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Marriage & Eternal Marriage:
The Analogy of the Concrete Slab

Marcus H. Martins, Ph.D.

Short 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.

I 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.

Making an analogy between these materials contained in a concrete slab and the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage, I would imagine the following:
All 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.

Applying this analogy to civil marriage, or marriage for time only, I would say the following:

Civil 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.

Fortunately, 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.

Marcus H. Martins 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.

Copyright - Marcus H. Martins, 2015