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Bill Reel announces excommunication is official, as a recording of his Disciplinary Council is released.

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5 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I'm completely unconcerned with whether or not a non-recording agreement is legally enforceable. The issue is an ethical one, and it's not the Church that has behaved unethically here. Mr Reel was invited to participate in the council. He chose to. He was asked to abide by certain rules. He (or 'someone' working with him) didn't.

Above, another poster seemed to be very worried about what certain people might say to an apostate's face. If I had a friend who told me to my face that he would keep a conversation in strict confidence, and then he posted a recording of the conversation online, I know how I'd feel. Zero integrity. Zero.

I have had friends and family members divulge private information, stuff I've asked them to not divulge.  I'm easy to forgive I guess, because I do so without problem in most cases--although sometimes it has hurt.  And I never consider anyone to be without integrity at all.  I do agree with flameburns on a couple of his points--the Church really is acting just as unethical as Bill Reel in recording the events.  If I were in a disciplinary event and they asked me not to record, or rather demanded I not and then went ahead and recorded it via a note taker, I'd gladly leave and realize they simply have little integrity and are being unfair and foolish and aren't taking me seriously.  Of course I see no reason whatsoever to accuse them of having zero integrity because that is just as unfair and foolish.  I would figure if my eternity was at stake then I'd at least have the right to tell people what happened, and to back up whatever it is I tell through some source of a recording--whether notes or audio/video.  the Church tends to want things to go good for them no matter what and has set things up that way.  Their insistence that no one record their disciplinary courts shows to me they are far more about protecting the Church then about helping the subject.  One who doesn't want it recorded before that one is embarrassed and ashamed of their sins is one thing, but one who feels like the Church is being self-interested and thus unfair, well that's another.  

Edited by stemelbow

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6 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I have had friends and family members divulge private information, stuff I've asked them to not divulge.  I'm easy to forgive I guess, because I do so without problem in most cases--although sometimes it has hurt.  And I never consider anyone to be without integrity at all.  I do agree with flameburns on a couple of his points--the Church really is acting just as unethical as Bill Reel in recording the events.  If I were in a disciplinary event and they asked me not to record, or rather demanded I not and then went ahead and recorded it via a note taker, I'd gladly leave and realize they simply have little integrity and are being unfair and foolish and aren't taking me seriously.  Of course I see no reason whatsoever to accuse them of having zero integrity because that is just as unfair and foolish.  I would figure if my eternity was at stake then I'd at least have the right to tell people what happened, and to back up whatever it is I tell through some source of a recording--whether notes or audio/video.  the Church tends to want things to go good for them no matter what and has set things up that way.  Their insistence that no one record their disciplinary courts shows to me they are far more about protecting the Church then about helping the subject.  One who doesn't want it recorded before that one is embarrassed and ashamed of their sins is one thing, but one who feels like the Church is being self-interested and thus unfair, well that's another.  

I don't know how these DCs happen but if they said at the beginning of it, this is being recorded so please be advised, that's one thing but secret recordings are another thing, either from the Stake or the person 

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15 hours ago, bluebell said:

To some, it will probably give him more credibility, but to active members of the church, yes, I do think it will give him much less.  And that's the point of excommunication in these types of situations, to protect the flock. It's not about protecting outsiders from hearing negative things or keeping someone from broadcasting whatever negative thing they want to say.  It's about keeping someone from broadcasting negative things about the church while being a member of the church.

The church knows that excommunication doesn't silence anyone.  That's why the accusations that 'the church just does this to silence people!' are so laughable.  In all the excommunications for these types of events, has it ever silenced anyone?  Obviously no.  Is the church so stupid that it just hasn't realized that yet.  Also obviously no.  People can (and do) disagree with excommunication but it would be helpful if those that do actually understand what it is.  Otherwise it's a lot of people congratulating themselves for knocking down strawmen (I'm not talking about you CB, just speaking in general to what I often see in the online communities).

But to address something you did say, this isn't a game, and getting the podcasts to have less followers isn't what determines who wins or loses.  If excommunicating an unrepentant person who is committing apostasy removes someone that is a spiritual danger to the flock, from the flock, more times than not,  then the approach is working.

 

That makes more sense.  Thanks for. giving your perspective.

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

I have had friends and family members divulge private information, stuff I've asked them to not divulge.  I'm easy to forgive I guess, because I do so without problem in most cases--although sometimes it has hurt.  And I never consider anyone to be without integrity at all.  I do agree with flameburns on a couple of his points--the Church really is acting just as unethical as Bill Reel in recording the events. 

I don't understand your statement here.  Could you elaborate?

1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

If I were in a disciplinary event and they asked me not to record, or rather demanded I not and then went ahead and recorded it via a note taker, I'd gladly leave and realize they simply have little integrity and are being unfair and foolish and aren't taking me seriously. 

Again, I don't understand the integrity issue.

Thanks,

-Smac

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3 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I don't understand your statement here.  Could you elaborate?

Again, I don't understand the integrity issue.

Thanks,

-Smac

I'm going from memory here.  I do believe the SP said to Bill that he had to sign the non-disclosure or else he couldn't attend, and added that everyone there would also sign.  Yet, as it turns out, someone came to take notes, which is recording the events.  I'm sure Bill wouldn't know what's on the notes, so if I were him and I went to the proceedings and saw someone taking notes after having been told I couldn't record, I'd think they broke the agreement themselves.  I might say, "oh someone's recording this?  You had assured me that no one would be doing so.  I suppose that means I can record it now too?"  

I also agree, essentially, with flameburns when he said:

Quote

Your first paragraph is why I believe the Church is at least as immoral in this matter as Bill Reel.  If the Council is about Bill Reel,  and will involve his standing in the Church, he has a moral RIGHT to be there if he chooses (unless some other mechanism for answering the allegations is provided).

To defend his standing and make a case for why he should not be disciplined. 

And Bill Reel, being the subject of the Disciplinary Council,  is the only person with the moral right to determine if he wants the proceedings to be private.  If he elects privacy,  then he is entitled to the strictest privacy under law (understanding that churches are mandated to report certain types of matters).

If he wishes the proceedings  public, my view is the Church has no moral rights to insist the matter be kept secret. 

 

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Pretty sure it's published SOP in the Handbook that a clerk takes notes in every disciplinary council.  Not sure why that would be a surprise to anyone. 

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10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I'm going from memory here.  I do believe the SP said to Bill that he had to sign the non-disclosure or else he couldn't attend, and added that everyone there would also sign. 

Yes, that is my understanding.

10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Yet, as it turns out, someone came to take notes, which is recording the events. 

Yes, that is standard procedure.

10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I'm sure Bill wouldn't know what's on the notes, so if I were him and I went to the proceedings and saw someone taking notes after having been told I couldn't record, I'd think they broke the agreement themselves. 

I'm reasonably confident that the SP did not intend to prohibit the standard procedures of the Church.

10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I might say, "oh someone's recording this?  You had assured me that no one would be doing so. 

No, I don't think that assurance was given.  That would not make sense at all.

10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I suppose that means I can record it now too?"  

No, it doesn't.  It's a meeting conducted by the Church.  By representatives of the Church.  On the Church's property.  Pertaining solely to matters entirely within the Church's internal governance.  

The Church was running the show.  The Church gets to set the terms.  And the terms are reasonable.

10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I also agree, essentially, with flameburns when he said:

Quote

Your first paragraph is why I believe the Church is at least as immoral in this matter as Bill Reel.  If the Council is about Bill Reel,  and will involve his standing in the Church, he has a moral RIGHT to be there if he chooses (unless some other mechanism for answering the allegations is provided).

He has a right to be there provided he meets the behavioral standards set by the Church.

C'mon, this isn't even a close call.  

10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:
Quote

To defend his standing and make a case for why he should not be disciplined. 

Certainly.  But again, it's the Church's meeting.  The Church gets to set the parameters of acceptable behavior in that meeting.

10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:
Quote

And Bill Reel, being the subject of the Disciplinary Council,  is the only person with the moral right to determine if he wants the proceedings to be private. 

No, that's not right.  It's the Church's meeting, not Bill Reel's.

10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:
Quote

If he elects privacy, then he is entitled to the strictest privacy under law (understanding that churches are mandated to report certain types of matters).

Not so.  Not at all.

It's a Church meeting.  The Church gets to set the terms of how the meeting is handled.

10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:
Quote

If he wishes the proceedings  public, my view is the Church has no moral rights to insist the matter be kept secret. 

 

The Church has every right to set the terms of its own meetings, on its own property, regarding its own internal procedures.

IMO, Bill Reel acted dishonorably in agreeing not to record the meeting, only to renege on his word (or else encourage someone else to renege on theirs, as that is what I think happened).

Thanks,

-Smac

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21 minutes ago, ttribe said:

Pretty sure it's published SOP in the Handbook that a clerk takes notes in every disciplinary council.  Not sure why that would be a surprise to anyone. 

Especially to someone as well-informed as Bill Reel.  🤨

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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16 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

If there is evidence of true repentance then one will find cases where a person is not exed. 

True repentance is not only subjective, but it is only one of a multitude of factors and circumstances that contribute to these complicated scenarios. 

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16 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

If there is evidence of true repentance then one will find cases where a person is not exed. 

Many cases, in fact.  Excommunications are very much the exception, not the rule.

Thanks,

-Smac

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6 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

True repentance is not only subjective, but it is only one of a multitude of factors and circumstances that contribute to these complicated scenarios. 

I would argue it is not subjective in this case.

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15 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

Probably so but the gospel is not about he who has the most knowledge are the ones that are exalted.  Nobody is going to be tested on church history at their judgement.  God really does not care about it that much.  For most members, they really don't care that much about all the technical things regarding history.  Much of which we don't fully understand because were were not there to personally witness the events.  We are instead relying on information gathered by others and some important details might be not included. 

We also look at issues different.  What one person might view as "controversial" might be nothing of significance to another member.  For example some people are disturbed by polygamy and how it was practiced.  I am not disturbed in the least by any of it.  We view and interpret events and things from our own unique perspectives.

I don't claim to know what God cares about, but if I accept the typical Christian assumptions about a deity that loves people and wants them to be good, then I can understand you saying that this kind of God wouldn't care about the historical education that these people acquire. 

I agree that everyone interprets events differently, but that doesn't mean that everyone's interpretation is equally accurate.  

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15 hours ago, TOmNossor said:

I didn't intend to claim that Bill dropped bombs in his ward.  I was suggesting that his podcast and postings became about presenting the bombs.  And I would also suggest that his podcast and postings ceased to be about presenting the bombs in a way that encouraged faithful members to continue to be faithful members.  This suggest to me that for Bill caring for others does not involve caring if they have a faith crisis and/or cease to be members.

I think you're right that Bill's tone and focus changed over time, and I think he acknowledges that as well.  But I don't understand why you say this means he doesn't care about people having a faith crisis or those who cease to be members over their loss of faith.  I think he cares very much about these people.  I imagine that your assumption is that only a faithful approach to church history somehow shows that someone cares.  My experience is very different, and I think that people going through faith crisis need empathy and understanding and acknowledgement that the issues they are seeing are real and they are messy.  I think Bill provided support for those people, all along the spectrum and different levels of support to different people along the way.  

15 hours ago, TOmNossor said:

It is a free country and I am very happy that we have freedom of speech.  I am also happy that we have freedom of association.  I guess I would say that the "act of excommunication" AND the "label of 'apostate'" are not IMO medieval tools.  The label "apostate" means one who no longer believes what the community believes and excommunication is the exercise of "freedom of association."  I do not believe that LDS have a well defined set of beliefs, but it seems to me that one of the basics is that somehow life as a LDS is beneficial to many/most/all in this life and probably in the life to come.  Bill Reel does not IMO believe this.

Well, I think its much more complicated from my perspective.  For one, I don't see how anyone can decide what "the community believes".  As you also seem to agree there is a very wide of beliefs in a big tent.  

Also, I would argue that applying labels like this are not only hurtful for individuals, but is a counterproductive exercise for the institution.  I don't think it helps people grow and develop through the challenging experiences of life.  Can you imagine if the Catholic church had excommunicated Mother Theresa as she went through a 20 year long dark night of the soul?  I don't see the utility of boundary maintenance for situations like this, I just don't think it wise. 

15 hours ago, TOmNossor said:

Anyway, I do hope doubting members continue to fellowship with the Saints.  I would gladly have a soda with Bill Reel and his family and he can sit next to me during sacrament meeting too.  But, I do not think he should say the things he says and use his membership as something to give credence to his words.

I can respect your opinion, even though we disagree somewhat on the particulars for how the institution should wield their powers.  I appreciate this sentiment though about welcoming these people to share with you in person.  I agree with that idea.  Thanks

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14 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

How do you explain, then, all of the high councilors, including the one in question, voting to sustain the decision to excommunicate?

Do we know that all the HC members voted to sustain the decision?  If so, that would be an interesting point on your part.  I hadn't thought about that.  

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26 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I would argue it is not subjective in this case.

If true repentance is objective, please explain the criteria that we can use to objectively evaluate true repentance.  

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Yes, that is my understanding.

Yes, that is standard procedure.

I'm reasonably confident that the SP did not intend to prohibit the standard procedures of the Church.

No, I don't think that assurance was given.  That would not make sense at all.

No, it doesn't.  It's a meeting conducted by the Church.  By representatives of the Church.  On the Church's property.  Pertaining solely to matters entirely within the Church's internal governance.  

The Church was running the show.  The Church gets to set the terms.  And the terms are reasonable.

He has a right to be there provided he meets the behavioral standards set by the Church.

C'mon, this isn't even a close call.  

Certainly.  But again, it's the Church's meeting.  The Church gets to set the parameters of acceptable behavior in that meeting.

No, that's not right.  It's the Church's meeting, not Bill Reel's.

Not so.  Not at all.

It's a Church meeting.  The Church gets to set the terms of how the meeting is handled.

The Church has every right to set the terms of its own meetings, on its own property, regarding its own internal procedures.

IMO, Bill Reel acted dishonorably in agreeing not to record the meeting, only to renege on his word (or else encourage someone else to renege on theirs, as that is what I think happened).

Thanks,

-Smac

Are you saying the non-disclosure then wasn't signed by everyone?  I thought the SP said it would have to be.  The agreement that was sent to Bill suggested everyone would sign it.  And if someone was there taking notes, then it appears the agreement would be broken.  

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1 hour ago, ttribe said:

Pretty sure it's published SOP in the Handbook that a clerk takes notes in every disciplinary council.  Not sure why that would be a surprise to anyone. 

It doesn't have to be a surprise to anyone, of course.  

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9 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:
Quote

I would argue it is not subjective in this case.

If true repentance is objective, please explain the criteria that we can use to objectively evaluate true repentance.  

I took the "not subjective" remark to pertain to a lack of repentance "in this case."

I agree with you that "true repentance" is a subjective thing, at least to us finite mortals.  However, a lack of "true repentance" is quite a bit easier to discern.

Bill Reel is obviously not repentant.  He insists that he has done nothing wrong.  At all.  Hence in his view there is nothing for which he needs to repent.

Thanks,

-Smac

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21 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

If true repentance is objective, please explain the criteria that we can use to objectively evaluate true repentance.  

"By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them."

With Bill Reel, I see neither confessing nor forsaking.

Edited by Danzo
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10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I took the "not subjective" remark to pertain to a lack of repentance "in this case."

I agree with you that "true repentance" is a subjective thing, at least to us finite mortals.  However, a lack of "true repentance" is quite a bit easier to discern.

Bill Reel is obviously not repentant.  He insists that he has done nothing wrong.  At all.  Hence in his view there is nothing for which he needs to repent.

Thanks,

-Smac

 When you say its easier to discern a lack of repentance, that is based on the subjective assumption that repentance is even needed in the first place.  

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6 minutes ago, Danzo said:

"By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them."

With Bill Reel, I see neither confessing nor forsaking.

Assuming repentance is needed, which is subjective.  

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3 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Are you saying the non-disclosure then wasn't signed by everyone? 

I'm saying that I think the NDA pertained to surreptitious recording of the meeting.  The clerk's written notes were, I think, not intended to be covered by that.

And I really don't think the SP gave an assurance to Bill Reel that the Church would deviate from its procedures (that is, keep a written record of the proceedings).

3 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I thought the SP said it would have to be.  The agreement that was sent to Bill suggested everyone would sign it.  And if someone was there taking notes, then it appears the agreement would be broken.  

No, I don't think that's right.  See, e.g., here:

Quote

The disciplinary council will be held on Nov. 27 at 8:30 p.m. in Washington, Utah, where Reel is invited to attend.

The letter states the council is strictly confidential and is a sacred ecclesiastical proceeding.

"Therefore, your in-person participation in the council is conditioned upon your signing a confidentiality agreement. This agreement will state that no part of the council proceedings will be recorded or made public in any way."

It looks like Bill Real signed the agreement, then reneged on it (or else ratified something else's violation of it).  Even some people on his side of the fence find his behavior problematic.  See, e.g., here:

Quote

While I'm definitely interested in this [recording of Bill Reel's disciplinary council]...and will definitely listen to the recoding...there is part of me that is disappointed that Bill had any part in this clandestine recording. While I know they held a gun to his head, he did sign a non disclosure agreement. This, in my opinion, undermines his integrety and plays into the churches worldview that we apostates have no integerety and that makes me sad.

This guy is correct in one sense (that Bill Reel's integrity takes a hit by allowing / participating / facilitating / ratifying the violation of the NDA, given that he signed it), and wrong on another (that the Church's "worldview" of "apostates" is that they lack integrity).

I am disappointed in what Bill Reel is doing here.  It is dishonorable.  The disappointment is all the more accute because it is not suprising.  The moment I saw the NDA, I thought "Huh.  I think Bill Reel is not going to abide by it.  He's too much of a publicity hound."

And lo and behold, I was right.

Thanks,

-Smac

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It amazes me that the church is so ashamed at what takes place at these courts that they force the person accused of misconduct to not record the event and if the accused are unwilling to agree to that, then they are not allowed to attend and defend themselves against the accusations that may be brought up in that court.  Seems totally manipulative and just another example of how the church hates transparency. 

If what the church was doing was straight up and honorable, then I would think they would want an accurate record of the proceedings and welcome the light of day into the proceedings.  The standard policy should be, we are recording these proceedings and you are welcome to do the same.  In every incident where I was being recorded in a proceeding, the same courtesy was extended to me to record the meeting if I so wished.  It keeps the integrity of the meeting intact and beyond reproach.

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7 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

 When you say its easier to discern a lack of repentance, that is based on the subjective assumption that repentance is even needed in the first place.  

In a super-duper reductionist sense, you might have a point.  But in the main, no.  There is no "subjective assumption" in play here.  The Church has scriptural mandates, from which it has formulated proceedings for disciplinary issues.  The Church has published a handbook that lays out the guidelines for what constitutes "apostasy."  Those guidelines are:

Quote

1. Repeatedly act in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders.
2. Persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after they have been corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
3. Continue to follow the teachings of apostate sects (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishop or a higher authority.
4. Are in a same-gender marriage.
5. Formally join another church and advocate its teachings.

That first one is obviously applicable to Bill Reel's behavior.  Objectively so.

And even then, the Church doesn't just rely on some "assumption" about that behavior (as in "a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof").  The Church requires a formal proceeding, a disciplinary council, which involves the presentation and weighing and evaluation of evidence, and an adjudication based on that evidence.

The yardstick by which Bill Reel's behavior is measured is the doctrines and policies of the Church.  By that yardstick, Bill Reel is in a state of unrepentant apostasy.  That's not a subjective assumption.  That is a considered conclusion supported by competent evidence.

Thanks,

-Smac

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6 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I'm saying that I think the NDA pertained to surreptitious recording of the meeting.  The clerk's written notes were, I think, not intended to be covered by that.

And I really don't think the SP gave an assurance to Bill Reel that the Church would deviate from its procedures (that is, keep a written record of the proceedings).

No, I don't think that's right.  See, e.g., here:

It looks like Bill Real signed the agreement, then reneged on it (or else ratified something else's violation of it).  Even some people on his side of the fence find his behavior problematic.  See, e.g., here:

This guy is correct in one sense (that Bill Reel's integrity takes a hit by allowing / participating / facilitating / ratifying the violation of the NDA, given that he signed it), and wrong on another (that the Church's "worldview" of "apostates" is that they lack integrity).

I am disappointed in what Bill Reel is doing here.  It is dishonorable.  The disappointment is all the more accute because it is not suprising.  The moment I saw the NDA, I thought "Huh.  I think Bill Reel is not going to abide by it.  He's too much of a publicity hound."

And lo and behold, I was right.

Thanks,

-Smac

The letter he received does say "It would not be appropriate, for example, for anyone who attends the council to make a recording of it, whether for private or public use".  

This clearly tells Bill one thing.  No one, not he nor anyone, should make record of it.  Taking notes is of course making a record of what took place--depending on the note taker the notes taken could very well be more complete than an audio recording.  And whether it's public or private it should not have been done, according to the letter that was sent him.  So if I were sent what Bill was sent I'd not expect anyone there to take notes.  Because it was said no one should record it.  Once I saw that, I'd figure the promises made regarding that requirement/request were null and void.  

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