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Goodbye Jesus

My Little Boy

Guest VBiz

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Hi all, this is my first time posting here as I just discovered this magical realm of logic, reason, and freedom.




My dillemma is a complex one. I was raised Catholic and did all the normal Catholic things such as:

Attend Catochism

Go to Church

Go back into a little room with an assexual old man and confess to him all the naughty things i've done

Get "confirmed" (at age 13 I believe.....plenty old enough to make lifetime decisions).

Get yelled at

Get told I was a sinner

Get told that I was "not worthy"

Learn that God wants you to sacrifice things for him (i.e., doesn't want you to be happy).


Nothing you haven't seen before.


I always remember questioning it...all of it...but around age 18, I was completely done.

I found the love of my life and we got married in a church (simply because of the architecture...is that wrong? lol!).

That was 4 years ago and I have not been into one since.


So now you have the background.


My question lies with my sweet, innocent, beautiful 1 year old son. I know that there are things I can do to shelter him and expose him to things slowly, but I am very worried about my mom. My mother is no longer Catholic either. She is a "borniggen" (born again Xtain) and attends one of those hideous, massive, arena-style churches. These places, at least in my mind, are purely evil. They assymilate people through their layed back style and rock music and preachers with casual clothes. Its all she ever talks about, it's all she ever does socially, and she pushes it on us day after day after day.


The problem is that she babysits my son 3 days per week. She's already given him jesus toys and "Veggi Tales" movies that are all Jesus'd up.

She listens exclusively to Christian radio and watches it on TV. She is what you might call a hardcore J addict. I can't stand it. She thinks (as they all do) that they are doing something good. I have told her repeatedly to cut it out and she laughs and tells me that she loves us. WTF? What do I do?


Part of me wants to protect my boy, but then I step back and think. I really feel that I personally have a much better perspective on life since I WAS a Catholic. It showed me what ignorance is out there and opened my eyes to the true pandemic that is organized religion. I want my son to see the truth, but I also really feel strongly about the "good" values set forth in most religions (love thy neighbor, don't cheat on your spouse, blah blah blah). He needs to see it first hand in order to understand why it is wrong and how the MAJORITY OF THE WORLD is being brainwashed from an early age. It's a very difficult thing to comprehend and I don't know when to start talking to him about it.


I am just really confused. My wife (who hates religion) wants to completely shield our son from everything. I am inclined to expose him to it and tell him how it's wrong, similarly to using illegal drugs. I know he will see it everywhere, and I want him to know how to handle it and educate him about it.


This is a very difficult time for me and I do not want to cause a rift between myself and my parents, especiallly since they love their grandbaby so much! ANY ADVICE? My one inclination is to treat Jesus like Santa Claus. Maybe let him believe in it when he is little (there was a guy who walked on water and fed 600 people with 2 fish and a half empty can of pop) but then explain to him when he is older that it's all fake and that only children and idiots believe in that stuff.


I also have a million more questions I will be asking in the next few days now that I found this wonderful outlet. Thanks all, you have really made my day just by the fact that you exist!! I hope I was coherent enough in this post, my fingers were all aflutter when I realized that I could post and acually be read by people in similar situations as myself.


God bless you all....hahahahhah just kiddin'.

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I just want to add...I am 31 years old, not 21 as was implied (I think).

I did not get married when I was 18 as it looks like from my post. Sorry for any confusion.



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Hello and welcome.


Concerning your question, I would no more expose a child to a religion any more than I would expose him to the Skinheads. Sure, when he is old enough explain all the different religious thought that we have and also the atheist point of view. Let him learn what others think and why.


Indoctrinate him now so he can make up his mind later? A child is the Christian's favorite prey. Beware, some kids never get over early indoctrination.

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I have never told my kids what to believe, I let them decide for themselves. I would not shelter a kid. I would just talk to them about how to make a rational decision when the baby is older. When my kids were younger, around 2 or 3, I explained religion to them which was confusing but as they get older, they do make the connection.

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As a 21 year old who doesn't have any children, I can't give you direct advice from experience. But as a somebody that does intend on having kids in the near future, I will be in a VERY similar situation myself (my mom and dad are born-again Christians whereas myself and my fiancee are the opposite). I have thought about it extensively, and the only real conclusion I can come to is this:


The morals that Christianity instill (the ones you listed in particular), are great morals, but, in my opinion, following these morals shouldn't come out of threat of punishment from god. That's basically learning through fear. When my son/daughter is old enough to understand, I will firmly teach them these morals (or try anyway - as I said, no first hand experience yet) without having a preacher tell them that god is going to be unhappy with them if they don't follow along.


As for the grandmother thing, I basically plan on just telling my mom not to push it on them. When my children are old enough they will make up their own minds about what they want to believe, they dont need their grandma brainwashing them at the age of 3.


But thats just how I intend to handle it when the time comes :)

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I beleive I saw an article on something similar to this on a Ken Barker site. The article was well worth reading. It talked about how to raise kids to question things and teach them to ask themselves questions like "How do I know this to be true?"


If this rings a bell to anyone chime in but I think I heard it on Ken's site. (Excellent site BTW)


Also, Internet search on atheist/agnostic books for kids is likely to provide some very helpful information on how what other people think about teaching their kids about reality.


Specifically to your question... with spouses and kids... I would never ever recommend a short term view.


Don't let yourself get bogged down in thinking that your mother will corrupt your wonderful little tike "for life". This is short sighted and gives your little tike too little credit.


Every situation is unique but here is how I deal with it.


Currently my kids believe in god because my wife taught them that and took them to church. (They haven't quite hit into the critical thinking stage but I try to prepare them.)


Note: I could have burned the house down in a battle of wills but I'm in it to win the war not the battle.


Recently my wife is getting tired of church and complaining that she is getting little from it. She's stopped attending for the last 6 weeks. She now prefers to go for a nature walk with me and the kids on Sunday morning.


The kids have a flakey understanding of god. Fine.


I teach them to question things and that often, adults say things that are not true and that they have to decide for themselves what is true and false.


I teach them not to get fooled by telemarketers and to question things.


When they say certain things, I ask, "How do you know that is true?" (Don't argue with them if they are mistaken in their response and believe silly things. If you become insistant, they get the idea that they don't have the right to their own opinion."


The very bottom line is, if you teach them to make up their own minds, they won't listen to other people.


Oh yes... regarding your wife... I highly recommend that rather than shelter your kid, you AND your wife make a point of teaching your kids about all the different religions.


Tell them what you believe. Be casual not intensive.


Get out stories of the Norse and Roman gods. Educate and have fun with it.


By far, education will protect your kids, absolutely not sheltering.



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My advice is to make sure that the kid is exposed to lots of other fantasy stories. When he gets a bit older, it would be useful to do a "comparative religion for toddlers" course and talk to him about all the different stories for how the earth was created, and then finish on the scientific one. You can also use this to tell him that different people believe in different ones, and which one you believe in.

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Some common ground here, so here's what I think. Just my opinion:


I too, was raised catholic and my mother also became a borniggin, only in her case, it was right around confirmation, and I was still young, impressionable, and authority worshipping enough to soak in the full measure of the poison.


I know that you have more of a perspective having been raised catholic. A lot of that is a direct consequence of your having taken the red pill. Most people don't, and those who take the blue pill really don't benefit from that broader perspective.


We all know that the broad "good" values espoused by xianity and other religions, the ones that are common to them such as don't kill, the golden rule or some variant thereof, etc, are more or less universally held by most of the earth's inhabitants, including those who do not follow a religion. I do not think a child has to be exposed to indoctrination to understand the interplay of religion or secularism in morals. On the contrary, a child indoctrinated from birth that morals come from god will be a lot LESS likely to ever be able break out of their conditioning and really understand morality.


I also might add, while retaining a nod of respect and acknowledgement to those on this site that were really messed up by catholicism, that I found the fundygelical message that your mother is peddling to be far more damaging.


It's a tough situation, because your mother will do everything in her power, counter to your wishes, to turn your son into a jesus-zombie. I think your son will need protection from brazen brainwashing. It's tough to give advice here, since we are now estranged from my mother exactly BECAUSE of my apostasy, but she did everything in her power to evangelize my wife. We never left her alone with my daughter. In our case it was easy since we lived an hour and a half away, so there was a natural excuse, but if we had lived closer and she was wanted to babysit I think we would have somehow managed never to really "need" a babysitter. I do not regret not having pandered to her evangelical expectations and bringing my kids into the fray.


I do tend to agree that you can't shield your children forever from bad things in the world, be it that some people abuse drugs, lie, steal, cheat, are mean, intolerant, bigoted, or controlled in a very negative way by an imaginary god. He will hear about god, and he'll have to know your and your wife's position, and why. Mongo is right about the service you do for your kids by teaching them to question things and not get sucked in by telemarketers, etc., and challenging them with questions like "How do you know this is true?" Teach them to think and they will apply that to everything. It will benefit them in all sorts of areas, including, but not limited to the way they think about religion.

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Wow, I really appreciate all of the comments. I have a lot more option to consider and by the look of things it appears that there is no "right" answer (not that I expected one diffinitive solution, mind you).


Here is my plan as of right now:


I was taught the catholic view of things. I was taught this from early childhood until early adulthood. The fact that I was also taught critical thinking, logical decision making, and scientific and mathematical reasoning allowed me to discredit the catholocism. It allowed me to EASILY discredit all organized religion. I do NOT plan to subject my son (or any future offspring) to church. I think, though, that it really doesn't matter what he is taught to believe as long as I teach him to think rationally, logically, and with a scientific approach. Lets face it, I was able to think my way out of any sort of religious belief, and I did this WHILE being taught catholocism. I had nobody out there telling me that it was false, I was able to figure that out on my own.


Bottom line: my son has my genes (at least some of them). He has my wife's genes (at least some of them). That's a lot of smarts right there. Even if I PUSHED jesus on him I think he'd still end up at the right conclusion. I will teach him to question everything, to think about everything and to always make sure he fact from fiction.


It's going to be a bumpy ride, that's for sure.


Again, thanks for all the input. You guys rock.

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Get hold of the other stories.


A nice big book on Greek Myths would be great.


I grew up reading this one:




It's been reprinted I don't know how many times.


OOh!!! I'm going to have to get this one! I didn't know about it until I looked for the Greek one!!




Part of what makes different cultures so interesting are their myths. Children love stories, so through myth (and most importantly, the quality time you share telling stories) a child can begin to see the world, and appreciate the people in it.

You won't run out of myth stories either. Screw reading "Barney" at bedtime.... Tell the story of how Raven Steals the Light : http://www.northwest-art.com/NorthwestArt/...alstheLight.htm


You won't run out of stories. And you inspire both imagination and cultural appreciation in your son. And so long as you make it clear these are all just stories and you make it clear that all societies have their stories (they do), it lessens the impression that Christianity can make on his mind since it's not the ONLY story he hears.


When he asks which stories are "true", you can tell him that depending on the timeperiod, ALL of them were considered true at one time or other, and that there are still mythologies held true to this day. He will connect the dots just fine.

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I am a married dad of 3 young girls, ages 6, 4 and 3 months. My wife and I were dyed-in-the-wool bornagainers until I deconverted about a year ago. My wife is still hanging on to some hope that the fairy-tale of xtian love and goodness will somehow come true. She is, however, very open and fair about letting me have my rather strong opinions about church and religion in general. My wife is an ex-catholic and the family roots in going to church 'cause it's the thing to do are deep.


My parents, thankfully, while fundies themselves, do not attack my children with VeggieTales or any other insipid xtian shit. My wife and I tried doing enough of that. My mom and dad are content to take the kids to church with them when they are visiting their grandparents.


Look at it this way: if your realtionship with your wife and son will be as strong as you want it to be in the future, he is rightly going to look to you for guidance. Do as the others have suggested and expose him to the manifold wisdom and the voluminous bullshit of the ages, and let him reason it out...


...just let him take all the time he needs to do it. It's a sore spot with me; my dad kept 'waiting' until I would 'see the light' and stop running like a wild dog and just 'come back to the larrrrd'.


My best wishes and encouragement are yours. Namaste.



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Indoctrinate him now so he can make up his mind later?

This is one of the issues I have had to face recently. My son is being rasied Jewish. When me and his mom were together I had promised her to raise him Jewish, with the idea that he could make up his mind when he was old enough (as she did when she decided to be a cultural Jew, not a devout one). At the time, I almost converted myself. But never went through with it (thank goodness).


Course, now I have moved on in my spiritual journey. And I am expected to tow the line on his Jewishness, even though I am not (nor is his step-dad.....makes me wonder why him and his half-brother are being raised Jew at all).


I plan to focus on making sure he is of good moral character, regardless of his religious (or non-religious) affiliation. I'm a Unitarian Universalist, and I expect someday he will join me.....because he sees I go to church, and sees his mom does not go to Temple.


It is a tough thing, because family traditions (what is expected, what has always been in the family) get in the way of the obvious choices.


So, we end up teaching concepts like God and religion as we do Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Fun for the little ones, but never taking it serious.

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By far, education will protect your kids, absolutely not sheltering.

I agree whole heartedly with Mongo here. And I think those who have said that exposing children to variety of myths and mythologies may help inoculate them against Christianity. If they see it as the myth that it is or just one myth among many, then they will likely be far less susceptible to it. And in general I would encourage them to think critically about everything. Encourage them to ask questions, and teach them how to find the answers for themselves.


Just my two cents.

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I'm in the exact same boat. I have 4 yr. old twins. My oldest 3 girls were raised in christianity. Being that they are 24,17, and 16 yrs. old it wasn't so hard to explain what happened to our old belief. They were more than glad to finally here some truth about things that they questioned and couldn't get a decent explanation for. Some were about interracial dating, some about homosexuality, some as simple as the deal with the ark...


They openly accepted the idea that deism supported. One creator, and that's the end of the story. My 17 and 16 yr. old girls will probably find their peace with atheism. And that's cool with us.


My point is this, they wasted their freshest years worrying about a god. I, as a parent, regret that so much. I can't really explain it in words, but in my heart it pains me to think that I took part in a brainwashing technique that screwed with their heads.


My youngest girls won't be put in that disfunctional thinking. I don't know how to handle the cards that I know are going to be dealt out either. It's going to be a lot of hurt feelings amongst family too. But, you know what? They are my children to raise. And I'm going to have to stand up for what I think is best for them.


My husband still holds a nicer regard towards this creator/energy. I am opposite. I borderline atheism. BUT, we are on the same page.


I hope that you will find your peace somehow with this... I'm searching alongside of you. If that makes you feel better to know that you are not alone, then maybe this long winded post wasn't a waste of time!

Good luck and welcome to the boards!

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I was raised without any religion. My folks let us go to church with our friends, belong to Christian oranizations, etc. But religion was a non-subject in our home. All three of us are atheists.


I have raised my boys the same way. I bought them Veggietales, let them go to church with their peers, the older is a Boy Scout, he is 14 yo. The younger is special needs and will never understand religion, so no problem there. The 14 yo? I asked him recently if he believed in God...his answer? "I don't know yet", fair enough. We went to Boy Scout summer camp and saw pretty much the only time they have any religion in their troop. They marched down from their site to where we were to eat (their troop is very militaristic and strict, we like that)...they came to attention and the boy leaders announced "Bow heads, grace" and they were silent for about 1 minute. Later I asked the 14 yo what he was thinking about during that minute? "What they were serving for dinner". :grin:


If it really bothers you, get someone else to babysit and only let them influence your child every once in a while. But I am raising the second generation of "let them be exposed and make their own decision" and it is no biggie. I really think that children must be constantly preached at to be influenced enough to be convinced that God is real. Taken to church every week, spoken to about God and Jesus constantly, etc, for it to "take". As long as you are giving them your side of the story, I doubt you need to worry.

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Guest thinking lou

I'm a 21 ex-catholic, raised from birth much like yourself I'm sure. I wouldn't say to completely tell your child that "grandma is wrong and what she is telling you is wrong" or completely shut her out because then your son will get the message that his grandmother is wrong and you are right, and your son won't be making up his own mind. I want to teach my child to make up his own mind. I wish i had been raised as a free-thinker rather than catholic, knowing what I know now.

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Oh, boy. This can be really tough.


I'm really lucky with the family situation. My grandma's a Baptist (ex-Catholic), but she's sweet. Fundamentalism scares her, and I don't think I've ever heard her use the word "Hell" except in the context of "What in the Hell do you think you're doing?!"


Yet I sent my daughter to Bible School with her once-- a Bible School where, 20 years ago, I learned to sing "If I Were A Butterfly" and to do neat (and mostly secular) stuff with wood-- and the kid came home with a mass-produced-in-China Color-Your-Own-Jesus Mug singing "Our God Is The Only God" or something like that. I explained to her that the cup was only to be used for cold beverages (it's now a pencil holder), and that Mommy really didn't care for the song because there are all kinds of gods in the world and all kinds of people who think their way is the only right one, and that was the end of that.


My other grandma recently discovered the whole IFB thing, but she's 79 years old and been thinking for too many of those years to become a rabid idiot now, plus being too mild-tempered for slavering of any sort. My mom's dead. My dad's a Deist and my stepmom, though she won't admit it and talks to "JC" a lot, is some kind of religion-neutral hedge witch. My mil is a lapsed-Lutheran-cum-New-Ager, and my fil has been a pissed-off Atheist ever since he caught his first wife neglecting the kids and the Catholic Church didn't see it as grounds for divorce.


I'm also now 900+ miles from all these people. Whatever impact they might have, and whatever conflict we might have over it, is officially minimized by distance.


But. I'm raising two kids (my daughter is 6 years old and my son is 11 months) in Bible Belt City. Six flavors of Baptist, Pentecostal, Hispanic Catholic, Church of Christ, Holiness, two AFR stations on the radio. Seriously, even the Jews around here keep a low profile.


All my daughter's friends are Christians, and a fair cut of them are Fundamentalists. Her favorite teacher is a rabid member of the Harry-Potter-Teaches-Witchcraft Crowd. I worry about this, 'cause I caught fundyism from a friend, and that was enough to regally screw with my head.


But, being where we are, if I'm going to shelter her from fundamentalism, I'm going to have to raise her in isolation.


I don't think that's fair.


I also think that trying to shelter kids from fundy-ism is, basically, just picking up the fundies' behavior. They want Harry Potter off the library shelves and rock'n'roll off the airwaves so they won't have to worry about their kids being exposed to "un-Godly" influences.


That's not right. They think they're protecting their kids, but censoring life to try to ensure that your kids end up with your POV just isn't right. IMO anyway.


It's not right for them to do it; it's not right for us to do it either.


Besides that, how many fundy kids have you met who go totally off the deep end once they're 14 or 16 or 18 and their parents can't shelter them any more??


So, what I'm doing is exposing her to everything she would naturally come into contact with anyway. I explain to her what I'm doing, and why, on the Solstices and Equinoxes and cross-quarters, and every time one of my friends calls me up crying asking for strength or judgment or protection or whatever. I explain my religious reasons for organic gardening and recycling and not driving into town on a whim. I explain the Hindu symbolism that's hanging around my house. I tell her the Christmas story and the Easter story, and I tell her stories from other mythologies that work with them. I read to her from a book of Bible stories, and I tell her what other people think, and I tell her what I think, and I ask her what she thinks. We listen to AFR sometimes, and I talk to her about what they're talking about and why it bothers me.


I try not to worry that the answers to the vast majority of my "What do you think, K?" questions are still usually, "I don't know." As much as I want her to go out in this very scary world already armored with a strong understanding, she's six. To have that at this point, I would have had to start indoctrinating her at birth. It's enough that she does seem to think.


I've been teaching her out of a book called The Sacred Tree, which is a synthesis of life lessons from indiginous religions around the world. Being a mongrel-Anglo American, I worry that it's some kind of immoral cultural theft. But the book talks about universal things, like detatchment and volition and discipline and respect. As far as I'm concerned, good values are good values, and Catholicism pretty much killed my ethnicity's indiginous religion, and anyway the whole Celtic Reconstruction thing really doesn't appeal to me, so I've got to get it somewhere.


I don't expect it to be without conflict.


But I do this because it is what feels right to me.


Every choice you can make is going to have consequences, and some of them are going to be less than pleasant.


Figure out what feels right to you, and deal with the consequences as they come up.




Good luck.

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Guest BaylorBear
This is a very difficult time for me and I do not want to cause a rift between myself and my parents, especiallly since they love their grandbaby so much! ANY ADVICE? My one inclination is to treat Jesus like Santa Claus. Maybe let him believe in it when he is little (there was a guy who walked on water and fed 600 people with 2 fish and a half empty can of pop) but then explain to him when he is older that it's all fake and that only children and idiots believe in that stuff.


Hmmmm. So you want to "brainwash" your son and have him biased against religion, and in particular Christians. In other words, do you really want to raise a bigot? Don't most people rail against religious bigotry? I wouldn't call Pope JPII, or his successor idiots at all. JP knew dozens of languages, and Benedict has a very good intellect. Secular bigotry is just as bad as religious bigotry.

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Part of me wants to protect my boy, but then I step back and think. I really feel that I personally have a much better perspective on life since I WAS a Catholic. It showed me what ignorance is out there and opened my eyes to the true pandemic that is organized religion. I want my son to see the truth, but I also really feel strongly about the "good" values set forth in most religions (love thy neighbor, don't cheat on your spouse, blah blah blah). He needs to see it first hand in order to understand why it is wrong and how the MAJORITY OF THE WORLD is being brainwashed from an early age. It's a very difficult thing to comprehend and I don't know when to start talking to him about it.


You can still teach your son good values without Christianity. Did you ever think about going to a Unitarian Universalist church. Everyone can pretty much believe whatever they want. They study different religions and have classes for small children that emphasize ,"doing good unto others..." without all the dogma.


Christianity has a lot of good teaching but it comes at a price. Lower self-esteem, fear of hell, doing good deeds out of fear/obligation, overreverance for authority figures, shame, ect.

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This is a very difficult time for me and I do not want to cause a rift between myself and my parents, especiallly since they love their grandbaby so much!


My mother wouldn't back off and harassed me to the point where I had to disown her. Haven't spoken to her in 2 years. Not saying you'll have to go there. But since your asking, based on what you've told me, I think your parents are going to force you into a position where you are going to have to cause a rift whether you like it or not.

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Mom tackle here..

1. Explain to your mother that you don't want your son indoctrinated into a belief system he is far to young to understand.

2. Forbid her to discuss religion with your son, give back the veggitales movies / shows and explain these are not appropriate for your son.

3. Let her know you want your son to be able to make up his own mind about religion when he is old enough to critically analyze the issue and decide for himself if he wants to become part of that group.

4. Let her know you love her but cannot condone her church and do not want your son prejudiced by her beliefs.


I had a similar problem when my youngest daughter was 3 with a friend whose child kept preaching to my daughter, I went to them and explained I did not want their beliefs in my household. We aren't friends anymore.

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