Is Dancing for the Devil’s Shekinah Church still operating? | plmubl.com

Is Dancing for the Devil’s Shekinah Church still operating?

Dancing For The Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult is Netflix’s new documentary which follows the stories of several dancers who joined talent management company 7M, only to find themselves caught up in an alleged cult and cut off from their loved ones.

Founded by self-proclaimed “man of God” Robert Shinn, according to its website 7M is responsible for representing “some of the top social media influencers in the world”. In addition to running 7M, however, Shinn is also a pastor at Shekinah Church, with many of the talent agency’s members also being part of the Los Angeles church.

However, allegations of abuse and “cult”-like practices first arose in 2022 after Rolling Stone reported the connection between 7M members and Shekinah, with the cross-complaint cited in the article stating “Shekinah is a cult operating under the guise of a religious institution”.

But exactly what is Shekinah Church and is it still operating today? Here’s everything we know.

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What is Shekinah Church and its connection to 7M?

Reportedly founded by 7M’s Robert Shinn in 1994, Shekinah Church is an LA church at which Shinn is also a pastor.

In court documents cited by Rolling Stone, Shinn described the Shekinah group as “small and tight-knit group of Christian believers committed to spreading their religious message through peaceful religious study and outreach.”

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Very little information is known about the church, though as detailed in the documentary many of Shekinah’s former members were part of 7M.

Despite this, a statement posted to 7M’s Instagram page says “You do not have to be a member of the Shekinah Church to be represented by 7M, nor do you have to be represented by 7M to be a member of the Shekinah Church.”

It’s unclear how one would join the church, though former members in the Dancing For The Devil documentary allege that Shekinah was invite-only by 2021.

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Is Shekinah Church still operating today?

Despite the disturbing allegations made against Robert Shinn and Shekinah Church’s alleged connection to 7M, it still seems to be active.

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According to its website, “Shekinah Church International was born with the calling of saving one billion souls, raising up leaders for the Body of Christ and supporting the gospel with all means.”

In 2009, former member Lydia Chung filed a lawsuit claiming that Shekinah and Shinn “had isolated her from her family, brainwashed her, and defrauded her out of nearly $4 million, which was allegedly funnelled to Shinn through the non-taxpaying church.”

Ultimately, however, the judge ruled in Shinn’s favour, leaving Chung to rebuild her life.

Speaking to The Daily Beast, Chung said “This is a cult. This totally ruins people. You hear about the people who went to Vietnam—going through such a trauma, many people cannot function as a normal human being—this is what it does.”

She alleges Shinn “exerted undue influence, mind control, coercive persuasion, oppression, and other intimidating tactics” in order to “divest her of her money and property” to him “in the name of obeying the will of God.”

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Likewise, former member Kylie Douglas told Rolling Stone “Even though we were only in there for two years, it’s still two years of our life that we spent battling to give full attention to [Shinn] and his church,”

She added, “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.”

The final moments of Dancing For The Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult show a statement which reads “No criminal charges have been brought against Shinn. He has previously denied sexually abusing any member of Shekinah or any client of 7M. The civil lawsuit is ongoing. Robert and his co-defendants deny the claims against them. The case is set to go to trial in 2025.”

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