After doctors admitted the woman to the psychiatric unit of the hospital, they learned that this wasn't the first time she felt a strong interest in religion and spirituality. She described four previous times in her life, beginning at age 13 and again at ages 23, 32 and 41, when she experienced periods of intense spiritual and religious devotion.
During these periods, which lasted about a year or two, she would join Jehovah's Witnesses and then later resign, when she lost interest, according to the report.
As part of her psychiatric evaluation, the woman also underwent an MRI. The scan detected a brain tumor.
It turned out that the tumor — which probably appeared first in childhood or adolescence — was very slow-growing, and likely periodically affected her behavior since her teenage years, Walther said.
Indeed, the doctors suspected that her four previous episodes of intense religious devotion might have been a symptom of the tumor's progression, according to the case report.
The tumor affected areas of the brain involved in processing sound, which is possibly why she may have heard "divine" voices, but it also affected networks that influence a person's emotions, Walther said.
It's not clear why the woman's periodic devotion to religion eventually caused her to experience a psychotic episode in which she tried to severely injure herself.
I wonder how the JW viewed this woman, who hears divine voices and is in and out the JW multiple times....