Bro. & Sis. Martins, 1980

Religion 235
Achieving an
Eternal Marriage


Marcus H. Martins, Ph.D.
Chair, Religion Department

Office: Stake Center # 182-A
Phone: (808)
277-2619   (8am-9pm)

Office Hours:
Any day, by appointment

Click here to see the course schedule & lecture notes

Teaching Philosophy

When I look at my students I see not only who they are today but also who they will become in the future. I envision parents, grandparents, missionaries, and leaders in communities, governments, and churches.

That is why in my classes I am rarely concerned with the geography, anthropology, or historiology of the scriptures-although I recognize their importance and have a great deal of personal interest in those subjects as research topics. And I am even less interested--to say the least--in LDS folk stories, folk beliefs, marketing schemes, and assorted LDS cultural traditions.

In my classes I focus on the ways to apply the doctrines and principles contained in the scriptures to achieve two goals: (1) to provide immediate answers to issues relevant to the present experience of my students-e.g. relationship with roommates, full-time missions, temple ordinances, dating, and marriage; and (2) to give them a sample of gospel-based answers to the main problems they are likely to be asked in the present and in the near future by investigators, fellow Church members, and neighbors-problems such as: financial difficulties, domestic violence, divorce, and different manifestations of spiritual apathy.

Course Objective

We will use the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets to: (1)  increase our knowledge of the basic principles and doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and of how they relate to marriage; (2) increase our knowledge of the principles necessary to magnify present or future roles as husbands and wives; (3) increase our ability to find answers to the many challenges of married life in the word of the Lord.

Required Materials

  • The Standard Works  (so far: Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, & Pearl of Great Price)
  • Student Manual: Eternal Marriage
    The manual is available at the Bookstore or on-line in PDF format at the Church Educational System website (click on the picture)

    If you use the web version you will be expected to print each chapter and bring it to each class period.  You may also download those pages to your laptop or PDA.


  • Lecture Notes  - available on the web (click on the hyperlinks on the schedule page)
  • You and your brain equipped with "a sound understanding" (Alma 17:2)

Class Format

This is not a typical section of this course.  Here we will blend the sacred and the secular--or better said, we will refine the secular with the sacred.  Then we will "go forth to serve" our surrounding communities by bringing them our knowledge of gospel-based principles for marriage.

In our discussions everybody will be expected to "pitch in" by leading discussions, making remarks, bringing extra reading materials, articles, and helping the class apply the doctrines of the gospel to shed light on current issues related to marriage and family life.

I expect you not only to read the assigned readings, but also to come to class prepared to intelligently discuss them. This discussion should focus on ways to apply the information in the lessons to analyze real-life situations or issues and propose solutions (currently feasible or not) to them. You are, of course, more than welcome to bring questions regarding those parts of these reading assignments you would like to understand better.

Therefore, in all honesty I have to warn you that this may not be a class for everybody. There will be some amount of involvement in extra-class activities.

Always remember that this is your class, and the greatest learning experience happens when you receive direct instruction from the Lord through the power of the Holy Ghost. I am a simply a humble facilitator in that sacred process.

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:

Midterm Exercise
Final Exercise
Class Participation

Total Points

150 points
150 points
200 points
100 points 
(Attendance, Comments)

600 points

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

Course Paper

During the semester we will read a good amount of excellent prophetic statements and wise counsels about marriage and family life.  But far from making this just an empty exercise, I propose that you try to incorporate these teachings into your life.

Therefore, the paper for this course will consist of a personal essay describing how you plan to implement those teachings about dating (in case you are single), fidelity, financial management, children, and other characteristics of married life.

This exercise could be titled "Personal Decisions for the Future," and I would like you to take this very seriously.  So, as you read the assignments for each class, I would like you to inspect your feelings, think about who you are, how you behave, and make some decisions about how you would implement those teachings in your life in preparation for (or to refine an existing) marriage.


The paper should be no longer than 3 pages (double-spaced, using a 12-point font, and 1 inch margins) and it must honestly discuss what changes or refinements you will implement in your life.  Since this paper will deal with private and sensitive matters, I will not "grade" it in the regular sense of the word; rather, I will merely verify that you completed the assignment.  All I want is for this class to be a relevant force for change or refinement in your life The paper is due on April 5.

There is no need to print the paper; just send me the file as an attachment via e-mail.  Use formats ".doc" (Microsoft Word), or ".wpd" (Corel WordPerfect 9 thru 12), or ".rtf" (Microsoft Rich Text).  Please name the file in the following manner:  Last name-First name initial-course number.extension  For example, my name is Marcus Martins.  So, if I were turning in a paper in REL 235, I would name the file: Martins-M-235.doc (in Word) or Martins-M-235.wpd (in WordPerfect) or Martins-M-235.rtf (in Rich Text)

Any papers (final drafts) turned in after the due date will be penalized with minus 10 points per late day.


House Rules

I 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 ...)

Classroom Etiquette

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. In the past I never made a big deal out of this, but from now on I would like to ask that you refrain from wearing hats, beachwear, and from enjoying foods and drinks in the classroom.  Falling asleep occasionally is forgivable, but chatting during lectures is not.

While in class, please turn off cell phones and pagers. And if you need to leave class early, please let me know at the beginning of class.

What If You Are Not LDS?

No problem at all.  I am a convert to the LDS Church, and I respect whatever religious background you come from.  Most of the principles we will discuss in this marriage class can be effectively applied by couples from any religious affiliation.

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 become a friend of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and help dispel many of the myths and misconceptions about it.

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 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 100 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.
  • 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 15 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" may be penalized with a 5-point discount.

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)

Official Communications

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 on Sexual Harassment & Disabilities

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 Service 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 students with Special Need Counselor Leilani Auna at 293-3999 or 293-3518. 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.

Copyright 2000-2006 - Marcus H. Martins