Reflections and Retrospect towards Laura Johnston Kohl

A truly great and humble ex Jonestown member died tonight of cancer named Laura Johnston Kohl.

Laura cared about current and former cult members.  She didn’t label members as being under “mind control,” she just loved them.  Her life embodied the best one could be as a former cult member in probably the worst cult imaginable, Jonestown.

She didn’t write self-serving books or fight for media interview glory like a few do.  She worked hard spreading a message of understanding, not labels.

I was livid to read this comment on an ex cult member’s page this morning.  (He should know better):
41 years ago yesterday was the anniversary of the Jim Jones massacre over over 900 Americans, including congressman Leo Ryan. Congresswoman Jackie Speier was his aide and survived the gun assault. Please listen to interview with Vernon Gosney, who was shot 3 times and survived. He is retired police officer now. Important to remember that cult leaders have so much control they can order true believers to poison and kill their children, others and themselves.”

No, you’re wrong.  No one died willingly.  They were under pressure by armed guards.  They did not kill their own children.  They were all murdered.  Not one act of suicide happened that day.

For someone who elevates himself as an anti cult leader, he should be ashamed of himself for getting something so basic (and stating it in a so wrong manner) using a hurtful and judgmental rhetoric.  Maybe he should shine that bright light of criticism on himself.

Laura Kohl was real.  She loved people.  She cared.  She traveled to educate others. She will be missed.  The world is a darker place now that she has left us.  We love you, Laura.

Written by Cathleen Mann, PhD.