Giles brings us another instalment recounting his life as a disciple of TB Joshua:
The Water-Bottle Scandal.
Like I mentioned before, I was there as a disciple for two main stretches. The first was 6 months of pure boredom/brainwashing which finally ended in a pretty dramatic way. Here’s how events played out.
Nigeria gets real hot in summer, so cold water is nice to have. The foreign disciples amongst us kept their bottles in the fridge in the disciple’s dinning room. Pretty mundane stuff. Problem came when other people would come in and take a swig and leave an empty bottle for you in the fridge. This I found really annoying, and I had heard another female disciple mention that she had backwashed in hers to stop people doing that, so i think hey hey! good idea! So I put a sticker on my bottle and wrote something like “my yucky saliva is in this water, dont drink it, etc”. Not my proudest moment, but again, whatever.
Needless to say, this didnt go down too well. Various people had spoken to me about it, asking if I had really backwashed into my own water bottle, and how didnt i think that was a little bad? and me answering that everyone has their own, and that the problem was they just left the thing empty without filling it. Soon after, the said bottle goes missing.
The next disciple meeting, a hand goes up, my name is mentioned, and my bottle appears with the incriminating saliva warning. Shock, horror. It was kinda like that scene in westerns when the stranger in town walks into the saloon and the piano stops playing and everyone turns and stares at him in the doorway. TB Joshua orders everyone but the foreigners to leave, and when they’re gone, everyone begins with the character assassination, starting with this stupid water bottle, then moving onto how I’m such a bad disciple anyway, and even start bring up previous unrelated things I had messed up with. Finally TB Joshua asked if I had anything to say. I told them how very sorry I was. Meeting adjourned. He then led me into his office where he had a one on one with me about this whole saliva thing, how I had breached a Nigerian culture taboo and how it could spread diseases (by now, I’m having serious regrets at having ever cared so much about empty water bottles).
He stayed in his office, and I was led back down to the disciple’s dinning, where things suddenly go alot worse.
This whole water bottle fiasco had blown up in my face during one of my mother’s visits. They had taken her from the visitor’s dining room where she had been in the middle of having dinner, and brought her to the disciple’s dinning room. At least 20 disciples were busy explaining what exactly her son had done, when I walked in. They were saying how it was anti social behaviour, and for this reason I was going to be leaving Scoan. My mother was close to tears, naturally sticking up for me, talking about how she believed in the God of second chances, asked what it had to do with her anyway and why had they dragged her down here to face a room full of angry disciples. And theres me – Im sorry, Im sorry, and to my mother – mom just leave, I’ll see you in your room later…
It was very intimidating, and because they had involved my mother, highly distressing.
For the rest of her visit, no one would talk to my mother. She was in tears at how her visit had turned out when she left for the airport. I myself was ostrasized by the foreign disciples, and banned from the dinning room. A few of the newer disciples obviously sympathised with me, and secretly told me how they were made to gather downstairs against my mother, even though they wanted no part of it. Apart from that, the message was clear. They wanted me to leave, had told my mother why I was leaving, and now suddenly no one was talking to me until I did leave. About a week later I explained the situation in a note to TB Joshua, and was on a flight the next day.