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Today in the Priesthood meeting I used the phrase to magnify the Priesthood.  A good friend told me that I shouldn’t use that phrase because what we magnify is our calling.  I have read a few discourses where the phrase to magnify the Priesthood has been used.  Elder George Q. Cannon, President Harold B. Lee, among others have used this phrase.  Would you please explain the meaning of this phrase, and can it be used? Thank you very much.






I’m happy to answer that question.

Yes, it can be used.  Any objections to the use of the phrase shows a lack of understanding the meaning of “magnify.”  Today, it tends to have only one common meaning — to make larger, either by physically changing something or by changing its appearance (such as by using a magnifying glass).

Most people see this definition and think “How on earth can I make a calling or priesthood larger?”  By that meaning, I’d agree.  You can’t really do that, at least, not in the sense that a magnifying glass works.  But that is not the meaning found in the Doctrine & Covenants.

All modern uses of such phrases come from the common usage in the 1800s (when the Doctrine and Covenants was revealed and written).  That usage of “to magnify” was: “to extol, to praise, to exalt, to elevate, to raise in estimation.”   In other words, it was to magnify the reputation and the importance.

Thus the meaning of “magnify your calling” or “magnify the priesthood” really means to show great reverence for the priesthood you hold and to consider your calling to be an important part of your life.

In the April 2018 General Conference, President Dallin H. Oaks gave a beautiful talk on this very subject.


Thanks for the question.








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