Why write a book about Elvis and Religions?
This blog will begin the long journey of creating a book about Elvis and the relationship he had with many different types of religions. It will not contain everything that will be in the book about his trek through many faiths, but it will open a window for readers to determine if they want to read the entire book.
Many people today are still captivated by Elvis. They place him squarely within their own religious faith. And it is true that Elvis was raised within the Pentecostal and Assembly of God traditions. He never stepped away from those roots. But he also began his own search for understanding found in other religions. He would never assert that his childhood faith was the only true faith. He discovered many and varied religious traditions. He questioned himself and the world and the purpose for his life. He wondered why such wealth and success came to him when he was so young. Could there have been a divine purpose in all that happened to him?
People do not know nor do they believe that Elvis investigated and read within many religious traditions. There are several lists cataloguing what he read. We cannot explore all of these books. But, in the following pages we will explore some of those books, and give possible reasons as to why he would explore that religious tradition and what benefit he may have obtained by studying it.
Why study other religions?
Why do people study books about religions? Most of us do not have the time, money, or energy to travel to meet the founders or officials of religious traditions or the countries in which they reside. We must read if we are to understand the religious traditions. Books can become friends when no one around you thinks the way you do. Books can open the door to the past where you can find people with whom to talk. Yes, you cannot actually talk with them but you can discover a soul-mate (so to speak) in the past.
Books are Friends You have Not Met
May I give an example from my own life? Early in my career, I was studying in an environment where females were debased and degraded. While I was accepted into an academic program (because a Federal Law demanded non-discrimination), the professors had no conception of equity, nor did they value the contribution of females. They had never thought of studying the history of females because females had no worth to them.
As I began my research on religious topics, I discovered a group of men and women (in books) who thought the way I did about females, who were progressive in their interpretation of religious texts, and were also professors. Discovering these minds, these people, these writings, became a source of support for me as I walked through my studies toward a Ph.D. Their work actually gave me the courage to create and defend my own work.
I am sure that Elvis’ journey was similar. His questions were no doubt different. But the people and points of view and beliefs he discovered in those books were so important to him that he carried books with him wherever he traveled. The voices in those books became his friends and comforted him when most of those around him could not possibly understand how he felt, and certainly were not capable of discussing anything about religions with him.
Copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge, 2015