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Influencing A Grandchild’s Career Path?


David and Gwen Cartwright are two elderly Jehovah’s Witnesses from the United Kingdom of Great Britain. Their life story is told in the March 15 2015 Study Edition of the Watchtower, under the heading, We Found A More Rewarding Career.

A synopsis of David & Gwen’s life story

Both David & Gwen were born in the mid-1940’s. The former grew up on a farm in Shropshire; the latter in the busy city of London. Both had a love for ballet. They met each other at the Royal Ballet School in London, and were soon paired as dancing partners. When David enrolled in the Royal Ballet School he was just 15. They went on to become great ballet dancers performing around the world. They even performed with such legends as Dame Margot  Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. However, Gwen noted that they were surrounded by such immorality as smoking and drinking, and the fact that she often had to rely on her good-luck charms.

By the age of 23, after just 8 years, or according to David, “many years in the dancing business”, he got sick of living out of a suitcase. So, he gave up dancing and returned to his farm. By then he proposed to Gwen. She accepted, married him and joined him on the farm.  However, during a 9 month period while David took up a college course to improve his farming skills, Gwen learned to drive and would take her first child, Gilly for trips to nearby towns. It was on one of these trips that she met Gael, a Jehovah’s Witness.

Gwen was delighted to meet a Jehovah’s Witness. After all, she remembers how annoyed and disgusted her father had been with her aunt, throwing her literature into the rubbish bin. Gwen had wondered why her father, normally very friendly, became so angry with such a kind person. In any case, Gwen took it as an opportunity to learn about Jehovah’s Witnesses’ beliefs.


In no time at all, Gwen and David studied watchtower literature with Jehovah’s Witnesses. For the next number of paragraphs of their life story, Gwen and David proceeded to quote scripture after scripture as to why they believe what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, why they gave up certain practices and how thrilled they were to learn of the fulfillment of scripture as explained by Jehovah’s Witnesses. When they quoted scripture and didn’t give the book title and verse, jw.org conveniently inserted the verses for the reader.

They did meet with some opposition. Gwen’s father stopped speaking with her for 6 years. David’s parents also tried to stop him associating with the Witnesses. How much effort David’s parents went to is left to the reader’s imagination.  But alas, these efforts were all in vain. Gwen and David are still Jehovah’s Witnesses today.

After a number of gruelling years working the farm, they decided to pack it in due to government cutbacks. Instead, they decided to put their previous life’s talent to work and subsequently opened a dance studio. Somehow, this change of career was a blessing from Jehovah. Why? Because it bore good fruit: all three of their daughters began pioneering (preaching full-time) when they finished school.

After their 2 eldest daughters got married, and with only one daughter left at home, they decided to close their dance studio and take up pioneering. This had them travel to preach in numerous countries over the years. Presently, they are pioneering in the North East of England.

They believe that their dedication to preaching the doctrine of Jehovah’s Witnesses full-time has given them an everlasting Joy, something that they believe ballet would never have given them. They believe that this pioneer work has made a huge difference in their lives. David particularly feels that it has made him a better husband and father.

The Missing Account

What is missing from this life story is the fact that one of David & Gwen’s daughters is no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yes, she no longer pioneers. In fact, she hasn’t attended Jehovah’s Witnesses’ meeting in many years. Furthermore, neither David or Gwen speak to their estranged child. She is their middle child and she is completely shunned. She is shunned by both her parents and her sister’s.  Why? Simply because she has made a life for herself separate from Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The irony is that David believes that his dedication to Jehovah has made him a better husband and father. If that is the case, surely he and his wife could have mentioned the fact that they shun their daughter and explain it clearly to the reader how this strange treatment of their own flesh and blood makes them “better” as parents. The reality is, that this life story is misleading. Leaving out a critical part of their life’s account is giving the impression to the reader that David and Gwen have a perfectly happy life. This is not the case.

A Letter to their Granddaughter

Recently, Gwen wrote to her grand-daughter, the child of shunned daughter. This is what she wrote:

Dear Ge…….

We think about you all a lot and wonder how you are getting along. We know you started college in September and hope you are enjoying it. Enclosed is a copy of our Watchtower Study Articles and I think you will be pleased to see the Life Story of Grandad and I.

When a District Overseer’s wife found out about our former career (just from talking to Grandad at a pioneer meeting. He didn’t know who she was). She told her husband. He told the London Bethel. They told the New York Bethel and we were asked to write it.

They collect many experiences of brothers and sisters about their former lives before they became Jehovah’s Witnesses. They don’t use them all, so we feel privileged they used ours.

Please Ge….., don’t forget in your Summer holidays, you are welcome to come and pay us a visit. We miss you and love you very much. The twins are doing well at school and are learning Welsh. L.. has passed her theory exam for driving and is having lessons at the moment. And V…. has just finished at college & looking for work.

Hop you enjoy the story

Lots of love

Nan and Grandad xx

When Gwen and David’s daughter read this letter from her parents to her child, she felt sorry for them that their whole lives are focused on littler other than furthering the Watchtower agenda.  Yet, she still loves them and hopes one day that they will wake up and realise that they need to think more about their flesh and flood than their so-called “spiritual family”.

What may be more insidious is the fact that Gwen and David are aware that their grandchild started college in September. Their life story is about giving up all types of career choices to focus on just one career: the preaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses doctrine. They try to convince the world that such a career is rewarding. In the same paragraph that they hope their grandchild is enjoying college, they mention that their life story, entitled We Found A More Rewarding Career.

Is this not insidious?

The child has just completed one year in college. And, right after exam time, they are already trying to convince their grandchild that there is a more rewarding career in preaching a heavily flawed doctrine for no monetary gain, than there is in gaining a higher education where career opportunities are endless.

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Lester Somrah writes about the beliefs and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses on his social media platforms and was baptized as a member in 1998.

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