The iconic Gladys Knight is an undeniable musical force. The talented singer — often referred to as the "Empress of Soul" — is a seven-time Grammy winner known for hits that span over three decades.
And while people are familiar with Gladys’s music, many fans don’t know about her religious beliefs. So, is the Motown legend a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints? Put another way: Is Gladys Knight Mormon?
Is Gladys Knight Mormon?
Yes, the Grammy Award-winning artist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee is a member of the Church of the Latter-day Saints.
Growing up, Gladys, who was born into a Christian household, always considered herself religious. At just 2 years old, she recalls feeling a calling to God.
Gladys described her pull to a spiritual life in LDSLiving, saying, “As I grew, I started wanting more and more of that. Christ really became that person that I longed for. I wanted to be good for Him.”
However, it would be a few years before she was able to fully commit herself to her religious calling.
In 1953, when she was 11, Gladys started singing professionally. Although music was the main focus of her life, her faith in God was always present. Of her time as a young performer, Gladys said, “We took the Spirit with us. We stood out from everybody else. I didn’t do drugs, and I didn’t drink. Everyone began to expect me to be different.”
And it was this spiritual driving force that led Gladys to the Church of the Latter-day Saints later in her life. It was actually Gladys’s children who convinced her to join the Mormon church. Her son Jimmy and his wife were the first to convert after hearing a friend's testimony.
Then, Gladys’s daughter Kenya joined the LDS. After a while, her kids started to involve Gladys in the church as well, and in 1997, the mother of three officially converted and was baptized by Jimmy. A few years later, in 2001, Gladys’s husband William McDowell also joined the LDS Church.
Gladys continues to sing with the Church of the Latter-day Saints.
Since joining the Church, Gladys has created an all-volunteer, multicultural Latter-day Saints Church choir that now has over 100 members. The Saints Unified Voices have two main objectives: 1) To create an opportunity for people to embrace the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and 2) To help existing LDS members welcome the cultural diversity of the different people joining the Church today.
Gladys has said that she created the choir with the aim to “share and to make life at least a little better." "Every chance I get to share the gospel or uplift people, I will take full advantage of that opportunity,” she explained.
Since the choir’s formation, Gladys also spearheaded an album with the group, titled "One Voice." The 2005 release did extremely well and sat at the top of the charts for 48 weeks.