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December 17th, 2013
01:43 PM ET

Radio preacher who predicted doomsday dies

(CNN) - The broadcast preacher who predicted the world would end in 2011 and spread his doomsday message through billboards and RV caravans has died, according to a statement from his Family Radio network.

Harold Camping died Sunday afternoon after suffering a fall in his home on November 30, the statement said. He had suffered a stroke in June 2011, a few weeks after his doomsday date came and went.

He died at age 92, an operator at Family Radio said.

"He passed away peacefully in his home, with his family at his side," the statement said. Camping is survived by his wife of 71 years, Shirley.

For months in early 2011, Camping predicted that Jesus Christ would return to the earth on May 21 that year, and that a select 2% to 3% of the world’s population would be raptured, or taken to heaven.

Those left behind would face months of tribulation before perishing in the Earth's destruction, which Camping said would happen on October 21, 2011.

MORE ON CNN: Road trip to the end of the world

When his May 21 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.

The following year, Camping admitted he was wrong and said he was getting out of the forecasting business.

"We humbly acknowledge we were wrong," Camping and his staff members wrote in a letter to supporters posted on Family Radio's website in March 2012.

"We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world. Though many dates are circulating, Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date."

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 had gathered many followers. Some gave up their homes, entire life savings and jobs because they believed the world was ending.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: End times

soundoff (1,057 Responses)
  1. Hugh Jass

    He caused a lot of trouble for suggestible people. Now maybe they will snap out of their trance and get their lives back.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Charm Quark

      The sheep will continue to be sheared just by a different scammer.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  2. DBOS

    So his Doomsday prediction was wrong. No problem, not the end of the world.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:41 am |
  3. M

    Can't believe people believed this guy, if anyone actually read their Bible it clearly says you will not know the day nor hour he will return. Maybe he was predicting his own doomsday. :o\

    December 18, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • fintastic

      He claimed it was a math error, why the world didn't end when he said it would. And the bible? you do know it was written by man as a method of controlling man, right? The god of the bible is mythical character, just like all the other gods.
      There is not one bit of evidence that the god of bible exsists.

      December 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  4. James Harmon

    someone should have sued this guy for causing a mass panic

    December 18, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  5. Robert

    As Karl Marx stated, "religion is the opiate of the masses". this world is full of such morons.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Hugh Jass

      On some people, it's more like PCP.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  6. jez

    "For months in early 2011, Camping predicted that Jesus Christ would return to the earth on May 21 that year, and that a select 2% to 3% of the world’s population would be raptured, or taken to heaven."---–
    When will religious nuts quit believing in fairie tales?? This "prediction" is preposterous.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  7. Eric

    People like him were ironically mentioned in the bible.

    The term 'false prophet' comes to mind. :S

    Good luck to him, wherever he is now.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  8. Unlo4

    Lo and behold, another religious nut turns out just to be a typical old man like any other. Consider that next time you're listening to someone preach to you.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  9. JenniferJustice

    Sometimes the nature of evil is so subtle and tricky, I don't think evil people realize themselves to be evil or to possibly be working for the otherside unwittingly. He preached about God and Jesus, but his ulterior motive was attention and praise for himself. He ruined many lives, acquired a following based on lies and fear, took entire family's belongings, all for accolades he received. Shame on him and his wife for submitting to his attempts to play God. I'm curious what all they had when he died as far as finances. No way to force it, but whatever it was, it should be given back to the gullible people he swindled.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • G to the T

      No man is a villian in his own mind.

      December 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • dietrich

        in response to JenniferJustice:

        Sometimes the nature of evil is so subtle and tricky, I don’t think evil people realize themselves to be evil or to possibly be working for the otherside unwittingly. He preached about God and Jesus, but his ulterior motive was attention and praise for himself. He ruined many lives, acquired a following based on lies [...]

        No man is a villian in his own mind.
        --–
        Jennifer, no one but God can know the state of this man's soul, what he believed, what his motivation was. Both his parents came from the Netherlands, and I can tell you from personal knowledge that the Dutch are quite sober and serious in their beliefs, so much so that many religious dates, such as the Ascension and other lesser known dates, are official holidays in Netherlands. I have several Dutch friends, including a girlfriend, and they are not ostentatious but they are sincere in their beliefs. So this is the kind of faith he was raised with. He and his family were members of the Christian Reform Church for more than 30 years before he felt called to the ministry. that does not seem to describe a man who is as nefarious as you seem to think he was.

        I don't know why it is so hard for so many people to accept that some evangelists are quite earnest in their beliefs and in their motivation to spread the Word as they understand it. Obviously some of what he believed and taught about the End Times was in error, and he admitted it publicly AND he stepped down from the ministry. That doesn't sound like a man who was only in it for attention and riches. Yes, some of his followers sold everything they had, believing that the end is nigh. But it may surprise you to know that some people do the same thing without the influence of any minister, with nothing more than their own interpretation/understanding of the Bible.

        Certainly there are hucksters and hustlers masquerading as ministers full of self-aggrandizing, power seeking, hungry for wealth and they do willfully use their congregations, even though they may delude themselves as to their motivations. But don't forget that with these types of 'preachers', members of their congregation willingly submit to them..it's a two-way street. They are willing to be misled, they choose to follow and sometimes it takes very little deception to get them to do so.

        I don't think that God needs our help in passing judgment on this man..or any other person, in fact. There is a God but it is not me or you or G to the T. Let Him do His job; most of us have enough to do in tending to the state of our own hearts, minds and souls, our own beliefs, and our own actions. If you want to judge someone, look in the mirror.

        December 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  10. gdicm

    I posted that tongue in cheek, because I keep asking him to get on with it.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • gdicm

      Maybe I should have said please get on with it?

      December 18, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  11. Converted

    Rest In Peace Harold Camping. I love your radio station. It plays the most beautiful music.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • fintastic

      Tunes for the brainwashed.

      December 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  12. rschier

    You mean FALSELY predicted "doomsday", don't you ?

    December 18, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Unlo4

      A prediction is merely a claim, with no bias toward whether it's true or false. Therefore, it's still grammatically correct to say he predicted doomsday, even if doomsday didn't happen. He made the claim, that is all.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  13. gdicm

    I predict that Yeshua Christ will return with an army on Christmas day 2013. Or he's a lazy B.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Ernest

      What is your problem? Do you like to insult people for fun? Go get a life and stop wasting time.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  14. Vic of New York

    I can accurately predict when the world will end: When the Sun blows out! Hopefully by that time, billions of years away, mankind will have found another planet to live on and the means to get there. ...assuming we haven't been hit by an asteroid, or blown ourselves up first!

    December 18, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  15. Carolyn Y

    He got part of it right His world ended but not on schedule

    December 18, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  16. forwhatsright

    I guess he was right after all.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  17. KHM

    He was a con man. People believed him and donated their life-long savings to his organization. Very sad.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Texas Patriot

      You are correct. All religion is sad and a scam for the $$$$$$$. The Bible dates back to 6000 yrs. max. but T-Rex roamed our planet 239 million years ago and can't get that right. And on the 7th day GOD created the Earth my butt. I can't wait until MAN figures out they have been scammed for the money and GOD and Jesus are like Santa Claus. What a SAD Primate we are always making stuff up for our pathetic weaknesses and insecurities.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:44 am |
  18. Jeebusss

    I'm sure Harold Camping was a nice guy if you met him in person, and I'm even willing to believe that he actually thought he knew when the world would end, and wasn't trying to scam people.

    However, being a nice guy doesn't make you right. In the end people gave him money they couldn't afford to give because it was under the guise of religion. Hopefully they learned their lesson that there is no invisible man in the sky that desperately needs $50 from you.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • lol??

      lol??
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      Nice guy?? Didn't he speak the truth and call people dirtbag dustballs??

      December 18, 2013 at 11:04 am |
  19. HaroldIsDead

    Another false prophet shamed until death. I hope the legion of listeners that actually bought into this quack's predictions and sold all of their possessions ahead of the failed "rapture" got their money back directly from either Camping or his for-profit Family Radio. I suspect not, however. Way to go, Camping, you mastered the technique for separating thousands upon thousands of gullible idiots from their money.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Jeebusss

      Really it is almost a form of genius. "Here give me $10,000 right now!" "Why?" "I have an invisible friend that only I can see and talk to and he told me you should." "Okay!"

      December 18, 2013 at 10:27 am |
      • Unlo4

        Religion is the ultimate "I'll pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today" scam, except the payment is only after you die. How convenient (for them) is that...

        December 18, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • lol??

      lol??
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      It gets worse. The rapturists dis their own born again birthright and try to shuv it onto the not-a-jews. It's a peculiar form of pharisaical racism. It's way over the head of any A&A.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  20. lewtwo

    I predict that the Universe will collapse on 20 Jan 2020. Can I now have 8 millions dollars ?

    December 18, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Smitty

      Just be sure to spend every penny before you die.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Dave Ramsey

      2020? Between here and there should be a big upswing. You can ask for much more.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • lol??

      lol??
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      You forgot the 1,000 year buffer.

      December 18, 2013 at 11:06 am |
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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.