Do Mormons believe in 3 heavens?

The celestial kingdom is the highest of the three kingdoms of heaven in Mormon beliefs. The other two kingdoms are the terrestrial and telestial. In 1 Corinthians of the Bible the celestial kingdom is compared to the sun in its glory and brightness, the terrestrial and telestial are compared to the moon and stars respectively. In the celestial kingdom the righteous will live with God and Jesus Christ.

Within the celestial kingdom the levels of glory a person receives is even further broken down into three levels. To receive the highest degree of glory within the celestial kingdom, there are certain requirements that must be fulfilled. A person must have a testimony of Jesus Christ, be baptized by a person with the proper priesthood authority, keep the commandments, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, overcome temptation and worldly things through faith, become perfected through the atonement of Christ, and to receive the highest glory in the celestial kingdom a person must also enter into an eternal marriage. In the Doctrine and Covenants it is explained that marriage is the highest order of the priesthood and that eternal marriage is also referred to as the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage. In the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom, families live together forever.

There are some exceptions to these requirements. Those who die without hearing of the gospel, but would have received and accepted it if given the chance can also live in the celestial kingdom. Little children who die before the age of accountability, which Mormon belief sets at eight years old, are also able to live in the celestial kingdom because Christ’s atonement saves them.

For members of the Mormon Church obtaining the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom is the main goal. M. Russell Ballard, one of the leaders of the Mormon Church has said, “our number one priority could well be, ‘Am I doing and living and acting each day as a candidate for the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom?’ I think this is our ultimate long-range goal and our number one priority.” That is why Mormon temples are built around the world (so that all have to opportunity to be sealed or have an eternal marriage).

The prophet Joseph Smith had a vision of the celestial kingdom and recorded a brief description, “The heavens were opened upon us, and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell. I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire; Also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son. I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold.”

Doctrine and Covenants 131. 1-2

M. Russell Ballard, “Is It Worth It?” New Era, June 1984, 38

Doctrine and Covenants 137. 1-4