TB Joshua has been followed by allegations of abuse for many years. However, as far as we know, nothing has been taken to a court of law, though we understand that abuse has been reported to the UK police at the very least. No allegations have been made in major media outlets. However, from conversations with various ex-followers and relatives of current followers, we understand that there is a sizable number of female foreign disciples, from the UK and South Africa at least, who left after claiming to have suffered sexual abuse.
While we trust these sources and see no reason for them to be dishonest, no-one has gone public yet, for a number of reasons (two very persuasive reasons for not going public are outlined in this post, and this post looks at the psychological obstacles to admitting abuse). However, there are plenty of accounts of abuse on the internet. Many of them will be familiar to those who have heard about abuse from ex-disciples. So in the absence of rock-solid sources, we will compile and summarize the existing articles that allege abuse. There is no guarantee that they are reliable sources, but we present them to give an idea of what is out there. Second, we’ll look at something just as important as the allegations themselves: the context. For someone to get away with abuse, there must also be grooming and preparation; a process of psychological abuse. There must also be a physical environment that facilitates abuse. We believe there are many psychological and environmental aspects of life in SCOAN that could help facilitate abuse. These are well-documented and will be explored.
So lets start with some accounts of abuse. Be warned, it gets unpleasant. This documentary, Deception of the Age, contains a thorough first-hand account of abuse from ex-disciple Bisola Johnson. It is also summarized on the following dubious Nigerian gossip site. It gives details that correspond with the allegations we have heard from ex-disciples:
Obligatory recorded confession of sins on arrival in church: “Later I got to know that doing that is a way of having a record on you, so that whatever happens in the future it can be used against you or as a way of tying you down
Initiation and abuse of disciples: When she arrived in TB’s quarters, TB Joshua is said to have asked the woman to inform on the activities of other disciples, saying “be free… coming to him at anytime because he was a father to her, and he told her he had liked her from the first time he saw her”.
-After allegedly abusing the woman, TB Joshua said that “all this he was doing so she won’t be scared of him”.
Abuse of foreign disciples: Mentions by name two foreign disciples who were allegedly abused.
The documentary goes a lot further, alleging that TB Joshua abused girls as young as 14. It also mentions brutal physical abuse towards disciples. It shows disturbing early videos of SCOAN with women thrashing wildly while grabbing their genitals.
This site seems to be a personal blog and again, there’s no guarantee of reliability. But if it is true it raises several questions. It mentions three female foreign disciples who were allegedly abused- one South African, one British and the other Austrian.
“A white lady, South African, left there because of sexual exploitation. Her father started Synagogue Church in South Africa. I asked her on phone why she left and she told me the whole story. She said T.B Joshua was sleeping with her in her father’s house in South Africa, when he came to South Africa. The lady said she realized what was happening when T.B Joshua slept with her friend from England. So, both of them now said they were not coming back to the church. They reported these to the authorities of their countries. Presently, T.B Joshua cannot go to South Africa and enter Cape Town. There is an order waiting for him. So also Austria, a lady from Austria, Tamara, was in the church and saw what was happening. He slept with the girl too.”
After asking some ex-disciples about the Austrian girl mentioned in this article, we discovered that she apparently died of malaria. According to their account she contracted it while in Nigeria, and by the time she was able to leave to receive medical attention in Austria, it was too late. She apparently died shortly after returning. This is even more worrying in light of the numerous accounts suggesting that visitors have their passports confiscated and are only allowed out with the permission of the prophet.
Finally, several years ago an English ex-disciple call Anneka alleged that she was abused by TB Joshua. This is a review of a documentary film from 2003 on Revelation TV, a UK-based Christian satellite channel, in which the allegations were made. It is unfortunate there seems to be no other review of the film since the writing is absurdly overblown and not a very helpful review. But he suggests that Anneka’s allegations were very similar to Bisola and Emma’s story on this blog.
In the next post we’ll look a little bit closer at the context of abuse, and some of the factors in SCOAN that could help facilitate it.