Understanding Mormon Vocabulary

Understanding Mormon Vocabulary

Understanding Mormon Vocabulary

  [PDF]

Over the past year, in articles that I have been publishing on the ministry web site, I have included the text of some tracts that were written and published in the early years of ‘Take Heed’ Ministries.

These articles have related to PURGATORY, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE, THE HARE KRISHNAS, YOGA, THE NEW AGE MOVEMENT and JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES and JESUS.

The relevant articles for these can be accessed on –

http://www.takeheed.info/pdf/November-2014/Purgatory.pdf 

http://www.takeheed.info/pdf/November-2014/Christian-Science.pdf

http://www.takeheed.info/pdf/December-2014/Hare-Krishnas.pdf 

http://www.takeheed.info/pdf/December-2014/Yoga.pdf 

http://www.takeheed.info/pdf/2015/February/New-Age-Movement.pdf 

http://www.takeheed.info/pdf/2015/March/Jehovah-Witnesses-and-Jesus.pdf

This article will include the text of the remaining tract published in those early days of ‘Take Heed’ Ministries and it was titled ‘’Understanding Mormon Vocabulary’. One of the difficulties with assessing the views of differing religious groupings such as ‘The Mormons’ is that they use vocabulary that is familiar to true Christians but the problem is that they actually define that vocabulary in distinctly scripturedenying or scripture-contradicting terms.

This is the text of my tract –

“Understanding Mormon Vocabulary”

“There be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ “ Galatians 1: 7

 

INTRODUCTION

Following my conversion in August 1984 God has brought me along a road which has led me to take a special interest in cults, religious movements and trends. When I first encountered Mormonism the language used by their missionaries and members sounded to me to be orthodox and biblical but upon further investigation I discovered that although the Mormons use words and expressions found in traditional Christian churches they actually mean very different things to the Mormon. In the film, ‘The Temple of the Godmakers’ it is stated that each year over 70% of converts to Mormonism come from a traditional Christian church background. How and why is this happening? I believe it is because many people are deceived by the Mormon vocabulary into thinking that they are simply joining another denomination which constitutes part of the true church which Jesus Christ promised to build. This leaflet is prayerfully issued to alert people to the deception of Mormonism and to equip God’s people to be better witnesses to “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24)

 

THE ‘GOD’ of MORMONISM

(a) The Mormon Godhead: Consists of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. These are not one god but are three gods. They are the only gods the Mormons worship but Mormonism teaches that there are thousands of other gods throughout the universe. Mormonism is a ‘Polytheistic’ religion: i.e. – based on the worship of more than one god.

(b) God the Eternal Father: Has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s and is called Elohim. He was the ‘spirit child’ of unknown gods. He lived on an unknown planet as an ordinary man and ‘progressed’ to becoming a god and now through ongoing relationships with his heavenly wives continues to populate planet earth. 

(c) Jesus Christ: Was the first ‘spirit child’ of Elohim and is a brother of Lucifer. He appeared on earth in the flesh in a body provided for him as a result of a literal sexual relationship between Elohim and the Virgin Mary. *After finishing the text of this tract I shall give quotes from leading Mormon authorities that affirm this teaching and which often come as surprising news to Mormon Missionaries when I cite them* During his life on earth he (the Mormon Jesus) was said to have had at least 3 wives including Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. His death on the cross simply opened to door to salvation but did not actually save anyone. After his resurrection he went to America to preach the gospel to the “other sheep” of John 10:16. 

(d) The Holy Ghost: Initially was not a member of the Mormon godhead but was included at a later date. He is described by Mormon ‘apostle’ LeGrand Richards as ‘a male personage of spirit’ and by another leading Mormon, Heber C. Kimball as ‘one of the sons of our Father and our God’.

 

THE ‘PRIESTHOODS’ of MORMONISM

(a) The Aaronic Priesthood: Mormonism teaches that its founder Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery who was one of a group known as the ‘three witnesses’ were ordained by John the Baptist in 1829 to ‘the first priesthood even as Aaron’ (Doctrine and Covenants 27:8).

(b) The Melchizedek Priesthood: Mormonism teaches that at an unknown date the apostles, Peter, James and John restored the Mechizedek priesthood and conferred it upon early leaders in the Mormon church.

The Melchizedek priesthood is regarded as a higher order than the Aaronic priesthood. Male Mormons over the age of 12 years who are considered to be living worthily are eligible for ordination to the priesthood.

The Mormon church has a structured organisation with various offices such as ‘Stake President’, High Priest’, Bishop’ and ‘Elder’ and membership of the priesthood is a necessary qualification for these positions.

Until ‘God’ gave a special ‘revelation’ to Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball on 9th June 1978, members of the negro race had been ineligible for ordination to the priesthood.

 

THE ‘SALVATION’ of MORMONISM

**After finishing the text of this tract I will give some more information on the Mormon understanding of ‘SALVATION’

Expressed simply, Mormonism teaches that a person can be saved by the grace of God in return for having lived a life which merits such a response from God. It teaches a plan of ‘salvation’ along these lines

… Works merit grace which saves…

This teaching is best expressed in this quotation from the Book of Mormon… ‘for we know that it is by grace that we are saved AFTER all we can do’ (2nd Nephi 25:23).

The works referred to are described in Article 3 of the Articles of Faith of the Mormon church as ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel’ and include –

1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (the Mormon ‘Jesus’ of course).

2. Repentance.

3. Baptism by immersion for ‘new birth’ and ‘remission of sins’.

4. Laying on of hands for the gist of the Holy Ghost.

Mormon ‘salvation’ can also be obtained for people who have already died by having someone alive baptised on their behalf. This explains the endless genealogical research carried on by the Mormons. Failure by relatives to attend to this matter on behalf of their deceased relations can imperil their own ‘salvation’.

Mormon ‘Temple Marriage’ is also taught as being ‘absolutely necessary to obtain the highest exaltation in the Kingdom of God’ according to Mormon, Milton R Hunter. In clear, unambiguous language he was explaining the teaching of Section 132 of the Mormon book ‘Doctrine and Covenants’.

 

THE ‘HEAVEN’ of MORMONISM

Mormonism teaches that there are three different ‘heavenly’ kingdoms

(a) Celestial Kingdom: This is only for Mormons who have lived worthy lives in obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Mormon gospel.

(b) Terrestrial Kingdom: This is for good people who have lived honourable lives but who did not accept the Mormon gospel.

(c) Telestial Kingdom: This is where the vast majority of wicked people will go after a period of ‘burning purification’ in what can only be described as a ‘Mormon purgatory’. Eternal punishment will only befall the devil and his followers who were cast out of heaven plus a small number of particularly evil people called the ‘sons of perdition’.

 

THE ‘PROMISE’ of MORMONISM

The promise to Mormons who achieve the highest exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom is Godhood itself. This is summed up in the well-known Mormon saying –

As man is, God once was; As God is, man may become. Mormonism says “Ye shall be as Gods”.

 

CONCLUSION

Space prevents giving any kind of in-depth biblical analysis of these various teachings of Mormonism but I would like to make a few brief comments in respect of each section and my prayer is that these few thoughts will be helpful to believers and also to any earnest, seeking Mormon who may happen in the providence of God to read through this leaflet. As we approach these thoughts let us remember the words of the Apostle Paul who wrote concerning the Word of God “the holy scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15)

GOD

The Word of God teaches that God has always existed as God. He has been and is unchangeable and so He has not arrived at being God through a process of progression. In support of these truths I would point to these words of scripture –

“From everlasting to everlasting thou art God” (Psalm 90:2)

“I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6)

God has revealed Himself as one God and in the Godhead are three co-equal, coeternal persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As a help to understanding ‘The Trinity’ I would recommend the book ‘The Three are One’ by Stuart Olyott (published by Evangelical Press). This one God is the only true God and there are no other gods.

“Before me there was no God formed neither shall there be after me” (Isaiah 43:10)

“Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God, I know not any” (Isaiah 44:8)

“I am the Lord and there is none else. There is no God beside me” (Isaiah 45:5)  

 

PRIESTHOODS

The Aaronic priesthood was made redundant by the finished sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross and Jesus Himself now holds the position of our great High Priest in heaven. This position is being described as “unchangeable” (Hebrews 7:24) (i.e. cannot be transferred) and “after the order of Melchizedec” (Hebrews 7:17). A careful study of Hebrews 7 will confirm these wonderful truths. All true believers in this life are described by the Apostle Peter as “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9).

SALVATION

Salvation is by GRACE ALONE and good works play NO part in our salvation.

“For by GRACE are ye saved through faith… NOT of works” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“NOT by works of righteousness which we have done but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5)

“The gospel of the GRACE of God” (Acts 20:24)

 

HEAVEN

There is a heavenly kingdom prepared for all who are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

“Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34)

There is everlasting punishment prepared for those who die unsaved in their sins.

“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46)

 

THE PROMISE

“Ye shall be as gods” was a lie when spoken by the devil in Genesis 3:5 and it is still a lie today. When the redeemed of all ages gather round the Lamb of God to sing His praises, He shall be their God BUT they shall be and always will be His people, not gods.

“Behold the tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them and they shall be HIS PEOPLE and GOD Himself will be with them and BE THEIR GOD” (Revelation 21:3)

*Earlier I wrote in the text of the tract concerning the Mormon ‘Jesus Christ’*

‘He appeared on earth in the flesh in a body provided for him as a result of a literal sexual relationship between Elohim and the Virgin Mary’

And I promised to cite quotes from leading Mormon authorities that affirm this teaching and these are the quotes

Brigham Young [Successor to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism] in ‘Journal of Discourses 1860’ (Vol:8 p 115) – ‘The birth of our Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children: it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood – was begotten of his father as we were of our fathers’.

Brigham Young [Successor to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism] in ‘Journal of Discourses 1857’ (Vol:4 p 218) – ‘When the time came that His first born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle (body) the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it’.

Brigham Young [Successor to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism] in ‘Journal of Discourses’ (Vol:1 p 151) – ‘Now remember from this time forth and for ever that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost’.
Joseph Fielding Smith [10th President of the Mormon Church] in ‘Doctrines of Salvation’ (Vol:1 p19) – ‘They tell us the Book of Mormon states that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost. I challenge that statement. The Book of Mormon teaches no such thing! Neither does the bible.’

Joseph Fielding Smith [10th President of the Mormon Church] in ‘Doctrines of Salvation’ (Vol:1 p18) – ‘Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man and that Man was God’.
Heber C Kimball [one of the original Mormon “Twelve Apostles”] in ‘Journal of Discourses’ (Vol:8 p211) – ‘I was naturally begotten; so was my father and also my Saviour Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh and there is nothing unnatural about it’.

Quote from ‘Family Home Evening Manual’ (1972 Edition: p125) – ‘Well, now for the benefit of the older ones, how are children begotten? I answer – just as Jesus Christ was begotten of his father’.

Bruce R McConkie [one of the Mormon “Twelve Apostles” until 1985] in ‘Mormon Doctrine’ (1966 Edition: p 546-547) – ‘These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers’.

Bruce R McConkie [one of the Mormon “Twelve Apostles” until 1985] in ‘Mormon Doctrine’ (1966 Edition: p 742) – ‘And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy being; he was born in the same personal, real and literal sense that any son is born to a mortals father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal natural course of events…Christ is the Son of Man, meaning that his Father (the Eternal God) is a Holy Man’.

**Earlier I wrote in the text of the tract concerning the ‘Salvation’ of Mormonism**

‘After finishing the text of this tract I will give some more information on the Mormon understanding of  SALVATION’

‘Salvation’ is certainly one single word that can cause confusion when comparing the Mormon understanding of the word and the biblical Christian’s understanding of the word. For the biblical Christian ‘salvation’ has a singular meaning namely that because of faith alone in the substitutionary life and death of Christ the wrath of God has been removed from him/her and they have full assurance of being eternally with Christ in the glory to come (see John 3:36 and Colossians 1:27).

However, for a Mormon, the word ‘salvation’ has two separate dimensions/meanings to it and to best explain these dimensions/meanings

I want to quote the following sources.

Let me begin with an official Mormon publication called ‘Gospel Principles’ and in it we read the following (pp 68-69) –

‘Christ’s atonement and resurrection brings resurrection to all. On the third day after his crucifixion Christ took up his body again and became the first person to be resurrected… Christ thus overcame physical death. Because of his atonement all persons born on this earth will be resurrected. In the same way Jesus was resurrected so our spirits will be reunited with our bodies. This condition is called immortality…

The atonement makes it possible for those who repent to be saved from their sins… We accept Christ’s atonement by repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and obeying all of the commandments. In this way we are cleansed from sin and we become worthy to return and live forever with our Heavenly Father… Christ did his part to atone for our sins. Each of us must repent and obey to make Christ’s atonement effective in our lives’

Then later we read – (pp 289-293)

‘When we lived with our Heavenly Father he explained a plan for progression to us, his spirit children. We could become like him, an exalted being. The plan required that we be separated from our Heavenly Father and come to the earth. This separation was necessary to prove whether we would obey our Father’s commandments… The plan provided that when earth life was ended we would be judged and rewarded according to the degree of our obedience. We would then be assigned the place we had earned for our eternal home… Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life that God lives… We can become Gods like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation… Our Heavenly Father glories in the fact that it is possible for his children to become like him… Latter-day Saints are taught that now is the time to fulfil the requirements for exaltation… There are specific ordinances we must have received to be exalted… there are also many laws we have to obey to qualify for exaltation…

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught ‘When you climb up a ladder you must begin at the bottom and ascend step by step until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel – you must begin with the first and go on until you learn the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil [died] before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith: pp 347-348).

As I was typing up these Mormon quotes, two portions of God’s Word, that stand in complete contrast to these Mormon ‘Gospel Principles’, came to mind

In Acts 16: 25-31 we read “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately the doors were opened and everyone’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice saying; Do thyself no harm, for we are all here. Then he called for a light and sprang in and came trembling and fell down before Paul and Silas. And brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”

In 1 John 5:13 we read “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”.

Reflecting back on the Mormon quotations from ‘Gospel Principles’ we see that for them there is firstly a ‘General Salvation’ guaranteed to all by ‘Christ’s atonement and resurrection’ namely resurrection and immortality. Then, because of Christ’s ‘atonement’ there is the possibility of ‘Personal Salvation’ conditional upon keeping and obeying faithfully and fully a whole series of ordinances and commandments.

I hope the contrast between these ‘Gospel Principles’ and the scriptures I have quoted from Acts 16 and 1 John 5 will be plain for all to see.

Now, taking up these distinctions between ‘General Salvation’ and ‘Personal Salvation’ let me quote from an excellent book called ‘Mormon Claims Answered’. It was written by Marvin W Cowan, a former Mormon whose relatives were among the Mormon pioneers who settled in Utah. His book can be obtained via his ministry web site located on http://www.utahchristianpub.org/ On page 102 we read –

Two Kinds of Salvation

Joseph Fielding Smith (10th prophet of the Mormon Church) wrote

‘Salvation is twofold: General – that which comes to all men irrespective of a belief (in this life) in Christ – and Individual – that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel’ (Doctrines of Salvation: Vol. 1 p 134)
(Apostle) James Talmage also said

‘The first effect (of the atonement) is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins. As these sins are the result of individual acts, it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditional on individual compliance with prescribed requirements – obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel’ (Articles of Faith: p 87)

In his book ‘Letters to a Mormon Elder’ the director of ‘Alpha and Omega Ministries’ James R White wrote the following on pages 334-335 –

‘As I mentioned earlier, you (the Mormon Elder to whom Mr White is writing) believe in two different kinds of salvation. The first is “universal” or “general” salvation which is basically the same as resurrection. Bruce R McConkie [one of the Mormon “Twelve Apostles” until 1985] commented –
‘Immortality is a free gift and comes without works of any sort; all men will come forth in the resurrection because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ… In this sense, the mere fact of resurrection is called salvation by grace alone. Works are not involved, neither the works of the Mosaic Law nor the works of righteousness that go with the fullness of the gospel (Mormon Doctrine: p 671)

But I am not talking to you simply about rising from the dead. I am talking to you about what the New Testament teaches – how one obtains full and complete salvation. I am not talking about “exaltation” as there is no such thing taught in the bible. I am talking about being with Christ for eternity, walking with God, being right with Him. McConkie went on to talk about “exaltation” and explained –

‘Salvation in the celestial kingdom of God, however, is not salvation by grace alone. Rather it is salvation by grace coupled with obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel… Immortality comes by grace alone, but those who gain it may find themselves damned in eternity’ (Mormon Doctrine: p 671).

So, the “highest” form of salvation in Mormon thought is not based solely on God’s grace, but instead requires works of law – continued obedience to the “laws and ordinances of the gospel” (whatever they might be).’
Finally, a glossary resource on ‘Understanding Mormon Vocabulary’ in a number of areas, including ‘salvation’, can be accessed on https://carm.org/mormon-definitions

ADDITIONAL VIDEO/AUDIO RESOURCES ON MORMONISM

By way of conclusion to this article I felt it might be helpful to supply links to a number of video/audio items that can mostly be accessed on the ministry YouTube site and they are as follows –

‘MORMONS in IRELAND’ VIDEO
This 1992 video gives details of Mormon Missionaries and was of particular interest to me as the ‘Mission field’ assigned to them was Ireland and several were then subsequently sent to Lisburn, a city which is only about 7 miles from where I live.

A few sections to look out for are from 7.16 – 9.00 when ‘President Jensen’ relates the rather ‘fanciful’ history detailed in the Book of Mormon of people escaping from the Middle East and travelling to the Americas. This ‘fanciful’ history is well refuted in the excellent video ‘DNA vs. The Book of Mormon’ that can be viewed on

The other sections to look out for are from 12.00 – 13.47 and 17.51 – 21.13. These sections aptly illustrate the ‘false gospel’ of Mormonism that is all about what people must do rather than what Christ has done.

This ‘Mormons in Ireland’ video can be accessed on 

‘MORMON TREK’ VIDEO

This 1997 video focuses on a re-enactment that took place to mark the 150th anniversary of the famous ‘Mormon trek’ which itself took place in 1847 and that eventually, under the leadership of Brigham Young, brought those early ‘Mormon pioneers’ to finally settle in what is now Salt Lake City in Utah.

Two points of interest to note here. Firstly at 15.03 there is reference to the subject of ‘Polygamy’ which was and has continued to be a very controversial subject where Mormonism is concerned. I shall shortly give links to two videos that examine this subject of ‘Polygamy’ from firstly personal and then fundamentalist viewpoints.

The second point of interest is a statement made at 21.10 that highlights the cultic requirements within Mormonism of ‘obedience and subjugation’ – traits associated with most of the groups indentified as ‘cults’.

This ‘Mormon Trek’ video can be accessed on

‘PERSONAL POLYGAMY’ VIDEO
This 1999 ‘Personal Polygamy’ video can be accessed on

WARNING: Explicit sexual language between 39-40 minutes
‘FUNDAMENTALIST POLYGAMY’ VIDEO
This 1998 ‘Fundamentalist Polygamy’ video can be accessed on 

On this whole subject of ‘Polygamy’ the following words from the helpful book ‘The Changing World of Mormonism’ (p 287) by Jerald and Sandra Tanner are I think most instructive –

‘Is it any wonder that many Mormon people are confused over the practice of Polygamy? They are taught that Joseph Smith entered polygamy in “virtue and purity of heart” yet they are taught that if they follow his example they are living in “Adultery”. The Mormon people are taught that plural marriage is still practiced in heaven… Apostle Orson Pratt once stated “Does not everything that is consistent and reasonable and everything that agrees with the Bible show that plurality of wives must exist after the resurrection? It does…” (Journal of Discourses: Vol. 14 pp 244-245). Since the Mormon people are taught that polygamy was right in Joseph Smith’s time and that it will be practiced in heaven, is it any wonder that many of them are entering into the practice today? As long as Mormon leaders continue to publish Joseph smith’s revelations on polygamy (Doctrine and Covenants: 132) there will, no doubt, be many people who will enter into the practice’.

‘THE OSMONDS’ VIDEO

Probably the best known Mormon family would be ‘The Osmonds’ and this video looks closely at their rise to musical fame within the framework of their Mormon religion. It is actually around 17.35 that Mormonism first gets a mention and at 17.39 we hear the false assertion ‘Mormons are Christians’.

Some years ago I actually wrote to Donny Osmond in the wake of another TV programme about their family and if you would like to read those exchanges (taken up on Donny’s behalf by a Bev Qualheim) you can access them on the following link –

http://www.takeheed.info/news-from-the-front-september-2003/ (Scroll down to ‘Dialoguing with Donny)

This 1997 ‘The Osmonds’ video can be accessed on

‘Cecil’s AUDIO talk on Mormonism’

This talk given by Cecil in Randalstown some years ago can be accessed on

‘Cecil’s VIDEO talk on Mormonism’

This talk given by Cecil in Calvary Baptist some years ago can be accessed on

(Runs from start – 22.17)

A further and final video that provides helpful information (not posted on our ministry YouTube site) is titled ‘Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith’ and it can be viewed on this link –

http://www.goodnewsforlds.com/video.html

My hopes and prayers for this article are twofold – (1) That God’s true people will be better equipped to witness lovingly and effectively to those deceived and ultimately damned by the false meanings given to ‘Mormon Vocabulary’ and (2) That any practising Mormons who might in the providence of God ‘happen’ upon this article might be by God’s spirit ‘weaned away’ from the deception of ‘Mormon Vocabulary’ and brought to a true saving knowledge of the true Jesus Christ of the Bible who is the singular, self-declared “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 18th July 2016

 

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