Chapter 26

The Three Kingdoms of Heaven

“Chapter 26: The Three Kingdoms of Heaven: 16 February 1832,” Doctrine and Covenants Stories (2002), 97–103


Joseph and Sidney

One day Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were reading the New Testament. The New Testament said that good people will go to heaven after they are resurrected. Joseph wondered if all people go to the same place in heaven.

Doctrine and Covenants 76, section heading

Heavenly Father and Jesus

While Joseph and Sidney were thinking about this, Heavenly Father gave them a wonderful vision. In this vision they saw heaven. They saw Heavenly Father and Jesus with light all around Them. Then they saw angels worshiping Heavenly Father and Jesus.

Joseph and Sidney

When Joseph and Sidney wrote about this vision, they testified that Jesus lives. They had seen Him! And they had heard a voice saying that He is the Son of God. That voice also told them that Jesus had come to earth to make it possible for all people to return to live with Heavenly Father again.

Heavenly Father and Jesus

In the next part of the vision, Joseph and Sidney saw where people go after they are resurrected. There are three places, or kingdoms, for people to go in heaven. Righteous Saints go to the celestial kingdom of heaven after they are resurrected. The celestial kingdom is where Heavenly Father and Jesus are.

man baptizing woman

Those in the celestial kingdom believed in Jesus Christ during their time on earth. They were baptized and received the Holy Ghost.

threatening mob

Those in the celestial kingdom had many trials while they were on earth, but they overcame them through faith in Jesus Christ. They tried hard to obey God’s commandments, and they repented when they did not obey.

faithful Saints with Jesus and Heavenly Father

Righteous Saints will become like Heavenly Father and Jesus. All things will be theirs. They will live with Heavenly Father and Jesus forever.

people in terrestrial kingdom

Next Joseph and Sidney saw the terrestrial kingdom of heaven.

people on wagon

People in the terrestrial kingdom were good people on earth, but they were deceived by bad people. They obeyed some of the commandments but were not valiant in their testimonies of Jesus.

people rejecting missionaries

The terrestrial kingdom also includes people who did not believe the gospel when they heard it on earth and then did believe it when they heard it after they died.

man and wife reaching out to Jesus

People in the terrestrial kingdom will see Jesus. But they cannot live with Heavenly Father and Jesus.

people in telestial kingdom

Next Joseph and Sidney saw the telestial kingdom of heaven. People who go to the telestial kingdom were not righteous on earth.

mob surrounding Joseph

These people did not believe in Jesus or His gospel. They did not believe the prophets and did not obey God’s commandments.

angels visiting telestial kingdom

People in the telestial kingdom will not see Jesus or Heavenly Father and cannot live with Them. However, angels will visit these people, and the Holy Ghost will teach them.

Jesus coming to the earth

People who are going to the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms will be resurrected when Jesus comes to earth again. People who are going to the telestial kingdom will not be resurrected until 1,000 years after Jesus comes again.

people suffering

In this vision, Joseph and Sidney also saw where the people who are most wicked will go. They will be with Satan. They cannot be with Heavenly Father, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost.

members denying Holy Ghost

The people who will be with Satan learned about Jesus and His gospel while they were on earth. The Holy Ghost testified to them about Jesus Christ. They knew that He lived and that He died for us.

man hitting another man with club

But then these people did very bad things. They denied the truth and defied God’s power. They denied the Holy Ghost. They said they did not believe in Jesus anymore. These people will suffer forever.

Joseph and Sidney thanking God

Joseph and Sidney saw other things in their vision, but Jesus told them not to write down everything they saw. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, righteous Saints can see and know these things for themselves. Joseph and Sidney thanked God for this wonderful vision.