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Elvis the King Might Be a God in the Making, Author Says

August 10, 1993|from Reuter

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Chances are even those who think of Elvis Presley as a god don't rank the late entertainer on a par with the Supreme Being.

But the day may come when followers go down on their knees to worship "Elvis the King," a messenger who was sent by God, was betrayed by trusted friends and lives eternally in the hearts of all men and women.

At least that's the argument put forward in a new book by a former religious affairs correspondent for the BBC, who sees in the Elvis cult the seeds of devotion that could--over time--grow into a full-fledged religion.

"The worship, adoration and the perpetuation of the memory of Elvis today closely resembles a religious cult," says Ted Harrison, author of the book "Elvis People--The Cult of the King" (HarperCollins, $10), which has just been published in the United States.

"Indeed, what is now the Elvis cult could be nothing less than a religion in embryo."

Officials at Graceland, Presley's celebrated mansion, expect 10,000 to 15,000 Elvis fans to converge on Memphis to mark the anniversary of his 1977 death on Monday. In the past they have held a candlelight vigil, visited Presley's grave and scrawled messages to the dead singer--often couched in religious terms--on the wall of the estate.

"Elvis fans say, echoing the words of many Christians, it is possible not only to love Elvis, but to be loved by Elvis and have a personal relationship with him," the book notes.

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