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Faith

BYU Devotional: Navigating Our Way Through Life

BYU Mechanical Engineering Professor Tim McLain is fascinated with figuring out ways for unmanned aircraft (drones) to find their way from one location to another. For him, this topic is both technically interesting and a good metaphor for our mortal journey through life, he said at the Devotional on Tuesday.

Tim McLain


Similar to how he approaches his work with drones, McLain suggests that there are four important components we can have that will help us reach our ultimate objectives in life:

  1. A vision or goal that defines our path
  2. Ways of assessing progress along our path
  3. Ability to reason and make decisions to improve progress
  4. Exercise agency to act in ways that lead us toward the desired objective

"[The] idea of evaluating where we are relative to our desired objective and then acting to move towards it can be termed in technical jargon as feedback control," McLain said. "This principle of feedback is powerful and it is finding its way into our daily lives in more and more ways." 
According to McLain, just as the liahona was a source of divine feedback for Nephi and his family, we are able to receive feedback from sources such as the scriptures and the Holy Ghost.

"As we fly along our path through life, at times we may crash," said McLain. "Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we may feel like we just keep going down. [But] we can be repaired and made whole again through the atoning sacrifice of the Savior. It is my hope that we can be faithful and diligent in doing the small things that will allow this guiding feedback to be both frequent and perfectly accurate, leading us to the great things that God has intended for us."

If you missed McLain's remarks, the Devotional can be streamed on BYUtv.org and will be archived on speeches.byu.edu.

Next Devotional: Michael Goodman, Department of Church History and Doctrine​

The next BYU Devotional address will be given by Church History Professor Michael Goodman on Tuesday, July 12, at 11:05 a.m., in the JSB Auditorium.

His remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv and BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM and BYU Radio.

Writer: Beau Jones

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