‘I was the white girl who’d been taken in hook, line and sinker’: the Britons who survived a Nigerian cult

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TB Joshua, the Oprah of evangelism, was a mega prophet who inspired thousands of followers from across the world to visit his church in Lagos, Nigeria, in the hope of salvation. Before his death in 2021, the celebrated pastor was named one of Africa’s 50 most influential people; he had more than six million followers on his social-media channels and was the most-viewed Christian ministry on television.

Many of his British followers discovered him via the homemade VHS tapes of his so-called miracles that circulated evangelical churches in the UK in the late 1990s. He was, according to Anneka*, who travelled from the Midlands to visit his church, the Synagogue Church of All Nations (known as Scoan) in the early 2000s, an electric and extremely holy presence who sparked euphoria amongst his congregation. “When you saw him preaching, his spirituality seemed on a different level – it was as if he existed in heaven and was being projected in front of you,” she explains.

Yet according to a new BBC documentary, the warren-like living quarters of Scoan were a living hell. TB Joshua tortured, abused and raped his disciples, the 150 followers he’d chosen to tend to him and run the church. Constance Marten, the runaway aristocrat due to stand trial for the manslaughter of her baby girl in January 2023, was a disciple for six months, during which time she was allegedly left confused and traumatised having been force-fed Joshua’s leftovers and punished via social exile.

The findings of the BBC’s two-year investigation suggest that over a period of 20 years, Joshua, who became one of the richest pastors in Africa by charging for pilgrimages to Scoan and his videos and public appearances, deprived his followers of basic needs such as money and contact with their families. Meanwhile his miracles, according to those interviewed on the documentary, were staged or lies.

Content retrieved from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2024/01/15/sexually-abused-pastor-tb-joshua-scoan/.

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