My first public experience as a scholar


This image outlines the basic path of the mono...
A graph representing the Hero Journey, or Monomyth


Today I am about to have my first public, official experience as a scholar:  I am presenting a paper at a conference at BYU.  I have written about this before, BYU has a conference on Literature and Belief that meetsyesterday and today, with presentations by different people from various Universities across the nation.  I am presenting on the LDS Plan of Salvation as the Archetype of the Monomyth.  I argue that not only is LDS doctrine another example of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, or hero journey, but that it is the original example upon which all others are based, from which all others are derived.

I have been working on this idea for about a year now, since I had a literature class at BYU where we discussed the monomyth.  I have studied and researched both the aspects of the hero journey as well as scriptures and quotes from LDS Apostles about the Plan of Salvation. I feel like I have prepared pretty well, I have worked on this paper, and I have thought about this quite a lot.

But as I prepare to present today, I am a little bit nervous.  I feel a little inadequate.  This is my first experience in a scholarly setting to present an idea that I have had to other very intelligent people.  I guess, I am also not so enthusiastic about my topic as I used to be.  I have been studying this for a year now, it’s no longer novel or new to me.  But, I guess it’s new and interesting to others.  I am allowed to be the one to have a new idea, to present something amazing and be respected in the scholarly community.

I just hope that I don’t choke.  I hope that I am able to express myself well, to completely and fully explain what I have come up with.  I only have 15 minutes to present what I could talk about for hours!  Maybe this is just normal jitters.  Maybe this is what is keeping me humble.  I hope I do well.  I hope that I am able to share my ideas in such a way that others understand them.

Though, I guess it’s a possibility that no one shows up to hear me present, except for my wife!  That’s something I could look forward to.  But, no matter what, she will be there, and I will be able to talk with her, regardless of how many other people are in the room.  She is my anchor and my support when I need her.

I’ll let you know tomorrow how it went!  Wish my luck!

8 thoughts on “My first public experience as a scholar

  1. Cool! I’d love to read the paper. This is something I’ve thought about as well, though I’m not sure I’ve never made the connection as directly as you have. I’m presenting a paper at next month’s Mormon Media Studies Symposium that is maybe a little related to this, looking at the film “Pan’s Labyrinth” and the overtly Mormon, Plan of Salvation-like parallels in the film’s mythology, and how the film takes these parallels and uses them to connect the Adam & Eve and Abraham & Isaac narratives in some really cool ways.

  2. Dav,
    I’m sure you’ll do good, judging from those improv gospel doctrine lessons I’ve seen you give. You should post a synopsis.

  3. Don’t know if it fits into your paper or not, but I’ve noticed that a lot of fantasy novels involve the hero having to overthrow an “anti-Zion” which isn’t explicitly defined in LDS Theology, but I’d identify as the “great and spacious building.” The anti-zion is where the beautiful, graceful, and powerful live, but it’s always built on the suffering of others.

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