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Old Jan 12, 2007, 08:15 AM   #1
y2daddy
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Default Did John Lennon become a born again Christian?

I'm not asking this question because I'm trying to start some religious debate. I'm asking because I think this might be a John urban legend and I wanted to ask some knowledgeable Beatle fans about it.

I am part of a forum that discusses religion and music. On the anniversary of John's death a guy posted that John Lennon had become a born-again Christian before he died. He offered two links in support of this idea:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/...e12/34.86.html
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/13647.htm

I took issue with the guy on a couple of fronts. First, these two sites were the only sites I've ever seen the story on. I've never seen it on any legit Lennon/Beatles site. Second, when I finally got ahold of the Lost Lennon Tapes and heard the song "You Saved My Soul", it was nothing close to the lyrics quoted in the second link. My reward for seeking the truth here was a public reaming by the guy.

So... this forum is filled with Beatle fans more knowledgeable than I. Is there anything to this?
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Old Jan 12, 2007, 09:10 AM   #2
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I honestly doubt it.
Maybe Lennon was just having a joke or testing peoples' reaction.
The article is written by Steve Turner who knows a lot about the Beatles but he doesn't seem to take sides.He has himself written a book about the Beatles and religion but I haven't read it.
Giuliano's book is not generally considered trustworthy.
And if Lennon had seriously become a born again Christian then I'm sure he would have written a song about it, but as you've noticed, no such song exists.Ten years after singing "I don't believe in Jesus, I just believe in me,Yoko and me" he was still singing about himself and Yoko.
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Old Jan 12, 2007, 09:13 AM   #3
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Yeah, I agree. If John embraced Christianity before he died, I'm sure he would have said something about it. He was interviewed on December 8th and there's no mention of it in those interviews. And he's talking about the future and life in general, so yeah, I think he would have mentioned it.
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Old Jan 12, 2007, 01:00 PM   #4
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His only "religious" song that I know is Double Fantasy's "Help Me to Help Myself," unless you count "Serve Yourself," which attacks organized religion. (I have the Wonsaponatime version.)
What are the actual lyrics to "You Saved My Soul"?
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Old Jan 12, 2007, 02:26 PM   #5
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I really doubt it. I haven´t read anything about that. Even in David Sheff´s "All we are saying", his last major interview, he never mentioned anything about it.
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Old Jan 12, 2007, 11:41 PM   #6
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Everyone's foregetting how prone John was to fads, or to somehting that caught his interest. If something caught his eye, he was fervantly enthralled with it: he heard Dylan, and then wore his hat in A Hard Day's Night, he met Yoko and had to tell everyone why his love for her was so much deeper than anyone else's love for their spouse, he disbanded the Beatles and then proceeded to publicly put-down everything the Beatles had done together. John seemed to be a very all-or-nothing person...he himself said in Rolling Stone that if he's into someone and he finds out that person wears green socks, he's also liable to wear green socks. If a televangelist did capture John's eye, however fleetingly, I think it's totaly within the realm of possibility that he did, briefly, become a born-again.
On the other hand, the first time I read this claim was in The Many Lives of John Lennon, which is probably the worst Lennon "bio" ever printed, so...
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Old Jan 12, 2007, 11:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by acabrera View Post
I really doubt it. I haven´t read anything about that. Even in David Sheff´s "All we are saying", his last major interview, he never mentioned anything about it.
I remember him saying in that interview something about him knowing there's more out there than we can understand, but I think if he was a born-again Christian at that point, he'd have said so.

I have seen a picture of John wearing a cross (I think it was in a book, though I don't recall which one right now), but I don't know if he genuinely believed in it or not.
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Old Jan 12, 2007, 11:58 PM   #8
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Everyone's foregetting how prone John was to fad.
If a televangelist did capture John's eye, however fleetingly, I think it's totaly within the realm of possibility that he did, briefly, become a born-again.
Yes, you're right about the fads.And Lennon was also somewhat extreme in his positions.It's as if he would go through a fad so as to be able to debunk it with his critical eye.He did this with his first marriage,the Beatles,the Maharishi,Allen Klein, etc.
But he was very aware of his public persona and he never even bothered to bring this non-proven Christain fad into the public domain.
To say something is 'totally within the realm of possibility' does not justify some guy on a Christian site affirming to all and sundry that Lennon was definitely a born again Christian before he died.To me that smacks of making out that he regretted his past actions and had finally seen the light.I don't believe THAT for one minute.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 12:10 AM   #9
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technically i'd say he was, or he always was one. it was during his bed-ins he would say stuff like 'we are all christ, we are all hitler. we want christ to win' and 'christ made miracles to tell his message. the miracle today is communication so let's use it.'

he still continued to belive that the beatles had more influence on kids than jesus, which apperently some ministers agreed with. i think he became more of a firm believer through out the 70's till his death. i heard he was offerered the role of jesus in a musicle but turned it down because yoko couldn't be in it.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 12:27 AM   #10
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technically i'd say he was, or he always was one. it was during his bed-ins he would say stuff like 'we are all christ, we are all hitler. we want christ to win' and 'christ made miracles to tell his message. the miracle today is communication so let's use it.'

he still continued to belive that the beatles had more influence on kids than jesus, which apperently some ministers agreed with. i think he became more of a firm believer through out the 70's till his death. i heard he was offerered the role of jesus in a musicle but turned it down because yoko couldn't be in it.
Technically?
Come on Serena.A born again Christian tells you that if you don't believe in Jesus then you'll go to hell.
Did Lennon ever say that?
And a Christian would never say that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus.That's blasphemy.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 01:37 AM   #11
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that was a misunderstood quote. it really was nothing against christ, it just appeared that kids cared more about them than religion, which was probably true. even ministers were agreeing with it.(later on) i only say technically because he was a believer in christ and god, but probably not hard core on everything. you can still be a christian without taking every little belief seriously. i'm not sure if john ever labled himself as a christian, these were just his general thought on christ.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 03:35 AM   #12
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i only say technically because he was a believer in christ and god, but probably not hard core on everything. you can still be a christian without taking every little belief seriously. i'm not sure if john ever labled himself as a christian, these were just his general thought on christ.
I don't think this is very useful to the guy who asked the question on this topic because you're giving out very confusing signals here.
You seem to be saying that John was a Christian because he had attitudes more or less acceptable to that faith.
But in his most famous solo song he says 'Imagine there's no heaven,no hell and no religion'.You can't be a Christian and not believe in heaven,hell and religion.
If you're a born again Christian you have a religious duty to say it out loud and convert other people.And Lennon never did that.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 07:28 AM   #13
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Didn't he call himself "a Christian Communist" in 1969? And later he said he was "the most religious person there is". He wasn't Catholic, Protestant or Jehovah's Wittness but something of his own.

Imagine didn't anyway portray his ideals, he said that of course he wanted to own Yoko and he in a way wanted to have "possession".
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 08:48 AM   #14
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I don't believe that John Lennon was a born-again Christian in the way that someone involved in the movement would define it. He may have experienced a rebirth of sorts during the "house-husband" years, where he became a different type of person; or maybe during the time he was living apart from Yoko; but that is something completely different, and pure speculation on my part.

I tend to think that the whole story is "wishful thinking" on the part of people who truly enjoy the music of John and the Beatles, but whose belief system won't allow them to enjoy something not overtly religious. According to that view, if Lennon became a born-again Christian, then listening to him becomes justified. But I didn't want to start a debate, so you should probably forget that I wrote that :)
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 10:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
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I don't believe that John Lennon was a born-again Christian in the way that someone involved in the movement would define it. He may have experienced a rebirth of sorts during the "house-husband" years, where he became a different type of person; or maybe during the time he was living apart from Yoko; but that is something completely different, and pure speculation on my part.

I tend to think that the whole story is "wishful thinking" on the part of people who truly enjoy the music of John and the Beatles, but whose belief system won't allow them to enjoy something not overtly religious. According to that view, if Lennon became a born-again Christian, then listening to him becomes justified. But I didn't want to start a debate, so you should probably forget that I wrote that :)
I don't seriously host any "religious belief system" but I think that some people likewise want to prove eagerly that he was an atheist.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 10:45 AM   #16
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I certainly do. Being open-minded, actually, I'd figure him agnostic. Anyways, this is all doubtful.

The thought of John Lennon as a born again Christian kills a part of me.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 11:57 AM   #17
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I tend to think that the whole story is "wishful thinking" on the part of people who truly enjoy the music of John and the Beatles, but whose belief system won't allow them to enjoy something not overtly religious.
That's quite possible.

But that's no reason for them to take the moral high ground or badmouth anybody.They have no right to foist their beliefs on Lennon's freedom of thought.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 03:21 PM   #18
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John recorded wrote a scathing parody of Bob Dylan's "Serve Somebody" based on Dylan's Born again experience titled "Serve Yourself" in 1979/80. So that may answer the question.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 03:46 PM   #19
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I have seen a picture of John wearing a cross (I think it was in a book, though I don't recall which one right now), but I don't know if he genuinely believed in it or not.
You are right about the cross, I almost forget that. I think he was wearing the NYC T-shirt. You can see also the "Libra" symbol in a small gold plaque.
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Old Jan 13, 2007, 11:00 PM   #20
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John recorded wrote a scathing parody of Bob Dylan's "Serve Somebody" based on Dylan's Born again experience titled "Serve Yourself" in 1979/80. So that may answer the question.
Yes, but Lennon's alleged Christianity was earlier than that, in about 1976-1977, I believe. His mocking of Gotta Serve Somebody may have been as much an attack on his own brief brush with Christianity (remember how he always later claimed that How Do You Sleep? was more an attack on himself than Paul- that kind of thing) as it was an attack on this excellent Dylan song.
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