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. Babak from LA

    Oh ... when he said the end was coming, he was right. He was talking about his own end...

    June 13, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  2. believe

    he is just one of many folks in times past who have tried to figure out the time of the end. people should stop trying

    June 13, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  3. Colin

    An 89 year old man has a stroke and the most common response has been "good, he deserved it." Look, he is obviously more than a little delusional. Is that not obvious?

    Unless I am missing something, the only difference between Camping's belief and mainstream Christianity is that he set a date. The ravenous acuity with which other Christians have turned on him now and are celebrating his misfortune helps me understand the bloodthirsty history of that jealous religion.

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

      Colin, it is kind of pointless to point that out to them. Their eyes are blind, their ears deaf, their hearts cold and unloving of their fellow man. They think that they see, but they don't. They think that they hear, but they can't. They think that they love, but they instead spew hatred and evil all of their days. And then their end comes, and maybe then they look back and see the quality of life they really lived.

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

      Ravenous acuity? Pointing out that the man is a charlatan is precisely what you people insist Christians should do and then you condemn them for it. Go figure.

      June 14, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  4. Aurocard

    You know, having been raisedin a christian family and having heard his program after unshackled, it just...boggles my mind. I used to believe in his stuff to the t untill I lived on my own and explored options (yes, there are options). But you know? Despite all the crap he shoveled into peoples ears and how he forcefed the end of the world to people just enough to cause them to panic and cave in, I still feel bad for the guy. Hes going to be believing this/scamming others into believing it till the day he dies. And I really feel bad for him as well as those that still believe him...we know youre out there...well be there for you when everythin doesnt turn out the way you think it will.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  5. hope so

    Hey @Charles Stevens,
    Attempting to insult the intelligence of someone you have absolutely no clue about, only shows your lack of intelligence. If you want to compare degrees, previous test scores, IQ's; feel free to, but you won't win that battle.
    Now back to your post, my question back to you would be, can you not assume that I, or other believers, have searched other religions and have chosen to believe the teachings of Jesus Christ? I have personally searched for the one true God and I believe without doubt, that Jesus Christ is that answer.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Angle of Murky

      You said, "Attempting to insult the intelligence of someone you have absolutely no clue about, only shows your lack of intelligence."
      I'm guessing you're too stupid to notice how you are doing the same thing.
      So much for your supposed intelligence. [whoosh]

      June 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  6. matt

    all i have to say about the whole dooms day thing is who is the real terriost? He should be charged accordingly.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  7. RE McCray


    June 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  8. Karl

    Good for him!!!!

    June 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  9. chieatfetus

    Maybe it's karma for being a quack twice

    June 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • God


      June 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • JW

      Right, karma at the ripe young age of 89. Maybe you will be fortunate enough to have karma wait on you that long.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  10. Qase

    That was wonderful.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  11. Interplexer

    LOL ! That stuff is funny yo.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  12. Dan-o

    Guess he didn't see that one coming huh?

    June 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Giancarlo


      June 13, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  13. Karl

    Could this mean that he got struck by god for lying to the world.
    I think so.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Miracle Manna

      Karma's a beach

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

      No, he is simply one of over 700,000 people in the U.S. who suffer strokes every year... the chance of which goes up with advancing age.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Scott

      If that was god's retribution he's really loosing it or becoming really PC. In 2 Kings, 2:23-2 he has 2 bears rip 42 children into shreds because they called his profit bald. And for ripping off how many people of there life savings and dragging the name of Christianity and god through even more mud than usual and he gets a small stroke?

      June 14, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  14. Gerald

    The end of (his) world is coming! That, no one escapes!

    June 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  15. God

    I'm punishing all of you for your sins for causing great harm and anguish to human kind..

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

      Oh God – I have been a good boy. Can I have a 5'5" blonde for xmas.....please

      June 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • God

      No! You will be punished! BEND OVER AND ENJOY my large STICK!

      June 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Babak from LA

      Dear God; If OOPS is getting the blonde may I please have the burnett? I have been a pretty good boy today.....

      June 13, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Interplexer

      HA HA God! I have the God blocker 5000 at my side, I'm gonna kick your arrse!!

      June 13, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Angle of Murky

      I'm gonna shove God's head under the mud for doing all those things to humanity himself.
      I may also fling some poo at him. I just have to find my gloves first.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • God

      Okay, you win. I'll make it like I never existed in the first place. *poof*

      June 14, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Scott

      GOD, if this is punishment and great harm, you are really, really loosing it. We have never eaten so good, half of the word is over weight (we need to even out the distribution; but, we have never done so much for so many). Life is longer than it has ever been (better than 70 years in many countries). We haven’t seen a really big plague (like you use to do every few years) since about 1917. Well ok there’s AIDS; but even there we’ve come up with drugs that stops it in its tracks. In the 60’s our worst nuclear nightmare was the Soviet Union with thousands and thousands of nuclear bombs and the missiles, bombers and submarines to deliver them all. Our worst nuclear nightmare is North Korea with 4 or 5 small atomic bombs and their most advanced delivery system being a truck or train. And I won’t even start on medical advances (but cancer is no longer a death sentence and women are no longer dieing in child birth in the massive numbers they use to). In fact if this is the worst you can do ( because according to many of your anointed profits we are worse then we have ever been) either you have really lost it (remembering what you did to the first born of Egypt or your nasty little temper tantrum flooding the world and destroying every human except your favorite few) or maybe the atheists are right and you don’t (and never did) exist?

      June 14, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  16. Wanderer


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

    Reply to RC4EVA
    That's why I said God exists only in your own delusion.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  17. kayaker247

    never trust a man with a bible in his hand.

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

      Even more so, never trust a man who is so quick to judge another, especially when that other is his fellow man that is obviously ignorant, weakened, and frail and in need of help more so than ever before.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • jcrow74

      Only Sith Deal In Absolutes

      June 13, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Karl

      The bigger the bible the bigger the lies!!!!

      June 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Scott

      JW: Even if it is weak, ignorant, frail and repentant. I will still not French kiss a cobra

      June 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  18. Colin

    It is interesting how the religious have turned on one of ther own and wished him harm. All he ever did was set a date. Every other aspect of his belief is consistent with mainstream Christianity.

    As an atheist, I think all Christian beliefs are silly superst.itions, but I would never wish harm on a Christian they way they are doing on Camping.

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

      And in so doing, maybe you are more like their Christ than they are . . .

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

      JW: You say that like Christian is a good thing

      June 14, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  19. McJesus

    I guess he didn't see that one coming... eh?

    June 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Trond

      I'm seriously considering whether to count the number of posts with the same jokes.

      June 13, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  20. isabel

    well he is responsible for some ending thier lives because of him ,so it was as if he killed them. So he does have s6e pay backr.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:01 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.