Beliefs can be powerful motivators in moving people to do things they might otherwise not do. That’s why I think it’s important we stay alert to the religious extremism we see happening in the country today. Capt. Yulanda Williams shared her firsthand experience with Jim Jones and coming into the cult at a fairly young, impressionable age.
Finding something and someone to believe in, and making sense of our chaotic, and in many ways, frightening, world, strikes me as a very human need. Nevertheless, we have to remember there are people willing to take advantage of this need for their own evil, sick, and/or unexamined reasons – and avoid them at all costs. Adults have to play this sorting role – sorting the worthy from the unworthy – for the children in our lives who are dependent on our exercise of good judgment. Our failure to do so may have fatal consequences, as was the case for many followers of Jim Jones and the tragedy in Guyana. Thank goodness Yulanda Williams survived her experience with Jones and is alive and willing to shine a light on the dangers associated with cults and religious extremism.
Yes, I think we should find something to believe in – as long as our faith does not require we suspend our good judgment and common sense. — LMO
“Leah and Mike talk with Jonestown survivor and SFO PD Captain Yulanda Williams about her story, the parallels to scientology and how to better equip law enforcement to deal with cults.” — Fair Game