U.S. Judgment Day forecaster sets new doomsday date

LOS ANGELES Tue May 24, 2011 5:14am BST

Harold Camping, 89, the California evangelical broadcaster who predicts that Judgment Day will come on May 21, 2011, is seen in this still image from video during an interview at Family Stations Inc. offices in Oakland, California May 16, 2011. REUTERS/Reuters Television

Harold Camping, 89, the California evangelical broadcaster who predicts that Judgment Day will come on May 21, 2011, is seen in this still image from video during an interview at Family Stations Inc. offices in Oakland, California May 16, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Reuters Television

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The evangelical Christian broadcaster whose much-ballyhooed Judgement Day prophecy went conspicuously unfulfilled on Saturday has a simple explanation for what went wrong -- he miscalculated.

Instead of the world physically coming to an end on May 21 with a great, cataclysmic earthquake, as he had predicted, Harold Camping, 89, said he now believes his forecast is playing out "spiritually," with the actual apocalypse set to occur five months later, on October 21.

Camping, who launched a doomsday countdown in which some followers spent their life's savings in anticipation of being swept into heaven, issued his correction during an appearance on his "Open Forum" radio show from Oakland, California.

The headquarters of Camping's Family Radio network of 66 U.S. stations had been shuttered over the weekend with a sign on the door that read, "This Office is Closed. Sorry we missed you!"

During a sometimes rambling, 90-minute discourse that included a question-and-answer session with reporters, Camping said he felt bad that Saturday had come and gone without the Rapture he had felt so certain would take place.

Reflecting on scripture afterward, Camping said it "dawned" on him that a "merciful and compassionate God" would spare humanity from "hell on Earth for five months" by compressing the physical apocalypse into a shorter time frame.

But he insisted that October 21 has always been the end-point of his own End Times chronology, or at least, his latest chronology.

The tall, gaunt former civil engineer with a deep voice and prominent ears has been wrong before. More than two decades ago, he publicly acknowledged a failed 1994 prophecy of Christ's return to Earth.

To publicize his latest pronouncement, the Family Radio network posted over 2,000 billboards around the country declaring that Judgement Day was at hand, and believers carried the message on placards in shopping malls and street corners.

Asked what advice he would give to followers who gave up much or all of their worldly possessions in the belief that his Judgement Day forecast would come true, Camping drew a comparison to the nation's recent economic slump.

"We just had a great recession. There's lots of people who lost their jobs, lots of people who lost their houses ... and somehow they all survived," he said.

"People cope, he added. "We're not in the business of giving any financial advice. We're in the business of telling people maybe there is someone you can talk to, and that's God."

(Editing by Greg McCune)

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Comments (4)
ELIAKIM wrote:
Camping as already been called out about the 21st of May, 2011. In the scripture Christ predicted that judgement would come when the sign of Jonah was seen in Israel. The whale turned upon in May 2010 and as continued since then. He told the people that the Queen of the South would come and that she has more wisdom than solomon. That wisdom will be proven right by her actions. The South is the direction of the prophets.

2010, we had the flotilla disaster and 5 million trees burned down in Israel and that is one tree for every Jewish person in Israel. 2011 also kicked off with Queensland being flooded when the prophecy about the ‘Son of Man’ came to be. The term Son of Man is a term of endearment for a prophet.

May 24, 2011 5:05pm BST  --  Report as abuse
Ray99 wrote:
“More than two decades ago, he publicly acknowledged a failed 1994 prophecy” – how does that work, then?

May 24, 2011 5:37pm BST  --  Report as abuse
Landy110 wrote:
Some clarification is required please. If I should believe Mr. Campings prediction and liquidate all my property for a wild four month spree, will Mr Camping reimburse me if his prediction fails to materialise?

May 25, 2011 11:52am BST  --  Report as abuse
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