An ex-disciple speaks: Emma’s story #1

This is the first guest post from a young woman who spent  the last decade as a disciple of TB Joshua at SCOAN. Entering the church as a teenager, she suffered many years of sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of TB Joshua. We’ve given her a false name to protect her identity and that of her family:

I’m very grateful to have found this site. I personally have been affected by TB Joshua and the SCOAN in a most negative way. I’m eternally grateful to Jesus for giving me a second chance when I was so deeply deceived. Since leaving SCOAN I have discovered a completely different side to God – an intimate relationship with Him with no human mediator, and total forgiveness without your past mistakes being used to break you down.

I plan on sharing my 10 year experience of being a disciple in increments as I have the strength to do so. I prefer to do it anonymously for my own safety and that of my family. I left about a year ago and am still coming to grips with the reality that SCOAN was a cult. It was a big shock when I realised that what I’d given my life to and built my future upon is nothing but a cult. I was horrified to find that the isolated communal lifestyle, denial of privacy, late night meetings, sleep deprivation, reporting, character breaking disciple meetings and so on, occur in most cults and have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit’s leading of TB Joshua as I once believed. I read about cults like Mormonism, Jehovah’s witness, Scientology, The twelve tribes, Indian guru cults, etc and saw striking similarities. They also record your confession and use it to silence you should you later leave like what happened to Bisola Johnson in Beware of Blasphemers. They also encourage that you sell your possessions and give it to their leaders, live in community and give all decision making authority to the leader. They also have meetings of character assassination, ie, monitoring,  reporting and correction as SCOAN calls it. They also live in “compounds”, communal living where access to information is controlled, the leader’s videos / teachings are continually played to you and a false reality “euphoria”  is created with no opportunity to question.

The hardest thing for me to come to terms with is the fact that I may never see my loved ones (brothers and sisters as they’re called in SCOAN) again. I sometimes feel guilty as I “move on with my life”, that I’m leaving so many sincere, but sincerely deceived people behind and it seems as if there is not much I can do to open their eyes.  Since I had completely cut off from my family and friends – it now seems very strange to reconnect with them after 10 long years. So many things have changed but in some ways, I am exactly where I started before I joined SCOAN – I have no qualifications, no job reference, no proof of what I’ve done with my life. I’m only beginning to see the effects of  many years of sexual and emotional abuse I received from TB Joshua. But I am determined more than ever to trust in God alone, deal with my past in His strength and become what He made me to be.

45 thoughts on “An ex-disciple speaks: Emma’s story #1

  1. Read Below: I will advise you to leave this man. It takes God nothing to bring His judgement on Him if He his not of God as you said.

    An ex-disciple speaks: A FABRICATED LIE

    You fool! You can never deceive us withyou cooked stories. I know you and have been following up your fake andfabricated lies about The Synagogue and the man of TB Joshua which you thinkcan be used to deceive people. Today the wrath of God has come upon you.You are not writing about a man but a
    Man of God
    . Your generation has beencursed today. Sorry to say, you have been building a rock of fire on yourself and your generation yet unborn.If TB Joshua is not of God, who are you to judge?Psalm 7:10-12;Isaiah 3:12-14
    There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to saveand destroy. But you
    who are you to judge
    a prophet?
    ames 4:12
    I am a good follower of your article and everything has been revealed that youare not writing because you feel that you are revealing the truth but becauseyou think it is the better way to blackmail the prophet of God.I am only sorry for you because when the repercussion comes; it will be toolate to stop.I drop my pen here, and wait for that day this document will be called up againto remember what I have said.Leave My People Alone! Who are you to judge???

      • I’m beginning to see the benefit of proclaiming oneself a “Man of God”. It seems like a handy “get out of jail free” card. You can do anything you like, and if anyone calls you out on it, just whip out the “Man of God” card, or the whole “touch not the Lord’s anointed” spiel. No credentials or ordination necessary, just start calling yourself it. Seems a pretty sweet deal to me, I can’t understand why you’d be so against it! 😉

      • After reading Helen’s rant, I’m beginning to wonder if it wasn’t the CIA that got Osama bin Laden….maybe he’s at the bottom of the sea tied to a breeze-block cos one of his videos was critising TB Joshua, lol

  2. Sister “Helen”….breathe.

    Jesus said “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. Is Emma not as important to Jesus as TB Joshua? Does Jesus love her the as much as TB Joshua?

    What exactly do you mean by “repercussion”? Thats some pretty chilling terminology.

  3. Dear Helen,
    Thank you for your reply. I don’t hold your words against you. I am not judging TB Joshua. I understand why you are responding in the way that you are. TBJ wants everyone to believe that the wrath of God will come against anyone who speaks against him. That is why he often times has people “confess” who once did not believe in him and explain how their lives were miserable as a result. TB Joshua teaches that as a man of God he is infallible. In his sermon MPG titled “With Such Power” he writes:

    “In order to exercise such power, the man of God must be infallible. The baptism of the Holy Spirit gives this infallibility. Whatever he says iss always complete and correct; whatever he writes is infallibly accurate.”

    As a follower of TBJ, you don’t question anything. You believe that no accusation against him could ever be true. This is standard for most cults.

  4. Hi Emma
    Im sorry to hear about your story. It seems as if there is much truth in what you say. Its hard to believe though… That its a cult? I have read the other posts about that.
    My reason is simple… There’s so many deliverance happening – I dont think satan will hurt himself lyk that. How many times has those demons confessed about the light?
    This makes me believe TBJ is definately a man of God. Is he infallible? Of course not… There’s no one righteous. Is all the sexual accusations true? I dont know… It could be. But that doesn’t prove that its a cult… Many of the god’s generals made huge mistakes and God still used them.
    Its strange that the ministry is growing and expanding… Could it be the work of satan? My answer… No.

  5. Hi jenson
    interesting point. Id like to know your opinion on matt 7.22- the ppl who were delivering demons and performing miracles in the name of jesus, yet had jesus said i never knew you? What kind of ppl today would He be referring to?
    Cheers dude

  6. Hi Giles
    Good point. My view on those people Jesus referred to…
    Let me start like this…
    Anointing is transferable right? So many people can be anointed and do the works and wonders but not have the character of God. If people say TBJ is not doing God’s work… Who is doing it then? I mean there’s only a few God uses like TBJ. The grace is still there.
    It would have been taken away long ago if he was not pointing people the right way. I dont agree with many of the things but its definately from God.

  7. Scoan would not agree with you about ppl having the annointing but not Gods chacacter-but double check that with one of them next time you see someone.
    Just to be sure im following you, are you saying that its possible, hypothetically speaking, for a pastor to deliver demons and have gods annointing on his life, yet be involved with child pornography?

  8. In scoan they believe that as the oil is needed to keep a lamp’s fire burning so is ur character needed to keep the anointing.
    I do think however that God can still use some1 thats doing something you mentioned to deliver and heal the sick. Thats just the grace of God.
    If you read the god’s generals book you’ll agree.
    But those that has made mistakes had to face the result of the mistake too.
    I mean for some1 so powerful to lead people away from God… God wont allow that to go on for too long. Thats just my view on it though.

    • The “prophet” muhammed led millions of sincere people away from God….and thats gone on hundreds of years,now becoming a mahor religion

  9. I have to agree with Jenson about the ability to do God’s work with a flawed character. If not, God’s work would never be done on earth! I respect what TBJ is doing in the Synagogue, and I believe he is sincere in wanting to see God’s glory manifest on this earth. However, in my 40 years of being a Christian and working with many great charismatic leaders I have come to the conclusion that it is the power and authority that comes with leadership that eventually corrupts. Time and again I have seen honourable men succumb to sexual temptation (and action), fully believing God has given them permission. I find it puzzling why God still continues to use them while they are going absolutely against his commandments, but in my experience he does. I suppose the reason for writing here is to caution against “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. If TBJ has allowed himself to believe that he is allowed to sexually abuse his followers, I pray he will see the error of his ways, and then he should be challenged on it, but it does not mean that genuine miracles are not still happening at SCOAN.

    • Hi Jane
      Yeah, I agree with you about not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and that yes, the Lord still answers desperate people who are praying to Him-whether they had gone to SCOAN or not.

      Little story – before my deployment to afghan i was sure i’d get killed, so i did what every self respecting TBJoshua loyalist would do. I hightailed it to Lagos for some kind of TB Joshua input. Maybe a prophecy, or a prayer or something? To be honest with you, I would have been happy with anything.
      Anyway, while I was there I hardly saw TB Joshua. (folks back home joked how I should have gotten my money back, lol). I didnt even go in the prayer line. But what did happen was me praying night and day, really really desperately to live. And then breaking down in tears over all the past sin in my life-something that hadnt ever happened before. Anyway, to cut it short, it was a very good experience with the Holy Spirit. Very posative (and, im still alive, hee hee).
      My point is, it had nothing to do with TB Joshua or being at SCOAN, as some might attribute it. Like you said, God can hear you anywhere, anytime. I was just desperate and sincere, like many other people are who go there.

    • Thanks Jane. I believe in a miracle working God, and I believe that God works with flawed people by grace because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. However it is for each person to seek God about giving their loyalty to a leader. It is God who is unchangeable and faithful. It has been made clear to me from Emma’s gentle response earlier that it is nearly impossible to question the integrity of this man and face the unthinkable. However God’s love will not fail.

    • I think you’ll find Jane that you’re more in agreement with the TB Joshua skeptics than the loyalists. If you look at the quote from TB Joshua’s sermon the Emma quotes above, and look at the arguments put forward by Soa in the “How to defend” post, you’ll see that it commonly believed (and taught) that TB joshua is perfect, sinless, infallible. This is the most damning thing this site has dug up – the allegations so far are just that, allegations – the claims of infallibility, effectively putting TBJ on a level with Jesus are from his own, and his disciples very mouths. If you can stomach reading some of the comments on the TB Joshua fanclub blogs (the blogs very existence a sign of idolatry if there ever was one!), you’ll see comments like “TB JOSHUA IS JESUS of our time”, “what a God we worship through Prophet TB JOSHUA” (quotes copied verbatim).

      I’m totally in agreement with both you and Jenson that God can work through imperfect vessels. The bigger problem is, he’s not thought to be imperfect!

      On a related note, in the case of a man truly being used by God, but also living in serious unrepentant sin, what should be done? If people know about the sin, should he be called out on it? Should he be expected to step down from his position despite evidence that God is still working through him?

      Thanks for your comments, you raised some interesting points.

  10. Hey Ian

    I do think that someone who is used by God should not step down… If God still uses someone as a light where there is darkness… why would we want to kill the light?

    I remember many great ministers of God that made mistakes and was stripped from everything they worked for. Was that God’s decision? I don’t think so… There’s a reason Jesus said: He who has no sin… let him be the one to throw the stone.

    If we as Christians claim to be different to the world, why then treat mistakes the same way?

    I agree with many of TBJ’s quotes (Not the ones Emma mentioned) and this is one of them… “Our response to a person that makes a mistake can also be a mistake if care is not taken”

    • Hey Jens,
      I’d understand your comments entirely if we were discussing, say, a bit of marital infidelity. But Giles’ and Emma’s posts, and many other accounts, show a picture of a man who uses divide and rule and psychological abuse to have absolute power over his disciples. And many accounts suggest that he has been deliberately and unrepentantly abusing this power for at least a decade (there are more examples in the Who is TB Joshua? section). He is an immensely powerful man, and as Ian points out it’s commonly believed that he is infallible. So these aren’t just minor lapses of judgement.

      In other words, the sexual abuse is just one symptom of his God-like status in SCOAN, and it is the God-like status that we most object to.

      Also, for the people who are falsely told they are healed, is he bringing light in the darkness? For the women suffering years of psychological damage as a result of abuse?

  11. Yeah i agree with jens about not coming down on someone when they makea mistake, cos we all do and like madeline said, God couldnt use anyone if its a case of being perfect.

    If it had just been one woman accusing tbj, and even if he admitted it,then i would actually understand and this wpuld be a different story. However its different ball game altogether when over a number of years the same story keeps cropping up from different sources. Thats not single mistake, thats now become character. If any one of us were to face these accusations from women over a numbr of years in our own churches, would it be handled the same as tb joshua?

  12. Why thankyou….thats exactly what i thought when i practised that little speech in front of mirror….:-)

  13. You guys removed my comment on emmas story.why? You’re not being fair to me because even if you don’t agree with what i said-you cld see some truth in it at least.JESUS ASKED: Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? Fill up then the measure of sin of your forefathers? The judgement of persecuting t.b j is not the only one that will fall on you if you continue this but even that of persecuting all the prophets that ever lived. How dreadful it will be…stop while you still can. Giles said he’s living a glorious blaspheming life-he forgot that God is slow to anger.

    • I saw what you had written before it was removed, and have got to say im not suprised stuff like that wont get published.

    • Hey Soe,
      Personal attacks won’t be published. Emma has had the guts to tell her story, and while I’m sure she could respond to your points easily, you need to maintain standards of respect. On this site there’s been some real debate between people with very different views, and you’ve contributed to this. But you’re getting increasingly personally threatening and are not coming up with any new arguments.

  14. What you guys did by removing that comment shows whom you are,stand for,whose you are,u just executed your Godlike status over this site,the same thing u accuse TBJ of.if that coment shows i’m foolish why not allow my foolishness to be seen by all.its called “the comments section” meant for us but see for yourselves how u now determine the comments people see or don’t see on this site.

    • I found a huge long SCOAN blog post once gushing about all the wonderful charitable deeds that TB Joshua does. I posted a simple comment on it just quoting Matthew 6:3 and 4 “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” The comment was immediately deleted. You’ve made far worse comments on this site which have been allowed, I don’t think you can claim that this site is the one doing the censoring!

  15. Soe, seriously i think you need to calm down. Or just stop visiting this site if you get so worked up by it. Youre all fire and brimstone and doom and gloom!

  16. You justify your actions now when i only brought forth obvious facts. I just expressed my sentiments-no offence intended.but Anyone who’s read Emmas story’ll agree that its just one sided “JUST THE BAD” a story written precisely to kill integrity-with nothing good in a man she lived off on for 10 whole yrs of her life. At least Giles told us both sides of His story.The bible says the first to present his case always seems right until another comes and questions him.Plz guys try and ask the right questions and have balanced stories.not those with prejudice and preconceived notions.

    • So the stories in TB Joshua Testimonies or TB Joshua Fans UK present both sides of the story? I don’t think so. But you seem to have no problem with blindly positive accounts.

      This is a personal account, so it is one person’s opinion. If her experience of SCOAN was a negative and damaging one, then this is what she will write. But it’s just the first post- give her a chance. She may well talk about some of the attractive things about SCOAN too- and some of the things that made it difficult to leave..

  17. You are right- the first guy to tell his story seems right until someone else tells another side of a story.

    Scoan has for years been telling their side of TB Joshua and it seemed great until some ex disciples started telling another side of that story.

  18. Thank God you said some-i’ll prefer the term “quite a few” compared to the majority under his mentorship-while emma’s tale is full of unproved&unverifiable complaints, the tale of some under him is their rise to apostleship from virtually nothing,while the tale of others is how they patiently wait for the grace at work in him to work in them.

    • Hi Soe – who’s counting? What does it matter if it is “some” or “quite a few.” Surely if just one person has experienced abuse then questions need to be asked, regardless of how many people have also by grace received blessing.

  19. As regards the the question on who Jesus was reffering to Jenson,let me ans Giles 4u.”they prophesied,delivered,&healed in christs name-that wld make them “MINISTERS” RIGHT? But what kind of ministers was christ referrin to? Matt 25:41-46 gives the answer “Depart from me… …for i was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat…”note here that christ accused them of CHARITY. He did not accuse them of sins like FORNICATION,ADULTERY, STEALING,etc why? bcos these people here not pagans so are nt guilty of that else he wld mention it.NOTE ALSO THAT THE GOATS ASKED; “LORD” when did we see you hungry? Christ is not the lord of pagans who do not know him. They called him lord and he didnt deny that he is their lord but only said the did not feed,clothe or visit Him from the above u’ll agree that HERE CHRIST WAS REFERRING TO MINISTERS WHO FEED THEMSELVES ON THE SHEEP.Ezekiel many pastors are known as the richest in their community while their members starve they acquire material wealth for themselves… Cars,houses,estates,shis,&planes.this are the ministers christ reffered to.

  20. Jenson,let me ans Giles 4u.”they prophesied,delivered,&healed in christs name-that wld make them “MINISTERS” RIGHT? But what kind of ministers was christ referrin to? Matt 25:41-46 gives the answer “Depart from me… …for i was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat…”note here that christ accused them of CHARITY. He did not accuse them of sins like FORNICATION,ADULTERY, STEALING,etc why? bcos these people here not pagans so are nt guilty of that else he wld mention it.NOTE ALSO THAT THE GOATS ASKED; “LORD” when did we see you hungry? Christ is not the lord of pagans who do not know him. They called him lord and he didnt deny that he is their lord but only said the did not feed,clothe or visit Him from the above u’ll agree that HERE CHRIST WAS REFERRING TO MINISTERS WHO FEED THEMSELVES ON THE SHEEP.ezekiel many pastors are known as the richest in their community while their members starve they acquire material wealth for themselves… Cars,houses,estates,shis and planes.

  21. I know of 20 disciples leaving, including 6 junior prophets. And thats just from a guy who had been there only a year.

  22. The point Jesus was saying in matt 7 is that its entirely possible for miracle working ministers to still fall from grace and go to hell- it doesnt matter if they performed signs,miracles and deliverances.
    I dont see how you can be specific about these ppls sin, especially when Jesus doesnt give any details.

    • Going back to the leaders stepping down,

      I think it’s definitely right that someone who has challenging circumstances surrounding them as regards serious allegations of abuse or character flaws should step down. As I understand it in Paul’s letters to both Titus and Timothy leaders should be

      NOT beyond reproach

      In addition to that Paul tells Timothy that if accusations are brought against elders from more than 1 witness (which I understand to be the case in this situation) then Timothy is instructed to rebuke the elder so that others may take the warning.

      For me both of those (as well as the story of Saul where God took his hand from an anointed leader for partial obedience) suggest that the wise course of action would be for a church leader can and should step down/away until such issues are dealt with in a very transparent manner.

      In this situation, regardless of whether TB Joshua is guilty or not, there is enough question in the air. Maybe he should take a sabbatical, seek the help of well known respected church leaders and address the allegations directly with evidence for or against using an independent 3rd party as investigator.

  23. Wow what a brave thing to do Emma. The intimidation and comments below make me realise just how tough it must have been for you not only to leave after 10 years but also the nasty comments received at you even now.

    The difference though is you’ve learned to love in midst of the reaction of others….I salute you for that response.

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  25. There is no smoke without fire. If it were just a few stories, I would dismiss them as jealousy. But the stories are multiplying every time and are becoming difficult to ignore. Deception is the Devil’s weapon especially for people seeking something, someone to believe in. remember it was said that in the last days, there will be many people coming in his name to deceive us. He might be good, he might be bad..that is for God alone to judge. Just use the conviction of the Holy Spirit in you to decide what path to follow, and remember that the only mediator to God is Jesus himself. Please, people, do not be deceived. Do not dismiss claims as such for reasons such as “why would he do this?” or “what does he have to gain”. Just as God uses people, so does the devil…and please, guys! What’s in it for him? really?! I would have thought that is obvious. Just make the right decision for the salvation of your soul.

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