A website on Elvis' spirituality. The quotes and some of the other information on this site were taken mainly from the book "Blue Star Love - From Elvis' Heart To Yours."
E L V I S : THE MAN BEHIND THE MUSIC
"... In the last five years of Elvis' life, he concluded that his higher purpose was to lead people to God, and that he would do this by singing songs of faith and inspiration and also by preaching God's word to those who would come to hear him sing. In the last year of his stage performances, he was known to interject gospel songs, thoughts of inspiration, and passage readings from the Bible. ..."
- Elvis Presley's spiritual quest
By Steve Beard
Elvis's spiritual journey is a key ingredient to understanding the triumphs and struggles of one of the most pivotal figures in American pop culture. ... Like so many other young Americans during the 1960s, Elvis explored exotic Eastern religions and experimented with drugs while reading Timothy Leary's Psychedelic Experience. He was, by all accounts, an eccentric religious seeker on turbodrive. He seemed to have every earthly pleasure at his disposal, yet he had an insatiable intellectual and spiritual hunger for the mystical and supernatural. ...
All Praise the King: The many faiths of Elvis Presley
"It seems everybody wants to claim Elvis as their own, from Jewish impersonators to Christian Elvis fans to those who believe Elvis is God. The religion of Elvis probably won't become a category on the 2010 U.S. census, but 25 years after the King's death, Elvis worship is still going strong." Provides links to details on Jewish Elvis lyrics, possible Hindu Elvis worship, Pagan Elvis rituals, the similarities between Jesus and Elvis, etc.
- Undead Elvis
"... often the forms of Elvis worship follow Catholic forms in much more recognizable and specific ways than Protestant ones. There are saint's relics, for example, and legends of sightings, miracles (including healings and conversions), crying statues, revered relics (many in dispute), images of the saint central to popular performances, processions, etc. ... Elvis's worshippers appear to be 'crossing' strains of religious worship even as Elvis mixed racial and gender identities. Revered for showing his humanity and demonstrating to us that the American Dream is really about Excess, Elvis has since the opening of Graceland in 1982 been turned into that Dream's martyred Saint of the pursuit of this Dream, its ideals and its costs. His followers seem to think that his life and death can redeem them from their own excesses, or make their own lives be about something other than endless consumption. ... The aura of Catholicism in Elvis worship rites is especially intriguing because the majority of Elvis' most passionate followers are or were Protestant, including evangelical or fundamentalist Protestant. ... "
The Religious Affiliation of Rock and Roll Pioneer Elvis Presley
(Famous Members of the Assemblies of God - adherents.com)
Quotes from a number of sources, including Albert Goldman's books "Elvis" and "Elvis: the last 24 hours". States that Elvis had a strange set of religious beliefs, concluding that "Elvis's love for gospel music is not evidence that he was born again. His on-again, off-again profession of faith in Christ also was not evidence that he was saved." ... "Essentially, Elvis was a phony" (Goldman).
- How Great Thou Art: Elvis Presley and Christian Faith
By Trystan Hughes
Only a few hours before Elvis's death, his close friend Rick Stanley heard him reciting a Christian prayer of repentance. Dear Lord,he prayed, please show me a way. I'm tired and confused and I need your help. When we remember Elvis, we often recall his wild side - shooting televisions, his addiction to pain-killers, womanising. Yet the King of Rock'n'Roll, fallen as we all are, had another side to him. Elvis was, in fact, a deeply spiritual man whose faith was central to his life. He certainly struggled to live a moral life, but his intentions were clear to all his friends. Every day he would strive to become closer to God. He was a deeply spiritual man, claims Ray Walker of The Jordanaires, the legendary quartet that sang with Elvis for many years - he was more spiritual than anyone around him. ...
- Gospel music and Elvis: Inspiration and consolation
(CNN, August 14 2002)
- Elvis' Search for God
(Spiritual Sisters of the Internet Cafe)
About Jess Stearn and Larry Geller's book.
"Everybody knows who Elvis Presley is. He is the most popular entertainer in the history of the world. But what most people do not know is that the shallow, glitzy, tinsel-town image he was given by Colonel Tom Parker and his other handlers had nothing to do with his true character and personality. In reality, Elvis was a deeply spiritual man who spent untold hours pouring over metaphysical literature and practicing soul-searching meditation and prayer in an attempt to find the true meaning of life and converse with God. ..."
- Elvis Presley - An angel among men
essay by Luiza Covaliciuc [Liz], 2004-09-23
Describes how Elvis has affected her life. " I know for sure that Elvis touched lives and touched them divinely. ... The day you find out what love power lies in you and how much comfort you can bring to your kind, that day you've come a step closer to God and the way the world should really be like."
Elvis and Religion
(Presleys in the Press)
- Amazing Graceland
By Christine McCarthy McMorris, "RELIGION IN THE NEWS", Fall 2002, Vol. 5, No. 3
(The Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life)
Discusses media reactions to the 25th anniversary of Elvis's death and their struggle to understand and accept the ongoing phenomenon. Some journalists display intellectual snobbery in their amused contempt for fans as working class or "white trash". Interviews with historians and others suggest that Elvis is taking on the role of a religious intermediary or saint, rather than challenging Jesus as a separate religion or cult.
- Christian History Corner: From Oratorios to Elvis - Pop culture has been coming to a church near you for hundreds of years
The church has eagerly borrowed from the most popular forms offered by the world.
- CULT WORSHIPS ELVIS PRESLEY AS GOD
Discusses the growing worship of Elvis as their god by the Presleyite Disciples, who are also sometimes called "Elvites".
- Elvis fans just normal folks who like singer (link gone)
By David Waters, August 15 2001
" ... Devotion to Elvis isn't a religious or phenomenon. It's a cultural one. ..."
A valiant attempt to defend Elvis fans against adverse media treatment.
- Tool of God
Maintains that Elvis had a divine mission.
- Mystical Elvis
(Elvis ~ A Lighted Candle)
States that Elvis believed himself to be a reincarnation of the Egyptian god Ptah.
- Eliv Presley meets Jesus Christ - a world exclusive
Children's television character Barney the Dinosaur sings the chorus of Elvis's "Lord help me Jesus" with a monkey miming the verses to JD Sumner's deep bass voice while someone plays the piano with a tiger's head. Jesus floats around in a Superman costume.
(I found this an unsettling and slightly nasty site to watch - Ed.)
Christian Elvis Impersonators Seek Decisions For Christ
There are thousands of Elvis Presley impersonators worldwide, with some of these rhinestone-studded performers using the musician's legendary appeal to preach the gospel. These Christians capitalize on the popularity of the singer widely known as the "King of Rock 'n' Roll" to introduce his fans to the King of kings. "Some of the places I go to, I'm the only Jesus some people will ever see," Reggie Randolph, one of an estimated 50,000 Elvis Tribute Artists (ETAs) worldwide, told "Charisma" magazine in a forthcoming issue.
The growing ranks of ETAs point to the enduring appeal of the singer whose glory years were followed by personal problems, battles with his weight and prescription drugs, and an ignominious end in the bathroom of his Memphis, Tenn., mansion. Christian fans of Elvis point to his church background as a youngster, lifelong love of gospel music and his church-based songs - the only genre for which he won a Grammy.
Elvis may have left the building permanently in 1977, but his home has since become a place of pilgrimage, drawing more visitors each year - about 700,000 - than any other private residence in the country besides the White House.
Though many find financial gain and some sort of reflected glory among those who continue to revere the singer - the anniversary of whose death next month is expected to draw thousands to his Memphis hometown to mourn and celebrate - Jim Anderson and others see an unlikely mission field. More than 25 people committed their lives to Christ when the Canadian performed at a secular Elvis festival in Brantford, Ontario, last summer. "Many have said they have felt the touch of God [at my concerts]," says the long time Elvis fan and former carpenter who now travels full time as Gospel Elvis from his home in Orillia, Ontario. Anderson describes Elvis as "a type of Samson; a man anointed of God for ministry, but subject to the weaknesses of the flesh, which became his downfall." He suggests: "Just as Samson's biggest victory for God was in his death with the Philistines, so Elvis has reached more souls for God with his gospel music since his death, through his recordings and tribute artists spreading his music."
The Christian ETA with the widest media exposure to date is Dorian Baxter, who reworks Elvis hits with a spiritual message for his Canadian congregation. He has an ELVIS sermon, in which the singer's name becomes an acronym for Everlasting Life, Virtue, Inspiration, Salvation. Also known as Elvis Priestley, Baxter made headlines around the world earlier this year after being sidelined from recognized ministry by Anglican leaders upset by his Elvis impersonations and deciding to form his own congregation - Christ the King, Grace-Land, Independent Anglican Church in Newmarket, Ontario. He estimates he's prayed with thousands to receive Christ since entering an impersonators contest at the country's biggest Elvis festival in 1996 wearing a cheap jumpsuit he admits made him look "more like the Easter bunny" than the Las Vegas showman - and surprising himself by coming in first. "If anybody had ever told me that at the age of 52, I would be doing this I would never have believed them, but the ends justify the means," he says. "We have to take the opportunities put before us and be willing to be fools for Christ."
- IN SEARCH OF ST. ELVIS: THE COMING AGE OF BOUTIQUE SPIRITUALITY
By Daniel Born
(The First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta)
Maintains that Elvis "stands as the most provocative and potent symbol of modern boutique spirituality in America".
- False faith or false comparison? A critique of the religious interpretation of Elvis fan culture - Forum
By Mark Duffett
(Popular Music and Society, Dec 2003)
In her 1999 book Elvis Culture, Erika Doss became the latest academic to argue that Elvis fandom is best understood as a secular form of religion. Since Elvis Culture is based on four years' contact with American devotees, and since fans occasionally use spiritual words to express their feelings, Doss's claim that "veneration of Elvis is one strong form of religiosity" is hard to dismiss. Nevertheless, this article argues that the religious comparison provides a limited understanding of fandom.