Gregory Dollar’s story is unlike those of most PKs (Preacher’s Kids).
For starters, Dollar is the white adopted son of controversial prosperity televangelist Creflo Dollar, founder of World Changers Church International in College Park, Ga.
He is also a single parent of three who works in his father’s ministry and has Marvel Comics' Punisher darkly casted over the black background of his MySpace page.
"I've struggled for twenty-two years in the shadow of this great man who raised me as his own,” says Dollar, who was adopted as the first son of Creflo Dollar. His father would later adopt one more son and produce three daughters – all black.
"Because dad stood by me and like Joel Osteen stepping into his father's shoes, I'm inspired to speak today," he added.
Dollar plans to share his story through his new book, Love in the Darkness: My Life as Creflo Dollar’s Son, scheduled for release this summer.
In it, Dollar tells of how “a white boy, unusually abused, out of control, and hurting, was rescued by a black man.”
“Gregory Campbell is forced to grow up too fast and too hard,” explains the official synopsis of the book, referring to Dollar by the surname of a former stepfather. “This begins Gregory’s downward spiral into a dark and fearsome world. A world wrought of depression, drugs and countless nights of suicidal visions of escape.”
The turning point for Gregory came when he met educational therapist and minister Creflo Dollar while undergoing treatment at Brawner Psychiatric Institute in Smyrna (today known as the Brawner North Mental Health System). At the time, Creflo Dollar’s church boasted a membership of eight.
“Being the only one that has any hope for this teenager, Creflo establishes a deep and lasting bond with Gregory,” the synopsis states.
The minister later decided that he needed to officially adopt Gregory in order to help him, opening up a door to sometimes challenging moments and “Prodigal Son” situations.
"God told me to do it. He was young," the elder Dollar recalled to Precious Times Magazine in 2007. "It was interesting because, when God told me to do it, I told Him, 'I do not want to do it!' However, I wanted to be obedient so, I did what God told me to do."
After numerous struggles and tests, Gregory eventually has a moment of personal conviction and decides to work in his father’s ministry, where he currently serves as the director of media.
Though he admits that his journey has only just begun, the younger Dollar decided to share his life story so that it can be an inspiration and motivation to others.
His father’s critics, however, will likely see the book as an attempt to paint a sympathetic view of the prosperity preacher, who is one of the six televangelists under investigation over allegations of opulent spending and possible abuse of their nonprofit status.
The elder Dollar is also one of two that have contested the probe, arguing that the proper governmental entity to examine religious groups is the IRS, not the Committee on Finance.
As of Wednesday, a November 2007 letter from Dollar’s church to Max Baucus and Charles E. Grassley of the Committee of Finance was still available on the website of the preacher’s Creflo Dollar ministries.
In the letter, the church also defends the “Prosperity Gospel,” which it describes as “a deeply held religious belief that God's devout followers and earthly leaders will prosper and be successful in all they do, including in financial matters, as the outward expression of His favor.”
“This belief, like any number of other religious doctrines, is grounded in Scripture,” the church claims.
Other controversial preachers of prosperity who are under investigation include Bishop Eddie Long, Benny Hinn, and Kenneth Copeland.
On the Web:
Synopsis of Gregory Dollar's story at http://gregorydollar.squarespace.com/love-in-the-darkness-synopsis
World Changers Church International's letter at http://www.creflodollarministries.com/Public/AboutUs/Grassley.aspx