mikbone

Whom do we worship?

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From the Lectures on Faith

Quote

 

Q. What was shown in the third lecture?

A. It was shown that correct ideas of the character of God are necessary in order to exercise faith in him unto life and salvation; and that without correct ideas of his character, men could not have power to exercise faith in him unto life and salvation, but that correct ideas of his character, as far as his character was concerned in the exercise of faith in him, lay a sure foundation for the exercise of it.

 

To be completely honest, my understanding and perception of God has changed throughout my lifetime.  When I first learned about God the Father in primary and Sunday School, I actually was thinking about Jehovah as He interacted with the prophets in the Old testament.  It took me many years and prolonged study to come to my present identification of GOD.  

Christianity has similarily transitioned over the years.  If we look at the background of Christmas and Easter we must see the obvious connections to pagan celebrations.  Similarly, there are parts of Egyptian, Roman, and Greek Gods that have bleed over into Catholicism and Protestantism.  I think that the LDS church also has a problem of these traditions and misconceptions within our own religion.  

When we pray, whom do we pray to?  All the artwork that we have in our homes, chapels, and temples are of Jesus Christ.  The only artwork that displays God the Father or Elohim is really depictions of the First Vision where Joseph Smith is the focal point of the artwork, and Elohim and Jesus Christ are illustrated as identical personages.

How do you differentiate between God the Father & Jesus Christ when you worship and pray?  

I would submit that most other Christian Churches don't even have a perception of God the Father.  I think that Elohim is a personage that only Latter-Day Saints worship.  The Jewish worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Who happens to be Jehovah).  The Catholics (and correct me if I am wrong - I am making assumptions from the various creeds) believe that God the Father is actually Jehovah and Jesus Christ is God made flesh.  

When you think of God the Father, of whom are you thinking?  Do we have a correct idea of His character?  Do we know when Elohim is speaking within the scriptures?  Do we worship Christ?  Is it OK to worship Christ?  Do you easily differentiate between Jehovah (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and his Father Elohim?  

 

Edited by mikbone
Who -> whom

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When I pray, I pray to both God the Father (Elohim) and Jesus Christ. Because they are separate Individuals, and also because They are both in the Godhead. Jesus is our Mediator, so when we repent of sin or pray in general, Christ is the one who receives it, and then the Father. It's important to worship Both Father and Son and address them by name. 

I agree with you that Protestantism and the Christian world in general (the LDS church included) have brought in a lot of pagan customs and traditions that should never have entered the church. Our major holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Halloween all stream from pagan roots, and these roots include spiritualism, human sacrifice to gods/spirits, and other things that are in direct contrast with our Christian roots. We see the family aspects of these holidays, because the Christian world has adopted these holidays and made them fun and seemingly innocent. God requires of us to discern and "dwell in the world but not be of the world". Which means we separate ourselves from anything that isn't holy. 

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15 minutes ago, Morgaine said:

when we repent of sin or pray in general, Christ is the one who receives it, and then the Father.

I do not believe this is accurate, nor that the Church teaches it.  Yes, Christ is our mediator, but I don't believe he acts as conveyor for our prayers - they go straight to God (the Father), just as Christ taught when he exemplified how to pray.

Quote

As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/prayer?lang=eng&letter=P

When the Nephites prayed to Christ while he was in their presence, Christ himself explained it as an anomaly.

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4 minutes ago, zil said:

I do not believe this is accurate, nor that the Church teaches it.  Yes, Christ is our mediator, but I don't believe he acts as conveyor for our prayers - they go straight to God (the Father), just as Christ taught when he exemplified how to pray.

 

1

No you're right, I guess I just worded it wrong. But when it comes to repentance/asking for forgiveness, we must address Jesus Christ since He is our Mediator between us and the Father. 

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1 minute ago, Morgaine said:

No you're right, I guess I just worded it wrong. But when it comes to repentance/asking for forgiveness, we must address Jesus Christ since He is our Mediator between us and the Father.  

Quote

Matthew 6:

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, .....

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

....

Quote

D&C 45:3 Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—

4 Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;

5 Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.

Christ demonstrates that we ask the Father for forgiveness, and Christ pleads our case.  We do not say in our prayers, for example, "Dear Jesus, please forgive my sins."

Though yes, there is the example of Alma, who asked for Christ's mercy, from Christ, but this may well be justified by the fact that he was acting on what he (Alma) remembered his father preach, and not on a lifetime of gospel practice...

When it comes to worship, I think it ends up being all the same.  But when it comes to prayer (whether for blessings, forgiveness, or anything else), it seems pretty clear to me that we're supposed to pray to God the Father, not Jesus Christ.

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21 minutes ago, zil said:

Christ demonstrates that we ask the Father for forgiveness, and Christ pleads our case.  We do not say in our prayers, for example, "Dear Jesus, please forgive my sins."

Though yes, there is the example of Alma, who asked for Christ's mercy, from Christ, but this may well be justified by the fact that he was acting on what he (Alma) remembered his father preach, and not on a lifetime of gospel practice...

When it comes to worship, I think it ends up being all the same.  But when it comes to prayer (whether for blessings, forgiveness, or anything else), it seems pretty clear to me that we're supposed to pray to God the Father, not Jesus Christ.

He does plead our case, which is why we need to address Him in prayer. The Bible mentions it countless times: “We have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1, 2) , and "to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's" (1 Corinthians 1:2). 

In coming to Jesus, we come to the Father. And yes, Jesus did teach his disciples how to pray to the Father in Matt. 6:9. But in His (Jesus' name). Keep in mind that Jesus instructed that before His crucifixion and resurrection. 

Edited by Morgaine

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Just now, Morgaine said:

address Him in prayer

Can you find any scripture or manual which says our prayers for forgiveness should be addressed to Christ?  I cannot (beyond the anomalies mentioned).  I find nothing but instruction to pray to the Father, including for forgiveness.

Further, if one prays to Christ, do you include the "...in the name of Jesus Christ." at the end?  Cuz that would be a bit awkward.

Just because Christ pleads on our behalf does not mean we bypass the Father and pray straight to Christ.

I won't ever agree with you as I've never heard anyone else teach this in Church (nor would I), but your prayers are your business.  My position is clear, as is yours.

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13 hours ago, mikbone said:

When we pray, whom do we pray to? 

The Father.  Hence "Dear Heavenly Father..."

13 hours ago, mikbone said:

All the artwork that we have in our homes, chapels, and temples are of Jesus Christ.  The only artwork that displays God the Father or Elohim is really depictions of the First Vision where Joseph Smith is the focal point of the artwork, and Elohim and Jesus Christ are illustrated as identical personages.

That is because Christ is our Exemplar and Mediator.  He's the one who lived on this Earth and who's visual example we're supposed to be following.

13 hours ago, mikbone said:

How do you differentiate between God the Father & Jesus Christ when you worship and pray?  

By addressing it directly to Heavenly Father.

13 hours ago, mikbone said:

I would submit that most other Christian Churches don't even have a perception of God the Father.  I think that Elohim is a personage that only Latter-Day Saints worship.  The Jewish worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Who happens to be Jehovah).  The Catholics (and correct me if I am wrong - I am making assumptions from the various creeds) believe that God the Father is actually Jehovah and Jesus Christ is God made flesh.  

I would not agree with these statements at all.  Let us stick to saying what we believe rather than what we think someone else believes. 

13 hours ago, mikbone said:

 Do we have a correct idea of His character? 

It's just like Christ's, says so in scripture. 

13 hours ago, mikbone said:

  Do we know when Elohim is speaking within the scriptures? 

Does it matter?  Christ can speak for the Father as well.

13 hours ago, mikbone said:

 Do we worship Christ?  Is it OK to worship Christ? 

Define "worship" as you're using it here.  

13 hours ago, mikbone said:

Do you easily differentiate between Jehovah (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and his Father Elohim?  

I don't have the problems you're having here.  There's two different persons, united in will/goodness/glory/etc.  

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12 hours ago, mikbone said:

From the Lectures on Faith

To be completely honest, my understanding and perception of God has changed throughout my lifetime.  When I first learned about God the Father in primary and Sunday School, I actually was thinking about Jehovah as He interacted with the prophets in the Old testament.  It took me many years and prolonged study to come to my present identification of GOD.  

Christianity has similarily transitioned over the years.  If we look at the background of Christmas and Easter we must see the obvious connections to pagan celebrations.  Similarly, there are parts of Egyptian, Roman, and Greek Gods that have bleed over into Catholicism and Protestantism.  I think that the LDS church also has a problem of these traditions and misconceptions within our own religion.  

When we pray, whom do we pray to?  All the artwork that we have in our homes, chapels, and temples are of Jesus Christ.  The only artwork that displays God the Father or Elohim is really depictions of the First Vision where Joseph Smith is the focal point of the artwork, and Elohim and Jesus Christ are illustrated as identical personages.

How do you differentiate between God the Father & Jesus Christ when you worship and pray?  

I would submit that most other Christian Churches don't even have a perception of God the Father.  I think that Elohim is a personage that only Latter-Day Saints worship.  The Jewish worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Who happens to be Jehovah).  The Catholics (and correct me if I am wrong - I am making assumptions from the various creeds) believe that God the Father is actually Jehovah and Jesus Christ is God made flesh.  

When you think of God the Father, of whom are you thinking?  Do we have a correct idea of His character?  Do we know when Elohim is speaking within the scriptures?  Do we worship Christ?  Is it OK to worship Christ?  Do you easily differentiate between Jehovah (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and his Father Elohim? 

We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. We worship God the Father through Jesus Christ, "God the Father is the Supreme Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is the ultimate Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of all things. He is perfect, has all power, and knows all things. He “has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (D&C 130:22)."

"Latter-day Saints believe the melding of early Christian theology with Greek philosophy was a grave error. Chief among the doctrines lost in this process was the nature of the Godhead. Latter-day Saints hold that God the Father is an embodied being with the attributes ascribed by the earliest Christians. That belief is consistent with the early Christian views of God, yet it differs from the later creeds." (Source)

I have never thought Jesus Christ (Jehovah) was God the Father, so our experience is different with Sunday School and when we were young. The whole concept of how Christ speaks for the Father as if he were the Father confused me in the beginning, now I simply don't distinguish, as they are one. The Son has always spoken the will of the Father, and the Father has allowed the Son to speak for Him (which speak the same words).

If we come to know Christ, we will come to the know the Father. We though must first come to know the Son -- Jesus Christ -- who brings us to the Father. They are one. How does a person distinguish perfect beings who are one? The scriptures and prophetic words appears to specify that even in appearance they are the same, so only by the Spirit can we distinguish between them. Even Christ said, "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?"

As I am not one with them (seeking to be one with them) the understanding I have of their character is continually progressing and increasing in knowledge.

When I pray I pray as Jesus commanded. I pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. As we have been instructed, "Prayer is one way to worship Heavenly Father. Alma taught his son Helaman, "Cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever" (Alma 37:36)."

I would specify we do not have much artwork because God the Father has rarely made an appearance to his children. The art work we do have is specifically when the Father has born witness of the Son (or made an appearance himself). Even Joseph's experience in the sacred grove the Father is bearing witness of the Son and then points Joseph to the Son.

When Peter, James, and John were transfigured at the high mountain they were taken to, and Peter began to speak about different tabernacles for Moses and Elias we read the Father's answer, "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." Thus I would say the reason for the artwork, all our artwork, should be to glorify Jesus Christ, whom the Father wants us to glorify and give respect to.

When I think of God the Father, I am thinking of God the Father, "God the Father is the Supreme Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is the ultimate Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of all things. He is perfect, has all power, and knows all things. He “has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (D&C 130:22)."

Do I have a correct idea of His character -- yes -- as to the knowledge we have been given -- yes. Am I still learning more about his character -- yes, for sure (I am learning more about Jesus Christ's character and as I learn more about Christ I learn about the Father -- as they are one).

The concept of worship is interesting to me because, as to my knowledge right now, we are only to worship the Father through Jesus Christ. We are taught the following, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him" (D&C 59:5)."

I would say I do not worship Jesus Christ. I think we are better off to worship the Father through Jesus Christ.

As to differentiating God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, yes I do differentiate, otherwise we have the trinity. I differentiate according to the knowledge that has been given.

 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, zil said:

Can you find any scripture or manual which says our prayers for forgiveness should be addressed to Christ?  I cannot (beyond the anomalies mentioned).  I find nothing but instruction to pray to the Father, including for forgiveness.

Further, if one prays to Christ, do you include the "...in the name of Jesus Christ." at the end?  Cuz that would be a bit awkward.

Just because Christ pleads on our behalf does not mean we bypass the Father and pray straight to Christ.

I won't ever agree with you as I've never heard anyone else teach this in Church (nor would I), but your prayers are your business.  My position is clear, as is yours.

I wouldn't call quoted scriptures "anomalies". Jesus instructs:  "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it". This is in John 14:13-14. 

That's fine if you don't agree with me. You may pray as you wish. But you can't deny what's in scriptures. That's all I have to say about it.

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3 minutes ago, Morgaine said:

I wouldn't call quoted scriptures "anomalies". Jesus instructs:  "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it". This is in John 14:13-14. 

That's fine if you don't agree with me. You may pray as you wish. But you can't deny what's in scriptures. That's all I have to say about it.

What this scriptures is specifying and how you are interpreting this scripture aren't the same. The term "in my name" is how we end our prayers "In the name of Jesus Christ - A-men." That is praying and asking "in the name" of Jesus Christ.

@zil isn't arguing with "what's in scriptures." She knows what is in the scriptures and isn't denying it.

There is only one time where Jesus's name is mentioned in prayer as an opening and that is in the Book of Mormon. This can be interpreted in different ways. I choose to interpret it according to what prophet and apostles have declared.

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2 minutes ago, Morgaine said:

I wouldn't call quoted scriptures "anomalies". Jesus instructs:  "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it". This is in John 14:13-14. 

That's fine if you don't agree with me. You may pray as you wish. But you can't deny what's in scriptures. That's all I have to say about it.

@zil did not deny anything in the scriptures. Not sure how your exegesis of John 14:13-14 supports the idea of praying to Christ, when that is manifestly not what the scripture says.

Elder McConkie unambiguously taught:

We worship the Father and him only and no one else. We do not worship the Son, and we do not worship the Holy Ghost...Worship in the true and saving sense is reserved for God the first, the Creator...Our prayers are addressed to the Father, and to him only.

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1 minute ago, Anddenex said:

What this scriptures is specifying and how you are interpreting this scripture aren't the same. The term "in my name" is how we end our prayers "In the name of Jesus Christ - A-men." That is praying and asking "in the name" of Jesus Christ.

@zil isn't arguing with "what's in scriptures." She knows what is in the scriptures and isn't denying it.

There is only one time where Jesus's name is mentioned in prayer as an opening and that is in the Book of Mormon. This can be interpreted in different ways. I choose to interpret it according to what prophet and apostles have declared.

It can go both ways. You can end the prayer with "in Jesus' name Amen" or begin with "Thank you Jesus for...." or "Dear Jesus, etc...". 

I know that @zil wasn't arguing with me. Her and I were having a peaceful debate about what is written in scriptures. True, there are many ways to interpret scriptures but it's clear who we worship/pray to. 

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11 minutes ago, Morgaine said:

You can end the prayer with "in Jesus' name Amen" or begin with "Thank you Jesus for...." or "Dear Jesus, etc...". 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has never taught the second option anywhere that I have ever seen - and I've seen an awful lot and for all my life.

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1 minute ago, Vort said:

@zil did not deny anything in the scriptures. Not sure how your exegesis of John 14:13-14 supports the idea of praying to Christ, when that is manifestly not what the scripture says.

Elder McConkie unambiguously taught:

We worship the Father and him only and no one else. We do not worship the Son, and we do not worship the Holy Ghost...Worship in the true and saving sense is reserved for God the first, the Creator...Our prayers are addressed to the Father, and to him only.

So in John 14:13-14, what do you think Jesus is referring to? When you ask for something in Jesus' name, aren't you praying to/addressing Jesus?

 

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20 hours ago, Anddenex said:

The concept of worship is interesting to me because, as to my knowledge right now, we are only to worship the Father through Jesus Christ. We are taught the following, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him" (D&C 59:5)."

I would say I do not worship Jesus Christ. I think we are better off to worship the Father through Jesus Christ.

Thank you for your response.  And I agree with much of what you said.  

Concerning whom we worship though, it can be difficult to discern what is policy.  See the article recently posted our own very website (happens to be a very well documented article).  McConkie was equally adamant against the worship of Jesus Christ yet he wrote one of our most sacred hymns about the sacrament and Christ...

https://thirdhour.org/blog/faith/belief/mormons-worship-heavenly-father-christ/

 

Edited by mikbone

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10 minutes ago, Morgaine said:

When you ask for something in Jesus' name, aren't you praying to/addressing Jesus?

Of course not. If anything, the opposite is true. If I'm an agent representing a football player, then I act in the name of the football player -- but only when I'm negotiating with a third party. What sense would it make for me "to act in Joe Athlete's name" when I'm talking to Joe Athlete?

Edited by Vort

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15 minutes ago, Morgaine said:

This brings up another question to add to the OP's questions: When we say "Lord", who are we referring to?

I believe that Lord is ambiguous by design.  It can mean either The Father, The Son, or Both.  

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3 minutes ago, mikbone said:

Thank you for your response.  And I agree with much of what you said.  

Concerning whom we worship though, it can be difficult to discern what is policy.  See the article recently posted our this website (happens to be a very well documented article).  McConkie was equally adamant against the worship of Jesus Christ yet he wrote of our most sacred hymns about the sacrament and Christ...

https://thirdhour.org/blog/faith/belief/mormons-worship-heavenly-father-christ/ 

 

This is why I specified, "The concept of worship is interesting to me..." It is clear we are to worship the Father through the Son; however, as with the article you posted I am aware of the term "worship" with regards to Jesus.

In my personal opinion, through my studies, I change the word "worship" (when referencing Christ) to "respect," "honor," "obeisant," and "glorify." The Father wants us to "glorify" His Son. I see the term "worship" when being addressed toward Christ similarly to the phrase "fear the Lord" does not mean to be scared, but we are to "honor and revere" the Lord.

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I think that I worship both the Father and Jesus Christ.  I pray to the Father, and I recognize that Jesus Christ is my Savior.  Elohim cannot save me.  Besides Christ there is no Savior.  But Jesus would not have have been able to be our Savior without our Father's direction.  

I think that the Temple narrative is the best representation that we have of the interaction of the Father and the Son with mankind.  

When we agreed to embark on mortality we volunteered to depart from the Father's presence.  He never abandoned or left any of us.  (Jesus Christ was the only person who has ever felt the abandonment of Heavenly Father [upon the cross] and it literally killed him).  

Unfortunately, the Father's interaction with mankind has been extremely limited.  I can count the appearances of the Father (or his voice) on one hand as found within the entire scriptures.

As we read in John 14:6-7, the only way to know the Father is to know Jesus. 

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My point is this: in order for us to effectively worship God we should have a correct idea of his character.  This following is Joseph Smith's statement:

"my first object is, to find out the character of the only wise and true God."  General Conference April 7, 1844

I have been studying Christ my whole life.  And I have learned much.  Unfortunately I have also made many mistakes in my comprehension of whom He is.

For example I used to be under the impression that Jesus Christ is our elder brother.  And I can see how this association can be made...  But nowhere in the holy scriptures can this be found.  Yet I can find numerous scriptures that state that Jesus is our father.   I no longer think of him as my elder brother, by the way...

Also there was a movement to always place the appellations that Christ is the Firstborn (in the spirit) and Only Begotten (in the flesh) when these appellations cannot be found in our scriptures.  I think that we (as a group) have performed a disservice to ourselves by trying to define Jehovah and Jesus Christ by making our relationship simpler that it actually is...

 

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