Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 28 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Wenceslaus

The three baptisms of Elvis

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 08/09/17

From USA TODAY comes this glimpse into the faith life of The King—whose death 40 years ago will be commemorated by fans next week:

Elvis was baptized, undoubtedly, as a child by a Trinitarian Pentecostal preacher in Tupelo, Miss.

He was re-baptized, reportedly, as a young teenager by a Oneness Pentecostal preacher in Memphis.

He also was baptized, posthumously, by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Multiple baptisms aren’t uncommon here in the land of religious liberty, where beliefs and practices vary widely, even within various Christian denominations.

Elvis grew up in the heart of the Pentecostal South at East Tupelo First Assembly of God, where his parents met and his great-uncles were co-pastors.

The Assemblies of God, the world’s largest Pentecostal body, follow the traditional triune formula found in Matthew 28:19: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

As a child, Elvis was water baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, according to biographers.

When Elvis was 13, the Presleys moved to Memphis. They lived near the Church of Jesus Christ, led by Rex Dyson, a Oneness Pentecostal preacher.

Oneness Pentecostals reject the triune formula for baptism. Instead, they use Peter’s instructions in Acts  2:38: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

They baptize believers in the name of Jesus only.

“Vernon and Gladys heard me preach about baptism a few times, then they came to me and said they wanted to be baptized in the name of Jesus,” Dyson told me in 2000, two years before he died. “I baptized Elvis in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Read it all. 

Worth mentioning: there is only one baptism for Catholics, if done with the proper words, matter and formula. Periodically, I’ll hear from people requesting to “re-do” a baptism for one reason or another. No can do. If you’ve been baptized validly once, the sacrament cannot be administered again.

Photo: Wikipedia 

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
The Sinai Peninsula and the Dead Sea Rift
J-P Mauro
Experts now believe Sodom was destroyed by a meteor
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
Fr. Michael Rennier
The purpose of life according to J.R.R. Tolkien
Giovanna Binci
He’s autistic, she has Down syndrome, and they’re wonderfully hap...
crisis man
Marzena Devoud
Advice from 3 monks for overcoming acedia
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
Christ and the woman taken in adultery
Daniel Esparza
What Jesus wrote
See More