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. Keith

    There will be someone to replace him, there have always been end of the world prophets. The Christians have been waiting 2000 years, that should show you how determined some silly folks are.

    December 30, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  2. Keith

    Prophets have such a difficult time anyway. The Bible is full of failures. First the Prophet has to understand the vision well enough to know if the prophesy is for themselves or others. Then they have to turn the information into a form that those around them can understand and then they have an immediate credibility problem.

    I am quite sure Camping found something, he studied patterns and found math equations hidden in the bible to show him the way. Problem is, he did not understand what he found. And we may never know what it was he discovered.

    December 25, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      "... math equations hidden in the bible ..."

      Or he was just making it up – it's a good gig if you can get it; easy money, no heavy lifting.

      December 27, 2013 at 11:03 am |
      • Keith

        He would not have subjected himself to the ridicule if he wasn't sincere. I long ago got away from my fundamental raising but I understand how those people think. A different form of reality all together.

        December 27, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Allen Stone of Montgomery Works Inc.

      Harold Camping was a good God and Prophet and now He is in heaven which is good news. Now, Obama is our God and Prophet for the world and He has a new heaven at the Whitehouse for the christians. We need to read the good gospels of Camping and Obama so we will get right. For details, call us at 240–344-1323 or 240–567-1409 to speak to Kimberly Brown.

      December 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
      • Keith

        Now, that is just silly

        December 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Anyone who has to do that is not a true prophet. All true prophets get their understanding directly from God. There is nothing to figure out...

      December 29, 2013 at 3:09 am |
      • dietrich

        Unless you are a prophet yourself, which I doubt, you can't possibly know what a prophet knows or understands.

        December 29, 2013 at 6:42 am |
      • Keith

        Right, and you know the true prophets. Prophesy is as reliable as horoscopes or the I-Ching. The three desert cults produce prophets, it seems other religions produce wise men.

        December 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    At this time of the year, I send out a reminder to all my friends:

    Jesus wasn't born, he was written!

    December 23, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Sam Bo

      Prove it

      December 24, 2013 at 10:03 am |
      • Ra cist

        no real evidence of Jesus' birth, some that he lived and was executed

        December 27, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Anti-Atheist

      That's a positive claim. Prove it.

      December 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
      • John

        Look in the Bible. Isn't that how y'all prove your "positive claims"?

        December 27, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  4. Bob

    There is one thing all of the doomsday predictors (including Jesus) have in common: They were all wrong. The Earth will be happily spinning around long after we are all gone.

    December 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Maybe, maybe not:

      What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, biology, biochemistry, archeology, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)

      1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

      2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

      3. One wayward rock and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

      4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

      5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

      6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

      7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode cataclysmically at any time ending life on Earth.

      8. Many of us are part Neanderthal and/or Denisovan.

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?

       http://www.universetoday.com/18847/life-of-the-sun/



      Search for Paul, book by Professor JD Crossan

      Rabbi Paul, book by Professor Bruce Chilton




      December 20, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Erik

      Jesus never predicted the end of the world. He predicted the end of a Jewish era and the rabbinical economy that accompanied it. That came to fulfillment in the destruction of the second temple and the fall of Jerusalem to Rome in 70 AD.

      December 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        And what about the second coming and what that entails?

        December 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • ghost

      you are an idiot ! bet ya the dinosaurs said the same thing? Or all of the other past inhabitants who were once here ! We are just catching up to the level of technology they already had. you must work at walmart ?

      December 22, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
      • dietrich

        YOU are the idiot! If the dinosaurs and past inhabitants DID say that, they were correct. The earth IS still happily spinning around and they are all gone. What was true for them will be true for us sooner or later, and sooner at the rate at which we are rendering the planet uninhabitable for our species

        December 22, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  5. cruze

    Only the Father knows, the hour and day of the rapture. The Father in the kingdom of heaven but reveals through our Lord Jesus Christ. Just get ready, repent your sins and accept Jesus as your Saviour so that you can inherit eternal life.

    December 19, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      The poor grammar of your second sentence obscures your intended meaning. I could ask three or four questions to get there, or you could clarify?

      December 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      do you seriously desire ETERNAL LIFE?

      if so, what is keeping you here now?

      December 20, 2013 at 7:00 am |
      • The truth is out there

        We are here to serve a purpose first.

        December 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Allen Stone of Montgomery Works Inc.

          Harold Camping was a good God and Prophet and now He is in heaven which is good news. Now, Obama is our God and Prophet for the world and He has a new heaven at the Whitehouse for the christians. We need to read the good gospels of Camping and Obama so we will get right. For details, call us at 240–344-1323 or 240–567-1409 to speak to Kimberly Brown.

          December 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      As noted previously about "only the Father knows......":

      Mark 13: 32 = Matt 24: 36 has been rigorously analyzed for historic authenticity and found to be inauthentic. For example, see http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb265.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann's analyses in his book Jesus After 2000 Years on pp. 91-93 and pp. 231-232.

      December 20, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
      • Sam Bo

        Your analysis has undergone intense scholarly review and lol

        December 24, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Hn

      I will do no such thing.

      December 21, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Keith

      You know that the Rapture is a relatively new belief in Christianity. It is not going to happen, Jesus already came and went and no one recognized him. If Jesus came back today, unless he was something to eat 85% of the worlds population would not care.

      December 25, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
  6. Joe Olachea

    It is sad that this man died. He was however promoting a view of the Bible that both conservatives and liberals disagree with. Anyone who studies history or literature and looks at Camping's view of how to interpret the Christian Scriptures would dismiss it due to its subjectivity. I hope those that follow him will find better guidance now that he is no longer with us.

    December 19, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Frank Rizzo

      Why is it sad? He was 92 years old.

      December 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
      • Bruce Welcker

        Some people live too long. In the last days false prophets will arise.

        December 19, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
        • sam stone

          wow, the last days

          luckily, that's never been predicted before

          December 20, 2013 at 7:05 am |
        • ghost

          right now its barry aka obama !

          December 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • Keith

      Most of the crap that passes for American Christianity is due to ignorant hillbillies interpreting the bible

      December 25, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • Keith

      Why, you are as deluded as he was.

      January 14, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
  7. Bernie


    Love the ability for readers to voice their comments- if I like what they say or not -thank you for opening this mans life up for critique- However, the same opportunity NOT allowed on the Gays goes to Olympic story?

    December 19, 2013 at 1:07 am |
    • Dr. Frasier Crane

      Go ahead...I'm listening.

      December 19, 2013 at 6:02 am |
    • Keith

      Is there a gay story where it might make more sense to comment?

      December 25, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  8. Cpt. Obvious

    I can't seem to judge the guy as harshly as seems popular. It would seem all to easy to get wrapped up in some cultish belief set that engenders the ego and provides purpose and focus for a lost soul as we all are. What if he was sincere and believed he was working toward a greater existence for everyone, not just himself? Maybe under very precise conditions, many of us would take on a ego-inflating role like that?

    December 19, 2013 at 12:05 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Good article about his followers and the aftermath.


      December 19, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • TasieSceptic

      well he wasn't "working toward a greater existence for everyone" only the 2-3%. but I wouldn't condemn him harshly for being delusional, but I can't help but feel a little schadenfreude for those who gave up their worldly goods and promoted his delusions.
      I wonder if he compensated any of them with part of the $80. million in contributions?

      December 19, 2013 at 1:05 am |
      • Sue

        I just feel sad for them all. Sad, and disturbed that they are so gullible as to fall for any of this stuff. They're just one step away from Jonestown, or those Heaven's Gate nuts. The only thing that keeps these people from killing themselves is the fantasy that God will soon kill everyone. That's deeply disturbed!

        December 19, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Amy

      He DID believe his own prophecy; of that I am absolutely certain. But I don't think it follows that he was working toward the betterment of everyone.

      December 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  9. Chuck

    Well he was right...sort of, but just for himself. Idiot!

    December 18, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
  10. karek40

    It has ended in this life for him.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Arnold Hap

      You have a remarkable grasp of the obvious.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  11. Felix Sinclair

    Didn't see that coming, didja?

    December 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
  12. Jaimie

    R.I.P MR. Harold Camping. God bless you.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Sue

      He led people to their financial ruin, but you sound like a fan.


      December 18, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
      • Cboy619

        If they were stupid enough to rid their life savings and financial security, it's not his fault people are dumb and ignorant.
        Most of them spent their savings on billboards and ads.

        December 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          He may not be entirely responsible, but he was captain of that ship.

          December 19, 2013 at 12:12 am |
        • James K

          We do jail swindlers, don't we?

          December 19, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • James K

      Yup, you might as well be praising Bernie Madoff.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
      • saggyroy

        If Bernie Madoff had 'Rev' in front of his name, he wouldn't have gone to jail. His mistake. First get yourself ordained, THEN rip people off.

        December 19, 2013 at 5:52 am |
  13. Jim P.

    Doesn't the bible demand the death penalty for a false prophet?

    No amount of being wrong will dissuade those who believe people like this no matter how silly the ideas expressed. Seventh Day adventists have been wrong now for almost a century but they still hang in there.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • James K

      The whole religion has been wrong more times than a rational person ought to need before seeing through it.

      and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.

      —Adolf Hitler , Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X

      December 18, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
  14. Ybsnad

    The more important question is, when will the party that predicted that supply drives capitalism and tax breaks for the rich would trickle down and deficits don't matter finally die?

    December 18, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
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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.