There were many influences on Peoples Temple and on Jonestown. Peoples Temple was a blend of the beliefs and movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and Liberation Theology was one the most influential of those beliefs, a belief that still shapes the world we live in today.
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Many who studied the subject believe Liberation Theology began in 1961 when in an unprecedented act, the World Council of Churches (WCC) invited the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) to join the organization. Unknown to the WCC, the ROC was a KGB appendage, staffed by intelligence officers. I know this well because of my experience in Israel and Jerusalem.
The Soviets took advantage of the invitational opportunity and sent Metropolitan Nikodim (then of Leningrad), the ROC’s second ranking prelate, to the WCC assembly. He espoused a doctrine known as Liberation Theology which was eagerly accepted by Latin American priests and bishops. Its revolutionary philosophy soon became a vehicle for violent change in Latin America as well as Africa and Southeast Asia.
They proposed to combine the teachings of Jesus with the teachings of Marx as a way of justifying violent revolution to overthrow the economics of capitalism.