The Church of Elvis walks the footpath of Elvis’s life, retracing how faith influenced the man and his music; and how, in turn, he inspired near religious adulation amongst his fans.
Elvis is probably the only pop icon who has blurred the boundaries between the secular and sacred, complete with missionaries (tribute artists), sacred texts (records and films), disciples (fans), relics (the scarves, clips of hair), pilgrimages (Tupelo, Graceland), shrines (his gravesite), and all the appearances of a resurrection (with reported Elvis sightings).
Guiding the way is tribute artist, Ron Moore, a man of faith himself, and a recording artist who many consider to have to closest voice today to Presley. Ron, along with his wife, Lois, heads down into the heart of Elvis country to uncover rare stories and unseen items with people who knew the King first hand; perform in Elvis’s old haunts; and meet the super-fans who have dedicated their lives to enshrining their idol.
The Church of Elvis Part One: Let There be Elvis 1935 – 1953
Elvis Tribute Artist Ron Moore travels to Tupelo where it all started. From Elvis’s first appeal to the general public at a local singing competition to his first recording at Sun Records.
The Church of Elvis Part Two: Spreading the Gospel 1954 – 1966
With the guidance of Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis began to play the southern circuit and eventually signed with RCA. He was denounced in a sermon entitled, “Hotrods, Reefers, and Rock and Roll” and it made him wary of the old guard of his faith. When Elvis’s mother passed away he started exploring other religious beliefs, while still adhering to his Pentecostal roots. While in Hollywood Elvis met Larry Geller who soon became Elvis’s spiritual advisor, helping him explore numerology, cosmology, metaphysics, and Judaism.
The Church of Elvis Part Three: Roots of a New Religion 1967 – Present Day
What makes the Elvis movement so unique is the level of dedication of his fans. Rockin’ Robin is purported to have the largest private Elvis memorabilia collection in the world. Billy Miller believes Elvis is still alive and Patrick Leahey, on the other hand, has spent time debunking these claims. Though Elvis explored the mystical, he returned to his traditional religious roots in his mid thirties. In 1971 Elvis released “He Touched Me” which won him a second and final Grammy. He stayed close to his gospel roots till the day he died.