Elvis Presley opened up to defend his religion – ‘I wish’

Elvis Presley stars in trailer for Double Trouble in 1967

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As a young Mississippi resident, Elvis Presley was brought up as a Christian citizen of the USA. Throughout his career, he sang a number of Christian worship songs, including Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, I Believe In The Man In The Sky and Take my Hand Precious Lord to name a few. In 1956, when he was just 21-years-old, he wrote to his fans to discuss his religion.

Elvis wrote directly to his fans in the fan magazine Elvis Answers Back.

During the essay, he replied to a number of questions posed by his fandom, including one about his faith.

He titled the section “My True Religion” before writing about an article he had read about himself. It read: “‘Presley got his start by singing in a church choir, but fame has made him forget all about religion.’ 

“I sat right down and cut that out of the paper and put it in an envelope and send it home for my momma to put in my scrapbook.

“I expected they’d start saying things like that. About me not being religious. I mean. But this was the first time I’d seen it anywhere.”

The King scolded the press, saying he didn’t think they were “right” in saying things like that.

Elvis confessed: “No, I don’t go to church regular anymore, if that’s what they mean by religious. Being on the road all the time, and traveling every minute I’m not working, I can’t ever be sure when I’ll have a Sunday free to myself. (sic) I wish I could, just like I wish I could be with my folks more often, but I can’t. So if they mean just going to church regularly makes you religious, then I guess I don’t fit up to what they want.” Despite this personal setback, Elvis assured his fans he was a believer. He said: “But I want you to know this. I believe in God, I believe in Him with all my heart.”

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Elvis continued: “I believe all good things come from God. That includes all the good things that have come to me and to my folks.

“And the way I feel about it, being religious means that you love God and are real grateful for all He’s given, and want to work for Him.”

The star added that he felt “deep in his heart” that he was doing it all for God.

He also said he felt he “owed everything” to his God.

Elvis’ faith continued until the end of his life. In 1976 he reportedly met with TV evangelist Rex Humbard to discuss the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Rex said of the meeting: “It really shocked me that Elvis knew all of those Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments about the Lord’s return.”

He went on: “I could see he was reaching back to his childhood when he used to play his guitar and go to church and sing church songs. And I could see he was reaching back to the past – that spirituality, that feeling that he had years and years before that had been planted in his heart.”

The star’s wife, Priscilla Presley, also recalled him “always having a bible with him”.

Priscilla also revealed Elvis looked into spirituality even more during the final years of his life.

She said: “Now, faced with ever-deepening despair, he began looking to other philosophical books for answers and guidance. He read the works of Kahlil Gibran. One book, in particular, The Prophet, inspired him.”

She added: “He became so enamoured [with] these books that he passed them out to friends, fellow actors, and fans. They appealed to his religious nature and he loved bringing people together ‘in the spirit of one underlying force – Almighty God.'”

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