I wish to write of the situation I see regarding the Lord’s vineyard in these last days.

33  … There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

34  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.

35  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

36  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

37  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

38  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

39  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

40  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

41  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

42  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

43  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

44  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

45  And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

46  But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

After the triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem described in Matthew, chapter 21, Jesus proceeded to cleanse the temple. We then read that ‘the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.’ It is noted in the scriptures that the chief priests and the elders were ‘sore displeased’ and were likely relieved to see Him leave.

When He returned the next day. It was apparent to them that they had to do something about this upstart that had won the hearts of a considerable number of people.  It was in this environment that the chief priests and elders challenged His authority. When they could not answer the question posed by Jesus regarding the authority of the baptism of John, He proceeded to relate two parables, the second of which is found above.

The leaders of the church in that day were offended that Christ would characterize them as self centered murderers. It is ironic that they were indeed conspiring to have the Romans deal with Him. In the above parable, those in charge of the Lord’s vineyard saw His property as their own. They had long maneuvered the organization into one that provided them a life of ease and splendor. One that brought them the praise and admiration of the people. The warning that Christ delivered in Luke 20 is supportive of this same chastisement:

46  Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;

A modern day representation of this warning would read something like this:

Beware of the general authorities, which desire to walk in their dark business suits, who love speaking at the openings of banks and shopping malls, who sit in the high red seats in front of the masses of the conference center.

What is the modern equivalent of this scripture found in Mosiah, chapter 11?

11  And the seats which were set apart for the high priests, which were above all the other seats, he did ornament with pure gold; and he caused a breastwork to be built before them, that they might rest their bodies and their arms upon while they should speak lying and vain words to his people

Unfortunately, the description of a broad expanse of seats raised above the crowd with a pulpit made from a tree which one graced the lot of a prophet. Should we be concerned that there are similarities between the past representations of apostasy within the church and our situation today? Are these chief priests and elders in our midst today following the same path that those of earlier dispensations fell into? Whatever happened to the humble model that Christ used in the selection of the twelve disciples from among the Nephites – ”these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants…”

Does a servant sit in the high seats? Does one who ministers receive privileged parking and limousines? What is there that makes us think we are immune to the same vices that have brought down the past dispensations? Are we, in this generation, incapable of losing our way but with clarity point to the same weaknesses that destroyed the church of God in the past?

Tucked in the back of the LDS Bible is a section entitled the Joseph Smith translation. Little used and rarely quoted, this work by Joseph Smith, under direction of the Lord, was to clarify the writings of the apostles in the meridian of time. One of the more interesting is found here:

JST, MATTHEW 21:47–56 (compare Matthew 21:45–46)

(Jesus declared that he is the chief cornerstone. The gospel is offered to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. The wicked shall be destroyed when Jesus returns.)

47. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

 48. And they said among themselves, Shall this man think that he alone can spoil this great kingdom? And they were angry with him.

 49. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they learned that the multitude took him for a prophet.

 50. And now his disciples came to him, and Jesus said unto them, Marvel ye at the words of the parable which I spake unto them?

 51. Verily, I say unto you, I am the stone, and those wicked ones reject me.

 52. I am the head of the corner. These Jews shall fall upon me, and shall be broken.

 53. And the kingdom of God shall be taken from them, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof; (meaning the Gentiles.)

 54. Wherefore, on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.

 55. And when the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

 56. And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof.

The italicized verses, 48 and 50 through 56, above were added to the original text of Matthew 21. I recall many years ago reading this section and being puzzled by the references to the Jews and the Gentiles. Now it comes with more clarity. It is easy to see the events of history fitting into the description in the verses describing the Jews – that the kingdom of God would be taken from them and given to the Gentiles.  But what of the subsequent reference to those who will be ground to powder? In verse 55, we find that the Lord will, at His coming, destroy the next group of miserable, wicked husbandmen – the Gentiles. This component of the prophecy is to happen when Christ descends out of heaven to reign on earth. I have to assume that this is the  description of the circumstances which will be found before His coming – the latter days perhaps?

In this Joseph Smith translation, we find that the same description of the leadership of the Jews version of God’s kingdom on earth in the meridian of time can be applied to the leadership of the Gentiles version of the kingdom of God on earth prior to the second coming – miserable, wicked men.

Ahh, but you say, these verses speak of the nasty Gentiles among whom we righteous must live. I ask who are the husbandmen of the Lord’s vineyard in these latter days? Who is to be tending the church in preparation for His second coming? These verses speak of those who are charged with nurturing the church, not the non-believer.

Wake up to the awful situation we find ourselves in these last days. We are heretofore warned that the Lord’s vineyard will be given to other husbandmen in the last days due to our misery and wickedness. The scriptures are replete with warnings again pride, against building our belief on the arm flesh, against revering man rather than God, against worshiping the works of our own hands.

Wake up…

Just as Christ healed the blind after He cleansed the temple, so too will He heal the ‘blind’ of this day who seek Him out and ask Him the difficult questions about our circumstances.

What think ye?

29 Responses to “On Whomsoever This Stone Shall Fall”

  • Jack:

    This is good conspiracy theory fodder. It’s all based on assumptions — assumptions that must be true because your narrow analogies seem to fall in place so easily. But in the final “larger” analysis you’ll find that there are other analogical readings that fit much better.

    • Spektator:

      you speak of assumptions and narrow analogies. Would you mind explaining what the alternative view is? What did Joseph Smith intend when he produced this information in your opinion? What ‘broader’ analogy would explain the meaning of this scripture?

      If this were the only reference to a latter day apostasy, I would believe that there would be a case for an alternative meaning. It isn’t. The scriptures contain multiple references to possibility of this event.
      ‘Why have you polluted the holy church of God?’ Moroni 8
      ‘Reject the fulness of the gospel’ 3 Nephi 16
      ‘Condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion’ D&C 84
      ‘vengence upon my house’ D&C 112

      Are these warnings for somebody else?

  • Jack:

    None of the questions you pose indicate that the modern leadership will have gone astray. Remember, it is those who fight against the apostles of the Lamb that get the worst of the Lord’s wrath.

    • Spektator:

      Then help me understand who you think the above quotation from the Joseph Smith translation refers to regarding the Gentile husbandmen who will be punished when the Lord comes?

      Is the church still under condemnation? Pres. Benson indicated this was the case. Who is Moroni talking about regarding the pollution in the holy church? Who is Nephi speaking about regarding the believing and unbelieving Gentiles rejecting the fulness of the gospel?

      These other references were meant to show that there is ‘room’ in the scriptures for a latter day spostasy. If we were in the midst of an apostasy, then the ‘true’ apostles would be calling upon the people to repent if they were in touch with the spirit. Do you hear anything even close to a call to repentence in the recent conference? I didn’t. What I heard was that all was well in Zion. Shouldn’t that give you some pause for concern? That, in my opinion, condemms both the leadership and the general membership of the church.

      We all see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. It wasn’t until I took the blinders off my eyes and read the scriptures for what they were trying to tell me (not what correlation was attempting to teach) did I really come to understand the situation.

      You have a choice, search the scriptures and listen to those who call themselves prophets. You may get two different messages. Only the spirit can be counted upon to guide you through this.

  • Marc:

    Well..I guess this is an example of what is meant by “rending yourself of the veil of unbelief.” (Ether 4:15) As a lifelong LDS member of 52 years…I am not an educated man (as to the ways of this world) and certainly not a great speaker of words. But 7 years ago I decided to “start from scratch” if you will. Knowing that discovering truth is MY RESPONSIBILITY (since it is my eternal life in the balance) and that God will return me wherever I am supposed to be…if I laid it all at His feet. I became a “seeker of the naked truth” as Joseph Smith once put it. The SHOCK at first…was almost unbearable. But I praise God for it…as He kept His promise! As I stated earlier I am not that smart. You spektator…ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! As uneducated as I am…even I get it! But…maybe…Jack just needs more time. The sad thing is…time is something he (et al) doesn’t have a lot of!

  • Spektator:

    Thanks for your perpective. I have come to believe that people must have a ‘moment’ that forces them to consider things from a different perspective; an event that breaks the pristine model. I would suspect that there was some trigger that made you ‘start from scratch’ and seek to understand the message in the scriptures. People like Jack are walking on what they believe to be the correct path. They simply can’t perceive the unpleasent parts of the scriptural message.

    I agree with you, time can bring that faith shaking/enhancing event to some. Others will go to their grave believing that their genealogy, home/visiting teaching, tithing and temple recommend are all that is needed. These ‘works of men’ as described in 3 Nephi 27 will be good for a season and then the end will come…

  • Whosoever shall fall … – There is a reference here, doubtless, to Isaiah 8:14-15. Having made an allusion to himself “as a stone,” or a rock Matthew 21:42, he proceeds to state the consequences of coming in contact with it. He that falls upon it shall be broken; he that “runs against it” – a cornerstone, standing out from the other parts of the foundation shall be injured, or broken in his limbs or body. He that is offended with my being the foundation, or that opposes me, shall by the act injure himself, or make himself miserable “by so doing,” even were there nothing further. But there is something further.On whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder – That is, in the original, will reduce him to dust, so that it may be scattered by the winds. There is an allusion here, doubtless, to the custom of stoning as a punishment among the Jews. A scaffold was erected twice the height of the man to be stoned. Standing on its edge, he was violently struck off by one of the witnesses: if he died by the blow and the fall, nothing further was done; if not, a heavy stone was thrown down on him, which at once killed him. So the Saviour speaks of the “falling” of the stone on his enemies. They who oppose him, who reject him, and who continue impenitent, shall be crushed by him in the day of judgment, and perish forever.

  • Adam:


    Thank you. I had not considered those scriptures in JST. I know what you are saying in this blog post is true, because the spirit has taught me the same things. What happened to the Jews will happen to the Gentiles. The first will be last and the last will be first. It won’t be long before the Lord will raise up His servant in the last days. The Lord’s servant will be rejected by the leaders of the church just like Jesus was rejected by the leaders of the Jews. It is all going to play out just like it did before. The times of the gentiles will come to an end and unless the gentiles repent and become kings and queens (in the priesthood) to help the house of Israel, they will be as salt that has lost its savor.

    • Spektator:

      I think you wrapped up the message of a half dozen scripture reference in your words. I was planning on revisiting the last/first idea again in the near future. it is certainly an interesting use of chiasmus.

    • The times of the Gentiles are now fulfilled. The Root of Jesse prophesied is here, and the one mighty and strong has appeared. These things are simply hidden from an unbelieving world. If you desire to be a part of building the New Jerusalem, and living all the commandments of God, I ask you to call me. 520-203-2328. I am not the one who is the subject of these prophecies, but I know where they can be found.

  • Jack:

    Wow. Poor little me. I’m fifty years old — and for what it’s worth I ran up against the proverbial “wall” about nine years ago. Nothing made sense anymore — it was all poppycock. But since then I’ve been making my way back — and I’ve returned to an orthodoxy of sorts. (I still have a ponytail that hangs down to the middle of my back, I don’t enjoy church meetings, etc.) So please don’t assume that because my conclusions are different that yours that I haven’t thought “outside the box” or drunk from the dregs of church history. Or that I haven’t felt the sanctifying power of the spirit or admitted to myself that the brethren are human, etc.

    Re: Conference — It was not “all is well in Zion” to my ears. I was very challenged by it — to the extreme at times.

    • Spektator:

      I guess that goes to show that one shouldn’t make assumptions based on the meager words in a blog post. I do surmise that you have had to turn off some of your cognition in order to minimize the dissonance. At the same time, I fully understand that your path could be completely different than mine. As I said in an earlier post, to the ‘church’ in Jerusalem, Lehi was an apostate.

      I am curious, though, what you found challenging from the last general conference. What prophecies, visions, and revelations were delivered by the prophets, seers, and revelators?

      I am still curious about what you would suggest as alternatives to the warnings I have cited from the scriptures. Do you simply assume that because the brethren are ‘human’ they are excused from compliance to the gospel and doctrine of Christ? Can their ‘humanness’ protect them from redefining the baptism of fire?

      Frankly, I can understand why you don’t enjoy church meetings. My response is, that despite the dictate of the scriptures, the meetings are rarely run by the spirit amd lack the spiritual nourishment of the original intent. I receive much more from 30 minutes immersed in the scriptures than 3 hours in the pew.

  • Jack

    As someone who interprets the above JST passages the same way Spec does, I find it so interesting that you keep visiting this site to challenge the authors perspective without being able to provide any substance to your differing interpretation of the same passages.

    I recently had a few visitors like you to my blog site who passionately disagreed with me and yet they had little substance to back up their views. Interestingly, they all curiously had the same IP address which apparently belongs to the LDS church.

    I am not accusing you of being a paid shill (although I would be interested in seeing the IP address from which you hail) but it seems strange that you keep trying to discredit Spec’s views without providing an intelligent scripture-based explanation as to why you think he is wrong.

  • Jack:

    I really don’t have to “turn off” any cognition. I just have to do what King Benjamin suggests: “Believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.” I believe that the brethren are inspired. I also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. If, therefore, there arises something incongruent (in my mind) between the two then my first response is to assume that I lack understand and that perhaps God will help me (in his own time) to comprehend things more clearly.

    As to your interpretation of the JS verses: I must find a different interpretation than the one you posit because I believe both the brethren and the BoM to be inspired. We can quibble over details such as what JS means by vineyard=earth and so forth but it’s not likely to yield a fruitful discussion because our differing beliefs cause us to premise the text differently — we’d just be talking past one another.

    I will say, though, that citing Lehi’s circumstances is too narrow an analog. If we look at the entire BoM what we have more than anything else is the prophets trying to keep the people in line — not a continuous physical exodus away from a wicked establishment (though that did happen on occasion). And I think that’s where we are today — the prophets are striving to bring people to and keep people in the covenant.

    Re: Conference — For me there was a definite call to deepen my discipleship.

    • Spektator:

      We are also told in Alma, chapter 12, to seek to understand the mysteries of God.

      “10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
      11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.”

      It is interesting that I agree with you relative to the brethren being ‘inspired.’ However, I believe there is a big difference between being ‘inspired’ and being guided by revelation.

      In my opinion, the Book of Mormon is a continual saga of the cycle of apostasy that the church collectively and each member individually must confront on a daily basis.

      In conference, you heard the call to deepen your discipleship. In my opinion, the mantra of ‘follow the prophet’ (if that is what you mean by discipleship) still stands juxtaposed to ‘come unto Christ.’ If one truly seeks to commune with God and to seek the mysteries of His kingdom, they will be much further ahead than relying on the arm of flesh represented by the brethren.

  • Jack:

    I agree with you (and Alma) though I don’t see how receiving the greater portion of the word and sustaining a living prophet(s) must be mutually exclusive. And just to clarify: When I say that the brethren are inspired I mean everything that that could imply, including receiving revelation.

    Re: Deepening my discipleship — That has more to do with not allowing myself to get entangled in worldly things. It was very personal.

    • Spektator:

      My comment about the mysteries of God was in response to you Kimg Benjamin quote regarding comprehending God. I do believe He will give us as much knowledge as we prepare ourselves for. I would hope that we, as a people, were preparing for the other two thirds of the plates, but alas…

      By definition, inspiration and revelation are two quite different things. President Hinckley was famous for saying he guided the church by feelings. That, I believe, can be characterized as inspiration. Revelation takes us beyond feelings to communication with God.

      Best of success on your journey to discipleship. I have come to believe we are moved to take paths that will give us chances to learn the lessons we need to progress.

  • Matthew:

    I am truly fascinated by this post, and have returned to it a few times. I agree and want to believe it, yet at the same time I hesitate to fully embrace the idea that the Church is in full apostasy. I hesitate because I remember feeling a sweet spiritual warmth as I listened to the conference in October (and subsequently in Stake Conference and recent Ward meetings). I also hesitate because some of the individuals I trust most (who I believe have received greater spiritual gifts, manifestations, visitations, etc.), continue to hold onto a belief in the Church. Not without some reservations, but it seems that all is not yet lost, the Church continues to be guided (as much as the members’ faith allows), and Christ is still performing an important work through the imperfect LDS Church.

    With all that said, I still agree with the post, that some things are amiss, and that we need to wake up (and I appreciate the attention given to JST Matthew 21). I just hesitate to completely dismiss the Church, for unless it is revealed that Christ has abandoned the Church, then why should I? I do believe that something will eventually supplant it, but I’m not aware that that day has yet arrived.

  • Spektator:

    I carry a bookmark in my scriptures that is a quote from Joseph Smith (TPJS, 18):

    “…for if Zion will not purfy herself, so as to be approved in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath.”

    I see this as a clear warning regarding accepting the chronic condition of the church.

    Is the church still under condemnation (D&C 84:55)? Is the prophecy found in D&C 112:23-29 going to be fulfilled? Christ states that we are to “trouble not ourselves concerning the affairs of the church (I assume this means the problems we see today)… but purify your hearts before me.” It is our personal sanctification that is of importance. The church is neither the provider nor the gatekeeper of our salvation.

    I would encourage you to read 3 Nephi, chapter 16, and pay special attention to who is blessed because of their belief in Christ validated by the Holy Ghost. It is these same Gentiles who, in verse 16, reject the fulness of the gospel.

    There is a significant amount of scriptural evidence as to the challenges of the restored church. The promises remain regardless of the state of the corporate church that we will be His church if we repent and come unto Him (D&C 10:67-69)

    • Matthew:

      I think I agree with everything you state in you comment. But it still leaves me wondering, what to do with our relationship to the Church? Sure, the Church under condemnation, and lacking, but does that mean we abandon the Church, and those who are attempting to serve within the Church? It was under condemnation in Joseph Smith’s day, yet he continued to have hope and faith in it. Even under its chronic condition, has Christ abandoned the Church at this point in time?

      • It is not so much whether he has abandoned the church, Christ never abandons us! it is we who abandon him, often without even being aware of it. So no, Don’t leave the church, but if it leaves you don’t fear that all is lost. It is remaining true to Christ that must be our goal, the Lord who must be our standard. If standing up for the truths of the scriptures causes the church to cast you out, then remain true and faithful to the Lord regardless of what man can do. Also search for the Keys of the priesthood, the church no longer exercises all priesthood keys, and therefore does not have them, If you want to find them feel free to write or call me and I’ll share with you what I have found.

        Brother Benjamin
        GospelFullness (at) Gmail

  • Matthew:

    Thank you, Brother Benjamin! What you state makes perfect sense. I’ll probably take you up on your offer for a more detailed conversation sometime in the future. At the moment I am going through a spiritual transformation that I want to enjoy before I approach some of these other topics.

    • Spektator:

      I think an understanding of the situation of the church is necessary for many to understand what they should really be striving for – a relationship with Christ. I see it as clearly a choice between come unto Christ or follow the prophet. Your relationship with the corporate church is one that should be a matter of prayer. I know some who have stayed and some who have left based on their discovery. Staying in the church presents some challenges and opportunities, it can be difficult. The basic question, to me, is what does God what you to do?

      • Matthew:

        I believe (until revealed to me otherwise) that God has a purpose for me and my family in the Church. Within the Church I have an opportunity to teach the gospel, and even though some of the greater aspects of the gospel are ignored, I still can’t find another group of people who are similarly striving for the same level of spirituality and purity. For me, it would have to be a clear command to leave, as it is through the Church and its scriptures, ordinances, opportunities to serve, etc., that I’ve reached the spiritual maturity to even consider some of the higher principles discussed here and elsewhere. In essence, it seems the Church still has the capacity to put people on the pathway to coming unto Christ, although ultimately it is an individual journey that we finish on our own.

  • Spektator:

    I fully support your direction. I hope that you will be able to help those who want to reject the gospel because of the ‘sins’ of the church. My fear is that many will walk away given the cognitive dissonance and not consider the alternatives. An organization that portrays itself as the one true church and cannot deal with its warts leaves members open to abandon the faith as all or nothing.

  • Jack:

    The scriptures — all of the standard works without exception — talk of failings in the church, indeed of failings that led to the church’s ultimate demise in some cases. So we should not be surprised to find that the church today is not perfect. We should also remember that in all instances when the church has been in need of correction — except when it is ripe for destruction — the call of the prophets has been for the people to repent and stay within the church, not to leave. That is the pattern. And surely those who would think that the church today is remotely close to its demise as in earlier ages simply do not comprehend the spirit working upon the hearts of its members.

    • Spektator:

      Where are these prophets who, today, call the people to repent? Can you show me examples of where this is documented? President Hinckley, on numerous occasions, told the members how great they were and what fine shape the church is in. He based that on tithing, and buildings and other things made with the hands of men. The whole essence of the parable discussed in this post is that the leadership is equally in need of repentence.

      The church of Jesus Christ, as defined by Him in D&C 10:67-69, is alive and well. That is where the spirit works upon the heart of the sanctified. It is the corporate church that is found lacking.

      • Marc:

        Thank you Spektator. Well said. For me…I realize that we REALLY have no clue hardly any longer as to what THIS TEST is really about. What if this and what if that? Out of distrust for the arm of flesh…I have turned to my Heavenly Father and His spirit for help. I’m waiting for further light and knowledge from my Father. Realizing that He can and will help me through others…I read what good folks like yourselves have to say. When I look at the corporate church (at present…who knows…maybe tomorrow will be different) I see where the “fort” has definitely been captured! It is no longer for me. I can’t stand to sit and listen to the mindless dibble that floods most church meetings any longer. I’m desirous to LEARN THE PURE NAKED TRUTH! I’m on the way UP! But I see where some “need” the association. Some aren’t ready to move too far away from that great and spacious building. It definitely…is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But isn’t that why we’re here? To prove to our Father that we will give all up for Him? If needs be?

  • Spektator:

    I agree it isn’t easy. So much of our social fabric is woven in to the church. It can be a good place for service but many times, in my view, the ‘service’ is contrived. There are so many needs in any community that service to those in need is easy to achieve. The downside is that service in the community in general is not as clean and neat as it is in the church.

    I think that you are on the right track in building your relationship with God. After investing a lot of time and money in books in my quest for knowledge, I found that the scriptures offer much more insight and stimulus for questions.

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