MY VIEW OF THE THREE KINGDOMS OF HEAVEN
Doctrine & Covenants section 76 states that there are three glories or kingdoms of heaven, the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial. Those who are received into the celestial kingdom by fulfilling all the laws and ordinances are of the church of the Firstborn.
“Whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all…” (verse 70-71) Those who only make it to the terrestrial kingdom, “whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn….even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament.” (verse 71) “These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.” (verse 75) Those who are given the telestial kingdom, “which glory is that of the lessor, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament. These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus.” (verses 81-82)
Mormon doctrine teaches that 1 Corinthians 15:40-41 and 2 Corinthians 12:2,4 talks about these three kingdoms in heaven. “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
The Bible says:
“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (1 Corinthians 15:46-49)
The apostle Paul is explaining that we are born first as an earthly (terrestrial) body and then after death can receive a spiritual body.
The earthly body is different than a heavenly (celestial) body. In verses 40 and 41 Paul is explaining that an earthly body and a heavenly body each have their own beauty just as the sun, moon, and the stars each have their own beauty. Paul is not talking about three separate kingdoms in heaven.
The third heaven that Paul said he was caught up too, in the Greek means air, sky, and where God abodes. The air is what we breath and where the birds fly. The sky or universe as we know it, is where the sun, moon, and stars are placed. The third heaven is where those who have a personal relationship with Jesus will go after their earthly (terrestrial) body dies.
This is the heaven the apostle Paul was describing! In Genesis 1:1 and 1:14 God describes the creation of a heaven (universe, sky) and the sun, moon, and stars that reside in that heaven.
And verses 1:7-8 and 20 describes the creation of another heaven (air we breath) where the fowl can fly in the open firmament of heaven.