‘We Are a Country of Cults’: A Conversation with Jonestown Survivor Laura Kohl

Apr 11, 2014

Laura Johnston Kohl was a member of the People's Temple in 1978 when Jim Jones led more than 900 people to commit mass suicide.  In this extended interview, WUTC's Richard Winham speaks with Kohl about getting involved in the group, surviving the massacre, rebuilding her life afterward, and why she says the United States is a country of cults today.

Kohl will be in Chattanooga April 14 - 16 giving talks and signing copies of her book Jonestown Survivor: An Insider's Look.


April 14, Monday at noon and at 6 p.m. in the University Center's Tennessee Room at UTC: Kohl will share her experiences in Open Question & Answer Sessions.

April 15, Tuesday 7 p.m., Chattanooga TN Society of Friends Meeting House, 335 Crestway Drive, Chattanooga: Kohl will present a Spiritual Journey Talk about her life, including becoming a Quaker twenty years ago.

April 16, Wednesday 6 p.m. Chattanooga Branch Library: Kohl will hold a book talk in the library, show a Power Point presentation, and have signed copies of her book.


Surviving tragedy, and survivor's guilt

New Religious Movement

History of the 60s,70s, 80s

Cult dynamics (red flags)

Group Psychology

Synanon- a residential community where she lived from 1980-1990

Human Rights and Activism

The Cult of personality in Leaders

Quaker activism

The Occupy Movement and activism