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Richard Bushman: Evil?


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12 hours ago, Chum said:

That's the Witness Testimony. You have to start at the back. Also Paul was still alive and that's why it's a conspiracy.

If you play the Articles of Faith backwards, you get a series of tones that can be recorded as binary code:

01001110 01100101 01110110 01100101 01110010 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101110 01101110 01100001 00100000 01100111 01101001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110101 01110000 00001101 00001010 01001110 01100101 01110110 01100101 01110010 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101110 01101110 01100001 00100000 01101100 01100101 01110100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100100 01101111 01110111 01101110 00001101 00001010 01001110 01100101 01110110 01100101 01110010 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101110 01101110 01100001 00100000 01110010 01110101 01101110 00100000 01100001 01110010 01101111 01110101 01101110 01100100 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01100100 01100101 01110011 01100101 01110010 01110100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00001101 00001010 01001110 01100101 01110110 01100101 01110010 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101110 01101110 01100001 00100000 01101101 01100001 01101011 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100011 01110010 01111001 00001101 00001010 01001110 01100101 01110110 01100101 01110010 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101110 01101110 01100001 00100000 01110011 01100001 01111001 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101111 01100100 01100010 01111001 01100101 00001101 00001010 01001110 01100101 01110110 01100101 01110010 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101110 01101110 01100001 00100000 01110100 01100101 01101100 01101100 00100000 01100001 00100000 01101100 01101001 01100101 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01101000 01110101 01110010 01110100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101

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15 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Whether or not Joseph was convicted in that event is subject to debate.   You're probably aware that Oliver Cowdery said Joseph was "honorably acquitted" in this legal issue (Oliver Cowdery, “Letter VIII,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1835, 2:200–201).  And there is some question as to whether there was an actual trial, since the February 1873 Fraser's Magazine purported "account" of the trial and the Chenango Union's May 3, 1877 "account" of the trial disagree in several important points.  The Frazer's Magazine article was written by Charles Marshall and Daniel S. Tuttle, and Tuttle claimed that they derived their account from some pages taken from the judge's docket book by the judge's niece, Emily Pearsall.  The Chenango Union article was written by William D. Purple, who claimed to have generated his version of the trial from some notes and from memory, and he claimed to have been a friend of the judge who asked him to be the scribe at the trial.  (Purple also admitted to telling the story repeatedly over the more than forty years before he submitted his article to the paper).  The inconsistencies between these two accounts have been noted in a number of works, and neither one of the accounts can qualify as an official court document.

You may be aware of Marvin S. Hill's 1972 BYU Studies article on this topic:  Joseph Smith and the 1826 Trial: New Evidence and New Difficulties (BYU Studies, Volume 12, Issue 2), and Dan Vogel's later article, Rethinking the 1826 Judicial Decision (to give two different views).

The Joseph Smith Papers site has published "lists all known documents created by or for the court, whether extant or not" related to this legal issue in this link:  State of New York v. JS–A, Chenango Co., NY, Justice of the Peace Court, 20 March 1826.  Part of the article summarizes the "trial" accounts as follows:

So I wouldn't go so far as to make the claims you are making in your post (regarding the 1826 disorderly person charge).

Thanks for the info.  I will be more careful in the future armed with this information.  

Regardless of whether or not he was actually convicted, I think the evidence is beyond refute, from testimonies of friend and foe alike, that we was engaged in such practices. 

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1 minute ago, pogi said:

Thanks for the info.  I will be more careful in the future armed with this information.  

Regardless of whether or not he was actually convicted, I think the evidence is beyond refute, from testimonies of friend and foe alike, that we was engaged in such practices. 

Just be aware that Oliver Cowdery was not around in 1826, so his statement is not really helpful. 

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26 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

Just be aware that Oliver Cowdery was not around in 1826, so his statement is not really helpful. 

Good point.  His statement would hold about as much weight then as the statement that he was convicted.  Which makes sense why it is still a subject of debate.  Probably safer to just stick to the more reliable evidence that he engaged in folk magic.  He doesn't need to be convicted to conclude from the evidence that he practiced it. 

Edited by pogi
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1 minute ago, pogi said:

Good point.  His statement would hold about as much weight then as the statement that he was convicted.  Which makes sense why it is still a subject of debate.  Probably safer to just stick to the more reliable evidence that he engaged in folk magic.  He doesn't need to be convicted to conclude from the evidence that he practiced it. 

At this point, it's silly to argue that he wasn't involved in such practices. As I said, the only reason people deny it is their expectation of what a prophet would or wouldn't do. 

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26 minutes ago, pogi said:

Thanks for the info.  I will be more careful in the future armed with this information.  

Regardless of whether or not he was actually convicted, I think the evidence is beyond refute, from testimonies of friend and foe alike, that we was engaged in such practices. 

I'm not arguing against his involvement in folk magic (everyone did that at that time, so I don't understand why it is an issue at all.)   The early folk magic involvement has no bearing on his later prophetic calling, in my opinion.  (Some of the things done by prophets in the Bible could be construed as folk magic). 

I'm just saying that there is mixed evidence on whether Joseph Smith was found "guilty" or "convicted" in that 1826 legal situation.  And that only really matters if someone wants to say "Joseph Smith was never convicted of any crime in his life". 

35 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

Just be aware that Oliver Cowdery was not around in 1826, so his statement is not really helpful. 

Then you'll also need to be aware that the Fraser's Magazine account is not really helpful either (published by Charles Marshall and Daniel S. Tuttle), because they weren't around as well.  And that's the account that says he was found "guilty".   The Joseph Smith Papers article on this 1826 event is comprehensive, and provides the sources.  This is what it says about the Fraser's Magazine account (I misspelled the name of the magazine in my prior post, I'm correcting that here):

Quote
      Although Neely’s docket book is not extant, three documents purporting to be based on the docket entry for State of New York v. JS–A later appeared in print. The published docket entry includes the case name, the date of the proceedings, the name of the complainant—Peter G. Bridgman, Stowell’s nephew—and the charge that JS was a “disorderly person and an Imposter.” It also includes detailed summaries of testimonies by JS and five witnesses recounting JS’s use of a seer stone while in Stowell’s employment. The docket entry concludes with Neely’s purported verdict, “and therefore the court finds the defendant guilty,” as well as the justice’s itemized fee bill totaling $2.68. Several of these details are consistent with Neely’s and De Zeng’s 1826 bills, strongly suggesting that the published transcript was based on an authentic source.17
     Because of uncertain provenance, however, questions remain regarding the reliability of the printed document, and it is included here as an appendix item. According to later accounts, following Neely’s death the original docket book was inherited by his niece, Emily Pearsall, who served as a Methodist missionary in Utah in the early 1870s.18 At some point, Pearsall reportedly “tore the leaves” pertaining to the case “out of the record.”19 In 1872, British journalist Charles Marshall visited Utah, where Pearsall permitted him to copy the “original papers” of Neely’s “judicial proceedings,” which he published in Fraser’s Magazine in England.20 After Pearsall’s death in 1872, the excised pages passed to Episcopal bishop Daniel S. Tuttle, with whom she had lived in Utah. Unaware of Marshall’s earlier publication, in 1883 Tuttle published a transcript of the document in Philip Schaff’s Religious Encyclopaedia.21 Finally, in 1886 the anti-Mormon Utah Christian Advocate published a transcript of “the Manuscript” they had obtained from Tuttle. Although “the Manuscript” likely referred to the “original papers” torn from Neely’s docket, it is also possible that the term refers to a copy made by Tuttle. Each printing was apparently made independent of the others, as each contains unique omissions and errors. Without the original source, it remains unknown how accurately any of the published versions represents Neely’s original docket entry. The Utah Christian Advocate is featured here as it appears to be the most complete version of the text, capturing elements that were omitted from the earlier versions.22 Significant variants are explained in footnotes to the transcript.

A link to a transcript of the Utah Christian Advocate account can be found at the Joseph Smith Papers site here.

And William D. Purple, the one guy who was actually at the trial and took notes (he says), said "It is hardly necessary to say that, as the testimony of Deacon Stowell could not be impeached, the prisoner was discharged, and in a few weeks left the town."   He says the whole thing was dismissed for lack of evidence.   The transcript of his account can be found here.

And even if half the things stated in his account are true, there is clear evidence of involvement in folk magic at that time.   But being found guilty of fraud or "disorderly conduct" is another matter.

Oliver Cowdery's statement is helpful in that it indicates that he was aware of the event and shows what he may have learned from those who participated in the trial (i.e. Joseph Smith and his family). 

Another BYU Studies article that I found helpful is this one:  "Joseph Smith's 1826 Trial: The Legal Setting", by Gordon A. Madsen (BYU Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2, pages 92‑108).  (I forgot to include that one in my prior post).

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6 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

I'm not arguing against his involvement in folk magic (everyone did that at that time, so I don't understand why it is an issue at all.)   The early folk magic involvement has no bearing on his later prophetic calling, in my opinion.  (Some of the things done by prophets in the Bible could be construed as folk magic). 

I'm just saying that there is mixed evidence on whether Joseph Smith was found "guilty" or "convicted" in that 1826 legal situation.  And that only really matters if someone wants to say "Joseph Smith was never convicted of any crime in his life". 

Then you'll also need to be aware that the Fraser's Magazine account is not really helpful either (published by Charles Marshall and Daniel S. Tuttle), because they weren't around as well.  And that's the account that says he was found "guilty".   The Joseph Smith Papers article on this 1826 event is comprehensive, and provides the sources.  This is what it says about the Fraser's Magazine account (I misspelled the name of the magazine in my prior post, I'm correcting that here):

A link to a transcript of the Utah Christian Advocate account can be found at the Joseph Smith Papers site here.

And William D. Purple, the one guy who was actually at the trial and took notes (he says), said "It is hardly necessary to say that, as the testimony of Deacon Stowell could not be impeached, the prisoner was discharged, and in a few weeks left the town."   He says the whole thing was dismissed for lack of evidence.   The transcript of his account can be found here.

And even if half the things stated in his account are true, there is clear evidence of involvement in folk magic at that time.   But being found guilty of fraud or "disorderly conduct" is another matter.

Oliver Cowdery's statement is helpful in that it indicates that he was aware of the event and shows what he may have learned from those who participated in the trial (i.e. Joseph Smith and his family). 

Another BYU Studies article that I found helpful is this one:  "Joseph Smith's 1826 Trial: The Legal Setting", by Gordon A. Madsen (BYU Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2, pages 92‑108).  (I forgot to include that one in my prior post).

I’m not arguing for either side, just noting that Cowdery’s statement adds little. 

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51 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

I'm not arguing against his involvement in folk magic (everyone did that at that time, so I don't understand why it is an issue at all.)   The early folk magic involvement has no bearing on his later prophetic calling, in my opinion.  (Some of the things done by prophets in the Bible could be construed as folk magic). 

I don't understand why it is an issue either.  I am not arguing that it has any bearing on his later prophetic calling. In fact, I think it played an important role.  Jesus used folk magic too. 

 

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38 minutes ago, pogi said:

I don't understand why it is an issue either.  I am not arguing that it has any bearing on his later prophetic calling. In fact, I think it played an important role.  Jesus used folk magic too. 

 

It's obvious to me why some people are troubled by it. Most people don't believe anyone can find lost or buried treasure by looking at a stone in a hat, and therefore, they assume that someone who claims as much is a fraud. That someone with that history used the same method to translate an ancient record suggests to them that this also is fraudulent. Therefore, if he didn't pretend to find lost treasures that way, he can't be considered a con man for his translation claims. 

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24 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

Most people don't believe anyone can find lost or buried treasure by looking at a stone in a hat, and therefore, they assume that someone who claims as much is a fraud. 

"Fraud" insinuates that Joseph didn't actually believe in folk magic.  I don't believe that for a second.  I don't think that can be deduced by the fact that "most people don't believe anyone can find lost or buried treasure".   In fact, very many people believed in such things in Joseph's time. 

28 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

Therefore, if he didn't pretend to find lost treasures that way, he can't be considered a con man for his translation claims. 

Makes sense, I suppose, why it could be an issue for those who seem to feel threatened by the arguments of critics.  I guess that is why it isn't an issue for me. 

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3 minutes ago, pogi said:

"Fraud" insinuates that Joseph didn't actually believe in folk magic.  I don't believe that for a second.  I don't think that can be deduced by the fact that "most people don't believe anyone can find lost or buried treasure".   In fact, very many people believed in such things in Joseph's time. 

Makes sense, I suppose, why it could be an issue for those who seem to feel threatened by the arguments of critics.  I guess that is why it isn't an issue for me. 

What I mean is that most people now don't believe he could see things in the stone when hiring out as a treasure seeker. It doesn't much matter whether he believed he could or not; he either did see something, or he didn't. Most people nowadays assume he didn't (count me among them). I remember Daniel Peterson arguing that Joseph had the gift of "second sight," which was a precursor to his seership. That would be the logical conclusion if you think his peepstone activities were related at all to his translating the Book of Mormon. Clearly, that's too much for some believers to accept. 

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23 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

What I mean is that most people now don't believe he could see things in the stone when hiring out as a treasure seeker. It doesn't much matter whether he believed he could or not;

It matters if we are going to label him a "fraud" and "con man".   If he actually believe he had a gift (whether or not he did), then he cannot correctly be called a fraud and con man.

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Just now, pogi said:

It matters if we are going to label him a "fraud" and "con man".   If he actually believe he had a gift (whether or not he did), then he cannot correctly be called a fraud and con man.

Well, I just come back to whether he actually did see things when seeking treasure. If he didn't, it's kind of irrelevant whether he believed he could or not. As I said in another thread, I long ago stopped trying to assign motivations to Joseph Smith. He's a mixed bag to me. 

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1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

Well, I just come back to whether he actually did see things when seeking treasure.  If he didn't, it's kind of irrelevant whether he believed he could or not. As I said in another thread, I long ago stopped trying to assign motivations to Joseph Smith. He's a mixed bag to me. 

If we are talking about "fraud", and "conning", then it absolutely is relevant what he believed and requires assigning motivation to him -whether or not the magic really worked is irrelevant.  It doesn't matter what he actually saw.  One can only conclude that he was a fraud and con man by concluding that he didn't really believe in magic and was just deceiving people for their money.  Intent to deceive must be established for the accusation of "fraud" and "con man" to stick.   Again, what he actually saw is irrelevant in regards to fraud. 

If it was only his imagination that created images/ideas of locations in his mind, but he believed that it was actual magic, then he cannot correctly be called a con man or fraudster. 

I can see how some may lose faith in his ability to know the difference between his imagination and supernatural/spiritual powers because of this (not really an issue for me), but "fraudster" and "con man" - not so much. 

Edited by pogi
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5 minutes ago, pogi said:

If we are talking about "fraud", and "conning", then it absolutely is relevant what he believed and requires assigning motivation to him -whether or not the magic really worked is irrelevant.  It doesn't matter what he actually saw.  One can only conclude that he was a fraud and con man by concluding that he didn't really believe in magic and was just deceiving people for their money.  Intent to deceive must be established for the accusation of "fraud" and "con man" to stick.   Again, what he actually saw is irrelevant in regards to fraud. 

If it was only his imagination that created images of locations in his mind, but he believed that it was actual magic, then he cannot correctly be called a con man or fraudster. 

I haven’t called him a fraud. I’m trying to explain why some believers can’t reconcile the treasure seeking with his prophetic calling. As I said, I can’t judge his sincerity or motivations. 

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45 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I haven’t called him a fraud. I’m trying to explain why some believers can’t reconcile the treasure seeking with his prophetic calling. As I said, I can’t judge his sincerity or motivations. 

I know that you personally haven't been calling him a fraud.  I have been responding to this:

2 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

It's obvious to me why some people are troubled by it. Most people don't believe anyone can find lost or buried treasure by looking at a stone in a hat, and therefore, they assume that someone who claims as much is a fraud. That someone with that history used the same method to translate an ancient record suggests to them that this also is fraudulent. Therefore, if he didn't pretend to find lost treasures that way, he can't be considered a con man for his translation claims. 

It sounded like you were trying to explaining that some believe that he was a fraud because they don't believe that he actually saw anything.  I am simply saying what he actually saw in the stone is irrelevant to the claim of fraud.  In that regard, I still don't understand the issue I suppose. 

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On 10/27/2022 at 8:18 AM, teddyaware said:

I read a recent article from this group in which a compellingly convincing case is made that Bushman twisted a statement made by Lucy Mack Smith in order to justify the oft made claim that the Smith’s were practitioners of folk magic. After carefully weighing the evidence, I’ve also concluded that Bushman is flat out wrong on his interpretation of mother Smith’s statement and that the LDS answers group is right on this particular issue of contention.

In fact, when one understands mother Smith’s statement in context she’s actually making the opposite point, i.e. that the Smith’s were hardworking people and most certainly not given to involvement in occult practices. The fact that Bushman could have gotten something so wrong because he wanted to push the notion that the Smith’s were largely indolent practitioners of folk magic has caused me to wonder if I should view the rest of his work with skepticism. I also find it interesting that Bushman’s work is often lauded by critical former members and unbelievers.

 

Better we should view about everything you say with a lot of skepticism. YOu are a great example of what I do not want to be and why I am happy to be done with Mormonism.

Edited by Teancum
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On 10/26/2022 at 6:38 PM, jkwilliams said:

So, I stumbled into a conversation with someone from https://ldsanswers.org on a Mormon history FB group. She told me that Bushman distorted the true history to get the approval of the world and hurt the church. She pointed me to an article on that site that said Joseph Smith wasn’t involved in things like peepstones and  divining rods. How do we know this? Because a true prophet would not do such things. I told her I thought the article was hardly compelling, at which point she called me to repentance and said, unlike Bushman, she actually believes in Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling.

Who are these people, and how have I missed them? They seem to be a mix of McConkie-esque sanitized history and a healthy serving of self-righteousness. 

Well, the Church has been less than forthcoming when it comes to historical issues. A few years ago the Joseph Smith Papers were published although the posting did not receive worldwide announcement. Sometime later the Gospel Topics were published with equally subdued commentary. By the way, none of that information is available in other languages. Bushman is a reputable, principled historian and still (as far as I know) a member of the church. You have to decide what to believe but the facts are the facts.

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On 10/27/2022 at 3:41 PM, pogi said:

 In case you weren't aware, Joseph Smith was actually tried and convicted of being a "disorderly person" due to his treasure seeking activities.   A "disorderly person", according to the statute in New York at the time was defined as "all jugglers [deceivers], and all persons pretending to have skill in physiognomy, palmistry, or like crafty science, or pretending to tell fortunes, or to discover where lost goods may be found."

Joseph Smith was hired by Josiah Stowell to find a lost silver mine. Josiah Stowells nephew filled the complaint against him. Joseph Smith was convicted of said crime.  An account of the proceedings was published in Fraser's Magazine:

 

 

I would disagree that Joseph Smith was tried and convicted of being a disorderly person.  Plus, why would it be illegal for a person to  "pretending to have skill in physiognomy, palmistry, or like crafty science, or pretending to tell fortunes, or to discover where lost goods may be found."  Who is really harmed by a person to pretend to have these skills?  Seems like a bizarre law.

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22 hours ago, Teancum said:

Better we should view about everything you say with a lot of skepticism. YOu are a great example of what I do not want to be and why I am happy to be done with Mormonism.

Since you’re obviously bitter and skeptical (or should I say totally unbelieving’) about anything and everything pertaining to the  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, why should a believing member of the Church expect that you would  day anything otherwise? Doesn’t it all go without saying? In full expectation that you would say the same thing about the Book of Mormon and the present-day leaders of the Church, I consider myself to be in good company. And while being fully willing to acknowledge my own imperfections, I would say that, at very least, you’re a very black pot, with many layers of  baked on soot, calling a kettle black.

Edited by teddyaware
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19 hours ago, teddyaware said:

Since you’re obviously bitter

Not bitter.  Though I know your need to tell yourself this to protect your testimony.  Not just about me.  About anyone who becomes disaffected from the church.

 

19 hours ago, teddyaware said:

 

and skeptical (or should I say totally unbelieving’) about anything and everything pertaining to the  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,

Yes skeptical. Totally unbelieving?  Maybe. I am open to being wrong.  Are you?

19 hours ago, teddyaware said:

 

why should a believing member of the Church expect that you would  day anything otherwise? Doesn’t it all go without saying? In full expectation that you would say the same thing about the Book of Mormon and the present-day leaders of the Church, I consider myself to be in good company. And while being fully willing to acknowledge my own imperfections, I would say that, at very least, you’re a very black pot, with many layers of  baked on soot, calling a kettle black.

Dude I interact with many believers on this board.  Yet you for the most part seem the only one over the top.  Even when you interact with other believers who disagree with some of what you say.  Even when I was active i do not recall running into another member that writes (do you talk like this in real life) like you do.  It seems you fancy yourself as some sort of prophet on the wall.  Your jaded view of the world must be an awful we to live day to day.

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On 10/30/2022 at 12:21 PM, Teancum said:

Not bitter.  Though I know your need to tell yourself this to protect your testimony.  Not just about me.  About anyone who becomes disaffected from the church.

 

Yes skeptical. Totally unbelieving?  Maybe. I am open to being wrong.  Are you?

Dude I interact with many believers on this board.  Yet you for the most part seem the only one over the top.  Even when you interact with other believers who disagree with some of what you say.  Even when I was active i do not recall running into another member that writes (do you talk like this in real life) like you do.  It seems you fancy yourself as some sort of prophet on the wall.  Your jaded view of the world must be an awful we to live day to day.

Come on, Teancum. Just admit it: we're all bitter. We're angry, and we want everyone to be angry like we are, just the same as Thomas B. Marsh. ;)

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On 10/26/2022 at 6:18 PM, CA Steve said:

"dogmatic Ahab" is redundant.

Now see how you are?

You stole that out of MY brain DAYS before before I even thought it!!

Talk about EVIL !!!  😱🤯😡👹 ;)

 

 

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