1. Manipulate and narrow the range of feelings – some emotions and/or needs are deemed as evil, wrong or selfish
Scientology as described above makes only certain emotions acceptable. In the cult negative emotions are only allowed in auditing or against the acceptable targets of the cult's enemies.
2. Teach emotion-stopping techniques to block feelings of homesickness, anger, doubt
Scientology through extensive reshaping of the minds of the members makes emotion stopping a normal feature of cult members. By merely thinking in the terms and phrases of the cult emotions, thoughts and behavior are all guided.
3. Make the person feel that problems are always their own fault, never the leader’s or the group’s fault
Scientology uses extensive methods to make members feel all their problems are always their own fault. In Keeping Scientology Working and much of Scientology policy the emphasis is on describing both Hubbard and his technology as infallible. The failures are assigned to the individual practitioners and they are described as always altering Scientology if it fails, as it's assumed to always succeed if applied as intended. Further Scientology has ideas such as intention is cause and a thetan only gets what they postulate and in the ethics technology the idea that a bad thing that happens to someone is pulled in by someone because they have unhandled overts and witholds.
4. Promote feelings of guilt or unworthiness, such as
a. Identity guiltb. You are not living up to your potential
c. Your family is deficient
d. Your past is suspect
e. Your affiliations are unwise
f. Your thoughts, feelings, actions are irrelevant or selfish
g. Social guilt
h. Historical guilt
In Scientology every form of identity guilt is used and induced repeatedly in subtle ways. In the training and auditing the idea that the individual Scientologist is at fault for their own hardships and that their past actions are insufficient because those actions led to their unhappiness. It cannot be overstated.
5. Instill fear, such as fear of:
a. Thinking independently
b. The outside world
d. Losing one’s salvation
e. Leaving or being shunned by the group
f. Other’s disapproval
In Scientology Ron Hubbard uses fear of life without his knowledge and methods countered against his false promises of perfection of self and group which is always in a perfect future that's just out of reach. Thinking independently is discouraged thousands and thousands of times in a multitude of ways. The study technology has all confusions, contradictions and inconsistencies or failures found by a student in Scientology doctrine in the training methods always, always addressed by asserting that Hubbard and his doctrine are without flaws or errors and work 100% of the time without fail and that the perception or experience of difficulties with Scientology are due to something lacking in the practitioner of Scientology and never due to flaws in Scientology or Hubbard. That instills a lessening of independent and critical thinking regarding Scientology and Hubbard.
The outside world is portrayed as a barbaric hell of savages with hidden evil insane purposes and a place of cruel brutality. The enemies of Scientology are all grouped together as insane, evil and utterly depraved. They are portrayed as murderers, rapists, sadists, and psychs who drive victims to insanity and evil and ultimately amnesia and eternal spiritual damnation. That's about as evil as it gets.
Leaving and being disapproved of by the Scientology cult is entirely equated with a very specific fate in Scientology. A Scientologist is taught that if Scientology fails the world will be certainly destroyed in a nucleic holocaust. They are taught over and over that they are eternal spiritual beings and if they submit completely to Scientology they will get salvation but if they don't then they will over multiple lifetimes accumulate more and more trauma and negative experiences and decline until they lose the ability to pick up bodies, meaning being unable to be reincarnated. In this horrifying state the Scientologists are taught they will lose all their memories and as blind and deaf disembodied spirits they will experience eternal irrevocable insanity and pain.
Hubbard's version of hell which he claimed is far worse than anything anyone has ever imagined. If that's not using fear nothing is.
6. Extremes of emotional highs and lows – love bombing and praise one moment and then declaring you are horrible sinner
Scientology inflicts trauma with extreme and sudden vacillation between praise and effusive encouragement when a person is first joining or increasing commitment to the group by starting a course or auditing program or joining staff or the Sea Org or of course making any large donations. Scientology loves you in these moments but only for a very brief moment. There are exceptions for the extremely wealthy or famous but they are a tiny minority.
But for everyone else in Scientology approval is a rare experience and usually very brief. And so much of the doctrine states and reinforces that people are irrational, unaware and out of touch with reality that self condemnation is a natural result. And many staff and Sea Org members rush to assist in any condemnation of members and to position Hubbard as the only one free of error, irrationality, and bad character.
7. Ritualistic and sometimes public confession of sins
In Scientology several cult rituals are used for confession. There is confession heavily pursued in the auditing methods and focused on in highly detailed and extensive programs. It's also used in the truth rundown brainwashing program and the false purpose rundown. It's used for hundreds of questions on grade 2 and on the L rundowns.
A variation on confession is used in writing up overts and witholds as well as ethics conditions. Public confession has been reported as occurring rarely as well.
8. Phobia indoctrination: inculcating irrational fears about leaving the group or questioning the leader’s authority
a. No happiness or fulfillment possible outside of the group
b. Terrible consequences if you leave: hell, demon possession, incurable diseases, accidents, suicide, insanity, 10,000 reincarnations, etc.
c. Shunning of those who leave; fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family
d. Never a legitimate reason to leave; those who leave are weak, undisciplined, unspiritual, worldly, brainwashed by family or counselor, or seduced by money, sex, or rock and roll
e. Threats of harm to ex-member and family
Extensive, repeated and highly varied phobia induction occurs in Scientology. It comes to rule the lives and minds of cult members. Scientologists come to believe no happiness is sustainable if they leave and as I described above the most terrible consequences Hubbard's imagination could conjure up await anyone who leaves Scientology. Disconnection is Scientology's version of shunning and practiced quite widely.
Scientologists are taught the only reason they would leave is because they have hidden evil acts and secrets they are reluctant to confess. So when anyone does leave they are instantly discredited by the act of leaving itself. So only members in good standing can speak on the cult, but will lose good standing if they criticize the cult, it's doctrine or Hubbard or Miscavige at all so the only information that is listened to in the group.
A variety of threats are used against members who leave. Often Scientology strives to ruin them utterly and remove them quietly and without sorrow. Exes have been stalked, sued, harassed and bern driven to insanity or suicide. If you Google Scientology criminal convictions and what do judges say about Scientology mountains of evidence can be found.
In conclusion by looking at Scientology through my twenty five years in the cult then hundreds of hours afterward studying the true practices, purposes and history of Scientology against the BITE model by Steven Hassan several things are quite clear.
Scientology epitomizes virtually every idea that can be within a high control and abusive group. It strongly shows over ninety five percent of the traits that the BITE model lists to very extreme degrees, sometimes more than any other group.
The BITE Model is accurate and comprehensive in my opinion for describing and evaluating cults. With it many groups can be thoroughly analyzed to see if they are cult like and to what degree. Scientology is certainly a bona fide cult, perhaps to the highest degree possible.
I hope this is helpful and encourage others to take the BITE model and do their own analysis of Scientology if they are or were in the group and to use it on other groups if they have any doubts or concerns.
Note: Cult expert Rick Ross recently made the following comment on the origin of the bite model: