When Christ appeared in the America’s he shared many amazing teachings and performed many miracles because of the great faith found among the people. One section of his teachings was quite similar, actually almost identical, to the Sermon on the Mount as found in the Bible in Saint Matthew chapters 5-7. There are however some differences between the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon at the Temple given in the Americas. Some of these differences come because the Lord adapts his teaching to different regions of the world, some come because of the timing of the sermons, one being before the Lord’s death, and the other coming after. And then there are differences that come because the Bible has been translated so many times that details may have fallen through the gaps. There is one detail in particular found in the third verse of Matthew 5 and the third verse of 3 Nephi 12. In the Bible this verse reads, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The Book of Mormon’s equivalent reads, “Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The difference is found in four words. “Who come unto me…” These four words make a world of difference.
I have in my long life of twenty years meditated upon what characteristics I want in a future wife. Never has the thought come to me, “I want a wife who is poor in spirit.” Quite the contrary, I want a wife who is spiritually powerful. A wife who knows the scriptures, who loves God, who is actively participating in church assignments and activities. I want a spiritually rich wife, and I want to be a spiritually rich husband and father. I am certain that this is what God and Christ want as well. Christ wants us to be spiritual giants but there is only one way to achieve that: humbling ourselves and allowing ourselves to be strengthened in Christ. Then and only then will we become candidates for the kingdom of heaven.
A person who is poor in spirit is someone who has weaknesses and recognizes them. This is good, and preferable over the all too common sin of pride, but a Book of Mormon prophet teaches us what happens when, after we are poor in spirit, we go to the Lord. Ether 12:27 reads, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” From this verse we can learn what kind of person someone who goes unto Christ is. They are not spiritually poor, or weak. They are strong. Not strong in their own strength, but strong in God. That is what Christ wanted for us, that we can find wealth, spiritual wealth, and that we can recognize the only source of that wealth is Christ himself.
We can all go unto Christ by making and keeping sacred covenants with him. We will then find that as we honor those covenants we will find ourselves closer to Christ, and spiritually enriched.