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GREG - I was reading in Alma 45 and it states that Alma died like Moses. How I understand it, Moses and Elijah were taken up and didn't see death, so they could come down and lay hands on Peter to give him priesthood keys. To be ordained, you must have hands laid on you by one who holds the priesthood. The way I understand it, this is why they were translated! They had to have their bodies to lay hands on Peter. If they would have died, this couldn't have happened, because Jesus Christ wasn't resurrected yet; so they would have only been in spirit form. My question was, what was Alma's reason for being translated? Was he there at the mount of transfiguration? If so, did he hold certain keys like Moses and Elijah did? Such as the gathering of Israel and sealing families together. Have you ever heard anything on this subject?

JOEL - Here are the scriptures in question:

"And when Alma had done this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know not of.
Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing concerning his death and burial." (Alma 45: 18-19)

I think it's pretty clear that they don't really know what happened to Alma after he left them; only that a "saying went abroad" and that they "suppose" that he was taken by the Lord like Moses was. Nowadays we call such things Mormon urban legends. People back then were probably not much different than us in that they had their own folklore to try to explain some things that they really had no answers for, like what really happened to Alma.
Under similar circumstances Nephi, the son of Helaman, departed out of the land of Zarahemla, “and whither he went, no man knoweth” (3 Ne. 1:3). Was he translated too?

It is interesting that the same kind of language written in Alma was used to describe what happend to John who like Moses also did not taste of death:

"Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (John 21: 23)

Joseph Fielding Smith said:
"It is a very reasonable thought to believe that both Moses and Alma, like Elijah and John, were translated to accomplish some work which the Lord had in store for them at some future day" (Gospel Doctrine 5:38).

So if Alma was indeed translated like Moses it would have been for a purpose the Lord had for him which would involve interaction with mortals as you suggest. But there is no evidence that he was there at the Mount of Transfiguration nor has there been any other reports of him appearing to any mortal for any reason. So I don't think we can say for sure what really happened to him.

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