In the wake of a controversial documentary by the BBC shedding light on the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Pastor Temitope Joshua, a former worker, Debo Akinyemi, associated with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, has shared his experiences in a write-up published by ChurchTimes Nigeria. Akinyemi’s insights offer a glimpse into the time he spent working with the late pastor and reveal startling allegations about the practices within the church.
Having had a close but brief association with TB Joshua during his tenure as a journalist, Akinyemi provides a personal perspective on the recent controversy surrounding the renowned pastor. The divided opinions stemming from the BBC documentary question whether TB Joshua was a genuine man of God or not, presenting a nuanced view.
From Akinyemi’s viewpoint, TB Joshua was a figure who was challenging to categorize due to his outward humility and perfect posturing, which concealed a complex inner world. Those who judged him based on his demeanor may have missed the nuanced aspects of his character, reminding us of the biblical adage that outward appearances can be deceptive.
Akinyemi’s first encounter with TB Joshua was in the late ’90s when the latter was still a white garment prophet. During this period, TB Joshua frequented Today’s Choice, a soft-sell magazine where Akinyemi worked as the Sports Editor. These visits were aimed at garnering publicity for his emerging church.
Years later, their paths crossed again when Akinyemi discovered a job opportunity at The Exclusive, a weekly newspaper allegedly owned by TB Joshua. Despite the absence of the pastor’s name in the official list of management and board members, Akinyemi soon realized the extent of TB Joshua’s influence over the newspaper’s operations.
Akinyemi describes TB Joshua as a nocturnal figure, often convening meetings scheduled for early evening but appearing hours later in the dead of night. The meetings, which sometimes lasted no more than 10 minutes, were accompanied by lavish meals, raising questions about their purpose. Despite his reservations, Akinyemi acknowledges receiving generous envelopes filled with money at each meeting.
The former worker also sheds light on the inner workings of TB Joshua’s church, revealing a community of special workers labeled disciples. These disciples, often young women, were allegedly forbidden from engaging in secular employment, living a regulated life under TB Joshua’s control. They were provided for by the church, but their existence seemed highly controlled, with an oath of secrecy about the church’s practices.
Among the most shocking allegations is the claim that TB Joshua orchestrated the swapping of partners among married couples within the church as a ritual to facilitate childbearing for those struggling with infertility. Akinyemi recounts instances where previously childless couples seemingly found success in having children with their new partners, creating a surreal environment within the congregation.
Akinyemi also touches on TB Joshua’s reputed anger issues, mentioning an incident where the pastor reportedly threw a large glass-topped table in a fit of rage.
In conclusion, Akinyemi maintains a cautious stance, neither fully vilifying nor unquestioningly praising TB Joshua. He emphasizes the need to subject spiritual leaders to scrutiny and testing, expressing suspicion based on the foggy aspects he observed during his brief association.
This account provides a deeper look into the controversies surrounding TB Joshua’s ministry, adding personal experiences to the ongoing discussion. As opinions remain divided, this expose serves as a testament to the complexity of evaluating the actions and character of influential religious figures.