Marriage & Eternal Marriage:
The Analogy of the Concrete Slab
H. Martins, Ph.D.
Essay Posted on Social Media - 2015
In 2015 I wrote a commentary
online about the difference between the divine ordinance of marriage
and a regular civil marriage. I reproduce here a slightly edited
and expanded version of those remarks.
would make an analogy between the divine institution of
marriage--specifically the sealing ordinance in the temple, the New and
Everlasting Covenant of Marriage (Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-4)--and a concrete slab.
Early in my professional life (mid-1970s)
I worked in the construction industry, and so I know a little about the
quality and proportions of materials (types of cement, gravel, sand,
water, and rebar) used in preparing concrete, and the proper care
required during mixing and use.
an analogy between these materials contained in a concrete slab and the
New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage, I would imagine the following:
blessings, honors, and privileges of the New and Everlasting Covenant
of Marriage that will come to be enjoyed in spheres of eternal glory
will be installed atop this "slab" established here in mortality in the
House of the Lord, and solidified in our temporarily imperfect homes.
would represent the priesthood, the power and authority by which a man
and a woman are united as a couple for time and eternity.
(gravel and sand) would represent the essential elements of love,
kindness, respect, and attention that should permeate the relationship
between the couple and eventually among the other family
members--children, relatives, etc. Without these, the "slab" (or
marriage) would not have durability. No sealing in a temple can make
two people who cannot stand each other remain united forever.
would represent certain ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ--(for
now) baptism, sacrament, and washing-- vivified by the power of the
atonement of Jesus Christ, and administered by the authority of the
priesthood--which over time bond (affix, glue, unite) the other
elements generating the solidification process of the "slab" or eternal
would represent the support structure provided by the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints to couples and families, shaping the
institution of marriage and family in divinely approved forms revealed
to living prophets.
Applying this analogy to civil marriage, or marriage for time only, I would say the following:
marriage is an institution defined and sanctioned by the power of the
state or civil government. Using the analogy described above, this
"slab" has neither cement nor water, and the aggregates and steel are
supported by wooden molds, or civil laws enforced in society. These
molds can have the most varied formats, depending on the laws approved
by congresses, parliaments, or mortal monarchs. However, precisely
because they are established by mortal powers, with the occurrence of
death the wooden molds disintegrate, and the "slab" crumbles.
sacred ordinances performed in temples can add "concrete and
water"--that is, priesthood and the power of the atonement of Jesus
Christ--to these civilly-established relationships and, if confirmed by
all parties involved, these relationships can then last forever.
is a professor of religion and leadership and former dean of religious
education at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. He wrote the book
"Setting the Record Straight: Blacks and the Mormon Priesthood", and
the manuscript "The Priesthood: Earthly Symbols and Heavenly
Realities". He has spoken at conferences and events in the United
States (where he has lived since 1990), Brazil, China, England, Hong
Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Portugal, Qatar and Singapore.
Brother Martins joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
in 1972 and became the first Latter-day Saint with Black African
ancestry to serve a full-time mission after the 1978 Revelation. He
served twice as bishop, seven times as stake high councilor, three
times as temple worker, translator of the Book of Mormon, and president
of the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission with his wife, Mirian Abelin
Barbosa. The couple has four children and eight grandchildren.
Marcus H. Martins, 2015