SMPT Paper on Spirit Birth ….. ACCEPTED!

I just received word that my paper on Spirit Birth for the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology was accepted.  I am pretty darn excited about it.  Now what?!

I have never presented, or even attended something like this before and I have no idea what to expect.  As for now I am planning to go, but I have the following fears:

1 – I do not want to be buried alive by people at this conference.  I am not very sophisticated or well read in philosophy.  There will be plenty of people who could bury me alive if they chose to.  YIKES!

2 – I suppose I will have to spring for a flight, a motel, a rental car, etc.  Cha-ching.

3 – I just don’t know what to expect.  Do I just read the thing and ask for questions?  What goes on at these things??

Anyway, I guess I need to write a 200-300 word abstract, and figure out what a ‘curriculm vitae’ is.

And I want to thank everyone who helped me with this.  That includes everyone who ever interacted with me on any of my goofy spirit birth posts and comments, but particularly those who encouraged me and gave advice in my posted outline and draft.

25 Responses to “SMPT Paper on Spirit Birth ….. ACCEPTED!”

  1. 1 Mark Brown January 6, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Eric, congratulations! That is very cool. This is an accomplishment you should be proud of.

    Don’t sweat it, you’ll do great. Everybody is nervous, so you’ll fit right in. SMPT is usually a pretty small, cozy gathering and everybody is very nice. I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

  2. 2 Eric Nielson January 6, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Thanks Mark. I hope you are right about the nice and cozy part.

  3. 3 Geoff J January 6, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Cool Eric. I went to a couple of these conferences and they were pretty small and friendly. No doubt the organizers can fill you in on the details of your segment.

  4. 5 C Jones January 6, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Yay! I’m so impressed. I love it that you are so interested in this subject that you have taken it and run with it like this. Good luck– I know you will be great!

  5. 6 Matt W. January 6, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    This is fantastic Eric. I hope it doesn’t come across wrong when I say how proud I am of you. For those of us who are “blue collar” theologians, seeing you make it in gives us hope that we are part of the conversation.

  6. 7 Eric Nielson January 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm


    THanks. When I first showed up on the blogs I had no special interest or feeling regarding spirit birth. And I would probably be glad to be average at this thing.


    Thanks Matt. Your encouragement was an important part.

  7. 8 Chris Henrichsen January 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I am presenting, too. I look forward to meeting you. We will have to discuss Rexburg, as well as the band Rush.

  8. 9 Dave January 6, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Bravo, Eric. Nothing like a presentation to make you take preparation and study very seriously for a few months.

  9. 10 Eric Nielson January 6, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Congratulations to you Chris. Look forward to meeting someone from the blogs (I have yet to do so).


    Take preparation and study seriously for a few months?! What am I getting into?

  10. 11 Lynnette January 6, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Congrats! Like others have said, my experience has been that SMPT is a friendly conference. It seems to be getting a little bigger (which I think is a good thing), but I’ve always had fun presenting–the audience has been talkative, but not mean. Pretty much you just read your paper, and then there is some time for questions and comments. (And there will probably be a chair for your session who will introduce you and keep track of time and fielding questions and that kind of thing, so you don’t have to worry about that stuff.)

  11. 12 Eric Nielson January 6, 2010 at 4:45 pm


    Thanks so much. This is exactly what I needed to hear.

  12. 13 Jacob J January 6, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Eric, awesome! Great job following through and submitting your paper.

    Watch out for Blake, I hear he doesn’t believe in viviparous spirit birth 🙂 Kidding of course, you have nothing to worry about, you’ll do great. Just like the blogs, most people disagree with each other so don’t worry about being buried alive. At the SMPT conference I went to, someone had a paper saying Mormons are fideists, which to me seems like the most ridiculous thing ever, but everyone was nice in their comments, even the people who disagreed. The format of the one I attended was just as Lynnette said. The Q&A was pretty informal and more like a group conversation at times.

  13. 14 Eric Nielson January 6, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Thanks Jacob. I hope I meet a few blogger there.

  14. 15 J. Stapley January 7, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Great news, Eric. I hope you let those of us who are not able to attend know how it goes.

  15. 17 SmallAxe January 7, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Here’s my two cents, FWIW.

    Re #1. Don’t worry, people tend to be nicer in person than over the internet. Many of the questions you will get are ones that you probably anticipate, so at least know how you would respond to those.

    Re #3. The easiest thing to do is to simply read the paper. If that is your plan, practice reading it several times before hand to make sure that it doesn’t go over time and that you can read it in an engaging manner.

    You’ll find that many panels/papers are quite boring. From what I know SMPT is actually better than many other academic conferences; but if you are clear, articulate, and demonstrate that some degree of thought has gone into your paper, people will respond very well (even if they disagree).

    Re #2. See if you can find a roomate. You’ll be able to not only split the motel costs (and perhaps the rental car), but also have someone to review the day with. The social opportunities are often the best parts of conferences.

  16. 19 Eric Nielson January 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm


    Thanks for the advice and the help.

  17. 20 Chris Henrichsen January 7, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    I am not sure if there is a conference hotel since it is being held at UVU. However, I live in the area, let me know if you need a place to stay.

  18. 21 Eric Nielson January 7, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Thanks Chris. I thought you lived in Rexburg.

  19. 22 Chris Henrichsen January 7, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Provo since August after three years in Rexburg.

  20. 23 m&m January 9, 2010 at 5:52 am

    Congrats, Eric! I agree with C Jones — it’s cool that you were excited enough to study this topic and write about it. Looking forward to your report on your experience!

  21. 24 m&m January 9, 2010 at 5:54 am

    nd figure out what a ‘curriculm vitae’ is.

    p.s. That’s a fancy name for a résumé. 🙂

  22. 25 Eric Nielson January 9, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Figures that you would know that!

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