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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. unowhoitsme

    Karma! No one plays god and gets away with it.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Charles Stevens

      What about George Burns and Morgan Freeman?

      June 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • God

      Hmmm? What?

      June 14, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  2. eric

    A complete scam and nut job for the morons that lost all there money, there just as stupid

    June 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  3. Sam I am

    This guy is a perv and needs to be put away where he cannot steal and manipulate those who cannot help themselves. He can have Jim Bakker's cell.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  4. Give To Me

    In the next few months anyone giving away their savings, houses,ect. I will be more than happy to take that for you. Seriously, you will not need it! The world is ending. Repost on here how I may contact you and take all your stuff before it's to late!!!!!

    June 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • babybop

      Do you want my Barney DVDs?

      June 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Give To Me

      Nah , that may be a sin in itself.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  5. Marklar

    um HA HA HA HA HA HA HA... where is your God now?. Can't wait for you to experience the nothingness.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  6. Sam I am

    Did it happen while he had some kids in his room and he was saying "Take and eat this in rememberence of me?"

    June 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  7. reddog

    Here's an idea: Live every day as though tomorrow will be your last day on earth. Be kind to your fellows and do good for something or someone. Is that so hard?? Nobody knows when, or even if the world, as we know it, will end, but if everyone just lived their lives in such a way that they could say that they contributed to the good of humankind and the rest of the earth's creatures, I believe that they have fulfilled their obligation to give thanks for the life that we have been given.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Steve

      And if God, if it exists, rewards people who lived their lives being nice to other people, instead of exclusively rewarding those who believed one person or another had to be loved and worshiped as a deity, then I'll be happy enough. If God, if it exists, declares people who lived a helpful life but failed to submit to J as their savior must burn, then that's not the kind of God I'd want to hang out with anyway.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Charles Stevens

      Spoken like a true humanist! 🙂

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

      @Steve, don't be kind for the sake of expecting any reward from "God". Be kind because you have been given the gift of life.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Stan Dupp

      Life is not a gift, for a gift implies a giver.
      There is no giver of life.
      Being born among a bunch of religious nutjobs is not anything to be thankful for, either.

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

      Best advice I've heard on this blog

      June 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  8. hmmm

    Perhaps this poor man meant that HIS world was about to end?

    June 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  9. TvNYC

    @Colin

    No that day was just a bad day. It had nothing to do with end of
    World! I just broke my ankle, ouch! It hurt like crazy but I was outta work for a month so it turned out to be decent lol. Take care Colin

    June 13, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  10. Sam I am

    God hates him.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • babybop

      Barney doesn't hate anybody!

      June 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  11. Chris Synfield

    This has little to do with religion, only in that people who were relieved of their life's savings and, in deed, the lives they had did so on the delusional and mind numbing belief in a con man. Religion has been the home for some of the worst and most evil charlatans ever to walk the planet, and these creatures have been fleecing the flock for as long as there's been history. If these thugs actually read the book they use to ruin lives, they would know that it specifically says that NO MAN may know the day of judgement, which will come "as a thief in the night." Anyone saying otherwise is selling something. This "preacher" should be behind bars.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  12. Sam I am

    Haaa Haaa haa!

    June 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  13. jm69

    i agree, i think he should b prosecuted 2 the fullest extent for all of the money he has taken!

    June 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  14. hope so

    Let me first say that I do not believe in Mr. Camping or his predictions. However, I do without question believe in God and his son Jesus Christ and I follow his teachings.
    And so my message is for all of you who curse the name of God and ridicule Him. To you, I say you better "hope" that you are right that God does not exist. For if you are wrong, you are hosed in a major, major way. However, if you're right and us Christians are the ones wrong, then we all live happily ever after. I'll take my chances though in believing in God....because this is ONE time that I would hate to be wrong!

    June 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • babybop

      What if Barney is the divine one!

      June 13, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Rob

      Sounds like you don't really believe in god. It's ok, it's just your common sense kicking in. Ignore that.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Oakland Richard

      This is pitiful. Either you really, truly have blind faith and believe this made-up Christian nonsense or you don't. You cannot choose to believe. If you really, truly don't believe then you cannot make yourself believe.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Colin

      Oh dear god. Pascal’s Wager again. Look, you reject the gods and doctrines of very other religion. Why is it that you think you get to pose the question as your (the Christian) god v. nothing. You reject 99% of all gods ever created and chose one. Better hope you made the right choice, or one of these other gods will get you.

      See how silly your rational is.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Charles Stevens

      @ hope so
      Yeah, that's called "Pascal's Wager" and it's about 500 years old. It was originally penned by Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher. But what he (and apparently you) seem to have missed is that the argument is a false dichotomy. (Don't worry i'll explain that since i'm sure you have no idea what it means)
      You seem to think that there are 1 of 2 possibilities. Either 1) Christians are right and you will go to heaven, while everyone else goes to hell, or 2) atheists are right, and everyone rots in the grave so you have lost nothing.
      The problem reveals itself once you have opened your mind a little (Do it! It doesn't hurt, really!)
      You see, what if the Muslims are right? You and I both go to Muslim hell.
      What if the Zoroastrians are right? What if the Catholics are right? What if the Jehovah's Witnesses are right?
      Buddhists? Christian Scientists? Hindu's? Jews?
      Are you starting to get the picture?

      June 13, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  15. Mrs. Thing

    This is a little off topic, but if a tree falls in the woods and no one's there to hear it, does it make a sound?

    June 13, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • allen

      if a man speaks and there isn`t a woman around to hear him....is he still wrong?

      June 13, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • BOB

      No, because sounds are audible. Without ears to perceive such a noise, then a sound is not heard and therefore does not exist. Sound is predicated on a human ear to sense it.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Stan Dupp

      BOB is retarded.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  16. Muneef

    [6:9] Had we sent an angel, we would have sent him in the form of a man, and we would have kept them just as confused as they are confused now.

    [6:10] Messengers before you have been ridiculed. It is those who mocked them who suffered the consequences of their ridiculing.

    [6:11] Say, "Roam the earth and note the consequences for the rejectors."

    [6:12] Say, "To whom belongs everything in the heavens and the earth?" Say, "To GOD." He has decreed that mercy is His attribute. He will surely summon you all on the Day of Resurrection, which is inevitable. The ones who lose their souls are those who disbelieve.

    [6:13] To Him belongs everything that dwells in the night and the day. He is the Hearer, the Knower.

    [6:14] Say, "Shall I accept other than GOD as a Lord and Master, when He is the Initiator of the heavens and the earth, and He feeds but is not fed?" Say, "I am commanded to be the most devoted submitter, and, `Do not be an idol worshiper.' "

    [6:15] Say, "I fear, if I disobeyed my Lord, the retribution of an awesome day.

    [6:16] "Whoever is spared (the retribution), on that day, has attained His mercy. And this is the greatest triumph."

    [6:17] If GOD touches you with adversity, none can relieve it except He. And if He touches you with a blessing, He is Omnipotent.

    [6:18] He is Supreme over His creatures. He is the Most Wise, the Cognizant.                                                               

    [6:19] Say, "Whose testimony is the greatest?" Say, "GOD's. He is the witness between me and you that this Quran has been inspired to me, to preach it to you and whomever it reaches. Indeed, you bear witness that there are other gods beside GOD." Say, "I do not testify as you do; there is only one god, and I disown your idolatry."

    [6:20] Those to whom we have given the scripture recognize this as they recognize their own children. The ones who lose their souls are those who do not believe.

    [6:21] Who is more evil than one who lies about GOD, or rejects His revelations? The transgressors never succeed.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • dnsf

      You sound as nutty as the nut job preaching the end of the world

      June 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  17. raptureman

    Couldn't he precict this either?

    June 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  18. Roland Tarley

    It's just all unbelievable for a common man to look around himself and predict something that is far totally incomprehensible, especially religious man who is believed to be a Holy Bible reader. The Holy Bible itself has clearly stated plainly about the end of time, not only do man incapable to estimate the precise time, but even the angels of Heaven have no clear-cut information on this matter. The Holy Bible also went unfathomable in explaining the whole matter clearer, the father of Christianity, Jesus Christ made it clear that only father has the whole information concerning end time not even himself has a bit of information on it. So, if the picture is a plain cut one, where has this broadcaster come from to terrify the world on such prediction?
    He needs to be banished from human settings because he thinks far on things that are indecipherable. Such a man can never understand his mistakes, and will always feel absolutely right about whatsoever prediction he has made no matter its

    June 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  19. The Bleating Sheep in His Flock

    "Some gave up their homes, entire life savings and jobs because they believed the world was ending."Proof positive that mental illness strikes every 30 seconds.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  20. Steve

    The end is near.. For Mr Camping that is LOL.. I guess he was reading the wrong clock and it was his own that was running out.. Let's see if he makes it Oct 21st by natures own process of elimination by old age.

    June 13, 2011 at 7:03 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.