Doctrines of the Gospel
Marcus H. Martins, Ph.D.
Professor of Religion & Leadership
Former Dean, Religious Education
Here to See the Course Schedule & Reading Assignments
Faculty of Religious EducationPLO - Program 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)
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:
Paper (final version)
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
The course paper will be an opportunity to go beyond the student manual through the development and expression of personal insights on different issues. The paper must be typed or word processed (10 pages maximum, double spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins), and turned in until the following dates: February 13 (rough draft); and April 10 (final draft).
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 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 ..."
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 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.
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
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" (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 texts, failure to bring your personal copy of (or electronic access to) the readings 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.