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Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 10:24AM

In another post about EFY I wrote,

"I remember when I went, one of the Mormon families had a French foreign exchange student that they also made go. She was miserable, and I remember the adult councilors getting all bent out of shape over the "immodest" things that she had brought to wear. I think my mother was the only one that tried to even be understanding of what the girl was going through.

"It was the first time I realized how weird Mormons looked to outsiders, and why. I also remember the cute French girl putting her foot down, possibly after calling her parents, and going to Catholic Mass every Sunday after that with a neighbor, with the possible threat of a lawsuit if the family tried to make her do any more weird Mormon stuff."

Anyone else know of TBM families abusing systems, where kids are placed under their care, to try and convert the kids?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2012 10:24AM by forbiddencokedrinker.

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Posted by: buckhntr ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 10:28AM

years ago my ex and I offered to host an exchange student from Sweden. She lasted about a week before asking for another host family. My ex was all over her about attending church and her clothing. I know a lady that does foster care, she is very good about not forcing her views on the children. Like everything Mormon, there is great variation in crazy.

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Posted by: labdork ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 11:29AM

Yup...My TBM in-laws had an exchange student for awhile from Germany. THAT didn't last long.....

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Posted by: knotheadusc ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 11:41AM

I know a TBM woman online who tried hosting twice. The first guy was from Saudi Arabia and the second was from Turkey. The whole time they lived with her, she claimed that she bent over backwards to be respectful of their religious beliefs/halal diet. But it was pretty obvious that she thought it was ridiculous.

I kind of wonder if she would feel the same way if one of her kids served a mission in a country where drinking coffee, tea, or alcohol is a big deal and the locals thought her kids' aversion to drinking is considered ridiculous.

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Posted by: CA girl ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 11:55AM

My in-laws hosted exchange students now and again and tried to interest the kids in Mormonism. But they didn't really push them to do church things. They just thought if the experience with Mormons was fun enough, the person would want to know more about Mormonism. They never did though.

While my in-laws were pretty harmless, I've heard of others who really pushed Mormonism. In fact, the last exchange student my in-laws had came with strict instructions about not pushing religious beliefs or attempting to convert exchange students in general. They were told if the host families tried to convert, their student would be moved elsewhere. This was at a training meeting they attended, so it must be a problem within the program.

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Posted by: reasonabledoubt ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 12:29PM

When I was about 14 I had a female Sunday School teacher who's family (she was married with a couple of young kids) took in a foreign exchange student from Sweden (or some other Scandinavian country).

One Sunday she got a serous look on her face and told us that she had permission from her husband to tell us the following story:

One night she came home and felt something wrong in the home. She found her husband, who was crying and immediately confessed that he had had relations with the teenage foreign exchange student. He went to a Bishop's Court (or whatever the hell it's called, I don't really know), and he was disfellowshipped for awhile, not exed, because he was penitent.

I guess my Sunday School teacher thought this was good lesson material for a bunch of 14 year olds -- I personally could not believe that she'd share such a personal story with a bunch of kids.

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Posted by: Demon of Kolob ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 01:15PM

Why should he disciplined for doing what just what Joe Smith did.Old Joe always has sex with the orphaned (foster) girls he took in to his house.

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Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: March 14, 2012 01:20AM

I assume the girl was under 18? It should have not been a Circuit Court, and not a Court of Love that he answered to.

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Posted by: amos2 ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 12:41PM

...Who had been baptized in Japan while he was there as an exchange student.
His parents were unaware this had happened...I broke the news to them by showing up (his records somehow found their way to us in the US some while after he got home).
They were indignant, and justifiably so. We didn't argue this one. The bishop did a name removal I think. Even as TBMs we thought those missionaries and that host family were way out of line to convert a minor without the knowledge and consent of his parents, especially when they had him isolated in a foreign country.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 01:06PM

There's NO excuse for the shameful practice of taking in students on a false pretense of student learning and diversity when it's actually a missionary tactic.

I wrote to a German student I met on line who was having nightmares and flashbacks for months after being forced to go to church and be baptized by a Utah family. The guilt, confusions, and strain were terrible and caused terrible problems with the host family and his parents at home.

Whoever places these kids needs to do a better job and check with them throughout their stay to prevent this kind of religious abuse.

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Posted by: xombie ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 01:12PM

my late mother in law hosted exchange students. she had them go to church with them but the kids usually went to a christian or catholic private school. they just did it because they had to.

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Posted by: caedmon ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 01:41PM

We hosted a foreign exchange student several years ago and it was a great experience. The program rules specifically stated that no student was allowed to convert to another religion while in the program - even with parental permission.

Her family was anxious when they heard she was going to Utah, greatly relieved when they found out we are never-mo.

Our student heard stories from other students about their host families insisting that they participate in church activities.

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Posted by: Dallin A. Chokes ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 03:06PM

I met a girl on my mission who had been an exchange student in California and loved the Mormon youth culture (dances, activities, etc.). She returned to her small Western European town, looked up the church, and was crushed to find there were (maybe) 20 people who attended on a regular basis--two of those were the missionaries. I sat out in the foyer (companionless! For shame!) and talked to her about the church, trying to get her interested in coming, but it was all too much (or too little, I suppose) for her to commit to. I was crushed that I had a golden contact slip through my fingers.

Of course, any European exchange student is in for a rude awakening coming to the U.S., whether or not they stay with an LDS family--the limited access to cigarettes and alcohol has got to be a total shocker.

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Posted by: seutnevermo ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 03:47PM

I was an exchange student to Brazil in 1972. It was a dream come true for a seveteen year old from southern Utah. Wine, women and song (and tobacco too). Had a blast and came back a man. Well, that might be a matter of opinion.

My families did offer to try and find a church for me. No thanks!!!! I liked the bars better.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2012 03:49PM by seutnevermo.

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Posted by: peaceout2012 ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 04:25PM

My crazy, nazi style bishop is a result of a Utah exchange program. This family did a number on him. The guy acts and looks like Team Hitler. Never liked him, even when I was active. I didn't know if I should shake his hand or give him a good ole "Hile, Hitler!"

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Posted by: kentish ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 06:57PM

My wife and I hosted a foreign exchange student when we were heavily involved in Mormonism. While she did on occasion accompany us to church we took very seriously our responsibility for her well being while she was in our home...that included not wanting to send her home converted to a faith that was neither her own nor that of her parents. I believe that would have been a major betrayal of our responsibility.

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Posted by: King Benjamin ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 07:28PM

We were on our way out of the Church so we never had the child's name put in the records anywhere. I was the Membership Clerk at the time and I'm sure she had no Church Record the last time we attended Church.

But lo and behold, there's a record for her now! Crazy.

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Posted by: liberalbutteffer ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 08:25PM

My TBM cousins' home is like a hotel. There are constantly foreign exchange students coming in and out of the home and they always had the missionaries over to try to give them the discussions. The newest 3 students have caught on and now, they're rarely at the house and when they are, they go straight up to their rooms.

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Posted by: traveller ( )
Date: March 13, 2012 10:29PM

A colleague's nephew was removed from her sister (his mother's) care and she had him as her foster son for a few months, but was a single mom with three young girls herself, and couldn't make it work long term. Besides for the fact that he really needed a strong guy in his life (he was a tough boy that needed some authority figure).

So he was placed with a (non-related) dual parent family. Who happened to be Mormon, his aunt found out later.

They had the missionaries in within his first week. He was baptized immediately upon finishing the necessary lessons, basically because he was told he needed to if he wanted to be part of their family.

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Posted by: shannon ( )
Date: March 14, 2012 12:14AM

Foreign Exchange Students:

Uber-TBM, Mormon-Royalty, Utah in-laws hosted a German foreign exchange student the same age as their teen daughter a few years ago. The girls became the best of friends. German girl went to every single LDS church meeting and event with my SIL. After about a year, the exchange student decided to be baptized.

Shiz hit the fan.

When the girl's parents were notified in Germany, they went batsh!t crazy and said, "No! Absolutely not."

It was a big stink, with the host family and the ward leaders trying to push the baptism through. They even called me for suggestions, since I'm a convert and they wanted to discover the magic bullet that would break down the German family's resistance.

The girl was never baptized. But my SIL flew to Germany for a visit a year or so later. Complete and utter disaster. My Utah SIL was absolutely CLUELESS about respecting other cultures and their beliefs/rituals. She alienated the entire family, including her best friend. SIL flew home and the two girls have never spoken again.

Foster kids: I've had 35+ medically-needy foster children come through my home, mostly babies and toddlers. I always included them in all LDS related activities. In all honesty (even as an ex-mo looking back) I don't think it hurt them any at all. In fact, I think the activities enriched their lives - really.

I put on great Family Home Evenings, complete with songs, games and ice cream. My feeling was that these kids had never had such fun interactions with their families of origin so they were learning what it felt like to be in a stable, wholesome family. I only presented generic FHE's (ex: be kind to others etc.)

At church most of my kids went to nursery, which we all know is just one big giant free-for-all anyway. What kid doesn't like that kind of toy-saturated environment? So, no permanent psychological damage there, in my opinion.

I guess it all depends on the family hosting or caring for these "outsiders." The experiences for the kids really can go either way, depending on the adults running the show.


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Posted by: PtLoma ( )
Date: March 14, 2012 02:09AM

In the summer of 1973, I was selected to represent my school abroad as an exchange student with AFS (American Field Service AFS had chapters in thousands of US high schools. AFS brought foreign students to live with a US family for a year (all voluntary; families were not paid) and sent US students abroad for a summer or a year.

When I returned from my summer in Holland, I was a senior in high school. I was asked to serve on a Regional Interview Committee. The AFS process began at the high school chapter level. Each chapter or club could nominate two students as Semifinalists to apply to go abroad. Before those applications were sent to headquarters in NYC, the Semifinalists had to participate in Regional Interviews, the purpose of which was to weed out bad apples who might have been nominated due to nepotism (perhaps a Semifinalist was chosen because he or she had a parent on the committee, etc.). The idea behind Regional Interviews was that the applicant would be interviewed by a group of people who had never met the applicant, versus the school chapter environment where the applicant was likely well known to the committee of parents and teachers who chose the final two.

When I went through my Regional Interview myself, I was sent to an interview committee in the other end of the metro area, to ensure that I didn't know any of them (I didn't). Likewise, when I was asked to serve on an interview committee which met in my region of the area, we interviewed Semifinalists from the eastern suburbs, so they had to face a panel of unknown interviewers. Our panel included a college aged student who had gone to Costa Rica, his mother (a long time AFS volunteer), a woman who had hosted a student in the past, a college-aged student whose family had hosted a student, and me.

Before we met each student, we were given time to review his/her application, which included high school transcript, community service, teacher recommendations, etc. The application asked about religion and whether one was active, semi-active, or inactive in one's faith, since it might or might not make a difference to potential host families.

One of the Semifinalists had a very impressive resumé: student body president, head of the debate team, excellent grades, excellent letters of recommendation, etc. His religion was listed as LDS. Bear in mind, my best childhood friend was LDS but I knew very, very little about TSCC other than popcorn balls, road shows, and Primary Movie Night on Fridays (10 cents admission, you'd watch 16 mm Disney flicks on a sleeping bag and afterwards there were Rice Krispies treats and red punch).

So the interview starts well, he obviously likes to talk and likes to be heard, but that's ok, sometimes you need to be outgoing and break the ice when you are an exchange student. A rough sort of poise, if you will.

And then came the shocker: the college aged guy whose family was hosting the interviews in their home asks, "I noted from your application that you are Mormon. If you were placed in a family of a different faith, which would be highly likely with AFS, would you be able to refrain from proselytizing and would you be able to respect your host family's own religious beliefs?"

Then came the shocking answer (shocking to me at the time, probably predictable to many of you): "I believe that my church is the only true religion on the face of the earth. Therefore I would have no choice but to try to teach my host family about my faith and share it with them."

We all just sort of nodded and went on to the next question. When he first asked the question about proselytizing, my gut reaction was "why are you picking on him, he can't help it if he's Mormon", but the dufus applicant's response very quickly explained to me why the question had been asked. After the LDS applicant left, we had about 15 minutes to discuss the interview, write a synopsis of how the interview went, and assign a rating of "Highly Recommended", "Recommended", "Recommended but with reservations", or "Not Recommended". We opted to "recommend with reservations" and add a verbatim transcript of the question and his response in our comments section, knowing full well that once AFS headquarters saw his remarks, he goose would be cooked.

After the discussion, I turned to the guy who asked the question, somewhat amazed, and asked, "how did you know to ask a question like that? Are you a mind reader?" (again, to those of you who grew up LDS, the question wasn't all that amazing, but I was impressed)**. He said his school's chapter had had issues twice with LDS host families viewing their exchange student as a missionary opportunity. His mother, whose AFS involvement went back twenty years, nodded in agreement. They had never met an LDS Semifinalist before, but Randy (the guy who asked the question) figured if the host families did it, what about a self-assured, arrogant young Mormon applicant? He was spot on and nearly read the applicant's mind, as things turned out.

From there, AFS could do one of three things:

1. The applicant was named a Guaranteed Participant, in which case they guaranteed to place the student with a family.

2. The applicant advanced to Finalist; they might or might not be placed with a family, depending on availability of families. I.e. the Guaranteed group was first-served, and then they placed as many Finalists as possible, but not all Finalists got to go.

3. The applicant did not make Finalist and was out of the competition.

Regional Interviews were in early November. By early February, applicants were notified by their chapter as to the decision from New York (one of the three outcomes above). Students who were in the first two categories were notified of placements between April and early June.

Toward the end of the school year, Randy sent me a list of the ones we'd interviewed and their final dispositions, and I was relieved to see that the LDS applicant did not make finalist. The folks in New York heeded our advice. Hell, all we had to do was quote him directly and he basically sunk his own candidacy. Whether he ever figured out whether his asinine answer was the cause of his rejection, we'll never know. Maybe he just never "got it".

** I ought to explain that my LDS best friend was not hard core TBM and NEVER would have given an idiot answer like our this was my first encounter with a self-righteous TBM. I never knew that many of them believed what this kid believed.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/2012 12:04PM by PtLoma.

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Posted by: smorg ( )
Date: March 15, 2012 01:13PM

That's my biggest bone with Mormons... It doesn't bother me if they think they'll be god of their own planets or if they want to obey all the church rules. It bugs me that I have to always question their motives when they pay me a compliment or invite me to events and stuff. There's always this proselytizing agenda thingy going on. :o(

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: March 15, 2012 02:02PM

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Posted by: PtLoma ( )
Date: March 14, 2012 02:30AM

A friend of mine from Sweden was an exchange student (AFS, as above) during my senior year of high school, after I had returned from my own stay in Holland. AFS screens its applicants and host families very thoroughly, but even then disasters happen.

Klas was placed with an LDS family with two kids at home. I don't know if there were additional, older children who had already left home, but if not, only two children would have been quite unusual for an LDS family of that era, even in California.

Klas was not required to attend church activities, and was given the option (which he chose) to stay home when they went to meetings. So I wonder if this couple was maybe more progressive than your average LDS family.

Anyway, the trouble started when Klas caught on that the kids were doing alcohol and drugs AND DRIVING. He was tolerant about alcohol and drugs, but not about driving while under the influence. Sweden has very strict drunk driving laws, one infraction and you lose your license for a year. And their legal limit is 0.03% (by comparison, California is 0.08%, although 0.04-0.07% can be considered "driving under the influence" if not "driving while intoxicated").

He went to the parents to tell them he was very uncomfortable with accompanying his host siblings to social gatherings where they used drugs and then drove. However, seeking to preserve their perfect LDS image, they blamed the messenger (Klas) and ignored the message. They notified the local AFS leaders that Klas was not working out (until then, there had been no signs of trouble; the host family had not relayed any complaints about him until he confronted them on the intoxicated driving issue) and Klas was moved to another family.

This story is noteworthy in that the family really didn't try to impose LDS beliefs on him. But they would not tolerate him bursting their bubble.

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Posted by: michael ( )
Date: March 15, 2012 01:41PM

PtLoma, did the truth about the kids and their drinking & driving ever come out into the light of day?

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Posted by: PtLoma ( )
Date: March 15, 2012 04:46PM

He told the parents about the kids, but I do not know what sort of action was taken.

He was moved out to a new family very quickly. I believe that he did NOT change schools, which means he would have seen the children from the LDS family in passing. It's entirely possible that the parents did nothing, in order to preserve their perfect image, and that the kids did not know that my friend had notified the parents about their drinking and driving. Or it's possible that the parents did take action, not sure. If they wanted to hide the reality of my friend's message, I suppose they could have told the kids some other story, like HE was caught with alcohol or drugs, as the reason for why he had to leave. But supposedly they had never contacted the AFS people with concerns earlier, so I think the parents were happy with the situation until he brought them a message that threatened them.

We are still in close touch and I can e-mail him and see what he remembers.

What I do remember is that the first host family discouraged contact with friends he met via AFS who were outside of the school (yeah right, AFS kids were generally honors students at the top of their classes, chosen for grades/citizenship/leadership), hardly a subversive group, but I digress. Maybe they assumed that anyone he met via AFS was non-LDS (quite likely true). So after having met him at a area-wide AFS camp, we didn't have much contact on the phone until he was moved to the new family (an area director for the Southern Baptist Church, empty nester)...they didn't care if he had contact with outsiders or not and we grew closer at that point.

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Posted by: mrtranquility ( )
Date: March 15, 2012 01:35PM

The policy is that the student has no obligation to attend church with their host family at all, and the host family can invite them, but beyond that there is no coercion or even gentle persuasion allowed. Also there is a no baptizing (or similar rites of passage) policy. So, even if the student wants to get baptized and their real parents approve, they may not be baptized while in the program.

Mostly our students attended church once or twice and that was enough, except for Hans who was such a nice German atheist boy. He was so social and liked to dress up and wear a necktie, and he really liked my TBM wife and son so he went just to be social. The few times he stayed home we had some nice chats about our mutual skepticism of things religious.

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Posted by: PtLoma ( )
Date: March 15, 2012 04:53PM

That's an excellent policy to have. Since my family did not host an AFS student, I never knew what the rules were. The family with whom I lived in Holland was Catholic, but NEVER went to mass unless there was no escape. However, like many other families of their era, they were culturally Catholic: sent their kids to Catholic schools (which are publicly funded in Holland), subscribed to Catholic newspapers, etc. Dutch society at the time was rather segregated by religion at the time, so I would consider this to be "normal" behavior for that era.

Most of the host families about which I knew did not require church attendance, it was optional, but I don't know if that was the family's rule or the program's rule. However, in the past AFS in San Diego must have had problems with Mormon host families often enough that two people on my regional interview committee knew to ask the LDS candidate about whether or not he would proselytize.

I do remember on the host family's application (the one my host family filled out prior to being matched with me) that they asked for their religion, how often they practiced it, and whether it would be an issue to have a student of another faith (remember, this organization was bringing in Americans to Holland, so basically it was Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or atheist....Asian faiths and Islam were not part of the equation).

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Posted by: NotNow ( )
Date: March 15, 2012 01:41PM

I once asked a student exchange official if they placed a lot of students in Utah.

My assumption was that Mormons would want to learn as much as possible about the countries where their sons/daughters were serving as missionaries.

"We don't place any students in Utah," the official replied. "The Mormons always try to convert them."

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Posted by: PtLoma ( )
Date: March 15, 2012 05:29PM

...I never met an AFS student from Utah. I have my directory at home of all the AFS students who went abroad from the USA in 1973. The Utah stats---or lack thereof---would be interesting.

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Posted by: Provo Girl ( )
Date: March 15, 2012 01:48PM

I knew a non-Mormon family in Salt Lake City about 25 years ago. The 15-year-old daughter thought her parents were abusive (they weren't)--so she ASKED to be placed into a foster home. She moved back home after a few days--the foster family was LDS. The father took her for long drives and talked to her about the church. On the last long drive they took, he talked to her about eternal marriage and polygamy.

One has to wonder what would have happened on the next long drive.

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Posted by: foggy ( )
Date: March 15, 2012 02:08PM

When I was in the beginnings of digging my way out, I was at a family gathering for a cousin's farewell. I overheard a couple members of my family and the neighbor discussing how sad they were that the neighbor's exchange student had gone home a week or so before without converting. The student was Buddist and told them that he couldn't convert because of family pressure.

They thought it was just so sad that he couldn't stand up against his whole family for what was 'right'

I just stood there thinking "really?!?!" I wanted to ask how they would feel if one of their children was converted to Buddism while an exchange student, but didn't because I knew the answer would be that this is THE true church so it's totally different.

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Posted by: liberalbutteffer ( )
Date: March 15, 2012 02:23PM

That's their answer for everything. I asked my TBM cousins how they would feel if their kid converted. I also asked them how they would feel if one of their kids joined a religion and chose to get married in another hypothetical religion that barred entry to non members because they were telling me that it was a dumb idea to actually have a ceremony so my family could attend and I was trying to get them to see it from my family's point of view. They just responded that they would be upset because their kid would be leaving the true church. Mormons really can't see it from any other perspective. It's like Mormonism took away their reason.

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