Jones made frequent addresses to Temple members regarding Jonestown's safety, including statements that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were conspiring with "capitalist pigs" to destroy Jonestown and harm its members. After work, when purported emergencies arose, the Temple sometimes conducted what Jones referred to as "White Nights". During such events, Jones would sometimes give the Jonestown members four choices: (1) attempt to flee to the Soviet Union; (2) commit "revolutionary suicide"; (3) stay in Jonestown and fight the purported attackers or (4) flee into the jungle.
On at least two occasions during White Nights, after a "revolutionary suicide" vote was reached, a simulated mass suicide was rehearsed. Peoples Temple defector Deborah Layton described the event in an affidavit:
"Everyone, including the children, was told to line up. As we passed through the line, we were given a small glass of red liquid to drink. We were told that the liquid contained poison and that we would die within 45 minutes. We all did as we were told. When the time came when we should have dropped dead, Rev. Jones explained that the poison was not real and that we had just been through a loyalty test. He warned us that the time was not far off when it would become necessary for us to die by our own hands."
The Temple had received monthly half-pound shipments of cyanide since 1976 after Jones obtained a jeweler's license to buy the chemical, purportedly to clean gold.
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