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In the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), translation refers to being physically changed by God from a mortal human being to an immortal human being. A person that has been translated is referred to as a translated being. According to LDS belief, Enoch, Moses, John the Apostle, the Three Nephites, and others were translated.
A translated being is akin to a resurrected person, with the exception that a translated being has never died and has a body with less power than a resurrected being. According to Parley P. Pratt, ordinary human beings are said to have a telestial body; people who are translated are said to have a terrestrial body; and people who are resurrected are said to have a celestial body, but all the terms also refer to the three degrees of resurrected being, as per 1 Cor. 15 and D&C 76.
State of terrestrial body
Those who are translated beings are said to be "changed so that they do not experience pain or death until their resurrection to immortality." Both translated and resurrected beings are eternally young and fit, not subject to illness or injury and spend their existences as ministering angels doing things that require physical bodies to perform; for example, where a disembodied spirit can record events as a witness and offer comfort or advice, a physical body is required to perform ordinances such as laying on of hands.
According to Parley P. Pratt, a translated being has a terrestrial body. The terrestrial body would be different from the terrestrial glory of heaven, just as the presentworld is considered "telestial" but is not the telestial glory of heaven. Translated beings with terrestrial bodies can appear or disappear the way the resurrected Jesus did in the 24th chapter of Luke. However, those who have resurrected "celestial" bodies have more power than those with terrestrial bodies. A person who has been translated still has to be resurrected after the Second Coming of Christ to attain a celestial body.
Latter-day Saints believe that a select number of individuals have been translated. Some of these individuals have been admitted into heaven to await their formal resurrection, and others have been permitted to remain upon the earth until that time. The following are a list of persons that Latter-day Saints believe were translated; the individuals in bold script are the ones that have presumably been admitted into heaven as a translated being:
Many Latter-day Saints believe that there are also other persons who have been translated, some of whom may also have been taken to heaven; there is some LDS scriptural support for this belief.
Translation in other Christian groups
St Clement, a 1st-century bishop of Rome, used the term "translation" in the same context in his first letter, "The Letter of The Church of Rome to The Church of Corinth", as translated by Cyril C. Richardson. It appears in 9:3.
Annalee Skarin was a woman who had been raised in the LDS Church who claimed to have invented a meditation technique by which anyone could translate themselves directly into Heaven. She also claimed in her book to be able to see directly into the Spirit World with what is called in Mormonism the spiritual eye. She wrote a book about it called Ye Are Gods. Originally a devout Mormon, she was excommunicated from the Church shortly after publication of her first book, Ye Are Gods, because it was perceived by high-ranking members that the book's contents seriously blasphemed against Mormon belief. Many proponents of New Age thought that she, along with her husband Reason Skarin, indeed achieved physical immortality (been translated) after her clothes were found in her room in 1952 and she totally disappeared, and he disappeared soon afterward.
However, it was later shown that she had faked her "translation" and gone into hiding with her husband in order to increase sales of her books. She hid away from the Mormon Belt by going to southern Oregon and later living in the far north of California. It was later proven that she physically died of natural causes.
- Parley P. Pratt Key to the Science of Theology (1855)[unreliable source?]
- Guide to the Scriptures: Translated Beings
- Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5; Doctrine and Covenants 107:48-49.
- Moses 7:21, 31, 69; Doctrine and Covenants 38:4; Doctrine and Covenants 45:12.
- Deuteronomy 34:5-6; Matthew 17:3; Guide to the Scriptures: Transfiguration; Doctrine and Covenants 84:25; Alma 45:19. Latter-day Saints do not believe that Moses "died", as is reported in Deuteronomy; see other references for clarification.
- 2 Kings 2:11; Matthew 17:3; Doctrine and Covenants 110:13; Guide to the Scriptures: Transfiguration.
- John 21:20-24; Matthew 16:28; Doctrine and Covenants 7:1-8. John the Apostle was not taken to heaven alive, but was given power over death that he might live until the Second Coming of Christ, when he will be resurrected.
- 3 Nephi 28:4-9; 3 Nephi 28:36-40; 4 Nephi 1:14; Mormon 8:10-11. Like John the Apostle, the Three Nephites were given power over death that they might live until the Second Coming of Christ, when they will be resurrected.
- Alma 45:18-19
- Doctrine and Covenants 49:8; Hebrews 13:2; 3 Nephi 1:2-3.
- Widtsoe, John A Rational Theology 1915
- The Life and Death of Annalee Skarin[unreliable source?]
- The Death Certificate of Annalee Skarin[unreliable source?]