A Sacred Responsibility
April 1990

“A Sacred Responsibility,” Friend, Apr. 1990, inside front cover

A Sacred Responsibility

(Adapted from an April 1989 annual general conference address. See Ensign, May 1989, pages 46–47.)

Whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods … , and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit (D&C 84:33).

The word magnify is interesting. It means to enlarge, to make clear, to bring closer, and to strengthen.

I have a pair of binoculars. I treasure them not only for their practical value but also for sentimental reasons. They are useful for enlarging objects at which I might look. They are also a reminder of a good and great man who magnified his priesthood. They were given to me in 1962 by President Henry D. Moyle, a counselor in the First Presidency. Whenever I use them, I think of the giver as well as the gift.

When you put the eye-pieces of binoculars to your eyes and focus them, you magnify and in effect bring closer everything that you look at. But if you turn them around and look through the other end, you diminish and make more distant that which you see.

So it is with our actions as holders of the priesthood. When we live up to our high and holy calling, when we show love for God through service to fellowmen, when we use our strength and talents to build faith and spread truth, we magnify our priesthood. When, on the other hand, we live lives of selfishness, when we sin, when we set our sights only on the things of the world rather than on the things of God, we diminish our priesthood.

Jacob, the brother of Nephi, in speaking of the call which he and his brother Joseph had received, said, “And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence” (Jacob 1:19).

To everyone in this Church who acts in a priesthood office, there comes the sacred responsibility of magnifying that priesthood calling. And if we are to magnify our callings, we cannot live only for ourselves. As we serve with diligence, as we teach with faith and testimony, as we lift and strengthen and build convictions of righteousness in those whose lives we touch, we magnify our priesthood.