Vernon is a former member of Jim Jones’s infamous cult, the Peoples Temple, who arrived at Jonestown in Guyana, in March of 1978 with his 4-year-old son. He says he wanted to leave almost as soon as he got there. TELL DR. PHIL YOUR STORY: Have a story in the news?
“I felt trapped in Jonestown. No one left,” he says, noting that new arrivals to the settlement were searched, made to surrender their passports and surrounded by armed security. WATCH Jonestown Survivor Of U.S. State Department: ‘They Failed In Their Duty To Warn, Their Duty To Protect And The Duty To Investigate’
Vernon claims that Jones, the founder and leader of the group, had dropped “any and all religious fronts” by then, was “very paranoid” and that the impending November visit by U.S. Representative Leo Ryan “was very threatening to him.”
Representative Ryan and three reporters were shot and killed at an airstrip by members of Jones’s cult while attempting to help several of Jones’s followers who had decided to leave Jonestown to make their escape.
Vernon, who was among those trying to leave Jonestown, was also shot but escaped into the surrounding jungle. His son was among the over 900 individuals who died in the massacre that followed.
Wednesday’s Dr. Phil,
Vernon meets up with Congresswoman Jackie Speier who was present on the airstrip that day and was also severely wounded in the gunfire. Why does he credit her with saving his life?
Plus, Dr. Phil introduces someone from the Reverend Jim Jones’s inner circle, who says he believes the deaths of the congregants whose lives ended at Jonestown could have been stopped.
to find out where you can watch Wednesday’s Dr. Phil. This program contains disturbing images. Viewer discretion is advised. TELL DR. PHIL YOUR STORY: Life in crisis? Cult Leader’s Former Body Guard Claims Jim Jones Was ‘A Prisoner Of Jonestown’