The First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine Kimberly Villalba Wright Zine-O-Rama

import_contacts The First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine

reviewed by Kimberly Villalba Wright

Published in Issue No. 21 ~ February, 1999

The number of religious sites devoted to the King is just staggering: Church of Elvis, The Eighth Day Transfigurist Cult, Elvis Séance, The Elvis Shrine, The First Church of Jesus Christ, Elvis, The Gospel of Elvis, Little Shrine to the King, and Oracle of the Plywood Elvis, and of course, The First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine. The First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine (FPC, ED) was the most amusing name of all those sites. Also, FPC, ED at least gets certain facts straight, unlike The First Church of Jesus Christ, Elvis, who claims that Elvis was born in Memphis. Gee, I thought everyone knew Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi! One fact I did have to investigate was the claim that Elvis had a twin brother that was stillborn. My Elvis expert confirmed this. I was impressed by their inclusion of that detail. They did their homework! I was also impressed with the quality of the sermons. I only wish they had an organized gospel so that I might learn the names of all the disciples of Elvis. Just to give you an idea of the wealth of knowledge available at this site, here is a quote from a sermon entitled, “You Are Nothing, If Not a Hound Dog”: “Most of us are too busy having fun, making money, and getting laid to think much about religion. But being a reverend, not to mention being depressed, broke, and celibate, I think about it all the time.”

According to the site, Presleyterians start celebrating the birth of Elvis on December 8, which is incidentally the date that John Lennon, one of Elvis’ 13 disciples, was murdered. I also learned that three bluesmen visited the baby Elvis and offered gifts. Furry gave the baby a gallon of cheap wine. John Lee gave to the child pills of many colors, and Robert offered a can of lard. I assume that John Lee is John Lee Hooker and Robert is Robert Johnson. Furry’s identity escapes me. FPC, ED states that, in following the example of Elvis, it is a duty to overindulge. Sermons like, “The Hot Dog: Nature’s Most Perfect Food,” are designed to help believers remain steadfast in their faith. Also, a follower of Elvis would be remiss to leave out the “31 Commandments,” 31 foods that followers of Elvis must keep in their homes in case Elvis should ever be in their neighborhood. Presleyterians are also required to face Las Vegas daily and make a pilgrimage to Graceland at least once in their lives. Yes, there is also an Anti-Elvis, as well as a host of false gods, including Wayne Newton and Madonna, that true believers of Elvis must renounce. Who is the Anti-Elvis? Let’s just say that his marriage to Lisa Marie is referred to as the “Unholy Union.” All in all, FPC, ED is a site that true believers of Elvis should visit. Included in the site are the e-mail addresses of many members of Congress so that followers can request that Congress declare January 8, Elvis’ Birthday, a national holiday. Memberships are $13. They also have pricey T-shirts for sale. However, if someone you know is really into unique Elvis kitsch, and you’re not afraid to blow a little dough, the T-shirt is a good buy.

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Kimberly Villalba Wright was born in Hollywood, Florida, and has spent most of her life in Mobile, Alabama. She earned a BA in English at the University of South Alabama in 1997. Her poetry has appeared in the Epiphany, Arrowsmith, Doggerel, Dicat Libre, El Locofoco, as well as Poetry Café. This fall, Wright will begin working toward an MFA in creative Writing at the University of Memphis. Wright currently resides in Kennett, Missouri.