Laura Johnston Kohl - author of JONESTOWN SURVIVOR: An Insider's Look
When 914 members of Peoples Temple and four visiting Americans died in Guyana, South America on November 18, 1978, Laura Johnston Kohl survived. She was one of 87 who lived through the trauma.
After participating with the Black Panthers, and attending Woodstock, Laura moved into Peoples Temple in California in 1970, and was an active and enthusiastic member until the day it ended. She moved to Guyana in March 1977. She frequently traveled between Georgetown and Jonestown, a 24-hour boat ride, but moved into Jonestown in October 1978. Laura’s survival was a fluke.
It took twenty years for Laura to rebuild her life and have the determination to research this tragedy. The first ten years were spent in Synanon. Then, she reunited with many of the other survivors to put the pieces together and to get some understanding. After ten years she wrote her autobiography.
Today, Laura is a bilingual teacher, a member of ReadLocal San Diego, on the Speakers’ Bureau of The Jonestown Institute, a bilingual international speaker, a Quaker, and a Board Member of the Communal Studies Association. She is interviewed often by national and international media, most recently the “Voice of Russia” radio program. Contact www.jonestownsurvivor.com to schedule talks.
Laura’s presentations cover such topics and issues as:
• Surviving tragedy and survivors’ guilt
• Reflections on Peoples Temple
• History - 1960s, 1970s and 1980s
• New Religious Movement
• Group (cult) dynamics – red flags
• Human Rights and activism
• Synanon – a residential community where Laura lived from 1980-1990
• Group psychology
• Communal studies
• Bilingual education (Spanish-English)
• The cult of personality in leaders
• Quaker activism (Laura is a Quaker)
• The Occupy Movement and activism
Laura’s recent presentations include:
• York College of Pennsylvania
• San Diego City College
• Mexico City Book Talk in English/Spanish
• Penn State U - Political Science, History, and Sociology classes
• Grossmont College
• Ricki Lake Show
• Puget Sound University
• Western. Washington University
• Libraries throughout California
• Co-housing groups in California
• Visalia, Lake Co., Santa Rosa and San Diego Meetings of Society of Friends
• KPOO Radio Interview, San Francisco
• Books, Inc. San Francisco
• San Diego Branch Library Book Talks
• Numerous Local Author events
• Cal State San Marcos History Classes
• Miramar Coll. Women’s History Month
• Communal Studies Assoc. Conferences at the Oneida Community and Old Harmony, and many others.
JONESTOWN SURVIVOR: An Insider’s Look is available in eBook and print at amazon.com, iUniverse, Barnes & Noble. Visit her website: www.jonestownsurvivor.com. Listen to JONESTOWN SURVIVOR PODCAST at http://www.libraryyou.escondido.org/jonestown-survivor.aspx. Photos at www.flickr.com (Peoples Temple PhotoGallery).
She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Her new website is www.jonestownsurvivor.com