Deadly Aftermath of Radio Teacher Harold Camping’s Prediction of Judgement Day Happening on May 21, 2011-Truth! & Unconfirmed!
Summary of eRumor:
There are reports of suicides and even murders resulting from the Doomsday prediction of Family Radio’s Bible Teacher Harold Camping that judgment day would come on May 21, 2011 and that the true believers in Jesus Christ would be raptured to heaven.
Harold Camping is a self-taught Bible teacher who was one of the founders of Family Radio, a collection of radio stations and affiliates based in Oakland, California. Camping hosted a live Monday through Friday talk show on the network during which he spread his teachings and took phone calls answering Bible questions. Camping first attracted attention outside of his followers when he wrote a book titled 1994? in which he predicted that the end of the world would probably take place between September 15 and 17 of that year. When it didn’t he said that he’d gotten his calculations wrong.
Camping bases his views on his own brand of Biblical numerology. He’s an engineer by training and likes playing with numbers. His calculations are a little hard to follow and some are based on assumptions of the dates of events like the creation or the world or Noah’s flood.
He became a fresh subject of news headlines in 2011 when he began to intensely promote his conviction that on May 21, 2011, there would be catastrophic earthquakes and other natural phenomena harkening the beginning of severe judgment on the world. He also predicted that those who were “true believers” in Jesus Christ would be taken from the earth and go to heaven on that date. Associated with that he said that after a period of judgement the world would come to an end on October 2 1, 2011. Camping was alone in his assertions. No other church, denomination, or major pastor or Bible teacher supported his theory and most condemned it.
During the months leading up to May 21, Camping spread the word about judgement day through his radio broadcast, which is heard both in the United States and several foreign countries, and there were reports that Family Radio spent millions of dollars buying advertising time and funding a caravan of motor homes that went from city to city to warn people about the pending event.
The predicted date came and went without anything happening. Harold Camping went into seclusion for a few days then emerged to say that he would explain everything in a special radio broadcast on his network. In that program, Camping announced that he was at first bewildered when nothing seemed to happen but that he then realized that judgment day did indeed come on May 21, but it was spiritual not physical and that was why nobody noticed it. In June, 2011, Camping was hospitalized because of a stroke and later transferred to a nursing home. Family Radio announced an end to his program and substituted it with another.
Over the following weeks, however, information started emerging about some of the fallout of his prediction. Nobody knows how many people took him seriously, but some stories came to light that caused great concern about the impact of his failed prediction.
A few days after the May 21, a Florida man who was visiting family in California jumped into a reservoir in Contra Loma regional Park in Antioch saying he had to “get to God.” Family members said the 25-year old man became erratic and “started talking about God more profoundly…” After watching a video about UFO’s he started quoting Bible verses from the book of Ezekiel and insisted that he had to go to the park. One of the detectives in the case said the man “…told his family that he now understood the Bible and that God was going to come see him.” He dived into the reservoir. His brother and his wife jumped in to save him and brought him ashore, but he jumped back into the lack and drowned. Investigators said that the coverage of Camping’s prediction was to blame.
In Palmdale, California, authorities say that a woman who wanted to protect her children from the “tribulation” slit the throats of her two daughters before cutting her own throat. This happened in March of 2011. The injuries were not fatal, however, and all survived. The daughters were 11 and 14.
In Michigan, a group of teenagers who say they were celebrating the failed prediction of the May 21 rapture decided to mark the occasion by jumping from a bridge. A 17-year old who did not know how to swim was swept away by the current and drowned.
News reports from Taiwan told of an elderly man who jumped out of a building on May 5 saying he had heard that doomsday was nearing.
News reports in June told of a Malawian man who pleaded guilty to “circulating false documents” about the judgment day prediction. He was identified as a 39-year old bicycle repairman who had been spreading the world about May 21. Police charged him with “circulating false documents that threatened the peace and security of citizens.” He was given a six-month suspended sentence.
There were also news reports from Vietnam that an ethnic group in the northern reaches of the country, the tribal Hmong people, were among those who took the prophecy to heart. They had heard it through missionary radio. The news reports said there were “thousands” of people gathering on a hillside to await their trip to heaven. In July, 2011, James Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries traveled to Vietnam and met with Hmong leaders. He reported that more than 7,000 Hmongs did gather on a mountain with hopes that they were going to be delivered from their suffering at the hands of the Communist government. Prosch was told that at one point police and military police opened gunfire on the crowd and that many were killed and buried in mass graves on the site. He also said that two pastors were beheaded and that many thousands are missing and either among the dead, among the imprisoned, or scattered in the local jungle.