Meghan: Hey everyone, welcome to this episode of the Latter Day Disciples podcast. I’m so excited to be joined by my new friend, Vinney Vincent Todd Tolman was born in Arlington, Texas and was raised in California and Utah. Growing up, he had a passion for animals and nature; he would always feel the most comfortable in the woods of the mountains by his home. He had his first brush with death when hit by a truck while he was rollerblading at the age of 14. He loved playing football and then later rugby in high school and college. In his lifetime he has learned to speak German, Spanish, French, Russian, Cambodian, and Thai. But he keeps a conversational fluency in Vietnamese. He has traveled the world visiting Europe, Russia, and Asia. He’s also lived in Cambodia and Thailand. Vinney has worked many jobs in his lifetime, including being a home builder as well as many other construction trades. He’s literally built entire homes from the ground up. He has done many other trades and jobs, including being a producer for TV and movies. But his favorite job is being a lightworker, someone who helps others discover and find their own light and divine path.
Vinney and his soulmate Andrea are both passionate about their two amazing kids and discovering new life adventures every day. Even though Vinney has lived in over 30 states over the years, he finds his home and life in the desert Southwest. He loves spending his free time with his family, traveling to all their favorite places. He’s an avid meditator and he meditates daily, even if only for a few minutes. He loves connecting to the spirit and anything that helps raise his frequency. When Vinney is not working, you’ll find him traveling, adventuring, and playing with his kids. The most important things to Vinney are first and foremost, his relationship to his Creator; secondly, loving his family and all those who come into contact with him.
Vinney, thank you so much for joining us today.
Vinney: Yeah, thank you, Megan. It’s my pleasure to be here. Absolutely.
Meghan: I so appreciate it. Just in the brief time that we’ve known each other, you’ve been such a light and you really do know how to connect to the spirit and to bring it so strong for those around you too. So thank you for sharing your gifts with us today. So we wanted to talk a little bit about– Vinney recently had a book that he published back in August called The Light After Death, and it’s an account of a near death experience or a death experience rather, that you had when you were about 25 years old. Can you go ahead and just start us off with this story in as much detail as you feel like you’d like to share?
Vinney: Yeah, absolutely. So this all happened back in 2003, I had just barely had my 20th deathiversary back on January 18 and ended up overdosing on a natural supplement that was new at the time.
And what I didn’t realize, and my buddy didn’t realize– we took it together–is that the supplement that we were purchasing online was a hundred percent solution. And the version of the supplement we bought here in the States was actually a 95% watered down solution, or a 5% pure solution. We just got a toxic dose of this liquid supplement, took a little bottle cap of it, that’s all it took, and instantly felt sick. We ended up going to a Dairy Queen where I went to the bathroom and I literally died. But my buddy, he went into the dining area, collapsed on a booth, vomited, they called emergency services, took him to the hospital and he ended up being fine. He was kept overnight, they pumped his stomach and he ended up being just fine. No problems, no neurological damage, nothing. He was fine.
But with me–nobody saw us come in together–about 45 minutes after they took him away, they did end up opening that bathroom, finding a dead guy on the floor, which was me, and they bagged the body. They put the body in the back of an ambulance and proceeded to do a bunch of paperwork for about another 45 minutes. And while they were taking that body to the medical examiner, a rookie medic on his first week of service, felt a premonition or a prompting tell him that “This one’s not dead”. And after he heard it twice–he did feel it twice–the second time he took action, he unzipped that body bag and began to attempt resuscitation on the body. And after the second round of shocks with the defib machine, he did get a single heartbeat. And then on the third round of shocks, he got a steady faint heartbeat.
So that began my experience, where this heart started for the body. They were only a block away from a hospital so they were able to take this body and turn it into the hospital right away, within seconds, literally seconds of getting that heart started. Only a couple minutes after the heart started they were there at a hospital, transferring the body. And at this point is where I realized this is what I had been witnessing, I had been witnessing everything, including them discovering the body… I was witnessing from above and looking down. And to me it felt like I was watching almost an interactive theater or an interactive movie type experience. It didn’t feel like it was me because ‘me’ was up here watching things and as they brought that body in, it started to go into seizures. And they strapped that body down. And when they did, I felt them strapping me down. And that’s when I realized it was me, that I had been watching my own death this whole time. And I had actually been dead, and that I had died, which was a very fearful experience for me.
I went to a very dark place at that point, got very scared, and out of nowhere I started to feel this warmth come from behind me. And this just unconditional love come from behind me. And I turned around to see what this was, this warmth and this love. And I saw a gentleman there all dressed in white. He had a white a white suit on and he had this white stole or robe over his shoulders. And he had a long white beard. And long, about shoulder length white hair. Light just emitted from him. You could actually see this all permeating, unconditional love just completely coming from him. And I could feel just this tremendous sense of peace and calmness that came over me. And of course, as soon as I saw him I thought, are you God? And what was so weird is, without using his mouth, I heard an answer. I heard him tell me without using his mouth, “No, son, I’m not God.” And then my follow up was, “Well, then are you Jesus?” And he said, “No, son. I’m not Jesus. My name is Drake and I’m here to be your guide. I’m here to help you go wherever you want to go.” He said that I could go back to my body and he motioned back to where, behind where I was looking at him, like to behind me, and he motioned that I could go back there. Or if I wanted to, I could see what’s next. And I was excited. I was really excited. I’m like, “I don’t want to go back there. I want to go with you and see what’s next.” And he said, “Well, great, that’s amazing! I can take you to our home where you came from and where I came from.” And so that’s where we began our journey.
And it’s comical at this point. I thought well, it’s not gonna be very hard then because I was raised very evangelical Christian, and raised in a very strict way in the church and I felt that I should be able to just go right into heaven. I had all the ordinances and keys and everything that I needed to to get there. And right away, he just helped me and explained that he loved that I had all that, he loved that I had all the things that I thought I needed to get into heaven. But what I didn’t have is I didn’t have the, like I had all the letters of the law essentially to get into heaven, but I didn’t have the spirit of the law. I didn’t have the heart of the law. And so he helped me understand that I needed to do a little bit more progress for my own progression, for my own growth, for me to actually get to our home, to where we came from. And I was gonna have to raise my love energy. He called it frequency because I understood that term frequency, I worked in electronics and in construction so I understood frequency. And he said I needed to raise my love frequency for me to go with him and go to our home to heaven.
And he started teaching me these 10 principles. He started with first and foremost, which wasn’t love, which I was surprised at because I thought first would be love, right? And he’s “No, because if you’re not authentic, if you’re not authentic to who you are, you can’t feel or truly share authentic love.” And so that was a big one for me. I thought I was authentic. I thought I was real with people. He showed me how I would go with people at church and I had a certain persona about me. Then I’d go to work on movie sets and I had a certain persona about me. And when I go work on construction sites, I would have a certain persona about me. And then I go into a dance club with some friends and or a dance and I’d have a certain persona that was about me. That all those personas or those characters that I would put on myself were a protective mask. They weren’t my real self. What my real self was, it was underneath all those masks. And he helped me peel off each one of those masks I allowed myself to create. And he helped me understand that we put on masks out of insecurity because we don’t want to be judged or deemed judgeable by those who are around. And that’s why we put on these masks. And he helped me understand that in this life, you can learn a lot from the little kids and the really old folks, because the real babies and the old ones, they tend to be extremely authentic. They’re not putting on any mask for anybody. They’re avidly having fun or playing or letting you know how they feel without trying to sugarcoat it. They’re just being real. And he explained to me that we can learn a lot from the babies and our older folks, that on our way in this life and on our way out of this life, we tend to be authentic, but in between we lose ourselves. So that was the first thing, he helped me peel away those masks that I had on.
Next he helped me understand that still, love was not up yet. The next principal was understanding the purpose of life, that we’re not coming here to a courtroom, that life never was made to be a courtroom. And unfortunately, that’s what I thought it was. I thought we were here to be sorted; some of us thrown away, some of us saved. I really believed that. And unfortunately that was way off, completely off. And he helped me understand that in the earthly realm, if you’re a good parent, you’re never gonna give up on any of your kids. And that’s in the earthly realm. And our God, our Creator, our Heavenly Father, would never throw away any of us. And that life is a classroom, not a courtroom. We’re here to grow as fast as we can or as slow as we can. It’s our choice. But that’s a fundamental principle that I had to understand, that life is the classroom, not the courtroom.
Next is to understand love. That was the third principle I had to learn, was to love everyone. And that one wasn’t so hard because I’ve always been good at sharing and caring and loving people, but not everybody. So I did have to really encompass some people I’d pushed away or ostracized or maybe pushed away cuz of past abuse in my life. But then it brought me to the fourth principle, which is to listen to your inner voice, that every single one of us has a spark of our Creator, our Heavenly Father, our God, inside of us. And it is that voice, that spark that speaks to us, that tells us, inspires us, helps us feel the spirit, that’s what that spark does. And the more we listen to that inner voice, the stronger that voice can get for us. But the less we listen to it, the more we don’t hear it anymore, to a point where maybe we don’t hear it at all or ever again. And so it’s important for us to listen to that inner voice, listen to those promptings, follow those promptings, especially, most especially, when they don’t make sense. Because when they don’t make sense, the strongest guidance from God you can get.
I’ll give you a perfect example. I am at this lunch counter with a buddy of mine and on my way in, to get lunch with him –we are at a place out here called Cafe Rio, I live in Vegas–and we’re going in there grabbing a lunch. We’re work buddies and it’s our work lunch break. As I’m getting in line, I feel the strongest prompting, “Order double of everything you’re ordering.” I’m like, “Okay, God. It’s either I’m really hungry or there’s some plans going on here.” And of course, Heavenly Father’s showing me that this is his plan. So I ordered two of everything. My buddy’s joking, he’s “Wow, you don’t need to order two drinks, you can just get a refill, bro.”
And he is like, “I understand if you’re going to eat two lunches, but why are you getting two drinks?” And I’m like, “You’ll understand.” I just kept saying that you’ll understand. And we go get our food, get through the line. I’m walking away with two trays, unlike everyone else carrying one tray, I’m carrying two trays with two lunches and two drinks on them.
I even filled up the drink. And right as we go to sit down, a homeless man walks in and sits down inside the restaurant. I walked right over and placed his tray right in front of him and said, “Here you go sir,God wants you to have some lunch today.” And I walked away. And my buddy, his jaw was like, on the ground. He’s like, “How did you know that guy was gonna walk in at that very moment?” And I’m like, “I didn’t know that. All I had was the simple prompting, ‘buy double of what you’re supposed to get today and the rest will make sense.’” And the second he walked in, there was no question. There was absolutely no question that the second lunch was for him.
And to this day, that friend makes fun of me. He calls me like a spiritual muck or a spiritual Jedi, but I’m not, all of us are. All of us are. All of us have that spark within us. And it’s important for us to listen to that inner voice and to follow it because the more we do, the stronger it gets. And then you can have it daily. Literally everywhere you go you can hear stuff. Like you’d be driving down the street, they’re like, “Turn left right now.” “Okay, turn left right now.” You have no idea why, but there’s a reason. Some people will call it crazy. I call it inspirational because at the end of all of those promptings, I would say over half the promptings lead to miracle type experiences, beautiful experiences that cannot be understood. Unless you’re talking to a physicist, then they call it quantum entanglement, then it can be understood. But I’ll tell you, listening to our inner voice is magical for both you and for whoever you can serve. So when you get that prompting, “Hey, reach out to this person.” Do it. Text this person, do it. Go email this person or call this person or go visit this person or give this person a hug. Follow those promptings. You’re getting those things for a reason. Especially when they don’t make sense. Follow ’em. It’ll change your life and it’ll change the lives of the people around you. And that’s a big part of my experience. Drake really helped me embody that and experience that and has since a ton of times.
Now, that brought me to the next one, the enemy to our inner voice is technology. And the reason why technology is the enemy to the inner voice is because it takes the spot; it actually works on those neurological muscles that allow the spirit voice within you, the intuition within you to work. Cell phone usage, especially technology, entertainment, technology, it glazes over your spirit eye. It glazes over your intuition, it blocks it. So be very intentional about how and when you use technology, so use technology responsibly. Which is kind of funny because this experience was given to–had I had this in 2003, there wasn’t a ton of technology back then so in my mind I thought he was talking about the internet and maybe watching the news or watching cable tv. Come to find out there was all this technology coming and it makes way more sense now than it did then.
But then next brought me to the sixth principle of which I learned, which is release prejudice. I was raised in a mixed race family. I have two, two adopted Korean sisters, older sisters. And we always joked that I was more Korean than they were because I love Korean food and I could speak a little Korean. And it’s funny, growing up with them, I thought I was the least racist person. I thought I was the least prejudiced person. Because I love my sisters so much I felt that God loved all the colors of the skins on earth. I felt it extremely strong through my whole body. But what I didn’t love was, I hated prejudiced people. I hated racist people. I hated them. I would get in fist fights with them actually.I would hear something, I would go punch that person out. That’s how I was back then. And what I learned is that in me hating prejudiced people, I was joining their team. Think about that. If you hate any group, even the ignorant and the hateful and the mean and the violent, to hate any group of people, of animals, of any living, being to hate any living, being you’re joining the racist, the Nazis, the prejudiced, you’re joining these groups, and I had no idea until he helped me see that I had to release my prejudice for prejudiced people because in having that, I was joining the prejudiced side of life. So that was another thing I had to release. I had to let go. I had to start feeling love for all spiritual beings, in all of their forms, colors, creeds, and even the prejudiced and racist people.
I had to love them all. So that was a big one for me.
Once I was able to get through that, he helped me into my seventh principle, which is to exercise the power of creation. And Drake helped me understand that we all carry magic wands to create and build anything. And those magic wands are our thoughts, that we begin creation with our thoughts and our intentions. And if we can control our thoughts and our intentions, we can literally control our life. So if you feel your life is out of control, that your environment is out of control, start choosing to think better. Start making the choices, have the intention to make good choices. Even in bad environments, you can change everything. I really connect to an amazing man named Victor Frankl, who is a survivor of the concentration camps, and he wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning, and he was able to help people with his story; understand that even if you’re in a the worst of environments –and in my mind that would be one of the worst of environments–you can still survive and actually be happy. Find things to be grateful for, even in the worst of lives. Find the things to be grateful for and stick on that, focus on that, and you’ll be able to bring more good in your life. Even in the worst environment. So that was the seventh principle: exercising the power of creation, which is mastering your thoughts.
And that led me to the eighth principle, which is avoid negative influences because they affect you having negative thoughts. And what that means is really be careful what you allow in your energetic body. And when I say your energetic body, I mean what you allow yourself to view, what yourself, allow yourself to watch, what you allow yourself to listen to, what you allow yourself to see and eat. All the things that are going in the energetic body, both in media and foods, in supplements, be very cognizant and careful. Just be very intentional with your choices with what you put in the body. Because if we’re very careful, we can put good things that we watch, good things that we can listen to, like awesome podcasts like this, right? You can really choose good, clean things to go in the body by eating and in doing so, you’re going to help the mind so it can make those good thoughts and make good creations. But when you’re putting in toxins, both in entertainment, toxins are gonna be like violent shows, bloody shows, sexual shows, these are gonna be shows that are toxic to your energetic body. When you’re allowing yourself to see or even listen to these things, they affect you and they make it so it’s harder to choose positive in your thoughts. And so avoiding negative influence is– once you understand that you’re in control, not the world, not your environment, you’re in control there. If you’re around someone that’s very toxic with their language and their nature, speak up or put a pair of earplugs in and don’t allow yourself to be influenced by that.
Which brings me to the ninth principle, which is understanding the purpose of evil. And yes, there is a purpose for evil. To not have evil would be like having a gym with no weights and no treadmills. And you, if you have a gym that doesn’t have any athletic equipment, no weights, there’s no resistance to help the body grow. And life here is the same, in that it requires evil for us to choose good and if there is no evil, there’s no choice. It’s just good. And if there’s no choice, there’s no growth. The same as the gym, if there’s no resistance, no equipment to help you, no tools, then you can’t grow.
Which brings me to the last principle, which is to know that we are all one in God’s family, that we are all fingers on God’s hand, we are all creations of God, and that to harm or hurt or hate another one of God’s creations is to hate or harm or hurt God, literally. So I needed to understand fully, that we are all one in our Creator, our Father in Heaven, who created us. And to make sure that I understand a principle– Drake, called it the principle of the pointed finger–that if you’re pointing a finger at someone saying that person is so bad, you’re pointing one finger at them, and you’re in essence pointing one finger at God, up to God and then flip that hand over and what do you have? You have three fingers pointing back to yourself. So what happens is when we put bad energy out and we say, “That person’s so evil, or that person’s so judgmental, or that person’s such a bad person,” I’m saying that about that person, I’m also sending that same energy up to God, my Creator, and saying, “MY Creator’s bad.” And then I’m saying, I’m bad three times. Three times worse than anything I can put out to anybody else.
But what’s really amazing about that principle of the pointed finger, is I can say compliments. I can say blessings, and I can say positive things and putting one positive out in the universe, putting one positive out in the world puts a positive, a loving worship to God, my Father, and also puts three good positive energies back on myself. So it’s very important that we understand, that because we are one, we need to make positive deposits out there, make positive comments, make loving comments and put that energy out there and you’ll get back three times what you put out, both good or for bad. But understanding that principle of the pointed finger, it’s very important for us to understand that and in understanding it we empower ourselves. We allow ourselves to fully be empowered to grow and to connect better to our heavenly father, to our Creator.
And at that point, I actually started to see heaven and see this great amazing space, which is realistic, it’s real. It’s a real place. I would call it a planet, but it’s way bigger than a planet. It’s bigger than a sun. You could probably fit like a hundred of our suns inside of this place. It’s just huge. It’s bigger than what your brain can comprehend. And actually in getting my story written down and documented, it took us a few years because the whole experience is so far outside what our human words can describe but as I’m seeing this fear, this planet, I’m getting close and I get to see actual heaven. And we touch down in heaven, and I actually felt the grass. And to feel the grass in heaven is to know God, to know who God is, to truly know who God is, because there’s so much love in that entire environment there that there’s no outside light there because everything there emits light, emits love, that even the grass glowed just brightly of God’s love. And to even touch it, you could actually taste that love, the sweetness of it. You could smell it. There was even a musical tone coming from it that is more beautiful than the most beautiful concert or concerto I’ve ever heard. There’s just nothing here that’s even close. There’s no instruments here that can play that music. But I’m telling you like, that’s just the grass. And then I got to see flowers and I got to see trees. I got to see water and the healing power of water.
And I was raised in a church, but I was raised in a very physically abusive and emotionally abusive home. And I had so many black holes in me, so many. And when I felt that water– I was actually in heaven, you can even get to heaven, even through your trauma, which I was there, I was there–but that water, it loved, it just, it’s so hard to say, but that water was so cleansing. It was so clarifying and helped me understand that I actually had made a loving agreement with my dad to be my abuser and that it helped shape who I was so I could have this experience, that very experience I was having. And I wouldn’t have been aware of any of this going on around me or any of this conversation if I didn’t have that abuse first, because that abuse made me hyper aware of everything around me.
And that water healed me of every tiny little crack and little black hole that was beaten into me my whole life. And, I felt completely healed. And that was like such a sense of completion for my journey because I was able to start feeling love for my father, my human father, who was my abuser. And feel how much I love him. And how much God loves him. And how he was abused and how his dad was abused and his dad was abused and how it went far up the line. And he gave me way easier than he ever got. And that was his gift to me, was to not go as hard on me as what he got. And how much I now loved him, which my whole life, I hated him, my whole life! And now I loved him. And this water was just such a blessing. There’s no other word than a blessing. How it changed me. And I’m a different person today because of that experience. And while I’m there, while I’m there having this whole experience, Drake comes right in front of my countenance like gets right–this whole time he’s to my side, almost the whole time he’s showing me stuff, showing me the whole universe. Any question I have, he just wants to show me everything. And then I’m learning all these principles as he is just showing me everything. And I’m so excited cause I’m so excited to just know all this stuff–and he gets right in front of me for the first time, like right in front of me. And he goes, “Vinney, this is gonna be hard, but it’s gonna be worth it.” And he came in and he hugged me. And hugs there are so different than here cuz here we’re physical, we’re hard, three dimensional here, right? There, we’re energetic bodies, which they’re physical too, but they can actually go into each other and become one for a second as they hug. And so as he gave me this hug, we actually came together like this and my own light just compounded four times brighter than I felt. I felt my own love capacity went four times greater. His love went four times greater. And he had such bright love and bright light about him already. And it was such a beautiful, profound experience, life-changing experience, just that hug alone. And I felt God hugging me through him, through Drake, which he was a worker, a worker for God. He was a messenger, not an angel, but he was my guide. That’s what he kept calling himself was my guide. He was my guide. And as I was feeling this out of nowhere I start hearing a priesthood blessing being given to my body. And I hear my brother’s voice–which I have a brother, he’s two years younger than me–and we were abused together, quite a bit our whole life, so we would take it out on each other a lot. So we had our own abuse towards each other. And I felt just this crying out to God to please save this brother. And out of nowhere he gets the prompting to say, “I bless you to be made whole.” And as he says that, and closes his priesthood blessing, I woke up in my body. I was dead for well over an hour, they think at least an hour and a half. I was brain dead for three days. The whole time I was in heaven, it was the three days I was brain dead. I was in a coma and I woke up. I woke up to a bunch of medical professionals calling me a miracle. I felt cursed as hell. I felt like I got to have the best thing to be given to any one of us. And then out of love of all things, I was forced back. My agency removed, my choice removed.
And that’s when I started to realize that I needed to listen to my guide to Drake. He promised me it would be hard, but it’d be worth it. And so I did come back . I did Google like, ‘What’s the most dangerous job’ so maybe by chance I could go back to heaven really quick–which I found out it’s underwater welding–so anybody who does that, major props to you. Next most dangerous was crab fisherman. So I looked that one up too. I literally was looking into one of those jobs. I even had signed intention papers to go move up to Seattle and then Alaska to do crab fishing in hopes there would be a slippery deck and I could go back and see Drake and go back home. But you know what, every time I got the very strong prompting–and by the way, after this experience, the promptings were like 20 times stronger than before, and as I followed them, they just got stronger and stronger–and I kept getting the prompting “Just hold on a little longer, just hold on a little longer.” And so I held on and I didn’t join any of those dangerous jobs. I wanted to, I did attempt to sign up for the military, though.
Meghan: That’s pretty dangerous.
Vinney: But my General uncle flushed my papers. I swear to you because twice they lost my packet. And not that’s not unheard of in the military, but I’ll tell you–I think it was my mom making that call–but yeah, I was a changed person and right after that I did meet my saving grace and my saving grace was and is my wife. When I first met her–and if you read in the book I explain it all, there and on our website too, you can read a lot from her perspective of the experience of meeting each other–we both could feel God bringing us together for a purpose. And it was just amazing. I saw heaven in her eyes. I literally saw heaven in her eyes. And for the first time, there was hope on my horizon again. And so from there I built a life. And we’ve been married 20 years, 20 amazing years now since the experience. And I find my own grace in my family and in helping others. But, there’s an amazing blessing of this whole experience.
One of the hardest parts of all this is– I’m very scientific with my thoughts and my brain and with how I study and how I learn, I’m very logical. And so to sit there and think that I went to heaven seemed crazy. So I did seek out opinions of professionals to see what was going on. And of course, pharmacology was discussed in preventing the voices of intuition. I chose not to go that route. And even one of the doctors, he’s like, “Yeah, you don’t need to go this route because what you have is real.” I was able to prove it to him, and he said, “I don’t understand it. I don’t quite understand it all.” And he was part of our faith as well. He was like, “There’s no explanation scientifically, but stick with it just stick with it and follow what God tells you to do and see where it goes.”
So that’s what I’ve done and an amazing experience to all of this is, six and a half months after my experience, I’m in this little town in Wyoming, Afton, Wyoming, which we were talking about that little earlier. I was in this little town in Wyoming watching a presentation at the high school about the history of this town. And they have a big movie screen on the football field, and they’re showing all the founders of the town and some of the first land surveyors and some of the first clergy, some of the first stake presidents and bishops and all the different clergy, setting up the church in Wyoming. And up comes this picture. And at this point I had discussed who Drake was, I had described him so often to my fiance at the time, which is my wife now, I had discussed that so much that she felt in her own mind’s eyes, she knew what he looked like. And here I am, I’m like looking down, just staring off into nowhere, being me, talking to spirit most times when she’s like, “That’s your guide.” And I’m like, looking over here and I turn and I look over at the screen and I see Drake. He was right there. His hair wasn’t as long, but his beard was almost the same. His eyes were the same. His face was the same, his ears were the same. It was Drake.
But the hard part is, in the picture it said, Charles, it didn’t say Drake, and it said his last name was Cazier. It said, “Charles Cazier”. And I’m like, “That’s Drake. I know it is. That’s Drake!” It freaked me out. It’s almost like I couldn’t speak. I was speechless. I was frozen. I was literally frozen. Like I couldn’t move my arms, I couldn’t stand up. We were sitting down watching all this. Finally I get a hold of myself. We get up and we leave. And my grandmother –at the time she lived in Afton before she passed away–and we went straight there and I go, “Grandma, Grandma, have you ever heard of anybody named Charles Cazier? And she goes, “Oh, you mean great Grandpapa Drake?” And I’m like, “Ah.” Come to find out, Drake is his middle name. And that’s what everybody called him by. And so on. Officially, he was always Charles, but that’s the way he knew if you were a friend, is if you called him Charles, he was on guard. Or he knew he needed to be professional. But if you called him Drake, you were his friend because he went by Drake.
And he has quite an extensive history with Northern Utah and Wyoming, in politics and government and helping set up that area and being one of the first clergy in the valley of Afton or Star Valley, Wyoming. And so he has a really great legacy, a beautiful legacy. And if you go look at one of his blessings that he got, in an official capacity, he got this blessing. It was not a patriarchal blessing, it was just a blessing someone gave him. But it was documented. They typed it all up. The coolest thing–we found this, we actually lived in Wyoming for a couple of months, taking care of my grandmother. And we saw this blessing. It was just filed away in her documents.
And here it is as part of our family history. We’re looking at it and it has three paragraphs about his life and what he’s gonna do on earth. And it has over a page, almost a page and a half of describing what he’s gonna do in the afterlife. And one of the primary jobs he’s gonna have is to be a guide, not an escort, a guide; to guide his loved ones and anybody who needs his help over to the other side, to heaven, to our home. And it was just awesome because when I read that–and at the time I’m building homes, I’m a tough guy–and I read this and I just start weeping. I wept like a small child for a few minutes because here all this ego speak of, “You’re crazy.” “You didn’t have this experience.” “You’re delusional.” “You were oxygen starved and your imagination made this all up.” And then I find out this is a real guy, and he is not just my ancestor, he’s my great great great great grandfather! And that he was so big in his life that even my grandmother knew a lot of his stories. And it was just very amazing. It really connected the dots for me, helped me understand that this all happened for a reason.
And I’m sorry I’ve gotten a little long-winded with this, but I’ll tell you it, it’s life changing for me and I’ve learned the impact and the power of prayer, to literally bring me across the universe and bring me back to my body, out of the love and intentions of my brother and the priesthood power that he used to bring me back. And I’ll tell you, the power of prayer is so important for us to understand, and that brings us back to understanding the power of creation; our thoughts are where we start creating, and prayer is a way we can intentionally think and do good things and send that good energy out there to Heavenly Father and to our brothers and sisters in this world. But yeah that’s my story.
Meghan: I wanna weep. Amazing. It’s all amazing and it’s true. I totally believe that it’s true. I think that it has all the markers of God.
Vinney: Yeah. It’s one of those things that–just for fun, I have a lot of friends that are like hypnotherapists and I have a friend that does quantum healing hypnosis. And so I’ve actually gone under to see if there was extra stuff I forgot that maybe we could get documented, even, for the book and stuff. And each time my same experience is like on the dot–which is really cool for me, it was a confirmation for me–but I don’t share my experience to try to convince anybody of anything, but if it speaks to somebody and if it does speak to you, “Awesome.” But don’t take my word for it, go out and do your own scripture study, research the truth, find your own truth because, this was my truth, this was my experience. And I share it as that, I don’t try to share it as like prophetic or anything. I just try to share it as a positive influence out there. There’s so many negative influences. And I’ve been prompted for years to share it and I shared this experience verbally and only verbally for about 15 years. And after 15 years and many different churches of all religions wanting to hear about it, I finally documented it because the spirit was like telling me, “You, you have to get this written down.” And if anything, I need to get it written down for my children and for their legacy so they could know of my experience. And in doing so, I’ve had a lot of people come to me and tell me they’ve been struggling with their faith, struggling how today’s world fits in with their faith. And if there’s anything that I learned is we need our faith. We need it so bad. Don’t abandon your faith. Because to abandon your faith is to abandon hope.
And this world needs hope. And we get to choose if this world has hope, it’s our choice. This world has hope if we choose it does. But if we choose it doesn’t, it’s not gonna have hope. And it’s where we have hope, we can find faith and where we can find faith, we can find God.
Meghan: Yeah. I love what you said about feeling the grass in heaven being knowing God.
Vinney: Oh yeah.
Meghan: And I think that says so much because that is our invitation, that’s our purpose. You know, talking about life as a classroom, our purpose is to choose to come to know God again. And to experience that for ourselves and our experiences will be different. It won’t be exactly the same. Yours was so beautifully personalized based on who you were and what you had experienced and what you needed. And it was your great great great great grandfather who came to you.
Vinney: Yeah, who I had never seen before or ever knew.
Meghan: I know. You had no idea.
Vinney: I knew my grandmother was a Cazier though, so that’s why I knew to go to her cuz her maiden name was a Cazier.
Meghan: Yeah. That’s so cool. One thought that I had while you were sharing these 10 lessons–and I think each one is so profound, we could do an entire episode on each of these that you mentioned–but one thought that I had that I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on, is how each and every single one of these, I feel like, has a very prominent counterfeit from the adversary right now, where he is actively trying to twist.
Vinney: Oh, yeah. So we could go through all 10. So Satan wants us to be inauthentic. Satan wants us to be authentically victims. But there’s no such thing as an authentic victim. Because to be a victim means you’re giving all your power to someone else. And to be a victor, that means you’re taking all your power back. So Satan wants us to be victims and wants us to be inauthentic or not authentic whereas God wants us to be authentic.
Meghan: So we’re talking about authenticity. Not in a, “I am going to give in to every whim of my natural self.”
Vinney: Not at all. That’s not authenticity.
Meghan: That’s the counterfeit, that’s what the world says is authenticity.
Vinney: But it’s not though, that’s not authenticity, that’s gratification. Very different and gratification–think about it, you could be driving down the street and you have a weird thought that says, “Slam that car.” Are you gonna do it? No, not at all, right? Ever. That’s just dumb. Nobody’s gonna do that. But yet the world would teach you ‘But if you feel it, you should do it. If you feel it, you should do it.” And here’s the difference: the world thinks happiness is gratification, but gratification is not happiness. The definition of happiness, for me, the definition of happiness is joy everlasting. To me, that’s happiness. And am I gonna get that by gratifying my body? No, not at all. Not in any way, shape, or form that can bring me human joy or what I call carnal joy, physical joy, right? You’re hungry, you go eat some food, it brings you some joy for a little bit. Get a little dopamine hit, right? Go play a game on your phone, get a little dopamine hit, that brings you a little bit of joy. But that’s not happiness. That’s not happiness.
True happiness comes from longevity, joy, or long-lasting joy, or everlasting joy. And that is going out and adopting a family for Christmas. Going out and sitting down and buying two lunches then sit down and eat with a homeless person. Now, be safe about it. But when you feel prompted, do it and treat them like a human being. Treat them like someone who’s important because there’s a piece of God in them. There’s that God spark inside of them. There’s that soul, that spirit, which is a creation of God inside of them, honor that, love that, respect that, buy that lunch and have a conversation with that person, that spirit, that soul. They’ll change your life. Simple little things. Or go buy someone’s gas, that could be pretty costly right now, but still. Or if you’re going through a drive-through, pay for the next two people and then go back to that same drive-through a day later and ask, “How long did it last?” You’ll be really surprised in some good communities, it could last two or three days. They are like, “Oh, that’s still going on.” But in some of these larger major cities with very inauthentic people, they’re like, “Oh, cool, someone bought my lunch. I’m not gonna do anything for anyone else, I deserve it. I’m not gonna care about anyone else.” And that’s what Satan wants. Satan doesn’t want any of us caring for each other. Satan wants all of us to feel like victims, that somehow you’re a victim and that you need to toot your victim horn and somehow that’s gonna get you some benefit. Think about that. You toot your victim horn.
What’s it gonna do, if anything? That you may get some kind of money? That’s it. Okay, so get a little bit of money. But here’s the problem; is money really gonna fix you? No, not at all. Because now you’ve proven, “Be a victim; get money.” Think about that programming as a human being. I know firsthand, people, in and out of the church that actively look for lawsuits to be victims. Now, is there a time and a place? Absolutely. But don’t go looking for it. Don’t go trying to attract it. Don’t go trying to find it.
Be authentically loving others and not trying to seek to gain from everybody around you. For once, go out there and serve. One of my favorite sayings is from JFK, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but yet ask what you can do for your country.” I like it better if you switch out God for country. Don’t ask what God can do for you, but ask what you can do for God. And here’s what’s amazing. If you feel that you’re lacking love, ask God this in prayer, “How can I make others feel loved?” And follow that inspiration that comes to you when you ask that. And when you follow it, all of a sudden you’re feeling loved. You didn’t do anything to be loved. But by sharing love, by giving love to others, you now feel loved. That’s the answer. Whatever you’re lacking, go out and give to others and you will feel the gain of what you’re giving to others.
And that’s an equation. It works every time, as long as you have your heart in it it works every time.
Meghan: Yeah. And even if the heart part takes a little bit.
Vinney: It does.
Meghan: Like sometimes you go through the motions for a little bit before you start to feel it. I’ve experienced that on my mission.
We were talking about that earlier, when I was in the MTC, I had a really challenging companionship, very toxic. We were very toxic to each other. And I found myself praying constantly, just trying to survive, honestly. And one of the thoughts that I had one day was to serve her. And she told me, “I don’t need your service.” And somewhere in my mind I knew, “It’s not really for you.” I mean, it is. It is. I went through the motions until I came to love her.
Vinney: So let’s take that principle that you just shared, that’s complete inspiration. I hear all the time, “I want to get a divorce because my spouse doesn’t make me happy.” That says, “I have no power. I gave it all to my spouse and now I don’t feel happy.” That’s what that says to me. But look at what you just taught us today with your experience; what’s the best way to feel love for someone? Serve them. And here’s what’s weird. There’s a psychological syndrome associated with that, they call it Stockholm syndrome; serve who you want to love and you’ll start loving them, even if they’re mean to you and horrible to you. If you want to change that dynamic, change that energy. Now, of course you want to use logic, and if they’re a physical abuser, that kind of thing, take proper steps there. But I’m telling you, if it’s just, “Ah, my spouse doesn’t make me happy.” Serve your spouse. Start doing kind things for them for no reason. And see how much your relationship changes. Take all that energy you might pour into an outside marriage relationship and pour into your spouse, pour that energy into your spouse and save your marriage. And your marriage will be saved. And just like a good work of art, it takes time. And I can tell you from 20 years of my own marriage and mine is eternal, she’s my eternal companion, I’m excited about my eternities with my companion. And we can all have that. We all can have that. But it’s not easy. We’re all humans.
Meghan: No. And I think that’s why we stop; it’s not easy. But the thing is that what you’re really doing–I think from my own observations with my marriage and the challenges that we’ve had–is that you’re sacrificing yourself. You’re sacrificing the desires for yourself, your own comfort, what you feel like you deserve; you’re putting that on the altar and saying, “You know what? I’m gonna sacrifice this on behalf of my marriage, on behalf of my husband.” And guess what? That’s exactly what we’ve all covenanted to do.
Vinney: Yeah, but here’s the thing, you do have to have some balance, just like Christ, in his time, he wasn’t always ministering and prophesying and healing. He would go and meditate. He’d go and wander on his own. He would not even allow the apostles to go with him. He would go and pray. He would spend time to refuel his energy. So he would have me time, where he was taking care of him, because he knew he needed to talk to his Father, to God, and to connect.
And so we have to connect too. So keep connected to God, that’s where you recharge your batteries. And then when you do need to throw some energy into that relationship, go do it. Do it through service and it’s gonna change things. That works with work too, though. You have a bad boss? Go serve him or her. You have a bad coworker? Go take him to lunch. And when they ask why, just be like, “Cause I want to.” And see how that changes. It will change things.
Meghan: It’s that essence that you said, of loving everyone, right? And of recognizing that we all belong to God and that he loves each of us and any negative feelings we have towards each other are negative feelings towards him, in a way. That totally resonates.
Vinney: And it’s funny, in our faith we fully believe that we’re all spiritual brothers and sisters, that’s why we call each other’s sisters and brothers. But how easy is it for us, when someone who’s not in the church cuts you off and you are like, “Ah, that bad driver!” Or someone messes up your plane ticket and you’re like, “Ah, I can’t believe you made a mistake, you’re human, what?” It’s like we get so upset and forget we’re speaking to our brother or our sister, even if they’re outside our faith, especially if they’re outside our faith.
Meghan: Yeah. That’s a really fun exercise I’ve had which I was inspired to do one time. It kind of related to that idea also that we talked about, of releasing prejudice. And what’s interesting is, I feel like in the counterfeit of what the world is pushing– it’s what you were experiencing where it’s still prejudice, it’s just kind of reverse prejudice.
Vinney: It is, yeah. If you can hate any certain group of people, no matter what you’re choosing, as you’re reasoning for that, it’s choosing to be a part of them. It’s choosing to be a part of what you hate in them. To hate them itself is to join their ranks. So if you don’t want to join the ranks of the racist, the prejudiced, the chauvinist, whatever, then don’t hate them. Stop hating ’em. Start loving them. Prove them. Prove them otherwise.
Meghan: Yeah. Which I think is really interesting for us to think about, just generally speaking as the body of the church, because one of the things that I do think we tend to do, that we don’t even necessarily recognize we’re doing is that if there is any scripture that speaks negatively of, a group or, a philosophy like, unbelievers or adulterers, fornicators, all of these lists, we love to say, “Oh, this is referring to other churches, he’s referring to others.
Vinney: Here’s the funny thing, as members of the church, for us to judge another being, another being whatsoever, is to think that you are God. Cuz really, who’s the judge? Who’s the judge? God. So for you to sit there and think you can judge, you think you’re better than God, right?
And we don’t. Think about Jesus’s life. When did he ever go out and throw away a whole class of people because of their belief and faith? You think Christ didn’t work with Egyptians? He lived there. Did he call ’em Pagans? Did he call ’em, heathens? No, not once. And what did Christ do when the sinning woman came and met him at the Pharisees house? And she came weeping and she literally washed his feet with tears. And then anointed his feet with oil. What did the Pharisees say to Jesus? The Pharisees said, “Oh, you must not be the son of God because if you were the real son of God, if you were the real messiah, then you would know that she’s a sinner and you would never let a sinner touch you that way.” And he’s like, “Oh, then who are you? You let me enter your house without anointing my head. You let me enter your house without washing my feet, without even dusting off my feet?” Which to their culture, that was the same as saying flip someone off or something. It was horrible in their culture to– if you respected that person at all, you would anoint their head as they entered your home as a guest, then you would offer them at least, to have a servant clean their feet. Or if you really loved them, you yourself, the host, no matter how old you were, you would get down on your knees and you would clean their feet for them and then anoint their feet. But did the Pharisee do that? Did the super righteous person of his day do that? No. He judged Jesus. Who is he to judge the son of God? Who are we to judge children of God? That’s not our position, for us to do it ever, even once is a sin. We have no right. And the second you think you have a right to judge someone, go live their life for a year. And I’ll tell you, after one week, you’ll come back and say, “Oh my gosh, everything’s changed.
I had no idea what was going on in their life.” We can’t judge each other. We can love each other. No matter what someone says to me, I love them. They ram me with their car, I love them. Have they flipped me off? I love them. If they cuss at me, I love them. If they rip me off, I love them. That’s just a fact. But it’s because of my experience. But we don’t need to die to know this. We can study the scriptures and learn this. We can study our Savior and learn this. He’s the perfect example.
Meghan: I think it’s important for us not to become an underwater welder. Not to seek death experiences because that’s not gonna go over a well.
Vinney: No, we don’t need that. Here’s the funny thing, we can pray and we can connect to our Heavenly Father so easily. But unfortunately–this is the problem in our church–we drive up to the window at Wendy’s, we order our food at the speaker, and then we just drive straight home. That’s what we do constantly in the church. We say our prayer and we hurry and go about our day. We give no time for God to give us our food, our spiritual food. And what that time is, give God a moment. Stop at the pickup window with God. Seriously stop at the pickup window with God. So when you say your prayers, give God a few minutes. Give our heavenly Father a few minutes to talk to you, his child, and give your heart the message that it needs to hear; give you the answers that you are asking for. We don’t go ask someone for something and then run away. Cuz that’s what we’re doing in most of our lives. We’re so busy, we do a prayer, we barely squeak out a prayer, and then we go to bed. We don’t even give God five seconds to listen to him. I challenge anybody who that resonates with, do it. Give God some time in your life. If you want to call it meditation, do that, while just quietly focusing on your breath, listen to God. If you want to use your imagination with it and think, what would God want me to see right now? God will help you see things, it’s pretty amazing. But give God some time. We’re a blank canvas and God wants to paint. So give God some time to paint and he’ll answer your prayers. Completely. Maybe not the way you think that he’s gonna answer them, but He will answer ’em. God will always answer your prayers.
Meghan: That’s so beautiful. I love that. Yeah. There’s so many ways that he wants to speak to us, so many ways that he can. One of the things that I’ve been learning lately that is so thrilling to me, is making room for God to talk to me in my sleep. And I’m not talking about dreams because that isn’t a talent that I have yet–that’s something that I’ve always wanted, I hope to develop eventually–but what I’m finding is that he will give me words. He will speak to me in between my dreams, when I’m asleep. And when I wake up in the morning and I do what the words said–and usually it’s a topic to study or an answer to a question that I’ve had–and it’s just amazing. And no one ever talks about that. But that is a way that he’s, that I’m learning that God wants to speak to me and he wants to speak to all of us in the ways that we will hear him. And what I think is so amazing about your story is, really what it did is, it just opened your spiritual eyes.
Vinney: That’s what did, it woke me up and it’s weird. I had to die to learn how to live. It’s crazy to say, but that’s what I had to do. Because I wasn’t– I was successful. I had actually spent, after my mission–I served my mission in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam and had a civil war–while I was there, and we were taken out and saw killings and there was just, it wasn’t so easy, it was awesome though. So awesome, so adventurous and so full of adventure, constantly. Which that’s what I needed. That’s the mission I needed. But when I got back, I felt like I was a superhero on my mission and then when I got back I was just another white guy in Utah.
Meghan: It’s the worst. I had that feeling too. You get home from your mission and you’re like, “I’d rather be anywhere else.” I just, I felt like I was just another number in the flock and I didn’t feel important anymore, and I really struggled with that. And I ended up working in TV and film and it still didn’t gratify that– I felt special, but only in the world’s terms, not in God’s terms and I felt so special on my mission–and because it was the work I was doing. It was. And so I went and did Satan’s work for a while. I went and lived the 20 something year old’s life away from the church. And it was the loving grace, the loving grace of Bishop Jeffries–and he lived out on the other side of Utah Lake, Cedar Fort, Cedar Hills, something like that, but he’s a trucker and an amazing man–and he never gave up on me. He called me every single Friday night, or no, Saturday night. He called me every single Saturday night to see if I wanted to come to church, if I needed somebody to take me to church or whatever. And I would tell ’em, I’d be honest. I’d be like, “Nope, too hungover. Sorry bro.” Or whatever. And I was living that life. I was living outside the church for a few years. But. When I came back, he was my door back because he never gave up on me. He called me for years, every weekend. And he told me the second that I could come back and be a participant in the church again, that he’d give me a calling and I’d feel some of that purpose again. And of course the first calling he gave me was the activities committee because I was very good at activities. The love that he showed me was just tremendous. And the grace that he showed me–he never judged me, not once–and he had plenty of opportunities. I was throwing him opportunities with the phone calls.
I was trying to get him, I was trying to get him to trigger me by him judging me. And he never did. Not once. Ever. Now, everyone else did. Even some people in my own family were judging me at the time, but he never did. And I’ll tell you, that’s what that got me back. And I was actually back when– and I was doing body building and stuff when I discovered this supplement, which wasn’t dangerous at the time, but when you buy it online, it’s actually quite dangerous. You’re supposed to mix it with 10 times the volume of water as what you’re getting there. Or 20 times, 20 times the volume of water is what you’re getting in that box. Yeah. So needless, let’s say I had to learn a lesson. I had to learn a lesson.
Meghan: Everyone read labels because this one, you might not come back.
Vinney: I lived in Thailand, so I was like, we bought this stuff from Thailand. I’m like, “Oh, it’s gonna be safe. Yeah, no problem.” I lived in Thailand. The food and stuff there is safe. But what I didn’t realize is, “Hey, I couldn’t read Thai, couldn’t read that it was way too strong to drink direct or straight. But that’s the amazing thing about God is, our Heavenly Father has a complete plan for every single one of us and even my death was part of my plan. As odd as that is to say, that’s what saved me. That’s what saved me. And I would pray that no one needs that. No one needs to die to be saved. Go out and reconnect to your Heavenly Father. Have your prayers. Set your intentions, and look for God. You’ll find him. But if you keep ignoring him, if you keep doing what the rest of the world’s doing like this, just like this [ ] you won’t find God. You won’t find God here [in a cell phone]. Maybe in the Gospel library you might but you’re not gonna find God too much here. Most of God is here. And in the holiest of temples, which is right here, these temples right here, what’s going on here is more important than what you can ever do in a building of a temple, because this is the temple, the physical body God gives us is the temple. The first temple.
Meghan: Right. I love that. Thank you. And yeah, I was gonna say, I feel like if there’s one thing that’s the theme of this conversation it’s one of the first things that Drake said to you about your ordinances. And that whole idea that you had the letter of the law and you had the motions.
You had the things–the boxes had been checked–and now it’s the spirit. We’ve got to connect with that spiritual side of those ordinances because those are what make you become.
Vinney: Here’s what’s weird. We can pay our tithing every Sunday. We can go to the temple every week or every month. We can do all of our ordinances. Take the sacrament regularly. We can do all the stuff that we within the faith are supposed to do. But we can allow our heart to stray far away from God. And how do we do that right here? Right here. What we’re watching right here, what we’re doing here is what our heart is doing. And think about this. Think about how they describe the anti-Christ, as the silver tongue serpent that will have a whisper in everyone’s ear and will be in the back pocket or in the confidences of all people. What is that? That’s our phones everybody. That’s our phones. That’s our technology. Does your phone have a whisper in your ear? Constantly. And is it in the confidence or the closeness of who you are? Constantly. So it can be a tool for great good, or a very strong tool for great bad. So protect your heart. Spend time with God, not with your phone. Go with God. Go out in nature, get out in the sun, walk around. I know in Idaho and Utah and Wyoming, it’s very cold and icy. You can still get out in the sun. Maybe go find a sauna somewhere. Get some infrared, get out there and connect to life. Connect to nature. Maybe come to Vegas for a weekend, but not the strip. Go to the real Vegas where you meet real people off strip. That’s why I live here, is it’s an awesome community off strip. On strip it’s a completely different community. And yeah, most of us who live here never go down there except for maybe for a concert or something. Get out there, connect to God where you can. I do a technology fast here and there. This last week I did a five day, my wife did a three day, my daughter did a three–I joke around, my daughter did a two and three quarter day. She kinda, she had a few points where she had to look up technology. But I’ll tell you, it really allows you to be in control of everything and allows you to be the master of your own life, master of your own relationship with technology. That’s important. That was a really important principle that I learned, and that’s the principle that’s important for all of us today.
Meghan: Yeah, absolutely. Amen. Amen to all, to everything that you’ve said. Vinney, thank you. Thank you so much. Would it be weird if I said, thank you for dying so that we could learn from this experience?
Vinney: I’m the one guy who would say that’s cool. I like that.
Meghan: Okay. Okay, cool. We’re glad you came back.
Vinney: I joke around that I’m one of the only dead friends you have– like to my other friends–
Meghan: I love it. I feel so uplifted and enlightened. Thank you for sharing your spiritual glasses with us for just a little bit, and God bless you and your family and all the good that you’re putting out into the world. I believe that you’re right, all of that will come back and we’ve certainly been the beneficiaries of that today. So thank you.
Vinney: Thank you. Thank you for what you’re doing. Thank you for your podcast. There’s a real battle out there. It really is a war, it’s a war of souls and technology is winning right now. So don’t let technology win in your life. Keep your soul, keep it protected. Keep it in a place of light, a place close to God. And if you don’t know who God is, go to the scriptures, find God. Research. Connect. Pray. You’ll find God, and go within your holy temple right here and ask for answers, you’ll get ’em, always. And thank you so much for your mission because in this battle of souls, there’s so many good sources and this is one of them. And I appreciate your podcast and your audience and thanks for letting me be a part of it. I love it.
Meghan: Absolutely. Anytime. Thank you so much.
Vinney: Thank you and have a very blessed night.
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