Life as a disciple of TB Joshua – Beth’s story (part 3 of 3)

Life as a disciple of TB Joshua

Life as a disciple of TB Joshua

In the final part of Beth’s story she tells how she has gradually got her life back together after her time at SCOAN nearly destroyed it.

  1. Beth’s story part 1
  2. Beth’s story part 2


Gradually, my life began to resemble a fairly normal existence. I began to realise there was a lot more to life than what I had been living. I thought back to the wonderful experiences I had had in my life pre-SCOAN and began to focus on trying to experience those again. It was a superficial recovery at first, but it was an important step as I started to let go a little. I chose to go to university and travel, even living abroad and eventually began a profession.

Throughout this period, SCOAN beliefs continued to affect me. I was convinced my “sins” would one day come back and haunt me. I always expected something terrible to happen to me or my family. But I would try and suppress these thoughts and be normal.

However, I could not hide my feelings for long and started being reckless with my life.  I started taking risks I wouldn’t normally take, because I felt my wasted life didn’t matter anymore. SCOAN had robbed me of all my self esteem, self respect and of any purpose I had had.

The cracks started to show. I was drinking heavily and could never face my emotions, but could only let them out in drunken rants. I became extremely jealous of how stable my friends and colleagues appeared to be while I was falling apart on the inside.

After a small breakdown, I took a course of counselling at my University. An hour a week of solid crying and no progress made, I resigned myself to having to live with this fear and rejection.

A few years later, out of the blue, I heard of some SCOAN disciples were living nearby. I was convinced they were coming to find me and I would be forced back into SCOAN. I sobbed several times a day, at work, on public transport, at home, and I was scared to go out of my house in case they found me. I began fearing for my life and my mental stability.

At around the same time I heard leaks about how TBJ had sexually abused disciples. This time the breakdown was total. I was living with a psychologist at the time, and she encouraged me to get help. I started seeing a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist.  Over the course of some months, she helped me to realise I still had many unhealthy beliefs, and I realised the fears I was living with were making me depressed and anxious. I had been repressing my fears and guilt for being involved for so long. CBT was the hardest thing I have ever done, as to relive my experiences was tough. However, with this help, I have finally faced up to my experiences. I no longer feel afraid.

Since coming to terms with my experiences I’ve spoken with other ex-disciples. In some ways their stories are harsher than mine. They experienced bullying and also physical and/or sexual abuse. One thing I had to realise was just because my abuse wasn’t physical (and I’ll never know why it wasn’t), it hasn’t meant that its effect has not been equally devastating.

It’s easy to excuse things that are wrong as being due to cultural or religious differences or a personality. But deep down there is a truth. I never questioned it when girls were going to TBJ’s room in the middle of the night and not coming back for hours. In fact (and I’m so ashamed of my blindness) I felt jealous of the extra guidance they were receiving. I hope that those still involved will come to see the truth.

Also the guilt has been hard to deal with. I think of people I encouraged to visit SCOAN. Those who went with faith that God would heal them who died as a result of the dangerous advice given at the church. And countless people, unknown to me, who spent their last savings coming from all over Africa and the world to be lied to and taken advantage of. SCOAN continues to cause so much needless suffering. Its victims include the poorest and most vulnerable.

SCOAN is not an innocent or well meaning organisation. In my experience it is one that will use all manner of cunning, corrupt and sacrilegious methods in order to bring people under their influence. I think often of those girls who continue to be abused and have no voice as they are fearful to speak out against what they believe is God. I think of them often and know I was lucky to escape.

And for those of you thinking of visiting, attracted by what seems impossible anywhere else in the world- I urge rationality and caution. Some things are too good to be true. No church is perfect. No one is perfect. Do not abandon your right to question as I did and be influenced to believe anything other than what you know in your heart to be true.

I left SCOAN and felt like I lost my moral compass. I had been told what was right and wrong for so long I lost all perspective. Since then I have not rediscovered my faith in God, but I have found my moral bearings. There is no religion that I know of in which  bullying is acceptable. In no moral code is sexual abuse acceptable. Think rationally.

Life as a disciple of TB Joshua – Beth’s story (part 2 of 3)

We recently received the testimony of Beth, a young lady who spent 18 months as a disciple of TB Joshua at SCOAN. This is the second part of her account, in which she tells of the physical, spiritual and psychological damage that SCOAN left her with. See  Beth’s story (part 1) for the first instalment and Beth’s story part 3 for the final installment.

Remember, this story is not unique. There are many other ex-disciples who have been through similar experiences. Many have told their stories on this site: Giles, Emma, Gareth, Graham, and Eddie, as well us other people who were closely involved such as Dr Hardaker, “Cautious” and Hattie.

  1. Beth’s story part 1
  2. Beth’s story part 3

Beth’s story – broken

After the relentless reporting, coupled with my second bout of malaria (I had been sent home with malaria once before about 2 months after arriving) and all the blame and humiliation that came with it, I was so weak I could not contribute to the work of the church. TB Joshua had prayed for me, and I was not healed. I was treated as an embarrassment to the church, and made to feel guilty for getting ill. I was prayed for and sent home.

I had been told to rest by SCOAN and to trust in God, not medicine, to make me well. But I was very ill, and spent most of the time unconscious. My parents were incredibly worried and, thankfully, ignored my protests that I didn’t want to be treated. They took me to hospital when I was too weak to object. Later, the doctor warned me I was close to having a stroke and could have died, but with treatment I recovered within a couple of weeks.

Looking back I feel lucky I was able to return for treatment, as I understand in more recent times at least one disciple has died from malaria whilst under orders from the Synagogue not to receive treatment. Being ill at SCOAN was considered having a lack of faith. It felt like failure. (Editors note: Although SCOAN officially deny telling people to quit their medication, we have of heard multiple cases where, like Beth this has been the case, for example: Anna, Judith and those reported by the BBC and Sky News)


Beth was ordered to avoid medication when she contracted Malaria. If it wasn’t for her parents, this advice would have killed her.

I was not granted a letter of invitation (necessary for a Nigerian visa)  from SCOAN to return. This caused me extreme distress. TB Joshua was giving up on me, therefore it felt like God was giving up on me. During my time at SCOAN I had been cut off from my world, my country, my family.  I had been taught to believe they were out to negatively influence me. Then I was suddenly abandoned back into the world with no hope of getting out. The hold SCOAN had over me was powerful and frightening.

6 weeks later I was finally able to contact the church and was granted permission to return. When I returned to SCOAN, I was made to “confess” to having had treatment and was told I had not had enough faith. I was reprimanded, reported and was told that I was likely to have been infected by another person’s sin as I had had a blood transfusion. I went to the prayer line to be healed from this “sin”.

My return visit did not last long.  I was too weak to be useful and was accused of being lazy. I was desperate to stay but TB Joshua did not permit it and was once again I was sent home. (Note: I had no control over my comings and goings from Lagos. The administration held my passport, and bought the tickets for me. I had to beg to ring my parents to tell them I was coming).

Once home, I spent a long time paralysed by the conclusion of my fight. I did not leave the house and was deeply traumatised by the abandonment. I was fearful of the “sinful” world around me and was convinced I could never be saved. Anyone who has held a strong belief and lost it will understand how devastating it can be.

I gave up hope at times and considered taking my own life. I drove out in my parents’ car several times with the intention of crashing it, hoping to make it look like an accident. But I could not bring myself to do it. What stopped me was not  thoughts of my family or friends being upset (despite how loving and accepting they had been), nor even for myself. I couldn’t do it because I knew I would be connected with TB Joshua and SCOAN and that my death could damage their reputation. My fear of them simultaneously kept me alive and made me want to die. That is the terrifying hold they had over me.

After a while I gave up completely. I couldn’t end my life, so I lived hopelessly. I got close to no-one and let no-one get close to me.  I was convinced that if I did then my sins would come back on them as well as me.

Life as a disciple of TB Joshua – Beth’s story (part 1)

We recently received the testimony of Beth, a young lady who spent 18 months as a disciple of TB Joshua at SCOAN. Her story is a disturbing and upsetting one, but it’s important that it is heard. We will be publishing it in several installments. Her story shows how TB Joshua takes gifted people who are passionate for God and breaks them down, leaving them with psychological and spiritual wounds that take many years to heal.

Remember, this story is not unique. There are many other ex-disciples who have been through similar experiences. Many have told their stories on this site: Giles, Emma, Gareth, Graham, and Eddie, as well us other people who were closely involved such as Dr Hardaker, “Cautious” and Hattie.

Contributors to this site have been subject to vicious attacks on their character and even blackmail from TB Joshua fanatics, and Beth is aware that she is likely to experience the same treatment. We have had contact with Beth for some time now, but until now she’s not been ready to tell her story. As many ex-disciples are not ready to tell their stories, or prefer to forget the whole experience, this has taken her great courage.

  1. Beth’s story part 2
  2. Beth’s story part 3

Beth’s story – beginnings

SCOAN in Lagos


I spent almost 18 months at SCOAN over a period of 2 years. In that time I was diagnosed with malaria on two separate occasions with severe anaemia, that left me hospitalised both times. I became very thin, dropping four dress sizes since the day I arrived. Each time I became ill I was prayed for, sent home and never contacted again.

I’ve never truly recovered my physical strength from this period in my life, but worse than the physical damage has been the long-lasting psychological effect. It’s only now, after a number of years, I feel able to speak about my experiences. I want to share my story in the hope that others will be able to avoid the worst experiences of my life. I also write in the hope that my old friends, who I think about often, that have not yet been able to leave may read this and know there is a life after SCOAN.

I first heard about SCOAN as a teenager. I had become increasingly involved in a “radical” evangelistic Christian community at home, and fasting, all night prayer vigils and a fervent belief in the healing and miraculous power of God were normal for me. Therefore, it did not take much to convince me SCOAN was a work of God.

I visited the church in the first instance to find out about it. I had seen the videos, was impressed and wanted to experience it. TB Joshua was kind to me, called me his daughter and gave me privileges beyond what any other visitor would receive. In short, he wooed me into his church. His attentions mixed with the “miracles” I witnessed on this visit convinced me to return. I accepted the significant amount of cash he gave me at the end of my stay for return flights, believing this was God’s will for me. I returned a year later for good. (Editors note: Hattie describes a very similar experience here)

When I arrived I noticed some strange things. At first I blamed these things on cultural differences and later I was made to believe they were for the greater good. In hindsight I realize they were acts of cruelty and bullying.

The life of a “disciple” was full of fierce competition, often sleepless nights and hard work. We were expected to work all hours of the day running the church, practicing music/editing videos/writing materials/having meetings. Service days involved even longer hours: starting at 6am to process all the sick people who came for healing and often going on into the night. We often fell asleep on the choir stage in full view of the church due to the exhaustion. (Editors note: see Giles’ post for corroboration of this)

Disciple meetings were frequently called in the middle of the night and we were expected to attend. Meetings were used for instruction, but primarily “correction”. With 200+ people in attendance, disciples would have criticisms brought them. Some may have been accurate, but they were often exaggerated, simply untrue or unfair. The purpose of these sessions was alleged to be in order to correct sinful behaviour, but in essence was a form of control. Stories were often unverified, personal or embarrassing, and the accused would often be marginalised afterwards.

There was a process that each disciple went through during their stay. At first the person would be welcomed and most contributions they made would be praised. As the person adjusted to life at SCOAN, they would begin to ask questions. The right to question anything was not granted to disciples, and if you questioned anything to do with the running of the church, or anything that TBJ did, you would be reported.

Following this the most painful stage was breaking a person down. The person would be reported for alleged “sins” repeatedly and publicly over a sustained period of time. Every part of a person’s character was picked apart and criticised. Then, once a person was broken, that person would be built up again to be the type of person SCOAN wanted.

There were many people who disappeared during this process. Some never made it through the character assassination, myself included. I was reported for a period of 6 months, for a number of absurd and false “sins”. I was reported for what I was thinking, feeling, my actions and for being ill. It was public bullying. I was made to feel like a failure over and over again.

One correctional meeting was so personal I could not take it any longer and attempted to leave during the reporting. I left the meeting room and was chased and caught by a large group of disciples. I was dragged back to the meeting. I was forced to explain myself and apologise. I was then chastised for leaving the meeting whilst the “man of God” was trying to correct me and told I was a hopeless case in front of all the other disciples. After this I was left alienated by my other disciples, deeply humiliated by the personal reports and desperate to redeem myself. But the cycle continued.

Disciples came and went during my time, and I don’t know what happened to the majority of those who left. Occasionally a leaver was discussed in the meetings. One I remember was accused of speaking against SCOAN and spreading rumours about TB Joshua. They said he was surely going to end up a criminal. The group took turns in making fun of him and turned on him in such a way it was shocking. (Editors note: Giles and Emma both tell similar stories of these disciple meetings, and you can see one in this video)

It was drilled into us there was no salvation beyond SCOAN. TB Joshua had been baptised in the holy spirit and as such he was speaking on behalf of God. We were made to believe that he was infallible. This instilled in us a fear of ever disobeying him. (Editors note: this teaching has also been reported by ex-disciple Gareth here and here and even current TB Joshua supporter Soe)

Aside from the control through humiliation (this was key to how SCOAN functioned) TB Joshua’s word was final. His permission was needed to buy anything, contact anyone or go anywhere. Contact with my family and friends was totally forbidden without written permission from him. Any desire to make contact was taken to be an indication that you wanted to return to your old life. If he was disobeyed, meals or access to the dormitory were restricted and TBJ had to grant permission for these to be returned. I was once forbidden to return to the ladies dorm one night because I had not stopped a door from slamming, which meant I spent the night on wooden benches in the church at the mercy of the mosquitoes (as I mentioned, during my time at SCOAN, I was hospitalised having contracted malaria on two occasions) (Editors note: In this post Gareth speaks of ‘Addaba’, the state of ostracism and punishment imposed on disciples who ‘misbehave’)

The mental prison I was held in meant that I could not leave or even break the rules if I wanted to be saved.