In the early 1960s, Elvis Presley became very interested in spiritualism. He was already a lifelong Christian, but it wasn’t until he began to get close to his hairdresser, Larry Geller, that he began to investigate other theories. Before long, Larry became a “spiritual advisor” to the King of Rock and Roll, but Priscilla Presley wasn’t happy.
Elvis began spending a lot of time theorizing with Larry, exchanging books, and researching new ways of looking at life.
Priscilla wrote in her memoir, Elvis and Me, that she felt Elvis was becoming “too attached” to books. Anyway, she and the rest of the King’s friends, the Memphis mob, played along with the star and listened to him talk about his findings. “Happy to share everything…he read to us for hours and handed out books that she thought would interest us,” she recalled Priscilla. “He announced that in order for us to be perfect soul mates, I would have to join him in finding him. For the answers to the universe.”
To help Priscilla catch up on what she was learning, she gave her “several great books”, “including The Initiation of the World of Vera Stanley Adler”.
Before long, she and Elvis’s manager decided to intervene.
Elvis’s boss, Colonel Tom Parker, was a big part of the King’s life and was eager to get him back on the right track. As a result, he got involved and told Elvis that he felt Larry was becoming a “bad influence” on his life and his priorities. He then urged the star to “expel” Larry from his inner circle.
Priscilla recalled, “After Larry left, Elvis locked up a lot of his books. I told him I was glad they were literally destroying us. We were engaged to be married.”
Eventually, he asked her, “Would you feel better if I got rid of them?” Priscilla agreed.
That same night, at Elvis’s home, Graceland, the couple worked to push not only Larry out of their lives, but also the books that had driven wedges into their relationship.
“That night,” Priscilla continued. “At three in the morning, Elvis and I piled a huge pile of his books and magazines into a big box and dumped them in an abandoned water hole behind Graceland.”
She added: “We poured gasoline over the pile, struck a match and kissed the past goodbye.”
Despite Elvis banishing parts of his spiritual identity from his life, he remained a devout Christian until his death.
Elvis’ stepbrother, Billy Stanley, recently opened up about seeing a side of the King that was hidden behind closed doors.
He told The Guardian: “He trusted God for everything. It’s where he got his strength from. Elvis was so grateful for what the Lord had given him. He thanked God every day and constantly sought God’s guidance through prayer and reading the Bible.
Elvis also preached the good book to him, Billy remembered. “It was quite an experience having Elvis as a Sunday school teacher,” he said.
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