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  1. Leon Beachy says:

    Hi Valerie,

    I enjoy your site and can well relate to it. I was raised in an Amish-Mennonite family, left while I was young but ended in quite a few addictions. I spent a year in Teen Challenge, later beoming a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators. all the while not quite believing all the religious “believe ten impossible things before breakfast” things but didn’t know I had an option. Later my alcoholism came back full-blown and nothing Christianity had to offer could do anything about it. In desperation I joined AA and have now been sober for five years. I have also left all religious affiliations and am beginning to discover who I really am rather than who others think I should be.

    Not until I saw your and Marlene Winell’s site did I realise how strong a hold my fundamentalist background still had on me. I don’t believe the things anymore but have been able to identify with what you are saying.

    A completely different question I have is, what theme do you use for your site and how do you design it? I have just started a blog and wish to make mine look much like yours. Your advice would be appreciated.

    My blog is at – anewpairofglasses.wordpress.com

    I look for your reply.

    Kind regards,

    Leon Beachy

    Like

    • Hi Leon –
      Thank you for sharing your experience. There are many many of us on similar journeys. The theme for this site appears to be “Twenty Ten.” I use the “gallery” setting for each blogpost and insert a picture at the beginning of each one so that people can easily scan through the blog to see what’s available. On my other pages the content is static except when i need to update it. I hope that helps.
      Warmly,
      Valerie

      Like

  2. Allen Espy says:

    Valerie, watched most of your YouTube videos. I went to the Wheaton equivalent of the Deep South, Samford University. I did mission stints in Canada and Central Asia, living what I had been taught and what I believed was the source of my happiness. Ultimately, and ironically, traveling opened my eyes. After working a few years a bank in Alabama, I gave it up for a 6 month backpacking trip around Asia, where I ultimately met my wife ( a Buddhist) and taught ESL in Bangkok. I have been free from the shackles of fundamentalism for over ten years, and it took a gradual process, which is probably for folks lucky to escape. Certainly being in a completely new environment and being curious and seeking the truth was what gave me my freedom!!!!!! Btw, when did you finish Wheaton? I have some friends who went there. Thanks for your videos and your work. Allen

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  3. slowvehicle says:

    Dr. Tarico:

    Are the transcripts to the video series, “Christianity Through the Lens of Cognitive Science” available anywhere? I find it much easier to read than to watch videos…

    Thanks!

    Like

  4. Heidi Morales says:

    Hi Valery,
    I too am recovering from RTS as an evangelical pastor’s daughter. My other 2 siblings have also recovered and we are now happy and healthy adults with no interest in any religion. Thank you for putting a name to all the night tremors, the strange dreams, the constant fear of doing something wrong; thank you even more for helping people get over it. I have a request to have your site and book translated into Spanish. I am from Puerto Rico, where a growing number of extreme evangelicals are threatening traditional family values that are based on compassion, love and interdependence in the name of material prosperity facilitated by God. The number of evangelical churches per inhabitant in the island is staggering, and troubling for someone who came from that environment. It would be great if you could use your skills to help people in Puerto Rico by translating your book and perhaps later by announcing your studies in Spanish sites. Id love to see that happen.
    Heidi

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  5. Gerald Steen says:

    Hi Valerie,
    New second edition Ebook of Musings of a Modern Augustine just out on amazon, Smash, B&n, and Kobo. Here is a potent poem in the first chapter. In spite of the fact I am a former fundamentalist Christian and ex-pastor, my minister son and all his family think I am headed for Hell.
    This is my response to him.
    I have used the pen name of August Stine to protect my son.

    *My Son Thinks I Am Going To Hell
    (Different Family Beliefs)

    Dear Son,
    Your faith is important to you.
    My beliefs are important to me.
    We pray to the same God every day
    For me, He is the Caring Creator
    Who cares about my well-being
    To you, He is the fearful God
    Who demands obedience.

    I believe Jesus was a spiritual man but not God.
    I believe Jesus said some great words of wisdom
    And I am sorry he had to die on the cross.
    You believe Jesus died for the sins of man
    And his salvation is a gift from God.
    I do not believe this, but let’s suppose I did.
    Didn’t you say salvation was a gift?
    If it is a gift, why do I need to do anything?
    You say I am going to hell unless . . .
    You even give me the words I should say —
    “Jesus, forgive my sins.”

    Do people go to hell for not saying these words?
    What if I wait until just before dying and then ask?
    What if I meant to ask Him for years but didn’t?
    You say, “Too late — you missed your chance!”
    This is God we are talking about isn’t it?
    Is God limited by time or death?
    On the other hand, if salvation is a “gift,”
    Do I really need to ask Him for forgiveness?
    The Bible says God freely gives this gift.
    Where did all these attached strings come from?
    Why conditions on God’s unconditional love?
    New converts are told their Christian duties.
    Tithing is one — not too bad — it is do-able
    Unless you are unemployed or on minimum wage.
    But the heaviest of all these burdens is . . .
    People go to hell unless we show them Jesus.
    So their salvation is in our hands . . .

    I thought salvation was a gift.
    Why is this huge ugly rope attached to this gift?
    Am I responsible for my neighbor’s salvation?
    Why am I involved with another man’s salvation?
    Why does God need me?
    Suppose I want to play golf on a nice day,
    But my neighbor dies and goes to hell . . .
    And it is my fault . . .
    Because I did not tell him about Jesus.
    Please don’t tell me
    God is so awful and demanding.
    Why am I involved in someone’s eternal choice?

    I thought God loved me and my neighbor.
    Because of His heavy guilt trip,
    I can’t even play golf without God on my back
    I cannot believe God dearly loves me . . .
    But loads me down with guilt trips
    About darn near everything I do.
    If I truly am a child of God,
    Why do I have to be afraid of Him?
    Why can’t I enjoy God
    And let Him fix the world?
    Scripture says God is with us always . . .
    If so, “Come on God, let’s go play some golf.”

    *****
    What is a “free” gift?
    Aren’t all gifts free?

    *****
    I enjoyed your book copy you sent me a few years back and your encouraging me to continue writing when we exchanged books. My name is Gerald Steen (pen name August Stine) I would be glad to send you a free copy. I think I sstill have your address. Hope things are going well.
    Sincerely, Jerry

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  6. tracey says:

    As I was reading through your site today I noticed all the articles are in relation to Christianity. Nothing in regards to Islam, Judaism, Scientology. etc. Is Christianity really the only religion that undermined what you were trying to accomplish as a mental health provider, or are the others as guilty as well?

    Like

    • Hi Tracey –
      I very occasionally do include those other religions in an article in one way or another, but mostly I write about what I know best, which is Christianity, and write checks to support people who are challenging the religions they know best–like Maryam Namazie at onelawforall.org.uk who is fighting against sharia in Britain.

      Like

  7. Pro-family Christian says:

    I am a 20-something Ultra-Pro-Family Bible believer in a sea of morally depraved liberals and radicals. I and those like me are the remnant, we will NOT “move with the times” nor will we accept your filthy godless so-called morality. Liberal Elitists are a cancer on the world who are bringing in the End Times, I include my own mom and dad and most of their associates sadly in that category. I have overcome the “modern liberal” ideology you push and reached the Promised Land of old-time salvation through the Blood of Jesus Christ, Our sinless sacrificial Lamb, fully man and fully God. Stop profaning Christ’s name with your preaching of foolish worldly wisdom and tickling the ear of the carnal man, and get back to the Holy Truth out of Satan’s trap of relativism.

    Also I will be sending my child to private Christian academy where they will avoid people like you corrupting them. If you far-left “child protection professionals” keep your demonic affective education and deluded “sides-of-history” worldview to yourselves it would be better for everyone.

    Like

      • Ed McGaa says:

        Pro Family Xtian- You are so warped that I doubt if any words from me will penetrate your attitude. But as an American Indian whose ancestor’s track record of extremely High Morals and Ethics I have no problem challenging your attitude. Your people have not a clue compared to us when it comes down to basic Honesty (Truth Respecting). 378 Treaties you broke with Indian Tribes and all captioned with “In God We Trust!”. McMurtry, Crazy Horse, 2006, pg 77. Doesn’t say much for you does it. Yet you have to agree – God is All Truth! All Knowledge as well. You people need to substitute Proselytizing for the word – Introspection. Also: Where do you find this Devil. Satan. Lucifer imagined thing? Thank Creator I am a Sioux. We do not have such a horrid fantasy. Our Creator will no doubt chastise wrathfully such for falsely attempting to associate/allow such upon us. The benevolence of Creator’s nature is quite contrary to such negative, cruel conception. Our Nature based Spirituality (Made, governed by Ultimate Creator) has no such Superstitions. We observe and learn from God’s nature. You do not. Do you know what Climate Change is? I doubt it. Nothing from prophecy in your Bible warns us. Your Jesus is moot about it. Overpopulation, the cause is never discussed from your pulpits while the planet plunges on exponentially to its doom. Your child will ask you in the Spirit World, some day; why you neglected to become aware.

        Like

    • Wouldn’t it be more biblically accurate to say that the “liberal elite” are bringing in the ‘end time’ by God’s direction? I thought God was the one who is in control of the ‘End Time’ and of All time?

      As to the Bible’s morals and tickling of the ear, I wonder since God is indeed in control of everything, He must have “tickled the ear” (as you put it) of a man named Jephthah in JUDGES 11:29-40, and apparently TOLD him to make a vow (and as you know you cannot go back once you make a vow unto the Lord, especially one said to be made by the holy Spirit see Deut. 23:23). So IF the bible is really the word of God without possible error, then it means God through the Spirit told this man to sacrifice his only daughter up to Himself in a bloody sacrifice in the manner of a burnt sacrifice (which means he cut her up into a few pieces and then set her ablaze). And this was done to show his gratitude for making him victorious in battle. Talk about your liberal morals…whew. Or is this God just a monster? Or maybe someone messed with the ancient texts–like it was just the words of a power hungry control group who liked to mess with ‘holy” texts because they know if most people are lead to believe it is “God’s will” they will do the most un-godly things in the name of God while feeling a kind of justified smug indifference to the suffering that they cause others. I would think EMPATHY would be a main feature of the Holy Spirit and would cause us to see TRUTH of what is happening to our human race.We are being ‘divided and conquered’ using religion as it has been for so long. Find love and when you do you will find what you are calling “God”. I mean you no judgment. Just thoughts to consider. Thanks. :) PS- And please, I am familiar with all the Bible Commentaries which try to ‘explain away’ or ‘re-interpret what plain reading of texts such as the one mentioned, says. I have seen this done many times, in many churches and cults, and even in bible college. So don’t try to explain how ‘it doesn’t mean what it says…” or something.

      And perhaps that IS the point. IF we harbor hostility towards someone we don’t know (such as your anger at the author of this blog–or anyone), SIMPLY because she is examining the “fruit” of the religion known as fundamentalist Christianity. It’s got some bad baskets of fruit and she was just trying to help others find their psychological sanity amid the emotional abuse that many of us went through at the hands of unloving, judgmental, hypocritical “bible-believers”, teachers, pastors and so on. I didn’t see how abusive it all was until I began to heal my mind from PTS-type emotional effects.

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  8. Your words are so true. I am half irish and half german my parents immigration to usa. I was raised strictly irish Catholic and just couldn’t believe in a God .Now I consider myself an agnostic but lean towards atheists. I was pleased to read your words as I don’t feel alone. Iam 47 now and still struggling. Everyone is a God fantic and I am having health problems who do I turn to?Please write me back as I think you can help me . Jacqueline

    Like

    • Hi Missy –
      If you read the most recent article at my site, you will find links to some people who are creating services for former Christians and also forming communities for former Christians to find each other. You might check “Meet Up” in your area and look for meet ups for former Christians or other nonbelievers.

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  9. Teresa Dexter says:

    Hi
    I live near Manchester in UK.
    I feel so alone after having serious doubts about my Christian faith triggered by the atrocities of 9/11 and then the Tsunamis.
    Since then I have been lonely,isolated and avoiding my christian friends and constantly depressed. Are there any groups in the North West of England or perhaps a person who can support and help me thru this nightmare?
    Thank you.

    Like

    • Hi Terri –
      I would try this email address manchester@sundayassembly.com. If that doesn’t work try the London Sunday Assembly and see if they can refer you to anyone. You also might find an online community at http://www.exChristian.net.
      Warmly,
      Valerie

      Like

      • jan says:

        I’d like to be kept in this loop. I was brought up in evangelical church, we sang trust and obey. Parts of it I liked, parts I did not e.g. the authoritarianism. I’m recovering, trying to figure out what I believe and just trying to do good for the community. I felt very depressed there constantly singing 18th century hymns. I don’t know, but I think churches (especially the independent ones) should have a mixture of hymns and they ought to be visited by a higher person in authority to make sure they aren’t forming a cult or being overly oppressive/authoritarian.
        If I go to church it will because I actually want to. I understand that there are healthy churches. But I’m not totally convinced that this is something I want to be part of, after all, women are treated as inferior, or we’re someone who causes others to “stumble” because we lure men into temptation, in most evangelical churches. Possibly all churches.
        Looking at my secular counterparts I can see that some women indeed try to tempt men, but not all of them do, not all of them are whores (are we allowed to use that word?) either.
        There are lots of other communities to be part of, some people are heavily into sport, ballet for example (a few christians do this too).

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  10. heidi says:

    Hi Teresa Try the First Church of Atheism, its not as sinister as it sounds. They are non religious and apparently simply gather, talk and sing songs. People say they love it because they can connect with others in the community, you don’t have to be an atheist. I hope you feel better soon. Be well. http://firstchurchofatheism.com/ http://sundayassembly.com/forums/topic/sunday-assembly-manchester/

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  11. Lisa Potter says:

    Valerie,
    I really enjoy your POV on the bible and Christianity.

    I consider myself a progressive secular humanist with a love for halloween. As such, I was wondering if you have particular stories from the bible and other religious texts that I could use for a community haunt next year. I think it only reasonable to point towards the autrosites of organized religion(s); especially considering current events. The proceeds will go to a local foster care organization.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

    Like

    • Hi Lisa –
      Good question. I would look at evilbible.com to see if there is anything you want to use. Another source to consider might be the inquisition as there are horrific woodcuts and such illustrating the tortures perfected by the church. Evangelicals like to scare kids with “hell houses” that supposedly display the tortures of hell, but as we all know the Church has done quite a job of creating hell on earth for many people.

      Like

  12. Bobby Thym says:

    Valerie

    I saw your article on biblical quotations conservatives don’t want to acknowledge, and I loved it. I am a Christian who lives in maybe the most conservative county in the United States, and I teach a World Literature at a community college. I try to “tread lightly” on the topic of religion, and I remind my students of the injunctions of both Jesus and Paul that tell us not to judge. I do tell the kids that I can relate to Joseph Campbell when he said that we are like computers in that we can use different software. Some people like one particular code, and others, like himself, and me, like to use a variety of software.
    Looking at your blog, I wondered if you have read Jennifer Michael Hecht’s Doubt: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson? If you haven’t, I think you would love it. For that matter, you would also like Constantine’s Sword.
    I am glad I stumbled upon your blog. Keep writing!

    Sincerely,
    Bobby

    Like

  13. don wilkey says:

    Valerie: I believe the child evangelism issue is like the abortion clinic ruling by the Supreme Court. Free speech gets the trump. I would be interested in what turned you away from your beliefs at Wheaton? Best wishes.

    Like

  14. john andrade says:

    I have witnessed the CEF 5 day clubs in our area and have never witnessed the draconian spin that you have placed on the mission of CEF. The children are not “recruited”, but attend with the full knowledge and permission of the parents. They can participate at any level they want and are not brow-beaten in any way. Some don’t return, but many do and with enthusiasm.
    Some young people from our church, who have attended the clubs go on to become trained leaders and give freely of their time and spirit.
    In this secular world where there is little to no moral values being imparted, CEF is often, for many young people, the only exposure to a loving God. Yes, it is an evangelical endeavor, prompted by the Biblical Christian duty to go out into the world and teach, through love, the salvation of Christ’s sacrifice. So what? This is our belief and it is accomplished with total love and concern for every soul on God’s earth. Is it perfect? No. Nothing but God is perfect. But, it is seed planting. People don’t make others accept salvation. God does that Himself. We are merely the workers in His field.
    If you don’t like the work of CEF, then by all means keep your children away, but don’t tread on the Constitutionally guaranteed right of religious freedom. I won’t ever force you, either by law or at the point of a gun to force you to attend church or read a Bible. Sounds like a plan.
    I won’t even address the silly argument of psychological harm.

    Like

    • I understand that you perceive a divine mandate to save children from hell, and this trumps other moral priorities. But if you want to avoid doing harm, it’s not enough to be well intentioned. You also have to be right about the contingencies that govern our lives.

      Bible-based blood-sacrifice hell-threatening theology is sloppy and irresponsible thinking. It means you haven’t done your homework about the nature of antiquities scholarship, ancient cultures, process theology, or the neurological and psychological factors that shape human belief. (Google Andy Thompson, Why We Believe in Gods for starters, or Pascal Boyer’s book religion explained). You may think that the rest of us should defer to your moral priorities, even if they drive you to do harm, simply because they have a religious basis. The U.S. Constitution says no such thing and even if it did, some of us might still feel a moral obligation to obstruct biblically motivated maltreatment of children. If someone sincerely believed that monsters live in closets and come out at night if the door is open, and If someone was telling this to grade school children and threatening them with horrible tortures if they messed up, I wouldn’t think he was a bad person, but I sure would try to stop him. Please do your homework.

      Like

  15. John Smith says:

    It should be great if we could translate the article in Spanish as the ones in AARP.

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  16. tiljoy says:

    Hi Valerie, I just read your article on religion and have to say that I agree with much of what you discuss. However I think it’s disingenuous (and stereotypical) to use an image of Jesus for the subject matter you described. Being that the topic revolves around religious dogma, perhaps a picture of the Vatican or some *building* would be more appropriate instead of using a man who very likely shared many of your beliefs concerning religious institutionalism, regardless of whether or not you think he really existed. I’m referring to his archetypal persona that is not responsible for the corruption of organized religion. Understand my point?

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  17. Arhata says:

    Have you included the research findings in religion from D.H. Murdock? I think she’s the leading female researcher/writer on religions

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  18. Valerie, I have recently discovered your videos in my research for compiling a list of objections to the Christian faith. I am very impressed, they are unique in the field of anti-theism. If you want to see what I have amassed, it is in the website that is listed.

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  19. Arhata says:

    TruthBeknown.com
    there is no credible, objective evidence of a Jesus or any of the main biblical characters in the bible. Robert Price or D.M. Murdock are two examples of the top researchers of Religion’s myths

    Like

  20. shatara46 says:

    So divinely well put. As an also “Binder Dundat” ex-Christian with the scars to prove it… I salute you for your pointed remarks and the “meekness” and gentleness through which you expresssed them. Thanks for that lesson!

    Like

  21. KaZ says:

    Thrilled to have found your site! I am in a transition of “faith”…profoundly so. I believe in nautre, science, quantum physics, compassion, love and no need to try to explain away the miracle of things that occur in life through an anthropomorphic “God” or any god for that matter. My roots were as a child being brought up in the Church of Christ and the Methodist Church. Searching in my 20’s, 30’s etc, Religious Science and now it seems if I have to “label” it – Pantheism. My work as a meditation instructor has taken a decidedly interesting turn to not include any religious dogma. Just relaxation, peace and calm. Whew! I feel better

    Like

  22. mess1955 says:

    Hi Valerie

    Really enjoyed your article “The Risky Mix of Aging, Public Visibility and Social Media” at IEET site. I write there regularly too and live in Seattle, what a coincidence.

    John Messerly

    Like

  23. Steve Auerbach, MD, MPH says:

    Dear Ms. Tarico: I wanted to follow-up in greater detail to your recent essay on Dawkins as it appeared in Alternet. Note that I grant Dawkins making some legitimate contributions. Note I am a card carrying atheist. That said: As Bio geek an undergraduate evolutionary biology major in the late 1970s-early 1980, and like you with a geek introvert daughter (mine’s a HS senior; they sound a lot alike) who sided with what turned out to be the correct side in gradualism vs. punctuated equilibrium battles and mourns the premature death of Stephen J Gould, I think you underestimate how wrong for how long Dawkins has been. Dawkins and Dennett were giving aid and comfort so the truly racist sociobiology folks back then (including the recently sainted, former EO Wilson). As they lost the factual debate about the nature, mode and tempo of evolution they moved the goal posts and denied the level of gradualism they had previously been assuming and continued to lie about what “PuncEq” actually said (straw man arguments) and the overwhelming evidence for that structure of evolutionary theory and acutuality to be correct (see: http://www.amazon.com/Structure-Evolutionary-Theory-Stephen-Gould-ebook/dp/B00IVHCTOY; alas under-edited and no follow-up edition due to his passing) . As early sociobiology claims turned out to be false, the rebranded as Evolutionary Psychology. Not that Gould was 100% right (too long on wrong interpretation of some parts of Burgess Shale, too strong on Tabla Rosa), but on most stuff he was and that wing of the evolutionary biology was mostly correct (say 90% right ) and Dawkins and Dennett mostly wrong (say 30% wrong; genes as an occasional level of reproductive selection has validity; memes as a social construct with utility).

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  24. shehadeh k issa says:

    hi val i have been investigating god foe over fifty years i was born in jerusalem from assyrian parents they were orphans of the turkish jenoside i have learned about all religeons and cults yet i have not found god i have read most of your writings my interest is in the idea of one partner one life a famous scientist md phd inventer told me that a woman is like a beautiful flower pure until the pedels are picked then it looks sick one partner one life is the clean and healthy way to live a woman is not a bathroom to be used by many a used bathroom is not what a woman meant to be men lust and lies makes a woman surrender her soul please write about one partner one life and thank you

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  25. palumboliu says:

    As an educator and blogger (for Salon and other venues), I wanted to thank you for your Dawkins/aging and social media blog. It was tremendously useful and important for me to know. I will try to build in that awareness. And modesty.

    Like

  26. palumboliu says:

    As a scholar and blogger (for places like Salon), I thank you for your piece on Dawkins, aging, social media. A very useful caution to us all, especially older types. I’ll try to keep your advice always in mind.

    Like

  27. Stan Wolfe says:

    Hello, Ms. Tarico. Thanks for your very good Salon article about the 12 Worst Ideas Religion Has Unleashed on the World. You left out a big one: “Original Sin,” which may deserve an article of its own.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Mzrubyred says:

    Dear Valerie, I found your web site ‘Journey free. Org’ and would like to thank you. It has been a great help at times. I stepped out of the church but still held onto to my belief in god for awhile. Then I started seeing so much more clearly, it hasn’t been easy and still to this day I struggle at times. The learning to deal with emotions, decisions and thoughts are hard work. I have grown quite quickly but now see how much my life was wrapped in christainity even down to my job. I love learning and swallow up all I can, my mind is just about coping to use it’s frontal lobe for new things. You can de programme but you still have to face life and the challenges. At times I’m like a kid in a sweet shop! Other times I can be depressed. Finding my inner woman was the most difficult but I’m getting there. I am not only finding myself, I’m re-inventing myself. I just want to encourage you to carry on helping people, there will be so many out there, that you will never know how much of a lifeline you gave. I have a blog about my de-conversion you are welcome to read. It was part of my speaking out to help others.

    https://thegirlbetweentwoworlds.wordpress.com

    Thank you again for helping me to see I wasn’t going crazy! :)

    Like

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