Pornography: Satan’s Power Tool

I blog about different things for different reasons.  On occasion, I blog about something simply because I have a fire in my bones and I need to let it out.

Cue fire.  Cue bones.  Cue outlet.

Let’s talk about pornography, shall we?

This article was written as an opinion piece by a BYU student.  I’d like to highlight a few parts of her message:

Someone once told me, “Prophets don’t talk about pornography for fun.”

In the past five years, hardly a session of General Conference has passed without the brethren warning about the dangers of pornography. They have reason to warn. Pornography creates a shattering ripple effect impacting the viewer and surrounding. …

In 2010, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Tragically, the same computer and Internet service that allows me to do my family history and prepare those names for temple work could, without filters and controls, allow my children or grandchildren access to a global cesspool of perceptions that could blast a crater in their brains forever.”

The ease of access to pornography through the internet has led to a dramatic increase of consumption and acceptance in society despite its negative effects. …

This is one area in which we simply cannot be complacent. We must be involved in the fight because it is no longer a question of if this will affect you, but when.

Ralph Yarro, a former Novell executive and anti-pornography advocate, told the Church News in 2007, “Wake up. Apathy will kill you here. If porn hasn’t touched your life already, it is going to rip huge, gaping holes in it.”

There’s more, so go read the full article.  It’s a topic that’s been on my mind anyway, but this has left me with a taste in my mouth.  Not bitterness, really, just … well, fire in my bones.  I have been blessed so far to not be in the direct line of fire of Satan’s sledgehammer, but its reach is far and wide.  I’ve seen it pound down hard on people I know and love.  Good people.  And once the shattering has happened, it’s a slow and painful process to heal.  I want to state that I know healing is possible because I absolutely believe in Jesus Christ and I believe there is no darkness that He cannot dispel and fill with light.  I believe in Him, so I believe in repentance, and I believe in restoration.  Having said that, this whole business really makes me want to punch Satan in the face.

I attended a women’s conference talk where Sister Beck said the following:

We have a huge problem in our families with pornography and the influence that it is having in our families. The powerful feeling that has been coming over me is, “Sisters, fight—fight, sisters.” You have the responsibility in your homes. Many of our women are being drawn into this behavior also. At our last general conference, President Thomas S. Monson gave “a word of caution to all—both young and old, both male and female.” This is our responsibility.

When I heard her say this, I felt the Holy Ghost.  This is part of our call as “lionesses at the gate” of our homes.  Even with our best efforts, this plague can affect our families, but it must be in spite of our best efforts.  The danger is too great to be ignored.

I quote some prophets:

Spencer W. Kimball:  “Members of the Church everywhere are urged to not only resist the widespread plague of pornography, but as citizens to become actively and relentlessly engaged in the fight against this insidious enemy of humanity around the world.”

Ezra Taft Benson:  “The prophet Lehi also saw our day in his great visionary dream of the tree of life. He saw that many people would wander blindly in the mists of darkness, which symbolized the temptations of the devil. (See 1 Ne. 12:17.) He saw some fall away “in forbidden paths,” others drown in rivers of filthiness, and still others wander in “strange roads.” (1 Ne. 8:28, 32.) When we read of the spreading curse of drugs, or read of the pernicious flood of pornography and immorality, do any of us doubt that these are the forbidden paths and rivers of filthiness Lehi described?”

Howard W. Hunter: “Be faithful in your marriage covenants in thought, word, and deed. Pornography, flirtations, and unwholesome fantasies erode one’s character and strike at the foundation of a happy marriage. Unity and trust within a marriage are thereby destroyed. One who does not control his thoughts and thus commits adultery in his heart, if he does not repent, shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith and shall fear (see D&C 42:23; D&C 63:16).”

Gordon B. Hinckley:  “While the matter of which I speak was a problem then, it is a much more serious problem now. It grows increasingly worse. It is like a raging storm, destroying individuals and families, utterly ruining what was once wholesome and beautiful. I speak of pornography in all of its manifestations. . . . The excuse is given that it is hard to avoid, that it is right at our fingertips and there is no escape. Suppose a storm is raging and the winds howl and the snow swirls about you. You find yourself unable to stop it. But you can dress properly and seek shelter, and the storm will have no effect upon you.”

Thomas S. Monson:  “Pornography is especially dangerous and addictive. Curious exploration of pornography can become a controlling habit, leading to coarser material and to sexual transgression. Avoid pornography at all costs. Don’t be afraid to walk out of a movie, turn off a television set, or change a radio station if what’s being presented does not meet your Heavenly Father’s standards. In short, if you have any question about whether a particular movie, book, or other form of entertainment is appropriate, don’t see it, don’t read it, don’t participate.”

Want to read more?  Go to http://conference.lds.org and click on the Search button.  Click on Advanced Search, type the word “pornography” and click the little box for “President of the Church.”  You will be given hundreds of references where living prophets have spoken out against the plague of pornography.

Since I can’t actually punch Satan in the face, even though I really, really want to, what can I do?  What can you do?  How can we fight?  Feel free to fill up the comment box with good ideas, good organizations, opportunities to fight, small ways to make a difference, support for those who are in the claws of this stupid beast, whatever moves you and will encourage others.  I’m not in the mood for despair or anger or bitterness, so let’s find ways to do what’s right and fight.

Here are my own ideas and suggestions.  I am not a professional.  I’m not even a stellar wife or mother.  But I have ideas and a desire to make a difference– at the very least, in my own family.

TO A MOTHER:  Talk openly with your children about pornography and its potential for harm.  Most men who are addicted to pornography are exposed to it at an early age.  Help them to understand Satan’s role and its opposition to Heavenly Father’s Plan.  Carefully choose a way that is age-appropriate to talk about what pornography is.  Maybe terms like “pictures or movies of people who are naked or very immodest”  and “showing people touching the private parts of bodies” are a good place to start.  After your discussions, when your daughter or son won’t look at the bra section of the store because they think it’s “pornography,” don’t worry about them being a little over-reactive.  Congratulate them for trying hard to keep their mind clean.  This is not about teaching people that the body is dirty; this is about helping children learn how to recognize and resist danger.  An excellent (and doctrinally sound) resource for teaching about sexuality in general can be found here.  Be a prude in monitoring family media intake, and don’t be ashamed of it.  Embrace your role as a guardian of virtue.  And be honest about it with your children.  “I changed the channel because the clothing was immodest and they were joking about sex.”  I love that Elder Holland quote (above in the article) about blasting a crater in your brain.  Matt recently taught the young men in our ward that pornography is the equivalent of dousing your spirit in gasoline and setting it on fire.  There will be that much pain, and that much scarring.  President Hinckley told mothers to teach their children to avoid it “like they would the plague.”

TO A WIFE:  If your husband has a heartbeat, he struggles with this on some level.  The world is cruel to him in its blatant temptation and oppressive titillation.  If he watched the Super Bowl, he’s seen pornography (for heaven’s sake, don’t get me started).  Talk to him about it.  Ask him how he’s doing:  What can you do to help him?  What steps can your family take to help him feel protected?  What measures does he currently use to avoid the temptation?  Be prepared to feel threatened a little as you learn what a real struggle it might be for him to stay unharmed by the storm.  Cling to each other a little tighter.  Express your love for him and your desire that he remain clean.  Encourage him to fight the hard fight.  Pray for him, and pray together.  Talk about your covenants and go to the temple often to remember them and reconnect to them.

TO A WOMAN:  Don’t hesitate to speak out against pornography when you see it.  Talk to store managers and write letters to TV providers and companies.  Express disapproval for that which is wrong.  Don’t be afraid to call a sin a sin.  Don’t fall into the trap of watching shows and movies or reading books that are only a little bit bad.  Steer clear of inappropriate media, period.  If you have the bandwidth to participate in organizations that fight the pornography industry, do it.  If you have money to contribute to the cause, give it.  Find something within your grasp and … grasp it.

TO A WIFE WHOSE HUSBAND IS ALREADY ADDICTED:  I am sorry.  I mean really, really sorry.  Some of the previous advice will apply, but so much of the recovery will depend very much on your husband’s ability to repent and make changes.  Work closely with your ecclesiastical leaders and qualified professionals.  All I can do is share a few resources that I am aware of.  And I can bear you my testimony that the pornography problem is not your fault.  While there may be things you can do to improve your relationship, your husband has fallen into a trap set by Satan, plain and simple.  The trap does not have to be a death sentence for your husband or for your marriage.  Seek out counsel and comfort from the Lord; He will help you to follow the right course.  No matter what, it will not be an easy course, but I know He will help you.

Available Resources:  (I cannot possibly recommend what will be the best for you and your situation.  Seek the Lord’s help and use the spirit of discernment as you research out possible tools to help in your recovery.)

LDS Church-sanctioned collection of resources:  http://combatingpornography.org/cp/eng/

New private (unofficial) forum for wives of men who struggle with pornography: http://www.hopeandhealinglds.com/forum/index.php

More resources for wives (more to come!): http://mormonwoman.org/2011/01/09/how-can-i-deal-with-my-spouses-pornography-addiction/

LDS resources on pornography: http://mentalhealthlibrary.info/library/porn/pornlds/index.html

Here’s the online support forum at cafemom: http://www.cafemom.com/group/1872/

Some personal stories:
http://mormonwoman.org/2011/01/30/pornography-addiction-personal-stories-index/

A book about addiction recovery: http://universe.byu.edu/index.php/2011/06/06/addiction-book-review/

Here is a link to a project that is raising funds for a film called “Shamed-A Documentary Feature Film.” It will address how shame and misconceptions about pornography and sexual addiction are huge obstacles in addicts coming forward and finding healing.  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/141091137/shamed-a-documentary-feature-film

Sites or resources that others have mentioned in the comments of some of my previous posts:

http://lifestarnetwork.com/

http://byutv.org/watch/49475abb-10d4-4f45-a757-7000b9945468

http://www.salifeline.com

http://www.rowboatandmarbles.org

http://www.wiveshelpingwives.blogspot.com

I just want to conclude with something else I know to be true.  Satan is powerful, but goodness is more powerful.  We have the power within us to withstand temptation and fight against evil.  We do.  So though the storm rages and the sledgehammer swings down upon us, the rock of our Redeemer will help us to stand.  Mothers, unite!  This is an army I’m proud to be a part of.

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What advertisements really tick you off?

Partially because I’m feeling a little bit stupid that I actually named a post “This is a really good post,” I’m turning the crux of this post over to you, my readers who have proved yourselves wise many times over.

Some of you know that I am working on a project that I feel really strongly about called the “Protecting Innocence Project.”  (This might help if you feel out of the loop.)  You probably thought it was on hold or that I totally dropped the ball, but it’s actually still in full-force behind the scenes.  There’s been a huge effort in gathering research and exchanging information among a fabulous team of volunteers, and my brother-in-law has been an invaluable help in the design and functionality of the site.  It’s a bigger undertaking then I orginally expected, but I think it will be FANtastic when all is said and done.

A couple people (thanks Laurie and Tenille!) have helped me compile a list of some frequent offenders in the makes-ads-that-are-inappropriate-for-children category, usually because their advertisements are obscene, suggestive, profane, disrespectful, or downright pornographic.  We have also gathered contact information for these companies so that we can speak out and complain when we don’t like the kind of media they parade before our children’s eyes.

Can you think of anyone else we should add to this list?  What are some companies that need to be made aware that their advertisements are inappropriate?  Please consider television, radio, print media (including magazines, billboards,  and store window displays), on-line ads, or any other medium you can think of.

If you have any companies to add, please share them in the comments, and if you’re feeling super ambitious and can track down contact information (including address, phone number, and/or email) where complaints could be submitted, it would be great if you could include that as well.

BKNick1Abercrombie and Fitch
American Apparel
American Eagle
Anheuser-Busch
Armani
Axe Body Spray
BMW
Boost Mobile
Burger King
Calvin Klein
Cialis
Cosmopolitan Magazine
Dove
Dr. Scholl’s
godaddy.com
Gossip girl
Hardee’s/ Carl’s Jr
Heineken
Herbal Essence
Hooters
Jimmy Choos
Joe Boxer
Levi’s
Levitra
Lifestyle’s Skyn Condoms
Marc Jacobs Clothing Designer
Nike
Schick Razors
Seventeen Magazine
Tampax
The Gap
The Limited
Tommy Hilfiger
Veet
Venus Clothing
Venus Razor (Gillette)
Viagra
Victoria’s Secret
Virgin Records
Vogue
Wrangler

Thanks so much.  And start gathering up all your courage to speak out more often when you come across inappropriate media, because Protecting Innocence Project will make it a lot easier for you to do.   Watch out smut lords, here comes an army of mama bears!

Small victory: Power to the people!

I empowered myself today at the checkout of the grocery store.  I had Clark and Natalie with me and as we checked out, this lovely piece of literature was right at the level of my waist (in other words, right at Clark’s eye level).

cos_cvr-lg

I edited it for you a little.  You’re welcome. Then the same thing happened that always happens:  I got annoyed.  Then I remembered DeNae and how she became like a Las Vegas Lysol wipe.  (Put that on your resume, DeNae.)  I also thought that since I’m spending so much time on this Protecting Innocence Project*, I’d better walk the walk.  So I asked the lady at the checkout to call over the manager.

I introduced myself and then said, “I shop here a lot, but I have a concern.  Some of these magazine covers are inappropriate.  You can see that they are right here at my son’s eye level.  And he can read.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had a five-year-old, but I think you’d agree that this (pointing right at the headlines) isn’t something he needs to see.  What I would like is for them to be moved out of a child’s line of vision like the tobacco products or covered up.  I’m just asking for a little discernment about what is placed at a child’s eye level.”

He nodded in agreement because, really, you don’t have to be a preacher to know that “BAD GIRL es-ee-ex” (I’m trying to avoid the wrong kind of Google hits) is not a headline for a kindergartener.  He agreed that they would cover up all of their Cosmopolitan magazines with a black shield.  It just so happened that the magazine rep/distributor was there and he called her over and asked her to please cover them up every time she restocks the racks.  And that was it.  I thanked him, gathered up my groceries and my imaginary weapons of motherhood, and we were on our way.

It was that simple.

So arm yourselves, moms.  It’s not nearly as hard or as embarrassing as we think it might be.  The checkout lady said to me, “I’m sixty-nine years old and even I think it’s raunchy.”

And if the manager blows you off, get an address for whomever he reports to, and mail a letter like Captain DeNae did.  Fight on, sisters, fight on!

*The Protecting Innocence Project is getting closer and closer to launch.  Check out this draft of one of the logos (we’ve altered the shield a little to make it more obvious.)

ProtectingInnocence_logo

When it’s all up and ready, I really hope you’ll help me publicize it because it’s going to ROCK.  Think form letters and contact information to make it easy for moms to complain, alert forums where we can get more voices to speak out against offensive material, tons of research, resources and links to organizations that promote the cause of protecting children from inappropriate media.  I’m telling you, the devil is NOT going to like this site.  🙂

Roll call! Places, everyone . . .

pip logo

Just to be very clear:  This is NOT intended to be any kind of guilt trip or anything close to it.

I just need to give an update on where everything stands with the Protecting Innocence Project, and make sure that I’ve gathered all of the information correctly.  I’m not a project manager by profession, and I’m lucky if I get the dishes done and laundry started and everyone dressed all in one day, so be patient with me as I try to get this whole thing up and running.  I still feel as committed to this project as I was in the beginning, and my excitement only grows as I get your help and input.  So thank you.

I’ve been using a site called GoPlanApp.com to help me organize the project and my master checklist is below.  A red dot means it is not yet complete, and a green dot means it is “checked off.”  Please look and see if your task is labeled correctly. If there is an asterisk by your name, it means that I have a question for you or some follow up to do, so watch for an email from me sometime today (hopefully).  Below the checklist, I’ll mention a few items that I could still use some help with, so if anyone is interesting in joining the P.I.P. team, just let me know (or if you’re dying to have a second assignment.)

Remember that the due date is a guideline.  I know this is a crazy time of year getting the kids back into school and starting to catch up on life in your “free” time.  Just do the best you can and let me know what to expect.    My email is dd.stephanie [at] gmail [dot] com.

(Some of you can’t even do your job yet because I’m still waiting on another assignment to get turned in so that I can give it to you for editing, development, etc.; I’ll pass things along as soon as I have them.  Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you.)

Inbox_full Development Delete

(#25)  View Edit Create Subtask Dele Design Site – David M
(#26)  View Edit Create Subtask Delet e First draft home page due 2009/09/09 – David M
(#8)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Editing content– Mary
(#14)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Forms–  Melanie J/hubby*
(#18)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Sample letters — Becca due 2009/08/31
(#17)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Sample letters — InkMom due 2009/08/31

Inbox_full Publicity Delete

(#2)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Buttons– Becca
(#9)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Search Engine Optimization– Lisaway and Greg*

Inbox_full Research Delete

(#5)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete ABC contact info- Advertising due 2009/08/31 –Joanne
(#24)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete ABC contact info- Programming due 2009/08/31 — Poppy
(#4)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete CBS contact info- Advertising due 2009/08/31 — Lisa B.
(#6)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete CBS contact info- Programming due 2009/08/31 — Jessie L.
(#12)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Congressmen and Senators due 2009/08/31 — Motherboard
(#3)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete FCC regulations due 2009/08/31— That Girl
(#1)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete FOX and NBC contact information- Advertising due 2009/08/31 — Laura C.
(#22)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete FOX contact info – Programming due 2009/08/31 — Jenni
(#21)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Frequent Offenders — Laurie due 2009/08/31
(#20)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Frequent Offenders — Treasure due 2009/08/31
(#19)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Helping Children after pornography exposure due 2009/08/31 — Kristina P
(#16)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Internet filters due 2009/08/31 — Sue Q*
(#10)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete NBC contact info- Advertising due 2009/08/31 — Diane
(#15)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Other related sites due 2009/08/31 — Mindy*
(#11)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Parents Television Council due 2009/08/31 — Amy J*
(#13)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete How to get involved?
(#23)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Research on effects of pornography due 2009/08/31 — Scripture Mom
(#7)  View Edit Create Subtask Delete Spiritual effects of pornography on children —  Shantel

Still up for grabs:

1.  Looking up some contact information on a list of companies I have who are frequent ad offenders

2.  Finding any sites that help parents rate/choose appropriate video and computer games.

3.  Finding any sites that help parents rate/choose appropriate movies/DVDs.

4.  Help me find if there are any organizations out there specifically gears towards dads:  fathers fighting pornography, etc.

5.  I would still like to gather links of more sites/organizations etc. that share the objectives of PIP (a collection of resources that you can use to complain and demand change when children’s innocence is threatened by publicly available images and media.)

You can claim a job in the comments section below.  If you don’t want the job, but just have a link or something to help out, feel free to leave that in the comments as well.

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of you who are involved in this project.  And please email me with any questions or if you have any concerns about your assignment or need me to clarify anything.

You rock! (I grew up in the 80s.  Deal with it.)

I need your brains; Can you please think out loud for me?

computer_brainTurn on your web-surfing mind and give me some ideas.

I’ve been working more on the Protecting Innocence Project.  (Click here if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)  Anyway, many of you have accepted assignments to help me out with this project and I could not be more grateful.  Truly.  It’s made an otherwise huge and overwhelming undertaking seem quite manageable and even exciting.  So, thanks again.

Anyway, sweet Lisaway and her husband are helping me out with Search Engine Optimization.  (I know you’re probably way smarter than me and know exactly what that is, but I had to be taught that it’s a systematic way to make your website more accessible when people are looking for related information on Google or another kind of search engine.)  One of the “tricks” is to try to anticipate search phrases and then incorporate them into your site.

SO, I want to know what kind of search phrases would YOU type into Google or Yahoo or whatever if you were looking for what PIP has to offer?

Here’s the scope of the project, if that helps:

Protecting Innocence Project is a website that provides moms with tools to fight children’s exposure to inappropriate media.  It will include the following:
•    Contact information, fill-in-the-blank forms, sample letters and templates that make it easy to file complaints with television networks and/or other media outlets (including magazines, Internet, advertisers, radio, billboards, etc.)
•    A collection of resources, organizations, and research related to fighting the pornography industry as well as protecting children from other indecent and obscene media.
•    A forum where moms can alert and encourage one another to unite their voices in complaint when children’s innocence is threatened by media exposure.



Try to imagine what situations would make you even want to find a site like PIP.  What would you type in your search box to find what you’re looking for?  Go.  Hit me with your best shots.

Thank you, my battle friends.

pip logo

I was a little overwhelmed by all the feedback I got about PIP (my Protecting Innocence Project). Your willingness to stand up for this issue was exhilarating.  I just wanted to let you know that now that I have an army to work with, I am trying to organize my big to-do list into several little projects that I can divide up among you.  If you specifically stated in your comment that you wanted to help out with PIP, watch for an email from me within the next week or so with a specific request.  There are no obligations here.  If it doesn’t seem a good fit for you, feel free to hand it back and we’ll find another task.  Thanks again, blog friends.  You’ve done me proud.  It feels good to be counted among good people with good hearts and marching feet to match.

“I truly believe that one virtuous young woman or young man, led by the Spirit, can change the world, but in order to do so, we must return to virtue. . . . I testify that we will be enabled and strengthened not only to do hard things but to do all things. Now is the time for each of us to arise and unfurl a banner to the world calling for a return to virtue.”Elaine S. Dalton

(Image credit)

I need your help with a war. Honestly.

I don’t know if you ever get an idea in your head that will not go away.  I have learned that this is one of the ways that God talks to me:  repetitive, unceasing thoughts to act.  Let me break it down for you.

What?:  Ever since I watched the Super Bowl (what was that? like 7 months ago?), I have wanted to do something to influence what kind of programming is acceptable for children.  My rage was ignited by Victoria’s Secret ads (soft porn!) and a 3-D half-time ad that included some kind of bed-crawling vixen.  I was infuriated that it was a daytime program with many obviously young and adolescent viewers, especially boys.  Since then I have been constantly aware of (and annoyed by) the onslaught of inappropriate advertisements and programming that are too easily accessible to— and even targeted at— children.

Why?:  If you remember from my post about Sister Julie Beck’s recent Women’s Conference talk, she challenged us women to “Fight!” against pornography.  When we do nothing more than shake our heads at it, we can’t change anything.  Together, though, I think we can make a difference.

How?:  So my idea that was born back in January and has been fueled by promptings and reminders over the past several months is a website that would give moms all the tools they need to file formal complaints when children are exposed to inappropriate media– A place where they can point and click and submit their complaints as well as find templates of letters they can use and customize to voice their concerns.  I have called it the “Protecting Innocence Project” and it is currently being hosted (in all it’s super-rough-draft glory) here.

You?:  It occurred to me that my friends and readers could be a great resource to me in getting this whole thing up and running.  Here are some things I need:

  1. Addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses from all the major networks that could be used to file a formal complaint about programming and advertising.  (This is harder to find than it should be.)
  2. Someone who is knowledgeable enough to help me create “complaint” forms that moms could fill out online, and then they would be automatically sent to the target emails (networks, FCC, etc.)
  3. A collection of other sites, resources, and programs that are related to the fight against pornography and inappropriate media.  I’d like to create a reference list that helps people find this stuff more easily.
  4. Once the site is up and running, I’d love for people to help publicize it among friends, blogs, communities, even newspapers and local news where feasible.  Please don’t send anyone there yet because it’s just bare-bones minimum so far.
  5. Things like buttons and banners would be helpful (the online version, I mean).  I don’t really know how to create stuff like that other than turning an existing graphic into a hot link.

Anyway, this is just a plea to those of you who frequent this blog and find yourself sympathetic to this cause.  If you think you could help out with any of the aforementioned needs, let me know in the comments what you’re interested in/willing to help out with.  I’ll get back to you with a specific assignment (something as simple as researching out contact information for NBC).

Care to join me in this battle ladies?  I think we can do ourselves and our children proud.

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