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My Testimony/church Affiliation


mulls
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I'm long winded, and I like to write, so I will do my best to keep this short....

 

 

I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school for 8 years, but the family hardly practiced. I grew up in an urban neighborhood, and all of my friends were all older than me. Most of them, like myself, came from either a semi-broken home, or had parents who just didn't care. So we were all generally "bad" kids doing typical adolescent bad stuff. As it turned out, I was actually a "good" kid who had a heavy conscience, while my best friend was the worst of the bunch.

 

I was strongly affirmed my almost everyone growing up, people telling me I was such a good kid, so smart, so polite, destined for great things, etc. My best friend, John, on the other hand, was told that he was a degenerate and would wind up a loser. He's two years older than me.

 

Fast forward to high school. Me and John drift apart, because he was getting into things that I wanted nothing to do with. I coasted through high school. Not popular, but not unpopular. Definitely not into the drinking/partying/fighting scene like most of my friends.

 

John was bouncing around high schools at this point, getting kicked out, always in trouble. I had lost contact with him for a solid two years, before I start hearing from mutual friends that he got all "religious." I didn't believe it, I figured it was a front to trick people and hide what he was really doing. He was adept at that.

 

I graduate high school, and get into the college of my choice. I can't wait for college, feeling that I needed to break out of my shell, let loose, and come into my own. At my graduation party (family & friends), John and his mom show up. It's the first time I'd seen him in nearly two years. We caught up that night, and he told me how Jesus changed his life. My thoughts were "That's good for you, because you were gonna end up dead or in jail. I'm already religious, I don't need it, so don't push it."

 

That summer, me and John really reconnected, and became workout partners at the local gym. He would subtlety tell me about Christ, and I would ask alot of questions. I was intrigued. I never heard of non-catholic christianity in all of my 18 years.

 

I go off to college, and I live it up. I grow in confidence, make fast friends, hit alot of parties, and become the popular guy that I always wished to be. I drank alot. I got good grades. I still went to mass on the weekend. Life was perfect.

 

The next summer, I come back home and start hanging out with John again. He invites me to church. I decline, because it wasn't catholic mass and it "wouldn't count" for me. So he instead invites me to the high school youth group meeting on a weeknight, because he volunteered with them. He assured me it was laidback and I would enjoy it.

 

Well, I did enjoy it. The youth pastor preached. I'd never heard actual preaching before...someone opening up the bible, expounding on it, being excited about it, and making it relevant to my life. I absolutely loved it. I also absolutely hated it. He was preaching about sin, particularly specific sin that people my age get caught up in. Wouldn't you know it, the bible speaks against doing all the things that I was doing my first year at college, and loving. I always thought God was pleased with my life, because I was the "good kid," but now I knew something was wrong. I tell John I'm coming with him to the service on Sunday.

 

(By the way, this was an Assemblies of God, pentecostal church. They weren't crazy. I do not at all consider myself pentecostal, but this was a very respectable, normal church)

 

So Sunday comes around. I walk into the church and am blown away by three things:

1. Diverse congregation. In all the Catholic churches I went to growing up, it was always white people. I always wondered where "everyone else" was. Well, here they were. White, black, hispanic, asian. It was a beautiful site.

 

2. Praise and worship. I'd never seen people singing to God like this before. It was like they were actually happy to be doing this. This was never my experience. I was shocked....yet it made sense that people should actually want to be at church and doing this.

 

3. The preaching. Just like at the youth service, the preaching shook me up. The pastor preached a straight gospel message. You know the drill, I'm sure. But at the time, I didn't. He said a person might know about Christ, know all the right things in the head, but still not get it right in the heart. He said that it doesn't matter how religious a person is, we're all under a curse, and we can't make up for it by being a good person (this struck my heart). He preached salvation through the atonement of Christ, receiving the grace by faith alone.

 

I knew I had to give up my life to Christ. But I didn't want to. I didn't want to admit that I was wrong, that my life really wasn't what I thought it was, that all of my friends and family who didn't believe this were going to hell, and that my best friend, with whom I had my share of heated debates, was right. But I knew that things between me and God were not as they should be.

 

I knew what I had to do....but not yet. Maybe next week. That night, I had a party to go to at my neighbor's house, a friend from high school. So I made a deal with God, said I'd go to the party tonight, then come back to church next week and "straighten things out." His parents were laidback, they let us drink. My mom and stepdad were out of town, so we went back to my place and drank some more. I thought I was the coolest guy ever, because I never had a party in my house before. I was loving it.

 

The next morning, I wake up, and have to clean up the mess of beer cans and vomit on the back porch. It's at this point I realize "This is not the life God wants me to live....this definitely isn't who I really am." That was on Monday morning, and I wait all week for next Sunday to come around.

 

I get back in church on Sunday, the pastor preaches another strong gospel message, and this time I just knew it to be true. No emotional experience, no crying, no excitement....I just knew it was true, that I was making the most important decision of my life, that there was no going back, that it wouldn't be an easy road....but it's Jesus or nothing. So I prayed right there in my seat, during the invitation, and confessed my sin, promised to turn from it, and placed my faith in Christ and made him Lord of my life.

 

It took.

 

It hasn't been easy, just like I thought 4.5 years ago. My family thought I was in a cult, just because I was hanging out with John again, whom they never trusted because of his reputation. I lost alot of my friends in college, not because I became an alienating jerk (trust me....I promised myself that first week as a Christian to never act like I'm better than anyone else, because I realized that was a danger) but I lost them because I simply didn't socialize in the same manner anymore....basically getting drunk all the time. I went to a church near school that I didn't connect with, and nobody really paid attention to me. I went from being the cool guy at school, to the religious-fanatic-loser kid who it was cool for everyone else in the dorm to make fun of. It sucked.

 

But I knew it was worth sticking out.

 

I began to make some Christian friends, re-connect with my old friends, and become active on campus in ministry. I had a gift to be real with people, to not be a naive, corny, sheltered Christian kid, but to infuse my real-world upbringing, and been-there-done-that college party lifestyle with my faith in order to show people that God really did change my life.

 

I got plugged into a really tiny church full of loving older people, who to this day take care of me in a way I can never be thankful enough for. I don't know if anyone is familiar, but the church is what is called a "plymouth brethren" "or brethren assembly." Small, laidback, loving, but really seeking after Christ. Exactly what I needed/still need.

 

Now, being graduated for a year and a half, I work full-time in campus ministry, being able to relate to the struggles of college students and help them out in any way I can.

 

Plain and simple, I believe the gospel message is true. Like the bible says, the message actually was the power of God in my life. I really believe it. I buy into the Christianity thing 100%. I don't buy into the stereotypical nonsense of the Christian culture, and how stupid we often are. But I try to stay humble about it. I'm trying my best. That's my story, I'm sticking to it.

 

 

sean

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Good ol' Catholic guilt; had you wired from the start to buy into the "I'm a poor sinner, thank god Jesus forgives me" spiel. Just one more conversion based on emotion; logic need not be applied.

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Good ol' Catholic guilt; had you wired from the start to buy into the "I'm a poor sinner, thank god Jesus forgives me" spiel. Just one more conversion based on emotion; logic need not be applied.

 

 

Actually, if it was based on emotion, I wouldn't have committed.

 

I've heard my fair share of testimonies concerning "I trusted in Jesus and was filled with such joy.....felt a burden removed from my soul....felt peace...." etc etc.

 

Me? I realized my life was gonna turn upside down. I would be alienated from the people I love. My worldview would be realigned and I would have to un-learn alot of things and learn many new things.

 

Emotions did play a part in it, in that I had to fight against them in order to believe. The logic (concerning the gospel message) is actually what got me.

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Actually, if it was based on emotion, I wouldn't have committed.

 

Yes, because no one ever makes a commitment out of emotion. Oh, wait, I got married based on emotion.

 

What you are describing is a conflict between the new emotions that were stirred up inside you as you attended your friend's church, which can be quite strong (I know, I've felt them), and your fear of reprecussion from your family - not to mention the change to your comfort zone. None of this proves that your decision was rational in any way shape or form. You got a "buzz," which you interpreted as the holy spook and you decided that that was enough to change your life. Then, when your rationality started to kick in, you fought it off and forced yourself to believe.

 

I'm sure you poured your heart out here and all, but we just aren't very impressed with claims that cannot be measured. So, you're life changed. You changed it, not Jesus. You. Or did every last cleaned up party boy get his life straightened out by Jesus?

 

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Was I supposed to be trying to impress you? Someone asked to hear my story, so I shared. I agree that it's not impressive, by standards of other testimonies I've heard. But it's me. You get what you get with me.

 

You got a "buzz," which you interpreted as the holy spook and you decided that that was enough to change your life. Then, when your rationality started to kick in, you fought it off and forced yourself to believe

 

So would you say that right now, as I'm sitting in my chair, not really feeling any sort of emotion, I'm fighting off my rationality and forcing myself to believe?

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So would you say that right now, as I'm sitting in my chair, not really feeling any sort of emotion, I'm fighting off my rationality and forcing myself to believe?

 

Ha ha. No, I would say that your rational side lost out a long time ago. Every now and again I'm sure you have to beat it down with a good dose of prayer, study, and fellowshipin' though.

 

And no, you don't need to impress us. Be whatcha gotta be.

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So Sunday comes around. I walk into the church and am blown away by three things:

1. Diverse congregation. In all the Catholic churches I went to growing up, it was always white people. I always wondered where "everyone else" was. Well, here they were. White, black, hispanic, asian. It was a beautiful site.

 

You grew up in the city, as a Catholic, and never saw anything but white people in your church? Interesting. I also grew up in the city and saw many non-whites in my Catholic church. Same applied to most of the churches I attended in NJ (my state of birth), MA, and CT.

 

But that can be par for the course, since most Catholics are white and come from white familes. It doesn't mean a thing.

 

Nor does the fact you found a racially diverse congregation. There are many churches from many sects whose congregations are made up of only one race. All that reflects is the ethnicity of the area and the prevailing religious belief of said ethnicity.

 

In other words, it has nothing to do with God.

 

2. Praise and worship. I'd never seen people singing to God like this before. It was like they were actually happy to be doing this. This was never my experience. I was shocked....yet it made sense that people should actually want to be at church and doing this.

 

Catholics want to do what they do, too. If they didn't, they wouldn't. They just believe worship should be conducted in a solemn manner. That doesn't make it any less "real" or "happy." You may personally be more inclined to the Pentecostal style of worship, but that is just a personal preference - again, it has nothing to do with any god.

 

Be careful of the prejudices your sect is encouraging. Like it or not, it's what's happening, and they can lead to worse hatreds.

 

3. The preaching. Just like at the youth service, the preaching shook me up. The pastor preached a straight gospel message. You know the drill, I'm sure. But at the time, I didn't. He said a person might know about Christ, know all the right things in the head, but still not get it right in the heart. He said that it doesn't matter how religious a person is, we're all under a curse, and we can't make up for it by being a good person (this struck my heart). He preached salvation through the atonement of Christ, receiving the grace by faith alone.

 

Again, so do serious Catholics. They believe the exact same thing as this. I was a Catholic for about 26+ years, and I was an independent evangelical fundamentalist for about a year. Either way, I understand the basic message of each side, and they are in truth the same. Each side gussies it up with their own spin on the Gospel and the Babble as a whole, but it's all the same thing.

 

The insidious concept of "Turn or Burn" - the notion that we need Jebus' favor in order to escape eternal torture for otherwise just being human. Perhaps the most sickening thing about Xianity. I was born just fine as I was and I don't need any god's favor for any reason and any religion that says otherwise is bullshit.

 

So you cleaned up your life by accepting the teachings of your sect? Good for you - but there are plenty of people in the world who have done so through Buddhism, Asatru, Wicca, Is-lame, Judaism, and so on. Many religions can claim adherents who have gotten their shit together through study of that religion's social and moral teachings. It may make your take on Xianity right for you, but it doesn't make it universally right.

 

I find far more inspiration and positive motivation in the Havamal. Does this make the Havamal universally right, or just right for me? See what I mean?

 

You have to understand that everything you're talking about is all your own doing. Otherwise, it makes every god and every religion just as objectively right as your own, a contradiction which cannot possibly exist.

 

Plain and simple, I believe the gospel message is true. Like the bible says, the message actually was the power of God in my life. I really believe it. I buy into the Christianity thing 100%. I don't buy into the stereotypical nonsense of the Christian culture, and how stupid we often are. But I try to stay humble about it. I'm trying my best. That's my story, I'm sticking to it.

 

It's good that you wish to be humble about it, because many Xians are dicks about their religion :)

 

But, again, how are you so sure any of the positive effects Xianity has had on your life are not the result of your own take on it, or at least someone else's, and really the result of God? Certainly, being an all-loving and all-powerful being, he'd make the same thing happen for all of us, if he really was interested in our happiness.

 

Like Vigile said, it was you who changed your life - not Jebus.

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Varokhar,

 

Concerning the points you made about the diversity issue in my story, and the praise and worship I experienced, I realize how subjective they are.

 

Once I got back onto campus after that summer, and looking around at the different Christian ministries, I realized that they were all white. I was like "what the heck, I where did everyone else go, I thought I was a part of the real deal now." Well after alot of study and observation and research, I can see the prejudices are alive and well within the evangelical church just as much as the rest of the world. It breaks my heart, and I do have a passion to see racial reconciliation take place among the church.

 

And with the worship style.....well hopefully you saw that I'm not pentecostal. I realize how emotionally manipulative that style can be....but also how beautiful it can be if it's authentic. Unfortunately it's hard to tell the difference sometimes.

 

The point is, I do realize that those experiences I had during that summer leading to my conversion were just that....experiences. They woke me up, is all. They showed me that things are different than I thought them to be. In no way does it mean everything is great now, everyone loves each other, everything is always real and true all the time. That "spiritual high" I was riding for awhile crashed really fast when I realized how bad things are in the church, and how far we fall short of this God we're trying to serve.

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Mulls the diversity in your story about your church. In Bakersfield, California the church I used to go to was all white people and one black person in the whole entire church. I didn't realize how RACIST this really is until I deconverted. The funny thing about Bakersfield it is a vary Hispanic oriented city. But in my church their was not one Mexican in my whole church. :scratch: Then I went to my friends baptist church once or twice, boring, corrupt and ect. Yet thats where all the Hispanics were. I used to be against diversity for some reason I felt more comfortable......(damn Christian ideals) but that time has changed and I like being with more diverse groups now. I am a lot more open minded about people's beliefs. I like learning about other religions that I was told was evil...is all about. I still am fascinated about culture.

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I like learning about other religions that I was told was evil...is all about. I still am fascinated about culture.

 

 

 

likewise.

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And with the worship style.....well hopefully you saw that I'm not pentecostal. I realize how emotionally manipulative that style can be....but also how beautiful it can be if it's authentic. Unfortunately it's hard to tell the difference sometimes.

 

:twitch: So it's only beautiful *IF* it's authentic? A) What does authentic mean, and B > How can you tell the differnce?

 

 

Being raised in the ass of Gawd myself, I can tell you it's 100% pure emotionalism. The Crying, the being slain in the spirit, the speaking of tongues et al, the entire scene is a perfect example of mob mentality and hysteria. The music usually controls the direction of the masses, it's up beat when they want them dancing and slow emotional BS when they want to bring on the crying and desperate in the 'not worthy' mindset. You're not more then a willing puppet on their spiritual string. The most fascinating part of all of this you believe it's gawd. You're awed by the emotional high aka hysteria.

 

 

Do your own test, next time you go in a worship service, don't participate, watch and listen as the crowd gets manipulated to go the direction the 'leader' wants it too. Don't pray, don't stand, don't sing.. just watch for yourself. Use a critical eye if you're able.

 

Have you ever been to a mass hypnosis? I attended one last year. I sat in the back as I wanted to see everything. It works much the same way, as these churches do. Some people are more susceptible then others. He did audience wide hypnosis, which was pretty fascinating to watch. Everyone was fully awake. He had everyone hold their hands in a prayer like stance. fold all the fingers over but your two pointers. He said keep pushing your pointer fingers together until I tell you to stop. People did it, watching everyone was more interesting to me but I was doing it as I was looking around. He went on this little story, but kept reminding us all to keep pushing those two fingers together. When he was done the story he said, now I'm going to count to 3 and I want everyone to keep your hands together but move your fingers as far apart as you can. He said, Reminding us all again to keep pushing the fingers until he's done the count. When I say 3 I want you to fight to keep them apart, I will push your fingers back together from here. well Of course he hit 3 and apart the fingers went. He said.. they are going back together, do you see that, You see you're fully awake and yet you're hypnotized. Well the majority of people were SHOCKED and Awed, with the OMGs and I can't believe it's . The trick didn't work on me, but maybe I didn't 'believe' enough is why? :shrug:

 

Pastors are showmen's much like this hypnotist. the only difference is the hypnotist will tell you what he's doing. The show was amazing, more so of the fact of just how easy it is to manipulate people if you say the right things, hit the right feelings. Create the right conditions. People want to be fooled, they want to believe it just takes a charismatic showmen to get people to feel or do certain things.

 

The point is, I do realize that those experiences I had during that summer leading to my conversion were just that....experiences. They woke me up, is all. They showed me that things are different than I thought them to be. In no way does it mean everything is great now, everyone loves each other, everything is always real and true all the time. That "spiritual high" I was riding for awhile crashed really fast when I realized how bad things are in the church, and how far we fall short of this God we're trying to serve.

 

 

Well Mulls, using almost your own words: The point is, I do realize that those experiences I had during that summer leading to my Deconversion were just that....experiences. They woke me up, is all. They showed me that things are different than I thought them to be. See what changing one word does? And it fits me to a complete Tee, aside from the last summer part.

 

That being said I'd like to close my comment about the falling short part. The "God" bar will for always be moved and will never be obtained by mere mortals such as us. 2 Reasons: 1) You see, it's a mirage and nothing more. Its tantamount to just trying to make it to that oasis you see in the desert, only when you get there it's still a few miles ahead. and 2) Luke 14:26, I'm not sure you can live up to that demand from Christ, that being said, I'm not sure you want to. You're nicer then the god you claim to follow from what I've seen of your posts.

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  • 2 weeks later...
He said that it doesn't matter how religious a person is, we're all under a curse, and we can't make up for it by being a good person (this struck my heart).

 

See, this is what Christianity does. It preys on people with low self-esteem, who think they're a horrible person simply by the nature of being human.

 

Guess what?

 

It's a lie.

 

I know in my heart and in my mind that I am a good person. I am a beautiful person. I am an intelligent person. But your cult will tell me that I am a sinful, terrible, awful person simply because I was born human, and that I need a mystical savior deity to save me from hell. Um...why? Seriously.

 

I have done NOTHING so horrible or terrible in my life. About the worst crime I have ever committed is speeding. I have donated to charity. I have volunteered. I would never, ever hurt another human being except in self-defense, if someone attacked me.

 

And yet, I am supposed to buy into this B.S. that I am a horrible, awful, unclean and sinful person, needing some being who has never been proven to exist to save me because I'm somehow not perfect enough the way I am, so I deserve to go to hell? Seriously, how low does your self-esteem have to be to believe this crap???

 

It's a cult. They brainwashed you, just like they brainwashed the rest of us. :ugh: Stop buying into that garbage. Start liking and accepting yourself. You haven't done anything so terrible that you deserve to be tortured for. So you went to some wild parties and probably did some stupid things. So what? So have most people. It's not worth hating yourself for. Life is MEANT to be enjoyed. Stop feeling guilty for having enjoyed it.

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1. Mulls, you didn't mention your new denomination, or did you remain Catholic?

 

2. Have you read the bible? Did you read it before your conversion? If you didn't read it before your conversion, and if you didn't make an emotional decision to convert what knowledge did you base you decision on?

 

3. As you've entered Campus ministry, have you had any theological training? You don't seem old enough to have gone onto seminary. If you have not read the bible, if you have not studied it, and if you are not trained in at least your denominations theology, how do you know that you are passing on knowledge necessary for salvation to those you minister to?

 

By the way I gave up my vices (except for coffee) before I had a conversion experience like yours, so Jesus is not necessary for such a thing to happen, and probably not the cause of it.

 

4. I'm just wondering if you still think you are a sinner now that Jesus is in your life. If you are still a sinner what purpose does Jesus serve? If Jesus is the cure for sin, then you should be cured of it. If you haven't been cured of sin, then how do you know that Jesus is the cure for sin? If you are not cured of sin, then how do you justify offering Jesus to others as the cure for sin?

 

If Jesus was the cure for your collegiate behavior, why hasn't Jesus cured you of the rest of your sin? If Jesus keeps you from one sin or a half-dozen sins, why can't Jesus keep you from all of them? If it was you that gave up these sins, because you love Jesus, why don't you give up all your sin?

 

If Jesus is only about forgiveness for sin past, present, and future will you still sin when you get to heaven? If not, why not? What will make you quit when you get to heaven? If it is Jesus that will make you quit in heaven, why doesn't Jesus make you quit now? What's the point of waiting? If it is you that will quit sinning when you get to heaven, why don't you quit now? What is the point of waiting?

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He said that it doesn't matter how religious a person is, we're all under a curse, and we can't make up for it by being a good person (this struck my heart). He preached salvation through the atonement of Christ, receiving the grace by faith alone.

 

And you believed this guy on the bases of what? Your natal church doesn't accept this non-sense after 16-1700 years of study. Why should you accept it without any study? Have you read Matthew 25:31-46? Have you read James 2:14-25? If so why do you give the ravings of Paul precedence over Jesus and his brother James? Wouldn't it make sense to interpret Paul via Jesus, rather than Jesus via Paul? Have you read Ezekiel Chapter 18? There it is as plain as the nose on your face that is you that is the agent of your salvation, not a savior.

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That "spiritual high" I was riding for awhile crashed really fast when I realized how bad things are in the church, and how far we fall short of this God we're trying to serve.

 

You know, I wonder if a post I made in response to a remark like this was lost during the server crash. I'll just repost the meat and potatoes of it...

 

Dude, we don't fall short of God or any other god. God, on the other hand, falls short of us.

 

Human beings can see the problems in the world around them, and take steps to address them. We see the hurting, and try to help. We see people in trouble, and try to lend a hand. We see injustices and try to do something about them. We may not get it right, and we don't have superhuman powers to end all things of evil, we just do the best we can.

 

But we act. That's more than can be said for your god, to whom millions of Xians pray in vain. If your god existed, he'd answer the prayers he promised to in the NT. There would be no more evil, since there are Xians who have prayed to end virtually every kind of evil there is. Either your god doesn't exist or doesn't care to listen, making him the one who falls short.

 

And take an honest look at how your god is depicted, right in the Babble itself. These verses are not taken out of context, but rather read in the simple way the plain text obviously conveys. If your god wanted to come across as a good being, verses like this simply would not exist:

 

Examples of Murder being Condoned in the Babble

Examples of Rape being Condoned in the Babble

Examples of Human Sacrifice being Condoned in the Babble

Examples of Slavery being Condoned in the Babble

Jebus Lying about Prayer

Jebus the Jerk

Jebus behaving as a Cult Leader - no different than Jim Jones or David Koresh

Assorted Examples of Babblical Cruelty

Assorted Examples of Babblical Injustice

Assorted Examples of Intolerance in the Babble

 

We do not fall short of this scumbag, the one who is depicted in such monstrous manner and fails to answer a single prayer of a single believer. He falls short of us.

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