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Harold Camping apologizes for failed Rapture prediction

March 9, 2012 | 11:09 am

Harold Camping, praying before delivering what he promised was his final radio and TV appearance on May 20, 2011
Harold Camping, the Northern California preacher whose radio ministry spent millions of dollars last year predicting a fiery apocalypse that failed to materialize has apologized to his followers in an open letter, saying “we humbly acknowledge we were wrong” and “we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world.”

Camping, 90, had hyped May 21, 2011 as Judgment Day through billboards and constant chatter on his Oakland-based Family Radio International. On that day, he prophesied, the Rapture would redeem believers, while heathens would walk the Earth in misery until a fiery finish five months later.

Some followers emptied their bank accounts and quit their jobs to help spread the word. Camping’s prophecy spurred equally passionate parodies, including Rapture parties and the gleeful skyward release of inflatable dolls.

But the date came and went.

A stunned Camping, who suffered a mild stroke shortly afterward, said he was “flabbergasted” but maintained that the world still would still end --  in October.

It didn’t.

In the letter posted Thursday on Family Radio’s website, the preacher called the May 21 campaign “an astounding event”  for the awareness it raised about the Bible and Jesus Christ.

Despite that positive spin, Camping called his prediction a “sinful statement” and asked God’s forgiveness.

“Family Radio has no interest in even considering another date,” his letter said. “We have learned the very painful lesson that all of creation is in God’s hands and he will end time in his time, not ours! We humbly recognize that God may not tell his people the date when Christ will return, any more than he tells anyone the date they will die physically.”


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Photo: Harold Camping, praying before delivering what he promised would be his final radio and TV appearance on May 20. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times