Marcus Helvécio Martins (born 22 April 1959[1]) is the current chairman of the Department of Religious Education at Brigham Young University Hawaii and the author of Setting the Record Straight: Blacks and the Mormon Priesthood. Martins was one of the first Mormons of African descent to serve as a missionary after the 1978 Revelation on the Priesthood extended the right to priesthood ordination to all worthy male members regardless of race or color. Brother Martins is the son of Helvécio Martins, who was the first General Authority of African descent.


Marcus Martins was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[1] The Martins family joined the Church in 1972. In February 1978, Marcus Martins became engaged to Mirian Abelin Barbosa, who had just returned from serving in the Brazil São Paulo South Mission. Initially they planned on getting married in May 1978, but then postponed the marriage until after the dedication of the São Paulo Brazil Temple, so Mirian could be sealed to her parents at the same time. However, Mirian then decided not to follow that plan, and so they set a new marriage date of August 5. On June 8, 1978, Official Declaration—2 was announced. After much contemplation and prayer, Martins decided to serve a mission rather than get married immediately. He served in the Brazil São Paulo North Mission.[2]

After returning from his mission, Martins married Marian. He worked for ten years as a systems analyst. During this time he also served as a bishop. In the late 1980s, Martins was involved in making a new translation of the Book of Mormon into Portuguese.[3]

Martins then went to Provo, where he studied for six years at Brigham Young University (BYU). He eventually earned a Ph.D. in sociology at BYU. He then worked as a religion professor at Brigham Young University–Idaho before taking his current position at BYU Hawaii. He is also the chair of BYU Hawaii's committee to promote a full understanding of English by its foreign students, who constitute over half of the student body.[3]

The Third Century of Mormonism: Essays by Marcus H. Martins was scheduled to be published in 2008.[4]

Brother Martins has also spoken to the World Family Policy Forum giving a talk on the need to use technology to advance the cause of the family.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Martins, Helvecio and Mark Grover. The Autobiography of Helvecio Martins, (Salt Lake City: Aspen Books, 1994) p. 29
  2. Martins. Autobiography, pp. 68–73.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rosemarie Howard, "Marcus Martins Named New Chair of L2 Committee", 2007-03-20,, accessed 2008-05-02.
  4. "Setting the Record Straight: Blacks and the Mormon Priesthood",, accessed 2008-05-02.
  5. article on strategy by Brother Martins


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