How do Mormons see heaven? What is Mormon heaven?
Latter Day Saints believe in a view of heaven supported by the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants.
Essentially, there is a differentiation between "heaven", "hell", "paradise", and "purgatory". Heaven is the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth that Christ Jesus brought during His ministry. It is known widely among the LDS as Zion.
Paradise is what most people think of as "heaven": the afterlife. LDS believe that there are three levels to it, called from highest to lowest, the Celestial Realm, the Terrestrial Realm, and the Telestial Realm.
The Celestial Realm is the highest point of Paradise, the ultimate dwelling place of God. It's similar to the White Rose level of heaven in Dante's Inferno. The Father and the Son dwell here permanately. LDS believe that by being baptised, accepting the will and grace of God in your life, and following His ordinances and commandments, you will be granted access to the Celestial Realm in the afterlife. Those in the Celestial Realm become like God Himself; they follow the perfect example of Jesus Christ in the afterlife.
The Terrestrial Realm is the second level of Paradise; if the Celestial Realm is like the Sun, then the Terrestrial Realm is like the moon. LDS believe that those who have faith in Christ and follow His will, but are not part of the LDS church or do not follow the ordinances end up here. While the beings here do not become ultimately like God, they are ultimately saved from all the corruption of the world and live eternity in great joy. The Holy Ghost fully permeates this level of heaven, as it does with the Terrestrial, and those who dwell here enjoy the full and complete presence of God.
The Telestial Realm is the last level of Paradise; this is comparable to seeing the stars at night. Those who dwell here are those who lived unvirtuous lives but still claimed the name of Jesus Christ at some point in their lives.
For lack of a better term, LDS also believe in a form of "Purgatory". It is believed that when someone dies, there is a chance that they may accept the Gospel. They are enlightened with the full truth of things and are offered a chance to accept God's gospel, be baptized, and go through the ordinances if they so desire. It is for this reason that LDS practice ordinances and baptism for the dead; we believe that passing the ordinances here on Earth for a person gives them the chance to accept them in the afterlife.
There is also a LDS view of hell; most refer to it as the "Outer Darkness". Very few end up here; it is reserved for Satan and his angels, along with those who refuse the Gospel on Earth and in the afterlife.
At the Great White Throne Judgement, all people will be sorted into one of these five levels of eternal existence.
LDS believe that the reason why this works is because of two judgements, one according to Grace, and the other according to works. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ took away the sins of the world; we are no longer condemned by them and have no reason to be condemned. For this reason, it takes a willful exercise against God to reach full condemnation. It is this grace that guarantees us freedom from sin, and Paradise in the afterlife. According to how we live our lives, according to how we use the grace and love that Jesus Christ has given us, will ultimately determine where we dwell. It is simple: if a person desires God, they recieve God. If a person desires themselves, they recieve themselves.
Who I am is not important; only my message is.