And men having this faith, coming up unto this Order of God, were translated and taken up into Heaven (Genesis 7:19). Even the translated will undergo a change akin to death (see 3 Nephi 13:3). Those born in the Millennium will likewise undergo this same experience (see T&C 50:11).1 “Now the doctrine of translation is a power which belongs to this Priesthood. There are many things which belong to the powers of the Priesthood and the keys thereof, that have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world; they are hid from the wise and prudent to be revealed in the last times. Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fullness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fullness as those who are resurrected from the dead. See [Hebrews 1:49], Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Now it was evident that there was a better resurrection, or else God would not have revealed it unto Paul. Wherein then can it be said a better resurrection? This distinction is made between the doctrine of the actual resurrection and translation: translation obtains deliverance from the tortures and sufferings of the body, but their existence will prolong as to the labors and toils of the ministry, before they can enter into so great a rest and glory. On the other hand, those who were tortured, not accepting deliverance, received an immediate rest from their labors. See [Revelation 5:5], And I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth, yea, says the spirit, that they may rest from their labors. And their works do follow them. They rest from their labors for a long time, and yet their work is held in reserve for them, that they are permitted to do the same work after they receive a resurrection for their bodies. But we shall leave this subject and the subject of the terrestrial bodies for another time, in order to treat upon them more fully.”2 Though Christ rose again the third day, yet He was not spared death by being translated. God does not take any man off the earth through translation unless they have a calling to minister. The city of Enoch did receive a calling to minister to others.3 People continued to be translated to Enoch’s city right up to the flood. Shem remained through the flood but held a promise that he could join Enoch’s people, and later God vindicated the promise, and Melchizedek’s people were, likewise, able to “flee” (see Genesis 4:23). The period of translation into the city of Enoch ended at Melchizedek except for only one-at-a-time events relating to dispensations and assignments requiring further work. Moses, for example, needed to return for the events on the Mount of Transfiguration. So he was taken. Elijah was needed for a last-days return to open a corridor between Heaven and earth. So he was taken. These were not comparable to the earlier cities being taken into Heaven but were specific assignment-related events, requiring them to be involved with later work within the gambit of the assignment given to them by God.4
1 Preserving the Restoration, 1n24.
3 Essays: Three Degrees, 97.
4 Emails to Scripture Committee, April 30, 2018, May 1, 2018.