This is a long original essay using the BITE model by Steve Hassan Scientology Viewed Through The BITE model by Steven Hassan Taking A BITE Out Of Scientology Part 1 The BITE Model “Mind control is the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles. Conformity, compliance, persuasion, dissonance, reactance, guilt and fear arousal, modeling and identification are some of the staple social influence ingredients well studied in psychological experiments and field studies. In some combinations, they create a powerful crucible of extreme mental and behavioral manipulation when synthesized with several other real-world factors, such as charismatic, authoritarian leaders, dominant ideologies, social isolation, physical debilitation, induced phobias, and extreme threats or promised rewards that are typically deceptively orchestrated, over an extended time period in settings where they are applied intensively.” ― Steven Hassan, Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults “Psychotherapy/educational cults, which have enjoyed great popularity, purport to give the participant “insight” and “enlightenment.” Commercial cults play on people’s desires to make money. They typically promise riches but actually enslave people, and compel them to turn money over to the group. None of these destructive cults deliver what they promise and glittering dreams eventually turn out to be paths to psychological enslavement.” ― Steven Hassan, Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults "I’d like to state that I believe that people involved with destructive cults are as a generalization, intelligent, idealistic, kind, warm, loving, creative, wonderful people. And I resent the kind of blame-the-victim mentality that exists in the media, exists in society today, that “Oh those crazy people in Waco, they wanted to be controlled, they wanted to be raped, they wanted to have their liberties curtailed.” Nonsense! These people were, in my opinion, mind-controlled by David Koresh. I want to give you my definition of a destructive cult: “a pyramid-structured authoritarian group with someone or some group at the top that has total power, and that uses mind control techniques to recruit and indoctrinate people to be dependent and obedient.” I define mind control in terms of four components or B.I.T.E.: control of behavior; control of information; control of thoughts and control of emotions.." I’d also like to say that it doesn’t matter what the belief system is. My focus is on the methodology of practices of groups. And so a group could be a religious destructive cult. It could be a political destructive cult. It could be a therapy destructive cult. It could be a business destructive cult. If these controls of behavior, including control of sleep, food, privacy, rules and regulations, not allowing people to be alone, not allowing people to see their families, not allowing people to read letters of critics, of seeing people outside, inculcating thought-stopping techniques." Steven Hassan "For example, with Scientology, this is an organization that says, “We are a religion! We are a religion!” But you can’t know what the upper level beliefs are, what the OT beliefs are, until you’ve gone up through all of the courses, because if you find out that information before you’re ready, you will die. That’s what they teach. So you’re getting involved with an organization, whose upper level of the pyramid, you don’t even know what their beliefs are. And by the way, one of the big ones is, that 75 million years ago, there was a galactic confederation of planets, with Xenu, a despotic dictator, who was trying to solve the overpopulation problem, so he was brought many beings to the planet Earth ? then called Teageak? and dropped them into volcanoes. Then hydrogen bombs were dropped on them, separating their thetan (or spirit) from their physical form. That is why “Dianetics” has a volcano on the cover, to supposedly stimulate our memories of past lives. What sane person, intelligent person, would join a religion with that belief? But you see, nobody knows that until years later, and tens of thousands of dollars later, but I’m telling you this story as related by the documents from former top officials who’ve left. And I think that makes it a very different animal from the Catholic Church or other so-called mainstream religions. But I abhor any totalitarian system that undermines people’s spirits." Steven Hassan " The government exists around laws, and if a group isn’t breaking laws, then the government shouldn’t be involved. Do I think the law needs to be updated, to include the fact that there is hypnosis, for example, that people can be manipulated without the use of a gun, or without the use of external force, to do things that are destructive? Yes, I think the law should be updated to include that, but not until there are universal methods for evaluating that, that can be applicable in order to preserve freedom. And by the way, I think the baseline document to read is the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And if destructive cults supported the human rights in that document, I wouldn’t be up here criticizing them. Because they don’t." Steven Hassan Three quotes above from Branch Davidians - WACO: The Government’s Failure to Understand Destructive Cults Transcript of Lecture at Harvard University Science Center February 27th 1994 by Steven Hassan From Freedom of Mind Resource Center I have often been asked about how to evaluate if a group is a cult and how can anyone distinguish what is or is not a cult ? It's not all religions or any big religion. What makes a cult a cult is not the presence or absence of religious beliefs or unusual ones. Cults are groups that use abuse and deception and try to completely or nearly completely control the thoughts, beliefs and emotions of their members. In past posts I have discussed how the eight criteria for thought reform by Robert Jay Lifton are an excellent resource for evaluating and understanding cults. His work is very informative and concise. I have also referred to Dr. Margaret T. Singer's 6 Conditions for Thought Reform and recommend her book Cults In Our Midst and her videos. In addition to those two great references I should add the BITE model by Steven Hassan. BITE stands for Behavior control, Information control, Thought control, and Emotion control. Cults use control of the behavior, Information, thoughts and emotions of their members. I have quoted the bite model and put it in blue. I will describe some of the ways the model is accurate in describing the Scientology cult as an example. For one reason the Scientology cult has many, many thousands of cult methods combined and it makes an easy choice as a cult that epitomizes the methods such groups use. Additionally I was in Scientology for twenty five years and have in two years since leaving the cult spent hundreds of hours examining it. So it's what I know best of any cultic group. BITE model by Steven Hassan Quoted from Freedom of Mind site Steven Hassan's BITE Model of Cult Mind Control Many people think of mind control as an ambiguous, mystical process that cannot be defined in concrete terms. In reality, mind control refers to a specific set of methods and techniques, such as hypnosis or thought- stopping, that influence how a person thinks, feels, and acts. Like many bodies of knowledge, it is not inherently good or evil. If mind control techniques are used to empower an individual to have more choice, and authority for his life remains within himself, the effects can be beneficial. For example, benevolent mind control can be used to help people quit smoking without affecting any other behavior. Mind control becomes destructive when the locus of control is external and it is used to undermine a person’s ability to think and act independently. As employed by the most destructive cults, mind control seeks nothing less than to disrupt an individual’s authentic identity and reconstruct it in the image of the cult leader. I developed the BITE model to help people determine whether or not a group is practicing destructive mind control. The BITE model helps people understand how cults suppress individual member's uniqueness and creativity. BITE stands for the cult's control of an individual's Behavior, Intellect, Thoughts, and Emotions. It is important to understand that destructive mind control can be determined when the overall effect of these four components promotes dependency and obedience to some leader or cause. It is not necessary for every single item on the list to be present. Mindcontrolled cult members can live in their own apartments, have nine-to-five jobs, be married with children, and still be unable to think for themselves and act independently. Destructive mind control is not just used by cults. Learn about the Human Trafficking BITE Model and the Terrorism BITE Model The BITE Model I. Behavior Control II. Information Control III. Thought Control IV. Emotional Control Behavior Control 1. Regulate individual’s physical reality 2. Dictate where, how, and with whom the member lives and associates or isolates 3. When, how and with whom the member has sex 4. Control types of clothing and hairstyles 5. Regulate diet - food and drink, hunger and/or fasting 6. Manipulation and deprivation of sleep 7. Financial exploitation, manipulation or dependence 8. Restrict leisure, entertainment, vacation time 9. Major time spent with group indoctrination and rituals and/or self indoctrination including the Internet 10. Permission required for major decisions 11. Thoughts, feelings, and activities (of self and others) reported to superiors 12. Rewards and punishments used to modify behaviors, both positive and negative 13. Discourage individualism, encourage group-think 14. Impose rigid rules and regulations 15. Instill dependency and obedience Information Control 1. Deception: a. Deliberately withhold information b. Distort information to make it more acceptable c. Systematically lie to the cult member 2. Minimize or discourage access to non-cult sources of information, including: a. Internet, TV, radio, books, articles, newspapers, magazines, other media b.Critical information c. Former members d. Keep members busy so they don’t have time to think and investigate e. Control through cell phone with texting, calls, internet tracking 3. Compartmentalize information into Outsider vs. Insider doctrines a. Ensure that information is not freely accessible b.Control information at different levels and missions within group c. Allow only leadership to decide who needs to know what and when 4. Encourage spying on other members a. Impose a buddy system to monitor and control member b.Report deviant thoughts, feelings and actions to leadership c. Ensure that individual behavior is monitored by group 5. Extensive use of cult-generated information and propaganda, including: a. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audiotapes, videotapes, YouTube, movies and other media b.Misquoting statements or using them out of context from non-cult sources 6. Unethical use of confession a. Information about sins used to disrupt and/or dissolve identity boundaries b. Withholding forgiveness or absolution c. Manipulation of memory, possible false memories Thought Control 1. Require members to internalize the group’s doctrine as truth a. Adopting the group's ‘map of reality’ as reality b. Instill black and white thinking c. Decide between good vs. evil d. Organize people into us vs. them (insiders vs. outsiders) 2.Change person’s name and identity 3. Use of loaded language and clichés which constrict knowledge, stop critical thoughts and reduce complexities into platitudinous buzz words 4. Encourage only ‘good and proper’ thoughts 5. Hypnotic techniques are used to alter mental states, undermine critical thinking and even to age regress the member 6. Memories are manipulated and false memories are created 7. Teaching thought-stopping techniques which shut down reality testing by stopping negative thoughts and allowing only positive thoughts, including: a. Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking b. Chanting c. Meditating d. Praying e. Speaking in tongues f. Singing or humming 8. Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism 9. Forbid critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy allowed 10. Labeling alternative belief systems as illegitimate, evil, or not useful Emotional Control 1. Manipulate and narrow the range of feelings – some emotions and/or needs are deemed as evil, wrong or selfish 2. Teach emotion-stopping techniques to block feelings of homesickness, anger, doubt 3. Make the person feel that problems are always their own fault, never the leader’s or the group’s fault 4. Promote feelings of guilt or unworthiness, such as a. Identity guilt b. 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 5. Instill fear, such as fear of: a. Thinking independently b. The outside world c. Enemies d. Losing one’s salvation e. Leaving or being shunned by the group f. Other’s disapproval 6. Extremes of emotional highs and lows – love bombing and praise one moment and then declaring you are horrible sinner 7. Ritualistic and sometimes public confession of sins 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 End quote by Steven Hassan Note: Cult expert Rick Ross recently made the following comment on the origin of the bite model: Rick Alan Ross FYI -- The BITE model is taken from other earlier sources. BITE represents B for behavior as already identified through the academic writings of Singer, Ofshe and others. I is for information as identified by Conway and Siegelman in "Snapping," which they called "Information Disease" (1978). T is for thinking identified by Lifton as thought reform (1961). And finally E is for emotional control, which was identified by Conway and Siegelman in their book "Holy Terror" (1982). I find that acknowledging and using the original material is much better, more precise and useful than spinning it with a new label without proper attribution. It's very important when writing to include footnotes that give proper credit to the originators of ideas and theories by recognizing their hard work and research. Behavior Control 1. Regulate individual’s physical reality In Scientology this is practiced to a degree with all types of members. The public cult members have rules that escalate over time. The staff have stricter control and the Sea Org members have extreme control. 2. Dictate where, how, and with whom the member lives and associates or isolates. For public they are forbidden from associating with outcasts from the cult or critics which the cult labels Suppressive Persons. Inevitably the family members of cult members that don't completely agree with the cult are treated as Suppressive Persons and almost all Scientologists are pressured to disconnect from them. The extent escalates for staff and Sea Org members must comply or be expelled. 3. When, how and with whom the member has sex Scientology practices very extreme sexual control and judgment of all members. The members are convinced the E-meter can find any thoughts or secrets they have and so normal privacy is eradicated. In Scientology doctrine all sexuality is ultimately condemned. Masturbation is treated as evil. Homosexuality is treated as evil. Both are treated as perverted. Some public Scientologists are encouraged to only have sex with their spouses if married. Staff are forbidden from being promiscuous or homosexual. Sea Org members can be ordered to get divorced by executives or transferred to separate organizations which require their members to only have spouses in the same organization. 4. Control types of clothing and hairstyles For public the cult has at times encouraged looking professional and successful to make Scientology look good. I remember several times as a public student being told to wear nice clothes. The staff face more control and have limited hairstyles and many now wear uniforms. The Sea Org members as usual have even more extreme control and usually must wear uniforms and look very professional. 5. Regulate diet - food and drink, hunger and/or fasting Public members have some dietary restrictions. They have to pass a metabolism test when receiving auditing. The test is on the E-meter. To pass it one must consume a lot of calories. Drinking alcohol is best given up as one can't study or receive auditing with any alcohol in them. Sea Org members due to extreme poverty and being virtual slaves must depend on the cult for all food. If the cult punishes them with just beans and rice for months they must make do. 6. Manipulation and deprivation of sleep Here's where the control is turned way up. Public are told to be well rested and usually encouraged to get at least eight hours of sleep. Staff often get less rest as they sometimes work sixty to a hundred hours a week for the cult. And as most of them receive little or no pay many work an additional forty hours a week at another job to pay their bills. The Sea Org members often get four hours sleep a day for months at a time. In particular members on the internal prison RPF often reported working shifts of thirty hours on with three hours off. Some reported being in a haze for months at a time due to extreme sleep deprivation. 7. Financial exploitation, manipulation or dependence The signature of Scientology. Public are routinely pressured to donate savings, max out credit cards and even sell possessions including houses, businesses and cars to donate money to Scientology. Many go bankrupt to keep getting accepted by the cult. Staff get exploited by being tricked into working for no pay, or a pittance. Sea Org members get very low or no pay and become entirely vulnerable to further exploitation. They require housing and food which they are told only the cult will provide. Total dependence to enslave them until death is the goal. 8. Restrict leisure, entertainment, vacation time This varies within different groups. Scientology ultimately is a slave caste system with only the leader meant to actually be free. For wealthy and famous Scientologists lots of leeway is given. For many public Scientologists the experience is a progressive encouragement to give the cult more and more time. Entertainment is limited to discourage anything that ridicules or criticizes Scientology. Staff have their time extensively limited. And Sea Org members have extreme control and get virtually no leisure time usually. They often go many decades without vacation. 9. Major time spent with group indoctrination and rituals and/or self indoctrination including the Internet Scientology cult members usually spend many hours in cult indoctrination through courses and auditing. Public are encouraged to spend at least twelve to forty hours a week receiving indoctrination. Staff are encouraged to spend twelve hours on course or forty to eighty hours if they are in full-time training. Sea Org members can be required to spend even more time on indoctrination. 10. Permission required for major decisions Public have to clear changes in schedule or leaving the cult with the cult. Staff are rigidly controlled and find leaving virtually impossible. Sea Org members find almost all major decisions require permission. 11. Thoughts, feelings, and activities (of self and others) reported to superiors Here Scientology really excels. Because the cult members believe nothing can remain hidden from the E-meter and they are required to tell on each other for hundreds of offenses. They have to write up themselves and others in very detailed reports. They often don't hide anything as they see that as another offense. 12. Rewards and punishments used to modify behaviors, both positive and negative Again a stark contrast is found. In Scientology the leader is the only person immune to punishment. Wealthy and famous Scientologists get extreme rewards. They get gifts, praise and giant trophies for donating fortunes and getting positive press for the cult. In Scientology someone who is in favor with the cult is forgiven virtually anything, including crimes and murder. They are strongly rewarded. But if one is out of favor the punishment can be severe, in fact brutal. People out of favor are often cast aside and expelled. The cult ruins them utterly as a matter of course. 13. Discourage individualism, encourage group-think Scientology is often unfortunately very effective at discouraging individuals from using independent and critical thinking. In the most central and important doctrine within Scientology (the series of policy letters called the Keeping Scientology Working series) there is the key policy Keeping Scientology Working which demands exact and total compliance with the doctrine of Scientology in submission to the authority of Ron Hubbard. There are hundreds of drills, procedures, auditing methods and policies designed to support and enforce this. The entire body of qualifications, ethics and study technology is designed to fulfil this intention. Several books would be required to describe the full scope of this in Scientology. Hubbard focused on this and tried again and again to control the thinking of his followers to the extent that it's not at all an exaggeration to say he sought to mentally enslave his followers and ultimately mankind. 14. Impose rigid rules and regulations Scientology has very, very strict rules for all members. Only the leader is entirely exempt from the rules. To a degree wealthy and famous public Scientologists are given a free pass to violate many of the rules, as long as they don't endanger the leader or the entire cult. Most public Scientologists have very strict control of who they can associate with and how. They have very exact rules regarding schedules and are strongly discouraged from discontinuing Scientology courses and auditing. The staff get more rules and the Sea Org members live under so many rules it's comparable to being in the military or prison, but members of those groups often have more rights. 15. Instill dependency and obedience Scientology is extremely gradual and insidious in how it very incrementally through repetition and very deceptive and slowly shifting language nudges the members bit by bit towards further and further isolation and extreme rejection of any other beliefs and values. This leaves them out very far on a limb with almost no way back. It's even worse often for members raised in the cult as they have no earlier identity and beliefs to return to. They must sort out what to do and be without the aid of already established ideas. Information Control 1. Deception: a. Deliberately withhold information b. Distort information to make it more acceptable c. Systematically lie to the cult member Scientology really, really scores high here. Almost all the information about it's past and the past of Ron Hubbard is hidden from members. The actual doctrine is released in a very controlled way and over ninety five percent of cult members never see secret upper level doctrine. And much of the doctrine is only revealed to members of specific caste levels for their own functions. The information is routinely distorted so members never realize how much is demanded from them or how they will hurt and deceive others. They get words and ideas twisted with reversals and redefinition so they see evil done for the cult as good and good done against the cult as evil. And they are constantly lied to. The terms engram, reactive mind, dynamics, auditing, and even Dianetics and Scientology themselves have lies in their very definitions. So in using them cult members lie to each other over and over. Lies are the entire foundation of Scientology. 2. Minimize or discourage access to non-cult sources of information, including: a. Internet, TV, radio, books, articles, newspapers, magazines, other media b.Critical information c. Former members d. Keep members busy so they don’t have time to think and investigate e. Control through cell phone with texting, calls, internet tracking Scientology again epitomizes cult practices to the extreme. At first it subtly uses deceit and stereotypes to plant a false history of the media and to make cult members self censor. Online activities are often monitored and rigidly controlled. In Scientology all critical information is forbidden. Completely. Members have to avoid it as much as possible. They are threatened with both expulsion and eternal irrevocable spiritual damnation if they merely look at Facebook posts and like them. Or if they pursue any negative information at all online or through former members. Merely leaving Scientology publicly leaving Scientology is considered a suppressive act and warrants an automatic permanent expulsion with total severing of all relationships to members in good standing. If they don't comply then they too are declared and cut off from all cult members. This sets up huge cascades of entire families being kicked out and losing their friends, jobs, homes and any relatives who stay in the cult. Many people have to pick between a son who leaves the cult and a daughter who stays or half a family that decides to leave the cult and half that stays within. Many members who are staff or especially Sea Org members are kept far, far too busy to invest time in looking for the true history of Scientology or Ron Hubbard. They never look at the subjects Hubbard studied or other therapies or schools of philosophy or on the mind. That's entirely intentional. Sea Org members in particular have very extensive surveillance of their online activities and many message boards, Facebook groups and blogs that are critical of Scientology are constantly monitored by the Office Of Special Affairs, aka OSA, the espionage wing of the cult. 3. Compartmentalize information into Outsider vs. Insider doctrines a. Ensure that information is not freely accessible b.Control information at different levels and missions within group c. Allow only leadership to decide who needs to know what and when Scientology has a near total isolation of doctrine into different degrees of access. Many introductory doctrine are very watered down bland versions of much, much more extreme ideas that are gradually revealed and as the cult member progresses the degree of compliance escalates. The meaning is redefined from initial innocent seeming ideas into more fanatical and zealous specific applications. Information is difficult to get and separated into information for new members and more experienced ones. Then further for staff and public. Then to staff in and out of OSA. OSA members know lying is required and suborning perjury and manufacturing evidence against enemies to destroy them utterly. They also know that driving enemies to madness or suicide is a routine practice in the cult. Most cult members never see that. Sea Org members learn other doctrine that further condemns everyone not in Scientology or the Sea Org. Different parts of the Sea Org have their own doctrine as well. Of course Hubbard reserved the authority over who gets which doctrine for himself. David Miscavige as the new leader has taken absolute power in Scientology for himself and now holds this authority. 4. Encourage spying on other members a. Impose a buddy system to monitor and control member b.Report deviant thoughts, feelings and actions to leadership c. Ensure that individual behavior is monitored by group Scientologists are required to constantly spy on each other. Familial relationships or bonds are irrelevant. By convincing the cult members that their highest loyalty must be to the cult and Ron Hubbard it is obvious that this must occur. Also the cult members are convinced the E-meter can detect and find anything hidden in their mind. So they give up privacy and report on each other. In the cult failing to report any of hundreds of acts by another is punishable by their policies. A rigid hierarchy with reports being forward up to leaders is in place. Members often are teamed up as twins for courses or auditing as a way to make them monitor and report on one another. The group always evaluates the behavior of members. Allegedly confidential ethics and counseling folders are actually used to collect intelligence on cult members. The members are told these folders have the protection of a priest penitent privilege like a confession to a priest. Under those circumstances the contents are collected and then shared among others. The ethics section, OSA and higher organizations all may see them and use the information in any way they choose. 5. Extensive use of cult-generated information and propaganda, including: a. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audiotapes, videotapes, YouTube, movies and other media b.Misquoting statements or using them out of context from non-cult sources Scientology uses all of the above methods of propaganda. The cult has internal and external videos, magazines, movies, tapes, policies, and other media. They do misquote non-cult sources and take information out of context to make Scientology seem more accepted by outsiders than it truly is. 6. Unethical use of confession a. Information about sins used to disrupt and/or dissolve identity boundaries b. Withholding forgiveness or absolution c. Manipulation of memory, possible false memories Scientology uses confession in multiple forms to tear down the self confidence of members. The confessionals and overts and witholds write ups are used to destroy the egos of the members. Their entire pasts and values are thrown into doubt by being buried in the emotional discomfort of intense focused attention entirely on their misdeeds and regrets. In this state of diminished confidence and extreme confusion the cult members are vulnerable to suggestion and exploitation. In Scientology sympathy is strongly discouraged. Members are told to be willing to experience anything and to never seek to be liked or admired. Forgiveness is very, very rare and unfortunately usually insincere. Regarding creating false memories Scientology likely is more successful and thorough than any other group. In the training routines and auditing a false hypnotic reality is used to induce extreme suggestibility. Members are encouraged to find memories with repetitive questions and extensive doctrine which interprets what they should recall and how recalling it should affect them. They have imagination and recall blurred and mixed. They have hypnotic experiences with euphoria, trance logic and states such as dissociation and care free ecstatic from hypnosis intentionally reframed to deceive them. Then reframed hypnosis is used to alter their memories and recast their entire lives in the concepts of Scientology, particularly for establishing and building the authority of Ron Hubbard over their lives and minds. Most methods such as auditing, the training routines and even the basic study technology use very covert methods that require a good grounding in the foundation of hypnosis and cognitive dissonance theory along with particular concepts in social psychology to even examine with an educated opinion. The methods are intentionally well hidden. Some of the methods are more easily revealed. The Truth Rundown mind control method as an example is perhaps one of the most obvious methods of reshaping memories ever created. Thought Control 1. Require members to internalize the group’s doctrine as truth a. Adopting the group's ‘map of reality’ as reality b. Instill black and white thinking c. Decide between good vs. evil d. Organize people into us vs. them (insiders vs. outsiders) Here through multiple methods Scientology succeeds. In indoctrination the study technology functions as a form of self-hypnosis that creates an intense focus of attention. In this state from repeated direction to never doubt the doctrine of Scientology from Ron Hubbard the cult members develop habitual behavior. They learn to sharply focus on taking in Hubbard's information without deviation and to be able to instantly define all terms in their studies. The distinction between their beliefs, conventional definitions of terms from dictionaries and the new ideas and definitions Hubbard buries them in by the hundreds is lost. It's simply far too much information to keep separated while memorizing it. So the cult members learn to cast aside critical and independent thinking. This is covertly remaking study into a very stressful and anxious activity. The cult members must have instant perfect recall of definitions for anything in their materials for surprise spot checks, examinations or check outs so they become incredibly anxious and uncertain. This too heightens suggestibility and creates the habit of never questioning the doctrine or Hubbard's authority. When this faith becomes absolute then all capacity for judgment is severely impaired or shut off. Additionally in this state a kind of childlike state occurs. In this state magical thinking occurs and all contradictions or paradox actually help to strengthen the confusion and dependence of the cult members. They have cognitive dissonance result which has a moment of distinct hesitation and this is a mental blankness. In Scientology study technology they are deceived by the statement that this blankness is from lack of comprehension. What's not comprehended is not a term as Hubbard claims, but instead the contradictions in Scientology doctrine itself. Or how Scientology has untrue concepts and false statements. A cult member may know through direct observations or past life experience that some Scientology doctrine is simply incorrect. Rather than being allowed to simply disagree the cult members are repeatedly told ALL disagreements with the doctrine are due to THEIR lack of understanding terms. Over time they either conform to this position of inferiority to Hubbard's authority or leave the cult or are cast out. By using the false concepts of misunderstood words and skipped gradients and lack of mass Hubbard covertly reshapes study into blind hypnotic submission. Words to be learned do exist, but Hubbard attaches hundreds of lies to that to come up with his misunderstood word doctrine. By carefully comparing his description of phenomena that accompany misunderstood words and lack of mass and skipped gradients it becomes clear that the phenomena of hypnosis and cognitive dissonance are repackaged to convince cult members that they are actually learning while in fact they are being cognitively restructured covertly. That means what they think, feel and do is being changed in a hypnotic method without their consent or knowledge. But Hubbard tricks them into seeing anxiety, confusion, blankness, reelingness, slipping into and out of trance states, getting bored all as signs they have his fictional barriers to study he sets them up. When they experience many of these they feel dull or not quite there or blankness, these can be from cognitive dissonance or the not there feeling can be dissociation. Then the cult member takes their attention off as an example a part of the doctrine that had contradictions either with other doctrine or past beliefs or observable reality. This creates cognitive dissonance which has anxiety and confusion and is uncomfortable. By taking their attention off this and in effect suspending their own critical and independent thinking they escape the cognitive dissonance and focus on a word to learn the definitions of and make sentences with. By entirely refocusing their attention they escape the dissonance and discomfort, at least temporarily, this results in a feeling of relief which Hubbard redefines as "brightening up". It feels better to not think about something confusing and upsetting, but the cult members are taught this is an improvement when actually it is avoiding the very confusion Hubbard's own ideas and methods created. And it's done by increasing the submission to him while avoiding that he contradicts both himself and reality. He creates confusion then "solves" the confusion by having it falsely redefined, then avoided to seem to be resolved. The pattern when successful creates a state that is best described as mental slavery. It's a prison of the mind created with the very thoughts of the cult member. Through extensive reshaping of reality in auditing, ethics and study technology the cult's reality often entirely replaces that of the cult member. Scientology has a rapid progression into black and white thinking. Even introductory doctrine like the Dianetics book contains the very pure good fictional tone scale levels above two and pure evil tone scale levels from two down in particular the tone level of 1.1 is labeled covert hostility and treated as absolute evil. In Science Of Survival and further Scientology doctrine the cult is further defined as good and all enemies as evil and literally deserving of being disposed of quietly and without sorrow. In Keeping Scientology Working, the most repeated and central core doctrine Scientologists are taught they are a higher and more aware order of being than all others. This is expanded upon until they are taught that most humans are degrade beings and incompetent and wandering through life in a state of hypnotic delusion. So of course only Scientologists can make valid decisions in their view as they are the only ones who even are awake and see the world as it truly is. Scientologists call themselves the most ethical group on the planet. Staff are elevated above public and Sea Org members are the highest of all in prestige. Though in truth Sea Org members are the most exploited and completely enslaved. Their is extensive stratification in the cult with virtual automatic competition between each other. This is by design. The internalization of doctrine is something I have written extensively on in the following post: Insidious Enslavement: Study Technology http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/01/i...ology.html?m=0 Specific doctrine that requires the black and white thinking and treating others as disposable enemies is something I covered here: Why Lying And Murder Are Justified In Scientology part 1 and 2 Part 1 http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/10/w...ed-in.html?m=0 Part 2 http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/10/w...in_26.html?m=0. 2.Change person’s name and identity Usually Scientologists don't change their names, but they do substitute their titles as staff members and Sea Org members. They get titles and are told to use them and to call seniors of either gender sir. This is to dehumanize them and establish the legitimacy of the titles and the ideas of what they represent. The titles represent Hubbard's technology and administrative methods. 3. Use of loaded language and clichés which constrict knowledge, stop critical thoughts and reduce complexities into platitudinous buzz words Here Scientology stands high. It has thousands and thousands of terms that Hubbard used to shape and control the thoughts of his victims. He used the method of using reversals to obfuscate his true intentions and control people through contradictions. He uses many phrases to reframe reality and limit thought to only agree with his ideas and to serve to reinforce his authority. I thoroughly examine the use of loaded language in the following posts: Propaganda By Reversal Of Meaning In Scientology http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/03/p...ng-in.html?m=0 The Secret Of Scientology Part 1 Control Via Contradiction http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/01/t...art-1.html?m=0 4. Encourage only ‘good and proper’ thoughts Scientology requires only proper thoughts from members by a variety of methods. First off it is worth repeating that Scientologists usually believe the E-meter can find any thoughts they have in the hands of a skilled practitioner despite any and all efforts to hide them. So they police their own thoughts. As a step up from the totalitarian methods in 1984 thought crime is a real fear for Scientologists. Additionally, through repetition the idea that only happy and positive thoughts about the cult are acceptable is made a core value of Scientologists. In many key doctrine which are the foundation of Scientology this is reinforced from a variety of angles. In the ethics technology the condition formulas condemn doubt and treats it as a lower condition. Staff are taught to not have human emotions and reactions and Scientologists in training routines are drilled to be able to experience anything without reactions. In their doctrine is the two rules for happy living which includes being willing to experience anything. Perhaps a better rule for a slave who has no personal boundaries or recognition as a person deserving any consideration or rights. 5. Hypnotic techniques are used to alter mental states, undermine critical thinking and even to age regress the member Once again Scientology towers over other cults. Many cults use two to six hypnotic techniques but Scientology has been described as using literally perhaps two thousand hypnotic methods. I have written possibly more than anyone else on this. In addition to the posts listed above I also covered that in many others, here are a few: Basic Introduction To Hypnosis in Scientology http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/01/b...is-in.html?m=0 Pissed It's Not Your Fault !!! http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/01/p...fault.html?m=0 Burning Down Hell - How Commands Are Hidden, Varied And Repeated To Control You As Hypnotic Implants http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/02/m...-hell.html?m=0 Why Hubbard Never Claimed OT Feats And The Rock Bottom Basis Of Scientology http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/02/m...never.html?m=0 6. Memories are manipulated and false memories are created As I pointed out in earlier points and posts Scientology excels at creating false memories and reframing the past. 7. Teaching thought-stopping techniques which shut down reality testing by stopping negative thoughts and allowing only positive thoughts, including: a. Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking b. Chanting c. Meditating d. Praying e. Speaking in tongues f. Singing or humming In the above listed post Pissed It's Not Your Fault I described fourteen logical fallacies which Hubbard used extensively. He packaged them as mottos and phrases in his doctrine and through repetition and variation actually implanted them in his victims. They come to think in fallacies. They enter dissociative states and deny the negative aspects of Scientology. It's an actual avoidance of trauma as a survival mechanism. Daniel Shaw extensively describes how Hubbard has cult members deny the abuse and trauma they experience in his book Traumatic Narcissism. It perfectly describes how Hubbard as a malignant narcissist uses trauma to control others. I elaborated on this in detail in: Scientology's Parallel In Nature - Malignant Narcissism http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/05/s...ure_3.html?m=0 8. Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism With many methods and doctrine Hubbard ensured that rational analysis never occurs. The standard of judging Scientology involves accepting Hubbard's authority as verifying Scientology and Scientology in turn as verifying Hubbard's authority. A circular argument of an expert being proven by a subject which is proven by the same expert validating it. He disparages critical thinking as being hypercritical which he equates to being covertly hostile. He entirely condemns constructive criticism in KSW. And an entire body of supporting policy that declares Scientology always works and merely doubting it can get a member labeled suppressive and cast out. In the policy letter Indicators Of Orgs Hubbard makes it perfectly clear that any deviance from enthusiastic support of Scientology should result in a Suppressive Person declare or several. 9. Forbid critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy allowed Of course these are entirely forbidden and discouraged. 10. Labeling alternative belief systems as illegitimate, evil, or not useful Scientology at first seems to accept other faiths. But as one progresses through the cult it becomes clear that Scientology isn't really compatible with any other belief system. In the upper levels of the cult indoctrination tapes and policies clearly disparage other faiths and calls them implants and false. This information is on the OT levels. Emotional Control 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 guilt b. 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 c. Enemies 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.