Annie Moore was one of the closest confidants of Jim Jones, the charismatic and arguably sociopathic leader of the Peoples Temple cult and mastermind of the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana. While many of Moore’s childhood friends described her as sweet, good-natured, spontaneous, loyal, dependable, and funny, as an adult, she had a darker side.
Meet Annie Moore: she was a close companion of the leader of the Peoples Temple, Reverend Jim Jones. In 1978, the cult’s compound called Jonestown, in Guyana, became the site of a mass tragedy. But who exactly was this woman? And how was she involved in the Jonestown Massacre?
Annie was Jones’ personal nurse, providing him with various drugs. She once wrote a memo to Jones suggesting different ways to kill people in a last stand.
Of the more than 900 people to die on November 18, 1978, only Moore and Jones died of a gunshot wound; the rest died of cyanide poisoning. This led many to believe that Moore killed Jones first and then took her own life.
This Annie Moore Wiki entry attempts to answer lingering questions about one of Jones’ closest and most mysterious confidants.
The Origins of Annie Moore
Ann Elizabeth Moore was born on May 12, 1954 in Oakland, California. She was the youngest daughter in the Moore family: Carolyn was the oldest daughter and Rebecca was the middle daughter.
Her father John, who was a United Methodist minister, and his wife Barbara were very active in the anti-war movement during the 1960s. They often included their three daughters in peace and civil rights demonstrations.
According to friends, Annie Moore was funny, smart, spontaneous, artistic, and musical (she played guitar), with a wry sense of humor.
Moore was a member of a junior high group at the Davis United Methodist Church and actively involved in group projects, from tutoring underprivileged children to helping with house repairs.
Moore also took charge by holding fundraisers (including car washes, bake sales, babysitting, etc.) to raise money to help support an orphaned child from an impoverished country. She posted a picture of the child at her home to remind her and her family of the boy they were helping.
Carolyn, her sister, was nine years older than Moore and had joined Jones’s Peoples Temple in Redwood Valley in 1968. Moore joined the Peoples Temple in 1972, shortly after graduating from high school.
Moore had become convinced of Jones’s healing powers and his apparent ability to raise people from the dead. Commenting on the Peoples Temple in a letter, Moore said, “There is the largest group of people I have ever seen who are concerned about the world and are fighting for truth and justice.”
In fact, Moore believed the Peoples Temple was the only place where she saw “real true Christianity being practiced.”
Months after joining the Peoples Temple, in a letter dated March 30, 1973, Moore wrote, “I want to be in on changing the world to be a better place, and I would give my life for it.”
The Peoples Temple
Jones established the Peoples Temple, a Christian sect espousing communist and socialist ideals, in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1955. The church attracted a lot of attention because Jones adhered to an inclusive philosophy that railed against racism and was open to all ethnic groups.
In 1971, the Peoples Temple moved to San Francisco after Jones learned he was being investigated for real estate transfers from members of the church to himself. A for-profit corporation controlled by Jones, his wife Marceline, and his mother Lynetta had also come under scrutiny.
But once in California, the Peoples Temple attracted trouble again. In 1977, after Jones was accused of financial fraud and abusing his parishioners, members of the Peoples Temple began to move to Guyana. It was here that Jones dreamed of building the socialist utopia of Jonestown.
At its peak, the Peoples Temple claimed to have 20,000 members. According to church membership data, though, the actual number ranged from 3,000 to 5,000.
Moore and Jones
Due to her enthusiasm and commitment to the Peoples Temple, it didn’t take long for Annie Moore to become part of Jones’s inner circle. And just one year after joining, Moore started showing interest in nursing, an occupation that served Jones well.
She eventually became Jones’s personal nurse. Her sister Carolyn was his lover and had a child with him named Jim Jon.
In 1977, Moore followed Jones to Guyana and the Peoples Temple settlement known as Jonestown.
Moore’s devotion to Jones meant she would do anything to help him achieve his socialist utopia on earth. As Jones’s personal nurse, Moore provided him with various uppers and downers so that he could function.
Moore once wrote a memo to Jones many months before the Jonestown Massacre, suggesting different methods of killing people during a final stand.
In it, Moore wondered whether and how the people of Jonestown should die should they find themselves under attack by “the fascists.”
She wrote: “I started out for revolutionary suicide, almost switched to fighting but stick to suicide now… I never thought people would line up to be killed but actually think a select group would have to kill the majority of the people secretly without the people knowing it.
“The way—I don’t know. Poisoning food or water supply I heard of. Exhaust fumes in a closed area (carbon monoxide) I heard was effective while people are asleep. It would be terrorizing for some people if we were to have them all in the group and start chopping heads off or whenever—this is why it would have to be secretly.”
Halfway through the memo, Moore suggested that killing the children of Jonestown would, in fact, be the best way to save them from the fascists.
“But what a farce it would be to be slaughtered and captured and risk our children’s lives to be taken to the fascists. So I am saying here I don’t know how many would stand up to fight. So I am basically cynical about how far you can trust our people. The main reason for suicide—to assure safety to the children.”
She ended the memo thus: “I think life is a fuck over anyhow whatever we do but maybe less with the revolutionary suicide—so I stick to it. I’ll do whatever is expected of me no matter what you have me to do.”
The Jonestown Massacre
Jonestown began to unravel after a group of former Temple members and relatives of current members asked politicians including California Congressman Leo Ryan to investigate the settlement, saying members were being mistreated and held against their will.
On November 17, 1978, Ryan, accompanied by two Congressional staffers, nine journalists, and 17 relatives of Jonestown residents, arrived in Guyana. Ryan met with Jones and was given a tour of Jonestown. By all accounts, the first day of the visit went well.
On the second day, a number of disillusioned Jonestown residents approached Ryan and asked if he could take them back to the U.S. This defection and rejection was the tipping point for Jones.
A follower of Jones attacked Ryan with a knife. Ryan escaped unharmed, but Jones ordered his guards to kill Ryan and the rest of his group while they awaited takeoff in two planes.
Ryan and four others—photographer Greg Robinson of The San Francisco Examiner; cameraman Bob Brown and reporter Don Harris from NBC; and Temple defector Patricia Parks—were killed by gunfire. Several other people were wounded.
With Ryan’s assassination, Jones knew that the authorities would be coming to get him. After a previous number of mass-suicide rehearsals, Jones put his followers to the ultimate test, commanding everyone to meet in the main pavilion and ingest cyanide-laced fruit juice.
Children were the first to die. Death came in less than five minutes. The adults then drank the cyanide while armed guards watched. Those who weren’t willing to die for the cause were held down and shot with needles filled with potassium cyanide.
Only two people that day escaped death from cyanide poisoning: Jones and Moore. It is believed that Moore might have shot Jones and then gone back to Jones’s cabin to shoot herself.
Jones was found on a deck chair with a gunshot wound in the left temple area. The gun was found several feet away. According to the autopsy report, no powder residue or muzzle imprint was identified around the wound.
While his manner of death is consistent with suicide, murder cannot be ruled out.
Moore’s body was found blocking the doorway to Jones’s cabin. The gun she used to kill herself was found near her body; close to that was a four-page suicide note. There is evidence that Moore also took the cyanide that killed hundreds of others that day.
When Moore’s family heard she had been shot, they hoped it was because she was trying to escape or was killed for not wanting to poison people. But her suicide note and subsequently discovered memos reveal she was a devoted and passionate follower of Jones.
Moore’s Suicide Note
Annie Moore’s suicide note extols the virtues of Jones.
She wrote: “Where can I begin—JONESTOWN—the most peaceful, loving community that ever existed, JIM JONES—the one who made this paradise possible—much to the contrary of the lies stated about Jim Jones being a power-hungry sadistic, mean person who thought he was God—of all things.
“I want you who read this to know that Jim was the most honest, loving, caring concerned person whom I ever met and knew. His love for animals—each creature, poisonous snakes, tarantulas. None of them ever bit him because he was a gentle person. He knew how mean the world was and he took any and every stray animal and took care of each one.
“His hatred of racism, sexism, elitism, and mainly classism, is what prompted him to make a new world for the people—a paradise in the jungle. The children loved it. So did everyone else.
“There were no ugly, mean police waiting to beat our heads in, no more racist stares from whites and others who thought they were better. No one was made fun of for their appearance—something each one had no control over.
“Meanness and making fun were not allowed. Maybe this is why all the lies were started—besides the fact that no one was allowed to live higher than anyone else. The United States allows classism, the problem being this and not all the side tracks of black power, woman power, Indian power, gay power.
“What a beautiful place this was. The children loved the jungle, learned about animals and plants. There were no cars to run over them; no child-molesters to molest them; nobody to hurt them. They were the freest, most intelligent children I had ever known.
“Seniors had dignity. They had whatever they wanted—a plot of land for a garden. Seniors were treated with respect—something they never had in the United States. A rare few were sick, and when they were, they were given the best medical care.
“We died because you would not let us live in peace!”