What is the origin of the term “White Night”?

Jones coined the term “White Night” as an indication of the community in deep despair or crisis, differentiating it from “Black Night” because – as Tim Reiterman and John Jacobs pointed out in their book, Raven – he was concerned about the racial connotation of terminology which defined the word “black” as evil or unsavory.

This is repeated in other expressions Jones used. On various occasions during the reading of the news, Jones would report that a country or individual was trying to use blackmail to extort concessions from another nation or person, and the correct himself to call the practice “whitemail” (see, e.g., Q 298Q 592, and Q 741).  Similarly, items sold through an underground economy were referred to as being on the “white market” (see Q 398, Q 596, Q 241).  Finally, one of Edith Roller’s journals – written while she was still in the United States – spoke of a meeting in which Jim said the powers-that-be “want to whiteout, white list and white ball us.”

There are also reports that Jones periodically referred to the president’s residence in Washington D.C. as the “Black House” – thereby flipping the use of black and white in the other direction – but this has not yet been verified in Temple documents or tapes.

Last modified on October 22nd, 2013.
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