See also: Abraham 3; Moses 3
The term heaven has two basic meanings in the scriptures. (1) It is the place where God lives and the future home of the Saints (Gen. 28:12; Ps. 11:4; Matt. 6:9). (2) It is the expanse around the earth (Gen. 1:1, 17; Ex. 24:10). Heaven is clearly not paradise, which is the temporary place for the faithful spirits of those who have lived and died on this earth. Jesus visited paradise after his death on the cross, but on the third day, he informed Mary that he had not yet been to the Father (Luke 23:39–44; John 20:17; D&C 138:11–37). — The Guide to the Scriptures, “Heaven,” lds.org.
President Wilford Woodruff gave this report in general conference in 1896.
“Joseph Smith continued visiting myself and others up to a certain time, and then it stopped. The last time I saw him was in heaven. In the night vision I saw him at the door of the temple in heaven. He came to me and spoke to me. He said he could not stop to talk with me because he was in a hurry. The next man I met was Father Smith; he could not talk with me because he was in a hurry. I met half a dozen brethren who had held high positions on earth, and none of them could stop to talk with me because they were in a hurry. I was much astonished. By and by I saw the Prophet again and I got the privilege of asking him a question.
“‘Now,’ said I, ‘I want to know why you are in a hurry? I have been in a hurry all my life; but I expected my hurry would be over when I got into the kingdom of heaven, if I ever did.’
“Joseph said: ‘I will tell you, Brother Woodruff. Every dispensation that has had the priesthood on the earth and has gone into the celestial kingdom has had a certain amount of work to do to prepare to go to the earth with the Savior when he goes to reign on the earth. Each dispensation has had ample time to do this work. We have not. We are the last dispensation, and so much work has to be done, and we need to be in a hurry in order to accomplish it.’
“Of course, that was satisfactory, but it was new doctrine to me” (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946, pp. 288-89). — Elder Henry B. Eyring, The New Era, July 1993, p. 6
Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject. — Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 324
The Lord identified by name several of the planets or stars in His creations. Speaking of His numerous and marvelous works, the Lord said:
“There are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them. . . .
“. . . The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine” (Moses 1:35, 37). — Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, Moses 3:13, pp. 36-37
Abraham learned that wherever there are two stars one will be greater than the other, and that there are other stars greater than those two, until Kolob, which is the greatest of all. He learned that it is not size that makes one star or planet greater than another, but rather its proximity to Kolob. So it is with the children of God – their greatness
and glory will depend upon their proximity to the Creator, Jesus Christ, who is “nearest unto the throne of God,” “the great one,” “the first creation,” and is “set to govern all those which belong to the same order.” Thus the great star, Kolob, is a symbol of Jesus Christ. — Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, Abraham 3:16-17, p. 37
I am not going to drive a man or woman to heaven. A great many think that they will be able to flog people into heaven, but this can never be done, for the intelligence in us is as independent as the Gods. People are not to be driven and you can put into a gnat’s eye all the souls of the children of men that are driven into heaven by preaching hell-fire. — Discourses of Brigham Young, 64
We have often heard it said . . . that all the heaven we shall ever have is the one we make for ourselves. How vast the meaning of this simple sentence! . . . How is this to be done? By hearkening diligently to the voice of the Spirit of the Lord that entices to righteousness, applauds truth, and exults continually to good. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 9:170
What a curious doctrine it is, that we are preparing to enjoy! The only heaven for you is that which you make yourselves. My heaven is here – [laying his hand upon his heart]. I carry it with me. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 4:56
Do you think the angels of the Lord lust after the things that are before them? All heaven is before us, and all this earth, the gold and the silver, all these are at our command, and shall we lust after them? They are all within our reach; they are for the Saints whom God loves, even all who fix their minds upon Him and the interest of his kingdom. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 4:44