UCM Center for Religious Studies to offer course on Elvis

Written by Muleskinner Staff

The Center for Religious Studies at the University of Central Missouri announces the year-long celebration, “Channeling Elvis,” which will include the implementation of a new online course, “Elvis: Memphis Messiah,” for spring semester 2014, according to a press release.

Elvis Presley died on August 17, 1977, but his legacy and music still influence the entire world.  To date, sales of his recordings are in the billions of dollars.  Each year his music continues to earn about $55 million.

Elvis’ religious roots were within the Assemblies of God or Pentecostalism, Black Spiritualism-Spirituality, and a host of other New Religions that he studied as an adult, such as Self-Realization Fellowship, Theosophy, Astrology, Numerology, and Kabbala, Judaism, LDS, Christian Science and more. This and more will be studied in the new online course.

Marla J. Selvidge, Ph.D. has spent about two years developing the course, which contains, music, video, highly readable texts, guest speakers, and an Elvis impersonator from Las Vegas at 7:30 p.m. April 18, at Hendricks Hall.

As a way of introducing the new course, The Center for Religious Studies will host the following activities on campus as part of the “Channeling Elvis” celebration.  All events are free and open to the public.

At 2 p.m. Oct. 1, a musical lecture, “Rock and Roll and Christianity,” will be presented by Dr. Don Compier author of “Listening to Popular Music,” in Elliott Student Union 237B. A book signing will follow with refreshments.

During November 2013 through February 2014 a display created by Wendy Hawkins featuring Elvis Presley amidst history of the 1950s and 1960s will be available in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library. Additional CDs, DVDs, and books have been ordered for the library.

A free concert, “Rock and Roll and Elvis,” will be presented by Luehrman, Shaffer and Check from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Elliott Student Union atrium.

The play, “Graceland,” written by Ellen Byron directed by Dr. Richard Herman, will be presented Feb. 28 and March 1 in the BlackBox Theatre in Nickerson Hall.