Elvis Presley was born and raised in the ‘Bible Belt’ of USA. He read his Bible and prayed regularly and was very knowledgeable about spiritual matters. He and his parents were baptised in Memphis by Reverend Rex Dyson, whom we met and interviewed in Memphis when Rex was a very strong and passionate 100 years old. See the YouTube clip below to hear him praying for us at Elvis Gospel, and telling how he came to baptise teenage Elvis.
Rex Dyson had bought the First Pentecostal Church on 4th and Keele in 1936 and then in 1949, built the church of Jesus Christ on 7th Street. He could not remember whether or not the Presleys attended the church on 4th and Keele, but he definitely remembers that they attended the 7th Street church for that was where he baptised Vernon, Gladys and Elvis around 1950. He says, “I baptised Vernon and Gladys first. I had them in the baptistry. Elvis came up to the baptistry and he said, “I want to be baptised”. I baptised all three of them. Rex’s wife, Caroline interjects, “All three were together in the baptistery – it was quite full!”
I (Madeleine Wilson), asked how Elvis’ parents came to be baptised. Rex said, “I preached them in. They didn’t know anything about baptism in Jesus’ name. I preached them under conviction and they came and was baptised.” Caroline Rex’s wife told us, “I always did believe that Elvis was God-minded, if you know what I mean. The young people back then, they didn’t’ talk about shooting and banging up things. They talked about church and preachers and such like. They all played (church) music. They would get together in that trailer in our back yard and oh, all the noise with their singin’! They would really go at it! The boys that they’d hang out with were like two of mine, all naturally preachers. I imagine that in Elvis’ mind the same thoughts were. My (five) boys all turned out to be preachers. It should have been the same with Elvis.”
Elvis was eager to share his knowledge and in the mid sixties he held Bible studies at his home in Bel Air, California, where he lived while making films. In the seventies he started to include more Gospel songs in his concerts and had the Gospel groups, the Imperials, the Sweet Inspirations and later, J.D. Sumner and the Stamps as his backing singers. He was also known to read passages from the Bible on stage during his concerts and insisted that the audience be reverently quiet while J.D. and the Stamps sang ‘Sweet, Sweet Spirit’. Elvis did not like being called the King. When fans used to shout out from the audience “Elvis you’re the King”. He would reply, “No honey, there is only one King and that is Jesus Christ”.
The best known Gospel song he sang is most probably ‘How Great Thou Art’. During concert performances of this song, he would sometimes personalise the song by singing ‘my God how great I think You are’.
We at Elvis Gospel, believe that Elvis was called by God to be an evangelist, but that he did not fulfil his destiny on earth. For various reasons he was unable to break free from the trap in which he was caught. He was in pain and struggling and we believe that the Lord took him out of his misery and that he is in heaven right now, singing his songs for Jesus. During his time on earth, Elvis took his fans to the edge of and in sight of the “Promised Land”. We believe that God wants to continue the work he started in Elvis, and that Elvis fans should have the opportunity to hear and learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which Elvis, although he strayed from, he never forsook during his lifetime. Elvis believed in and meant the words of the songs he sang. It is certain that if he were still with us, he would encourage us not only to listen to, but also to act upon the words of the Gospel songs he sang. Especially, in these days of such troubled times he would urge us to “reach out to Jesus”.
AIMS of Elvis Gospel:
Our aims are to help anyone who would like to know more about this Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was a great encouragement and challenge to Elvis. We do this in several ways.
- The information on this web site
- Elvis Gospel Fan Club click here
- We will pray for you. We believe that God answers prayer. Send us your prayer request. We have a team of people who will pray for these requests in confidence.
If you are reading this and would like to support the work of Elvis Gospel in bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to fans, then please click here for further information
Please ‘contact us‘ with your prayer requests or to ask for more information
The picture above shows the cross and statue of Jesus which Elvis had made as a headstone for his mother’s grave at Forest Hills Cemetery. The grave was moved to the Meditation Garden at Graceland and the statue is now near the family graves in the Meditation Garden. Elvis also had a footstone made which has the scripture ” Not mine, but Thy will be done”. That was in the archives at Graceland, however, on the 60th anniversary of his mother’s death in 2018 it was retrieved and placed in the Meditation garden near the headstone statue.
Notice the Star of David as well as the Christian cross on the footstone. Elvis was proud of his Jewish roots.