Marcus H. Martins, Ph.D.
Professor of Religion & Leadership
Former Dean, Religious Education
Stake Center # 182-B
Here to See the Course Schedule & Supplemental Readings
Faculty of Religious EducationPLO - Program Learning Outcomes:
SLO - Student Learning Outcomes:
1. Knowledge about and understanding of:
a. Eternal Family
b. Foundations of the Restoration
c. Jesus Christ & the Everlasting Gospel
d. Teachings and Doctrine of the Book of Mormon
e. Other scripture & historical information
2. Ability to:
a. Ask meaningful questions to use appropriate tools and resources for answers, including revelation (information literacy)
b. Find answers to own questions (resolve own concerns: study, faith, prayer)
c. Ask meaningful questions to read texts closely and in light of historical context and current prophetic teachings
d. Reflect for personal application (likening of scriptures to self)
e. Use good evidence and reasoning to teach and help others
f. Become a more faithful disciple of Christ (coming unto Christ, yielding to the Holy Spirit, putting off the natural man, becoming a saint through the Atonement of Christ)
This course is centered on the doctrine of the family and the central role families play in Heavenly Father's plan of salvation. Course content is based on "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," other teachings of latter-day prophets, and the scriptures.
the learning outcomes listed above, our objective in this course is to
understanding of the true doctrine of the eternal family and the role
of families in leading to happiness on earth and eternal life with
Online Class Format
Thousands of students who have taken classes from me before know that my lectures are dialogue-driven--more like conversations or Q&A (Question & Answer) sessions. Therefore, it is essential that you read and think about the assigned materials every week, so you will have good questions to ask me, or insights and experiences related to the readings to share with classmates and friends on social media.
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:
| 150 points
100 points (Attendance, Comments)
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
As usual I will not calculate final scores and grades using percentages nor record them on the Canvas system. I calculate final scores and grades using my old and faithful Excel spreadsheet. But you will be able to estimate your final grade by observing this grading scale.
Weekly Attendance Online
and Online QuizzesThe weekly quizzes are meant to:
I will monitor your "online attendance" during the semester by having you complete weekly quizzes on the Canvas system. These quizzes will contain the Questions for Review from each reading assignment. Don't worry about your score in each quiz. You will obtain participation points just for taking the quiz, regardless of how many points you score in it.
- Record your attendance online
- Help you prepare for both the midterm and final exams
Your actual score in each quiz will tell you how well you are preparing for the exams. That should give you a very good chance to obtain excellent scores in both exams--unless you don't want to.
- The quizzes will be available for several days during the week corresponding to each reading assignment. That will give flexibility to all of you, including those who will be off-island. Check the available dates for each quiz on the Canvas system.
- Since the quizzes will be available for several days, I will not accept "late" quizzes after the last available date—except in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as: sickness, funeral (not yours), arrest, or a natural disaster. Contact me immediately (via Canvas or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) whenever you have a reasonable justification to miss a quiz or any other assignment. In such cases, I may request a doctor's note or some other official documentation.
Unlike the two exams, the quizzes will be open-book, open-notes, but "closed neighbor". You are bound by your honor to answer those questions without the assistance of others--except in cases of officially recognized physical disabilities, in which a reasonable accommodation will have to be approved by the teacher in advance.
- Your participation in these quizzes will enable you to obtain those 100 points listed in the syllabus as Class Attendance & Participation. The penalty for each "online absence"--i.e. missing a quiz without a reasonable justification--is a loss of 15 points in Class Participation.
There will be one midterm and one comprehensive final exam, both administered through the Canvas system. A study guide for each exam is incorporated in the reading assignments' web pages (click on "Course Schedule" hyperlink above). In the event of exams taken late due to non-extenuating circumstances (see "House Rules" below), a penalty of 15 points may be imposed. Extenuating circumstances that could waive this penalty should be reported immediately.
For more information about the official university schedule for final exams, go to https://registrar.byuh.edu/registrar/final-exam-schedule
Optional Review Sessions
for the Online Exams (via Zoom)
These will be optional meetings to give you a chance to double-check with me your answers to the Questions for Review--i.e. those answers you may be unsure of--before you take the exams, if you want or need.
Attendance to these meetings on Zoom will not be mandatory, and I will hold by student request on a flexible schedule to accommodate your time zones on a date yet to be confirmed. Check the time zones table under "Announcements" on Canvas for corresponding times around the world:
Students who wish to have this optional review but are unable to chat with me via Zoom should contact me. I'll be glad to hold a review session with them on audio-only via mobile phone (no text messages) or simply via an exchange of e-mails.
Choose one of the reading assignments out of the Doctrine and Covenants (not the Bible; nor the Book of Mormon). Develop a few impressions about some of the topics of the specific revelation. It may be something relative to your life, or to an article or book you have read, or to a movie, a play, etc. How does the revelation relate to your experience? Does it help you understand the world better? Did you gain any new insights?
Alternatively, you may start with a topic of your choice--something very relevant to you at this time--and then discuss how revelations recorded in the Doctrine & Covenants help you better understand that topic of your choice.
Compare the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple (Doctrine & Covenants section 109) with the dedicatory prayer of the temple closest to your home. Discuss the commonalities and differences between the two prayers.
(For a complete list of temples and their respective dedicatory prayers, go to: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/temples/list?lang=eng)
Feel free to consult with me on how to develop the paper. I am your "number 1" resource. Come to my office, "chat" with me via e-mail, call me on the phone, etc. But please, avoid "half-baked," simplistic, childish, "fluffy" nonsense. Make sure you read my handout "A Few Ideas for Outstanding Academic Papers"
The paper should be no longer than 3 pages (double-spaced, using a 12-point font, and 1 inch margins).
For more information, watch my YouTube video:
Instructions for the Response Paper
The paper is due on Friday, April 2nd
New: Papers submitted late without a reasonable explanation may be penalized with a 10-point loss per work day.
Do not print the paper; just upload it using the Canvas system. Use formats ".doc" or ".docx" (Microsoft Word), or ".pdf" (Adobe Acrobat).
Once again, I encourage you to read my handout "A Few Ideas for Outstanding Academic Papers"
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.
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.
For more information, go to https://disability.byuh.edu/
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.
Additional Information for In-Person Classes
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 surfing 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, try to schedule your ceremony for a non-conflicting date. (This request does not apply to births, of course ...)Classroom EtiquetteI 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 phone ringers--and do not take calls or messages while in class. 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 and Cell Phones in Class
For those among you who are "techno buffs": you are welcome to download the readings to your laptop or access them online in class.
Feel free to share online your ideas, opinions, questions, or short accounts of non-confidential experiences in response to any of the assigned readings or to an idea shared during classroom discussion. In fact, you are welcome to include your Facebook friends in our discussions--but your interactions must be about the topics being discussed in class, not unrelated matters. I count on you to honor this requirement!
You are welcome to share with the class the comments and questions your online friends may send you. All such communications must be intelligent, respectful of others, and real contributions to our education.
Other than the interaction described above, be sure that during class you will use your computer or cell phone to explore that day's reading assignment, not for mindless social networking, e-mail, games, 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 ringer must be silent during class. 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, well ... "Houston, we'll have a problem ..."
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. Absences due to illness (with a doctor's note), job interview, field trip in another class, or due to university 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. Arriving in class more than 15 minutes late--without a reasonable explanation--will also be considered an absence.
- Comments in Class up to 50 points
Our objective with this exercise is to learn from the inspired insights we will gain while studying the readings. 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 experiences from your service in the Church.
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.
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)
Copyright © 2000-2021 - Marcus H. Martins