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. Jebus Friggin Carrriste!

    did somebody just vomit below?

    June 13, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Kebos

      I think he/she just discovered how to use the cut-and-paste function on their computer.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  2. atheist

    Matthew 6:19

    Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
    Luke 14:33
    Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
    Matthew 6:24
    No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money.
    Matthew 19:21-24
    Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
    Matthew 19:28-29
    Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
    Luke 9:23-25
    Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
    Matt 13: 22
    The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.
    Hebrews 13:5
    Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
    Phil 2:3
    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
    Acts 2:44-45
    All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
    The message is clear. If you want to follow Jesus, you need to "sell your possessions and give to the poor." It is a very simple message, and easy to do. Have you done it? The fact that you are reading this page would indicate that you have not. Chances are you own a computer, pay for an Internet connection every month, live in a home or apartment, have a car, etc. In other words, you live a life at a level of wealth unimaginable in Jesus' time. Meanwhile, billions of people on the planet live in startling, abject poverty.
    Why don't you sell everything and follow Jesus, as he requests in the Bible? The reason is simple: Jesus and God are imaginary, and you know it. If Jesus were real, you would do what he says.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • Kebos

      If Jesus were real he would have a lot of explaining to do. Ditto for Mohammed.

      I guess Camping was kinda right but maybe just off by a month or so before the end of the world comes. For at least him, that is.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  3. Jebus Friggin Carrriste!

    not an "athiest" ther hun. Think, my gawd think!

    A – G – N – O -S – T – I – C .

    Look it up.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  4. Nads

    I can't believe there r actually fools here who STILL support him! Omg.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  5. Steller1

    Crazy how people will actually follow him. Too bad they weren't all like heavans gate. Too many damn people out there.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  6. RedWyv3

    I hope he feels better and my prayers are with him. No, I am not part of his organization nor do I believe in any of his obvious falsehoods, but that does not mean I can't have compassion for a fellow human being.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  7. donna

    so this is where all the atheists are! i've been looking for you guys!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Ruth

      Maybe we've been looking for you, too. Friend or Foe?

      June 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • donna

      a friend for certain

      June 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Angle of Murky

      Welcome, donna!

      June 13, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • God

      Welcome, donna!
      Don't mind us. We're all a bit distracted with all the shiny new articles today. 😀

      June 14, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  8. Nads

    And when asked when is the day of judgement. Jesus said "only the Father knows...and Harold Camping". Yeah right!!!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      The deluded arguing with the deluded, that is great. Somehow that makes sense to you?

      June 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  9. raptured

    Too bad it wasn't more serious, now he's gonna have to answer more questions when the world doesn't end in October

    June 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Wanderer

      I don’t’ think he will have a change to answer before his time is up.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Wanderer

      I don’t’ think he will have a chance to answer before his time is up.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
  10. Mike Hurley

    Dear Mr. Camping,

    Wishing you a speedy recovery. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  11. Dave

    Are they sure he didn't suffer from a major stroke just before he predicted the end of the world??
    What a dip sh_t!
    Paybacks are hell Mr. Camping.. 😉

    June 13, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  12. Joel Franco


    June 13, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      It doesn't have anything to do with freemasons. Lucifer means light bearer.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  13. Nads

    Well I guess it's almost doomsday...for him.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  14. Duce

    C'mon, you can't seriously believe that "god" smited this guy for... Oh wait, I forgot, of course you'd believe that.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  15. Jebus Friggin Carrriste!

    "Punishment from God" – yeh right. One invisible belief does not trump another. Simple minded people believe total garbage with ZERO evidence. Your "God" is just as real as this guy's delusions.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • Duce


      June 13, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • GOD

      And here I am!
      Boy are you guys in trouble now!
      I'm putting you in with the wild partiers as "punishment".

      June 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  16. JoeShmoe

    @Colin Yup MY God XD... Wow you must be a mind reader or something! Who would have thunk it!

    June 13, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  17. Iyke

    That explains his vision.. His world is about to end not ours

    June 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  18. Name*jester

    Maybe he needs to work out dime sort of deal with the psychic network?
    Or maybe he just needs to start reading better books.
    Maybe something from the Time Life series on how to fix a kitchen sink? At least its a book that provides a purpose.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  19. mtnmedic

    Punishment from God. Very fitting.

    June 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  20. JoeShmoe

    I think God is telling him, in a nice way, to shut the hell up!

    June 13, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • Colin

      Which god -let me guess, yours.

      June 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • GOD

      Nope. Wasn't me.
      I was busy watching the Daily Show when he had his stroke.
      Just ask anybody who was there...

      June 13, 2011 at 11:53 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.