June 13th, 2011
04:41 PM ET

Leader of May 21 doomsday movement suffers stroke

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Harold Camping, the leader of the apocalyptic movement that predicted the end of the world would begin on May 21, has suffered a stroke, according to a statement on his ministry's web site on Tuesday.

Camping suffered a "mild stroke" last Thursday, according to the statement posted on the website of Family Radio, Camping's California-based broadcast ministry.

"Mr. Camping is receiving excellent care, and the doctors treating him are encouraged with the progress he is making," the statement said. "Mr. Camping's family appreciates everyone's thoughts and prayers."

“This was all we were told to tell everyone,” an operator at Family Radio said Monday, after she read the same statement that later appeared on Family Radio's website.

The operator, who would not give her name, said she and Family Radio’s other operators came to work Monday morning to find the statement from the Camping family on their desks.

For months, Camping predicted that Jesus Christ would return to the earth on May 21 and that a select 2% to 3% of the world’s population would be raptured, or taken to heaven.

Watch as the apocalypse flops and the Rapture leader wonders what went wrong

Those left behind would face months of tribulation before perishing in the Earth's destruction, which Camping said would happen on October 21.

Camping, who is reported to be 89, spread the word through a national billboard campaign and caravans of RVs that toured the country spreading the doomsday message.

When his prediction failed to pan out, Camping took the radio airwaves to say that he had misinterpreted the nature of the rapture but that the world would still end on October 21.

“We've always said October 21 was the day," Camping said. "The only thing we didn't understand was the spirituality of May 21. We're seeing this as a spiritual thing happening rather than a physical thing happening. The timing, the structure, the proofs, none of that has changed at all."

Camping founded Family Radio, a nonprofit Christian radio network with about 65 stations across the country, in 1958. It received $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009.

He first inaccurately predicted the world would end in 1994. Despite his poor track record, he has gathered many followers. Some gave up their homes, entire life savings and jobs because they believed the world was ending.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: End times

soundoff (1,171 Responses)
  1. Realitycheck

    This POS is delusional and the people who lost their life savings because of him are also delusianal and deserve what they got for believing some mental patient.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Tokra

      Agreed. I think that those spiritualists, over all of history, probably had a mental disease. I'm not kidding here, we know understand many mental illnesses, which can lead to hallucinations (e.g. burning bush). Chances are most of the prophets were ill.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  2. Vic

    Agggggh why are these jesus lovers so damn wacky?But even more are the idiots that follow them!....all this religion crap is just a business.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      He does not represent Christianity. I think you need to do a little more research before making an ignorant comment like that. This man is a false teacher that is completely misguided on the Bible's teachings. Christians should not follow man made doctrines, but have a relationship with Jesus instead.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Stan Dupp

      ALL religious "teachers" are teachers of falsehoods and lies regardless of their faith.
      There are no "true" religions.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  3. bob


    June 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  4. Snarf

    He almost got his date correct. 3 weeks is a minimal failure.

    Will he survive to see if the October is really?

    June 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      I can tell you right now it's not. There may be many problems and disasters by then, but it won't be Judgement day. You should know if you read a Bible. Most people who make ignorant comments like you haven't read anything even close to Bible scripture.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Tokra

      This Bible isn't fact, it's all opinion. We cannot use the Bible as any record of "truth," and the concept of faith is merely ignorance and misunderstanding of the nature of the world and of the universe. If a "god" exists, I suspect it a process or particle rooted in physics, which we can actually measure.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  5. tachappy


    June 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  6. teepee

    what a God hating nation america has become

    June 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Tokra

      Belief in God is what is plaging this nation. I know it was founded on religious freedom, which is fine. It doesn't make him exist, just people's ignorance. This has played out over all of human history, "what we don't understand, we attribute to a God." Look at history. I suspect in a few centuries, much more about nature will be understood and taken out of the "it must be God" bag.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Realitycheck

      What a jesus freak nation america has become.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • jul

      I don't hate God. But I do hate these phony baloney doomsayers who claim to know His mind, and the mindless sheep that follow said doomsayers.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Davidloc

      How do you hate something that you can't see , feel , touch or be affected by? Religion on the other hand, has crippled this country for centuries and finally people are getting embarrassed by these childlike beliefs and it is losing it's strannglehold on the decent , hardworking citizens of this country. Why would a loving god get angry at you not believing it exists and then want to hurt you as violently as possible? Nothing devine wrote the bible just a gang of thugs that wanted to control the planet and they almost got away with it too.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  7. teepee

    bet he didn't see that coming...

    June 13, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Stan Dupp

      Good one. 😀

      June 13, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  8. Tokra

    I'm sorry this guy had a stroke, must have been God's wrath at his insane predictions, ha! I'm being sarcastic here, God doesn't exist so it's all for nothing anyways. This world has been here for 4.5 billion years, and will be for another 5-6 billion. I don't think a mythical god, that apparently exists just for the short amount of time humans have been here, has anything to do with the truth of nature.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      You are of course welcome to your opinion.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Tokra

      As are you. All the best...

      June 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      So what will you do when you start seeing Biblical prophecies coming true (some are actually going on now). If you read the Bible, you might actually see what we're headed for pretty soon. I know your mind can't grasp the concept of someone more powerful, all knowing, all seeing, than yourself. How come it's hard to believe? Is it because there are things right in front of you that you can see, so you'd rather play with poop than with something that may be hidden to your eyes but has more love for you than anything on this poopy earth?

      June 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  9. John

    Anyone who claims to act in the name of God is a moron, be it someone who predicts the end of the world because of a sign from above, or an athlete who says he won a championship because of God.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  10. Muneef

    Despite his poor track record, he has gathered many followers. Some gave up their homes, entire life savings and jobs because they believed the world was ending.

    Maybe those were becoming to sue him for life not ended as they were told? This is not a Gambling issue" to specify a date to that no one knows of other than God...
    But to tell the truth many things happened since Jan 2011 that are making a total change to ruling systems in the mideast  beside not to forget what has happened to J-a-p-an and some parts of America of natural desastors...that seemed as Doomsday for many still to date when seeing Libya or Syria or Yemen...
    Any way this leader should not be so much excited angry for he has not proven him self right wishing it to end even before time?? This is not right what he is doing if he is a believer...not to feed on people panic of fears...
    "Ought to do for life as if you will live for ever and do for your afterlife as if you will die tomorrow" meaning you have to pave way for both (Life&Afterlife).

    June 13, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  11. canada

    Up north when somone is old and sick we put them on an ice flow and give it a shove out to sea.
    I have an extra ice flow if he needs it

    June 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Pete

      ....and an extra shove.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • bitphr3ak

      Be sure to dress him up as a seal (not the baby ones) before you send him out on that flow eh!

      June 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  12. mechanical

    Lol too bad the people that gave up their homes and life savings didn't give up their lives too. Hopefully these religious tards eventually all weed themselves out of the intelligent population so we can actually move forward with society and technology. I'm tired of money being wasted on myths and brainwashing.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      Putting pride aside. I'm Christian and am probably smarter than a majority of the people in the US, possibly even the majority of the world. Your argument has no credibility since you don't know the difference between religion and relationship.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  13. KEH

    Or, maybe, just maybe, we could say a prayer for Mr. Camping's recovery. At heart, he is not meanspirited . . . he just reads the scriptures in a way that isn't terribly helpful. I think God understands.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • bitphr3ak

      Sure KEH,

      Tell that top the people that gave up their money and possessions to this maniac. The sooner he raptures himself off the planet the better. I typically have compassion for people, but not this snake oil sales men. He can take Fred Phelps with him, if he doesn't mind. Don't let the door hit you in the rear on the way out boys!

      June 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  14. canada

    Well I may sell him some seal meat for 80 million. I never said I was giving it away.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  15. joann haglund

    okay, does anybody still wanna follow this man's predictions? He was probably having issues like this for years.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Darthlawsuit

      Seems he has angered someone high up for making false predictions in someone's name

      June 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  16. Charles Stevens

    I just hope that Camping lives at least until October 22nd.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • iceandsnow3

      I agree with you Mr. Stevens. Maybe "God" gave him his stroke to punish him for being a wack job. Just kidding....sort of.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  17. Luke

    If this is how God is choosing to bring up the righteous, I'll take my chances in hell.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      Are you even thinking about what your saying? You think you'll just be pals with devils and hang out and party? No, people who are sent to hell are sent there because they have not chosen to love God and build a relationship with Him. You cannot serve two masters. In hell, you'll find yourself tortured. Most likely flesh burning in fire, but you will not be consumed. It will be painful, more painful than having your arm burnt to a stump on earth due to hightened senses in your soul-like state. And here's the kicker, you'll be there for eternity. Oh, you say "That's not bad". Try counting to eternity. Yeah, forever. Just when you think you won't be able to stand it any longer. You'll keep getting burned and only a fraction, a sliver, of time will have occurred in the eternity that you stay there.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Brannigan

      You are so obviously stupid I cannot imagine what makes you think you have a high IQ.
      Your post is full of holes, you dimwit! Why don't you go back to whatever misbegotton xtian website you came from?
      We don't need liars here. Piss off!

      June 14, 2011 at 3:11 am |
  18. canada

    I have some seal meat and whale blubber in my igloo
    I will send him some that will cure what ailes him...

    June 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • iceandsnow3

      Hey Canada....what's with all the references to whale blubber, seal meat, igloos and ice flows? All these Americans who are reading these posts will start believing that Canadians actually live like that. Your attempt at humour (note the spelling) is not very funny.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  19. PeaceOut

    That's what happens when you build a Tower of Babel...

    June 13, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  20. W2M

    Wow. God really hates it when people make money using His Name as a scam. If only He would do something about the rest of the Fundi Christianists, I would be thrilled and would consider thinking he is real.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • ItSOnLyME

      That really *would* be the end of the world.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Blo

      If you carefully watch how a sperm unites with an egg, you will see no other explanation than God's work, AKA miracle:)

      June 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • JohnR

      @Blo Not iof you understand what you're looking at.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.