Don’t Blame Me, I Just Report the News


ThisIsNotThePlaceEarlier this month, a Facebook event was created entitled, “This is not the place.” It is subtitled, “Mass resignation from the LDS Church,” and is to protest Kate’s excommunication. The event is scheduled to be held at City Creek Park on 24 July 2014 in Salt Lake City, which is Pioneer Day, a holiday in the state of Utah. I’m sure it will be well attended, at least by the news media.

Mass Resignations From the LDS Church

A similar event was held sometime after the Proposition 8 fallout. I knew some of the people who resigned at that time. I have kept in touch with many of them. They are still my friends on Facebook. They seem happy for the most part, but of course, I only know most of them from interactions on my blog over the years. I also have some friends who are resigning on July 24th.

We Are Losing Some of the Best and Brightest

From what I see, these are young people – well, young to me. I am an old guy, although not nearly as wise and experienced as those who lead this church. These young people seem smart. In fact, in my interactions with them, I know they are. They are, for the most part, college grads with good jobs, well-educated, many being returned missionaries, many married in the temple.

A Serious Step to Get Your Message Across

Why, we must ask ourselves, are these young people leaving the church? According to some estimates I have read, they hope to have thousands participate in the mass resignation. They are also encouraging those who are dissatisfied or disaffected by the disciplinary actions against Kate and John and Rock to ask their own priesthood leaders to hold a disciplinary council.

Understanding Why People Leave the Church

I’m just a blogger so don’t get upset with me for reporting the news. It’s not a secret. But I would like to point out another site created by John Dehlin several years ago specifically to help young people stay in the church, in spite of their feelings about being lied to about church history or about the discriminatory practices against blacks and women or other concerns they may have.

Consider the Contributions of John Dehlin

I have long been a fan or follower of John Dehlin’s work. I believe he has done more good to help those who are disaffected reconsider their desires to leave the church. He is an advocate for the LDS LGBT community and outspoken about marriage equality. I’m not saying I agree with his work as an activist but I do agree with his work to promote tolerance, acceptance and love.

You May Learn Some Things New at StayLDS

If you haven’t been to StayLDS lately, I encourage you to visit the site and view the presentation originally created by John. There is other good material on the site to help foster understanding about why people leave the LDS church. I especially enjoyed viewing the “Top Five Myths Why Committed Mormons Leave the LDS Church.” It may be an eye opener if you haven’t seen it.

Imagine Being Asked to Resign From the Church

John has been asked to resign from the church. He later reported he will be meeting with his Stake President in the next week or so. I met with my Bishop and Stake President earlier this week and am pleased to report we are working things out. I have a new appreciation from my dear bishop of just how my posts have affected some people I love and don’t want to hurt.

For the Record From Daymon Smith

In the spirit of Daymon Smith’s “For the record” posted Thursday, I would like to post my own official statement of disclaimers, specifically for those who want to know what my intentions are and why I write as I do. I record this late at night, in St George, on my way to a family reunion this weekend, after driving all day, so it may be a little incoherent, but I want to get it posted.

Question and Answer with Latter-day Commentary

Q. Do you feel you have changed your style or tone over the years?

A. I didn’t think so until a long-time reader pointed out some differences in the way I answered some questions put to me by a reader. I was much more church-centric back when I started.

Q. Can you explain what you mean by “church-centric?”

A. I started blogging in 2007. I specifically wanted to provide standard answers that I could use in answering all the common questions we were and still are getting on the Internet.

Q. Like what?

A. Plural Marriage, Blacks and the Priesthood, Mormons and Masonry, The peep-stone in the hat, Multiple versions of the First Vision, Book of Abraham, Adam-God, Mountain Meadows, Mark Hoffman forgeries, Elder McConkie’s treatment of George Pace, President Benson and Alzheimer’s disease, Kinderhook Plates, DNA evidence of American Indians, and on and on.

Q. So why do you call these “church-centric” issue and answers?

A. I tried to make my responses correlate as close as possible with what I had been taught as a missionary, what I had read in the correlated church handbooks and CES material when I was a seminary teacher and with the answers I found on official church websites.

Q. And now?

A. I am more focused on coming unto Christ.

Q. What do you mean?

A. I guess I’m not so concerned about all the historical issues the church has had. Most people who have studied them have concluded the church did not record them accurately, and in many cases, changed the record to make it look better. The church has acknowledged this and is doing something about it by publishing original documents from the very early days of the church.

Q. So you no longer focus on answering historical questions.

A. That’s correct. A few years ago I read a book that changed my life.

Q. You’re referring to Denver Snuffer’s “Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil.”

A. No, actually, I’m referring to his 2011 book, “Passing the Heavenly Gift.”

Q. You do know that’s the book for which he was excommunicated last year?

A. Of course. But still, it changed my life when I read it.

Q. How so?

A. I could not put it down. I picked it up to give it a quick perusal just before I went to bed one night to see what it was all about. A friend had asked me about it so I bought it and thought I would write a few words about it on my blog.

Q. And…

A. I stayed up all night reading it. It was a spiritual experience for me.

Q. What do you mean?

A. I mean, I had multiple sacred “ah-ha” moments of enlightenment as I was reading, and when I finished, I knelt down and asked the Lord to let me know what He thought about the book.

Q. And He told you?

A. In no uncertain terms.

Q. What did He say?

A. He said I didn’t need to continue my blogging efforts to answer everybody’s objections to the historical difficulties they were having with our church.

Q. Why is that?

A. Because Denver Snuffer had answered them perfectly.

Q. You do know, of course, there are many people who disagree with his conclusions?

A. Of course. But that means nothing when you get an answer from the Lord.

Q. Let’s move on to something else. You said you are more focused on coming unto Christ.

A. Yes.

Q. Can you elaborate?

A. I went back and read all of Denver’s books, including the other one you mentioned.

Q. “Conversing With The Lord Through the Veil?”

A. Yes. I decided the most important thing I could do with the rest of my life would be to live in such a way that I am prepared to receive a visit from the Lord in this life.

Q. And you believe that is possible?

A. Not only do I believe it, but the Lord has promised it in multiple places in the scriptures.

Q. Now, be honest. How many people do you know who claimed to have seen the Lord?

A. Less than a half dozen.

Q. And you believe them?

A. Why should I doubt?

Q. Because when you meet the Lord, you’re not supposed to talk about it.

A. That’s a myth, generated by those who can’t explain why it isn’t happening to more people.

Q. Let’s wrap this up. What are you trying to accomplish with your blog these days?

A. Let me do two things. Let me first state unequivocally what I’m not trying to do and then I’ll answer your question to the best of my ability.

Q. Please. Go ahead.

A. First of all, I am not trying to encourage anyone to leave this church. In fact, I am trying to do the opposite. Stay. We need you. We need your strength. We need your talents and abilities. We need your service, your help, your testimonies and your love of the Savior to share with us.

Next, let’s be clear. I am not the cause of anyone deciding to leave this church. Just because I report on events of the day or I write a book review about a controversial book, it is up to the individual to decide how they will take the news or if they like my opinion of the book.

And finally, I want to make sure everyone who reads this knows I have no doubts that God is our Heavenly Father, that He lives and loves us and answers our prayers. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is our Savior, our Lord and Redeemer. He is calling out to each of us to repent and come unto Him. I know Joseph Smith was called of God to translate the Book of Mormon.

He did this through the gift and power of God. It is scripture and we need to spend more time studying it so we can understand God’s will for us in these last days. I know the Lord established His church through Joseph Smith and restored priesthood authority and keys of the kingdom. I sustain the leaders of this church as prophets, seers and revelators and pray for their success.

Q. Thank you. And the last question: What are you trying to accomplish with your blog these days?

A. I am on a journey, a spiritual journey. I have questions I am trying to answer. I am sharing my journey with those who are interested. Sometimes the stuff I write may be mundane and boring. But it is my hope and prayer that something I write can help someone else who has asked the same question and is on the same journey, believing that D&C 93:1 can be fulfilled in mortality.

Q. And that concludes our interview with Latter-day Commentary by blogger Tim Malone since it’s now one o’clock in the morning. We hope to have future interviews and delve deeper into some of the subjects you raised, especially your contention that the scriptures about the Lord coming to visit men and women in this life are meant to be literally fulfilled in a physical way.

A. Thank you. God bless and good night.

They Shall Go Into the Caves of the Earth


MeteorBombardmentThey felt the first impact before they heard anything.

“Cynthia, Get down,” David said, “This is it.”

He crouched behind the seats on the podium, reached up and pulled Cynthia close. She wrapped her arms around him, buried her face in his chest. He held her tight.

The first meteorite fragment crashed onto the grounds outside the still-packed auditorium. David could see it scored a direct hit on one of the television broadcast vans. The uplink had already been severed about twenty minutes before, evidence of satellite destruction some 24,000 miles out. He figured the speed of these things must have been about 75,000 mph when they hit the atmosphere, where they broke into thousands of smaller fragments.

The lights flickered but held for the moment.

“Oh no,” Cynthia said. Where’s dad?

“He’s over there behind the front row of chairs,” David said.

Cynthia lifted her head to look just as another fragment came down, only this time it hit the building. It crashed through one of the large east windows. Most of the remaining audience had already moved toward the center of the building, away from the windows.

Several women screamed. The fragments of glass and window structure flew into the crowd, propelled with the intensity of an explosion. The meteorite fragment slammed into the floor of the auditorium at about a 45 degree angle, digging a hole the size of a soccer ball.

The lights in the auditorium went out at the same time. Another fragment must have hit a transformer on the campus. The street lights were still on and the TV broadcast van had burst into flames. The eerie glow of red and orange came through the now empty window frame, highlighting a scene of terror and confusion.

“David, some of those people are hurt,” Cynthia said.

“I know, but we can’t move just yet. Keep your head down.”

David reached back and put his hand behind Cynthia’s head, pulling her face back into his chest. He felt her trembling. He wished they had something more for protection.

“There’s more?”

“After they break up in the atmosphere, these things come down in swarms of dozens, sometime hundreds of pieces at a time.”

He looked toward the window at the end of the hall, the one over the main entrance, just in time to see another meteorite hit. This one was angled more from the southeast. It appeared to be larger than the first one to enter the building. An unusual blue glow accompanied the shock.

Not only did this fragment decimate the window as it entered the building, it also blew out a chunk of the surrounding structure. Glass, rock from the building and the meteorite, now shattered by the impact, sprayed the crowd with devastating precision.

David watched in horror as dozens of people were hit by the flying debris. The chairs behind which they hid were simply no protection. Pieces of rock and glass ripped through them as if they weren’t there. There was no way even he could comprehend the enormous power of something travelling at the atmospheric drag reduced speed of 30,000 miles per hour.

Cynthia screamed, along with just about everyone else in the auditorium. The sound of the crashing glass and rock almost drowned them out. Pushed by the force of the blast, David rolled backward off the end of the podium, Cynthia still in his arms. The curtain behind the podium came partially down with them and under them as they fell the five or six feet to the floor. David winced at the impact, grateful for the falling curtain.

Like bullets from a machine gun, pieces of rock and glass ripped into the remaining curtain above their heads, right where they had been crouching just a split second before. The rest of the curtain fell on top of them. David didn’t dare move.

In the dark, the moans and groans of the injured agonized David’s ears. How he wanted to get up and help them. These were his colleagues, his friends. But Cynthia needed him more. She had landed on top of him, the curtain covering them both. David felt her body shake as she cried and sobbed.

“Oh, David, will it never stop?”

David did not have time to reply. Another meteorite fragment hit the building, again from the east. Although he could not see it, David could tell this piece was bigger than the others. His ears rang from the deafening sound of the impact. It must have hit at least one more window, or maybe it was so explosive it blew out all the remaining windows.

Glass and rock rained down on them. The curtain had bunched up in such a way they could only feel the largest pieces as they fell after hitting the wall above them. They were well protected in the small space between the podium and the wall where they had fallen.

Just as suddenly as it had started, it was over. Sirens wailed from police and fire trucks all over the city. The sounds seemed surreal and unrealistic to David. His ears still rang from the many explosions. He felt something wet on his leg and wondered what it was.

“Cynthia, are you all right?”

“Yes, I think so.” Her voice shook, but David was happy to hear it.

“We’ve got to find dad,” she said and began the struggle to untangle themselves from the curtain. Pieces of rock and glass were mixed in with dust and, something wet and…fleshy.

“I’m glad I can’t see what this wet stuff is,” Cynthia said.

“Cynthia, don’t get your hopes up. Before the lights went out I saw some awful things out on the floor.” David finally got enough of the curtain off them that they could stand up.

“Don’t say anything. Don’t say anything. Just help me find dad.”

“OK, take my hand and don’t touch anything. Do you still have your shoes on?

“Yes.”

“I’ll go first. Be careful where you step.”

Making their way to the side of the podium was difficult with the curtain bunched up. On the way, they ran into Stan Johnson – literally. He also had fallen behind the podium and was spared from the onslaught of glass, rock and body pieces.

“David, is that you?”

“Yes, and Cynthia.”

“Are you two alright?”

“We seem to be,” David said. “How about you?”

“If I hadn’t fallen into the curtain I would probably be dead.”

“I think we were lucky,” Cynthia said. “Will you help me find my dad?”

“I was talking to him before the first meteorite hit,” Stan said. “He had just walked down off the podium and was talking to someone in the front row.”

“Dad,” Cynthia shouted.

“Professor Volinsky,” David joined in. “Where are you?”

Moans, groans and calls for help emanated throughout the auditorium. It was still dark with only the light from the fires outside to guide them. Even the street lights were out. David could make out the shapes of others wandering around looking for loved ones. Who would have thought such destruction could take place inside such a large facility?
The trio rounded the front corner of the podium, still calling for Manny.

“Don’t look, Cynthia,” David said, still leading the way. He stepped over a dead body.

“I can’t see anything anyway,” Cynthia said. “I’ve got too much dust in my eyes.”

David pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and turned to Cynthia.

“No, don’t. Not now,” Cynthia said. “I’m OK. I’ve got to find dad first.”

“Here. Take it,” David said, pressing the handkerchief into her other hand.

“Doctor Volinsky,” Stan called out again.

“I’m right here. Don’t shout.” Manny’s voice sounded muffled.

“Oh, dad,” Cynthia cried. “Keep talking. We can’t see you.”

“That’s because the lights are out.” His voice seemed to come from their feet.

The three of them bent down. David reached out with his hands but felt nothing.

“Under here,” Manny said. He knocked on the wood of the front of the podium.

“How did you get behind there?” Stan said.

“I have no idea. One minute I was talking to Professor Hansteen about Birkeland’s Currents and the next thing I knew, we were both under here.

“Must have been the same blast that knocked us into the curtains,” David said.

“Don’t move. I’ll see if I can find an opening,” Cynthia said.

“Careful. Watch out for glass,” Stan said.

“I’ve got David’s handkerchief.”

“If you’ll just go a little to your right, I think there’s a broken panel.”

“Here it is,” Cynthia said. “David, help me move it out of the way.”

It took all three of them, tugging and pulling, to finally get the wedged panel unstuck. Once removed, Manny and professor Hansteen scrambled out. They all stood.

“Oh, Dad,” Cynthia embraced her father. “I’m so glad you’re alright.”

In the absence of light, David and Stan patted Manny and professor Hansteen in greeting.

A pair of small emergency lights on either side of the hall flickered on.

Cynthia put her hand to her face and stifled a scream.

“Oh, my God,” Stan cried out.

The scene of death and horror before them was incomprehensible. There had been thousands of people in the auditorium for the presentation. Very few had left in the twenty minutes it took from the end of the transmission until the first meteorite fragment arrived.

Most of the chairs, and people, had been pushed toward the west side of the hall by the force of the blasts. The blood ran in rivulets through the dust from a pile of bodies in one of the corners. David estimated several hundred dead at first sight. Those who were not killed were wandering around aimlessly, some with severe lacerations and others with hardly a scratch.

A man with a huge gash on his forehead was trying to punch numbers into a cell phone he held in the hand of his obviously broken arm. A woman pushed a chair in front of her as she dragged a broken leg behind her. She seemed determined to get to the blocked back exit.

Stan ran to her and tried to help but she fought him off, dazed and determined to get to where she thought there was safety. He finally convinced her to sit on the chair and wait for help.

“There won’t be any help,” David said when Stan came back.

“What do you mean,” Cynthia said.

“There are way too many scenes like this all over the city. Think of the movie theaters, the restaurants and pizza parlors. What about the malls, the people at the baseball game, in the hotels, the homeless on the streets, the tourists and the private homes?

“He’s right,” Stan said. “There’s nothing we can do for all these people. “Even if we could get all the injured into the cars and limos, we’d find the hospitals swamped.”

“Besides,” David said, “I doubt we could get through. Too many roads are surely destroyed with bridges down and chunks taken out of the street.”

Cynthia turned to her father. “Isn’t there anything we can do?”

“All we can do to see if the central emergency command is operational, “Manny said. “We can let them know of all the people here who need help.”

“It will probably be the military that gets the assignment,” David added.

“This is only the first wave of destruction,” Manny continued. “There’s more on the way. When the planet gets closer, the electromagnetic discharge will dig up huge chunks of earth.”

“Oh, Dad,” Cynthia put her hand on her Manny’s arm. “I’m so sorry I never listened.”

“Electric discharge machining will excavate the earth’s surface in places, ejecting material into the atmosphere. It then falls back as dust, sand, gravel, and finally boulders.”

“How much time do we have?” Cynthia asked.

“It should all be over in seventy-two hours,” Manny answered.

“Seventy-two hours,” Cynthia repeated. “Where can we go to be safe?”

“To the subways, along with everyone else who thinks of it,” David said.

Cynthia looked to David, then back to Manny, who had a faraway look in his eyes.

“And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.”

Copyright Tim Malone 2014 – A work in progress – Red Sky

Through the Window of Life


ThroughTheWindowOfLifeThis is a short review of the second of Suzanne Freeman’s trilogy of books based on her near death experience (NDE) of 1999. I reviewed the first, Led by the Hand of Christ (2004) last week and hope to review her final book in the series, The Spirit of Liberty (2013) sometime in the near future. Through the Window of Life was published in 2006, “as told to” author Shirley Bahlmann.

A Trilogy of Books From One NDE

This book is different from Led by the Hand of Christ, which was more of a first-hand, “here’s what happened to me” sort of book. Through the Window of Life tells of a stopping point along the way in her NDE that is more of a vision and compares favorably to the book Visions of Glory by Spencer as told to John Pontius. This is not your typical NDE book. It is more of a vision.

A Vision of Potential Future Events

Many readers have shared with me their main difficulty in reading NDEs is the required faith or wiling suspension of disbelief to learn new and different things and even unique ways of looking at this life and life in the spirit world differently from what many people assume or are taught. Through the Window of Life is so well told it reads like LDS fiction, making it easy to consume.

The Book is an Easy Read

I read the 132 pages in about two hours last night. Carol and I had enjoyed a beautiful one-day trip to Santa Barbara to visit our son so I was tired and didn’t want to do any deep doctrinal study when I got home. Reading Through the Window of Life was just the ticket. I sat next to Carol while she read one of her romance novels. We listened to “The Voice” in the background on TV.

Some Things That “May” Happen

I was enthralled from the beginning. Having just finished her first book, she led us to the point where the Savior asks her to view some things that “may” happen before he returns to the earth. I looked back through Led by the Hand of Christ to see if she refers to the room where most of Through the Window of Life takes place. Maybe someone else can point it out. I couldn’t find it.

An Interesting Publisher’s Note

The publisher’s note of explanation is interesting. It reads in part, “Some generalized events have been condensed into one representative example for clarity.” Also, “…her interview included accounts of her consciousness moving back and forth between living through the events leading to the Second Coming of Christ and watching the action unfold through the Window of Life…”

Written as Though She Experienced it

“…her story is written as though she experienced all of it. This format provides continuity for the reader.” It then notes “…some lessons…are italicized so readers can differentiate them from the experiences that she personally experienced.” I had to think twice about this explanation. It can be easily interpreted, “what she shares is from her imagination, not necessarily what happened.”

“As Told To” Someone Else

I know that sounds a little harsh and I’m not saying Suzanne made any of this up. I’m just saying the publisher’s note can be interpreted that way. If you want to read the book as fiction, then it’s darn good fiction, just as some people have read Visions of Glory as a work of fiction. I’m not calling this book or Spencer’s book fiction. I’m just saying they both read as well-written fiction.

An Amazing Attitude Through Trials

I was extremely impressed with Suzanne’s faith. In her vision she lived through a deadly plague, generously shared her food storage, sent her husband and sons off to war, left her home forever, hiked over rugged mountainous terrain, dealt with death, threats by an unknown enemy, attacks of attempted terrorizing warfare on her group and lived with only a single change of clothes.

Pressing on to Jackson County

Suzanne and her group continue their journey to Missouri after getting through the mountains. But I had to ask myself, “Well, either the prophecies in the Old Testament are mistaken or Joseph was mistaken in declaring Independence to be the place for Zion to be built (section 57). There is a glorious future for Independence but Zion first gathers in the tops of the mountains.

Location of The City of Zion

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know I disagree with the location of the city of Zion. I do not believe it is to be built in the flat land of Independence Missouri, but somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. I have shared my logic and reasoning on this unusual position in a previous post. I differ from most LDS folks, including Carol who served her mission in Independence.

Return of Ten Tribes and City of Enoch

I guess that’s the only difficulty I had with the book. I couldn’t quite place the timing of when all the events portrayed were supposed to be taking place. I agree with the prophecies of plagues, invading armies, collapse of the United States, both economically and politically, but somehow all of a sudden, Suzanne is walking alongside the Ten Tribes and then the inhabitants of Enoch.

Everyone Shall See it Together

I know you’re supposed to give spoiler alerts for works of fiction, but according to the publisher, this is not a work of fiction, but a foretelling of “one way things may happen” in the future. If the Ten Tribes are already here, then I can accept them just showing up, but not the City of Enoch. The lack of anyone pointing upward at an approaching planet or piece of the earth troubles me.

A Few Concluding Thoughts

So there you have it. I won’t share much more other than these two objections: 1) The location of the gathering of the people of Zion along with the building of the City of Zion and 2) The lack of any notice by anyone in the vision that the City of Enoch has returned. According to scripture, it is a big deal. The Lord will come with the City of Enoch. Not so in Suzanne’s Window of Life.

Bottom line Recommendation

This is a great book to read and a fascinating story, but it doesn’t seem to jive with the scriptures, or at least my understanding of the scriptures. Still, I recommend you read this book, Through the Window of Life. You don’t need to read her first book before this one. It stands on its own. I found it an enjoyable experience. Just remember, things “may” or “may not” happen in this way.

 

Bringing On the Apocalypse


CoronalMassEjectionI was invited to join a panel of fellow authors who enjoy writing about the catastrophes of the last days. Randy Lindsay is the author of a recent work of LDS fiction entitled The Gathering. I must be candid and tell you up front I have not yet read it. I have a copy and have perused it. I intend to read it within the next month or two. The book was published by Cedar Fort in January and is available from Amazon or your favorite bookseller. Reviews on Goodreads are favorable.

Promoting Discussion of the Last Days

The idea behind the panel is obviously to promote discussion of the last days, the apocalypse, the end-times or whatever you want to call them. The bottom line of course is Randy and Cedar Fort want to sell copies of the book, as does any author and publishing house. Inasmuch as I also have been working on a novel on the subject, I agreed to participate on the panel. I’m honored but feel a little unqualified because my own book has not even been completed yet, let alone published.

Fiction Based on Prophecy

In any event, I took a few minutes to ponder and answer the first question presented to the panel. Randy proposes to present a new question each week. It’s a good idea. If you’re interested in this subject, you might want to pop over to Randy’s blog and add your two cents. Just remember, it’s a work of fiction, even though he’s asking us to comment on the premise or doctrine behind it.  In my response to Randy when invited to join, I wrote the following rather pessimistic stuff:

“I’ve got to tell you from years of gauging interest of the Saints in end-of-the-world type stuff, it’s woefully disheartening. To be frank, most LDS folks don’t want to think about it, don’t believe it will happen in their lifetime and are terribly uneducated on the signs of the times or especially what will happen when the Savior returns.

“To most, it is all very generic: ‘Oh, there’s going to be some destruction and the wicked will be killed, but then the Savior will come and all will be well.’ They either do not understand or believe what they read in our own scriptures, especially the books of Revelation, Joel, Daniel and other key sources.”

Recent Publications on The Last Days

I admit my assessment may have been a little harsh. There are those, like my High Priest Group Leader, who is extremely interested in the Last Days. He recently taught us on the subject using the book, 65 Signs of Times Leading Up to the Second Coming by David J. Ridges. The book is more than a checklist. I highly recommend it. Another LDS author I like who writes about this subject is Hoyt W. Brewster. His book is Behold, I Come Quickly: The Last Days and Beyond.

Earlier Publications on The Last Days

Of course we can’t forget some favorites from times past: Prophecy: Key to the Future by Duane S. Crowther and The Coming of the Lord by Gerald Lund. I would be remiss if I did not include the Prophecy Trilogy from my friend Anthony Larson: 1) And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood, 2) And the Earth Shall Reel To and Fro, 3) And There Shall Be a New Heaven and a New Earth. My novel, Red Sky is based on the opening scenario presented in Anthony’s first book.

The First Question to the Panel

Randy asked, “Which situation or event that is currently happening do you think most easily could result in the apocalypse?” And the response I posted over there:

My Definition of the Apocalypse

First, let’s agree on the definition of apocalypse. I’ll offer mine by expressing what it is not. The apocalypse is NOT the end of the world. Yes, it is a period of great destruction and catastrophe with billions of people killed by the natural events prophesied, but the world survives. And so do a lot of people. It is these natural events, including the close approach of another celestial body which Anthony has already described in his comments above that brings on the apocalypse.

We Cannot Bring On the Apocalypse

Second, the apocalypse is not something we can control or avoid. The Lord has warned us and warned us over and over again in so many different scriptures it is already on its way. The arm of the Lord is a phrase that has great significance. It refers to something happening in the heavens that the world will see. The Lord has told us he is returning with the armies of heaven, and with the City of Enoch, a piece of this earth that was physically removed and taken up into heaven.

We Can Observe Signs of the Times

We read terrible things in the news that are significant to LDS theology and say to ourselves, “Ah, hah. Another sign of the times,” and indeed we are usually correct. Wars and rumors of wars, economic turmoil, man’s loss of natural affection for his brethren demonstrated by deeds of atrocity, nations coming to an end, rampant wickedness, corruption, immorality and the list goes on and on. I have one thing to say about all these: “Man, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”

You Ain’t Seen Nuthin’ Yet

Obviously, Anthony and I are in agreement as this reflects what he has already stated. Even when we talk about hundreds of thousands killed by earthquakes and tsunamis, the size of these catastrophes are nothing compared to what will happen when a “great mountain burning with fire [is] cast into the sea,” or “there [falls] a great star from heaven,” or the sun moon and stars are smitten so that the sun is darkened and the moon glows red as blood with heat. Catastrophic!

Watch For Signs in the Sun

In my mind, the event that is currently happening is the sun is not following the normal pattern scientists are used to seeing for many centuries of observation. The eleven-year cycle seems to be a little out of whack. Watch the signs in the sun. Coronal mass ejections from sunspots are the thing we really need to be watching. One massive CME can produce an EMP that could wipe out power grids and communication systems all across the globe. Stay tuned to SpaceWeather.com.

You can read more about my work of fiction based on the close approach of a large celestial body under the Red Sky tab here on my blog.

A Conversation You Don’t Want to Have


SamAndRalph“I can’t see you, but I can feel your presence,” I said.

“That’s the way it was meant to be, “he said. “Besides, it gives me the advantage. But you already know that.”

“What do you want? Why are you here?”

“My job is to keep you from doing anything good. That’s all you need to know. Whatever it takes, I have the power to do it. You know I’m not here alone. Others are nearby ready to help. I only have to call out and they’re here before you can imagine it. I have as many as I need – specialists of all kinds to do the job. You get an idea, and I call them over to suck it out of you. You must be an important one. Or maybe I am. I’ve never had this kind of power before. Must be that promotion he promised if I took care of my last assignment quick like that.”

“Why is it I can feel your presence and talk with you this way?” I said. I’m fairly certain I already knew the answers but I wanted to get the basics out of the way. I know I’m dealing with a liar but I’ve had enough experience I know he must answer me, no matter what the question.

“I’ve been kind of wondering that myself. All I can figure is you’ve been given some sort of gift,” he said “I don’t think it’s particularly fair, but it’s not going to make any difference, I can promise you that.”

“What’s you name.”

“You can call me whatever you want. I’ve been called lots of things over the years.”

“So you’ve obviously done this before.”

“You can say that.”

“I know you have to answer me, so tell me how many times you’ve done this before.”

“It all depends on what we’re talking about. Do you mean have a conversation or go all the way and put someone in the loony bin?” There was something sadistic in the way he said it, as if he was remembering something with particular delight.

“Let’s start with the basics, “I said. “How many times have you had a conversation where the other person could hear and record you?”

“You’re the first.”

“I’m not the first you talked to…” I said.

“No, but you’re the first who doesn’t seem to be afraid of me.”

“Oh, but I am afraid. I have great fear and respect for what you can do. I know who you are and what you can do. Don’t put yourself down. I know your power. You put me in the hospital twice, in case you don’t remember.”

“I sensed a smile and a rubbing of the hands together if he had any. “I had some help back then. It was my first time. You almost had us.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, come on, do I have to explain everything to you?”

“From what I understand, yes, you do have to answer every question I put to you. I’ve been told that’s a rule.” I said.

“Fine. Johnson kept your son and his friend busy. It wasn’t hard. A little weed will do wonders.”

“So it was you I saw when I was waking up.”

“If you say so. It was my job to watch you and keep you away if you moved.”

“I’m going to call you Sam.”

“Call me whatever you want.” He seemed a little annoyed.

“Want to know why?”

“No.”

“It must be part of the gift. I can always tell when you’re lying,” I said.

“Whatever.”

“You remind me of that cartoon character, Sam Sheepdog, from when I was a kid. It was his job to watch the sheep and keep the wolf away. Ralph E. Wolf was always plotting a way to get at the sheep. He came up with all kinds of plans. That’s what made it funny each time.”

“You’re beginning to annoy me,” Sam said.

“You should be flattered,” I said.

“Why is that?”

“Sam was actually the smart one. He had it all figured out. In spite of his eyes covered with red hair, he knew exactly where the wolf was. He always had a plan on how to keep him away from the sheep. Remember that. Sam was the smart one.”

I sensed Sam mulling this over.

“OK, whatever. Like I say, you can call me Sam if it makes you feel better. But it’s not going to help. Nobody’s ever been able to talk to me like this before without me scaring the crap out if them. Don’t I scare you?”

“Oh, you scared me alright. Remember, the hospital.”

He brightened up. Yeah, you were a mess. You’d think you didn’t know anything about devils. Twice in one week. The boss was especially proud.”

“But you were just doing your job, weren’t you Sam? You say you’ve done this many times before.”

“I didn’t say.”

“Well, give. I want to know.”

“I don’t keep exact records. Let’s just say a couple thousand.” He was gloating, that was obvious.

“You must be pretty good, then.”

“One of the best. I don’t need much help. I’ve done this so many times I’ve got it down to a science. I specialize in drugs.”

“But not the hard stuff,” I said.

“Weed works better. It keeps the guy going, sometimes for a lifetime, but he never really accomplishes anything. What more could you ask for? He wastes his whole life and doesn’t even know it.” I could almost see a big smile cross his face.

“And your victims never notice that they’re slowly losing their edge – their desire to accomplish anything in life, their ability to remember things, their creative talents…”

“They don’t care. All they know is they feel good. Hey, that’s what drugs are all about. I told you I was an expert.”

“So why was I able to see you back then but can only sense your presence now?

“Hypnopompic Hallucination.”

“Hypno-what?”

“Just look it up.”

“You wanted to be in there, didn’t you? You wanted to be getting high too. I could tell by the way you looked over there.”

“Whatever. What do you want?”

“I just want to tell you thank you.”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah, I mean it. I’m still in pain. The migraines and the anxiety are there but over time, they’ll go away. You know they will.”

“Yeah, so what.”

“You’ve been sent to me.”

“Say what?”

“Since you can’t lie, if you’re going to insist on hanging around, I’m going to use you. You been assigned to me, which means you can’t leave until either you defeat me or I defeat you. It’s a fight to the finish. I’m going to use you. You’re going to tell me things you don’t want to.” Now I felt like rubbing my hands together. “You know my gift helps me know when you’re lying. I think someone made a major mistake. They sent me one of the smartest and best. How does it make you feel knowing you’re going to be used?”

“Well, good luck. I can lie all I want,” Sam said. “That’s still mine. I can lead you on wild goose chases that completely waste your time. If you want to chance it, then more power to you. I don’t know what you think you can get out of this, but I can tell you I’m deadly serious. I will not give up until you’re dead, crazy or have been totally incapacitated. Even then, I’ll keep you out of commission. You’ll be no good to anybody.”

“Fine – it’s good to have it out in the open. We know where each other stands. You want to drive me crazy and I want to use you to get tactical information that’s going to help in this last great battle. You’re going to be sorry you decided to accept this assignment. Oh, sorry. I forgot. You have no power to choose, do you? You go where you’re told and do or die, isn’t that true?”

“You’re a jerk.”

“And you’re damned to hell. Don’t ever forget it.”

Update (Thur 11-7-13): I sent Sam to the light where he was met by a loving family member ready to teach him the gospel. Sam will no longer be visiting with us. He says the light is too bright here.

Changes in Heaven and on Earth


SolarWindsI’m not sure if I’ve ever published two posts in a single day. I know I’m going to be busy next week so I probably won’t have time to write then or say what’s in my heart this afternoon. I hope this is helpful to someone. It has to do with the signs of the times – that’s what my blog is all about – and this recent statement by Denver Snuffer. Here’s the quote from his second post today:

Changes in Heaven and on Earth Recently

“Ninth, there have been changes in heaven and on earth recently. I’ve done all I have done in obedience to our Lord. Things will unfold and everybody will have a more fulsome understanding of things. Be patient. Be believing. Do not despair as God’s work unfolds.” It’s numbered nine because it came from a post in which he wanted us to know ten things.

Warnings to not Despair as Events Unfold

I was pretty sure I knew what fulsome meant but looked it up anyway because it’s not a word I use every day. I would have used the word complete. It also means generous, excessive or abundant. I had to ask myself, “What changes have taken place in heaven and earth recently?” My wife asked, “How does he know this?” And why the warning to not despair as things unfold?

Electric Universe – Plasma More Powerful Than Gravity

Many of you know I have been an ardent student of the writings of Anthony Larson, which are based on the works on Immanuel Velikovsky and later, on the work of the proponents of the Electric Universe – Dave Talbott and Wal Thornhill in particular. I’m not going to bore you with their theories. I would like to share a few scriptures that came to mind as I read point nine above.

The Arm of the Lord Will Be Revealed

The first has to do with the arm of the Lord being revealed. Comets have always been considered a sign of something significant. We know they are naturally occurring objects in our solar system. Every time a new comet makes an appearance the whackos come out of the woodwork to promote their latest theory about how we had better be ready because this is it – the big one.

Watch and Be Ready – Be Prepared

We’ve been counseled to be ready for catastrophe for as long as I can remember. We have been warned to watch and be prepared, to have on hand a good supply of food, fuel and whatever else we need to survive on our own in the event the normal distribution channels are messed up. I’m going shopping for perishables in a few minutes and am grateful to have a year’s supply on hand.

Church Promotes Emergency Preparedness

Our stake had an emergency preparedness expo today. We hold it every year in conjunction with our city. Here in California, the big expected event is of course an earthquake. We’re due for a big one. Where I live in Camarillo, the elevation above sea level is 54 feet. I’ve watched the videos of Tsunamis on YouTube over the years. I wonder what I would do if one hit in my home town.

Second Coming will be a Catastrophic Event

We know the second coming of the Lord will be a completely different kind of event from his first advent when he came as a lamb. He now comes as the Lion of Judah, with a vengeance. From Isaiah: “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:4

The Day of the Lord is Accompanied By Fire

Psalms 50:3 – “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.” What will cause this fire that will accompany the second advent of the Lord? Will his coming be accompanied by loud noises? What will be tempestuous? When it comes, it will be quite noisy. It will be a time of burning, a time of fire.

The Arm of the Lord is a Significant Phrase

Isaiah 40:10 - “Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.” What is the arm of the Lord? Is it symbolic of some natural phenomenon? What is his work that will come before him? Is this in reference to a cosmological event? Our ancestors wrote of the arm of the Lord seen in heaven.

A Day of Vengeance and Great Tribulations

Moses 7:60-63 – “… the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance … the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve; … be looking forth for the time of my coming; … a New Jerusalem.

The City of Enoch will Accompany the Lord

“And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there … and they shall see us …” The Lord will return with the City of Enoch, which was once a piece of the earth. Everyone will see it. The City of Enoch was “taken up” from the earth and “fled.” A large portion of the earth will return. It may remain in close orbit above the earth when it comes.

The Sign of the Son of Man

Matt 24:3-5 speaks of the sign of the coming of the Lord. The sign of the son of man in heaven is described. All the tribes of the earth shall mourn. Everyone shall see his coming in great glory. There shall be the sound of trumpets accompany his return. I other scriptures these sounds are said to be loud and long, lasting perhaps for days or weeks. What is the sign of the Son of man?

Close Encounter With a Celestial Object

Joseph said the world will tell us it is a comet or a planet. It will be. The earth will have some sort of close encounter with a celestial object that will cause great destruction. Is this something that will come to pass in our lifetime? Is this perhaps what Denver was referring to when he said changes have been made in heaven and on earth? What are these changes? Who will tell us?

The Powers of Heaven Shall Be Shaken

Luke 21:25-27 – “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” The scientific mind in me asks, “Could this be some sort of an EMP?”

The Sun and the Moon Shall be Darkened

We should look for unusual things happening in the sun and the moon at the time of the coming of the Lord. In other places we read that the sun and the moon will be darkened and that the moon will appear blood red. Even the stars will look different. Perhaps they will be in different places in the heavens because the earth will change on its axis to align with a celestial visitor.

The Moon Shall Turn to Blood

D&C 34:7-9 – “… the time is soon at hand that I shall come in a cloud with power and great glory. And it shall be a great day at the time of my coming, for all nations shall tremble. But before that great day shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood; and the stars shall refuse their shining, and some shall fall, and great destructions await …”

The Stars Shall Fall to the Earth

The Lord has forewarned us and given clear indication of things that will happen before he comes again. We should look for the sun to be darkened, the moon to be blood red in color, the stars to look different, and great destructions on the earth. Some stars shall fall [to the earth] perhaps refers to portions of the earth returning. We can read more in the book of Revelation.

Signs of the Exodus Will Be Repeated

Section 45 contains in-depth details of the signs that will precede and accompany the Lord’s advent. Every one of these phrases has particular meanings that have been used by the Lord’s prophets for millennia. We would do well to take them one by one to study and understand. Many have occurred in the past, especially during the Exodus. Will they possibly occur again?

New Heavens – Portions of the Earth Returned

Isa 65:17 – “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” Things are going to dramatically change when the Lord comes again. The phrase “new heavens” to me indicates that there will be portions of the earth hovering close by. New earth means that the earth will look dramatically different.

The Polar Configuration of Planets

We are told elsewhere that the continents will be joined again. I am of the opinion that the waters of the ocean will be gathered at the poles, exposing much of the earth. You can read a fictional account I am putting together based on these scriptures in a book I tentatively have entitled, Red Sky. It’s all conjecture, but I’m especially pleased with the outcome of chapters 4, 6, 11 and 12.

Remember, it’s just fiction. What do you think?

Visualizing the Day of the Lord


MeteorsHittingCityHave you ever thought about what we will see, feel and experience when the physical events of the Lord’s return begin to unfold? What will your life be like on that day when the catastrophic destructions that have been prophesied start to happen? Will your day be different? Will there be anything unfamiliar in the skies? Will the weather be strange, perhaps a little rare and unusual?

Prophets Have Seen the Day

I know many prophets have thought deeply about this. In fact, they have done more than think about it. They have prayed about it and asked the Lord to show them what it would be like. The revelations have come. They have recorded them and shared them with us. Most were a result of asking specific questions. One of the questions I have asked is “Will it happen all at once?”

Signs Precede His Return

The answer is no. While the Day of the Lord can be pinpointed to an actual day when the world sees the Lord return, there is much that will happen first. The Lord has given us many warnings that contain clues. We call them signs. He has told us to watch for the signs. We talk about the signs. We teach each other the signs. We discuss them. We write about them. We read them.

Destructions Accompany His Return

Some of the questions I have asked and prayed about are “How will these destructions take place? What will cause these destructions? Why must there be destructions anyway?” I am not the only one who has asked these questions. In fact, the method or catalyst of the destructions that will come upon us in the last days has been known for thousands upon thousands of years.

Everyone will Be Affected

What if you don’t believe in a) God, b) The Lord, c) religion d) prophecy or anything of a spiritual nature that you can’t see, feel or touch with your natural body? What if you don’t care about these prophecies, feel that they are a waste of time and have no desire to understand them? That’s OK. I suspect when the day of the Lord arrives, you’ll want to learn about them quick.

Exact Day is Unknown

We are living in a day when so many of the pre-cursor signs have happened or are happening that more and more people are “jumping the gun,” so to speak, in assuming that the big day is about to burst upon us. Remember what the scriptures say: Nobody knows that exact day, not even the angels in heaven. Only our Father in Heaven knows the exact day of Christ’s return.

Understand the Signs

There are many reasons we know the great and terrible day of destruction is getting closer each day but there are many things that must happen first. The Lord loves His children and has given us distinct signs to watch for. There have been multiple books published on the subject. One of my favorites is 65 Signs of the Times Leading Up to the Second Coming by David J. Ridges.

The Sequence is Unclear

I’ve been told it’s not wise to try to put any of these signs in order or precedence. We have been advised to simply study, know and understand the signs of the times. Anybody who tries to put them in any particular order seems to get into trouble, meaning others will vehemently disagree with them. I suppose that is inevitable, since the Lord didn’t specify an exact sequence either.

Signs in Heaven and on Earth

In my book, I focus on the cosmological signs and the events of nature that go along with them. For example, the sun will be darkened, the moon will become as blood. Diseases, plagues and pestilences will sweep the earth. There will be famines, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis and other natural disasters. Signs and wonders on earth and in the heavens, the rainbow withdrawn.

All Nature Will be in Commotion

In particular, I focus on the great sign of the coming of the Son of Man, the return of the great hailstorms that will destroy the crops of the earth, the great earthquake such as never before, the burning that is prophesied to accompany His return, and the elements that will be in commotion. I have always wondered what it would be like to live through these terrible disasters of nature.

The Whole World Will See

What could possibly cause the earth to reel to and fro like a drunken man? What could cause the mountains to melt with fervent heat? How will we feel when these storms, tempests, whirlwinds with their thunderings, lightnings and sounds of the trumpets come upon all people? It’s evident that the whole world will experience these last great events. They won’t be localized or confined.

Wormwood and John the Revelator

What did John the Revelator mean when he talked about a third part of the sea becoming blood, the third part of the creatures of the sea dying and a third part of the ships destroyed? Why? What is this great star that falls from heaven, burning as a lamp that falls upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters? Why is it called Wormwood? What does that mean?

Hail of Brimstone not Ice

Are the great hailstones that fall made of ice? If so, how can they be mingled with brimstone and with fire and with blood? Others have written about the deteriorating social conditions through which we are now passing. Who can doubt the wickedness and abominations that are beginning to sweep the land? I believe the prophecies that the governments will be overthrown and wasted.

We Don’t Need Specific Details

I know it’s easy to simply say, “The coming of the Lord will cause all of these things.” Details, my friends, I want details. The Lord uses natural causes and obeys natural laws even if we don’t fully understand them. For example, I have to ask “Why will it be a day of burning?” Well, yes, from the brightness of his glory, but is there something else that might accompany his return?

Return of City of Enoch

Don’t the scriptures say that the Lord will come down with the inhabitants of the City of Enoch? Hmmm…how is He going to do that unless the part of the planet on which they reside, which was taken up when they left, returns with them? In other words, isn’t it possible or probable he will be accompanied by the return of the remnants of the planet with those who left with Enoch?

Return of Lost Ten Tribes

And what about the lost Ten Tribes – won’t they return first? You know, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” I know I’m stretching it here since so few – read hardly anybody – believes that the Ten Tribes were taken from this earth. The prevailing theory is that they are simply mixed in with all the people of the earth or – gasp – hiding under the ice somewhere.

The Sound of Great Trumps

And what causes the great sound of the trumps? There are lots of them. I know, it’s the angels, but couldn’t there be a natural explanation like the oscillations of two very large celestial bodies when they come close together. Uh, oh, the scientist in me just kicked in – that goes against all the laws of nature – two planets can’t get that close together without one of them disintegrating.

Thunderbolts of the Gods

We have so many historical and scriptural evidences of great thunderbolts or lightnings that flash from the heavens. And we’re not talking from the local clouds. We’re talking about the kind of electrostatic discharge that occurs when two large celestial bodies come in close contact. Oh, wait, scientists don’t believe such a thing could happen. It’s never happened before, has it?

Highway in the Great Deep

What is this highway that shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep? Where will it go? How high will it go? Of what will it be composed? Is it possible that this great highway could connect two planets? Is it possible that these planets were connected at one time in the past? If the speed of the earth’s rotation slows, what will happen to all the water at the equators? Where will it go?

Great Sign of the Lord

What exactly is the great sign of the Lord that He told us about and Joseph described in more detail? Will the world see the sign coming for some time before it arrives? Could it look like a planet or a comet or both as it comes close to the earth, on an intersecting course? I’ve always wondered about this curious statement of the Lord. How will the world react when they see it?

The Lord Will Reveal The Details

Well, that’s enough conjecture for a while. The Lord has said unless we ask questions, we get no answers. I can tell you that I have asked these and many more questions. I think I’ve got some answers, at least enough to satisfy a part of my curiosity. I have more to ask the Lord, but He has made it clear I am not quite ready for the additional detail he will reveal until I am prepared.

That’s the Background for my Novel

I’ve been studying this for about thirty years. I remain fascinated and am anxious to learn more. I pray about it most every night. Sometimes, I make it a matter of fasting and temple pondering. I can tell you that as I have written some of the chapters, the words just flowed as if I was taking dictation. Maybe the book is just for me, but perhaps it’s good enough to make it to publishing.

We Can See The Day of the Lord

I would like to see the day of the Lord. I am convinced many prophets have seen it. We have a record of their visions in the scriptures. We also have the records of ancient civilizations that experienced similar visits of planets and the destruction they caused. That is the basis for my novel – what will happen to the inhabitants of the earth if a planet came alongside to meet us?

Sample Chapters Available to Read

I’ll conclude with this book jacket synopsis from the novel. If you are interested, you can read some of the rough drafts on the “Red Dust – LDS Fiction” tab. I hope to soon register a domain name, do some serious work on applying the edits from the feedback I already have and finish this book project that has been on my mind for so many years, even if it’s only to say it’s done.

Book Jacket Synopsis for Red Sky

The sky is falling…literally. Four scientists race against time to reassure the world as it encounters a rogue planet. Astronomer David Mitchell is the face of the government. He must provide play-by-play advance notice of what to expect next. But how can anyone predict what will happen when two planets come together? It’s never happened before. Or has it?

Manny Volynsky is on a mission to tell the world the truth about this rogue planet. He’ll stop at nothing to get to the scientific conference where he’ll have a worldwide audience. There is can share answers about the red dust that has started to fall. But Manny is a nutcase history professor who has no credibility in the scientific world. Will they listen to his stories of the ancient myths?

Death from the skies is impossible. Everyone knows that, especially David who has taught it repeatedly over the years, using scientific evidence to prove it. When fire begins to accompany the red dust, the conflict between science and myth is blurred. Manny’s predictions of future events have come true. David must decide if he will give Manny a voice to warn the people.

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