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Olavarria

Questian 4 The Unbelievers: How do you account for Lehi's Trail and "land of Jerusalem"?

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But I'm not saying rejecting super natural explanations is a matter of critical thinking. I'm saying rejecting super natural explanations as the most likely explanations is a matter of critical thinking. Big difference there.

I might agree with you if the Nahom issue was the only issuse to consider but there are several.

The BOM containes Hebrew Chiasmus poetry structure only discovered about 60 years ago. Computer generated wordprint analysis suggests that the book does indeed have different authors even though Emma Smith and Oliver Cowdery testify that Smith dictated the entire book to them. The book has hebrew phrase structure "plates of brass", "works of righteousness", "taxed with a tax" etc etc. There are all kinds of evidences suggesting that the book was what Smith said it was. Of course the witnesses also testify of of the supernatural. I don't think it is difficult to believe or irrational to believe when it is all put together. All things considered, Smiths story is the only story that holds water.

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Computer generated wordprint analysis suggests that the book does indeed have different authors...

I agree.

1 Ne. 22:20 is Peter (cf. Acts 3:22-23)

Alma 5:52 is John the Baptist (cf. Mat. 3:10)

Mosiah 16:10 is Paul (cf. 1 Cor. 15:53)

and of course Isaiah, to name a few.

The book has hebrew phrase structure "plates of brass", "works of righteousness", "taxed with a tax" etc etc.

I also like the Greek phrase structures like:

"God the Father" (title only found in the NT, yet is used 7 times in the OT era BM.)

"Kingdom of God" (title only found in the NT, used 31 times in the OT era BM.)

"Kingdom of Heaven" (title unique to the book of Matthew, yet used 16 times throughout the BM.)

"Lamb of God" (title unique to John's Gospel, used 33 times in BM, as early as 600 B.C.)

"Mysteries of God" (phrase unique to Paul and John's writings, used as early as 600 B.C. in the BM)

All things considered, Smiths story is the only story that holds water.

Don't think you considered all things.

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I agree.

1 Ne. 22:20 is Peter (cf. Acts 3:22-23)

Alma 5:52 is John the Baptist (cf. Mat. 3:10)

Mosiah 16:10 is Paul (cf. 1 Cor. 15:53)

and of course Isaiah, to name a few.

I also like the Greek phrase structures like:

"God the Father" (title only found in the NT, yet is used 7 times in the OT era BM.)

"Kingdom of God" (title only found in the NT, used 31 times in the OT era BM.)

"Kingdom of Heaven" (title unique to the book of Matthew, yet used 16 times throughout the BM.)

"Lamb of God" (title unique to John's Gospel, used 33 times in BM, as early as 600 B.C.)

"Mysteries of God" (phrase unique to Paul and John's writings, used as early as 600 B.C. in the BM)

Don't think you considered all things.

To which the same can be said of you.

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Don't think you considered all things.

Who has time to quote everything written on the subject? Is there an alternative explanation that does not have holes? Who wrote the book?

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Are you going to answer my CFR (I'll give you a hint; quote my super-natural explanation that you seem to be under the delusion I have given)? I've already called for it twice. I'm still waiting. Fulfill the CFR or concede, it's your choice.

You said the following: "Actually you do; for as it stands there are far too many unknowns and if it did play out as those assumptions it would be similar to an individual going to Vegas, placing bets on all the Roulette tables (not just in 1 casino but all of them), and subsequently winning them all. Astronomical in plausibility. Couple it with additional evidence from Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon and you'd have further issues in plausibility."

You assume an explanation for JS and the BoM that is more plausible than what I've been offering but yet you haven't stated it clearly saying what I've been saying is adding "more assumptions" implying you have a better explanation.

http://www.pitt.edu/...ight/index.html

It's termed "Einstein's Great Thought Experiment"

Oh, I've seen this before.... and?

Obviously since you have yet to actually engage the issues with your hypothesis.

...

A 16 year old boy postulated the relativistic effects that would occur at the speed of light. Not a well trained professor in physics. Not a team of physicists, and not some lost dissertation that happened to fall into his hands.

I still don't get the point. what am I to conclude from this? there are some pretty smart 16 year olds?

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Who has time to quote everything written on the subject? Is there an alternative explanation that does not have holes? Who wrote the book?

Scribes wrote the book. Joseph dictated it from the KJV and his imagination, (and possibly other sources).

"During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life with them."

- Lucy Smith, Biographical Sketches, p.345

"That such power of imagination would have to be of a high order is conceded; that Joseph Smith possessed such a gift of mind there can be no question."

- B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.243

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To which the same can be said of you.

I don't have to consider all things. It's not the hits that make the Book of Mormon, it's the misses that discredit it.

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It was clearly implied that I accepted ALL of those assumptions at least for the sake of argument right now to illustrate the point.

Next time you watch Chris Angel think of what the most likely explanation to his (be it said, lame) tricks are. Did he really walked on water or was it just a trick? What is the most likely explanation? Is the one who thinks that it's just a trick or has a very imaginative, 'natural' explanation on the same grounds than he who thinks he is doing real magic?

I told you I accepted them all; I don't need to reject any or to make the explanation simpler to illustrate the point.

2-4 need not be the case. The map itself didn't need to go anywhere as long as someone saw it and that person traveled. That makes 5 unnecessary. On 6, the person who saw the map could have told JS about the place for some reason not so long before he wrote it down.

...but yet again, I told you that I accepted all of the first assumptions to show the point. As unlikely you think these explanations are, the "An angel told me to" explanation is even less likely.

But doesn't your position lead to an infinite regress in which no matter what sort of evidence is brought forward, it must always be dismissed simply because "An angel told me to," etc. This would mean that anyone saying that there is no physical evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon could not be answered -- at least not under your strictures. Is that either reasonable or practical? Is it fair that all physical evidence be excluded because of the vaunted supernatural origin of the Book of Mormon? Sounds circular and self-contradictory to me.

Moreover, does the same apply to a Bible-believer who attempts to argue for some sort of evidence that the Exodus of Israel from Egypt actually took place as described in the Bible? Could a reasonable discussion of such issues actually be carried on in such an atmosphere of automatic exclusion?

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First of all, I just want to congratulate Robert F. Smith for the thoughtful response here. My pleasure to discuss this with you, sir.

But doesn't your position lead to an infinite regress in which no matter what sort of evidence is brought forward, it must always be dismissed simply because "An angel told me to," etc.

This is a very fair criticism but let it be clear, again, that I'm not saying the believer has to abandon his miraculous explanations at all, brother. When enough evidence of the ontological beings/powers the believer claims exist are presented, and the paradigm shifts, then the sort of explanations LDS apologists claim can be advanced. Until then, too bad, so sad. If you want my opinion, though, religious people will be MUCH better just making their claims as unfalsifiable as possible. Even if you are right, making constant claims and ad hoc additions of and to super-natural explanations is just going to discredit religious belief EVEN IF at the end you guys turn to be right.

This would mean that anyone saying that there is no physical evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon could not be answered -- at least not under your strictures. Is that either reasonable or practical? Is it fair that all physical evidence be excluded because of the vaunted supernatural origin of the Book of Mormon? Sounds circular and self-contradictory to me.

Again, these sort of super-natural explanations make assumptions so far out there that they can't reasonably be used to be presented to the unbeliever as evidence. Ontological beings like God, angels, the super-powers of prayer and divine communication, etc are all things that must be assumed prior to your spiritual explanation of certain events. Take the Chris Angel analogy presented earlier. What things must we assume first before saying Chris Angel really has the super-power to walk on water? The apologists' explanations are full of these same type of assumptions, also.

Moreover, does the same apply to a Bible-believer who attempts to argue for some sort of evidence that the Exodus of Israel from Egypt actually took place as described in the Bible? Could a reasonable discussion of such issues actually be carried on in such an atmosphere of automatic exclusion?

I don't see the problem here, really, as long as the Bible-believer isn't making super-natural assumptions. Again, there isn't any "automatic exclusion" going on here. The believer can have her spiritual explanations for certain sets of events but to claim they are the most rational things to believe is just not possible, bro.... EVEN IF it ends up being the true explanation.

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lol really?

Yes. No joke. Note Alexandra David-Neel's observations on TIbetan Buddhism (before Chinese occupation) and supposed "miraculous events":

"None in Tibet deny that such events may take place, but no one regards them as miracles, according to the meaning of that term in the West, that is to say as
supernatural
events.

"Indeed, Tibetans do not recognize any supernatural agent. The so-called wonders, they think, are as natural as common daily events and depend on the clever handling of little-known laws and forces.

"All facts which, in other countries are considered miraculous or, in any other way, ascribed to the arbitrary interference of beings belonging to other worlds, are considered by Tibetan adepts of the secret lore as psychic phenomena." (David-Neel,
Magic and Mystery in Tibet
, 291, who goes on to explain in subsequent pages that psychic phenomena are produced "in accordance with some natural laws," 292).

yes, by naming it something different (i.e. "more fine or pure matter") which illustrates nothing at all. Just changing the names of things isn't explaining them.

True, but it does cohere much better with modern physics, does it not? You can attribute that to the odd beliefs of Pratt or the arbitrary theory of Joseph, which may be easier for you than believing in a supernatural origin of such views.

Sure but then don't act as if it was the reasonable thing to think... it isn't. Plus I don't even think this is the case. If you seriously ask a mormon of medium education what he thinks the more likely and 'objective' explanation is for such type of events I don't think he'll give the "spiritual explanation" answer.

See above. The apologists are the ones offering a VERY UNLIKELY explanation of certain events and we don't need to be refuting every silly explanation that pops up here and there and we told you why.

I can ask any number of yokels what their view is about this or that religion to which they adhere to some greater or lesser extent, but am not certain that that would be an appropriate way in which to determine the formal theology of the group. Certainly Sterling McMurrin did not follow that method in setting about to write his books on the theological and philosophical foundations of Mormonism. Nor did Truman Madsen, Blake Ostler, or others. That is not to say that sociology is not worthwhile for its own purposes. But for that we go read Armand Mauss and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Much bears on how such questions are posed. If, instead of "gods" and "angels," we concern ourselves with advanced civilizations and sentient beings from other planets in other systems, would we be as likely to define everything they do as "magic" or "supernatural"? Might a long-distance communication device defined as an "interociter" be more acceptable than some form of "revelation"? Might a virtual-state transducer which has a LED readout be more acceptable to you than a stone-in-a-hat style of translation? Are we dealing more with form or content here? What is more objectionable, the substance, or the packaging?

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Scribes wrote the book. Joseph dictated it from the KJV and his imagination, (and possibly other sources).

"During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life with them."

- Lucy Smith, Biographical Sketches, p.345

"That such power of imagination would have to be of a high order is conceded; that Joseph Smith possessed such a gift of mind there can be no question."

- B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.243

Excellent points. Certainly a valid approach, until we come to grips with the substance of the book, i,e., the detailed claims which the book makes. If they correspond in every respect to known features of the ancient world which were not otherwise available to Joseph, then how do we explain such things as Lehi's Trail (Nahom, Bountiful, etc.) and Jerusalem as the land in which Jesus was born? Was Joseph just guessing with his remarkable imagination? How many correct guesses is Joseph to be allowed until he is ejected from the casino?

What would B. H. Roberts say if he were on this thread right now?

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Yes. No joke. Note Alexandra David-Neel's observations on TIbetan Buddhism (before Chinese occupation) and supposed "miraculous events":

"None in Tibet deny that such events may take place, but no one regards them as miracles, according to the meaning of that term in the West, that is to say as
supernatural
events.

"Indeed, Tibetans do not recognize any supernatural agent. The so-called wonders, they think, are as natural as common daily events and depend on the clever handling of little-known laws and forces.

"All facts which, in other countries are considered miraculous or, in any other way, ascribed to the arbitrary interference of beings belonging to other worlds, are considered by Tibetan adepts of the secret lore as psychic phenomena." (David-Neel,
Magic and Mystery in Tibet
, 291, who goes on to explain in subsequent pages that psychic phenomena are produced "in accordance with some natural laws," 292).

My "lol, really?" was directed to your claims that mormons don't believe in miracles.

True, but it does cohere much better with modern physics, does it not? You can attribute that to the odd beliefs of Pratt or the arbitrary theory of Joseph, which may be easier for you than believing in a supernatural origin of such views.

it doesn't cohere better with physics because it doesn't have meaning in that field in the first place. "immaterial", "more pure or fine matter", etc... these things don't mean anything intelligible.

I can ask any number of yokels what their view is about this or that religion to which they adhere to some greater or lesser extent, but am not certain that that would be an appropriate way in which to determine the formal theology of the group. Certainly Sterling McMurrin did not follow that method in setting about to write his books on the theological and philosophical foundations of Mormonism. Nor did Truman Madsen, Blake Ostler, or others. That is not to say that sociology is not worthwhile for its own purposes. But for that we go read Armand Mauss and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

I don't see your point here...

Much bears on how such questions are posed. If, instead of "gods" and "angels," we concern ourselves with advanced civilizations and sentient beings from other planets in other systems, would we be as likely to define everything they do as "magic" or "supernatural"? Might a long-distance communication device defined as an "interociter" be more acceptable than some form of "revelation"? Might a virtual-state transducer which has a LED readout be more acceptable to you than a stone-in-a-hat style of translation? Are we dealing more with form or content here? What is more objectionable, the substance, or the packaging?

The packaging is part of the substance. It actually conveys it and we call that "language".

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Excellent points. Certainly a valid approach, until we come to grips with the substance of the book, i,e., the detailed claims which the book makes. If they correspond in every respect to known features of the ancient world which were not otherwise available to Joseph, then how do we explain such things as Lehi's Trail (Nahom, Bountiful, etc.) and Jerusalem as the land in which Jesus was born? Was Joseph just guessing with his remarkable imagination? How many correct guesses is Joseph to be allowed until he is ejected from the casino?

What would B. H. Roberts say if he were on this thread right now?

Again, until your super-natural ontological assumptions are justified.

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You said the following: "Actually you do; for as it stands there are far too many unknowns and if it did play out as those assumptions it would be similar to an individual going to Vegas, placing bets on all the Roulette tables (not just in 1 casino but all of them), and subsequently winning them all. Astronomical in plausibility. Couple it with additional evidence from Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon and you'd have further issues in plausibility."

I see no super-natural explanation here... care to try again?

You assume an explanation for JS and the BoM that is more plausible than what I've been offering but yet you haven't stated it clearly saying what I've been saying is adding "more assumptions" implying you have a better explanation.

I have stated no such thing (again, you put words into my mouth). Do not conflate things you think about me with what I have actually said or done. I have just pointed out where your hypothesis falls apart. Fulfill my CFR or concede the point.

Oh, I've seen this before.... and?

...

I still don't get the point. what am I to conclude from this? there are some pretty smart 16 year olds?

That is one conclusion--easily reached by the evidence with minimal assumptions. Another is that assumptions made become the vision of an individual grasping at straws to fulfill a preconceived bias. As Sherlock Holmes is credited with saying; "Individuals tend to bend facts to fit a hypothesis, rather than construct hypothesis to fit facts."

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LOL I'm joking, of course.

but seriously now, I was talking about people who have some training in so-called "critical thinking".

In that case I may qualify. I have an MBA. Your statement was "Sure but then don't act as if it was the reasonable thing to think... it isn't. Plus I don't even think this is the case. If you seriously ask a mormon of medium education what he thinks the more likely and 'objective' explanation is for such type of events I don't think he'll give the "spiritual explanation" answer..

Critical thinking would require that I evaluate these things on an individual basis and "Angels delivering books" is not in the same catagory as magic show tricks and when all available evidence is considered I don't find it unreasonable at all.

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I was under the impression that NHM was a relatively new discovery. One that is far more recent than the first publication of The Book of Mormon. Is this thought incorrect?

NHM is a very recent discovery (within the last ten years I beleive), so there is no way whatsoever that JS could of know of it's existence in the 1820's when the translated the plates.

Of course you don't need to look at the facts if you only seek to ignore the evidence.

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NHM is a very recent discovery (within the last ten years I beleive), so there is no way whatsoever that JS could of know of it's existence in the 1820's when the translated the plates.

Of course you don't need to look at the facts if you only seek to ignore the evidence.

There is a known map which contains NHM from circa 1815; thus it may only be a re-discovery of something known in Europe around the 1800's.

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elguanteloko:

I don't have a reasonable explanation for NHM and Bountiful in the BoM. There is no reasonable reason for them that stands up to the known facts.

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It's not the hits that make the Book of Mormon, ...

Yet the hits keep on comin'! If there were no hits, I'm convinced that you'd be first on the wagon (perhaps fighting with several others here and elsewhere for the honor) claiming there was no positive evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon, and that, therefor, it is false, just as you claim now, even in the face of all those hits.

... it's the misses that discredit it.

There are no documented misses.

Further, the "misses" we keep hearing about are, themselves, becoming fewer as more discoveries arise on the subjects and the hits become ever more numerous.

One could list many of the XIX "misses" (things antis charged about the Book of Mormon as being "unpossible") that have long since been shown to be correct, i.e., XX~XXI hits. A few examples, like Alma's being a Hebrew man 's name, or that there were areas in Arabia that qualify as "Bountiful", or that the ancients wrote on metal plates, including golden plates, are all it takes to show that a charge of something's being an error does not make it an error. As I believe Wilford Woodruff said, "If my children do not find the evidence, my grandchildren will."

Lehi

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There is a known map which contains NHM from circa 1815; thus it may only be a re-discovery of something known in Europe around the 1800's.

It depends on what one considers to be "known".

It was not "known" in Europe if one means that many people had heard of it and would associate it with a funerals in general and with a specific burial ground (which was not indicated on the map, nor in the text of the book of which this map was a part). It may have been known in Denmark, whose king (as I recall), commissioned the expedition that discovered it, but it was not widely known there, either. The book was obscure, and no known copy was in USmerica, let alone in New York, in the early XIX.

To claim, as antis do, that Joseph could have known about NHM/Nahom/Nehum in 1829 should require that they produce some sort of evidence that it was possible, even remotely. None has done so yet, but they continue to make the vacuous charge and then expect us to prove a negative.

As a counterclaim, we can easily demonstrate than many antis of the age used Lehi's Arabian trek as evidence of a fraud, since they were convinced that there was no NHM/Nahom, and certainly no "Bountiful". The only thing, they claimed, in which Arabia could be considered to have an "abundance" was sand. But the Ashton's and others have shown that there are at least two places (in one region) that could qualify as "Bountiful", and that this region is the only one, and further, that this region is in exactly the place Nephi said it was. Similar evidence supports the Valley/River of Laman/Lemuel. It's there, for all to see, but it was unknown in 1827~9.

That an XVIII Danish cartographer created a map with the toponym "Nahom" on it is scant, scant to the point of its being vanishingly small, evidence of Joseph's being able to have seen it.

Lehi

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What would B. H. Roberts say if he were on this thread right now?

Excellent question.

I think he would say, "Ethan Smith played no part in the formation of the Book of Mormon. You accept Joseph Smith and all the scriptures."

I also think that if a fatally-wounded soldier in the 145th Field Artillery had asked him, "Am I going to make it?" he would have responded, "You're going to be just fine son."

On the other hand, if he were alone with the prophet or his unit commander, his comments would be quite different.

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then how do we explain such things as Lehi's Trail (Nahom, Bountiful, etc.) and Jerusalem as the land in which Jesus was born?

I explain NHM here

As for Bountiful:

1. For Bountiful to work first requires that the Jews survived seven years crossing the Empty Quarter from NHM, wherever that was. (See NHM link above).

2. Photos provided by Aston & Aston (a married amateur couple) are touted by apologists websites, but they do not tell the whole story. The southern Dhofar region does not produce suitable tree growth to construct a transoceanic vessel.

"The largest trees of Dhofar... all produce a wood that is too soft, heavy, and porous to withstand the rigors of a transoceanic crossing... I would suggest caution in accepting this conclusion for two reasons. First, the adjectives tall, native, and hardwood are rather subjective and in many cases questionable. I personally would not use such terms to describe the trees now growing in the area..."

Terry Ball, Prof. BYU, Archaeobotanist, Journal of the Book of Mormon, Vol. 18, Iss. 1, p.56-57

3. 1 Ne. 17:6 says that they called the place Bountiful because of its much fruit. I haven't seen any proposed locations that provide a compelling case for "much fruit".

4. Most photos provided of proposed locations in the Southern Dhofar region were taken during the Monsoon season (late June to October) which of course causes the vegetation to green. For four months of the year the region has that lush green tropical paradise appearance. What you don't see are photos of the region during the other eight months, it's a stark contrast. You can find these on Google Earth.

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There is a known map which contains NHM from circa 1815; thus it may only be a re-discovery of something known in Europe around the 1800's.

I think you are referring to the 1763 Carsten Niebuhr map which labels an area "Nehhm" (NHHM) that generally corresponds to the present location of the Nihm tribe today, about 25 miles north of Sana'a Yemen.

See: Christensen, Ensign, Aug. 1978, p.73

We are still off by about 2,363 years, as we need a NHM location in 600 B.C.

Second CFR, what is the evidence that a place called NHM existed in 600 B.C. and was located on Lehi's route?

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There is a known map which contains NHM from circa 1815; thus it may only be a re-discovery of something known in Europe around the 1800's.

Is this the Saudi Arbia NHM though?

Also do you think that a European Map made its way into the hands of a poor farmer boy from upstate New York within 10 years of its first publication in Europe?

The discovery of NHM in Saudi Arabia along the path that Lehi would of taken was a recent discovery as far as I know, I could be wrong and if I am please feel free to present the evidence.

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