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. David

    I thought he was brain dead before – maybe his body is just catching up. I used to consider myself a Christian but this lunatic fringe "weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth in the outer darkness" make me consider becoming an atheist if this is what God has in mind.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • RC4EVA

      If your beliefs are easily changed by the misguided behavior of one man, then it really doesn't matter what you believe in because you will probably fall for a suicide cult eventually.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Scott

      Do what I did, READ THE BIBLE, I tried to read the whole bible cover to cover; but, by the first 5 books I was more revolted than I have ever been.

      June 14, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  2. Tom

    Rapture? Party of one?

    June 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Matt C.

      That is the funniest thing I've read all momth.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  3. Muneef

    56:75] I swear by the positions of the stars.

    [56:76] This is an oath, if you only knew, that is awesome.

    [56:77] This is an honorable Quran.

    [56:78] In a protected book.

    [56:79] None can grasp it except the sincere.

    [56:80] A revelation from the Lord of the universe.

    [56:81] Are you disregarding this narration?

    [56:82] Do you make it your business that you disbelieve?

    [56:83] When the time comes and it (your soul) reaches your throat –

    [56:84] you will then look around.

    [56:85] We are closer to it than you are, but you do not see.

    [56:86] If it is true that you do not owe any accounting –

    [56:87] why do you not restore (your soul), if you are truthful?


    June 13, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • babybop

      What does this have to do with Barney?

      June 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • RC4EVA

      @ babybop – you must think your barney comment is the most hilarious thing you've ever heard. Good thing you like your own material casue your attempts at comedy are severely lacking

      June 13, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Colin

      Could one of you expalin the Barney comment? I don't get it.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • chemicalbank

      If it be the will of Barney

      June 13, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • RC4EVA

      @colin – babybop thinks he is witty and funny by deducing divinity of Christ or any other holy person to the make believe character of Barney from the children's show – yawwwwwn.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Nurse Cratchit

      Somebody needs a chill-pill.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • RC4EVA

      Great observation!

      June 13, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Colin

      Ok, thanks, I thought "Barney" was Camping. I was looking for a resemblence to Barney Rubble from Flintstones..........

      June 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Nurse Cratchit

      I was talking about you, RC4Eva. You obviously have something up your butt. A chill-pill would fix that.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • chemicalbank

      All this discord is contrary to the teachings of Barney

      June 14, 2011 at 12:05 am |
  4. Autumn

    If he actually had a stroke (this could be some sort of stunt to gain attention) then he deserves it. The ones who are unrighteous and sitting up on a high horse always end up falling in the end. He had his short-lived, "fame", and now he will suffer the consequences. Who does he think he is saying when God will or won't do something? Only He (God) Himself knows all and controls all. What a fool Harold Camping is. Just another one of those false prophets.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • JW

      Uhh, the guy is 89. He has outlived the average lifespan for a male by a pretty good length. I think if God was punishing him, he would have chosen a younger age than this. These sort of things happen to people, and often when they are far younger. At his age, it isn't suprising his body is finally breaking down. But punishment? Many a man would be happy to have lived to the ripe old age of 89.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Autumn

      @JW Anytime anyone suffers from ANYTHING it is because it is God's will. That is what was destined to happen. Everything is God's will. He could have lived the rest of his life (as long as it lasts) without any medical problems. Yet he got a stroke. Keep in mind that God is in control no matter what the age. He (God) says, "be", and it is.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • JW

      Well, under that theory it doesn't matter what happens to anyone, because you can always say it is God's will, good or bad. And you don't really know until it happens. You could be walking across the street tomorrow, get hit by a car, and it was God's will that you die and leave your family penniless and homeless. You could lose your job tomorrow, become severely depressed, kill your wife and kids, and then commit suicide, and all that would be God's will. Under that theory, there is not anti-God's will, because everything is God's will. So everything that happens is what was supposed to happen, and men just fall in line with some plan they can never know and never change or alter in any way–puppets in God's great master plan for some unknown reason!

      June 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • JW

      Autumn, It must be great to understand all the mysteries of the universe and be able to sit on your throne and issue declarations of what is and what is not God's will, or how God operates, or what God's plan is. I personally would never be so proud and think so highly of myself to speak on behalf of a Great Creator as though I understood him so completely and could speak for him–I would hope to never be so presumptous. But it sounds like you are in a position of great knowledge and understanding, and it would be nice if you instead showed some mercy and compassion, like the Christ and God you follow.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • RC4EVA

      @JW – I agree, the God's Will thing is turned into a slippery slope by many people twisting the phrase. First off, the only thing we know for sure about God's Will is to love one another, everything else is a best guest. But as far as people exercising their own will – yes, that is God's Will

      June 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • JW

      Well, if you don't have a direct uninteruppted pipeline to the Creator yourself, regular audiences and such to discuss things, then it is kind of pointless to say this is or isn't God's will. It is just your interpretation of God's will, so don't be so presumptous to speak for God when you could be wrong about your interpretation and be misleading millions just like Camping, making yourself into the very person you opposed and judged.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • Autumn

      Well isn't this just laughable? The fact that you automatically assumed that I was Christian just because I believe in God is just plain ludicrous. Yes I do believe in Jesus Christ (PBUH) the Prophet, one of the messengers of God. I don't believe he is his son like most Christians do. And I do not believe that he is our, "saviour". Only God Himself is our saviour. I seek salvation in Him alone. The messengers were just sent to bring us his word. And I highly respect them. I never claimed to know God. I only recited things from the book he sent us, the Noble Quran.
      2:117- The Initiator of the heavens and the earth: to have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is.
      3:47- She said, "My Lord, how can I have a son, when no man has touched me?" He said, "God thus creates whatever He wills. To have anything done, He simply says to it, 'Be,' and it is."
      6:73- He is the One who created the heavens and the earth, truthfully. Whenever He says, "Be," it is. His word is the absolute truth. All sovereignty belongs to Him the day the trumpet is blown. Knower of all secrets and declarations, He is the Most Wise, the Cognizant.
      16:40- To have anything done, we simply say to it, "Be," and it is.
      19:35- It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is."
      36:82- All He needs to do to carry out any command is say to it, "Be," and it is.
      40:68- He is the only One who controls life and death. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • JW

      Actually, none of the posts assumed you were Christian Autumn, you jumped to that conclusion yourself. But doesn't really matter, your heart and your tongue betray whatever religion you claim.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • JW

      And you only mock us because we have pointed out your own ignorance, and that is an understandable self-defense mechanism. But don't clam up and start attackind and mocking and hating, but instead reflect upon what you think you know, and what you think you believe, and consider for a moment that maybe, just maybe, you were wrong . . . wouldn't that be something. A life lived in vain.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Autumn

      @JW "like the Christ and God you follow", Oh so you never assumed I was Christian? Do not blatantly lie. The followers of Christ (PBUH) are Christian. They follow him as God's son, as the one who, "died for their sins". The one who, "was crucified". My beliefs do not support any of that. Therefore I do not, "follow Christ". And I am firm in my beliefs so there is no maybe just maybe I am wrong. This is the truth. It's frightening, it's amazing, it's true. If you want to know what the last thing that God sent to us humans was then go read the Quran. The Bible was once true and pure, but it was corrupted over the years (same with the Scriptures/Torah/Psalms). The Quran verifies that as a fact. I am a Muslim. Muslim meaning, "Submitting to God's will". Muhammad (PBUH) was God's last Prophet. I do not wish to press hate on you or distress, but I would rather YOU consider maybe, just maybe you're incorrect. Peace be on you.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  5. babybop

    People ask me why I believe. I say there is as much evidence.that Barney is the divine being as.there that anybody else is.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  6. Bulls11t

    I think, he will keep predicting those false events till he himself meet the Angel of Death on October 21 and world will be happier without him forever.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
  7. The Dude

    Your Karma Just Ran over your Dogma!

    Die you piece of CRAP!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • babybop

      Barney does not like the negativity. He shall strike you with purple lightning.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • RC4EVA

      Not very nice at all, regardless of how misguided and loonet he may be. Try a serving of decency with a side humility and topped with some compassion. You represent the atheist community very poorly

      June 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • Nurse Cratchit

      RC4EVA is due for his meds. Don't mind him. Dr. Fister will take care of him very handily.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • The Dude

      Not my fault, I was raised with Christian Values.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  8. Tare

    If hindsight were foresight, we'd all be geniuses. If this guy had any foresight he'd have seen it coming, so how gullible can people be?

    June 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • chemicalbank

      This guy doesn't even have hindsight. He's a pathological liar.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  9. dabble53

    And another quack (almost) bites the dust.
    The only thing sadder than these frauds are the truly stupid people that believe them.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  10. i<3Jesus

    no as far as anyone knows the world isn't ending, but god can end the world whenever it feels right to him. in the Bible it says about Jesus's second coming he would come like a theif in the night, pretty much no one can be sure when he will come, it could be tomorrow, now, next year or next century but until then trust God, keep praying, and keep spreading his word so when Jesus does come more can share in coming to Hevan and being received by the Lord! God bless!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Duce

      Put all of your stock in Snickers bud, cuz you're going to be waiting a while...

      June 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Wanderer

      Please prove the existence of God, I’ll unconditionally submit to him. If you, the believer, cannot prove it then God only exists in your own delusion.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • RC4EVA

      @ wanderer – prove/disprove its all up to you and your experiences I can convince you and you cant disprove

      June 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  11. isaac

    It seems that it's easier( maybe more fun) to take cheap shots and act superior to those of different faiths than to listen. The truth is I'm a Christian, and I don't know it all. I've had my problems with scripture, and there are some things that happen where one would be hard pressed not to question God. But I do know what happened to me, and choosing to trust Christ as my savior changed me-and I don't mean made me "better," but fundamentally "different." Why that causes some of you to spew venom is beyond me, even though Jesus said that this exact thing would happen. This Camping guy was either deluded or a liar, I think that's clear. But tell me, clearly,how has Jesus offended you?

    June 13, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • babybop


      June 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Duce

      Or is it easier to believe the stories uttered by the masses instead of doing some real research. If you get all of your information from one book, that was forged, I'm afraid you're terribly wrong. The scribes who wrote the scriptures you read signed them the same you signed "Isaac" on this post. Fraudulently.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • snoofa do


      June 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • David

      That's quite the leap of ... something because it isn't faith. How did your whole commentary come down to asking how Jesus has offended me? No, Jesus of Nazareth hasn't offended me, in fact, I'm more than passing fond of his message. What does offend me is the pretenders and those who profit from him.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Scott

      Your Jeasus has not offended me. It is the abhorent things his followers do in his name that offends me

      June 15, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  12. John Dunn

    Con man dies & never saw it coming.........LoL

    June 13, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  13. brain overload

    This happens when u do much math. Especially when u get the wrong answers. Must be overwhelming to be the international dope.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  14. Breaking Breaking

    It appears that the previous two dates were given in error but now with greater thought and channeling from the Mayans it is believed that the actual date of destruction is next year in 2012! It's all becoming crystal clear now! But there are expenses of course until that final day comes in December of 2012 so you know how you can help the cause.

    June 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  15. Robrob

    Too... many... jokes!

    June 13, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • David

      Quite the contrary. Not near enough.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  16. Jeffrey Goodpaster

    Wonder if he foreseen and predicted that one?

    June 13, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  17. Jeffrey Goodpaster

    Hmmm.., I wonder if he predicted and foreseen that coming?

    June 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • JW

      Probably not, but even I could have foreseen how cruel his fellow men would be in his time of trouble if he ever suffered one. How quickly men jump to attack their fellow man in this day and age, have we no decency? Have we no understanding that everything is related to everything else, and what we do to one man we will do to another just as easily?

      June 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  18. ajd041

    I don't hope he dies that's a horrible thing to wish on anybody especially when he didn't kill anybody I hope he gets better but I wish people would quit buying his crap he said the world was gonna end in 1980 something and look where we are now 30ish years later! And all that money if he were really christian he would donate it to charities and such

    June 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  19. Tom

    Wait!!! So are we still on for October 21 or should I instead plan to attend the international nacho day festivities on same day?

    June 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Jeff

      Go for the nachos Tom!

      June 13, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • American

      Hey Tom

      U should go to the nacho festival the world should end later that evening once the festival is over. So eat whatever u want.

      June 13, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  20. Satan

    It appears that all is going as planned....accept all the worlds religions as truth and denounce the one source that reveals me as what I am...i will see you soon. Yours truly-Lord of darkness

    June 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Autumn

      Respite until the actual Judgement Day. Satan himself is doomed on that day. Whenever that is. Honestly a sewer is cleaner than satan...

      June 13, 2011 at 10:47 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.