Love keeps no record of wrongs… but SCOAN does.
Since TB Joshua Watch started publishing testimonies of ex-disciples and hosting open debate about TB Joshua’s ministry, we have received lots of threatening comments. However, last week the threat was stepped up a gear.
A comment was left on the blog that was truly disturbing. The commenter claimed that the person behind TB Joshua Watch is a certain female ex-disciple. This ex-disciple, claimed the commenter, had confessed all sorts of ‘nasty things’ while a disciple at SCOAN, which were kept on video in the SCOAN archive. The commenter said that SCOAN should publish this video to shame the ex-disciple and ‘stop her nonsense’. The commenter claimed to be Jerry, a ‘white woman from Pretoria’ but the comment came from a Lagos IP address. We have very good reason to believe the comment came from SCOAN itself. A few quotes:
The lady I am looking at confessed the life she was living. If she is the one that holds this site called TB Joshua Watch, I think she must have forgotten those nasty things. There is nothing she did not confess…. T.B. Joshua, go to your library on April 11, 2001 and bring out the confession of this lady and let people know the person she is… I know The SCOAN is good at keeping records. If her video is posted like that of Bisola, another girl in Nigeria who said all sorts of rubbish, she will be put to shame. It was when her video in the library of The SCOAN was posted that all of her nonsense stopped. I think this girl’s video should also be posted to stop her nonsense.”
We did not publish the comment and instead sent an email to their address. We explained that the people who run TB Joshua Watch have never been disciples. Of the six people that are involved to varying degrees in running the blog, only one has been to SCOAN, and this was only as a visitor. We told them that what they were suggesting amounted to blackmail, and we would not be swayed by it.
They replied, repeating the threat and claiming that our response had persuaded them that we were in fact the ex-disciple that they had suspected. They also forwarded an email they had apparently received from firstname.lastname@example.org, the main SCOAN email address:
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2011 14:16:29
Thank you for drawing our attention to the website, TBJoshuawatch.com. A few people in the past have contacted us that there was a site out there as such but going by what you have said, it seems clear that those mentioned are in fact the owners of the website. The video you referred to has been located in the library.
We are awaiting the group’s flight details from your group leader.
Looking forward to seeing you,
We believe that this is a blackmail attempt from inside SCOAN. We also believe that this kind of intimidation is standard SCOAN policy. What is our evidence for this?
1) The exact same IP address of ‘Jerry’ (in other words, the same computer, located in Lagos) had been used to write several earlier comments on the blog, each fiercely pro-TB Joshua and each under a different name. One comment was left under the name of Helen, making contact with frequent commenter and TBJ supporter Soe: “Soe, I’m impressed by your comments. May I please request your contact? Are you on Facebook? Is there anyway I can get in touch with you? Here is my email address…” (incidentally, are we expected to believe that Jerry, apparently an outsider, knew the exact date that this ex-disciple made a confession ten years ago?)
2) This is not the first time that SCOAN disciples have posted comments under different identities. The commenter ‘Radicalised’ has recently written comments about details of life as a disciple, disputing Paul Agomoh’s account. However, we know from the IP address that the same person wrote comments under at least 4 different names, one of which was ‘Voiceout’. In this comment (at the end of this article) the disciple claimed to represent “a group of seminary students who came across this website while executing a search for ‘prophets of our days”.
3) There is indisputable evidence that SCOAN keeps archives of recorded confessions, and has used these videos in the past for the purpose of blackmail and smearing. Bisola Johnson predicted they would publish her confession videos when she spoke out against TB Joshua (see from 2 min 43 onwards on this video). Soon afterwards, SCOAN did exactly that, releasing her confessions in the form of the “Beware of Blasphemers” video. Ex-disciple Giles has also confirmed that recording confessions is commonplace for disciples. This is a classic tactic of cults- other cults such Scientology do the same.
The strategy is familiar. What surprised and appalled us was the target that SCOAN chose for this intimidation. While many different ex-disciples have given testimonies to the blog, the majority have been male. SCOAN decided to target one of the only women to have contributed. And they have threatened to publish a video of a teenage girl confessing her sins circa 2001 in order to intimidate us into silence. This is a shameless and disgusting move, but also short-sighted. How does this make SCOAN look good?
If you are a supporter of SCOAN, please consider these questions.
- Can any SCOAN supporter suggest a wholesome or biblical reason for keeping archives of recorded confessions? How does it square with 1 Corinthians 13 ,“Love keeps no record of wrongs”?
- What are SCOAN hiding, that they need to keep so much blackmail material? If it’s not blackmail material, why keep it?