Rev Harold Camping: Preacher

Evangelist who provoked a media frenzy by predicting that the end of the world was nigh – three times

Harold Camping was a Christian radio evangelist whose brimstone-ridden sermons stoked an international media frenzy after his Armageddon prophecies coursed through the internet. That life on Earth continued after 21 May 2011 was a crushing disappointment to Camping, his followers and millions of listeners on his Family Radio network.

He was a self-taught Bible scholar who came to his prophecies through complex mathematical calculations and “clues sprinkled throughout the Bible.” In early May 2011 he warned, “It is going to happen. There is no Plan B.” He spent tens of millions of dollars to spread his doomsday message, his 21 May prediction plastered on more than 5,000 billboards across the country. He had 100m pamphlets printed in 61 languages, including one that read, “The End of the World is Almost Here!” His volunteers canvassed the country, including dozens who walked Washington’s Mall handing out fliers that reminded passers-by to “Save the Date.”

Camping told listeners that Judgment Day would begin with an earthquake. True Christians would experience a rapture and 200 million would ascend to heaven. Many followers sold their homes, quit their jobs and emptied their savings accounts to help finance his end-of-the-world campaign. After 21 May came and went, Camping emerged from his home “flabbergasted.” He called 21 May an “invisible Judgment Day” and said his calculations had been off by six months. “On October 21 of this year, the whole world is going to be annihilated, and never be remembered.” When that did not come true either, Camping retired.

He was born in 1921 in Colorado, and was raised in the Christian Reformed Church, a Protestant denomination. In the 1980s he split from the church to form his own congregation. He worked as an engineer for a government contractor during the Second World War, then started a construction business but sold it to pursue his religious calling. He began radio-preaching in the late 1950s. He opened his first station in the San Francisco area, he said, because there was no competition. He dominated the market, buying more radio stations, and Family Radio became a $100m dynasty.

He ventured into prediction in the early 1990s, saying that the rapture would arrive on 6 September 1994. When his first prophecy did not come to fruition, he said his revised calculations pointed to 2011. After that deadline he apologised to his listeners for misleading them. “Let’s pray more than ever for God’s mercy,” he said. “God is in charge, and we must always keep that in mind.” µ T

Harold Egbert Camping, preacher: born Boulder, Colorado 19 July 1921; married 1942 Shirley Vander Schuur; died Alameda, California 15 December 2013.

© The Washington Post

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam