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.” Gary Tillery presents a coherent view of Elvis’s thoughts through such anecdotes and other recorded facts.
We learn, for instance, that Elvis read thousands of books on religion; that his crisis over making bimbo movies like Girl Happy led him to writers such as Gurdjieff, Krishnamurti, and Helena Blavatsky; and that, while driving in Arizona, an epiphany he had inspired him to learn Hindu practice. Elvis came to believe that the Christ shines in everyone and that God wanted him to use his light to uplift people. And so he did. Elvis’s excesses were as legendary as his generosity, yet, despite his lethal reliance on drugs, he remained ever spiritually curious. When he died, he was reading “A Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus.” This intimate, objective portrait inspires new admiration for the flawed but exceptional man who said, “All I want is to know and experience God. I’m a searcher, that’s what I’m all about.”