TB Joshua exposé: How the disgraced pastor faked his miracles

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The BBC unmasks, for the first time, how the late Nigerian televangelist TB Joshua faked the miracles that drew millions of people to his church.

The preacher, who is accused of widespread abuse and torture spanning almost 20 years, founded his Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) in Lagos more than three decades ago. His meteoric rise to fame was closely tied to his self-professed divine powers and his supposed ability to heal the sick.

The theatrical healings – showing the physically disabled walking and on one occasion purporting to resurrect a dead person – were filmed. Along with testimonies of those he claimed to have cured, they were then sent on VHS tapes to churches across the world.

In 2004, Nigeria’s broadcast regulator banned stations from airing the supposed miracles of pastors on live terrestrial TV, prompting Joshua to launch Emmanuel TV on satellite and then online. His global television and social media empire became one of the most successful Christian networks in the world. His purported miracles were broadcast to millions across Europe, the Americas, South-East Asia and Africa. His YouTube channel had hundreds of millions of views.

But Joshua, who died in 2021 aged 57, was a fraud. The BBC’s investigation, involving more than 25 church insiders from the UK, Nigeria, Ghana, the US, South Africa and Germany, unpicks six ways in which he tricked worshippers.

He is a former disciple – one of an elite group of dedicated followers who lived with the pastor inside the Scoan compound.

“Any cancerous situation, they send them away. Then people who had normal open wounds that can heal, they bring them in, to present as cancer,” he says.

Only a select group of trusted disciples were allowed to work in the emergency department. They would write placards for each follower to hold, detailing their made-up or exaggerated ailments. When it was time to meet Joshua, they would stand in line in front of the cameras and be “healed”.

“It was a complicated system. Not all disciples knew what was happening. It was a secret,” Mr Paul says.

Content retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-67944614.

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