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  • Debate on the Book of Mormon is false

    LURKERS: PER INSTRUCTIONS FROM DIANE, YOU ARE PERMITTED TO VIEW, BUT NOT TO POST.

    DJB1988? and I have agreed to a debate on the thread that states in the OP that the Book of Mormon is false.This is an excerpt from that OP:

    Joseph Smith claimed he was a prophet from God. and he claimed that the BoM is "most correct or more correct" than the Holy Bible itself. How can a book be written and claim that the BoM is more correct than the Holy Bible?

    The Book of Mormon is supposed to be the account of people who came from the Middle-East to the Americas. It covers the period of about 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. It tells of the Jaredites, people from the Tower of Babel who came to central America but perished because of their own immorality. It also describes some Jews who fled persecution in Jerusalem and came to America led by a man called Nephi. The Jews divided into two groups known as the Nephites and Lamanites who fought each other. The Nephites were defeated in 428 A.D.
    There will be two parts to this discussion:

    Part one is where Doctor JB will set out the reasons for the truth of the Book of Mormon, and I will take the negative position

    Part two is where I will take the affirmative position regarding the truth of the Bible, and I am assuming that he will take the negative. We can negotiate that, though.

    If the terms above are OK, then the ball is in your court, doctor.
    MY FOUR APOLOGETIC AXIOMS

    1. Any verse ripped from its context is a pretext 100% of the time

    2. We attack lies so others will see the truth; that is proof of our love for all cultists, not our hatred .

    3. Inconsistency is a tiny hobgoblin haunting every cult

    4. "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire








  • #2
    John,

    It is difficult to know where to begin. There are so many topics that could be discussed in evaluating the historicity of the Book of Mormon. I think we need to recognize up front that such a discussion must be paced appropriately to come to a reasonable perspective of all the applicable evidences. I am often very busy (as I assume you are), and I will often need your patience in corresponding. But I am willing to commit to this process and discussion as long as the exchange is dispassionate and free from personal attacks and such.

    The big categorical divisions I see are 1) geographic and archeological evidences and 2) textual evidences. We can also address the DNA debate in time as well.

    I believe that the Book of Mormon actually fares quite well in both areas, despite what the critics so frequently claim. Unless you feel otherwise, I will start with just a brief summary of some of the textual evidences that support the ancient origins of the Book of Mormon. Some of these have been discussed before at this site, some have not.

    I will start with what I consider some interesting phenomena within the text of the Book of Mormon, and not necessarily in any particular order. In other words, I will not necessarily start with the most convincing evidences, just some that are interesting.

    In the first chapter of the Book of Mormon, Nephi, son of Lehi, says "Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians." (1 Nephi 1:2) So we should expect to find textual evidences that point back to those two languages.

    One of the peculiar Hebraisms found in the first edition of the Book of Mormon is a sentence structure that reflects a Hebrew grammar instead of that of English. In English, we often use a if-then conditional structure in sentences. For example, I can tell you "if you give me the money, then I will purchase the goods." We see this structure quite often in English. But the corresponding grammar in Hebrew is the conditional construct "if-and." For example, I would say the following if I were communicating in Hebrew the same information as before "if you give me the money, and I will purchase the goods." This is very much a Hebrew specific structure, and it sounds very awkward in English.

    In the first edition of the Book of Mormon, published in 1830, there were 14 examples of the "if-and" structure found in the text. Here are just a few examples:

    “If he should command me that I should say unto this water be thou earth and it shall be earth.” 1 Ne 17:5

    “And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart with real intent having faith in Christ and he will manifest the truth of it unto….” Moroni 10:5

    “And behold also if he sayeth unto the waters of the great deep be thou dried up and it is done.” Helaman 12:16

    These literal translations are awkward in English. And Joseph, not knowing anything about Hebrew grammar edited 13 of the 14 examples out of the text before the 2nd edition. This "if-and" construct is not found in any other language other than Hebrew. It is hard to imagine Joseph intentionally writing so many of these sentences in his work when such a construct has never been used in the English Language.

    On to another phenomenon in the text.

    Many critics have claimed that the phrase "and it came to pass" is used too frequently in the Book of Mormon, and that this too frequent usage is an anachronism.

    The King James Version phrase “and it came to pass” corresponds to the Hebrew “wayδhĂ®” which means “and it happened.” When translating the Hebrew Bible, the KJ translators would not translate “wayδhĂ®” when it didn’t make sense in English, especially when it occurred too frequently or when nothing seems to have actually “come to pass” between its usage.

    Consider these examples from the Hebrew Old Testament:

    And it came to pass as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob and it came to pass Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.” Genesis 27:30

    “And they journeyed from Bethel and it came to pass there was but a little way to come to Ephrath and Rachel travailed and she had hard labour and it came to pass when she was in hard labour that the midwife said unto her fear not thou shalt have this son also and it came to pass as her soul was in departing for she died that she called his name Benoni but his father called him Benjamin.” Genesis 35:16-18

    The same structure is seen in the original BOM manuscripts and was edited out by Joseph:

    “Now it came to pass that after Alma had received his message from the angel of the Lord he returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah and it came to pass that he entered the city by another way yea by the way which was on the south of the city Ammonihah and it came to pass that as he entered the city he was an hungered and he sayeth to a man will ye give to an humble servant of God something to eat.” Alma 8:18-19


    And it came to pass that when my father had made an end of speaking unto them behold it came to pass that he spake unto the sons of Ishmael yea and even all his household.” 2 Nephi 4:10

    There are many more examples in both books.

    By the way, although the KJV Old Testament contains the phrase “and it came to pass” 727 times, the Hebrew OT has the phrase occurring over 1,200 times. Interestingly, in both the OT and BOM, this phrase is rarely seen in psalms (not the book but writing style), lamentations, blessings, proverbs, curses, prayers, speeches and dialogues where the first-person pronoun (we or I) is used.

    The KJV Bible was the version available to Joseph Smith. And these "If-and" constructs and the usage of "and it came to pass" are not seen in the KJV. These examples are reflective of an exact translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, not the KJV. The KJV translators altered the English to make it flow better in English. Interestingly, Joseph Smith did essentially the same thing with these two phenomena- he edited them out.

    Just one more short example before ending this already long first post.

    In Alma 46 we read about Captain Moroni (not Mormon's son) who "rents" or tears his "garment" (probably shirt or coat) on which he writes words and fastens it on a pole (like a flag) in an attempt to stir his people to fight for their rights and religion. The original 1830 text reads "When Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent of his garment in the air." (verse 19). What? Moroni waved the "rent?" Most people know that the "rent" in a shirt or garment is the hole. How could he wave a hole of a shirt- makes no sense in English. Such a statement is stupid in English but makes perfectly good sense in Hebrew. In Hebrew, the noun modified by a verbal substantive like "rent" is assumed from its context. Thus, "part" or "flag" would not be included in the Hebrew text. It must be supplied by the translator.

    Joseph edited this verse before the 2nd edition to "he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air..."
    Sorry so long, but I know of no other way to really go through this stuff.

    I hope this will get the conversation going. Again, I don't necessarily post the evidences which are "most convincing" first. Rather, some that I find interesting.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for your post. I tire of dealing morons of any persuasion, finding them to be quite boorish.

      As to your caveat, "But I am willing to commit to this process and discussion as long as the exchange is dispassionate and free from personal attacks and such. " I concur. You are a scientist, I am an educator, having a graduate degree. and while I am not going to insist on citations in the APA of MLA format, I will hold myself as much as possible to journal-level writing and citing. We have both been trained academically and I plan to treat you as an academic colleague. Fair enough?

      Cutting to the chase, I see a problem with your categories, as specified in this sentence.
      The big categorical divisions I see are 1) geographic and archeological evidences and 2) textual evidences. We can also address the DNA debate in time as well.
      Primary in this is the level of acceptable proof.

      We both are aware of the meaning of "peer review" but you must know in advance that I have great skepticism for the things that Nibley wrote about which were outside his area and were "peer reviewed" by other Mormons who were also out of their area. To me, that is called "vested interest" because the reviewers were not truly independent.

      In the first chapter of the Book of Mormon, Nephi, son of Lehi, says "Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians." (1 Nephi 1:2) So we should expect to find textual evidences that point back to those two languages.
      Your words "point back to" are ambiguous because there is a broad meaning attached to a term that is undefined. I believe that a better phrase would be "find existent evidences WRITTEN IN those two languages". That means that there would be Egyptologists who could read, and give a similar translation of any papyrus with hieroglyphics on it, and the same would hold true for the ancient Hebrew texts.

      Hopefully, we are off onto a good start.
      MY FOUR APOLOGETIC AXIOMS

      1. Any verse ripped from its context is a pretext 100% of the time

      2. We attack lies so others will see the truth; that is proof of our love for all cultists, not our hatred .

      3. Inconsistency is a tiny hobgoblin haunting every cult

      4. "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire







      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by john t View Post
        Thank you for your post. I tire of dealing morons of any persuasion, finding them to be quite boorish.

        As to your caveat, "But I am willing to commit to this process and discussion as long as the exchange is dispassionate and free from personal attacks and such. " I concur. You are a scientist, I am an educator, having a graduate degree. and while I am not going to insist on citations in the APA of MLA format, I will hold myself as much as possible to journal-level writing and citing. We have both been trained academically and I plan to treat you as an academic colleague. Fair enough?

        Cutting to the chase, I see a problem with your categories, as specified in this sentence.
        The big categorical divisions I see are 1) geographic and archeological evidences and 2) textual evidences. We can also address the DNA debate in time as well.
        Primary in this is the level of acceptable proof.

        We both are aware of the meaning of "peer review" but you must know in advance that I have great skepticism for the things that Nibley wrote about which were outside his area and were "peer reviewed" by other Mormons who were also out of their area. To me, that is called "vested interest" because the reviewers were not truly independent.



        Your words "point back to" are ambiguous because there is a broad meaning attached to a term that is undefined. I believe that a better phrase would be "find existent evidences WRITTEN IN those two languages". That means that there would be Egyptologists who could read, and give a similar translation of any papyrus with hieroglyphics on it, and the same would hold true for the ancient Hebrew texts.

        Hopefully, we are off onto a good start.
        I agree that the term "point back to" is not clear. What I am attempting to communicate is the concept that if an English text was really translated from some language (reformed Egyptian) with Egyptian and Hebrew roots, there should be some features of that English text which reflect such roots.

        Would you agree?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by DJB1988 View Post
          I agree that the term "point back to" is not clear. What I am attempting to communicate is the concept that if an English text was really translated from some language (reformed Egyptian) with Egyptian and Hebrew roots, there should be some features of that English text which reflect such roots.

          Would you agree?
          You seem to be conflating three different languages. Forgetting for the present the issue of "Reformed Egyptian" , the Egyptian hieroglyphics are a system of both cursive writings and logographics where a word was represented by a picture. There were about 700 different "pictures" that the scribes learned, so it was a very complex language. Because the earliest forms of heiroglyphics date to 3000 BC, there are no known linguistic derivatives of the language

          According to the current language "tree", ancient Hebrew is a west Semitic language of the Afroasaitic family (from Wikipedia)

          From the same source, English is a Germanic language, originally from Frisian.

          While you are correct in saying that an English translation would "reflect" (another ambiguous term) the original language, the degree and depth of that "reflection" is imprecise and thus is open to a wide variety of interpretations. Furthermore if one were to postulate that one or two words "reflect" origins from another language, that would necessarily require more corroboration than singular unrelated words to make a good case.

          Furthermore since there are known examples of Egyptian hieroglyphics dating to 3000 BC there needs to be both linguistic and cultural evidences of the shift from ne form of a language to another. In linguistics, it is possible to trace the "great vowel shift" where the sounds of the vowels in the English language from 1350 to 1500 due to the standardization of English spelling and to the printing press. But that does not create great barriers to the English student reading Chaucer in Middle English, or Beowulf.

          This demonstrates that any shift in any language is known, documented, and does not differ significantly from the original language. None of that can be claimed for "Reformed Egyptian".
          MY FOUR APOLOGETIC AXIOMS

          1. Any verse ripped from its context is a pretext 100% of the time

          2. We attack lies so others will see the truth; that is proof of our love for all cultists, not our hatred .

          3. Inconsistency is a tiny hobgoblin haunting every cult

          4. "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire







          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by john t View Post
            You seem to be conflating three different languages. Forgetting for the present the issue of "Reformed Egyptian" , the Egyptian hieroglyphics are a system of both cursive writings and logographics where a word was represented by a picture. There were about 700 different "pictures" that the scribes learned, so it was a very complex language. Because the earliest forms of heiroglyphics date to 3000 BC, there are no known linguistic derivatives of the language

            According to the current language "tree", ancient Hebrew is a west Semitic language of the Afroasaitic family (from Wikipedia)

            From the same source, English is a Germanic language, originally from Frisian.

            While you are correct in saying that an English translation would "reflect" (another ambiguous term) the original language, the degree and depth of that "reflection" is imprecise and thus is open to a wide variety of interpretations. Furthermore if one were to postulate that one or two words "reflect" origins from another language, that would necessarily require more corroboration than singular unrelated words to make a good case.

            Furthermore since there are known examples of Egyptian hieroglyphics dating to 3000 BC there needs to be both linguistic and cultural evidences of the shift from ne form of a language to another. In linguistics, it is possible to trace the "great vowel shift" where the sounds of the vowels in the English language from 1350 to 1500 due to the standardization of English spelling and to the printing press. But that does not create great barriers to the English student reading Chaucer in Middle English, or Beowulf.

            This demonstrates that any shift in any language is known, documented, and does not differ significantly from the original language. None of that can be claimed for "Reformed Egyptian".
            Do you have a response to the first items I presented?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DJB1988 View Post
              Do you have a response to the first items I presented?
              What I posted are notations of foundational problems in your post. Until you address those issues I brought up, all other things are moot.

              For example in order to make a case for the existence of "Reformed Egyptian" you FIRST need to deal with this objection:
              .
              Furthermore since there are known examples of Egyptian hieroglyphics dating to 3000 BC there needs to be both linguistic and cultural evidences of the shift from one form of a language to another... This demonstrates that any shift in any language is known, documented, and does not differ significantly from the original language. None of that can be claimed for "Reformed Egyptian".
              .
              You see, I HAVE dealt with what you posted. Before I except any reference to "Reformed Egyptian" as a fact, you FIRST need to supply proof of its existence. Is that too hard of a thing to ask?
              MY FOUR APOLOGETIC AXIOMS

              1. Any verse ripped from its context is a pretext 100% of the time

              2. We attack lies so others will see the truth; that is proof of our love for all cultists, not our hatred .

              3. Inconsistency is a tiny hobgoblin haunting every cult

              4. "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire







              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by john t View Post
                What I posted are notations of foundational problems in your post. Until you address those issues I brought up, all other things are moot.

                For example in order to make a case for the existence of "Reformed Egyptian" you FIRST need to deal with this objection:
                .
                Furthermore since there are known examples of Egyptian hieroglyphics dating to 3000 BC there needs to be both linguistic and cultural evidences of the shift from one form of a language to another... This demonstrates that any shift in any language is known, documented, and does not differ significantly from the original language. None of that can be claimed for "Reformed Egyptian".
                .
                You see, I HAVE dealt with what you posted. Before I except any reference to "Reformed Egyptian" as a fact, you FIRST need to supply proof of its existence. Is that too hard of a thing to ask?
                Actually, you haven't touched what I offered. But you have instead chosen your own line or argument.

                So I will ask you, is your question whether there are examples of modified or "reformed" Egyptian?

                Because the answer is yes, there are many examples of such adaptation of Egyptian.

                Papyrus Amherst 63 is an ancient document discovered near Thebes, Egypt in the 19th century which is written with Egyptian demotic characters but which was initially quite puzzling for Egyptologists. They could identify the characters, but the text did not make any sense. Raymond Bowman from the University of Chicago was the first to recognize that although the text was in demotic, the language is Aramaic. It turns out that the text is a version of Psalm 20:2-6. So this is a Biblical passage written in Egyptian characters in the Aramaic language. The document is dated to around 200 B.C.

                Here is a link to Bowman's 1944 paper: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.230...id=55899719653

                There are many other examples of Egyptian being modified in ancient texts.

                These include the London Magical Papyrus (fourteenth century B.C.), the Harris Magical Papyrus (thirteenth century B.C.), Papyrus Anastasi I (thirteenth century B.C.), and Ostracon.

                One ostracon which dates to 600-700 B.C. is written in Egyptian hieratic and Hebrew characters. Some of the characters can be read in both Hebrew and Egyptian. Or, it can be read entirely in Egyptian- sort of a hybrid text.

                Here is a link to the paper reporting the find: http://books.google.com/books?id=cG5...page&q&f=false

                There are many more examples.

                But this should suffice in demonstrating such modifications of the Egyptian language into "reformed" Egyptian, even incorporating Hebrew and Semitic.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am going off on a long weekend with the wife. I'll get back later
                  MY FOUR APOLOGETIC AXIOMS

                  1. Any verse ripped from its context is a pretext 100% of the time

                  2. We attack lies so others will see the truth; that is proof of our love for all cultists, not our hatred .

                  3. Inconsistency is a tiny hobgoblin haunting every cult

                  4. "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire







                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I wish I may, I wis I could create any "Reformed Egyptian""

                    Originally posted by DJB1988 View Post
                    Actually, you haven't touched what I offered. But you have instead chosen your own line or argument.
                    So I will ask you, is your question whether there are examples of modified or "reformed" Egyptian?
                    Because the answer is yes, there are many examples of such adaptation of Egyptian.
                    No, the answer is NO!

                    Your silly reasoning goes like this. Because six verses (about 60 words, counting in English) are written in Aramaic, (language A) but is using Egyptian characters (language B) that proves the existence of Reformed Egyptian (language C). That is a leap of logic so great that an Nimitz class aircraft carrier can pass through sideways.



                    But this should suffice in demonstrating such modifications of the Egyptian language into "reformed" Egyptian, even incorporating Hebrew and Semitic.
                    Do you also believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa? That is the degree of reasoning to which you have slipped, by trying to foist this off as proof of a non-extant language

                    Until you or your friends can ACTUALLY find examples of peer-reviewed examples of "Reformed Egyptian" Your quest for finding anything in that language is nothing more than a purple haze, or wishful thinking, or an ephemeral mist.
                    MY FOUR APOLOGETIC AXIOMS

                    1. Any verse ripped from its context is a pretext 100% of the time

                    2. We attack lies so others will see the truth; that is proof of our love for all cultists, not our hatred .

                    3. Inconsistency is a tiny hobgoblin haunting every cult

                    4. "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire







                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by john t View Post
                      No, the answer is NO!

                      Your silly reasoning goes like this. Because six verses (about 60 words, counting in English) are written in Aramaic, (language A) but is using Egyptian characters (language B) that proves the existence of Reformed Egyptian (language C). That is a leap of logic so great that an Nimitz class aircraft carrier can pass through sideways.




                      Do you also believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa? That is the degree of reasoning to which you have slipped, by trying to foist this off as proof of a non-extant language

                      Until you or your friends can ACTUALLY find examples of peer-reviewed examples of "Reformed Egyptian" Your quest for finding anything in that language is nothing more than a purple haze, or wishful thinking, or an ephemeral mist.
                      Your rationale, education, and logic is more primitive than you initially represented.

                      It is very apparent you have no inclination toward or ability to discuss such matters.

                      You want a city sign that reads "Zarahemla" or a personal viewing of the gold plates.

                      And falling back to personal insults doesn't help your argument (I presume you have one, somewhere).

                      Such a discussion requires a methodical, patient look at many kinds of evidence.

                      What I have presented is the very beginners look at the tip of the iceberg.

                      It is hard for me to believe you have any sense of perspective or the capacity to weigh evidences. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of little and big evidences for the Book of Mormon.

                      You neither understand, presumably, any of these evidences nor the claims and weight of those evidences.

                      Nothing "proves" the Book of Mormon. But a balanced understanding of the evidences on both sides provides a person with the ability to weigh the relative strengths of arguments on both sides.

                      You have bailed out after a mere glimpse of one or two of these evidences.
                      Last edited by DJB1988; 03-19-12, 06:53 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DJB1988 View Post
                        Your rationale, education, and logic is more primitive than you initially represented.
                        INSULT #1

                        It is very apparent you have no inclination toward or ability to discuss such matters.
                        [SIZE=3]
                        INSULT #2
                        [/SIZE]

                        You want a city sign that reads "Zarahemla" or a personal viewing of the gold plates.
                        [SIZE=4]INSULT #3[/SIZE]

                        And falling back to personal insults doesn't help your argument (I presume you have one, somewhere).
                        [SIZE=5]INSULT #4[/SIZE]

                        Such a discussion requires a methodical, patient look at many kinds of evidence.
                        when the "first presenting evidence" fails to establish anything beyond whimsical wishful thinking, you lost the argument. That was proved by my analysis of your faulty reasoning. You presented your best case. Then you got "annoyed off" because I shot it full of holes.

                        You retaliated by going personal. That behavior is characteristic of having issues on axis II. It is also unprofessional.

                        What I have presented is the very beginners look at the tip of the iceberg.
                        What you presented is indeed as big as an iceberg. it is made from other stuff, and kinda reeks, if you know what I mean.

                        It is hard for me to believe you have any sense of perspective or the capacity to weigh evidences. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of little and big evidences for the Book of Mormon.
                        [SIZE=6]INSULT #5[/SIZE]

                        You neither understand, presumably, any of these evidences nor the claims and weight of those evidences.
                        [SIZE=7]INSULT #6[/SIZE]

                        You have YET to supply one scintilla of evidence for the BoM.
                        .
                        Nothing "proves" the Book of Mormon. But a balanced understanding of the evidences on both sides provides a person with the ability to weigh the relative strengths of arguments on both sides.
                        .
                        What I made bold above is true.


                        1You have bailed out after a mere glimpse of one or two of these evidences.
                        [SIZE=7]INSULT #7[/SIZE]

                        I demonstrated the fallacious nature of your "proof of the existence for Reformed Egyptian" and you have not provided any sort of evidence.

                        It is true that I attacked your faulty reasoning, but I NEVER attacked you personally, or belittled you. SIX times in your "rebuttal" you insulted or belittled me. BY DEFINITION, going ad hom (to the person) is an admission of having no cogent rebuttal.

                        This "debate" is over. I do not have the time to waste with any person who brays insults as a substitute for reasonable discussion.
                        MY FOUR APOLOGETIC AXIOMS

                        1. Any verse ripped from its context is a pretext 100% of the time

                        2. We attack lies so others will see the truth; that is proof of our love for all cultists, not our hatred .

                        3. Inconsistency is a tiny hobgoblin haunting every cult

                        4. "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire







                        Comment


                        • #13
                          John T,

                          You have not engaged what I have presented in the slightest. You put the ball in my court and requested that I start presenting evidences. I started, and you immediately changed the discussion by insisting I provide proof of the original documents in reformed Egyptian.

                          I am not surprised though. This is usually what happens when I or other LDS present reasonable data to support the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

                          As I said when I began providing data, I was not choosing the most convincing evidences first necessarily. I was simply presenting representative evidences.

                          You haven't done anything to comment on those data or to explain them. You simply changed the discussion to your liking and demanded proof on your terms.

                          I don't hold any of this against you. But I am dissappointed because it is so rare to speak to a person on the other side of the argument who can approach primary data dispassionately. And I had a glimmer of hope that that could be possible.

                          Comment

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