The Lewis Legacy-Issue 75, Winter 1998
Death of Lionel A. Luckhoo, Jones Massacre Survivor
The C. S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing
January 1, 1998
The obituary of Owen Barfield in the Daily Telegraph in December appeared below the obituary of Sir Lionel Luckhoo, who died at 83. It described Sir Luckhoo as ambassador for Guyana and Barbados, a Christian evangelist, and the Georgetown, Guyana, lawyer for Jim Jones before he orchestrated the 1978 mass suicide of 900 people (duped by fake healing ceremonies and other lies). "Luckhoo later admitted that dissuading the deeply unstable Jones from committing suicide on an earlier occasion was one of his greatest regrets."
Ironically, when Luckhoo died Charisma magazine had just published an article celebrating him in its January 1998 issue. It mentioned that he is listed in Guinness Book of World Records as the world's most successful criminal lawyer. (He won well over 500 defense cases.) Luckhoo became a Christian at a Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship meeting in 1978, just 11 days before the Jonestown massacre. Jones ordered Luckhoo to represent him at the local airstrip where U. S. Congressman Leo Ryan and a group of reporters were departing. According to Luckhoo, the Holy Spirit warned him not to go and saved his life.
In the past 20 years Luckhoo spoke about Jesus in many countries, even sharing his faith once with Queen Elizabeth. He also coauthored a book of historical fiction called The Silent Witness, in which he defends Jesus from a fraud charge in court, with the readers as the jury. Still lively at 83, he resided in Fort Worth, Texas when he was not travelling.
What connection did Luckhoo have with C. S. Lewis? His claim to fame was the same as that of Timothy Stoen, Stanley Mattson's attorney for the C. S. Lewis Foundation. (See issue 64.) The two worked as lawyers for Jim Jones and were acquainted. In fact, Stoen's relocation of the California cult to Guyana was what brought Jim Jones into Luckhoo's life in the first place.