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Thread started 07/28/22 8:24am

khill95

Prince's Religious Change in the late 90s early 2000's

I know this has probably been talked to death on here, but I would love to hear from fans who were around at the time of Prince's conversion to JW in the late 90's.

As an outsider, it's great that he found peace and direction for his life with this new religion, but at the same time, it seemed weird that he went back on all the progressive, inclusive, and daring fashion, music, and beliefs that were a big part of who he was and his appeal in the 70's, 80's, and 90's.

What do you think?

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Reply #1 posted 07/28/22 10:05am

Genesia

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Actually ... I think Prince's religious change (as you call it) mainly provided convenient cover for what he wanted to do all along. He said any number of times that the envelope pushing of his early career was his way of standing out, of getting over. He said he pushed it as far as he could then but that, when everyone starts doing the same thing (or worse), standing out is more difficult - and maybe you just don't want to go there.

That, coupled with his comments about "old skin" (among other things), makes me think that he was comfortable leaving that envelope where he left it and pulling back into a position that was more ... seemly, for want of a better word ... for someone in advancing middle age.

We don’t mourn artists because we knew them. We mourn them because they helped us know ourselves.
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Reply #2 posted 07/28/22 10:58am

TrivialPursuit

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And this thread gets locks in 3...

2...


"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #3 posted 07/28/22 11:23am

khill95

TrivialPursuit said:

And this thread gets locks in 3...

2...


Why would it be locked? It's something that I want to hear peoples thoughts about.

I was born in 1995 so I didn't see this transition happen in real time, but as a mixed race queer person with mostly progressive views, I would view it as, well, almost like a slap in the face if I saw it happen in real time.

Here's this man who gave so much confidence and pride and visibility to people outside of the mainstream, only for him to become, well, the mainstream.

I understand that he was a grown man who made own decisions and lived his life the way that he wanted to, but, as a fan we can also have our own opinions about those things.

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Reply #4 posted 07/28/22 12:08pm

laytonian

He did it at the urging of Larry Graham, someone who basically leeched off of him for years (living in homes P owned, working in the band, etc). He was basically told that everything bad that had happened (including the death of his child) was due to his "bad acts", which were very minor in the scheme of things.
LG broke up a marriage, with the help of a usurper, and how is that "religious"? That second marriage didn't last very long.

You can see that his religious views changed over many years, particularly after he visited higher-ups in the JW organization who could not answer his questions about the religion.

He had books on all religions, especially Eastern beliefs. But publicly, he was JW.

His beliefs were all over the place. Aren't everyone's? Who is lockstep into one religion?

Welcome to "the org", laytonian… come bathe with me.
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Reply #5 posted 07/28/22 1:40pm

nosajd

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I don’t really care what the man’s religion was, unless it was Scientology BS, then I knew he would have lost it. Religion means diff things for diff people. I think he was still true to himself despite whatever religion he chose to be at any given moment.

In the end, he was always provocative in his own way. Which is funny bc a lot of fans would give him hell for saying things like HAM, or spelling things out, as if they were surprised. I mean, it’s Prince people, he was always going to do his own take on things. Judge all you want, it amounts to nothing except revealing yourself.
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Reply #6 posted 07/28/22 2:58pm

TrivialPursuit

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khill95 said:

TrivialPursuit said:

And this thread gets locks in 3...

2...


Why would it be locked?


Because the Politics & Religion forum was closed for a reason - many reasons. And this post falls right into that category.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #7 posted 07/28/22 3:18pm

GustavoRibas

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khill95 said:

I know this has probably been talked to death on here, but I would love to hear from fans who were around at the time of Prince's conversion to JW in the late 90's.

As an outsider, it's great that he found peace and direction for his life with this new religion, but at the same time, it seemed weird that he went back on all the progressive, inclusive, and daring fashion, music, and beliefs that were a big part of who he was and his appeal in the 70's, 80's, and 90's.

What do you think?

.

- I have the same opinion. But honestly, I didnt miss the cursing and androgyny like most fans did. My biggest problem was with the music he was doing from 96-2001.

.

A famous musician who worked with him said, when asked about this, that Prince´s religion was himself, but in fact, he seemed more relaxed and in peace in the 2000s.

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Reply #8 posted 07/28/22 4:14pm

nosajd

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TrivialPursuit said:



khill95 said:




TrivialPursuit said:


And this thread gets locks in 3...

2...





Why would it be locked?




Because the Politics & Religion forum was closed for a reason - many reasons. And this post falls right into that category.



I don’t see the harm until someone starts imposing their beliefs on others.
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Reply #9 posted 07/28/22 4:24pm

TrivialPursuit

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GustavoRibas said:

, he seemed more relaxed and in peace in the 2000s.


Yes well Prince didn't make truly amaazing and genius music without conflict or struggle in his life. During the depths of his WB years in the mid 90s, he produced some of the most amazing material that only the mid 80s could rival.

Once he got free, his music became... not as great.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #10 posted 07/28/22 4:34pm

nosajd

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TrivialPursuit said:



GustavoRibas said:


, he seemed more relaxed and in peace in the 2000s.




Yes well Prince didn't make truly amaazing and genius music without conflict or struggle in his life. During the depths of his WB years in the mid 90s, he produced some of the most amazing material that only the mid 80s could rival.

Once he got free, his music became... not as great.



Personal opinion, which you are entitled to.
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Reply #11 posted 07/28/22 8:09pm

TrivialPursuit

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nosajd said:

TrivialPursuit said:


Yes well Prince didn't make truly amaazing and genius music without conflict or struggle in his life. During the depths of his WB years in the mid 90s, he produced some of the most amazing material that only the mid 80s could rival.

Once he got free, his music became... not as great.

Personal opinion, which you are entitled to.


Plot twist: I never needed anyone's affirmation on that anyway. It's a win-win.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #12 posted 07/28/22 8:17pm

nosajd

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TrivialPursuit said:



nosajd said:


TrivialPursuit said:



Yes well Prince didn't make truly amaazing and genius music without conflict or struggle in his life. During the depths of his WB years in the mid 90s, he produced some of the most amazing material that only the mid 80s could rival.

Once he got free, his music became... not as great.



Personal opinion, which you are entitled to.


Plot twist: I never needed anyone's affirmation on that anyway. It's a win-win.



All of it is you
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Reply #13 posted 07/29/22 3:47am

TheEclecticEle
ctric

Didn't his JW beliefs preclude him from getting his joints operated on? Which in turn led to dependency on painkillers. Misuse of which is what killed him.

Or is that over-simplistic?

+e
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Reply #14 posted 07/29/22 3:59am

funkbabyandthe
babysitters

He def kinda reneged on a lot of what he said and seened to believe before

But hey thats what happens in a lot of artists careers

His was just stranger often and odder and more contradictory arguably

Def a big disappointment for me back then but its easier to look at it as a whole now

Lots of unusual stuff to read about from this time though like the piece one female journalist wrote about prince quizzing her on the role of women
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Reply #15 posted 07/29/22 12:55pm

laytonian

TheEclecticElectric said:

Didn't his JW beliefs preclude him from getting his joints operated on? Which in turn led to dependency on painkillers. Misuse of which is what killed him.

Or is that over-simplistic?


No. He did have hip surgery in 2010. We do not know what kind or how extensive.

JW's prohibit blood transfusions, which is seldom needed for hip surgery.

Welcome to "the org", laytonian… come bathe with me.
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Reply #16 posted 07/29/22 2:36pm

TrivialPursuit

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laytonian said:

No. He did have hip surgery in 2010. We do not know what kind or how extensive.

JW's prohibit blood transfusions, which is seldom needed for hip surgery.


Actually we do. He didn't get replacement. He got a procedure where they scrape out scar tissue, and they typically only enter that from one side, opposed to cutting on both sides as with a replacement.

Not that this hasn't been beaten to fucking death on the Org in the last 6+ years.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #17 posted 07/29/22 4:58pm

GustavoRibas

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TrivialPursuit said:

Yes well Prince didn't make truly amaazing and genius music without conflict or struggle in his life. During the depths of his WB years in the mid 90s, he produced some of the most amazing material that only the mid 80s could rival.

Once he got free, his music became... not as great.

.

- I agree that conflict worked for Prince and I agree that his mid-90s music is more amazing than lots of people give him credit for (including fans). It´s my personal fave era, although I cant deny that his run between Dirty Mind and Lovesexy will be remembered as his creative peak.

.

Having said that, ironically one of his most adventurous and interesting albums was a spiritual/religious one: The Rainbow Children. Prince was on fire there. And Musicology and 3121 were strong straight pop albums. Lotus Flow3r is very underrated even by fans, but Prince was great making a psychedelic album with lots of guitar and some cool songs. And Hit and Run Phase Two had strong songs and some of his finest arrangements/production.

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Reply #18 posted 07/29/22 5:16pm

IanRG

laytonian said:

He did it at the urging of Larry Graham, someone who basically leeched off of him for years (living in homes P owned, working in the band, etc). He was basically told that everything bad that had happened (including the death of his child) was due to his "bad acts", which were very minor in the scheme of things.
LG broke up a marriage, with the help of a usurper, and how is that "religious"? That second marriage didn't last very long.

You can see that his religious views changed over many years, particularly after he visited higher-ups in the JW organization who could not answer his questions about the religion.

He had books on all religions, especially Eastern beliefs. But publicly, he was JW.

His beliefs were all over the place. Aren't everyone's? Who is lockstep into one religion?

.

And this is critical. Prince's battle with his religion was throughout his whole career, not just when he became a JW. This is clear and evident in his music and performances virtually from the beginning.

.

How he let his religious views affect his music ebbed and flowed throughout his career. How anyone handles grief is highly personal and variable - it can tear families and beliefs apart forever or bring them closer and stronger and eveything in between. Prince's period of peak JW influence was short in the scheme of things - as he recovered from these personal tragedies it has less and less influence.

.

Personally I am opposed to the JW beliefs and especially their methods but less so than the need for fans to seek to control "their" artist and complain all the time that Prince did not do exactly what they wanted even when he was suffering the greatest. Fans are too often an artist's greatest burden and they deserve no more candy.

.

Do I care that Prince did not play certain songs during peak JW? Not at all, not with size of his catalogue - by necessity so many songs disappeared from his concert playlists throughout his career.

.

Do I care that he edited words during this period? No more than the awful radio edits of Sexy MF before peak JW. Changing "The Cross" to the "The Christ" grated far more than not swearing because it made a theologically sound Christian song into something so much less.

.

Do I think it damaged his creativity and music? No, Rainbow Children was Prince's most religious album (and not on a religion that I follow) but it was also some of his best work in the 10 year period before Musicology.

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Reply #19 posted 07/30/22 7:15am

Dauphin

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At the time, the fan community ran a number of theories to the change. However the major events seemed to be the passing of his parents (specifically his mother), the meeting and deep friendship with Larry Graham, and his own natural inclination towards change as a form of self growth or therapy.

It was very polarizing to us fans, and honestly didn't really affect his image overall to the general public until he created Musicology which was a great album with a superb tour. The idea that he would do a more family friendly tour really did contribute to better attendance and imo went a long way in solidifying his place in history as one of the greatest artists.

Unfortunately, it came at a price of Prince distancing himself from his long time fans who did not want to fit a mold he was requiring of us. It did force us to either blindly follow his journey or to look at him as a person with normal human motivations and contradictions. Which really could be seen as a good thing in a weird way.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Still it's nice to know, when our bodies wear out, we can get another

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
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Reply #20 posted 07/30/22 7:59am

dustoff

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Also bear in mind that Prince was fairly evangelical even before the conversion, so it wasn't like he suddenly found religion (ie with the consequent zeal of the 'born again') -- it was more like his expressed views became slightly wackier, which was something not necessarily obvious to the general public or casual fan.

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Reply #21 posted 07/30/22 3:45pm

IanRG

Dauphin said:

At the time, the fan community ran a number of theories to the change. However the major events seemed to be the passing of his parents (specifically his mother), the meeting and deep friendship with Larry Graham, and his own natural inclination towards change as a form of self growth or therapy. It was very polarizing to us fans, and honestly didn't really affect his image overall to the general public until he created Musicology which was a great album with a superb tour. The idea that he would do a more family friendly tour really did contribute to better attendance and imo went a long way in solidifying his place in history as one of the greatest artists. Unfortunately, it came at a price of Prince distancing himself from his long time fans who did not want to fit a mold he was requiring of us. It did force us to either blindly follow his journey or to look at him as a person with normal human motivations and contradictions. Which really could be seen as a good thing in a weird way.

.

As a long term fan, I never felt that Prince distanced himself from us - just the literal opposite - some long term fans distanced themselves from Prince at this time. Prince bent over backwards for fans at this time with things like his early adoption of the internet and with NPGonline.com then NPGMC. He even returned to using the name that long term fans grew up with.

.

It was places like this that demanded that he act the way others wanted and not develop as a person or manage his grief - This was to still be the brash youth from back when we were youths, despite his age.

.

There was absolutely nothing special about this period in regard to Prince being a person with normal human motivations and contradictions. He showed movie versions of this in the first two movies, the musical version of this in his lyrics throughout his career and his internal conflicts in how the set lists were put together - see the Syrcuse concert and SOTT.

.

This is not the equivalent of the three ages of Elvis ie Rock and Roll Elvis, Movie Elvis and Vegas Elvis.

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Reply #22 posted 07/30/22 3:55pm

IanRG

dustoff said:

Also bear in mind that Prince was fairly evangelical even before the conversion, so it wasn't like he suddenly found religion (ie with the consequent zeal of the 'born again') -- it was more like his expressed views became slightly wackier, which was something not necessarily obvious to the general public or casual fan.

.

And the LG/JW influence waned rapidly as he recovered from his normal human response to grief. The Chemtrails wackiness came when his JWness was a much smaller part of his life.

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Reply #23 posted 07/30/22 4:33pm

TrivialPursuit

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dustoff said:

Also bear in mind that Prince was fairly evangelical even before the conversion, so it wasn't like he suddenly found religion (ie with the consequent zeal of the 'born again') -- it was more like his expressed views became slightly wackier, which was something not necessarily obvious to the general public or casual fan.


Not unless you're defining evangelical as a generlized Christian term. Prince was raised as Seventh Day Adventist, and they have some pretty fucked up beliefs in comparison to most any other protestant circle. So it never surprised me he jumped from one cracker jack group to another.

Not sorry to any SDA out there.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #24 posted 07/30/22 4:48pm

IanRG

TrivialPursuit said:

dustoff said:

Also bear in mind that Prince was fairly evangelical even before the conversion, so it wasn't like he suddenly found religion (ie with the consequent zeal of the 'born again') -- it was more like his expressed views became slightly wackier, which was something not necessarily obvious to the general public or casual fan.


Not unless you're defining evangelical as a generlized Christian term. Prince was raised as Seventh Day Adventist, and they have some pretty fucked up beliefs in comparison to most any other protestant circle. So it never surprised me he jumped from one cracker jack group to another.

Not sorry to any SDA out there.

.

And this is one of the reasons why P&R was removed.

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Reply #25 posted 07/30/22 5:23pm

TrivialPursuit

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IanRG said:

TrivialPursuit said:


Not unless you're defining evangelical as a generlized Christian term. Prince was raised as Seventh Day Adventist, and they have some pretty fucked up beliefs in comparison to most any other protestant circle. So it never surprised me he jumped from one cracker jack group to another.

Not sorry to any SDA out there.

.

And this is one of the reasons why P&R was removed.


It's just my opinion. I attacked the belief system, not a person.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #26 posted 07/30/22 5:35pm

IanRG

TrivialPursuit said:

IanRG said:

.

And this is one of the reasons why P&R was removed.


It's just my opinion. I attacked the belief system, not a person.

.

"Not sorry to any SDA out there."

.

No, you attacked anyone who disgrees with you on your religious beliefs. Everyone else is discussing the points of the topic - the changes to Prince when he became a JW and how this affected fans at the time, not you opinion on whether we can discuss Prince: Music and More or on your opinion on different religions.

[Edited 7/30/22 17:43pm]

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Reply #27 posted 07/30/22 5:43pm

GustavoRibas

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TrivialPursuit said:

IanRG said:

.

And this is one of the reasons why P&R was removed.


It's just my opinion. I attacked the belief system, not a person.

.

Ok, but some people get really offended (not me, I am not SDA). I wish we talked more about Prince´s relation to religion and his music.

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Reply #28 posted 07/30/22 6:03pm

LoveGalore

Genesia said:

Actually ... I think Prince's religious change (as you call it) mainly provided convenient cover for what he wanted to do all along. He said any number of times that the envelope pushing of his early career was his way of standing out, of getting over. He said he pushed it as far as he could then but that, when everyone starts doing the same thing (or worse), standing out is more difficult - and maybe you just don't want to go there.

That, coupled with his comments about "old skin" (among other things), makes me think that he was comfortable leaving that envelope where he left it and pulling back into a position that was more ... seemly, for want of a better word ... for someone in advancing middle age.



I think you're completely on target with this.

I think Prince was looking around at some of his peers and realizing that there isn't much charm in seeing an older gent singing "Head" (and many others), is there? Not really. Not when he was at a point in his career where he wanted to be known more for being a guitar-centric legend than for rollerskates and updos.
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Reply #29 posted 07/30/22 6:40pm

IanRG

I am glad that Prince was able to mature in ways that artists like Iggy Pop, Avril Lavigne and MJ were not able/willing to.

.

I am sad that this process left some fans behind but recognise the dual realities that every artist should be free to develop their art as they choose and every member of the audience is free to choose what they like and do not like.

.

However, I am far more sad about the personal tragedies that lead to the specific change being discusses, but thankful that the change was mostly positive for Prince at the time.

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