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blueskye

For LDS: Is a wealth a personal blessing for being righteousness? Is poverty an indication of personal wickedness?

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What is it about my post that you disagreed with?

It is a simple explanation of an LDS talk as it applies to a widely accepted Catholic tradition showing that the LDS and Catholic teaching on material blessings are the same.

It is the nuances where I don't agree. Put into the larger context of what each religion teaches regarding original sin, particularly I think, changes our understanding. But if you ignore the large context, I can see how you think they are the same.

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It is my understanding. I started this thread to see what LDS think.

 

Apparently not, given that you told us what we think rather than asked us, then challenged anyone who called you on your mischaracterization.

Edited by Vort

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Second, and perhaps a little more on-point:  In John 8:56 (which probably hadn't yet been written when Paul authored his epistle to the Romans), the beloved apostle recalls Jesus telling the Pharisees that "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad."  So, while Paul may--for reasons known only to him--have indicated to the contrary; Jesus Himself seems quite clear that Abraham foresaw exactly who and what Jesus would be.

Yes, I agree, Abraham saw the coming of the Messiah through his seed, as was promised, and was glad. 

 

Paul is not contradicting John. They are both teaching the same thing. The coming of the Messiah is revealed in the OT, several times. What is hidden is the New Covenant with all of humanity. The covenant with Abraham was for his descendants only.

 

Abraham was also given an experience of what is to come, by the commandment to slay his only son as "the lamb". Abraham believed God's promise, His word, that his son would produce a long line of progeny. Abraham believed God would raise Isaac from the dead, and his descendants would live as a covenant people with God. This event prefigures the Cross and Resurrection. God staying Abraham's hand has multiple meanings. God is faithful to His covenants. Isaac was not to be the saving sacrifice, it would come later on the Cross. Human sacrifice is not required by the God of Abraham. Abraham living in a time a culture that practiced human sacrifice to appease other so-called gods.

 

What Jesus said to the Jews, is that those who keep the word of God will not die. They reply, that Abraham kept the word of God, and died. Abraham understood his life in God, the covenant he made with God, extends through Isaac through the ages to all his descendants. Jesus is referring to a covenant life. This prefigures the Messiah, who is the New Covenant, Who extends life to ALL people, of all nations, including gentiles. God's New Covenant with the world is in and through Jesus, and is made with all of humanity, not only Abraham's descendants.

 

The Jews to whom Jesus is conversing with in ch. 8 are refusing to see Him for who He is, the Messiah. Jesus is telling them, Abraham knew Him, and pointedly tells them that before Abraham was, I AM. Revealing Himself as GOD.

Edited by blueskye

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Yes, I agree, Abraham saw the coming of the Messiah through his seed, as was promised, and was glad.

 

Paul is not contradicting John. They are both teaching the same thing. The coming of the Messiah is revealed in the OT, several times. What is hidden is the New Covenant with all of humanity. The covenant with Abraham was for his descendants only.

 

I sure love to be diplomatic and agree whenever possible, and I definitely agree with your overall point that in John 8 Jesus is revealing Himself as God and Lawgiver.  But I'm not sure we do agree on this one if you're suggesting that Abraham had no idea that God would actually send His own Son to earth at some point in time, or that the rest of the world had no part in God's covenant with Abraham.  God specifically told Abraham that through him God would bless all nations of the earth (Gen 22:18); and Paul reinforces this notion in Galatians 3.  Certain Old Testament prophets ministered to non-Abrahamic populations (Jonah, for one).  Other significant Old Testament characters weren't of Abrahamic descent at all (Ruth and, very probably, Job).

 

 

Abraham was also given an experience of what is to come, by the commandment to slay his only son as "the lamb". Abraham believed God's promise, His word, that his son would produce a long line of progeny. Abraham believed God would raise Isaac from the dead, and his descendants would live as a covenant people with God. This event prefigures the Cross and Resurrection. God staying Abraham's hand has multiple meanings. God is faithful to His covenants. Isaac was not to be the saving sacrifice, it would come later on the Cross. Human sacrifice is not required by the God of Abraham. Abraham living in a time a culture that practiced human sacrifice to appease other so-called gods.

 

I agree with all this; the question is whether Abraham understood that these events prefigured the birth and life of Jesus Himself.

 

What Jesus said to the Jews, is that those who keep the word of God will not die. They reply, that Abraham kept the word of God, and died. Abraham understood his life in God, the covenant he made with God, extends through Isaac through the ages to all his descendants. Jesus is referring to a covenant life. This prefigures the Messiah, who is the New Covenant, Who extends life to ALL people, of all nations, including gentiles. God's New Covenant with the world is in and through Jesus, and is made with all of humanity, not only Abraham's descendants.

 

Except that, as pointed out earlier, God had already told Abraham that through that earlier covenant all the earth could be blessed.  Jesus did not terminate the Abrahamic covenant (or nullify the concept of covenant-making generally).  To the contrary, He cemented it; and restored the lost knowledge that He, with His Atonement, was the lynchpin that made it all possible for all mankind to be saved.  Peter clarified that this extends retroactively--even Noah's contemporaries who had preceded Abraham and were thereafter in "prison" (1 Peter 3:19), were eligible for salvation; and they could get it through Jesus Christ.

 

In discussing Abraham with the Pharisees Jesus is certainly asserting His own position as Abraham's lawgiver, yes; but there's more to it.  The literalistic, legalistic Pharisees already knew that Abraham saw God and obeyed Him.  Jesus could (and thereafter, did) draw an explicit connection between Himself, the man; and Jehovah, Abraham's god.  Why, then, bother with the "Abraham saw my day, and rejoiced" bit?  Quite simply, because Jesus wanted to convey something extra:  that Abraham himself saw Jehovah, not only as the glorious, divine Jehovah; but as the future humble Yeshua bin Yusuf, the carpenter's son.  And that, unlike the Pharisees; Abraham would have been thrilled to have heard what Jesus was saying.

 

 

The Jews to whom Jesus is conversing with in ch. 8 are refusing to see Him for who He is, the Messiah. Jesus is telling them, Abraham knew Him, and pointedly tells them that before Abraham was, I AM. Revealing Himself as GOD.

 

With this, I can unreservedly agree.

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One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is the use of the word direction in the quote from Elder Larson's talk.  We believe that we are entitled to revelation if we A) seek it, and B) live worthy to receive it.  In other words, we believe there is more - and often more personal/directly applicable - direction available than what is written in scriptures alone.  God cares about our largest life decisions, but because He is interested in us in the same way that righteous fathers are interested in their children, he will give us direction in the smaller things too.

I have a friend who told me he had once prayed about whether or not he should upgrade his computer.  The response he received was along the lines of, "it's not a necessary upgrade, and you can get by without it.  Those same parts will be cheaper in a couple months - wait until they are cheaper, then you can upgrade if you wish."

The Bible - and all scripture - is loaded with principles.  But sometimes principles can seem to us to be occasionally contradictory and hard to sort out.  That's why direct revelation is important.

The quote itself only says that "when the inhabitants of the earth remember him and are obedient to his direction, he will bless them [...] with material abundance."  It does not say that material abundance can only be achieved through obedience. 
 

 

If you must view Job's new wealth as reward, then you must view all lack of wealth as punishment. And you must view all wealth as God's reward, and there you are, back with Job's friends.

There is a difference between not being rewarded and being punished.  Students who do extra credit assignments are rewarded for their work.  This does not mean students who do not do the assignments are punished. 

In a similar vein, if we are to accept that it is only those who are obedient to God's direction that are given the promise of material abundance (which has been correctly identified as being different from wealth), then we cannot assume that lack of abundance is a sign of personal wickedness.  Not following direction is different from not following a commandment.  It's the difference between "you should reconsider buying that car; you really don't need it" and "don't buy that car."  If you choose to buy the car after the first, it's folly, not wickedness.  This can diminish your abundance, and even lead to poverty.  But, although it is unwise and likely short-sighted, it is not wickedness as I understand the term.  But you will still suffer to some degree for it, even if it is only on a material level.  If the Lord commands "don't buy that car" and you buy it anyway, that is disregarding an explicit command, which is more than just short-sighted foolishness (although it is certainly that as well).  That is wickedness.

So, as I understand it, abundance is only specifically promised to those who follow the Lord's direction, which is often personal and suited to the circumstances.  This doesn't mean the wicked cannot find their own ways to obtaining material abundance.  It also does not mean that material abundance is promised to those who, for example, love God and their neighbors, keep the Ten commandments, etc. etc.  The key, I believe, lies in understanding the difference between direction and commandments, particularily as they relate to Latter-day Saints' understanding of modern/individual revelation.

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To me it reads like someone may be blessed or prosper with material abundance/wealth (among other things) for being righteous but one's assets are not a direct relation to being righteous. Dunno if that makes sense, but yeh, wealth could be one of many prosperous blessings for someone living God's commandments.

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One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is the use of the word direction in the quote from Elder Larson's talk. We believe that we are entitled to revelation if we A) seek it, and B) live worthy to receive it. In other words, we believe there is more - and often more personal/directly applicable - direction available than what is written in scriptures alone. God cares about our largest life decisions, but because He is interested in us in the same way that righteous fathers are interested in their children, he will give us direction in the smaller things too.

I have a friend who told me he had once prayed about whether or not he should upgrade his computer. The response he received was along the lines of, "it's not a necessary upgrade, and you can get by without it. Those same parts will be cheaper in a couple months - wait until they are cheaper, then you can upgrade if you wish."

The Bible - and all scripture - is loaded with principles. But sometimes principles can seem to us to be occasionally contradictory and hard to sort out. That's why direct revelation is important.

The quote itself only says that "when the inhabitants of the earth remember him and are obedient to his direction, he will bless them [...] with material abundance." It does not say that material abundance can only be achieved through obedience.

There is a difference between not being rewarded and being punished. Students who do extra credit assignments are rewarded for their work. This does not mean students who do not do the assignments are punished.

In a similar vein, if we are to accept that it is only those who are obedient to God's direction that are given the promise of material abundance (which has been correctly identified as being different from wealth), then we cannot assume that lack of abundance is a sign of personal wickedness. Not following direction is different from not following a commandment. It's the difference between "you should reconsider buying that car; you really don't need it" and "don't buy that car." If you choose to buy the car after the first, it's folly, not wickedness. This can diminish your abundance, and even lead to poverty. But, although it is unwise and likely short-sighted, it is not wickedness as I understand the term. But you will still suffer to some degree for it, even if it is only on a material level. If the Lord commands "don't buy that car" and you buy it anyway, that is disregarding an explicit command, which is more than just short-sighted foolishness (although it is certainly that as well). That is wickedness.

So, as I understand it, abundance is only specifically promised to those who follow the Lord's direction, which is often personal and suited to the circumstances. This doesn't mean the wicked cannot find their own ways to obtaining material abundance. It also does not mean that material abundance is promised to those who, for example, love God and their neighbors, keep the Ten commandments, etc. etc. The key, I believe, lies in understanding the difference between direction and commandments, particularily as they relate to Latter-day Saints' understanding of modern/individual revelation.

Sorry, I read your post three times and don't get what you're trying to say. You seem to contradict yourself. Probably, I'm not understanding your analogies.

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..................wealth and poverty..................and righteousness.............

Wealth is given for us to use funds in helping others [Jacob 2:10 "And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches if ye seek them and ye will seek them for the intent to do good__to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted"]

That is clearly stated.........to help others both temporally and spiritually...........

I feel 'wealthy' because I seek a personal relationship with God above and take time daily to study/pray, because we seek to have a gospel home, enough money to have gas to go to the temple, because we have enough for our needs and some wants, enough to pay generous fast offering as prophet has asked, enough to have our food storage/use it/rotate it (which has added to our health because of the fiber content of grains, legumes, veg, fruits), enough to help family when needed and sometimes help others, enough to live in a clean home that isn't extravagant but meets our needs, enough to have a car to drive and car insurance (2005 model with low miles on it). It took a few years for us to learn to use money wisely, but that mostly came about because we were quite poor for a long time and learned how to stretch every penny.

How is material wealth related to obedience?

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Sorry, I read your post three times and don't get what you're trying to say. You seem to contradict yourself. Probably, I'm not understanding your analogies.

Essentially, there's is a difference between direction and commandments. Commandments are certainly a form of direction, but direction doesn't necessarily have to come in the form of a commandment.

Alma 37:37 says "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good." So direction is a product of prayer.

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Essentially, there's is a difference between direction and commandments. Commandments are certainly a form of direction, but direction doesn't necessarily have to come in the form of a commandment.

I agree.

Alma 37:37 says "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good." So direction is a product of prayer.

I agree, and will add discernment is an important element.

However, the talk specifically ties obedience to material abundance. Obedience to direction?

In my experience, personal direction is sometimes very clear, and sometimes not, wherein, relying on what God has already revealed, is a good idea. Also, sometimes following one's faith leads away from material abundance, so what then? Must the "right" way always produce material rewards, otherwise, the "wrong" way has been taken.

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This very question is addressed in this month’s Ensign in an article taken from a talk given by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at last year’s BYU Women’s Conference.

Here is a link to the article:  https://www.lds.org/ensign/2015/07/reaping-the-rewards-of-righteousness?lang=eng

 

And here are some quotes from the pertinent section titled “The Reward of Prospering in the Land.”

 

“The scriptures are clear that living the commandments allows us to prosper in the land. But let me assure you that prospering in the land is not defined by the size of your bank account. It has a much fuller meaning than that. … having the Spirit in our lives is the primary ingredient in prospering in the land.”

 

 

“Prospering and being wealthy are not necessarily synonymous. A much better gospel definition of prospering in the land is having sufficient for our needs while having the abundant blessing of the Spirit in our lives. When we provide for our families and love and serve the Savior, we will enjoy the reward of having the Spirit and prospering in the land.”

 

I would encourage you to read at least that particular section of the article. He quotes some scriptures and gives some examples.

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This very question is addressed in this month’s Ensign in an article taken from a talk given by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at last year’s BYU Women’s Conference.

Here is a link to the article: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2015/07/reaping-the-rewards-of-righteousness?lang=eng

And here are some quotes from the pertinent section titled “The Reward of Prospering in the Land.”

I would encourage you to read at least that particular section of the article. He quotes some scriptures and gives some examples.

Thanks, I read the article. The point in the relevant section being made, as you said, that prosperity is a spiritual aspect of righteousness. However! The article I began this thread with states that obedience is rewarded with material abundance. Unless you are saying material and spiritual are synonymous, the question remains. How are obedience and material abundance related?

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Thanks, I read the article. The point in the relevant section being made, as you said, that prosperity is a spiritual aspect of righteousness. However! The article I began this thread with states that obedience is rewarded with material abundance. Unless you are saying material and spiritual are synonymous, the question remains. How are obedience and material abundance related?

 

No it does not....  You keep stating that it does... you keep being wrong about it.

 

It states that obedience brings blessings....  And that a type of blessing could be material abundance.  But it is not the only kind nor the most important kind.

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No it does not.... You keep stating that it does... you keep being wrong about it.

It states that obedience brings blessings.... And that a type of blessing could be material abundance. But it is not the only kind nor the most important kind.

Im sorry, I don't see the distinction you're trying to make.

You just rephrase, still saying obedience could bring material abundance.

I have never claimed that this described belief excludes other rewards.

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Im sorry, I don't see the distinction you're trying to make.

You just rephrase, still saying obedience could bring material abundance.

I have never claimed that this described belief excludes other rewards.

 

You don't see it because you have ignored the questions I have asked you.

 

Let me repeat...  If someone has material abundance to whom should they give thanks?

 

If you say God then we are on the same page.  If you say anything else then we have a fundamental disconnect with the Christian idea of God being the source of everything. 

 

Because at some level you are coming off as insisting that God can't provide material abundance... and that is just wrong... and I don't think you really mean that.

 

Can we agree that God can and does provide material blessings?

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You don't see it because you have ignored the questions I have asked you.

Let me repeat... If someone has material abundance to whom should they give thanks?

If you say God then we are on the same page. If you say anything else then we have a fundamental disconnect with the Christian idea of God being the source of everything.

Because at some level you are coming off as insisting that God can't provide material abundance... and that is just wrong... and I don't think you really mean that.

Can we agree that God can and does provide material blessings?

Of course, we pray all the time that the Father gives us our daily bread.But this should nit be confused with materialism God provides bread for us, we are to do likewise, and provide for those who hunger.

What I haven't been able to determine is the relationship of obedience to blessings, according to Mormon teaching. Is there a belief that God is coercing us by blessing us or withholding from us? Or, is God charitable towards us, providing without coercion?

I saw your questions as rhetorical.

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Questions for you... If people say that the Lord bless them with material abundance are they wrong? Lying? Deceived?

Depends, I'd say.

Someone who views material things as a sign of God's favor to themselves, may in fact be deceiving themselves. Someone who has material abundance via criminal means, has not been blessed by God.

So, it takes personal reflection. Are material things from God, or a result of not following God? A cut and dry statement that all material things are a blessing, could be deceiving. The main idea in Christianity, is that if you believe God has blessed you materially, then there is an obligation to the poor to share what God has provided, as it is His, not yours. If you have two cloaks, give one to someone who needs a cloak. Right?

Edited by blueskye

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Depends, I'd say.

Someone who views material things as a sign of God's favor to themselves, may in fact be deceiving themselves. Someone who has material abundance via criminal means, has not been blessed by God.

So, it takes personal reflection. Are material things from God, or a result of not following God? A cut and dry statement that all material things are a blessing, could be deceiving. The main idea in Christianity, is that if you believe God has blessed you materially, then there is an obligation to the poor to share what God has provided, as it is His, not yours. If you have two cloaks, give one to someone who needs a cloak. Right?

 

So who should a person thank for material blessings?

 

There is a huge difference between acknowledging God as the source of all blessings we have received or hope to receive and using those blessings as some kind of mark of "better then Thou favored of God status"

 

It is precisely the difference between humility and pride.

 

The talk you reference simply and directly points out that God is the source of all blessing (including material ones).  And the limited methods we have to try to secure those blessing (obedience). Full stop.  Any attempt to claim that material blessing (or any other blessing for that matter) makes us a "better" is a result of pride, of wresting the scriptures (and the talk) out of context of the rest of the gospel (and church teachings)

 

You are wresting the talk to make it say what you want it to say.  To make it support what you want/need it to say to justify your own position. You have been told that you are flat out wrong, but rather then accept that you continue to proclaim that you know how/what the LDS church believes and practices.  In spite of the testimony of the various active and faithful members whom do their best to live the church's beliefs and practices, have given you in this thread.

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Of course, we pray all the time that the Father gives us our daily bread.But this should nit be confused with materialism God provides bread for us, we are to do likewise, and provide for those who hunger.

What I haven't been able to determine is the relationship of obedience to blessings, according to Mormon teaching. Is there a belief that God is coercing us by blessing us or withholding from us? Or, is God charitable towards us, providing without coercion?

I saw your questions as rhetorical.

 

blueskye,

 

You seem to want to make the point that we teach a doctrine of materialism. In this particular case you happen to be incorrect. You cannot factually make this argument. To persist in this argument it will require you to ignore what is true and right.

 

-Finrock

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blueskye,

 

You seem to want to make the point that we teach a doctrine of materialism. In this particular case you happen to be incorrect. You cannot factually make this argument. To persist in this argument it will require you to ignore what is true and right.

 

-Finrock

Well, I don't have that argument. Just trying to get clear in my head what that article is teaching, in regards to obedience and the relationship to material goods.

 

I get the sense that it is whatever each individual Mormon believes. Which, is not meant as an insult, just an observation. Whatevever truth is believed to be in that article, cannot be defined. That's the conclusions I've come to at this point. I'm always open to hearing otherwise.

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So who should a person thank for material blessings?

 

There is a huge difference between acknowledging God as the source of all blessings we have received or hope to receive and using those blessings as some kind of mark of "better then Thou favored of God status"

 

It is precisely the difference between humility and pride.

 

The talk you reference simply and directly points out that God is the source of all blessing (including material ones).  And the limited methods we have to try to secure those blessing (obedience). Full stop.  Any attempt to claim that material blessing (or any other blessing for that matter) makes us a "better" is a result of pride, of wresting the scriptures (and the talk) out of context of the rest of the gospel (and church teachings)

 

You are wresting the talk to make it say what you want it to say.  To make it support what you want/need it to say to justify your own position. You have been told that you are flat out wrong, but rather then accept that you continue to proclaim that you know how/what the LDS church believes and practices.  In spite of the testimony of the various active and faithful members whom do their best to live the church's beliefs and practices, have given you in this thread.

God is the author of all Good. But that does not mean that what we view as Good, is Good. Do you believe a criminial should thank God for their spoils?

 

I'm trying to figure out how Mormons view material things. So far, it's clear as mud.

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God is the author of all Good. But that does not mean that what we view as Good, is Good. Do you believe a criminial should thank God for their spoils?

 

I'm trying to figure out how Mormons view material things. So far, it's clear as mud.

You say the Catholic teaching is clear as diamonds. And I've tried to explain to you it is the same as LDS teachings. But you don't believe me. That's why to you it is clear as mud. Oh well.

Interestingly, Catholics also insist tithing is a different teaching in Catholic than in LDS. It is also the same. Just because giving 1/10 of your increase to the Church is not canon law doesn't mean the Catholic Church teaches something different about tithes than the LDS Church. It is still the same teaching. And if I were a bratty Mormon I'd point to majority of Catholics who think paying 1/10th of their increase to the Church is excessive and show Catholics how materialistic they are. But of course, I'm not gonna say that.

Edited by anatess

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You say the Catholic teaching is clear as diamonds. And I've tried to explain to you it is EXACTLY THE SAME as LDS teachings. But you don't believe me. That's why to you it is clear as mud. Oh well.

Did I say that? Do I believe that?

 

I am not of the mind that religions answer everything satisfactorily, including Catholicism. But I like to at least make sense out of what is taught.

 

Unlike you, I'm not getting the sense that LDS and Catholic are the same in the answer to this question.

 

I haven't ever met a Mormon who has taken a vow of poverty. That is not meant as an insult. But that alone says to me there is a difference.

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