Travis Cross, a 43-year-old unemployed hairdresser, was among the 200 or so people, most of them black and sharply dressed, filling the pews of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Norfolk, Va., late last month. They had come to see visiting preacher Dr. Leroy Thompson — “the man of God, himself,” Cross called him — hold his “Money Cometh to You” conference, which promises that the Lord can solve even the worst financial problems. It was a message the congregation desperately wanted to hear; some of the bordering neighborhoods have unemployment rates over 15 percent.
“The blessing,” Thompson said, “is threefold: I’m saved, and I’m going to heaven. I got health in my body because I believe in healing. And I got money in my pocket because I believe in wealth.”