BYU Broadcasting director shares personal story about overcoming obstacles

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Michael A. Dunn, managing director of BYU Broadcasting, speaks about overcoming obstacles and shares a personal story about his experience climbing to the Grand Teton. (Hannah Miner)

Managing Director of BYU Broadcasting Michael A. Dunn talked about overcoming trials during his BYU devotional address titled “Why Mountains?” given Oct. 1 at the Marriott Center. One experience he spoke of during the address was the time he scaled Wyoming’s Grand Teton peak.

He said it was his wife’s dream to summit the 13,776-foot mountain and he, the “fraidy-cat husband,” decided to go.

“While it was her biggest dream, I have to tell you, it was more like my biggest nightmare,” Dunn said.

Dunn recalled a particular point during the climb that he found especially daunting — a corner that he had to step around blindly.

“You can’t see where you are stepping. And as if a blind step isn’t scary enough, you step across the gap with nothing but 1,500 feet of very thin, frosty air beneath you,” Dunn said about the corner.

Their guide, Jack, went first, confidently stepping around the corner.

“Not hearing a fading scream echoing off the rocks, I was pretty sure he made it safely,” Dunn said. “Just after concluding my 687th prayer that morning, I found myself at a critical juncture in this climb, as I heard the chilling invitation coming from our unseen guide around the corner as he said, ‘Climb, Michael.’”

Dunn climbed, and likened doing so to taking a step of faith.

In his speech, Dunn related the guidance and support of their seasoned guide to the Savior. Although Dunn said he felt he took the step around the corner without protection, the belay rope was secured the entire time and with enough slack that he was still able to take the step on his own.

Dunn related this experience to how the Lord guides his children through trials, and quoted Doctrine and Covenants 84:88.

The verse says, “There I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”

Dunn talked about how students will face obstacles that may, at times, seem too difficult to climb. He said that if anyone attempts to take their obstacles on all at once, doing so would be overwhelming, perhaps even impossible. Instead, Dunn invited students to tackle obstacles one step at a time, just as he did while climbing the Grand Teton.

Dunn concluded by offering words of encouragement to those facing trials, whatever that trial may be.

“Your mountain is indeed waiting and ready to tackle. And as you take it on, you will find that inner and yet-to-be discovered strength by combining the formidable tandem of courage and faith, combined with God’s promise of protecting and enabling blessings,” he said.

Next week’s devotional address will be given by Brigitte Madrian, Dean of the Marriott School of Business Tuesday, Oct. 8, 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.

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