Idol Chatter

willsmithforIC.jpgWill Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith recently announced plans to open a private school in Calabasas, California, just outside of Los Angeles. New Village Academy is scheduled to open in September, and while the couple may have funded the school for philanthropic purposes, their plan has backfired. Many of the school’s teachers are members of the controversial Church of Scientology, and the school’s curriculum has an emphasis on ‘study technology,’ which was developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Other study techniques mentioned in website material (which was taken down yesterday after articles questioning the Smiths’ motives began to appear) included an emphasis on dictionary study. Hubbard believed that all illnesses, from colds to headaches, were the result of M/Us, or “misunderstood words,” and that looking up any misunderstood word in a dictionary would eliminate these illnesses or injuries.

Because of Will and Jada’s high-profile friendship with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, rumors have circulated for months that the couple has embraced Cruise’s faith. Some staffers who worked on Smith’s latest movie, “Hancock,” say that the actor handed out certificates for a personality test at the movie’s wrap party–and these ‘personality tests’ are one way that local branches of the Church of Scientology get new prospective members, or ‘raw meat,’ in the door. Recently, the daughter of a government minister in Norway committed suicide after getting a negative result on one of these tests.
Smith, for the record, has said many times that he is a student of all religions and not a Scientologist. New Village Academy’s director, Jacqueline Olivier, told the L.A. Times that “We are a secular school, and just like all nonreligious independent schools, faculty and staff do not promote their own religions at school or pass on the beliefs of their particular faith to children.”
More information about Scientology teaching methods and educational programs can be found at

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