The War in Heaven on Earth Today

Lesson 1

Topics: Agency/Freedom vs. Force, God’s Plan vs. Lucifer’s plan. Be on the right side now.

Please watch the following video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxEUATS8bx8

Every person on the earth today chose the right side during the war in heaven.  Be on the right side now.” (Ezra Taft Benson. Stand Up for Freedom. Assembly Hall, Temple Square, Feb. 1966)

The doctrine of a war in Heaven is not exclusive to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

You have come into the world at a most significant time. We are entering the final stages of a great war. This war commenced before the foundations of the world and has been pursued with awful consequence throughout the world’s history. I speak of the war between the followers of Christ and all those who deny Him as their God…

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Revelation 12:7–9). (James J. Hamula, “Winning the War against Evil,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 50–53)

Though all Bible believing religions recognize a war in Heaven, the knowledge of what the war was all about is exclusive to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down… (Moses 4:3)

President David O McKay said:

There are “two contending Forces. Those forces are known and have been designated by different terms throughout the ages. “In the beginning” they were known as Satan on the one hand, and Christ on the other… In these days, they are called “domination by the state,” on one hand, “personal liberty,” on the other.” (David O. McKay. Two Contending Forces. May 18, 1960.)

President Ezra Taft Benson said:

The central issue in the premortal council was: Shall the children of God have untrammeled agency to choose the course they should follow, whether good or evil, or shall they be coerced and forced to be obedient? Christ and all who followed him stood for the former proposition-freedom of choice; Satan stood for the latter-coercion and force. The war that began in heaven over this issue is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer’s primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments. (The Constitution a Heavenly Banner. Ezra Taft Benson. 16 September 1986.)

Elder Marion G. Romney said:

Man is in the earth to be tested. The issue as to whether he succeeds or fails will be determined by how he uses his agency. His whole future, through all eternity, is at stake. Abridge man’s agency, and the whole purpose of his mortality is thwarted. Without it, the Lord says, there is no existence. (See D&C 93:30.) The Lord so valued our agency that he designed and dictated “the laws and constitution” required to guarantee it. This he explained in the revelation in which he instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith to appeal for help,

According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; that every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose. . . .” (D&C 101:77-78, 80.)

(General Conference. April 1966. Address on Socialism)

President John Taylor said:

Besides the preaching of the Gospel, we have another mission, namely, the perpetuation of the free agency of man and the maintenance of liberty, freedom, and the rights of man.” (General Conference April 1882)

Reiterating the importance of the Constitution, President David O. McKay said, and recently, Elder L Tom Perry repeated:

Next to being one in worshiping God there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States.” (Truth and Liberty. BYU, Sept. 1987)

Unfortunately sometimes we think this is engaging in politics. President Joseph F. Smith had something to say in those regards:

There has been a tendency among some Latter-day Saints, even when the Constitution is mentioned, to say, ‘There he goes talking politics.’ I am not talking politics. I am quoting the words of the Lord.” (Joseph F. Smith CR April 1946)

This is not about politics, it’s about Agency and Freedom; it’s about God’s plan of salvation and the building up of His kingdom on the earth.

We have established that the War in Heaven certainly does continue on earth today. In what ways does Lucifer go about this?

Joseph Fielding Smith said:

Satan has control now. No matter where you look, he is in control, even in our own land. He is guiding the governments as far as the Lord will permit him. That is why there is so much strife, turmoil, confusion all over the earth. One master mind is governing the nations. It is not the President of the United States…it is not the king or government of England or any other land; it is Satan himself.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, pp.314-315)

Ezra Taft Benson said:

Concerning the United States, the Lord revealed to his prophets that its greatest threat would be a vast, worldwide “secret combination” which would not only threaten the United States but also seek to “overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations.” (Secret Combinations. Conference Report, October 1961)

Expounding on this, Benson said:

Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon was the ‘keystone of our religion’ and the ‘most correct’ book on earth. (DHC, vol. 6, p. 56.) This most correct book on earth states that the downfall of two great American civilizations came as a result of secret conspiracies whose desire was to overthrow the freedom of the people.

Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to the destruction of the people, but notice how he singled out the secret combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work, but it has singled out as the greatest threat the Godless conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon—it is a conspiracy fact.  And along this line I would highly recommend to you a new book entitled, ‘None Dare Call It Conspiracy’. (Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints. Gen. Conf. April, 1972)

The scriptures describe this latter-day conspiracy that seeks to destroy the freedoms of all lands, nations and countries.

Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be. Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up. For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning. Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved. (Ether 8: 23-26)

Ether 8:23–25 teaches us that this Latter-Day conspiracy seeks to:

  • Get Power (verse 23)
  • Get Gain or Money (vs. 23)
  • Murder (verse 24)
  • Overthrow Freedom in all Lands, Nations, and Countries (verse 25)
  • Bring Destruction to all People (verse 25)

As was shown before, the Lords prophets have admonished us to “do all we can to preserve freedom”.  Moroni pleads for the same here as well.  He says that when we “awake to our awful situation,” that we must:

  • Repent of Our Sins (verse 23)
  • Not Allow This Conspiracy to Get Above You (verse 23)

This battle is still raging on the earth today. Satan tries to trick Latter-day Saints not to “get involved” in the freedom battle.

In General Conference of April 1965, Ezra Taft Benson exposes the tactics of the evil one:

“We really haven’t received much instruction about freedom,” the devil says. This is a lie, for we have been warned time and again… Last conference I spoke of a book embodying much of the prophets’ warnings on freedom…which I commend to you. It is entitled Prophets, Principles, and National Survival.

“You’re too involved in other church work,” says the devil. But freedom is a weighty matter of the law; the lesser principles of the gospel you should keep but not leave this one undone. We may have to balance and manage our time better.

“Don’t worry,” says the devil “the Lord will protect you, and besides the world is so corrupt and heading toward destruction at such a pace that you can’t stop it, so why try.” Well to begin with, the Lord will not protect us unless we do our part. But many of the prophecies referring to America’s preservation are conditional. That is, if we do our duty we can be preserved, and if not then we shall be destroyed. This means that a good deal of the responsibility lies with the priesthood of this Church as to what happens to America and as to how much tragedy can be avoided if we do act now.

“Don’t do anything in the fight for freedom until the Church sets up its own specific program to save the Constitution.”
To those slothful servants who will not do anything until they are “compelled in all things.” Maybe the Lord will never set up a specific church program for the purpose of saving the Constitution.
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared it will be the elders of Israel who will step forward to help save the Constitution, not the Church.

(General Conference Talk – April 1965. Not Commanded in All Things.)

“There is no need to get involved in the fight for freedom – all you need to do is live the gospel.” Of course this is a contradiction, because we cannot fully live the gospel and not be involved in the fight for freedom. (Our Immediate Responsibility. BYU Devotional, October 25, 1966.)

Now that we understand there are no good excuses and we need to be actively engaged, what are we to do?

In General Conference, October 1987, President Ezra Taft Benson laid out these steps:

  1. We must be righteous and moral. We must live the gospel principles – all of them.
  2. We must learn the principles of the Constitution and then abide by its precepts.
  3. We must become involved in civic affairs. As citizens of this republic, we cannot do our duty and be idle spectators.
  4. We must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, and our advice. We must be wisely informed and let others know how we feel.

Beyond this counsel it would also be wise to seek out the guidance of the Lord. We are counseled to “search, ponder, and pray” over the scriptures to understand the truth. You are either on the discovery path or have already “searched” and have (as Moroni termed it) awakened to our awful situation. I recommend that you ponder these things, consider what you have learned. Take your questions to the Lord, regarding what you should do about these things, and seek to discover His will for you. Often it is after we have received information that we receive revelation and inspiration. We each have different skills, expertise, knowledge and abilities and can be effective in different ways. Some people will create blogs, websites, videos, some will organize meetings and/or teach classes. Some people might be inspired to run for office, become a delegate, and so on. There are many possibilities. The correct answer for one person may be different for another. It’s up to each of us to discover what the Lord has called us to do, and what role to play in furthering His Kindgom on earth.

Elder Christensen, in the February 2006 Ensign, emphasized this as well when he said:

What a sacred privilege and responsibility is ours to participate with other like-minded people to ensure that basic freedoms are preserved wherever we reside.

In the June 2007 Ensign President Hinckley said:

That war (the War in Heaven), so bitter, so intense, has never ceased. It is the war… between agency and compulsion, between the followers of Christ and those who have denied Him. His enemies have used every stratagem in that conflict. They’ve indulged in lying and deceit. They’ve employed money and wealth. They’ve tricked the minds of men. They’ve murdered and destroyed and engaged in every kind of evil practice to thwart the work of Christ.”

It is apparent that in Satan’s attempt to destroy man’s freedom and agency, and thwart God’s plan, he has established much control and influence over many institutions. Even the Word of Wisdom, which is a guide for healthy living, states that it was revelation from the Lord given “in consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days” (D&C 89:4). Below is a list of some of the realms that Satan has influence over:

  • Religion / Spirituality
  • Politics / Government
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Health (food and drug)
  • Media / Entertainment
  • News
  • and more…

It is important to ‘study evil, and its consequences.’ Since Satan is the author of all the evil in the world, it is essential therefore to realize that he is the influence behind the opposition to the work of God. Alma stated the issue succinctly: “Whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.” (Alma 5:40) (James E. Faust, “The Forces That Will Save Us,” Ensign, Jan 2007, 4–9)

By understanding Satan’s influence we are better armed in our search for truth in all realms of life.

In the end, the Lord wins!

President Benson testified:

The Lord has declared that before the second coming of Christ it will be necessary to “destroy the secret works of darkness” in order to preserve the land of Zion” the Americas (2 Nephi 10:11-16). (General Conference, Sept. 1961)

Every person on the earth today chose the right side during the war in heaven. Be on the right side now. Stand up and be counted.

18 Responses to “The War in Heaven on Earth Today”

  1. Brice Says:

    Finally, a website that approaches real issues from a fully LDS point-of-view. You do the same thing here from an LDS perspective that C.W. Skousen’s organization (http://nccs.net) and Stephen Pratt (http://libertyandlearning.com) do from a more historical perspective.

    Freedom, presented from the historical perspective, exposes the sins and the secret combinations in the U.S. government. Freedom, presented from an LDS perspective, clarifies what we need to do to fix the situation. This approach makes a very nice complement to the work that others have already done and is actually more useful for introducing this knowledge to religious Latter-Day Saints.

    So far, what I’ve seen is well presented, thorough, and accurate. Nice job and congratulations on the excellent redesign. I wish that I had the time to contribute the way that you do.

  2. Bryan Says:

    I appreciated you insertion of Elder Christensen, in the February 2006 Ensign, emphasized this as well when he said:

    What a sacred privilege and responsibility is ours to participate with other like-minded people to ensure that basic freedoms are preserved wherever we reside.

    I think this step 5 of joining with others is one that must not be left out.

  3. Elisabeth Says:

    I have been frustrated with the lack of direction and what to do as a LDS that in desperation I wanted to find something stating what prophets have said about our freedoms, our constitution, and our wayward government. I feel great relief knowing that I found this website. Where and when do people come together to find out what to do and how to combat this attack on the American people. At church there isn’t much said about what to do from the pulpit. I have always heard that the priesthood would save the constitution by a thread and my question is how will that happen? Will we have direction from our prophet? I agree that step 5 of joining with others is one that must not be left out.

  4. Walter Says:

    In response to Elisabeth who expressed frustration about the lack of direction from our leaders relative to our responsibility to save the Constitution, let me say that such direction from current living general authorities is not likely to come due to the fact that the secret combination, many of whom are now LDS, would destroy the church if such direction went beyond vague generalities. The Lord has already said enough about this through previous prophets such that all of us are left without excuse. Thus, the often stated claim that all we need to do is follow the current living prophet is simply not entirely true. There is also the problem with what Pres. J. Reuben Clark Jr. and Pres. Ezra Taft Benson referred to as the increasingly large number of “ravening wolves” in leadership positions in the church who preach false doctrines about government, among other things, and who persecute those who stand firm in defending liberty and who are trying to awaken the LDS “to a sense of your awful situation”. Let the council of previous prophets and the Holy Ghost be your guide in this matter, and expect persecution. The tares will resist you but the wheat will heartily appreciate you.

  5. Brenda Says:

    Walter, above, said:
    …due to the fact that the secret combination, many of whom are now LDS, would destroy the church…

    Compare the works and words of LDS church member Glenn Beck to the words and works of LDS church member Senator Harry Reid. –and where does Senator Orrin Hatch stand on issues?

    And do we know how these LDS Congressmen represent their constituents?:

    Senators:
    Robert Bennett (R-Utah) since 1993
    Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) since 1999
    Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) since 1977
    Harry Reid (D-Nevada) since 1987
    Gordon Smith (R-Oregon) since 1997

    Representatives:
    Robert Bishop (R-Utah) since 2003
    Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) since 1997
    Christopher Cannon (R-Utah) since 1997
    John Doolittle (R-California) since 1991
    Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) since 2001
    Dean Heller (R-Nevada) since 2007
    Walter Herger (R-California) since 1987
    James Matheson (D-Utah) since 2001
    Howard McKeon (R-California) since 1993
    Michael Simpson (R-Idaho) since 1999
    Thomas Udall (D-New Mexico) since 1999

  6. Tony Says:

    All these videos are phenomenal. Is there a way to get them with the background music a little lower. I tried using them for a Family Home Evening and the speakers seemed to be competing with the background music. Just a thought. Thanks again for the effort you put in to this.

  7. Mia Says:

    “Thus, the often stated claim that all we need to do is follow the current living prophet is simply not entirely true.”-Comment made by Walter

    I hope I am not misunderstanding this statement because I have always understood that we have received revelation that the prophet will never lead the church astray. I also understood if he were ever to attempt to this he would be struck down because didn’t Christ say there was never going to be another apostasy on the earth again after the restoration? If this is true. Then we can follow the modern living prophet.

  8. Lyle Says:

    Walter’s comment marginalizing the current prophet is false doctrine — nowhere taught in the Church past and present. Mia is correct in stating that we should heed the words of the present, living prophet today who is Pres. Thomas S. Monsen.

  9. Jordan Says:

    I don’t think Walter’s comment was meant in the way the two commenters previous to me have interpreted it. Though I cannot speak for Walter, what I think he meant was that we must consider the counsel of ALL latter-day prophets, including the current prophet and President of the Church- Thomas S. Monson. We do not discount the counsel of the prophets of the Bible and the Book of Mormon when we seek understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and what His gospel requires of us, and the same can be said for all of the Latter-day prophets as well.

    To put what Walter said in other words, following the current prophet is good, and required of us, but it is not the ONLY thing that is required of us. That is why we have the scriptures in the first place. We must consider ALL righteous and inspired counsel.

  10. Jared Says:

    I have always subscribed to the idea that governments that limit our freedom are continuing the plan of the adversary to take away our agency. I built a lot of my political philosophy off of this assumption and used some of these quotes in this video to back up that idea. Then I read a talk by Elder Oaks at BYU called Free Agency and Freedom where he said this:

    “Now I will discuss some applications of these scriptural principles.
    First, because free agency is a God-given precondition to the purpose of mortal life, no person or organization can take away our free agency in mortality.
    Second, what can be taken away or reduced by the conditions of mortality is our freedom, the power to act upon our choices. Free agency is absolute, but in the circumstances of mortality freedom is always qualified.
    Freedom may be qualified or taken away (1) by physical laws, including the physical limitations with which we are born, (2) by our own action, and (3) by the action of others, including governments.
    1.Lehi taught his son Jacob that “men are free [have freedom] according to the flesh” (2 Nephi 2:27). For example, in the flesh we are subject to the physical law of gravity. If I should hang from the catwalk here in the Marriott Center and release my grip, I would not be free to will myself into a soft landing. And I cannot choose to run through a brick wall.
    A loss of freedom reduces the extent to which we can act upon our choices, but it does not deprive us of our God-given free agency.”

    Can all of these ideas be reconciled or are we forced to choose one general authority over another?

  11. S. Sherwood Says:

    If all we need do is follow the current prophet, then what are the scriptures for? What is the Ensign subscription for? What is all the books Deseret Book printing for?

    Time is past to prepare unless you start selling things. 500,000 Saints in the south aren’t going to suddenly sell out and move to the mountains. 500,000 in the northeast aren’t doing that. How about the million in California? Well ok the are moving to Arizona. And those in Arizona are moving to Utah. And those in Utah are moving to Wyoming and Idaho.

    Is there as a safe place? Time will tell.

  12. Linnette Says:

    I love Erza Taft Benson. WoW! He knew what was happening now, I love Stand Up for Freedom and Immediate Responabilities, and many more that is important today as in 1966. We need to come together and learn and study the constitution and what our forefather’s bought us with their blood, the freedom, peace and Liberty. Watch on http://www.peakposterity.com crash course with Chris Martenson. What an eye opener. No wonder Joseph Smith told us that we would raise up and save the constitution.

  13. Ralph Hugfhes Says:

    I believe that the Church leadership at the 50 E. North Temple level is being careful to avoid saying anything that could be construed as suggesting that we should oppose government, even government that does not protect us in our inherent and inalienable rights, and maybe even infringes on those rights. I have come across other evidences of the Church leadership backing away from its earlier admonitions that we “suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above [us], which are built up to get power and gain.” Again, I think this is to protect the Church from the wrath of those murderous combinations. To me, this is a bad omen. It tells me, as I have come to suspect for a few years now, that it is to late for us to restore all of our inherent and inalienable rights until sometime after the “cleansing” of America.

  14. Liberty Says:

    I don’t think Walter was marginalizing the current prophet in his comments. Past prophets have counseled us on freedom until they were blue in the face, their counsel was by and large ignored by the saints.

    We are in a hole now, and if we want to dig out we must learn from the teaching of all prophets past and present. The prophets in the Book of Mormon told us what secret combinations were, and why we should not let them get above us. The Lords prophets in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s counseled us to pay attention to what the Book of Mormon prophets had told us. Our parents and grandparents chose not to.

    Our current prophets may not speak so strongly about the Fight for Freedom for several reasons. We didn’t heed the counsel from earlier prophets for one. And two, speaking strongly about Liberty and secret combinations may have negative effects on missionary work in many places of the world today.

    But here is the beauty for all of us who are concerned about the Fight for Freedom. We have the Lords wisdom and guidance given to us by past prophets like Moroni, and President Benson that we can use to help us better understand our awful situation today, and what our responsibilities are in Fighting for Freedom.

    If The Lord didn’t want us to learn from past prophets, the Book of Mormon would still be buried away, we would not have church manuals on the teaching of prophets, and prior conference talks would not be printed in church magazines, and none of us would have just read all these wonderful woords on Freedom and Liberty.

    I too am slightly troubled that our current prophets do not speak as strongly about the Fight for Freedom that past prophets did, but I am not The Lord, and I am not aware of all of His plans, and so I must leave it at that. :)

  15. MIGHTY CUBANO Says:

    Moving. Electrifying. Motivating

  16. Jack Parsons Says:

    D&C 58
    26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
    27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
    28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
    29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

  17. Rick Pearce Says:

    In four General Conferences over the past 25 years, President Monson has (covertly but clearly) warned of Secret Combinations at the International Political level, informing priesthood bearers that they can do something to make a difference! Read it in the context of his words, repeated over and over, virtually verbatim:

    President Monson – General Conference, April 1988:
    “As bearers of the priesthood, we have been placed on earth in troubled times. We live in a complex world with currents of conflict everywhere to be found. Political machinations ruin the stability of nations, despots grasp for power, and segments of society seem forever downtrodden, deprived of opportunity and left with a feeling of failure. We who have been ordained to the priesthood of God can make a difference.”

    President Monson – General Conference, April 2000:

    “As bearers of the priesthood, we have been placed on earth in troubled times. We live in a complex world with currents of conflict everywhere to be found. Political machinations ruin the stability of nations, despots grasp for power, and segments of society seem forever downtrodden, deprived of opportunity, and left with a feeling of failure. We who have been ordained to the priesthood of God can make a difference.”

    President Monson – General Conference, April 2008:

    “As bearers of the priesthood, we have been placed on earth in troubled times. We live in a complex world with currents of conflict everywhere to be found. Political machinations ruin the stability of nations, despots grasp for power, and segments of society seem forever downtrodden, deprived of opportunity, and left with a feeling of failure. We who have been ordained to the priesthood of God can make a difference.”

    President Monson – General Conference, October 2014:
    “As bearers of the priesthood, we have been placed on earth in troubled times. We live in a complex world with currents of conflict everywhere to be found. Political schemes ruin the stability of nations, despots grasp for power, and segments of society seem forever downtrodden, deprived of opportunity and left with a feeling of failure. … We who have been ordained to the priesthood of God can make a difference.

    “Political Machinations” and “Political Schemes” and Secret Combinations mean exactly the same thing! From the Merriam Webster and Collins Dictionaries:

    “You use machinations to describe secret and complicated plans, especially to gain power.”

    “A scheme is a plan or arrangement involving many people which is made by a government or other organization.”

    “Combination: an alliance of individuals, corporations, or states united to achieve a social, political, or economic end”

  18. Rhonda Says:

    One correction needs to be made to your quotes. The Joseph F. Smith who said in General Conference 1946, that the Constitution is part of his religion, was not President Joseph F. Smith. It was a cousin with the same name, the current Patriarch of the church.

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