The "Meeting"

Discussion in 'Faith and Religion' started by Minuteman, Aug 9, 2012.


  1. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    One thing I have found that seems to infuriate many people, especially atheists is the sureness, the unshakable confidence that we as Christians have in our faith, that we have the answers, that we have the truth. They just can't understand how we can be so convinced, so undoubtedly sure of our beliefs. The simple answer for us is that they have never had the meeting.

    Imagine that you go to work in a large office building. You see the bosses name on company documents, you hear him mentioned and talked about. But how do you know he exists? How can you be sure he isn't just a figurehead created by the board of directors to give a personal touch to their employees? You don't. You can't prove that he exists. You ask your co-workers and hear tales of his great generosity and how lucky they are to be working for him. But when you ask them to prove he exists they just give you a condescending, knowing smile and walk off. But one day you are summoned to his office and he greets you and welcomes you to the company. When you leave that meeting you will never again doubt that there is a boss. And when a new hire says that he doesn't believe that he exists you will just smile and walk off.

    Simplistic I know, but I think it illustrates what I am trying to convey. The existence of God and belief in him is not something that one arrives at logically or is convinced of by any amount of empirical evidences. Until you have the meeting you cannot be certain. You may believe, but you aren't sure in your belief. Only once you have had the meeting are you absolutely, unquestionably convinced and sure.

    This is the rub for non-believers. The sure certainty that we who have had the meeting exhibit. I had the meeting in 1979 and since that day I can no more deny the existence of God than I can deny the existence of the sun. It just is. I know it is, without any doubt, with all certainty, it is just a fact.
    Non-believers try to rationalize that faith. They examine the evidence and when they are not convinced by it they reject it. They try to put a spiritual matter in a physical box. An immortal concept into a mortal framework. And that just doesn't work. No person I have ever known just woke up one day and decided to be a Christian. No one has ever been, or ever will, become a Christian from being convinced by the evidence. You cannot be talked into it. You can never examine the teachings, read the bible, attend a church, and then decide "OK, I guess I will become a Christian now." It just doesn't work that way.

    You are trying to rationalize a thing of the spirit with your mortal mind. Now I admit that there a some who have become pew warmers and preachers for profit that have never had the meeting. People whom for whatever reason give lip service to Churchianity. But those aren't the ones I am talking about here. I am talking about the ones who have had the meeting. Who have met God, talked to God, and have an unswerving knowledge of God. Not a faith in, not a belief in, but a sure knowledge of.

    Scripture mentions three types of believers, the "called", the "faithful" and the "chosen". Many believe, and teach that this is simply three names for all believers. But I reject that theory and have a complete study on the subject. I believe that they are three distinct groups. The way I describe it is like this; Imagine that there is a big concert coming to town, some big name singer is coming to perform. The "call" goes out on all the airwaves, in all the media, the promoters make sure that everyone in town has a chance to know that the they are coming. Radio ads urge people to get your tickets now. Then there are the singer’s followers, the groupies and the die-hard fans, the "faithful". They will know that he is coming and to what city. They will have followed the news of the tour from before the time it began. They will have bought their tickets months in advance. Then you have the last group. The singer will have some people that he personally invites to the show, the stage manager, the promoters, they will have comp tickets to be given out to those they invite, to the "chosen", the ones they go to and say "I want you to come".

    I believe the called to be all those that answer the call to salvation. The call has gone out and it is open for any who accept it. Then there are those who were raised in the faith, raised in church, in a Christian home. They go to church and they believe the scriptures and they have never doubted their authority, they are the faithful. But then you have a few that are chosen. Ones who God comes to directly and says, "I want you". Scripture has many accounts of the chosen, Paul probably being the most well known.

    I don't necessarily claim to be "chosen", but I was certainly not the faithful, and I never dreamed of answering the "call". It took God himself to summon me to the meeting, to convince me that he existed, that he was real. Many of the called have had the meeting, but many have not. I think of it as hearing what a wonderful company to work for, what a great boss, they answer the call and they are happy in the company and they don't question the existence of the boss. Same with the faithful. They work for the boss, maybe their parents worked for the boss, they know he exists and how good he is, they don't have to have a face-to-face meeting. But there are many who have to have that assurance, and once it happens, once you have the meeting, you will never again doubt, never again consider leaving for another company.

    I hope I have explained that to some degree of clarity. But to illustrate what I am talking about I am going to share with you something that not a lot of people have ever heard. It is a story that only those who attend the concert know, those fellow believers that I can confide in and share with. I have never put it out there for general public display before. But I hope that if nothing else you gain at least some understanding of why many of us are so sure in our beliefs, why we are unshakable in our faith, why we would die before denying God. It's because we have had the meeting.

    I had the meeting one night in the late summer of 1979 on a mountaintop high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I never would have imagined that I of all people would ever become "one of them". I grew up in a semi religious home. I had many religious people in my family, a couple of them preachers. Both of my grandmothers were very devout. My Dad was a rough and tumble oilman. He drank and gambled and did all the things that a good roughneck would do. He considered his faith between him and God and nobody else’s business. My mother was religious but she was not the go to church type. So I grew up around it but not immersed in it.

    When I got older I became somewhat of a bookworm. I loved to read and a had a very scientific mind. I had, and have, an extremely higher than normal I.Q. I hesitate to mention that, as you can't say that without sounding like a braggart or vain. But it is just simple fact, a genetic anomaly that God installed in my DNA. I prided myself on my intelligence, At 13 and 14 yrs old I was reading Freud, Jung, Nietzsche. And I was a complete and avowed atheist. I would tell other kids in my class how Freud said that God is simply a concept to assuage an adult males need for a father figure. How the Greeks saw the sun traverse the sky and invented stories of gods with fiery chariots to explain it. They invented gods to explain the unexplainable world they lived in. I had many a heated debate with many of my more devout relatives. Many of them came to me to try and open my eyes, to show me the error of my ways. I scoffed at them and their superstitions.

    So when I left home on that afternoon in 1979 the last thing I would ever have believed was that when I returned I would be "one of them". I was working at a place called the Nevada Test Site for the Dept. of Energy. I can't go into any details on what we were doing, but it isn't relevant to my story. I was working a shift job. Meaning that we had three eight-hour shifts. I was on graveyard that week. We weren't allowed to drive our personal vehicles around the site. We parked at a main base area and were picked up by large 20 passenger vans that would take us to our various work locations. I was working in an area that was very high up in the mountains.
    Many of us, myself included, were just coming back from days off. It was late at night and everyone was sleepy. It was a long drive and most people slept most of it. The driver would play the AM radio and as was usual back then once you started climbing into the mountains you would invariably lose the signal. He would roll around the dial looking for something to keep him awake. And invariable, especially late at night he would stumble across an AM radio preacher spouting his fire and brimstone sermon. If he lingered on the station for any length of time at all someone on the bus would yell "turn that crap off, find some music". This happened every time I can ever remember on that ride.

    This particular night I was leaning my head back in my seat, trying to sleep. I was recalling the long weekend just passed. I had spent it at the lake, partying myself into a drug induced stupor. I knew I had fun, I just couldn't recall all of it. It was the 70's after all. And before anyone says "aha!” No I did not have any drugs in my system at the time. I was clean and sober. It was around 11 pm and we were high up in the mountains. The bus was very quiet, with the exception of light snoring. The station the driver had on was playing some old 50's tunes but it soon faded out as usual and he began his nightly station search. I wasn't paying any attention; I was looking out of the window at the most beautiful full moon I have ever seen. It was just becoming visible above the ridgeline of the pass we were going through.

    It took a few minutes to draw my attention back inside the bus. Something wasn't right. I looked around and realized that the driver had stopped the radio on one of those loud mouthed preaching programs. I waited for someone to yell for him to change it, and waited, the bus was quiet. I thought that everyone must be asleep. I looked around and saw that although several were sleeping there were quite a few that had their eyes open, staring straight ahead and appeared to be listening. I thought to myself "great, I have to listen to this crap". I laid my head back, closed my eyes and tried to sleep. But the preachers endless droning was preventing that. He got to the part where he invited anyone who didn't have "the blood of Jeezus on them to come forward and be washed in the blood brothers and sisters!!" What a crock I thought to myself. How pathetic that these people couldn't handle life and had to have such a blatantly ridiculous crutch to get them by. The preacher was droning on about how everyone needed to be forgiven and accept salvation, blah, blah, blah. "God is waiting for your call, he is waiting for you to just reach out and call to him".

    At this point I have to explain a bit about my character. I have always had an inquisitive mind, I have a love hate relationship with any kind of puzzle or riddle. I cannot stand to not know something. I see a crossword puzzle and I have to work it. Someone gave me a Rubik’s cube one time and I didn't leave me room for three days until I had solved it. I thought that I had most things in life figured out. More than just the normal 20 something hubris. I put great store in my intellect and was sure that there wasn't much in life that I didn't know.

    Back to the bus, I was listening to the preacher drone on and on and I said my first prayer since my childhood. I leaned back closed my eyes and said, " OK, God, this guy says you are out there, that you are real. But I don't believe that. I don't believe that you are real. But if you are, if you are really there, I want to know it, I want to know the truth." Now I had said the "sinners prayer" that I was urged to in Sunday school when I was young, and I had prayed for a few things in my youth. But this was, I know now, very different, I was not praying with my mind, I was praying with my spirit. I was in the right frame of mind; I was honest in my search for the truth. And that is when I had the meeting, God answered me, he spoke to me, he said two words "I'm here".

    Now when someone talks about hearing the voice of God many people scoff. They make jokes about your sanity, what did he sound like, etc. But what non-believers don't seem to understand is that God is spirit. And you talk to him, and he to you, in the spirit. I heard the words, but it wasn't a booming voice from the clouds, it wasn't anything that the guy beside me could have heard, and it certainly wasn't my own mind. Anyone who has had the meeting, anyone who has heard the voice of God knows for a certainty what it is, there is no doubt. And believe me that night and even many times since I have wished it could have been my own imagination, but it wasn't. It was the spirit of the creator who created me speaking to me in the spirit. I knew immediately that it was the voice of God and in an instant, in less than the blink of an eye, all my doubt vanished, all my "intellect" that I was so proud of, all of my intellectual arguments, just vanished like a puff of smoke. I knew God was real, I knew it was true.

    The guilt and the weight of the sin of my life washed over me, a crushing weight of conviction. I never before felt guilty for anything, but in that instance I knew that I was and just how low and how despicable my life was. The conviction of my crimes slammed down on me. It was crushing me. I said my second prayer then and there, the sinners prayer, a heartfelt cry from the spirit for forgiveness, an admission of the terrible guilt I was feeling. And then it lifted, it vanished and the relief was almost too much to bear. The sudden lifting of that crushing knowledge was such a sweet and pure feeling. It is an awesome experience and one that saddens me to know that many have never experienced. That is one reason Christians who have had the meeting are so exuberant and so quick to want to share with people and to try to convert them. The experience is so sweet that we want everyone to know about it, we want everyone to experience it, we want to shout it from the rooftops.

    Now God says he knew us from before we were in the womb. He knows the number of every hair on our heads. He knows us better than we will ever know ourselves. And he knew that with my scientific, rational, questioning mind that I would begin to doubt my experience. That I needed more than just the pure sweetness of forgiveness. I had to have something tangible, something undeniable that would sustain me in the years to come, to know, without doubt, that I had met with almighty God, the creator of the universe that night. A parting gift if you will. Now I have talked to some people who have had a similar experience, but not a lot. I think that God gives to those who need it. It doesn't happen to everyone and not always in this manner but this is how he sealed the deal with me. The bible says that no man can see the face of God and live. He showed Moses just a glimpse from the rear and it turned his hair white and his face glowed so brightly that he had to wear a veil when he addressed the Israelites. That night he showed himself to me, just the smallest, faintest sliver, and now I know why no man can see his face and live. Their mortal body could not handle the pure essence of joy that results from being in his presence. The most intense, utter, rapturous joy poured into me that one could ever experience. My heart felt like it was going to explode, I could hardly sit still. I couldn't wait to get off that bus. I was a three pack a day smoker, but when we got to the site I threw all my cigarettes away and never even wanted another one. Normally just coming back to work after a long weekend everyone is tired and slow and we didn't do much that wasn't absolutely necessary. But not me, not that night. I couldn't sit still. I worked harder than I had in years. I cleaned, I painted, I did anything I could to try and relieve some of the energy I had inside me. Now at this time in my life I had experimented with about every drug known to man. But I had never had a high like this, no chemical could ever have produced the intense euphoria that I was feeling. It was so intense that it hurt. I know now that it was the result of being that close to the presence of God. No mortal body could stand to see much more than he revealed to me that night. And it wasn't a visible presence, again it is spiritual, the barest, most minute sliver of his spirit touched mine. Any more and my heart would have burst.

    The effects of my meeting were very physical and lasting. I had to force myself to lay down and sleep and when I woke I literally jumped out of the bed ready to go. For three days! It was the most intense high that I had ever had. I was wired up and on fire for days.

    So now when I get an opportunity to debate the gospel with someone I speak in a knowing tone that many find very frustrating. They want me to prove it, they want to debate the details, argue the merits of this theory or that. What this scientific study says or what other religions teach. And myself and others who have had the meeting just smile and walk off. We know the truth. And it is not our truth, it is not my truth, it is the truth. Now there is a lot of religion that can be debated, a lot of doctrine that can be argued, a lot of false teachings that can be challenged, but the truth, the fact, that there is a god and he is interested in the lives of man. That is undeniable, to those who have had the meeting. It is not a smug superiority, a vain ego, a condescending attitude as many perceive. It is simply that we have met the boss. We know the truth, we know it is truth. We have had the meeting.
     
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  2. Sapper John

    Sapper John Analog Monkey in a Digital World

    Thank you for your testimony Minuteman,very well stated and explained!
     
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    One of the Best "Meeting" encounters, that I have ever heard... rivals Paul's, on the road to Damascus, or a few others I have read....
    Thank you for sharing.....

    Reminds me of the "Oh God" Movie with John Denver.... One who has had "the Meeting" just can NOT explain "The Knowing" to one who has NOT... even to Religious Scholars.... If you KNOW, there is no longer any DOUBT.....
     
  4. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I am not certain what can be described as "real" in a world such as ours, in this "reality" we call life. Even if there is a supreme being that created all life, he/it sure doesn't seem to play an active role. For the creator of all matter and life, all I am certain of is his/its absence. The religious, who are motivated and inspired to believe for various reasons will claim with no uncertainty that "he exists". There are always a few who will be pushed to their mental limits, deprived of food or sleep, kept in a state of worship and inundated with religious chanting --who will "see things". I can think of a hundred hippies who can claim to have seen things, too. None of this means I should believe any of them.

    The thought that keeps coming to mind is the one inspired by Thomas Paine, who wrote, "Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication-- after that it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it can not be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to ME, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him." [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]

    I do not find it strange for a religious person to use a "revelation" as a means to further an agenda, to gain acceptance, or to attack any who oppose their dogmatic principles. It's worked well for them over the centuries, welcoming millions upon millions of adoring fans, all willing to exchange their outdated sovereign minds for a collective, feel-good model. Besides, anybody who chooses to believe a story of this magnitude ("the creator of all the universe spoke to me! And he needs your money!") probably deserves to belong with the religious crowd.

    <end logic>

    You see, my argument, my fight has always been with MANKIND, not a religion nor a belief system. It is the very claim of God interacting with HUMANKIND that gives me all the resolve I need to say it's illogical to conclude the texts of man are the word of God. All I have ever seen is lies and deceit concerning religion.

    I will leave with this quote by Thomas Paine as well. I feel it is quite amazing, really.

     
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Exactly, Brokor... Revelation is a PERSONAL Thing... One does NOT get Revelation for OTHERS, unless he is CALLED, and CHOSEN, as a Prophet. You can count the TOTAL Number of those, in the history of civilization, in with double digits. This does NOT mean GOD does not speak to Men. (both Sexes) It only means that his Communications, are Only for that Individual, and very Personal, and Sacred to that Individual. Not Secret, but Sacred....

    I really like the adage, "Folks that know, will not tell you, and anyone who Tells you, doesn't know"

    The only exception to that, is Testimony, like MinuteMan has done above. He just gives you the plain and simple FACTS, of the experience, and NOT the real substance, because that is something you can only get from such an experience, yourself....

    Anyone who follows a Preacher, Guru, or Prophet, had better do HIS OWN Due Diligence, with his GOD, or be prepared to be lead down the Garden Path, to his Destruction... ..... YM or GOD MV.....
     
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  6. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    Well said BTPost.

    I would like to add, that the Father will only respond to those who ask. You have to want to be saved to be saved. Unfortunetly, our race loves sin. We relish it. As some would say, "we run towards sin, and crawl away from it."

    Minuteman's testimony was inspiring. We all have a little bit of the Holy Spirit working on us, in our conscience. When we foster that relationship, wonderful things happen, and we begin a change in our lives that reflect that. Of course, bad things will continue to happen to us. Satan hates when we finally begin to crawl away from sin. It makes him redouble his efforts to get us to fall.

    As for Bokor, I've been where you are. I thought I figured it all out, too. Unfortunetly, the world is run by certain elements that are only there to further their agenda. A lot of the scientific theories that I accepted as fact were presented without their due argument and conflicting data.

    Relativity. Evolution. Carbon dating. The list goes on and on. Believe me, look for it objectively, and the data will point to the real truth! We have been lied to our entire lives, and the lives of our parents and grandparents. Doubt is all Satan needs to get us to falter.

    If one doesn't believe the "fairy tale" of true Christianity, what are you more likely to believe? That nature has infinite power? That chaos was capable of creating something so complex and elegant as the biological function of our eyesight? Certain things just aren't capable of happening in the natual world, and scientists are still baffled by how it works.

    That brings us back to the "chicken and the egg" argument. I would like to just add that logic is actually an example of man's ability to think of himself as a diety. This was one of the first things Satan pushed on the human race- "you will know good and evil" and "will be as God". Don't try to test God, or outthink Him. You will fail.

    For my own testimony, I've seen the works of God's hands throughout my life, I just never realized they were there. I never looked for them, or chalked them off to the luck of the draw, or chance. My dad was the same way, and we shared some experiences that would have us wondering why we were still alive.

    The most startling example occured back when I was still a teenager. My dad crashed his airplane (1970 Cessna Cardinal). This crash had a complete and total distruction of the aircraft, pieces scattered in the air, a powered freefall auger straight into the water, and sunk in the river. He floated up through the hole in the cabin where the wings used to be. Fishermen came over to him (what brought them there to fish that day?) and pulled him out of the freezing water of mid November. He had every doctor in the hospital looking at him. They found nothing.

    Now you could pawn that off on some great engineering by the Cessna Aircraft Company employees to create such a crashworthy aircraft. Or, if you are looking, you can see the hand of The Creator at work. I finally opened my eyes and began to see what He has been doing for me all these years.
     
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  7. Georgia_Boy

    Georgia_Boy Monkey+++

    Minuteman, thank you for a terrific witness. Oh, the joy, Oh, the peace! Thank you Lord! I have had so many blessings inmy life all my hair has washed out......
    GB
     
  8. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    I am surprised that I actually posted this. I am normally very private and don't share a lot of intimate details about myself. I almost deleted it a couple of times but something prompted me to write it and to leave it. Maybe someone who reads it will be blessed by it. All I can say is that ones salvation and "meeting" is a deep and personal thing and it cannot be rationalized away. And it cannot be proven in any way that will make someone who has not had it convinced.

    Many of us have prayed prayers that went unanswered, to our knowledge. We have prayed for things that never materialized or have said "the sinners prayer" and never had any kind of "road to Damascus" experience. I myself had many times up until this time. And it sounds like a cop out but it is not. Many prayers are simply not offered in the spirit. I know now that the sinners prayer that I prayed, the magic spell that I repeated in Sunday school was from my mind not from my soul. To be able to communicate with the spirit you have to be in the spirit. And many prayers go unanswered and we are baffled and dismayed at why. The are not unanswered it is only that God has said no. And we don't always see his purpose in those answered or unanswered prayers. How can praying for a sick child to recover and then have them die serve any kind of purpose? How can a loving God let an innocent suffer? Hard questions and the only answer I can give is that we simply cannot see the future to know the ramifications of any act. Like a pebble in a pond the ripples carry farther and reach areas that we may never see.

    My Mother-in-law was prone to strokes and was on blood thinners. She was a stubborn old bird and would not take them like she was supposed to and would not listen to what the doctors told her. She threw a blood clot last year that went to her brain and killed her.
    4 months later I had a clot that stuck in my lung and after getting out of the hospital I have been faithful to take my medication and to follow the Dr's orders.Which I certainly would not have done if it hadn't been for seeing the results in my MIL's case. So her death I believe saved my life. A very simplistic story but true.

    I saw the suffering of my grandparents when they died and the stoic bravery that they showed and it strengthened me. I witnessed a young mother with two young children ravaged by cancer and finally, despite many prayers, succumbing to it. To what end? Her husband was completely turned off to religion afterwards, angry at God for not sparing his wife. But years later his daughter grew up to be a leading cancer doctor and researcher because of the experience. And who can say, she may one day find the cure for it. All because God saw the good down the road.

    So who knows, there may be someone out there who is meant to read this and whose life may change because of it. I truly hope and pray that is so.

    One final thought, too many people do not distinguish between faith and religion. Faith is a personal relationship with our creator, a meeting. A sure knowledge of. Religion is mans expression of that faith. And anything man has a hand in is corrupted and flawed. So you have to separate the two.Because the Catholics murdered millions I won't accept Christianity. I won't ask for the meeting because I have seen crooked preachers bilking old ladies out of their rent money. Two completely different things.
     
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  9. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    The trust and faith in God is a personal thing. When you accept Jesus Christ as your savior you are all in, and if you are not, well that is between the two of you. Religion likes to set boundaries on that relationship, and that does not mean anything beyond what you allow it to be.
     
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  10. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Minuteman, there is no doubt as to why you have the esteemed title as Survival Monkey's Chaplain. I am far from chosen, and only barely faithful, but I know what I believe, and it guides my actions and gives me strength.
    .
    There is another thing that needs to be included in this discussion. There is in us and among us Satan and his influences and his minions. These should never be underestimated. For they seek to destroy us and pull us from the path of righteousness.
     
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  11. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Well said. ;) It's nice to know that you understand how I type, and I am glad you did not take offense, since none was intended (as usual).
     
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  12. Ajax

    Ajax Monkey++

    Minuteman,
    Thank you for sharing your testimony, it blessed me greatly. When you came to that point of being willing to pray to God from your spirit was it something that just came out of the blue or was it something that, looking back, built up to that time and place over the years?



    People that are not Christians have a hard time understanding faith. They don't realize that like Minuteman said you have an experience that no one can take away or rationalize. When you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ it changes you forever. Personally I don't know how people live with out a relationship with Jesus Christ, I would have ruined my life long ago with out a relationship. It doesn't even have to be a profound experience at once. Experience with the Lord can come in many ways but one thing that is for sure is it touches you to the core of your being.

    When you really start paying attention to the details God speaks to us in many ways every day, the still small voice, the feeling of peace that can rush over you in prayer or when dealing with difficult things in life. Even things as simple as noticing something around you that is going on and how it can spur you to repent or say a prayer of gratitude and praise. I'm astounded all the time at how God works in the life of those around me and myself. All things are made beautiful in his time.
     
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