Oregon State University professor Amy Koehlinger looks at the idea of modern religious utopias, focusing on Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement and Jim Jones' Peoples Temple. Father Divine, who claimed to be the living incarnation of God, saw the rapid growth of his Peace Mission Movement during the Great Depression, when he’s estimated to have had as many as 50,000 followers. Jim Jones drew inspiration for his Peoples Temple from Father Divine. However, Jim Jones is best remembered for orchestrating the largest cult suicide in American history, with more than 900 members ingesting a cyanide-laced drink on Jones’ orders. Oregon State University is in Corvallis.
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