Prince as a Jehovah’s Witness rock star

PrinceMug.jpgTime and Newsweek devote stories this week to Prince, and both note in passing that his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness has dialed back his earlier obsessions with sex.

Josh Tyrangel reviews Prince’s latest album, Musicology, in Time: “As a Jehovah’s Witness, Prince has said he will try to abstain from getting too dirty, and give the man credit: he manages to hold out for an entire song.”

Talking with Lorraine Ali in Newsweek, Prince interprets his tense relations with the record industry by talking about the Garden of Eden:

Does he think he’s sacrificed anything by stepping out of the spotlight for more than a decade? “That notion of me losing something is a fallacy,” he says, and unleashes a scriptural analogy. “There’s Adam and Eve — artists — in the garden, chilling. God tells them they’re supposed to have sex, and they do. Here comes a snake — the record-industry guy — and tells them the grass is greener on the other side. And when they fell for that, boy, did they fall. No, I didn’t lose a thing.”

No publication has gone into any depth about what prompted Prince to become a Jehovah’s Witness. A St. Paul Pioneer Press article on Prince’s induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame reinforces earlier reports that his conversion resulted from a long-standing friendship with Larry Graham. (Graham is the former bassist for Sly and the Family Stone and founder of his own band, Graham Central Station.)

He gave praise and thanks to Jehovah and thanked Larry Graham among his “spiritual mentors” and Warner Brothers Records for giving him his “freedom.”

“A word to the wise — without spiritual mentoring, freedom can lead to the soul’s decay,” Prince said from the podium.

“And a word to the young, real friends and mentors are not on your payroll. A real friend and mentor cares for your soul as much as his own.”

He closed his brief acceptance speech by saying “I wish you the best on this fascinating journey, and it ain’t over. Peace.” He then blew two-handed kisses to the audience, touched his heart and pointed to the crowd.

Prince, like Little Richard, was born a Seventh-day Adventist, and his music always has reflected a struggle between the sacred and the profane. In becoming a Jehovah’s Witness, Prince has committed himself to a demanding and countercultural faith. Witnesses place a strong emphasis on racial equality; decline to celebrate Christmas and Easter, which they consider pagan holidays (they reject the doctrine of the Trinity for similar reasons); reject military service as a sin of nationalism; and are forbidden to receive blood transfusions (because of biblical prohibitions about eating animals’ blood).

City Pages, an alternative weekly in Minneapolis, published a lengthy profile of Prince (without his cooperation) in 2001 that included this humorous prediction:

Alan Leeds, who worked as Prince’s tour manager for seven years and ran the now-defunct Paisley Park Records from 1989 to 1992, still remembers a late-night chat he had with his wife several years ago. “I remember saying, ‘You know where this is going to end up? This is going to end up with Prince playing on Sundays in a purple church in Chanhassen [the location of Paisley Park],’” Leeds recounts. “People will be dressed in ruffled shirts, looking like it’s the Eighties, watching him preach and play ‘Purple Rain.’”

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  • Melissa M.

    I’m a big Prince fan, and I can’t express how delighted I am to find out Prince has become a Jehovah’s Witness. It’s AMAZING!!!! GOD IS GOOD!!!!

  • julia M.

    No one is a bigger Prince fan than me! I will say i was a little sad when he said he was Jehova’s Witness. Only because the only way you can get to GOD is by JESUS and only JESUS! And if i am right they don’t believe in JESUS. His faith is wonderful and i am not upset by the faith but you can’t leave out the main part,the CROSS and what JESUS did on the cross for all of us. But i still love Prince’s music and his mind,he’s smart he will one day know that ONLY WITH THE LOVE OF JESUS WE WILL SEE THE FACE OF GOD!!!!

  • Riccardo S.

    We do believe in Jesus. And we believe he died on a torture stake, which holds more historical accuracy then death on a “cross”, but this is not the time for a religious debate. You are quite correct in saying that the only way to reach God is through Jesus, but since “no man may see God and live”, how are we to “SEE THE FACE OF GOD!!!!” as you so aptly put it? Prince has found a religion that he believes is the right religion, please do try get your facts straight before you become “a little sad”.


  • Ricardo & John

    Jehovah’s witness Do believe in Jesus! Only bij Jesus you can get to his father, Jehovah.

  • Ozzy

    Is it no good that you can see a change in Prince now that he is trying to appy the Bibles knowledge? or do you prefer his foul, sex filled language and “sexy moves”. Wasnt he criticized because of this? Lets give him credit for trying to clean up his life.

  • Stevo

    You all should get bent. I think that Prince should keep his dirty act DIRTY! That is why I bought tickets to the show. To see that little man shake his ass.

  • Julie Ward

    I can’t believe that people think Jehovah’s Witnesses DON’T believe in Jesus! Every single prayer they say is “In Jesus’ name, Amen”. Don’t make comments unless you know the facts! Prince Rocks!! I can’t imagine the changes he has had to make in his life to commit to his new found faith. I have been doing a Bible study with a Witness for 5 years, understand ALL of their reasoning, as they simply live life as the Bible (and thus God and Jesus) states, and I STILL can’t seem to commit! And I live a SIMPLE, NORMAL life. I think he is fantastic for taking this change of “stict” faith AND chosing to still make music. It must be tough, but I hope he can do it. Because if he can successfully continue his music career AND be a devote Witness – he can do anything! I hope others can learn from his example of positive change. The world needs more of him!!

  • Prince

    Please stop talking about me behind my back.

  • mik

    I’m a JW and we do believe in jesus. We thank our god for providing his ransom sacrifice to pay for our imperfections in EVERY prayer. But we know jehovah is the creator of all things and the “almighty” whereas jesus is mighty.

  • gene

    JW’s do not believe in the Jesus that the Bible teaches. They believe he was the son of God but not God himself. I’m glad to hear that prince is living a more moral life but he and other JWs are missing the point.

  • Beejay

    God, you silly Americans and your religion… GET A LIFE ALREADY!!! Dzjees…

  • Atila

    Prince is very happy as JW go on and may God Bless you throu Jesus Crist!

  • peach

    I’ve been considering becoming a JW, I know it’s the truth, whether I want it to be or not, whether it’s going to be difficult or easy, I know there is nothing else, the rest the world offers is emphemeral tinsel. So when i heard the Prince is a JW I almost danced for joy. I couldn’t stop smiling. Thrilled. He is brave and has real guts, a man in his position who realizes he needs something else, more, to fulfill him is beautiful, wise, strong. I hope, by his example many will have their eyes opened to the truth. I’m sure they will. No longer does the devil have all the best music either! Prince makes me realize that I can be a JW too, that the things I want from the world, would not mean so much to me as the truth of Jehovah and Jesus does, and will do forever. I’m really happy for Prince, I know he will be happy forever and that there is going to be some great music that I enjoy forever. Good for you Prince, forever and ever and ever…

  • Sammy

    I’m sure all of us are happy for such wonderful new, but we all must remember that our organization does not follow men but only god and his son, and it won’t be better if famous people become Jehovah’s witnesses, that’s not important to us, neither to god. we all are the same to his eyes. that’s why any publication has even mention it, otherwise it would.

  • franek

    I don’t believe this sexy m…r f….r.

  • Greg

    Well it goes to show that even the most immoral people can turn around and get better, I have a few friends who are Jehovah’s Witnesses and I used to try to prove thier beliefs wrong, which totally ended up shaking my faith in what I believed and was taught, I asked my parents about these topics and they tried to show me from the bible how Jehovah’s Witnesses are wrong, I shared with them the literature and anyways to make a long story short, both of my parents took a bible study class and my father became a Jehovah’s Witness a year ago and my mother probably will too soon. It tells me alot, the #1 thing that I’ve learned about them is that they are a VERY fundamental Christian religion, but in all honesty I know that the early Christians and Christ would be considered fundamentalists today if they were around. I’m struggling myself because I truly do believe what they teach, but I don’t want to be labeled in the same category as they are since alot of it is negative. So it basically comes down to me doing the right thing which is hard, or continuing to take the easy way out in life and just ignoring what is important. At least I know the truth from the bible now.

  • qoheleth cifra

    If someone knocks on your door and it’s a Jehovah’s Witness, try to let him in and hear him as he preach the good news. Ask him questions and be enlightened by the answers. Everybody are free to give their opinion…but it would be best if we could back it up! Jehovah’s Witness can.

  • RicardoDz

    So what do people say about us greg?? just wondering.. i’ve been a witness since birth an i’m thankfull for it and all that jehovah has done for me, my dad wasn’t around much growing up (insert violin music) and it was hard for my mum raisin the kids alone, but the things that i learned at the kindom hall and jehovah have made me the man i am today, i’m not perfect.. not even close by a long shot ;o/, but i know that all that good in me is not from my own doing..Greg i hookup with my friends, wear “normal clothes” not clogs, wierd hats, bells, tassles etc we goto movies, play football(soccer), guitar and enjoy a wide variety of hobbies and activities together, only thing is we firmly believe we have found the right path and want to do our best to serve jehovah, so we go house to house and share a life giving message with others about the future… what would you do f you knew your local dam was going to burst, not tell anyone an keep yourself safe?? don’t know what any of this has to do with prince.. kinda just stumbled on this forum :o) oops .. but i reckon Sammy pretty much hit the nail on the head.. It’ll really be nice to meet you one day at a congregarion meetin Greg..

  • RicardoDz

    BTW.. sorry 4 all the spelling mistakes it’s late at night and my fingers run away with me :( heh heh