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Question and Answer 12

285: On 1/24/98, Vincent asked: Do you believe you can lose your salvation if you do a sin?

Latter-day Saints believe that enduring to the end, or remaining faithful to the laws and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout life, is a fundamental requirement for salvation in the kingdom of God. The Prophet Ezekiel taught:

"But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, [and] doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked [man] doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die." (The Holy Bible, Ezekiel 18:24)

Also, the Doctrine and Covenants teaches:

"And we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength. But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God; Therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation; Yea, and even let those who are sanctified take heed also." (D&C 20:31-4)

284: On 1/24/98, Vincent asked: Do you believe in eternal salvation given freely by God through His son Jesus Christ?

Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ offered his life, including his innocent body, blood, and spiritual anguish as a redeeming ransom (1) for the effect of the Fall of Adam upon all mankind and (2) for the personal sins of all who repent, from Adam to the end of the world. (See Salvation; The Atonement of Jesus Christ home page)

283: On 1/24/98, a visitor asked: I was just wondering what the LDS view is regarding tattoos. Are they acceptable?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"Tattoos are permanent marks or designs made on the skin by puncturing it and filling the punctures with indelible ink. The practice is a desecration of the human body and should not be permitted, unless all that is involved is the placing of a blood type or an identification number in an obscure place. (Deut. 14:1.) Latter-day Saint servicemen in particular are counseled to avoid the pitfalls of tattooing. Persons who are tattooed are not, however, denied the ordinances and blessings of the temples." (Mormon Doctrine, p.775)

(Also see Physical Body)

282: On 1/24/98, Brian asked: I am trying to find information on concepts regarding the telestial kingdom and hell, more particularly on how the two actually differ. Different individuals whom I have asked give have given me contradictory versions. Perhaps you yourself could enlighten me, or at least point me in the right direction. Thanks!

Latter-day Saints believe that hell is the miserable, but temporary, state of disobedient spirits in the spirit world awaiting the resurrection. All those who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ will be sent to hell to be cleansed from their sins. As soon as a person has paid the full price for his or her sins, he or she will be released from hell into a state of glory [or happiness]. The degree of glory depends upon the type of life that a person lived while in mortality. The Telestial Kingdom is the lowest of the three degrees of glory to be inhabited by God's children in the afterlife following the resurrection. Only those who have committed the unpardonable sin will remain unredeemed in hell.

281: On 1/24/98, Byron asked: Hi, I am planning to write a letter to a Mormon Church in my area--I was wondering if they send Mormon missionaries to my house in response to my letter? If I specifically asked the Church not to send missionaries, would they respect my wishes? My dad does not want them to come to my house. In fact, he blew up on me tonight for even writing to them. I simply told him that I was writing for information--and he retorted saying, "Well, they better not send any Mormons to our house or I'll be extremely angry!"

If your letter states that you do not want to be visited by missionaries, then missionaries will not be sent in response to your letter.

280: On 1/24/98, Anna asked:One of my family members is practicing things that are not accepted by the church. I would like to confront her about these, but I do not feel it is my place to judge her. After all, I am not perfect myself. I don't want to cause strife between us. Is it my "duty" to say something to her, or is it best left alone?

'Stewardship' in LDS vocabulary is responsibility given through the Lord to act in behalf of others. It is based on the understanding that all things ultimately belong to the Lord, whether property, time, talents, families, or capacity for service within the Church organization.

In certain instances, individuals have a responsibility to correct other people and encourage them to be more diligent in their duties or live in a more righteous manner. Examples include a parent correcting a child or a bishop correcting another member of his ward. However, unless we have been given such a stewardship, we should avoid judging or disciplining others. The Savior told us:

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (The Holy Bible, Matthew 7:1-5)

It is always more constructive for us to focus on our own faults then on the weaknesses and sins of others. The best way for us to deal with the errant ways of others is usually to simply be a good example of the benefits of righteous living. Does this mean that we should always avoid counseling others who are not placed officially into our stewardship? No. In Matthew 7:5, the Lord states ".... first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (emphasis added). When we are clean before the Lord, we enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will often whisper constructive ways that we can assist our brothers and sisters in the journey to eternal life. The Spirit may enlighten us as to how we can phrase good advice so that others may not be offended and also be enlightened thereby. (Also see Charity; Voice of Warning)

279: On 1/18/98, Bob asked: Hi, It is my understanding that it is a Mormon belief that when you pass on from this earth, you go to another planet. The planet will be populated by God and you become the deity of this planet. Is this a Mormon belief? If so, where is this found in the original Bible?

Latter-day Saints believe that when people die their spirits enter the Spirit World, which is located here on this earth, to await their resurrection. In their resurrection, their physical bodies will be reunited with their spirit bodies in an inseparable union. Afterwards, they shall face final judgment by Jesus Christ. The Lord will reward his faithful disciples with the opportunity to grow and progress into exaltation and eternal life.

One of the cardinal teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that the ultimate desire of a loving Supreme Being is to help his children enjoy all that he enjoys. For Latter-day Saints, the term "godhood" denotes the attainment of such a state—one of having all divine attributes and doing as God does and being as God is.

The concept of deification is found throughout the Bible. (See Biblical Support for Deification)

278: On 1/18/98, Lisa asked: I'd like to learn about the significance of "The Pearl of Great Price." I'm a non-LDS member, but have heard of the publication and would like to understand it. Is there something about this on your web site?

The Pearl of Great Price consists of a diverse collection of sacred works that are accepted as scripture by Latter-day Saints. (See The Pearl of Great Price home page)

277: On 1/18/98, Andrew asked: If a Mormon does not ever enter a temple (and do the rituals, etc. executed there), he/she cannot attain deification. Most Mormons do not enter temples. Is the afterlife you receive by entering a temple (deification) considered 'better' than the afterlife received if you do NOT enter a temple?

The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:

"In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase." (D&C 131:1-4)

Only those people who have been sealed in the temple will have the opportunity for an eternal marriage. Only those couples who are true and faithful to the covenants that they made in the temple will realize that eternal relationship. Latter-day Saints believe that living in an eternal family unit is better than living singly and outside of a family unit.

(See Teachings About the Temple home page; Godhood; Eternal lives; Eternal Increase; Teachings About the Afterlife home page; Teachings About Marriage home page)

276: On 1/16/98, a visitor asked: I know that you have to reach a spiritual maturity to be recommended for entrance into the Temple. My question is: If Mormonism is the religion that has all the answers to how to get to heaven, why will you not let everyone into the Temple to hear the good news? What gives the Church the right to say who will hear "The Truth" and who will not?

The Church invites all people everywhere to complete the prerequisites necessary to enter the temple. It should be noted that Latter-day Saints have an extensive missionary program to spread the good news of the gospel. (See Why is a Temple Recommend Required to Enter the Temple?; Missionary Work home page)

275: On 1/16/98, a visitor asked: what is the church's official stand on the Bible?

The Articles of Faith state:

"We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly ...." (Eighth Article of Faith; see The Holy Bible home page)

274: On 1/16/98, a visitor asked: In the 70's I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints. However, due to marital conflicts, I was forced to give up attending services, and am no longer a church member. (I am a 44 year old wife and mother) I would very much like to return, but have no idea whom to contact or how to go about it. Will I have to receive instructions again? Will I be welcome? I have so many questions, and no one to ask at the moment. I would appreciate any information you could send me. Thank you.

Inactive or former members are always welcome to return to the Church. All you need to do is find a local congregation in your area and show up for services. You can look in your phone book or use the link at the bottom of our Welcome page. When you attend Church services, you can discuss your situation and desires with the congregation's Bishop.

273: On 1/16/98, a visitor asked: Does the Church have any official stance on body piercing? I would assume no denouncing of ear piercing, but what about other body parts, like noses or tongues or parts I don't like to think about?

To the best of my knowledge, the Church has never issued any official stand specifically addressing body piercing. However, Church leaders have always taught against "extremes in clothing and appearance." (See For the Strength of Youth) The scriptures and teachings of Church leaders clearly call for us to avoid dress designed to gain attention and approval. Instead, we are called upon to dress "neat and comely" (See Alma 1:27, and also Isaiah Chapter 3).

Is body piercing an "extreme" style or is it "neat and comely"? Church members must decide for themselves. Two of the guiding principles of the gospel are agency [choice] and accountability. It is interesting to note that earrings are banned for men at Church-owned colleges because they are considered extreme. One question to ask is -- Can you imagine someone speaking at General Conference who has undergone body piercing?

In addition to the "extreme" issue, there is another principle to consider. Church leaders have always taught that we should have reverential respect for our physical bodies. For example, President Stephen L Richards taught:

"God has given us everything we have in life. He has made it possible for us to live in mortality. It is by reason of his beneficence that we enjoy our very bodies. We who believe in the gospel know that God is the Father of our spirits, and that as the Father of our spirits he has permitted them to dwell in tabernacles of flesh. These tabernacles assume a holy significance, and a man with such a conception cannot pollute or defile his body without offering affront to God who gave it to him. So I plead first for a more reverential respect for the body of man. It is a sacred temple wherein dwells our eternal spirit, and it is entitled to our utmost deference and reverence." (Conference Report, October 1928, p.96)

In summary, to my knowledge, Latter-day Saints have not been specifically prohibited against body piercing. Instead, as in many other cases, Church leaders have given us correct principles and let us govern ourselves.

272: On 1/7/98, Jayne asked: Do you believe in the 7 gifts of The Holy Spirit and do you speak in tongues? Interpretation of tongues? If not, why not?

As stated in our Articles of Faith, Latter-day Saints believe in the Gifts of the Spirit:

"We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth." (7th Article of Faith)

271: On 1/7/98, Keith asked: What are the steps to have the sealing canceled. Then what happens to the children that were born under the covenant? Where do they go or who do they still belong to?

The First Presidency may cancel temple sealings when the circumstances of a request for cancellation warrant it. Sealings are usually canceled only when one or both spouses have committed very serious transgressions (e.g., adultery, child abuse, etc.). In most cases where a sealing is canceled, one or both spouses are also excommunicated from the Church for the transgression. (See Cancellation of Sealings; Disciplinary Procedures)

It is important to remember that only exalted beings will live in family units in eternity. Children will stay in the family unit of the righteous spouse. If neither spouse is righteous, then the children will be adopted into another eternal family. (Also see Born in the Covenant)

270: On 1/7/98, a visitor asked: why is d+c for the polygamy and Jacob in the book of Mormon is against it ? is there a conflict ?

The Book of Mormon states:

"Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts. Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes. For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things." (Jacob 2:27-30, emphasis added)

Please note that while critics often claim the Book of Mormon condemns plural marriage, a careful reading of the text shows that this interpretation is incorrect. The Lord condemns plural marriage when the practice is used to gratify lustful desires for sensuality. Such perversion of a sacred doctrine violates the Lord's standards on sexuality. However, at times a divine commandment is given to "raise up seed unto" God. In such cases, the practice is not only approved, but the necessary prerequisites (e.g., patience, love, humility) leads the practitioners into deeper sanctification. (Also see Why Did Joseph Smith Preach Against Plural Marriage?)

269: On 1/7/98, Deanne asked: Are men still allowed to be sealed to more than one women? I've heard they have to get the permission of the women he is sealed to, is that correct?

Latter-day Saints can presently be married to only one woman at a time. However, during the nineteenth-century, LDS men were allowed to marry more than one wife under certain conditions. (See Plural Marriage home page)

However, if a man becomes a widower, then he may be sealed to a another woman in the temple. The sealing to his second wife would not affect the sealing to his first wife. He would be sealed to both of them and both would be his wives in eternity [assuming worthiness on the part of each individual]. If a man is divorced, he cannot be sealed in the temple to another woman unless he has clearance from Church authorities. Divorce is a very serious issue and those who break their covenants may not be given another opportunity to enter into eternal marriage. Assuming permission were granted from Church authorities, additional permission from a former spouse would not be required. (See Teachings About Marriage home page)

268: On 1/4/98, Hassan asked: When was Jesus Christ born, its not Dec 25 I know that much.

The LDS Church has not taken an official position on the issue of the year of Christ's birth. Some Church leaders have taught that the Lord was born on April 6, based upon certain implicit phrasings in the Doctrine and Covenants. Others have stated without a more explicit revelation we cannot know for sure. (See Birth of Christ)

267: On 1/4/98, a visitor asked: Is sex allowed before marriage?

No, Latter-day Saints are taught to avoid all sexual contact before marriage. (See Teachings About Sexuality home page)

266: On 1/4/98, a visitor asked: I would like to know if Mormons have any beliefs about circumcision.

In modern times, Joseph Smith affirmed the perpetuity of the Abrahamic Covenant and defended the integrity of Judaism. Today, however, if Latter-day Saint males are circumcised, it is for cleanliness and health, not religious, reasons. (See Circumcision)

265: On 1/4/98, Aaron asked: My mother has been a Mormon since 1963. Just last week she told me she ran into a member of the Church who is claiming to "balance Shakra." My mom is paying $65 per visit to this woman. The woman is also claiming to be putting together pamphlets on Shakra for the general authorities....Any information you could give me on the Church accepting this kind of activity from its members would be helpful.

The Church has never issued any statement on "balancing Shakra." However, many New Age practices are not consistent with the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition, many of them are specifically condemned by the scriptures. The General Authorities of the Church, who hold the true priesthood power of God, would be very unlikely to be interested in false substitutes. I suggest you investigate this claim more in-depth by asking some specific questions (e.g., Which specific general authorities requested these pamphlets? Why are you implying that LDS leaders approve of this practice when they do not?) When this claim is proven false, I would ask your mother if she wants to continue associating herself with someone using deceit to sell her expensive services. I would also suggest you discuss this issue with your Bishop or a member of the Stake Presidency. They may be aware of how the Church has counseled members on this issue in the past.

264: On 1/4/98, Peter asked: Why is Paul considered an Apostle by the Mormon church? He was not one of the twelve, and he was ordained by a disciple. If the church does not believe the disciples had the power to pass on the priesthood, why does it believe in the Priesthood of Paul?

Latter-day Saints believe that when Jesus Christ organized his Church he called twelve disciples to serve as special witnesses of his name and also to lead the Church. These twelve disciples formed a body known as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We believe this quorum was intended to be a permanent institution in the Church. As members of the Twelve passed away, they were replaced by other disciples. For example, after the death of Judas Iscariot, Matthias was chosen to assume his place in the quorum:

"And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.'' (The Holy Bible, Acts 1: 24-6)

Many Church leaders have taught that Paul assumed a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles created by the death of another member. For example, President Joseph Fielding Smith taught:

"Paul was an ordained apostle, and without question he took the place of one of the other brethren in that Council." (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, p. 153; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11; Tit. 1:1.)

Who ordained Paul to the Apostleship? Paul was ordained either by Peter, who was the presiding head of the Church, or another Apostle acting under Peter's direction. (See Which Church is Right? by Elder Mark E. Peterson for a more in-depth discussion of apostolic succession)

263: On 1/3/98, Johanna asked: What is the unpardonable sin?

See The Unpardonable Sin

262: On 1/3/98, Helen asked: Please tell me the churches views on Organ Donations?

See Organ Transplants and Donations

261: On 1/3/98, a visitor asked: I have read for many years that there are special undergarments that some Mormons wear. Could you please explain the significance of these undergarments and provide a description of them? Also, are these undergarments for men and women?

See Sacred Garments and The Temple Garment: An Outward Expression of an Inward Ordinance

260: On 1/3/98, Heather asked: I am interested in becoming a member of the Church. I am aware that the customary practice is for me to meet with some local missionaries for study sessions, however; is it possible for me to work with a mentor of sorts with whom I share more instead of the missionaries? Am I better off discussing this the local ward or will I need to stick to the missionaries? The missionaries with whom I have spoken with in the past are unable to answer many of my questions and cannot relate to my point of view or where I am in life.

The Church usually requires that new members take the six discussions from the missionaries prior to baptism. This standard process ensures that everyone receives certain basic information. It is not uncommon for members of a local ward to attend these discussions. I suggest you discuss your concerns with the missionaries and/or the Ward Mission Leader. If you don't know the identity of the Ward Mission Leader, you could talk to the Relief Society President, the Elder's Quorum President, or a member of the Bishopric. It should be fairly easy to meet your needs. (See Joining the Church)

259: On 1/3/98, a visitor asked: I was listening to a Christian TV station and they mentioned The Rapture. Do Mormons believe in The Rapture?

The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology defines Rapture of the Church as "a phrase used by premillennialists to refer to the Church being united with Christ at his second coming..." Latter-day Saints do not use this term in their theology (See Latter-day Saint Vocabulary) However, Latter-day Saints affirm that there is an actual Messiah, that he will come at some future time to the earth, and that only through his coming and the events associated therewith will a millennial age of peace, harmony, and joy begin. (See Second Coming of Jesus Christ home page)

258: On 1/3/98, Chuck asked: Do you know if/where General Conference talks are archived on the internet?

Yes, you can download them from the internet at

257: On 1/3/98, Johanna asked: My question is I have read the part about your final judgment but my question is will your friends be there or will it be more like a Bishops interview? I don't know if you know but I was just curious.

I am not aware of any official source of information that explains the logistical aspects of the final judgment. In other words, the Lord has not explained whether it will be a private and personal interview [like a Bishop's interview] or a very public showing [like a criminal trial]. However, we know that the final judgment will be both perfectly just and perfectly merciful and that the format will be the one most conducive to our personal development. It is possible that the format will be tailored to our individual needs. Obviously, the results of that judgment will be demonstrated to everyone by the glory that we inherit.

256: On 1/3/98, Johanna asked: My question is what do you mean when you say in the Telestial Kingdom .... "And loving to make a lie(but yet do not commit the unpardonable sin)What does that mean does that mean that people who lie and make up lies will never be able to obtain celestial glory? I don't understand the part in Parenthesis.

The full sentence from which you cite is as follows:

"[The Telestial Kingdom] embraces those who on earth willfully reject the gospel of Jesus Christ, and commit serious sins such as murder, adultery, lying, and loving to make a lie (but yet do not commit the unpardonable sin), and who do not repent in mortality." (See Telestial Kingdom article)

In other words, those who willingly reject the gospel and commit serious sin will eventually be redeemed from Hell, as long as they do not commit the unpardonable sin. However, this does not mean that they will inherit the full blessings of exaltation and eternal life. In a vision, the Prophet Joseph Smith saw the glories of the eternity and described them in Doctrine and Covenants Section 76. (See Visions of Joseph Smith) Regarding the Telestial Kingdom, Joseph wrote:

"But behold, and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore; And heard the voice of the Lord saying: These all shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sits upon the throne forever and ever; For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared; And they shall be servants of the Most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end." (D&C 76:109-112)

Does this mean that people who lie will not inherit the Celestial Kingdom? Yes, unrepentant liars do not inherit the blessings of the faithful. After being cleansed in Hell, they are released into a less glorious state of existence (i.e., the Telestial Kingdom). However, if a liar completes the process of repentance and begins to serve the Lord will full purpose of heart, then he or she may be forgiven and also receive a Celestial inheritance. (See Remission of Sins)

255: On 1/3/98, Ricki asked: Hi, could you please tell me or direct me to any official standing on the use of face cards for family games or entertainment?

Church leaders have discouraged card playing by members for two principal reasons. First, the Church condemns gambling, games of chance, and lotteries as moral evils and admonishes its members not to participate in them in any form. Second, members are encouraged to use their time wisely instead of wasting it in frivolous activities. Here are a few representative statements from Church leaders on this subject:

President Joseph F. Smith taught:

"I desire to say to this congregation at this time that I have felt very strongly of late a desire, a responsibility, I may say, resting upon me, to admonish the Latter-day Saints everywhere to cease loitering away their precious time, to cease from all idleness. It is said in the revelations that the idler in Zion shall not eat the bread of the laborer, and there is vastly too much, in some parts—not universally, but there is far too much precious time wasted by the youth of Zion, and perhaps by some that are older and more experienced and who ought to know better, in the foolish, vain and unprofitable practice of card-playing. We hear of card parties here and card parties there, and entertainments where the playing of cards is the principal amusement; and the whole evening is thus wasted. The whole precious time of those who are gathered together on occasions of this kind, aggregating many hours, absolutely wasted. If there was nothing else to be said against this practice, that alone should be sufficient to induce Latter-day Saints not to indulge in this foolish and unprofitable pastime.

Read good books. Learn to sing and to recite, and to converse upon subjects that will be of interest to your associates, and at your social gatherings, instead of wasting the time in senseless practices that lead only to mischief and sometimes to serious evil and wrongdoing; instead of doing this, seek out of the best books knowledge and understanding. Read history. Read philosophy, if you wish. Read anything that is good, that will elevate the mind and will add to your stock of knowledge, that those who associate with you may feel an interest in your pursuit of knowledge and of wisdom."—Oct. C. R., 1903, p. 98.

President Heber J. Grant:

". . . I have read nothing except condemnation of card-playing and the wasting of your time in doing something that brings no good, bodily, intellectually, or in any way, and sometimes leads your children to become gamblers, because they become expert card-players. The Church as a Church requests its members not to play cards. I hope you understand me, and I want you to know that I am speaking for the Church when I ask the people to let cards alone."--CR, April, 1926:10.

President Spencer W. Kimball taught:

"We hope faithful Latter-day Saints will not use the playing cards which are used for gambling, either with or without the gambling." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.355)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"Members of the Church should not belong to bridge or other type of card clubs, and they should neither play cards nor have them in their homes. By cards is meant, of course, the spotted face cards used by gamblers. To the extent that church members play cards they are out of harmony with their inspired leaders. Innocent non-gambling games played with other types of cards, except for the waste of time in many instances, are not objectionable." (Mormon Doctrine, p.113)

(See Question and Answer 13; Question and Answer home page; Question and Answer 11)

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