A Peek Inside the Church of Scientology's Fake New Yorker

The cultish religious organization is giving narrative nonfiction a try

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Members of the Church of Scientology handed out New Yorker-like copies of their in-house magazine Freedom in front of Condé Nast's midtown Manhattan offices on Wednesday. The new issue consists exclusively of a "special report" on The New Yorker's sprawling February profile of ex-Scientologist Paul Haggis written by Lawrence Wright.

In a pretty snotty tone, Freedom calls the Haggis article "a 24,000 word odyssey to nowhere" and accuses Wright of shopping a book deal before the Scientology article came out and calls his sources "admitted perjurers and criminals." One article even goes after the New Yorker factcheckers who spent an epic eight hours going through 971 statements in Wright's original article. In the end, the magazine implores readers not to look to spectators who sit around commenting on how 'interesting' it all is as the lives of others pass them by. Instead, ask a Scientologist…" Because the New Yorker's sources look like this:

You have to give Freedom some credit for attention to the New Yorker look and feel. The Eustace Tilley-inspired cover sports a surly-looking Wright with Haggis crawling out of his hat. The fonts and the layout are spot-on. There's even a cartoon caption contest! And a DVD! Animal New York posted some scanned images of the print edition's pages, but you can read the whole thing (and watch the corresponding videos) online.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.