Pastor has no plans for new apocalypse predictions

SAN FRANCISCO — A California preacher who convinced thousands of followers that the world would end has posted an online letter conceding he has no evidence of an impending apocalypse and will no longer predict global doom.

In a missive posted Thursday on his independent ministry’s site, Harold Camping, 90, said he was asking for forgiveness for his sin in predicting Judgment Day, and has stopped trying to pinpoint future dates.

“We realize that many people are hoping they will know the date of Christ’s return,” Camping wrote. “We humbly acknowledge we were wrong about the timing.”

Camping’s Family Radio International broadcasts his messages from the nonprofit’s headquarters in a squat building near the Oakland airport. In recent years, the organization spent millions of dollars — some of it from listeners’ donations — putting up thousands of billboards plastered with his prediction of the Rapture.

Marie Exley, 33, was among those who spent her own money to put up apocalypse-themed billboards in Colorado, and later met her husband while passing out Bible tracts in Japan.

The pair traveled through Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq to publicize Camping’s prophecy and spent May 21 holed up in Montana waiting for the end. She said Thursday she was glad that the Christian preacher had acknowledged he didn’t know everything about the Rapture.

“Sure, I was looking forward to it, but it’s actually a blessing to reconnect with family and friends,” said Exley, who is writing a screenplay about her experience. “I think it was good for Mr. Camping to humble himself and admit he was wrong and take the heat for that … but I should have done more careful studying and been more cautious about what I was proclaiming myself.”

Camping, a retired civil engineer, had originally forecast that some 200 million people would be saved when the globe was destroyed, and warned that those left behind would die in earthquakes, plagues and other scourges until Earth was consumed by a fireball.

After May 21 came and went, many listeners were crestfallen, particularly those who had quit their jobs or donated some of their retirement savings or college funds to get out the word. Three days later, Camping revised his prophecy, saying that Earth actually would be obliterated on Oct. 21. He said a mathematical error also prevented an earlier apocalyptic prediction from materializing in 1994.

Several weeks later, however, Camping was hospitalized after suffering a mild stroke and spent months recuperating.

Camping said he would instead concentrate on deepening his faith through rereading the Scriptures.

“God has humbled us through the events of May 21,” he wrote. “We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world.”

No one at Family Radio would explain what prompted Camping’s decision to post the letter.

Michael Garcia, who has worked as Family Radio’s special projects coordinator, said he couldn’t say why Camping decided to post the letter, but said it had made more people aware of his message.

“I’m sure a lot of people heard about the May 21 message, and now they’re hearing about this, too,” he said.

More in Local News

A Democrat and ex-Republican team up to end two-party politics

Brian Baird and Chris Vance unveil a new organization called Washington Independents.

The beavers weren’t happy, either, about Mill Creek flooding

A tree fell on their dam, sending a rush of water into a neighborhood near Jackson High School.

Aerospace workers adjust to changing industry

The number of Boeing workers dropped almost 10 percent since last year

Lynnwood, Marysville, Sultan consider ban on safe injection sites

If approved, they would join Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, which have temporary bans.

Mill Creek councilman no longer lives in city, panel finds

The Canvassing Board determined Sean Kelly is not eligible to vote there.

A whole life ahead. Five-month-old Felix Shope lies in his stroller ready to go home from the Snohomish County Courthouse with his new mom and dad, Alicia and Josh Shope of Edmonds. A family down the hall tends to a child and are likely awaiting their own adoption proceedings. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
16 youngsters get the gift of home on National Adoption Day

A joyful day at county courthouse tempered with the great need for stable, loving homes.

Stranger offered candy to student walking home from school

The Granite Falls School District is warning families about… Continue reading

Man arrested after stolen car crashes in Everett

The accident occurred in the 100 block of SE Everett Mall Way.

5-vehicle crash in Arlington kills 62-year-old woman

Medics had transported her to the hospital, where she later died.

Most Read