Harold Camping

An apocalyptic broadcaster who predicted the end times, captivating and alarming a global audience.

Religion: Christianity
Denomination: Independent Christian
Website: familyradio.org

Harold Camping was an American Christian radio broadcaster, author, and evangelist known for his end-times predictions. He gained significant attention and sparked controversy for predicting that the world would end on May 21, 2011. Despite his failed prophecy, Camping’s predictions garnered a global following and had a notable impact on his listeners and followers.

Harold Camping was born on July 19, 1921, in Boulder, Colorado. He graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1942 and later established a successful construction business before he started working with Family Radio in 1958, which became a platform for his unique brand of biblical interpretation. Through this program, Capping emphasized numerology and apocalyptic prophecies, asserting that hidden numerical codes within the Bible could reveal the exact date of the end of the world.

Camping’s teachings asserted that traditional church institutions were apostate, and that the Holy Spirit had departed from them. He suggested that after the church age, which he believed ended in 1988, true believers should abandon organized churches. His first major end-time prediction claimed the world would end in 1988, followed by a subsequent prediction for 1994. Neither of these came to pass, but it did not deter Camping or his followers.

The most notable date Camping set was May 21, 2011. He claimed this day would mark the beginning of the end, culminating in the total destruction of the Earth five months later on October 21, 2011. Leading up to this date, Camping and his followers engaged in a massive global advertising campaign, including billboards and caravans, to warn of the impending apocalypse. Some of his followers took drastic measures in anticipation of the event, selling their possessions, quitting their jobs, and even spending their life savings to spread the word.

When May 21, 2011, passed without incident, Camping and his followers were left to grapple with the failed prophecy. Camping initially expressed bewilderment, later stating that May 21 had been a “spiritual” Judgment Day, and the actual physical end of the world would occur on October 21, 2011. This second date also passed uneventfully, and Camping later admitted that his predictions were incorrect.

After the failure of his 2011 predictions, Camping largely retreated from public life. He suffered a stroke in June 2011, which limited his ability to continue his radio broadcasts. Camping died on December 15, 2013, at the age of 92. Today, is story is often cited in discussions about the dangers of date-setting in Christian eschatology.

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