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Navigating Faith After Concluding Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham Are 19th Century Works by Joseph Smith


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This website came up on my FB feed. I see a trend in my inner circles of my former ward members and a couple of friends of their children, leaving or not partaking of the LDS church. I see that it's a problem all over. https://event.webinarjam.com/register/20/4q6nvi9?fbclid=IwAR3Uyi-mzTtwE8sHCKAEpu1nxBSzFZ8nHnYZ0pZs1vdjaG1hAQfT0r2LU8I I'll bet the church wishes that for a period of time they hadn't hidden un-useful truths. It must hurt now realizing it. I know that many knew of these issues before the 70's or so, but then came correlation and putting these sometime warts away.

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Why Is There A Faith Crisis Among Latter Day Saints?

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It is hard to find any stronger evidence bearing on the Book of Mormon authorship issue than the following.

Two very strong indicators that JS did not author the Book of Mormon are the personal relative pronoun pattern and the verb complementation pattern. I invite anyone to find modern texts with these patterns. Wide-ranging comparative studies indicate that no one proposed as an author of the Book of Mormon would have produced these patterns. The past-tense pattern is another pervasive one which, with the support of these two, clearly indicate the early modern nature of the syntax. There are other patterns, both large and small, that accord with these patterns, which evince early modern sensibilities.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/24/2020 at 4:52 PM, pogi said:

Now that is art!

I think I will put out a cover of this piece and try to sell it on iTunes. I wonder how many sales I'll get, and if I'll have to pay royalties to someone?

  • Haha 1
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On 10/25/2020 at 12:46 AM, Bernard Gui said:

How many halls have been filled to hear this? How many times would you sit through 4’33”? Speaking as a musician, I see only burlesque and pretense, but zero art or craft, a mental exercise and commentary, but no skill. I thought that when I first “heard” it in 1964. Once you’ve fallen for his trick, it loses its “charm.” Going into a performance knowing what is about to happen destroys the intent. There is no more there there. Once is more than enough. IMO, it’s  already been relegated to the junk heap of history and remains as a curious remnant of a weird musical era. 

I learned much about indeterministic or aleatoric music at a performance with a string quartet at the Western States Composers Symposium in 1966. It was all the rage then. Everyone thought it was “happening.” The composer and our quartet got a standing ovation for his piece, but at no time did we ever know if what we were playing was what the composer wrote. Neither did he. Maybe that was his intent. Who knows? Luckily we finished together. 
But some folks may still think it’s the dog’s meow. Maybe we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Back when I was in Grammar School in the UK (Cheltenham Grammar School, 1969-1971), I attended a music appreciation/history class of some kind, taught by Mr. Neaves. I enjoyed the class, but I don't remember what it was I learned. I could already play guitar in an amateur fashion, but decided to try my hand at composing for the piano. I got ahold of some music paper (you now, the kind with those horizonal lines on it?), and started writing notes. Believe it or not, I actually knew how to do this. But it was composition for the sake of a drawing pretty notes on the staff. It went on for about two pages. I called it "Toothache Bliss". One day I roped Mr. Neaves into playing it on the piano, since I had no idea what it sounded like. And he gave it a try! He gave up after the first page, remarking "It does go on, doesn't it?" I thanked him for helping me hear my composition, and he smiled and nodded in return. He must have been so astounded and speechless at my musical prowess! Or not; it was hard to tell. I was actually pleased at how it turned out -- it didn't sound bad! It also didn't sound particularly good, either.

But I think that "Toothache Bliss" was far superior to that cockamamie four minutes of silence. 

I wish I still had the score to my piece, but I lost it in some move or another over the last 50 years or so. Tragic.

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On 10/26/2020 at 7:37 PM, pogi said:

Cage’s point has largely fallen on deaf ears. A University of Virginia study published in July 2014 put hundreds of people in an empty, quiet room alone for 15 minutes. Most participants found it insufferable—25 percent of women and 67 percent of men opted to endure painful electric shocks rather than pass the time without any stimulation.

I have told my wife that being bored is against my religion. This doesn't mean that I make sure to be active so I am not bored. I simply don't get bored. I typically go on walks with earbuds droning on with some book from Audible, if I have no walking companion. If I have to sit and wait alone, but have my tablet or phone, then I will listen to music, or dig into an audiobook or ebook. I can almost always find something to listen to, or read. But if I am put into an empty quiet room alone, sans device, book, or reading material of any kind, I am quite happy to listen to my own thoughts. I could do it for far more than 15 minutes. And I wouldn't be bored. 

I suppose if I didn't know how long the experiment was going to last, I might get restless after a while. But 15 minutes is nothing. I sometimes lie awake at night in the dark with my wife snoring gently next to me and just think. I can keep it up for hours.

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On 11/12/2020 at 7:43 AM, champatsch said:

It is hard to find any stronger evidence bearing on the Book of Mormon authorship issue than the following.

Two very strong indicators that JS did not author the Book of Mormon are the personal relative pronoun pattern and the verb complementation pattern. I invite anyone to find modern texts with these patterns. Wide-ranging comparative studies indicate that no one proposed as an author of the Book of Mormon would have produced these patterns. The past-tense pattern is another pervasive one which, with the support of these two, clearly indicate the early modern nature of the syntax. There are other patterns, both large and small, that accord with these patterns, which evince early modern sensibilities.

How do you respond to these two points?  First, how have you eliminated the possibility that Joseph Smith spoke in a manner that resembled EmodE more than the spoken english of today or of his time? It seems written language is more formal and more likely to follow the current rules, whereas, spoken english is lazier and more apt to be more archaic.  Also, I heard that Appalachian dialects more resemble elizabethian english than anything else.  Is that true and could that affect your theory? Second, how can you discount that Joseph Smith just might have been trying to sound olde worldly as that was what his book was, a history of ancients?  He certainly could have used the 1611 bible and riffed from there.

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7 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

How do you respond to these two points?  First, how have you eliminated the possibility that Joseph Smith spoke in a manner that resembled EmodE more than the spoken english of today or of his time? It seems written language is more formal and more likely to follow the current rules, whereas, spoken english is lazier and more apt to be more archaic.  Also, I heard that Appalachian dialects more resemble elizabethian english than anything else.  Is that true and could that affect your theory? Second, how can you discount that Joseph Smith just might have been trying to sound olde worldly as that was what his book was, a history of ancients?  He certainly could have used the 1611 bible and riffed from there.

Seems to me it should be quite easy to find a writer from that time period who similarly used the many parallelistic forms demonstrated in Brother Parry's edition of the Book of Mormon. One who was very familiar with the gospel and the scriptures and adept at creating new proper names such as those in the Book of Mormon.

I also wonder if Joseph Smith was conversant with the most popular book of his time other than the Bible, Pilgrim's Progress, and if it could have had an effect on his writing style. 

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33 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Seems to me it should be quite easy to find a writer from that time period who similarly used the many parallelistic forms demonstrated in Brother Parry's edition of the Book of Mormon. One who was very familiar with the gospel and the scriptures and adept at creating new proper names such as those in the Book of Mormon.

I also wonder if Joseph Smith was conversant with the most popular book of his time other than the Bible, Pilgrim's Progress, and if it could have had an effect on his writing style. 

It certainly could be a genre thing where he uses the style of Pilgrim's Progress and View of the Hebrews, etc. to dictate his own bible like book.  Perhaps he so wanted to solve certain problems and restore lost christian doctrines that he decided to invent his own book, based on the mound builder's myth, under inspiration to do so?

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1 hour ago, Robert J Anderson said:

It certainly could be a genre thing where he uses the style of Pilgrim's Progress and View of the Hebrews, etc. to dictate his own bible like book.  Perhaps he so wanted to solve certain problems and restore lost christian doctrines that he decided to invent his own book, based on the mound builder's myth, under inspiration to do so?

This is what I think. He didn't like the religions surrounding him. And who would, when your preacher said your brother will be in hell. (Alvin) And hey, it is very plausible that God had a hand in it. 

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23 hours ago, Robert J Anderson said:

It certainly could be a genre thing where he uses the style of Pilgrim's Progress and View of the Hebrews, etc. to dictate his own bible like book.  Perhaps he so wanted to solve certain problems and restore lost christian doctrines that he decided to invent his own book, based on the mound builder's myth, under inspiration to do so?

Something like this along with the Taves hypothesis makes sense to me, but doesn't make it any less scripture than any prophet of old writing with a quill pen, in my opinion.

I think of that picture, I believe supposedly of Isaiah with a long beard, white robe, illuminated by a candle, writing with a quill pen.  In reality of course we now know there were at least two or three "Isaiah's" and their writing should just be judged as literature which brings one closer to God with a greater understanding 

I think those brought up in the church have a tendency to really rely on the history and the pioneer trek and make religion a part of personal identity and are very leery about actually reasoning through these ideas.   On the other hand, I find that converts already have the perspective that religion calls out to them, so they go out to "the religious supermarket" and browse the shelves to find the "product" out there to suit them.   No need for much analysis if it does its job in life- giving life its meaning and solving the quest for one's place in the universe.

As inspired literature, its origins need not make much difference, but certainly not something to spend one's life trying to justify its divine origins, while it's divine origins can only be determined divinely.  That's why I love the Rorty quote below so much- because it is written by an atheist but yet opens to me a world in which religion becomes as rational as science, but projected inward. What is religion FOR?  What good is it?  What is it's purpose as a tool in our lives?   

Just as mindfulness meditation encourages one to observe one's internal thought processes, for me, the below quote became a statement about religious reality and reality in general

Instead of studying what is alleged to be "outside" my perceptions, it turns life into an observation of one's own psyche in operation while browsing within one's own perceptions instead of thinking they are "outside" at all in matters of importance to me, like morality, choices about concrete actions, what gives my life meaning etc.  Those thoughts and ideas are private, but are "where we live" and how we see the world around us.

When one centers one's personal identity upon one's religion, giving up religion affects that personal identity, and one experiences what we call a "faith crisis" and extends to family relationships, a sense of belonging and all kinds of stuff that to me is outside the purpose of religion.

One seeks all kinds of bizarre assumptions to logically explain and protect one's personal religion/identity, when religion is seen as part of one's identity.

On the other hand if one sees religion as a philosophy of life about solving the problems of one's place in the universe, as confirmed by the Spirit- in my opinion, one is more free to follow that spirit in modifying what is now seen as philosophy instead of an immutable part of one's personal identity.

If life is about spiritual progression, and becoming, then one's view of God and what gives one meaning and purpose in life must also be able to spiritually progress.

In that state, mentally, one can explore questions like "What IF Joseph really DID write the BOM"?   Would it change the values of its spiritual teachings?  Would it matter if a real human named Moroni even existed?

In my way of thinking, the answer is NO.

But now what if we take that view to the world looking for converts?  Is it easier for one to convert to a church which is "selling" a completely rational view of what it means to believe in God or one which is inexorably tied to what appear to be crazy fables about the past?

Is it important to hang on to those- "crazy fables"- or even MORE IMPORTANT than bringing the world the light of the gospel?

What if we brought the essence of our faith- that is is humanistic and materialistic in its essential assumptions- that what we conceive is a God who is much like us, immanent and self-limiting in certain ways, that Jesus, who actually lived IS the "God" who is relevant to our lives, that families can be forever, that after eons of progression we can become like Jesus and the Father and never end in progression?  And create a perfect society in Zion?

And most importantly that these truths can be conveyed by the spirit of God testifying these matters to us, because INTERNAL REALITY IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT WE FALSELY BELIEVE TO BE EXTERNAL?  The spirit is more important in these matters than science?

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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Curious to know how people that are familiar with FairMormon feel about their new videos featuring Kwaku and friends, putting out videos about several items including the CES letter, DNA in the BoM and View of the Hebrews. Some older people may not like them, but maybe they're hitting the youth in a good way. Calm, and others, what say you? I think they are cringe worthy, but I'm old. Here are a couple of the videos...

 

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40 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Curious to know how people that are familiar with FairMormon feel about their new videos featuring Kwaku and friends, putting out videos about several items including the CES letter, DNA in the BoM and View of the Hebrews. Some older people may not like them, but maybe they're hitting the youth in a good way. Calm, and others, what say you? I think they are cringe worthy, but I'm old. Here are a couple of the videos...

I haven't watched them yet (and probably won't get a chance to do that until later today), but I already agree with the cover photo of the first one:   "VIEW OF THE HEBREWS  LOLOLOL"  :) 

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Some older people may not like them, but maybe they're hitting the youth in a good way. Calm, and others, what say you?

They are definitely not our usual style nor are my style...but very few podcasts are. (There are some science and math presentations I have enjoyed, a few ‘whiteboard’ type explanations of religious topics, generally one person calmly presenting is preferable for me to two and lots of visual aids).  Which is why we had to work in conjunction with This is The Show (I believe that is the name, will doublecheck later).

They were created for youth and youth were involved in making them as well as being surveyed on what they wanted to see and feedback is good from them. 

We are getting lots of interest and much of that is positive.  The probability of whether someone likes them though is very dependent on age.  

The later ones are better than the first. 

We needed to reach a wider audience to benefit those in need of help. This is not an academic exercise or something we do just because we are interested in the material. It is not just the typical FM type asking questions. Extensive materials have been out since the beginning addressing problems in the CES letter, for example, but while we got many to read them, the message they were there wasn’t getting out among the youth. These have otoh generated a lot of interest, good questions are being asked and answers being found. 
 

There has been some significant effort by some critics to discredit them, which seems to indicate some concern of effectiveness (if they were bad, these critics could be assured they would simply self destruct).  
 

There also has been some negative comments from some older people who have issues with them.  Hopefully they will realize youth speak another language and if we want to reach them, we need to work with those who can ‘translate’ our rather dry material into youth accessible material.  Time will tell if we are successful, but early response is looking good. 

Edited by Calm
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56 minutes ago, Calm said:

They are definitely not our usual style nor are my style...but very few podcasts are. (There are some science and math presentations I have enjoyed, a few ‘whiteboard’ type explanations of religious topics, generally one person calmly presenting is preferable for me to two and lots of visual aids).  Which is why we had to work in conjunction with This is The Show (I believe that is the name, will doublecheck later).

They were created for youth and youth were involved in making them as well as being surveyed on what they wanted to see and feedback is good from them. 

We are getting lots of interest and much of that is positive.  The probability of whether someone likes them though is very dependent on age.  

The later ones are better than the first. 

It is not just the typical FM type asking questions. Extensive materials have been out since the beginning addressing problems in the CES letter, for example, but while we got many to read them, the message they were there wasn’t getting out among the youth. These have otoh generated a lot of interest, good questions are being asked and answers being found. 
 

There has been some significant effort by some critics to discredit them, which seems to indicate some concern of effectiveness (if they were bad, these critics could be assured they would simply self destruct).  
 

There also has been some negative comments from some older people who have issues with them.  Hopefully they will realize youth speak another language and if we want to reach them, we need to work with those who can ‘translate’ our rather dry material into youth accessible material.  Time will tell if we are successful, but early response is looking good. 

I think you're exactly right. I think the youth are into videos coming from the youth themselves. And Kwaku has a following, pretty genius of FairMormon I believe. Since it's the youth that need the inoculating, but may be too late for folks like me.  

ETA: But there are things far more cringe worthy to me and that is how Kwaku behaves outside of apologetic moments that make me do a double take. 

Here is a thread to a photo he had on Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CATuz5PhwcG/?fbclid=IwAR0avaUXFp8S4c11vZ58EVVBnKez31NuPthQALlCAnk3VZK0GvMdzcBfMdE

 

128664003_10158982074944539_6767248984547711451_n.jpg?_nc_cat=101&ccb=2&_nc_sid=dbeb18&_nc_ohc=455fzwO7z-0AX_Dt9uQ&_nc_ht=scontent-den4-1.xx&oh=5e0a5d78ff9617f021adfb5395169daa&oe=5FE97010

 

 

Edited by Tacenda
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If we just worked with people we agreed with on everything, we would be working with just ourselves. 
 

——-

Since we have received a few letters expressing concern about the videos, Scott Gordon decided to share our reasoning and motivation through an announcement that will go out in our newsletter; he gave me permission to post it here:

Quote

Today we're announcing a series of YouTube Videos, specifically targeting the "Letter to a CES Director," better known as "The CES Letter."

The CES Letter is a long list, turned book, of the most common attacks on the Church. The author, a disaffected former member, named Jeremy Runnells, created this document by crowdsourcing – the practice of obtaining ideas and content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people. The finished document is a list of issues (some of them listed multiple times, to make the document seem longer) that the author claims caused him to lose his testimony. This document is hosted on a number of websites that are critical of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is being used to actively proselyte and destroy testimonies and to sow seeds of doubt and disillusionment through deceit, logical fallacy and misinformation – with devastating effect. Over the past 2 months, I have had a friend lose two daughters to this letter, a close friend in my ward leave because of it, and a missionary express concerns about what is written in it.

Even though the document itself is dishonest, and even though the items it lists have been repeatedly and thoroughly discussed in both official Church literature and by scholarship such as FairMormon, up until now the faithful responses to this document have been scholarly. Clearly, that by itself isn’t working. 

 

There has long been a need for a media-based response to the document that is accessible to the rising generation. Now such a response has been created, and FairMormon is hosting "This is the Show" on our YouTube channel. Many of the questions raised by the CES Letter are addressed in the form of short videos -- geared in style and delivery to the youth. This approach is advantageous in reaching a media-driven generation to which more “bookish” responses are inaccessible. 

 

The point of these videos are to show just how ridiculous the CES Letter is. How would you like to leave the Church, possibly destroy your family, uproot your life, and have sleepless nights and emotional pain because of a bad joke? That is what the CES letter has done.

We know that the style and format of these videos will not appeal to everyone. In fact, some of you are going to really dislike them. We showed these videos to a number of people, and the videos were loved by some, and hated by others. But in every case, it started a discussion about the CES Letter. We hope that you will understand that the videos were created to appeal to a specific demographic. 

 

While we know these videos may not appeal to everyone, in our tradition of being a big tent and allowing multiple voices and multiple styles, we decided to host the videos. We need to give the rising generation the information they need -in their own “language” – so that they can combat this threat to their testimonies.

You can find these videos on the FairMormon YouTube Channel. Please feel free to respond to this newsletter with questions and comments. As always, thank you for your support!

 

Edited by Calm
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20 minutes ago, Calm said:

If we just worked with people we agreed with on everything, we would be working with just ourselves. 
 

——-

Since we have received a few letters expressing concern about the videos, Scott Gordon decided to share our reasoning and motivation through an announcement that will go out in our newsletter; he gave me permission to post it here:

 

Thanks Calm, from the responses I've read on the FB Mormon Stories private group, they mention the initials of "This Is The Show". I wonder who came up with the title. If Kwaku, is it a little joke, reading the initials and also his Instagram photos with women, I just think this could be a problem. Could FairMormon think about changing or deleting the title before posting today? 

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35 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Thanks Calm, from the responses I've read on the FB Mormon Stories private group, they mention the initials of "This Is The Show". I wonder who came up with the title. If Kwaku, is it a little joke, reading the initials and also his Instagram photos with women, I just think this could be a problem. Could FairMormon think about changing or deleting the title before posting today? 

I will mention it.  I doubt that was intended. More likely they would have gone with a dig at critics. 

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On 11/23/2020 at 7:52 PM, Robert J Anderson said:

How do you respond to these two points?  First, how have you eliminated the possibility that Joseph Smith spoke in a manner that resembled EmodE more than the spoken english of today or of his time? It seems written language is more formal and more likely to follow the current rules, whereas, spoken english is lazier and more apt to be more archaic.

Do you have any references for this assertion? Written language may or may not be more formal than the spoken word. I would think that such would depend more upon the genre, the person, and the educational level of the person. Written language, of necessity, must trail the spoken word as word meanings and speech patterns change.

Glenn

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On 11/24/2020 at 1:50 PM, champatsch said:

We don't want to say that JS "certainly could have used the King James Bible and riffed from there"; pseudo-archaic texts give strong counterevidence to such a view.

I'll bite.  What psuedo-archaic texts?

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8 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I think you're exactly right. I think the youth are into videos coming from the youth themselves. And Kwaku has a following, pretty genius of FairMormon I believe. Since it's the youth that need the inoculating, but may be too late for folks like me.  

ETA: But there are things far more cringe worthy to me and that is how Kwaku behaves outside of apologetic moments that make me do a double take. 

Here is a thread to a photo he had on Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CATuz5PhwcG/?fbclid=IwAR0avaUXFp8S4c11vZ58EVVBnKez31NuPthQALlCAnk3VZK0GvMdzcBfMdE

 

128664003_10158982074944539_6767248984547711451_n.jpg?_nc_cat=101&ccb=2&_nc_sid=dbeb18&_nc_ohc=455fzwO7z-0AX_Dt9uQ&_nc_ht=scontent-den4-1.xx&oh=5e0a5d78ff9617f021adfb5395169daa&oe=5FE97010

 

 

I've heard he has a very off-putting personality.  All ego.  This exchange does not show him in a favorable light.  

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23 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I've heard he has a very off-putting personality.  All ego.  This exchange does not show him in a favorable light.  

People seem to strongly like or dislike him. I have heard him described like you say and also as very charismatic. Of course, they are not always incompatible characteristics. 

Edited by Calm
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58 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I've heard he has a very off-putting personality.  All ego.  This exchange does not show him in a favorable light.  

Did you happen to click on the link? It shows him in the middle of women in some pretty skimpy swim suits. And the reason for the comments on Instagram.

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10 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Did you happen to click on the link? It shows him in the middle of women in some pretty skimpy swim suits. And the reason for the comments on Instagram.

I looked at the picture. I don’t mind the swimsuits but the pose, surrounded by those girls like some kind of king with his harem, is very cringy. 

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20 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I looked at the picture. I don’t mind the swimsuits but the pose, surrounded by those girls like some kind of king with his harem, is very cringy. 

Yes, I shouldn't say anything about their swimsuits or body shame. The problem is him. But I guess we need to consider his age as well. Pretty sure it was all in fun, hopefully, lol. 

Edited by Tacenda
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