In an address in the April 1965 general conference, Elder Thomas S. Monson, then of the Quorum of the Twelve and now first counselor in the First Presidency, referred to a newspaper article about five brothers in Sicily who had been blind since birth. The article reported that the brothers were operated on for removal of congenital cataracts.
Elder Monson related the reporter's description of the joyful and tearful reaction of the boys, their parents and surgeon as the brothers got their first dim glimpse of the world. After examining the boys, the surgeon walked out of the room. Elder Monson said, "Then he sat down on a bench and wept.
Never,' he said,have I felt such extraordinary serenity; such happiness.' Thus a skilled surgeon actually brought the gift of sight to five little boys who had been blind."He continued: "Each of us knows those who do not have sight. We also know many others who walk in darkness at noonday. Those in this latter group may never carry the usual white cane and carefully make their way to the sound of its familiar tap, tap, tap. They may not have a faithful seeing-eye dog by their side nor carry a sign about their neck which reads, `I am blind.' But blind they surely are. Some have been blinded by anger, others by indifference, by revenge, by hate, by prejudice, by ignorance, by neglect of precious opportunities.
"Of such the Lord said, ` . . . their ears are dull of hearing and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.' (Matt. 13:15.)
"Well might such lament,
It is springtime, the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, and yet I am blind.' Some like the friend of Philip of old call out,How can I find my way but some man guide me?' (See Acts 8:31.) Others are too shy, too fearful to ask for needed help that their precious vision might be restored."
Elder Monson said the case of the brothers in Sicily made national headlines. "In literally thousands of other instances, the transition from the dense darkness of despair to glorious spiritual light is accomplished without fanfare, without publicity, without the recognition of the world."
He spoke of those who were converted to the gospel, of members who had not been active who had become active and gone to the temple, and the roles of bishoprics and others who help them along the way. "Those who have felt the touch of the Master's hand somehow cannot explain the change which comes into their lives," he said. "There is a desire to live better, to serve faithfully, to walk humbly, and to live more like the Savior. Having received their spiritual eyesight and glimpsed the promises of eternity, they echo the words of the blind man to whom Jesus restored sight, ` . . . one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.' " (John 9:25.)