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.

The Truth:

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.

updated 07/16/11

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

-by Jacob Prasch.

As most of you are aware I am at this moment in North Vietnam helping the much persecuted Hmong people of the tribal mountain areas.

After listening to a translation of Camping’s prediction 7,000 of these people (known in The West as Montagnards) gathered on a mountain praising God – their suffering at the hands of the Communist regime was supposedly about to end because Jesus was returning that day in May to establish a new kingdom.

The police and military police slaughtered many of them at gunpoint beheading two pastors. Others were arrested. I am told by Hmong pastors that so many were shot dead that they were buried in mass graves bulldozed over in an episode that I read about in Britain but did not understand the magnitude of until I got here. I am now trying to clean up the mess at the request of local Hmong leaders.

I spoke to a secret convocation of Hmong pastors only yesterday who came to Hanoi, explaining to them about false prophets and false teachers.

Due to a combination of poverty, ignorance, and persecution these poor Christians don’t understand much so they believed Camping’s shortwave broadcast which is how most get their teaching in a certain village area with heavy persecution. Their families don’t know if their missing loved ones are among the many shot dead, among those arrested and imprisoned, or among those from the 7,000 hiding in the jungle.

I am not the nicest guy in the world let alone the best Christian and I can’t pretend to be. But anyone who had to deal with the confusion and devastation I am dealing with now due to Harold Camping would also blow their top. These people already suffering for their faith in Jesus had it bad enough. They are not like the undiscerning whackos in The West who should have known Camping was a crackpot and a proven false prophet & false teacher.

This is a persecuted church who just had no means to know any different.

This is why I get angry at those who deceive the Body of Christ and why I warn so much about false teachers and false prophets. It may be an extreme case but these people, some of them children, were shot dead. Of course we can blame Satan and the communists but their blood is on the hands of Harold Camping and his Family radio. Women without husbands, children without parents, husbands without wives – thank you Family Radio; thank you Harold Camping.

Frankly, this has been a rough week for me. One of the worst I ever had.

I am up to my eyeballs in muck trying to explain to tribal pastors how to explain to their people why their families were massacred needlessly and trying to advise them how to potect their flocks from such wolves in the future…

The anguish of the Hmong folk took my concentration off of my own problems… because their problems are so much greater after what they refer to as ‘the mountain massacre’ due to Harold Camping.

Please pray for these people and the work of Moriel Asia branch here among the Hmong. We are trying to get 5,000 outlawed Hmong Bibles printed or smuggled in via Laos.

Where does it end? These people are suffering terribly while Camping is still in business in Oakland, California – as usual telling more lies…

Come Lord Jesus.

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife

HANOI, VIETNAM (BosNewsLife)– Vietnamese security forces beheaded pastors and shot to death “many” other Hmong Christians who gathered to await Christ’s return after a false prophecy by an American preacher, according to a leading advocacy group’s leader.

James Jacob Prasch, executive director of Moriel Ministries (MM), said Thursday, July 14, that the massacre was the horrific aftermath of shortwave broadcasts by Harold Camping of California-based Family Radio.

Camping, 89, claimed that Jesus Christ would return to Earth to “rapture” his followers to heaven on May 21 as mankind had run out of time.

Following the broadcasts, some 7,000 Hmong Christians attempted to gather “on a mountain praising God” in late April and early May, but instead found “police and military police” who slaughtered “many of them at gunpoint beheading two pastors,” Prasch told supporters in an electronic message to supporters obtained by BosNewsLife.

International rights activists had suggested that dozens of Hmong Christians may have been killed, but Prasch suggested the real figure may be higher. “I am told by Hmong pastors that so many were shot dead that they were buried in mass graves bulldozed over,” he added. Others were reportedly detained.


Vietnamese officials in Dien Bien province have accused ‘sabotage forces’ of stoking secessionist demands, and denied reports of a massacre.

A spokeswoman from the Foreign Ministry said ‘extremists’ had been detained but did not say how many or whether anyone had been killed or injured. Foreign media and diplomats have been banned from visiting the area.

Dien Bien is one of Vietnam’s poorest provinces in the remote and mountainous area bordering Laos and China, where there have been widespread reports of a government crackdown on Christian Hmongs.

Across the border in Laos, Laotian and Vietnamese troops killed four Hmong Christian women after confiscating their Bible, a US rights group said in April.


The Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) said the unarmed highland Hmong women were “summarily executed” in northeastern Xieng Khouang province by soldiers from a special 150-member unit of the Lao People’s Army (LPA) led by Vietnamese secret police and military advisers.

The government troops confiscated the group’s only Bible, “brutally and repeatedly raped” at least two of the younger women before shooting them at point blank range with automatic weapons in the head and torso, it added.

Laos and Vietnam have close military ties in the mountainous region.

In Vietnam’s Dien Bien province’s the 170,000 Hmong represent about one-third of its population. The Hmong make up just over 1 per cent of the wider Vietnamese population, but many reportedly earn as little as 100 dollars a year, less than a tenth of the average annual income.


Christians say there is a long history of mistrust between the government and many ethnic hilltribe groups, collectively known as
Montagnards, as many of them were allied with the U.S. troops during the Vietnam War.

Prasch said he was outraged that American preacher Camping misused their situation to make false prophecies, giving them false hopes that their promised land was imminent.

“Due to a combination of poverty, ignorance, and persecution these poor Christians don’t understand much so they believed Camping’s shortwave broadcast,” added Prasch. “This is a persecuted church who just had no means to know any different. This is why I get angry at those who deceive the Body of Christ and why I warn so much about false teachers and false prophets.”