“This Fan Shares Why She’s Trying to be More Like Him” — My New Article on Prince in Guideposts Magazine

The June/July issue of Guideposts Magazine includes a story on Prince, something that might surprise readers of this Christian magazine of hope and inspiration. I get that! The thought of Prince in Guideposts feels like a juxtaposition in terms. But as it turns out, Prince had a deep appreciation for Guideposts. More on Prince’s connection with Guideposts in a moment. First, here’s the article in the print magazine, on the back page. To read the online version, click here.

Guideposts is a nonprofit magazine was founded in 1945 by Norman Vincent Peale, author of the international bestseller The Power of Positive Thinking. According to a Publisher’s Weekly story, the magazine reports a circulation of two million. Guideposts’ purpose is to inspire readers to believe that anything is possible through faith, hope and prayer. The organization is not attached to a certain denomination, although it is Christian.

The article was more than a year in the making. In early 2018, I spoke with women’s group in Chanhassen about the book that Alex Hahn and I co-authored, The Rise of Prince: 1958-1988. I got off track and talked at length about Prince’s spirituality and how that was reflected in his songs. I recall playing “Diamonds and Pearls” and sharing how one could interpret the chorus as God speaking to Prince.

The next day, Marilyn Corrigan, who had heard my presentation, met with then-Guideposts development executive Bill Morin, who was visiting Minneapolis to meet with donors (Guideposts is a nonprofit organization and thus fundraising is necessary). When Bill mentioned that he planned to visit Paisley Park after the meeting, Marilyn told him about me.

Bill is an effervescent individual who is full of energy and positivity and he contacted me. A few weeks later, we wound up having a long conversation about our mutual love of Prince. Bill was a fan of “Purple Rain” and his wife Virginie was a fan of Prince’s work in the 90s, and together we struck up a friendship that included long email discussions punctuated with mentions of the color purple. “Purple thanks,” “purple greetings” and “purple good news” were all part of our lexicon.

During one conversation, Bill mentioned that he thought Prince had been a Guideposts subscriber. He asked his colleague who manages subscriptions to look in the subscription records, and sure enough, one “Roger Nelson” of 7801 Audubon Road in Chanhassen had indeed been a subscriber since 1997 (notably, Prince and first wife Mayte Garcia had suffered a devastating loss in October 1996 when their infant son died). There was a short gap during the 2010s before Prince became a subscriber again in the last years of his life.

News that Prince was a subscriber surprised me. And then I thought: Of course he was. Prince was a spiritual seeker who needed hope and inspiration as much as any of us.

In October 2018, I attended the Guideposts national cabinet meeting in Huntington Beach, California, and met editor-in-chief Rick Hamlin and executive editor Edward Grinnan. Guideposts wanted to find a way to get Prince into the magazine, and this article is the result. Because Prince’s image in the mind of the general public is largely linked to “Purple Rain” and provocative lyrics and stage performances, I’m glad to be able to share a lesser-known side of Prince with readers of the magazine that he clearly valued so much.

3 thoughts on ““This Fan Shares Why She’s Trying to be More Like Him” — My New Article on Prince in Guideposts Magazine

  1. Erica Louise

    Had P’s “utopias” come to mind via your previous blog entry featuring the James M. Castle home. I enjoyed asking (in comments section and in my head) about how P’s utopias fit in (or not) with that discussion. Thank you for the spark to think about all this!

    Loved seeing I Wish U Heaven and other titles in this current entry. Have been thinking a lot, in the past couple of months, on some of P’s words about heaven. I’m not Christian, so I appreciate your knowledge and perspective. Do you think it’s worthwhile to ask about any relationship between heaven and P’s utopias, about any similarities and differences?

    As Prince was a Christian man, I really appreciate your thoughts from a Christian perspective. For me, it’s a major missing perspective.

    Your earlier blog entry (that preceded the entry featuring the James M. Castle home), included discussion of some of Robert A. Johnson’s writings. An occasional bio/psych major type like me can be a little thrown by Robert A. Johnson’s presentation of Jung. Perhaps that’s because people who study biology and psychology have (obviously) varying religious/nonreligious backgrounds, and Robert A. Johnson is known for having a very Christian take on Jung.

    Yet Johnson’s take is from a place likely to resonate far more quickly with someone like Prince.

    Your experience and expertise widens my horizons relating to the experience and work of Christian artists. I absolutely love Prince’s music, and this means the world to me. Many thanks, Laura, for your writing and perspective!

  2. Erica Louise

    To try to clarify, when I read Robert A. Johnson, it sometimes feels like he is addressing a Christian readership.

    This isn’t good or bad. It’s just different from the ways of some others, who may never come across this way. It can be natural to write to your audience from a frame of reference. A favorite neighbor of mine describes growing up in a town in Louisiana where if you asked where someone might be on Sunday morning, the nearly invariable response would be a Catholic church or a Baptist church.

    A different place from where I grew up. Happily, not better or worse. Just different.

    My understanding (and please correct me if I’m wrong, as my college major classes were limited in this area, with “physiological psychology” or “neurobiology” more typical…my understanding is that Jung and many of his followers believed that practicing Christianity very often promoted psychological health and an increased ability to focus beyond the mundane and material, particularly for people in the western world. As a nonreligious person, this leaves me confused about a few things, “believing,” among them, but I also understand that Jung may have guarded against too heavy an investment in the rational. Anyway, I should stop here, as my study is very limited. I would love to hear your thoughts!

  3. Erica Louise

    So, my limited understanding is that Jung believed that religion can serve a crucial positive function if it serves as a connection to the collective unconscious and the myths and archetypes within. What I have trouble wrapping my head around is this idea in relation to the Christian belief that a person must eventually come to not only love, but to understand and believe in a particular person as savior, or else be put in hell. I thought Jung spoke of archetypes and myths that had common elements, yet involved varied specifics/representations over time and space of individual human experience. It’s not that it doesn’t work logically, but it seems like there’s a sad irony in there somewhere. Does that make any sense?

    Including this quote, in case it’s helpful: “In [Jung’s] social vision, the individual was suspended between the collective consciousness and the collective unconscious. In 1947, he stated that
    ego consciousness was dependent upon the conditions of the collective
    or social consciousness, and the unconscious collective dominants, or
    archetypes.115 This dual dependency resulted in a conflict, for there was
    an “almost unbridgeable” opposition between the “generally accepted
    truths” of the collective consciousness and the contents of the collective unconscious. From the standpoint of the former, the latter were rejected as irrational. The individual was caught this opposition….The
    identification with the collective consciousness and the apotheosis of the
    masses inevitably led to a catastrophe. The only solution was the avoidance of identification with the collective consciousness, and the recognition of the “existence and importance” of the archetypes, as “these latter
    are an effective defence against the might of social consciousness and the
    mass psyche corresponding with it” (§ 426, trans. mod.). In this respect,
    contemporary religion failed the individual, due to the fact that
    in as much as religion for the contemporary consciousness still essentially means
    a denomination, and hence a collectively accepted codified system represented
    in dogmatic precepts of religious statements, it belongs more to the sphere of
    collective consciousness, even though its symbols express the originally effective
    archetypes. (Ibid., trans. mod.)”
    p.339, https://static1.squarespace.com/static/52cdf95ae4b0c18dd2d0316a/t/52dd92bde4b026c919e59c2a/1390252733671/Shamdasani++Jung+and+the+Making+of+Modern+Psychology+%28Cambridge%2C+2003%29.pdf
    Of course, Jung struggled himself with some questions to his character and integrity. Life is so terribly complicated. Really appreciate the information and food for thought that you share in your blog!

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