26 And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.
At the waters of Mormon, Alma taught his people to “bear one another’s burdens,” to “mourn with those that mourn,” and to “comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9). He ordained priests , but he didn’t place them above the people as King Noah had done (Mosiah 11:11). Instead, he commanded that the priests “should labor with their own hands for their support” (Mosiah 18:24), and that no one should “think himself above another” (Mosiah 23:7).
After Alma’s death, the members of the church continued to follow the guidance Alma had given. As we read in the passage above, they did not consider priests and teachers to be above the other members of the church. “They were all equal,” and they all shared the responsibility to do the work of the Lord and to look after each other.
President Russell M. Nelson has reminded us that a proper understanding of the priesthood is essential:
May I voice a concern? It is this: Too many of our brothers and sisters do not fully understand the concept of priesthood power and authority. They act as though they would rather satisfy their own selfish desires and appetites than use the power of God to bless His children.
President Nelson went on to teach that the priesthood empowers us and obligates us to minister to one another:
A hallmark of the Lord’s true and living Church will always be an organized, directed effort to minister to individual children of God and their families. Because it is His Church, we as His servants will minister to the one, just as He did. We will minister in His name, with His power and authority, and with His loving-kindness (“Ministering with the Power and Authority of God,” General Conference, April 2018).
Today, I will approach my priesthood responsibilities with the attitude described in the passage above. I will remember that I can draw upon the power and authority of God to minister to the needs of other people. I will also remember that I and the people I serve are equal—the preacher is no better than the hearer, neither is the teacher any better than the learner. Priesthood does not bestow status or privilege. Rather, it bestows divine power, to be used in the service of others..