I think that we are seeing a new religion emerging. Elvisism, Elvites, Presletarianism – something based around Elvis Presley.
The reason that I believe this is the many religious aspects of the Elvis story.
- born in humble circumstances and poverty.
- sole survivor of a twin birth that his father later claimed to recalling a strange light in the sky on the night of his birth
- escaped death again at age 5 from a tornado that ripped through Tupelo.
- He lived in Memphis along a mighty river and became known as The King, giving Pharaoh associations.
- He recorded his first music on Sun Records – and most religions have sun gods, gods of light
- He ushered in a great cultural change – broke racial barriers while heightening the generational gap and put overt sex at the cultural forefront
- His personal image was one of racial tolerance, generosity/charity
- The kisses, scarves and other items given out to the crowds during concerts is like having a blessing bestowed upon you
- He was surrounded by a core group of disciples (Memphis Mafia) who have split into camps and written conflicting books after Elvis’ death
- there are stories of him having visions, laying on hands healing,
- there’s been after death sightings of him in person, or just his image appearing as people see Jesus, Virgin Mary, and other religious figures in wood grain or mineral patterns, or on toasted bread products….
- Elvis’ image is reproduced in religious type paintings
- Impersonators or Tribute Artists are priests – even having special garments – Elvis’ stage wear and movie costumes.
- people make pilgrimages to Graceland – especially for the winter holiday (Jan 8) and the end of summer (Aug 16) holidays – which is already a weeklong festival
- The annual candlelight vigil are exhibiting a form of worship and ritual. As is the annual lighting of the Graceland holiday lights.
- people have special areas in their homes of their Elvis collections, serving as altar areas or even rooms in their homes which act as temples.
what other religious elements do you see in the Elvis story, that future generations will reinterpret?
Addition: April 24, 2010:
Addition: September 14, 2011:
Elvis’ public image was the “shy humble Christian country boy” who wore capes and gold belts, the one at the Madison Square Garden Press Conference was in fact a trophy awarded to Elvis by the International Hotel for setting attendance … Continue reading
Elvis for Everyone Indeed. At one end, the claim that Elvis is the actual offspring representative of a deity (not the Abrahamic one) and Elvis as proof of no supernatural deities at the other. Elvis’ religion to Elvis as religion … Continue reading
the most interesting thing about this documentary – Schmelvis – to me was that when they arrived in Memphis all of the negative response and discrimination they were expecting never happened. at all. not even once. the second thing … Continue reading
This post is dedicated to Joe Esposito and Jerry Schilling, who screamed at me at an Elvis convention, I claim to be the last Elvis fan mistreated by members of the Memphis Mafia: