Throughout His earthly ministry the Savior performed many miracles including the restoration of sight to the blind. In the fourteenth chapter of John’s account of the gospel, we read that He taught His disciples:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it (John 14:12-14).
Then in Luke’s account of the gospel, as recorded in the ninth chapter, we learn, “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick” (Luke 9:1-2).
In modern-day times, the Lord’s servants are still called to go forth under His authority to proclaim the gospel and to heal the sick. Two accounts of modern Apostles on the Lord’s errand who healed the sick by restoring sight to a blind person can be found in the ministry of Elder Matthew Cowley and President Gordon B. Hinckley.
Elder Matthew Cowley – Miracle among Maori People
Elder Matthew Cowley (2 August 1897 – 13 December 1953) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1945 until his death. He was affectionately known as the “Polynesian Apostle” because of his intimate knowledge of the Polynesian culture and the Māori language. In 1914, at the age of 17, he was called to serve as a missionary in New Zealand, and because of his vast knowledge of the culture and understanding of the language, he was called upon to revise the translation of the Book of Mormon into the Māori language. The revised edition appeared in 1917. His mission was extended two years beyond the then standard three years to also translate the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price into Māori with the assistance of Wiremu Duncan and Stuart Meha. The translated versions of the scriptural texts appeared in 1919.
In 1938, Cowley was called to serve as President the Church’s New Zealand Mission among the Maori people. One Sunday when a father brought a nine-month-old baby forward to him, requesting that he be given a name and a blessing, he had the following experience:
I said, ‘All right, what’s the name?’ So he told me the name, and I was just going to start when he said, ‘By the way, give him his vision when you give him a name. He was born blind.’ It shocked me, but then I said to myself, why not? Christ said to his disciples when he left them, ‘Greater things than I have done shall you do.’
I had faith in that father’s faith. After I gave that child its name, I finally got around to giving it its vision. That boy is about twelve years old now. The last time I was back there I was afraid to inquire about him. I was sure he had gone blind again. That’s the way my faith works sometimes. So I asked the branch president about him. And he said, ‘Brother Cowley, the worst thing you ever did was to bless that child to receive his vision. He’s the meanest kid in the neighborhood; always getting into mischief.’ Boy, I was thrilled about that kid getting into mischief!” Miracles, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year (5 Apr. 1966, rebroadcast from a speech delivered 18 Feb. 1953), 9
President Gordon B. Hinckley – Miracle in Hong Kong
Gordon B. Hinckley (23 June 1910 – 27 January 2008) served as the 15th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 12 March 1995 until his death, being the oldest person to preside over the Church in its history. Church members revered him as a prophet, seer, and revelator. His presidency was noted for building temples, with more than half of existing temples (as of 2015) being built under his leadership. He also oversaw the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple and the construction of the 21,000 seat Conference Center located in Salt Lake City, Utah. During his tenure, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was issued and the Perpetual Education Fund was established.
I recall once when I arrived in Hong Kong I was asked if I would visit a woman in the hospital whose doctors had told her she was going blind and would lose her sight within a week. She asked if we would administer to her and we did so, and she states that she was miraculously healed. I have a painting in my home that she gave me which says on the back of it, ‘To Gordon B. Hinckley in grateful appreciation for the miracle of saving my sight.’ I said to her, ‘I didn’t save your sight. Of course, the Lord saved your sight. Thank Him and be grateful to Him.’” Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley (1997), 343
Miracles, both small and great, appear around us every day. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taught us, “Miracles are not always so immediate. At times we thoughtfully wonder why the miracle we have so earnestly prayed for does not happen here and now. But as we trust in the Savior, promised miracles will occur.”
Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.