Slavery Of Faith…the quietly kept story of a young woman’s escape through the jungles of Jonestown, Guyana the morning of the massacre November 18, 1978 and her struggles to live in the aftermath.
November 18, 2008 marks 30 years since the Jonestown, Guyana Massacre/Suicides and the death of its founder, the Reverend Jim Jones.
Escaping Jonestown, Guyana the morning of November 18,1978 with nine others, Leslie Wagner-Wilson then twenty one years old, trekked thirty seven miles through the jungle with a 40-pound care package strapped to her back with a sheet, her son, later to be known as the youngest survivor of Jonestown. That evening, she would be told that Jonestown was gone along with her plan to escape and return with her father, Richard Wagner who was a part of the Concerned Relatives to free the rest of her family. Amongst the carnage would be her husband, mother, brother, sister, niece, nephew, sister in law, brother in law and the friends she had grown up and loved since 13.
Slavery of Faith reveals the life of a thirteen year old coming of age in the heart of People’s Temple Disciples of Christ Church where the pastor Jim Jones, exhorted his followers to consider him divine and to call him “Father” while he touted his extra-marital affairs from the pulpit. The world of Jim Jones was one of inverted ideals, isolation and alienation. However, what began as a church that appealed to peoples inner spirit to help others, was turned into a living hell. Yet it was a place she would go, half a continent away, to be with her 2 year old son, who’d been taken to Jonestown by Jim Jones as he made his exodus to Guyana. It shares the horrors of Jonestown - the labor punishment squads, suicide drills, sleep deprivation, drugging, and humiliations. It also takes the reader through the escape that she says was revealed to her in the spirit.
Thirty years since Jonestown, Slavery of Faith also chronicles her return to the U.S. under a veil of secrecy in fear of the “death squads”, her fight to maintain her faith in her most darkest hours; suffering survivors guilt, drug addiction, a family suicide, and finally redemption. It shares her journey through psychological and spiritual jungles to reach a place of remembrance—- to “live their love and not their deaths.” Faith has allowed her the resiliency to as she states “tuck and roll” and discover that through pain, tragedy and joy, her life has found divine order.