Miranda says her life is in danger

E! NEWS

dancer Miranda Derrick asked in a 2022 TikTok, reading a commenter’s question out loud.
At the time, the 27-year-old was weighing in on the viral reaction to accusations made by her sister Melanie Wilking, 25, and parents Kelly and Dean Wilking.
Despite her family’s claims, Miranda is a successful businesswoman and a loving wife and daughter who cares very much about her family.
The statement called the “recent portrayals” of Robert and 7M in the wake of the Wilkings’ video “wildly offensive and riddled with inaccuracies.”
For awhile they all texted, she said, until eventually Miranda and James were in a chat just for two.
Melanie said their family found out from social media and ultimately Miranda got “married with none of her family” present.
Some commenters observed that Miranda looked as if she was living her best life, so maybe it was her family who had the problem.
After Melanie left the church, Priscylla said in the series, Robert assured her that her little sister was going to hell.

NEGATIVE

Dancer Miranda Derrick read aloud a commenter’s question in a 2022 TikTok, “‘Are you in a cult?'”. I am not a member of a cult. I’m within a home. ****.

The 27-year-old was commenting at the time on the widespread response to the charges made by her parents, Kelly and Dean Wilking, and sister Melanie Wilking, 25. In February, the trio streamed live on Instagram. , 2022, to bemoan the fact that Miranda had “severed all connections” and that they had no choice but to voice their concerns internationally.

The three asked anyone who was a part of the talent management company 7M Films, founded by pastor Robert Shinn, or the Shekinah Church, pastor Shinn’s former congregation, for assistance.

We have two daughters, but Melanie “has been our rock,” Kelly said in the video. We don’t just have one, and we won’t give up on the other. “.

Miranda, who is married to dancer James “BDash” Derrick, was contacted by E! News but did not respond when they asked her about how her family was portrayed in the show and about her current affiliation with Shekinah and 7M.

Not only did Miranda refute her involvement in a cult, but she also claimed that it was a “complete lie” to say that she and James and their friends in 7M weren’t speaking with their families in a statement she posted after her family attacked the group.

“It’s just that I don’t talk to my family as much as I used to,” she went on, “because who would want to talk to people who don’t respect you and who totally disagree with you?”.

“The false and sensational allegations about 7M stem directly from a dispute between 7M-represented dancer Miranda Derrick and her estranged family,” a 7M spokesperson said in a statement to The Daily Beast in March 2022. Miranda, a successful businesswoman, is devoted to her family and is a loving wife and daughter, despite what her family may say. Trying to use her personal family issues as a cheap, public scandal in order to gain attention and influence is disingenuous and pitiful. “.

Following the release of the Wilkings video, the “recent portrayals” of Robert and 7M were deemed “wildly offensive and riddled with inaccuracies” in the statement. “.

Miranda relocated to an L. An. Melanie moved to her big sister’s hometown of Detroit immediately following high school to follow her dream of becoming a professional dancer. On their YouTube channel and social media accounts, the Wilking Sisters used to share their routines along with other cheerful, slice-of-life videos.

In the series, Melanie remarked, “Honestly, it’s hard for me to even remember because it’s just so different now.”. “My sister is sorely missed. Even though it seems different, I still adore dancing. I went on this journey with Miranda, and now I’m on my own. “.

As they were growing their fan base, Melanie claims that in April 2019, the sisters received a direct message from James, a budding krumper who went by the name BDash. They texted back and forth for some time before Miranda and James had a private conversation, according to her.

Melanie said that Miranda began traveling to Shekinah with James. The younger sibling remembered meeting pastor Robert in the fall of 2020 after accepting an invitation to a group dinner at his home.

“What if I told you, you have already sinned a thousand times today?” Robert inquired about Melanie’s self-perception during the dinner, according to Melanie in the series.

Then, Melanie claimed, he said, “Well, you have, and you would go to hell if you died right now. Well, we’ll assist you. ‘”.

Robert placed his hands on her head and they sat in a circle, she continued, and “everyone was kind of speaking in tongues.”. “.

Since all of these dancers she admired were present, Melanie said she wondered at the time if this was just typical church fare and thought perhaps it was a thing. ****.

Kevin claimed in the show that they were all “perfect prey” for Robert’s financial gain and spiritual salvation.

Furthermore, according to his former 7M clients in the series, who claimed Robert chose the vintage songs they danced to in their videos that would receive millions of views, the pastor appeared to know what he was doing as a manager. They were scheduling appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show among other commercials and appearances of all kinds.

A house Robert owned in Sunland, California, was occupied by a group of dancers. , and Kailea stated in the series that “we were just in the house creating content.”. She added that they were welcome to attend Sunday and Wednesday services at the church.

Melanie realized she wasn’t cut out for Shekinah, as she put it in Dancing for the Devil, when one Sunday her plans were changed to attend church because Robert’s daughter called. She made a mistake in tone, Melanie claimed, and that was that.

But after her maternal grandfather passed away in December 2020, Miranda refused to fly back to Michigan, which made the Wilking family’s statement in the series really sink in.

Miranda’s parents and sister reported that she stopped answering calls and texts when they pressed her, so they called the police to check on her welfare.

When an officer called Miranda, she stated, “I just chose not to go home out of my own grieving purposes,” according to a taped version of the conversation that was shown in the series. Regarding her apprehensive relatives, she continued, “They’re just not taking it well.”. “.

It was revealed in August 2021 that Miranda and James were engaged. Melanie stated that Miranda eventually got “married with none of her family” present, and their family learned about it from social media.

According to Aubrey’s statement from the series, “‘Dying to yourself’ means that you should die to whatever it is that you want or need because, at some point, everything will resurrect and come back to life. “.”.

Kylie continued, “In any case, you can continue to walk with God. Kailea went on to say, “The idea is to reconnect, but you have to leave your family while you work on yourself. ****.

Kylie said she severed her relationship with her mother and grandmother, and Aubrey said he did the same as part of this program. Kevin claimed that pastor Robert had told him to “die to my son,” but that wasn’t acceptable.

“I thought, ‘Well, how do you do that?'” Kevin remarked in the installment. I never heard back from them. That’s not something I could do. They act as if it makes no difference if we never see our relatives again. ****.

Robert is heard stating, “Until you die to your loved ones, you are not Jesus’s disciple,” in a sermon clip. “.”.

Everybody involved was subject to public scrutiny on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram after Dean, Kelly, and Melanie went viral for sharing their worries about Miranda and Shekinah.

Several commenters pointed out that Miranda appeared to be enjoying her life to the fullest, suggesting that perhaps her family was the issue. However, the idea that the church was a cult was endorsed by an exponentially larger number of people on social media, some of whom claimed to have personal experience with Shekinah.

Although the series’ dancers don’t elaborate on what they say they saw, they did say that the reaction to the Wilking family’s video was what ultimately led them to sever their connections with Robert, Shekinah, and 7M.

According to Kylie, “that was the first time we were hearing about how people were actually treated in Shekinah.”. I became aware that this could be a dangerous place. ****.

Kevin continued, “We became aware that we had witnessed some strange things. ****.

After seeing the Wilking video, Aubrey remembered Robert reversing his original plan and advising the dancers to reconnect with their families and make sure they shared their experience on social media.

There’s no way that all these people who are close to you are leaving and nothing happened, Kailea said in the series, recalling the mini-exodus from Shekinah in 2022. Everything else that occurs must be true. There can be no lying among them. “.

Before the May 29 premiere of Dancing With the Devil, executive producer Jessica Acevedo told Variety, “Like everyone else, I watched the live and was like, ‘What the heck is going on here?’ and then got on the phone with the Wilkings later that evening, and we ended up talking for quite a few hours.”.

Despite their rapid assimilation, she and director Derek Doneen took months to gain the confidence of the series’ diverse cast members. As a result, filming did not begin until the end of 2022, and they employed a small crew.

Doneen said, “We were very nimble and didn’t want to come in with a lot of people, or strangers that they’d never met before asking them to be vulnerable and do the things that we knew they’d be doing.”. The individuals were the ones they had already spent many days and hours getting to know and trust. Actually, time cannot be replaced. Just a lot of time is needed. ****.

While he did have a very brief conversation with the pastor, the director also stated that he made numerous attempts to get in touch with Robert, his associates, other Shekinah members, and/or the 7M dancers mentioned in the series, but they declined.

“We texted everyone, called everyone on the phone, left voicemails for people who didn’t answer, and sent emails as well,” Doneen claimed. We would have approached those discussions with the same open mind that we would have approached any topic, and we tried our hardest to give them every chance to contribute and share their side of the story. After a mere ten seconds of conversation, Robert abruptly ended the call, said, “I have another call, I gotta go,” hung up, and never replied. “.”.

While Melanie Lee wrote in Dancing for the Devil that she had been away from Shekinah for ten years, her sister Priscylla Lee broke away from the church in 2022, having spent the better part of twenty-three years there.

Melanie reacted to the Wilking video going viral in 2022 by saying, “I was having less nightmares about my past and I was making progress, until all of this started coming up on social media.”. Sincerely, I believed I would never need to discuss it. “.

In the show, the sisters spoke of a setting where, if a member of the congregation committed a mistake, Robert would call them out by name during services, and those who committed the mistake would be appropriately shunned. Priscylla claimed, “He created a system where everyone was fighting for his attention.”.

Robert told Melanie that her younger sister was going to hell after she left the church, according to Priscylla in the television series. Following that, according to Priscylla, her health deteriorated and she stopped going outside her room. She went on to say that demons were to blame for her sickness and covered her walls with Bible pages. She said, “Robert would just show up to do whatever he wanted me to do.”.

Melanie and Priscylla, also known as Elisha Priscylla Leigh in court records, were two of the ex-members targeted by a lawsuit Robert filed in October 2022 that claimed trade libel and defamation. He claimed that the sisters were falsely portraying his church as a cult and attempting to “cancel” him by launching “flagrant, defamatory attacks on social and other media,” according to court documents obtained by CNN. “.

Additionally, in a cross-complaint filed in March 2023, Priscylla, Kylie, Kailea, Aubrey, and Kevin are among the plaintiffs, accusing Robert of running his church like a cult.

According to a copy of the lawsuit that E! News examined, Robert is accused of subjecting Shekinah members “to brainwashing, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, manipulation, and exploitation.”.

The lawsuit claims that he preached to the congregation that “their lives will be cursed unless they submit to him and without Shekinah.”. Robert needed everything, both materially and financially. members of Shekinah under your control. “.

Although Robert has previously denied sexually abusing any Shekinah members or 7M clients, the Netflix series notes that he did not respond to requests for comment.

After the cross-complaint was submitted, Kylie, who with Aubrey was employed by 7M from 2020 to 2022, told Rolling Stone, “We just no longer want him to be able to do that to anyone: the brainwashing, the manipulating, running people down—giving their time, giving their effort, giving their money, giving all they got for something that is a false hope.”. “.

“I don’t want my friends in there anymore,” Aubrey stated to the magazine. This is someone I don’t want anyone to be around. It doesn’t even matter if they enjoy me or despise me. That atmosphere is just not something I want them to be a part of. ****.

In 2025, the two cases that are up for trial are expected to proceed.

Regardless, Miranda shared on Instagram on May 27 that she had “such a great time” at Melanie’s wedding, which took place at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa two days earlier and included her younger sister, Melanie, marrying NFL player Austin Ekeler.

“But right now I don’t trust that she can do that,” Melanie said in the series, referring to her dream of having her sister serve as her maid of honor. ****.

Director Derek Doneen of Dancing for the Devil said to TODAY . com that it was “quite uncommon to find a story that’s unfolding in real time like this.”. “.

Had Robert or anyone else who was still connected to Shekinah and 7M consented to take part, he claimed he would have “given them the same time and respect that I would give anybody.”. “.”.

But he went on, “There’s a part of me that’s also glad that the families and former members are getting a lot of attention, because that’s who we wanted to support. “.

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