Miranda Derrick Went From the Cult of TikTok to Maybe an Actual Cult

Miranda Derrick claims she isn't in the 7M Cult but that's kind of what someone actively in a cult might say.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

May 30 2024, Published 10:17 p.m. ET

Melanie Wilkings and Miranda Derrick
Source: Netflix

Janja Lalich is a professor emerita of sociology at California State University, Chico. She is also a cult expert. While speaking with The Tennessean, Lalich explained what makes a cult a cult. Spoiler alert, it takes more than an enigmatic leader to start and maintain a cult but that's definitely part of it. A cult is built on an infallible, so they say, system of beliefs that can't be challenged by its followers. Its leader claims to be the only person with answers to any problems.

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Naturally, an intense level of commitment is involved as well as systems of influence and control. More often than not, members of the cult have been separated from friends and family to strengthen the bonds with their new "family." With this in mind, we turn our eyes to the digital age and what some call the 7M Cult. Many of the people involved with them are influencers. Take TikTok dancer Miranda Derrick, for example, whose family believes she is in this cult. Is she?

(L-R): Miranda Derrick, James Derrick, and Melanie Wilkings
Source: Netflix
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Is Miranda Derrick in the 7M Cult? First let's figure out what it is.

In February 2022, the Wilking family released a video detailing what has been going on with Miranda. Melanie Wilking is sitting between her parents, Kelly and Dean, while trying to hold back tears. They claim the last time they heard from Miranda was in January 2021 when Kelly's father died. At first, Miranda said she couldn't attend her grandfather's funeral because she had contracted COVID-19. Evidently, Miranda was lying and could only tell her family they "wouldn't understand."

Obviously, the Wilkings were extremely upset by this and weren't able to accept Miranda's vague reason for not going to her grandfather's funeral. After attempting to reach her multiple times, Dean flew to California to find out what was going on with his daughter. It was there that Miranda told them she needed permission to go from "someone closer to God."

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Miranda's statement was undoubtedly referencing the church she had joined which incidentally was started by the same person who founded 7M Films, the management company that signed the TikToker. Both are run by a man named Robert Shinn who claims his secular dealings, a la the management company, help fund his holy endeavors: Shekinah Church.

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In May 2024, Netflix released Dancing For the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult, which heavily featured the Wilkings. In the documentary, they discuss looking into the Shekinah Church which led them down a harrowing path. They were able to connect with other family members who were also under the impression that their loved ones had joined a cult. When they decided to reach out to a human trafficking hotline, the Wilkings were told there was nothing they could do because Miranda is an adult.

Miranda Derrick insists she isn't in a cult, but isn't that what a cult member would say?

Less than a week after Miranda's parents and sister shared their video about her lack of communication and bizarre behavior, she took to TikTok to refute all of their claims. Miranda began by saying that she had been in touch with her family multiple times in the past year. What feels like pulling away to them was actually Miranda starting a new life with her husband James, who is part of the church.

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Miranda said that she still wanted to work with Melanie but it was her sister who kicked her off the TikTok account they shared. "After constant back-and-forth over this topic, I finally let Melanie have full access over that account so it forced me to start over," said Miranda. While addressing the cult accusation, Miranda clearly and firmly says she isn't in a religious cult and everyone she knows is still speaking to their families.

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Apparently, Miranda has chosen to distance herself from her family because they have been less than supportive of some of her decisions, such as moving in with James. Miranda also alleges that after she left, her family reached out to law enforcement and told them she was kidnapped by a Black man. When police couldn't reach James, they spoke with Miranda who told them that was clearly not the case. Miranda wrote that they actually laughed about the situation.

Regarding her grandfather's funeral, Miranda was worried that if she flew to Michigan to attend it, her family wouldn't let her return home to California. This was based on another incident that allegedly took place where Miranda's family wouldn't let her leave her old apartment.

As of the time of this writing, Miranda posted a TikTok about her mother for Mother's Day 2024. It stands to reason that perhaps some of the misunderstandings might have been resolved. If so, why bother with the documentary?

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