The Book of Mormon
Marcus H. Martins, Ph.D.
Professor of Religion & Leadership
Office: Stake Center # 182-A
Click Here to See the Course Schedule & Lecture Notes
The manual is available online in PDF format at the Church Educational System website (click on the picture)
You may download the entire manual to a flash drive, a laptop, or another electronic device. Just be sure to read the corresponding sections after you read the assigned chapters of the Book of Mormon before each class period.
I do not lecture—in the traditional sense of the word—very often. Instead, most of my classes are typically dialogue-driven; more like a group conversation, or like a Q&A (question-and-answer) session.
Assignments & Grading Policy
Contrary to popular (and false) belief, I consider that an excellent final grade should be the result of excellent performance both at the Testing Center and in the classroom. An "A" should not be given simply because someone is "nice" (whatever that means) or has a testimony of the gospel. That high grade should be reserved for those who read all the assignments, attend class regularly, participate in classroom discussion frequently, and study for the exams diligently. This is the breakdown of the total points possible in this class:
100 points (Attendance, Comments)
And the final grades will be assigned according to the following scale:
A 585-600 B- 525-539 D+ 460-474 A- 570-584 C+ 505-524 D 445-459 B+ 555-569 C 490-504 D- 430-444 B 540-554 C- 475-489 F 001-429
Exams & Assignments
House RulesI like to use BYU-H's Honor Code to our advantage. This Honor Code is based on mutual trust. That implies a commitment to be "... honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous ..." (The 13th Article of Faith). In practice, that requires us to give credit to others' ideas, to speak the truth and accept full responsibility for our actions--or for the lack of them. That commitment also requires us to respect and to develop love for each other as children of the Most High and heirs of eternal kingdoms, independent of our differences in ideas, beliefs, gender, race, or national origin.
As a consequence of the commitment to accept full responsibility for our actions, there will be no make-up exams, and no assignments for extra credit. The exercises (or exams, if you prefer) will not be given on dates different than the ones mentioned here, except in cases of extenuating circumstances.
Extenuating circumstances do not include the following: forgetfulness, early travel arrangements, homesickness, your best friend's wedding, a mid-semester family vacation, the death of your family's dog, a great fishing day, the discovery of your eternal companion, assignments for other classes, pizza parties, and other similarly unholy and impure excuses.
Cases of conflicting final exam schedules, serious infirmities, or other truly extenuating circumstances, should be reported immediately and not postponed until the day before an exam. If you are planning to get married within the next 4 months, please, schedule your ceremony for a non-conflicting date. (This request does not apply to births, of course ...)
I believe that the university's dress and grooming standards reflect the standard that any educated and civil person should adopt anywhere in the world. As a professor as well as a Church high priest I adhere to that standard and expect all my students to do the same.
Since our classes are held in a sacred building, we must display the proper reverence and demeanor suitable to a house of worship. I ask that you refrain from wearing hats, shorts, "grubby attire," beachwear, and from enjoying foods and drinks in the classroom. Falling asleep occasionally is forgivable, but chatting during lectures is not.
To avoid distractions to you and others, while in class, please turn off cell phones. I mean "OFF", not on "vibrate". If you are expecting an emergency call, it might be better for you to miss class and take care of the emergency. Just be sure to send me an e-mail explaining the nature of that emergency. By the way, talking to an old friend, or to your sweetheart in Bangkok, Beijing, or Boston does not constitute an "emergency"--unless he/she is about to undergo brain surgery.
Laptops, PDAs, and Cell Phones in Class
For those among you who are "techno buffs": you are welcome to download the readings to your laptop or PDA and bring it to class. However, be sure that during class you will have the reading assignment on screen, not social networking, e-mail, a game, or work for other classes.
Those who use their cellular phones to browse the web are welcome to access the readings in class that way, but the phone must be silent during class, and the same above-mentioned rule (see previous paragraph) applies. No phone calls or text messaging are allowed! Any exceptions to this must be due to a (real) emergency and cleared with me before each class.
I will not constantly monitor what you do with your electronic devices in class, but if I catch you indulging in stuff unrelated to class ... "Houston, we'll have a problem."
What If You Belong to Another Faith?
No problem at all. I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I respect whatever religious background you come from.
I will never be my intention to offend you or hurt your feelings. I will teach you according to my beliefs in the hope that if you do not accept the restored gospel, at least you will understand the core beliefs of the Latter-day Saints, and help dispel many of the myths and misconceptions about those beliefs. We still would like you to be a good friend of the Church.
Class participation will be judged on both the amount and the quality of your questions, comments and contributions to the progress of your peers. The breakdown for those 50 precious points is the following:
- Attendance up to 50 points
A lot of money and resources are spent in your maintenance in college. So, the least one can do is to attend classes and try to gain the most from them. Occasionally, circumstances may lead you to miss one class period. One absence due to illness or one job interview, or one field trip in another class, and absences due to athletic & performance groups, will be waived, but you need to inform me immediately. In all other cases there will be a penalty of minus 15 points for each absence.
If you need to leave class early, please let me know at the beginning of class. But if you leave class less than 25 minutes after the roll call, or if you sneak out, you will be considered absent on that day, and will lose 15 points.
- Comments in Class up to 50 points
In every class period 4 or 5 students will be invited to share their thoughts, impressions, or questions on that day's reading assignment. Every participation in this "sharing time" will represent 10 points towards the total participation points in the course. Those who miss their opportunity twice will not receive any points for that particular round of sharing time.
Our objective with this exercise is to learn from the inspired insights we will gain while studying the scriptures. Please, avoid "half-baked" remarks (i.e. overly simplistic or unrelated to the assigned chapters) or mere quotations from general authorities. As a college student you must develop analytical skills and find the practical implications of your readings.
Our class periods should be seen as opportunities for mutual enlightenment. I encourage and expect many exchanges of ideas and gospel-based life experiences. If you consider yourself shy, I recommend that you put your shyness in a box and mail it to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean (the Pacific isn't far enough). While in college, take advantage of the resources available to you and "re-engineer" yourself, thus becoming an active participant in a society. Semester-long silence will be rewarded with 0 (zero) points.
Frequent "parallel conversations" (i.e. chatting with classmates often about matters unrelated to the class) may be penalized with a 5-point discount.
Since full participation in class discussion necessarily requires frequent reading of the text, failure to bring your personal copy of the Book of Mormon to class may be penalized with a 5-point discount ... each time.
What If English Is Not Your Native Language?
Once again, no problem. You are welcome to pray in class in your own language ... provided that there is someone available to translate your words into English--for the benefit of all those present. Take a look at the Apostle Paul's words on the subject:
"For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. ... [When] thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room ... say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?" (1 Corinthians 14:14, 16)
Disabilities & Special Circumstances
If you have a diagnosed disability or believe that you have a disability that may require reasonable accommodation, let me know right at the beginning of the semester.
My role and function as a teacher are to assist you in achieving spiritually enriching, rewarding, and intellectually stimulating experiences in and out of the classroom. Your concerns and suggestions--whenever you have them--will always be appreciated.
Class announcements will be made via e-mail. You are responsible to check your e-mail "inbox" regularly. E-mail messages sent to BYU Hawaii e-mail addresses are considered official notification of course policies and procedures.
Official University Statements
Department of Religious Education - Official Outcomes
1. Students will learn the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and apply them to life’s situations
2. Students will develop a testimony of Jesus Christ, His Church, and His leaders on earth
3. Students will commit to live a righteous and chaste life
Preventing Sexual Harassment
Title IX of the education amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in an educational program or activity that receives federal funds, including Federal loans and grants. Title IX also covers student-to-student sexual harassment. If you encounter unlawful sexual harassment or gender-based discrimination, please contact the Human Resources Services at 780-8875 (24 hours).
Students With Disabilities
Brigham Young University-Hawaii is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere, which reasonably accommodates qualified person with disabilities. If you have any disability that may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the Special Needs Counselor, Sister Leilani Auna, at 675-3999 or 675-3518. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures. You should contact the Human Resources Services at 780-8875.