This introduction to a special issue of Nova Religio marking the fortieth anniversary of the deaths in Jonestown, Guyana, provides the background for the articles that follow. A brief history of Peoples Temple and discussion of the events in Jonestown precede an examination of the dominant narratives that have described this new religious movement. An analysis of popular narratives follows, utilizing Erving Goffman’s frame theory and the classification system outlined by Anson Shupe and Jeffrey Hadden. A summary of the articles that appear in this issue notes the contributions that a new generation of scholars makes to reframing the story of Peoples Temple and Jonestown. By shifting attention from the deaths in Jonestown to the lives in Peoples Temple, they are enlarging the frame for understanding how and why new religions succeed or fail.

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