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. afish

    Why do religious people make the mistake of thinking that a person has to be religious in order to posess forgiveness and compassion. Blind!!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      How come more non-religious people can't be as forgiving and compassionate as you? Judging by the majority of the comments here, it's pretty sad.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • Scott

      They can’t imagein how anyone any one would choose to be good and compassionate of their own free will unlike Christians who are coerced into it by threats of eternal damnation from an angry god

      June 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Artist

      Christians and their god are hostage takers. Everything will be okay/safe as long as you follow their rules.

      June 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  2. clepto

    maybe hell be raptured...

    June 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  3. One Eared Puppy on Crack doing the Moonwalk Sideways

    He could also use some fashion tips.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  4. Ashley

    My first thought: lol!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  5. Ho

    Sounds like Camping is in the beginning of his APOCALYPSE and will be enjoying his RAPTURE.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  6. wilson

    I'm thinking of starting my own religion. Seems to pay pretty well and there is no shortage of people will to support the cause. Lemme see... what should I call it? It would probably be more successful if I could base it off another more established religion. But then again, L.Ron Hubbard had great success coming up with an entirely new premise with Scientology. But since the whole Christian thing has been done to death (get it! done to death.. ha ha ha), I'm thinking of going back further and maybe base my new religion on Greek mythology. Sound good? Let me know, and I'll tell you where to send money and how to worship soon as I work the details out. I promise that you will have an everlasting life!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  7. Laughing Man

    This is what is usually described as KARMA....This is what you get get when you run off at the mouth. Good riddance!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  8. naustradamus

    Why didnt he predict his stroke?

    June 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • wilson

      Actually he did. It just came a bit too late... or early... LOL.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  9. Joshua Wertheim

    The person who predicted the end of the world had a stroke? I guess he was a great prognisticator for his own demise.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  10. Pope Higherthanmost

    Judgement Day Cometh, and That Right Soon! At least for this man.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  11. Gordon

    I am not worried about a date, but I am ready to meet my Maker every day. I believe He will come soon. If He does not come soon, I will still be ready to meet Him when I die. What about you, friend? If He does come soon, where will your soul go?

    June 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Ron San Bruno, Ca

      Anywhere it wants.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • One Eared Puppy on Crack doing the Moonwalk Sideways

      Hopefully not to your god. He/she is quite pathetic.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: " What about you, friend? If He does come soon, where will your soul go?"

      Theists believe in an immaterial soul. The soul is our ident_ity or mind. It is, "who we are".

      The soul is said to leave the body when we die. God decides if our soul will go to Heaven or Hell. Evidently, our souls are given a physical body, that we might enjoy eternal bliss or torment.

      There is no evidence for a soul. Our obviously material brains contain all that we are. All that we have experienced, all that we have learned, all of our perceptions. When we die, our brains cease to function. We no longer exist. All that we were, is no more.

      Evidence to support this argument, is that disease, drugs, and injuries affect our ability to think. Our personalities to change. If our mind and personality was immaterial and separate from our physical bodies, our thinking and personalities should not be affected.

      Our brains are constantly generating thoughts. Brain chemistry determines our emotions. We can't really tell, that these thoughts and emotions originate in our brains. It's easy for Believers to perceive thoughts and feelings, generated by their brains, as coming from outside themselves. *sigh* Jesus? Is that you? LOL!


      June 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      "Hopefully not to your god. He/she is quite pathetic."
      This enlightened nugget of wisdom from one who wears the name "One Eared Puppy on Crack doing the Moonwalk Sideways". Thanks so much for your valuable contribution.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • max

      I'm goin' to Disneyland!

      June 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Scott

      Seems to me that no matter how the chips fall, I stand a better chance as an honest atheist then as a pretend christian

      June 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  12. Truth be told

    Ha! I knew it. I figured this guy hoped for the Rapture cause he was on his way out anyhow. Besides if he makes it to Oct. 21 and nothing happens then either (which nothing will) he'll probably have a heart attack for sure. Rapture? Done...

    June 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  13. Marie

    There is a sucker born every minute!

    June 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  14. Ray

    "Won't you tell Mr. Jesus, won't you tell me if you can – when you see this world we live in, do you still believe in man?"
    – Black Sabbath

    June 13, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  15. colleene

    He is as guilty as Madoff and Wall Street and bankers of fleecing ;people of their money and he should be brought to justice too.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Laughing Man

      Not quite. The people that bought this guys BS are complete idiots and have no common sense. At least Bernie was peddling something that at least sounded good. The people following this man are fools and deserve everything that comes of being STUPID.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  16. wilson

    I cancelled my subscription to the resurrection....

    June 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  17. Ritz

    There are so any people that make their living off of propagating craps; P. Robertson, Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, and the Fake News mouth pieces. Sadly, there are some loonies who would buy every garbage that comes out of these mouths.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • che-3

      Like I stated; American white Christians are very FUNNY to listen to sometimes. They make up so much fake stories about the Scriptures that it makes you question your faith a Christian.
      In FACT, American white Christians = White Corporate America that have screwed us all up. They have NO moral compass nor intellectual conscience as the Christian Faith dictates.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  18. Gene

    Ya'll are missing it here. Look back to May 21.

    See, come October 21, Harold will simply declare that the world really DID end; it's just that it was an invisible, spiritual ending rather than a physical one.

    A spiritual EOW!??? Don't ask.

    But I would step back a yard or two, and hike your trousers, because it'll be coming by the grain-shovel full in industrial bulk.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • che-3

      "Spiritual Ending" that's how we have been FOOLED for Centuries by these Fake white Christians. Not only that; this will be the only way he will be able to maintain and control his delusional flock. They all have lost their souls and useless to society I might add.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  19. colleene

    He is as guilty as Wall Street and bankers of robbing people of their money and they had to face the music So should he.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • lideus

      When did those bankers "face the music"? None of those responsible for the latest banking fraud have payed for their actions...

      June 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • One Eared Puppy on Crack doing the Moonwalk Sideways

      Huh...facing the music....what someone said "BAD BANKER" and moved on.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  20. estaban wan

    He Who Juices Catus: It's been my experience in life, that most of you who claim to have "Faith", are ignorant and don't even know the basic history of your own christian religion. You have not understanding of it's founding and origins, you've never heard of the Nag Hamati Library of ancient gospels, or the have never studied the dead sea scrolls, or even studied fairly recent developments in your faith like the reformation. You all blindly "believe", because someone's told you you have to or you're going to hell. Ok,.....and I believe in the Easter Bunny, and Santa Clause.....

    June 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • Dylan

      You don't have to be an educated person to build a relationship with Jesus. Upon hearing the gospel (That Jesus gave his life for you on the cross and rose from the dead) You can seek God with all your heart and find him. The journey of learning more about the validity of the Bible and other historical things is a long road. But i would never frown upon someone following Jesus who hasn't got to the end of that road yet. You shouldn't worry about others so much, you might miss out on something for yourself.

      June 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • He Who Juices Cactus

      Well I know that apocryphal scripture leads nowhere if it disagrees with Christ's status as the risen son of God. And while I haven't personally read the Dead Sea Scrolls, since I only read and speak English, I feel confidant in scholarly assessment which states there are passages of the Old Testament correspond pretty closely to the Scrolls, if not word for word in some instances. Not that it matters anyway since the the only part that matters is one's relationship with God through Christ, as fully revealed in the New Testament. By the way, since you know so much were you even aware that there are passages in the Old Testament that pointed the way to the coming of Christ in the second? See you on the other side.
      PS, check your spelling on Clause.

      June 13, 2011 at 8:07 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.