While reading an exposé about San Francisco preacher and cult leader Jim Jones in 1977, Ken White was surprised to see mention of an old friend from Modesto.

Michael Prokes, who had attended Davis High School with White, was a spokesman for Jones’ People’s Temple and praised its work with the poor.

On Nov. 18, 1978, more than 900 followers of Jones died in a mass suicide in their compound in the South American country of Guyana. Prokes, who wasn’t there at the time, killed himself a few months after that in a news conference at a Modesto motel. He was 31.

White, who lives in Modesto, never forgot the story and has turned it into a play, “My Father’s House,” which he hopes to stage locally next fall. Set in Modesto, the drama focuses on the last days of Prokes’ life.

Modbee: Jonestown Revisited: Evolving play looks at how Modestan turned to cult, suicide

(via Religion News Blog)