim's
mother, a devout fundamentalist
Baptist, looked at the Rev. Jones
she believed she saw the Anti-
Christ, the Devil. After the ser-
vice, she slumped to the floor in a
faint and had to be carried out.
The Jim Jones who Tim Stoen
looked upon that day was quite
the opposite: He was the closest
thing on earth to the Jesus Tim
had been raised to worship.
But Grace worshipped only
Tim; to Jones she was indif-
ferent. Then 19, she had aban-
doned her Roman Catholic faith a
year earlier, and now Tim Stoen
was her religion. She was awed
by his educated mind, his
lawyer's diplomas, the in-
teresting friends he kept and the
aura he exuded of having been
raise "with a silver spoon in his
daughter of working class paren-
ts of Mexican descent, she felt
her own life had been narrow and
barren. Growing up, her sense of
self-esteem had been so low,
despite the physical evudence in
the mirror, that she was sure no
man would ever ask her to marry
And then, in 1969, she had met
Tim Stoen. It was at an anti-war
rally in her hometown, San Fran-
cisco, and they had struck up a
conversation, had coffee
together, visited Tim's law office
in the city and his apartment in
Berkeley, where bright,
fascinating friends constantly
trooped in and out.
"I felt like Alice in Won-
derland. It was another world,"
says Grace.
Tim, 31, single, Republican and
uneasy over the social inequities
of the time, was equally struck by
Grace. It was not only her
beauty, her warm, dark eyes and
glossy black hair, but the fac'
that one so young and innoce.
clearly had a mind of her own. He
loved her healthy skepticism, a
nualitv almost totally lacking in

a union of opposites that would,
over the next eight years, unravel
in the midst of a mounting horror
that would shock the entire
world. The stories of Tim and
Grace Stoen, and of their ill-fated
child, John Victor, are part and
parcel of the tragedy of Peoples
"I AM A theological conser-
vativeand a socialradical," Tim
Stoen said to Jim Jones at their
first meeting on August 8, 1967. At
the time, Tim knew little about
Jones, and even less about his
church. Tim was applying for a
one-year job to organize the
newly formed Legal Services
program of Mendocino County,
where Jones had his church, and
Jones sat on the Board of Direc-
to rs. '.
Jones liked the description
Stoen had given; it fit his own
philosophy. And so during the en-
suing months, after Tim was
hired by the county, Jones
gradually began to cultivate this
bright young attorney with a
social conscience by little acts of
generosity such as sending chur-
ch members over to clean up the
cluttered offices where Tim was
But though Tim saw Jones once
a month on routine county
business, and though he admired
Jones' principles and the
dedication of his congregation, he
did not begin attending services
at Peoples Temple until two
years later, after he had set up
private practice in San Francisco
and met the young and beautiful
Grace Grech.
Though other religious ac-
tivists in Berkley, Tim was per-
suaded early in 1969 to make the
two-and-a-half hour drive to
Redwood Valley in Mendocino
County and attend a Sunday ser-
vice at Jones' church. The drive
soon became a weekly affair,
with Tim urging other friends to
accompany him: Only Grace, out
of love for him, did so regularly.
Tim, even at the time, was a
man of native eloquence. He en-
joyed owning a Porsche and
vaguely planning a political
But like other progressive
lawyers of the time, he was
profoundly guilt-ridden about his
elitist life, about the fact that he
could enjoy the luxuries of the
professional class in an unjust
world of war, racism and
capitalist exploitation. He saw in
Jim Jones a man with a practical
as well as a mystical program
that might redress these wrongs.
Jones' requirement that his
followers live a simple life, share
with one another and renounce
material possessions resembled
the way Christ's disciples lived,
and it tugged at Tim's desire to
do something "pure."
had a need to live within a struc-
tured system, a clear moral
universe such as that his Baptist
mother had raised him in.
"Whether it's Calvinism or a
political system like Marxism,"
says Tim today, "it attracts
people like me who are uncom-
fortable with the ambiguity
inherent in relying mainly on

Part I
wood Valley, where he tool a new
job as County Counsel, a position
that made him extremely
valuable to Jones who, even then,
was searching for respectability
and access to the community's
social and business leaders.
Three . months later, Tim
married Grace and they began
what they believed would be an
idyllic, idealistic life together.
It never even began to happen.
Almost from the moment of
their marriage, Tim had an all-
consuming mistress-the church.
He loved the sacrifice: He gave
up all his valued possessions but
for a few books; he bought his
clothes at the Salvation Army, he
would happily have given up his
salary to the church, as other
members did, but for Grace's
Andperhaps most important,
he gave up all sense of family
privacy. "Grace and I never
lived alone, from day one," he:
says. "We were expected to give
our livesfor others. There were
always other people living in the
LIKE OTHERS in the Temple,
both Tim and Grace in effect
worked two jobs one on the out-
side and one for the Temple. Tim
worked long and hard hours as
County Cpunsel, then long past
midnight on the Temple's legal
affairs, keeping Jones out of
trouble and, later, patiently ex-
ploring the legal means to tran-
sfer Temple funds into
Panamanian bank accounts as
the Temple made plans to move
to Guyana. He rarely went to bed
before 3 a. m.
"Grace and I never developed
a relationship because we never
had a chance to go off and do
things," he recalls. "One time we
went to the beach for a day (one
of the two days of their marriage
that they spent alone), but there
were so many conflicts in our
lives. Grace wanted to leave the
church but she didn't want to
leave me. I didn't believe in the
right of a family or an exclusive
relationship unless everybody
could have it."
Tim's great value to Jones as a
legal expert with a high standing
in the community, combined with
his nearly blind faith ineJones,
served to protect him from some
of the harsher realities of the
Peoples Temple, to which
others, including Grace, were
beginning to react to. The faked
faith healings that Jones perfor-
med, for instance, Tim accepted
on faith, even notarizing
statements from participants
that they hae been healed.
"If these people say they are
healed," he puzzled to himself,
"who am I to say they are not?
There have been so many mirac-
les in the past, so many things
that can't be explained
As for the meetings of the
Planning Commission, a kind of
Temple board of directors on
which both he and Grace were
members, Tim rarely attended
them, being excused for various
k".. 00".o_ U m hre it

Timagreed just months after the
birth to sign a document that-
Jones had prepared stating what
he knew to be a lie: that John Vic-
tor had been fathered by Jim
Jones. Jones explained that he
needed something to hold over
Tim's head as a threat against-
the possibilitysthat he might one
day defect. Tim says he agreed to:
sign the document because he
wanted to placate Jones and
assure him of his devotion, and
because as a lawyer he knew the
document would not stand up in-
court in any case.
Though Tim loved his son, and
today fondly recalls holding him
as a baby and rocking him to
sleep, he had less and less time
for either the boy or Grace.
Though their marriage lasted for
several more years, held
together by the son, it was not as
man and wife.
It ended officially in 1976 when
Tim moved back to San Fran-
cisco to take a new job with the
District Attorney's office and
Grace, whom he rarely saw
anymore, suddenly left the chur-
ch' and disappeared. Tim didn't
even know she had left unit four
days later, and John Victor had
long since been removed to a
communal home run by the Ten-
Tim's move to San Francisco
was, at least in part, a confir- '
mation of Jone's early fears that
he might eventually leave the
Unquestioning loyalty, guilt
and a need to believe in someone
as a higher power to replace the
authoritarian figure of his youth
had kept Tim in line for seven
years. But the constant beratings
he had suffered for his love for his
son had opened a crack in the
armor. Tim had delighted in
being a father, even though the
opportunities were rare. His love
for John Victor had become so
evident that Jones and others on
the Planning Commission
punished him for it incessantly.
Jones told him that kindness,
compassion and parental love
were weaknesses to be dispised.
Children were to be brought up
communally, by strict socialist
principles, in order that they not
be contaminated by tle defects of
their parents.
By early 1976, John Victor, had
been placed with a fulltime
surrogate parents in a communal
home, and this and other events
secretly gnawed at Tim,
Finally, an incident occurred
which severed him from Jones as
completely as a head from its
body by the guillotine.
At the end of an all night Plan-
ning Commission session, one of
the few he attended, Jones ac-
cused Tim of being a
homosexual. He demanded that
Tim admit as much.
"DAMN IT, JIM, I am not a
homosexual," Tim screamed.
"I'm not-going to call myself one.
I remember the fine and
beautiful moments I've had with
women and nobody can take
those thoughts away from me.
The accusation struck Tim in
an emotional explosion of
revulsion against Jones. It began
the spark'which consumed his
already flawed faith and fired his
determination to leave.

Lbt Michigan 19 at-IV

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