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Upon Request - A discussion of CDD and "Christianity"




This subject keeps coming up so I will put my thoughts out there.  Feel free to not agree but please do make sure you read how I use terms to avoid fights to don't need to happen.

First let us define terms as I will use them:

Domestic Discipline – The husband or wife disciplines the other in the context of their marriage, may include physical and non-physical discipline.  I will not be covering cases where a marriage commitment has not been made as it will contain too many variations and by very definition not part of the Christian moral standard.

Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD) – Domestic discipline using the teachings of Christianity as the primary reason.

Christianity – A monotheistic religion where God became man in the form of Christ for the redemption of man.  The basic elements are exposed in the ancient apostle’s creed.

Scripture – The “Bible” (the book) that is believed to contain revelation of the Christian God.  What is included in scripture can vary (no divinely inspired table of contents exists) but at a minimum the post-1500 protestant version (most common in the United States) and at most the Roman Rite or Eastern Rite version (more common accepted historically and outside the United States).

Discipline – To teach or instruct for the benefit of the one receiving to make them a “learner”.  Derived from the word disciple which is a follower or used in the Greek as a learner.




Question: “Is CDD supported Biblically”?

                In the strictest sense no, not explicitly.  No where in scripture can you find where husbands or wives are called to discipline one another.  However, there are calls for spouses to love, sanctify, and support one another.  Additionally, neither spouse “owns” their own body (1 Cor 7:4).  Christ even points out they become “one flesh” in Matthew echoing Genesis 2 and is a thread in several verses talking about marriage.  If you apply what Paul says in Roman 12: 1-2 all Christians are to offer their bodies be a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God, so how much more in a marriage where the two are one flesh.  But here we need to stop and discuss submission in the Christian context.


                First and fore most submission comes from the one submitting.  If it comes from the other party, it is oppression.  We submit to God, we submit to the Church (or should), we submit to one another, we don’t force others into submission.  This is where many run afoul in the interpretation of Ephesians 5 “wives submit to your husbands”.  It is used by husbands and other men to force women into roles they do not voluntarily assume.  I have even seen it reach the point that women are expected to submit to any man and it be argued that a woman should not resist being raped because she should submit.  If it does not come willingly without manipulation, threats or coercion, it is not submission.

                A recent example of the misuse of “Christian” submission was by the US attorney general.  He stated that the government has the authority to make immigrants submit because they should submit to government authorities (I am paraphrasing).  Regardless of how you line up on the immigration issue this is a misuse of the biblical concept of submission.

                Another discussion, which I intend to write another post on, is when men want or need to submit to discipline of their wives.  Using Ephesians 5 as commonly used it would not be acceptable for a man to submit to his wife.  But we will explore that later.

Goal of CDD?

                I think a lot of why one could do CDD has to do with the goal and intent of CDD.  First, I don’t like the term CDD itself because it invokes preconceived notions that people have used to justify a host of behavior that much of is not Christian.  But for the sake of simplicity I will continue to use the term as we have defined.  However, if somebody has a better term I am all ears.

                For it to be “Christian” is should orientate itself toward Christ.  As Christians we were given a commission in Matthew 28 to spread the message of Christ.  This is the primary mission of any Christian and the church universal.  James goes on to explain that our faith and works need to be compatible for this mission to be successful for us and to allow Christ to work through us to be ministers to others.  This is both positive (good) works and negative (bad) works.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit we should grow in the good and decrease in the bad in an outwardly noticeable way to others.  Unfortunate, for most today the fights of the protestant reformation have completely warped our understanding of this.  Many protestants ascribe to the “Faith Alone” (sola fide) doctrine that only faith is required for salvation.  This was not the interpretation for 1500 years and is still not the doctrine of most Christians.  When reading James 2:24 for example “faith and works” are required.  Many will create a false dichotomy and say, “do you believe you are saved by faith or works” and the new testament clearly says “both”.  (A digression I recently read an article on a major protestant minister lamenting how so many of his denomination don’t connect their day to day lives to their faith but sticks to only faith needed.  To me is argument is self-proving as to why).  Additionally, there are so many Protestant positions on this subject being able to use it for further argument would be pointless and confusing.  If you are a Christian that has a variation of the faith alone belief, then I am not sure an argument for or against CDD matters.  You are told to not “sin” but given only distinct lines.  However, the more prominent historical idea is “economy of salvation” where you grow and change in salvation daily through the power of the holy spirit.

                For those willing to look at this historical understanding still held by most today it becomes more nuanced.  First, the early Church had a debate on the body versus the soul.  It related first to if “Christ was God or Man” which is critical to the message he left his disciples with.  The Church decided the authoritative interpretation would be “Jesus was fully God and fully Man”.  I will spare you the Greek involved but his divinity and body were fully in union yet distinct.  This was then expanded to each Christian by saying that if a believer has Christ in him his body and soul must be fully united yet distinct (I grossly paraphrased this argument of which books have been written on).  This understanding was contrary to the pagan belief that the body was “dirty” or “the source of sin” and made it something to be taken care of and have respect.  The body is as much of being a Christian as the soul.  This was further expounded on when monks began the practice of “the discipline” and other deprivations of the body in order to tame the body.

                Since both the body and soul make the person and the person strives to be like Chirst (John Paul II on this subject of “Theology of the Body” is excellent), both the body and soul must be subject to the whole person.  When the person is a prisoner or subject to the desires of their body they are a slave and become hedonistic.  Throughout the course of Christianity methods to control the body have been used.  The first and fore most is fasting.  This method is one that is supported by just about any Christian but rarely practiced.  But research now even shows that reasonable physical fasting does positively affect both the physical and psychological being of a person.  Science has yet to figure out how to measure the spiritual accurately.  Other methods of alms giving, prayer, etc. are also common in most branches of Christianity.

                Not long after Christ, bodily discipline was starting to be used.  Paul would discipline or “pummel” his body in 1 Cor 9:27 so as not to lose his “reward” is a biblical example.  This continued as wide spread within Christianity till recently as broader sociological changes (influenced by Freud) made it more socially unacceptable.  Part of this is due to our bodies, health, and long life becoming out God’s and not the mission the we were put here for.  However, we don’t question ultra-marathon runners, body builders, or athletes in the choices they make and are extoled for their self-discipline, sacrifice and endurance of pain.  How is that different?

                Following Paul there was debate on the more extreme use of self-depravation and discipline.  You are not any good to the mission of Christ if you starve to death or beat yourself to where you are bed ridden.  Moderation was called for depending on one’s station and obligations.

                Let us stop and make a distinction.  Doing this for spiritual growth or to tame the body so you can focus more on the mission of Christ is NOT THE SAME THING as seeing a pornographic video and wanting to act it out with your wife.  IT IS NOT for your sexual pleasure at another’s expense!  I am speaking of helping one another for the sake of Christianity not your own hedonistic selfishness.

                So, let us take this up a level.  Like the body and soul, the husband and wife come into union with each other and become one.  Therefore, the Christians, especially the Catholic Church, take a high view of marriage.  It is more than two people deciding to live together and legally share resources.  It is a holy union reflective of the union of Christ to man through the Church.  It is no small matter.

                Now applying this to spouses.  Can a one spouse discipline another?  I believe so.  If we can “self-discipline” then at the request of the submitting party, then a spouse helping is likely entirely appropriate.  But let me caveat with this.  It needs to be things for which you need to change to make the kingdom of God stronger and assist the submitting party to heaven.  If a wife forgets to sweep the floor that does not seem to fit the bill, but if the husband is looking at pornography and desires to quit, that would.  But it should also not interfere with the mission also.  If it brings phycological distress or physical harm to the point you cannot fulfill your obligations it does not fit.  If it is being used to help with disorders, then maybe with professional advice.  It all depends on the husband and wife, the situation, strength of the marriage, and other factors involved.

                Some words of advice.  If you are the submitter talk, talk, and talk some more with your spouse and an outside spiritual advisor or at least this forum.  If you desire to punish or correct your spouse, then just stop and back up.  This is not about power or them being who you want them to be but about the one in the role of submission improving their lives for God, NOT YOU.  But please stop using random biblical references to justify the subjection (not submission) of women.

Anyway, this is long enough with enough partial thoughts.  I am open to thoughts and complaints.  I have thick skin.

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Thank you for this. It’s clear that you’re very knowledgeable about Christianity, particularly Catholicism, and I love how organized and reasoned your argument is. I’m not able to debate the topic in a meaningful way because I don’t accept the axioms, and debate is pointless without common ground. My interest stemmed just from curiosity, but it’s genuine. I’m not religious, but I still like learning about religion, and I learned a lot from your post.

I wonder whether your definition of CDD is the common one in the CDD community. I’ve talked to people in CDD marriages who seem to define it as just domestic discipline inside of a marriage between two Christians. While they might believe the Bible supports DD or at least doesn’t prohibit it, I don’t think that all or even most of them use Christianity as the primary reason for DD. I’d be surprised if even 2% of them practice DD primarily because of their Christianity. I think they start out wanting or needing DD for the same reasons as the rest of us and then find a way to make it symbiotic with their faith. Regardless, I like your definition of it because it made me consider CDD in a whole new way. Although I still very much doubt that anybody comes to CDD by starting at their faith and then using Christian teachings to work forward to a desire for or belief in DD, I believe now that it’s at least theoretically possible.

Thanks to your post, I fell down the rabbit hole of researching the doctrine of mortification of the flesh. Although I was raised Baptist, the concept wasn’t totally foreign to me because one of my parents later converted to Orthodoxy, but I still didn’t know much about it other than what I thought I knew based on media misrepresentations of it. To my surprise, there was something moving and resonating about it when the sensationalism was stripped from it like in this article written by a Catholic man: http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/catholic/2007/03/cold-shower-penance.aspx. The benefits of penance, of offering up sacrifice or suffering…well, those are definitely not foreign to me. Although I doubt a Catholic would agree with me, I feel like I might have found some common ground, after all, in the end.

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I have several thoughts on your comment.  But only 2 I will respond to for now.

1.  What specifically are the axioms you don't accept? While I defined terms I did not define assumptions and curious as to what you are referring to.

2.  For the discussion on the definition of CDD I defined it the way I did because otherwise it is not CDD.  I agree most couples are practing DD and just happend to be Christian.  But to apply the adjective "christian" to DD it has to be part of it.  I do see a gap in the venacular here...and why I spent time defining CDD up front.  

For the people who use CCD I see three groups:

1.  Those who use CDD to assert the man as HOH in all or most areas using a biblical justification.  I object to this becuase of the premise it has to be a man...and is not explicitly biblical.

2.  Those I described above and I do recognize it is not most. But I was asked for a justification and not what most people do.

3. Those as you describe who add the label to what strictly would be defined as DD...they just happend to be Christian.  I would just call this DD.  If they were not Christian they would like practice anyway.  Which I don't see an issue with.  Within marriage and consenual, safe, and sane...not my business.  Just don't call it CDD, it is just DD.  Part of this may come from guilt of "it is a sin" so they look for justification.  I would argue that it is not sin, it is just being open to your spouse argued your particular dynamic.  So no biblical justification is needed.

I don't have time now but I spent most of my life baptist...but made my rounds.  I found myself pulled to the catholic theology because of its completeness and consistant nature.  Somthing not always found in baptist circles.

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I only meant the usual axioms that are implied if not explicit in any religious argument, like that there is a deity and that he does reveal truths to us. If I don’t believe those things, it would be disingenuous for me to debate an issue like this. Only somebody who shared that common ground with you (i.e. other Christians) could meaningfully counter or support your argument. I knew this when I asked you to post on this topic, but I also figured I’d gain knowledge and understanding of others, and I did ?

I will say that I like your third point above that no justification is needed for married Christian couples who want DD. I also see your point about it only being CDD if Christianity is the reason for it, which I believe would disqualify the vast majority of supposed CDD relationships from using the label; however, some would argue that it’s just semantics and that “Christian” is used to modify all sorts of terms today without such a strict standard. But should it be used so loosely? Probably not. And it might have been that sort of inconsistency and many like it that helped nudge you away from other denominations and to the Catholic Church. I can understand that. Consistency is important to me, too, and I admire it in others even when I don't share their beliefs.

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Our Church of Christ  minister speaks occasionally of the need for corporal punishment in the home  little does he (or anyone) know it empowers my wife ( a very good wife)  to paddle my naked ass for drinking ( not drunk but a little too much)   its automatic--i come home with a 'little glow' and I strip off and quick shower and bend over and get paddled bare and it hurts on my bare butt alot-----i will say it   settles things quick as once over   things are fine between us----- so for any minister reading this   YES YOUR SERMONS HAVE POWER    MY BARE BUTT KNOWS ALL TOO WELL

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@no^angel  well yes I had to define and assume basic Christian beliefs, and define it a certain way (the apostles creed is about as simple as you get in this case).

I would counter that you could make academic arguement and debate without holding a specific position yourself.  One of the most interesting ways to study an arguement is to study and take a position you either disagree with or use assumptions that may challenge you.  During much of the 12th to the 16th century this was alot of philosophy and done by some of the world's greatest thinkers.

On use of the word christian for everything does really bother me...as one and as somebody who like to define things.  For the record...we don't consider what we do CDD.  Although elements of my arguement above apply, not all of it is orientated to Christ...sometimes a spanking is just a spanking.

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I don't think CDD is scriptural personally. I would have a problem as my wife does the spanking. In scripture the man is the head of the wife so I would be in a mess if I believed in CDD.

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Everyone is free to believe what they want. I suppose I lean to the protestant belief that we are justified by faith not by works. Nevertheless we can show our faith by our works as it says in James letter. I came out of a Catholic background but found faith outside of it not within it. If the husband is head of the wife and Christ the head of the husband I find it difficult to accept a wife led marriage. Spanking is just one of the ways she serves me not that she rules over me.

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@Tony Conrad So the article did not cover nor was intended to cover some of the aspects you bring up.  The discuss stemmed from several forum discussions on using Christianity to justify various DD aspects.  The article was meant to point out that if you call it Christian this is the only argument I can find....otherwise it is DD you are trying to back into Christianity in some way.  Which I am not sure is needed.  I don't think a husband and wife spanking each other consensually is inherently sinful.  But we have a lot of neo-puritans out there who take some confusion or "guilt" and try to remake their faith to fit the lifestyle they want and brand it "Christian" (essentially remaking God, because a fundamental premise if you believe in God is all things flow from him and are absolute.  So you try to change God to fit what you want.).  This was just an attempt to survey the different Christian doctrines and build up from them and not back into them.   However, why not just make spanking a spanking.  Between spouses why do we have to call it Christian is the bigger point.  Do you have "Christian Dinner", "Christian Walks", "Christian Hand Holding"?  Now an argument could be made to incorporate it into everything and my post would be relevant...but I am not sure you need to within the context of your marriage....sometimes a spanking is just a spanking.

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@Tony Conrad On a separate note if you would like to PM me to discuss the Protestant/Catholic/Faith/Works discussion I would be open to it but not in a public forum.  But one statement you made I would like to challenge you on.  You said "we can show our faith by our works".  If you read the passage and the whole book of James it is not "can" he says but you will show your faith by your works otherwise the faith is dead or in some translations missing.  James is not faith with optional works it is faith and works must accompany each other.  That is why I hate the debate are you saved by faith or by works....the proper  response is "I am saved by grace which is made evident by my faith and works" because they accompany each other.

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One has to balance this with the scriptures that say we are not saved by works lest anyone should boast. To add our own works to faith is not what it is saying in my view. James is saying I will show you my faith by my works.  Real faith will always has works otherwise it is dead faith as you say.

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What this interesting exchange of ideas-beliefs shows us is that there is a huge diversity between those of us who would call ourselves Christians.. I am glad to see this thread , as its been done in a respectful way.

When asked my religious beliefs, I tend to respond with "I am a follower of Jesus Christ" Those who love to put us in 'boxes' would see me as an evangelical..I lived in Colorado Springs for many years where many evangelical Christian organizations have their HQ's. However sadly as some of the leaders of those organizations tended to mouth out on subjects that were outside their mission, I found that for many local people I was in touch with the E word left a bad taste in their mouth.

As I traveled on business, I loved to make friends with other Christians, many of them outside my own circles... Worshiping in an amazing  Roman Catholic church in Phoenix, eating with a wonderful RC friend where we could talk not about the differences we might have but focusing on ALL we shared...

We will be united in heaven so why not do all we can to start here to listen and seek to understand others outside our own way of thinking! 

Ok..let me stop.. I will come back to Dd, leadership in homes and discipline.. but wanted to get this first off my chest! 

In Christian love


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You are probably similar to me Davyd just being a follower of Christ. The scriptures themselves I find are the greatest help to this. I came out of Catholic background even residing in two convents. Unfortunately there was no  bible word and no gospel just rosaries, statues, Mary etc. etc. and the usual sacrements so I remain a bit wary I'm afraid.

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As the submitting party who is also the man, this post seems to offer an extensive view for me. My headship role is not given up in discipline, it’s accentuated. 

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I will admit that this thread is an interesting one for me. Not that I switch. I looked into it when I started to understand how profitable mentally spanking is for so many.  But it does nothing for me. 

I tend to believe that in a Dd relationship the male is equipped mentally to be the leader. M and F are equal beings. We just have different gifts--interests. Just watching kids play-boys shooting away with make believe guns--girls loving their dolls both in our equality just have different interests. 

Traditions vary around the world. I chat on a regular basis with someone whose life is totally different living in a different culture from ours in the USA. He shares that men start to help boys as they grew up to become leaders with weekly group spanking discipline. Its never sexual, just their way of teaching younger guys. The more kids the married men have they go up in rank and take on more younger guys to help by weekly spanking. 

However once married the husband will get spanked by his wife on a weekly basis. Most times before sex but the wife has the liberty to spank as hard as she feels he needs due to any bad behavior. They see it as normal in their tribe. The wives and girls and are never spanked. 

To each his own:) 


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This thread is so old that I don't know where I came in. It is a bit strange what you say about another culture Davyd. I think that leadership is male but not a dominating thing. It is up to the wife to see this and submit to it. One would never force it. Generally on forums the wife is seen as the submissive being punished. I don't think that is true on a large scale in real life. I would never punish my wife in that way. If she wanted to be spanked I would do it but she gets nothing from it as it happens. I get an awful lot out of it but it doesn't make me a submissive. I suppose there are many variations on the theme but I am persuaded that real punishment is unhealthy as a husband or wife does not have that right. Even if someone wants to be punished I still think it is not healthy as there could be self hatred or all sorts of things mixed up with it.

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Hmm very interesting I was raised as a Christian and went to Sunday school and participated in bible studies and it was all very enlightening and to my young self a way of thinking of my own actions and giving love and respect to others..I have always had a kind giving nature..Of course sometimes this can be viewed as a weakness by people whose outlook is different.

My faith took a huge downturn when my mother died of heart failure in her early forties..I was only eleven years old and it was a crushing blow to myself and my family particularly for my father as their relationship had only spanned sixteen short years.

Our church did show sympathy and I think at the time it helped my father grieve with the support they extended however my young mind couldn't fathom that a good kindly family orientated person like my mother could just die so suddenly...perhaps I was looking for a reason why this could happen and when I spoke to our priest about losing my mother he could only say "it was her time to meet god".....as an eleven year old you can imagine how this felt....I felt like my insides had been scooped out.

Needless to say I lost faith after her death..not to say I became hard and bitter but watching my father who still kept his faith we still attened church for his benefit but the belief system for me was over even though I tried desperately to hold on to some kind of faith.....

With CDD which I'm not familiar with so need some assistance understanding does one partner take the dominant role? Or is it an equal footing ...is it simply a way of atoning for some perceived sin or mistake or is it still a sexual fetish? and how does it relate to scripture I thought it was God's right to punish the wicked?

Forgive my ignorance in this its a long time since I read the bible!😊


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This is not the place to deal with faith problems so I am not commenting.

CDD is mainly where the husband punishes the wife by spanking when she is out of line. I don't believe in that personally and don't find it scriptural.  Spanking for me is sex whether it is the husband or the wife doing it.

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I will comment in a couple differant ways.

1. I am of the opinion anytime you are figuringing anything out it is ok and sometimes required to talk your religious or philosophical beliefs.  All three major religions in the world espouse the belief that religion should permeate every area of your life.  The humanist movements perspective of religion has a place and the rest of life (human) another place is not consitant with any religious belief I am aware of. 

2. To figure out if CDD is permitted in Christianity you have to define it.  Much CDD you find is the male partner dominating over the female partner using the verse "wives submit to your husband".  As in the blog I will only deal with married couples.

If the wife is being forced or coerced by this verse then it is not Christian.  Submission comes voluntarily from the submitter not forced.  I suspect for many this is an excuse for the male partner to oppress his spouse.

However, if the submitter voluntarily and without pressure submits for the purpose of growing in holiness that I believe it could be Christian, but you would have to take a more Catholic or Eastern view of salvation and not protestant (PM me of you require a deeper explanation of this statement).

The general idea is "yes God saves your eternal soul but you are still responsible for your temporal mess and you should work on it with His help".  If using DD helps you to grow and clean up your mess while growing in holiness then yes it would be permitted.  Just like fasting or other forms of mortification (mortification of the flesh is a lost art that all three major religions allow - western culture has dropped it slowly since the renaissance since we are now "enlightened" - a point I take issue with).

If CDD is defined this way then a scriptural and traditional arguement can be made (for both spouses for those that have F/M DD).  If CDD is the man oppressing thier wife then no and IMO a very serious issue.

3.  Reading the story about your mom and how it had an effect on you I am at a loss for words. I can only say that thier is a place for you to come home to.  The explanation provided by the priest irked me some as it is not quit correct and in an attempt to comfort you made it worse.  CS Lewis in his dialog regarding life and death discussed how we all will die but that was not God's plan.  Christiany does not see death as an end but the next step.  God did not take your mother but did accept her with open arms at that time (it sounds like she was a believer).  Death took your mother and will some day take all of us. Is it unfair? Yes, all life is precious regardless of circumstances surrounding death! However, God has done (Jesus) and is trying to be with us as history plays out so we have hope.

Anyway I will stop now.  Feel free to PM me if you want to go more in depth or want somebody to talk to.

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Thank-you so much for posting this. I have struggled a little with using Christianity as a reason for this lifestyle when the Bible doe not speak of domestic discipline in any form. The way you have explained submission over coercion and control is intriguing. It makes sense that the submission of and giving up pride of a wife is an act of trust, willingness to obey in love and in honouring her husband, God and also herself. The self discipline on a physical level I do struggle with, though I know many cultures in the Eastern world do practice it for anger, grief and self 'discipline'; however, this is not somethat that I as a 'Western' girl feel comfortable with and will need to do a little more meditating on.

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Thank you for the kind words.  Feel free to PM me if you have questions or want to dog deeper,  ever situation has nuance.  Be careful and find balance.  But most of all stay true to your faith.

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