‘Elvis’ the Movie and Elvis the ‘Seeker of Truth’

I grew up during the time of Elvis Aaron Presley’s rise as a symbol of my generation. I witnessed first hand Elvis’ rise to fame to his unprecedented superstardom and finally as America’s Rock ‘n’ Roll icon.

These times for me were transformative. I believe they were for Elvis as well.

My wife and I decided to go see “Elvis” the movie with our grandchildren who are 18 and 21 years old. I wanted them to see this film and then tell me what they thought about the man, the singer, the anti-segregationist, the performer and his life. After seeing “Elvis” they and I were awestruck.

After watching the film I believe that Austin Butler, who portrayed Elvis, is most deserving of an Academy Award nomination for best actor. My grandson agreed.

The movie was about how Elvis was recruited and then manipulated by his manager Colonel Tom Parker, played brilliantly by Tom Hanks, over the course of 20 years.

But the movie was also about how Elvis was impacted by three assassinations,

  1. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy or JFK on November 22, 1963 in Parkland Health, Dallas, Texas.
  2. Martin Luther King Jr. the iconic American Baptist minister who was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, where Elvis and his family lived on his estate named “Graceland.”
  3. Robert Francis Kennedy who was assassinated on June 6, 1968 at PIH Health Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles, California.

The loss of these three men had a great impact on Elvis. In the movie there is a scene when Elvis and others are watching the news about the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and Colonel Tom Parker says that the assassination has “nothing to do with us” to which Elvis replies “it has everything to do with us.”

Elvis understood that his world, much like today, was being taken over by evil forces. Evil forces that are bent on the destruction not only of America but of the Judeo-Christian values that this nation were founded upon.

I will leave it at that and say that I highly recommend our readers go see this film, and take their families and friends. It is definitely the best film that Warner Brothers has ever turned out in recent memory!

Elvis the Seeker of Truth

The film touches on Elvis’ early life and the influence of his mother and the community where he grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi. Elvis was influenced by both black singers and black evangelists in Tupelo. The scene of him entering a tent where a black pastor was holding a revival is telling. Elvis was smitten with the powerful words and music of the black pastor and his congregation.

Why is this important? Because Elvis was a man of God, first and foremost.

Elvis said, “All I want is to know the truth, to know and experience God. I’m a searcher, that’s what I’m all about.

Before going to see the film “Elvis” I read about the last day of his life written by the UK Express’ Stefan Kyriazis. In the article titled Elvis Presley death: The King’s final day hour by hour – Why did he die alone? by Kyriazis two things stood out to me:

  1. Before dying Elvis sang two gospel songs and the song Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain (watch the video below).
  2. The last book he read, which he took with him to his bathroom where he was later found unconscious, was Frank O. Adams’ 1972 book The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus.

Adam’s book was a scientific study of the shroud of Turin. The Shroud of Turin, also known as the Holy Shroud, is a length of linen cloth bearing the negative image of a man. Some describe the image as depicting Jesus of Nazareth and believe the fabric is the burial shroud in which he was wrapped after crucifixion.

Elvis, on the last day of his life on earth, was still seeking God’s truth.

Elvis was, like us believers, a true child of God. He was blessed with a voice that changed the world.

Elvis collected 14 Grammy nominations over his career. However, Elvis never won a single Grammy for his Rock n’ Roll songs. He did win three Grammys for his gospel and inspirational music. He won his first Grammy in 1967 for Best Sacred Performance for his version of “How Great Thou Art.”

Gary Tillery in his book “The Seeker King: A Spiritual Biography of Elvis Presley” wrote, “A woman in the audience once handed Elvis a crown saying, ‘You’re the King.’ ‘No, honey,’ Elvis replied. ‘There is only one king — Jesus Christ. I’m just a singer.'”

Elvis read thousands of books on religion. His personal crisis over making bimbo movies like Girl Happy led him to writers such as Gurdjieff, Krishnamurti, and Helena Blavatsky.

Elvis came to believe that Jesus Christ shines in everyone and that God wanted him to use his light to uplift people. And so he did.

The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation was established in 1984 by Graceland/Elvis Presley Enterprises in the spirit of Presley’s dedication to community service and to honor his legacy. The organization supports a variety of causes, including the Memphis-based counseling center Goodwill Homes and the creation of the Elvis Presley Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Memphis for students majoring in media and the arts.

Elvis’ excesses were as legendary as his generosity, yet, despite his lethal reliance on prescription drugs, he remained ever spiritually curious.

Elvis is now with the One True King, Jesus Christ. Glory be to God in the highest.

Please listen to the very last song Elvis ever sang, in his racquetball hall behind Graceland, only a few hours before he died Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain. The images of Elvis bring back great memories of this Man of God and Believer in His Son Jesus.

Please click here for an Elvis Presley timeline of his short 42 years of life here on earth.

©Dr. Rich Swier a lifelong Elvis fan. All rights reserved.


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